Chapter 1

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Fiction, Science Fiction, Sci-fi story

Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1 - My attempt at a story in the Damsels in Distress Universe. A modern day warrior whose grandfather was a Hero and who trained him finally makes it to Chaos as a Hero. Along the way he finds love with a Hero's granddaughter and finds she makes an excellent Heros Companion on Earth and Chaos. They have a very long andproductive career.

John Harvey looked out the window of the little prop jet as it taxied away from the small airport near his home town. He was excited and apprehensive all at once. He had graduated high school three weeks before and was now off on the adventure of his young life. Well, he hoped it would be an adventure any way. He had enlisted in the Army and was on his way to Basic Training. He was already almost homesick. He was sad from not knowing how long it would be before he could return to his home or see his family or friends once more. This was the first time he had flown in an airplane. He alternated his attention from looking around the plane and looking out the window until his family was lost to his sight. This airport was so small they still walked out on the tarmac to board so he could watch his family for quite some time. He didn't know if that made his departure harder or easier.

John had enlisted just after New Year's Day a week after he caught his steady girlfriend of two years making out with Harold Pittman, one of the stars of the school football team. He had thought he and Sonia were a couple forever and was naturally heartbroken when he saw her sitting on the assholes lap in his favorite short skirt. Her blouse was open and her beautiful titties were hanging out for her new lover to alternate sucking on. He looked lower and saw she was wearing no panties. She was rubbing her wet pussy on one of the largest cocks he had ever seen. He didn't know if it had already been inside her or if it was just heading there. Truthfully he didn't give a rat's ass. His first thought was to attack the asshole getting ready to fuck Sonia. He clenched his jaws, balled his hands into fists and took a step closer to the oblivious couple when common sense had prevailed. He and Harold had already come to blows twice and John had come out the loser both times. He really didn't need another beating over a slut like her. John merely left the party after he had taken a couple pictures with his cell phone. He had seen enough to dump the little bitch and had some pictures to use for revenge if the need arose. Truthfully he didn't even know why he took the pictures. He was not the vengeful type at all. Oh, sure, if someone was messing with him he would retaliate and might do something in the heat of the moment that was not totally ethical.

John sighed in frustration. He remembered all the tales of daring do his grandfather Samuel told him of Damsels in distress and the great rescues he was involved in. John always treated his girlfriends like he supposed those Damsels wanted to be treated in his grandfathers stories of medieval times. Sometimes he wished he could live in those times and be a Hero rescuing those Damsels. Of course they would be appropriately appreciative when he saved them from a fate worse than death.

His grandfather could weave a tale that sounded so real it made him think he actually did some of the rescues he claimed to have performed. He spent hours when he was younger talking with his grandfather and practicing fighting with wooden swords and staves, clubs and bows and arrows. He fell in love with woodcraft, camping and making his own "weapons" from whatever he found to use. Always grandpa Samuel would guide and correct him, forcing him to make better weapons and to learn better ways to win his pretend fights. It wasn't because of his lack of knowledge he had always lost fights with Harold. It was mostly the difference in their size and the fact that Harold always attacked when John wasn't looking or when he had help. One of the times Harold beat John so badly it was because Harold's friends helped him by holding John. John was sure if they were fighting to the death he could win; especially if he used the Karate he had been learning the last two years. He knew Sensei would not approve of his use of Karate for that purpose however so he restrained himself once again.

The next Monday at school John ignored Sonia throughout the morning. When she had smiled at him and walked toward him in the parking lot he just brushed past her. He ignored her yelling at him as he walked quickly into the school building.

John leaned back in his seat and smiled when he remembered the look of horror on Sonia's face when he dumped her. The bitch had walked up to his table in the lunch room and sat beside him as she usually did. That time he had not said anything to her. He rapidly finished his small lunch and started to rise. Sonia grabbed his arm and asked, "What's the matter with you today John? You haven't said a word to me all morning. Are you still upset because my parents made me miss our date this weekend?"

John glanced at her then loudly said, "I don't have anything to say to a cheating little skank like you Sonia. Just to make it official we are no longer a couple. You can run around and cheat on your new boyfriend if you want but you can't do that to me any longer."

Sonia's got white then she blushed. "Why are you calling me names John? What kind of lies has someone told you about me? You know I would never cheat on you honey. I'm no slut and you know it. What did I ever do to make you say something like that to me you asshole?" By the time she was done talking Sonia was screaming at John. He even felt some of the spittle that spewed from her mouth.

John tried to walk off but she grabbed him again and he felt his temper surge. He angrily pulled away from her. He then proceeded to loudly tell her and the entire room what he had seen the Saturday night before. "You remember what you did Saturday night don't you Sonia? That was the night you couldn't go on our normal preplanned date because you would be out of town? Well, you didn't really lie did you? You were out of town. I guess you were just unlucky your new boyfriend decided to take you to my cousin's party to fuck you. You knew we were supposed to go to a party Saturday. I guess you never thought the party I was going to take you to was the same one good old Harold took you to. I was there Sonia. I saw you and Harold. I have pictures of the two of you." He pulled his phone from his pocket and showed her the picture of her getting ready to sit on Harold's hard cock and continued, "You aren't going to try and tell me this isn't you are you? Unless you can convince me of that it's all over but the crying you cheating little skank."

John put his phone away then continued speaking. "If you try to make me out to be the asshole in this mess I will be one. I'll e-mail those pictures to all the people I've heard you complaining about me to this morning. I'll send them to your parents and post them on bulletin boards all over town. Now if you just let things be I'll just delete the pictures after awhile. Now, just leave me alone. I've had enough Sonia. We're through. I don't have any intention of ever talking to you again if I can help it."

By the time John finished his tirade that day in the lunch room Sonia had ran crying from the room. Two of her girlfriends glared at John and called him an asshole before they followed her. Needless to say John and Sonia were not friendly the rest of the year. Unfortunately for John he went to school in a small town and all the other girls he could date either had boyfriends or were friends of Sonia's and refused to date him. Sonia would not stop harassing him nor would her friends. They all kept repeating the rumor that he was just being an asshole. They all said that Sonia had not cheated on him. Finally in desperation John printed off one of the most explicit pictures and posted it on the schools bulletin board. He also sent copies of the pictures to everyone he knew the e-mail address for that knew or was related to Sonia.

When Sonia stormed up to him the next day screaming about him ruining her reputation John said, "Shut up Bitch. I told you when we broke up if you kept making me out to be the bad guy in this I would send the pictures to everyone you knew that I had an email address for. You knew what would happen if you kept acting like a little Bitch. I just did what I promised you I would do."

John's revenge caused another uproar in the school and got him into another fight with Harold. This time though John was angry enough and lucky enough that he managed to break Harold's arm defending himself. That prevented Harold from playing in the final games of the football season and cost him a football scholarship to college because it never healed correctly. This, of course, just made John's fellow students angrier at him. Harold and his parents were beyond angry. They tried to have John arrested for assault. During the investigation it was found that two adults witnessed Harold attacking John so he was not prosecuted.

One day shortly after the investigation was over John was just bumming around in the local pool hall when an Army Recruiter came in. He had seen the recruiter off and on for several months when he dropped into the local teen hang outs hoping to latch onto a potential recruit. Truthfully John was somewhat interested in the Army because of the stories his grandfather had been telling him about his Army time. That day John was particularly susceptible to the pitch when the Recruiter gave his spiel to him. John had just had another argument with some of his fellow students about Sonia and his treatment of her and Harold. He was angry, lonesome and vulnerable to the recruiter's line. This time he listened and bit the baited hook. The recruiter took him home and John signed the papers then had his parents sign because he was still five months under the age of 18.

Army basic in the summer at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri was not a bed of roses as John found out. The fact he lived just a few miles south of there really didn't help him tolerate the heat and training that much better than some of the other recruits. His main salvation was that he had lived in the country on a small farm so was used to some physical activity. He also ran track at school so thought he was in good shape. He was in great shape compared to the other recruits but not so great in the eyes of the Drill Sergeant.

A normal training day started even earlier than John was used to rising and ran later than he was used to. He stuck with it and finally it was over. Truthfully, John excelled in the weapons training and the hand to hand combat portion of his basic course. He was surprised at how much of the coursework he had learned from his grandfather. Of course his training in Karate had helped immensely also. John graduated from Basic as Honor Graduate of his cycle and was promoted to Private First Class. He was now ready for his Army Career. He had been selected as a basic infantryman. John decided if he was in for a penny he was in for a pound and volunteered for training as an Airborne Ranger.

Several weeks after his selection he wondered two things. The first was would he survive the training. The second thing he wondered about was if he was insane or something. Finally he successfully completed the training and was posted to a Ranger unit at Ft. Bragg, NC. Shortly after reporting he was promoted to Specialist. John was now "in the money". He was making more money than he could spend and his bank balance was growing thanks to his frugality.

John had the rural work ethic and was a very intelligent individual. He did his job well, he jumped when his superiors told him to and he kept himself in great physical shape and out of trouble. Promotions continued to be rapid. By the end of his first four years he was a Sergeant. His time was up and he still didn't know what he wanted to do with his life so he reenlisted. Of course the large reenlistment bonus helped him make the right decision! Shortly after reenlisting John was once again promoted. Now he was a Staff Sergeant and in charge of two squads of soldiers. He was also the assistant Platoon Sergeant.

During John's second deployment to Iraq he once again decided he had enough. The living conditions and attitude of the people in that part of the world reminded him somewhat of the stories his grandfather made up about a place called Chaos. He had spent many pleasant days listening to his tales of daring do or dreaming of being one of the Heroes who entered Chaos from the mythical Crossroads. Of course in his grandfathers tales Chaos was not desert country as were Iraq or Afghanistan but the brutality he saw toward women in those countries reminded him of the way the Damsels in Distress were treated in his grandfather's stories. His enlistment ended while he was in Iraq and he did not reenlist. John was involuntarily extended on Active Duty until his unit returned to the states then he was discharged from the Army.

John had saved his money while he was overseas and added it to the nest egg he had saved before. He had enough saved to buy a really nice two year old F150 Super Crew 4X4. After paying cash for the truck he still had almost $24,000 in the bank.

After his discharge John took off for home and the little 40 Acre plot of ground his deceased Grandfather had left him. John had been on his first deployment when his Grandfather died from cancer. He got emergency leave to attend the funeral but had not known of the bequest until after he had returned to Iraq.

John took his time driving home. He had a cover on the bed of the truck and slept in it. He took four days to drive from Fayetteville, NC to his home in Missouri. It was fall when he arrived and there was a tinge of winter in the air. It was one of his favorite seasons. He was looking forward to relaxing for a while then finding a job and getting on with his life. He planned on living with his parents until he found a job then he was going to get his own place or maybe move to his little farm. He was 26 years old and realized he would not be able to live with his parents and follow their rules after being on his own as long as he had. He needed his own place badly so he could live his own life.

John's little patch of ground was only seven miles from Hollister and had several acres of old fruit trees on it. Just before he became ill his grandfather had built a nice 40 X 70 foot barn on the land John had inherited. What little equipment he had was stored inside the building. John didn't know anything else about the place other than it had no house on it. It had been only part of a larger farm his grandfather had split up among his heirs. John knew his cousin and her husband had been given the main farmhouse and another 40 acres. His brother and another male cousin each got another 40 acres. His Grandfather's two children—John's Father and his cousin's Mother were given all the stocks and money from the estate.

The first few days John was home he spent relaxing and visiting with the few friends that still lived in the area. Thursday of the second week he decided to look over his land and decide what he wanted to do with it. When he arrived he drove down the same lane he always used to visit his grandfather. His barn and the machinery was only a couple hundred feet from the old farm house his cousin had inherited. He hated this because Marcie had never forgiven him for what he had done to Harold Pittman, her fiancée's friend.

John's land abutted the lane on one side, his cousin's on the other so they shared the access. John parked beside his large barn and glanced around the old farmstead. It sure was run down looking. There were weeds in his grandmother's flower beds and dead limbs in and under the trees in the yard. All the buildings were in dire need of paint and repair. Someone had been mowing the yard and doing some of the lighter repair work on his cousin's part of the homestead. The weeds and brush were grown up badly around his part of the place.

John got out of his truck and wandered over to the barn. It was the newest building on the place and he could tell it was still in good repair thankfully. John took the keys and opened the door into the office. It was just as he remembered it from the two times he had been inside before he went into the service. John didn't stop to look through the desk. He opened the door into the part of the barn reserved for sales of the fruit. The cash registers and displays were still in place. John saw that the display tables and coolers were there also. He looked into the small commercial kitchen and verified the range and other kitchen equipment was there then he wandered farther back into the building to the cold storage area then out of it into the sorting sheds where the freshly picked fruit was graded for boxing and sale.

As John walked he touched an item here and there. He spent time looking at the machinery parked in the sorting area and under the shed roof on each side of the building. He grimaced and thought he had a lot of work to do if he wanted to operate the orchard and use the land productively once more. He thought that was what he wanted to do. He had already had enough of the hustle and bustle of Hollister and really didn't want to work in town if he could get out of it. John wandered into the corner of the building his grandfather had set up as an exercise area. He looked at the weight machines and the targets used for throwing knives. He even took a punch or two at the bags hung for that purpose.

John sat for a moment looking at the doorway into the weapons storage room. He stood and strode over to the door. It was locked as it normally had been when he last saw it. He wished he had taken more time with his grandfather after he had built this new exercise area. He remembered how the weapons room had racks of old fashioned bows and arrows, staves, axes and clubs to 'fight' with. He even remembered the inner storage area for more deadly modern weapons and wondered if they were still there. He hoped he could find the key so he didn't have to break the door down.

John wandered back toward the sales area. As he was entering he heard a female voice tenuously ask, "Who's there? What are you doing in here?"

John walked through the sales room and into his office. He startled a small, poorly dressed young woman who was looking around as she stood just inside the door. She squeaked and jumped back when he barged through the door. "Who are you," she asked once more. "What are you doing here?"

John smiled and said, "I'm John Harvey. I own this place and was just looking it over. Who are you?"

"OH! I'm sorry Mr. Harvey. Marcie told me one of her cousins had been given this barn and the 40 acres it was on when your grandfather passed away." She looked puzzled then continued, "I thought you were in the Army though. She said I probably would never see you and she was going to buy your land from you."

John laughed and said, "I was in the Army but I had enough of it. I got out a couple weeks ago and came home. You shouldn't believe everything Marcie says either. There is no way in hell she will ever buy my part of the farm from me. She should have known that too. I love every rock and ditch on this old place. Now, how about you tell me what you're doing here and what your name is?"

The young woman looked embarrassed and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Andrea Stewart. I take care of the house and land here for Marcie. She lets me live here too."

John and Andrea visited a while longer. He found out she was not paid to care for the land and buildings. She was supposed to take care of minor repairs, mow the yard and keep house in return for a place to stay. On the weekends Marcie and her family were in residence she acted as maid, cook and general coolie for them. John didn't know exactly what they made her do but knowing Marcie she worked the legs off the poor girl while she and her family were at the farm. Andrea certainly earned her free rent he was sure.

Finally Andrea said she needed to get into the house and prepare for the weekend. Marcie and her family were going to be there and she had some cooking and baking to get done as well as last minute cleaning.

John returned to his parent's home for the night. Early the next morning he returned to the farm and began cleaning up his part of the place. His first task was to test the battery in the tractor. It was dead so he went to town and purchased another one as well as some fresh diesel for the engine. It took him most of the day to change the oil and filters and get the tractor running. He then hooked up the bush hog and began clipping the weeds and brush growing up around the place.

John got tired of driving back and forth to his parent's home quickly so he bought a nice bed and a couple of chairs to put into the sales room of the building at his orchard. There were already rest rooms there that had been used for the customers. He rigged up a shower in the back part of the barn near the exercise area and cooked on the commercial stove that had been used to prepare desserts that had been made from the farm produce and sold. He got the coolers running so he could keep fresh foods.

As the weeks rolled by John began cleaning and repairing his part of the place farther and farther away from the buildings. He clipped all the fields then plowed up an area he intended to turn into a garden in the spring. He could tell the trees needed pruning so he took an on line course from the University of Missouri on Orchard management.

John intended to spend most of the winter pruning trees, doing maintenance and getting ready for spring, his busiest time of the year. He was sitting at his desk working on his extension courses when Andrea came storming into the office. She was crying and waving a paper in his general direction as she screamed at him.

"You Asshole," she cried. "How could you do this to me? I can't pay this bill and they tell me if I don't they'll cut off my electricity and turn me over to a collection agency. How could you do it? If I get the power cut off Marcie will kick me out and I will have no place to live. She told me you were an asshole but I didn't believe her. You acted so nice then you do this shit." Andrea slumped down on an old sofa in the office and buried her face in her hands. Her body shook with her angry sobs.

John turned in shock and moved over beside her. He grabbed her hand as Andrea tried to hit him. "Whoa there Andrea. What do you think I've done to you? As far as I know I haven't done anything to make you angry at me."

"You had them charge me for all the electricity you've been using. I can't pay it. Sometimes I can't even buy enough food and I sure can't pay almost $300.00 for electricity. I have to scrape to pay the $90.00 or so it usually costs. You've been using a lot of electricity on your air conditioner and all those refrigerators and stuff. How could you do that to me? I thought we were friends."

John felt his stomach sink. Shit. He hadn't even thought about the electricity. The power was on in the barn and he just used it. He never thought about it coming from the meter on the house. In fact he had not thought about it at all. He realized he was even using water from the house well.

He pulled Andrea down into his lap still holding onto her to keep her from hitting him. "Crap Andrea. I'm sorry. I never thought about it. The power was on and I just used it. I didn't try to cheat you. I just never thought about it at all one way or the other. Now calm down and I'll make it right. Tell you what. I'll pay the entire bill this month. I'm sure some of last month's bill was power I used too. I'll also go to the electric coop tomorrow and make sure they put a meter out here for my part of the place too."

John sat a minute then he looked puzzled. "What do you mean you have to pay the electric bills? You mean Marcie makes you pay the electric bill? I've seen how you live when they're not here. You hardly ever have a light on. When Marcie and her family are here every light in the house is on almost 24/7. I know they are here almost every weekend and for weeks at a time in the summer. I bet half or more of the power bill is theirs.

"I know but she said I had to pay it if I wanted to live here. I didn't have anywhere else I could go and I don't make enough working in town to even rent a small apartment. I have to pay or she'll kick me out. I don't have anywhere else, don't you understand??

John sat there in shock. He knew his cousin was a bitch but he couldn't believe she would take advantage of someone like she had apparently taken advantage of Andrea. He couldn't do much about it but he still didn't like it at all. He was going to have trouble making ends meet until his first crops came in as it was. He was being careful with his savings but if he couldn't harvest and sell a lot of fruit and garden items he would have to try and find a job in town next year. In fact he was trying to find some part time work now to help with his expenses.

John got the electricity bill straightened out early the next week. It was getting colder and he began cutting some dead wood to burn in an old wood stove he had installed in his living area. That would help a lot with the electric bills because he would cut down on his use of the electric heaters in the building.

One cold snowy day in late December John was sitting in the office going over more of his Grandfather's files when he found a folder with his name on it. Inside was a sealed envelope. He opened the envelope and found a letter dated shortly after he left for the army. It was supposed to have been mailed to him upon his Grandfather's death according to the note attached to it but either no one found it or they elected not to send it.

John read the letter over quickly, then once more slowly. For the most part the letter was only a good bye missive. His grandfather had known the end was near and said in his letter, "John by now you know I died and you inherited the 40 acres of my farm with the orchard on it. You were the only one of the family that loved the trees and caring for them like I did. Just, please, when you work with them use all the safety gear you can. I still believe working unprotected with the chemicals is what gave me this damn cancer. I would have gone to Crossroads for treatment except I am old enough I am not sure I would have survived the rescue attempt for another Damsel. Hell, I'm not sure I could have serviced her if I had rescued her. I decided my time has run its course and I am happy with my life. Now it's up to you to carry on my legacy son.

"I have worked and talked with you and other members of my family now my entire life and have came to the conclusion my values, the values I grew up with and that were important in the last century just do not exist now. You alone of all the family have shown you respect confidences, keep secrets and above all keep your word. Many times I have told members of the family something in confidence only to hear others discussing that very thing shortly thereafter. I have tested each and every one of the family and to the best of my knowledge you are the only one who has never broken your word to me when it was given. You alone of all my male descendants have what it takes to become a Hero Son. If you live up to my expectations the rest of your inheritance will soon become known to you John.

"As a reward for you being a man who keeps his word, on my last vacation to Colorado I took the liberty of deeding my small bit of land there to you and you alone. You remember when we used to go out there camping? I never told you or anyone else I actually owned the land we used. I never lied; I merely didn't inform the family it was mine. I always just called it my camping spot if you remember. Well, Johnnie, I'm sure you remember that land has an almost played out gold mine on it and a ghost town where you used to play. Go there when you need money son or when you become bored with the mundane life you have here in Missouri. If Jake agrees with my assessment of you he has one final gift from me for you. I used to call that little piece of ground my piggy bank because I took many dollars away from there over the years but it was more than that.

Jake and I were both Heroes at one time. He passed his title to his son who died of injuries received in the performance of his duties. He alone of anyone close to us here on earth is best qualified to pass judgment on your capabilities. In any event, you will have the land in Colorado as well as the small plot here to help you maintain your sanity in this fucked up world.

"Just remember things are not always like they seem. Remember those games we used to play? Remember when I used to give you riddles to solve and sent you on scavenger hunts son? For your inheritance to really pay off for you as it did for me you have to use all the skills you learned over the years. You might even need to use some of the skills you learned in the Army. If you are successful in your hunt you will find you have enough to see you through life comfortably from the orchard and from your place out west. I never really used the part of the farm I gave the other grandchildren. All my income came from the orchard and my camping spot. Most of my pleasure came from Chaos, especially after your grandmother passed away.

"Remember me fondly if you will and forgive me for not being more specific about your place out west. If, or when you solve the riddle and make your first successful trip I believe you will understand. I cannot, no I will not say more in this letter in case it is read by someone besides you. I have also made arrangements for you to be contacted in the future if you do not go to Colorado and visit your land. This contact is merely to insure you are aware of your ownership. I go to my grave filled with love for you and wish you a good life. You were always a pleasure to work and camp with son. I'm sure the Damsels will love you should you find one you care to rescue."

John laid the letter on the desk and leaned back in his old chair. He ignored the tired squeak of the chair as the old metal springs complained about the movement. He carefully placed his feet on the old wooden desk and locked his hands behind his head. John smiled as his mind wandered to Colorado and the times his grandfather took him camping with him. Every trip he took his grandfather seemed to take a couple of days off alone leaving John in the care of one of his many friends in the area. He remembered the stories his grandfather told him after he returned from wherever he went. That was when he was told most of the stories about Damsels being rescued and battles fought.

John sat for several minutes as he recalled how he enjoyed those trips with his grandfather. He decided he would make a trip to Colorado as early in the year as he could. He would leave in early June. He thought he could take a few days off then and not neglect his crops. He wanted to visit his land and see if he could discover the secret his grandfather mentioned in his letter.

From time to time over the next five months John thought about the letter and tried to figure out what the scavenger hunt his grandfather mentioned could be about. He just could not come up with anything. He was excited, frustrated, and almost angry that he did not know what he would find when he got out west. Finally his large garden was in and growing well. He had it tilled and the trees sprayed. He had at most two weeks he could take off before he had to spray crops for insects once more and till weeds out of his garden. Early one morning John took off in his truck for Colorado. He was young, in good health and immortal. He drove straight through to Colorado Springs taking fourteen hours to drive the 700 miles. He stopped for the night in a campground then hit the road once more early the next morning for the last few miles.

John's land was several miles south of Cripple Creek, an old mining town that had been turned into a tourist trap filled with small casinos. It still had an operating gold mine that tourists could tour. There was even a short line tourist railroad boasting an old coal fired steam engine for tourists to ride. He arrived at his land and put the truck into 4 wheel drive for the final half mile drive into his old ghost town. The last several miles had been over dirt roads that were more and more rough and difficult to drive on. He was glad he could finally stop and relax.

The small Ghost town looked picturesque. There was really not much left to indicate a town had been there. Mainly old foundations and fallen in log buildings were all that remained. There were three larger buildings that still stood and were in adequate repair. One of the buildings had been a hotel and saloon combined, another had been a general store and the third was a small cabin. The old mine site was hidden by the large piles of mine tailings on which John had played when younger. John was surprised to see a thin tendril of smoke coming from the chimney of the best looking cabin when he drove up.

Shortly after John turned his truck off an old man tottered from the cabin and moved toward John. When he was half way to John's truck a younger woman exited the building and stood on the porch watching the two men.

When the old man was about fifteen feet away John could see he was weather beaten. His dark skin was dry and leathery looking. His once black hair was almost entirely white now and hung in a pony tail almost to his shoulder blades. His dark eyes locked on John with a piercing gaze as he hobbled up to him. The man stopped about three feet from John and looked him up and down. He glanced at the truck then back to John.

The old man smiled and held his hand out for a shake as he said in a dry raspy voice, "Well Johnnie I see ya made it. We was beginnin' to wonder if ya had got tha letter your grandpa said he was agonna have sent ya. Damn boy ya sure have growed up aint ya?"

John looked at the old man as he reached out to shake his hand. He looked familiar but ... John finally smiled and the old man could see the recognition in his face. "Mr. Soaring Eagle? You were grandpa's friend weren't you? I used to stay with you and your wife when grandpa took off didn't I?"

"Yup boy. I wasn't sure ya would remember me but ya did. Ya're a man now so why don't ya call me by my first name. Ya kin call me Jake now boy. Mary sure did get a lot of pleasure out of ya stayin' with us. She died couple of year ago. Now it's just me and Tessa, my son's girl. They're all dead now but us. Your grandpa let us live here and watch over the place for him after things got bad for us. Hope ya don't mind none."

"No. I don't mind at all. You're welcome to stay as long as you want. I just found out in December I owned this place." John smiled and continued, "I guess I've got a riddle to solve now though. Grandpa's letter didn't tell me much more than I owned the acreage now and I had to figure out what the secret was. I got the impression I needed to keep my mouth shut about things out here too."

"That's right boy. Now yer grandpappy and me was good friends most of our lives. He was honest as the day is long mostly but he did have a little secret or two he kept except fer me knowin part of it. He made me promise to help ya figure it out if ya needed me to but I'm supposed ta let you work through it by yerself if ya can. Not even Tessa knows 'bout everthin' herebouts."

John looked around and saw Tessa was still just standing on the porch watching the two men. He sighed and said, "Well, I guess I'll look around a little if you don't mind. It's been a long time since I was here but I can feel myself relaxing already."

"Hell boy why would I mind? An if I did what difference would it make? It's your place now aint it? You just go on about yer business and if ya have a question or need somthin' ya jus let me or Tessie know. We'll be up at the house all day. She works part time at one of tha casinos in Cripple Creek but it's her day off dontcha know."

John spent most of the day walking around the ghost town and up to the old mine. He walked quite a ways up the small stream that ran through the little valley also. He sat under the trees beside the little stream where he had played as a young man. The remains of the equipment they used to wash the gold from the dirt was lying in the dirt beside him. He had spent many hours here panning for gold when he was younger. He lay back in the cool shade and let his mind wander back to those better days. The sun was setting and it was cooling off when he decided he needed to get his camp set up before it got dark.

John wandered back down to the old town, started his truck and moved it back beside the stream. He was almost finished putting up his tent when Tessa walked up and stood watching him. He said hello to her and continued his work. Finally she asked, "Why are ya settin' up the tent?"

"I seem to remember it rains a lot of mornings here and I don't want to get my bedding wet or have to put it away or sleep in my truck."

"No, I mean why aren't you staying in the hotel like your grandpa did? We always kept the manager's room repaired and cleaned for him to use. It just seemed sort of silly for you to set up out here instead of use the room inside. 'Course it's your place and ya can do whatever ya want."

"I never got into the hotel and didn't think about using one of the buildings. They all look pretty run down and all so I didn't think about staying in one. Besides I noticed the hotel was locked and I didn't want to break in. Do you have a key for it?"

"Yeah. We keep it locked. I guess it's still got a little stuff in it folks might wantta steal if they could. It and the old store stayed busy longer than the rest of the town and when the owner sold out to your grandpa he just up and left everything in the buildings. We used some of the food and things until it was mostly gone but never bothered with the other stuff. There's probably several dollars worth of antiques in the old town if ya wanted to take it and sell it to the city slickers."

"Well, let's go look at my room if you have the key. If it's not too dusty I might just move in there."

Tessa's eyes flashed and her face got slightly red. "I TOLD ya we kept the Manager's room clean and ready. Do ya think because we're part Indian we live in a dirty house or expect you to?"

"Tessa I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. I just noticed through the windows that some of the rooms I could see were a little dusty. I didn't mean to imply you were a bad housekeeper or upset you ok?"

Tessa glared at him and mumbled "OK". She turned toward what was left of the old town and her grandfather's house without speaking further. John followed her back toward the town. He felt himself getting hard as he watched her nearly perfect posterior wiggle in her jeans as she walked. When she turned toward her house he turned toward the hotel. He sat on the old wooden bench on its porch until she returned.

She returned with the keys and John watched as she opened the front door. She led him toward a door that opened behind and to the side of the front desk. When he stepped into the room he stopped in shock. The room was almost spotless. The natural wood glowed in the late afternoon light coming in the window. It had been on the back side of the hotel and the ground sloped enough he could not see in its window when he had explored his domain earlier. The bed looked comfortable and had a homemade quilt topping it. There was an older recliner beside a table with a kerosene lamp on it. There was even a door that opened onto a separate room with an old fashioned galvanized bath tub and a chamber pot inside. There was an old cast iron coal stove for heat. The room smelled a little musty from being closed up but he knew if he opened the windows it would air out rapidly.

John looked around and smiled. "This is very nice. I never would have expected this old building to have a room this nice. I don't remember this room at all from when I came out here with grandpa. We always slept in a tent and if it rained we took shelter over in the old livery stable. I did explore all the old buildings though and this just doesn't ring a bell with me."

"Yeah grandpa helped your grandpa fix this room up to sleep in three or four years before he got sick with his cancer. He only used it six or eight times I guess. He was awfully sick the last time he was here when he set it up for you to own the place. I think that was the only reason he came out that time. I don't think he even took off into the hills like he usually did. This was the old manager's room but it was pretty plain and threadbare before they redid it."

John followed Tessa back out of the hotel and walked to where he was setting up his camp. He began tearing down the tent and to his surprise Tessa helped him. They loaded everything back into his truck and he drove up beside the old hotel. He pulled his generator from the truck and set it on the ground beside the building. He then took his camp stove (Well, a gas fired BBQ with a stove burner on it) and set it on the porch of the old hotel. He ran a power cord into the window and set up his small cooler beside the grill. He ran a light into his bedroom and was all set. The last thing he did was move his small amount of luggage inside.

Tessa looked at his preparations and sniffed. "Guess we'll have to listen to that smelly noisy thing while you're here huh? People sure seem to be getting soft nowadays. Go camping with a generator, a gas stove and a refrigerator. Seems like that takes all the fun outta things. Besides, its way too much stuff ta be haulin' around."

John didn't know what to say to her comment. When he was loading everything he thought it was too much but he knew he didn't want to be responsible for a forest fire. He was pretty sure he remembered a prohibition on open camp fires in the mountains. Besides, fresh meat and a cold drink really went well and he didn't want to have to run into town every couple of days for ice. He was part way to Colorado before he remembered how cold the stream was and that he could have used it to cool his meat, drinks and other perishables. Somehow though Tessa's remarks stung.

That night when he stripped for bed John encountered another of his grandfather's letters. This one was under the pillow and was very cryptic indeed. All it said was "Well boy I see ya got here. If you're interested in our secret explore your favorite place to play in the morning. Do some of the things ya used to do and think about what you find and see. Remember the power of the water."

John sat and thought about the message for a moment. He had enjoyed many places while he was here with his grandfather. He had always wanted to play around the mine but his grandfather would not let him do so unless he was with him. He had also roamed the town a lot poking into all the buildings. It was really a tossup in his mind what had been his favorite place. Finally he decided to begin looking around the small stream just below the mine where he had spent the balance of the afternoon. He had spent hours there with a pan swirling dirt and gravel panning for gold. He always found just enough to keep his interest. John smiled when he remembered how excited he got every time he showed a little color in a pan. His grandfather always carefully saved his treasure and at the end of the summer he gave him some money for his finds. John thought now however that he had probably been grossly overpaid for his gold. He had never found more than a flake or two in a pan. Many times there was no gold in the pan when he had finished working it. One time he had panned out a very small rough nugget.

The next morning John was up as the sun began peeking over the mountain east of his land. He quickly made a pot of coffee and sat where he could watch the country wake from another beautiful night. This was his favorite part of the day and he always tried to enjoy it with a good pot of coffee. John was on his second cup of coffee when Jake and Tessa came out of their cabin carrying coffee cups. They walked over to John and they visited for a short time. Tessa was dressed nicely in black trousers and a white blouse with black bow tie.

Tessa quickly finished her coffee and said, "I have to get going. I have the early shift today. I'm going to buy groceries before I come home this afternoon. Do you need anything John?"

"Naw. Think I'm good for a couple more days. Thanks though."

After Tessa left Jake asked what John was going to do that day. John said, "Mostly take it easy I think. Thought I might see if I remembered how to pan for gold. I spent a lot of time doing that when I came out with grandpa and had a lot of fun dreaming about hitting it big. If I didn't dream about finding gold I dreamed about all those Damsels in Distress grandpa used to tell me about. He sure had some great stories." He laughed and continued, "Guess I'll try my luck again and see if my fortune has washed down the stream yet."

Jake looked at John under his eyebrows and said, "Ya never can tell what you'll find in the right place. Nobody's touched things in that old stream far's I know since you and your grandpa was here last. Keep your eyes open and think about what ya see while you're out and about boy. Never can tell what ya might find if you think things out. Life is stranger than stories and dreams sometimes."

John started his panning where the water fell back into the stream after it had washed the mined ore years ago. His first few pans had nothing in them that he could see. He moved upstream a few feet and remembered to move large rocks to get at the gravel and mud under them. He remembered gold was heavy and sank rapidly unless moved by strong current.

His first pan of muck this time had two small golden flakes in it. He carefully picked them up with a pair of tweezers and put them into a small bottle he had brought for that purpose. John felt the excitement build in his chest once more as he relived his younger days and his dreams of finding a vast amount of gold.

John didn't work himself to death that day but then again he was unaccustomed to that type exercise so his muscles hurt by the time he decided to quit. He had moved upstream almost three hundred feet from where he had started that morning. To his surprise he had found several small flecks of gold during the day.

That evening John poured his gold out on a piece of paper to look at it once more. It was amazing what a few little flecks of metal could do to a person's respiration. He didn't have the gold fever but he was close. All he could think about until he finally drifted off to sleep that night was finding more gold and what he would do if he did.

By noon the next day John was far up the stream and out of sight of his little town. He was panning for his gold where a dry wash emptied into the stream at the very edge of his land. He was closely watching the dirty water in his pan while he swirled it letting a little slop out occasionally as he did so. All at once he saw a large spot of bright yellow through the dirty water. He felt his heart lurch and he carefully tilted the pan to let more water out. John looked once more. There was almost a BB sized chunk of yellow on the bottom of his pan. He moved it with his fingers. It had rough edges.

John knew that movement wore rough edges off things as they rolled down the streams. Just look at all the round rocks in mountain streams and you can tell that. Now a rough edged piece of gold had either just broken off a larger piece of stone or it had not travelled far from where it had spent eons. John felt his excitement surging at the possibilities.

John moved over under some trees and sat where he could see the dry wash and where he had been panning. He thought about what he had found. Truthfully there had not been much gold in the stream. He barely had the bottom of his inch diameter plastic bottle covered with the flakes he had picked up the last three days. His little nugget was heavier than all the other gold he had found combined.

John rose and moved back to the stream for more work. This time he chose a spot about ten feet above where the dry wash emptied into the stream. After panning ten pans of muck in a period of almost an hour John had not found a spot of gold. He moved once more to the bank and sat contemplating things while he let his body rest and muscles relax from the strain. He sat staring at the wash then he smiled widely.

John stood and walked back into the wash several feet. Near a large boulder he knelt down and dug into the dirt, rocks and sand at its base. He filled his pan and walked back to the stream to clean what he had picked up. He carefully poured what he had collected out on a large piece of tarp he always carried. He then put a small amount back into his pan and swirled. By the time he had cleaned the whole pan full of material John had found several more flakes of gold. He moved back up the wash farther and collected more then cleaned it. This collection had another small nugget in it.

John walked back into the wash and followed it for several minutes. The going was very rough. After he had gone almost a quarter mile John stopped and stared. If he had not been looking for it he might not have found what he saw. Very faintly etched into a rock about twenty feet inside a small cut was a 'J'. John stood looking all around excitedly. Just up from the cut was another 'J' etched into a rock faintly with a circle and line drawn through it.

John walked up the little draw slowly watching as he went. Just around a bend he saw several broken and chipped rocks. There was a lot of brush growing around everywhere. Just past the brush was another 'J' with the circle and line through it. John stopped and looked around carefully. All he could see was rock and brush. He walked toward the heaviest growth. There was a lot of chipped rock around.

John dropped to his knees and moved into the brush slowly. He sure didn't want to run into a snake or anything else dangerous. About ten feet into the undergrowth John found a crevice in the rock face of the cliff. There were no small rocks in front of the crevice. There were some barely noticeable scrapes on both sides of the rock. John moved toward then into the crevice. It was just barely wide enough for him to move. About ten feet into the crevice it turned to the right. John made the turn and stopped. The crevice widened out to about four feet. What made him stop was the large pile of rock and quartz he faced. It was almost as tall as he was. He crawled up over it and saw a cave in the side of the hill. There were scrapes and marks that indicated this was not a natural formation.

John moved forward once more carefully crawling over the detritus. He moved into the opening of the cave. It was low enough he could not stand. After he was inside he saw it opened out slightly. There were a couple of broken picks and an old rusty shovel laying beside a small wooden box with a kerosene lamp setting on it. John shook the lamp and saw it still had something in it. He shrugged and lit it.

As the light glowed it pushed the darkness away. John could not see the back of the cave. He picked up the lamp and moved forward until he came to the end. He saw several flecks of yellow glaring back at him from the wall he faced. He felt his heart start to race.

John quickly moved back to the entrance and picked up one of the broken picks. He returned to the end of the tunnel and began picking at the face of the rock. He broke off several pieces of the yellow metal and put them in his small plastic tarp. When he was turning to leave with his find he saw an old ammunition can mostly hidden near the entrance to the mine.

John stopped and picked up the can to carry it out with him. He opened it and found a small rock hammer and a chisel. There was also a Ziploc bag inside with an envelope inside it. The envelope had "John" written on the outside.

With shaking hands John opened the envelope. He began reading the short note it contained. "John (At least I hope it is John that finds this) you have found my secret. As you can see there is some color here in this old mountain. I don't know how rich this find is and never wanted to find out. I have taken several ounces of gold out over the years and so far it doesn't seem to be playing out. I never take much at a time for obvious reasons. The last thing we want to do is draw attention to ourselves. Besides, after you have enough to be comfortable and live well why do you need more?

Another reason you are the one I hope found this John is because we always seemed to think alike about possessions and flashy living. You were like me in so many ways. Neither of us seemed to need "things" to be happy. I was always happy with my old comfortable house and furnishings and my old truck. As you grew up I noticed you didn't seem to want or need all the modern folderol other people just had to have. If you are careful you can pull enough gold from this mine to live comfortably and support your family all your life just like I did. You will have the farm to supplement your income and our other mine to hide what you take from here. If you are worthy you will have Chaos for your excitement. When you get back where you found your second hint look under where I used to sleep son."

John carefully folded the letter and replaced it and the envelope inside the bag. He put the bag in his pocket, took the small rock hammer and moved to the pile of broken rock to carefully clean his ore somewhat. After his ore was cleaner he decided he had two or three ounces of gold. He carefully placed it in the envelope with his letter and moved back into the cave for more. After two more sessions chipping quartz from the cave then cleaning the gold from the quartz John decided he had enough. Besides, he was tired, very tired, and it was getting late. He carefully replaced the rock hammer and ammo case where he had found them and tried to leave no sign he had been through the brush as he retraced his steps toward his home.

It was almost dark when John returned to his old town. When he turned the bend in the stream above the old town he saw old Jake sitting on the hotel porch watching him. When John stepped onto the porch Jake looked him up and down then gave a slight nod. "You look like you're worn out today John. Man wants to be real careful crawling around back in the hills ya know. Never can tell when a rock might fall on him or something. I always worried about your grandpa when he took off into the hills. Had to track him down one time. He was back in a cut in the cliff wall and broke his leg. Had a heck of a time getting him out and back home here. I'm too old to do something like that for you son."

John smiled and said, "Yeah. I understand. I was in a couple of tight places today. Had an exciting time back there though. I think I'll probably be going back from time to time though just like grandpa did."

"Well you be careful boy. Lotsa things could happen to a man back in there. Need to think about where you are when you take off there too. You have a lot of land here but a feller needs to know where his property is so he can rest easy about what he's doing."

John sat and nodded at Jake. 'I wonder what he's saying there. Hell I know where my property is. I'm sitting on it right now. OH! I bet I wasn't on my land when I went into grandpa's mine. I better check that out. If that is someone else's land ... WOW I need to think about this.'

John and Jake sat and visited for several more minutes then Tessa came onto their porch and called Jake to supper. John sat and had a beer then began preparing his meal while he thought about the day's discoveries and Jake's talk. After he finished his meal John went into his bedroom. John crawled under the bed and used his flashlight to inspect the old bed frame. He didn't see anything there. He even turned the mattress over and looked for something in it. He was stumped. What had his grandfather meant when he said 'look under where I used to sleep'? Surely he didn't mean back home in Missouri? No, he had said where I found the second hint and that's here.'

John lay on the bed with his hands behind his head and stared at the ceiling thinking. Wait, the old hotel was built on a slight incline. The back here was facing west and was about four feet off the ground. Could there be something hidden under this room in the crawl space?

John jumped from the bed and grabbed his flashlight. He rushed out the door and around behind the building. He walked underneath and began casting around on the ground looking for a place something might have been buried. He couldn't see any obvious place to bury something. He turned the light upward and looked at the underside of the floor and the huge logs used for floor joists. They were supported every so often with an old rock pier. One of the piers was almost exactly underneath the old bed in the Manager's room. John shone the light carefully on the old pier. One of the rocks facing the inside of the building seemed to be discolored on one edge and the mortar looked more like mud than the old style masonry mortar. He began rubbing the mortar around the edge of the rock. It was mud! When he dug the mud out near the discolored part of the stone he put his fingers into the depression and gently pulled on the rock. It shifted position slightly. He pulled harder and it gave way.

John carefully set the rock down and shined his light into the hole. The space hidden by the rock was about five inches deep and a foot long by maybe eight inches wide. On the bottom of the opening was a bare rock. There was nothing inside. John reached in with his hand to rub the floor of the opening to be sure he hadn't missed anything. The bottom rock moved!

John poked and prodded. He tried to get his fingers into the crack between the bottom rock and the side of the pillar. No luck. John looked around for something to pry with. There! Hanging on a nail on the first floor joist was an old "church key" bottle opener. He quickly moved to it and went back to the hidden space with it. He placed the sharp end in the crack and gently lifted while he put pressure on the rock. It moved. He dropped it two times before he got it high enough to get his fingers under it. He tilted it up and shined his light into the hole. It appeared to be another six or seven inches deep. There was a small metal box inside. When John picked up the box it was heavy and something inside rattled as he moved it. John lifted the box out and opened it.

Inside the box on the very top was a hand drawn map showing the town, stream and John's property lines. It also showed the wash he had gone up. Written on the bottom of the map was another note. "John I'm not positive I have this figured right but if I do by now the mine you have found has extended onto forest service land. I think the dry wash is on your land and the entrance to the mine is also but it is just barely on your land. Do what you want son but I decided not to make waves and try to get legal access to the gold. You know all the red tape we would have to go through to do that and then there is no guarantee we would be successful.

I decided to only take a little at a time and pretend it came from my old mine if I was ever questioned. I've always thought the way the draw bends back around the mountain that maybe our mine is on the other end to the one you just found. I always did a little digging in my old mine when I worked the other one and once in a while I did still find a small nugget. Don't know if the law would buy that idea if I tried to give it to them but that is what I decided to do. You do what you think you have to do boy. Either do like I did and take just enough to make things easier or don't take any at all or even report the find and see what happens. I really advise you to just let things go as they are but it's your land now and your decision. Use what else you found in this old box as you see fit too boy. I always put my extra nuggets in here if I thought I had enough without them. I found the double eagles buried over in the old blacksmith shop one time after a hard rain had washed under the corner of the building. They were in an old rotten leather pouch. I sold a couple of them a time or two when I needed money but saved these for a rainy day. Grandpa"

John looked into the box once more and saw eleven old gold double eagles and some gold nuggets laying on top of a piece of yellowed paper. The newest date on them was 1893. The paper had two addresses on it. Beside one address was written coins. Beside the other address was written ore. John was still looking at his find when he heard rocks rattling and saw two slender legs coming down the slope toward the rear of the building.

"John is that you under there," Tessa asked. "What are you doing under there in the middle of the night?"

John quickly placed the box back into the hole it came from and walked toward Tessa. "I thought I heard something scratching under the floor and I came to see what it was."

"John I've been on the porch watching you. You've been under here now for almost 45 minutes. Now what are you really doing under here?"

"Well, I DID hear something then when I got under here I began looking at how the place was built. You know these buildings are probably as old as or older than grandpa was. This old hotel is still nearly as sound as it was when it was built. I can see why too using these old logs as floor joists. I was trying to see how they got the floor as level as it was when they used trees as joists."

Tessa looked like she didn't believe John but she just said, "Oh. Couldn't you have just done that during the day?"

John walked toward Tessa and said, "Yeah, guess I could but you know how it is. I was down here and got curious. Come on up to the hotel and I'll share a beer with you."

Tessa frowned again and followed John to his bench on the porch. They did drink a beer and had a good conversation as well. John found her fun to talk to, not at all like many of the girls he had met up to now. She had a hard life but didn't seem bitter and didn't seem to miss many of the things most people thought were necessary to live. She almost glowed when she talked about hiking in the mountains and camping with her grandfather and father. She told him about when she was young learning how to make and use a bow and arrows and fight hand to hand like her ancestors did.

John asked, "Tessa don't you get tired of living out here without hot water and electricity? Don't you want to live in town in a nicer place and modern conveniences?"

"Oh, yeah, sometimes I would kill for some of the modern conveniences. I missed them terribly when Mom died and I had to move out here with grandpa. I've been here seven years now and you know it's not so bad now as I thought it was. You learn how to get by I guess. I almost freeze my ass off in the winter in that old cabin. That is when I really miss hot water and central heat but grandpa won't consider moving back to town. He gave your grandpa his word he would watch over the place in exchange for a place to live and in his mind he has to be here all the time to do the job he promised to do. Of course here is where the cabin he lives in is so I suppose it is natural to be here all the time."

"Would it help if I suggested he move into town with you and just came out here occasionally? I'm afraid I can't afford to rent him a house to line in but I hate to see you both stuck out here with no conveniences."

"No John. He gave his word to watch the place and he feels he has to be here to do it. All you would do is insult him if you suggested that." Tessa smiled and stood. She faced John and said, "Thanks for the beer. I have the early shift again tomorrow so I need to get to bed."

John waited thirty minutes and finally the light went out in the old cabin. He carefully returned under the hotel and closed up the hole once more. He left the metal box and its contents like he had found them. He decided he would take another day to dig some more ore out of his mine then he would work in the mine near the town a day or two and call this trip over. He hoped to have enough ore to sell to get by on until his crops came in this year. After the harvest he intended to return to Colorado and see what he could mine before it got too cold to work outside. He thought he had five or six ounces of gold after it was cleaned properly. At current prices that would be $7500 or more!

John spent the remainder of his time in Colorado working in his old played out mine so he could show some recent work if the need arose. He even found a couple of pieces of quartz with some gold in them to add to his stash. He spent time at the mine when Tessa was working and then found himself spending more and more time with her when she was home. He found he really enjoyed talking with Tessa. Tessa was a real down to earth kind of woman and John felt himself strangely drawn to the quarter Indian woman. She seemed knowledgeable about all types of outdoor activities that had to do with ranching and growing a garden. He saw she did almost all the garden work for her and her grandfather. They talked about hiking and camping in all weather and just generally became friends during his stay. He found himself looking forward to her return from work every day.

Finally his day of departure arrived. John was surprisingly unwilling to leave but he knew he had to do so. His orchard and garden demanded his presence so once again John made the long drive home. This time he was strangely troubled. Some would say his conscience was bothering him about the gold. Others would say he was only worrying about how to hide his taking of the ore. Yet others would say he was just being silly or dumb. Take what you can get when and as easily as you can. In any event most of the drive home saw John thinking about his land in both states and what he could take from it. Truthfully, he also thought about old Jake and Tessa. There was something about Jake and some of his comments that bothered John. Jake was much like his grandfather in many ways. They both had the look and movement of warriors about them. They had both been constantly aware of their surroundings and the happenings near them.

John felt at home with fellow warriors because he had been one, albeit a modern warrior using rifles and mortars that kept him farther removed from the death and mayhem he dished out. Jake spent many hours talking with John about more personal forms of combat as they relived some of the stories John's grandfather told him. John found Jake's comments and personal stories strangely realistic. Of course he knew it was impossible but then why did Jake and his grandfather talk so longingly about Crossroads and Maidens?

By mid October John had completed his summer work and sold most of his small fruit crop. He didn't get rich but he increased the size of his bank account sufficiently to decide he once again had enough to live as he desired until his next crop was produced. He decided to plant some more trees and expand the size of his orchard so had spent the last few days setting new trees in his field. He planted five more acres of fruit trees by adding some cherries and peaches to his orchard. Next year he was going to plant some new apple trees.

Finally John decided he was caught up enough to return to Colorado for several days to a couple of months. He wanted to see Jake, Tessa and work his mine. He wanted desperately to visit with Jake about some old journals he found in his grandfather's office. He had broken open an old welded strong box that had been bolted to the concrete floor in a corner. In it he found the journals and a strange looking ring made out of metal that appeared to be platinum with a crystal embedded in it. He remembered seeing his grandfather wear it many days at the Colorado place and later in life from time to time here at the farm. He wondered why it alone of all his grandfather's jewelry was locked in the safe.

The Journals contained written accounts of fictitious journeys to Crossroads and Chaos. In them his grandfather spoke of someone he called his caretaker named Brenda Caretaker and many fictitious Damsels he rescued during adventures to Chaos. It was obvious his grandfather had dreams of being a fantasy writer from looking at the hidden work. He wondered why he had never published the stories then decided they were not good enough to interest a publishing company. John was awed however by the detail his grandfather had written into his stories. It was almost as if he truly loved Brenda Caretaker. There were even references to his grandmother accompanying his grandfather to Chaos as a Hero's Companion.

Grandfather Samuel had written the stories as if they were real, as if they were documenting actual rescues and battles. John could almost feel the realism. They greatly resembled the After Action Reports (AAR) he had been involved in helping prepare during his time in the Army. They were full of "Lessons Learned" and comments about country and cities in the fictitious land of Chaos.

This trip to Colorado John left home at 5 a.m. and drove straight to his town in Colorado. It took him about 15 hours because he knew the route. It was already almost full dark before he pulled up in front of the old Hotel and Saloon. He debated about whether to see Jake and Tessa before he went to bed and decided he would wait for the morning. He should have known that plan would not work however. Almost before he was on the porch of the old building he heard a noise behind him. When he turned he found Jake about ten feet behind him carrying a shotgun in the crook of his arm.

Jake looked at John and said, "Boy you shouldda told me ya was comin' or at least waited for morning. You coulda got shot sneaking in here in the dark."

"Sorry Jake. I never thought about that but it would have been a little hard to call seeing as how you don't have a phone out here."

"You could've called Tessa at work son. We been having some trouble hereabouts since ya left. Been some rough looking fellers nosin' 'round. I've had to run them off a couple of times and once Tessa said some rough looking assholes followed her down the road and gave her a rough time."

John had been working as they talked. He had moved the generator he had left outside, filled it with fuel and started it up so they would have lights to see by. He started his small refrigerator and loaded his perishables inside then sat in one of the old chairs on the porch. Just before he sat he had opened two beers and handed one to Jake.

When Jake took the beer he saw the ring on John's right hand and frowned. Jake stared at John's hand and the ring on his finger and said, "You done anything interesting since ya was here last? I see ya found yer grandpa's ring an all."

"No, nothing too interesting. Just worked on the orchard." John sat a moment then looked up at old Jake and continued, "Jake I was going to talk to you this trip about some of the things of Grandpa's I found this summer. I saw you looking at my ring just now. You looked surprised. I found the ring in a strongbox with some of the strangest Journals I have ever seen. I didn't know grandpa was an author but they read like the strangest fantasy. They even seemed so real. They reminded me of the old AAR's we used to prepare in the Army. I had no idea grandpa had such a vivid imagination. He mentioned you and grandma and even your wife in the stories. A lot of what bothers me is him using your actual names as if the things he wrote about actually happened.

Did you know he was trying to write fantasy stories? I thought I knew grandpa real well but this was a surprise. Oh, I remember when I was younger he used to tell me stories about Heroes rescuing Damsels in distress and all but I didn't know he was writing stories about them. Did he ever publish anything that you know of?"

Jake sat looking at John for several moments then said, "Boy I think there's a lot about yer grandpa ya don't know. He was a good man, a brave man. All he ever wanted was just enough to be happy and to help folks. He done that. He was a real American Hero and one of the best friends a man could have. We promised each other years ago that if something happened to either of us the other would fill in the family about some things they might not know about. Recon I need ta do that fer ya. I think ya know about most of it if ya would just admit it ta yerself. It's not the time right now though son. I'll get things together and before ya leave I'll give ya the rest of tha story."

Jake and John visited a few minutes longer and finished their beers. Jake stood and said, "Getting late. Guess I'll turn in. Tessa has the late shift this week. She'll be home about one so if ya hear a car its likely her comin' in."

Sure enough just after one a.m. John heard wheels turning on gravel and saw the lights flash as Tessa drove up beside her grandfather's old cabin. Shortly after he heard a car door slam then there was silence. He rolled over and returned to sleep.

The next morning John woke early and made his coffee. He took off for the mine just as the sun was peeking over the mountains and got a full day's work in. He thought he might have dug out two or three ounces and brought it back to his old shaft to clean. He had decided to do it that way so there would be more evidence of ore coming from the old mine that way. He knew he wasn't getting all the gold out of the ore so if he was ever discovered there would be traces of ore in his old pile of tailings and obvious signs of his work.

That evening he and Jake visited once more but they didn't talk about Crossroads and Chaos. They talked about honor and ethics, about medieval times and the weapons used during that period. They talked of diseases prevalent during those times. It was almost as if Jake was giving him a test for some reason but John was a romantic at heart and enjoyed the conversation. He was a little embarrassed about the time they spent on his sexual expertise and techniques. Oh, sure John had talked about sex with his friends over the years but somehow this was different.

That evening just after one a.m. John once again heard a vehicle drive into the little town. This time it was noisier and he thought he heard two male voices and two doors slam. He had just rolled over to go back to sleep when another vehicle drove up. This one sounded more like the one from the night before. The door slammed as before. John started to relax when he heard Tessa scream and raised male voices.

John jumped from his bed and slipped on his pants and shoes. He ran from the building and turned toward Jake's cabin. He could see three figures struggling near the porch. He rushed up to them and saw Tessa fighting with two rough greasy looking characters. Her blouse was torn and one of her breasts was flopping around as she struggled.

One of the men growled, "Quit yer fightin' bitch or ya'll get hurt worse than we're gonna hurt ya. We'll hurt tha old man inside too bitch. Did ya think ya could just take our money in that there casino and we'd just walk on out? You and yer high and mighty pit boss are agonna pay fer what ya done to us. There aint no way yer games are honest. Ya stole our money and we're gonna get our due. No one has as bad a run of cards as ya tried to give us that night. Since ya didn't see fit ta return our cash we're just agonna take it outta yer pussy bitch."

John rushed up and pulled the greasy man off Tessa. When the man turned on him John put him down and made sure he was out before turning toward the second man. As he turned he saw that man frantically trying to get something from his pocket. John moved to restrain him. They fought and wrestled back and forth. John knocked him down and was moving toward him once more when he saw him finally pull a pistol from his pocket.

John felt fear jolt through his belly and he redoubled his efforts to get to the man before he could fire. John glimpsed Tessa from the corner of his eye as he leaped toward the man with the pistol. She had a long stick in her hand and was moving toward the man John was fighting. John saw an orange flame shoot from the end of the pistol barrel then there was a deep burning pain in his chest.

John felt his body hit the ground then searing pain began. He heard Tessa scream and then heard the blow as she smashed her club into the man who had shot him. Tessa rolled him onto his back and looked at him. She tore his shirt open and saw the wound and the bright red blood bubbling from his chest.

Tessa stood and ran for the house. When she got inside she saw her grandfather tied up lying on the floor. He had blood on his head and had been beaten. There was a gag in his mouth. She grabbed a knife from the kitchen drawer and cut his bonds.

"Grandpa John's been shot bad. I think it got into his lung. I need things to bandage him and we have to get him to town quick."

Jake rushed from the house as Tessa began gathering up things she thought she could use to bandage John. When she came out onto the porch she saw Jake pulling John toward the house. He pulled him into the living area and toward the door into the kitchen. Jake looked up at Tessa and said, "Come on girl. This is a bad one. He'll die if we don't do something fast. Help me pull him into the kitchen Tess."

Just before Tessa got to the kitchen door Jake said, "Wait Tess." He looked at her and continued, "Ya know I love ya girl. Ya gotta trust me on this one. When ya pull him through tha door be sure to keep yer hands on John honey. Tell tha Hero Greeter ta get him into tha healing chamber fast Honey. It's his only chance and I'm sure he'll be a great Hero. He's got tha blood in him and he was taught well just like you were. He was injured here being heroic and trying to rescue you from those two animals. I wish I'd had more time to tell ya 'bout things but it is what it is."

Tessa felt her heart lurch. She was afraid her grandfather was getting senile. He had been talking to her a lot lately about Heroes and Damsels and places like Crossroads and Chaos and Cassandra. He seemed to be fixated on medieval times. She said, "Please, not now grandpa. We've gotta help John. Please keep it together and we'll talk about your fantasy sometime else."

Jake looked hurt then said, "Whatever Honey. Just remember what I said. Now, pull FAST."

Tessa set her feet and got a better grip on John. She gave a hard pull and saw her grandfather pick up his feet and push forward. She gasped when she saw him let John's feet go as she stepped through the doorway. There was a flash of light so white and bright it hurt her eyes. She fell backwards and looked around. The kitchen was gone. All she saw was a bare white room and John lying on the floor at her feet bleeding. His breath was shallow and rapid. His complexion was pale.

Tessa was kneeling beside John with tears running down her face when she heard a noise. An older grey haired woman dressed in a white flowing gown had just stepped through a sliding doorway she had not seen before. The woman stopped and said, "Who are you?"

Tessa looked around and said, "Tessa Soaring Eagle. Please, John's hurt badly. Grandpa said to tell you to get him into the healing chamber but I don't know what that is."

The older woman looked at John and Tessa saw the concern flash across her face. She lifted her head toward the ceiling and said, "Healing chamber," then rushed to Tessa and John as another door opened in a different wall. The woman scooped John up and rushed him through the door. Tessa followed and watched as the woman carefully placed John in a box that looked like a coffin and closed the lid. Lights lit up on a panel at the head of the coffin and it began to hum quietly.

The woman turned from the coffin and moved toward Tessa. "Now child you need to come with me. Everything will be fine now."

"Who are you and where are we? I thought..."

"Come Tessa we need to talk. I'll tell you what I can and more when Hero John rejoins us. I'm Evelyn Hero Greeter."

Tessa felt her heart begin to beat faster. Her face paled and she whispered, "Hero Greeter?"

"Yes child. That's who I am. I greet new heroes when they come through the portal to Crossroads for the first time. I help explain some of the rules to them and assist them in finding a Caretaker. I must admit this is the first time I can remember a Hero coming for the first time with a Companion however. How did you come to be with Hero John and how did he become injured?"

Tessa explained what had happened that night and during the time leading up to her altercation with the two hoodlums. Evelyn very skillfully questioned her about John and herself.

Tessa said at one point, "Grandpa Jake and Johns Grandpa Samuel told us for years they had met overseas during World War II and had several adventures together. They remained friends and visited back and forth several times a year until they both became too infirm to travel. Samuel passed away several years ago from cancer. I live with my grandfather and help care for him on land Samuel left John in Colorado."

"What are the full names of your grandfather and Samuel?"

Tessa told Evelyn the names and once again Evelyn looked toward the ceiling and said, "Records on Jake Soaring Eagle of Colorado, Earth and Samuel Harvey of Missouri and/or Colorado, Earth."

In seconds two thick folders appeared out of nowhere on the table between Tessa and Evelyn Hero Greeter. Evelyn bent forward and picked up the top folder. She immediately opened it and her eyebrows went up. She read quietly for several minutes then put it down and picked up the other folder. This time she gasped and closed the folder rapidly, replacing it on the table. She looked at Tessa with an expression bordering on awe.

"Tessa I am impressed and so excited you and Hero John have arrived. If the two of you live up to your ancestry it will be a glorious time for Cassandra and the Damsels."

Tessa looked scared. She muttered, "Cassandra?" Her face paled and she continued, "Grandpa has been talking about places called Cassandra and Chaos since John first came back to Colorado after his grandfather died. I, unh, it's not a fantasy of his is it? Its real isn't it? We're actually on Crossroads!"

"Yes child. It's real but very few know about us and the link to Earth. Only the heroes and their Companions and, of course, those of us involved on this side of the portals." Tessa heard a chime that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere. She jumped as Evelyn Hero Greeter jumped from her seat and said, "Excuse me Tessa. Hero John is healed and I have to go fetch him. I'll return shortly and we can continue our conversation."

In just a few moments Evelyn returned to the room. John was following her wearing a comfortable looking white robe. He looked wonderful. He was clean and his body was glowing with health. He moved like a stalking lion. Tessa felt her crotch dampen just looking at his musculature. When he looked at her she could almost feel his masculinity.

Evelyn turned to John and said, "Hero John would you please take a seat. I need to get Tessa into the healing chamber to take care of her scrapes and bruises then we need to talk." She turned to Tessa and continued, "Come Tessa. Let's get you taken care of and then we'll have something to eat and I'll answer more of your questions."

Tessa was in shock. She couldn't believe John looked so good when just a couple of hours before he had been almost dead. She didn't think, she just stood and allowed Evelyn to lead her into the other room and put her into the same coffin she had placed John in earlier."

Evelyn didn't even leave the room this time. She stood watching a computer screen that had appeared at her command while she waited on Tessa to be healed. From time to time Evelyn would murmur a comment and request the computer to save it on her notepad. In about fifteen minutes once again the chime sounded. Evelyn touched a control and the lid of the coffin opened.

Tessa looked up at Evelyn and allowed her to help her from the chamber. When she stood she saw Evelyn holding out a duplicate of the robe John was wearing. She felt herself blush when she realized she was now nude and grabbed for the robe. She felt better physically than she had felt in several months. When she took her first step she also realized how dangerously horny she was. Her nether lips were almost dripping with evidence of her need. She had gone into the chamber slightly horny and now she was almost screaming with her need.

Tessa looked around desperately for a restroom. Finally she embarrassedly asked Evelyn where one was. Evelyn once again talked toward the ceiling and a door slid open showing a luxurious bathroom complete with large shower, Jacuzzi tub and other fixtures. As she was entering the room Evelyn smiled at her and said, "If you need something to dry off with just ask the computer. I suspect you are experiencing one of the side effects the healing chamber has on Earth females. The chamber tunes your body to its maximum potential in ALL areas. One of those areas that seem to be repressed in Earth females is their libido. I noticed you were aroused when you went into the chamber when I read its entry report on you. After the enhancement I suspect you have a great need to copulate. We can get to that later if you wish."

Tessa blushed once more and stammered a thank you before she closed the door. About five minutes later a still blushing Tessa opened the door and stepped out of the room. Evelyn smiled and said, "Please follow me Tessa and we will rejoin Hero John."

After the women returned to the room John was in and sat down Evelyn Hero Greeter leaned back in her chair and looked at the two young people from Earth. She was somewhat nonplussed. She called once more to the ceiling, "History files on John Harvey, Samuel Harvey, Tessa Soaring Eagle, Jake Soaring Eagle and Toby Soaring Eagle."

Tessa gasped once again when the woman asked for files on the people. Her face turned white and she took John's hand. She was gripping it so hard it hurt and he gently loosened her fingers and wrapped his arm around her.

After Evelyn briefly looked through the files once more she turned to the silent couple and said, "This is irregular to say the least however John, you meet all the criteria and then some to be chosen for a Hero. In fact, the Portal would not have passed you through in spite of you wearing the Hero Ring if you had not. The basic question seems to be, for you, whether or not you want to become a Hero of Cassandra."

Evelyn looked at Tessa and smiled gently before continuing, "Tessa you present somewhat of a problem for us. I know your grandfather began your indoctrination a few days ago when he became aware Hero John was returning to Colorado. I know you have had some self defense training but I worry about it being enough for you to function as a Hero Companion. You also do not meet all the criteria for selection as Hero Companion because you did not enter Crossroads with John in expectation of fulfilling that function.

John had the indoctrination and many hours of training to become a Hero over his lifetime up to this point. His grandfather told him the stories and gave him rudimentary training on what you call medieval weapons. His training in Karate and Hand to Hand Combat in the Army furthered his education.

Tessa, you come from good stock. Your Grandfather was a very successful Hero. He averaged two missions a year for thirty years before he quit coming to visit us. Unfortunately, your father wasn't so successful. He had just seven successful missions to his credit when he was killed on his last mission to Chaos. The Damsel he was trying to rescue had to wait longer for another Hero to rescue her."

Evelyn looked at the two again to see how they were taking her discussion. When she stopped talking Tessa immediately said, "Wait just a minute here. My father was found on our land dead from falling off his horse and over a cliff. He had been hunting stray cattle when his horse threw him we believe."

Evelyn gave Tessa a sad smile and said, "I'm sorry Tessa. When a Hero dies on Chaos their body is returned to Earth. The body is returned in such a way that a plausible explanation for the death can be made by your authorities. Rest assured, the Hero name of Soaring Eagle is well known and respected on Cassandra."

Tessa stared daggers at Evelyn and said, "I don't believe you. I was young but I saw my father's body. He was bruised and broken up from his fall but he died on earth."

"No dear. He was beaten to death on Chaos by a gang of slavers when he tried to rescue the Damsel. Of course that would look like he had tumbled down into the ravine in which he was ultimately found."

Tessa blanched. She had not told Evelyn where her father was found or the condition of his body. She was starting to believe this was actually happening and it frightened her. She leaned back in the couch and said, "What is this Hero Companion you are talking about and just why don't you think I have any choice but to become one, whatever they are? I was pulling John into my kitchen to try and stop his bleeding when my grandfather told me to pull hard and fast and to remember what I had been told. I have a job back home and I have to get to it tomorrow morning. I can't afford to be fired."

John just sat taking it all in. He was in inner turmoil. He was slowly coming to believe all the stories his grandfather had told him about Chaos and Damsels were true. All his dreams of being a hero and rescuing Damsels when he was younger could perhaps come true too.

Evelyn raised her head slightly and said, "Rulebooks for Heroes and Hero Companions. Also include folders on compatible Caretaker candidates."

Another slight pop came and two books were lying on the coffee table in front of John and Tessa. To one side of Evelyn rested three new folders. She looked at each of the folders briefly then set them in front of John and said, "I have other duties I must attend to soon. I will leave the two of you here with the rule books and the folders on available Caretakers. Read the folders carefully and when you have selected a Caretaker please tell the computer."

Evelyn rose and started toward the door she had entered the room through. She stopped just before she went through it and said, "Before I leave, are you hungry or thirsty? I can order in a meal or something for you to drink if you wish."

John looked at Tessa. She made a slight 'No" shake of her head. He turned to Evelyn and said, "Thank you. Neither of us is hungry just yet but I will be shortly. Could you order us a pot of coffee for now?"

"Absolutely. In addition, when you become hungry I will instruct the computer to prepare and deliver one meal of your choice for each of you. If you need anything further your Caretaker can see to it after you have chosen her. When you have made your selection inform the computer and I will see she is notified and comes to continue your processing and to help you select your first mission."

John and Tessa sat a moment after Evelyn left the room. They took their coffee cups and had a sip then John looked over at Tessa and said, "Wow. Grandpa told me stories of rescues for years and I thought he had such a vivid imagination. When I was going through some of his belongings I opened a strong box and found his journals written about rescuing Damsels in a place called Chaos. He had maps, descriptions of terrain and of the actions he took to make the rescue. They all read much like the After Action Reports we prepared after a mission in the Army. I thought he was trying to write an erotic fantasy book when I read them. Now it looks like they were real and he was a Hero, whatever that entails."

John sat a moment and stared into space then continued, "A highly erotic fantasy book at that. Grandpa wrote that the Hero's reward was having sex with the Damsel and that her reward was the baby the Hero gave her. He gave explicit detail of the sex he had with the Damsels he rescued. The way he described them it almost sounded as if he loved them all. Some of his journals mentioned his taking grandma with him on his missions as a Hero Companion. If you can believe his Journals she also enjoyed the adventures. I just can't believe she would put up with him having sex with all those women."

Tessa had a haunted look on her face and just nodded her head 'yes'. "I know what you mean," she whispered. "My Father must have been one of those Hero's too and Grandfather Soaring Eagle. I wonder if grandma and Mom knew what they did?"

John sighed and picked up the two small books on the table. He looked at the covers then handed Tessa the one labeled "RULES FOR HERO COMPANIONS". He kept the one labeled "RULES FOR HEROES" and opened it to the first page.

For the next thirty minutes John and Tessa read their respective books. After they had finished their book they exchanged books with each other without a word and read the rules for the other person.

"Well, that seems pretty straightforward," John said. "If this is true we cannot return home until I ... we have been to Chaos and rescued a Damsel."

"Yes if it's true. But I just can't stay here that long. I have to go to work. And you have to go home to your farm. Look around, maybe there's a door we can get out of."

John and Tessa spent several minutes exploring the bright white room with no success. Finally he sat down and reached for one of the folders on potential Caretakers. He carefully read through the folder. It contained the life history of the woman who wanted to be a Caretaker for a Hero. This first folder was on a woman named Beverly Short Order Cook. The folder contained information on her education, hobbies and vocation. Her hobby was primitive cooking and healing. It even contained an essay explaining, in her own words, why she wanted to be a Caretaker and why she thought she would be a good one. John was shocked when he turned the last page and saw a very suggestive nude picture of her on the inside of the back cover. Beverly was absolutely beautiful.

The next folder John looked in was for a candidate named Traci Professor. She taught the history of Cassandra and Chaos in a university on Cassandra. Her hobby was Martial Arts. The last page in her folder was also a nude picture in the same provocative pose Beverly used.

The last folder was on a young candidate named Patrice Research Assistant. She was employed as a Research Assistant in the historical section of Crossroads. Her duties involved assisting researchers find data they wanted on all facets of Chaos, Heroes and their rescue missions. Her hobbies were not as useful as were those of the Professor and Short Order Cook. She was interested in primitive mechanical devices and transportation. Her folder also contained the nude picture as had the others. She too was a beautiful goddess.

After John finished reading each folder he silently passed it to Tessa. She, too, carefully read them. When she came to the last page of the first folder she gasped and blushed. She quickly glanced over at John and saw him grinning at her. She clinched her jaw and quickly put the folder down and took the one he handed her.

After they were done with the folders John said, "Prioritize the candidates please Tessa."

"If this is all real and you need to pick a Caretaker to help you fulfill your duties as a Hero I think Traci Professor is the first choice. I would choose Patrice second and Beverly third."

"I agree the Professor should be first choice based on her knowledge but I put Beverly as second. She should have almost as much knowledge as the Professor and I think her knowledge of primitive healing might be beneficial."

John leaned back and rubbed his eyes then said, "OK, let's make a choice here and see what happens and where we go from here." He raised his voice and said, "Computer, please tell Evelyn Hero Greeter I would like Traci Professor as my Caretaker."

John was not verbally acknowledged when he gave the request however the three folders on the Caretaker candidates disappeared with a pop. He and Tessa sat there leafing through their respective rule books for a few moments. Finally John sighed and threw the rule book onto the table and stood. He paced toward where he thought the exit door to Earth should be and stared at the wall. He heard a slight sound and turned to face the other wall.

Evelyn Hero Greeter had just stepped through the now open doorway. Just behind her was a vision of beauty dressed in a flowing white see through gown. Her nipples were engorged and John thought he could see evidence of moisture on her labia. Her thin pubic hair glistened with the same moisture. Tessa looked up and gasped.

Evelyn smiled and stepped aside. She gestured toward the woman with her and said, "Hero John Harvey and Hero Companion Tessa Soaring Eagle this is Traci Caretaker. I'll leave you in her hands now. She will provide anything else you may need and will assist you in selecting and planning for your first rescue mission. All of Cassandra is looking forward to your success and to hearing about your exploits."

Evelyn turned and left the room. Traci smiled and moved to John. She stood just in front of him and looked into his eyes. "Thank you Hero John for selecting me as your caretaker. I am much impressed with your credentials and am honored to be caretaker for the grandson of such a distinguished Hero. You must be very proud of your grandfather. All Cassandra was sorry to hear of his passing."

Traci turned slightly to face Tessa and continued speaking, "I am honored to meet you also Tessa Soaring Eagle. We expect much good assistance from you when you and Hero John get to Chaos. Your grandfather also is very much respected on Cassandra as was your father. It was unfortunate he died so young."

Traci turned back to John and looked into his eyes once more. She stood on tiptoes and hugged him tightly then gave him a kiss that rapidly became more and more passionate. She was moaning and writhing as she ground her chest and pussy into him. In spite of himself he felt his cock becoming hard.

Traci stepped back and cupped his hard on with her hand. Her breasts were rising and falling rapidly as she panted with her need. She began trying to undo John's pants as she moved back into a kiss once more. Tessa sat and stared at the action in shock.

John finally grabbed Traci's hands and stepped back slightly. "Whoa there Missy. What's all that about?"

"Please don't tease me Hero John. You know what I need. Please, can't we just go to bed now and get to the other stuff later? I've waited and dreamed of this for my whole life. Please don't make me wait any longer." Traci began pulling John toward the bedroom. Her face was flushed, her nipples hard. She was panting with her need and moaning in excitement.

John was but a man, a young man, and could stand only so much stimulation without taking advantage of a sexual situation. He looked at Tessa and gave her a guilty grin then he allowed Traci to lead him toward the bedroom. Tessa and John could see a large King Size bed through the doorway. John said, "Excuse me please Tessa. I think grandpa was accurate in his depiction of the needs of his Caretaker and perhaps of Cassandran women in general."

Traci slowed her departure from the room and said over her shoulder, "Tessa please excuse my rudeness. You know how it is. I just can't wait any longer for my Hero. You are welcome to join us if you wish."

Traci didn't even close the door. She led John beside the bed and turned to him once more. As she turned she shrugged her shoulders and her gown fell from her shoulders to the floor. She rapidly moved her hands to his waistband and unfastened his pants. After she had lowered his pants she helped John remove his feet from them then stood and unbuttoned his shirt. Neither of the potential lovers saw Tessa standing in the middle of the other room in shock. Her mouth was open and her eyes were wide as she watched Traci begin her seduction, almost rape of John. To Tessa's horror and embarrassment she felt her need spike. She could feel her lubrication draining from her pussy and running down her thighs while she watched John and Traci in the bedroom.

Unconsciously Tessa slowly moved into the bedroom and watched John and Traci. She was squeezing her thighs together and clenching and releasing her pussy muscles while she watched. She had unknowingly begun rolling her nipples with her fingers. She would pull on them and pinch until they were almost painful. Her chest was rising and falling rapidly with her excited breathing.

Traci stood back for a moment when John was naked then moved to him for another kiss. She cupped his erection and moaned. After the kiss she lay back onto the bed and pulled John down onto her. He moved to kiss her once more as she grabbed his cock and pulled it toward her dripping cunt. She was trying to stuff him into her pussy as she thrust her hips upward. She was panting and moaning. "Please Hero John. Don't tease me. Please fuck me NOW."

John felt the head of his cock nudge into Traci's pussy hole. He made a thrust toward Traci and met her upward thrust. He sank into her wet pussy with his first thrust. Traci screamed and clamped her pussy muscles down on his cock. John could feel her pussy muscles clenching and releasing over and over as she slammed herself onto him repeatedly. He felt her juices gush from her pussy. To his amazement she had an orgasm on his first thrust into her and it rolled on and on.

John began working his hips in that age old way. Tessa stood just in the doorway watching in shock. It seemed Traci had an orgasm about every third or fourth thrust John made. The only noise Tessa heard was the slap, slap, slap of John fucking Traci and her moans and screams of pleasure. She watched spellbound as the emotions and pleasure flitted across Traci's face and sweat ran down the faces of the two lovers. Suddenly, almost in time with another huge orgasm for Traci Tessa screamed and twisted her nipples painfully when her first orgasm raced through her. She felt herself collapse onto the soft, soft carpet. She sat and rubbed her clit while she continued to watch and push out orgasms almost as fast as Traci was.

After about ten minutes John picked up the pace moving faster and harder into Traci. He clenched his jaws and slammed deeply into her once more. He let out a deep guttural "UNHHHH" when he felt his seed rush out of his cock and splash into Traci's drenched cunt. Traci screamed one final time, arched her back for a moment then collapsed back onto the bed. John held himself tightly against her while his cock throbbed in orgasm. He grunted, "Unhhhh," again and ground his pubic bone against Traci. His head was raised and he was staring at the wall yet seeing nothing. He was savoring the feeling of her straining against him and the feeling of her pussy fluttering against his cock while her final orgasm ripped through her exhausted body.

Finally John looked down at Traci. He bent to give her a gentle kiss but she did not respond. John quickly moved from between her legs. There was a loud smacking sound when the head of his cock pulled from her cunt. Traci was breathing but to his surprise she had passed out! John quickly sat on the side of the bed and said, "Tessa help! Something's wrong with Traci!"

Tessa reluctantly forced herself from the floor and walked up to the bed. She blushed once more in embarrassment when she saw John's still hard cock and the mess draining from Traci's dark red pussy. As she moved to sit on the bed Traci moaned and moved slightly. Her pussy was still throbbing slightly. Tessa turned and went into the bathroom opening off the bedroom. Tessa wet a wash cloth and returned to the bed where she once more sat beside Traci. Tessa gently washed Traci's face.

When she felt the cool wet wash cloth on her face Traci opened her eyes. She looked up at Tessa then turned her head toward John. Her eyes glistened in adoration. She licked her lips, reached her hand toward John and said, "Oh, Thank You Hero John. I thought all the rumors were outright exaggerations. I never in my wildest dreams believed a Hero could fuck me until I passed out."

She lowered her gaze to John's crotch and her eyes got larger. "Oh, My GOD. You're still hard. My God! The tales of Earth Men's sexual recuperative power must be true also. Please, how soon can you do it again?"

Traci reached for John and pulled him toward her once more. "Can we do it again now? Please John?"

Tessa sat in shock and watched Traci pull John between her thighs once more. She spread her legs widely for him to mount her again. Tessa started to leave when Traci grabbed her arm. "Please Tessa don't leave. You're his Companion and are always welcome in bed with us. I'm sure now the tales I have heard are correct. He can satisfy both of us. There's no reason for you to wait until you get to Chaos or back to earth for you to enjoy him again."

"NO! We've never ... I'm just a friend. We're not lovers or anything like that."

"Oh, you poor dear. As soon as I'm finished this time you can have him. I know how it feels to need a man and not have one."

"I don't..." Traci gently placed her hand over Tessa's mouth and stopped her talking.

"Yes you do. I know you earth women repress your libido but when you go through the healing chamber it partly releases it. I can see the moisture at your crotch. You need a man and you need one badly now. Don't deny yourself the pleasure of a man so I can have him. You can enjoy him while I get the folders ready so you can choose your first missionnnnnnnn. AHHHHH," Traci screamed while yet another orgasm ripped through her quivering body.

Traci turned her head back toward John, set her feet on the bed and rapidly slammed her hips up meeting John's down strokes perfectly. It was as if they had been lovers for months or years instead of less than a day. She locked her heels behind his thighs and held her crotch to his. Her pussy clenched and released while another orgasm ripped through her. Tessa actually saw liquid gush from around John's cock. Traci once again collapsed in a stupor when she again passed out from her orgasm.

With a final thrust John slammed into Traci and groaned, "Unhhhhh." He collapsed on top of her then rolled to the side. John lay on his back beside Traci. His slimy cock rested on his thigh. Tessa looked down at it and licked her lips. She felt the liquid flowing from her pussy. Her nipples were so hard they almost hurt.

Without thinking about what she was doing Tessa leaned forward and gently took hold of John's slimy cock. She held it up and leaned toward it. When she was close enough Tessa opened her mouth and gently sucked John into her mouth. He felt her tongue fluttering as she sucked and licked him gently. To his surprise John felt his cock hardening once more.

Tessa moved to her knees and, still sucking John, used her free hand to untie the filmy dressing gown she was still wearing. By the time it was unfastened John was fully hard once more. Tessa quickly rose and shrugged her shoulders to let the gown fall from her body. She moved back down and stared into John's eyes while she licked her lips. Her nipples were so hard they almost hurt.

Tessa grabbed John's cock and straddled him. Almost in one motion she moved her crotch over his cock and guided it to her flowing portal. When she felt the tip slot into her hole Tessa relaxed her muscles and dropped onto John. She felt him slide all the way into her as she collapsed onto him. She rubbed her breasts against John's chest and she moved to kiss him deeply all the while grinding her clit against his pubic bone.

Tessa was moaning in her need when she felt a gentle touch where she and John were joined. She turned her head and saw Traci smiling at her while she gently caressed her and John. Tessa pushed herself upward and rose over John then began rapidly rising and falling, driving his cock into her drooling pussy. Her orgasm was building faster than she had ever had one build before. After a couple of minutes Tessa slammed down onto John and screamed. Her pussy clenched and released while she experienced the strongest orgasm of her life.

Tessa rapidly wiggled her hips forward and back teasing the last sensation out of her orgasm. This action and her clenching pussy drove John over the edge once again. He surged upward actually lifting Tessa from the bed as he arched his back during his orgasm. While his last donation of sperm dribbled out of Tessa's pussy from around his cock and pooled between them John collapsed back onto the bed with a groan.

Traci gently guided Tessa from on top of John to lie on the bed beside him. She turned her head to the ceiling and said, "Three restoratives please." With a pop three glasses of clear liquid appeared on the table beside the bed. Traci handed John and Tessa a glass each and took the third one for herself. "Drink the restorative please then we really have to get to work I'm afraid."

Traci rapidly drank her glass of liquid then threw the empty up into the air. It disappeared almost immediately. John looked at Tessa, shrugged and took a small sip of his drink. His face showed his surprise and he took another larger gulp. In four or five swallows the glass was empty and John was glowing with vitality. He felt better than he had felt in ages, he thought. Then he had to amend his thought to he felt better than he had in ages except for when he was fresh from the healing chamber. He sat his glass back onto the bedside table and it, too, disappeared with a quiet pop.

Tessa took a sip of her drink then followed John's example and drank it down rapidly. By then John had stood beside the bed. He reached his hand out and helped Tessa stand. Tessa looked at John then Traci. She giggled and tossed her glass up into the air and watched with a smile as it, too, disappeared. John pulled Tessa to his heavily muscled chest and hugged her then gave her a deep loving kiss. He gently pushed her back slightly and looked into her eyes. Tessa was startled by the tender loving look she saw on his face. Tessa saw Traci holding her gown toward her through the corner of her eye. When she took it Traci seemed to pick up another similar robe like gown from thin air and held it toward John.

After the two lovers were somewhat covered Traci said, "Come. We need to see what missions are available now and choose one for you. I hope there are some simple ones available. We always try to start a new Hero off with an easier rescue so they can become accustomed to Chaos. Almost all of our Hero deaths occur during the first five missions."

John looked over at Traci and said, "That makes sense. Historically many of the deaths and injuries in combat occur when the soldier first got in country and during their first engagements. Of course there are many that occur now throughout a soldier's tour from IED's and ambushes but the large majority of combat injuries still occur to what we called 'newbies'.

John and Tessa followed Traci through the 'reception' room and through another door. This room had a large screen monitor fixed on the wall. There was a low couch and coffee table facing the screen. At 45 degree angles on either end of the couch were two chairs also more or less facing the screen. Traci asked John and Tessa to take a seat on the couch. She sat in one of the chairs and said, "Computer display the twelve highest priority missions in order of priority for rescue. Color code the folders as follows: Green for the three easiest for a new hero to accomplish, Yellow for the next three, Red for the next three and Black for the three most dangerous."

Almost before Traci stopped talking twelve folders appeared on the screen. The three highest priority missions were also the most dangerous. Two were coded black, one red. The fourth most urgent rescue was a Yellow Code and the fifth was Green. Traci looked at the mission folders and said, "Mission one. Display map and statistics. Give verbal mission description."

As the computer was describing the highest priority mission the second most high priority folder flashed three times and disappeared from the display. Mission four appeared in the top priority category; still Yellow coded and another Green coded mission appeared on screen.

John turned to Traci and said, "What happened to the second mission? Why did it disappear from the display?"

"Either the Damsel is now deceased or another Hero accepted the mission for a rescue attempt."

After the computer finished giving the information on the highest priority mission Traci asked it to give the same information on the second one, then the third one, the mission that had been Yellow and fourth in priority. When these three missions were all explained by the computer the three began discussing them. The highest priority mission was almost impossible for John to even begin much less complete. The Damsel was being held by a group of pirates as a serving wench and "fluffer" on board a ship that rarely touched port. When it did enter port it was only in port for a couple of days. John had no resources to accomplish that rescue.

The second priority was a Red code and it too seemed to require more resources than John had at his command. This Damsel was held in a mountain retreat in a castle. She was a personal servant for the Baron of the high mountain valley. He was angry at her constantly. He had purchased her indenture planning on using her for a concubine only to find she was a "cock burner" as the Damsels were called. This was because every man on Chaos who tried to have unprotected intercourse with them ended up with a cock that burned for several days afterward. There was something about the body chemistry of Damsels and men from Chaos that was not compatible in that way. The burning was so painful that the man was incapacitated for some time after intercourse.

Now the Baron took his anger our on the Damsel. She could do nothing right for the Baron and he routinely hit her for minor infractions and many times had her beaten. It was feared she would be beaten to death if she was not rescued.

The third rescue was more in line with John's capability considering his resources. Since he was a new Hero he would appear on Chaos with nothing but the clothes on his back. Any weapons and funds he needed to accomplish his mission had to be obtained on Chaos. The only way to obtain those items was to either work until he had enough money to purchase them or to defeat a male on Chaos and take his funds and property.

On Chaos, if you killed a man you were entitled to all his possessions. If you just defeated him in a fight and did not kill him you were allowed to loot his person for whatever he carried and to take his horse and tack if he had one. Of course it was considered bad form to defeat an enemy and leave him alive because he would be honor bound to fight you once more to regain his honor and possessions. There was really nothing like fair play on Chaos. Like as not if you left a live enemy behind you he would next attack you from behind and try to stab you in the back or kill you from ambush. Because of this it was common that all fights were to the death.

The third mission was the one John selected for his first rescue. Damsel Brenda Secretary was being held in a roadside inn working as a scullery maid, serving wench and general laborer. She was deathly ill, barely able to perform her duties yet the inn keeper would not let her rest and would not spend money for what little medical treatment was available on Chaos. It was feared Brenda would die if she was not rescued immediately.

Unfortunately the Inn was in a larger town and the Inn Keeper employed three large vicious guards. He operated a gambling house in his Inn that catered to the well to do in town. He also loaned money for exorbitant amounts of interest so there was always a lot of money in the building. This, of course, drew thieves routinely and he needed the protection.

After they selected the mission John and Tessa were outfitted in clothing suitable to Chaos and Traci led them to the door into the Portal that would deliver them to Chaos. They were lucky this trip because the town was large enough there was a Portal in the town. All portals to Chaos were in banks in the safe deposit box area. While they were getting ready to leave Traci reminded them that upon the successful completion of the mission John needed to rent a box to store all their weapons in until they returned for another mission. This was because, as he had been previously told, no weapons, funds or metals could be transported through the portals.

Traci looked at John and Tessa when they stood inside the Portal room. She said, "Remember you two that half to three fourths of the men on Chaos are not to be trusted and many of them will literally kill you for your clothes. A significant percentage of the women are just as bad. Always be on your guard and treat the countryside and especially the towns as you would have John while you were in Afghanistan. There is danger all around you and you need to be constantly on your guard. The preferred form of attack is from the back and from ambush. Also remember as a Hero and Companion you cannot start a fight except to rescue a Damsel. You must always wait for the locals to initiate hostilities. After they have done so I then suggest a rapid fight to the death. Remember it is a mortal insult for you to best someone and let them live. They will all follow you to the ends of the earth to avenge their honor and you will have to fight them again until one of you is dead."

The door to the Portal room closed. There was a flash of light and John and Tessa found themselves inside another small room. There was nothing inside to tell them where they were. The walls were made of rough hewn wood. There was a door just in front of them and a table off to the side.

John looked at Tessa and said, "Well are you OK? Are you ready for this?"

Tessa gave him a sick smile and nodded her head 'yes' then said, "As ready as I will ever be I suppose. Shall we see what awaits us Hero John?"

After she spoke John looked at her once more and saw a twinkle in her eyes. Her jaw was clenched slightly and she began moving with a cat like grace. Her eyes were already flicking from side to side. She walked almost on the balls of her feet. She reached for the door handle to open it. John reached out and grabbed her wrist when she started to push the door outward. He pulled her to him and took a quick kiss that, somewhat to his surprise was returned vigorously. "No Tessa. Let me go first. I'll step to the left quickly and see if there is any danger. You come out after and move right as quickly as you can."

John rapidly pushed the door open and moved to the left. He had taken up a defensive stance immediately looking for danger. He felt rather than saw Tessa moved to the other side of the door as he had instructed her to do when she left the room. John quickly scanned the room and relaxed. He stood straight and gave Tessa a sickly grin. The bank clerk was staring at them in shock from behind the teller cage that was enclosed within a steel bar grid. There was a guard leaning back in a chair by the door. He, too, was watching John and Tessa with amusement.

A well dressed man ambled from a side office until he stood in front of John. "Is there a problem Sir," he asked.

"No, no problem as far as I know. When we came from the other room I thought I heard someone outside the door and I didn't want them to catch me unaware and attack us. I'm sorry if I upset you Sir?"

"This is a reputable bank Sir. None of our employees would ever attack a customer without cause and we would do everything in our power to prevent other unsavory characters from doing so. Please remember that in the future. Now may I help you in any other way?"

John looked even more sheepish and stared the Manager in the eye as he said, "No Sir. We'll just be on our way. Sorry for the inconvenience."

As soon as John and Tessa stepped from the Portal they noticed an unpleasant smell to the air. When they exited the bank the smell hit them in the face almost like a fist. John looked around and knew what the smell was. The streets were piled high in excrement from passing animals and perhaps a few humans as well. The gutters were piled high with garbage of all types. There was a wind blowing up the street from the south and it carried the smell of rotting flesh. He could just see a sign advertising a tannery at that end of town.

John stepped down the street moving in the direction the Inn and Gambling House should be. He wanted to see what they were up against as soon as he could so they could finalize their plans for the rescue. Hopefully they could figure out a way to make the rescue and return to Crossroads within the day. He and Tessa would become very hungry and thirsty rapidly unless they either rescued the Damsel and returned to Crossroads or found some way to work and purchase food and drink.

When they arrived at the Inn John was impressed. He was looking at a large two story building with stables behind it. There was a constant stream of people entering and exiting the building and a very large man standing at the door watching them. John followed the people into the building. He saw the better dressed ones enter a door to the left and the others walk off to the right. There was a counter in front of him with stairs leading upward to the left and behind the counter. John walked to the counter and the clerk looked at him with disdain. He raised his eyebrows and stood watching John.

John finally said, "How much for a room for one night?"

"Half shell per person for the room only. Food and drink are extra. Three pinches for a meal and pitcher of watered wine per person."

"Thank you. We may return." John turned and started into the room where the well dressed men were going. The guard rapidly moved to intercept him. He looked at John and Tessa and motioned them toward the other doorway. Apparently they didn't meet the dress code needed to associate with the rich. After a quick look around the room John led Tessa outside once more since they didn't have funds to purchase food or drink in the common room.

When they exited the building John brushed into another of the well dressed men. He had been trying to enter the door before John exited. The man turned with a snarl. His face was red. He immediately reached for the sword hanging from his belt as he shouted, "You clumsy lout. How dare you push against me! Don't you know enough to step aside for your betters? I'm going to teach you a lesson you'll never forget."

The sword had barely cleared his scabbard when John moved. He grabbed the man's sword arm. He raised and twisted the arm pulling it over his shoulder as he turned and bent forward. The man lost his balance and John bent forward throwing him over his shoulder. He hit the filth in the street hard. He lost his sword in the fall. He was struggling to regain his feet when John arrived at his location. John grabbed his head and gave it a quick twist. He heard the bones crack as they broke and let him go. John raised his head and quickly looked around for more danger. Tessa was involved with a heavy man who appeared to be the bodyguard of the man John had dispatched.

John moved toward the man fighting Tessa when he saw her move. Her hand shot forward through the man's guard. The heel of her hand hit him on the nose and slammed upward. Her opponent's head flew back and he fell to the street to lie beside his master. He too was dead. She had broken his nose and driven the bone upward into his brain killing him instantly.

The two companions looked around once more and then moved to their respective opponents as would any other resident of Chaos. They each stripped the men and put their money in their money pouches. Each of the companions donned the weapons that had once belonged to their opponents then they turned and walked away down the street once more. All at once John stopped and turned back.

John walked up to the guard and said, "Do you know the man I just killed?" The guard licked his lips and nodded his head yes. John raised his eyebrows and made a come on motion. Finally in exasperation he barked, "So who was he? Did he own a house or any other property I am due?"

About that time a well dressed fat man came waddling from within the building. "What's going on here," he blustered. His eyes got round and he started trembling when he saw the dead man lying in the street.

John turned to the man who had just come out and said, "Do YOU know who that piece of trash I just had to kill was and where the rest of his property is? Who are you by the way?"

"I'm Silas the Inn Keeper and that was Thomas, the owner of the mill down the street. He lived in rooms attached to his mill with his wife and children."

John got directions to the mill and he and Tessa walked rapidly in that direction. When they got there john stopped just inside the door and looked around. There were two boys working the machinery. They were just barely large enough to see over the rim of some of the grain containers. John guessed the older of the two would be maybe ten and the younger possibly six. A woman carrying a baby on her hip rushed back and forth helping the boys work. All the children and the woman were dressed in rags and needed a good cleaning.

When she saw John and Tessa standing there she rushed up to them and tried to curtsy. "Good Morning Sir. How may we help you?"

"I'm John and I'm looking for the Miller's wife."

The woman got a frightened look on her face and said, "That would be me good Sir. May I help you?"

"I'm afraid I just had to kill your husband so now all this is mine. I needed to let you know and see"

The woman looked shocked then she started crying. Through her tears she said, "Oh, please good Sir. We have nowhere to go and no family in the area. Please don't turn us out in the street. I'll do anything if you just let us stay here and continue running the mill for you." She turned to the boys and said, "Tolliver come here right now and take your sister. I have to go to the house with this Gentleman."

The older of the boys came and took the infant. The woman turned and trudged toward what John assumed were the living quarters. He and Tessa followed her. When they entered a kitchen the woman had already undone her top and stood with her breasts swaying as she began undoing her skirt. "I know I'm not much Sir but I'm willing if you will just please not turn us out in the street. I'll do anything I have to do for you sir."

John glanced at Tessa then turned his attention to the woman. He grabbed her hands and said, "Stop. You don't have to do this and I don't want you to leave the mill. In fact, you can continue operating the mill for me. I travel a lot and don't have the time or inclination to take up milling for a living. Will we have to hire a man to replace your husband?"

The woman snorted then said, "No Sir. There's no need. The boys and I have been running the mill by ourselves the last three years. My husband has been amusing himself at the Inn most days I'm afraid Sir. Did he finally run into someone who was better at swords than he was?"

"OK, fine. If you don't need help fine but if you do let me know and we will try to hire a hard working honest man before I have to leave. Now I will require a room for myself and my Companion for the time I am here in town."

"OH, Yes Sir. You are welcome to use my room Sir and if you need me..."

"NO! I have no need to take advantage of you like that. The room will be sufficient. Thank you. Now do you have some food and drink we can have please?"

"Oh, yes Sir. I have a nice stew almost ready for the noon meal and you are welcome to share with us. Let me get my baby and I will return to complete the meal Sir."

While John and Tessa ate lunch with the family they questioned the two boys and their mother about the Inn Keeper and his Inn. Like most boys these two turned out to be a fountain of information. They found out where the Damsel worked most of the time and where she was locked up at night. Most nights she only got four or five hours of sleep because the Inn closed at midnight and she had to clean up then she had to rise at 5 to begin preparing breakfast every morning.

John and Tessa finished their meals then they returned to the streets where they did more reconnaissance for their rescue attempt. They decided they would attempt the rescue the next morning just after the Damsel began preparing for the day.

After sitting in the Inn Common Room for a short time watching the operation John and Tessa returned to the Mill for the rest of the afternoon and evening. They discussed the operation with the two boys and Dottie, the Miller's wife. He told her that she was to deposit his share of the Mill profits into an account he would open in the local bank. He instructed her to buy food for herself and her boys first then he would take 2/3 of the remaining profits for his own.

John and Tessa woke about 4 a.m. and left the Mill quietly. Neither of the boys nor Dottie heard or saw them leave. They made their way stealthily to the Inn and walked around to the rear. They watched as the Inn came awake. The fat old Inn Keeper came stumbling into the kitchen and began stirring up the fires. Soon an older woman came in followed by the very weak and ill looking Damsel. The Damsel Brenda Secretary was almost staggering as she followed the woman into the kitchen. Apparently she was moving too slowly for the Inn Keeper. He began screaming at her and hit her hard enough to knock her down.

John looked at Tessa and said, "I've seen enough. Let's go. I don't see a guard yet. I'll take care of the Inn Keeper while you help Brenda Secretary from the Inn. Stay just outside the door until I can get back out there. We will have to hide somewhere until the bank opens then we will get us and the Damsel back to Crossroads.

John and Tessa walked into the kitchen and were almost halfway to the Damsel before the Inn Keeper saw them. He rushed up to them and started pushing them toward the door. He said, "Here now. We're not open yet. You just get out of my kitchen until we open then you can get your breakfast. GET OUT I Say!"

John pushed the man away from him slightly and slammed his fist into his belly. When the man bent forward John slammed his hand down across the back of his neck. The man dropped to the floor head first and was out cold. John checked and made sure he was still alive. By then Tessa was helping a very weak Brenda Secretary toward the door. She was pulling against Tessa trying to stay in the kitchen. She looked frightened to death.

John walked up to her and stopped Tessa. He held her by the biceps and looked into her face. It was a mask of fear. He could not tell if she was shaking because of her fear of him or because of her illness. He smiled at her and said, "Brenda Secretary of Cassandra. I am the Hero John and this is my Companion Tessa. We are here to rescue you."

The woman looked at them and slowly a smile began to come over her face. She tried to stand taller. She whispered, "Oh, Thank God. I had decided I was going to die here before a Hero came to rescue me. Oh, thank you. When can we return to Crossroads? Can we go now?"

"Not right now I'm afraid. We have to wait for the bank to open then we will get you back to Crossroads so you can be healed and return to Cassandra."

The fat old woman had been screaming all during the fight and the conversation John had with Brenda. All at once two of the large guards came bursting into the kitchen. When they saw their Master lying on the floor they drew their swords and moved toward John and Tessa. John drew his sword and engaged the first man to get to him. Tessa was trying to keep the second off him. She was having trouble keeping away from him and protecting John.

John could tell if he didn't do something rapidly Tessa would be hurt or killed and he might be also. He reached his free hand behind his back and pulled his throwing knife from the sheath down his neck. He was not very dexterous with his left hand but he had no choice. When he had the chance he threw the knife. He was lucky. He caught the man fighting Tessa in the side. That stopped him during his attack and Tessa took advantage. She thrust her sword into his chest and withdrew it.

As soon as the man fell Tessa turned. She took three steps and thrust her sword into the chest of John's opponent. He, too fell as his life drained from him. John and Tessa rapidly searched the bodies for weapons and money then turned once more and helped a trembling Brenda from the room. They almost had to carry her as they rushed away from the Inn.

None of the people at the Mill were awake yet when John and Tessa led Brenda into the living quarters and up to their room. They placed her on the bed and Tessa took off to build up a fire and find something for them all to eat. She also began heating some water for Brenda to clean up with and to hopefully make her feel better.

Dottie heard Tessa rummaging around in the kitchen and moved to help her. She pushed Tessa away from the stove and said, "I'm sorry miss. I didn't know you would want to dine this early. Please sit down and let me serve you. Next time please just wake me if you or the Master need something.

When breakfast was finished Dottie would not let Tessa carry it to their room. Her eyes widened when she opened the door and saw Brenda lying on the bed. "Oh, my. Isn't that the Inn Keeper's Kitchen Wench? Oh, whatever have you done? He'll kill us all if he finds her here. Oh, please Master. We need to get her out of here now."

"Dottie I have came to rescue this Damsel. We will leave as soon as the bank opens and we can take care of some business. No one saw us bring her in here and I hope no one will see us take her out. Please, just relax and tell no one what you have seen this morning."

"Oh, never Master. We're your people now and we would never endanger or cheat you sir. Never."

As soon as she had eaten and drank some vile smelling concoction that Dottie promised would make her feel better Brenda fell asleep. John let her sleep until nearly time for the bank to open then he had Tessa gently wake her. They carefully left the living quarters and snuck out the back side of the Mill. They trudged downstream for several feet before they came back up and reentered the town. Many people watched them as they walked carefully down the street and into the bank.

Before John walked up to the teller he had Brenda and Tessa walk over near the door into the Portal and wait for him there. John leaned on the counter and said, "I need to open an account with your bank and I also need to rent a box please."

This time the teller smiled and said, "Of course Sir. How much would you need to deposit and what size box do you desire?"

John opened his purse and poured all the money on the counter. He picked up most of the small change—the pinches—and said, "I need a box about six feet long three feet wide and two feet deep. I want to deposit all the rest of the funds after the box rent is paid please."

The teller carefully counted the money remaining and said, "That comes to three Conch two Shells and four Quads. The box rent for a year is seven Quads so we will deposit the rest for you Sir. Please place your right index finger in the hole under the counter."

When John placed his finger inside the hole it felt warm and he saw light seeping out around it. After the light went off and the heat died down he removed his finger. The Manager was standing behind him. He smiled and said, "If you would follow me please Sir I will lead you to the room your box is in."

When John and the two women followed the manager into the room there was an open box on the table. The Manager looked at John and said, "Do not close the box until you have placed everything you want to store inside. It will go to storage immediately after you close it. If we can do anything else for you Sir just please let us know."

John placed all the weapons in the box and closed it. As soon as the box lid was fully closed it disappeared. Almost before he realized the box was gone John felt a slight twisting motion and saw a flash of light. He saw the stark white portal arrival room and then, almost immediately Traci Caretaker came through the door from the living area. She rushed to John and gave him a big hug and kiss. John pushed her gently away and said, "Brenda Secretary is very ill Traci. Please get her to the healing chamber and we will tell you all about the trip."

Traci gasped and turned immediately to Brenda Secretary who was leaning heavily on Tessa. She moved to her other side and said, "Oh, you poor dear. Come. We will get you all healed then you can begin receiving your reward and giving Hero John his reward."

John watched as Traci helped Brenda into the healing chamber and close the lid. As before the panel on the side of the box lit up and there was a slight humming. Traci turned from helping Brenda and began moving toward John once more. When she got near him she once again wrapped him in an embrace and turned. She began gently guiding, pulling him toward yet another door. "Come John. Let's get you and Tessa into the shower then after Brenda is out of the healing chamber we must get each of you into it also."

"Traci what's this about Brenda and I getting a reward?"

Traci giggled and gently slapped John on the arm. "You know you joker. The same reward all the Hero's and Damsels receive from each other after a successful rescue."

Tessa stood a moment then gasped. Her face flushed slightly as she understood. John turned toward her with a questioning look on his face. He said, "What's the matter Tessa?"

"Oh, John you've read the journals and the rule books. Don't be so dense!"

"You're joking. NO! There's NO WAY I'm going to get her pregnant and leave her with my child. I thought..." John licked his lips and looked wildly around. "I thought that was just more of grandpa's fantasy world. You can't really mean Brenda..."

Traci finally stopped looking shocked and placed her fingers on John's lips. "John," she said. "You remember what we talked about before you left on your adventure and what you read in your grandfather's journals. Brenda Secretary has risked her life for the chance to bear the child of the Hero that rescues her. She has endured years of hardship and privation for that chance. That is the ONLY reason she was ever on Chaos. You know you cannot deprive her of that honor."

John sank to the couch and leaned his arms on his thighs. He hung his head in dejection the licked his lips. "My GOD. I just ... It's unreal."

Surprisingly it was Tessa who moved to sit beside John. She placed her arm around his shoulders and said, "John I know you didn't have a choice this time. You were dying and grandfather made me bring you through the Portal. You know you had to complete a mission after entering Crossroads but John, we did complete the mission and we did rescue Brenda Secretary. She deserves some happiness after what she endured. Remember what we have learned about Cassandra and their inability to have children with their own men. After all, a child was what she contracted for when she took her journey to Chaos."

Tessa smiled and continued, "John, it is only right she be given her child. Besides, can you honestly say you don't have thoughts about screwing her? She's beautiful and you ARE a man. I know how men think. They dream about bedding every beautiful woman they see even if many of them never do it. You owe it to her John."

John continued to sit on the couch for a moment. Traci and Tessa heard his stomach growl. Traci got a mortified expression on her face and said, "Oh I must be the worst caretaker in the world. You're hungry and I haven't even offered to obtain a meal for you. Please, what do you want to eat?"

John and Tessa each ordered a large Prime Rib, baked potato and salad. They had just completed their meal when they heard the alarm signifying completion of the healing cycle for Brenda Secretary. Traci rose and moved to the chamber. She opened the chamber and assisted Brenda out.

Brenda stood beside the camber nude. She looked at John with adoring eyes and smiled widely. She began a rapid walk, almost a glide, toward him. He could see her nipples were hard little points on her magnificent breasts. He saw her crotch glistening with evidence of her arousal. When she moved he heard a little smacking sound. When she reached him John could smell the very feminine odor she secreted from her pussy. Brenda reached for his hand and said, "Please John. Can we go to bed now?"

Traci moved toward the couple and said, "I'm sorry Brenda but John has to enter the healing chamber first. While he is inside we must get you a meal. I'm sure as soon as he is out of the chamber he will begin working on your reward for you."

John stood and gave Brenda a hug and deep kiss then followed Traci to the healing chamber. As before, to John it was just a moment, a blink of an eye, before the lid opened once more and he stood beside the chamber. In truth, it had not been all that long because there was very little wrong with John this time. He was only inside about twenty minutes and most of that time was spent fine tuning his system and balancing his chemicals to allow him to perform at his absolute maximum sexual capability.

When Brenda saw John stand she stood and left the remainder of her meal on her plate. She moved to John and gave him a thousand watt smile. She reached out and took his hand and pulled on it. He looked at Tessa then Traci. He allowed himself to be pulled from his current position and followed Brenda into the bedroom. Part way there she wrapped her arm around his waist and they completed the journey arm in arm.

By the time they got to the bedside John was fully aroused and wrapped Brenda in a strong embrace as they once again kissed. While they kissed John rolled her nipples between his index finger and thumb. Brenda was moaning and pressing her body against him. All at once she screamed and started to fall. John had to grab her and hold her up. Finally Brenda stood more or less on her own again and turned her head to Traci. "My GOD! He gave me an orgasm just by playing with my nipples."

Traci smiled and said, "Brenda you cannot believe what this man can do. You will think you have died and gone to heaven before your time with him is over. I was sure the rumors and stories about Earth men's sexual capabilities were totally false until I had my first time with Hero John. He made me pass out in orgasm the first time he took me. He is a wonderful lover."

Brenda turned back to John and began trying to undress him. Traci moved to assist. After he was completely undressed Brenda held John's hands and fell backward onto the bed. When she landed she quickly scooted upward until she was centered on the mattress with her head on the pillows. Her knees were pulled up and spread. Her pussy was drooling and the evidence of her desire was running down her ass cheeks and dripping onto the bed. Brenda reached for John with a sultry pleading look on her face.

John stared at her beautiful pussy for a moment then moved between her legs. When his head was just inches from her pussy he took a deep breath. Brenda smelled wonderful. He moved his head lower and gently touched her little clit with the tip of his tongue. Brenda gasped and jerked her hips. She thrust them upward and John saw more thick clear liquid drain from her pussy. He moved lower and gently licked all the way up her slit and flicked her clit once more. Brenda moaned and thrust her hips upward again with more urgency.

John smiled and wrapped his arms around her thighs and pulled on the skin over her clit exposing it fully. Brenda writhed and moaned. She bit her lip and whimpered. Finally John leaned forward and licked once more then placed his mouth over Brenda's clit. He applied a little suction and began to rapidly flick her clit with the tip of his tongue. In less than sixty seconds Brenda screamed and thrust her pelvis upward. Her thighs slammed closed around John's head and her cum gushed from within her rapidly contracting box. John could feel the strong contraction and release of her pussy as the orgasm rolled through her.

Finally Brenda relaxed her legs and pulled on John's head silently asking him to move upward over her for her true reward. Truthfully now John was so horny he needed no further invitation. He moved over Brenda and lowered his hips slightly. When he felt his cock nudge into her tunnel John thrust once, withdrew slightly then thrust once again. On his second thrust Brenda slammed her pelvis upward and slammed their pubic bones together.

John withdrew part way and moved deeply into Brenda once more. Three hard thrusts, four, five and Brenda screamed once more. John felt her rapid thrusts as she slammed her crotch against him over and over. He felt the gush of her juices flow out of her clasping pussy once more. Brenda's screech cut off in mid scream and she collapsed back onto the bed. Her legs and arms flopped out to the side and she lay there lifelessly.

John pulled from her and sat on his knees. He could see Brenda was breathing but she had passed out just as Traci had earlier. John felt movement on the bed and Traci wrapped him in her arms. She smothered his face with kisses then said, "Well done my Hero. I knew you could do it. I am so proud of you."

Traci moved away from John and lay on her back beside the still unconscious Brenda. She pulled her knees up, spread her legs and reached out for John. "Please My Hero. I need you again. Please fuck me while we wait for Brenda to recover."

John and Tessa spent three weeks on Crossroads with Traci and Brenda. They both lost track of the number of times John made love to Brenda Secretary and Traci. It seemed like if he wasn't eating he was in bed with one of the women. On more than one occasion Tessa also joined in the sessions with one or the other of the Cassandran women. One morning John, Traci and Tessa were having breakfast when a glowing Brenda came into the room. She stood looking at the dining threesome then said, "I'm pregnant. Oh thank you My Hero. Thank you."

Traci stood immediately and wrapped Brenda in her arms. She gave her a deep kiss and moved with her to the door she had entered through. After the door closed behind Brenda Traci moved immediately to John and pulled his hand. Come on John. We must hurry. You and Tessa have to go home now."

"But I haven't finished my breakfast. I need to talk to you more about this whole deal too. I'll go later today."

"No John. You have to leave immediately. I'll see you again when you return for your next adventure."

John started to resist her insistence he leave immediately when he felt his stomach clench and begin to burn. He had the most horrible pain in his stomach all at once. He gasped out, "GOD, I hurt. I need the healing chamber first Traci."

"NO. John the pain is because you are not leaving fast enough. If you delay it will eventually kill you. Please. Leave now. We will talk more next time."

John let Traci push him toward the Portal entrance. He felt Tessa wrap her arm around him as she too moved toward the Portal. They each felt the now expected wrench and saw the flash of light. John gasped then. He saw Jake leaning against the front door jamb cradling a shotgun in his arms. He watched the area in front of his cabin closely then turned his head toward the kitchen doorway where the two had just arrived.

Jake smiled when he saw John and Tessa. He straightened and said, "Welcome back Hero. Come now. We have some trash to get rid of then we can talk." Before he turned for the door Jake looked at Tessa. His face became somehow softer and he continued, "You have made me proud this day Granddaughter. I trust you served your Hero fully and completely as a Companion should?"

Tessa blushed and looked down toward the floor. "Yes Grandfather. You know I did. I had no choice really did I? If I had not I would not be here now would I?"

Old Jake nodded his head and said, "Come. We will get rid of the trash then we can talk more."

When John and Tessa followed Jake into the dust covered area in front of the cabin they saw the bodies laying there. One of the men was beginning to groan and move as consciousness returned. The other was the one John had been fighting when he shot John. Tessa had killed him with her stick apparently. Jake pointed at the men and said, "Place them in the back of their truck. We will take them into the mountains and leave the truck and their bodies beside it. I have some grass we will leave bits of in the truck. I also know where they are growing more if it is still there. That is where we will leave the truck for the authorities or the druggies to find. They will think it was a drug deal gone wrong if the authorities find it. If the dopers find it they will just discard these two and use the vehicle. Come, we must hurry. It is far from here and we want to be sure we are well away from the location before dawn."

"Grandfather how come the bodies are still here and still warm? We were gone for over a month. What did you tell the casino? Do I still have a job?"

"Hush child. You have been gone only fifteen minutes. No matter how long you spend on Crossroads and Chaos you are gone only fifteen minutes on earth. Most Heroes leave themselves a note for when they return however because many of the adventures take months or even years of Chaos time and they forget what they were doing here on earth before they left. Now come. Enough talk."

The three conspirators spent the remainder of the night moving the two men and their truck back into the hills. Amazingly when they arrived at their destination there were several marijuana plants growing in a small clearing. Jake took the dead man and opened the driver's door of the truck. He stood him near the door and scuffled his feet a while then dropped him as if he had been killed there. The other man was placed inside the truck passenger seat and the door opened. Without saying a word Jake fired the shotgun into his chest. Immediately his chest became a mass of red hamburger as the blast destroyed most of it and his heart.

The three conspirators had not touched either the men or their truck with their body. Old Jake had driven the truck and was as careful as he could be to not drop any hair on the seat. Of course he had worn gloves and tight clothing as well. Hopefully no DNA would be found should the authorities decide to search the truck but if there was it would only be Jakes and his DNA was not on file anywhere. John and Tessa had driven John's truck most of the way there and walked the last half mile. They were as safe as possible from discovery.

After they returned to the ghost town Jake and the two adventurers grabbed a beer and sat on John's porch to talk. John and Tessa told Jake about their adventure in detail. Jake leaned back and stared into space. His gaze showed he was far, far away in his mind. He spoke, "That is good. You regained your life after a heroic attempt to save my granddaughter from harm. You helped a Damsel in Distress and had a rousing adventure. You received a very special reward both from my granddaughter and from the Damsel. You are truly a Hero. You should always remember though that Chaos is a dangerous place and not all adventures are as simple as this one. You will face true danger, life threatening danger on every adventure but you are like me and your grandfather. You need the adventure to thrive and my granddaughter needs a Hero to love and to help fulfill her destiny. I am afraid I instilled too many of the old ways, the old beliefs in her father and her for her to easily live completely in today's society. This shall also be her escape from the daily grind of our modern times."

Jake turned to Tessa and continued, "And you granddaughter. You too gained from this adventure. You helped our very good friend John and repaid some of our family's debt to his family. You received your reward for helping him also as a good Companion should. I have known for many moons you and John were kindred spirits. You have been happy with just enough to live comfortably yet you need excitement in your life. Sam and I had planned to fully educate you and John about Chaos and Cassandra before you had your first adventure. Unfortunately Sam died before he completed his task so it fell to me. The attack on you this morning forced me to send you to Crossroads before you were fully trained and briefed.

"As you know we insisted you each learn self defense and some of the old forms of combat and travel but you only know the rudiments of these arts. John is somewhat better prepared for staying alive on Chaos because of his Army training."

Jake smiled and once again looked into the distance then he continued, "Samuel and I were sure you would travel to Chaos with each other many times. I am sorry your preparation was not complete before you made your first trip. I am sure you both realize how much you still have to learn before you are truly ready for life on Chaos. I will assist you as much as I can in learning those things. You can each teach the other also because you each have separate skills that the other one lacks.

"You both need to practice self defense and the use of ancient weapons more before your next mission. Your reaction on attack should be automatic, instinctive. Your woodcraft could use some improvement also if what I have seen here is any example John. I believe Tessa can help you with that greatly and she will be of a smaller help with archery and traps. Now I grow weary. Let us sleep and discuss this more tomorrow."

Jake rose and walked toward his cabin. Tessa finished her beer and sat the bottle down on the porch beside her chair. She looked at John and shook her head. She looked toward her grandfather as he stepped onto the small porch of his cabin. She turned then to look at John once again. Finally Tessa stood and followed her grandfather to their cabin. John opened another beer and leaned back. He drank his new beer slowly thinking about all that had gone on since he had rescued Tessa from her attackers. When he finished his second beer he rose and ambled into his room for a night's sleep also. Surprisingly neither of the young people were bothered by what they had done with Tessa's attackers. John wondered if that was a result of his short time on Chaos or because of his time in Afghanistan. For some reason he was not even worried about the authorities linking them to the murder which is what it would be termed if they should be caught.

The next morning John was awakened by the jiggling of his bed and a hand on his shoulder. He rolled toward the edge and saw Tessa sitting beside him. She was naked. Her nipples were hard little pebbles on her firm, high, beautiful breasts. Her cunt was shaved completely bare.

"What," he started to say. Tessa gently placed her fingers over his mouth.

"John grandfather woke me at dawn this morning. We drank some coffee and he talked to me about many things. Some of them were of our family, some were not. John one of the things he made me realize is that you ARE my Hero. I had feelings for you even before you rescued me from those men and we went to Crossroads to save your life. Surely you had noticed I came to you every day and we visited. When we were apart I thought about you. When we are together I am comfortable, relaxed. It is as if I am whole when we are together. Grandfather is right, I like adventure and adrenaline highs but I also like the solitude of living here in a simple life. I do not need a fancy house or all the latest electronic gadgets. I need sun and wind, flowing water and fresh food grown in my own garden. I need a man who also enjoys the simple things and is happy with just enough.

"Grandfather sent me to you as I came into this world, as a Companion, as a woman should come to her man. John if you will have me I want to be your Companion, your woman here on earth and often times on Chaos also. I know if we have children I may not be able to always accompany you but I too want to share that part of your life as did both our grandmothers.

John lay watching a flush spread down Tessa's neck and across her chest. He watched as she leaned toward him and gave him a gentle kiss. John threw the sheet and blanket off his body then his arms came up and wrapped around Tessa. He pulled her to his body. As the kiss deepened John felt Tessa's hand slide slowly down his abdomen until it touched then wrapped around his hard cock.

Tessa rose slightly and looked into John's eyes. She licked her lips and turned, moving her head downward until she reached his crotch. She bent forward and John groaned as her mouth opened and slid down over his throbbing erection. Tessa had been a good cock sucker the first time she had tried on Crossroads but her hours of instruction and observation during the breeding of Brenda Secretary had made her an expert, the best John had ever experienced.

Much too soon John felt his seed rising. He pulled on Tessa's head. When she looked up at him he said, "No Tessa. Please not that way. I much prefer spending my seed in the receptacle made for that purpose."

Tessa smiled. She gave John her widest grin and rapidly moved up and over him. She guided his cock into her drooling pussy and slowly slid down on it until he was fully inserted. She sat and stared into his eyes as her inner muscles massaged John's manhood. Slowly, oh so slowly, she began moving, rising slightly then dropping. Her hips would move in a slight circle when she had John fully inside her, her inner muscles clenching and releasing constantly as she moved. Her movements became more rapid, more demanding. She began letting out little whimpers when she drove herself downward onto John.

Faster, faster, deeper and harder Tessa thrust against John. Finally with a scream she slammed down on John and held still. He could feel a huge increase in lubrication. Tessa's cum flowed out of her pussy and dripped down over his balls. Her pussy clenched and released repeatedly. She fell forward to lie on his torso. Tessa's climax triggered John's. He felt his seed rush from his cock and splash inside Tessa. They kissed gently. Tessa rolled to her side and they lay for several minutes cuddling and enjoying the other's company.

Finally Tessa rose and held her hand out for John. "Come my Hero. It is time for a bath in the stream then our breakfast. Bring your clothes so you do not have to come back to your room."

Mountain streams in October are cold. Damn cold. Needless to say John and Tessa did not tarry in their ablutions. When they finished their bath both were clean and cold. Tessa took John's hand when they were both dressed once again and led him to her cabin. When they entered Jake looked up from the knife he was sharpening. He gave each of the young people a close look then nodded his head. "It is good. You have solidified the bond this morning. You are a couple now by the old way. I have considered your assistance and allowing me to live here as the bride price my people would have once charged you for Tessa. If you wish to make the arrangement more formal that would please me too. You choose but know you are bound now for this life."

The rest of that day was spent tying up loose ends. To his surprise Tessa went to Cripple Creek and quit her job. She and John talked and kissed and held each other even while old Jake was giving them more information on Crossroads, Chaos and the Hero business. That night at bedtime Tessa followed John back to his room, stripped and crawled into his bed. She grinned up at him, pulled her knees up, spread them and held her arms out to him. "Please my Hero. Come to me now. I've needed you for hours. I know you have smelled my need while we were talking with Grandfather. Now come to me quickly so we can get our rest."

The next day much to his surprise John found Tessa accompanying him home where they could train for their missions and work on his little orchard. John did not know what surprised him more about his vacation to Colorado—that Crossroads and Chaos and Damsels in distress really did exist and his and Tessa's grandmothers not only knew of their grandfather's adventures but accompanied them from time to time, or that Tessa was going home with him and that he agreed to let her. He did know they both were planning on more missions to rescue Damsels.

John had already accepted he and Tessa were a couple. They were planning on a formal wedding soon but she had not set a date for it as of yet. John also could not believe Tessa was not only willing to let him rescue the Damsels and receive his reward from them but that she was excited about him doing so and wanted to accompany him as his Companion. She had, however, cleared up one small point in his mind. He was told very vehemently that the ONLY strange pussy he was allowed to have was Traci Caretaker's and the Damsels he rescued. If he even thought about getting any strange here on earth the world would be short one more Hero when Tessa found out. Strangely, John believed her completely. In any event when John left Colorado he had Tessa with him. Each of the two young people was looking forward to the future with the other with great anticipation.

When they arrived back in Missouri Tessa fell in love with John's little place. She was even impressed with his home inside the sales room of the orchard building. Of course the living area was nicer than the cabin in Colorado by a long shot and that might have had something to do with her feelings.

Tessa settled into her new life with John easily and happily. During the summer they realized changes had to be made though. They agreed that if the orchard was to prosper they would have to reopen the sales floor to customers. That required they find another place to live. John's solution to that problem was simplicity in itself. He built a second floor over the sales room for their living and sleeping quarters thus making the ceiling of the sales room only nine feet high instead of eighteen. They added a small bathroom upstairs but continued to use the commercial kitchen for their personal use.

During the next month John and Tessa made good use of the training room his grandfather had built inside the processing barn. John also enrolled them both in his old Karate studio. He felt he needed to practice his skills more and Tessa needed the formal training. They continued practicing Karate at home as well as the other combat forms that were used on Chaos.

Thankfully John had not worn his ring when they entered the weapon storage room because they found out the door into the weapons room was John's Portal. They were both happy and sad to know they did not have to travel to Colorado whenever they wanted an adventure. In fact, they had scheduled their next adventure for the week between Christmas and New Years. They would have had almost two months to practice and perfect their survival and fighting skills and they really had nothing much else to do.

After much coercion old Jake agreed to come to John and Tessa's home for the Christmas holiday. They had him watch while they practiced with throwing knives, using swords, staves and bow and arrow. He also critiqued their woodcraft and hand to hand combat techniques. Jake pronounced them better by far than the average person in these skills and predicted success for them on Chaos IF they would pay careful attention to their surroundings and not let themselves be ambushed or let a sneak assassin get to them.

On the 26th of December John and Tessa once again held onto each other and passed through a Portal to Crossroads. This time they used John's Portal and knew exactly where they were going. When they entered the receiving room on Crossroads the opposite door opened almost immediately and Traci Caretaker nearly flew across the room and into John's arms. She was in her diaphanous gown and somehow it became undone during her trip across the room. When she got to John she jumped from the floor and into his arms. Her legs wrapped around his waist and she slammed her mouth to his in their first kiss. John wrapped her in his arms and returned her kiss as Tessa moved to one side and wrapped them both in her arms. She gently caressed Traci while she and John renewed their acquaintance.

Finally Traci relaxed her legs and slipped them back down onto the floor. She was grinning and wrapped her arms around John. She looked up at his face and said, "Welcome back my Hero. I am so glad to see you and the Companion Tessa again." Traci stepped back and took John's hand. She began pulling him toward the open door of his bedroom on Crossroads. She continued her conversation saying, "Please, can we go into the bedroom for a while before we begin working on mission selection? I have missed the two of you so much."

John and Tessa made sure Traci was well cared for while they were in the bedroom. In fact it was the next morning before they even began to think about their next mission. During their breakfast Traci Caretaker addressed the computer and had it pull up the twelve most urgent missions and rank them as before. This time there were only two "Black" missions, one "Green", three "Yellow" and the rest were "Red".

John and Tessa reviewed the mission profile of each of the Green, Yellow and Red missions then he asked for the missions to be ordered in distance from the town his little Mill was in. They kept the same color codes but the order was arranged beginning with the one closest to his mill and working down from there. After that ordering John saw that the two closest missions were "Red" then the next two were "Yellow".

The two Red missions at the top of the list were both important rescues and in John's opinion he could do them with a high possibility of success. Finally he and the two women settled on the mission closest to his mill as the one he would accept. The other eleven mission folders were released back into files and the planning began.

This mission was to rescue Jasmine Administrator from her servitude. Jasmine was being held about two days outside town on a farm by a group of thieves. They had captured the farm and enslaved the farmer, his family and Jasmine. They were using the farm as a base of operations and warehousing area for their plunder. The thieves stole anything they could get their hands on including livestock they rustled, wagons they waylaid containing freight or personal possessions of families moving from one place to another. They also raided the surrounding towns and burgled homes and businesses when the mood struck them.

Poor Jasmine had been in dire straits while she worked for the farm family but she was now in a life threatening situation. The farm family had purchased her as an indentured servant and forced her to work in the pigsties, prepare all the meals and keep the house clean. The thieves required the same from her but also beat her unmercifully if she displeased them in any way. She currently had a broken hand from having it hit with a hammer for not moving fast enough. At least she did not have to have sex with the men after they found out she was a "burner". The poor farmer's wife and two daughters were almost constantly on their backs in bed servicing the thieves. They would probably die soon if someone did not rescue them as well as Jasmine.

John and Tessa studied the terrain around the farm and the route from his mill to the farm carefully for two days. They sharpened their combat skills and made plans for the rescue. John knew this rescue would take more time than had his first one. He had to get five throwing knives made for each of them and they also needed a good bow and several arrows for each. He was hopeful they could get some of those items from having people attack them but he knew he would have to purchase the knives for sure. Not many people on Chaos used throwing knives so he didn't think he could get them as the spoils of battle.

On the third morning John and Tessa once more stepped into the Portal and appeared in the room at the bank. John immediately placed his finger in the hole and his box appeared. He opened the lid and he and Tessa selected their weapons. Each took a sword and two knives of poor quality. There were two bows and a few arrows in the box and they took them out. John hoped they did not have to use them because they were of low quality but they were better than nothing.

When they stepped from the bank the stench of Chaos hit them in the face once more. They stood for a short time becoming accustomed to the stench then turned and walked toward John's mill. They arrived and to his surprise John found an altercation in progress. Two scruffy looking men were holding Dottie. They had her top torn and her breasts swinging free. Each man was mauling one of her breasts while they tried to pull the rest of her clothes from her. The oldest boy was lying on the floor at their feet bleeding. John could not tell if he was alive or not.

John walked rapidly to the men and grabbed the larger one by the shoulder. He pulled him from Dottie and said, "Stop molesting my housekeeper you asshole."

The man roared in anger and pushed Dottie toward his friend. He turned to face John fully and drew his sword. Before his blade cleared his scabbard John thrust his knife into his belly under his lower rib. The knife angled upward and speared through his heart. John twisted the knife and withdrew it. He turned to face the second man only to see him falling to the floor. He had an arrow sticking from his chest. He dropped his sword as he fell.

Dottie grabbed her torn blouse and pulled it closed then moved to John. "Oh master I am so glad you have came back to us especially today. Thank you for rescuing me." She then kneeled beside her son and rolled him onto his back. John could see a knife or sword wound in his lower side but the bleeding was almost stopped. There was also a dark bruise on his cheek and a knot on his head where he had been hit. He moaned when his mother moved him and his eyes fluttered.

Tessa moved beside Dottie and said, "Come. Let us get him into the kitchen and clean the wound so we can see how badly he is hurt."

After Tessa and Dottie cleaned Tolliver's side they saw it was only a deep flesh wound. He had been knocked out while trying to protect his mother from her attackers. John sent the younger boy to the Inn for some whisky to clean the wound with while Tessa and Dottie boiled some cloth to use for bandages.

After Tolliver was patched up John said, "Ok, now what was that all about?"

"Sir those two are from a band of thieves who operate around here. They told me they operated the 'insurance' division and we needed to pay them a Quad a month to insure nothing bad happened to the mill. They came to us for money again today and this time we did not have it to pay them. When we told them that they said we had to give them the flour then and began loading some of our flour onto their cart. John tried to stop them and they hit him as you saw. I ran to him and they decided they would have some sport with me before they took our flour. Oh, thank you for saving us once again Master."

John and Tessa spent the rest of that day and night with Dottie and her family. They looked over the mill and what few records Dottie kept because she insisted. John really didn't care much about the operation as long as Dottie and her family were well cared for and he had the mill to use for a base of operations in the area if he happened to be there. They also spent some of the day going through the town asking questions about the gang that was preying on the countryside. No one knew how many men they might face and even less was known about the thieves defenses. Not much information was gathered because all the townspeople were frightened of the gang.

John and Tessa did not have to worry about purchasing transportation for their trip to rescue Jasmine Administrator because of the difficulty with the extortion artists when they arrived at the mill. The common practice on Chaos deemed all the possessions of a vanquished foe belonged to the vanquisher therefore John became owner of the horse and cart the thieves were loading the flour into when he killed them. They did not gain many coins from the fight but did get two more swords and two very poor quality knives.

That evening John went to the local blacksmith and asked about throwing knives. He did not have any nor did the local arms merchant. The blacksmith was willing to make some but it would take him ten days to do so. When John saw his work he decided not to waste the time because the smith didn't do very good work at least on weapons. Early the next morning John and Tessa loaded their travel packs into the cart and headed out for their rescue mission. Dottie had made sure they had plenty of food for the first part of their trip so they were off. Using the cart was not as fast as riding a horse but it was way faster and much easier than walking so they were pleased with their travel arrangements. The old horse pulling the cart could not hold to a trot for very long at a time but overall they made a faster transit than had they walked.

By mid afternoon John estimated they had travelled almost half way to their destination. His poor ass was hurting from bouncing around on the cart so he stopped in a small clearing beside a stream to rest and stretch his muscles. Tessa admitted she, too, was feeling the bumps. They tied the horse to a low hanging tree limb and moved to the stream to cool off and relax for a moment. Before they got into the water John and Tessa spent a little time become sweatier and expressing their admiration for each other. Tessa finished her bath first and returned to the cart. John was pulling on his pants when he heard horses come down the road and stop nearby.

John heard Tessa say, "Stop! That's my cart. What do you think you're doing? Get away from there." He heard a meaty thud and Tessa moaned then several men laughed.

John quietly began moving toward where they were parked when he heard a male voice say, "Shut up woman. That's my cart now and if you are real nice to me you can be my woman now too. If you're not nice then we'll just slit your belly open after me and the boys are through with you. Now what is it to be?"

John was just in the edge of the clearing by then and saw Tessa rising from the ground. There was a large red spot on her cheek and blood was trickling from her mouth. Three men were standing around laughing at her. One of the men moved toward her and reached out to grab her blouse. As he started to rip it open Tessa moved. She stepped back slightly and slammed her knuckles into his throat. The man's eyes got large and he instantly grabbed his throat. John could see she had hit just the right place. The man's face was turning blue and he began gasping trying to breath. He was dead but didn't know it yet because Tessa had crushed his larynx.

When the other two men began to draw their swords Tessa turned her attention to them. They moved to either side of Tessa intending now to just kill her and take the cart. John quietly stepped into the open and finished pulling the bow. He released an arrow at the man closest to Tessa while she backed away. Before he even saw where the arrow hit he had another in position and was aiming at the other thief. Once again his bow twanged and the arrow sped to its target.

John turned his attention to the first man he had shot and saw Tessa move to him. She did not give him a chance to pull the arrow from his side where it had hit. She expertly slid her knife across his throat. He dropped with a gurgle while Tessa turned from him toward the other thief. She only made a cursory examination of the third man because she could see him lying on the ground with John's arrow in his heart.

John moved quickly into the clearing with his sword in his hand. Tessa looked at the downed men and moved into John's embrace. She was shaking slightly as she wrapped her arms around him. She laid her head on his chest and said, "Thank you again My Hero for saving me."

"You're welcome Tess but I don't really think I needed to this time. You looked like you could have taken them all if you could have gotten your sword out. From now on I don't want you to be more than two steps from it at any time. We screwed up badly when you left it in the cart when we went into the woods. I almost didn't take my bow and then we would have been in real trouble. Now let's search the bodies and get back on the road."

They gained two more swords five knives and assorted personal items from these thieves. Perhaps the most valuable items they gained were the three horses. None of them were of top quality but they were all in better shape than the one pulling their cart. John decided they would keep the horses and tack and sell the cart at the next town they came to.

About three miles further down the road they came to a small town. Their first stop was at the livery stable where they sold the cart and horse pulling it. They then moved on to the blacksmith where they sold all but the best four knives and all but the best two swords.

John decided they had travelled enough that day and they went into the Inn intending to spend the night. John paid for their room and meal. They were sitting at their table drinking a pitcher of watered wine relaxing while they waited on the serving wench to bring their food.

Four large dirty men stomped into the room. The largest one stood looking around the room as if he was looking for someone. He got a frown on his face and said, "Where are the men that rode those horses tied to the post outside?"

No one answered and the man grabbed the Innkeeper by the shirt. He slapped his face and threw him back and said, "I asked a question old man. Where are the men that rode those horses that are tied outside?"

"I don't know about any men and horses sir. The only people who have come in this evening are the gentleman and lady sitting over there. They rode horses because I sold them stall space for the evening."

The man turned to John and Tessa and placed his hand on his sword. "Where did you get those horses outside? They look like my friends horses and if they are I want to know what happened to them."

"Those are my horses friend. If your friends owned them at one time that's too bad. We took those horses from three men that tried to rob us on the road. They weren't as good as they thought they were and now they're our horses. Now why don't you just sit down and shut up or draw that sword so we can get this over with. It's been a long day and I need my supper before I get some sleep."

The man roared and leaped toward John and Tessa. He drew his sword while he was moving across the floor. John and Tessa saw each of the other three pull their swards too. They both stood rapidly and moved back from the table. The chairs they had been sitting in crashed to the floor. When they stood they had each reached into their right boot and drew the knife they carried there. Their arms flashed back then forward. Two knives flew through the air toward their nearest assailants.

John's knife lodged in the base of the throat of the man who had been talking. His eyes got large and he dropped his sword. He reached toward the knife as his knees buckled and he fell to the floor. Tessa's knife had lodged in the chest of the man who was next nearest to them. The other two men stood in shock for a moment then began moving toward John and Tessa once more. John and Tessa's hands moved to the collar of their shirts behind their necks then flashed forward once more. Two more knives were in the air heading toward their assailants.

One of the men managed to evade the knife thrown at him. The other took the knife on the outside of his right chest. He staggered then pulled the knife from his body and threw it on the floor. He began moving toward John and Tessa once more. John and Tessa pulled their swords and moved into battle with the two men.

The man who had been hit with the knife was slow. Tessa crossed swords with him for less than thirty seconds before she found the opening she wanted and thrust her sword into his chest. He screamed and collapsed at her feet. When he fell her sword pulled from his chest.

When the last man standing saw his friend collapse he began trying to disengage from John and leave the building. He was fighting a defensive battle anyway and knew if he didn't get away it would be a matter of time before he too was lying on the floor dead. He tried to talk his way out of it. "You two better run now. You've killed six of Taddeus' men now and he will be after ya. No one gets away with disrespecting Taddeus. Your only chance is to run and run far. If he catches ya I promise ya your death will be slow and painful. Of course the slut will entertain all the men until she isn't any fun any longer before he kills her. Run I say."

As the man said his last sentence he yelled it out trying to startle John. When he raised his voice he lunged but his ploy didn't work. John had stepped slightly to the left and beat the sword aside then moved his rapidly back to centerline on the man. He thrust and drove his sword home into the man's chest. His assailant's eyes got large and he opened his mouth to speak. A torrent of blood come out and he collapsed onto the floor.

John looked up at the Innkeeper. That man was white with fear and stood beside his bar shaking. "You've done it now good sir. Taddeus will be here as soon as he hears of what you've done and will take his anger out on me as well as you. Oh why did you have to do that? Get out. Get out now. Maybe if he hears I kicked you out he won't blame me for this." He turned to a young boy watching from the doorway into the kitchen and said, "You Saul. You saddle up and go tell Mr. Taddeus what's happened here and ask him to come right away. Tell him it was no doing on our part."

John looked at the Innkeeper in contempt and turned to the boy. "Boy you stay put. No one is going to tell Taddeus anything. And you Innkeeper. We've paid for our supper and rooms and I intend to eat my supper here and use the room. Don't you even think about running or trying to prevent that. Now get back behind your bar and leave us alone."

As soon as he finished talking John sat back down and began drinking his watered wine once more. He watched in disgust as the other three customers rapidly finished their drinks and scrambled from the room. He smiled at the serving wench when she delivered their bowls of stew. She was almost shaking she was so frightened. As soon as she put the bowls down she rushed back into the kitchen.

John and Tessa finished their meal and walked to their room. He blocked the door as best he could and said, "Let's get some sleep and try to leave about three a.m. I'm sure someone will be off to report what has transpired this evening and I don't want to have to fight him and his gang here in the Inn. I'm pretty sure this Taddeus is the same one who is holding Jasmine Administrator so we have cut down quite a lot on the opposition we will face when we try to rescue her.

No one was awake yet when John and Tessa rose to leave the Inn. They exited through the kitchen and took some bread and cheese for their breakfast. John did leave two pinches as payment for the food. They saddled their horses and left without anyone seeing them as far as John could tell.

Shortly after noon John and Tessa arrived at the turn off to the farm where Jasmine was being held. They rode on past the turn off about a half mile until they came to a grove of trees the road went through. They turned off into the trees and rode for several feet. John stopped and moved back to try and hide the tracks they made when they left the road. After he came back they rode farther into the woods until they found a good place to camp beside a small stream. As soon as they unsaddled the horses John and Tessa took off on foot to do a recon of the farm so they could make a plan on how to rescue Jasmine Administrator from her captivity.

John and Tessa spent the rest of the day watching the farm. They saw a woman they assumed was Jasmine working in the pig pens and carrying heavy loads of feed to the other animals. She spent a lot of time caring for the horses in the corral. Mid afternoon a lone man came riding up from the direction of the town. He yelled as he came into the barn yard and three men came out of the house.

John assumed the newly arrived man had reported the death of the men John and Tessa had killed because the men became angry and one of them hit the man who had rode up. When he fell the man kicked him then turned to walk back into the house. He walked up onto the porch and yelled into the house. Three more men came out. He stood talking to them a moment then they rushed to the barn, saddled horses and rode out.

The man that had been yelling grabbed the woman who had been working outside and pulled her into the house with him. John and Tessa continued to watch the house as darkness fell. As it got darker they moved from the woods and up to the house. They had not found any sentries when they had first arrived and had not seen any go out so they felt safe in doing so.

Finally John and Tessa were just outside the house and able to look into the lighted rooms. There were two women in one room tied to beds. Jasmine was in the kitchen feeding the three men who remained. When she served the larger one that John assumed was Taddeus he back handed her and knocked her to the floor. She rose and moved rapidly to the stove. She brought him back a larger serving of meat and retreated rapidly.

John and Tessa watched the men eat. After the meal they seemed to be settling down and drinking. John had Tessa move to the outside kitchen door. He moved to the front door. He quietly opened the door and moved into the house. There was no one in the front room and he moved unseen to the door into the kitchen.

When John stepped into the kitchen he drew his sword and said, "Taddeus I am the one who killed your men in the Inn and now I've come to rescue the Damsel Jasmine and kill you."

The man who had been hitting Jasmine was sitting facing the outside door. He had his beer stein in his hand. When he heard John speak he lurched out of his chair toward the floor and twisted, throwing his stein toward John as he did so. When he hit the floor he tried to draw his sword. John did not wait. He stepped toward him and sliced his throat with his sword then turned toward the other two men who had also risen from their chairs.

One of the men was closer and moved toward John. About then they heard the back door open and Tessa stepped into the room. The man with his back to that door rapidly turned toward Tessa but was not fast enough. Tessa's sword slid into his side under his arm and thrust deeply into his chest. He sank to the floor with a moan and frothing blood bubbling from his mouth.

The man fighting John was now alone. His face showed his fear as he tried to maneuver his back to a wall and escape. He was sidling sideways watching Tessa move toward him and fending off John's sword. He turned slightly to watch her and took too much of his attention from John. John lunged and stabbed him in the side with his sword. He felt it catch just a moment then it lurched and slid neatly between the ribs and into the heart. That man fell to the floor also.

Jasmine stood staring at the dead men for a moment then smiled and moved to John. She wrapped him in her arms and gave him a deep kiss. "I had almost given up hope my Hero. Thank you so much for rescuing me. Can we go now?"

John disentangled Jasmine's arms from his body and turned to Tessa. "Check on the women tied in the other room please Tessa while I check on these dead assholes."

Tessa moved from the room while John began looting the dead men and making sure they actually were dead. Jasmine stood watching him. When he stood she said, "Please can we go my Hero? There are many men due to return in the next day or two and I want to be well away before they arrive."

"Where did they keep all the money and treasure they have here Jasmine? We must gather it before we leave. We have a camp back in the woods we will spend the night in then we will leave early in the morning to return you to Cassandra.

Tessa came back into the room then and she was crying. She walked up to John and wrapped her arms around him. "John the two women in the bedroom are dead. One had been dead for some time but the other one was still slightly warm. She only died sometime this afternoon."

Jasmine looked sad and said, "Yes he killed the daughter yesterday. I was supposed to get rid of her body today and didn't have time. He beat me this afternoon for that. I don't know how she did it but the mother made him angry after lunch when he went in for some sex and I heard him beating her then. I tried to help her but he hit me and made me go out to do my chores." She began crying and whimpered, "I tried to help them. I really did Hero John."

John wrapped her in his arms and pulled her to his chest. He held her until she stopped crying then said, "Come on. Let's eat our supper since you have it cooked then we will gather our things and get out of here. There was nothing you could do Jasmine."

Within another hour John and the women were out of the house, had the three remaining horses gathered and pack saddles on them loaded with the items they were taking from the house. They had found some silver and gold dishes and jewelry and a small box of money. The rest of the plunder was weapons and other high value easily saleable items.

When they arrived at the campsite they unsaddled the pack horses and spread their blankets for their well deserved sleep. Just at dawn John woke. He moved to the bushes to relieve himself. When he returned he saw Tessa and Jasmine working over the fire pit making breakfast. He immediately began saddling horses to ride and putting the pack saddles on the pack horses. When he finished his task he moved to the fire and was served his breakfast.

After they had eaten the women cleaned the breakfast plates and utensils, packed meat and bread for lunch while John extinguished the fire. They were on the road headed back the way they had come before the sun was completely up. They did not even stop as they went through the town in which John and Tessa had fought two nights before.

It was almost full dark before John rode off the road and found a place to camp beside another stream. They made a small fire and the women cooked supper while John cared for the horses. Since they were very close to the road John decided they should keep watch that night. He and Tessa split the watch while Jasmine slept the entire night. Luckily no one bothered them. The next morning was a repeat of the one they spent after rescuing Jasmine.

John and the ladies arrived in the town the bank and his mill were in just after noon. He went straight to the mill. They placed Jasmine in the care of Dottie. Tessa stayed to watch over the few items John wanted to keep while he took off to sell the horses and other plunder. Of course him arriving with so many horses to sell did raise some questions but he was already well enough known no one harassed him much about how he obtained them.

After everything was sold John had another 7 Conchs, 20 Shells and 3 Quads to add to his bank account. He also had a handful of Pinches he did not deposit. Some he gave to Dottie in case she needed to purchase something for the mill and the others he planned on leaving in his box when he put his weapons inside it. That way he would not have to take anything from his account when they started their next mission.

John had completed his sales before the bank closed so he and the ladies took their leave of Dottie and made their way to the bank. They told the manager they needed to use John's box and he led them to the room in which it appeared. After the door was closed John placed his finger inside the appropriate hole and the box appeared on the table as it usually did.

John and Tessa placed their weapons and his money in the box along with two saddles and tack they planned on using next time. When he closed the lid the box disappeared and they felt the now normal twisting sensation and saw the flash of bright light. The next thing they saw was a smiling Traci Caretaker rushing toward them.

Traci rushed up to John and wrapped her arms around him. She gave him a hard hug and sensual kiss then, reluctantly, pushed back from him. "Welcome back My Hero and Tessa Companion. " She turned then to Jasmine and said, "A special welcome back to you Jasmine. Please come with me to the healing chamber. We need to make sure you are healthy before you reward our Hero with his due."

Jasmine held back slightly and gave John a beseeching look. He smiled and said, "Go sweet Jasmine. We will be here when you awaken. We all have to go through the healing chamber before anything else."

When Traci returned she looked at John and Tessa and asked, "Are you hungry now or may we do something else until Jasmine is out of the healing chamber?"

John laughed and said, "Traci I know what you want. We all want the same thing I am sure but Tessa and I still have the stench of Chaos on us. Why don't we all shower then have a meal while we wait on Jasmine?"

Traci grinned and grabbed John and Tessa's hands. She pulled them toward the shower almost at a trot. She was in such a hurry to get their clothes off she kept getting in the way and slowing down the procedure. Finally they were all nude and standing under the stinging hot shower heads. Traci flowed into John's arms and pulled him to her. She stood and gave him a deep kiss as she rubbed her breasts and crotch on him.

Tessa moved at once to soap and clean the two lovers and herself. After both their backs were clean Tessa pulled them apart and turned them so she could soap their fronts. When Tessa began soaping John's front Traci turned until she saw the rail affixed to the shower wall. She smiled and reached for it. She bent and held onto the rail with her beautiful ass facing John. She spread her legs and wiggled her ass at John.

Traci looked over her shoulder and licked her lips then begged, "Please my Hero. I can't wait any longer. Please take me!"

John could see Traci's natural juices seeping from her enflamed swollen cunt lips. He pulled Tessa up and gave her a kiss then moved behind Traci. He started to reach for his cock to line it up with the glistening cunt peeking out between Traci's thighs when he felt Tessa grab it. She gently pulled him slightly forward. John let her guide him toward heaven and grabbed Traci's hips. When he felt his cock slot into Traci's love hole he thrust, pulled back slightly and thrust once more. Traci thrust back onto him the second time and he drove all the way home. Traci screamed and her legs trembled as just this one deep thrust drove her over the edge into an orgasm.

John continued driving his cock into Traci as he fucked her through her orgasm. Her legs gave out and John had to hold her up as he continued to thrust. He felt his seed rising and slammed deeply into Traci once, twice, three times more. The final time he pulled her tightly to him and held her legs slightly off the floor. He groaned when his cum rushed from his cock and splattered into Traci. She collapsed with exhaustion onto the shower floor. Tessa partly caught her and eased her, with John's help, onto the warm floor where the still hot shower washed John's seed from her as it seeped out of her burgundy cunt.

Traci moaned and moved slightly. She looked up at John. "Every time. Every time you do that to me I can't believe it. Oh, John I love you so. You make me feel so exceptionally good I cannot believe it. Even after all the times you have made love to me I find it hard to believe all the stories I have heard about the virility of Earth men are true—even more than true."

They heard a deep chime and Traci struggled to her feet. "Come my Hero. The healing chamber is through with Jasmine and we have to get you inside it." She reached out and took John's hand once more and led him out of the shower toward the healing chamber.

Immediately after John was out of the chamber Tessa took her turn. Jasmine was so impatient for her loving that she did not give John a chance to eat a meal. She pulled him from the room containing the healing chamber while Traci was putting Tessa into it. Traci had just closed the lid on the chamber when she heard Jasmine let out a deep guttural scream. She smiled and walked into the bedroom to watch. John continued thrusting, thrusting, slamming his huge, steel hard cock into Jasmine over and over.

Every time John drove his cock into Jasmine her breasts would bounce on her chest and she would grunt out her pleasure. Every few seconds Traci could see Jasmine's pussy contract and Jasmine would stiffen for a moment while yet another orgasm crashed through her. Finally after over thirty minutes of constant thrusting John could hold back no longer. He slammed deeply into Jasmine and held himself to her. His cock contracted and released over and over spewing his seed deeply into Jasmine's willing receptacle. When she felt his orgasm Jasmine felt another huge orgasm roll over her. She arched her back and clawed at John's back while she screamed out her pleasure. The world went black and Jasmine collapsed back onto the bed under John when consciousness left her for a short time.

When John felt Jasmine relax and pass out he rolled gently to the side and collapsed onto the bed beside her. He was breathing so hard and was so short of breath from his exertions he was afraid he was going to pass out also. John watched Traci come rapidly into the room. She lifted her head slightly and said, "One Restorative please."

When the glass full of clear liquid appeared on the side table Traci picked it up and handed it to John. John gratefully took the glass and drank it down in three gulps. He lay back onto the bed and sighed.

John grinned when Traci moved onto the bed and crawled up beside him. He watched in fascination when she held his half hard, slimy cock upward. She moved her head to his cock. John gasped when he felt Traci open her mouth and almost inhale his now hardening cock. Traci sucked him for a short time until he was fully hard then moved to straddle John. She guided his cock into her now dripping pussy and carefully placed the head in her opening. She adjusted her stance slightly until she was sure John was aligned correctly and slammed her ass down onto him. Traci screamed when the pleasure surged through her. She immediately raised herself and repeated the motion. Over and over she raised and slammed her ass down engulfing John's rigid manhood, her movements becoming faster and faster, more urgent as her orgasm came closer. Finally after only about a minute, perhaps even less, Traci slammed down onto John and screamed. She almost immediately collapsed onto his chest. He felt her talented pussy squeezing and releasing his cock while yet another orgasm slammed through Traci.

When the aftershocks stopped throbbing through her cunt Traci raised her head slightly and looked at John. Her eyes were glistening, her face and chest flushed. Traci gave John a gentle kiss and said, "Oh, my Hero. You are so wonderful. I wish I could keep you here always my love."

John smiled and gave Traci a gentle kiss on the nose. He pulled her to him in a gentle hug. John was drifting off to sleep when he felt the bed move and a soft pillowy breast press against his arm. A pair of lips kissed him gently on his cheek and a hand was trying to insinuate itself between Traci and his abdomen. John rolled his head to the left and saw a pair of glistening blue eyes staring gently at him. He could see the lust smoldering within.

Traci also felt the movements and reluctantly pushed herself up, rising from John and the bed as she did so. Once again she ordered a restorative and handed it to John. Almost as soon as he drank the magic elixir John felt himself respond. His exhaustion disappeared and his cock surged to full hardness. He jumped slightly when Jasmine wrapped her hand around him and jacked it a time or two.

John watched Jasmine move over him and place the tip of his cock where she wanted it. She sank slowly down onto him with a deep sigh. "I just knew this would feel wonderful when I saw Traci laying on you with him inside her. I love it so much."

Jasmine began moving slowly, then faster and faster as she drove herself onto John trying to assuage her lust and quench the fires burning in her loins. Over and over again she slammed her pelvis down onto John uttering a moan or shriek when each thrust bottomed out. Neither she nor John heard the insistent chime from the healing chamber. Neither saw or felt Traci leave the bed and let Tessa out of her confinement.

Jasmine slammed repeatedly down onto John until with a final shriek another huge orgasm ripped through her. John reached his peak at almost the same time and let his seed go with a bellow to make a bull buffalo proud. This was the scene Tessa saw when she entered the room following Traci. Tessa and Traci stood smiling at the entwined couple and each other as John and Jasmine drifted off into a deep slumber. Traci took Tessa's hand and pulled her toward the seating area in the other room. She said, "Come Tessa. I would like to talk to you about our Hero and you while they rest."

When Traci and Tessa were seated Traci began talking. She told Tessa the history of Cassandra and how the whole Hero/Damsel operation came to be. Then she said, "Tessa I know I love Hero John. All Caretakers fall deeply, madly in love with their Heroes. It is a hazard and a privilege of the job. Our happiness, perhaps even some of our social standing on Cassandra come from our Hero. If we are lucky enough to have a Hero who does well and has many dramatic rescues his reputation grows as does ours. Our greatest fear is that our Hero will die on a mission or even on Earth. Our second greatest fear is that our Hero will live a lonely life on Earth. Many heroes fall as deeply in love with their Caretakers as we do with them and refuse to find a woman to love on Earth. When that happens we all mourn for the Hero and his Caretaker.

"A caretaker wants her Hero to be happy and content in all parts of his life. She especially wants him to know the happiness fatherhood and a family, a mate for life bring to him. Each caretaker wants her Hero to have an Earthly family and children because to many of us their children and families become ours even if we can never see them.

"Tessa dear, I have seen and felt you holding back when we are with John and the rescued Damsels or when it is just the three of us. I know you care for each other. I can see it and of course our instruments indicate that fact to us also. Tessa it is my dearest wish that you and John become more than just Hero and Companion. Please don't let what happens here on Crossroads color your decision to become a life mate with John. Rise above the jealousies most Earth women have about sharing their man with another. If you cannot do that please leave John so he can perhaps find someone who can love him and raise children with him on Earth."

Tessa sat listening to Traci. Her emotions were in turmoil. She knew what Traci said was correct. In fact it was self evident to her that Traci already loved her John. That was the crux of the whole problem. Tessa had long ago admitted she loved John deeply and wanted his happiness over all else. Not too long in the past her culture had accepted braves with two wives and who spread themselves around. Unfortunately she was more modern in her outlooks, more white than she cared to admit. It hurt her deeply when she saw John making love to another woman and she knew she had to get over it or it would poison their relationship on Earth.

Tessa sighed and said, "I know you are right Traci and intellectually I am fine with it. I know you are not a permanent threat to me because you are here and cannot go to Earth and he cannot remain here. I know John has feelings for me and we get along well together. My problem is getting over his obvious enjoyment of being with you and the Damsel he has rescued." Tessa laughed and continued, "I even know it is a very male thing, that the pussy they are fucking at the time is the most important one in the whole universe until they are done with it at least. I know John understands the difference between here and Earth but it hurts to see him with you or another woman. It hurts a lot."

"Do you love him Tessa? Do you love him above all else? Would you lay your life down for him as he would for you or one of the Damsels?"

Tessa nodded her head yes. "Oh, yes. I even did that on Chaos this time. I was frightened and facing two men trying to protect John. I did not think about my getting hurt, I only thought about keeping him from being hurt."

"Well child, you are almost to the point you should be then. Do you begrudge John's actions when he fights to help or protect someone on Chaos or to rescue the Damsel that is truly in a dangerous situation? Think that he is making love to the Damsel to protect her from a truly sad situation. If he did not make love to her and give her a child she would probably go through life without one and her heart would ache for years with the love it could not give a child. That is all he is doing Tessa. Truly I do not believe most Heroes fall in love with the Damsels and you have nothing to fear from me. I love John much too much to hurt him by taking his happiness on earth from him."

About that time Traci and Tessa heard Jasmine scream in another orgasm. John's loud bellow followed, mixed in with her gasps and groans of pleasure as they once again satisfied one another. Traci smiled at Tessa and held her hand toward her. "Come," she said. "Let's see what happens when we get into bed with them."

The two women undressed and threw their clothes onto the couch where they blinked out of existence. John watched as they walked into the room. Traci quietly whispered to Tessa, "Look at his eyes and face child. Who is he watching?" They crawled onto the bed with John between them. They could hear Jasmine in the bathroom.

John immediately rolled to face Tessa and pulled her to him. He gave her a gentle kiss and said, "I missed you Tess." John gave Tessa a deep kiss and in spite of his exhaustion she felt his cock twitch and begin to rise. It nestled between her legs and she could feel her juices leaking from her pussy. Tessa raised her leg slightly and felt John thrust once then again. She felt the head of his cock slip into her ready hole and she moaned. The angle they were laying at gave John little room the thrust and he could only get the head of his cock into her but Tessa didn't care. John was making love to her.

John pulled her to him again and gave her another kiss as he continued to gently fuck her. He stared into her eyes and said, "I love you Tessa Soaring Eagle." She stiffened slightly and John noticed it. He watched her glance over his shoulder at Traci and sighed. "Tessa I love YOU. Traci is very special to me and I know you understand that but she is here in Crossroads. YOU are here." He pulled her hand to his chest over his heart then continued, "AND you are with me always in my mind and I hope on Earth."

Tessa felt her eyes water and she began shaking with silent sobs. She pulled John to her and said, "Oh, MY HERO. I do love you and I will never complain about your time with Traci."

For the next two weeks while John worked diligently trying to get Jasmine pregnant Traci and Tessa bonded and did research on Chaos. By the time Jasmine announced her pregnancy and John and Tessa had to leave Tessa had more knowledge of Chaos than did many of the lesser known Heroes. When they returned to Earth she intended to help John learn what she knew and become more adept with the weapons they would use on Chaos in the future.

John and Tessa appeared back in his arms room when they came back through the Portal. Old Jake was sitting in a chair with his feet up sharpening his knife when they saw him. He looked sharply at them and smiled. He nodded his head once more and said, "It is good. I see you have laid the demons to rest on this trip granddaughter."

John and Tessa did in fact become a couple on earth and to satisfy his parents and society they did marry shortly after this trip to Chaos. They did several years later buy his cousin's 40 acres of the farm but never enlarged it beyond that. They had almost fifty acres of various types of fruit tree, some strawberries and a large truck garden from which they sold produce. They raised three children together and made sure Traci Caretaker was kept informed about their growth. They never got rich but were always happy with each other and their lot in life. They had enough to support their family well and that was fine with them.

On John's next to last trip to Chaos Tessa did not accompany him as Hero Companion. Instead he took their second oldest child, their son Jake as his Companion. Jake performed well in his duties and seemed to thrive on the danger of Chaos. He was awed and for a while embarrassed by the sex he witnessed between his father and Traci and the rescued Damsel. Traci stretched the rules somewhat and took Jake into her bed a time or two when she saw he was overly excited as the young are wont to be in situations such as this.

On John's 55th birthday he and Jake took John's last trip to Chaos. After their mission he had Jake get his own box and they transferred all John's equipment except for one set into it. John did keep one set of equipment, his favorites, in case he ever decided to undertake one final mission. Traci Caretaker cried when John was getting ready to leave for the final time. As he was going through the portal she said, "I will never forget you my Hero, my love. Remember me with fondness and if you ever decide to have just one more adventure know I will be waiting to take care of you once more. Give Tessa my love when you see her."

John and Jake stepped from the Portal in his arms room and Tessa rushed into his arms. There were tears in her eyes as she wrapped her man in her arms. She hardly noticed when the young woman who had been waiting with her flung herself into Jake's arms also.

Tessa and John walked quietly from the room and did not see or hear the young woman when she pushed back from Jake slightly and said, "So, it's true isn't it? Crossroads and Chaos really exist don't they? I saw you disappear and reappear in front of my own eyes or I would have never believed. Jake I'm going to be your Companion on Chaos just like I intend to be your Companion and wife here on Earth. When are we going on your next mission? I can't wait to meet your Caretaker!"

"Honey you not only get to meet my Caretaker, you get to help me pick one out just like Mom did with Dad. We'll go on our first mission together just as soon as Mom and Dad say we are ready. We have to get you trained a little better before I will take you to that dangerous place."

Allison threw her arms around Jake and gave him another kiss. "I love you so much Honey. Come on. Let's go see your parents now."

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