The Rembrandt Legacy

by Blind_Justice

Copyright© 2019 by Blind_Justice

Science Fiction Sex Story: Some choices are easy. Either face fifteen years in an off-world prison for trying to steal a military battlecruiser or join a crew of interstellar fixers for a hazardous mission. Rembrandt chose the latter and finds much more than he bargained for.

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Mult   Consensual   Mind Control   Lesbian   Hermaphrodite   Fiction   Science Fiction   Aliens   Space   Group Sex   Oral Sex   Violent   .

Author’s Notes:

Heartfelt thanks go out to my lady love, bikoukumori, Etaski, LoquiSordidaAdMe and Voboy, for inspiration, editing, beta reads and for generally being awesome.

Only adult humans and aliens having fun here. There will be futanari. Reader discretion is advised.

“Inmate 34257-alpha.”

The slightly distorted voice roused me from my slumber.

“Inmate 34257-alpha, wake up!”

I sat up and looked around. In front of my cell, behind the stun-field, waited one of the guards. Their blue-and-white armor was built to hide their identity, from the gender-obscuring hardshell plates protecting them from impacts and energy blasts to the faceless mirror visors and voice modulators built into their helmets. Probably done to prevent retaliation if any one of their clients ever got off this icy rock. An orange “52” was painted on the right shoulder pauldron.

My cell was bare, apart from the bunk built directly into the armorgrade wall paneling and a basic set of hygiene facilities. It was as low-tech as they could build it. No electronics, nothing I could tinker with. At least I had working heating. A small shelf along the left wall held my sparse possessions, a dozen tattered paperback books and extra sets of socks and underwear.

“About time,” the guard snarled, lowering his concussion gun. “You have a visitor. Get yourself presentable.”

I chuckled wearily and padded towards the wash basin. The water was lukewarm, but at least there was some today. Maintenance finally had been able to repair the damage a few of the Terran Liberation Army boys had wrought in the waterworks during their latest riot last week. After toweling myself down, I pulled my bright orange work suit from its peg and slid into it.

“Back to the rear wall now, nice and easy,” the guard ordered.

I knew the spiel and obeyed. The last thing I wanted was a shock rod to the stomach. Food was scarce enough and puking out the few energy bars I had for breakfast today wasn’t my idea of fun. I turned my back on the cell and clasped my hands behind my back. The barely audible hum of the force field subsided and I heard the guard step closer.

The power cuff clamped around my neck. I gnashed my teeth. That was the worst bit. Once it activated, it felt as if someone had pulled a sack of gauze over my head. Its like the feeling you have before a major bout of the flu hits, that “I’m a little bit off”. I remembered the prison mentalist explaining it as a “forced disruption” to my metapsionic field. Whatever the cause, it wasn’t pleasant.

And the worst thing? It didn’t work.

The cuffs around my wrists barely registered to me after that.

“Let’s walk,” the guard said, clapping my shoulder.

“You sure the visitor is for me?” I asked the guard as we walked along the corridor of cellblock 13-alpha.

“Yes. The warden’s office knows what they’re doing.”

“Uh-huh.”

I wasn’t so sure about that. In the last month alone, the TLA terrorists locked up alongside us had tried to take over the prison twice, with frightening efficiency. They even killed two guards. So I was a bit skeptical as to the warden’s ability to manage this madhouse. But then, where else would Earth deposit their worst? Ever since the abolition of the death sentence on Earth and the hesitation to adopt the Nor Republic’s system of ‘personality remapping’, Titan was the last stop for the wicked.

My cell neighbor once jokingly cited some ancient reference when we last talked about this. “Remember, we’re not locked up here with them, they’re locked up here with us.”

We trotted through the prison halls in silence. Around this time of day, most of the prison populace was down in the mines, carving tunnels into the ice of Titan’s crust or in the numerous workshops trying to keep the prison ticking along. I was deemed too dangerous to be near any kind of tool or machine, which in essence confined me to my cell.

We reached the visitation area. It was much cooler than the rest of the facility, probably it had been unsealed not too long ago. Few people ever came out here so this area was usually locked up tight and most legal counsel was done via video communication or the VRNet.

The guard steered me towards the only lit and occupied booth. My visitor rose when we approached. She was a female Aquarian, and a stunning one at that.

She wore a dark, asymmetrically cut open business jacket over a semi-translucent full-body suit. Her pelvic area was shrouded by the clothing equivalent of frosted glass, but the rest was open for inspection. Her skin was of a dark blue, almost black on the back of her arms, hands and neck. It faded to a bright sky-blue on her breasts and stomach, and presumably her crotch as well. The suit covered her from the chin down and I could see two sets of gills on her neck open and close rhythmically.

Her hair was of a striking teal with darker, green streaks throughout and she wore it short, with only a few strands going below the high neck of her suit. An expensive, gold-plated comms unit adorned her left wrist and an empty holster was slung around her hips. A surprisingly genuine smile gave her slender, angular face a much-needed touch of warmth, even though the smile never reached her cool, blue eyes. Behind her, on a bench in the booth, a sleek hardshell case stood.

“Ah, there you are. I thought Big Willy didn’t want to let him go. Are the cuffs strictly necessary?” she asked the guard.

Her English was very good, no hint of the strange inflection aliens tended to adopt when they spoke Earth’s semi-official trade language. Or she had a high-end real-time translator. But I didn’t hear any of the delay usually accompanying such devices.

“Procedure, ma’am. Alpha-level inmates have to be restrained and dampened any time they are out of their cells. It’s for your own protection.”

“I’m certain Mister Sharpe won’t do anything foolish. Uncuff him, please.”

“You’d need to sign a waiver and hand it in at the warden’s office,” the guard began.

My mysterious visitor reached into a pocket of her dress jacket and flicked an item the guard’s way. 52’s reflexes were fantastic. He easily sidestepped the item and snatched it out of the air. At the same time, 52’s concussion gun came up. But the battle stance lasted only a moment, until the guard recognized the item. It was a cred chip and 52 pressed the small button on the chip’s side. A small, five-digit display flared up. The gun’s nozzle came down and the chip vanished somewhere in 52’s tool belt. A moment later, the cuffs and the dampening collar were gone.

“Give us some privacy,” my visitor said. “If you have to, you can watch from over there and train your gun on Mister Sharpe.”

“Rembrandt. Or Rem.” I cut in.

“Fine by me. Let’s sit and talk a bit.” With superhuman elegance, she slid onto the bench built into the visitation booth. I took the seat on the other side, opposite her. 52 took up position on the far end of the large visitation hall. And had his gun aimed at me. Paranoid bastard.

When I returned my attention to my visitor, she had placed a few items on the table between us. I recognized a portable holoscreen projector, but the other item was alien to me. She activated the holoscreen and I could see what looked like an Interpol document to me.

“Let’s make sure I got the right guy,” she said, not unfriendly. “Rembrandt Sharpe, age 32. Convicted of grand larceny. Says here you and your colleagues tried to steal a battlecruiser. Recognized as an alpha-level mutant, with the ability to discern and modify technology on an instinctive level. Accurate so far?”

I nodded.

“Mind showing me your stuff?”

A quick glance at the guard fidgeting on the opposite side of the room. “Am I allowed to ask questions?”

“Sure, once I am certain you’re the real deal.” She pushed one of the items my way. It was some kind of disc-shaped object, smooth outside, with a thin band of tech-detail running along the outer perimeter. “I guess you have never seen one of these before?”

“No. No idea what this might be. But I can find out.”

“Go ahead. There’s no rush.”

I took the item in my hands. It was cool to the touch and rattled softly when I moved it. Another glance at the guard, but 52 seemed to be more interested in my visitor than in me. I inhaled slowly. It’s been five years since my arrival on Titan and in this time, they had kept me as far away from any tech-related item as possible. But using my powers, well, giving myself up to them, that was instinctive.

I closed my eyes, let my fingers do the exploring. Every imperfection on the item’s surface, every intricacy of the decoration was a clue, and suddenly it happened. My consciousness compressed until it was only a tiny fraction of a much, much bigger whole. It drifted through an enormous space. Whirling through this space were billions and billions of tiny particles, each one a piece of technology. My hands, still drifting over the object, sent more and more data and the streams of particles thinned, from a deluge to a river to a trickle to a single, shining pearly drop.

Slowly spinning in front of my mind’s eye was the item, or one very much like it. A Grey stasis grenade with a time fuse. And the one I held in my hands was broken, the leads connecting the fuse to the detonating agent had been severed.

All it needed to fix was to apply pressure here and...

My eyes snapped open. The stasis grenade was on the table in front of me, the case neatly folded open like a metallic fruit and my fingers were twitching helplessly. Without a tech kit, I couldn’t mend the item, could not reconnect the leads. And the stasis core was missing. I balled my hands in frustration.

“What’s wrong?” my visitor asked.

I told her.

She laughed, a joyous, tinkling sound. “I would be pretty stupid to bring a live grenade into a supermax facility. But you passed the test. Good job. Only seasoned weaponsmiths and Grey demo techs know about the quick-release latches. You truly are the guy. I know someone who would give both his balls to spend an afternoon with you.”

“Oh? Will I be meeting him?”

“Depends if you take my offer. But first, let me apologize for my lack of courtesy. You can call me Lily Waters, after one of your beautiful Earth plants.”

“Nice to meet you, Lily.”

I reached across the table, offering my hand for a shake. She closed her fingers around mine. Lily wore thin gloves made from the same translucent material like the rest of her suit. As I gently shook her hand, I could feel cool liquid move through the fabric. My mind’s eye tried to overwhelm me with information on Aquarian wetsuits, but I fought down the images, instead concentrating on her. She studied me with a delicately curled eyebrow.

“Am I your first alien?” she asked, a playful purr in her voice.

Remembering to break the handshake, I withdrew my hand. “No. I’m from Unity’s Landing. I’ve seen my share of off-worlders. Gravon, Zuthrian, Grey, Nor. But you’re my first Aquarian.”

She leaned back in her seat, offering a magnificent view of her body. “And? Like what you see?”

“Is this the time or the place for that?” I asked her, prepared for an angry outburst. Instead, she pulled her jacket closer around her shoulders, sat up straight and favored me with another of her smiles. Somehow I seemed to just have passed a test.

“I like your attitude. No, this is neither the right time nor the right place. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind an audience. But the sooner we’re out of here, the sooner you can start paying me back for my generosity.”

“You’re making me awfully curious. And what do you mean by ‘we’re outta here’? Last I checked, I still have fifteen more years-”

She cut me off with an imperious slash of the hand. “I made a generous donation to this prison and in exchange they allowed me to take you with me, provided I get you out of the Terran jurisdiction. You are costing the tax-payers an inordinate amount of money each day you sit in your cell and don’t work in the mines.”

“I presume you’re not doing this out of the kindness of your heart.”

“You presume correctly. I’d like to have you aboard my ship, as a fully-paid crew member. Interested?”

“Let me think. Choice A: Spend the next fifteen years cooped up in a cell, reading the same couple books over and over again, probably die in one of the regularly occurring riots or going insane. Choice B: Flying through space with a mysterious, and might I add, gorgeous Aquarian as a captain.” I favored her with a smile of my own. “Hard choice.”

“So you want to go back to Big Willy?” she asked, a predatory grin on her lips.

“Around here, he’s called Dorgar, and he’s a mean Gravon who eats lesser inmates for breakfast. Thankfully, as an alpha-level mutant, I don’t have to share the shower with common mass murderers.” Much more seriously I added: “Get me out of here, please.”

Her smile became radiant, this time even reaching her eyes. She closed her hand over mine, which had unconsciously played with the broken halves of the stasis grenade, and squeezed it. “I promise you won’t regret it.” She picked up the items and dropped them unceremoniously into her briefcase before standing up.

“I’ll take him, no need to wrap him up,” she airily said to 52. “Can you deliver him to my ship ASAP?”

52 nodded and joined me at the booth. A few moments later, I was cuffed and dampened again and 52 marched me towards the processing area.


Half an hour later, with my few possessions in a vac-sealed plastic bag under my arm, I walked into the prison’s hangar bay. Two heavily armed combat dropships rested on landing pads under the enormous metal dome. The third pad was occupied by a graceful civilian ship. It gleamed creamy-white under the harsh spotlights, an at least four-hundred feet wide all-wing design, nothing but sweeping arches and smooth panels. The hull stretched into a split “tail” which most likely housed the vector-thrust engine modules. On it’s back, three large translucent cupolas allowed for a spectacular view. The name “Lumia” had been pinstriped along the tail.

Next to the lowered entrance ramp, a pale-skinned, purple-haired Nor male waited, arms crossed in front of his narrow chest. A red gem had been affixed to his forehead, right between the eyebrows. He was almost a head taller than me, but probably weighed a good twenty pounds less. Despite his civilian clothes, he had a certain rigid bearing I tended to associate with military types. His holster was empty, like Lily’s had been but when I came to a stop a good arm’s length away from him, I could feel a current radiate off him like a low-intensity force field. His eyes were of an unnerving orange and they studied me curiously, barely blinking.

“You are her latest recruit.” It was an observation, not a question.

“Yes. Rem Sharpe, nice to meet you.” I reached out my hand. He ignored it.

“Praecor Thal. I’m the chief medic and Mentalist on this ship. Before you’re allowed to roam free, I need to make sure you’re not a threat to the ship or the crew.”

I sighed. “Let me guess. A scan tube and a mental exam?”

“Exactly. Any objections?”

“Since you guys seem to know so much about me, why not have my medical records pulled from the prison servers?”

“Because your people have no idea what they’re dealing with.”

“And you do? Even before you’ve met me?”

Praecor made a smart about-face, gestured at me to follow him and strode up the ramp. The ship’s airlock hissed open. I joined him in the narrow chamber. The outer door shut and the airlock cycled quietly.

“You are not as unique as you think. But I’ll explain everything once I have made sure you’re no threat to us. This way.”

The inner airlock doors opened. The interior of the ship was even more luxurious than the exterior suggested. The floor was covered with what looked like precious wood parquet. Everywhere I looked, soothing bright colors covered the ceilings and walls, with indirect lighting emanating from cleverly covered illumination units.

This was a far cry from the ships I had been on, first the ramshackle freighter which my former crew had used to get to the naval refit facility near Mars or the battlecruiser we tried to steal there. No bare metal was visible, and even the Sickbay we eventually entered appeared more like a well-lived in salon than a place where one had to deal with blood, guts and sickness on a regular basis.

One corner of the room had the ubiquitous scan tube, a clear round compartment going from floor to ceiling, with adjustable handrails at around waist level. An operating table, with a dizzying array of medical tools hanging above it, dominated the center of the room and several cabinets and desks lined the remaining walls.

My hands itched as my gaze wandered over all the medical devices and machines. Gnashing my teeth, I fought the impulse to touch and analyze everything. Balling my fists helped too. When I looked up again, I caught Praecor openly studying me with a knowing smile.

“What?” I tried not to snap, but failed miserably.

“You have the urge to know. To touch and learn, right?”

“And to improve and repair, even if there’s nothing broken.”

He nodded sagely. That man was a curious study in contrasts. He moved like a soldier and had the thought processes of a scientist. Aliens.

“Yes. This overlaps nicely with my own research into this topic. Please strip and enter the tube. The sooner we’re done with this, the sooner we can talk. I’m sure you are curious to learn more about your condition.”

“You have no idea,” I said as I shed the bland, grey set of coveralls the prison had given me for the trip to the hangar bay. “Imagine my father’s mood when he found me in the garage, with a completely dismantled 1969 Mustang around me. And I had no bloody clue how it had happened.”

“How old have you been?”

“Twelve.”

“Is that the age when humans begin to mature?”

“Yeah, thereabouts.”

Again that nod. “What happened afterwards?”

I stepped into the tube and grasped the handrails. “You mean when I could walk again after the beating he gave me?”

“Yes.”

I chuckled softly. “I snuck back into the garage and tried to put the car back together.”

“Did it work? You might want to close your eyes.”

I did as he asked and held still as the tube worked. A bone-shaking thrum went through me and even behind closed eyes I could see a bright sliver of radiance cross my field of vision. When the thrumming subsided, I shook my head. “Whatever caused me to meticulously dismantle the car, sort the pieces by size and screw type and pile it up neatly around the garage, it didn’t come back until much later. But I had ran away from home by then. Done?”

“Yes. You may leave the tube and dress again.” Praecor stood next to a desk. Half a dozen holograms of me hovered over the table, displaying layer after layer of my bodily functions and assorted readouts. Circulatory system, bone structure, internal organs and several displays I didn’t understand. “We need to put you on a diet. You are almost twenty pounds underweight and your nutritional balance is a mess. I will give you a synthesis engine program to rectify that.”

I zipped my coveralls up and joined him at the table. “Anything else?”

“The good news is that at least they take inoculation seriously. No pathogens we need to worry about. And curiously, you do not possess any measurable FX level.”

“Odd. The authorities have classified me as an alpha-level mutant.”

“Like I said, your people have no bloody clue what they’re dealing with. You are not a normal psycho-active member of a Precursor species. You are something different. Which is good news for the both of us. I can spare us the hassle of a deep mental scan.” He typed some quick commands into a terminal next to the scanning station and pulled a data chip from it. “Here. Feed this to the synthesis engine in your cabin. About two weeks worth of high-vitamin and high-carb diet should get you back on track. If you experience any issues while on board this ship, don’t hesitate to call on me. Oh, before we go, do you want a contraceptive shot?”

I raised an eyebrow. “That’s a rather personal question, doc.”

He snorted. Was that his idea of a laugh? “I know the female members of this crew well enough. And who knows what opportunities this journey may bring? Besides making you infertile for a year, the shot will protect against any kind of STD you might come across.”

“Sounds neat. Any side effects I should worry about?”

“No. This particular medicine has been cleared for use on your kind. After all, you Terrans are a Precursor species, much like us or the Zuthrians and Gravons.”

“Precursors?”

Praecor pressed an injector against my neck and fired. The high-pressure hypo forced the medicine into my bloodstream. I rubbed the spot on my neck. “Ouch.”

“Better than needles,” Praecor said, shrugging. “Let’s continue this discussion elsewhere.” He slipped a long-barreled gun into his holster, then gestured towards the door. I pocketed the chip he had given me and followed him until we reached what seemed to be the main lounge of the ship.

The room was massive, easily a hundred and fifty feet on the long side and floored with sand-colored stone plates. Four large pillars held up the ceiling. Between them, lowered into the floor, was a thirty-feet across, round pool. It glowed with multi-colored underwater lighting and it seemed to have seats molded into parts of the walls. Lily, fully naked, lounged in one of them, a water-proofed tablet computer in her hand. She waved merrily as Praecor and I entered.

Around the pool, large planters with wide-leafed foliage divided the room into smaller subsections. Along the far wall was a wide, rounded bar and a high-end entertainment set with a large projection space. Behind the bar, a blue-skinned Silician was busy mixing drinks, a glowing data cable connecting her temple with a device underneath the counter. She wore transparent neon-yellow body plating over her breasts, leaving anything below them and above the countertop bare.

Several sets of wide sofas and divans were scattered around the room. One of the seats was occupied by a red-skinned, bald Gravon male wearing an open-front vest and a pair of combat trousers. At around eight feet, his musclebound body dwarfed the furniture around him. He looked up briefly when he noticed us, his hand going to the plasma pistol on his hip. Once he deemed us – or rather me – nonthreatening, he relaxed and returned his attention to the naked holo performers writhing in the space by the bar. A large-breasted Marked Zuthrian, made up to look like a tribe’s Wise Woman was sensuously grinding against a naked Felinoid, her black-skinned hands caressing through the red-and-white tiger-striped fur of the catgirl, kneading her firm breasts. The Felinoid’s prehensile tail was curled around the Marked One’s cock. I tore my gaze away from the lewd display at hand and joined Praecor, sitting down in a seat opposite him. Only then did I look at the ceiling. To my surprise, the cupola overhead showed the blackness of space.

“We have launched already?”

“Of course,” Lily smirked from inside the pool. “I have no desire to hang around a prison any time longer than necessary.” She turned her attention to Praecor and spoke with him in a tongue I didn’t understand.

Praecor nodded, then said in English: “He’s cleared for active duty. I was about to brief him on his abilities, if that’s okay with you.”

“Sure. I want everyone aboard to be in the loop. Carry on.” She returned her attention to her tablet.

The Silician joined us, carrying two glasses. She had removed the data cable and shot me a playful smile. Her hips were covered in another piece of semi-translucent neon-yellow plating, leaving precious little to the imagination. “Welcome to the madhouse, Rembrandt. Do you mind cactus flower flavored juice?”

“No, not at all. I don’t think any kind of alcohol would be a good idea. I do weird stuff when I lose control. Like disassemble whole weapon systems.”

“Here you go then. Your usual Supernova, Praecor?” She held out a small container, not much more than a whiskey glass in size, filled with a drink which went from white and frothy on top to an almost sinister red at the bottom.

“Are you so desperate to lay me, Cosina?” Praecor shot her a wry smile and took the drink, carefully sipping on it. Going by his scowl, that Supernova must pack quite a punch.

“I wouldn’t mind a round or two with you, doc,” the Silician said with a chuckle. “I’ll leave you to your current consultation. But do hurry. I have a massive case of the hots.” She bent low and brushed a kiss onto Praecor’s cheek. The Nor scowled again and brushed her away. Only when she was walking back to the bar did he allow himself a fleeting smile.

“Where were we?” he asked.

“You wanted to explain this whole ‘Precursor’ thing.”

“Ah, yes. I’m surprised they don’t teach it in your schools already. It’s common knowledge everywhere else.”

“In academic circles,” Cosina added from behind the bar. “Don’t let our rogue Mentalist fool you, Rembrandt.”

Praecor sighed. “May I?” When no more interjections came, he went on. “Several hundred thousand years ago, a major alien species had settled this sector of space. They didn’t leave behind a name for their kind, despite everything else they did, so everyone now calls them ‘Precursor’.”

“What’s so special about them?” I asked, sipping my own drink. After five years of recycled, often metallic-tasting water, this simple glass of juice was heavenly and I intended to make the most of it.

“The Precursors were a highly advanced race. From your point of view, you even might call them ‘godlike’. They had advanced the science of genetics to an absurd level. Don’t get me wrong, their other exploits are nothing to sneeze at, but their skill at genetics is the true marvel here. When they arrived in this sector of space, they seeded several star systems with complete ecosystems, from the tiniest microbes to the most advanced species.”

I openly laughed at him. “Are you suggesting all life was created by these mysterious ancients? I mean, our scientists have proof that life on Earth-”

“Grew from tiny microbes in the Ur-oceans of your world?” Praecor chuckled. “And a lucky coincidence caused them to evolve into higher life forms? Give me a break. That has to be a LOT of coincidences, because that’s pretty much how life seemed to have started on Norwan and Gravo Prime as well. The Zuthrians have no idea how their pre-history panned out because they bombed themselves back into the Dark Age five thousand years ago, destroying any scientific records they might have had. But I’d wager a few thousand credits that even their ancestors crawled out of the subterranean oceans on Zuthras Prime. See the pattern here?”

“That’s...” My head reeled. “So you want to say that humanity ... that Earth was a Petri dish for some alien scientists?”

“Yup, pretty much.” Praecor took another sip from his drink. “We all are living proof that environment shapes ability. Norwan is an idyllic garden world with few predators, so we had ample time to refine our science and culture. Gravo Prime is a high-g world and Gravons are notoriously hard to kill, plus exceptionally strong. Zuthras Prime is a harsh desert world, so the Zuthrians are adept at surviving hot and often irradiated climates. Makes them fantastic warriors too.”

“How come Zuthrians have three genders?” I asked him, pointing at the holovid near the bar. The Marked Zuthrian kneeled behind the happily mewling Felinoid, thrusting deep into the catgirl’s pussy. It didn’t take much to imagine the wet, sloppy sounds they would make, but thankfully the volume was muted.

“That’s got nothing to do with the Precursors and all to do with the Zuthrians loving their nuclear weapons so much. It’s basically a mutation.”

“A fun one,” Lily snickered from her seat in the pool. “Remind me to add one to our crew at the next Waystation.”

“So, what’s our specialty then?” I asked, mildly irritated.

“The jury is still out on that,” Praecor admitted. “Maybe your species was intended as a control group. Who knows? It’s still too early to tell. The Nor stumbled over Earth only fifty years ago and we’re still trying to figure you out. Anyway, looping back to the beginning of this explanation, the end result is that all Precursor species are compatible with each other.”

“More or less,” the Gravon chuckled. “Some of them are a bit tight.” He caressed the pronounced bulge in his pants.

“What about the Grey and the Silicians?”

“They have evolved on their own and are of little concern right now.”

“Hey! I’ve heard that!” Cosina complained.

“Now, coming back to you,” Praecor went on, ignoring Cosina’s outburst. “You, my Terran friend, are what those in the know call a ‘Precursor Legacy’.”

“Huh?”

“I thought my command of the English language would be sufficient,” he snarled. “Precursor. Legacy.”

“No, you misunderstand. I heard the words. But what do they mean?”

“In short? You are living data storage, with a rather narrow area of expertise.”

I pulled the chip from its pocket and held it up. “Like this?”

“More like a specialized kind of worker ant,” he said. “You have the knowledge and the skills to work in a particular capacity. Like an engineer.”

“How is this even possible? And am I the only one?”

“My med scan showed some highly unusual properties of your DNA. The information seems hard-coded right into the foundation of your body. But please calm down. It’s not like a terminal illness. In fact, with a bit of training, you will get quite a lot of mileage out of it. If you want, that is.”

“You are the only one aboard our ship,” Lily added, “but not the only Legacy. Consider this: Have you ever heard about people who seem to have an uncanny knack for a particular skill set? Master coders? Financial geniuses? The best athlete ever? There are high chances any one of them could be a Legacy.” She leaned over the rim of the pool, a naked, wet alien goddess. My anger melted away as my hormones stirred.

I took a deep breath and a sip form my drink, considering her point.

“Well, Earth’s history is filled with tales of legendary people. Inventors, generals, entrepreneurs so far ahead of their time, it’s unreal.”

“See? You’re in illustrious company then.” She favored me with a radiant smile and sank back into the waters.

“Yeah, I feel very special. The criminal technician who gets caught hands-deep in the control console of a half-refitted battlecruiser.”

“I bet you simply forgot to disable the tamper failsafes first. It’s usually the tiny things that break the biggest plans.” Cosina said mildly.

“It wasn’t the first starship we stole,” I complained.

“But the first military vessel?”

“Yeah.”

Praecor touched my arm, yanking my attention his way. “How much training do you have?”

I laughed bitterly. “There are no mutant training facilities outside the comics. I can activate it somewhat reliably when I’m calm and I know how to keep the urge down, but that’s pretty much it. To say I’m in control would be stretching it.”

“Lucky for you then that you’ve met us,” the Nor said, a genuine smile on his lips. “You may not be a conventional psionic, but I’m sure many techniques they teach at the Mentalist Corps academy will work for you. Training begins tomorrow, at eight-hundred ship time.” He clapped my shoulder and shot me a fierce grin. “We will have so much fun together.” Praecor rose and left.

I watched him go, then asked no one in particular: “Now what?”

Lily paddled to the far end of the pool and pulled herself from the water, which cascaded in shimmering rivulets off her dark blue skin. Feeling my eyes on her, she shook her curvy butt before picking up her translucent suit and put it on. She knelt at the edge of the pool, dipping both hands in the water. I heard a soft whir, probably a suction pump filling the suit with water. She rose and went around the pool.

“Let me show you to your cabin, help you get settled in.”


I stood and stared open-mouthed like an idiot.

“What, you don’t like it?” Lily asked, leaning against me. Her arm went around my lower back and she pulled me over the threshold.

The cabin in front of me was bigger than the cell I had spent the last five years in. Heck, it was bigger than the roach-infested cellar flat I had called “home” near Unity’s Landing’s spaceport. Like the rest of the ship, it was bright, airy and built with an eye towards understated elegance. Centerpiece of the room was a lavish bed, big enough for three. A matching desk and chair completed the obvious furniture, but I saw several gently glowing touchpads on the walls. There also was a wood-covered sliding door opposite the entrance. A keyboard-and-projector combo unit stood on the desktop, waiting to be played with.

I jerked upright when Lily’s hand groped my butt. She pulled away and opened the cabinets.

“Here’s the synthesis engine. Don’t overdo it with the free drinks please. And here’s ample space for both your wardrobe and kit. On our way to our destination, we’ll visit Waystation 81.”

“What, to add a Marked Zuthrian to your crew?”

Lily giggled. “Yes, that too. But mainly to treat you to some nice clothes and a decent kit. I can’t have you run around the Lumia in these cheap synth-rags.”

“Speaking of crews. What exactly am I here for?”

The panels hissed shut. Lily finished her tour of the room by opening the door opposite the entrance. A small, but well-furnished bathroom beckoned.

“Straight and to the point. I like you already, Rem.” With swaying hips, she returned to where I was standing, still near the entrance, and took my hand. Not sure what she was up to, I nevertheless allowed her to guide me. I didn’t have to walk far. Lily indicated the chair and I took the seat. She slithered onto the bed. The thin film of water coursing in her suit produced mesmerizing reflections under the light whenever she moved and I had to force myself to look at her face, not her breasts or elsewhere. It was harder than I anticipated. But I was professional enough to at least try and not offend my new boss.

Our eyes met. Hers sparkled playfully and her lips curled in a mischievous grin. “Do you want to take a quick cold shower before we begin? I’d wash your back if you want.”

“I may not look like it right now,” I admitted, adjusting the crotch of my coveralls, “but I’d like to hear more about what I’ll be doing here.” Besides eventually fucking your brains out.

Again that feeling as if I just had passed a test. Only this time, she didn’t cover herself. Instead, she melted onto the mattress perpendicular to me, her intense azure eyes fixed on me, her chin resting on her arm.

“We’re mercenaries, Rem. Or hired thugs, depending on who you ask.”

“Which reminds me. Who else is on this ship besides me, you, Praecor, Cosina and the Gravon?”

“You mean Crush?”

A snort of laughter escaped me. “Crush? Really? Sounds like a BattleDome performer.”

Her grin widened. “You’d be amazed. He was a Battledome performer, in between his stints as bounty hunter and bouncer in a Felinoid brothel. The name stuck. Let’s see. You already know Praecor, and I’m sure by the time he’s through with you, you’ll hate his guts. But he’s the best damn psionic I could find. No wonder. He defected from the Mentalist Corps. They only take the best to begin with.

“Then we have Cosina. Picked her up on Waystation 21, where she worked as a stripper to pay off her debt to a local loan shark. Turns out she had squandered away his fortune in some ill-advised stock trading scheme. She sucks at finance, but her coding skills are second to none. She’s the one who found you. Go say ‘thank you’ when you have the time.” Her gaze rested on my crotch as she said that and I felt a huge blush coming on.

“Vaelia, our pilot, is a former Zuthrian navy girl. One case of insubordination too many. Blasted a Grey slaving vessel to shreds without authorization. Flawless tactical mind and one hell of a shot. Dug her out of a quartz mine.”

“Does this ship have weapons?” I asked.

Lily snorted in disgust. “What do you think? Well-hidden, of course. Two disintegrator cannons, one EMP emitter and two torpedo tubes stocked with warp rounds.” She put on a coquettish smirk. “A girl can’t be too careful these days.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these all either restricted or straight-up illegal?”

She shrugged. “Of course they are. The good stuff always is. For that matter, I’m pretty sure the Zuth’s would dearly love to know where one of their jump drives had sauntered off to.”

Now I was truly impressed. Zuthrian jump drives were the wet dream of every spacer. They allowed instantaneous “hops” of up to fifty light years at a time, while every other species used conventional faster-than-light travel or, if the system was connected, the Nor TransNet, a network of ‘warp tunnels’ which allowed for greatly accelerated movement. The downside to the TransNet was the reliance on fixed entry and exit points with no means of entering it at will. The Zuthrians knew what kind of tactical advantage they had and tried to keep them off the market. With varying degrees of success, going by Lily’s boast.

“What does this ship not have?” I asked.

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