Chapter 9

Copyright© 2000 by Al Steiner

Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic Story: Chapter 9 - When Comet Fenwell crashes into the Pacific Ocean one October day, it spells the end for most of humanity. Those that survive find themselves in a greatly changed world filled with different morals and the same old urges.

Caution: This Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Ma/ft   Fa/ft   Consensual   Reluctant   BiSexual   Science Fiction   Post Apocalypse   Group Sex   Sex Toys   Violent   comet crashes into earth story, end of civilization story

It had been twelve days since they had observed the strange battle for Garden Hill and Lieutenant Bracken's platoon was now nearly in sight of home. Weary from more than three weeks out in the field, they emerged from the heavily wooded hills above town and onto the black surface of Interstate 80, near an exit sign for Bell Road, which skirted the edge of the foothill community. Less than a mile ahead of them was the outer defensive perimeter for the town, a perimeter that was aligned along the Foresthill Road exit, which led to the strategic bridgehead that they held. Bracken, lingering in the rear as he usually did, knew that the guard positions ahead had probably already sighted his men.

"Keep it slow up there, Stu," he said into his radio, talking to the sergeant of the squad that was on point. "We wouldn't want to get shot at by our own sentries, would we?"

"Slowing up," Stu's voice answered back a moment later.

This had been a good trip in many ways, not the least of which was the discovery of the vulnerable and seemingly rich Garden Hill community. It had also given Bracken more opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of Stu and his people. There had been some doubts raised about how the former convicts would fit in with the militia's operations. Though he was perhaps overly aggressive on certain matters, and though his squad, which was made up of the ten best of his men, were constant disciplinary problems, Stu had kept them under control and had followed the commands that were given to him. In all, he seemed a satisfactory leader with a fairly keen sense of tactics and strategy. He had performed well in combat conditions when they'd taken Colfax prior to this deployment, and he had done equally well on the long-term recon mission they'd just finished.

"I'm switching over to the hailing channel for a minute," Bracken radioed to Stu. "Stand by for movement orders."

"Standing by," Stu replied.

Bracken dialed in the switch on his short-range radio to channel five, which was dedicated for communications between approaching friendly troops and the guards. He keyed up. "Auburn perimeter, the is third platoon, reporting in from Interstate and Bell."

"Ten-four, third platoon," came a voice back. "I see you out there. Who am I talking to?"

Of course corporal Hansen, who was in charge of the eastern perimeter force, knew exactly who he was talking to, but procedure was procedure. He had to establish that it was his own troops approaching and that they were not under duress of any kind. Failure to do so would have earned Hansen three days in solitary confinement for a first offense, banishment for a second. "This is Lieutenant Bracken here. All members of the platoon are present and accounted for. No prisoners or supplies."

"Understood, Lieutenant," Hansen replied. "What is the password you were given upon departure?"

"Hydroshock," Bracken replied.

It took a moment for Hansen to look that up in his codebook but finally he confirmed it. He gave third platoon the go-ahead to come in. Bracken thanked him and then switched back to his tactical frequency. He gave Stu the order to move in and a moment later all forty men started walking down the blacktop.

They came to the main line of defense ten minutes later. The Interstate passed between two rolling hills before descending into the town. Atop of each of the hills were sandbagged emplacements where two-man teams of guards armed with rifles and automatic weapons kept watch on those approaching. The rifles had come from either personal stocks or from the town's gun and bait shop. The automatic weapons had been taken from the Placer County Sheriff's Department building (more than one of the militia members had once been with the PCSD). At the narrowest point of the road itself, the way was hampered by an extensive maze of sandbags and barbed wire. Stu's squad entered the maze and worked their way through it in less than three minutes, the rest of the platoon following. It was relatively easy to walk through the maze and get to the other side as long as nobody was shooting at you from the hillside above. Had the platoon been hostile however, not a single man would have made it through alive.

Once on the other side of the maze they continued down the Interstate. The town of Auburn had once been much bigger, both in geographic size and population. Like so many other mountain or foothill communities, the bulk of the male population had been down in the valley when the comet had struck and the bulk of the town itself had been either washed away or flooded. A little bit of the downtown district had survived but virtually everything north of the Interstate, which included the ritzy Auburn Gully area, had been buried for all time. What survived had been the lower rent district on the south side of the freeway, which consisted mostly of smaller houses, a few apartment complexes, and several strip malls.

As they entered the town itself teams of women could be seen moving here and there, performing their daily chores. In Auburn the women, who outnumbered men by approximately four to one, did all of the day to day chores such as wood gathering, food gathering, and, of course, laundry, childcare, and cooking. This left the men free to handle such duties as guard detail, weapons maintenance, and militia operations. This division of labor was not just a matter of the townspeople following traditional gender roles, it was a law, handed down by Colonel Barnes himself, and it was strictly enforced. In the new world that followed this one women would know their place and would be kept in it.

Third platoon marched to Auburn High School, which stood on a small hill overlooking the canyon, and assembled on the soggy soccer field, all of them standing at rigid attention. Bracken put them at ease and then gave a short speech lauding the success of their mission. He then ordered them into the gym for weapons cleaning and storage. This took the better part of an hour to accomplish. Once all of the ammunition was accounted for, all of the rifles and pistols stripped, cleaned, reassembled, and placed in locked storage, Bracken dismissed them, telling them to get themselves cleaned up.

Most went with enthusiasm, anxious to wash the mud off of their bodies and find their women. Being out in the field for three weeks without any females made one extremely horny. And many of the men had negotiated trades of one wife for another while they were gone and were anxious to try out their new acquisitions. Such trading of women had evolved in the town over the past two months and was now the most popular subject of conversation, at least among the men. Colonel Barnes, who had initially been somewhat reluctant to allow such a thing, had finally seen the wisdom of it and given the go-ahead. Since then, some women had been traded four or five times, being passed from one male to another like a baseball card. For their part the women were learning to live with it. After all, what else could they do? Where else could they go? It was the Auburn way or starvation.

Bracken took another hour to clean himself up and change into fresh clothing (as well as assure his four wives that he had not traded any of them on this trip). One he was presentable he donned his rain jacket and ventured outside, making the short walk back to the high school. Two armed guards stood outside of the administration office, the interior of which blazed with electric light that was provided by the diesel generator at the back of the building. The guards, a private and a corporal, both straightened up and gave him a sharp salute.

"Good afternoon, lieutenant," the corporal barked with crisp military courtesy.

"At ease," Bracken said after returning the salute. "I'm here to see Colonel Barnes for mission debrief."

"Yes, sir," the corporal replied. "I'll pass your request along, sir." With that, he picked up a portable radio and keyed it, talking to Sergeant Lovell, who was Barnes' assistant. A few minutes later, Bracken was given permission to enter the building and go to the main office.

"Thank you, corporal," Bracken said, snapping off one more salute in return to the two that were offered him. He then mounted the steps and went inside.

Colonel Gregory Barnes was fifty-three years old and had been both the founder and the leader of the pre-comet Placer County Militia Group, an organization that been very high on the FBI's "keep-an-eye-on" list. A West Point graduate from the Class of 1969, Barnes had cut his teeth leading platoons into battle in the dying days of the Vietnam War. Following this he had been first a company commander and then a battalion commander in the 7th Light Infantry Division. Though his tactical thinking and his leadership ability had been top-notch throughout his military career, his political savvy had not. He had stagnated at the rank of Major, finally forced to retire in 1992 in the wake of the Persian Gulf War and the resulting downsizing of the military. Using his military pension he had opened Auburn Bait and Guns in his hometown, taking on the role of small-town businessman.

A staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights, Barnes had slowly turned from the blind patriot he had been his whole life to an anti-government militia organizer. His views were fueled both by the year by year crackdowns on the weapons he sold and by the strong-arm tactics employed by federal forces at such places as Ruby Ridge and Waco. He became convinced that a revolution would soon occur in his country - a forcible return to the traditional values that made the country great - and that the feds, in an attempt to derail this revolution, were conspiring to deprive all Americans of their right to bear arms. The PCMG, founded in 1996, had been his response to this, and there had been no shortage of volunteers to join in such a town as Auburn. And now, though the revolution had never materialized, its evolution interrupted by the chunk of ice from space, its ideals were needed more than ever. America would have to be rebuilt and this time, Barnes vowed, it would be done right.

Maintaining control of the town after the impact and the disaster that followed, had not been difficult. He and his militia members had already been the second-best armed group of people in town, the first being the Placer County Sheriff's department. While the various members of the sheriff's department had been out trying to deal with the catastrophe or return to their houses to check on their loved ones, he and his men (many of whom had been "between jobs" on the day in question) had simply assembled and seized the building, capturing all of its weapon stores without firing a shot. Following the seizure eight of the fifteen deputies that had worked there on that day had joined his ranks voluntarily. The rest had been shot and tossed into the canyon to keep them from organizing a competing group. The townspeople of Auburn, most of whom were women, unemployed men, or small business owners, had fallen right into line after that. What choice did they have? Barnes and his group offered safety and stability; they offered food and shelter. The only alternatives were death or the unknown fate that awaited those outside the town.

Barnes was a harsh disciplinarian but he liked to think that he was fair. Everyone, men and women alike, were expected to pull their weight for the food they consumed. There would be no welfare in his new society. And, though women were not allowed to work at male oriented jobs and though men were allowed to trade them back and forth, it was against the town's law to rape or to beat a woman without just cause. What could be fairer than that? Everyone had his or her role in society and as long as they played by the rules, everyone got along and was treated well. Those who did not play by the rules - those who were lazy, who were rebellious, who complained about his laws - were dealt with harshly, in a manner that would serve as an example to others. It was the only way to keep order in this new reality.

Barnes' office was on the top floor of the administration office, where the heat provided by the propane-fired system was greatest. When Bracken entered he was sitting behind his oak desk going over some inventory figures on a computer terminal.

"Lieutenant Bracken reporting for mission debrief," Bracken said, giving a salute.

Barnes returned the salute almost absently, without even standing up. "Have a seat, Lieutenant," he said.

Bracken took the chair in front of the desk, setting down a digital camera he had used to snap shots of Garden Hill and a folder full of maps that he had made. The debriefing began. Barnes listened carefully, not asking many questions, as his subordinate described his mission in chronological order, sometimes using his maps or photos of the area that he put into the computer. He nodded from time to time but his face did not change expression at all, not even when the battle with the group of hunters was described. Only when Bracken was finished did he show any interest at all.

"So you think that there are how many people in Garden Hill?" he wanted to know.

"We couldn't get an accurate count of course," Bracken replied. "But maybe two hundred adults, mostly women. I don't believe that there are more than thirty men there, even before the attack killed some of them."

"And the women are attractive?"

"From what we could tell by looking through the binoculars."

Barnes nodded thoughtfully. "More breeding and trading stock," he said. "We can always use that around here. What about food stocks?"

"Impossible to tell. It looks like they have all of it stored in the community center. They always gathered in there to eat and we never saw anyone carrying food over there from elsewhere."

"But they sent out no hunting parties, no gathering crews?"

"Not a single time," Bracken said. "The only time anyone left the walled portion of the town at all was when they manned the defenses near the bridge."

"They must have a full cupboard indeed," Barnes said. "It sounds like Garden Hill will be a worthwhile target for our attentions. You think a company of troops will be needed to take it?"

"I think so," Bracken said. "As I told you, their defensive positions are a joke. If not for a little bit of good luck, those untrained barbarians that attacked them would have taken the town themselves."

"But you also say that their commander, this man our convict friends are acquainted with, was able to rally the people into a formidable defense?"

"I'm only assuming that it was him that did it," Bracken said. "We have confirmation that he was there but I don't know who is leading them. In answer to your question however, they were able to put up a well-executed defense of their community center. It was obviously coordinated and the groups were put in exactly the perfect places considering the terrain they had to work with."

"And how does this factor into your estimation of force needed?"

"That is why I want a complete company to make the attack," Bracken said. "Good defensive execution or not, I don't believe they'll be able to stand up to 160 armed men. Of course, ideally, I will be able to make contact with them and convince them to surrender to us like we did the convicts at Foresthill and the people at Beacher's Grove."

"Yes," Barnes agreed, "that would be best for all concerned. Especially since they are using their women as soldiers. It would be a shame to have to kill good females just to take the town."

"And I think that this man the convicts told us about, this man who probably coordinated the defense, would be a valuable asset to us as well. If he could be convinced to join our side he may eventually rise to command a platoon or a company in the militia."

"Oh, I think we could convince him," Barnes said. "A man like that would understand power, and we are the power in this region. And when he considers the alternative to joining, why wouldn't he?"

Bracken gave a doubtful look. "He might be like those men in Colfax and Georgetown." At those two towns, after their surrenders, a handful of the men had chosen death rather than the militia way of life. Though it was common for the women to protest their new reality at first, the fact that men would do so was perplexing to many of the militiamen. Wasn't it the ideal world they were being offered? A world in which men were the kings and women were the property?

"If he's like them," Barnes said coldly, "then we'll just have to do without him. If he doesn't realize the opportunity we represent, then we're better off without him anyway."

"Yes, sir," Bracken agreed.

"Okay," Barnes said, cracking his knuckles. "We have 2nd and 4th platoons out hitting Grass Valley right now. They left three days ago so we can probably expect them to return in about two weeks. As soon as they get back and get rested up, I'll assign them to you, add 1st platoon, and put you in charge of the Garden Hill operation. I'd like to see detailed plans by day after tomorrow for your assault on the town if such a thing becomes necessary."

"I'll have them to you by tomorrow," Bracken said. "With those pitiful defenses they have, its no more than a matter of pouring fire on their guard positions with one platoon while the rest breach the wall."

The lean-to's had been built and the light was rapidly fading from the sky. Brett, Michelle, Jason, and Matt had just finished their dinner of canned pork and beans and were sitting in the relative dryness of the shelters they had constructed. Their weapons were within easy reach and their flashlights had just been energized with fresh batteries. It was their eighth night in the wilderness, twenty days since the bloody attack on Garden Hill by the hunters.

"So you think we'll get there tomorrow?" Matt asked hopefully as he puffed on a cigar. He, like Brett, had developed a considerable growth of beard since their departure. Unlike Brett however, it made him look disturbingly Manson-like.

"If I'm reading these maps right," Brett answered, "and if we keep up the pace we're maintaining, we'll get there by late morning or early afternoon."

"Thank God for that," Michelle said a little sourly. She was not enjoying her little adventure outside the walls of Garden Hill.

The "there" they were referring to was the town of Cameron Park, or specifically, the Cameron Park airport. It was there, Paul had told Brett on that fateful night, that the California Highway Patrol had kept and maintained H-22, the patrol and medivac helicopter assigned to the northern mountain division. Though H-22 had not been the primary helicopter that CDF fire station 2417 had used to air-lift patients, nor had it been the closest, Brett had chosen to make the effort to recover it instead of the closer Cal-Star bird that had been based in Auburn.

The reasoning behind this was twofold. First and foremost was the fact that Cal-Star was not very likely to be intact or recoverable. The Auburn Airport, where the chopper was based, had been located right next to the Auburn town reservoir according to the maps. It seemed almost a given that the airport would now be under no less than six feet of floodwaters. By contrast the Cameron Park airport was located atop a plateau that stood nearly two hundred feet above the town itself. Though Cameron Park was probably buried under tons of mud and water, there was a better than even chance that its airport was still standing. In addition to the likelihood of H-22 still being there, it was also a more desirable chopper to have. Though the Cal-Star bird was bigger, that was not necessarily an advantage. Helicopters were very high maintenance machines and there were no helicopter mechanics in Garden Hill; Brett, who was not the most mechanically inclined person in the world, would have to do it himself. As such, he would be much more likely to be able to keep the single engine on the CHP helicopter running for any length of time than he would the two engines on the Cal-Star helicopter.

Brett, upon hearing about the possibility that there might be a running helicopter within reach of Garden Hill, had been very anxious to set out and find it. With a helicopter at their disposal, gathering food, hunting, and defense would all became much less of a challenge. Only the pressing need to boost up the town's defensive plan while public opinion had been in his favor had kept him from setting off the very next morning.

As it was, he was glad he had taken the time to do so. It made him much more comfortable leaving town with a squad of his best warriors. In the twelve days between the attack and his departure, he had run sixteen volunteers through his two-day training program and had another sixteen scheduled to go through upon his return. Though, due to shortages, they had not been able to expend as much training ammunition as he would have liked, his first group had shown considerable promise and a willingness to learn that had been unheard of prior to the attack. There was nothing like the shock of an armed invasion to jolt people into action. Seeing the grisly display of burying the bodies of their dead had added an additional jolt, particularly the corpses of Mitsy, Jeff, and Lenny. Not only were the townspeople more eager to sign up for guard duties now, they were considerably more alert during them, even on the night shift.

The static defenses had also been greatly improved prior to his departure. While it was true that there were still quite a few things that needed to be done, the basic upgrades had been constructed and were in full operation. On the hills overlooking the town, four large emplacements had been dug and surrounded by sandbags full of dirt and then covered with mud and pine branches to camouflage them. Each emplacement was strong enough to withstand a close mortar round hit and was capable of housing six people, their weapons, and their ammunition, although typical staffing was only two at a time. Carefully constructed ports in the sandbags were used both for lookout positions and to fire through without danger of being struck by return fire. Each position was equipped with a radio, one of the automatic weapons (except for the bridge approach, it was only given an AR-15) and two hundred rounds of ammunition. This was in addition to the standard issue of a scoped hunting rifle for long-range shots.

So far, with sixteen more people trained up, he was able to keep at least one in each guard position at all hours. In addition, those of his trained force who were off duty at any particular time were given both a rifle and a pistol to keep in their houses. They would be a fast-action team, their instructions to report quickly to the community center for deployment in the event of another attack. Their call to arms would be the wailing of the fire engine's siren, the sound of which all sixteen lived in range of. From the community center they could be moved to wherever they were needed, either as reinforcements for the guard positions or as a mobile force to block a penetration attempt. Brett thought the town would now easily be able to handle an attack up to twice the size of the one that had already hit them without allowing the attackers inside the wall.

Jessica, during all of this frantic digging and building activity, had been strangely quiet with everyone, not trying to regain the favor she had lost, not trying to reestablish her place in the town. The investigation into her activities had been put on hold for the time being so that more important things could be taken care of, and she remained on suspension from the town council, but she did not protest this either officially or in a gossip circle. She had been assigned to digging detail both for the bodies of the dead and for the defenses and she had done these jobs unprotestingly and well, not quite being a part of the camaraderie that developed between the other workers, but not being a nuisance either. Brett, as well as several others, found themselves vaguely uncomfortable with this new Jessica. It was too out of character for her. The general consensus was that she was up to something, although no one could hazard a guess as to just what that might be.

He supposed it was possible that the attack had had the same effect on her that it seemed to have on everyone else. Anything was possible. If the other women could go from demanding Brett's or Stacy's exile one day for corrupting minors to demanding the public hanging of the captured prisoner the next, why couldn't Jessica? If the other women could go from disdaining any work in which they might break a fingernail to enthusiastically digging trenches in the side of hills or crawling around on their bellies in the mud as part of Brett's training, couldn't Jessica make a similar transformation? Was she completely beyond redemption? Brett didn't know. Neither did anyone else. He vowed however, to keep an eye on her as time went by. She might be playing nice now, but he didn't trust her.

As had been the case during their previous trek through the woods, Jason was the first to undress and climb into his sleeping bag. Before complete darkness could envelop them, he was snoring away contentedly, his AR-15 next to him. Michelle and Matt watched this with envy. They were both having considerable trouble sleeping at night, unaccustomed as they were to the hard ground and the cold, damp air.

"It's amazing how fast he can fall asleep," Matt said, shaking his head a little. "And he sleeps like that all night long. I know, because I hear him snoring while I'm laying awake."

"Little bastard," Michelle said jokingly. "If I can get two broken hours a night, I consider myself lucky."

Brett, who did not have a lot of trouble sleeping outside, kept mute. He yawned and stretched a little, shifting the AK-47 on his lap. Another thing that the attack on the town and his follow-up speech had accomplished was to take the pressure off of Jason and Stacy. They had been living together in apparent harmony, sharing the same bedroom, walking hand in hand on the streets in daylight, and nobody said a thing about it, not publicly, or even, as far as Brett had heard, privately either. Not only was he left alone to pursue happiness, as it were, he was treated with considerably more respect. Most of the townspeople had ceased treating him as a child to be coddled, protected, and sheltered from the unpleasantness of the world. They stopped calling him "hon" and "sweetheart" and "little dude" and started calling him by his name. He had even told Brett that his guard duty partners - all of them men much older than he (for the time being, the same sex on guard detail rule remained in effect) - were even asking him serious questions about tactics and deployment. With a woman in his life and newfound respect from those around him, Jason seemed to be quite happy these days. The only sour part in his life had been the extended fight he had had with Stacy about coming on the helicopter acquisition mission. He had been the first to volunteer and he had done so without consulting his better half first - a common mistake made by those new to intimate relationships. For three days prior to the departure it seemed that two lovers were not speaking to each other much. But things seemed to have worked out in the end. As they had assembled on the bridge to begin their trip eight days ago, Stacy had been there right alongside Chrissie and Maureen, Matt's official woman, tears in her eyes. She had given him a big hug and a kiss, telling him to be careful and to come back safe. He had promised that he would.

"I really hope we find that friggin' chopper when we get there," Matt said, his hand massaging the part of his shoulder where his heavy pack bit into it. "I'm not too keen on marching back another eight days."

"Actually, it would be more like twelve days," Brett felt compelled to point out. "Remember, we've been going downhill. Gravity has been working for us. On the way back, it would work against us."

"Well you're just Mr. Silver Lining, aren't you?" Michelle asked with a groan.

"Sorry," Brett said, anything but.

"I just feel so far from home out here," she told him. "And some of the things we saw." She shook her head, trying to keep the images from taking her away. "I can't believe how lightly we took the thought of exiling someone before. I can see why you said it was a fate worse than death."

Yes, there had been some very disturbing sights seen on their eight-day trek through the woods, things that had the power to rob sleep. Unlike when Brett, Jason, and Chrissie had been out before, there were now dead human bodies littered throughout their path. These bodies were found singly, in pairs, once in a group of five. They were in various stages of decomposition, some relatively fresh, some more than a month into the process. Not all of them were the victims of starvation either. The group of five had been particularly upsetting. It appeared that they had all died from a single gunshot to the back of the head. They had been dead maybe a week, maybe more. It was hard to tell because their bodies had been neatly skinned and stripped of muscle tissue, leaving little more than skeletons. It was not the sort of stripping of meat that animals would have done. The cuts were too even, too smooth to have been made by anything other than a knife. The thought that there was a group of survivors subsisting by organized cannibalism made everyone, including Brett, shudder.

And then, two days later, while traversing a rise, Matt, who had been on point, had spotted a group of men picking their way through the woods. The four travelers hid themselves for nearly an hour, guns trained outward as the twelve scraggly, bearded, filthy men, all armed with rifles, made their way past them and disappeared up the hill. Had they been the cannibals? There was no way of telling for sure without making contact - there was, after all, still the occasional deer or bear to be found - but everyone strongly suspected they were.

"We really have it soft in Garden Hill," Matt said, thinking of all he had seen. "I always knew that intellectually, but until I saw what others are doing to survive..."

"That's hideous," Michelle said, not wanting to discuss it. "Eating human flesh. Killing people in order to do it. What have we come to, us humans? What have we come to?"

"We've come down to basic survival," Brett said. "And hopefully our group will come out on top of the chain."

"I would kill myself before I would eat another person," Michelle said sternly. "I just couldn't do it. I think my soul would die."

"You never know what you're capable of until you're faced with it," Matt said. "What about the Donner Party or those rugby players that crashed in the Andes?"

"I would still rather die," Michelle told him. "But in any case, that's different. They didn't go out hunting for people and shoot them in the back of the head so they could eat them."

"At least not as far as we know," Matt said. "Truth be told, I'm not quite sure what I would do if I was faced with either starvation or cannibalism. I hope I never have to find out."

"Amen," Brett said, finding the entire discussion somewhat disturbing. "And if we can get that chopper tomorrow, hopefully we won't ever be faced with that choice."

The last of the light left the sky, signaling bedtime for those still awake. Matt and Jason shared one lean-to and Michelle and Brett shared the other. Everyone stripped down to their underwear and climbed into their sleeping bags. In the case of Michelle and Brett, they both climbed into one large sleeping bag that had been formed by zipping two together.

"Keep me warm," Michelle said with a shiver, pulling her body against his, sharing her warmth with him. As had been the case before with Chrissie, neither one of them smelled particularly good after eight days out, and Michelle's legs were quite scratchy with stubble, but the pleasure of touching flesh to flesh made the aesthetics of the situation a secondary concern.

"Mmmm," Brett whispered to her, his hands on her bare back. "This is the advantage of taking your woman with you on an expedition. Guaranteed warmth."

"Is this how you and Chrissie used to sleep?" she whispered back, pressing herself even tighter against him.

"Pretty much," he agreed. "We would usually end up with her cuddled up on top of me by the end of the night."

"She told me that you used to make love every night while you were out there. Every night?"

Brett shrugged in the darkness. "What can I say?" he asked lightly.

"You haven't done me a single time out here," she said next. "What's up with that?"

"When I was doing it with Chrissie," he replied, "I didn't know that others could hear us. Now, thanks to some straight talk by Jason, I do know that. It's not that I don't want to."

"I can feel that," she said teasingly. "I feel you get hard against me every time we lay together." She slid her hand down and grasped his erection through his underwear. "Like right now for instance."

"Michelle," he said, making no move to stop her as she squeezed and kneaded him. It felt so damn good.

"We can do it quietly," she told him, kissing his ear. "And if they hear us, so what? I want you, Brett. I need you inside of me."

He gave in, as she had known that he would. Over the past twenty days she had come to know his triggers fairly well. She slid her hand into his BVDs and began to fondle him in earnest. His own hand found its way under the elastic band of her panties at the crotch. She was very wet and slippery, her clit a hard little bump. He pushed his underwear down to mid thigh and climbed slowly on top of her, taking care not to rustle the sleeping bag too much. She spread her legs for him and pulled the crotch of her panties to the side, giving him the access he needed. He put the head against her slit and slowly pushed forward, sinking into her warmth inch by agonizing inch until he was buried in her body. Her hands on his butt pulled him tightly against her.

"So nice," she said softly into his ear. "Eight days is too long to go without."

"I agree," he said as he slowly began to move in and out of her, his hips rising and falling carefully, silently.

In truth, going eight days without had been almost akin to torture after the pace of his first twelve days as part of a polygamous marriage. All three of them had been swept up in an almost honeymoon-like atmosphere and if Brett was called on to perform his husbandly duties only once a day, it was a slump. Usually he would make love at least twice, sometimes three times; something he would not have thought himself physically capable of. Having two women to pleasure and be pleasured by did wonders for the libido it seemed. Though no firm rules had been set, as had been agreed upon from the beginning, a pattern of sorts had developed nonetheless. Typically he would make love in the morning to whichever of the two women he had not slept with the night before. This would usually take place on the marital bed in the master bedroom, and usually the other woman was in the bathroom at the time, getting cleaned up and ready to face the day. As Michelle had predicted, they were rapidly losing their modesty around each other and, while making love to one woman while the other was combing her hair and putting on her deodorant was still very exciting, it no longer seemed strange or perverted. And though both women never discussed these things openly, it was quite obvious that both of them enjoyed surreptitiously watching the other in the act.

At night, when they went to bed, another session, a more private one, would typically occur with whoever's turn it was to sleep with him that night. These sessions tended to be longer, more drawn out, more intimate and loving. It was during such sessions that new things were tried, that new techniques were explored. It was during such a session that Brett learned of Michelle's affinity for anal sex. She loved it when he slid it in and out of her in the missionary position long enough to get both of them thoroughly wet and then slid his cock down to her other hole and used this natural lube to put it into her tight back passage. It was during the night session that he learned that Chrissie loved to straddle his head, her wet and dripping pussy on his face where she could rub it back and forth over his tongue. Chrissie was also quite fond of being taken from behind, in the doggie-style position, while Brett grasped her roughly by the waist and pounded her with all of his might.

So far, though the two women had seen each other in the act many times, and though they walked around naked in front of each other without a second thought, they had shown no leanings towards touching each other or even sleeping in bed with him at the same time. Though having two women at once was every man's fantasy, Brett was a glass is half-full kind of person and was therefore quite pleased with the fact that he could simply have two women separately.

In other aspects of the relationship, things were going better than they had had any right to expect. So far there had been a few minor squabbles over things such as who was in the bathroom first or whose turn it was to do the laundry, but no major battles of any kind. They were in a discovery phase of their new relationship and all three were making an impressive effort to make things work out. So far, things seemed to be working well and the two women seemed to be becoming best friends with each other.

Like with Jason and Stacy however, the subject of the trip to Cameron Park had created the most turmoil in the relationship to date. Chrissie had wanted desperately to be the one to accompany him, making the argument that she already had experience outside the walls and was therefore more qualified than Michelle. Strangely enough, that very argument was the exact reason that he wanted to take Michelle and leave Chrissie behind. Chrissie had already done her time outside the wall and he wanted Michelle to gain the experience that moving a long distance as part of a squad offered. Chrissie had pouted about this for a few days but had eventually seen the wisdom of his decision. The blow was eased further when Brett put her in charge of the security division in his absence. He was interested to know just how she was doing in that capacity and just how the members of the detail and the rest of the town were taking being directed by a sixteen-year-old girl.

"A little harder," Michelle whispered excitedly, thrusting her hips up at him. "I'm almost there."

"I'm going as hard as I can without making noise," he whispered back, already cognizant of the thick smell rising around them and the distinct squishing noise that accompanied each thrust. Nevertheless, his instinct was to please. He put just a little more power behind his thrusts, twisted his hips just a little bit more to grind into her clit.

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