Shadar's Vignettes

25 Jan 2018 19:59 - 25 Jan 2018 21:50 #58258 by shadar
Shadar's Vignettes was created by shadar
Missile Girl

By Shadar

This is the first in a series of short vignettes I plan on writing and attaching to this thread. Most of them will be based on an interesting picture that caught my imagination.

A vignette in literature is supposed to be a: short, impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or gives a particular insight into a character, idea, or setting.


Lieutenant Jim Beckers, USN, was hard at work today. He and his EWO had been tasked with providing electronic suppression over a group of Navy attack planes that were going after an ISIL complex in Syria. The Russians in Syria knew they were coming, but there was always a chance that some cowboy didn’t get the message and would lock them up with their fire support radars and launch. The lessons learned during the Malaysian Airlines shoot-down over the Ukraine had not been forgotten. The Russians had some very capable missile batteries in Syria.

The problem was that the target was deep in territory the Russians had proclaimed a no-fly zone over. Not that the US acknowledged their no-fly. Or vice-versa.

Their EA-18G Growler was one of four which were approaching in staggered formation, each plane twenty miles behind the one ahead to guarantee that all the Russian defensive batteries were covered, all the time. Jim was in fourth place, still out over water, but his backseat EWO was ready to shut down any threatening defense sites with electronic jamming or a HARM missile if worse came to worse.

The problem today was that two Russian SA10 Grumble acquisition radars were up, both of them the latest and greatest synthetic aperture models.

“They’re just eye-balling us,” JG Sarah Hawkins said from the backseat. “No sweat.”

Jim grunted. There was no such thing as “no sweat” when facing modern Russian air defenses.

His data-link showed the attack group approaching from astern, flying low and fast. “Show time,” Jim said on the intercom.

Moments passed. No further response from the Russians. So far, so good. Jim had just started to sigh in relief when a soft alarm started to sound.

”OK, now they’re fucking with us,” Sarah suddenly announced. “Targeting radars just came up. They’ve got a bead on us and a finger on the trigger.”

Navy Intel had told them the Russians wouldn’t fire if given prior notification of the strike, as was the case today. Assuming the attackers stayed away from any Russian forces. Jim wasn’t convinced. He didn’t trust Russians. Besides, those Intel guys were back on the carrier, not sweating it out up here.

“Orders aren’t to jam unless we get a ready-to-launch signal,” Jim reminded his backseat EWO. “And HARM launch only on their launch.”

“Yeah. Let them jam their barrels against our foreheads while saying please don’t shoot me,” Sarah grumbled. “But I’ve got the port HARM warmed up. Jamming pods are locked on but in standby. We can take ‘em if it comes to it.” Sarah sounded as confident as always. She was a good EWO. Very good. But neither of them had flown into harm’s way before.

They continued towards the Syrian coast at 19,000 feet, sweating despite the cold cockpit. Jim was thankful they weren’t flying the lead. In some ways, this kind of cold war was worse that a hot one. They were trained to fight their way through enemy air defenses to give the attackers a chance to hit their targets, but that meant being very aggressive. Instead, they were just sitting up here, passively waiting to see if the other guy pulled the trigger, then trying to dodge the bullet if he did.

A sudden warbling tone filled the cockpit, but not the one they’d been fearing.

“We got a fast mover coming up behind us,” Sarah cried. “Climbing supersonically. Radar signature says MIG-23. He’s locking us up. Who in the fuck is that?”

Jim broke hard left. They’d been briefed that ISIL had captured a couple of Syrian MIG-23s at a remote airbase, but nobody on the carrier had put much stock in that bizarre story. ISIL so far had been low tech and on the ground. Maybe a few hobby-grade drones. Operating a supersonic Russian warplane was a lot different.

“Is this some Syrian jock trying to freak us out?” Sarah wondered out loud.

“It’s working…” Jim started to say, only to have the warbling tone suddenly double in speed as it changed pitch.

“Shit,shit,shit” Sarah cried, “he’s launching. Beam rider.”

Jim rolled inverted and pulled hard as he blew off the centerline fuel tank, shoving the twin throttles into zone 5 burner as he pulled every G he could, the Growler quickly dropping through vertical before he started another hard turn, praying the sea clutter would screw up the radar-guided missile as it dove after them. Sarah went active with her electronic countermeasures, trying to break the lock.

“It’s tracking like a fucking late-model R23,” Sarah said urgently. “Syrians shouldn’t have any of those. Going to be real close.” She punched out chaff and the missile veered, only to reacquire them.

“Can’t… break… it… yet,” Sarah grunted as Jim pulled nine G’s. On her screen, the missile’s track merged with their own. She clenched her teeth while ducking her head — but there was no explosion.

They both looked out the canopy to see the missile fly by very close and much slower than it should have been going. Shockingly, a red and blue-garbed teenage girl was riding it, her hands covering the proximity fuse on the nose. A brief image of her looking back at them was burned into their brains before she dove the missile down to explode in the water.

“Supergirl?” Sarah screamed. “That’s… that’s fucking impossible!”

They both watched as a barely visible supersonic streak came up out of the explosion to chase down and collide with the MIG, the pilot ejecting seconds before his plane exploded into a fireball.

“Well, whoever, whatever that was, she looked like she’d just stepped off the set of that TV show,” Jim observed.

Moments later, the girl in red and blue was back, flying only inches above their canopy. The blonde girl looked none the worse for wear as she held her index finger to her lips for a moment, smiled, and then she was gone.

Neither of them said anything for long seconds.

“Debriefing’s going to be interesting today,” Jim said to break the silence, sounding as bored and laconic as usual. His heart had to be racing as fast as Sarah’s, but you’d never know it from his voice. “UFO’s are always tricky.”

Sarah felt as if her head was going to explode. “Fucking Supergirl?!” she gasped again.

“Looked like it to me,” Jim replied calmly. “Or maybe just an angel in disguise.”

Sarah wasn’t sure if he was kidding or serious. Stranger yet, she found herself wondering whether they’d actually been blown up and this was some kind of afterlife thing. Ever since she was a little girl, she’d dreamed of flying under her own power. Her Heaven, wherever it was, definitely included flying.

Her thoughts briefly returned to the tiny costume in her closet, way back on Whidbey Island. Despite the adrenaline and the wonder of what had just happened, she flushed as she imagined telling her boyfriend about this encounter — in her own special way. He liked sexy game play as much as she did. But he’d never buy that any of this was real.

“I think she wants us to stay quiet and…” Sarah started to say, only to have Jim interrupt.

“Ok, we’re coming back on track. You still with me, Sarah?”

She jerked her eyes back inside the cockpit to start working the knobs and buttons to get her Electronic Warfare gear focused back on the Russians. “Yeah. I’m on it,” she said. “Hot damn, though. Sure was nice to have a little help back there.”

“Yeah. Whoever that was, she can cover my ass anytime. And speaking of asses.”

Ok, maybe they weren’t in Heaven just yet.

“But given that Kryptonians don’t even exist…” Sarah started to say.

“Right…” Jim said, his voice trailing off.

“But did you see how she flew it into the water,” Sarah said despite herself. “Warhead detonation didn’t even bother her. Then she took out that MIG. In seconds.”

“Focus on the mission, Lieutenant,” Jim said, finding he was struggling to do the same. The brief image of that girl straddling a missile while saving his life was forever burned into his brain. “Whoever she was, she might not always be around to play guardian angel.”

Neither of them said anything for several more minutes. “Ah, some crews don’t report crazy UFO stuff, right?” Sarah asked. “Nobody wants to be labeled a crackpot.”

“Good point,” Jim replied. “We gotta decide.”

“Russian targeting radars have dropped now,” Sarah added. “The Russians obviously saw that MIG take a run at us. The missile shot too. There’s gonna be hell to pay.”

“Gonna be easier for us to just say the MIG missed,” Jim said. “Otherwise it’s off to the shrinks for us. No more flying until they crawl through our brains, wondering what else we hallucinate about. Ugly.”

“Yeah. And nobody else was close enough to see her. Which means nobody to back us up. She didn’t show up on instruments, so obviously not on radar. Nobody is going to believe us. Better to say the MIG broke apart on its own.”

“Right. ISIL’s maintenance has to be even shittier than the Syrians. But we’re gonna be straight up on everything else. Just that they missed. OK?”

“Not a word about Missile Girl,” Sarah agreed.

Until I get home, she said to herself. And then only when she was between the sheets riding her boyfriend’s version of a guided missile, whispering her story in his ear while wearing her little costume and all.

Inspiration was often its own reward.

The End

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Last edit: 25 Jan 2018 21:50 by shadar.
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26 Jan 2018 00:10 #58269 by ong76win2
Replied by ong76win2 on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Wow! Nice one! Hope to read more! Thanks for sharing Shadar!
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28 Jan 2018 00:55 #58304 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Here's Vignette #2: The Assistant

The Assistant

by Shadar

The brightly-glowing alien ship was gone now, its task completed. The Xenians had been the center of attention for the entire planet during the week their landing craft sat in an Iowa cornfield. For the first time, a ship had arrived on Earth from a distant star system and opened its doors wide to anyone who wanted to come and see. Tens of thousands had visited the landing craft, and a million more had wanted to. A much smaller group of scientists had the privilege of riding a second, smaller shuttle up to the mothership which was parked in orbit. While the landing craft had been the size of a cruise ship, the mothership was truly enormous. Five kilometers in length and half that in width, it was literally a flying city. To say the were astounded would be the understatement of the century.

The ship’s captain, a very tall, white-haired humanoid male with green skin and overly large violet eyes, surprised everyone by speaking in heavily accented English. He claimed his ship’s technology was based around gravity engines for in-system flight along with generating artificial gravity and anti-matter engines for interstellar space. Its shielded hull was made of alien alloy strong enough to skim along the event horizon of a black hole before diving through its associated worm-hole, allowing the ship to travel many hundreds or in some cases even thousands of light years in only a few months ship’s time.

They’d left two people behind — the Xenian Diplomatic Consul and her Assistant Their job was to prepare the way for the arrival of a full diplomatic team. A job that was proving difficult given that half the population was infatuated with the aliens, treating them like celebrities of the highest order, while the other half wanted them gone. Or dead. A couple of deranged shooters had even tried to assassinate them, only to find that their powerful sniper rounds had bounced off the two alien women. The Consul had taken the misguided attacks in stride, claiming they understood that First Contact could be destabilizing for some personalities.

She claimed the Xenians wanted to open an Embassy on Earth to facilitate scientific, trade and cultural exchanges with the rest of the galaxy. They claimed Earth was unfairly isolated and as a result was very backward. She talked about Earth having been deliberately mushroomed by greater powers. A decision the Xenians disagreed with.

Some people cheered the idea of an open exchange, scientists especially, and some businessmen saw dollar signs in their eyes when it came to trade. But many others felt insulted. Earth was backward? And mushroomed by some greater power? What do you feed mushrooms? Shit.

Meanwhile, the UFO people strutted around saying “told you so” despite the absence of any grays or any of their other long reported alien types.

The most orthodox and fundamentalist religious leaders claimed the Xenians were trying to replace God, especially after the Xenians claimed they’d seen no sign of any deities in their travels across the galaxy. They claimed, however, that there were advanced species out there who could be mistaken for gods, at least in the eyes of primitives. She intended no harm with her words, but her claim didn’t go over well with many people of belief.

The Xenian Consul was a female version of the ship’s Captain. A green-skinned, violet eyed, white-haired humanoid who stood nearly two meters tall. Her long hair tapered to a point below her waist, and she had long pointy ears that rose above the top of her head and overly large eyes that sparkled above a cover model’s high cheekbones. The overall look was clearly alien, but with an Elvish touch. She was exotically beautiful to many eyes, stunning even, and amazingly, she had the ability to levitate, which she claimed was an innate capability of most advanced humanoid species. Yet when she allowed her DNA to be sampled, the scientists were astounded to find she shared a lot of DNA with Homo Sapiens. Clearly, Xenians and humans, at the very least, shared an ancient ancestor.

Her Assistant, Rainey, wasn’t a Xenian, but rather a Velorian, but at least she looked convincingly human. Sequencing her DNA wasn’t an option given her skin couldn’t be penetrated and her saliva sample refused to dissolve enough to be sequenced. Yet she made the amazing claim that her people had come from Earth back in Viking days, which begged the question of how far those Viking longboats really HAD traveled. She was responsible for Consulate Security and Facilities Construction, which made no sense at first given her willowy, fragile appearance.

The bigger problem was that Rainey needed to work with a broad group of people to prepare the way for the arrival of the full diplomatic mission, but so far, no one had been able to work with her without melting down. She drove everyone in her immediate presence crazy, both emotionally and physically, male or female. And it all had to do with pheromones, which shouldn’t have even have worked on humans given that scientists claimed we’d long-ago lost our vomeronasal receptors. This despite the fact that many people have experienced a strong sexual attraction to another person that seemed to transcend normal senses. Lovers had long called it chemistry, and celebrated it.

Rainey claimed that a significant portion of Velorian social communication was dependent on sending and receiving pheromic messages. The problem was that her pheromones were so powerful that they overwhelmed ordinary humans. And while there might be all kinds of subtleties in the messages Velorians sent to each other, the only message that Terrans seemed to get was overwhelming and often uncontrollable sexual arousal.

Not even the most disciplined people could work with her for more than a few hours. One man had famously lasted a day, but even then, the tension grew so powerful that all attempts to concentrate were abandoned. The only cure was to burn it off in the usual ways while staying far away from Rainey. Even worse, once someone had overdosed on her pheromones, their sensitivity became even greater, making future contact even more difficult.

The State Department had proposed working with her remotely, and had made some small progress that way, but Rainey was unwilling to seriously negotiate with a virtual team. Same with her boss, the Consul. It was face-to-face or not at all. Despite all their technology, the concept of interacting directly and personally was at the very core of both Xenian and Velorian professional and social interactions.

That’s when someone in State had the bright idea of searching for someone in their ranks who couldn’t respond to her chemistry. Was there such a thing as a ‘pheromically blind or deaf’ person, they wondered?

They started a testing program using air samples of Rainey’s pheromones, which was both challenging and provocative given people’s unprofessional responses to the test. Still, they managed to screen nearly a hundred people before Kevin Durance came up negative. Other than feeling a bit energized by the exposure, his libido didn’t change at all. He claimed he’d always had a weak sense of smell, and examination of his family history revealed an inherited genetic defect.

Kevin was quickly reassigned and briefed by the Director on the importance of his new role. He was instructed to immediately meet with the Consul’s Assistant to work on finding a mutually suitable location for the Xenian Embassy. A second ship with the Ambassador and her entire staff on-board was reportedly less than six months out from Earth, so time was critical.

Kevin began preparing for his meeting by reviewing a video the Consul had recorded which tried to explain who the Xenians were along with a brief description of their culture and biology.

Once he’d digested that, Kevin moved on to a group of videos that featured the Consul’s Assistant. He’d already seen parts of most of these on TV news shows. Rainey seemed to be running her own kind of PR program, but not one that was synchronized to the Consul’s.

The first ever video of her, taken on a shaky iPhone camera, had captured her lifting a fully-loaded concrete truck over her head a half second before it was going to run over a little girl chasing her puppy into the street. The driver jumped clear before she angrily threw the massively heavy truck more than half a block. It tumbled in mid-air before landing upside down in an empty lot, wet concrete spraying everywhere. The video ended with her holding the poor driver by the front of his jacket, his feet dangling, while she gave him hell for almost killing the girl.

The next video showed her staring down some heavily-armed terrorists who were attacking a train station in France. Nobody heard what she said to them, but they all started shooting at her at once. She danced wildly around to either catch or blunt every bullet they fired. Like many people, Kevin found there was something strikingly sensual about such an attractive woman being immune to the horror of gunfire, not the least for the way her boobs bounced around harmlessly under the heavy impacts, her clothing shredding into confetti.

As soon as the terrorists stopped firing, she grabbed their guns and stretched them like soft taffy to form them into crude handcuffs that she pressure welded closed, leaving the terrorists uncomfortably bound together in a pile in the middle of the street. Just as interestingly, she completely ignored her wardrobe malfunction while she paused to talk to reporters and cops, cameras running. By the time a cop had the decency to drape his jacket over her shoulders and zip it up, everyone knew that Velorians looked convincingly human in all the possible ways.

Then there was the bus full of commuters that she caught after a bridge collapsed in Mumbai. She set it down as light as feather before dismantling the dangling sections of the collapsed concrete and steel bridge. Her strength was almost incomprehensible given that some sections of the concrete-decked bridge had to weigh many hundreds of tons, yet she easily carried them on her back to dump them in an empty lot.

After that, she saved an Airbus A380 with five-hundred passengers onboard which had lost its right main landing gear during a severe crosswind landing attempt in the UK. The plane had struggled back into the air, but now it couldn’t land safely. Airbus engineers feared it was going to dig its right wing in and cartwheel with catastrophic loss of life. Even worse, they pilots couldn’t retract the good landing gear and just belly in.

While the News media focused on the emerging catastrophe, Rainey arrived to save the day by turning herself into that missing landing gear. She skidded along the runway on her bare feet while holding half the weight of the gigantic plane, the friction igniting her clothing in a blaze of sparks. Thankfully, she was the only thing burning when the plane slowed enough for her to run and keep up. She then walked the giant airliner to a maintenance area where she held her side up until workers could rig up a suitably strong stand to support the broken landing gear. This time no one could give her a jacket given her arms were high over her head. Setting up the jack stand probably took the men longer than it should have, what with them building it around her.

Then there were the four Communication satellites she’d put in orbit to provide coverage for several third-world countries that couldn’t afford the launch fees. No rocket was required with Rainey around. She worked for free, and her throw weight into geosynchronous orbit was greater than any launch system on Earth. It was weird to see her lift off completely silently from the launch pad, carrying the upper stage and payload section on her back. She’d take it to an elliptical parking orbit, its apogee at 45,000 km or so. That’s where the unused upper stage engine came in handy to perfect a 36,000 km circular orbit.

There were more amazing videos along the same lines, all of them mind-boggling, but it was last video that was perhaps the most useful to prepare him for his new job. Shot just this last week by a couple of Defense Department photographers, it started with the Consul suffering through a difficult meeting with some very suspicious Generals. They wanted security assurances — and the technology to enforce them — which the Consul was unwilling to provide. She claimed the Xenians would share all forms of technology except weapons tech. Instead, she asked them to simply trust her.

Trust without safeguards is not something the Pentagon understands. The meeting was heading toward a contentious and disappointing end when Rainey refocused everyone by dropping an Abrams M1A4 tank into the inner courtyard of the Pentagon — from a mile up. That got the General’s attention, but unfortunately it didn’t help convince them that the Xenians weren’t a threat. The Generals stared out the windows at the flattened Abrams tank, with Rainey standing on top of it posing for the soldier’s pictures.

Kevin closed his laptop as he sat back in his chair, heart racing, feeling both terrified and excited and very intimidated. As a junior member of the Protocol department, he’d never negotiated anything for State. Creating a seating list for a state dinner was more his speed. Even worse, no one on Earth had ever negotiated with extra-terrestrials the way he was being asked to. He was way, way over his head. But given no one else could apparently work with the Assistant, he had to give it a try. He screwed up his courage and texted the number he had been given for Rainey, asking for a time to meet. Apparently, she had a regular old iPhone, not some Star Trekish communicator. When on Earth, and all that jazz.

She immediately texted back that he should come to her current location. The Consul was addressing the leadership of a political party in Washington, DC in her efforts to drum up support for her cause. It was going to be a long session. She sent him the GPS coords.

The meeting didn’t sound like fun, but Kevin quickly drove to the location she gave him. He found himself standing at the doorway of a nondescript gray building. There were no signs or other indications of what lay inside, which was good given the growing furor over the alien’s arrival. The Xenian Consul’s frequent public appearances, and the polarizing way people were reacting to her, had created security problems for the State Department. Better to duck under the radar, which this building did.

Inside, he saw the green-skinned Consul floating in mid-air, her unnaturally long, bare legs crossed lotus-like as she addressed about fifty or so people in suits. He didn’t see Rainey, so he worked his way back into a small kitchen and refreshment area that adjoined the meeting room, and there she was — the woman who’d dropped the tank into the inner courtyard of the Pentagon.

Dressed in a tight pair of denim shorts and a sleeveless checked blouse that was tied off just below her breasts, she was chewing on a coffee stirrer as she stared back at him. Her straight blonde hair was floating around her head as if in a faint breeze. She smelled wonderful. A bit of wildflower mixed with a deliciously female freshness, the overall impression one of sexy but athletic vigor. Nothing added, nothing artificial, no trace of makeup, just overwhelming healthiness.

She froze, coffee stirrer still in her mouth, watching him. Waiting for him to react.

Kevin took a few deep breaths but didn’t feel anything unusual happening, so he shoved out his hand. “Hi. My name’s Kevin Durance, State Department. I’m here to help you find a suitable location for your new embassy.”

“Oh goody,” she said slowly, finally removing the stirrer. She didn’t take his hand. “So they found me a eunuch.”

“Hardly,” Kevin said, not amused. “Everything works fine except for a minor genetic defect — I apparently can’t sense pheromones.”

“How very sad for you, but how good for me. Finally, maybe, we can get something done. Your fellow Earthlings lack any reasonable sense of self-control when it comes to sex.”

Given she was being candid, Kevin returned the favor. “You know, there are many women who would be flattered by the kind of attention you get. And you’re the one giving off the pheromones.”

“Maybe I would be flattered if there was one man on this planet who could do more than frustrate me.”

“Yes, I understand you’re struggling with a reverse-Niven. Sorry about that.”

“A what?”

“Inside joke. Sorry,” Kevin apologized. “Niven is a writer who once wrote a provocative essay about the Man of Steel and a Woman of Kleenex. You’ve obviously got the reverse problem. Here, read this, it’s short.”

He punched up the link to Niven’s little story and handed her his phone. Watching as she read it, he saw her take a deep breath as her nipples grew noticeably firmer.

She quickly handed his phone back. “I want to meet this Man of Steel. He sounds like exactly the kind of man I need.”

“Ah, sorry, he’s not real. Just a fantasy character. You know what comic books are, right?”

She sighed. “No. So, there’s nobody like him here?”

Kevin shook his head. “Closest might be some premier strength athlete or whatever.”

“I’ve tried all kinds of men,” she said, shaking her head. “They differ far less than they are the same. And the problem isn’t what you’re thinking.”

“Yet you can toss seventy or so tons of tank around and not find it heavy. Not to mention bridges. How strong are you?”

She shrugged. “Hard to define. It’s not like I can go into a gym and max out a lift. Unless maybe its the building itself.”

“Jesus…!” Kevin whispered, more to himself. Then louder: “But you look… I mean, excuse me, but you look so damn hot.” He blanched as he heard the words tumble out of his mouth, horrified that he’d actually said something so un-diplomatic and politically incorrect.

She just laughed. “Yes, I supposed I do. In a model cum porn star kind of way, right?”

He shook his head vigorously.

“Don’t worry,” she sighed. “I’ve heard it all.” She tapped her earlobe. “Very good ears.”

Kevin didn’t know what to say to that, given she was mostly on target. He forced himself to continue, despite starting to feel a bit light on his feet. Was he really completely immune?

“Well, now that we’ve established that I’m not going to melt down, how about we work on some proposed locations. Places that State believes would work for your Embassy.”

“At the South Pole,” she said.


“I already told your people that I want to put our Embassy exactly at the South Pole, but they don’t want to hear that. It’s in the middle of a continent that no one truly calls home, and it has treaties that make it independent yet accessible to every country. It’s the closest thing to neutral ground on your entire planet.”

“But… surely you know how desolate and cold the Pole is. Can’t even get there a lot of the time, not even with aircraft. The State Department has determined a number of places in the United States where we’d be willing to grant extra-terrestrial diplomatic sovereignty. Other countries have also submitted their own proposals. We have no lack of suitable locations.”

“The cold won’t bother the Xenians much,” she continued, “and it certainly won’t bother me. We will not influence the power structure on your planet by locating our Embassy inside the borders of any country. Least of all a militarily powerful country.”

“But… but I don’t have the authority to negotiate outside our territorial limits.”

“Well, if you can’t get me the South Pole, then we’ll establish our embassy on the Moon. But given your technology, I think the South Pole will be a lot easier for you to reach. But I can go whichever way.”

Kevin smiled as he slowly dropped his prepared papers onto the table. “And here I had a great presentation to pitch about why State’s locations would be perfect for you.”

“Sorry. It’s the pole or the Moon.”

“Not much for negotiations, are you?”

She smiled. “No, but think of all the time we just saved. I will need to know which direction to go before the end of the week. I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next six months whichever way you choose.”

“The United States would be willing to help as much as we…”

She stopped him with a shake of her head, blonde hair flying. “No help is needed. We don’t want to be a burden. We also don’t want to incur any debts or show any favoritism. I may look like a porn star to you, but I’m quite capable.”

“I… I never said that,” Kevin protested. “That thought never crossed my mind until you said it.” He paused before he daringly added: “To me, you and the Consul look more like escapees from Victoria’s Secret. Especially the Consul. Well, except for her green skin. Is that where she gets all her outfits?”

“I can’t speak for the Consul’s wardrobe choices,” Rainey smirked. “But for me, my goal is to cover as little of myself as possible without creating a diplomatic incident.”

“Then I think your goal has been marvelously achieved.”

She tilted her head slightly. “Is that sarcasm?”

Kevin shook his head. “Just simple truth. That’s all you’ll ever get from me. Within the limits of my knowledge, just truth and openness.”

“My, my, you almost talk like a Velorian. Unusual for a Terran, given what I’ve seen so far. Especially for diplomats.”

“It’s one of my few talents,” he said modestly. “Besides not melting down.”

She stood up straight to walk closer to him, stopping to stand so close he could feel her warmth. She startled him by gently embracing him, her unnaturally firm breasts flattening only slightly against his chest, her nipples punctuating her embrace. He lifted his hands awkwardly to hold her mostly bare back, discovering that her skin felt warm and very human-like, other than being stretched tightly over sensuous curves that might as well have been carved from steel.

She gave him a hug that emptied his lungs, her soft lips brushing his ear as she whispered: “You do know that all partnerships and agreements I engage in must be sealed in accordance with Velorian law.”

“Huh...?” he grunted with the last air in his lungs. Her nipples were boring painfully into his chest now. She relaxed her hug just enough for him to take a breath. Strangely, despite her steel-carved curves, she felt slender and weightless and intensely feminine in his arms. “We know a fair bit about Xenian culture,” he said, struggling to focus, “thanks to your Consul, but very little about yours.”

“Well, here’s a useful fact: everything important on Velor is sealed with sexual union. The strength of our shared ecstasy will determine the strength of the bonds that hold us together as comrades.”

Kevin swallowed hard as his eyes opened wide, not sure what to say. “I don’t underst…”

She sighed as she started to drop her head in frustration, then snapped her sparkling eyes back up to meet his. “OK, let me make it simpler. We fuck, that seals the contract, and the better the sex is, the better we will work together.”

Kevin just stared wide-eyed at her, wondering what kind of society would codify rules like THAT?

“You… you and me? Before we even start working?” Now he understood why everyone else had freaked out working with her, and he wasn’t even processing her pheromones.

“Well, unless you prefer the lady with the green skin. The Consul can obviously make deals too. But be aware that while Xenians are considerably less powerful than we Velorians, they are infamous across the galaxy for killing their mates during sexual ecstasy. It’s a wonder their race survives.”

Kevin’s eyes grew even larger as his growing infatuation briefly hiccuped, replaced momentarily by a sliver of fear. “You’re kidding me? Like a black widow spider?”

“I don’t know what a spider is, but I do know that Xenian women have no control over their strength during orgasm, and they are far stronger than their males. And their males are a lot stronger than you. It’s always been an honor thing for Xenian men to die after creating the next generation.”

Kevin swallowed hard. “So… I gather they don’t have a lot of recreational sex. Or old men.”

Rainey laughed as she slowly shook her head. “Sadly, more than ninety-percent of living Xenians are female because of this practice. You should be thankful that we Velorians are the opposite. Our sexual unions are never for procreation. That’s done a different way. Which is why Xenian women like our men. They don’t break no matter how hard they play.”

“But, then how can we, you know…? I mean, you said sex doesn’t work for you here. With fragile humans.”

She sighed. “I didn’t say any of that. You did. And my problem isn’t because of my strength. I’m very flexible and adaptable. The problem is my scent. It seems to cause Earth men to melt down and prematurely deplete themselves so that they become useless.”

“What… but what if they’d sent a woman?”

“Men are not essential. Just preferable. But your women can’t handle it either.”

Wild thoughts and images were bouncing off the inside of Kevin’s skull now, but not from her pheromones. “Ah, this isn’t exactly where I thought this meeting was going to go,” he said, struggling to control his voice. “In fact, the opposite.”

“Yet you fantasized that it might. As soon as you saw me. Right? You humans might not be very good at sex, but you think about it more than any other humanoids. You fantasize about it, almost constantly, which I find fascinating. Sex driven by fantasy. That’s a new kind of sexual power. Our men don’t do that, which makes them predictable and frankly, boring.”

“Jesus! Are you always this direct?”

“I’m intrigued by a man who doesn’t melt down around me. Maybe you’ll last a while.” She turned to look out into the meeting room, and then back at Kevin. “The Consul is barely at the middle of her pitch. She can talk forever.” Her eyes began to sparkle mischievously. “Which means we have plenty of time to make our deal regarding the South Pole. There’s a storeroom behind us. I understand you Terrans like privacy during sex, strange as that is.”

“You mean… right now…?” Kevin gasped, incredulous. “But I’m… I’m not authorized to offer the Pole.” His head felt like it was going to explode as he tried to imagine what sex would be like with a super strong and indestructible alien who was also the hottest woman he’d ever seen. Part of his brain was also still geeking on the reverse-Niven implications.

She shifted her weight, tilting her hips in frustration. “Don’t worry so much. Your people will accept any deal at this point, and even if they don’t, ours will be binding and unbreakable. I’ve got a lot of construction to do and time is growing short.”

Kevin thought of the Director back at State who wanted a detailed report on his contacts with the aliens. This was certainly NOT what he’d had in mind for his first report. Not just the sex, bad as that would sound, but committing Earth to an embassy at the “no man’s land” of the South Pole. Not even the President had that authority.

Rainey settled his confusion by taking his hand gently in hers to eagerly pull him along behind her as she led the way down a short hallway. She kept looking back at him, eyes bright, smiling, her hair bouncing. A woman hadn’t looked at him that way since back in college.

Her gentleness ended when she spun him around to slam his back against the door of the storeroom to kiss him passionately, her body melting against his now. He reached down behind his back to fumble for the door handle, only to find it locked. Her warm hand replaced his on the handle, and it gave off a loud crunch. The door swung open so fast that he lost his balance and started to fall backward, but she grabbed his jacket with one hand to lift him off the floor, carrying him backwards into the room with his feet dangling. She kicked the door closed behind her.

“Pleasure delayed is pleasure forever lost,” she said while setting him down. “Or so we say back on Velor.” She began untying her blouse, revealing the firmest, most perfect boobs he’d ever seen. She pulled a thin gold choker out of her pocket and put it on.

“Now take off your clothes,” she giggled. “And start acting like a proper diplomat.”

The End

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28 Jan 2018 09:00 #58308 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Looks like the muse has settled in for a bit, to the joy of us all :).

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28 Jan 2018 18:46 #58321 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

AuGoose wrote: Looks like the muse has settled in for a bit, to the joy of us all :).

Yeah, got a few more nearly done. Sorry the second one was so long.

Some of you might be interested to know that all my vignettes are simply expanding on the core of dreams I'm having.

Being that I'm old, I have to get up a few times in the night, and that often means awakening gently during REM sleep. When most people awake during REM, they can at least briefly remember what they were dreaming.

My process is to stay awake long enough to find a pict in my library that kind of matches the dream I woke with, then setting it aside for morning, and then falling back to sleep while trying to flesh out the story in my head. I keep my Macbook on the nightstand. Sometimes the dream restarts until the next time I wake up, and that really helps, but regardless, the combination of that brief picture search and a few minutes of plotting the story before falling back to sleep seems to ensure that every aspect of my dream is retained in my working memory when I awake.

If I don't do this, then the dreams are usually faded or completely gone by morning.

Being an incurable optimist by nature, I view these frequent interruptions of my sleep as a positive now, given they frequently connect me with my inner muse, who is the source of all inspiration. (Better than calling them bladder dreams and brain rot <grin>)

Glad some of you are enjoying them... its fun to be writing regularly again, albeit on uncomplicated projects.

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29 Jan 2018 10:17 - 29 Jan 2018 11:27 #58328 by The Highlander
Replied by The Highlander on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Cool story, maybe next time we could meet one of Rainey's hotter and even more powerful friends...

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29 Jan 2018 13:23 #58329 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Shadar's Vignettes
I wonder if there's an artist here who could render a Xenian...


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29 Jan 2018 16:40 #58331 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Shadar's Vignettes
By the way, Shadar, is "The Assistant" AU-4? Or maybe 5 or 6? No Xenians in AU-2 or 3, or I'm sure we'd have heard of them. And they're enough different from Terrans, though related, to be like the creations of the Hainish in the late Ursula K. Le Guin's universe,

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29 Jan 2018 17:23 #58333 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

brantley wrote: By the way, Shadar, is "The Assistant" AU-4? Or maybe 5 or 6? No Xenians in AU-2 or 3, or I'm sure we'd have heard of them. And they're enough different from Terrans, though related, to be like the creations of the Hainish in the late Ursula K. Le Guin's universe,


It's not specifically part of any of those, Brantley, although now that you mention it, Le Guin's Hainish Cycle has a very appealing backstory that could work. For those who don't know it, the concept is that the Hainish established many colonies of humans, including on Earth, but over the eons, most of the colonies forgot they were colonies and became disconnected. Also, some of the humans were genetically tweaked to live on different worlds and others just developed or evolved in different directions resulting in a very diverse group of races who were all humans at the start. Some of them could still cross-breed, but not all.

That could explain Xenians and Terrans having a common ancestor but growing very much apart. But to be honest, I did zero world building for the Assistant story other than borrowing from the already established Velorians by having them work for the Xenians, who are a dominant enough civilization to snub their noses at the usual Galen concept of mushrooming Earth as their "seed bank". I obviously ramped up the power of Velorian pheromones for the story, but prefer to think of Rainey as an unusual Velorian when it comes to pheromones and not evidence that all Velorians are now different.

Vignettes have always served me as beachheads into new areas of storytelling. If I like a particular one and the readers do as well, then I might expand on it and fill in the worldbuilding behind.

It's too early to judge anything yet. Lets wait until I have a dozen vignettes out there and decide if any of them are appealing enough to expand upon.


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29 Jan 2018 17:32 #58334 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

brantley wrote: I wonder if there's an artist here who could render a Xenian...


I am envisioning the Xenians as built like Gamora (Zoe Saldana of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies), except taller, with long white hair and long pointy ears, larger violet eyes and increased strength and toughness.

So the movie Gamora would be a good starting point, but it would take a real artist to pull it off.


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30 Jan 2018 00:06 #58342 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Vignette #3 Homeless Angel

This one is pretty short...

Homeless Angel

by Shadar

Stephen Mills rolled over in bed to fumble for his buzzing iPhone, finding it after the third try.

“Mills here.”

“We got a body, Steve. Gunshot wounds. Out by Anderson Pond.” The voice was that of the Assistant Coroner, Debbie Wilkerson.

He looked at the clock. 3:15am. Jesus. “OK. Give me a half hour. Keep the scene clean and do the on-scene workup as usual. Anything I should be thinking about?”

“It’s a shame, Steve. Happened right next to that homeless encampment. Young woman, although hard to tell more. Covered in red clay mixed with her blood. We won’t be able to tell much until we get the body cleaned up. Higgins found the casings about thirty feet away. A .30-06. One shot will take an elk down, but they put three into this poor girl’s chest.”

Steve tucked his phone against his shoulder to keep it in place while he hopped around, struggling to pull on some pants. “Then it wasn’t anyone in the encampment. Can’t lug a long rifle around when you’re homeless.”

“Looks like she was raped too. My guess, by more than one man. Not going to be a fun autopsy.”

“That’s why we make the big bucks, Debbie.”

She laughed. “So why doesn’t my pay make it to the end of the month. What with trying to feed my kids and keep a roof over our heads and all.”

“I said I’d take that up with the Commissioners next week. But we’re a poor county. Don’t expect too much.”

“Anyway, I should have the on-scene stuff wrapped up before you get here. Gonna rain soon, so don’t be too long, boss.”

By the time Stephen got to the remote location near the pond, it was raining hard. He pulled on his rain gear as he stepped out of his official Chevy Suburban into a puddle, his shoe filling with water. He cursed as he walked towards the lights in the woods.

The body was barely recognizable given all the mud and blood, but Debbie had already gotten it bagged.

“Hell of a mess,” she said, shivering in the driving rain. The temp was only a few degrees above freezing and clouds of mist formed on every breath. Miserable.

“What’s your estimate of time of death?”

“Body’s surprisingly warm given the 9-11 call came in at 2:35am. Caller heard shots and then called right away. Lives in that house over there to the east. Higgins talked to him. Man claims there was a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ over here for an hour before the shooting. Sounded like a couple of pickup trucks with loud mufflers. V8 engines, a Chevy and a Dodge he thinks. He’s a mechanic. Says the homeless encampment is always quiet at night, so it must have been some local boys. He couldn’t see anything from his house, and wasn’t about to go out and look in the dark.”

Steve squinted into the rain to see a faint light in the woods a couple of hundred yards away. “Smart man. Likely they’d have put a round in him too if they saw him. Capital murder and all.”

He looked back down at the body. A young life snuffed out far too early. Hopefully he could unravel her story and the Sheriff could figure out who did it. But likely not. If the girl was from the homeless camp, then likely nobody would talk and she wouldn’t have ID. Likely he was going to wind up with a Jane Doe and some good ‘ol boys getting away with murder. Not unusual for this part of rural Kentucky.

He zipped up the body bag and together they hauled it out to the back of the Suburban. The victim appeared to be fairly tall but lightly built. Easy to carry in any case.

He and Debbie went to work after getting back to the Coroner’s office. But not before downing a couple of mugs of hot coffee each with a shot of rum to warm up. Not exactly standard procedure, but they needed some encouragement. They sure weren’t going to enjoy their breakfast after this.

They finally gowned up and went into the autopsy room. Stephen unzipped the bag while Debbie laid out the instruments. He paused as he pulled a long, blood-crusted bead necklace to the side, puzzled.

“Thought you said she was shot?”

“Given the holes and all the blood, yeah,” Debbie said. “Nothing bleeds like a heart shot. Clear as day.”

“Except, it was dark and raining.”

“What are you talking about?” Debbie asked as she walked closer. She looked over his shoulder before exclaiming: “What the hell…” She grabbed a large piece of gauze as she pushed him aside to wipe the girl’s chest clean. There wasn’t a mark on her.

“That’s impossible, Steve! Ask Higgins, he saw the wounds too. Found the fresh casings. She was shot.”

“‘Was’ seems to be the operative word…” Stephen said slowly. Maybe the low pay and long hours were getting to Debbie.

She quickly unbagged the body to turn the girl over. There were no exit wounds on her back. A .30-06 would have gone right through her. Stephen just watched her as she got more and more frantic, spraying the body down, looking for the missing bullet holes. He wasn’t sure what to say.

Debbie finally pulled off her gloves to walk over and grab her camera from her bag. She began to replay the images she’d taken as she stuck the camera in Stephen’s face. “Look. I wasn’t fucking imagining it.”

Stephen did. The pictures showed three holes in the girls’ chest, one in the sternum and two through her left breast. A least one round was a heart shot for sure. Maybe all three. It sure looked like the same body, minus the bullet holes.

“See. Clear as can be.”

“Then there’s a second body,” Stephen said. “Her twin, maybe. Let’s get this one washed up and done, figure out why she died, and then go back out there to find the real gunshot victim.” Stephen was puzzled and more than a bit worried now. So much for an open and shut case, which was his best hope for this already shitty morning.

“I’m telling you, Steve, there is no other body.”

They both went to work with a hose and lots of gauze. Even through their latex gloves, they could tell the body was surprisingly warm. A new worry nagged at Stephen. The girl had been bagged for forty-five minutes or so. If she’d been alive to start with, maybe just unconscious, then that long without air would have surely finished her off.

They found three slugs in the body bag. Full metal jacket military grade slugs that had been completely flattened. Another thing that made no sense. That kind of .30-06 round would go right through a human body without deforming much. Jacketed bullets had to hit solid bone in an Elk or other large game to flatten like this.

A crazy thought crossed his mind, and he walked across the room to get one the least used tools in a coroner’s office: a stethoscope. He put it on and placed it against the girl’s chest while Debbie gave him a puzzled look. His face turned white as he gasped. “Jesus! She’s got a heartbeat!”

All thoughts of autopsy were forgotten as Stephen jumped on the table and began CPR. Debbie ran for the phone to call 9-11. “Wait,” he called as he worked. “No time. Get the defib unit from the front office.”

Debbie raced off to return with another piece of useless gear for a coroner’s exam. It was there in case someone had a heart attack while viewing a dead family member. She quickly positioned the contact patches as Stephen rolled off the table. “Ventricular fibrillation detected,” the robotic voice of the defib announced. “Shocking in five seconds. Stand clear.”

They both stepped back as the unit fired. The girl’s muscles responded to arch her chest of the table. She gasped for air and then collapsed again, not breathing.

“Shocking again. Stand clear,” the defib announced. This time the girl’s upper body came completely up off the table. Her arm spun around to rip the wires away as she dove off the table to land naked behind it, and then quickly crawled into a far corner of the room to huddle, shaking.

Debbie raced over to her, but the girl swatted her away with the back of her hand. Debbie weighed nearly 200 pounds, but she was thrown across the room to crash into a cabinet. She collapsed to the floor.

Stephen rushed over to check on Debbie, only to find her already shaking off the blow. She was seriously into body sculpting, and her body was all muscle and anything but fragile. Still, he helped her to her feet as the two of them turned back to see that their “body” was now standing in the corner, arms covering her chest as she looked at them with bright blue eyes, a bemused look on her face.

“This must be a little weird for you guys,” she said with a smooth California accent, “but not so weird for me.”

“You were dead!” Debbie exclaimed. “Heart shot. I saw the wounds.”

“I don’t do dead. I was just under the weather for a bit.”

Stephen’s jaw was hanging as he stared. She looked absolutely healthy and vibrant, a very attractive blue-eyed blonde in her late twenties. Tall, easily 5’9, without a visible blemish anywhere, which was easy to see given she was only wearing that brown bead necklace.

“My problem now is that you know something you aren’t supposed to know,” she said with a tilt of her head. “Strict rules and all.”

“What… what are talking about?” Stephen gasped.

“In a nutshell, I’m on vacation here. But we’re supposed to blend in. Which I’m not doing very well right now.”

“You’re an alien?” Debbie gasped. “As in, an ET?”

“Not exactly. Lets just say that even an angel gets to act a bit devilish, once in a while anyway.”

“You’re an angel?” Stephen gasped. He was raised Baptist, and she sure didn’t look like any angel he’d heard about.

She shrugged. “Do you know any human who can take three rifle slugs to the heart and look like I do right now?” The blonde cupped her breasts to lift them to the side to show that there were no marks on her chest. “Most bullets don’t even break my skin, but those were high powered ones. They might have ricocheted to hurt the boys around me if I’d stopped them, so it was easier to let them enter me and then push them out later as I healed the damage. I assume you found them in the bag. ”

Stephen and Debbie just gawked at her, not understanding.

“This wasn’t the ending I was hoping for,” the blonde continued, “but I was a bit too slow in wiping out those boy’s memories. I was having too much fun, and that gave them time to start thinking about covering their tracks. My mistake.”

Stephen and Debbie both backed up further into a corner, hearts racing. Yet strangely, they weren’t afraid. Just fascinated and amazed, not to mention feeling like they should be kneeling or something. The blonde seemed to be glowing faintly while sending out a peaceful kind of aura that washed over them.

“But lets have a little talk before I erase you. Always nice to get a human perspective on things.”

“Erase?” Stephen asked.

“Yes, like the boys with the pickups. They won’t remember last night. Neither will you.”

She quickly walked over to the large barbell that Debbie kept in the exam room for working out when things were slow. She pulled the heavy weight disks off the ends of the bar without undoing the collars, the steel giving off a slight squeal. She then grabbed the empty bar in her hands, arms spread wide, as she walked over to carefully bend it around their shoulders to jam them together, her muscles flexing with astounding definition. She bent the ends closed over their chests to hold them tightly but not painfully.

“Don’t worry, I’ll let you out after you’re erased. But I’m betting you have a few questions for me.”

“You’re… you’re really an angel? Traveling with those homeless folks?” Debbie asked, her eyes as big as saucers as she realized the kind of strength it would have taken to bend that bar.

The blonde nodded. “Yes. They have interesting personalities. Some of them are clearly nuts, but fun to talk to. Others are just down on their luck. But all of them are real. No pretenses. No bravado. No pride. Just raw human emotions combined with the kind of desperation that comes with living close to the edge. Humans are interesting when they live that way. Very real. Makes we want to help them, which I did. They will wake up today with most of their problems solved and full of hope and promise.”

“And the boys with the pickups? You said you were looking for them?”

“Oh, yes, that was the fun part. I flaunt myself in town a little and it usually works. Eventually some rotten bunch of country boys decide to have themselves a little gang bang with a poor but cute homeless girl. I enjoy watching them go crazy when the realize I’m enjoying myself way more than they are. They want to hurt me, to demean me, to prove their power over me, violent misogynist assholes that they are, but they soon realize that all they can do is pleasure me. That makes them a little crazy, but it usually doesn’t end in shooting. That guy with the rifle was truly dangerous.”

“But… but why?” Debbie gasped.

The blonde shrugged. “I need a lot more stimulation than a human woman to enjoy myself. A half dozen young studs usually do the job. But the real payoff is that I get to adjust their thinking a bit while they’re in me. Whatever crap they had in their heads when they came after me is now gone. Not only won’t they remember the night, but they’ll treat women extremely well from now on. I also get to clean out any racist thinking as well in the process. Just my way of tipping the locals after allowing their worst young men to give me such a nice time.”

“But… they tried to kill you!” Debbie cried. “They thought they did.”

“Not now they don’t. They only remember getting drunk and now they’re feeling really bad that they weren’t with their girlfriends or back home with their family or whatever. They’ll be perfect angels from now on, so to speak.”

“You certainly aren’t the kind of angel I learned about in Sunday school,” Stephen said, shaking his head.

“Don’t believe everything people tell you. Not even most of it. Religious types think they know what’s going on, but most of what they know isn’t even close. Priests have twisted everything over the centuries. Reality is a bit more… interesting.”

“So how, I mean, what happens now?” Debbie asked.

“I have a loose end. Deputy Higgins. But he’s studly enough that I plan to have some fun with him before I erase him. The question is what I can do for you fine people? You know… to repay you for scaring you half to death. Don’t be modest.”

“I… I just want last night to go away,” Stephen said with a shiver.

“I can do much better than that. But you don’t have to tell me. I’m good a seeing what people really want.”

“I want a damn raise,” Debbie said loudly. “A big one.”

“Then why don’t you take Stephen’s job. And Stephen, you know that Pathology teaching position at a medical school that you always wanted? Some school will be making you a job offer next week. You’ll really want to take the job. Trust me.”

She walked over to stand very close to them. “Erasing is a lot easier during sex, when people are kind of out of their minds anyway and I sort of have a direct connection, if you know what I mean. To men anyway. So this may seem a little weird.”

She leaned close to kiss Debbie, who tried to turn her head away at first. Then she sighed and really got into the kiss, which the blonde held until Debbie slumped, unconscious, an angelic smile on her face. She turned then to Stephen. “See, a little weird, but not unpleasant.”

She leaned close to kiss him.

“Wait,” he said. “You haven’t told me your name.”

“Does it matter? You won’t remember me, except maybe in your dreams.”

“Then I want to know your name when I meet you in my dreams.”

“I doubt you’ll remember it, but what the heck. I’m Raziel. The Keeper of Secrets. Also the Angel of Mysteries.”

“Jesus!” Stephen gasped.

“No, he’s definitely way above my pay grade.”

“No, I mean, I read about you once. In the freakin’ Old Testament. And I thought Raziel was a guy.”

“Do I look like a guy?”

“Not even. Yet somehow, you’re both angelic and… well, very much not angelic.”

Raziel smiled. “Trust me, you’ll understand angels better tomorrow. I’ll leave you a few breadcrumbs to follow. Not to me, but to your better angel.” She leaned forward to kiss him. Like Debbie, he stiffened at first, and then melted into her kiss, finally passing out with that same glow in his face.

Raziel untwisted the steel bar from the Coroners’ shoulders and easily re-twisted it into a heart shape before hanging it on the wall. “Something to add some mystery to your lives when you wake up,” she said, chuckling to herself.

Turning, she walked out the door and down the hall to the Assistant Coroner’s office where she borrowed a pair of rain pants and Debbie’s official Coroner’s jacket. With that, she walked out the front door and across the parking lot toward the Sheriff’s Office.

She and Deputy Higgins were fated to have a very, very special night together. She didn’t often sleep with the righteous given that wicked were usually more fun. And once touched by an angel, no man could be evil again. But she’d decided to make an exception for Higgins, given he was hot. And she had to erase him anyway. Surely he had some darkness deep inside that she could vanquish.

Besides, this was just the first week of her month-long vacation. There were still plenty of evil men out there that she could turn toward the light in her own special way.

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30 Jan 2018 04:16 #58347 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Shadar's Vignettes
wow,a redeeming.angel.
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30 Jan 2018 14:14 #58354 by Random321
Replied by Random321 on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Fun (and nicely researched) Missile Girl story Shadar. I enjoyed the idea of Lt. Hawkins having an interest in heroes already. Perhaps Hawkins should have an incident befall her during a *second* rescue encounter with a perhaps overloading E-2's gear, the newer mag-lev catapult during launch, or even the Growlers equipment during a storm. There would be something satisfying about an NFO (especially such a green one) getting to "fly" on her own. Two thumbs up.
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30 Jan 2018 18:00 #58362 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

Random321 wrote: Fun (and nicely researched) Missile Girl story Shadar. I enjoyed the idea of Lt. Hawkins having an interest in heroes already. Perhaps Hawkins should have an incident befall her during a *second* rescue encounter with a perhaps overloading E-2's gear, the newer mag-lev catapult during launch, or even the Growlers equipment during a storm. There would be something satisfying about an NFO (especially such a green one) getting to "fly" on her own. Two thumbs up.

Tks, Random. A big vote for continuing this vignette.

Background... I live about 30 miles (as the crow flies, mostly over water) from Whidbey Island NAS, which is the west coast home of the Growlers. I went to an open house at Ault Field a few years ago, and they had a Growler and crew on the ramp to talk to the public. The pilot was named Jim and the backseater was a very cute and ridiculous young-looking blue-eyed blonde named Sarah. (At least to me, given I'm old). She had what I call "pilot's eyes". Very bright and clear and direct.

I think due to the Public Relations thing, they were using first names with civilians, making them more approachable.

Sarah wasn't a Hawkins, but rather some Polish-sounding last name, but the point was that I talked to her for a while about her job. I remember at one point that she said she'd daydreamed about flying free as a bird since she was a young girl, and that flying fighters, beneath that big canopy, was as close as she could get to her dreams. I was ready to sign up!

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10 Oct 2018 19:56 - 10 Oct 2018 19:59 #61521 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

Jimmy Olson fired off some shots with his camera as an extremely attractive blonde woman stepped out of the Presidential Limo, moving with the fluid grace of an elite athlete. She looked around with startlingly clear blue eyes, scanning the crowd with an intensity that seemed to look through and not just at the jeering crowd of protestors. Dressed as she was in a dark Secret Service suit with an American flag on her lapel, her hair tied tightly behind her head, she was exactly the kind of agent this President would hire — attractive, strong and female. Everything about her exuded a constrained sexiness and power, not to mention arrogance, the last two being hallmarks of the new Luthor Administration. 


She saw something in the crowd and quickly closed the door behind herself a bare half second before two men lifted rifles from beneath their coats and began firing at the Limo. The full-auto fire splattered bullets all across the side of the bulletproof vehicle, exploding tires and tearing holes in the agent’s jacket and blouse while loosening her tightly-bound hair before throwing her backward into the Limo. Yet instead of dropping dead in a pool of blood, she opened her arms wide to stand in front of the back window, putting herself directly between the shooters and the President in the best Secret Service tradition.

When the shooters paused to change magazines, her blue eyes flashed with an unholy light. The men’s assault rifles suddenly glowed red hot and they cried out in pain as they threw their weapons away.

But it was all a distraction. The real firepower came from an alleyway between two tall buildings as a small rocket projectile raced toward the limo. In the blink of an eye the agent threw herself in front of the rocket, which hit her squarely in the chest. Yet instead of exploding, it attached itself to her skin to blaze with white-hot heat. 

Jimmy screamed for everyone to run as he took cover behind a thick utility pole, holding out his camera to blindly keep shooting. He’d seen what this new Demon Seed weapon could do — a weapon that was rumored to come from alien origins. The Demon Seed could attach to any surface as it melted its way through concrete and steel, even through ceramic and composite armor, before exploding with incredible force. He’d contributed to a story the Planet ran recently which revealed that this new weapon could defeat even the previously impenetrable armor of a main battle tank. Nothing could extinguish or remove it once it was attached, and nothing could survive the explosion.

Peering around the edge of the utility pole, Jimmy’s eyes watered badly from the violent glare as the woman’s blonde hair billowed over her head, her blouse and jacket gone, her pants burning in a ring down each leg. The now nude woman otherwise looked unharmed except for the glare between her breasts. 

Not so the dozen closest bystanders, whose hair and clothing caught fire as the incendiary’s heat was reflected from her body.

Shockingly, Jimmy watched as she grabbed herself to squeeze inward, muscles flexing powerfully as she completely contained the deadly Seed between her mounded breasts. Waves of red then yellow and blue and finally white heat radiated outward from her chest, superheating her entire body to incandescence. He knew what was coming next as he made himself as small as possible behind the thick utility pole, yet reached out to keep his camera firing on automatic. 

He never heard the explosion. The last thing he saw was the crowd of protestors flying backward into the sides of the closest buildings, which then collapsed over them. 

When he woke up in the hospital, the first thing he asked for was his camera. Lois was there, looking very worried as she handed the charred and battered Nikon to him, its expensive lens shattered. 

“You’re damned lucky to be alive, Jimmy. And all you want is your camera?”

Jimmy groaned as he sat up enough in bed to turn it on. The display on the back was cracked, but amazingly still worked. He started paging through the images, starting with ones that showed the Presidential Limo laying on its side, half buried in the partially collapsed wall of the building across the street and on fire. To his astonishment, the rapid fire images showed the blonde agent, her nude body glowing like the sun, flying over to pick up the Limo and then leaping upward with it to disappear between two tall buildings. 

He handed the camera to Lois. “Check these out and then tell me that I’m crazy.”

Jimmy had drawn Lois’ disbelief a few days earlier when he’d claimed that Luthor’s new Director of Personal Security looked remarkably like Clark’s cousin.  He had a photog's eye for faces.

“She contained the worst of the explosion, Lois, or I’d be dead along with everyone else within two city blocks of the detonation. If she’s not a Kryptonian, I’ll eat what’s left of my poor camera.”

Lois’ eyes grew large and she sequenced through a hundred images or more, starting as the woman clasped the Demon Seed to her chest and ending with her flying off with the Limo, apparently unharmed. 

She sat down hard in the chair next to his bed. “How can that be Clark’s cousin? I mean, if she’s a Kryptonian, what does that make Clark?”

“So, is there a story here or what?” Jimmy grinned, ignoring the pain from his burns and all the stitches in his face. 

“Yeah. Like maybe the biggest story since Superman came to Earth. Clark? Our mild-mannered and wimpy new reporter from hicksville?”

Jimmy laughed. “Best disguise ever.”

“And if it is her, what the hell is she doing working for Luthor? I mean, he bought an election, but also a Kryptonian protector?”

“I see another Pulitzer on its way, Lois.”

“What Pulitzer?”

They both turned to see Clark Kent standing in the doorway. 

"The one these pictures and my story are going to win," Lois said.

She tossed Jimmy's beat up camera to him.

He didn't bother to look at the images before walking over to the trash can to crush the camera and its memory cards into plastic and silicon dust. Brushing off his large hands, he turned back to face Lois and Jimmy as he took his black glasses off, his blue eyes looking larger and brighter without them.

"We have to talk. This story is not what you think it is."

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Last edit: 10 Oct 2018 19:59 by shadar.
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11 Oct 2018 17:23 - 11 Oct 2018 17:24 #61532 by Agent00Soul
Replied by Agent00Soul on topic Shadar's Vignettes
She sat down hard in the chair next to his bed. “How can that be Clark’s cousin? I mean, if she’s a Kryptonian, what does that make Clark?”

“So, is there a story here or what?” Jimmy grinned, ignoring the pain from his burns and all the stitches in his face. 

“Yeah. Like maybe the biggest story since Superman came to Earth. Clark? Our mild-mannered and wimpy new reporter from hicksville?”

Jimmy laughed. “Best disguise ever.”"

Better than a pair of glasses and a sack suit?  :D

Great story to go with the image of Laura!  What a woman: a superheroine, a supervillainess, and a werewolf!
Last edit: 11 Oct 2018 17:24 by Agent00Soul.
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11 Oct 2018 22:26 #61539 by Random321
Replied by Random321 on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Thank-you for the great short story Shadar. Having LV set as the initial the image for the story didn't hurt, but I like that this Kara style character is working in a professional "security" role to start with, is dressed well, and of course is on the spot to protect her subject by any means needed. There is also something fun about that extra level of secrecy to a heroine who is not as "out there" like Superman is presented as.

I hope when I "borrow" this idea of invulnerability to a sort of burning sticky grenade/active armor penetration round some day you see it as flattery and not just a rip off.

Let's see if I can warp/inspire your dreams some more: That was just supposed to be a fragmentation grenade... ...I need to up my creativity game.

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12 Oct 2018 00:08 - 12 Oct 2018 00:10 #61542 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

Random321 wrote: Thank-you for the great short story Shadar. Having LV set as the initial the image for the story didn't hurt, but I like that this Kara style character is working in a professional "security" role to start with, is dressed well, and of course is on the spot to protect her subject by any means needed. There is also something fun about that extra level of secrecy to a heroine who is not as "out there" like Superman is presented as.

I hope when I "borrow" this idea of invulnerability to a sort of burning sticky grenade/active armor penetration round some day you see it as flattery and not just a rip off.

Let's see if I can warp/inspire your dreams some more: That was just supposed to be a fragmentation grenade... ...I need to up my creativity game.

Absolutely, please use whatever you'd like. I write vignettes to inspire the imagination but not to satisfy it, if you know what I mean. I'm always hoping to plant seeds that someone else will nurture into a significant story or video, etc. Nothing tickles me more than to see one of my ideas turned into something really cool by someone creative like you. 

As far as your JPG, yeah, liked that.  I have a thing about massive power being applied to such a "delicate" area without injury. The Demon Seed weapon seemed like the most horrible thing I could think of. An incendiary that sticks to anything, can't be removed by anyone or anything, and is supposed to blow up once it melts its way inside armor. Didn't work with Kara though. She's not meltable. Or very blastable. But it was hell on the bystanders. 

Last edit: 12 Oct 2018 00:10 by shadar.

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06 Apr 2019 20:12 - 06 Apr 2019 20:20 #63645 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

Dazzled by the blaze, Harry fired off a sequence of shots on his Nikon, shooting low between her outstretched legs, stunned to see her eye-beams converging on the approaching pickup truck, which instantly disappeared in a burst of blinding heat.

Staggering back to his feet, his Nikon slipping from his fingers as he stepped closer to the alien woman, he was completely unable to resist her siren call of power and desire this time.

Fascinated as he'd been since he met her, he loved the way her planet's custom prohibited their women from ever covering their chests. Daringly stepping forward to stand closely behind her, his desire pressing hard against her, his hands rose to slip upward beneath breasts which refused to be hidden behind mere clothing. 

Cupping her gently, he was amazed to find that she was both very soft and firm at the same time, which made no sense. His large hands, fingers outstretched, suddenly felt small as he failed to fully surround her. Lifting his head, he looked through her billowing blonde hair to see another truck approaching at high speed, this one still a couple of miles away. Astonishingly, the first truck was now little more than a smear of molten metal down the middle of the road, with black smoke rising along its edges from the still burning tires. 

"So, what's your range?" the grizzled old Gunnery Sergeant couldn't resist asking. 

"Depends how tightly you can hold me."  Another of her little challenges.

He poured his Marine-honed strength into holding her, knowing he could hardly hurt her. Despite their initial softness, her flesh gave only slightly beneath his fingers. 

"That's all you got?" she asked.

Tendons stood up on his hands as his sinewy arms flexed harder yet, her breasts yielded further to his grip. His arms were shaking from his full strength as two beams of unholy light flashed forward to strike the distant truck. Like the first target, the colors went from red to orange to yellow to white-hot in seconds, glass shattering as the truck began to slump just before it grew too bright for him to look at. Spots filled his eyes as he turned his head to bury his face in her platinum hair.

 "I can shoot a lot further than that, you know."

He pulled his face from her hair to see a wide contrail approaching from high above. The long, sharply swept wing and the four wide engine pods, each with two contrails, marked it as a bomber. "That's a B-52. An old but very potent bomber."

"I see it. No problem." Her intense eye-beams lanced out again, converging to a point at light-speed, the huge bomber exploding like a giant firework, flames and sparks shooting forward and down. The eight contrails suddenly ended in a cloud of black smoke. 

"Those were good men!" Harry gasped. "Not like these assholes who are trying to kill you."

"That bomber had fusion weapons aboard. They can be very uncomfortable."

"Bullshit," he started to say as he started to release his hold on her, his anger overcoming his desire. "I thought I made it clear. We don't kill military."

Before he could step back, she clasped her hands over his, holding them too tightly for him to move.  
"You are becoming boring, Harry, but I did promise to never hurt you, I suspect you won't feel a thing."

Closing her eyes, she stared against the backs of her eyelids with all her visual power. The twin beams of lethal heat bounced back from her invulnerable skin to spread outward, turning her head, her hair, her shoulders, her chest and finally the rest of her white-hot, all the way down her long legs, the asphalt roadway melting and then bursting into flames around her, the brown fields flashing into flame for two-hundred meters in all directions.

Turning, she puckered her lips to give the smoking pile of gray ash that had fallen behind her a quick blow, sending it flying over the burning fields.

Lifting off, her body glowing like a newly born star, she headed toward Chicago. Surely there would be a large choice of new assistants there.


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Last edit: 06 Apr 2019 20:20 by shadar.
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25 Jul 2019 00:01 - 26 Jul 2019 19:13 #64667 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes
**Scent of a Woman**
by Shadar
July, 2019

**Earth, the year 2097**

Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Earth and Velor, a group of extremely wealthy men had surfaced who would pay handsomely for the opportunity to meet a Velorian. The problem was finding one, given the Embassy had very strict rules limiting fraternization between its staff and the locals. 

But there were other Velorians on Earth, some here for commerce, but also others were part of a growing population of rogues who pursued their own interests and not those of Velor. But even then, there were believed to be less than a hundred Velorians on Earth at any given time.

If someone wanted more than a proper, formal meeting at the Embassy, with everyone dressed like they were working inside the Beltway in Washington or London’s Financial District, etc, they had to find the handful of rogues. Who unfortunately were mixed in with the roughly 80 million naturally-blonde Earth women. (And that number didn’t include those who colored their hair.)  

That’s where Garat Donaldson came in. He was a Finder with one unusual ability — he could locate Velorians by their scent. And at great distance.

It was an accidental mutation of a trait his wine-making parents had genteched into his DNA at birth: he was supposed to have been born with the ability to find the most exceptional grapes in thousands of acres of vineyard by smell alone. 

Instead, he was born with a nose to find the most exceptional women in the galaxy.

Yet in one of life’s great ironies, Garat was gay. He would much prefer to be searching for Velorian men, who unfortunately, were not adventurous or as powerful as their females and rarely left Velor. Likely there were none on Earth. 

But given he had a unique skill, he used it to open Velorian Encounters, a company that offered to introduce wealthy men to Velorians — for a very handsome fee. He was in it for the money, not the girl, which his wealthy clients understood full well.

His nose could pick up a hint of Velorian pheromones from hundreds of miles away. And once detected, he used Air Packet Analysis from the Met to determine the statistical origin of that packet of scented air. That would give him a rough location to start his search. 

Once he got within a few miles of a Vel, he could follow the scent directly. And when he got in close, he switched to a bicycle, finding that riding very slowly and making many turns allowed him to work out the scent’s origin. Now he was riding his bike through Munich, which thankfully had built a massive network of bicycle trails during the last half of the 21st century. 

He’d gotten his first hint of the Velorian while down in Innsbruck, and the Met said the air packet he’d sniffed had come from here. Of course, the Met’s idea of “here” was somewhere inside a hundred square kilometer space. 

Munich was a large city, and there are a lot of blondes in Germany, but his nose took him all the way through the city and out the other side and straight toward a motor raceway in the distance. The German Grand Prix ws being held, and that was hopeful. There were always lots of exotic women at Formula One races. A Vel would fit in there.

He parked his bike in some trees near the entrance to the raceway, and then sent a message for his client to meet him. It was time for the endgame. The client quickly arrived by chopper, and Garat began the most enjoyable part of his profession -- finding the alien super girl and then watching her face when he said, in perfect Velorian, *“Greetings, my Lady of the Golden Planet.”*

It was the only Velorian phrase he knew, but it was enough to get her attention. At that point his job was to step aside and introduce his client. Regardless of what happened after that, he’d earned his fee. 

Once inside the raceway, he could see that this was going to be more challenging than usual given the number of tall, attractive blondes at the track. Formula One racing was a wealthy man’s sport, and it drew expensive advertisers and promotors who hired expensive models. Not to mention an army of trophy wives. A lot of those women had been Genteched at birth for extreme beauty, and at least half of them were blondes. Which meant his eyes were useless.

He usually combined scent tracking — which was often confusing in a crowd — and his experience at looking for the physical traits that are distinctive for a Vel. The subtle differences in the way they moved and their lightness on their feet. Given they were thousands of times stronger than the people around them, and could fly, it showed despite their best efforts to hide it. But only to someone who knew what to look for.

Knowing that his client didn’t want to stand around for hours, he walked around quickly, approaching every tall, leggy blonde as he   sniffed his way around, trying not to be too obvious as he tried to triangulate her. He got more than a few dark looks, given his sniffing around beautiful women with a well-dressed man creapily following him. The trick was always to get a good sniff without anyone  calling Security.  

It took him an hour, but he finally narrowed his search to a spectacular blonde wearing a blue latex suit with Bavaria stenciled across her impossibly firm ass. As was always the case when he finally tracked a Vel down, everything about them suddenly looked superhumanly perfect. Why hadn't he seen that before? Was his head playing games with him? Or was it just the concentrated pheromones, which he alone could smell?

The people around her were obviously affected by them, but didn't know why they suddenly felt unusually horny. Her pheromones shouldn't have worked on him, being gay and all, but he was always overwhelmed by them when he got close. Even out here in the open. 

Standing ten feet behind her and downwind, her scent was so powerful that he could barely speak his practiced Velorian phrase:  *“Greetings, my Lady of the Golden Planet.”*.

She turned her upper body and head to smile back at him, a genuine, curious smile, her eyes giving off that “come hither” sparkle that seems unique to Vels. She'd probably expected to find a Velorian man, but she didn't seem disappointed when she saw that he was just another Terran. And nobody looks at a man the way a Vel does, and nobody enjoys getting hit on more than a Vel. Or is better at returning the favor. 

As usual, Garat was mesmerized, unable to pull his eyes from hers as she drew him closer. It took all his willpower to step aside and introduce his client. 

The client, Jeremy Smythe, was a handsome man in his fifties who gave off an aura of wealth just standing there. A glib talker, he was clearly over-skilled for chatting up a Vel, who are the easiest people in the universe to talk to, especially if you were getting “the look”. To a Vel, sexual intercourse was only slightly more involved than a handshake. In fact, it was said that a Vel couldn't truly know a man she hadn't slept with. 

Garat pushed those thoughts away as he turned around and began working his way back through the crowd, happy to have made some serious coin for just a few days work, but also feeling uncharacteristically sad. There was something about this Vel. The way she’d looked at him.  

Whatever… it didn’t matter. His job was done. 

He walked outside the motorway, his ears ringing slightly from the roaring engines — internal combustion engines no longer existed outside of motor racing — and found his way to the small grove of trees where he’d stashed his bike. He swung his leg over the bar and took off, peddling down the treed pathway, heading back to the road toward Munich where he planned to catch a flight back to Innsbruck.

He was nearly to the edge of the trees when the Velorian crashed down through the trees to land directly in front of him, her long hair streaming behind her. He skidded to a stop as a shower of falling leaves fell over both of them. He just stared, eyes wide. She looked completely amazing in her skintight latex outfit, which also had Bavaria printed across her chest.. 

“That’s a mighty slow way to get back to Munich,” she observed. “Or wherever you came from. How about I fly you?”

“Ah, what about my clien… the gentleman I introduced you to?”

“You can say client. I’m not offended. Unfortunately, he’s not my type at all. I’m a biologist, and I’m very interested in how your nose works. Unless you have to run off to sniff out some other Vel tonight, how about we get to know each other better?”

“You want my nose?” Garat quipped as his heart raced. Her pheromones were so strong now that they were making him dizzy. This was not going to sit well with the client, who’d just spent a million dollars to meet her. Or for that matter, with his own boyfriend.

But he couldn’t resist. “Ah… Ok, but only if you explain why you’ve got Bavaria printed on your ass.”

She chuckled. “To make some money. It’s against Velorian law to trade my abilities for money.”

“But obviously that doesn’t extend to trading on your good looks.”

She shook her head. “Nope, and people here seem to want to pay me to hang clothing on me and take pictures.”

“It’s called modeling.”

“Whatever,” she shrugged. “And as far as your nose, I want to know how it works. A little quid pro quo seems honorable to me.”

Garat laughed softly. “You do know I’m gay? Right?”

She smiled. “On Velor, we don’t worry about such labels. We always figure something out, one way or another. Do you trust me?”

Garat felt his brain melting as his desire grew as strong as a bull’s. No woman had ever hit on him like this. He’d never wanted them to, given he’d never felt attracted to a woman. He'd always made his introductions and then quickly escaped. 

Past tense. This Vel was totally different. And they did have some attractions, despite being female. He really liked muscles and strength, and Vels had more of the later than any man in the universe. Like hundreds of times more. Thousands some say. Unfortunately they also came with a vagina, which he had only a theoretical understanding of how to operate.

“You said you were a biologist?” 

“Yes. I specialize in the origins of superhuman powers. Which is interesting because I obviously have many myself, which makes it easier for me to understand other people’s special skills.  Mostly I work with Gentechs like you who have mutated in interesting ways.”  

She sounded like she already knew something about him. 

Garat knew he should just refuse and go about his business as usual, if for no other reason than to preserve his professional standing with his clients. But his racing heart and wildly growing arousal reminded him that nobody turned down a Velorian. Nobody. They could probably seduce a enuch, and he was most certainly not that. 

“Well, I’m staying at the Penz Hotel in Innsbruck. If you don’t mind.”

“Mind?” she laughed. “There is nothing I want more than to get to know you. That's not so far by air.”

Garat flushed from head to toe. Christ, this was going to be a mess to sort out afterward!

But he didn’t resist when she reached down to grab the frame of his bike to lift it and him in her arms, her warm, blonde hair spilling fragrantly over his face and shoulders. He felt her body tense against his, and then gravity seemed to vanish entirely. 

They floated upward, and then soared away, leaving a very angrily Jeremy Smythe standing next to his limo in the parking lot, shaking his fist in the air.

**The End**


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Last edit: 26 Jul 2019 19:13 by shadar. Reason: Typos
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25 Jul 2019 15:02 #64668 by Klaus
Replied by Klaus on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Lovely little short stories!

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25 Jul 2019 17:12 #64669 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Ok, I managed to post and format the Scent of a Woman vignette down a couple of posts. Sorry for the delay and the confusion. 

It's very short, and describes a power that I've never seen used in a story on SWM before. 


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26 Jul 2019 11:16 #64673 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Shadar's Vignettes

shadar wrote: Ok, I managed to post and format the Scent of a Woman vignette down a couple of posts. Sorry for the delay and the confusion. 

It's very short, and describes a power that I've never seen used in a story on SWM before. 


I suppose I can remove the uploaded version from the Library, or do you wish to keep both?

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26 Jul 2019 14:13 #64677 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Shadar's Vignettes

Woodclaw wrote:

shadar wrote: Ok, I managed to post and format the Scent of a Woman vignette down a couple of posts. Sorry for the delay and the confusion. 

It's very short, and describes a power that I've never seen used in a story on SWM before. 


I suppose I can remove the uploaded version from the Library, or do you wish to keep both?

No need for both. You can drop the one in the library. Tks. 


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27 Jul 2019 16:45 #64685 by slim36
Replied by slim36 on topic Shadar's Vignettes
Whatever vitamins the muse is taking seem to be working very well. Thanks

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