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A Shot in the Light

Written by brantley :: [Wednesday, 16 December 2015 23:26] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 10 January 2016 11:59]


The gunman smirked as he suddenly raised his weapon and fired it at the woman. The burst was right on target – her magnificent breasts. It was truly a sight to behold as she her proudly showed off her invulnerability – and soon millions would behold it.

It was all caught on video – the staccato sound of the automatic, the hail of bullets bouncing off Larissa’s chest as she stood on the roof of Marchalcy Royale headquarters, her hands on her hips and a slight grin on her face, with a view of the sky and the capital cityscape of Toulouse behind her.

It was purely for spectacle, and Sous-Officier Daniel Valgraive’s part in it came only by chance – he’d won that part in a drawing. Prince Gerin had thought it would be a great idea to have the promotional video for the new Velorian Legion shot atop the police building, with one of the police doing the honors. The whole video crew came straight from the Palace – Gerin considered the campaign a Matter of State.

Nobody but Larissa and the videographers and the designated shooter were to be there for the shoot. It would have been a madhouse if other officers had been allowed. But Mareschal Serge LeGrand couldn’t let the others think he was playing favorites, so it had come down to the drawing. And so it had come down to Daniel, who considered it a dubious honor, and who would have nothing to do with how the footage was used.

The production would be really slick, with an unseen narrator explaining about the Legion as a military arm of the Velorian Enlightenment in the war against the Aurean Empire, helping the Protectors defend member worlds – like his own Clodovie. There’d be stills of the Golden Planet itself, and clips from newscasts of the Battle of Klasten and the liberation of Binkley’s World as the narrator gave an overview of ancient and recent history.

Then would come Daniel’s own part, as Larissa assumed her pose. The narrator would alert viewers to what they were about to see, and even count down to the moment when he smirked on cue, and raised his gun to blast away – actually from a safe distance to protect him from ricochets, but the editing would make it seem otherwise. In a close-up, again according to plan, Larissa would brush her hands across her chest to remove the residue from the explosive bullets – then resume her pose. A closing narration would lay it on really thick, urging viewers to submit applications.

“You too may qualify! Find adventure, find romance with the Velorian Legion!”

Daniel wondered how Larissa could manage to keep a straight face, knowing her performance was nothing but a tease. It paid to advertise, he knew, and the Legion was looking for new women – and men. Larissa conveyed just the right appeal to women who wanted to be her and men who wanted to have her. A lot of those men would be coming in their pants; even some of the women might be getting wet between their legs. Only she had to know as well as he did that the video would leave out a lot.

Like, hardly anybody responding to the appeal had any chance of “winning” a place in the Legion, and there was nothing they could do to improve their luck, as they could in buying a raft of tickets in the planetary lottery. Like, they wouldn’t be getting sexy Vitamax uniforms that could stand up to the same punishment as the Legionnaires themselves – Larissa’s was an exception, just to make an impression in her recruiting tour, on which Clodovie was only one of the stops. And the applicants who turned out to be Latents and underwent Enhancement would have to give up lovers who didn’t qualify – which would be a virtual certainty. Perhaps it was just as well that nearly all of them would be shipped offworld before they had time to impress their friends and neighbors. Some might never return if they found new relationships among the Legionnaires.

None of that would matter to Larissa. She was just stopping off here to do a job. She and Daniel had hardly spoken a word before the shoot. Jovan Sauveterre, director of the video crew, had rehearsed them on their roles. That was it as far as conversation went. So he was startled when Larissa opened up to him after the shoot wrapped.

“You were perfect,” she told him. “I was afraid you might be rattled.”

That stunned him. But he managed a quick comeback.

“I’m a gent d’arme. Shooting straight comes with the territory.”

“I should have thought of that,” she said softly, after a moment.

She must have known about the lottery. She had to have been briefed. She had to know why he was here. If she had looked closely with her Velorian eyes, she even had to know – to his embarrassment – that he had a hard-on. Those pheromones… It must be the same with the video crew, but they weren’t about to mention it, and neither was he. He was wondering what to say now, if anything, when Jovan approached.

“We’re ready to return to the Palace,” he told Larissa, ignoring Daniel – who was stunned again by her response.

“Go ahead,” she said. “I can make my own way. See the sights.”

Jovan seemed displeased, but apparently didn’t want to make an issue of it. He and his crew, who had already packed the equipment, boarded their flitter and took off.

* * *

And so they were alone together.

Daniel looked at Larissa – and Larissa looked at him.

“I don’t think you were crazy about this whole thing,” she said.

“I can’t complain,” he said with a shrug.

“I wasn’t crazy about it either.”

“That’s the third time this afternoon you have me at a loss.”

“How do you feel about it, as an officer?”

“Underofficer. I do routine guard duty, but I don’t go out on operations. Yet.”

“I’m on an operation myself. But your prince doesn’t seem to appreciate that.”

“Really? After all the planning he put into it?”

“He expected me to put on gold and put out for him, and he wasn’t at all happy when I turned him down. He seemed to think I owed it to him, because he couldn’t get any action with Ragna.”

“The Protector? But doesn’t she—?”

“Arvid’s official status here is only as Velorian ambassador, but he and Ragna are a couple. He could have made Gerin’s overtures to her a diplomatic incident, but chose not to – given the importance of maintaining good relations between Velor and such a strategically important world as yours.”

Larissa paused for a moment.

“Anyway, this whole video shoot was as much to embarrass me as to promote the Legion – on other worlds before I came here, the recruiting campaign was handled in a sober manner. All of the facts, including the risks – none of the tease. As things stand, some of those who qualify for enhancement may have the wrong expectations; they may not realize how essential it is for me to control my reactions, to avoid orgasm in order to spare them serious injury or even death.”

“We were briefed on that. Just in case any of us qualified.”

“We’ve already checked the lifecypher records the Marchalcy submitted. None of you have.”

“I don’t think they’ll want to talk about that, when they find out. Some of them must have had their hopes up, even if they’d never admit it. But they’ll want to kid me about today. As if…”

“As if you’d gotten off on it.”

“Now I’m the one embarrassed.”

“I can’t help being what I am. How that affects men. But I don’t like making it a public spectacle. I hate Prince Gerin for exploiting me.”

“Well, I’m not going to talk about that. Saying anything against the prince isn’t exactly a path to career advancement. I’ll still be here when you’re long gone.”

“Maybe you could show me around before I have to leave. There must be a lot of history here.”

“Better not to even be seen with you. But on your own, you might want to check out where the peculiar people called the Cathars used to live and pray. They were most of the early settlers, but they’re all gone now.”

“How did that happen?”

“They were a heretical sect against the dominant church where they lived back on Earth. The church ordered them exterminated, and sent an army to see to it. Only a lot of their friends and neighbors came their defense. They too would all have been slaughtered if the Seeders hadn’t shown up.”

“So what happened?’

“When they found themselves here, the friends and neighbors lost their faith. But the Cathars kept theirs – they thought this world was a creation of some sort of demon, just like the physical reality of the Earth they had left behind. They thought everything physical was evil, including physical love.”

“I see.”

“And so the descendants of the friends and neighbors prevailed. One of them, Clovis by name, had been the son of a count back on Earth, but that wasn’t enough for him; he proclaimed himself prince of a world to which he gave a variant of his own name. And he and his armed men lorded it over the peasants. It’s changed a lot since we were discovered by the Enlightenment – we have our own industry, not unlike what you must have seen elsewhere. And there aren’t any armed forces in the old sense – nobody to fight here, and you Velorians defend us against any threats from the Empire. But we still have the Marchalcy.”

It was at that moment that Roland Bouchard, officer of the watch, stepped onto the roof from the stairwell. He looked at Larissa, then at Daniel.

“Hey, you’re missing the party!” he said. “How come you’re still up here? And why is she? She was supposed to leave with the crew.”

“Just asking about places to visit,” Daniel said. “She’s a stranger in town.”

“He was telling me about the Cathars,” Larissa interjected, trying to look every bit like an ordinary tourist instead of a superheroine.

Roland appeared to be satisfied, for the moment; but Daniel wasn’t about to make himself look suspicious by hanging around here.

“It was nice meeting you,” he told Larissa, and followed Roland to the stairwell as she took to the air.

* * *

He’d expected a lot of ribbing from his fellow officers, and they lived up – well, down – to his expectations. No drinking allowed on duty, but some of them might as well have been stinking drunk.

“Bet you’d love to be a real insider with her” – that from Roland – was the least obnoxious of the comment he had to endure. Relief came only with the end of the party, after which he headed home to his apartment.

The next few days, it was guard duty as usual at the World Bank, which was as quiet a place as you could imagine – there hadn’t been an attempted robbery in ages. But then came the broadcast of the video – and LeGrand’s revelation to his men that none of them were Latents. The gendarmes were mostly quiet, even sullen. They were ordered not to take that news outside.

At the Hospital Clodovien in Toulouse, however, it was a mob scene. People had lined up for blocks to await testing, and more were arriving by train and bus from the countryside. It was going to take weeks, maybe months, to process all of them – and that meant Larissa would have to remain longer, Daniel figured, than Velor had bargained for. There might be some testy diplomatic message traffic about that, but it wasn’t any of his concern.

He was, however, one of hundreds of officers detailed to keep order outside the hospital and as far as the line stretched. Tempers were high, with people pushing and shoving – a lot of them, to judge from their dress, were from the lower classes: grunt workers who had little hope of advancing themselves. The gendarmes had been issued loudspeakers as well as guns; these were handed on to new officers from shift to shift; this was all-day and all-night ordeal.

Daniel hated the assignment. It kept him in the city when he’d have rather taken time to visit his family in the country. He was an only child, and they were prosperous farmers who had assumed he would follow in their footsteps. But farming just wasn’t for him, although he’d done some hunting on the side – that had given him an edge when it came to his application to join the Marchalcy. And in the capitol, he’d hoped, he could make new friends, even find a woman to marry.

It hadn’t worked out that way. His fellow gendarmes took it for granted that he should socialize with them; some were married to other officers, and those who were single often preferred women of the evening to women they could love. Thus far, the kind of educated women who appealed to him had held his job against him. Maybe one of these days…

Things came to a head at the hospital on the seventh day, when an angry-looking man showed up in from of the entrance with his own loudspeaker, complaining that he’d been cheated in the test because he was just a working stiff like most of the rest of them. But he didn’t stop there.

“Look at these men with guns!” he shouted. “They don’t have to worry about being rejected. They’re on the inside track!’

There was grumbling in the crowd, then a shaking of fists. Daniel was closest to the scene, and could sense there was a full-scale riot brewing. He had to stop it, and he could think of only one way. He fired into the air to get the crowd’s attention, then took off his helmet so that anyone who turned his way could recognize him as he shouted into his loudspeaker.

“I’m Daniel Valgraive. You may have seen me on your homeboxes. I’m here to tell you that there isn’t any inside track. I’m not on it, and neither are any of my fellow officers. That’s just the breaks, and the breaks are the same for all of you, rich or poor, man or woman. Your lifecyphers will tell you whether you’re a Latent; there’s nothing you can do about it, there’s nothing anybody can do about it. You can’t change it any more than you can change the natural color of your eyes or your hair – and Latency is many, many times rarer than either of those. I appeared in a video that may have made it seem otherwise. I’m now ashamed of my part in it, and apologize to one and all of you. But there’s nothing you can accomplish here through violence, and I appeal to all of you to be patient. It doesn’t matter what order you’re tested in. If any of you are among the rare individuals who qualify for enhancement, the medical people here will tell you. If you aren’t, they will tell you. It’s all a matter of luck. That’s all.”

People in line here seemed to be getting the message. They quieted down, and the angry-looking man slunk off. But what about the rest of the crowd, stretched far back out of earshot?

Daniel hadn’t thought of it then, but there was a security camera at the hospital entrance that had caught it all; before long it was being shown on capitol news feeds and appeared on screens in the neighborhood. Before his shift ended, he was the talk of the town, and invited to appear on news shows. Within a few days, he was deluged with mail, mostly from well-wishers, some of whom found his apartment and expressed support to him personally when he was going in or out.

LeGrand gave him holy hell, but stopped short of imposing any discipline. Nor was there any discouraging word from the Palace or any government office. Prince Gerin must be smart enough to distance himself from the whole affair.

“We’re proud of you!” his father Georges told him when he finally made time for a visit to the farm.

“Maybe things will calm down enough for me to come more often,” Daniel said. “Fame can be fleeting. And it hasn’t done anything for my career.”

He explained how chances of a promotion were slim to none, and how a number of his fellow officers were standoffish.”

“You’ll always be welcome here,” his mother Clotilde assured him, and they all went on to talk about the crops and the market. Georges was now thinking of getting into prepared foods, some based on her recipes, rather than just fruits and produce and grains. It might be interesting, but Daniel couldn’t feel any place for himself in it.

* * *

After a few months, the mail had tapered off considerably. He usually gave it little notice, but one day there came an envelope with the Flamebird emblem of Velor. It had to be from Larissa; he couldn’t imagine Ragna or the diplomats reaching out to him – like Prince Gerin, they would surely distance themselves from the whole video affair.

But there wasn’t a return address, or even a message; only directions to a location in a forest 50 leagues from Toulouse reserved for hunters in season. It wasn’t in season right now, so chances were the site would be deserted the day after next when he would be expected.

Daniel couldn’t imagine why Larissa would want such a private meeting, or have anything to say that couldn’t be said by mail – nobody was searching it. So he rented a groundcar and headed out. As he approached the location, in a clearing by a lake, he saw another groundcar parked there.

It was only when Larissa stepped out from a huge boulder that he realized why she hadn’t simply flown here. She stood before him naked but for her gold necklace.

“I’m here to do my good deed before I have to devote myself to Enhancement,” she said. Take your clothes off.”

Daniel was speechless, but he knew his manhood would speak for him.

“You’re a good man,” she said as he undressed. “I want you on me and in me. I want you because you’re a good man.”

Her erect nipples and the dampness between her legs showed her sincerity, even as his rock hard cock showed his aching need for her.

She knelt before him and took him in her mouth. He came immediately, but she continued to suck, and he remained hard – just not as desperately hard.

“That’s just for starters,” she said when she released his cock, then stood before him and took him in her arms. As she hugged and deep kissed him, he could feel her steel-hard nipples against his chest, and caught the heady scent of honey and wildflowers wafting from her nether parts.

“They’re like little bullets, aren’t they?” Larissa teased. “But bullets don’t feel anything when you bite them.”

It was a cue as well as a tease. Daniel kissed his way down to her chest, then took her magnificent breasts in his hands, squeezing them as hard as he could, then biting their nipples as hard as he could. Knowing that these breasts, these nipples were invulnerable to any weapon known to man – but that his hands and mouth could be instruments of pleasure to her … his reward was her moans of orgasm that made him shoot again.

“Eat me,” she invited him, and from her engorged clit as well as her pheromones he knew how eager she was.

Daniel buried his face between her legs and began licking, then biting her with wild abandon, driven to a frenzy at the thought that nothing could harm any part of her womanhood. Within moments, she was shuddering with delight, then screaming with pleasure.

Larissa was coming. And he was making her come, making this superwoman come. Her fragrant juices were flowing, and he was lapping them up.

“Larissa!” he cried when he came up for air. “Larissa, Larissa, Larissa.”

She lay back on the ground, gazing at him invitingly.

“Fuck me, Daniel!” she exclaimed. “Fuck me as hard as you can. Let me feel your cock slamming into my cunt.”

“Your wish is my command,” he contrived to say – before plunging into her. It was heavenly to feel himself surrounded, then teased unmercifully by her contractions – to which he responded by pounding her unmercifully.

“Shoot!” she screamed, as if they were making another video. “Shoot!” But his was a living gun that exploded inside her, and he didn’t have to stop to reload; he shot again and again and she came again and again until he was totally exhausted.

Now Larissa took him tenderly in her arms, and whispered endearments as they basked in the afterglow. It turned out that she had a picnic lunch in her car and, after they shared a meal, Daniel had recovered enough for another round. It was a day he knew he would never forget.

“But it has to be our secret,” she told him at the end of the day. “I’m not really supposed to give freebies. It could get me in trouble. You wouldn’t tell anyone, would you?”

“It’s too good to tell,” he assured her. And he felt all good inside.

* * *

Daniel never saw Larissa again. She left after completing her work, and sooner than expected – it had occurred to somebody in the government to let people submit blood samples to local clinics instead of all coming to the hospital.

But he did meet a woman who was interested in lifecyphers. Nothing to do with the Velorian project, but with engineering changes in food crops like those his family raised – species that had been here before seeding, and had remained the same since but for a few efforts at selective breeding.

“They do it on other planets, including Earth,” Natalie Boussenard said. “But it hasn’t been tried with native crops here.” She went on about it long enough to get him hooked, and he invited her to come meet the folks. He could tell she was really smart. It didn’t hurt that she was also sexy.

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