Title: Wrestling Match
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'Silkies' are the creation of Ken Sample. Used with permission.
The world had no name.
The star it orbited -- a dwarf star so ancient it scarcely emitted any light -- had none, either. In the journals of the various races who plied the starlanes it had only a number. It was isolated as stars go, not large enough to generate many warp lines and far from any important system. Its sole satellite was hardly worthy of the name 'planet', and had no minerals worth extracting.
Every so often, a vessel would stop by the automated fuelling station in orbit around that lifeless planet. Rarely, two vessels would meet at the station.
Such a rare event had just occurred. Two trade ships arrived at the station almost simultaneously, and for the last sixteen hours had been docked on opposite sides of the station's hull. The ship's captains left their vessels, shuttling to the lifeless surface of the world below to meet privately.
The ships' crews performed the expected maintenance on the station and engaged in their preferred off-duty pursuits. The sensor officers of each vessel identically used this free time to scan the system and world below, saving the area where the shuttles had landed. (The captains expected their privacy, after all.). As always the scans confirmed what was already known: There was nothing whatsoever of interest here.
But the world with no name had a secret. If you knew just what to look for, and just where to scan, you'd find a cavern far beneath the surface. A few acres' worth, heated and filled with air.
And in that cavern .
"I win!" Dyena mocked, batting her eyes at her mate.
"So I see," Khlen grumbled, watching the last foot of white-scaled tail slip into his lady's swollen vulva. The great purple clam of her sex pulsed, then sealed shut, and a series of gurgles from her flank told of her toy being sucked deeper. Into her womb, and then with an indescribable squelch her belly sagged a bit more.
Both the beartaurs -- the silver-furred male and the pink-red female -- smiled at the drumbeat that followed. Her toy and meal, the reptilian sentient named Gan, beat out a happy tune on the inner wall of her stomach. Its scales protected it for a time from her anaesthetic-laced digestive fluids, and they smiled to hear the cadence.
"It's good at that."
"Changing the subject, dear? That's three in a row for me."
"Five, counting yesterday. You've won every match since we had the changes done. Maybe if I managed not to come "
The hidden cavern was one of many secreted throughout the galaxy, a covert meeting-place for the nomadic Mwee traders. A stockpile of supplies and records, it had its own medical facility and could perform surgery more intricate than even the sick bays on the Market-class trade ships they each captained.
"It's not your fault, Master. Mistress will always win this game."
Khlen blinked and looked between his forelegs. He'd almost forgotten the silkie, who was up to his armpits in beartaur cock. That elephantine member was distended grossly, like a snake swallowing its prey, and it had 'swallowed' almost all of the quasi-musteline humanoid. But not enough: the pale goo sticking down the silkie's gray fur showed that Khlen had ejaculated while sucking in his meal. The delay caused by the climax had given Dyena more than enough time to finish her meal.
"Really, Taim? And how do you know that?"
The silkie blinked fearlessly as Khlen worked the muscles of his recently modified cock and drew another few inches of his meal in. "Mistress will always win, because she didn't need the surguries to be able to do it."
"What do you mean, dear?" Dyena lowered her furry-humanoid half to peer beneath Khlen's fat belly. "Khlen, let him talk. You can eat him later."
"All right, love." Khlen relaxed his cock, and the silkie, who'd been down to a furry face, pulled himself partly free of the engulfment. He did this with his tail, a nine-foot furry member as strong as a python and equipped with fingers at the end. It'd been the repeated strokes of that tickly tail that had made Khlen squirt so copiously, though the 'orgasm in reverse' feeling of cock-eating someone had helped.
"Master, Mistress," the silkie pulled himself the rest of the way free with a sloppy-wet sound, leaving the cock-'mouth' to fold slowly closed, "Both of you can swallow meals through your sexes now. Before you could only swallow with your mouths "
"Poor Taim. Come here, dear." Dyena had smiled to see the silkie's condition: protruding from the thick gray fur of the mustelid's belly was a hard pink shaft. "You can tell us while I help you."
The silkie sidled from beneath Khlen's belly, and Dyena 's massive head settled into his lap. He grasped her ears reverently as her rubbery black lips sucked in his shaft, and spoke as his tail began to twitch rhythmically.
"Master can hhh swallow me with his cock, and has," he pointed at Khlen's fat gut, "And Mistress can swallow me with her sex, and has." He didn't need to point: Dyena 's gut was even fatter, for she'd eaten two Silkies and the reptile tonight, to Khlen's one of each. "But it's not easy for Master. His cock stretches, but Hhn it's still tight. It's work. Mistress can," the silkie paused, rubbing Dyena 's cheeks as they pulsed in and out, "Mistress is very generous Mistress' sex could take me in even before she had the surgeries."
"Oh, really." Khlen cocked an eyebrow at Dyena , who managed to look apologetic even as she sucked. "How long have you been with Dyena, Taim?"
Just then the silkie let out a yowl, his tail twitching, and it was Dyena who answered. Licking her lips, she took her muzzle from the mustelid's lap. "Sixteen years."
" Mistress has eaten me one thousand, two hundred and eight times, and before tonight she had also taken me into her womb one hundred and ninety-six times."
That got Khlen to lean back against himself, something only a 'taur could really do. "I can see why. All that fur, that wriggly tail."
Dyena didn't blush, for like most Mwee she was completely uninhibited. "When there's not a male around, sometimes you need something shaped like a male's maleness."
"A cub is bigger than he is, and if a cub can get out what happens when he was all the way in?"
"Mistress would let me curl in her womb," the silkie replied as Dyena licked some of Khlen's congealing semen from the mustelid's fur, "And sometimes I would sleep there. Sometimes she would climax as she pulled me in, sometimes I would stroke her from the inside --"
"Enough, dear. He can work the rest out. Silkies can get by on very little air, you know. Later I would push him back out. I considered having the connection between womb and stomach made so I could send him all the way through, mouth to 'birth'."
"But that's risky." That'd been the first thing the medical computer had told them when she emerged from the autodoc. It was safe to send prey from womb to stomach, but going the other way might bring acids into the womb. There was a way around that, of course, but .
"Well, when I can afford the surgery to turn off my digestive juices at will, I'll be able to do it."
"But Master and Mistress still have a problem." Khlen had almost forgotten the silkie. "They want to play the eating game, but Mistress will always win. Maybe I have an answer, though."
The relationship Dyena had to Taim, and Khlen to Gan, was nothing as simple as Master-slave. The silkie was Dyena 's lover, groomer, secretary and, often, her meal. Like all Mwee servants, the silkie had a device in his brain that sent a continuous stream of memories to the ship's sick bay, or in this case, the supply complex's medical chambers. Should something bad (or good, depending on who you asked) happen to the silkie, a new one would be decanted with all the memories of the original. It wasn't cloning. It was a nearly perfect form of matter duplication unique -- at least in this galaxy -- to Mwee science. Even so, no chances were taken with replicative 'fading'. Each new silkie (or whatever) was scanned down to the quanta and compared to a record taken from the very first, the original.
The 'cloning' techology was centuries old, but the memory-updating transmission was new. It was scavenged tech, looted from the Ylesh as that all-consuming empire finally fell. The mighty soul-sucking Ylesh psis were dead now, destroyed by an enemy they'd fatally underestimated -- the Commonwealth of Worlds, or the Co-Dominions as it was sometimes called.
As the Commonwealth fleets crushed the Ylesh world by world, there'd been many opportunities for weaker races to plunder. Mwee trade ships emerged from hiding (for everyone hid from the Ylesh) and stole what they could. Thus, bits of Ylesh technology lived on.
Technology allowed the beartaurs to keep servants and repeatedly eat them. Still, 'slave' was too strong a word. Taim could leave Dyena's service if he wanted. He'd have to give up certain memories, such as her habit of eating people, but he could go.
"Say on, dear." Dyena nuzzled Taim's shoulder, and the silkie turned adoring eyes to her. She could swallow him at a gulp, and had, but he loved her as deeply as Khlen did. He'd probably be with her long after she and Khlen parted ways, for Mwee rarely mated for more than a few years. Boredom set in too easily for the big beartaurs.
"Mistress, Master will never win if the contest is balanced. It is too easy for Mistress to suck me in, and unlike Master, when she climaxes it pulls rather than pushes."
"Are you saying she should have a larger toy to contend with? Maybe two of you, or you and Gan together, while I just have one?"
"That would work, Master, but I have a different idea. It would work like this ."
Gan returned just as they were starting. Taim crouched behind Dyena, licking her enormous sex and exploring it with an arm while his tail stroked Khlen's huge sheath. The silkie's tail was immensely strong for its thickness, and alternately rubbed and squeezed the furry dangle of Mweetai sheath until Khlen was as hard as he ever got.
The serpent-'man' tilted his head inquisitively as Khlen's rubbery shaft slithered forth, but Dyena shook her head. The purple-and-white-scaled reptiloid wasn't needed this time. Gan settled into an easy coil to watch, impassive as always. Playful as the serpentoid was, it hadn't a 'sex' the way the other three did.
Taim held his feet together as Khlen's cock 'mouth' gaped, the rubbery folds of flesh soon consuming the silkie's footpaws. Muscular ripples traveled up the meaty shaft as it began to suck the mustelid in. It swelled as inch after inch of silkie was consumed, its walls stretching until only a handbreadth of muscular flesh separated Taim from the air.
Erect and unsheathed, Khlen's cock was two thirds as long as the six-foot silkie was tall, and almost as big around as the furry humanoid's slender waist. With its recent surgical changes it was capable of engulfing Taim as a snake engulfs a rat. The normally eight-inch-thick shaft rippled and bulged as calves, knees, and furry thighs were drawn in.
Khlen grunted, repressing his rising lust. He'd found that 'swallowing' someone this way was nearly as entertaining as humping a nubile Mweefemme, and all five of the times he'd competed with Dyena he'd ejaculated before finishing his meal. This time, though, there was less pressure. He wasn't racing his mate, who stood and smiled as the silkie vanished into her male's swollen shaft.
Taim pressed his arms to his sides to ease the swallowing process, and in another minute there was just a gray-furred face peering from the wet cockmouth. Flexible as an eel, the silkie's body stretched through the swollen shaft and into Khlen's body. The surgery here had been far more complex than Dyena's, but after centuries of performing such operations the autodoc computers had the details exactly right.
The male bear grunted again as the silkie wriggled. If he hadn't already been rubbery-hard, he'd be on his way there. The sensation was exquisite, especially the moving pressure against his cannonball-sized (and surgically augmented) prostate. Precum began to flow, working its way through the silkie-obstruction's fur until it dripped out over the mustelid's face.
"Hhhrm. This is really diverting. Best money I ever spent."
"If you're through admiring your cock, there was the matter of the contest." Dyena, already facing away, spread her hind legs and lifted the nub of her tail. Her huge sex flashed invitingly, and Khlen obliged her by putting his forepaws on her rump.
"You'll forgive me for eschewing foreplay this time, love." Just then Taim said something, but it was lost in the great squelching sound of silkie-gorged cock pushing into wet Mweefemme snatch.
"Oh, goodness! How could we not have thought of this before?" Dyena moaned as the male worked his swollen, bumpy shaft into her. "Oh stars, he's wiggling ."
"I noticed that." Khlen's forepaws went around her flanks as his haunches spread wide. His fat flanks jiggled as he humped into her, sheathing all four feet of himself in her roomy sex. Roomy normally, anyway: today it was a tight fit thanks to the wiggling mustelid. "We'd have known if you let me buy that book." His hands, not needed for the four-legged humping his lower body had started, stroked gently down her spine.
"Maybe yes, more of that, dear maybe later. Why have a book on sex when we can figure things out for ourselves?" The Mwee had their own version of the Kama Sutra, 58 volumes at last count covering everything from simple beartaur sex to coitus involving silicon-germanium based crystal lifeforms. The Mwee made the Commonwealth's Silkie-like Mrish -- another notoriously randy and open-minded race -- seem positively prudish.
"Hurr." Khlen growled as Dyena squeezed his shaft, but the bulk of silkie stretched her too wide to apply much pressure. In fact, a quiver in the walls of her vagina implied she might already be close to orgasm. He used the opportunity thus provided to try to end the match early -- hopefully earlier than she expected.
"Oh no you don't!" She was wary, and felt the muscular ripples that tried to pull the silkie farther into Khlen's cock. The mustelid slipped a few inches before she caught on, but then the progress froze as she clamped down. Her own specialized cunny-muscles set up a reverse rhythm, trying to milk Taim out of the fleshy shaft.
Khlen had the advantage this time, unlike the previous contests. Taim was already nearly swallowed, and the walls of the cock-'throat' smoothed the outline of the silkie, making it hard for her to pull him out. All Khlen had to do was concentrate on swallowing, and eventually the silkie would sink inward.
Taim would slide past the beartaur's balls, through the elaborate organic valving, and finally into his stomach. Khlen's surgery had been much the more expensive of the two, but like hers it worked flawlessly when unopposed.
Despite his advantageous position, there was one way he could lose the match. As Dyena realized she couldn't easily pull the silkie back out, she settled on the alternative.
Her new tactic drove a grunt of out Khlen. "You naughty wench!" She'd stopped trying to pull Taim out, he realized, and simply kept him from sucking the silkie deeper. As she held onto the bulges in his cock, she rippled her cunny-muscles -- the same ones that would swallow the mustelid if Khlen lost -- over the bumpy cock, massaging his shaft. She knew exactly how to set him off and was exerting every effort to do just that.
If he came, the quarts of semen wouldn't spurt Taim back out, nor would the lubrication unduly favor either of them. But the post-orgasmic flaccidity would make it impossible to maintain his grip, and unless she climaxed as well she'd easily claim the toy.
"Well if that's the way you want it." The counter-strategy was to make her orgasm! Khlen couldn't reach the huge breasts on her furry-humanoid half, one of her most sensitive spots, but he could hump the dickens out of her. And he could do it with a dick twice as large as she was used to!
As he humped faster, her freely flowing juices squelched around his cock. Pea-sized drops of mixed precum and her fluids spurted out around the pneumatically tight cock-pussy seal, landing on his thighs and balls and dripping slowly downward. The scent of sex rose thick in the air, and the squelching and slapping sounds overpowered even the their labored panting.
In the midst of this avalanche of a mating was Taim, wrapped in an inches-thick fleshy cock-coon and pumped in and out of Dyena's cunny. The sheer vigor of the beartaurs' mating would have squeezed a lesser being to death by now, but Taim liked being squeezed. The more vigorously the two beartaurs humped, the more he wriggled. Though he'd had his own orgasm not twenty minutes before he was aroused again, rubbing his erection against the inner skin of the vast member.
The wriggling made it still harder for the beartaurs to hold back. By now, neither wanted to hold back. They both wanted very badly to come, but each was determined not to lose the match to the other. Each gasped, grunted, and moaned as skin rubbed skin, fur rubbed fur, and a hundred and sixty pounds of silkie rubbed himself luxuriantly against the innermost layer of the russian doll of flesh.
Khlen gasped, "What say we call it a draw?" as he nibbled her back, stroked her flanks, and tried not to think about the pleasures assaulting his naughty bits. His balls felt hard as iron, swollen with seed and churning with lust. One moment of inattention and those quarts of jism would leave his body in a rush, costing him his meal.
"I don't oh Universe, will he ever stop wiggling? think so." Her sex was hot from labia to cervix, pulsing with need, ready to clamp down on the invading cock and milk the semen from it. But if she climaxed, and Khlen didn't instantly follow, he'd easily suck the silkie into his body.
Each was determined to win, not for the sake of the meal, but simply for bragging rights. Balanced against that was an enormous lust, a towering horniness. Each was one second away from orgasm, should their wills falter.
Khlen cheated. The normal Mwee mounting position kept his lips and agile tongue away from her most sensitive parts, but his hands were another matter. Stroking his padded palms down her lower body's spine, he slid one hand beneath her stubby tail and fingered her anus.
"Oh you sneak, you said no hands this time!" The words stuck in her throat, because she suddenly wanted to climax more than anything in the universe. She fought it off for long seconds as his leathery fingerpad traced the contours of her asshole, but then Taim spasmed inside her cunny. The silkie ground his abdomen against the inner skin of the cock-'throat', pushing a bulge through the enfolding flesh and rubbing one of the many augmented sensitive spots. She didn't just have a clit and a G spot, she had a whole alphabet of interesting erogenous zones in there. By chance Taim scored a direct hit on one.
With a huge gasp she let go all control. There was no stopping it now, and a rush of wetness filled her huge cunny as she climaxed. Her sex clamped down, mindlessly trying to squeeze the male's shaft dry and ensure a fertile mating. Every particle of her being was suddenly hypersensitive, and her gasp melded into an embarassingly high-pitched moan as Khlen rubbed her flank and asshole.
For a handful of seconds she was struck helpless by sheer pleasure, and despite the almost uncontrollable urge to follow her into orgasm, Khlen didn't. His natural impulse, both as her mate and as a simple Mwee male, was to fill her with his seed just as she came. Simultaneous orgasms are much prized by skilled Mwee lovers.
Somehow he held back. On the very edge of orgasm, with a flood of jizm ready to gush down his cock and into her, he held back. Instead he worked the new muscles the surgery had given him. Every male Mwee has cock muscles to rival an elephant's, the better to move the heavy, nearly prehensile member about for mating. Khlen had all those muscles and more. As his mate spasmed and the silkie fell into a shivering post-orgasmic bout of his own, Khlen began to draw Taim deeper.
It was exquisite torture. The deeper Taim sank, the more the silkie's body rubbed Khlen's balls and prostate from within. Khlen hadn't experienced this before: each time he'd eaten the silkie or Gan with his member, he'd ejaculated before they were this deep. Now Taim was rubbing normally unreachable parts of his anatomy, and Khlen clung to Dyena's back and groaned. It took every bit of his concentration to not go off. One of his hindpaws drummed the deck and his fingers sank so deep into Dyena's fur that even in her orgasmic bliss she let out a small noise of complaint.
Three seconds of it was all Khlen could withstand. As Taim's torso squeezed through his cockbase and past his balls, the silkie's wiggling tail gave him another stroke from within. The strong tail rubbed the beartaur's huge prostate, and Khlen's eyes clenched shut as uncontrollable things began to happen. Instantly it was apparent there'd be no stopping it, and he turned his attention fully away from his meal and to the really important event.
"Here, love " his voice caught in his throat as it happened. Even as the great gush of semen left his balls and spurted around the silkie's shoulders, past its ears and face and into Dyena, Khlen managed to choke out more words. "I think you wanted me to do this?"
Dyena had recovered enough to turn and grin at him as he came, humping hard into her welcoming sex and spurting like a firehose. As the first gush tapered and the smaller spurts began, she gripped down once more, squeezing his member in a rhythm calculated to milk every last drop. She didn't try to retrieve Taim -- she felt at once that the silkie was too deep to claim -- and instead concentrated on pleasing Khlen.
It was perhaps the most overpowering orgasm the male had ever experienced. The bulk of silkie pressing his balls and prostate both slowed the gush and put pressure where no fingers could reach, and Khlen hunched up Dyena's rump and hammered his shaft home in a lengthy instinctive spasm. He didn't even notice the silkie slithering deeper. Rather than shooting the mustelid out, the natural jism-spurting pulsations propelled Taim in the direction of least resistance: deeper into Khlen's body. Dyena's kneading helped, and by the time Khlen recovered his wits, Taim had all but left the urethra.
The silkie moved softly and slowly in the new passage, squeezing his sleek form through the gap in his Master's layers of fat. It was hot and wet in the tight tunnel, but silkies are flexible as furry snakes for all their humanoid build. His powerful tail pushed against the enfolding walls, helping his upper body leave the goo-filled passage behind.
The beartaur's pulse surrounded him like a mother's as he wriggled upward. The walls had begun to pulse now, helping him along, but Master was still tired from his sex. Taim knew his placement would soon cause Khlen discomfort, and pushed his way along to speed the process.
By the time the silkie's nose left the urethra, his feet were in Khlen's stomach. Khlen had eighteen inches of fat and muscle between bellyfur and stomach-wall, and the passage was over twice that length when you considered its twists. The familiar organic valve stroked Taim's fur as more and more of him entered the beartaur's gut. As of yesterday, Khlen's stomach had two of these entry sphincters rather than one. The cardiac and what would it be called? Ventral sphincter?
Taim wriggled his hips past the sphincter and into the wet folds of ursine stomach. His body and shoulders followed as Khlen's body responded to the help, and gradually he was 'birthed' into the wet gut. An implanted reflex -- the one Dyena didn't have yet -- had neutralized the acids, and he pulled his face free of the sucking sphincter to let it close. His tail was last of all, and spent from his effort and the powerful squeezes he'd enjoyed during the trip, he curled up with the partially digested remnants of an earlier Gan and an earlier Taim.
The stomach was like a womb, he mused. It was subtlely different from his Mistress'; the scent was different, the beat of the heart a shade higher-pitched.
Unprotesting, relaxed and smiling, he rubbed the stomach wall as the digestive juices returned. They were laced with anaesthetic, and a warm numbness slowly claimed his body. Soon he would be reborn, out into the light, as his old body dissolved and his new one decanted.
Sometimes he wished he could stay in here forever.
Gan had watched all this with his people's version of a smile. Though Taim didn't echo his drumbeat, he sensed when the silkie ceased to be. Both beartaurs, normally sensitive to their toys' passing, were too exhausted to take note. It was to be expected.
"What say we do that again?" It was Dyena who broached the subject, though her pelt was soaked in sweat.
"Have mercy, woman. I think I just shot both my balls into you, fur and all."
She moved heavily beneath him, about ten percent larger than he and even fatter. He had not left her yet, though his silkie-less cock felt small and soft in her now. Either of them would have tipped the scales past the 1-ton mark, after this evening's meals.
His sweat merged with hers, their pelts matted together where they touched. Sweaty pawprints and quarter-sized spots of perspiration studded the grey metal deckplates. Both were almost too spent to move.
Gradually they did manage to move, curling around one another. They were bulky and clumsy by the standards of smaller races, much less by silkie or serpentoid standards.
As they settled down to sleep, stroking one another lovingly, Gan brought one pillow and coverlet after another from the pile nearby. He slipped these into each gap that opened 'twixt deck and bears, and they sleepily aided this by moving whatever body part was convenient. By the time Taim arrived from the medical bay the two were a shapeless mass of pink-red and silver fur mixed in with dozens of colorful pillows.
The silkie paused to rub Gan's head and nape, clicking his claws over the serpentoid's scales in a way calculated to please it. Gan responded with a lick of triple-forked tongue over Taim's throatfur and chops.
The two made their own bed next to the beartaurs. It wasn't safe to sleep with the Master and Mistress when they were together. A ton of bear roll over and make a rug of silkie or serpentoid, or a toy might become wedged between sleep-humping ursines. That was not nearly as fun as becoming a meal for one of the bears.
When their own nest of cushions was complete, Taim and Gan curled up together. White and purple scales mixed with lush gray fur, and a broad serpentine head settled on a furry shoulder.
Taim's hand tickled the serpentoid's scales, then stroked its lower jaw. Gan obligingly opened its mouth, and Taim slid his arm out of sight.
Little inward-hooking teeth latched into the silkie's pelt, stinging almost imperceptibly, and Taim nuzzled Gan's tongue as the serpentoid worked its jaws effortlessly over the silkie's shoulder and face. Cool darkness descended as the throat opened welcomingly, and Taim's remaining hand and tail stroked scales as the serpentoid's broad mouth stretched still broader. The lithe silkie's shoulders were no challenge, though they were wider than any part of the serpentoid's body. Gan simply stretched his jaws as a true snake would, engulfing this furry bit as easily as it had the head.
Taim purred sleepily as Gan walked its jaws around his body. Cool, wet throatskin stroked the silkie as the serpentoid swallowed, easing itself another inch over its meal. It was only a little longer than its intended prey, if you included the silkie's tail, but Gan could swallow prey twice as wide as its body. Unlike some lamiaesque creatures, his head was as wide as his body, and his jaws as elastic as a true snake's.
Ridged trachea pushed to the front of Gan's mouth, protruding beneath Taim and allowing the serpentoid to breathe as it fed. Considerate of its meal's needs, it inhaled extra air and filled its throat with the excess. Taim could hold his breath for a very long time, but there was no need for him to do so now.
The serpentoid petted Taim's legs as it swallowed hips, then thighs, the process accelerating as more and more silkie slipped inside to be gripped by the rhythmic pulsations of reptilian gullet. Soon the calves were vanishing, and Gan's jaws flopped loosely. It finally reattached its lower jaw when nothing but a lushly furred silkie-tail remained. The tail gradually vanished as well, pulled in after its owner as the heavy lump moved down the serpentoid's body.
When only two feet of tail remained, the lump settled in Gan's midsection. Purple and silver scales pulled apart all around the bulge, revealing the pale skin beneath. Gan did not hurry. He settled down in a coil, stroking the last bit of Taim's tail until the furry member went limp. Only then did he push it into his mouth and swallow.
Gently the serpentoid wriggled his body, forming a series of esses that travelled along his length. The tickly tail was propelled downward, joining Taim bit by bit in the serpentoid's roomy belly. It would be impolite to hurry, ticklish as the furry tail was against sensitive gulletskin. After all, if Gan rushed, Taim might wake.
Gan was not nearly as similar to the beartaurs as Taim was. Taim, Khlen and Dyena shared enough chemical characteristics that they could eat the same food, or in the bears' case, the silkie. The adaptable bears could also eat Gan, and they did it with relish.
Gan wasn't so adaptible. His body and Taim's were very different chemically. Food for one would not feed the other. Even had they been from the same planet, Gan was a herbivore, adapted to swallow not living prey but the thick-shelled fruit of its native jungles.
As the serpentoid coiled sleepily around the bulge in its middle, it appeared to have devoured Taim. No doubt its cold-blooded metabolism would need a month to digest such a large meal.
In fact no such thing would happen. Gan's digestives juices could assimilate -- barely -- liquid protein such as its Master often provided, but not anything as complicated as the chemically different silkie. Taim was perfectly safe in his cool, wet bed.
Gan belched, then swallowed another gulp of air for his friend. Settling down in a bonelessly limp sprawl, he stroked the thick lump in his middle.
"Good night, Taim."
Soon after he joined his Master, his Mistress, and the silkie in sleep.
Outside the cavern, past its elaborate sensor-absorbing insulation, past kilometers of rock and past the two little shuttles docked on the surface was the cold of space. In that cold spun the fuelling station that orbited the world with no name. Docked to that apparatus were the two Mwee trade ships, Opportunity and Fair Trade.
Each ship had only one Mwee in its crew, and both those Mwee were gone at the moment. As far as the crews knew, Khlen and Dyena were meeting (and probably mating, being Mwee) in the two shuttles on the cold world's surface.
A few crewmen thought there was more to it than that. Why go all the way to the planet's surface when privacy could he had in their own quarters aboard either ship?
The sensor tech on the Fair Trade thought he had it worked out. He'd spent the last day scanning the planet's surface, and he'd detected signs of a huge passive sensor array. That explained so many things:
It explained why the Mwee traders had gone to the trouble of building the fuelling station.
It explained why they used the station, sometimes seemingly going out of their way to visit this isolated star and its planet. Visiting the station gave the wandering traders an opportunity to recover the recorded sensor data.
It explained why the captains were planetside just now. They were recovering said data for sale to the highest bidder.
The sensor tech was was almost right. His one error was accept the obvious secret as the only secret. He never suspected the records cache, or the medical facilities in the hidden cavern.
With Mwee, there's never just one layer to a puzzle.