Star Savage by Jove Chambers

ONE

rowan

“You in the mood for fur, scales, or spikes, sweetheart?” Admii Caspe Tetrone’s voice was deep, almost soothing, as he scrolled through the pictures on the holoprojection. He was completely casual about it, as if choosing what flavor of alien man to fuck in front of an arena full of people was just another day at the office for him.

Which, uh, I guess it was.

This was his job. He was a space pirate who dealt in various underground goods, one of which was flesh, especially the flesh of human woman. The Toth liked humans, after all.

There was very little I had going for myself in the universe being a human woman, but there was my sexual desirability, the one thing I could auction off for credits, and now, I was desperate enough to do it.

Caspe gave me a half smile. He wasn’t human. He was a ccael, and as such, he had a humanoid upper torso but the bottom half of him was all squirming tentacles. His skin was purple, nearly black, and he was wearing an eye patch over one eye.

That was all.

No clothes.

He didn’t have genitalia between his legs to hide. He didn’t have… legs. So, I guessed he didn’t need clothing, strictly speaking? I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t know that his species were warm-blooded, so I guessed the cold didn’t really bother him. You wouldn’t think a guy like that could be soothing, but he was. He was so blasé about it all that it felt surreal, not shameful, not as though I had hit the very rock rock bottom of my entire life.

“You want a recommendation?” said Caspe.

“Uh…” I drew back. “Is that a thing you can do?”

He scrolled past the group of spiky-looking species and the group of scaly-looking species and settled on the hairy ones. “The Treebark people, if this one wins?” He pointed. “Their females don’t ovulate unless they have orgasms, so the men have anchor strands which lock on to stimulate females. I hear good things.” He shrugged.

I eyed the, uh, man? Treebark person? The one Caspe was talking about. The furry alien was compact, wide, with thick arms and legs and a muscled chest. He had horns that curved around his ears, and fur that grew all over his back. Even though he was obviously not human, even bestial, I couldn’t deny he had a certain savage appeal, and I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like the look of him.

“They make them shave, I think,” Caspe said. “For the spectacle, so everyone can see gleaming muscles.”

Sure enough, the other species were similarly fur covered with the exception of their chests and arms. It was likely, I guessed. The Toth would like that.

“Might be prickly, I guess,” said Caspe, shrugging.

I shook my head at him.

“Not helping?” he said.

“What about the other species?” I cocked my head, surveying them. They faced forward in the holopics, arms hanging at their sides. I could reach forward and turn each of them around and survey them from all angles. They wore little, only pants or shorts, so their impressive chests were bare. I idly spun one and then another, biting my lip as I looked at the swells and dips of their muscles, their hard stomachs, their powerful arms.

Against all sense, my body started to react to this. Maybe it was the sight of them combined with the knowledge of what I was going to let one of them do to me, that I’d be surrendering to one of these hulking beasts, spreading my legs for him.

I squirmed a little on my chair, feeling tight and warm between my thighs.

Caspe was talking. “Well, if this guy wins, it’s nothing special. They’re pretty standard, I understand.” He shrugged again. He scrolled through, pushing forward another holopic. “And males of his species have coital ties, so that might make it all a little prolonged.”

“Coital…?”

“Knots that form in the base of their cocks to lock them in place.”

I blinked, trying to think that through.

“Maybe you want to go scaly. I think there’s a scarencs in this batch. They have two cocks.” He scrolled the holoproj to the group of three scaly aliens.

“What?” I shook my head at him. “What do I want with more than one cock?”

He shrugged again. “So, fur?” He scrolled back.

I eyed the group of furry, hulking, alien male flesh. Apprehension filled me, and then something else rose up on the heels of it, something a little bit naughty, something that might be rightly termed anticipation, even excitement.

Fur.

Beastly, savage specimens. The three of them would fight in the arena. There were three rings, and the aliens were divided according to class today. That wasn’t always the case. The Toth might change their fancy at any time and categorize them otherwise. Fur in one ring, scales in the other, spikes in the third. The gladiators in each ring would fight to the death, and I was the prize.

I’d be enjoyed right there on the floor of the arena, thrown to the winner to ravage while the crowd cheered him on.

Caspe was brokering the deal. He’d take a cut, but the rest of the money would be mine. He also assured me that he took my safety very seriously and that I would not be damaged. He couldn’t stay in business if he was careless with his girls, he said.

It was horrible.

It was awful.

It was shameful.

I wasn’t going to… like it.

Maybe there was some perverse thing that roused in me at the idea of being… I don’t know… special? Competed over, desired, and then to have all those eyes on me…

It was awful.

But there was a reason I picked this over some other debasing alternative, after all. There were various compensations for this, and it wasn’t just the insane payday for a day’s work. It did sort of excite me, in a horrible way.

You can back out now,I told myself. I hadn’t signed anything. No contracts were in place. We weren’t even at the arena, but planetside. Caspe’s ship was docked here and he was brokering deals. He’d take off and take a short trip to the station where the arena was located, and this would all take place this evening.

So, there was still time to call this off.

“Fur,” I said, nodding.

“Good choice,” said Caspe. “You have a holophoto, or you want to take one?”

“The, um, the nude, right?” I said, leaning forward so that my wrist bracelet was accessible. “Yeah, I got it.”

His desk picked up my bracelet and a file folder filled the space, crowding out the pictures of the furry aliens. “Ah, you named it RowanLloxnude, so that’s handy.”

“I figured you have a lot of girls so if I didn’t put my name on it—”

“You’d be surprise how many people don’t think of that.” He dragged it onto his holodesktop. “And then I’ve got to rename it, and it’s a big pain.”

I shrugged. “It seemed logical to me.”

“So, we just have some paperwork, and then—”

He was interrupted, as the door to his office slid open vertically.

A human woman walked in. She had deep warm brown skin, and her short dark hair was in tight curls around her head. She wore a similar eyepatch to Caspe. They were called navpatches or something. I didn’t know a lot about them, but they helped with hacking into the navigational systems on ships. So, uh, probably a good chance this woman dealt in extralegal jobs, kind of like Caspe. Another pirate.

Caspe was on his feet and across the room way too fast. I hadn’t yet seen him move on those tentacles of his, and it was dizzying.

I swallowed.

He was imposing, especially with a bunch of them stretched out like that, blocking the woman’s path. “What do you think you’re doing?” His deep voice was cold, not at all rich and soothing like it had been with me. This was a threat.

I hugged myself without thinking about it. The entire atmosphere in the room had changed.

“Looking for you,” said the woman, who didn’t seem the least bit intimidated by him, even though he was objectively intimidating.

“I’m busy with a client,” he said.

The woman gave me a look, through the tentacles. “I’m Admii Sienne Dlach. How you doing?”

“Uh, good.” My voice was a squeak.

Caspe rumbled. “Don’t talk to her. You know you’re not welcome in my ship. You are never welcome—”

Sienne spread her hands. “I need a griplacx coil.”

“Well, I need a million credits,” he said. “The world’s a tough place, and I could give a fuck what you want. Out of my ship.”

“I’m stuck planetside, and I thought we could trade.”

“No.” He gestured with several of his tentacles. “You are my archenemy.”

“Don’t be dramatic. We compete over jobs occasionally—”

“You poached exactly three lucrative opportunities out from under my nose, one after I had already signed the contract—”

“I do what I have to do, just like we all—”

“Probably because you’re a human woman. I bet you shook your tits—”

“I’ll back out of the running for the Gassoricks proposition, how’s that? Can we trade?”

“No.” His voice got even deeper. “No, I’m trying to conduct business with this lovely lady here, and you are—”

“She’s going to do the arena?” Sienne looked at me again. “Are you going to do the arena?”

I bit my bottom lip and didn’t answer. I was not getting in the middle of this.

“How much does that pay again?” said Sienne.

Caspe backed away from her. It was like he floated, tentacle limbs askew. “What?”

“You need more girls for that?” She shrugged. “What about me?”

Caspe’s mouth opened. His jaw hung open like it had been dislodged.

“How about it?” She grabbed her breasts, and pushed them together. “I’m fuckable, right? I’d do me.” She smirked at him.

“No.” This was a completely different tone from him. The bottom of his voice had gone out.

“Don’t be a gratts, Caspe. Do you need girls or not?”

“You don’t want to… do that.” He had closed his mouth, but he wasn’t looking at her now. “You don’t… you know it’s in front of an audience?”

“A Toth audience,” she said.

“There are cameras.”

“I need to get off this planet. It’s important. I can handle it. How bad could it be?”

“Bad,” he breathed. And then he seemed to remember me, and he cringed. “Uh, sweetheart, do you think you might wait outside the office until I conclude this business with my, um, colleague?”

I stood up. “Why is it bad?”

“You’ll be fine.” He said this very quickly.

“I’ll be fine too,” Sienne said.

Caspe turned back to her, and I suddenly realized something. Caspe was into her. Like, they had a whole complicated, competitive sexual tension thing going on. He was trying to talk her out of it because he didn’t want some other man fucking her.

Of course, Caspe couldn’t fuck her?

I didn’t know a lot about his species. Maybe he had a retractable cock in with all those tentacles?

“Sweetheart.” Now Caspe sounded irritated at me. “Outside.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah, sure, okay.” I pointed at Sienne. “I already picked fur. Don’t think you can poach that from me.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Fine. Not much into hairy chests.”

“They make them shave their chests,” I said.

Caspe glared at me.

I left the room.

The door snapped shut after me.

I leaned against the wall in the narrow outer corridor of his ship. I waited.

Several hidosecs later, the door opened.

Sienne stepped out. “I don’t see why you don’t just take the holophoto yourself.”

“Yeah, I don’t want to see your tits,” he growled at her. “Use the camera on the entertainment deck.” He pointed at an open door.

She shrugged at him. “You’re going to see them anyway, right?”

He turned back to me, ignoring her. “You ready to sign the paperwork, sweetheart?”

“Sure,” I said.

Grouchily, he brought up various documents on the holoprojection.

I scrolled through them moving my finger through the projection in front of me. “You know, you could just trade her for the coil thing.”

“Did anyone ask you your opinion?”

“That would stop her from doing the arena, you know. And anyone can see you don’t want her to do it.”

“Shut your pretty mouth, sweetheart,” he said in a rumbling voice.

I shrugged. I signed one of the documents and kept scrolling.

“Oh, you need to initial there.” He pointed.

I initialed.

“I don’t care what she does,” he told me. “I hate her.”

“Yeah, it’s obvious how much you hate her.” I smirked.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

I shook my head, grinning. Not only was he into her, he was in denial about it. Adorable.

“Uh…” He put his hand in the middle of the projection, breaking up the image so that I couldn’t read it. “Look, what I said about it being bad?”

I straightened, all humor leaving me.

“It’s usually fine,” he said. “But occasionally, there are, uh… certain species… let’s just say the Toth don’t care much about casualties, considering these are fights to the death, after all. They like blood, and they like sex, and they like the two of them together. There’s nothing dangerous-looking in the fur set, I don’t think, though. You should be fine. If there was something, and that gladiator happened to win, or if anything looked hinky, I would pull you and run. You’d forfeit the credits, but you’d be alive, you know? That’s my guarantee. I promise you. I’m not… I mean, I’m a scoundrel with no moral compass, but pretty dead girls really harsh my mood, so…” He pulled his hand back through the projection. “Anyway, just, I swear to you, okay? I wouldn’t let anything happen.”

I swallowed hard.

“You have one more place for your signature,” he murmured.

I hesitated.

“I promise,” he repeated.

Still, I hesitated.

He scrolled up and pointed at the part of the contract that stipulated the compensation. He circled the number with his forefinger, disrupting the projection, making the string of numbers seem to float in the air. “I figure you need the credits, am I right, sweetheart?”

I signed.

hugo

They distributed the discs with the girl’s holopic and I almost didn’t bother looking at it, because I didn’t even want to think about that part.

I’d never done a fight like this, not one of the big ones in this arena. My handler wanted it, and I refused, and we went round and round. He got paid big money to put his gladiator’s life on the line, after all. Huge money in compensation in case I didn’t make it out.

Of course, it didn’t matter to him.

The Toth were not a particularly empathetic species, even with all that human blood mixed in. It was their culture, too, I supposed. Back before my life was a series of bloody physical gauntlets, I did have time to contemplate things like that—whether people were born cruel? I figured the Toth could change. But why would they?

What possible inducement did they have to change their ways? They were the top of the food chain, and they subjugated all of us to prove themselves, to celebrate their triumph, and because they were all supremely assured of their superiority.

Anyway, my handler…

My owner, if we wanted to be blunt about it.

He knew that a gladiator had to get himself into the ring under his own steam, or the fights didn’t happen. There were various ways to motivate a man to put his life in danger, to even give up his life, and they mostly had to do with the people that man cared about.

There was a reason I’d agreed to be a gladiator after all.

But he hadn’t found that thing yet. He hadn’t found a way to threaten my family, considering the current stipulations of my contract, and so I wouldn’t do these fights.

Finally, he put the only thing in front of me that would motivate me.

Freedom.

If I won this fight and I fucked the girl and entertained the cursed crowd, then I went home, and my stint as a gladiator was over.

I hadn’t fucked a girl in…

Well, how many gecycles had I been under this contract?

And before that, once I’d failed to have a mating reaction to any of the women in my entire clan, that had put an end to any more attempts, so, it had been a while.

I’d never been with a human, not even back in the days before I’d been locked into this, when my family had sent me off to the university, and I’d seen other species in the classrooms and on the streets of the capital city. Before the Toth toppled the last vestiges of any semblance of galactic regulation, before everything was despair.

I knew about human women, though.

They were popular, if only because of the Toth preference for them. Soft, small, mostly hairless, with a muted array of skin tones. They were widely compatible with a number of species in terms of mating, versatile in that way.

Finally, I looked at the disc.

The girl I’d have to fuck when I won, and I had to win.

I wasn’t looking forward to killing two other gladiators today, and it wouldn’t sit easy on my conscience, because I knew they were likely rulers in their own right, brought here because of the same reason I was, to save their people, to keep the Toth from harming those they were responsible for.

But there were clauses in the contracts for death in the arena, and if they died, they’d die secure in the knowledge they’d protected their people.

That is, as long as the Toth followed the contracts.

If they didn’t, we had no recourse. We were under their boots and we had no way to fight back.

It might be my hands and my might that killed the other gladiators, but it was the Toth who would be responsible for their deaths. None of us had a choice, and we all knew it.

I didn’t entertain the possibility that I was going to die.

My first fight—not one to the death, but even so, all fights are dangerous, and accidents happen—a seasoned grizzled gladiator gave me a piece of advice. He said that thinking about outcomes gave them power in your mind, and that it was best to let there be no negative power before a fight.

Much of a fight was chance. Only a little of it was skill.

Since the odds were stacked against a fighter, he should use every shred of advantage he might have at his disposal. Thinking positive probably only made a negligible difference, but it might be the increment I needed to prevail.

Maybe I looked at the disc and thought about fucking the girl because the situation was so surreal and so ugly that I couldn’t—even still—descend into it enough that I could really believe it was real. To think this was what I was, that my life and the lives of men like me were routinely offered up for entertainment, that we were worth so little.

The full emotional rush of the implications of that truth?

Unbearable.

I didn’t think it. Never thought it, not if I could help it. It was despair. Everything was despair, and despair was untenable.

So.

Fucking. The disc. The girl and her breasts and hips and thighs, all of which she had in ample supply. She seemed as small and soft as the human women were advertised as being. Her skin was pale, paler on her breasts and belly. Her nipples were rosy, pert against her skin.

I looked at the disc and I felt aroused and I felt ashamed of myself.

This was all another layer of discomfort for me.

They wanted to make us beasts, but we weren’t.

They wanted us animals, violent and rutting, and the fucking, I knew that it wasn’t supposed to be, uh, gentle and sweet.

The girls were volunteers.

Well, I didn’t know if anyone in the entire galaxy besides the Toth were capable of true voluntary actions anymore. We were all coerced in various ways.

What sort of situation did a woman have to be in that she agreed to being violently taken in front of an audience by a strange man who had just killed two other men?

It certainly wasn’t the sort of thing a woman would enjoy, I didn’t expect.

So, sure, volunteers.

They also received some kind of monetary compensation.

She knows what she’s getting into,I told myself, gazing at her picture, turning her holo around to see her from all angles.

But why would she do this? She looked so breakable, so fragile and small and easily bruised. Maybe it was just the lack of hair. Maybe it was because women of my people were usually larger than human women.

I shook my head and tasted metal in my mouth.

Could I do this without hurting her?

I had to at least try.

There was the fact I couldn’t speak Common, though, so we likely wouldn’t even be able to communicate. I could understand it. I could even write it. But due to a brutal fever when I was young, I’d suffered an injury to my vocal cords, and many of the noises that Common required—most of them taken from the dominant Toth tongue—were impossible for me to articulate.

When I was a chieftain—rich and educated—I had a mechanical device I could wear that would speak for me, but that wasn’t deemed necessary for a gladiator.

It meant that I had difficulty communicating with other fighters, but this didn’t really bother me. Isolation was better. I could speak a few other languages, including my own native tongue which wasn’t spoken outside of the planet Abbunia, so I got by. Being mute except for a lot of growls had its advantages anyway. If I intimidated others, that was an advantage I could leverage.

My existence was all about survival, not about things being pleasant.

This girl…

Why did she seem like the only pleasant thing I’d been offered in cycles and cycles? Why did I want that suddenly, with a fierce desire that was almost painful?

I switched off the disc.

No point in looking at her any longer.

No point in thinking about it.

I had to fulfill my contract, and I knew it. If I didn’t fuck the girl, I didn’t get my freedom. It was part of the performance, and it was what the audience wanted. My handler would look for any reason to weasel out of our agreement. I had to do exactly what I was contracted to do.

So, I would.