Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Panther Girl of Gor Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven: 'One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small'

“You’re a long way from the villa in Corcyrus, pretty little silk slave girl,” said Tallia as she motioned for two of the other Panther Girls to release me from my bindings. I knelt in the grass before her as my wrists were freed from the pair of slave bracelets behind my back. The last time I had seen Tallia she had been lifted on to a great Tarn, and she had then been carried up into the sky by a Tarnsman, bound for the Northern Forests. Kurgus had kept his word to free her on completion of her assigned task to teach me to speak Gorean.

“A lot has happened since then,” I said.

“I’m sure it has. I see you wear a collar now. And that is a brand on your left thigh.”

We were now maybe two or three pasangs away from the ambush point. Both Brinn and I had been manacled and leashed and dragged by jubilant Panther Girls through some well concealed forest trails towards a clearing close to a tributary stream that wound its way eventually to the Laurius River.
The water in the stream was far too shallow for boats and could be waded comfortably at virtually any point. I later learnt that it marked the border between the territories owned or rather claimed by the rival Daughters of the Golden Sun band and the Silver Moon Panthers who now had me in their custody.

The Panther Girls were in a jubilant mood by the time they reached the clearing. Capturing Brinn was an event worth savouring, for Panther Girls count such things as being worthy of status. It is said that any Panther can capture a slave-girl, but to take down a man, and a warrior to boot, takes skill and cunning, not to mention superior numbers. There had been casualties of course. I could see one girl had been shot through the thigh with an arrow and would need a long period of recovery. Another girl had taken a sword thrust to her side and was in a far more serious condition. And then there was Alisha who had run foul of Rachel. Her nose was broken from where Rachel had struck her with an upwards blow with her palm. She was sobbing, afraid that the broken nose might not set properly and ruin her looks.

“When we find that slave-girl bitch I will cut strips from her hide!” she screamed. Rachel had taken her knife and was out there somewhere, alone and lost in the great forest. The sun would set in an hour or two and then Rachel would be at the mercy of all manner of wild animals that came out to hunt at night. If she wasn’t eaten by dawn, she would wander aimlessly through the endless trees until another band of Panther Girls or Outlaws found her. I resigned myself to possibly never seeing Rachel again.

The Panther Girls had brought with them all our bags, satchels and equipment. These things were a treasure hoard for the women who lived with what they could scavenge and steal. I heard several of the girls laugh as they found slave silks inside one of the bags.

“You wore these?” said Tallia in amusement as she held the skimpy silk in front of my face.

“Yes, sometimes. Usually when I danced.”

“You danced for men? You are so weak. You are pathetic.” She regarded me with an innate sense of superiority, for she knew that she would never submit to a man the way I had. “Silk slave girl,” she sneered. “I knew you very well back in Corcyrus. It was obvious to me then that you desired a collar.”

“I didn’t! I didn’t ask for any of this!” I said.

“We despise women like you,” said Tallia. “We despise your weakness, the way you beg for a man’s touch. Here in the Forests you will see things are very different. Here it is that men fear us.”

It seemed to be true, for my experiences so far seemed to prove that the proud, fierce bands of Panther Girls enjoyed a great deal of autonomy in this region. Of course it is one thing to capture a single armed man and quote another to prevail against a large group of men. Had Limidius and Marcellus’s men been with us, no Panther band would have tried to take us on. They would have melted away, fearing any conflict that they would inevitably lose. It is easy to be brave when you outnumber a man fifteen to one. Quite another to face men on equal terms.

“What are you going to do with me?”

“You will eventually be sold at the Exchange Point. But that will not be for a while. We are not due back there for a number of weeks. In the meantime you will live and work in our camp. Do not expect us to pamper you the way your Master might have done. We hate slave-girls and we work them hard. It is nothing less than you deserve.”

Tallia gazed at the red silk again. For some reason it made her angry. “Have you no shame?” she said, almost spitting the words at me. “You danced for a man’s pleasure!”

“It’s not like I have a lot of choice.”

“There is always a choice. No girl here would dress in silks and dance for a man’s pleasure.”

How little she understood, I thought to myself. Maybe Tallia was strong, but surely the same could not be said for all her girls. Surely some of them would break under the whip and would beg to serve. She was deluding herself if she thought her band of amazons were all as strong willed as she claimed to be.

“We knew one another in Corcyrus, Tallia.”

“What of it?”

“I ask you because of that to free me. I know we weren’t exactly friends, but we shared time together. You could help me now. Why return me to be a slave-girl in a collar belonging to men? If you mean what you say, then give me my freedom.”

“I owe you nothing.”

Aphris was clearly the leader of this band, and Nessa was her trusted lieutenant, but it wasn’t immediately clear what status Tallia had within the Silver Moon band. The other girls seemed wary of her, recognising perhaps that she was a fierce fighter and a strong woman, even by Panther standards. But clearly too she didn’t seem to hold any official rank. Her capture of me counted for something, as every capture within the forest did.

Later that evening I watched as the girls co-operated to pin a struggling Brinn to the ground. He was swearing at them and resisting as best he could, but there were simply too many girls for him to break free. They pushed him down on to his back and stripped him of his clothes. His coveted red tunic, the colour of the warrior caste, was thrown to Nessa who pulled it over her body with pleasure. It was of course far too big for her slim body, but after belting it tightly about her waist, she wore it like a loose dress that fell to just below her knees. To claim a warrior’s colours was of course a great feat and one she wanted to display in the camp site that night. And then she reached down and took the thong from around Brinn's neck and with it the Priest King ring that my father had used to travel between the worlds. It had a single charge left, I had been told in Elysium. As I watched, the Panther Girl called Nessa placed it around her own neck.

Once he was stripped and wrestled to the ground Brinn found his arms and legs drawn apart until he lay in an ‘x’ shape. Stakes were driven into the ground with mallets and he was then tied, spread eagled between them. He was furious, wild with rage at the indignity he was suffering. He was a man after all, a man on Gor, and a warrior beside, and he simply wasn’t accustomed to being helpless before women.

Nessa stood above him as the other girls secured the last of his limbs. She flaunted herself in the red tunic, and dropped down so that she sat on his thighs, mere inches from his penis. She laughed as she stroked him seductively, and his penis grew hard, rigid, stiff in response.

“Such a strong man of Gor,” she said in mischief. Brinn couldn’t help himself of course. He could no sooner prevent his body from reacting to the touch of a woman than I could save myself from a slave orgasm. Whether he wanted it or not, Brinn found himself quickly erect as Nessa played with his balls.

“You will suffer for this, girl!” raged Brinn as he strained as hard as he could against the stakes. But he simply couldn’t pull them out of the ground. The girls had after all pounded them in place with a mallet.

Now Nessa cupped her hands around Brinn’s penis and leaned forward to kiss him full on the lips. Brinn was helpless to prevent her.

“We’re going to have so much fun tonight, male,” said Nessa and she took his lower lip between her teeth and drew blood from it. She had given him the Panther Girl equivalent of a Master’s kiss and Brinn strained his muscles so hard I feared he was going to tear his injured shoulder.

But it was still early, none of the girls had yet eaten or drunk paga, and so Nessa climbed away from Brinn, but not before tying a red silken ribbon, torn from the slave silks I sometimes wore, around the shaft of his penis.

“You wear slave silk now,” she said with a mocking laugh. And in a way I guess he did. She even tied it in a feminine little bow with a slip knot.

I was not used to seeing Brinn like this. It was alien to me.


Kassenya took three of the other girls into the forest to hunt for food. They carried short bows and I assumed from the way Aphris automatically picked them that they were the best girls for hunting animals. They came back a couple of hours later in a state of heightened anxiety without any food for us.

“We killed a small Tabuk, but we had to leave it behind,” explained Kassenya. She seemed to be out of breath from running. “We had to run back as quickly as we could.”

“There is a large body of men crossing the forest, maybe four pasangs away,” said one of the other girls. “They're armed for war and we were afraid they might have seen us.”

“Are they hunting Panther Girls?” asked Aphris.

“I do not think so. They have some Panther Girls with them as scouts.”

I listened with interest. Could this be men employed by Seremides? Or perhaps even men employed by Kurgus? Whoever they were, they had made a deal with one or another of the Panther Girl bands in the forest. This couldn't be co-incidence.

“I did not recognise the band,” said the girl. “They must be many leagues now from their home territory. We almost ran into a couple of the Panther girls as we searched for game. As soon as we realised how outnumbered we were, we dropped the Tabuk and ran.”

It is not unheard of for men to make contracts with Panther Girls, for such girls make excellent scouts ranging through the forest ahead of a main body of infantry. Any military commander worth his salt will want to screen his main advance with skirmishers, and in the Forest region, Panther Girls make the best skirmishers.

The girls explained that the war band was moving well away from the clearing by the stream where we had set up camp, and that it was unlikely that even the skirmish screen would notice us.

“They are heading deeper into the forest in the direction of Lake Siljan.”

Brinn couldn’t hear any of this, and so I listened on his behalf. I recalled seeing the lake marked on our maps, perhaps twenty pasangs from the location of Tarn Strike.

“But there is more. Much more. They have two monsters travelling with them.” The girls looked terrified by what they had seen. “Enormous shaggy beasts, incredibly strong, carrying weapons. They seemed to be in command. Except...”

“Except what?” asked Aphris.

“There was a woman with them, and the creatures seemed to defer to her at times.”

“A Panther Girl?”

“No, a Free Woman. She was veiled, she wore leather boots and a skirt of mid calf length and a hooded forest jacket and she carried some sort of hand held machine. She was leading the monsters. They deferred to her. And therefore so did the men.”


“Why were you headed to Fell's Bane?” asked Tallia as she sat down in front of me. She sat cross-legged of course, like the men of Gor do, and she drank paga from a bota.

“I don't know what Fell's Bane is,” I said as I gazed up, feeling the weight of my chain. I had been secured by a neck chain to a stake in the ground while the girls had set up camp and teased Brinn.

“Fell's Bane. You have it marked on these maps.” Tallia unrolled the map we had taken from Melinda in her house in Patashqar.  She had no doubt found it in our luggage. It was the map on which we had overlaid the tactical co-ordinates of Tarn Strike that I had obtained from Erin in the slave pens of Banu Hashim. Tallia stabbed her finger at the location marked with corresponding vertical and horizontal grid lines.

“I didn't know it had a name. We thought it was just a point in the forest.”

“The name is relatively new, and known only to Panther Girls. We avoid the region. Everything dies there.”


“Yes, the place is poisonous. Animals and birds sicken and die. A girl who eats meat, fruit or vegetables from the area sickens.”

“Oh God,” I steepled my fingers before my face as I realised what this had to mean. “The plutonium is leaking.”

“Plutonium?” Tallia regarded me.

“You wouldn't understand. But yes, this is bad. Yes, it's poison.” The weapons cache had to be compromised in some way. Maybe it had been damaged when the original cargo had been dumped. Did Seremides know what he was dealing with? Did he understand the concept of plutonium poisoning? Did Kurgus? Or would they just blindly walk in there without any protective clothing?

“Why were you going there?” asked Tallia again. She pulled at my neck chain to focus my concentration.

“There are some very bad weapons there, weapons that the enemy will use against the Sardar Mountain range.”

“What sort of weapons? Bows?”

“Um... weapons of the kind you can't imagine. Like the Priest King Flame Death, but worse.”

Tallia stared at me in disbelief. She had of course heard how the Priest Kings had destroyed the city of Ko-Ro-Ba with a flame strike, maybe forty five years ago.

“These weapons could destroy a city?”

“They could destroy a lot more than a city.”

“And you want these weapons for yourself?”

“No. Brinn wants to...” actually, what did Brinn want? In all this time I hadn't really stopped to consider what he planned on doing. Was he going to somehow disarm them? Turn them over to the Priest Kings? Call down a Flame Strike? I had no idea. “I... don't know... I just sort of, got caught up in all of this.”

“I see.” Tallia folded the map away.

“What are you going to do?” I asked.


“About what I told you?”

“Nothing. This does not concern the Silver Moon Panther tribe. We will hide and let these men and beasts pass us by until it is safe to roam again.


I was led by my neck chain into a secluded moon lit grove in which there were a number of granite standing stones placed so that the moonlight streamed down through the foliage to bathe the stones in its glow.

“This place is special to us, Emma,” said Tallia as she led me to one of the smaller stones. I could see there were steel manacles bolted high up, maybe seven feet or so from the ground. Tallia pressed my back to the rough stone and raised my hands up in the air to where the manacles were hanging. Taking one wrist at a time, she secured me loosely to the monolith.

“What are you doing?”

“More often than not we chain men here,” explained Tallia as she ignored my question. “We display our captives like trophies before we use them in the moonlight.” Tallia gazed up at the sky and nodded as if in acknowledgement to the three moons of Gor. “I know your secret, Emma.”

“My… secret…”

“Kurgus told me early on. You were a man on Earth, weren’t you?” She smiled and placed a hand on my left thigh where the brand was upon me.

“Please don’t tell Brinn…” I was a woman now. I felt like a woman, totally, uncompromisingly. I didn’t want to be reminded of what I once was. I didn’t want to be reminded of my once male body. I found the thought of it repulsive now. I had never been happy being a man, I had always felt it was wrong for me. I wanted to forget the past and embrace my new life, even if it involved being a slave-girl. The important thing to me was, I was a woman. Free or slave, it was preferable to being a man again.

“Please don’t tell Brinn, please don’t tell Brinn…” Tallia mocked my tone of voice, adding, “You’re pathetic. Why do you care what Brinn thinks? Is he that much of a Master to you? Back in Corcyrus you denied you had slave feelings. You told me you were free! I knew the truth of course, just by looking at you, but at least then you weren’t worrying about whether a man would still want you if he knew the truth.”

“It's complicated...”

“And I know your other secret, Emma. I saw the way you looked at the slave-girls in Kurgus’s halls. I know you secretly desired them.”

I blushed, remembering those days very well, and how aroused I had felt by all those beautiful girls walking around the villa in their short, tightly fitting slave tunics. It had been very frustrating to be in the presence of such wanton sexuality and not be permitted to take advantage of it. It was strange though, for recently I had not really been so aware of women in that way. Recently my slave needs had been more than adequately fulfilled by the touch of men.

“And I saw the way you would often look at the Lady Jacinta when you spent time with her. Kurgus could see it too. It amused him. We used to talk about it.”

“Please…” I flexed my wrists as I stood before the monolith stone with my wrists bracelet above my head.

“Are you still aroused by women, Emma?” Tallia stroked my hips and looked deep into my eyes. “Or have the Kurii machines changed you in more ways than just your physical body?”

I was feeling aroused by Tallia’s touch in combination with the sense of bondage, it was true, but it felt very different to how I had felt these past few months when all my sexual experiences had been provided by men. I licked my lips and recalled how much I had once longed after women.

“We do not need men here in the forests. We have our own society, one where we are the superior sex. But there is no place in our society for slave-girls. You disgust us. You betray your sex with your shameful needs. You were born to serve men.” She had a pouch with her and it contained dried mushrooms picked from the forest floor. She took a handful of them and counted out the individual stalks by way of dosage.

“Are those…” I shrank back against the monolith stone, frightened. I had done drugs once at a party at university many years ago and the experiment had not gone well for me. I did not like drugs.

“These grow quite freely in the forest,” said Tallia, offering a handful of the mushrooms to me. “They are sacred to us and to many other Panther bands. You will eat these and spend the night chained out here in our sacred glade. Perhaps if you are lucky the Panther Totems will speak to you.”

“No!” I turned my head away and clamped my mouth tightly closed.

“Do you wish to be beaten, Emma?”

“Please… I don’t like drugs…”

Tallia just took hold of my jaw, forced my mouth open and shoved the mushrooms inside my mouth. She clenched my jaw shut and forced me to swallow. I wept, knowing that the drug would soon be in my system.

“Pleasant dreams, Emma. I will see you in the morning.”

It began slowly at first, as I became aware of a giddy feeling and in the moonlight I saw the grass beneath my feet begin to sway and ripple, seeming to pulsate with lurid colours. The field of grass began to swim around my feet like water, glowing with an unearthly light. From far away I could hear music as the Panther Girls in the main camp played on drum skins and flutes and sang melancholy songs of longing. The music seemed to swirl in the air, adopting incredibly deep, resonant bass lines and high floating notes far sharper than anything I had ever heard before. I grew very scared now, especially as I began to see fiery eyes gazing out at me from the tree line around the glade. There were dozens, maybe hundreds of glowing eyes belonging to all manner of animals, and now I saw them begin to emerge from the undergrowth, just shadowy shapes that slinked and ran and danced across the glade, too fast for me to focus upon. Some moved about on four legs and some raised themselves up onto two.

“Be strong, chain sister,” said Kara as she kissed me softly on the forehead. “This is going to be a bad trip. You do not react well to psychedelics.”

“Kara...” it was the first time I had seen her since we had parted in the Oasis of the 23 Palms. “Kara, where are you?”

“Where am I now? I'm alone and frightened again in the slave pens of Banu Hashim after I was sold in the oasis. My days and nights are unremitting pain and misery. I miss my chain sister so much...”

I closed my eyes and opened them.

“You’re running!” How many times has your mother told you not to run around the house like that!” It was my father, Marc, holding me by the scruff of my neck with his left hand as he leaned on his walking stick with his right. I was four years old. He had been drinking lager – I could smell it on his breath, and he wore track suit bottoms and a Frank Frazetta t-shirt. “Have you been playing with Bea’s dolls again, Emma?” He looked down and saw a Barbie doll in my hands. It was dressed in pink sparkly leggings and a white crop top t-shirt, black leather jacket and four inch strappy heels. I had been brushing its hair with a toy brush and playing with it for hours. “Why don’t you play with the toy sword I gave you? You’re a boy – boys play with swords. I need you to grow up big and strong and fight beside me on Gor one day.”

“Leave her alone!” screamed my sister Bea, running down the stairs with headphones dangling from her left hand, and the muffled sound of 'Girls Aloud' pulsing from them. “Emma’s a girl, Dad! She’s never been a boy. She doesn't want to fight warriors on Gor!”

“She’s my son! She’s going to be a warrior of the Sardar, fighting the Kurii. I will not accept this…” he looked down at me, at the school skirt and blouse two sizes too big for me that I now wore, sneaked out of the wash basket that my sister had tossed in there earlier in the morning. “Emma has to stop playing with dolls! She’s destined to be summoned to Gor to fight for the Priest Kings. I will not have my eldest son disgrace me like this!”

And then I saw the front door open wide and down the pathway to our house I saw Rachel, dressed in a Biba top, mini-skirt, calf high white suede boots, glittery glam makeup, and a feathery boa, and she was holding out her arms and shouting to me,

“Come on, Emma! We’re going to be late for the Ziggy show! Hurry!”

“Go with her,” said Kara, standing beside me once more. “But always remember you cannot truly trust her.”

“Kara, where are you?” I pleaded.

“Where am I now? Happy and contented in the collar of a kind Master, to whom I was sold. My days are good, though I will always miss my chain sister.”

“I have to go, Kara, Rachel needs me.”

“No, chain sister, you need Rachel. But go.” She kissed me again.

And I was running now beside Rachel, gazing down at my sparkly gel nails, and we were running past a line of young men and women dressed in feather boas and stack heels and far too much makeup and then we were through the main doors and into the Oakhampton Town Hall where the crowd was going crazy, boys and girls alike screaming together loud enough to raise the roof as Bowie came on stage with the Spiders From Mars. They launched into 'Hang on to Yourself' and I felt Rachel take my hand and scream at the top of her voice in sheer joy as a stick thin Bowie in young Ziggy mode cavorted about the stage, wielding the mic stand like a spear, leaning forward, almost touching his adoring audience and I felt myself crying, shouting incoherently into Rachel’s ears how good this was and seeing her nod, turn round, kiss me and say, “we’re always going to be best friends forever, Emma, even if I decide to kill you. Whatever happens, never forget that,” and then I saw the Kur crouching low in the side wings of the stage and I screamed, but this time in fear, for I knew it was here to kill Bowie, and even if the Spiders From Mars formed a shield wall in time, this Kur was a breaker of shield walls, and poor Rachel didn’t know that Bowie was dead now, so if we stayed she'd see the great Kur tear him limb from limb, and she’d be so upset and so I quickly pulled her to the side and said “lets get a drink,” but she was crying “noo, noo”, because the next song would be 'Starman' and we both loved 'Starman' and then we were at the bar, being served something pink and girly because with our makeup on we looked old enough to legally drink and we were laughing and giggling as sounds of muted screaming came from the concert hall as the enormous Kur tore apart the hastily made shield wall formed by the Spiders From Mars.

“I have a wonderful idea!” said Rachel as she giggled, her face flushed by the taste of alcohol. “You can be my slave-girl! Won't that be fun? I'll dress you in a pair of harem chalwar pants and a slave vest and keep you in a steel collar with a pierced nose. You'll serve me day and night and I'll be so strict with you.”

“Yes!” I breathed with excitement. “Oh yes, Rachel, I want to be your slave-girl! I want to kneel and serve you. I've wanted that since the first day I set eyes on you!”

“It's going to be so much fun! But...” Rachel gazed very seriously at me now and tapped me lightly on the nose, “you will never ever be allowed to sleep with a man once you're my slave.”

“But I must! I want a man! I need a man!”

“No! You can't have both me and a man! You must choose!” She stamped her foot petulantly.

“But I can't,” I whined. “I don't know what I want. I want to be your slave, but I want to be Brinn's slave too.”

“Slut!” Rachel slapped me hard across the face. “I thought you were Free like me? You're a slut! A needy, desperate slut!”

“And so are you!” I screamed as I suddenly noticed it gleaming on her. “Look, you wear a collar too!” I pointed, and to her horror, Rachel touched her throat and discovered a slave collar locked about her, just like mine. “Slave slut!” I screamed, angrily. “I heard you with Brinn, moaning and whimpering as he took you. You're a slave like me! You have slave needs too!”

“No!” Rachel's eyes grew wide with horror. “No!” She felt now at her thigh which was branded, and her nose that was pierced with a steel ring. Suddenly she grabbed my hand. “Emma, there is incredible danger, we have to run! Trust me!”

“I do trust you,” I said quickly as Rachel led me away down a red carpeted hallway that stuck to my bare feet like blood.

“Then you are a fool, for I am an exquisite liar. I've been lying to you since the very first day I met you and very soon I'll betray you for the final time! But hurry – they're coming for us now...”

And we ran, down a corridor lined with Free Women in fine robes and veils who hissed and struck us with sticks, screaming, “sluts, whores, slave-girls!” And then they were all suddenly Panther Girls in their fierce animal skins, hitting us with switches, shouting “Weak! Shameful!”    

“You're such a slave,” said Kara with a sad smile as she put her arms about me. “Just remember none of this is necessarily real. It's the mushrooms that Tallia gave you. Be strong, chain sister. I'm always here for you when you need me.”

“Kara, where are you?”

“Where am I now? I died in Rashid's collar three weeks ago, beaten and brutalised every day by his sisters who hated me. He never sold me you see. I suppose I am at peace at last.”

And then it's Monday and I'm barely five years old and Dad has been gone for over six months, and we all know he's not coming back, and I've got ready for my first day at primary school, but mum is kneeling down beside me and telling me I can't go to school in one of Bea's old summer dresses, and I don't understand because the dress is so pretty and I thought I'd surprise her by how pretty I looked in it but Mum just looks at me sadly, with all the strain of having to raise three children on her own while her husband is riding around Gor on a Tarn, having adventures, and she knows he has only one charge left in his ring and so he will never return to her, and she says, “boys don't wear dresses, Emma, they just don't. Now go upstairs and change into your grey short trousers and nice ironed shirt.”

And I don't understand because I'm not even five years old yet and I thought I looked so nice, and suddenly it's Friday and I'm nineteen years old at university and I'm obsessed with how beautiful Susan Reynolds in my class looks. She always dresses so well and looks so sophisticated and I desperately want to dress and look like her, but I can't. And then she smiles at me and writes something down on a page in her exercise book, quickly tears it out, folds it and, while the lecturer isn't looking, she slips it under the desk into my waiting hand. I open it and I read the words, 'In the present day I'm a collared slave-girl called Misha, on the planet Gor, belonging to a strict Master in Port Kar, and I've never been so happy in all my life,' and I look round at her in amazement as she looks back at her exercise book, and I feel excited beyond belief at the thought of Susan Reynolds in a steel collar and slave silks on the planet Gor.  

“Poor Emma,” said Kara as she took my hand and walked me down a corridor that stretched on into an endless stairwell. “You still have so much to do before you can know a semblance of peace.”

“Kara, where are you?”

She looked at me sadly. “Where am I now? You will never ever know.”

I closed my eyes and then opened them again.

“You lied to me, pumpkin,” said Erin as she stepped in front of me in the dancing hall of Banu Hashim. “You said you'd come back for me, but you've left me to rot, just like Kurgus did.”

“Erin, I'm sorry – I was betrayed! I didn't lie to you, I swear.”

“You've always lied, Emma. Look at you, you pretend to be a girl, and yet look what lies between your legs.” I gazed down, horrified to see an ugly penis and balls between my thighs. My male sexual organs had grown back! 

“Noooo!” I felt sickened, disgusted at the sight of them. I was a woman! I didn't want to be a man again!

“You'll never conceal that thing inside slave silks,” sneered Erin. “Brinn is going to find out just what you really are...”

“No, please I'm a woman...” I parted the slave silks – and there it was – my penis, just as it had been on Earth. “No! I don't want this!”

“You had better run, pumpkin. Run while you still can.”

I ran across the tiled floor and was suddenly pulled to one side. 

“We have a problem,” said Kurgus as he grabbed me by the left wrist and held me tight. “I need you to locate my lost Atomics, but you can't work for me while you still have that.” He pointed at the penis that was clearly visible through my dancing silks. “But don't worry - Kurii science can remove that for you.” Kurgus produced a sharp gelding knife.

“No!” I recoiled from the sharp blade as he lifted the silk away to expose my newfound manhood. “There are machines... you have alien science to do that!”

“You speak nonsense. There is no alien science. I will make you a woman with the knife in my hand. There is no point in struggling. You want this.”

And then I ran again, down spiralling corridors and suddenly into the arms of Limidius who clutched me to his chest.

“I can't stop thinking about you, Emma. I must have you in my collar, even if I have to betray Brinn, my sword brother. I must have you, Emma. I must!”

“But you can't! I belong to Brinn, and anyway you cannot own anyone now, for you never made it to the Northern Forests - Kurgus killed you. Your body lies in a ditch somewhere alongside your men, just meat for the carrion birds.”

“Oh.” Now Limidius looked down at his stomach and saw the gaping wound through which his entrails hung. “I died?” There was a momentary look of surprise and then he collapsed to the ground, decomposing quickly in a matter of seconds.

And I'm suddenly thirteen years old and sitting in my Physics class only half listening to Miss Nicholas, who dresses like a prim librarian outwardly but rumour has it wears red Victoria's Secret lingerie beneath her Marks & Spencers' mid length dress, as she points to a map of our solar system. And I'm feeling distracted because I know that Bea bought this month's copy of Marie Claire magazine yesterday and tonight after school I'm hoping to sneak the magazine into my bedroom to read under the covers of my bed with a flashlight, but then Miss Nicholas tells us all that “the planet Gor is an undiscovered world on the opposite side of our sun, and it is a place where men are free to be men and women discover that they are truly women. Which begs the question, where does our little Emma fit in all of this?” And suddenly everyone in the class, including Miss Nicholas, is suddenly looking at me and giggling because I'm a boy, but I'm sitting there wearing slave silks.

And then I see the great lake, Siljan, and rising out of it is an enormous Tarn, as large as a Vulcan bomber, and gripped in its talons are gleaming steel missiles and as I watch I realise with horror that I'm too late and it is flying with powerful beats of its wings towards the Sardar mountain range, and then standing somewhere to my left I see a woman with her back to me, and she is wearing boots and a skirt that is mid calf length, with a hooded hunting jacket, though the hood is thrown back and I just know she is not wearing a veil.

“Why have you stopped thinking about me?” she says without warning. “Do I mean so little to you now?” and as she turns, I see she is holding two half spheres of plutonium in the pose of the Tarot card 'the Magician', with one piece of plutonium held high above her head and the other piece below her waist, and I see the red scars across her hands and wrists – radiation burns that grow more horrible the longer I stare at them and then she says, “Seremides isn't your true enemy, Emma. Kurgus, even, isn't your true enemy. I am waiting for you at Fell's Bane, Emma, where we shall together decide the fate of Gor,” and then as she gazes at me, the former Miss Elizabeth Anna Bentley of Park Lane in London, with the reddish brown hair, who lay in a transport cylinder next to mine in the silver ship from Earth to Gor, smiles and brings the two half spheres of plutonium together with a flash of light and a bang. 

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