New Lives, Old Ways 9.99:

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M/M
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Last chance to call this off," Chance offered his partner in a soft voice as the desert sped by below them, only their internal tracking instrumentation telling them they were crossing into Traveran airspace.

Jake drew a deep breath, focused past the fear he had largely under control, and nodded.

"I want to face this," he said firmly. "I need to know if I'll ever be free of it."

"All right," Chance nodded. "Hopefully they'll give us quarters near the airstrip, in case we need to make a fast escape. Should I handle the face-to-face stuff?"

Jake took a deep breath. "As much as they'll let you. If they figure out I'm supposed to be in charge, they'll expect me to do the talking. It's a very structured society."

"Anything I can do to keep them from figuring that out?" Chance asked him hopefully.

"Be yourself," Jake chuckled softly. "You act like you're in charge of everything anyway, just keep it up, and let me be quiet."

"Will do," Chance chuckled. "And don't hit on everything that moves."

"That would be good too," he grinned just before the radio beeped for their attention with the Traveran capitol just visible on the horizon. "That means you answer," he added.

Chance flipped it on, and struggled to understand the heavily accented female voice on the other end. It only took him a moment to realize he'd never get it. It wasn't accented Katian, it was something else entirely.

"Tell her 'Eshtha Katian. Black Sun of MegaKat City'," Jake suggested.

Chance nodded, carefully, haltingly repeating what Jake had said. This would be an added wrinkle... he couldn't very well be the 'face' if he couldn't speak their language.

The Traveran said something, and the line went silent.

"She said 'okay', more of less," Jake said, then snickered to himself. "Well, actually she said 'cursed ignorant foreigner toms'. She's going to get somebody that speaks Katian. That's what I had you ask for. And I don't know that much, but I learned enough to get along for six months of living there."

"Okay, but how am I going to be the one talking if you're the one they understand?" he glanced back at his partner even as he shifted Black Sun's course to do a wide, lazy circle around the city until they were cleared to land somewhere.

"You talk, I translate when needed," he suggested. "As long as I'm just translating, they won't take me for being in charge."

"Understood," Chance nodded. "It'll help you work your way into dealing with them too, I guess."

"Black Sun, this is Traveris," a somewhat less than completely confident female voice came over the radio. "You are ... expected. How much land do you need?"

"She means to land," Jake said quickly.

"Just a couple hundred feet," Chance said after a glance at their fuel gauge, which was still well past the halfway mark. "Without anything flammable around them."

There was a long pause of silence on the other end.

"Remember, they don't have aircraft yet. Their first airfield won't be for another seventy years or so," Jake said. "There will be some delay while they figure out where we can land."

"No wonder they need our help," Chance murmured, making sure his comm was off before he said it. "Especially with Lothos."

"Black Sun," the Traveran was back. "Watch for the flair to the east of the city. Space will be marked at her."

"Will do," Chance nodded, bringing the jet around so they could look for it. There was nothing for several minutes, giving him an uneasy feeling.

"I'm betting she had to send a rider there," Jake said, looking at the city below them. "It could be a while."

"We'll keep an eye out for it," Chance promised. "Are we cleared to fly over the city?" He asked them, not sure just how secret they wanted to keep them.

"No ... fright packs," the Traveran said, audibly struggling for the right words.

Jake clicked his transmitter on. "En'o kietia vi sama?" He tried to sound sure of his words, even though he was desperately hoping he got them right.

"Sh'e," she replied quickly before Jake turned his transmitter off.

"Yes, we can fly around the city, just don't frighten the animals," Jake translated. "They don't use vehicles very often. It's almost all riding and pack lizards, some horses, camel and ox, even in modern times. Keep it above three hundred and we should be fine."

"Understood," Chance said, getting back on the line. "We'll stay up where they won't worry about us," he promised, starting a flyover of the city, always keeping an eye out for signs of the flare.

It was a large place, for a desert city. The buildings were a combination of sandstone, stucco and mud brick. All except for the palace at it's center. That was gleaming white marble with gold and the shine of gems, metal and other stones decorating the facade of the open, airy place surrounded by lush green and water.

"It's a pity about their other problems," he murmured. "It's a beautiful place, for hot and dry."

"The Goldens are much better, and the same climate," Jake pointed out, checking out what had changed in the century and some since he'd seen the place the first time. "If this is everything wrong about a matriarchy, they're how to do it right."

"Maybe we can arrange to spend our next vacation there," Chance mused. "Assuming we ever get back to a time when commercial flights exist."

"We're going to," Jake said firmly, that tone the tabby rarely head but knew instantly, instinctively, meant he'd just joked about something Jake was taking too seriously to joke about. "I am not spending the rest of my life in this ass backward, homophobic, techless time."

"Relax, Jake, I wasn't serious," Chance told him. "Worst case scenario, we get this fucking war over with and then get back once you can focus on it... more likely, I think I'll be able to find a mage in a place like this."

"Here, the Golden Kingdom, or Veldt," Jake nodded. "There it is," he pointed to the streak of dark blue going into the sky. "All three have fairly strong magical traditions."

"We'll worry about it later," Chance nodded, taking off for the flare and going in for a STOL landing.

"I really hope someone told them about our fuel needs," Jake murmured to himself as he glanced at their welcoming party. A half dozen nobles in full warrior finery, mounted on light, long-legged horses dressed just as ostentatiously as their riders. "Oh boy," he drew in a calming breath before the cockpit slid back.

"The Commander couldn't be that pissed off at us," Chance reassured him, getting up and jumping down to the ground, taking off his helmet and carrying it under one arm, trying to look as confident as he could... at the very least, more confident than he felt.

"Hello; do any of you speak Katian?" He asked hopefully.

One of the lower ranking nobles came forward, still mounted. At least he guessed she was lower ranked; she'd been towards the back.

"I do," the Caracal fem told him. "Welcome to Traveris, warriors," she spoke in the measured words of one who was not quite fluent, but reasonably confident of their choice of words. "Does your ... ... ride require care?"

"We'll need fuel before we go anywhere particularly far away, but that's all; did our Commander inform you of the type required?" He asked them.

"Yes," she nodded. "It has been arranged for in the amount you require. You are Captain Chance Furlong, the Sundancer?"

"I am," he nodded. "This is Captain Jake Clawson, the Raven," he said, introducing Jake. The motion gave him a chance to look at his partner, and the most conflicting body language he'd seen in a long time. His posture was strait, his ears were up and shoulders squared, but his tail was tucked around his leg and his gaze was down. Not too unlike facing an officer you were honestly scared of. Posture was military; the rest was submission and playing not to get hurt.

"He is the one that speaks Traveran?" she asked.

"Yes," Chance nodded, a little surprised that she then turned her attention to Jake. It gave him an opportunity to check out their welcome party a little better. They were all warriors, he could see it in their posture, in their bodies. They were all interested in them both, but most were checking Jake out with obvious interest.

"What is it?" she asked Jake, motioning towards their jet.

"A haweet," he pronounced the word carefully for her. "Jet in Katian. We named her the Black Sun, the Sek-Su," he motioned with a closed fist and flared it open over his face.

The shekat nodded and turned back to Chance. "I am Asaytae. I will be your translator for much of your stay. This is Lady Mi'ku," she bowed to the leader of the party.

"An honor," Chance said with a bow of his own. "Is our assistance needed immediately, or is there time for us to settle in before a mission, perhaps send a message back to let our Commander know we've arrived?"

Asaytae translated to the lilting, vowel-heavy language. Lady Mi'ku spoke to Chance.

"She welcomes you to Traveris," Asaytae translated. "You will not be needed until morning. Please come and enjoy the feast in your honor, rest and bathe." She made a small motion and two fine, well-decorated horses were brought forward for them. "Please bring your things out. Servants will bring them to your quarters."

Chance swore mentally, wracking his brain for everything he knew about horses and how to ride even as he Jaw Jake turn to the Black Sun and pull out their two half-full seabags from the bomb bay.

Frankly, it didn't take him long.

He just hoped that, for once, old movies had gotten it right as he slipped his foot into the stirrup and lifted himself up into the saddle, steadying himself as he tried to get used to the idea. Bikes were so much easier than having things that were actually alive under your ass.

Still, the beast seemed cooperative, and he watched with some relief that Jake seemed to only have a vaguely better idea of how to ride.

Asaytae brought her mount up next to theirs, positioning herself outside Chance, opposite of Jake, and the group turned to enter the city, reversing their order so the highest ranking one was leading.

"Your Commander? Is angry with you?" she asked as they entered the mud-brick, stucco and stone city with few buildings more than two or three stories tall.

"A bit, yeah," Chance admitted. "Why do you ask?"

"He said you would train snipers," she said. "To fire rifles. It does not sound like you expected this."

"I didn't," Chance said evenly. "I can do it though. Did he say anything about what Jake was expected to do?"

"As I understand, he meant both of you to train," she said. "Jake is your gunner, correct? The one who shoots in the jhet," she tried to pronounce the new word very carefully.

"Jet," Jake corrected her politely.

"J-et," she repeated, and he nodded that she'd gotten it right this time.

"Yes, he is, but he's not as good with a rifle," Chance explained. "Do you have any mounted weapons?"

"They don't use mechanical vehicles," Jake told him. "I am right?" he glanced at Asaytae.

"Yes," she nodded politely. "We do not," she told Chance. "We are the mounted weapons," she motioned to their horses and the riders.

"Wasn't sure if you had anything you'd put on a cart," Chance explained. "We'll keep it in mind," he promised, quietly promising himself that the Commander was going to hear about this in the future.

He just hoped they didn't decide to do training with live targets.

The conversation fell silent as they passed into the palace grounds, a realm of water and green where mud and stucco had no place. It was all stone of some kind, most of it polished to a fine shine, where there were not plants or glittering pools. It made it very easy to forget they were in one of the more brutal desserts on the planet. It was also a reminder that this was a magic rich land.

In the distance, watching them from behind plants and statues, male Caracal, noticeably smaller than the females, peeked out to watch them. Kittens were among them as well. All wore fine silks, though the males wore far less than the female kittens.

Chance looked around, taking in their surroundings, though he had to focus some on riding. He just hoped it wouldn't be spooked by something. And that this would be as amiable a dealing as it seemed. From what Jake had said, the 'indefinite' clause in their transfer could save them, or guarantee they were screwed.

Helpers, young girls and toms from early adolescence to adults, soon appeared to take their mounts, holding the reins of the docile beasts as their riders dismounted.

"Would you want local warrior-tom clothing, or have extra clothes in your j-et?" Asaytae asked as they settled on the ground again.

"We do have extra clothes in the jet, though local warrior-tom clothing might help put any students more at ease," Chance said easily. "Our outfits aren't really designed for desert wear," he admitted.

"I will arrange for it while you bathe before the feast," she said as she led them inside, and they separated from the main group.

"Thank you," he nodded politely.

Inside the palace it was relatively cool and breezy, the polished white and gold marble was everywhere, and fine statues of male and female Caracals, local and exotic animals, were regularly placed.

The looks they got from those they passed varied greatly; distrust, hatred, curiosity, lust, fear ... it seemed like every emotion possible existed in response to their presence.

Chance made sure to take note of some of the faces... particularly the ones who seemed pissed off by their appearance, and especially those who looked interested.

"Anybody I should know who they are before we meet?" Chance asked her hopefully.

"You will not be expected to know who people are without an introduction. Unlike you, we do not display our names," she indicated the name badge on his flight suit that said Furlong in sewn letters. "I have taught four ... servants ... a few useful words of Katian. It should be enough to get what you wish."

"The names on the suit are mostly for when things go really wrong," he chuckled lowly. "Thanks though. I just wanted to check; I've dealt with enough high-ranked people back home who expected everybody to know who they are that I thought I'd check."

"No one will mistake you for anything but what you are," she promised and opened an unlocked, carved wooden door to show them a large, open room with many windows, all done in the same polish marble as what they'd seen already. There were several large piles of pillows, a decorative fountain on one wall.

Jake could smell the bath in an adjoining room, likely the open archway.

But what caught both their attentions the most was the four Caracal toms on the pillows in the middle of the room. They weren't wearing much, though given the climate, that wasn't surprising, and they all looked nervous.


"The servants you mentioned?" Chance asked their translator evenly even as he stole a glance for Jake's reaction, and saw far too much recognition there.

"Yes," she nodded. "They will help you bathe, fetch anything you ask for, keep your quarters clean and tend to all your needs while you are here."

"Pets, slaves or servants?" Jake asked, not trusting his memories to tell the three levels apart.

"Nomoen is a pet," she motioned for the prettiest of the four and likely nearly their age. "He is well-trained for more than pleasure however. Lady Mi'ku has pets she likes more now. "Ethus and Hlan are palace slaves. Naul is a palace servant."

"What relation is Lady Mi'ku to the Queen?" Jake asked.

"They are littermates," Asaytae said. "Would you like privacy for your bath?"

"Please," Chance nodded. "We haven't had a chance to really relax for one for a while... are we expected anywhere at any particular time?"

"It would be good to arrive for the feast in your honor before dusk," she said, then spoke briefly to the servant. "Naul will tell you when you should begin to dress for it. I will come to show you the way."

"Thank you," Chance nodded, getting the door after she walked out. "How much Katian do the four of you speak?" He asked the Caracal servants.

The nervous, almost frightened looks he got answered it well enough.

Jake picked up with several exchanges in Traveran, which Chance caught the gift of well enough. Between them they knew meat, fruit, food, water, wine, leave, come, get, pleasure me, yes, no.

It wasn't much, but as Asaytae said, they were useful words given their job. Given they'd only had a couple days, it wasn't a bad vocabulary.

"We," Jake motioned to himself and Chance. "Bath," he pointed to the room where they could smell water vapor coming from. "Now," he motioned to Chance to follow him.

The two foreigner toms went into the baths, followed closely by their nervous servants.

"Any way we can let them know we're not going to hurt them without putting ourselves in their place?" Chance asked Jake quietly.

Jake thought about it as he began to strip, then nodded and turned to their servants, who were trying to help undress the pair, who weren't really sure about the help. He said a few short words, was asked something and responded, and the four nodded. Ethus, Hlan and Naul left the bathing room, while the pet, Nomoen, turned his attention to seeing that the rest of the bathing needs were in order; soap, towels, brushes.

"They'll be nervous, just because they understand so few words, but I think I explained our expectations well enough," Jake said, leaving his flight suit on the floor and stepping into the large pool of steaming, swirling water that smelled lightly of flowers and sweet spring grass.

"That's something," Chance chuckled, following Jake into the pool after he'd stripped down. "What did you tell them we expected?

"I said that we're not used to servants of any kind," Jake said before a low moan of raw pleasure escaped him with the hot water against his skin. "That all we are expecting is that our quarters and clothes are cleaned. It makes them uneasy, it's not what they're used to, but I believe it is understood."

"Don't suppose we can find out if there's anything they expect of us? Wouldn't be surprised if they expected some action while we're here," he explained.

"Nomoen," Jake turned to the pet. "No'sae si nu'vie?"

"No," he shook his head slightly. "Nu si aoe."

"They get to play with each other," Jake explained before sinking fully under the water, only to come up facing his partner. "He's curious about you, though he didn't say it," Jake wrapped his arms around Chance's neck and claimed a hungry kiss. "I'm sure he's heard things about outsiders, that most prefer to top."

"Mmm ... there gonna be trouble if we show him it's true about this one?" Chance purred, kissing Jake back as the water soaked into sore muscles that hadn't had a chance to recover since his stint in the brig.

"I doubt it," Jake shivered as his mate's arms slid around his body, holding him close. "It's a pretty erotic thought, almost the ultimate forbidden pleasure for them. And you have more than enough endurance to keep me happy, and play with them."

"Mmm... well, want to give them a show to start with?" Chance purred, kissing Jake again, reaching down to squeeze his ass. "You can top a time or two too, if y'want."

"Mmm, maybe," Jake moaned and pressed close against the buff tabby, his arousal obvious against Chance's hard body as he rocked his hips, rubbing himself shamelessly against his mate. "If you want."

"We'll see... but for now, I think you need a little attention," Chance grinned, his own cock hard beneath the water as he shifted Jake's hips to press his thick, textured shaft up into his ass.

"Oh yesss," Jake moaned deeply as he was speared open. "Love what you do to me," he panted, squeezing his body around his mate's and claiming a hungry kiss.

"Mmm ... how much is me... and how much is the water?" Chance teased, kissing him back, shifting to push Jake's back against the tile of the edge so he could thrust better into the lean tom.

Jake moaned, his eyes squeezed shut in pleasure as he hooked his legs around Chance's hips and held on tight. "No fair question," he objected with a gasping groan. "Know I love you."

Chance groaned, thrusting harder as he reached down, clawing Jake's ass lightly.

"Fuck baby... so damn tight...."

"Mmm," Jake claimed a hard kiss. "Not as tight as the virgin ass that wants you. Close," he panted. "Gods, so close."

"Just... a little... more!" Chance roared, coming hard, filling Jake's ass with his come and roaring against as Jake came a moment later, squeezing down around his cock hard while spurting his seed into the water between them.

Chance looked up at Nomoen, watching them with incredibly keen attention, his cock hard, but entirely untouched.

"Care to join us?" He asked, reaching up and motioning for the tom to come to them if he wanted.

The Caracal tom shivered, licking his whiskers before scurrying to the water's edge. He managed to get undressed before he was wet, though he didn't actually touch either of them.

Jake turned his head and they exchanged a few words before Jake claimed a heated kiss. "Fuck him so he'll never forget it."

"If this time doesn't do it, I'll try again," Chance winked, pulling out of Jake with a groan before moving over, running his hands down Nomoen's body and kissing him heatedly.

The short, slender Xanith opened his mouth to the kiss, submissive in a manner very similar to Jake; eager but not forward, his entire body at ease in his arousal.

Chance reached down, stroking his cock as their lips parted.

"Up for using your mouth first?" He asked, hoping Jake could translate if Nomoen couldn't understand him, moving to hike himself up onto the edge of the bath. He shouldn't have worried, Jake clearly wanted to see this and was willing to explain, sure of his words or not.

Chance spread his legs, stroking his still-hard cock as his feet dangled in the water. He reached down to pet Nomoen's head lightly, his wet tail swishing over the floor as the Caracal settled between his kneels and nuzzled the tabby's groin before turning his attention fully to the large golden orbs below his cock.

The tabby groaned as Jake moved up behind the slender Xanith, fondling his ass before sliding his fingers down to start prepping him slowly. He watched Jake nip at the Caracal's scruff and crook of the neck, the way he rubbed against his back and how it turned the tom on. It was very much the kind of elevated response he'd seen in his partner, and it made him wonder just how much of Jake tastes had been formed here.

It was pretty hot, really, to watch his mate show him what turned him on on someone who got off on it just as much.

When Nomoen shifted to swallow his cock, Chance reached down, purring deeply as he rubbed the tom's head.

"How's he doing?" He asked Jake with a groan.

"If he's done this before, it was a long time ago," Jake murmured, nuzzling the Caracal's neck and rubbing his own cock against Nomoen's thigh. "He'll take a bit, and more lube than I like."

"We've got plenty," Chance pointed out, passing a small jar down to Jake. "Think he'd like being in the middle?" He asked with a grin.

Jake purred and grinned back before asking Nomoen, who shivered and nodded as best he could with the tabby's thick cock in his mouth.

"I think that's a yes," Jake chuckled and scooped some lube in his fingers before going back to stretching the Caracal's ass.

"Best bath in ages," Chance groaned, thrusting lightly into the tom's mouth. "Not much longer," he warned him.

"No argument from me, though I still think the ones where I get you off by just your balls are pretty damn hot too," Jake rumbled eagerly. "Come away, buddy. He's almost ready to pop himself."

Chance roared, pumping thick ropes of his come into Nomoen's mouth to be swallowed by the Caracal's skilled mouth and throat. Every bit was swallowed, then Nomoen went to work licking him clean before Jake's efforts made his eyes start to roll back and his body tremble.

The tabby slipped under the water, gripping the tom's cock and stroking it a couple times, sure that was all the more it would take to get him off. It quickly became a Caracal sandwich with Jake pressed against his back, stretching his ass and working his prostate, and Chance pressed against his chest and stroking his cock until Nomoen cried out sharply and thrust his hips forward. His seed spilled into the warm water and was quickly swept away.

"He's sexy when he's getting off," Jake purred deeply.

"Oh yeah," Chance purred, kissing Nomoen, then Jake. "So, think he's ready for us to switch places?"

Jake whispered something in the Caracal's ear and he nodded with an eager shiver.

"He's quite ready," Jake purred as he withdrew his fingers and moved around so he could brace against the edge of the pool.

"Good," Chance grinned, kissing the Caracal's neck lightly before letting him go to mount Jake, moving around behind him and nipping his scruff lightly. He watched as Nomoen grabbed Jake's scruff firmly in his jaws, his hips in his hands, and thrust into the lean tom's ass with a simple thrust.

"Oh yeah," Jake moaned. "Fuck him, Chance. Fuck us both."

Chance took Nomoen's ass in his hands, biting down on his scruff possessively as he pushed up into the Xanith tom's ass, groaning at how tight he was; it had been ages since he'd been with somebody this new to bottoming. Even Jake, that first time, had been more experienced, even if he hadn't done it for months.

He could feel Nomoen reflexively pull away a little as he was forced open wider than he'd ever been before, but Jake had done a good job of stretching him and it only lasted a moment before the Caracal began to moan and get into the rhythm of being between the lovers.

"Let me know if it's too much," he reassured him, taking his hips in his hands and starting to thrust slowly. It was hot, hearing Jake moan like this and being inside such a tight body. He'd never known a virgin to be this eager, this willing; they were usually at least a little nervous. Not the case here. He was sure there'd been some pain, there always was the first few times, but there was no reluctance in Nomoen and soon the Caracal was moaning around the thick mouthful of Jake's scruff.

Chance picked up his pace, searching for the Caracal's prostate as he reached down to fondle his balls lightly, carefully working them with his fingers as he drank in the pleasure of the tom between them, and how Nomoen was feeling a familiar pleasure along with one entirely new to him.

It didn't take long for Jake to stiffen significantly, right on the edge and trying to hold back until the Caracal fucking him spilled his seed. His short, whimpering cries encouraged Nomoen to thrust deeper and harder, and excited Chance from knowing what followed soon after he began to sound like that.

Chance roared as he came, filling the Caracal's ass, not really caring to hold back too long - he was sure there would be more rounds to follow when he could drag things out. After all, they had a party to attend for dinner.

He felt Nomoen tighten up around him as need took over, causing his hips to jerk sharply to shoot his seed deep into Jake's ass. A heartbeat later Jake roared his orgasm and drew a gasp and mewing cry out of Nomoen as Jake's body clamped down around his.

Chance purred deeply, nuzzling the Caracal's neck as they all rode down from their highs.

"I think he liked it," he said with a teasing rumble for Jake.

"I know I did," Jake chuckled. "You do make threesomes hot as hell."

"I try," Chance chuckled lowly. "Mmm... unfortunately, we have to get ready for dinner... want to ask if he'd like to share the bed with us when we get back?"

Jake nodded as they reluctantly pulled apart and shared a few words with Nomoen, who's expression shifted from post-coitus dreamy, to surprised, to a blush and eager nod.

"Even I understood that," the tabby chuckled before he turned his attention to actually cleaning up.

Jake and Chance had just finished dressing in the fine flowing silks with threads of silver and gold woven into geometric patters and predatory birds. Even though they were pants, it felt rather girly to both of them, but it was what the nobles wore, so it made sense of a sort.

They were still working on getting used to the idea when there was a scratch at the door and Naul rushed to open it and admit Asaytae.

"You both look very fine," she said with honest appreciation in her tone. "Are you ready for the feast?"

"Thank you," Chance smiled. "I believe we are; is there anything else we should bring with us?"

"If you wish to wear any marks of rank or ... prizes," she glanced at Jake and made a quick exchange with him. "Medals, it would be appropriate. There is a sash we put them on."

"That would be appreciated," Chance nodded. "We want to make the best impression we can," he smiled, catching Jake's movement from the corner of his eye as the tom dug their dress uniform medals while Ethus brought him two shoulder-to-hip length sashes.

"Of course. Do you have any that would not fit on it?" she asked. "I have seen some uniforms with rope on the shoulder, or special head covering."

"Not ours," he reassured her, going to his seabag and pulling out his assorted medals and emblems, grateful for once that the Commander had seen fit to include his service record from the future - given what he was here for, his assorted awards for marksmanship were going to matter.

"The first should be just over your ... ..." she flattened her ears at tapped her collarbone, where a stylized red dragon was on hers. "Here. It would be a mark of rank and clan. Some indicator of who you answer to and what status you have."

"Rank and Enforcer emblem," Jake suggested, already putting his together.

"Next would be battle marks, what shows who you have fought and how well you did," she continued, watching them organize their impressive collection of colorful ribbons and metal decorations with fascination. "Last are marks of any crafts you have mastered. Weaponsmith or the like."

Chance took her advice gladly, arranging his emblems; his Captain's bars and Enforcer emblem. On the next row were his Sniper Badge and Pilot Wings -- now with four Gold Stars, two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star. The three Valor in Battle medals were next; two he'd picked up against Lothos before becoming a sniper and the one from a MWII trip he hadn't done yet. Assorted badges for battles and performance filled out much of the middle, and the marksmanship and flying awards he'd earned took the display almost down to his navel. He could have tightened it up a fair amount, but it was impossible to ignore just how much of his life could be summed up by what was on display right now.

All things considered, it was a fairly impressive collection, though he didn't want to think about it too much.

Asaytae, on the other hand, but brimming with curiosity, and he expected he'd be explaining every one of them before the night was out.

"Does it look right?" He asked her, glancing at Jake's smaller collection of medals and awards, signs of just how much of Jake's life hadn't been in the military. On the bright side, it would probably help emphasize that he was the one 'in charge,' as it were.

"I understand few of them," she told him. "Yes, it seems right."

"Then let's go," Chance nodded with a last glance at Jake to be sure he was ready. Not that he needed to check, really, but it looked good. Jake looked good in the exotic outfit.

Asaytae nodded and turned to lead them through the halls and towards the sound of lively, foreign music of small drums, flutes, and tambourines.

Chance followed, taking in their surroundings, almost unconsciously picking out the easiest route to open ground if they had to use it. He didn't think it was going to be necessary - if they wanted to try anything, they'd had the chance by now - but he still felt better knowing there was a way out.

He could see Jake was doing it, and couldn't blame him in the least. He still had a hard time believing Jake had come this far. If he'd been through half of what he knew Jake had here he'd never voluntarily go there again. It gave him a little pride, knowing he was part of the reason Jake was facing his fears.

It wasn't long before they were in the center of the palace by his estimation, and on the third level. It was a huge, open and lush with plants and flowing water around the edges. Three long, low tables were set parallel to each other along the length of the great hall and had folks seated on cushions on both sides. A fourth was perpendicular to them and only had seating on one side.

Many seats were filled with lively talking Caracal fems in dress similar to theirs and a variety of decorations on their sashes, and a variety of feathered and jeweled crowns, tiaras and other headgear.

Chance had no doubt that the Caracal fem in the center of the top table was the Queen. It wasn't just her bearing, her special placement or that her finery far outstripped those around her, though they all definitely played a part. He shot a glance at Jake and smiled reassuringly when he saw the ready-to-bolt look in his eyes, though he was doing an admirable job of keeping himself from showing it in his body language so far.

There was no doubt though. This situation terrified Jake to his core.

He tried to memorize as many faces as he could as Asaytae guided them to the table with the Queen at its center. He ran over in hid mind what Jake had coached him on for greeting her again and again. This was not something to screw up.

"Greetings warriors," the Queen spoke in very carefully in Katian when they were brought before her. "Eat at my table," she motioned to her right side and the empty space set for three.

Chance could see Jake bow deeply to her, an odd turn in the arm across his chest that wasn't in the lessons that seemed to draw attention from all who saw it. Then he had to focus on his own bow and the foreign words he didn't understand, for all Jake had told him what he was saying. He just hoped he did as well in Traveran as the Queen had done in Katian.

They followed Asaytae to the open places, and sat with her towards the Queen, Jake in the middle and Chance took the outside place.

"You did very well," Asaytae told him as they settled. She did it naturally, it was probably what she had done her entire life.

Jake seemed to have an easy time of it, but he had spent six months working for somebody who could afford one of his custom jobs. Chance, he tried, but he was obviously used to a chair, not a pillow.

Hopefully, they expected that sort of thing from foreigners, or at least wouldn't think to badly of him because of it.

"Thank you," Chance said with a quiet nod, not expressing his curiosity about Jake just yet. He had a feeling that the gesture had something to do with his history in the country, but now wasn't the time. Now was the time to pay attention to their hosts.

Everyone was chatting, with many glances at him and Jake, when Asaytae caught his attention. "How good a shot are you?"

"My record is making a headshot on a Wolf at just over a mile and a half; 2,559 yards," Chance explained. "That was with a specially designed sniper rifle and scope, from heavy woods into open terrain, no magic; I doubt I'd be able to make the shot with current conditions. The rifle I was using at the time was well beyond most weapons MKC has available, and I'm not sure what's available here."

He didn't miss how impressed Jake was, though he was sure his partner knew of it. The effect on the others when it was translated was marked; they were definitely impressed, and more than a little unsettled. He had to wonder what they thought was a 'good range' for a kill, and he bet it was a hell of a lot less. He half expected their range weapon was still a bow, or maybe a crossbow. There didn't seem to be any industrialization here.

"You ... can kill beyond sight?" Asaytae said carefully, trying not to sound as shocked as she looked.

"Beyond unaided sight, yes," he nodded. "We have scopes available that increase the distance you can see greatly. The biggest problem is accounting for the effects on the bullet by the time it reaches the target, from wind and gravity."

"At that range with any kind of crosswind, you may have to aim twenty meters or more off the target to hit," Jake added.

"The shot I made was 25 meters to the right and 103 meters above him to hit," Chance told them.

"How can you aim like that?" Asaytae asked, her eyes a bit wide and expression telling him all he needed to know about the range of what they were used to. They aimed at what they wanted to hit.

"It takes a lot of practice," Chance admitted. "And a good feel for what will happen. The good news is that the ranges your people are likely to be shooting at won't involve nearly that level of correction ... and there are magical ways around it, if you have people who can use spells to keep the bullet flying true."

"Yes, we have those," she nodded, translating the exchange for those around her and a second wave of shock spread through the room. "Why do you fly the haweet, when you can kill at that range?"

"Personally, or in general?" He asked her, not sure where she was trying to guide the conversation.

"You, personal," she said, then shifted to Jake and said a few things in Traveran.

"She's trying to understand why someone who can shoot that well would be doing something different," he explained.

"It's a complicated story, but after I ended my service I went into another career. When I went back into the military, I'd found that I preferred flying to being a sniper. There's a level of detachment from the end result that makes it easier to handle, and a pilot isn't usually called on to do the sort of things a sniper is."

"He doesn't usually do the shooting," Jake added, though there were some funny looks to Chance's statement that didn't materialize into questions. "That's my job."

"How good are you?" Asaytae turned to attention to Jake.

It made him pause, trying to organize an explanation. It wasn't nearly as simple as a sniper's. "I have a ninety-three percent hit ratio against aircraft comparable to my own," he said. "On a target range, like we'll use to train, I have a perfect score out to 1500 yards."

"Score?" she glanced at him.

"I can hit a target the size of my palm at 1500 yards every time," he explained.

"It's the limit of the target range," Chance explained. "He hasn't had to shoot like that on the field very often."

"You will teach us to shoot that well?" she asked what was no doubt on everyone's mind.

"To the extent that your technology makes possible," he nodded, wishing dearly that he knew whether or not their coming from the future was an acceptable piece to tell them or not. "We will teach you the best we can."

That was given nods of acceptance before the Queen said something.

"The Queen wishes to know if you will demonstrate your skill for us tonight."

"Certainly," Chance nodded. "I assume you have a target that could be set up at a suitable range?" He was silently praying they didn't want to use a slave, but he wasn't about to say it.

The Queen glided her thumb across the fingers of her hand and created a stable globe of red light the size of her hand.

"Will that do?" Asaytae asked him.

"Will it stop a bullet that hits it?" Chance asked her. "I wouldn't want the bullet to end up in some civilian."

"A mile and a half out, there is nothing," Asaytae motioned towards the desert. "It can be made to shatter what hits it."

"I can't be certain to make a shot that far out with a rifle I'm unfamiliar with, but I'll do my best," Chance nodded. "Could I see an example?"

"You'd have your best odds with mine," Jake offered. "It's in the bomb bay with my tools."

"If you don't mind us taking a little time to retrieve it, that would be best," Chance agreed. "I hadn't known that was loaded when we came here."

"This is acceptable," Asaytae nodded in acceptance and took a hunk of meat from a large roast bird that was brought around, followed by sliced and pealed fruit. "How long did it take to train for that shot?"

"About six months of practical experience," Chance said, taking some of the meat and fruit for himself after noting how Jake handled the offering. "I have a talent for it, but somebody who hunts with a rifle would have a similar advantage. With a bow... it would be a good basis, but the adjustments are very different."

"You will find we are quick studies with any weapon, and everyone has a lifetime of practical experience with a bow," Asaytae assured him. "Few have seen a riffle before. We are ready to understand them."

"Glad to hear it," he nodded. "How many people do you have for us to train?"

"The first group are twenty. All battle-tested warrior-nobles and competition champions with the bow," she told him. "They will train others."

"Very helpful," he nodded. "If I can ask, where did you get the weapons I'll be training them with? There can be particular issues with different models of weapon."

"A shipment from your MegaKat City," she explained. "A ..." she turned to the Queen submissively and exchanged a few words with her. "WAR-5-5 and WSR-50."

"Both good designs," he nodded. "For sniping, you'll want to use the WSR as much as necessary, unless you've got somebody who takes to the WAR spectacularly well. I knew a few good snipers who couldn't do a thing with the sniper rifles; they didn't have the range, but they were still crack shots with other guns."

"What is a sniper?" she asked almost abruptly.

Chance blinked, a little surprised by the question coming. He was sure they'd already known. Well, easy enough to answer the question.

"Somebody who specializes in taking those long shots," he explained. "Precision strikes, rather than broad-based attacks. Most snipers are trained in stealth and surveillance as well as marksmanship; how to stay somewhere until your shot presents itself, and then take it, from a distance the target can't tell where the shot came from."

Jake gave a spat of Traveran, and she nodded.

"This will be unusual," she admitted uncomfortably. "A new kind of fight. The guns seemed just powerful bows."

"And you can use the WAR like that," Chance explained. "Powerful, rapid-firing. The sniper rifle is what you would use for shots like I've taken; the WAR is for much, much shorter ranges, for most shooters. Is the sniper style of combat against your warriors' honor?" He asked her seriously.

"Er, no," she said, thinking about it carefully. "Just not what we usually do. We had not linked sniper with assassin before."

"The main difference is that an assassin isn't usually as picky about targets as a sniper can be," Chance admitted. "I only go after enemy combatants; officers and other high-value targets who know they're potential victims."

Asaytae nodded slowly, digesting the information. "The Kantin will not be surprised then?"

"Not be surprised that you're starting to use snipers? Actually, I suspect they will be," Chance admitted. "Even MKC doesn't use many of us at this point. But then, they were pretty surprised by the Black Sun too," he shrugged slightly.

She nodded and translated the conversation for the other nobles. It set off another buzz of talking, and Chance spotted one of the higher-ranking shekats walk up from the lower tables.

He really, really wished he had any idea what was going on. At the very least, if he'd just said something wrong. She didn't look upset, but it wasn't always easy to read in such a different culture.

She came around behind them and put a hand on Jake's shoulder, making him tense sharply, and whispered something in his ear.

What happened next was so far down on Chance's list of possibilities he would have considered it impossible. His partner launched to his feet in with a twist to face her as he lashed out with his claws. She leapt back, clearing his strike easily, and now they were both standing, face to face, ears flat and growling as the entire room watched in tense silence.

Her tail lashed sharply, his was stiff but up as they sized each other up for a fight.

All Chance was sure of was that she'd just said something that pissed him off enough to fight, and it looked like she was willing to give him that fight.

Chance was up and between them in a moment.

"What just happened?" He demanded of Jake, sure the fem couldn't tell him if she wanted to.

"She wants me to breed her," he said, his rage already slipping away into the tightly controlled terror that Chance had expected at that kind of request.

"Have you told her you can't?" Chance asked him quietly, keeping an eye on the woman, who seemed willing to let him talk with his partner for now.

"No," Jake admitted. "I just ... reacted."

"Let her know what you can, and make your apologies," Chance suggested, not quite an order but as firmly as he dared to. "It's a fight that doesn't need to happen."

Jake didn't look very happy, but he took a deep breath and stepped around his partner to face her.

Chance had to focus on the body language and tone. His partner fighting back reactionary fear mixed with anger, though he kept his tone reasonably level. She went from irritated, to surprised, to a small nod of acceptance before she walked away.

By the time Jake sat back down, he was shaking, and very much in need of the strong wine they had to drink.

"I'm sorry for the disruption," Chance said as he took his own seat, keeping an eye on Jake to make sure he didn't get too drunk. "He's had a bad experience here in the past."

Asaytae made the full translation to the Queen, even as she kept an eye on the lean tom between them. "What happened, with who?"

"That's when things get awkward... are you aware of where we come from, besides MegaKat City?" Chance asked her.

"A different time, dimension or plane?" she guessed. "No, not exactly. You do not feel local though."

"Another time," Chance nodded. "I don't know all the details, but he was katnapped by a Lady Eloen, kept for three weeks as a pleasure slave before he was released. As a result, he can't breed, and he's edgy when dealing with Traveran nobles. Again, I'm sorry for the disruption."

"Pet," Jake corrected without taking his eyes off the goblet of wine he was working on. "I was working for Lady Ayrina, designed her a private plane. There were a few days after I finished before my flight back to MegaKat City. Her agents grabbed me in the market. The next three weeks I know from reports and medical records. I forgot what really happened."

"I know the idea of what happened," Asaytae nodded. "Warriors have never taken it well."

"No," Chance agreed. "We were a little worried that we'd been sent over for something like that at first," the tabby admitted. "We're both glad to see we were wrong, but the Commander was not happy with us when he set this up."

"The Commander is ignorant of our ways, though few nobles know your ways," she said. "No one should ask you again," she told Jake as a servant girl refilled his goblet. "Word will spread quickly. What of you, Chance?"

"As long as it was just breeding, I'd probably be willing," Chance admitted. "I'm interested in fems as well as toms, though I haven't been a sire before."

She nodded and translated to the Queen, sure others heard as well, before turning back to Chance. "You look less like us, but you may well find interest. Are you seeking a way home?"

"Yes," he admitted. "If you're willing, it would probably be most efficient for us if I did the training, and Jake worked on that, but I understand you'd been expecting two trainers."

Asaytae exchanged a few words with the Queen, who seemed a bit surprised, then nodded.

"She allows that if one can do what is needed, Jake can do as he pleases," she said. "And a bit of advice, if you are approached as a sire, or for the night, you can ask a fine price for it. It may help pay for a mage to send you home."

"I'll keep it in mind," Chance nodded. "Thank you for the advice. And I'll be able to handle a group that size easily, especially for the basic parts of it... may I make a suggestion, regarding the strategy to use?"

"Of course," she nodded. "You are the teacher in this. It is your place to say ways to use it."

"I'd suggest that the first warriors study basic marksmanship and how to use the assault rifles. I can go on to teach the top performers to be snipers, and free the rest of them to begin training others much more quickly. There's a large difference in the level of training needed, and you'll do better to have a larger force of warriors with guns faster than you will be with the smaller group of snipers however far down the line."

"We only have three hundred guns, and little expectation of more," she told him. "More has been promised. Not expected to arrive. The less skilled at sniping could train basics to the next three groups to bring three hundred to skill faster."

"I wasn't aware that your supplies were that limited," he nodded. "In that case, you're right; it won't take as long to train that many. Why is it that you don't expect the shipments? If you don't think you'll be able to get them past Lothosian blockades, we can help with that easily enough."

"I have seen them. Such complicated things must take a master many months to create," she said. "That so many are sent was a surprise."

"Ah," Chance nodded, realizing that they thought they were all handcrafted. "That's one of the benefits of how we build things. For one thing, all the parts are identical. We don't need to build each gun one at a time, we can have one group build barrels, another make stocks, another make triggers, and so on. Then they can all be put together interchangeably - that's part of the training, so if your weapon breaks down you can repair it with parts from another damaged one. That makes construction a lot faster, and it gets faster still when you factor in the machines we use to make it easier... they can churn out that many in the course of a couple hours. I was actually surprised to hear that was all they sent."

When that got translated, it sent another wave of conversation around the room.

"If more are sent, we will change how we train," Asaytae told them. "Until then. It is an elite weapon."

"Of course," he nodded. "By the time they get here, we might well have full units ready to take over training more... do you have a similarly limited supply of ammo?" He asked them, wanting to know if he needed to find a way around that.

"A large storeroom of boxes," she told him. "I do not know if that is limited."

"It's enough for training, but not too much more, probably," Chance frowned. "We might have to make a supply run before a serious battle starts."

"We understand," she said. "We will formally request another shipment in their morning."

"If they have problems, I can escort the ship in while Chance continues to train," Jake said, finally beginning to settle down with his second goblet of wine about half finished. "Ammo is plentiful if you know where to look."

"Thank you," she inclined her head to him, the dinner settling back in as they shifted back to small talk and enjoying the food and drink of a different culture.

"Let's walk outside and talk," Jake said quietly when dinner was finally over, probably close to the local midnight.

"Sure," Chance nodded, guiding Jake towards the door leading outside. "You could use a little fresh air after all that wine," he chuckled lowly, a little tipsy himself.

"And away from all those shekats," he said with a breath of relief when they walked into the moonlit gardens. "And, umm, thanks for breaking up the fight."

"Hey, she was cute, I didn't want her getting hurt," Chance teased. "Besides... there's probably some pretty strong rules against mangling somebody who asked you for a night out."

"I don't know," he admitted. "They can fight over pretty much anything else, as long as the challenge is accepted. She looked like she'd accepted."

"I was trying to make a joke," Chance pointed out. "Don't worry about it ... it seems like they've all accepted the explanation, including her. Just hope you really weren't interested, and it wasn't just knee-jerk."

"I could be very happy never being around another shekat in my life," he shook his head. "Just so you know, I'm pretty sure at least one of our servants knows Katian fairly well. It only makes sense."

"Any ideas which one, or just guessing they'd want to keep an eye on us? Not that I think you're wrong," Chance pointed out. "Just wondering."

"Mostly I just can't imagine they wouldn't," Jake shook his head. "I expect it's Nomoen, just because he'd be the most likely one to stay close to us for pillow talk, and as the older pet of the Queen's sister, he'd have a lot of spare time and access to education."

"Makes sense," Chance nodded, then cocked his head. "Why would an older pet still be a virgin? Wouldn't the younger ones be expected to service him once in a while?"

"That would promote him to the status of a female," Jake shook his head. "Probably deadly to him, and dangerous to whoever did it for him."

"He's not gonna get in trouble for what happened earlier, is he?" Chance asked, his head pivoting sharply towards Jake as the possibility came to his mind.

"He shouldn't. He did nothing but submit to our perversions, and that is the place of a pet. Just don't speak of it to the females," Jake didn't sound as confident as he wanted to.

"I really, really hope you're right," Chance muttered. "If I'd know that could happen ... yeesh."

"I didn't think of it, honestly," Jake admitted. "Not until it was over with. The rules are a little different in another hundred and some years, and with a new Queen."

"Great," Chance sighed. "Well, I won't say anything about it then... we should ask him, find out what exactly the rules are back now... so, what did you want to talk about?"

"Mostly not to trust anyone," he sighed and leaned against his partner. "There is no way in hell this was a popular move, bringing us here and treating us well. I doubt the weapons are much better received. They're showing a good face, but don't trust it."

"Jake, I've had half a dozen different plans to get us out of here and leave bodies behind as a courtesy gift since we got here," Chance chuckled grimly. "Trust me, I don't want to find out whether or not they actually do agree with that Eloen chick any more than you do. I only made the offer because I wanted to take some of the heat off you."

"Thanks," he shifted up to claim a soft kiss. "I don't like the idea of you being with one of them. Even the nice ones are crazy sadists."

"If I ever did it, it'd be under very strict conditions, and for a trip home," Chance admitted. "But I don't think that's going to happen, so I'm not worrying too much about it. Any of 'em try to force the issue, they'll learn what a tom can do."

"Good," Jake smiled slightly. "'Cause I really don't want to find out what I'll do if a fight starts. It could go wrong so many ways. I don't think the stars have ever been this bright from the ground."

"Mmm... well, there was Little Anakata," Chance mused, wrapping his arms around his partner. "Think we've got a pretty good chance at going home from here."

"Probably," Jake agreed reluctantly. "It's only a question of the price."

"I meant with you working on it while I train," Chance offered. "C'mon, let's head back up - Nomoen's waiting for us," he chuckled.

"Mmm, maybe he'll know a new trick or two for fun with toms," Jake claimed another kiss, enjoying the one that was returned, before they walked back to their quarters. "I guess it could be a lot worse, really."

New Lives, Old Ways 9.99: Traveris

NC-17 for M/M/M
Het Level is None
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

57 KB, Story is Complete, Series is in Progress
Written April 10, 2009 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kat

Contents: Furry. Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Relationship (Established), Romance, Slavery (Legal), Time Travel

Pairings: Jake/Chance/male

Blurb: The guys arrive in Traveris, and it's not at all what either of them expected, though Jake isn't as turned around by it as Chance.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

Page Hit Count from April 17, 2009    1419