The usual caveats -- the following portion is not a definite, final version; I could add and/or change a part here and there. Plus, it hasn't been proofread for grammar, so errors could abound. Other than that, enjoy it...
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The atmosphere inside the Tarrakhan had changed from somberness to extreme excitement, even as the loss of their commanding officer still hung rather prominently in the air. A compelling sense of purpose, however, had begun to take hold of the entire crew, and everyone waited eagerly for the next tour of duty. For the first time since Prion’s death, a crowd had gathered at the mess hall for loud, lively conversations over some energetic music.
Like virtually any place where archosaurs gathered in considerable numbers, every single species was represented in the noisy crowd. Soldiers mingled and gathered in separate tables, following old, established routines and friendships that each saurian favored. The air was jammed with the ever present myriad of saurian scents, as the cacophony of different voices deeply engrossed in conversations that had been absent for days also resumed in earnest.
Once again, the Tarrakhan was alive with a much needed sense of purpose.
Something that the large groundthumper could do without, however, was the nuisances – like the seemingly eternal arguing over his food.
He stared at five carnivores – two snoutcrests, two snouthorns and a hornskull – moving diligently behind the food counter, serving meals and a few other treats and drinks to the long and seemingly interminable lines of hungry soldiers. Once in a while, one of them would grab an almost empty container of some particular item before disappearing behind some door leading to a large kitchen. He would reappear a few seconds later, drop a full container into the empty space, and continue serving food, almost in one fluid motion, like a dancing choreography rehearsed and executed to perfection.
The brown and black skinned, long-necked male clenched his fists, fighting the urge to squash the lead snoutcrest on the opposite side of the counter. Busily going from one end to another, the small carnivore passed items to his fellow carnivores while also serving those standing in line in front of him. If the groundthumper did not know any better, it would seem as if the snouthorn appeared intent on ignoring the presence of the burly herbivore.
“Rrayekh!” the groundthumper shouted, trying to make himself understood over the noise of the music and other saurians’ conversations.
The carnivore finally fired an angry look at the groundthumper, apparently resigned to the idea that some fastidious patron would not simply disappear.
“What the fuck do you want now, Brakkus?”
The groundthumper placed a large metallic bowl on the counter and pointed rudely to a collection of leaves and other plant material inside. “How many times have we gone through this before? I’ve specifically asked for these vegetables to be cooked a little bit less!”
“And how is that a problem?” the snoutcrest shouted, obviously annoyed by the interruption as he juggled several cooking instruments to prepare other soldier’s meals. He paused to stick a clawed finger on the salad and give a light touch to one of the allegedly offending vegetables. The groundthumper grimaced; even if the cook had clean claws, he certainly must had touched some meat products while serving food for the ship’s carnivores. “This is warm, like you wanted! Soft enough for easy consumption. And you have rows of peg-like teeth to break apart whatever parts that may still be hard!”
“I wanted them warm, yes, but not this much! Just look at that tuber you just touched; it’s way too soft! You probably killed some of the vitamins in it!”
“Then ask for the resident medic for some supplements! Like that huge body of yours would even need them.”
“Pills are not the same! Couldn’t you just prepare this again to –?” His words were cut short as the snoutcrest let out a loud screech.
Eyes narrowed in anger, the snoutcrest shoved the bowl back towards the fussy herbivore. “For the love of Maia! Some ask for their food raw, and others think they will get sick if it’s not cooked until it’s almost a piece of charcoal! Do you really think my crew has the time to have every meal done by some unknown measurement of perfection that each one of you Patrolsaurs thinks they are entitled to? We serve Patrol ship grub, not some exquisite feast from a luxurious eatery in Set-Saktran!”
The groundthumper raised his hands in a pacifying gesture before he gently pushed the container with his food back towards the snoutcrest. “I’m sorry. I know things get busy and a tad crazy for your crew, Rrayekh. But all I wanted is for you to –”
“And I said, I have many things to do and many other soldiers to feed, Brakkus!” He pointed to the long line of soldiers behind the burly groundthumper; some of them were obviously upset at having to wait longer than expected. “So take what you’ve been given and leave! Now! Before I ask for a special dispensation to add groundthumper to the meat stew I planned for the carnivores tomorrow!”
Realizing the futility of his request, the large herbivore brayed in a rude attempt to signal his displeasure. Taking the food container, he turned around and walked away from the counter and through the crowd.
Being the largest species of the entire archosaur ensemble meant that the groundthumper could easily force his way through. Instead, he chose to tread with caution, unwilling to vent his annoyance on his comrades as he nevertheless used his large frame to cut a path across the crowd.
He paused his advance to send a flirty look at a trihorn couple; the young males smiled back and quickly went back to their conversation. Garios and Sevran were seldom seen apart, apparently having joined the crew of the Tarrakhan at the same time. Obviously in deep love, they represented in a way that which Brakkus felt quite reluctant to give. He was having too much fun to see it constrained by the demands of a stable union.
Brakkus casted another quick glance at the love-stricken archosaurs before he continued his way towards his own table. Already a female thumbspike occupied one of the seats, accompanied by an extremely muscular male armorback.
The groundthumper growled with desire as he looked at the armorback’s muscled back. The armorback had little choice in the matter; his choice of clothing was necessitated by his own body. Every part in the armorback’s body was larger than that of any other member of his species. Two large spikes, one on each shoulder blade, as well as numerous smaller scutes and much smaller spikes along the large male’s back, and all the way down his back and tail, precluded him from wearing anything but a large vest on the front of his chest and stomach, leaving the aforementioned back and his thick arms completely bare. Form-fitting short pants covered his lower body, which nicely outlined his firm buttocks.
Hidden from view and on the armorback’s front, however, the burly male kept another big and massive part, the one that Brakkus liked the most.
“Took you long to get here, sausage neck,” the armorback said in a soft, somewhat gentle voice as the groundthumper took a seat next to him. Like many times before, Brakkus thought it seemed out of place, heavily contrasting with the armorback’s massive body and hardened face.
“You’re not one to talk, Grell. I’m usually half-way done eating by the time you’ve hauled your tail here after we finish our shifts.”
“Full navigational controls of a ship are not passed to the next saurian just like you would do with a ground cart,” the armorback said in a coarse tone, as if seemingly tired of saying something he may have repeated many times before. “You have to make sure your relief has the correct data with them before –”
“Yes, yes, whatever,” Brakkus interrupted. “You’ve said it many times before, and honestly, I don’t care what is that you do as a Navigator. As long as you don’t manage to crash the ship or make it explode inside the Tachyon stream, that’ll suffice for me.” The groundthumper let out a snort of revulsion as he picked up the same tuber that Rrayekh had touched before. Noticing a trash container nearby, he aimed and pitched it inside, snorting in disgust at the thought that some animal products mingled with his vegetarian diet. “Fucking stupid snoutcrest! I asked him to heat the damned vegetables in this salad a little less. You’d think I asked him to come up with an entirely new and fancy recipe! And then he has the gall to touch some of it! Like I would want any disgusting animal products to cross my lips and into my stomach!”
The armorback chuckled. “Then I wonder what is that you put in your mouth when I’m holding your head tightly against my crotch. It may be hard as a tree, but I don’t think you’re swallowing sap.”
The groundthumper paused as he realized the pointlessness of his complaint. Rather than engage in a discussion he was sure to lose, he brayed at his comrade with some mild disrespect before he dipped his eating utensils into his salad and began tossing it around. He was about to take his first bite when a sudden, angry snarl interrupted him.
“Of all species!” the thumbspike roared as she apparently ignored the groundthumper’s complaint. She thumped a fist on the table as she addressed both him and the armorback. “What the hell was General Zaron thinking!”
The groundthumper’s crest reverberated as he snorted in dissatisfaction before he began eating some leaves from his much reviled meal. “Lovely. I take a seat to enjoy this ghastly meal right in the middle of another episode of ‘Lunch with a dash of drama’. Can’t say I missed it, preempted as it was during the observation of Prion’s wake.”
“You are lucky,” Grell said, his face and voice denoting his discontent. “I have been listening since the ‘show’ started.”
Brakkus sighed. “You know? This is getting as tiresome and dull as your flat skin coloring, Keana. So what the fuck is it this time, female?”
The thumbspike fired an angry look at the groundthumper. “What else could it be but that we’ll have a damned terrorclaw as our new commanding officer? Of all the possible saurians Zaron could had picked up, he decides that some brutish carnivore born in a primitive, backwater world is the best soldier to lead this ship! The Tarrakhan will be his first command, even!”
“I don’t see what your problem is. Why should the origins of our Commander matter any more than the color of his eyes or which side of a mating equation he may happen to take?” Brakkus paused, realizing he had begun chewing on one of the vegetables that had been an object of contention a minute ago. “Hey, these are not so bad after all.”
“Maybe you should apologize,” the armorback said.
“To whom? Rrayekh? Forget it, big guy. Snoutcrests are vicious! He’s probably thinking about searching the Infonets for clandestine sites where he can find recipes for stuffed groundthumper meatballs.”
“You sure have a way with people, Brakkus. One would think my experiences would had rubbed off on you after hanging out with me for so long.”
“Well, you roamed the Domains. You had your share of misfortunes, so you know what I am talking about! Gah! Sometimes I wonder why the carnivores had to become sentient as well. We could had founded and managed the Domains just fine with just us plant eaters.”
Keana pulled out a small computer from a pocket in her blouse and began flipping through several pages of information. “A snoutcrest should be the least of your worries, Brakkus. I researched our new Commander, this... Darkthunder, as he is called. His record appears to be impeccable, with many honors and other recognitions for his service. He even graduated almost at the very top of his class, despite hailing from a primeval planet and society. And he was First Officer of the Dak-Safran before his promotion as our new Commander.”
Brakkus shook his head, his mouth still full of half-chewed leaves. “I don’t understand your belly aching then, female! He sounds like a good choice to me. I don’t know what these fangled terrorclaws have done that riled you so much, but whoever this new Commander is, he certainly must be aptly qualified if Zaron thought he is worthy to succeed Prion. I don’t think the General would had chosen just about anyone to lead our ship without some careful and serious deliberation.”
“Well, if you need to know, it so happens that this new Commander had a brother who preceded him in joining the Patrol. This other terrorclaw was discharged after he almost killed another soldier in a fit of rage.” Keana paused and let out a loud snort. “A thumbspike, even.”
Brakkus paused as he swallowed. “Oh, now I get it! So you’re scared you’d be next?
“She may well be, if she drives him mad with her paranoia,” Grell said as he butted in on the conversation.
“Well, I’m sure there are many crew members who would mourn her loss if this terrorclaw mistook Keana for his dinner. Though perhaps for all of the five seconds it would take them to line up for that new opening to join the Bridge’s crew.”
“Fuck you, Brakkus,” Keana said, jabbing one of her spiked thumbs in his direction. “Like you are any better. I’ve always thought that the only reason you made it to the Bridge was because you’re a big brownnoser, and Prion took pity of you.”
Beaming with some pride, the groundthumper closed his eyes as he tapped his head with a finger. “Hardly. It took quite a bit of convincing, but the old saur finally recognized all the combat skills that are housed on top of my long neck.”
“Whatever. At least it wasn’t because of the long thing hanging between your legs. Thank Maia.”
“Yeah, too bad Prion was your boring, run of the mill, same-species-opposite-sex saurian. Otherwise I would had made it to the Bridge much sooner! I wonder how his cock must have felt going up my tailhole.”
“It took two of those boring saurians to mate for you to be born. Don’t you forget it.” The female thumbspike growled, apparently upset at some disturbing mental image that had suddenly invaded her mind. “Good Mother... like I needed some fucked up image inside my head right now. Ugh!”
Brakkus chuckled. “I didn’t say I wasn’t thankful. It’s just that the last time I was close to a female’s genitals was when my mother laid the egg from which I hatched. I was simply born to take hot male juice up my tail and down my throat. That’s all I’m saying.”
The armorback smiled as he turned to look at Keana, who looked rather disgusted at the openness with which Brakkus spoke of his sexual life. “All saurians have their own share of weaknesses, girl. Brakkus’ is just being stupid and his never-ending craving for sex. Myself, I certainly wouldn’t hold it against any ship commander if they were raised outside any of the civilized planets of the Domains. If they can fight and keep the ship and its crew safe, that’s good enough for me.”
The thumbspike redirected her angry look at the armorback. “Not all of us count our weakness as a set of teeth and foot claws that can rip skin like knife on soft cream, Grell. I have it on good word that this Darkthunder once fought another cadet in an apparent desire to injure him, but apparently had the wisdom to stop before it got too serious. Almost like his disgraced brother before him.”
Grell snorted. “You certainly don’t have to look far and wide to find out that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a savage, primitive carnivore who may want to maim or kill other saurians.”
Keana shook his head, and fired a somewhat accusatory glance at her armorback friend. “No, of course not. Not when one of them is sitting right here. I should had remembered the rather unsavory path that you have threaded. Your skin is probably too tough and hard for you to care about anything anymore.”
“I can vouch for the hard part!” Brakkus said, grinning.
The armorback ignored Brakkus’ comment and shrugged. “Everything that ever happened in my past, it’s been a long time since its bleached bones turned into dust. It doesn’t help me to remember it, much less care for what I cannot change.” Eying Brakkus’ meal, he plucked a few leaves from the container and promptly dropped them into his mouth. “Hmmm! Not bad. Rrayekh sure knows his spices.”
“Hey!” Brakkus brayed in protest as he placed an arm over the container to keep his food safe. “Go stand in line and get your own grub, fat ass!”
“Oh, pipe down. Lines are still too long right now. And you’re not one to talk about plump bodies when your ass has turned soft.”
“That’s from all the abuse it’s gotten from you!”
Swallowing the pilfered portion, the burly armorback continued his discussion with Keana. “What I still don’t understand is where Arokh fits in all of this. You would expect that Zaron would had chosen him instead as our new Commander. He must not be happy that some pipsqueak hunter jumped over him and ran away with his prey.”
“Arokh rejected the promotion,” Keana said almost casually.
Grell cocked his head to one side, somewhat surprised. “Come on, seriously?”
“I don’t believe that for a second!” Brakkus interjected, spitting pieces of leaves as he spoke.
“It’s true. He had already made up his mind even before Zaron began thinking about a replacement. He told me so himself, shortly after the General announced his decision. Arokh claimed he didn’t feel comfortable trying to follow Prion’s foot prints and path. Not when he would have many eyes following his every move. I can understand him, in a way.”
“That eyeridge is one serious basket case,” Brakkus said. He looked around as he suddenly realized the meaning of his words. Satisfied that no one overheard him, he continued talking in a softer tone. “There are many would have killed to take our late Prion’s chair! Did he get injured in the head in our last combat and has kept quiet about it or something?”
Grell shrugged. “I don’t give a shit what his reasons may be. Though I’m not afraid to say that I’m glad he refused. I’ve never felt totally comfortable around him. The thought of that eyeridge commanding the ship, eyeing every single move I make, was making me rather uneasy.”
“Instead, you’ll have something better,” Keana said, grinning. “A small hunter who could spill your intestines all over the deck with a single swipe from one of his foot claws.”
“You think that bothers me? I have my ways to appease any unruly meat eaters right behind me,” Grell said as he lazily swung the bony, clubbed end of his tail from side to side. “My natural defenses work like a charm, every single time.”
Brakkus snorted, trying to hold a sudden bout of laughter. “And if that doesn’t work, then you can use the other, similar weapon in front of you! It takes just one good fucking to pacify most beasts.”
Grell continued, apparently ignoring once again his friend’s coarse comments. “So what else you can tell us about this new commander, Keana? You seem to be on top of the gossip.”
“Yeah,” Brakkus said as he scooped up the last pieces of his meal. “What does this Darkthunder look like? The name sounds primitive, I’ll give you that.” A big grin flashed on his lips. “Ooo! I just had a thought! If he was born in a primeval world, does that mean he wears only loincloths, and we get to see everything when he moves?”
“You can give your dirty mind a rest, Brakkus,” the thumbspike said. “Darkthunder is a Patrol soldier just like any other. And that includes his clothing.”
Brakkus let out a sigh of mock disappointment. “Bummer.”
“And listen to this. He is an anomaly even among his kind. Unlike the rest of his species, his skin is almost completely black, with numerous blue and green stripes, and with some plumage on his head and tail. He seems to take much pride in his body and nature as a carnivore – he goes hunting periodically in those planetary reserves that the Patrol keeps for its carnivores. Rumor has it he has sometimes returned to the pickup station, naked and bathed in blood from his prey.”
“I knew we could get to see him naked!” the groundthumper shouted as he laughed. “Now it’s just a matter of being there to pick him up.”
“So he’s a dark and deadly feather duster,” Grell said, apparently uninterested in the seemingly pointless piece of information. “Now that’s something you don’t see every day.”
Brakkus ribbed his armorback friend. “A small, lithe hunter sounds just like the perfect partner to invite to our room for a nice hot and heavy threesome. Nothing like two burly herbivores putting carnivores in their rightful place. Don’t you agree, Grell?”
“I don’t know about that. Keana makes terrorclaws sound like they would rather eat their partners than fuck them.”
“Shut off those filthy thoughts, perverts,” Keana said, slightly annoyed. “Even if you could share a room with a ship commander, Darkthunder is your textbook soldier. He’s mated to his duty, so to speak. It doesn’t seem like he even has the inclination to get himself a partner, or even look for sex.” She smirked, smug with satisfaction. “So you two cock breaths are most certainly out.”
Grell thumped the floor lightly with his clubbed tail, slightly annoyed. “And so are you, Keana. I guess you’ll have to keep looking. Other than Arokh; you two seem to be a tad too close for a normal friendship. Too bad he’s already mated and is a father. Bad for you, that is.”
“Arokh and I only like to talk about things we have in common,” Keana said in an angry tone, which intensified slightly as Brakkus rolled his eyes. “Besides, you never know what it could take for someone to get past the terrorclaw’s tough attitude. Saurians can always change their minds and outlook, if the rights words are spoken.”
Brakkus snorted. “Hah! Weren’t you talking crap about our new Commander a few minutes ago? Now you’re dreaming of getting him to pound the spot between your legs! Please make up your mind, female. You must be rather desperate if you’re thinking that –”
The thumbspike thrust at Brakkus one of the thumbs that gave her species their name, stopping close to his face. “Shut up! I am not a slut like you, groundthumper! I’m a Patrol soldier above everything else! And I hold a higher rank than either of you two. So put an end to your disrespect before it gets out of hand!”
The long necked saurian nodded twice, then smiled as he turned to look at Grell. “Speaking of being a slut, you and I need to have some hot and sweaty action under that eerie glow of the Tachyon stream, big boy. These somber days we’ve been going through have been quite detrimental to my sexual life. My ass gets too tight if it doesn’t get used.”
The female frowned. “Sure. Rub it on, Brakkus! You think you are lucky that you and Grell became fuck buddies once you ended up sharing the same quarters.”
The armorback grimaced. “Fuck buddies is such a nasty way of saying it! We rather refer to ourselves as just close friends.”
“With some really good benefits,” Brakkus said while munching the last of his meal. “There is nothing special going between us, Keana. Just a little fucking and some fun.”
“More like lots of fucking and loud fun. You two make the Tachyon engines’ area a much quieter place to sleep in. There isn’t absolutely anyone in this ship that doesn’t talk about your romps. It is almost like a rite of passage for anyone who joins this ship to be subjected to your noisy matings.” Keana changed the pitch of her voice, as if imitating some unknown character who would be in charge of room assignments for the ship. ‘Give them the quarters next to Brakkus and Grell, to see how long they last before they request a transfer’.”
“That’s the fun part I was talking about. How many have relocated so far, Grell? Somewhere around twenty, I think?”
“Forty seven,” the armorback said. “I’ve been keeping count.”
The groundthumper laughed. “Damn, that’s a fucking lot. And a lot of fucking, too!”
“You’re sick,” Keana replied in disgust. “Both of you! I thought others were talking just out of jealousy, until the first time I walked by your quarters right in the middle of it. You must be doing all that screaming on purpose.”
“I can’t help it, girl!” Brakkus said, pointing at Grell with one of his eating utensils. He made a circle with his thumb and index finger around the large spoon as he furiously moved it back and forth. “Of course I have to scream! When this armorback’s mind gets in fucking gear, he humps hard! And when that thick meat splays my butt cheeks wide as it savagely goes in and out of my tailhole, is like no other feeling in the galaxy. Nothing tops the feeling of a cock up my tailhole. Unless two big studs were to fuck me at the same time.”
“For the love of Maia!” Keana shouted as she covered her ear holes. “I wish the music and all the loud talk in this room were strong enough to drown your voice. Would it kill you to stop talking about how much you like taking it up your ass? I don’t need to know any details about how you two bastards go about doing it!”
“I thought you females loved watching males having some hot and heavy action.”
“Some females, maybe. I’m surely not one of them. Somewhere out there are probably some female armorbacks and groundthumpers mourning the waste of some perfectly good males. I swear, you tailraisers just think of nothing but sex.”
“That is not true! We’re not a hundred percent tailraisers. Well, I know Grell isn’t. He’s fucked his share of egg layers like you. He probably has even fathered some hatchlings of his own when he left his thick egg-making batter in some of the female armorbacks he has bedded. Besides, it’s not like we haven’t offered you the chance to share our bed with either or both of us before, but you keep refusing!”
“Yeah,” Grell said, grinning. “We’re not really particular about who we hump.”
Keana frowned in disgust. “You’re both nuts if you think I am so desperate that I would take some cocks that have been inside some other male’s tailholes. Besides, either of you could give me some serious internal injuries with those girths. I rather take my chances with the killer feather duster.”
Brakkus pointed to Keana’s pocket computer. “In all this talk, you’ve never showed us what he looks like! Do you have a picture of him in that thing?”
The thumbspike fiddled a bit with the device to produce an image. “Of course I do. This is his official Archosaur Patrol portrait.”
Grell moved closer to Keana to take a good look at the image, while Brakkus lowered his head and curved his neck somewhat for a closer view.
“Well, he’s definitely cute,” the armorback said.
“He’s more than cute!” The groundthumper’s eyes bulged as his head shot upwards, the neck almost completely stiff. He looked at Grell as if aghast, then grinned widely as he took one more look at the picture, then back at Keana. He closed his eyes tightly and clenched his fists, then shivered mockingly as if in the throes of an orgasm. “Ooooohhh, sweet Mother! He looks like he has such a tight ass! I love him already!”
Keana scowled as the two males burst into raucous laughter. “You two really make me sick.”
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This chapter actually continues for a few more pages, but this is all I'm posting here. If you've read the original version, have fun comparing them if you desire.
Something no one can see from this, though, is the extra scenes I will add, both with the regular characters and several new ones. I wish I could work on this faster, but having to work for a living as well as trying to draw *and* write just doesn't let me progress on either of them. :/
So in case of a one in a zillion chance that some rich person stumbles across this and loves it, if you want to adopt/sponsor some middle-aged dude write scaly porn, call me. Please? ;)