This work is copyright 2000-2004 by Xaltatun of Acheron (A Pseudonym). It may be posted on the Internet to any free forum, provided it is not modified in any way, and provided that this notice is included in its entirety. It may not be sold, or included in any compilation that is sold, or posted on any forum that requires a fee for access, without my written permission. My permission will require payment, terms to be negotiated. For purposes of this notice, sites guarded by Adult Check or similar packages are considered pay sites. Posting on any site must include this copyright notice.
Adult Content Warning - this story contains adult themes, including non-consensual bondage/slavery and forced sexual acts. If you are under the lawful age for such materials (18 in most jurisdictions) or if you would find such material offensive, please go elsewhere.
Safety Warning. This story may contain descriptions of practices that are decidedly unsafe, either in general, or if performed by someone without adequate training. There are a number of good books available on safety in the BDSM scene. Most large cities, and some not so large ones, have organized BDSM groups that will usually welcome a newcomer. I'm not going to point out which practices are safe, and which aren't. Any practice is unsafe if performed by someone with inadequate training and experience, or if performed when not paying attention. Please think before you act. Don't make yourself a candidate for a Darwin award.
Story codes: (MF, FF, pony, SF, little sex)
There are currently eight stories in the Freehold series:
1. A Slave Girl of Freehold
2. A Ponygirl of Freehold
3. The Field Ecologist's Ponygirl (sequel to A Ponygirl of Freehold)
4. Delivery Ponyboy
5. Carriage Team of Freehold
6. Escaped Ponygirl
7. Pyramid Scheme
8. Gor meets Amazonia
Stories 2 and 3: Ponygirl and Field Ecologist form one story and should be read in that order. Story one leads into story 4, although there isn't any real continuity of plot.
Carriage Team of Freehold, Escaped Ponygirl, Pyramid Scheme and Gor Meets Amazonia form a sequence, to some extent based on events at the end of Delivery Ponyboy. You do not need to read them in sequence, but it may help fill in gaps.
Some additional background on Freehold, in particular, how it happened, is in the story "The Curtain Falls, The Curtain Rises," the end of the Ponygirl Transformation series.
The name Freehold has no relationship to any other use of the term by any other author. No connection should be assumed, either derivative or as a base for parody.
OK - now on to the story -------
Chapter 1. It happened this way: Twenty Years previously.
Chapter 2. The Princess Arrives.
Chapter 3. The Race.
Chapter 4. After the Race.
Chapter 5. Shopping Expedition.
Chapter 6. Plans
Chapter 7. Enclave Control Committee Meeting Number 497.
Chapter 8. Prep Time
Chapter 9. Unexpected efficiency causes a slight problem
Chapter 10. Temple Island
Chapter 11. The Stables
Chapter 12. Bureaucratic Flashback.
Chapter 13. Back at the stables.
Chapter 14. Diplomatic Dinner
Chapter 15. Sasha
Chapter 16. Enclave Control Committee Meeting Number 499.
Chapter 17. Payback Time.
Chapter 18. I Meet the Dodecahedron. We both survive.
Chapter 19. I buy Sleen.
Chapter 20. Customs Duty.
Chapter 21. Terri is a What???
Chapter 22. Introduction to the Dodecahedron.
Chapter 23. Interview with a ponyboy.
Chapter 24. Sojourn in Fantasyland.
Chapter 25. Conversation with the God’s Own Winemaker
Chapter 26. Master Skodarian.
Chapter 27. Taking Care of Terri.
Chapter 28. Council Business.
Chapter 29. Human Rights Conference.
Chapter 30. More Meetings.
Chapter 31. Bonnie out-clevers herself.
Chapter 32. Back at Master Skodarian’s.
Chapter 33. Another Mob Scene.
Chapter 34. Executive Reorganization.
In the first episode of Gor Meets Amazonia, we did a bit of a flashback about how Princess (then Duchess) Annabelle introduced herself to the Gorean Enclave with a show of swordsmanship that would baffle anyone who knows swordsmanship. All will eventually be revealed. Various other things moved along; Sherry has decided to immigrate to Freehold, and has discovered a few problems in her way, like she’s illiterate. Annabelle wants to turn me into the living representative of the gods, as the gods own ponygirl. I must say I was intrigued by the idea, especially the notion that I would have apparently miraculous powers at my beck and call.
In the second episode we had the obligatory ponygirl race. I won the first two heats, and one of the twins won the third. Princess Annabelle decided we needed more staff, so she wanted a small shopping expedition.
In the third episode, we went shopping for more staff, and bought a courtesan for the Prince and Princess, a farm supervisor to take care of the place, and another groom to help Frank out. The Prince arrived, and I discovered that I was now expected to attend Enclave Control Committee meetings. They’re a trip and a half, let me tell you. In this one, we decided to install part of Freehold’s population control system in the Enclave. In any case, plans are what doesn’t happen, and all the nice ideas about how to inject me into the Enclave with maximum effect were doomed to be unraveled, as you’re about to see.
In the fourth episode, a UN official, Ser Johansen, shows up to deal with some fisheries problems, and I get injected into the Enclave early. When the dust settles, I’m ensconced in my permanent position in Animal House, which is what the apartments occupied by the followers of Dionysus is called, and have acquired titular authority over the Temple Island pony stables. I’ve gotten a semi-permanent ponygirl named Donny Brooke, and I’m the owner of a slave girl named Sasha, who is somewhat of a problem.
In the fifth episode, I settle Sasha, and then we have another Enclave Control Committee meeting, where things finally get moving. The Committee decides to expand the system to include international law enforcement, and yours truly is appointed the enforcer, with the grudging acquiesce of the Dodecahedron, which has a number of concerns with my using my “god given powers” in that endeavor. I also started picking up a number of anthropologists that had gotten stuck in one way or another and adding them to my staff.
Once I got Faith settled, I turned to the next work item on my list.
The next work item was a smuggler operating out of Port Kar. He was pretty much small fry, but Freehold’s objective was to make the Enclaves as squeaky clean as Freehold itself, especially if the international police already knew the miscreant in question.
So I teleported down to Port Kar, and headed over to the Amazon Guard’s House to pick up a couple of guards. Unlike in Glorious Ar, they knew me, and I didn’t have a bit of a fuss. Marta was there; she was one of the guards that had escorted Ser Johansen around. Donna wasn’t, so they supplied another brunette named Evie. I can’t really say whether I prefer male or female guards. The Amazons seem to have a higher proportion of competent guards than the Goreans, but the more competent Goreans seem to have a better sense of humor. Possibly it’s that they aren’t trying to prove something.
“What have you got for us today?” Marta asked after dropping her pay in her pouch.
“I need to discuss customs restrictions with a smuggler and his contacts.”
“That should be interesting,” she chuckled.
“I hope not,” I replied dryly. “He should be just about ready to unload cargo at Jorgensen’s Dock now.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Evie asked rhetorically, and turned to stride down the street.
The Free Runner was a converted ocean going yacht with a fair amount of cargo space. Since it put into the Freehold enclaves, it had a lot of extra fuel storage; neither the Gorean nor the Ancient Egypt enclaves had any fuel. The Old South enclave did, but these boats wouldn’t pull in there.
When we got there, they had just finished unloading the cargo onto the dock, and the Port Kar customs inspectors were totaling up the declarations. The three of us strode up like a military unit, my hooves making a booming sound on the planking.
“Slow down,” I said as we walked up.
“Oh, it’s you,” the head of the inspection detail said. “We were just about finished. Any problems?”
“As a matter of fact, yes.” I gestured to the stevedores and then pointed at one of the crates. A light stabbed from my finger, illuminating it. “This one,” my finger shifted to a second, and then to a third. “Move them to the side and let’s look at what they contain.”
What two of them contained was guns. The third contained medical equipment; a large number of vials of something with injectors.
The customs inspector looked at them and shook his head. “I suppose they’re illegal,” he said of the first two. “But…” he trailed off.
“You know who they’re for?” I asked.
“Mostly for the Hunter’s Guild.”
I gave them a closer look. “I can see the rifles, and I suppose sidearms are reasonable, but some of these don’t look what I’d expect hunters to be using.”
“Well…” he trailed off.
“Any ideas?” I asked Marta and Evie.
“I think some of these have gotten into the hands of raiding parties,” Marta said. “The Guild Mistress would like that to stop.”
“I believe the gods agree with that,” I said. “As far as the Guild of Hunters is concerned, I’m going to have to ask for orders.
“Now, what about these?” I pointed to the medicinals.
“They’re for the Physician’s guild,” he said. “Why are they a problem?”
“Some of them are poisons,” I replied. I got a blank look. “Others sap the will; they are to turn a doughty warrior into a puling babe. Some of these are illegal anywhere, others are available only under license and the eyes of inspectors.”
“There are times when nothing more can be done…” Evie said tentatively.
“And it’s only merciful to let the patient die with some amount of dignity,” I completed her thought. “If that’s what the poisons are for, I can approve. I’ll need a statement from the head of the Guild to that effect, unless you have one?” I turned to the customs inspector.
I shrugged. “Put all three in safe keeping. I’ll talk to the Guilds involved in the next couple of days.”
The stevedores shut the three crates and sealed them. I pointed at each of the three in turn, and another seal appeared over the first one, glowing slightly.
The inspector looked at them and then turned to his documents. In a moment, he handed them to me. I looked and then signed.
“It would simplify things if I could do what you just did,” he mused aloud.
“You mean check with the Freehold customs inspection machines? You’re right, it would simplify things if you had some way of checking what Freehold and international law considers contraband. I could concentrate on real smugglers rather than honest merchants that have the misfortune to accept misrepresented cargo. I’ll put in the request and see what happens to it.” I saw the Free Runner’s master relax in relief.
“There are a couple of things to know, though. We all know what greases the wheels of commerce, but you might like to know that the Sorcerers of Freehold don’t use money. At all. In any form whatever. It’s a real problem when any of their people travel elsewhere.”
“Unbelievable!” he said.
“Don’t ask me to explain it,” I said. “The other thing is that they don’t have a sense of humor where regulations are concerned. If they give you the ability to do what I can in examining cargo, the examination machine will tag it, and it had better go exactly where it’s supposed to.” I left the or else dangling.
“I suppose,” he said thoughtfully, “this should be discussed with the portmaster.”
“An excellent idea,” I agreed. “Well, it seems I’m done here.”
My next work item was the other anthropologist, a guy named Terrance Walters. I’d done a quick check on him, and found him on a farm a bit outside of Themiscrya on the Amazon side of the river. When I looked in on him, he was pleasuring his mistress, and doing a good job of it from her reactions, so I didn’t look any further.
I thought the Amazon side would be a lot easier, so I dropped my two guards off at the Amazon’s Hall, and teleported back to Temple Island for a quick meal. It turned out the housekeeper had put Faith on serving duty in the refractory, so she served me as I ate. She still looked a bit shell shocked at the change in her fortunes. Well, the rest of the day wasn’t going to be easier.
I didn’t think I’d have any problems in Amazonia that a couple of mercenaries at my back would simplify, so I decided to go directly to the farm. Well, not quite directly.
One nice thing about being high in the hierarchy is that things tend to get done, and one nice thing about being me is that people get used to a certain amount of weirdness, like my voice speaking out of the empty air telling them to do certain things. In this case, the certain thing was Donny Brooke harnessed outside of Animal House waiting for me.
I got in the chariot and headed for one of the sacred groves. Donny Brooke trotted along, pulling the chariot, her hair and tail floating behind her in the breeze until I pulled the reins directing her into the turnoff to the grove I had in mind. Her ears came all the way back and she stopped so suddenly I’d almost swear she skidded.
Well, she did have a reputation for being temperamental, but the last time we’d been here she hadn’t given me any trouble. I sighed and put on the parking brake. That brake is a simple mechanical contrivance; it just sticks four poles down at an angle. The chariot isn’t going anywhere with them down. Or at least, if it does it’s going to leave very big furrows behind it.
“Donny Brooke,” I told her, “what’s going on?”
She snorted at me, and rolled her eyes. Her ears were still pinned back almost flat. This had been a war leader at one time?
I swatted her one, “Now calm down, girl.” She calmed down, and I reached up and took her bit out. “What’s the problem?”
“It goes crazy when you do that,” she told me.
“What goes crazy?” I asked.
“When you go from one place to another, everything goes crazy and I’m scared!” She almost whined. I looked at her strangely. I’d never heard of teleporting affecting anyone like that, but then, if there was one thing Running Flame didn’t know, it was everything.
So I did a quick check of the archives. Both sets defined it for me right away: teleport fugue. Back when they had invented the process, it had affected about 96 percent of the population, and it was real serious. Now, it just affected the small proportion of the population that might be able to learn how to teleport by themselves with proper training. It wasn’t going to hurt her, but the recommendation from Freehold was to put her out during the transit. The recommendation from the Dodecahedron was more intriguing: see Alice. Alice was the redhead from the last Enclave Control Committee meeting. The fact that people could teleport without mechanical aid was also very intriguing, but thinking about it now wasn’t going to handle the current problem.
So I decided to take care of it the easy way. I stood in front of her with my hands on my hips, bit and reins dangling from one fist.
“Big, fierce war leader. Got all of Gor ready to piss in its loincloth just thinking about you. So you let a little thing like teleport fugue get you down? Big, fierce war leaders aren’t what they used to be, that’s for sure.”
She still had her ears pinned back, but her eyes no longer said scared; they said more that she’d like to take a bite out of me.
I held up the bit. “Open your mouth before I knock some teeth out, and then we’re going to take the next teleport at a trot.”
She opened her mouth, stunned, and I shoved the bit in and fastened it. I suspect that the last thing she expected was for me to do a drill sergeant imitation. Well, heck, I’m a character actress, and I get way too few opportunities to practice.
A moment later, I released the brake, and flipped the reins. She took off down that road as if the devil herself was after her. True to my word, I did the teleport while she was still going full speed through the grove. She stumbled, but managed not to fall.
We came out in a little clearing with a dirt road that led to a farm road. I looked at my steed in puzzlement. Her ears had come back again, and it seemed like she had stiffened up. Now that I thought about it, it wasn’t too surprising; she was from the Amazonia side and people might remember her.
I passed a couple of farm wagons, and then we went down the road to my destination. My ponygirl was definitely acting weird, like she really didn’t want to go down that road either, but she was remembering that she’d had some steel in her spine at one time. Not a bad thing to remember.
We pulled into a yard in the middle of a cluster of buildings. A truculent looking woman in a faded Greek style dress walked up.
“To talk to your mistress. I’m Running Flame.”
“That’s not for you to know.”
“Well, you’re going to tell me, or you don’t see her,” she said, arms crossed and feet planted.
“You need to do something about your halitosis, fishbreath,” I said. She flew into the air and did a lazy circle before I let her down. I saw a pretty little slave girl run into the big house.
“You. You. You!!!” she sputtered.
“Now you’re repeating yourself,” I said as I stepped out of the chariot. “Just get your mistress, and you can go make an ass of yourself somewhere else. Before I make one of you.” I held one hand up in what I thought might be a mystic gesture.
“Humph! What’s the world coming to?” She turned toward the house as the door opened. A younger woman walked out. There was no mistaking her; she was the owner of the farm. She was dressed in a simple flowing dress that was elegant but wouldn’t get in her way if she had to oversee something; her hair was up in a classical braid wound about her head. The level of assurance in her walk didn’t come from reporting to someone else; that was for sure.
“You’re Running Flame, I presume,” she said in a very assured sounding alto voice. “I’m Leta, and this entire mess is mine. I was told you wanted to speak to me about something. Hopefully not about my ex-sister,” she said, looking at Donny Brooke.
“I am sorry!” I exclaimed. “I wasn’t aware she had been yours, or I’d have brought a different ‘girl.”
“That’s perfectly all right. Sathra was always too impetuous for her own good; anyone with any wisdom stays away from those barbarians.”
She turned to one of the other people standing around. “Well, groom and feed her, and have her ready for when my guest leaves.”
A few minutes later we were seated in a comfortable room, sipping a hot drink that one of the slave girls had brought in. At least, I assumed it was one of the slave girls until I checked for where my target was at the moment. I almost choked on my cup.
The brunette slave girl kneeling quietly in the corner where she could see to our needs without intruding on our space was not a girl at all! “She” was the anthropologist I’d been looking for.
Leta looked at me quizzically.
“I must say, your trainers have done an excellent job on your girl,” I said with a gesture to indicate who I meant. “She’s absolutely perfect. That was the last thing I would have expected after hearing her soprano voice.”
“Yes, they did,” she agreed readily. “They’re expensive, but they do turn out a quality product. How did you spot her?”
“She turns out to be the reason I came out here,” I said. “I didn’t spot her until I looked for the slave I wanted to buy from you; his name was Terrance Walters.” I noticed the slave girl stiffen slightly as I said that; then she relaxed into the same pose she’d been maintaining without apparent effort.
“This is why you almost choked on your drink!” Leta said delightedly. “Why do you want her?”
“Her family and business associates have been asking after her. My superiors would like the situation resolved swiftly.” I shrugged. “A simple commercial transaction would suffice, and then I could take care of the remainder of the details where it wouldn’t cause comment.”
“I would hate to lose her,” Leta frowned. “But I probably will have to sell her shortly anyway.” I saw the slave girl stiffen again.
I cocked an inquiring eyebrow and brought my tail up in a question.
“You do that prettily,” she said. “So like a cat.
“I’m at the age where I want a consort to give me children. The gods willing, one of them will be a girl that can take this over when I’m ready to let it go. Maybe Hera can do something about that?” she asked.
“I’m sure you know Hera’s decree about children,” I temporized.
“No pay, no play,” she said. “Nobody seems to know why, though. I thought you might know.”
“It’s about overpopulation. It came to a head with the allocations for the Guild of Fishermen last month. The enclave is pretty well filled, so the number of children in any season is going to be strictly regulated.”
“So the Sorcerers of Freehold think of us like a herd of cattle?” Her eyes flashed.
“They do it with themselves; in fact, the core of the system is the same.”
“So when I want to have a child, I pay a priestess of Hera.”
“The donation has to be made on Temple Island,” I said. “There’s no way we can track all of the priestesses.”
“That’s going to cause problems,” she said. “Several of the priestesses have already started collecting. So what do I do if I want to have one of my slaves bred, but I don’t want to send her to Temple Island?”
“Send the donation and some hair.”
“I see,” she said thoughtfully. “Your spells need something real to identify the actual woman involved. Words won’t do it.”
“They could,” I said, “but my superiors don’t want to get that closely involved with running the enclave.”
“That clarifies what’s going on,” she said. “About Terri; when I choose a consort, I doubt if he’ll want Terri around. Men are funny that way.”
“Aren’t they just,” I agreed.
“Well, I’ve been dithering. Terri is just so cute, and she knows exactly what I want in bed. As long as I keep her, I won’t get moving on selecting one of the men my neighbors have been dangling in front of me.”
“Terri,” she turned to look at her slave, “find my scribe and tell her to attend me with your papers. Then pack your personal things. Clean everything out.”
Terri hurried out, a stricken look on her face.
“While she’s gone, I’ve got another question you may be able to answer for me. Why have my ponies started to talk, and what am I supposed to do about it?”
“That’s rather complex,” I answered. “In fact, I’d love to have your views on the matter.”
An hour later, we had concluded the transaction. I had Terri kneel in the well of the chariot in front of me; her legs tucked up and tied behind her so that they wouldn’t be in the way as I moved around. I didn’t really want to step on her with my hooves after I’d gone to the trouble of rescuing her!
This time, Donny Brooke took the teleport without a problem. Terri gulped when the scenery changed around her.
“You really do the slave girl well,” I complimented her after I’d gotten settled.
“I think I do, mistress,” she answered in a throaty soprano. “It’s certainly taken enough work.” She said that with a bit of asperity, and then looked at me nervously.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I’m not that much of a control freak; I’d rather have some spontaneity from my slaves than perfectly sterile manners. Be very sure that I’ll tell you if you’re out of line.
“In any case, I was quite truthful that we’ve gotten inquiries about you, so you can consider yourself rescued, assuming you want to be rescued.”
“Why wouldn’t I want to be rescued?” she asked in that incredible soprano voice.
“Well, there are some security concerns with returning you. You can’t talk about the pony situation, and you can’t say anything about me that doesn’t sound absolutely mundane and boring.”
She sighed. “If I can’t talk about the ponies, I don’t think I have anywhere near enough material for a thesis. I was taken rather quickly, and Mistress had me trained right away, and then kept me pretty much on her farm. I may know more about how her farm works than she does, which is saying a lot. She’s an amazing manager.
“Going back without a thesis? What are some other options?”
“You can stay with me. I can use a trained anthropologist who knows this enclave. So far, I haven’t had very many problems, but I’ve been pushing real hard. If you stay, I’d probably keep you as a slave girl; it’s one of the easiest ways to not be noticed.”
“Especially when your mistress is very noticeable,” she said dryly. “Another option?”
“You can immigrate to Freehold. That takes care of the security concern, and they can use anthropologists that know this enclave. In fact, if you do, you might come right back here.
“On the other hand, there’s a post available on the Loaded Die for an anthropologist.”
Her eyebrows rose at that. “That’s the Dodecahedron’s interstellar ship? They actually got that monstrosity running?”
“There and back again. At least twice that I know of.”
“Now that is intriguing. Who do I have to kill to get that berth?”
“Tut, tut. Is that your innate bloodthirstyness, or just your frustration for having to be a girl the last few years?”
“Just enthusiasm. I came to terms with having to be a girl a while ago. In fact, I’m not all that sure I want to change back. So, what’s the catch?”
“The berth requires you to be a Dodecahedron resident.”
Her mouth twisted. “That’s not good news. They’re very closemouthed about it, but everything I know is that once they get their hooks into you, you’re not really human any more, in any way that counts.”
[Cherry?] I asked.
[Oh, hi,] she responded in my mind. [I see. He’s not sure he wants to put his toe in the water. Can’t say I blame him; if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t, but I was way too far in to back out when I figured that out. To answer the implied question, it’s usually several months before you get to the point of no return. And we do allow it.]
I thought a question at her.
[You can stop well short of that and still do what we need you to do. Higher levels of integration have more to do with the group consensus and with joining brains to form more powerful processing groups.]
[Which means I don’t have any significant input to group decisions.] I shrugged mentally. [So, what else is new?]
Cherry laughed mentally and withdrew.
“It’s not quite that bad,” I said. “I just checked, and they told me it would be a couple of months before you get to the point of no return. They allow you to back out before then.”
“I think I want to explore that,” she said.
The adherents of Dionysus did grow admirable wine. I sipped the current vintage slowly as I watched the three slaves finish up the meal. I’d had the high performance alcohol metabolism changes installed in my liver and kidneys; I figured that if I was living in Animal House, I needed to be able to drink at least as well as the rest of them. Fortunately, it hadn’t done anything to my ability to appreciate fine wines.
I’d given Sasha an option there; she had decided that she wanted to be able to get drunk, so I’d let it be with a stern warning that getting too far into her cups would result in some discipline. Alcoholism didn’t seem to be her problem, however.
We’d had a very pleasant dinner. Sasha hadn’t been outside for over fifteen years, and the two anthropologists had been here for several years as well, so we updated each other on current events and other follies.
[It’s about time to bring them over,] Cherry said from within my mind.
I swallowed the last of the wine and put down the glass. “That’s it, kids. Sasha, clean up the mess and don’t wait up for me. Or us. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.” I stood up and gestured for Faith and Terri to stand. A moment later, we stood in front of the white building. The faux suns had moved to the other side of the sky, but otherwise it still looked the same.
Faith and Terri staggered slightly before recovering.
“You shouldn’t have drunk quite so much,” I said, mock severely. “You’re on the Dodecahedron. Hold the questions; I don’t know much more than you do.”
A moment later, a young woman appeared, followed quickly by another young woman and a young man. [Herd them inside,] Cherry’s voice said. [I’m waiting.]
“Come on,” I said, heading toward the door. I waved my tail at them in a broad “follow me” stroke. The three late arrivals seemed to be hypnotized by it, they followed without thinking.
Inside, Cherry sat perched on the edge of a table, one leg crossed over the other. “Welcome to the Dodecahedron, people. Grab chairs, sit on the floor, hover; however you want to get comfortable. The chick with the tail is Running Flame, the two wearing slave collars are Faith and Terri, the blonde is Nina, the brunette is Edith and the odd man out is Ed. You can get acquainted later. For right now, the Flame is doing some work jointly for us and Freehold, Faith and Terri are anthropologists that were researching one of the Freehold Enclaves, and Nina, Edith and Ed are college students.
“I assume you all reviewed that ancient science fiction show I told you to see?” The other three nodded. “Well, we’re the Borg. Resistance is not only futile; it’s not even possible. You will be assimilated.
“In a very real sense, we’re a group mind. We’re also individuals. I know that doesn’t mean anything to you right now; it’s just words. In the next hour or so, you’ll get a slight idea of what it means. I gave Running Flame a rather graphic demonstration this morning; tell them about it.”
I shrugged. “She contacted me this morning and told me to make sure Faith and Terri got here. When I went to check my planner, she reached right through my mind, opened it and looked for herself, and then rearranged my schedule. It felt exactly like I did it, except that I know it wasn’t me; the way she did it wasn’t the way I normally do it.
“Then she showed me how to do the teleport here, partially from inside my mind and partially with instructions.”
“In some ways,” Cherry continued on smoothly, “the Flame is a bit ahead of you. We’re going to do some exercises, and then I’ll show you the living arrangements, but you won’t be using them that much for a while. Running Flame and the three students will continue doing what they were doing. Faith and Terri may be moving to a university to prepare for their next assignment or they may stay with Running Flame. Once you’re joined to us, it really doesn’t matter where you are in the system; you’d have to go most of the way out to the Kupier belt before you’re out of range.
“What I’m going to tell you next is critical. You’re valuable to us to the extent that you’re able to do something we need done well. The least valuable thing is memory and processing. If that’s all you turn out to be good for, you’ll wind up pulling a pony cart or doing basic agricultural work. That won’t stop us from using your brain as storage and raw processing. That’s what will happen if you approach your studies as something to be memorized and repeated on tests. If you approach your studies as a foundation for something to develop genuine expertise, then you’re much more valuable to us. Human brains are way beyond the best computer support – when they’re properly developed.
“My specialty, for example, is assimilation. I’ve got a good deal of expertise in getting new recruits over the difficulties. In fact, I may be getting too good; we’re not getting enough failures any more to keep the pony and ag worker pools filled.
“You may have some trouble holding on to that thought. The process of assimilation into the group is pretty unpredictable. I will help as much as I can, but there’s only so much I can do when the basic motivation isn’t there.”
She looked at her class thoughtfully. “The first lesson is going to be using a different body for something. Flame, show them how it’s done.”
She slid into my mind smoothly. “Here’s how you take over Faith’s body.” A pair of what looked like very complex wiring diagrams appeared in my mind. Then several interconnections appeared, with a switch. I pulled my knife from its sheath and flipped it to Faith.
She reached up and plucked it out of the air, and then threw it at the wall, where it stuck a good inch into the wood. Then she pulled it from the wall and flipped it back to me.
At least, that’s what she appeared to do. From my viewpoint, that switch flipped right after the knife left my hand, and I plucked it out of the air and threw it. I switched back to my own body as the knife was in the air, headed toward me.
Faith sagged against the wall, her face ashen. I can’t say I blamed her, but the Flame considers herself to be made of sterner stuff. I merely gulped quietly.
“Faith, what did that feel like?” Cherry asked.
Faith took a deep breath. “I can’t really say. My body just moved without my doing anything! But I didn’t feel a thing.”
I spoke to the rest of them. “Well, Cherry actually took me over to do that demonstration. I saw some of the setup. I didn’t know we were going to demonstrate knife throwing until I took it from the sheath. In one sense, it was a trip.” I thought a moment. “The other observation is that Faith’s arm felt like I hadn’t been practicing for a month.
“It seems like it was two levels?” I added. “Cherry slid in wherever it is that I decide what to do, but it was my motor centers that ran Faith’s body to throw the knife at the wall, and toss it back to me.”
“Good set of observations,” Cherry said. “You’re all going to do this until it gets to feel normal. There are a couple of reasons. One is that it’s a relatively easy way for you to find out how it feels for someone else’s brain to be operating part of your body or brain. The other is that occasionally you need this; there are some things where it’s much easier for a body in the right place to do something than to use telekinesis.”
“Can I back out?” Faith asked a bit shakily.
Cherry laughed. “Up to a certain point, yes. That point won’t come for a while. If you decide to back out, or if we hit some real personality problem that keeps you from assimilating smoothly, we’ll let you leave the program.
“You’ll lose most of the abilities you gained, but you won’t lose quite everything. We keep the brain linkage to insure our own security and privacy, and since the equipment is dedicated, there are a few minor things you can still do.
“For example, if you decide to leave the program and still work with Running Flame, she’ll be able to take over your body at any time. I doubt very much if she’d bother, but it does give new meaning to being a slave girl.”
Faith sighed. “Well, I can’t say she didn’t warn me I was getting into deep water!”
Faith and Terry came back with me after our introductory session on the Dodecahedron. They hadn’t decided to stop, but they weren’t brimming over with gung-ho enthusiasm, either. Cherry unilaterally decided that they’d do better staying in a familiar environment until they were further along. Well, she was the expert.
Which left me with a decision about what to do with them. Well, short term, that wasn’t much of a decision.
When we got back, I found Sasha lying on the floor, chained to the ring at the foot of my bed. I looked at her a moment, then a second chain added itself to the ring.
“Faith, you join Sasha for tonight. Terri, you get to show me why your previous owner didn’t want to let you go.”
Sasha made a small moue of distaste. I put my hands on my hips and looked at her. She scrambled to her knees in panic.
“Sasha,” I said, “I don’t know how good Faith is at pleasuring women. If she’s good, you’ve got an enjoyable evening ahead of you. If she needs to learn, your job is to teach her.”
Faith’s expression made it rather obvious which it was, so I rounded on her.
“Faith, I don’t care whether you like lesbian sex or not. As long as I own you, it’s part of your job description, and Sasha is truly excellent.”
“Yes, mistress,” both of them said simultaneously.
“I’m glad you understand,” I said, turning to where Terri had draped herself on the bed, prudently staying out of the line of fire.
“Clean up and join me,” I told her.
She giggled but dutifully picked up the discarded clothes and dropped them into the laundry before joining me.
“She” was good. She took her time getting me aroused, and guided me to three orgasms, each higher than the previous one, before she finished me off by thrusting into me. I think “she” came at the same time I did, but the last thing on my mind was checking!
As we came down from the high and cuddled, the thought crossed my mind that I really did need to ask her how it worked on the Amazon side. I’d seen a number of men on that farm, and they didn’t look particularly browbeaten.
I drifted off with my head nestled against “her” arm.
The meadow behind the stables was emptier than usual today. Agriculture had its own rhythm, and that rhythm didn’t involve using all of the horses and ponies each and every day. There were times in the year that they would all be used, and times when most of them would be idling in the meadow. This particular time was busier than many, but by no means one of the real busy times.
The ponyboy I was looking for was in the back, lying on his stomach, hind hooves folded under him lengthwise, and his head resting on his front legs, studying something on the ground intently. The grooms had put his long brunette hair up in angel wings, where they dropped to the sides framing his beard. I was pretty sure that if he was still in full possession of his facilities he’d have been embarrassed out of his mind about it.
I pulled a pad out of the air and sat down in front of him. “Hey, Roger,” I said as I sent a command to the chip in his head.
Roger’s head waved back and forth as if he had been hit by a sandbag, and then he levered himself on his front knees. “Huh, what?”
“You’re Roger Thornton, I believe,” I said.
“Uh, yes,” he answered, still a bit dazed. “What am I doing here?”
“We’ll get to that in a couple of minutes,” I said. “What’s the last thing you remember clearly?”
“Those two oafs shoving me into a corral. Then everything blanked out.”
“So, what do you remember from in between?”
“Uh.” His eyes unfocused for a minute. “Lots of jumbled up images. I suppose I’ve been a ponyboy for a while, eh?”
“About three years. I’m Running Flame, and you’re in the exercise meadow in back of the pony stable on Temple Island. You’ve got some decisions to make, and I’ve got an assignment for you if you want it.”
“Now look,” he said, getting to his feet, well his hooves. “Three years and I don’t remember it? What’s going on?”
“There’s a chip in your head that suppresses a large part of your brain function. What’s left is kind of a super horse. The memories are all there, they’re just so different from what you’re used to that you can’t make sense of them right now.”
He stood, all four feet planted solidly on the ground. “I suppose that makes sense. So, you said decisions.”
“Well, consider yourself rescued. I’m Freehold’s agent here. The problem isn’t so much that you’ve been turned into a pony, we can turn you back. The problem is that we don’t want most of this to leak out of the enclave, so your choices are rather stark. Immigrate to Freehold, stay here as a ponyboy, or go back and keep your mouth shut. And the latter won’t be for several months at the earliest.”
He chewed that over for a minute or so. “What’s the assignment?”
“I desperately need an anthropological survey of this enclave. I particularly need a solution to the pony mess, and for that I need data. You’re right in the middle of a pony herd, ideally positioned to find out what the ponies want, if they were allowed to want anything.”
“A silent survey,” he mused. “That would be interesting. How would I take notes?”
“I’ll put you onto the Freehold system with a direct brain interface. You’ll have to learn how to switch into and out of pony mode, and also how to mine your pony mode memories.”
“Why would I want to turn my brain off again?” he asked.
“It’s up to you. You’ve been doing agricultural work, and I’d think you’d find it deadly boring unless you were in pony mode. At least, that was what Bess thought, and that’s also the consensus around the Freehold training stable.”
“Bess? I thought she was a fable. People can’t teleport.”
“She was a real historical character. In fact,” I let my tail curl around my waist and up around one of my breasts, and grinned as his eyes followed it. “A lot of the people around here think that the gods have sent Bess back to them. As far as teleportation goes…” I stood up and threw the pad into the air so it vanished. Then I teleported out and watched his expression in my mind’s eye.
Poor boy. This seemed to be his day for surprises. I set a monitor to watching him so he didn’t get into trouble and then went on to my next task.
A couple of hours later I teleported back to the meadow. “Hey, Roger,” I said from behind him. He almost fell over; he tried to turn so fast.
“You again,” he said. I almost laughed at him. For a ponyboy, he was fairly big, but that only meant that he came up to my waist when he was on all four hooves like he was now.
“Well, have you done any thinking about what I told you?” I asked.
“Mind if I sit?” he responded, and then sat down, ass on the ground and front hooves planted firmly.
“Go right ahead,” I told him after he’d done it.
“So you can teleport,” he started. “And you’ve got a direct brain interface. Why do you think I’d be bored staying conscious all the time?”
“As I said, that was the scuttlebutt around the training stable in Freehold City. Freight and farm work were for the stupid, the rebellious and those that lacked ambition. Everyone else would have done anything to stay off of those assignments. What we didn’t have was those chips that turned consciousness off. In fact, I didn’t know they existed until I came here; as far as I know, there are no plans to introduce them on Freehold proper.”
Well, Running Flame has finished collecting all of the anthropologists, and has done a bit of law enforcement. Pity she couldn’t turn those two poachers into ponies, but there are rules and regulations even she has to follow. So what is going to happen to the human rights situation? And does Terry ever get her head straightened out? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Gor Meets Amazonia!
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