Carrie stomped out of the campus biology building and made a beeline for the nearest yellow-zone gate. Her hands balled into tight fists, she fumed and muttered under her breath in anger until the outer wall of the colony was well out of sight and she was dripping with perspiration from her emotional hike into the rainforest. It wasn’t until she somewhat literally ran into a knee deep flow of water that she stopped, took several deep breaths, and actually looked around.
“Fuck…” she cursed, both at the idiots back at her school, and the fact that she had no idea where she was. She was pretty sure she knew what direction she had been walking, and could still find her way back to the green-zone wall… probably. It didn’t really matter, she was too pissed off to go back for at least a couple of hours anyway. Technically, they weren’t supposed to go into the yellow-zone alone, but she’d done it countless times in the past without incident, so she wasn’t worried.
Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply, extending her lungs as far as she could with the slightly sweet-smelling air of the forest around her. It was so warm and humid that her natural instincts started to tell her she was drowning. She wasn’t, of course, and unlike most of the stuffy colonist staff back within the wall, Carrie actually liked the feel of the heavy moisture on her skin and in her lungs. It made her feel a part of the world they had invaded.
She opened her eyes and took another closer look at the stream. There were more than a dozen different interweaving water paths around the colony, all of which looked pretty much the same. They did, however, flow mostly in the same general direction, so while she probably couldn’t tell where she was, the water would at least tell her which way to go to get further away from the walls, which suited her just fine.
Yellow-zone wasn’t strictly ‘safe’, in that it had no patrols or sentry systems to keep out nasties, but it wasn’t red-zone either. She’d sat through the safety vids like any good colonial. And she’d spent a lot more time beyond the wall than most, even at only nineteen. There were very few larger animals up this close, though she had once seen a Ligar on another of her unapproved outings, not that the smaller indigenous life forms of Octned Prime couldn’t ruin your day. There were all sorts of poisonous plants and insects, and more than a fair share of smarter creatures that did downright scary things like hunt in packs and even set traps. But her interest in those ‘scary things’ was what originally influenced her to join the xenobiology program at the university in the first place. Carrie was comfortable that she knew what to watch for, even if the stuck-up, tight collar, head of the department felt she wasn’t ready to join the red-zone research teams. Most of them hadn’t even been outside green-zone in years, let alone gotten dirty and smelly in the jungles around their colony home.
So, it was with a slightly devilish grin that she reached up and grasped the zipper of her coverall, pulling it down to her navel. She wriggled her arms out and folded the garment down to her waist, tying the sleeves around her hips. Standing there in her bra, she smiled and headed further into the steamy jungle, following the edge of the stream. As much as she liked the humidity on her face, it was like a sensual hug around her mostly naked torso. The semi-scandalous state of dress was just the continued bit of rebellion she needed to put the rules and restrictions of her school out of her mind.
Exactly how much she had forgotten the colony and those rules, did not occur to her until nearly two hours later, when she looked up to find that a heavy fog had settled around her, restricting her vision to only a few meters in any direction. She frowned, and looked for something that would confirm which way she was headed. Unfortunately, the thick cloud completely diffused the sun. She had been following the stream, but it had since met and split several times, so it was no longer a reliable guide back home, at least not without something else to confirm direction. Even with an unsettling feeling of being lost forming in the pit of her stomach, Carrie wasn’t as worried about finding her way back to the colony as she was about just how far away from it she had traveled. She thought that she had been curving northward with the path of the water, but she also knew that she had chosen left-hand forks more often than right, which would have kept her moving almost due west. She was traveling pretty fast, but even at her normal walking pace in a straight line to the west would put her dangerously close to red-zone. She hadn’t seen any of the placed markers, but then, in this fog, she could easily miss them.
So… turn around and follow the stream back as best she could, or wait for a break in the fog to get her bearing from the sun again? Her first option certainly had risks. Reversing herself along the stream relied on taking the correct forks back. A wrong choice could easily set her even further from the wall. Waiting for the sun was probably safer, but it would be wise to look for shelter before the afternoon rains arrived. There would be a brief window when the rains passed before the fog returned, and she could get her bearing then.
Making her decision, she considered what she could use as a shelter. There was plant life everywhere, but nothing that would protect her from the deluge that was coming. As she stared up the stream, she heard the sound of falling water and traveled a bit further to see what was ahead. It was a good thing she was now paying attention to where she was walking, or she might have stepped right off the edge of the ten meter drop into the larger pool below.
Over time, the water had apparently carved the rock into an impressive number of caves and bowls, most were much too small for her, but it was by far her best bet, and she glanced to each side of the stream, looking for a path down. Picking what she thought the best route, she carefully made her way along the steep edge until she was finally standing next to the pool. It wasn’t an easy trip, and several times she nearly slipped on the slick, moss-covered stone. She frowned to herself thinking about how she was going to get back out again.
She was also worried about some of the foliage she noticed on the way down. The Plapus plant was a parasitic vine that had toxic leaves. Just brushing against it would numb your skin anywhere it was touched. Most of the time it was easy to avoid if you saw it ahead of time, but some of the red-zone varieties actually moved into your way. If you were exposed to enough of the toxin, you could actually find yourself paralyzed, and in rare cases, unable to escape as the vine slowly wrapped around you and lifted your helpless, and soon to be decaying body up into the forest canopy to be used as an attractor for other animals. Carrie had seen at least two distinct Plapus vines during her descent. Neither were moving, but then, they wouldn’t be unless they sensed her presence.
The pool at the bottom was amazing, and for a moment at least, she put aside her worries and marveled at the beauty before her. The stream above was joined by several others, and together they careened over the edge as a significant waterfall. The pool itself looked quite deep, though the dim light and the dark bottom made any real assessment impossible. She was tempted to take a swim, but her need to find shelter was still pressing. There were a number of caves that had real possibility, but most of them were several meters up the rock face and out of her reach. The last thing she needed was to slip and twist an ankle, so she saved that option as a ‘last resort.’
Ten minutes later she was starting to think that the trip down to the pool might have been a mistake, and she was pondering those higher nooks, when she eyed the waterfall. There was something about it, or rather the rock behind it, that didn’t look quite right. It was too dark. Squinting, Carrie moved closer along the edge of the pool until she was almost directly to the side of the falls.
“All be damned…” she said aloud, her voice buried under the roar of the falling torrent. There, just behind the water, was an entrance into a much larger cave. Getting into it without getting soaked would be tricky, but not impossible. She had to trust that the space was big enough behind the water for her to stand upright. She was pretty sure it was, but she shook her head at her own craziness as she leapt into the darkness.
Her feet landed on solid stone, and she stumbled forward without hitting her head, so she guessed she was in the clear. She laughed outright as she stood and enjoyed an incredible view of the pool through the falling water. Then she remembered she was in a cave and turned around.
Even in the dim light, she could see that the cave’s size was considerable. But what had caused her to gasp was another smaller pool deeper in, which was illuminated by light coming down through several small holes at the ceiling. What had been nothing more than a diffuse glow above, was more than enough light to paint the entire cave with a cool, blue-green cast. A smaller waterfall dripped into the inner pool, completing the magic.
“Carrie, you totally lucked out,” she said to herself as she moved toward the smaller pool. She knew she wasn’t out of danger, but the find absolutely made the risk worth it in her mind, not that she was going to tell anyone else about the place. It was her secret cave… provided she could find her way back again. She had taken only a few steps forward when she noticed wet drops falling on her arms and shoulders. She looked up and was hit in the face by several fat drips of liquid. At first, she thought it was just condensation within the cave, but the feel of it on her skin was wrong. It was too thick.
Looking down at her limbs, she cursed. Dark purple runnels of a viscous substance were all over her. Predictably, she tried to wipe it off, and found that it was not just the consistency of thin honey, but equally sticky as well.
“Shit,” she muttered and considered her options. She had no idea what the stuff was, but it was quickly soaking her. She could jump out of the cave and through the waterfall, hoping that the pool on the other side wasn’t lined with sharp rock just under the surface, or she could dash further into the space to where the smaller pool was located, as it didn’t appear to be within the drips.
The ground was insanely hard to cross, no doubt covered with a thickening layer of the sticky goo, and it took her much longer than she wanted to get out of the purple rain, but she finally sighed, standing safely next to the smaller pool. Looking down at herself, she gasped again.
“Gah! Oh, girl… What have you gotten yourself into?”
She looked as though someone had dumped several cans of purple paint over her head. She was literally dripping in the stuff, which she noticed had soaked right through her clothing. Whatever it was, she hoped it wasn’t toxic. But, to her dismay, her skin was already starting to itch terribly, so she unbuckled her belt, kicked off her boots, and stripped off her coverall completely. She was amazed to see that the colored honey had gone right through the supposedly impermeable fabric and was all over her, from her toes to her temples. Even her underwear was soaked in the stuff.
“Good grief. I sure hope this doesn’t stain.” she mumbled, kneeling before the pool so that she could splash a bit of water on her arms. The colored honey-like substance did seem to wash off, but only with considerable scrubbing. It certainly wasn’t going to come out of her clothes without a fair amount of work. She spent about another five minutes washing herself at the edge of the pool before deciding that doing it that way was going to take hours, and she’d never get it out of her hair. With a sigh, she stood, reached behind her, and found the clasp of her bra. Who would see, right? She was miles away from the colony, in a hidden cave, in a restricted zone, which most people avoided anyway. Tossing the garment into the pile with her coverall, she hooked her thumbs into the band of her panties and pushed them down over her hips.
Standing naked, she stared down into the smaller pool. It wasn’t as dark and foreboding as the one outside since the beams from above basically cast a spotlight through the clear water, all the way to the sandy bottom. It looked about two or three meters deep at the far end, and almost none of it was in shadow. A powerful need to itch finally pushed her to wade into the cool water, and when she was all the way up to her neck, she took a deep breath and relaxed.
The pool felt absolutely wonderful, not just because it relieved most of the itching, but also because it was so delightfully cool. Carrie dunked her head and started working the purple substance from her hair as she looked around the cave. The fact that the place would make a really nice home for a larger animal did not escape her, though she could see no bones or other signs of recent habitation. Perhaps the waterfall and the goo on the floor was enough of a deterrent to keep out would be predators? She wasn’t about to test it, but she suspected that eating the purple honey would be a very bad idea. If you had to clean yourself with your tongue, well…
The back of the cave was quite large, and the rain of stickiness seemed to be only at the entrance. The slope of the floor meant that the goo would drip back toward the larger pool, which Carrie thought might explain why the bigger water feature appeared so dark, even in full light. If the bottom was covered, it would be almost black when viewed from above. In fact, the water itself might only be a few feet deep, with the rest of its depth being a very sticky mass of the dark amber. It was probably a very good thing that she hadn’t decided to jump in blind.
Also at the back of the cave was a lightly lit area of green grass or more likely moss. She’d seen its like before in shady areas. It grew in thick mats of ball like formations, and was actually pretty comfortable to lay on. Closer to the Colony walls, she had often snuck out and found a shady place to nap when the sterile, busy world was too much for her. Even now, the bumpy green mat looked incredibly inviting, and she renewed her scrubbing.
It was most of an hour before she had removed the worst of what she was now referring to as ‘forest jam’ from her clothes and body. Her hair would need a solid shampooing, and her garments looked like they had been splashed with purple ink, but her skin was clean, and there were no more itchy effects from the substance.
Climbing from the water, she set her clothes on some rocks. They’d never fully dry in the damp cave, but the open air would at least wick-out most of the wetness so they weren’t so heavy. Stretching her arms above her head, she heard the increase in the water coming in before she noticed the raindrops in the pool. Frowning, she considered how an increase in the smaller stream of water might affect the cave. She worried briefly that the moss on the floor might be an aquatic variety, but after a few minutes she concluded that the outflow kept the smaller pool about the same. She’d need to be outside when the rain stopped, but it would be at least an hour before that happened, which meant she could explore a bit.
Most of the cave was pretty much what she expected, though there were some interesting crystal formations near the back, and what looked like a few side tunnels that might be interesting for a later time, but without any gear, or even a light, spelunking in the dark would be suicide. She was adventurous, not stupid. That pretty much left the mossy area.
Unlike terran moss, the version on Octned was much softer, almost like a furry rug. The ball-like nodules were spongy and layered, making walking on them like walking on the back of a huge green animal. Carrie smiled as she stepped out onto the expanse of bumpy green, relishing how it felt between her toes. It wasn’t long before she finally relented and flopped down onto her back, literally giggling at the feel of the fuzzy plant on her naked flesh. She rolled back and forth, laughing to herself at how she must look, and what the tight-collar administrators back at the Colony would say if they could see her frollicking nude in the open. For all their ‘advanced thinking’, the first-gen’ers tended to be a seriously puritanical lot. Public displays of sexuality in any form were so frowned upon that it was a wonder anyone managed to breed. Carrie had always felt that such moralistic behaviors were at complete odds with the general needs of offworld colony life. Population degradation was, after all, one of their biggest problems. To that end, she rather enjoyed pushing the limits of her sexuality, either by ‘mistakenly’ leaving her cleavage visible in class, or by taking a number of different lovers during a single semester, sometimes at the same time. Being labeled ‘promiscuous’ was a badge she wore with honor rather than guilt.
Smiling, Carrie ran her hands over her lithe body, reveling in the sensual pleasure her fingers generated on her semi-slick skin. She let her left hand drift down over her belly and between her legs, while her right smoothed over the mounds of her firm breasts, tweaking her nipples. She felt a stirring within her, and proceeded to happily stroke her petals in silent masturbation. The lewd act was the perfect response to the authoritarian remarks thrown at her earlier in the day. The unusual bed, as well as the very idea of bringing her current beau out to her little green nest for an outdoor sexual encounter, had her squirming in minutes. She ran her fingers into the depths of her warm center again and again as she stared up at the ceiling of the cave and panted into increasing bliss. She imagined how she would seduce a certain male friend into her somewhat literal ‘den of iniquity’, what she would do to him there… and what she would allow him to do to her. Crying out, Carrie’s hips pumped against the imaginary lover as she came, a wash of sexual pleasure bringing stars to her vision for a few wonderful moments.
When it was over, she rolled to her side to catch her breath, and noticed a little white flower coming up out of the moss about two meters away. She didn’t remember it being there before, but her new position gave her a different view. When she was rested, she sat up, and finally stood, so that she could walk over to the daisy-like flora. It was quite pretty, especially close up, and she crouched down for a better look. Something about it was familiar, but she couldn’t place it. It looked simple enough – plain white petals with an off-white center. It was only when she tilted her head to look at the stem did she see the dark blue spots running up the green support. Suddenly she knew exactly what she was seeing, and her blood went cold.
Sphagnum zeno-acillius, or “tangle weed” to those unfortunate enough to have had to deal with it, was a more nasty cousin of the harmless moss she was used to. The two were actually very hard to tell apart, save for the fact that zeno-acillius was a much more active version of the more common moss, and so needed more light. It certainly wasn’t something you would think to find in a dark cave. About the only other visible difference was the occasional appearance of a flower-like sporophyte with dark blue spots.
The original research teams that surveyed Octned Prime, described tangle weed as one of the most insidious of the Class-5 exotics, and at least twelve researchers in the original drop team were thought to have fallen prey to the plant before means were found to identify and eradicate it. Somehow, the moss was able to sense when a living creature was nearby, and began charging subterranean sacs of a stringy organic matter that was incredibly strong, sticky, and highly bondable to itself. When an animal strayed too close, it activated one or more of these sacs, which would pop open explosively, releasing thousands of the web-like strings straight upward. The effect was to utterly tangle or wrap the victim in a living net that was firmly anchored to the ground. Someone caught in this net could easily find themselves helpless and unable to escape without help. But the most dangerous aspect of zeno-acillius, was its symbiotic relationship with the larger indigenous lifeforms on the colony world. Tangle weed would trap a victim, which would then be easy prey for something else. The deadly moss would actively allow one species to enter within range of the sacs, while trapping any other species. In turn, the host species would protect the moss from smaller predators that could use it as a food source.
Various weed killers were brought to bear against the dangerous plant everywhere around the final colony site. It was minimally possible that the sample in the cave survived those sprayings, but it was highly improbable, especially after almost a decade of eradication. Far more likely was the simple explanation that Carrie had indeed walked much further west than she thought, and that she was standing amid a naturally occurring patch of the exotic moss which was made partially inert by the lack of sun.
She swallowed nervously. It just wasn’t plausible that such a species could still be anywhere near the colony walls, which meant that she wasn’t in the yellow-zone… she was firmly in red-zone territory.
The fact that she hadn’t activated the pods meant that either she hadn’t hit a trigger, or that the lack of sunlight was causing the pods to take longer to charge. Either way, she needed to get off the moss, and fast. She could see that the sporophyte ‘flower’ was seated directly in the center of a circle of sunlight. Perhaps it was enough to get out of that light. She had, after all, just spent a good half hour diddling herself in the shadier zone. With gentle and cautious steps, Carrie slowly backed away, trying to put as little pressure on the ground as possible at any one time. She was very nearly to the edge of the light, when she felt something stirring under her left foot. She doubted she would have noticed it in her boots. She barely had time to move before there was a pop, and something struck against her leg. She had instinctively closed her eyes and fallen backwards, and when she looked again, she groaned in distress. The limb was completely tangled right up to her knee in what looked like gooey spaghetti. She tried to pull it free, but found it stuck tight.
“Oh shit…” she said, starting to panic, and sitting up, she went to untangle the mass with her fingers. That was a mistake that very nearly got her hands caught as well. Desperate, she looked around for something to help free her leg, possibly a sharp stone, anything, but she was still on the moss, and so, completely on her own. To make matters worse, she was starting to feel dizzy and slightly weak. It was the tangle patch. Whatever sticky glue it used to snag its victims, must also be a toxin. And the longer it was in contact with her skin, the stronger the effect would become.
Outright panic gripped her, and she thrashed and pulled her leg with as much force as she could muster, but only succeeded in tiring herself. But what worried her the most, was what creature the patch was in symbiosis with. The method of communication between the moss and the host was never determined, but it wasn’t ever long before the host showed up after a capture. If Carrie didn’t find a way get free of the sticky trap soon, it wouldn’t matter.
She always carried a small cutter in the pocket of her pants, which were impossibly far away near the pool. She saw them laid out on a rock in a sunbeam as though mocking her. She tried using the moss itself to grasp the sticky webs and pull them away from her leg, but once bonded together, the strands were like one connected net. It not only stuck to her skin as though glued there, but seemed to have tightened around the limb and hardened into an unbreakable mesh of cellulose. She doubted even her cutter would touch the stuff anymore, at least not without posing serious risk to herself in the process.
She cursed and shook her head to clear the increasing fogginess from her brain. She seemed to have used all her strength just trying to free her ankle, and panting, she flopped to her back. Staring at the ceiling, she tried to focus on the problem but found it becoming difficult to even stay awake. It was the chemicals slowly making their way through her bloodstream. A sound coming from the darkness gave her a little clarity as adrenaline shot through her body and she sat up on her elbows to peer into the shadows with wide eyes.
She sat shaking for what seemed like hours, and was about to turn away when something warm dripped on her shoulder. Slowly looking up, she squinted toward the ceiling and saw a shape moving into the light along the roof of the cave. The longer she watched, the more horror stricken she became as the long, glistening body of a massive slug oozed into view. It was enormous, its body at the mid-point was as big around as that of a Terran horse, and although it tapered down a bit at the head, the beast had to be at least three full meters long.
“No… no… no…” she moaned, pulling again at her trapped leg as real fear started to get the best of her. She knew what it was; her courses in xeno-biology had covered the Octnellian Red Slugs rather extensively. And now, seeing one first hand, knowing what she did about their behaviors, Carrie would much rather it had been a Marebear, or even a Ligar. Being torn apart by a large predator seemed like a mercy compared to what the slug would do to her.
As powerful as the larger animals on Octned Prime were, most weren’t very smart. They could usually be fooled or tricked with relative ease. But the Reds; as they were called by the researchers, had neither speed, nor any sort of real defensive characteristics. Instead, they had developed intelligence far above the other indigenous creatures on the planet. It was believed that they might even have limited forms of communication between individuals. Reds had been seen laying traps, working clasps and locks on human equipment and clothing, even using psychological trickery to separate individuals from a group. There was discussion early on that the Reds might actually be sentient, but that theory was tabled after the yellow-zone perimeter had been established. Like so many other human colonies, once bureaucracy got a toehold, science took a back seat to any further decisions.
None of that helped Carrie to feel any less panicked as the massive creature undulated forward until it was right above her. It paused for a moment as though assessing the situation of its prey, and then did something with its tail. As though it were slowly peeling away from the smooth cave surface, its head curled from from the ceiling.
“Oh god…” she whispered, her voice catching in her throat as she watched the creature oozing down toward her. She was frantic, pulling at her bound leg in panicked desperation. For a few tense moments she thought that the massive slug was reaching down for her face, but it curled back until it was directly over her trapped limb. It wasn’t taking any chances. It knew it had her, it was simply deciding the safest way to approach.
She wasn’t about to give up without a fight, however, and after panting down her fear, she sat up so that she would be within striking distance. When its forward end was less than a half a meter from her foot, she balled her fist, gritted her teeth, and punched at the beast for all she was worth… and had almost no effect whatsoever.
Hitting the slug was like hitting a wall of soft meat. The force of the blows was easily absorbed into the body of the organism, its flexible tissues taking on little dents from her hits, but then reforming almost at once. She noticed that the outer surface, though stretchy and slick with mucus, was quite tough. She doubted even her cutter could breach it, though she would have given anything for the opportunity to try. Stunned, she made an effort to push the huge attacker away from her, but it was simply too massive. She could only watch in horror as it slowly settled over her bare foot and ankle, its ‘head’ end facing toward her.
She wasn’t sure at all what she expected to feel when the Red touched her, but arousal certainly wasn’t it. Yet she did. There was something shockingly erotic about the soft, slippery flesh that gently covered her limb. The feeling was entirely like dipping her fingers into herself when masturbating. Sometimes, she could get herself so wet that her inner flesh seemed flow around her digits… just as the very warm flesh of the Red was easing around her foot and ankle now. She gasped, and drew back in confusion, trying to get control of her senses, but it was too late. Her body was already reacting to the strange sensations. She felt a tightness in her nipples, as well as a growing wetness of her own down in her lap.
“Nooo…” She moaned, denying the racing of her heart that had nothing to do with fear. Again, she reached out and placed her hands against what appeared to be the ‘head’ of the creature, trying to push back against its slow advance. It was impossible, the slug was pure muscle. She could slow its advance a little, but covered in the same thick mucus, her digits merely slid to the sides. An itchy warmth on her palms drew her up short again, and she stared at her hands in confusion.
“Oh… fuck,” she groaned. It was another toxin, but this one was designed to immobilize her in an entirely different way. It was an aphrodisiac, a contact neurotoxin instantly affecting any bare skin it touched. Combined with the weakening anesthetic of the tangle patch, the dual poisons made an incredibly formidable trap. Hold, weaken, arouse, distract… The prey would hardly stand a chance. Carrie decided that it was only the fact that she had been snared by a single tangle, that she was still able to put up any kind of fight at all. But her strength was quickly fading. Her vision swam with dizzy sparks, and her muscles felt weak and slow. Her body seemed impossibly heavy, even as her eyes began to droop.
She put her hands out for a third time to try and stop the slow progress of the creature, watching as her knee disappeared under the slippery mass. She leaned into it, putting all her strength into the effort. As long as she kept up the fight, she could almost stop it, but the beast was infinitely patient. It would wait for her to falter, taking advantage of the slightest opening. Finally, nearly spent, she flopped down on her back again, sobbing. She could feel the slug slowly engulfing her body, centimeter by centimeter, and she could also feel a growing sexual awakening in her middle. Her leg, from her foot to just above her knee tingled with deep, erotic pleasure. If it could enflame her lust simply by covering her extremities, how much more intense would its toxin be when it covered her hips, her breasts, or when it reached in and found…
“Ahh!” She gasped when something wet and warm slithered over her other leg. Distracted, she failed to notice the body of the slug curling around so that it could cover her other, untrapped limb. The flat bottom the Red reached over the top of her shin in a single motion, sucking and pulling at the appendage to draw it under itself. She barely had time to draw in a breath and scream before it had fully trapped both her legs.
It was moving up her thighs, and she vainly put up her hands, resisting yet again. Her efforts had much less of an effect on its slow progress now, and when the head of the creature changed slightly, she had only a split second warning before a small pore opened and a thick light-blue liquid sprayed over her belly, arms, and chest.
Stunned at the feel of the warm fluid slowly dripping down her sides, she just sat there gaping. She hadn’t gotten any on her face, but the sweet-smelling discharge had basically covered her from her nipples to her mons. She knew that the action couldn’t be random, and sure enough, only moments later she started to feel her limbs relaxing.
“Nooo…” she moaned, as first her left, then her right arm gently dropped to her sides as her own weight drew her upper body slowly back down to the mat of green once again. She could barely move her limbs, though she could tell it wasn’t paralysis like the Plapus vine, it was most of her conscious control that was being blocked. Whatever chemical cocktail the Red had just spit all over her, it was designed to leave her nearly helpless, but fully conscious and aware of what she were feeling. The stuff didn’t stop her breathing but it made it very hard for her to willfully control anything below her collar, especially her extremities.
Now, there was absolutely nothing she could do but watch the massive slug as it slowly continued to cover her body. Whimpering in frustration, she sobbed, and cursed the organism until it started to engulf her hips. At that point, she found herself distracted by a feeling other than revulsion as the warm, slippery flesh covered her sex. Her lips parted into a single soft gasp as a wash of pleasure blossomed from her pelvic region.
As she shook in pleasure, she tried to will herself to ignore the sensual torture with only limited success. The slug quietly covered her lower abdomen and then her belly, and with every inch of her that disappeared under the slowly moving wall of warm flesh, that pleasure grew. By the time the slug was just touching the bottoms of her breasts, she was nearly insane with lust. She was so distracted by her own arousal, that at first she failed to notice that the creature was reaching around her body, its slippery form easing under her as it not only dissolved the webs of the tangle patch, but gently started to bring her up into its softer inner tissue. As her breasts were engulfed with a soft slurping sound, a flood of slime flowed around her, coating her completely, right to her chin. She could feel runnels of the viscous liquid dripping from her buttocks as it ran down between her thighs, which she now realized in horror, were being pushed apart even as more of the very warm mass slid down over her apex like a giant, wet tongue. Her head rolled back as she trembled in dizzy euphoria, her body held right at the edge of sexual ecstasy.
Carrie was only partially aware that the back end of the slug was gradually rising upwards as it contracted the sinewy extension of itself it had previously affixed to the ceiling of the cave. Partially aware at least, until runnels of slime started to flow over her face. The thick ooze briefly entered her nostrils, and for a few moments she regained a little focus as a fear of drowning overcame her.
“Noooo!” she wailed in helpless horror. Now completely inverted above the mossy tangle patch, she could feel the slug shifting around her body, twisting and wrapping her into its folds. She shook her head back and forth in denial of what she knew was coming. She had seen the vids. It was her chosen field of study. The Red was preparing to impregnate her.
Unlike other predators, who were mainly interested in the human colonists as a source of possible food, the Octnellian Red Slugs captured other animals for the purpose of procreation. Being hermaphroditic, the Reds placed their egg sacs into the bodies of other animals, and then fertilized them. The host would serve as a shell to both protect and feed the young as they grew to maturity and were then birthed. It was this last step that brought such terror to Carrie’s drugged and aroused mind, for it was not at all uncommon that the host was sacrificed as the squirming hatchlings all tried to exit the body at once, at least in smaller victims. Humans didn’t usually suffer that fate, but it also meant that they could be used in this manner multiple times before they expired out of sheer exhaustion. A Red would force-feed the host, keeping them alive the three full weeks it took to gestate its young. And much of the time, the victim would be kept in a state of nearly constant sexual arousal, ensuring their complacency and total inability to resist or escape.
At any moment, the girl knew that the creature would seal her fate as it began the process of impregnating her. Carrie fully understood from her lessons, that if she were going to get away, it would have to be soon. Once it started inserting its eggs, the pleasure it would force on her would quickly turn her into little more than a drooling, twitching meatsack.
But she was already nearly helpless. Her weakened body was firmly in the grip of the slug’s flesh. Like a giant slimy hand, her limbs and torso were held nearly immobile. She could squirm a bit, but the powerful body of the creature flowed around her, conforming to every curve and crevice. It was also coating her with a thick slime, which no doubt contained additional contact toxins. Her skin felt hot and sensitive, as though she had a slight sunburn. The sensation amplified every tiny motion of the slick muscles that held her, as well as her own struggles, turning them all into a constant, swirling bath of erotic sensuality that only got worse the more she tried to resist it.
Whimpering in frustration and growing sexual arousal, Carrie noticed that the massive gastropod mollusc had started moving rhythmically, languidly undulating its body, and with it, hers. It was a twisting, rolling motion, that caused the creature to slide all around her. The Red had shifted a significant portion of itself between her thighs, its warm, tongue-like form sliding over her apex as they slowly rocked in unison. She could feel it opening her – pressing right into her innermost flower, and she wanted to scream… Instead, she gasped, shuddering against the rush of sexual pleasure that threatened to overwhelm her. Over and over it moved with her, and over her, and in her, gradually easing away her resistance. At some level, Carrie knew that she was being seduced, and that if she gave in, it was over – that she would never pull herself back from such distraction. But there was nothing she could do. She didn’t have the strength to fight, and her will to resist the torturous pleasure was quickly being drowned in her own lust. Already, her body was uncontrollably moving in ways that only added to the slippery sensations instead of lessening them. Even now, her hips were softly humping the liquid softness that cupped and played through her womanhood, and she unconsciously arched her back to push the hard points of her nipples into the smooth muscle, teasing them into pulsing beacons of erotic fire.
The creature’s motion had another, equally frightening effect, in that it seemed to be linked with the slippery excretions that now coated nearly every inch of her body. With each pulsing wave, Carrie could feel the creature releasing more of the slime, almost as though it were salivating over a delicious meal, such that a half dozen runnels now ran down over her face and through her hair. And she could also feel that the Red appeared to be deliberately directing the excess down the V of her thighs, and into her lap, where it was somewhat noisily being forced right into the depths of her open quim. With each slow undulation, she felt more and and more of the organism’s natural lubricants being pumped directly into her body, literally filling her. It was the final preparation before coitis, so she new her time was short, but it took all her will just to keep herself from slipping over the edge into orgasm – something that was made significantly more difficult by the warm stimulants that now filled her to her core.
Carrie was starting to tremble, her heart racing as she waited for what she knew was coming. She tossed her head back and forth, both in denial of her situation, and to clear some of the fog of pleasure that gripped her.
“No… no… no…” she sobbed, helplessly caught in the erotic trap. “Help! P-please!…” Her feeble call for assistance would never be heard of course, but Carrie was out of options, as well as time. The utter helplessness of her situation finally settling over her, the girl gasped at a new touch.
Something more rigid was moving along her upper thigh, and she knew at once what it was. For a few brief seconds, the rush of adrenaline through her body gave her slightly more clarity and she renewed her struggle, such as it was, thrashing and twisting against the powerful muscles that were wrapped all around her. In the end, she only succeeded in sapping the last of her strength, and so was hanging limp when the long penile appendage finally reached its goal and pressed against the open gates of her flower.
The head of the Red’s ovipositor tapped at her folds several times, almost as though it were tasting her, before dipping down and into her in a single, long, slow thrust.
The girl stiffened, and then shuddered into orgasm at once. There, she was held for the entire twenty, long seconds it took for the appendage to reach her depths. Finally, it ceased moving into her, and she was able to abruptly breathe again.
“Gaaaahh! UGHNN!” she gasped for air as the wave of ecstasy finally ebbed over her. Dizzy with pleasure, her body continued to rock and quivver in the aftermath of her moment. Carrie’s mind was still struggling to reconnect to the present, when the Red began to move once again. This time, the effect was instant and devastating. The new motion immediately rekindled the sexual fire in her belly, causing her to cry out in near panic. The ovipositor felt very different within her than a human penis, even without the slippery warm flesh that was wrapped around her naked form like a living blanket of sensuality. Unlike a human’s phallus, the slug’s sexual organ was able to stretch and undulate, moving more like a smaller version of the slug itself than an inflexible male member. It could stiffen, but its shape was far from defined. Carrie could feel it shifting and changing inside her, almost as though it were testing and probing her honey to discover what elicited the greatest arousal in her. Even if the changes were entirely random, they did indeed arouse the young woman, and in ways that she couldn’t have even considered with a human lover. After only a minute or so, the girl could feel a new moment building in her center. Like a slowly coiling serpent, the queasy tensing of her inner muscles was already well under way before she could even formulate a resistance in her mind.
“Ughnnn… n-n-no… UGHMMM… oh god… AHH! AHH!”
Finally, Carrie sensed a subtle change in the movement of the organism around her. It slowed its rhythm, and seemed to hold her a bit more tightly, as though it wanted to be sure she didn’t move. At the same time, the phallus inched even deeper into her tunnel until she knew its tip had to be pressing at her cervix. All at once, the slug seemed to tremble slightly, and she felt a bulge of sorts move quickly down the ovipositor and right into her sex. She was barely able to draw a quick breath of surprise before a new warmth erupted from the end of the alien phallus and sent her crashing into orgasm again.
Her moment was so intense this time, that Carrie lost all track of time. For some unknown period, there was only the pleasure, the racing of her pounding heart, and the unstoppable pumping of her hips as she came. She was utterly taken by the animalistic part of her brain, and it was only the feel of the oozing runnels of slime dripping from her face that brought her back out of her deep sexual haze.
Coughing to clear away some of the thick mucus, Carrie moaned and then started sobbing. It was hopeless. She couldn’t escape, and no one would ever find her, even if they realized she was missing. She felt so tired – her body driven to limp exhaustion by the torturous pleasure that was even now mocking her as it quietly built anew in her abdomen.
But there was something else bothering her there… A new sensation that felt completely wrong. She puzzled over the odd tingling below her navel until the slug shifted itself slightly and the ovipositor appendage seemed to elongate and reach even deeper into her. All at once she knew, and burst into tears, tossing her head back and forth in denial.
“No… no… no…”
But she understood what she was feeling now. Something had caused her cervical canal to loosen and dilate enough for the Red’s phallic member to reach through into her uterus. It was probably some mix of lubricants and pheromones ejaculated by the creature during her last heaving orgasm, the specific method being irrelevant. What mattered was that there was now nothing to stop the Octnellian Red Slug from impregnating her with its eggs, and right on cue, she felt the massive gastropod shiver around her again, just as it had the last time. Only now, there was clearly something else making its way down the long phallic tube.
She could feel them… each little bump about the size of a grape, slowly inching down the long ovipositor. She felt them along her thigh, and a new kind of fear gripped her. This was it. She was about to become host to an alien organism’s offspring. The very idea so frightened her, that she was literally paralyzed, barely able to breathe. And worse, was her absolute inability to do anything about it. The creature had so thoroughly drugged and exhausted her, that she wouldn’t have been able to resist even if the slug completely released her body from its fateful grip. She could do nothing but hang there inverted, wrapped in its fleshy body and wait to be impregnated. When the first bulge reached the gates of her flower, she gasped and held her breath as the small round object paused against the slight resistance there.
But then, with a soft rush, it slipped past that barrier and continued inside her. Shaking her head again, Carrie could sense it traveling deeper and deeper within the living tube that led into her womb. It was such a strange feeling, and not at all what she expected. Her breathing became little more than short panting, and she cursed herself for the quickly rising sexual arousal that was yet again growing in her middle. The sensations may have been unusual, but she couldn’t deny that they were also powerfully erotic, even if she didn’t want them to be. She could hear the pitch of her own soft cries slowly rising as she was drawn inexorably towards her moment, shocked that she could be stimulated so quickly, even though she hadn’t even recovered yet from her last orgasm. Confusion and panic took hold of her as the egg bulge finally reached the more constricted resistance of her cervical canal. Even dilated, the creature’s seed had to be forced through the recently opened channel. She could feel the bulge stop for a moment as the pressure built behind it, the tube itself squeezing and undulating to push the egg onward. Pleasure, like a tingling heat, was also building in her loins, and Carrie realized that the insertion of the egg, and her coming orgasm, were somehow linked.
“Ahh… ahh… ahh!… ahh!… AHH!… AHH! AHH! AHHHH! UGHNNN!!”
<Foop!> Suddenly, the little bulge rushed forward and popped from the end of the ovipositor into her womb, along with a fair quantity of very warm liquid behind it. At the exact same moment, the girl jerked once as her whole body tensed into impossible ecstasy. Her hands clenched into balls, and her body trembled within the flesh of the giant slug, which shuddered in its own form of bliss.
Carrie’s mind was still reeling from the sexual onslaught, when there was a second building pressure at her cervical entrance. She barely had time to suck in a breath before the little round ball was slipped forward, instantly launching her into a repeat of the orgasm she had just endured.
And when that one was settled inside her abdomen, there was yet another waiting behind it, and another… and another. The young woman lost count after the first three, however, as her mind simply kept on coming, dropping into a nearly constant state of timeless euphoria until all thirteen of the small orbs had been settled neatly in her womb.
Only then, with her lids still fluttering in semi-conscious rapture, did she have any thought for the world around her. Limp within the cocoon of warm flesh, her body occasionally trembled. But there was no resistance at all when a second smaller tube of living tissue crawled over her face and pushed past her panting lips. Her tongue tasted something sweet like honey, and the human female instinctively swallowed. A moment later, the tendril of flesh moved quickly into her throat slipping past the sphincter in the girl’s esophagus that tried to stop the invading organism to no avail. After a brief rush of panic that she were suffocating, Carrie’s body relaxed once again, accepting the feeding tube without further resistance.
Back in her lap, the ovipositor withdrew from her womb, and most of the way from her depths, but stayed a few inches within her as it changed shape and lightly settled as soft mat of liquid smooth flesh over her womanhood. There, it moved in slow waves, lightly playing within her most sensitive region, stroking and teasing her, both inside and out. In this manner, it kept its host in a constant state of distracting pleasure as the eggs it had deposited slowly matured over the next twenty-one days…
Carrie’s eyes opened into darkness. She blinked and took several deep breaths to clear her vision and the memory of the terrifying dream that still lingered at the edge of her consciousness. The room around her, or what she could see of it, was unfamiliar, as was he padded bed she was laying on. She went to sit up, and discovered that there was a stretchy fabric-like webbing holding her down. It covered her from shoulders to toes. Suddenly, memories began to flood over her, and her pulse began to rise.
A soft bell distracted her, and a dim, amber light appeared floating a few feet in front of her face. A moment later, there was a soft whoosh as a pressure door was opened and closed, and she sensed a presence next to her.
“It’s allright. You’re safe. You can Relax, Carrie.”
She turned her head, but could see little more than a silhouette.
“Who…” she started.
“Wait, let me raise the light a little…” said the other.
A moment later she could just make out a woman’s face. She had long brown hair, and seemed maybe a half decade older than Carrie herself.
“I’m Doctor Garrett. I’ll be seeing to your physical recovery.”
Carrie just stared at the woman as she tried to understand. When she remembered where she was when she was last conscious, her eyes grew wide and she started to pant. A gentle hand on her shoulder kept her from falling into full-on panic.
“You’re safe, Carrie. You’re not in the cave anymore. You’re no longer pregnant… Try to relax, and I’ll explain.”
The girl closed her eyes for a moment, and pushed back her fear, forcing herself to stay in the moment.
“What happened?” she asked, looking back to the woman.
The other nodded. “You were captured by a Red. Do you remember that?”
“YES! I was was lost, and I wandered into a cave, and…”
“Shh. Yes. We know,” continued the doctor. “Try not to fall too far back into the memories yet, okay? Let me do the talking.”
Carrie nodded slowly. “Okay.”
“We were able to track you when you left the colony. There’s a unique isotope that we inject into all colonists at birth. It isn’t found on Octned Prime, and it allows the sensor net to track any individual within a hundred clicks of the walls. When you went for your little walk, the psyche team felt it was best to let you work out your frustrations as you had before… at least until you started veering into red-zone. A rescue party was dispatched, but we suddenly lost you. You’re marker disappeared right off the grid.”
“The cave…” said Carrie, understanding.
“Yes. Our sensors were unable to detect you underground. It was three days before we picked up your signal again, but by that time, of course, you were already impregnated… Hey, relax,” she said, seeing the look of dread returning to the girl’s face as she looked to her abdomen.
“No… They’re all gone, Carrie. You birthed them two days ago.”
Stunned, she looked over at the woman, who continued.
“You were kept in a comatose state until the gestation completed. We’ve tried removing them forcibly, but the results don’t usually favor the host. So, we have found that the best course of action is to simply let the eggs mature naturally. By giving birth here, in the medical facility, we can deal with any possible complications and greatly improve your chance of recovery. That’s one of the reasons we kept the light low. It’s also why you’re restrained.”
Carrie had almost forgotten about the webbing that surrounded her.
“It’s… It’s like being wrapped up… wrapped up by…”
The doctor nodded. “Yes. By one of them. On purpose. We’ve found that when a victim is forced to shift back to normal colony life too quickly, there were very severe complications. By gradually introducing you, the shock is much less.”
“I… I gave birth?” She shivered.
“Yes. You were impregnated with thirteen eggs, all but one of which survived… And before you ask, yes, they are alive. However,” she added quickly when she saw Carrie shaking her head in a panic, “…however, they are sealed completely in a triple-shielded research facility. They pose no threat to you or anyone else now. I know you don’t like it. None of us did… But it’s necessary, so that we can understand them better.”
The girl caught the other’s wording.
“Wait… what do you mean, ‘none of us’? Were you…?”
She nodded. “That’s right. I was just about your age.”
“There are others?”
“Twenty eight of us, actually.”
Carrie just stared back at her in disbelief.
“It’s why I was sent to aid in your recovery. I know exactly what you are going through. Don’t be so surprised, Carrie. It’s a big colony, and you’re not the only rebel.” She smiled down at her. “Don’t worry. It will take a while, but the nightmares will fade. Trust me. There are some lasting side effects… The toxins that the Red used on you changed more than you realize. We’re still discovering how all of it works, but it permanently altered your body chemistry. Nothing serious, but it made you more compatible with the other life on the planet. It makes sense when you think about it. Though, now that you have been a host, most of the other indigenous animals will stay clear of you. The Reds are definitely at the top of the food chain around here, and you’ve been marked as one of theirs. If it makes you feel any better, you are now approved to do research in red-zone.”
The woman grinned. “Yup. It’s the only way. Nobody goes into red-zone without a fully armed and armored escort unless they have been a host like you. We’re unique. I know it’s not much of a consolation prize for being raped and impregnated, but I thought you should know.”
“Why didn’t anyone TELL me? I would have stopped bugging them about giving me clearance!”
The doctor shrugged her shoulders. “And what would have happened if they had, Carrie? ‘Sorry, miss, but the only way we can put you on the outer research team is if you let yourself get buggered nearly into insanity by a giant slug and give birth to its young.’ Yeah, that’d go over real well with the general public…”
“Look, give it a few days. By then the psyche guys will have cleared enough crap from your head so that you can decide for yourself. In the meantime, don’t make any rash decisions, okay?”
“Fine. But I already know I want to work with you, out in the red-zone, I mean. It’s all I ever wanted.”
She nodded. “I understand. You’ve faced the only real horror out beyond the wall. Everything else is just run-of-the-mill deadly.”
“Very well. I’ll be back to check on you in a bit. In the meantime… just rest. Sleep if you can, but I understand if you don’t want to. You can ask the computer for some quiet music. That seems to help.”
“Sure thing. And Carrie… welcome to Research.”