Clip-clop, clip-clop. Centaur hooves sounded against the ceramic walkway that curved and twisted out of sight away from me. Although I had, in reality, known her for only a very short time, I guessed that the footsteps belonged to Amanda Ohadi, walking around the garden somewhere. Something about her footstep was very distinctive. She walked with an odd hesitancy.
I was not really in a mood to associate with other people right now. I don't know why, really. I just was not. On the other hand, I felt too lazy to get up and take cover from her approach.
She rounded the corner. Caught in the decision process, I gave her a smile and a wave. She took that as a hint and trotted over.
"Morning," I said. Much to my surprise, her presence alone made me feel better.
"Good morning," she said. "May I join you, Ken?"
"'Suppose," I replied. "Not much in the mood for company today. But you're welcome enough, 'Manda."
"You're clipping your speech today," she observed.
"Lazy," I offered as an excuse. "Tired."
She smiled. "May I ask you something?"
"You know my answer to that," I replied.
"You are in a crotchety old mood today, Ken. Maybe I'll come back when you're feeling better."
"Wait," I said, reaching out to hold her wrist. "I don't want to chase you off."
She looked down at her wrist and smiled. "Why should I want to make company with such a curmudgeon as yourself?"
"Because the beauty of a lady'taur such as yourself would sweeten even the vilest troll, Amanda."
She seemed pleased with the answer. In fact, she had made no move to leave at all. "Can I ask of you a favor?"
"Go ahead," I said.
"When I first met you I was very young. And the young tend to be adventurous. The fact that Kathy had so much of your attention made me jealous and when you paid me that attention it made my heart go pitter-pat."
I grinned. She continued, "When I grew up, I got serious. I came up with all the wild ideas when I was young and when I got older I got more rigid and it was harder for me to make anything out of all that. Which is why I ended up in the Spin cycle. That's why I almost went back into it." She sighed. "So I want you do to a scene for me."
My eyebrows crowded closer to my hairline. "Really?"
She nodded. "Like I said, I was adventurous. Back then, I would have been willing to let you tie me up in one of your famous spheres and let you have your way with me. Some of it was hero worship, but you were tolerant with me and I haven't forgotten that. You were gentle and you gave as much of a damn as you could. I've forgotten a lot, but I haven't forgotten that." She took a deep breath. "But ever since the accident you've been trying to talk to me as if I were the old Amanda. And I want to be the old Amanda again, at least somehow. I think you could have an idea that would help me find my way back."
"Why me?" I asked. "I don't mean, why are you asking me in particular, but why does everyone ask me for this kind of thing?"
"Because you know how to do it, Ken. And not everybody asks you, just the friends who want to try it out and know you well enough to have the courage to ask. Besides," she cooed softly, "You love arranging stuff like this."
"That's true," I agreed, smiling. "So what do you want."
"I want you to do something, Ken. I don't know what. And I don't want a safeword, I don't want control at all. Please....just take me."
It was odd to be hearing these words from her mouth. Amanda had become so sensitive to Kathy and me and the way we played that I thought I would never have her eyes on me again the way I had when she was a young. Now, though, I had an opportunity, and with the sort of thing I'm good at. "Your worst fear is to be in the Spin again, isn't it?"
She nodded. "It's not even the dying, or the spinning. It's being alone that scares me so much. I don't want to die alone, Ken, and in my dreams all I can remember is how lonely I was in the Spin."
"Amanda," I said, reaching out for her hand again. "Do you trust me?"
I had an idea. The kind of idea that appeals to me because the end result is, ultimately, self-realization. It's one of the things I've always aspired for in my s/m scenes, is to help people come to a realization about themselves. "What's you biocybe cell control authorization code?"
"You wouldn't...." She stuttered suddenly. "Ken, please..."
"You said you trusted me. Do you or don't you?"
She nodded, unsurely. "Lance, give Ken my BCCAC."
"Hold that, Lance," I said, interrupting.
"Hmmm?" the AI said, curious.
"You know the definition of a scene, Lance. I have been permitted access to that code but I don't need it until the scene begins. I'd like you to ensure that privacy. And when the scene ends, privilege is rescinded unconditionally. Copy?"
"Ready?" I asked her, watching her human face go through the myriad of emotions that accompany everyone before a scene.
"I'm scared," she said, shivering.
I looked into her face. She had regained her weight after the Spin, and her face had reached the fullness and health I had seen so many years ago. Still, she had that haunted look in her beautiful features. Her hair was again dyed pastel purple, falling in front of her long, trim, face in two undisciplined curls, the rest brushed back over her head. I stretched some elastic bands into her hair to keep it in place.
She was small even for the common centaur, barely over five feet tall at the top of her head. Her body was still slim and beautiful, staring out with white hair towards her hominid joint and spotting into a full-brown color by the reach of her tail. Her feet were shoed, a personal preference. I brushed a stray hair away from her face. "You should be. This is going to be frightening, but like many frightening things, the results will be good. Are you ready to go?"
She nodded. "I think so."
"Good," I said. I nodded to the Mephit standing behind the control counter, and we teleported out.
"Grab something," I directed her as we suddenly found ourselves in zero gravity. She did as instructed, folding her legs underneath her as she had been trained while in the Fleet. "I'm going to tie you down, Amanda. It's the first step. Now, extend your legs."
I had chosen an enormous sphere for this particular stunt. Twelve meters in diameter, 905 cubic meters of space, in space. Large bundles of black rope were secured along the inside of the sphere. I recovered one.
Bondage, especially with centaurs, is a slow and painstaking task. But that doesn't mean it's not fun. I took the cent-thick rope and wrapped it around a forehoof, seven winds thick and then threaded through the wrapping to make sure that the tension wouldn't be felt just on the edges. Then I moved over to her other hoof, and then around to the rear. Each hoof took time, and patience has never been one of my strong points. But I persevered. "You okay?"
"I'm not very hobbled this way," she observed. "I can't spread my legs open, but I can move inside the rectangle of rope very easily."
"That's the idea," I said. "Now watch." I recovered more rope, repeating the pattern on both forehooves, but letting the ends fly free. I had cleats laid out ahead of time for her dimensions, and secured the rope to those cleats, finishing each with a double half-hitch knot and a panic loop. Then I did the same with her rearhooves.
"I've still got plenty of room," she said.
"You won't when I've done your arms." I floated back to my gear bag (suspiciously empty, really) and recovered two black bracer bands sized for her wrists. I asked for her arm and she held it out. "I'm glad you're not fighting."
"I don't see a reason to," she said. I smiled as I laced her into the bracer, then wrapped her arms in more rope, using the same pattern I'd used on each pair of hooves. Then I reached up and threaded it through two cleats opposite the cleats securing her hooves, then bringing them together through a ring directly over her head. I began pulling, and the look on her face changed as she began to realize she really was restrained. There was five meters of space between her and the wall of the sphere in any direction, and she whimpered as she looked around. "Ken."
"Amanda," I said as I floated back to the SDisk. "Remember my promises." I teleported out.
"Ken!" she shouted, suddenly realizing how alone she is. I hadn't teleported out at all-- I had merely turned invisible. And inaudible. My presence was being edited out of her sensory input stream, and that's what I had needed her BCCAC for. "You promised!"
"Yes I did," I said, but she didn't hear that. I had promised never to leave her, but I hadn't promised that she had to always know when I was there.
"You better be monitoring me," she said. She looked around the sphere anxiously, looking for something. I guess she was looking for reassurance, but there wasn't going to be any found.
"Ken, I don't like this!" She tried to make it sound joking, but I could hear the panic and desperation in her voice.
"Please, Ken!" I waited, watching her. Her pleas grew louder and more desperate, and as the lights in the sphere began to dim she began to panic. "Nooooo...!" she screamed. "Don't leave me alone like this!"
I pulled out my radio. "Lance, please tell the volunteers that I want them here as soon as possible."
"On the way."
Lindsay appeared first, looking very pregnant, followed by Prio. Then Beth, Gary, Pirot, Maori... eventually a dozen in all. Dao came last. I floated across the sphere and hugged him. "You came! I'm surprised you accepted."
"I wanted to see this," he said.
"Well, there she is. She's very scared because she's very lonely. She can't see or hear us, and that's not the object. I'll go first." I pushed off the wall gently. Centuries of experience with zero-G had make me even cease to think about flight calculations. I just pushed. The float towards Amanda, only five meters away, would take nearly five minutes. I wanted to touch her with the gentlest impact I could imagine.
My hands connected with her flesh just below her human ribcage. "What!" she said, startling and looking up. Her eyes were still useless and blinded. "Talk to me, please!"
I nodded to Dao, who instead turned to Lindsay and whispered into her ear. Lindsay looked surprised, then nodded. Although I hadn't expected this, I approved, and watched as Lindsay gently pushed off the opposite side, heading for her rump. Seeing as she outmasses me by as much as three times, she took more energy to stop and Amanda whimpered when she realized just how much mass was being pushed against her backside. "Move easily, Linds," I said. "You don't want to strain her."
She nodded, then carefully eased her way along her back, grabbing hold with her hands. Amanda laughed suddenly. "Oh, Ken, you have the most awful ideas."
I laughed and waved to the rest of the people. They all came over, some quickly, some slowly. I was glad I has used moderately elastic ropes. Suddenly Amanda gasped as she realized just how many people were crowding around her. She began naming names, sometimes getting one right, sometimes getting one wrong. "I know that was a Han who got on top of me," she said. "Only one of them could have such big hands. I bet it was Lindsay. I don't know how you're all invisible, though!"
I smiled as I slowly massaged her chest, touching her small, firm breasts with my hands. She cooed and shuddered, but with so many people working her over it was impossible to tell who was causing her to coo and gasp.
"Who's going to get sexual first?" I asked, looking up at Lindsay. She smiled and leaned down to kiss the back of Amanda's neck. She gasped, and just as she nipped her I kissed the underside of her chin. Other people joined in; Beth and Maori each took nipples, and Lindsay slowly slid over the top of Amanda's head and came down, pushing me out of the way and straddling the Centauress' face with her thighs.
Amanda pressed her cheek to Lindsay's furry thigh, moaning loudly. Then the scent of Lindsay's cunt must have reached her because she suddenly craned her head forward, bumping into Lindsay's equally functional erection, pushed out by Lindsay's swollen belly. She giggled again. "Hi, Lindsay. Must be you; you're the only Han I know who Ken knows in such a regular fashion." She licked the length of Lindsay's cock, not quite having the reach to get her mouth over the crown and suck it all in. But Lindsay helped, with one hand, and aimed for Amanda's mouth.
Amanda sucked Lindsay's cock down greedily, and from my perspective underneath the action the look was very interesting. I reached up and slid two fingers into Lindsay's now well-exposed cunt while Amanda sucked her cock. I found the first of the two glands that run along the upper wall of her vaginal barrel, then stroked downwards over the second one. The upper one produces seminal fluid, and Amanda made a soft cooing noise as I stroked it, releasing some of Lindsay's precome into her mouth. The lower one regulates hormone production between the testes and ovaries (mounted, oddly enough, side by side), and so hasn't got any physical reason to be pleasurable, but many Han claim it is anyway. I admired Rheinhardt and Greaves for their aptitude.
Dao, meanwhile, slid over Amanda's back and, with Prio helping, slid into her cunt. She gasped. "Dao!"
"He's big, isn't he?" I asked reflexively, before realizing that she couldn't hear me. "Lance," I said, "bring up her audio to full, slowly."
Amanda's head lolled about as Dao's lovely cock slid deep into her. Suddenly she looked up and said "I can hear you!"
"Yes, you can. Hi, Amanda."
"Oh, Ken, I expected you to do something awful!"
"Hey, you were pretty frightened there for the first hour or so."
"I know," she said. "Oh!"
"Did I hit something sensitive?" Dao asked.
"Yes!" she replied. "Do it again!" With a smile, Dao complied, stroking deep into her. She shuddered and gasped, and Lindsay and I suddenly found ourselves accidentally thrown free.
We drifted towards the wall of the sphere, and then made our way over to each other, leaving Amanda to Dao and the eight other people who had joined us in our little gang bang.
"She's very pretty," Lindsay observed.
"Yeah," I said. Maori had made his way behind her while Garenna offered his cock to her mouth. Watching nine people have their way with the lovely centauress turned me on quite a lot, although I think I had had my fill of Amanda already that day. I found myself petting Lindsay's fur softly.
She smiled and placed her hand over mine, assuring me that my touch was okay. "Thank you," she said.
"For everything. For giving me life. For my child. For killing my would-be murderer. For everything, Ken."
"Just doing my job," I said.
"I'm glad someone is."
About halfway through the orgy, I brought Amanda's eyes back on-line, letting her see who was doing what to her. She laughed and giggled and moaned and probably came at least a dozen times. Finally I drifted through the mass of floating bodies and came to rest in front of her face. "Hi," I said.
"Hi," she smiled back, shyly.
"Much," she said. "But not like the old Amanda. Different."
"Different good or different bad?"
"Different different," she replied. "I can't really quantify it. I just feel better right now, but I'll have to see."
"I'm going to cut you down now. You're going to be very stiff. So I and my cohorts-- right?" There was a general assent. "Right. I and my cohorts are going to help you back to a general- purpose room, where we have prepared a warm, relaxing bath for you in a tub big enough to hold all of us. It'll even have bubbles."
"Goody!" she said, giggling. I kissed her warmly while people fanned out to every securing point on the sphere and pulled on the panic loops. She was freed quickly as hands flew over her body, pulling ropes and tossing them aside.
"Ready to go?" Lindsay asked.
"I'm stiff!" she said.
"Warned you," I laughed. "Come on, herd her towards the SDisk, people." We all blipped out.
Amanda's footsteps sounded lighter as she walked in to the forward lounge, but that's to be expected since the place is carpeted. "Kenny!" she shouted.
"So," I said, looking up at the lovely centauress, "How do you feel?" Truth to tell, she looked marvelous. Certainly a lot less... gothic, I guess... than she had a few days before.
"I don't know," she replied. "Things feel different now. It's not like I'm the old Amanda, or the new Amanda, but like I'm just a different Amanda."
"One little scene like that can change someone's life," I said. "Want anything to drink?"
"Just some kfi," she said.
"But sometimes the feelings that you have in the scene are hard to hold on to. At least, they are for me. It takes repetition, like everything in life, to make those impressions stick."
"I know," she said.
"So, do you want to try something like that again?"
"Well," she said, tugging thoughtfully on one of the purple curls that dangled about her ears, "I don't know. I want to figure out what happened to me in there, first."
"Will it be easier to figure out what happened in the Sphere or what happened to you in the Spin?"
"The Spin was always easier. It was hard to deny. The scene did something to me, but I haven't figured out what. I do know this, though: I'm finding myself being much more extroverted today. I hope you don't mind if I made a pass at Dao this afternoon."
"Oh?" I said, my eyes alighting. "How did he take it?"
"I'm not sure. I think it was a compliment."
Our drinks arrived, and I held up mind. "I want to propose a toast, Amanda. To you. Amanda Ohadi. My you be beautiful till the universe ends."
She smiled and tilted her drink towards her lips. Then she said, "We'll see."