Relics of Dragon Shoals Chapter 1: Eelectopus

The Makawi islands are an enchanting archipelago strung through the waters as deep and blue as the sky itself. Some say it’s where the goddesses were born since it embodies elements of the entire trine. The volcanic islands are known to be favored by the earth goddess, Victoria. The limitless skies are adored by the air goddess, Vesta. The fathomless seas are home to the ocean goddess, Makawi.

Makawi holds the highest esteem among the locals. She is beloved as the patron goddess of this island continent. The sea goddess is revered above the other two deities among the sailors and pilots who survive by charting and traveling the treacherous maze of harbors, lagoons, and estuaries.

The evening sky was burning orange, and the green islands glowed like jewels set in crystal waters. The only sound breaking the peace was the lapping of tiny waves on pristine sands and the occasional call of a lonely seabird.

A tiny plane zipped through the channels between islands, interrupting the natural calm. The craft dipped low over the waters, sending up plumes of white froth. The hull of the seaplane was a garish banana yellow accented with red zigzagging highlights that mimicked lightning. A woman’s shouts of elation rose joyfully over the engine’s high whine.

In the fading light, the small seaplane dipped. The pilot of the craft expertly weaved between high stone cliffs and smaller rocky gullies. The aerial acrobatics elicited a few more excited whoops from the daring pilot. After that set of adventurous maneuvers, the airplane leveled off and cruised steadily above the clear ocean. 

The archipelago has a nickname among pilots who hop the islands on their tiny biplanes. Blue seas strewn with gems of islands are referred to as the emerald star sky when seen from above. It is said that under the blanket of night, a person can barely tell the difference between the glowing pinpricks on the water and the actual stars. 

Cassandra grinned, savoring her own daring nature. The seaplane was an older model, but she preferred to think of it as a classic. Sure, it didn’t have the fancy computer that a newer model had, but the analog controls left more flying in the pilot’s hands. That was just the way Cassandra liked it. This put her in command but also allowed her to pull off some of her more daring stunts. A computer would not have been able to fly so recklessly.

A few strands of auburn hair had come loose and were whipping in the wind. Absently, the pilot tucked the strands back under her leather aviator helmet. She checked her instrumentation and flipped on her helmet’s built-in communication. 

“Hot Diggity to Eco Cutey. Come in, Eco Cutey.”

The familiar monikers rolled awkwardly off Cassandra’s tongue. It had been too damn long since she had used them. She could make all sorts of excuses about being busy, but the truth was, she had sorely neglected one of her best friends over the past few years. They were both to blame, of course, but Katalina had shown her up by being the first to reach out.

After a few seconds of silence, a small pleasant voice filled her headset. “Those nicknames are still silly.”

Cassandra chuckled gently to herself. Some things would never change.

“They are call signs. Every good pilot has to have one,” she corrected with a laugh. “I’m almost at your position Katalina, roll out the red carpet.”

“Will do, Cassandra,” responded Katalina, “See you soon.”

“See you soon,” Cassandra echoed, not knowing what else to add.

The pilot switched off her com and tilted a small dash mirror to reflect her face. Her makeup was still on point. She pursed her cherry red lips and dabbed a tube of vibrant lipstick over them. She would typically have checked her hair, but what wasn’t stuffed under her helmet was hanging in a long thick amber braid down her back. 

Cassandra was wearing her best khakis and a leather flight jacket. She hoped she gave off sexy archeologist vibes. Cassandra liked to think her archeological skills were at least comparable to her piloting abilities. After giving her cleavage some scrutiny, she undid an extra button, baring a bit more of her creamy bosom with a slight speckling of nutmeg freckles.

Approaching her destination, Cassandra readied her craft for landing. The plane rounded a dormant volcano, and her sharp green eyes scanned for a ship. The trees gave way revealing an expensive-looking black yacht bobbing in a sizable circular cove. Even from this distance, she could see the flashing lights and whirling discs of the latest technology.

“Damn, Kat. You said your patron was wealthy, but I had no idea how true that was,” Cassandra muttered to herself.  

Cassandra circled the ship a few times. She wanted to make sure she had the right vessel. The closer she flew, the more extravagant the yacht looked. Finally, a tiny figure that had been lounging on the back deck began waving at her. Cassandra brought the craft down, angling toward the ship. Her pontoons touched the mirror of the cove sending up a shower of shattered diamonds. The engine slowed to a sputter pulling the vessel up along the side of the yacht. 

Cassandra let out a loud whistle of appreciation. The yacht was roughly 90 feet in length. It was black and sleek with gold trimming. Proud matching gold lettering on the side of the ship revealed the name The Quest. Under the name of the vessel was a logo for Aphelion Industries. 

As the seaplane drew closer to the ship’s rear, a second sight stole the pilot’s breath. This surprise had nothing to do with how fancy the yacht was. On the rear deck of the vessel, waving excitedly, was Cassandra’s best friend from college. Katalina had grown into a stunning young woman.

When they had shared a dorm room at school, Katalina had been shy about her body. Her dress was usually very conservative and concealing. Heavy sweatshirts and long pants were her most common style. Coke bottle glasses had covered her pretty face. Katalina even wore long modest nightgowns to bed. It had often been the joke that she was the biologist who never showed off her biology.

Now, here Katalina was, hanging off the back of a luxury yacht in a two-piece turquoise bikini. The scientist was waving enthusiastically, which was causing her to jiggle in all the right places. Cassandra had often imagined her friend wearing next to nothing. The actual sight was thrilling.

As long as Cassandra had known her, Katalina had been curvy. She had been blessed by the trine with pleasingly plump large breasts and hips. Even Katalina’s frumpy college clothes could never cover her ample attributes. Something had happened in the years since they had parted to give the scientist a glorious ego boost. She was just as soft and full-figured as ever, but almost every inch was on display. Cassandra was genuinely looking forward to getting to know this new outgoing version of her old friend.

When Cassandra was able to pick her jaw off the cockpit floor, she returned to her task of idling the plane to the swimming deck at the rear of the vessel. The pilot watched in awe as her friend came bouncing down the ship’s stairs to meet her. 

Cassandra cut the engines and let the plane drift the rest of the way. She popped her hatch open and stood on the pontoon tossing the ropes over as her craft slid the remaining few feet to the ship’s platform. She almost lost her footing when Katalina bent over to collect the mooring ropes.

As Katalina worked to secure the two crafts, her sizable breasts dangled to form a vast well that Cassandra became lost in. The sensible part of her brain prodded her to help her friend. Her practical brain went unnoticed. Her mind had gone numb, and she couldn’t seem to pull her eyes from the sway of Kat’s pendulums. After an eternity, she regained a little sense and helped Katalina finish securing the seaplane. 

It was Katalina’s radiant smile that greeted her once the lines were tied correctly. Large, awkward coke bottle glasses were exchanged for a slim set of spectacles. Casandra glanced up to find her face inches from a beaming smile that put her instantly at ease. She wanted to close the distance but didn’t. She stood, grinning like a fool, feeling all warm and gooey inside. 

“Oh my goddesses,” squealed Katalina, “It is so great to see you again. I have missed you.”

Katalina leaned further and offered her a hand. To distract Cassandra even more, the small triangles of fabric covering her breasts had shifted. The rose ring around one of Katalina’s nipples was peeking out from under the bathing suit. 

Cassandra forced her view away from the tempting melons, but she didn’t want to snub her friend. The pilot’s eyes landed on Katalina’s crown of hair. In their school days, Katalina’s short bob had sported a new color every month. Now, her hair had grown out. It was shoulder-length and mostly a dull brown color. Only the very ends of her locks faded into a bright shade of green. 

“You look as gorgeous as I remember,” giggled Katalina. A delicate blush flushed the bare skin over the whole length of her body.

“Thank you,” Cassandra responded, her eyes drifted back down the nearly naked scientist. Katalina’s nipple was still threatening to come out and say hello. “Though I do feel a bit overdressed.”

Katalina looked down at her own attire and suddenly realized her impending wardrobe mishap. She quickly adjusted the cloth, but her full body blush left her pale flesh glowing pink. 

Cassandra chuckled softly and pretended not to notice. “Not exactly the attire I was expecting for a scientific expedition. Not that I am complaining.” 

As Katalina fixed her swimsuit, Cassandra noticed a tattoo with a mermaid pole dancing on DNA helices covering her right thigh. 

“Ever the nerd,” laughed Cassandra.

Katalina regarded the artwork on her leg, “Oh, the ink. It was a gift from…” the scientist trailed off.

“Well, I’ll explain later, I had some time before you showed, and I might as well enjoy the Makawi sun. It isn’t every day I get to lounge on a yacht near a tropical island.” Katalina’s blush was yet to recede. 

“The sun looks good on you,” grinned Cassandra.

“Thank you,” Katalina practically whispered, suddenly shy.

Cassandra hopped from the pontoon onto the yacht. As soon as she was aboard, her friend wrapped her in a soft, warm hug. Cassandra relaxed into the comforting embrace and squeezed Katalina back. 

“I missed you too, Eco cutey.”

Katalina released Cassandra then glanced down. “Let’s get off this platform. Your boots are getting soaked.”

Cassandra had been far too distracted to notice the dampness creeping into her shoes. “Yes, yes. So they are. Lead the way.”

“Cute plane. Archeology has been good to you, I see.” Katalina bounded ahead of Cassandra.

“You are one to talk. This is a nice yacht, hardly what I would expect of a research vessel. Where did you find the time to drum up all those research grants?” 

Cassandra got a lovely eye full of Katalina’s plump backside. She wasn’t just wearing a tiny bikini. It was a thong. A thin strip of fabric disappearing between her cheeks was all that preserved what little modesty Katalina currently had. Cassandra swallowed her rising heat. 

 “You only need one patron if you find a wealthy one. The Quest belongs to my benefactor, Lars Aphelion. He has a vested interest in my research, but he also likes to travel comfortably. Trust me, when he’s not around, the accommodations are more standard.”

Katalina’s hips swayed as she led the way to the upper deck overlooking Cassandra’s moored plane. The ship had plenty of places to lounge along the railing. The guest areas were dripping with luxuries like a big-screen television and a fully stocked wine bar. 

Despite the opulence, Cassandra was more captivated by the wiggle in Katalina’s nearly bare bottom. The pilot heaved a sigh when her view was cut short. Katalina stretched on one of the couches lining the rear of the ship. 

Cassandra followed suit and sat across from Katalina. The landscape was stunning. The sun was warm, the water was sparkling, and the scenery around them of the island cove was impeccable. Katalina was beautiful, reclined like a plus-sized fashion model.

“I really was glad to hear from you,” Katalina whispered nervously into her own boobs. “Thank you for contacting me. Can I pour you some wine?”

Katalina poured herself a small glass from a hidden cooler beside the seat and sipped it sparingly.

“No, thank you. Do you mind if I smoke?”

“By all means,” Katalina swirled her hand through the air and took another sip of wine.

Cassandra fished in her shorts until she produced a small pipe. She packed it with tobacco from a tin in her shirt pocket. “I remember how obsessed you were with the myths and legends of the Dragon Shoals.” 

She lit the pipe and took a few drags before continuing the thought. “Did you really find a Dragon Shoal gateway, or were you just pulling my leg?”

“Honestly, I don’t know for certain. That is what the locals believe it to be.” 

Nodding thoughtfully, Cassandra continued to smoke and converse. “I wouldn’t get too excited. In my travels, I have found lots of ruins dedicated to the Shoals, but nothing I would call authentic.”

Katalina’s lip quivered a bit. “I’ve been searching for evidence a long time as well. Although, the trail I’ve been following is more biological. The remains of the strangest creatures can be found around ruins. That has to mean something.”

Cassandra realized her cynicism was bringing down the mood. The ruins weren’t the real reason she had answered Katalina’s call, in any case. 

The archeologist took a long puff on her pipe and let the smoke out slowly. “Well, we won’t know for sure until we have a look at it, will we? Were you waiting for me, so we could explore it together?”

Katalina’s grin returned. “I thought it might be nice if we share the discovery. That way, we can both take credit.”

Her smile brought Casandra joy but also a nervous discomfort. Her heart fluttered, and an abrupt group of butterflies erupted in her stomach. 

Katalina’s smile turned to confusion. “What is it, Cass? You have such a sour look on your face all of a sudden. Did I say something wrong?”

“Might as well out with it,” Cassandra smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t just contact you to share archeological finds. I wanted to reconnect with you. I feel like we abruptly ended our friendship five years ago.”

Katalina beamed at her. “I’m just as much to blame, Cass. We have both been too busy to reconnect. I know I wanted to talk about it. I just never quite got up the nerve. If you desire to rekindle our friendship, I would like that too. We can begin right here and make a fresh start.”

Leaning forward, Katalina placed her hand on Cassandra’s knee. Their eyes met, and for a moment, the spark was there again. Cassandra cursed inwardly. In school, Katalina’s science mind had become so obsessed with monster myths of Drasovy that she had left very little time for anything else. That meant a social life was out of the question. Cassandra had been ready to take their friendship to the next level, while Katalina held back. At the time, Cassandra blamed Katalina for becoming obsessed with her research. Now, the pilot acknowledged that she had gotten far too bent out of shape over her slighted feelings.

“Of course, friendship would be nice. I have to tell you, there is a part of me who will always wonder if we could have gone further.” Cassandra fidgeted with a strap on the seat cushion.

Katalina was staring at her bare feet and fiddled with her spectacles. “I think I understand what you mean.”

Footsteps on the stairs leading from below decks interrupted the awkward tension. An awkward and lean man emerged from the lower deck. His dark angular features were a contrast to Katalina’s lively plump character. 

Cassandra tried not to stare at the person who approached, but his appearance was shockingly out of place. The man was dressed in a long grey hoodie over dark cargo pants. His hands were hidden in the deep pockets. 

Shoulder length black locks were tucked haphazardly into the hood. He looked like he was preparing for a rainy winter day instead of enjoying a tropical vacation. With the sunlight fading, he looked like the kind of person who would meet you in an alley and trade secret messages.

“Hello, beautiful ladies.”

His tone came across as both cheap and flirty. His eyes roved over them both but came to rest on Katalina. Gazing over her nearly naked form hungrily, he raked her figure like hot coals.

Katalina cleared her throat and sighed. “Oh, for goodness sake, honey. How can you stand this heat in those heavy clothes? I bought swim trunks. Why aren’t you wearing them?”

The newcomer waved his hands dramatically. “I don’t do shorts, love of my life. I don’t want everyone to see my pasty chicken legs.”

“Cassandra, I would like you to meet my husband, Lucifer.” Katalina stood and sauntered over to the man, leaning against him with affectionate familiarity. He circled her with his arms, which the scientist tolerated for a moment.

“What are you going to do if we go for a swim later.” Katalina chided fondly.

“I shall go au naturale.”

Katalina giggled demurely and twisted out of her husband’s grasp. “Stop touching me. You’re too hot.”

“So are you, my love,” Lucifer responded, pulling her into a rather passionate embrace.

The way they interacted was actually kind of cute. Some of the butterflies in Cassandra’s stomach settled. They were replaced by a couple of stones, weighing her feelings down. Things really had changed for her dear friend. Cassandra felt fortunate that she hadn’t had time to say anything she would regret later, like “I love you” or “Do you want to date me?” Sadly, it looked like she would have to label Katalina as the one that got away.

Lucifer dipped in a theatrical bow. “A pleasure to meet you, Cassandra. By the Trine, Katalina was right about you.”

Still reeling from new developments, Cassandra gave him a puzzled look. “I’m sorry, what was Katalina right about?”

“My wife said you were an absolute knockout. She wasn’t wrong.” 

“Thank you. You are too kind.” A confusing mix of feelings were churning in the pit of Cassandra’s stomach.

“Just an honest observer,” Lucifer chuckled. “To hear her talk, she has a bit of a crush on you. I can’t say I blame her. You have a smoking hot body.”

“Darling, don’t embarrass me in front of our guest,” peeped Katalina, now flushed with a full-body blush. Cassandra had no idea her friend could blush so attractively. The fact that she had retreated behind Lucifer to hide only made her more charming.

“What? It’s the truth. I distinctly remember you telling me.” Lucifer chortled.

Katalina wailed pitifully. “That was a secret, Lucifer. You’re not supposed to go blabbing it around.”

Lucifer lifted Katalina’s face, so he could peer deeply into her eyes. “You know how I feel about secrets, my love.”

Katalina’s face melted into the most adorable pout. “You don’t like them.”

The couple was play-acting and far from distress. The same could not be said for Cassandra. Her heart was breaking, even though she fought to keep her disappointment hidden.

Cassandra was confused and discouraged. Her ego had deflated. Here, she had been entertaining thoughts of a possible steamy rekindling of friendship. Little did she know that the object of her affections had moved on without her.

“Buck up, Cassandra,” she bolstered herself mentally. “Katalina needs a supportive friend, not a needy cry baby.”

Out loud, Cassandra said, “The funny thing is, I am actually the one who had a crush on her when we were in school. She didn’t want anything to do with love.”

Lucifer winked at Katalina. “I can see how you would think that. My little butterfly gets shy when she gets nervous. That makes it hard for her to articulate her feelings. Isn’t that right, honey buns?”

Katalina nodded mutely, watching Cassandra from behind Lucifer’s shoulder.

Lucifer leaned over and kissed his wife on the forehead. “Of course, how could anyone not be head over heels for this adorable rump.” 

Lucifer then gave Katalina a pinch on her bottom that drew her squealing from her hiding place.

Cassandra took a step back, putting some distance between herself and the happy couple. She laughed nervously. “I never got to know her well enough to see it. I guess you did, though. That’s why she married you. How did the two of you meet?”

Lucifer began, “I met my squishy tush after she started working for Aphelion. Katalina was working late one night at their secret facility in Vester. I called up trying to hack into their system.”

Katalina nodded. “He claimed to be the password police.”

Lucifer snorted. “You would be surprised how often that actually works. In any case, she was too smart for me. We started talking, so they could trace my location.”

“We talked for four hours, no luck,” Katalina interjected.

“In that time, we made a connection, and I asked her out. The rest is history. It turns out we had a mutual love of the arcane and mysterious.” Lucifer concluded.

Cassandra listened, her eyes wide with amazement. “That sounds like a… wow, I have so many questions. Was that really a true story?”

Instead of answering any questions, Lucifer asked, “Katalina says you are knowledgeable about the arcane. Are you a believer?”

Cassandra considered her answer. Her future employment with Aphelion might hinge on her response. Finally, she decided to go with her true feelings. After all, she hardly wanted to start things with a lie.

“I believe that the myths and legends had to come from somewhere. I think the cultists who worship the ruins genuinely believe they have some kind of power. However, I have never found evidence that any of these ruins were actually gates that led to a wondrous fantasy land full of magical creatures and arcane energy.”

Lucifer nodded and continued his questioning. “Katalina tells me you have seen a whole slew of gate ruins. What do you believe they are, if not magic stone portals?”

“Probably wishful thinking by the indigenous people. Maybe a shrine to the unknown or attempts to control nature. Perhaps they were just warnings erected to keep kids from exploring dangerous caves. I have also studied some early civilization ruins close by. Many of these out of the way islands show signs that they were once heavily populated. Whole cities were just abandoned overnight, like a trade route drying up. Nobody knows why, but I think it is a mystery worth exploring.”

Lucifer nodded thoughtfully and wrapped his arms around Katalina’s hips. He placed his palm on her bottom and slipped his hand under the thin string of her bikini. Pulling the twine out of her crack, he slipped two fingers between the folds of Katalina’s cheeks. Absently he stroked the silky lining of her pussy, pressing his naughty digits into her delicate folds.

Katalina melted against Lucifer and moaned gently. Cassandra knew she should tear her eyes away from this incredibly intimate display. Instead, she found herself licking her lips and wondering what Lucifer’s fingers would feel like if they similarly penetrated her. Lucifer and Katalina became so fixated with one another that they couldn’t have noticed Cassandra’s distress.

“Great, now you have a crush on them both, stupid.” Cassandra chided herself. Of course, she wouldn’t dream about sharing that information with the married couple currently making out in front of her. Why did things always get complicated?

After a moment, Lucifer released his wife from their impassioned embrace. He gazed fondly down at his wife, straightened her disheveled bathing suit, and patted her bottom.

Turning to Cassandra, Lucifer spoke as if nothing had just happened. “As soon as Lars’s personal assistant returns, we will see what secrets this island holds, Katalina dear, why don’t you show our guest around. Do you still want to follow through with your plans for tonight?”

Katalina nodded. Her skin was still flushed from the amorous encounter with her husband, but she seemed to have recovered her composure. “Yes, dear. I do.” 

Katalina shifted her focus back to Cassandra. “Come along, Cass. I will show you the rest of the ship.”

Cassandra watched her friend, feeling confused, guilty, and extremely horny. The strap of Katalina’s bikini bottom had become displaced to her right cheek.

For a moment, Cassandra became intensely focused on her pipe. The tobacco had stopped smoldering and was cooling in the wooden bowl. With a sigh, Cassandra tamped the pipe and emptied the unused embers into the sea. Resigned, she put the smoking tool in her pocket, then turned to follow Katalina’s delicious rump on a tour of the luxury yacht.

Katalina led her into the depths of the boat. Following meekly, Cassandra did her best to ignore her own uncomfortable silence. The crack of billiard balls echoed through the hall around the two women. Katalina led them even closer to the noise. She brought them to a large community room that looked like an exquisite gentleman’s lounge. 

Deep mahogany shelves lined the walls on either side. A fully stocked bar, complete with an espresso machine, loomed over the farthest window. A view of the island was framed through the window behind the deep wooden shelves. There was a solid dark wooden pool table in the center of the room. That alone would have cost more than Cassandra could make in a year. The opulence surrounding her was borderline criminal. Entire countries could have been fed for months on the wealth in this room alone.

A dark-skinned man was playing pool alone. He wore only a long scarlet silk robe tied loosely around his hip. Occasionally, he paused to take a sip from a wine glass that he was keeping on the table’s lip. Even though he was of average height, he stood tall with impeccable posture. His face was clean-shaven and smooth. His black hair was close-cropped over his beautifully sculpted ears. Cassandra had never seen anyone in her life with such perfectly even ears.

Everything about him said beauty products were an essential part of his manicured appearance. Even his eyelashes were just long enough to dazzle. The man looked up from his solitary leisure and met Cassandra’s eyes dead-on. He showed the barest hint of a smile and offered her a jewel adorned handshake. Cassandra expected his handshake to be firm, and it was, but he didn’t crush her hand. He acknowledged Katalina with a wordless nod but kept his attention focused on Cassandra. His face was intense and drawn like she was a puzzle to be solved.

“My name is Lars, welcome aboard my ship.” His voice was deep and clear.

Katalina smiled at him warmly, “Mister Aphelion, this is my friend Cassandra Lightfeather.”

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Ms. Lightfeather. Katalina speaks highly of your skills. I am eager to work with you. Please, call me Lars. I have been trying to get Katalina to use my given name instead of my full title. Saying Mister Aphelion makes me sound so incredibly old and dull.” 

He gave Cassandra a cheeky wink. She was most pointedly trying not to make eye contact with his hairless chest. Every movement he made threatened to open his loosely tied robe. It was increasingly obvious that this expedition was a young rich man’s flight of fancy.

“Sorry, Lars,” Katalina replied meekly.

“Call me, Cass. If you want to be informal.” 

Cassandra looked around for a moment. Finally, the pilot chose a safe subject to continue the conversation. “How is it possible to play billiards on a rocking ship?”

Lars waved his hand over the pool table. “This is one of Lucifer’s inventions. Some would question the sanity of spending such resources to have a pool table at sea. It is not particularly useful, but it helps to pass the time. Katalina’s husband is a talented engineer and is always looking to hone his skill. She is incredible with her biology as well. I am lucky to have two such diligent scientists serving underneath me.”

Cassandra winced a bit at the strange wording. Was he implying that they were employees, lovers, or both? Katalina’s renewed blush wasn’t helping clear that up. That was probably her own absurd dirty mind filling in gaps.

“Thank you for your kind words, sir.” Katalina turned to address Cassandra. “Lucifer designs incredible machines and robotics. The pool table is gyro-stabilized with magnets, and that isn’t nearly the most amazing thing on The Quest. The whole ship is an automated wonder of engineering. My dear husband is really clever.”

Lars nodded. “She is quite right. The whole ship can be operated by a crew of one. Other than myself, you, and my three employees, we only have Captain Dragon on board currently. I wanted to keep our little expedition to as few people as I could, so not to risk my secrets getting out.”

Cassandra mused, “Why does a rich and powerful man such as yourself have an interest in ancient myths and legends?.”

Lars turned with a flourish that sent his silks flutterning. “I am not so certain they are myths, Cass. Imagine if the stories are real. The company that could claim the potential of such a land could rule the world.” He chuckled softly and sipped his wine.

Cassandra smiled and nodded, pretending she hadn’t noticed her new employer’s megalomaniacal outburst. “I guess I could see the potential. Of course, if all you found was useless rocks, you could entertain yourself with a steamy sexcapade on your pleasure yacht. “

Cassandra waited, letting the suggestion linger between them.

“Of course, if you are as skilled as Katalina suggests, I could offer you a promising position under me.”

“I have to say, the opulence is tempting, but I am an adventurer, not a concubine.” 

Lars gave her a steel glare that turned to a heated smolder. “I will accept any services you feel like offering to me, Cassandra. Either way, you would be handsomely rewarded.”

Cassandra blushed.

Lars waved his hand silently, dismissing the two women. Without any other acknowledgment, he went back to his game of pool. Katalina ushered Cassandra from the room, letting a loud sigh escape from her mouth when they were out of earshot.

When she was sure they were alone, Katalina rounded on the pilot. “Cassandra, I can’t believe you would insinuate that I was sleeping with my boss like that.”

Cassandra lifted her hands to signify her surrender. “Ok, I may have been a little out of line, but can you blame me? He said you were servicing him. Besides, he’s the one who just admitted that he would pay handsomely for sex.”

Katalina scowled, “Even if I chose to sleep with that hot slab of obsidian, that is none of your business. I’m not the angel I used to be in college. I’ll have you know. Besides, he’s from Vester. Sometimes his words get lost in translation.”

Cassandra was adamant, “That was not a translation issue. He knew exactly what he offered me.”

“Come to think about it,” Katalina said thoughtfully, “I have seen his assistant leaving a locked room with him. She was licking her lips like the cat who ate the canary. Do you think they had sex? Do you think he paid her for it?”

“None of that would surprise me,” Cassandra pressed. “He’s already shown he will pay a willing lady for the opportunity.”

“Maybe you should take him up on the offer. A sugar daddy certainly wouldn’t hurt your prospects. Your plane must be in constant need of repairs.”

Cassandra laughed outright. “No, not even for maintenance money. Lars is not my type. For starters, he’s way too flamboyant. He needs a pretty flower to hang off his arm and never overshadow him. It would never work. I’m terrible at lingering in anyone’s shadow.”

Katalina shook her head, “Never mind. You are right. Of course, it would never work out between the two of you. We are almost at the helm. Why don’t I introduce you to my least favorite person on the ship?”

Cassandra followed her friend up to the very top deck of the watercraft.

The steep stairs created another embarrassing situation for Cassandra. Her face was precisely on the same level as Katalina’s jiggling rump. Maybe she should look inward before accusing someone else of turning this into a pleasure yacht.

Finally, they reached the helm.

Among the dazzling display of buttons and switches, the control room contained two things of note. The first was a young woman who looked to be in her early twenties. She was lounging in a tilted seat, with her feet propped on the steering wheel. Her long strawberry blond hair was draped over the back of the pilot’s chair. 

The woman was wearing black leather trousers and a scarlet velvet waistcoat. Could this be the Captain of the ship? The outfit made her look like a court dandy from bygone days. 

The second thing that stood out about the room was an overwhelming smell of rum. That was probably coming from the empty bottle of expensive rum rolling gently back and forth across the floor with the pitch of the ship.

Katalina sighed deeply. “Cassandra, this is Captain Dragon. The most wretched curr in the whole island chain.”

The Captain stood quickly, stumbled in her haste to rise. The smell of rum intensified the nearer she approached. She bowed so low in front of the women that her hand scraped the floor. She stayed that way for a moment before rising and resting her hand on a nearby ledge. 

“Hello, Katalina. You wound me deeply. I was hoping my charms would win you over eventually. You are looking exceptionally delicious in that tiny bit of fabric. Who’s your friend? Is she into threesomes?” 

She oozed towards the pair. Katalina looked ready to slink back down the stairs away from the Captain. Cassandra, however, met the Captain’s gaze directly.

“I am Cassandra, the archeologist. It’s nice to meet you, Captain.”

The Captain looked back at Cassandra with amused eyes. Even though she was clearly inebriated, her eyes were clear, and there was humor about them that spoke of hidden kindness. Cassandra relaxed immediately, thinking perhaps Katalina was misjudging the Captain. That was until those eyes dropped to look over Cassandra’s long exposed legs.

Cassandra was wearing a very short pair of khakis that suited the weather. Apparently, they suited Captain Dragon as well. “Nice to meet those legs. You wouldn’t happen to want to wrap them around a lonely old sea captain, would you?”

“Um. No, thank you.”

The Captain shrugged and relented. “Your loss.”

“Ugh,” Katalina gagged. “I was just showing my friend the ship, Captain. Why don’t you crawl back into your bottle?”

“Meow,” the Captain laughed. “I understand. You two beauties must take your leave of me. I will just have to dream about what could have been.”

“You have quite a tongue on you, Captain,” snorted Cassandra, trying to hold in her mirth for Katalina’s sake.

“My tongue has a reputation among all the islands,” The Captain responded, throwing herself back into her chair and propping her feet up again. In seconds she was softly snoring.

“What a strange woman.” Cassandra mused, flashing Katalina a grimace.

The biologist frowned. “The Captain is an insufferable cad. Unfortunately, she is also the best mariner among the islands. She knows her way through the dangerous shoals. At least she does when she is sober, and there are no women in her crosshairs. She is so easily distractible by anything with tits.”

Katalina led her friend back to their seats on the observation deck at the rear of the ship.

“Despite the Captain’s lewd behavior, she has a point about that bikini. I’ve wanted that tiny string to lose its battle ever since I showed up on this ship.”

Cassandra lapsed into silence when Katalina didn’t respond as they returned to their seats on the rear deck. The two women sat on benches opposite one another. Neither one made eye contact. The silence was punctuated by waves lapping against the hull of the ship. 

The sun was dipping down beyond the island. Tiny stars were dotting the horizon. In the distance, an animal roared. Both women looked out over the gently swelling water toward the island. 

Katalina spoke thoughtfully. “I’ve never heard a sound like that before. Whatever could it be? There will be plenty of time to search for the creature that made it later.”

Katalina stood and walked to stand over Cassandra. The biologist reached behind her back, untying the ties on her top. She lifted the fabric, and her fat breasts tumbled free. Large round nipples hardened on their pink saucers.

“What are you doing,” questioned Cassandra.

Katalina leaned in conspiratorially. “Our feelings aren’t going to take a backseat to science anymore.”

With a flourish, Katalina whisked the outfit over her head. Next, she hooked her fingers in the straps of her bottoms and peeled them down her legs. The fabric fell to the deck.

“Haven’t you always wanted to see me naked?”

Cassandra’s heart was hammering against her rib cage. “Yes,” she whispered and licked dry lips. She could barely make sense of what was happening.

“I’ve always wanted to be naked for you, Cass.” 

Katalina touched her hand to the bare mound of her crotch and the dainty crevice between her legs. 

“I shaved for you,” she offered with a polite giggle.

Cassandra was breathless. She adored Katalina. To see her now, nude and vulnerable, bathed in the evening light, her heart could barely take it. This was the most beautiful thing Cassandra had ever seen. Yet, she knew this wasn’t right.

Katalina, unaware of Cassandra’s misgivings, dropped to her knees and hands and crawled to the pilot. The tips of her breasts brushed the floor. It was a lurid and alluring display. But why now? Why after all this time? As tempted as she was, and Cassandra was extremely tempted, she didn’t want to be a dirty secret. Worse, she didn’t want to be the reason an excellent relationship broke up.

It took every ounce of strength for Cassandra to deny Katalina. With immense regret, she put her hands on her friend’s shoulders and pushed her away. The hurt look in Katalina’s eyes was raw, and Cassandra had to turn her head to hold on to her resolve.

“Don’t you want me?” Confused, Katalina pressed between Cassandra’s legs and reached her hand to Cassandra’s face. “I thought you wanted me.”

“Please, Katalina, stop. I do want you. I have wanted you for a long time, but that doesn’t make any difference now. You’re married. You are someone else’s. I would do almost anything to make you happy, even now, trust me. My affections don’t have many limits, but dishonesty is one of them.”

Katalina’s eyes went wide. “Oh Cassandra, I’m so sorry. I forgot.”

Cassandra raised her eyebrow in confusion. “Did you forget you had a husband?”

A masculine disembodied voice interrupted the heartbreaking scene. “No, Katalina forgot I was hiding in the storage box. Katalina, I’ve been in this cramped compartment forever. You should have told her about me already. My leg is falling asleep.”

Cassandra’s head spun. “What is going on here?”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Shit.” Katalina sat back on her haunches. She looked panicked. Despite the awkward situation, Cassandra still wanted to scoop her up and comfort her. 

“I got too excited. I should have said. Oh, I’ve messed things up, haven’t I.” Katalina began sobbing into her hands.

Cassandra stood and walked to the closet. She opened it, and sure enough, there was Lucifer, Katalina’s husband. She offered him a hand and helped him limp out of the storage container.

Lucifer grinned sheepishly and made a face every time he put weight on his left foot. “This is why I don’t like secrets. My young wife was supposed to tell you that we are in a very open relationship. I would love to watch and maybe help guide her in rekindling your relationship.”

“Let me get this right. You both wanted to get your freak on, and you want to watch me have sex with your wife?”

Lucifer grimaced. “Yes, with your consent, of course. It was Katalina’s idea, but she was too shy to follow through on her own. She has been planning this since the moment she received your message. I was on board from the beginning. I should have realized she could get choked up when the time came to announce my presence. Hiding in the box to surprise you was definitely a bad idea.” 

Katalina touched a hand to Cassandra’s shoulder. “I want to know what it would feel like to press my naked body against yours. I want to taste your sweet pussy juice. You have crept into my thoughts constantly in the last 5 years. That’s probably never going to happen now. I made a horrible mess of things.”

Cassandra chuckled softly, then smiled at her nude friend. “I can forgive you, especially if it was your first time initiating a threesome. I have been thinking about you too.” 

Relief flooded through Cassandra, and she pulled off her flight jacket. The heavy clothing dropped on the couch. Slowly she unbuttoned her shirt. It fell open, releasing her breasts. She shrugged it off of her shoulders. Both husband and wife were staring at her pale bare tits. Neither one made a sound, but Lucifer was licking his lips absently.

“This is what you both wanted, isn’t it? Aren’t we going to make love?” Cassandra asked with a sly grin. 

Slowly Katalina nodded, “Please forgive my fumbles. I still want to make love to you.”

Cassandra knelt to untie her boots and stepped out of them. She unfastened her belt and opened the buttons on her shorts. With a shimmy, the pilot worked her way out of her pants. The pile of clothes joined the bikini on the deck.

Cassandra ran her fingers through the patch of newly revealed red hair at her crotch. She laughed, “I’m afraid I didn’t shave. I wasn’t expecting such an amorous engagement.”

“You are perfect just the way you are,” smiled Katalina. 

Cassandra rushed to her friend. They met in an embrace that sent electric chills down the pilot’s spine. Their lips touched, and their tongues entwined. Katalina’s lips tasted sweet, with a hint of peppermint. Her friend had always been fond of peppermint candies.

Cassandra’s busy hands reached down to cup Katalina’s large rump. Katalina’s hand landed on her own firm butt. Cassandra splayed her fingers over her friend’s jiggling ass and slapped gently. Katalina reacted with a squeal and a wiggle that were most pleasing.

The two women kissed each other with deep sincerity. Their love, which had been restrained, was now pouring through their touch. Neither seemed inclined to break from the bliss they both felt. Cassandra’s hands moved up and down Katalina’s back and finally came to rest in her short hair. She gripped the coils firmly, twining her fingers between petite waves.

Finally, Cassandra pulled her lips away from Katalina’s. She took the zaftig nude’s hand and led her to the soft benches of the ship. With a grin, she guided her friend till she was lying on her back. Her hands traced an imaginary pattern over Katalina’s belly. Trembling digits stretched over Katalina’s full succulent breasts. Cassandra’s touch lingered over engorged nipples on dinner plate areolas.

Cassandra toyed with Katalina’s nipples softly at first. When her friend responded with adorable moans and squeaks, she massaged the melons harder. They felt warm and soft under her deft fingers. It was just the way she had always imagined it would be.

Cassandra pulled back and stood over Katalina. The sexy pilot struck a pose by arching her back and placed her hands behind her head. This caused her own buoyant tits to jut out skyward. She drank the adoring looks of both her dear friend and her friend’s husband. It had been a while since someone had looked at her with such welcomed enthusiasm.

Cassandra removed her friend’s glasses, placing them gently on a side table. The pilot put a knee to the side of Katalina’s head then swung her other leg over. She straddled her friend’s pretty face. Hot, heavy breaths made her shiver. She stretched out over Katalina on the couch and lowered her face to Kat’s crotch. Cassandra’s ruby painted lips hovered over Katalina’s plump mound.

Anticipation was driving her insane, but she wanted to take her time and enjoy these forbidden fruits. Cassandra blew softly onto the smoothly, shaven cleft of Katalina’s pussy. Kat responded with a squeal that made Cassandra’s own pussy quiver. Naughty little goosebumps appeared between the biologist’s thighs.

Gently, Cassandra pulled Katalina’s legs open. Her pussy bloomed pink and glistening with dew. Cass felt her lover nuzzling her tongue into her own inner blossom. She let out a gasp as Katalina’s hot tongue spread her petals. She spasmed as a nimble tongue found her clit. Cassandra had a small but very intense orgasm. 

The pilot cried out loudly. It felt good, but she wanted more. She dove between Kat’s thighs, intent on enjoying the sweet flesh of Katalina’s flower. 

Ravenously, she pressed her tongue into the yielding grasp of Kat’s labia. She spread the young woman until her lips found her clit with a kiss. She sucked and licked the pleasure button causing Katalina to squirm and squeal underneath her. 

Cassandra paused and withdrew her face from Katalina’s sweet pussy, eliciting a muffled moan of disappointment from her prone partner. Cassandra was suddenly aware of a pair of eager eyes roving over both of them. She looked over her shoulder and locked eyes with Katalina’s husband, Lucifer. He was giving her upturned butt and an intense stare.

Lucifer’s pants were down around his ankles. He was fumbling with a rather impressive erection. Katalina hadn’t stopped nibbling and licking Cassandra’s pussy, which may have been clouding her judgment. Despite the distractions from Katalina’s talented tongue, Cassandra made a decision with what she hoped was a clear head. 

“You don’t have to just stand there.” Cassandra patted one of her freckled butt cheeks. If it is ok with your wife, you can join in.”

Lucifer paused like he hadn’t considered the idea. “Well, I was going to just watch. But you do make an attractive display, both of you. Is it alright with you, my love?”

Katalina issued an enthusiastic “Yes,” into the depths of Cassandra’s pussy.

Lucifer wasted no time. He rushed to Cassandra’s bottom, so the redhead lifted her rump slightly. Kat’s nose was no longer pressed into Cass’s vagina, but her lover could still reach her clit with the tip of her tongue. Cassandra returned the favor to her female companion, again pressing her eager mouth to Kat’s pussy. 

As Cassandra greedily nibbled on Katalina, she felt the hot bulb of Lucifer’s dick prodding her mound. 

“Are you sure about this?” he asked.

Cassandra was touched that he was so concerned about her feelings. He really needn’t have worried, though. She was hot and ready for some married couple action. The more she thought about how sexy they both were and how great she felt pressed between them, the hornier she became. 

“Please, I want to feel your hot dick inside of me,” she grunted into Katalina.

Lucifer didn’t need another invitation, and he pushed into her enthusiastically. An electric chill raised up her spine. Cassandra accepted a married man into her depths while his wife writhed under her, moaning in abject pleasure. She had sheathed plenty of dicks in her time, but Lucifer was undoubtedly the tightest fit she had experienced. He began pumping into her slowly while his wife bathed her clit with licks.

Cassandra was in heaven. Her body cried out as she crested from another orgasm. The combination of the night air on her naked body, the thrill of being involved with a couple, and the anticipation of loving her old friend made her extra sensitive. She couldn’t wait to bring her companions to the same levels of ecstasy. 

A persistent electric chill kept traveling up Cassandra’s spine. It was an odd sensation which she expected would dissipate after the first few orgasms. She was too content being a Cassandra sandwich to give it much care. 

It wasn’t until a resounding thump vibrated through the boat that the pilot actually tore her attention away from Katalina’s delicious juices. Two of the three lovers paused amid their coitus. Both Cassandra and Lucifer looked up from their partners. 

The first to voice concern was Lucifer, “Did we hit something?”

“We are anchored. We shouldn’t be able to hit anything,” responded Katalina from between Cassandra’s thighs. Her voice was muffled by the flesh surrounding her face. 

The soft lapping of waves against the yacht’s hull was interrupted by louder splashes. Several loud wet slaps resonated across the deck. They were punctuated by a low menacing gurgle.

The trio quickly worked to untangle themselves. Cassandra tried to climb off of Katalina but wound up tripping on Lucifer’s legs. His dick was still in her despite the sudden fright. He slipped out of her as she tumbled without grace into the floor. With a squeal, Katalina followed her, collapsing on top of the pilot.

Katalina landed on her belly, lying crosswise across Cassandra’s lap. Cassandra was briefly distracted by the plump rump presented to her. She gave it a few gentle slaps making the flesh jiggle. Her pleasant distraction was quickly brought to an end. Beyond the Katalina’s bottom, a dark shape with piercing blue, glowing eyes approached them.

Cassandra let out a sharp cry of alarm. “What is that?”

Everyone turned to look. Lucifer, who was busy stowing his junk back into his pants, looked up and shrieked like a schoolgirl. Suddenly, the lights of the ship flickered and died. They wouldn’t have been able to see anything except the creature was giving off an eerie glow. 

The creature’s body was mostly eel, but a giant one, roughly horse’s size. The other thing that set it apart from typical eels was that its cylindrical body widened in the middle to a fleshy sack that looked more like the head of an octopus. With the octopus head came eight slender appendages that the monster was using to haul itself across the yacht floor.

Clothes forgotten, Cassandra stared at the strange monstrosity in front of her. Her mind was having trouble piecing the parts together. The top half of the creature just didn’t belong with the bottom half. Everyone fell silent with wonder. 

Cassandra broke the silence with a concerned squeak. “Is that a local creature?”

 Katalina picked herself up to stand beside Cassandra. She slipped her glasses back on and watched the creature with an air of scientific curiosity. “I’ve never seen anything like that. Even Drasovian creatures are not that strange. It looks like someone spliced an octopus and an electric eel. Both are natives of the Makawi islands. Although you never find them that large, and they aren’t normally able to crossbreed. This is fascinating.”

Lucifer interrupted, “I hate to disrupt scientific inquiry, my darling, but it is taking a strong interest in us. We should probably run for our lives.”

The beast’s eel face opened with a hiss. The creature’s mouth was lined with rows of tiny, razor-sharp teeth. A pair of tendrils lashed out at the trio. With unified yelps, they jumped clear of the lashing tentacles. 

Cassandra noticed the electric chill in her spine growing stronger as the tentacles flipped and flailed about. Sure enough, on closer inspection, she saw little spark bursts shooting from the end of the tendrils. “Not to alarm anyone, but I believe the creature is electrified. How is that even possible?”

“I believe you are correct,” replied Katalina. “How can the creature safely store the charge? This beast must have some fascinating anatomy. I would love to get a closer look.”

The creature roared in frustration. Having missed the three travelers on the first go-round, it was gearing up for a second swipe. It snapped at Katalina, barely missing her tender pink skin.

“Fascinating, but deadly,” reminded Lucifer. “Darling, you know I encourage all scientific pursuits, but should you go toe to toe with a strange new species in nothing but your adorable glasses?”

“Fuck! Our clothes are still on the damn floor.” 

Even cursing up a storm, Katalina was adorable. Cassandra shook her head, feeling like the luckiest other woman ever.

Cassandra wanted to retrieve her lost clothing, but the animal lunged at her. Its jaws snapped within a hair of her hips. One of the beasts sparking tentacles slapped down over their clothes, burning cigarette shaped holes into the fabric.

“Crap! The creature is going to stay between us and our clothes.” Cassandra was pretty sure she didn’t look nearly as cute as Katalina when she was cursing. 

“Now is no time for modesty, my lovelies. With or without your clothes, we are going to have to fall back. Otherwise, we risk getting singed.” replied Lucifer.

“You are one to talk. You are still fully dressed. This monster seems to have a taste for bare girl flesh. It keeps following me with those beady eyes.” Cassandra scrambled over the couches attempting to put some distance between her and the creature.

“I can’t say I blame it, seeing as how I also have a taste for bare girl flesh.” Lucifer laughed. He struggled out of his hoodie as he dodged a fat tentacle and slipped behind the seat. Underneath, he wore a plain grey t-shirt that said, “curiosity killed the coder.”

Katalina’s white bottom flashed in the air as she, too, dove over the ship seating. She accepted Lucifer’s offered sweatshirt and pulled it down over her naked torso. While she did that, Lucifer had relieved himself of his t-shirt. He tossed the thin fabric to Cassandra with a wry smile.

Catalina accepted the gift graciously, catching it in mid-air. Quickly she shoved herself into the oversized tee. Now that they were clear of the creature and no longer naked, the trio dashed through the dark ship away from the monstrosity. 

“I believe the animal’s charge is disrupting the ships’ electrical systems.” Lucifer panted as he ran. “I really will have to develop a shield for strong electrical impulses in the future. I wish I had the right instruments to read the power surges coming from the creature. They’re probably off the charts if they could completely shut down a ship of this size.” 

“If you aren’t careful, you’re going to be studying it from the inside,” Cassandra shouted. Then she made the mistake of glancing behind. The horror was still pursuing them. Long tentacles spread throughout the deck like writhing vines pushing the bulk of the creature along after them. Terrifying gnashing jaws remind her what it would like to do if it caught them. 

“I have to agree with Lucifer,” squeaked Katalina as she stumbled. “We may have discovered a one of a kind, fascinating specimen. If we are the first to encounter such a creature, it is our duty as scientists to capture and examine it.”

“Less thinking, more running,” Cassandra shouted. “There is going to be no science done if we all get eaten.” 

The dark pathway and constant dodging were taking their toll on Cassandra. She was swifter than the slightly softened scientists, so she did her best to keep them ahead of her, intentionally placing herself between them and the creature. This left her exposed to the crackling energy behind her. Even with the distance, she could feel the creature’s power. The pilot felt a rush of goosebumps on her bare legs as she barely cleared the whip of a tendril with a jump. 

Katalina led the three scientists to the entrance of the ship’s lower decks. With a cry, she collided with Lars, who was emerging from below. He pushed her away and dusted himself off.

“What is going on here?” he blustered. “What happened to the lights? Why is everyone half-dressed? You weren’t having an orgy on the deck of my ship, were you?.”

The shock of running over her boss caused Katalina to stumble back past Cassandra. 

“No time to chat, sir! There’s a Monster!” She cried, careening backward with her arms flailing wildly.

Cassandra realized with sudden dismay that her friend was headed right for the approaching monstrosity. The whip of a tendril was going to smack Katalina squarely in the back. Without thinking, Cassandra sprang forward, knocking her aside and bracing for the sparking tentacle.”

The tendril connected. It struck Cassandra square in the center of her left breast. She expected it to hurt more than it did. Somehow the slime on the creature created a barrier so that she only received a mild shock. The intensity of the shock was not what threw her for a loop. What happened next was what stole her breath away. 

The lightning tingle exploded from where the limb touched, sending tiny electric shockwaves all over her body. Cassandra convulsed as she lost all control of her muscles and crumpled into a quivering ball on the deck. 

Anatomy that had recently been stimulated during her sexual escapade suddenly flooded with pleasure. Cassandra’s whole body was awash with tiny pinpricks, and they caused her body to respond like a shameless hussy. The ultimate betrayal was when her pussy started pulsating in a glorious climax that just kept going.

Cassandra watched helplessly as the jaws of doom approached her. She didn’t have the strength to fight the creature with her body convulsing like a virgin having her first wet dream. Her friends tried to drag her free, but they weren’t fast enough to pull her from the monster’s slimy grasp.

“This crew is under my protection, foul fiend. I won’t have you snacking on them. Time to perish,” a bold female voice commanded the creature. The most gorgeous shaped legs dropped onto the deck from above. Cassandra’s gaze followed the legs up to the source. 

A tall, muscular woman stood over Cassandra, facing the monster down. Her firm bottom was cushioned in a black armored thong. She looked like a fantasy character in distraction armor come to life. The woman’s ebony skin was only a few shades lighter than the armor.

Behind her, long black hair billowed in the soft breeze. She shifted into a fighting stance and aimed a long rifle at the monster.

Cassandra’s hazy mind wanted to say, “Thank you for saving me, beautiful angel,” instead, all that came out was, “butt.”

“Elzebeth! You have returned in the nick of time. Dispatch this monster,” commanded Lars. 

“Oh. This must be the “assistant”. I would definitely pay for a piece of that,” thought Cassandra.

The woman looked at Lars with a smirk on her face, “Sir. What sort of trouble have you conjured up in my absence?” She turned her face to the pilot to address her. “Just stay put, miss. I will deal with this monstrosity. Things could get messy.” 

Their savior turned back to the monster and fired a round of bullets into the creature’s doughy flesh. The shots sank in, but the beast kept advancing.

She wanted to warn the warrior woman to avoid the tentacles to prevent the same fate as she suffered. The only sound she managed was “Talala.”

A set of tentacles lashed at the strange woman. She deflected the attack with the butt end of her rifle. Hair cascaded around her as she moved, the blur of her hands blended with the billow of her raven locks.

The creature paused its attack. It tilted its head to study this new impenetrable barrier. After scrutinizing the warrior, the blended monster decided an all-out attack was the best course of action. It sent eight tentacles at the woman in unison. 

The warrior stood her ground. With a sweep of the rifle, she batted away every tentacle but one. The last tentacle smashed through her defenses. Broken rifle pieces shot out in every direction. The tip of the tentacle struck her hip. It buzzed with painful-looking sparks. 

The warrior woman stared at the offending tendril. At first, she grimaced, betraying the pain she felt. Then, slowly that grimace turned into a smile. “That tingles. You’ve had your go. Now it’s my turn. Does anyone have a weapon I can use?”

“Here, try this,” called Lucifer, tossing the warrior a block of metal, about the size of a brick.

“What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” Asked the warrior, giving the block a quizzical once over. 

Even as she spoke, the block was transforming. In seconds it took the shape of a pair of sturdy looking sabers. An average person would have questioned the strange things occurring around her. This newcomer, however, was definitely no stranger to odd circumstances. She brandished the swords as if she had been using transformative metal all her life and threw herself into an attack against the creature.

Cassandra was both jealous and relieved. She watched a second fantastic feat as the swordswoman leaped through the air and danced along with the waving tendrils. Every time her hip-high boots touched the flesh of the beast, they were met with a spark. 

“Don’t kill it,” shouted Katalina, “That is a rare specimen. I need to study it and find out where it came from.”

“You have got to be kidding me. There’s no way we are going to survive if this thing is still breathing,” Elzebeth answered.

Much to Katalina’s visible disappointment, the warrior did not disengage. When she arrived at the head of the beasts, she struck it with both swords. Cassandra expected a spray of gore, a bloody decapitation. The monster only issued a frustrated squeal as the sword blows knocked against its neck like a butter knife.

“Damn, you are thick-skinned,” cursed Elzebeth. “I wish I had something I could bludgeon you with.”

The metal in the warrior’s hands was already writhing. Before everyone’s eyes, it combined in her hand to form a single giant hammer. Once again, rolling with the absurdities, the warrior brought the hammer down on the creature’s head. Soon she was using her new weapon to pound the beast mercilessly.

The monster was finally backing down. Every blow from the woman pushed it closer to the rail of the ship. The giant eel head bobbed and weaved drunkenly, trying to dodge the heavy strokes.

Elzebeth bent her legs and sprang towards the eel face. Effortlessly, she swung her weapon upward towards the jaw of the monster. The warrior woman’s blow connected with a crack. The animal was launched into the air from the impact. It sailed through the air to land with a resounding splash in the sea. 

The two scientists rushed to the rail of the ship. Both of them whined in dismay as they peered into the water below. They both looked desperately about for signs of the creature. They could barely make out the glowing form of the monster bobbing motionless in the dark. It began sinking, and as it did, the glow sputtered and died. Soon it was lost to the sea.

“Damn it! Now we won’t be able to study it,” griped Katalina.

“You are welcome,” responded the warrior, shaking her head at their display. She turned to Cassandra and offered her hand. “here, let me help you up. My name is Elzebeth.”

“M’m Cashndr,” Cassandra mumbled.

Elzebeth helped Cassandra to her feet. Her body was all tingles from the residue of the electric shock. She stomped her feet and slapped at her arms until it started to subside.

“F…f…fank do,” Cassandra stuttered. “Chuck. Thtill numph.”  

At the sound of her distorted voice, Lucifer and Katalina rushed to Cassandra’s side. Their disappointment at losing their specimen was forgotten. Elzebeth helped her gently to a couch. 

“Oh my goddesses are you alright, Cassandra,” cried Katalina.

“I fink I bill thurvife.” Cassandra tried to shake the remaining tingles out of her limbs. The oddest things gained feeling first. Her crotch and nipples throbbed back to life well before anything else. It was good that it was dark, or everyone would see her blush. 

That was when the ship’s lights came back, and she remembered that she was half-naked.

Elzebeth looked from Cassandra to Katalina with genuine curiosity. “Did the monster catch you during a romantic moment?”

Lars interrupted, “Katalina, Do you think that creature has some connection with the mysterious artifacts we seek?”

“I have certainly never seen a creature like it before,” nodded Katalina. “It could be alien. It certainly was strange…”

“Eelectopus,” blurted out Lucifer.

Everyone turned to Lucifer with concern and curiosity. “What did you just say,” asked Katalina. 

“Whatever its origin, I think we should call it an eelectopus.”

“That name is absolutely absurd, but somehow it fits,” Katalina laughed.

“What the hell is going on,” came a shriek from above. The Captain had popped out of the cabin. Her eyes instantly fell on the compromised women. “Damn, did I miss the orgy?”

Katalina hid her face behind her hair.

Lars stepped between them. “Captain, remain with the ship. Everyone get dressed. I think it is apparent our mysteries won’t wait.”

Happy for his deflection Katalina and Cassandra gathered their clothes. Unfortunately, they were covered in thick sea slime. None of them were usable, and they smelled like brine.

“Elzebeth, prepare the jet skis,” ordered Lars.

“Yes, sir.”

It finally felt like Cassandra’s body was responding correctly to the command. She noticed a strange pink star pattern on her breast where the tentacle struck and a lingering ooze. She wiped away the vile and shuddered. 

“I will get a change of clothes from my plane and meet you on the coast. I feel a foreboding about leaving my plane here, so I will drive it to the beach. “

Just like that, Cassandra’s evening went from a peaceful island-hop to a death-defying adventure. Things were probably only going to get more insane. She certainly hoped she was up for the journey.