Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght(3)By: Cathryn Cade
“Perhaps she is one of those who prefer…coercion,” the Indigon said with a disdainful flare of his nostrils.
The captain rubbed his hand over his reddening face. “Uh…no. She is actually a Tygean herself, so she understands the situation.”
“Ah, one of his own kind. In that case, she would seem to be ideally suited for the purpose,” said the Indigon coolly. “I vote that we use her. Any dissenters?”
The crew leaders looked at each other. No one made a negative motion, although Mra’s hair curled anxiously around her neck.
“I’ll wish to ascertain that my crew member is safe,” she insisted. “Fellura may be a Tygean, but she is a young one.”
“I agree.” The captain nodded. “She’s been awaiting our decision, and is ready to enter the arboretum now. That is where Commander Jag is holed up. The holovid, please.”
The team turned their attention to the center of the table as the Indigon pressed a button on the command console, and a hologram of the ship’s arboretum sprang to life.
The owners of the newer space transports had found that crew members, especially those from the verdant planets, remained in much better spirits, and thus more productive on the long voyages into the cold outer reaches of space, if they had a shipboard retreat that simulated nature.
Logan Stark had taken this a step further in his new space cruise ship.
The Orion’s arboretum was the size of a ballroom, built into the top deck of the huge ship, with a clear roof so that the constellations, moons and suns could be viewed. Self-supporting, with recirculating water, and temperature and humidity control, it resembled a Pangaean rainforest. The soothing sounds of breezes rustling in the trees, the occasional birdcall, and the waterfall splashing into the pond filled the humid air.
As they watched, a young woman stepped into the clearing by the pond. She carried a small duffle bag and wore the Orion’s signature grey flight suit with the symbol of her job, a hand held up in greeting.
She was of medium height, with dark auburn hair that waved about her head and shoulders, a fit, toned body, and the pale golden skin and golden brown eyes that were peculiar to the Tygean race.
Just now her face was pale with nerves under her cosmetics, and her large, slightly slanted eyes were wide.
Another scream echoed through the quiet arboretum, and she braced herself visibly, dropping her duffel bag to wipe her palms on the legs of her flight suit.
The crew leaders watched, fascinated, as the shrubbery behind her rustled violently, and then parted. Another cry, this one a deep warning snarl, and the Tyger stepped into view behind her.
Someone gasped. Tryon Jag was now male rampant, in the glory of his prime. Tall, with broad shoulders, powerful arms and legs, his human body had undergone the enhancements of his Tyger mating shift.
His handsome face, with slanting eyes and prominent brow, cheek and jawbones, was now catlike in its intensity and character. His pupils had narrowed and crystallized like those of a big cat, and his nose was slightly flattened, nostrils flared, lips narrowed and curved. He was man, and yet Tyger.
The hair on his head was dark gold, short and slightly wavy. Now it was joined from head to toe in a fine golden dusting of hair that swirled sleekly over his golden skin, accentuating every powerful muscle. His huge hands, flexing at his sides, bore short, curving claws where his fingernails had been.
He wore not a stitch of clothing. And from between his narrow hips rose an erect cock so impressive that even the Serpentian drew in a hiss of appreciation.
The Tyger snarled again, a deep, guttural sound of command, his narrow lips drawing back to reveal lethal incisors.
The young woman hesitated, then dropped to her knees and bent her head in a posture of complete submission. Her hair swung forward to conceal her expression from the camera, but her hands were clenched into nervous fists.
“All right, that’s enough,” the captain snapped. “Close the link.”
The holovid winked out, and the crew leaders sat for a moment. The captain’s lean face was once again red. Someone cleared their throat.
“Well,” the Serpentian drawled, “we know one couple who will be having a good time tonight.”
Mra’s hair flipped up with distaste. “That’s disgusting, Sirena. She is a brave young woman who is sacrificing herself for the well-being of her ship and crew. I’m very concerned for her.”