Weeks went by and the newcomers settled into life at Otherwhere. Rory came back to the settlement the next morning, tired and more than a little sore but smiling. Colin was a little clingy to her when she got back and she had to sit him down and explain that her feelings for him hadn’t changed. He ‘confessed’ his activities to her and she was, to her chagrin, slightly jealous - as much from the fact that Colin fucked everyone apparently including her two best friends as from the fact that she missed out on what sounded like a HELL of a good time. They had a very long talk and wound up closer than before.
It would have ended in sex but Rory said, “Baby, I can’t,” giggling. “It just plain hurts too much. I need a day or two. How about a blow job?”
She slept the clock around the next day. Colin was a little concerned but Leela assured him it was normal after an energy harvest. Sure enough, she was fine the next day.
Rory talked things out with Astra and Dee as well. They were concerned that she might be upset that they fucked her boyfriend. That conversation ended with the three of them doing their bet to replenish the human settlement’s energy stores so all was well.
Rory took up the study of magic and the Draco with Leela. Dee learned that their supply situation was pretty disorganized and decided to take over there. Astra, true to her name, became very interested in the stars of Otherwhere - she was an astronomy major on earth.
“We aren’t on earth at all,” she said. The constellations aren’t even close to being there. Even if you projected forward or backward millions of years they’re wrong.”
Interesting and vaguely disturbing as that was, Rory didn’t see how that got them any closer to going home, and wasn’t sure if she wanted to go home anyway.
Colin hooked up with some warrior types who formed what the closest thing to a defense the settlement had. He had been into martial arts before they fell through the portal so he started training with them. It’s not like they had much to do, but it was fun and kept him occupied. Even after a brief few weeks she noticed he was getting buffer which was a bonus.
Things were almost idyllic.
“Colin, where’s Rory?” Leela asked, coming up to him while he went through some katas on the practice field. “She didn’t show up for lessons today and that’s not like her.”
Colin grounded the sword he was exercising with and wiped the sweat off his forehead.
“She didn’t?” He said, surprised. “When she wasn’t there this morning, I assumed she had left before I got up. As a matter of fact I haven’t seen her since dinner. She and Astra and Dee were star gazing last night. I fell asleep before they got back.”
“Start gazing?” Leela asked, startled. “On the surface? Are you sure they got back?”
“I…no,” he said slowly. “I mean I assumed that she did but, no.”
“We need to find out. Quickly!”
They questioned everyone, no one had seen any of them since before dinner the prior evening.
“I’ve got a very bad feeling about this,” Leela said.
“Why? What do you think is wrong?” He asked.
“Dee and Astra haven’t been harvested,” Leela said. “They have an entire life’s worth of energy stored up. Yes we’ve taken off some of the extra but they haven’t REALLY been cleared. This makes them stand out like a beacon to entities that want to collect that energy. Like the Others.”
“OK but you said there’s like a barrier to keep them out,” he said, getting concerned.
“No barrier is foolproof and they’re more powerful at night. Their connection with death makes them have an affinity for the dark just as we do the light.”
Colin was very upset, “OK but we need to do something! Now!”
“I’ll contact the Draco,” she said. “And…”
“Nevermind, I’ll do it myself!” He said, sprinting for the corridors to the surface.
“Colin! Wait!” Leela yelled after him.
Colin ran all the way to the surface, coming out into the light he ran to the large bell used to summon the Draco.
“Draco!!” He yelled, pounding on the bell with all his strength. “Draco! Come on you scaly fuckers, where are you!”
A large Draco appeared over the horizon and quickly sped towards him, It landed, screeched loudly and then shimmered, turning into a large, green, naked man.
“What do you want, human? Why have you summoned me?” He asked without sound. Colin heard his voice as a deep bass that almost rumbled.
“You’re not the guy,” Colin said, shaking his head. “Where’s the red guy?”
“Why do you care?” Greenie asked. “What’s your business with him?”
“None…” Colin took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. “A mutual…friend of ours is missing and we think The Others might be involved. I need…I need his help.”
After a brief moment, the green Draco said, “He is on his way.”
Another shape appeared over the horizon and sped towards them.
“He comes, I’ll leave you now. Good luck human. I’m sorry for your friend. If the Others do have her, that’s bad indeed.”
The green Draco turned back into its dragon form and sped off. The two called to each other as they passed and the smaller, reddish Draco landed near Colin, shimmered and the being Rory called Rock appeared.
“Hello,” he said, nodding his head fractionally towards Colin. “You summoned me?”
“Rory is missing,” Colin said, frowning.
“Rory?” The Draco asked, confused.
Colin gritted his teeth. “You call her flower.”
“Ah!” The Draco said brightening for a moment but then looking concerned. “What do you mean ‘missing’?”
“She and her two friends Dee and Astra were stargazing last night on the surface. They didn’t come back. Leela thinks it may have been the others.”
“Star gazing?” The Draco rubbed his chin, thinking. “Last night? It’s dangerous to be on the surface at night.”
“So I understand. Can you put some freaking clothes on? Why do you have to be so damned naked?” Colin asked, looking away from the Draco.
“Why do you insist on wearing clothing?” He responded, amused. “Do we know each other?”
“I’m a…friend of Rory’s.” He said.
“Ah! You are Colin!” He said smiling. “She talked a lot about you.”
Colin started to get angry and took a deep shuddering breath, counting to twenty in his head.
“Why are you angry with me Colin?” The Draco asked, noticing his mental state. “I’ve done nothing to you. May I touch your mind?”
“Touch my what?” Colin asked.
“Read your…emotions.” The Draco said. “We are not communicating clearly and if the Others have taken Flower and her friends we need to move quickly. It will save time.”
“Fine. Just hurry up.”
Colin felt what amounted to a touch but all over, inside and out. He sensed images in the background of the Draco and Rory. Images he’d really rather not have in his head. He didn’t think the Draco was sending them to him, it felt more like spill over but he gritted his teeth.
“Ah,” The Draco said finally. “I understand. Colin, I am not a rival for your mate. I am not human.”
“I know that,” Colin ground out. “Look, intellectually I know all that and I’m, I guess, OK with it but I’m not in a very good place right now, ya know?”
“I understand. I care for her too. Rory. I won’t call her Flower to you, I meant no insult. I won’t say that I will not harvest her again, because I will and I will enjoy doing so, but she loves you, and you seem a worthy being for her love to me so I would have us not be enemies.”
“Christ, do you have to be so FUCKING nice?” Colin shouted, throwing his hands up in the air.
“You’ve given me no reason NOT to be nice Colin,” the Draco said with a smile. Colin got the distinct impression the creature was teasing him now. Just a little.
“Jesus,” he muttered. Then more loudly asked, “Well what’s your name. I can’t call you Draco.”
“Rory calls me Rock,” he replied. “You may do so as well.”
“Of course she does,” Colin said, looking him over. “Yeah. No. I can’t call you that. How about Red?”
“That would be acceptable,” Red replied with a slight quirk of his mouth that may have been a smile.
“OK so what next?” Colin asked.
“I sent a query back to the nest,” Red said, “while we were talking. There was an Other incursion over the barrier last night. It wasn’t close to us, but it wasn’t far either. It is possible they have her.”
“So what do we do?”
“We go get them back.”