“Wait for me!” Adam’s plaintive wail was caught by a sudden gust of wind and slammed into the bus shelter along with what was left of the free daily newspapers. The wind had collected the papers which had been so carelessly discarded around Aldgate bus station and was playing games with them. Adam cursed as a cyclone of newsprint swept over him as he ran but was utterly astonished when the 42 bus came to a halt.
If Adam had taken the time to ponder the way the bus had stopped, he might have compared it to an object obeying the law of physics regarding hitting immovable objects. The bus went from rapid acceleration to stationary without passing through any of the accepted phases of slowing down; there was no screeching of brakes or squealing of tyres; there was no juddering, or hissing of escaping gases.
It just stopped.
Despite this instant cessation, there were no ill effects on the occupants of the bus. The fact that there were no ill effects was of course due to the advanced inertial damping field which had been installed on the old AEC Routemaster. Of all the buses purportedly servicing the 42 route towards Denmark Hill on this blustery Thursday night in London, only this bus was fitted with such state of the art equipment.
Further pieces of state of the art equipment meant there were other oddities about this particular 42 bus; oddities which failed to register with Adam as he pegged it up the pavement and jumped aboard. Of the odd things which Adam failed to notice, amongst the most odd were the wheels. Two facts about the wheels stood out as being particularly odd to even a casual observer. Firstly, as the bus pulled away, unlike the bus of the famous children’s song, the wheels failed to round and round.
If a casual observer had noticed point one, further, less casual, investigations would have revealed another unusual fact about the AEC Routemaster’s wheels. An experiment with a simple piece of paper, many of which were freely available in and around Aldgate bus station, would have revealed that the wheels were in no way touching the tarmac underneath them. A further experiment involving three additional pieces of newspaper would have revealed that no part of the bus was touching any part of the ground.
This fact, for most investigators, would classify as being ‘odd’.
Impossible though the conclusion of this experiment may have been, the bus was in fact floating. Or possibly flying, depending on your dictionary’s definitions.
The inescapable further conclusion was that this was no ordinary bus and goes some way towards explaining what happened next. As the bus accelerated, a fissure opened in the fabric of time and space. This new gap in London’s reality was the exact height and width of a double decker bus and stayed open for the exact amount of time needed for an object the length of an AEC Routemaster to pass through at something very close to the speed of light – roughly 0.000000028 th second.
Nothing was left behind. No noise; no light; no hole. It was as though the number 42 bus had never existed.
In fact, two additional oddities had been left behind. There was a digital photograph taken by a speed camera on Mansell Street which would have had scientists scratching their collective heads for years to come.
Not that there were any years to come, for the second oddity left in the empty paper recycling bin at Aldgate bus station was a guaranteed-Planet-Killer-or-your money-back bomb. The countdown on which had just reached zero.
The resulting explosion was quite spectacular, had the observer been far enough away to appreciate it.
There was absolutely no question that anyone would be asking for a refund. *****
“One to the Bricklayer’s Arms, please,” Adam said, feeling pleased that he had managed to find the exact change. Adam instinctively accepted the silence as the bus got underway; these new ‘Green’ buses with the hybrid engines were a bit weird at first, but you soon got used to them. They really did seem to be flying though, judging by the streaks of light outside the windows.
“That was too fucking close, man. I mean, man. Two fucking seconds. If that!” Adam peered at the bus driver’s name badge. Shorke. It was an odd name on a very odd badge.
“One to the Bricklayer’s Arms, please,” Adam repeated.
“I mean, what a time to stall! Wham-O!” Shorke emphasized the sound by letting go of the steering wheel to punch his open hand.
“Bricklayer’s Arms,” Adam repeated, ignoring the mutterings. What did Adam care if the bus was two seconds late? He was more worried that the driver wasn’t holding the steering wheel or looking out of the window.
“What the fuck is he talking about, Anes?” Shorke asked having worked himself into a sudden rage.
“It looks like he’s trying to give you money. I think he might be trying to buy a ticket.” Adam turned to look at the woman standing beside him and found himself pressing himself against the wall. He tried to relax. There was obviously an ultraviolet black light hidden somewhere in the bus’ ceiling which was reacting with the woman’s make-up. The soft purple glow was quite attractive in a way.
“A ticket? The only tickets I got are speeding tickets, baby,” Shorke boasted.
“I don’t think I’ll ever understand the need to bare your bottom when passing speed cameras. It’s not as though the picture will ever come out on something so primitive. It’ll just be a long pink streak.”
“They only get the long pink streak if I turn round, baby.”
“Someone pass me the puke pail, please.” Adam frowned as Anes shook her head, turning her hair into a luminous rainbow of colour. Must be some fancy new shampoo and conditioner, Adam thought.
“That’s what all the girls say after they’ve tried to deep throat me, baby,” Shorke goaded. He grinned happily at his own joke.
“Funny that. Most of the girls who know you tend to want to stick something down your
throat,” Anes retorted.
“I think I know the kind of ‘girls’ we’re talking about here… and although I haven’t tried it, I wouldn’t say ‘no’ necessarily.” Shorke nodded as his imagination ran off into a happy place but at least he was now looking out of the window. Of course, Adam would have been happier had he been holding the steering wheel as well.
“The kind of girls I’m taking about are the ones with easy access to explosives. Or poison. Or even concrete,” Anes said, turning away to go and take a seat, leaving Adam with the driver.
Shorke nodded at the final insult. Anes was too quick for him. There were easier targets. Much easier targets. “So where was it you wanted to go to, mate?”
“I… ah,” Shorke pressed a couple of buttons, making a show of trying to extract a ticket from the machine. It was more in hope than anything else but he needed a real ticket to use the cutting joke he had just come up with. “There we are; one ticket to…” A bolt of blue electricity arced into Shorke’s hand and exited through the top of his head. The cabin fizzed and popped for several seconds and was illuminated by the internal lightning show.
“Are you OK?” Adam asked, horrified by the vision before him. Adam’s parents had always told him that people shouldn’t smoke. Various parts of the driver would have made his parents deeply unhappy.
Other than the sweet smell of toasted flesh, it didn’t seem to have had much effect on Shorke. “There’s a funny smell in here all of a sudden,” Shorke said, suddenly remembering the first part of his joke.
“I… erm… think that might be you,” Adam postulated, even though he wasn’t the type of person who felt comfortable making postulations.
“And I,” another voice interjected. Something large and heavy tangled Adam’S legs and pressed him onto the floor. Adam tried to swallow but found that any movement in his throat was blocked by the hilt of the enormous knife being held against his windpipe.
Adam had never seen a blade like it – he could see right through it; only the edges of the weapon were defined and those only by the way they bent the light coming from behind it. “I say that you’re the one what smells funny.” The man was wearing a hideous mask, although it must have been expensive since the nostrils flared impressively as air was sucked in. The mask twisted perfectly as the man cocked his heavy head to the side.
“You’re one of them, ain’t ya? One of them… humans.” Something horrible cracked in the being’s neck and his head jolted down. “Ouch!” he said, clutching at the thick root of his neck. “Oooh fuck.”
“Oh dear,” Adam said, wiping at the fluid spaying over his face and chest. “You appear to have… cut yourself quite badly.”
“Oooh, I’m feeling a bit light headed all of a sudden.” Adam helped steady the being as they both got to their feet. The head looked enormously heavy and it was still leaking hydraulic fluid through stubby fingers.
“Let go of him or I’ll blow your brains out.” The knife might have been so fake that Adam hadn’t been afraid but the long cylinder currently pointed at his head was definitely a gun. Adam’s body tried to screw itself up like a spider caught in a rain shower while simultaneously obeying the demand.
“No! Don’t let go of me!” The leaking being wailed.
“Put that thing away,” Shorke bellowed angrily from the driver’s cab. “You’ll blow the fucking side off the fucking bus if you use that in here.”
“So? You’ll kill us is fucking ‘so’! You know, as bodyguards go, you two are fucking shit. You can’t even look after your own bodies, let alone try and protect Black Lung. Why don’t you take your mate to the infirmary? I’ll deal with the human.” The two beings limped off. The limping seemed rather exaggerated given that only one of them was wounded and that was a puncture wound to the neck – but then, bodyguards like to be seen to earning their money.
Adam watched them go and as he did, he noticed something odd. Taking a step forward, he peered out of the window. Nothing Adam could see made any sense. It was as though a purple fog had descended and everybody had switched off their lights. Squarish blocks of darkness occasionally blotted out the purple and the effect of this was to indicate movement at a speed which was quite simply impossible. “This doesn’t look like Tower Bridge Road,” Adam concluded. “In fact, it doesn’t look familiar at all.”
“Well, it wouldn’t do, would it?” Adam had taken the 42 bus most days since he’d moved to London. His eyes stared until his brain started to hurt from the effort of trying to make sense of what his eyes were reporting.
“Why wouldn’t it look familiar?” Adam was beginning to have a bad feeling. Something was very, very odd here.
“Well, I’m thinking that you being a human, you probably haven’t been in Daemon Space before.”
“Daemon Space?” Adam asked, the bad feeling coalescing into some tangible. Ice blocks maybe, sliding from his stomach into his bowel. “What exactly is Daemon Space?”
“Well, it’s the realm of the Daemons and we’re using it to take a shortcut from what’s left of your planet to what’s left of mine.”
“Really?” Adam asked, in the special tone reserved for talking to small children and ancient relatives. Adam’s eyes hunted for something, anything to help him escape from this crazy charabanc.
There was a button to ring the bell. Adam decided that he would rather walk than continue with the weirdness. “This is my stop,” he said, with his best apologetic ‘I wish I could stay and listen. I am truly fascinated’ expression. He pressed the button and the bell rang. A sign lit up to inform that the bus was ‘Stopping’.
“Next stop is the Bus Station, mate,” Shorke said gleefully.
“What? The 42 isn’t an express you know. Just… let me out here. Please. I’ve… got the wrong bus. That’s it! Definitely the wrong bus.”
“Oh no, mate. You got the right bus. In fact you got the only bus. Why don’t you just sit yourself down and try to enjoy the ride.” Adam gave up and did as he was told. It’d have to stop somewhere and he’d just have to work out how to get back to the Bricklayer’s Arms from there.
As far as buses went, it wasn’t bad. Aside from the spray of hydraulic fluid drying on the floor, it was clean and comfortable. And aside from not being allowed off and the strange view out of the window, there was nothing to worry about.
Except being attacked by someone wearing an expensive mask who had stabbed himself in the neck with an invisible blade. And the woman who glowed with iridescent colours.
Adam tried looking out of the window again. The fog was almost as thick as it had been before but occasionally Adam’s eyes picked up something at the corners of his vision. He tried glancing sharply left and right but only succeeded in making himself feel sick. Sqquuueeaaaak
The purple squarish blocks of darkness condensed into an obsidian blanket studded with unfamiliar stars. Since Adam lived in London, all stars were unfamiliar to him and he was in no way perturbed by what he could see. Due to his experience of an entirely planet-bound life, Adam only peered up into what he presumed was the sky. Had he looked in any other direction, he would have been extremely perturbed to find that the obsidian blanket stretched unendingly in every direction.
An unknown ripple of something alerted Adam’s body to an extreme change. Speed? Direction? He couldn’t tell. All he knew was that his body had tensed in expectation of something. Lurch.
Adam’s stomach momentarily left his body and when it came back it reported the cause as an enormous deceleration. “Did we just crash into something?”
“Crash? I should think not…” Shorke yanked hard on the wheel, making the Routemaster groan with the effort of fighting its own interia. Adam felt nothing as the stars swam but his brain knew that he should have done. Adam’s stomach seemed to be aware of something that his brain wasn’t. Movement. He suddenly felt extremely sick.
“Anyone got a bucket?”
“What was that?” Black Lung asked, hammering down the length of the bus.
“Fucking cyclist in the bus lane,” Shorke reported.
“Cyclist? A cyclist couldn’t get this deep into space on its own,” Black Lung said.
“Yeah, he must have gotten lost, been part of a peloton or something,” Shorke agreed.
“Well, he ain’t going to be around long if he keeps riding like that!” The driver’s cab went quiet. Anes got up from her seat and went to look out of the driver’s window. Adam decided that he might feel better if he went to see where they were going, although he couldn’t see much over the other bodies.
“Look at him. He’s heading for that small moon,” Anes said, breaking what had become an uncomfortable silence.
“That’s no moon. It’s a bus station,” Shorke reported.
“The bus station? Already?” Adam shrieked. “I only wanted to go as far as the Bricklayer’s Arms.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Black Lung asked, looking at Adam for the first time. “Who is this guy anyway and what’s he doing on my bus?”
“He’s only the last human,” Shorke reported.
“What do you mean ‘last human’?” Adam queried.
“What do you mean last human?” Black Lung mocked.
“What he means,” Shorke said, taking obvious delight in mocking such a poor stupid creature. “Is that he killed all the other humans. And before you ask ‘how’, he killed them all by blowing up the planet.”
“You blew up the planet?”
“Why not?” Black Lung asked, chewing on the root of a nasty-looking cigar.
“It was my home,” Adam replied.
“Oh, boo-hoo,” Black Lung mocked. “The nasty man blew up my planet, boo-hoo.”
“This bus. It’s a spaceship, isn’t it?” All the faces turned to look at Adam.
“Do you see any fucking water?”
“No,” Adam admitted.
“Then why would you think it was a ‘ship’?”
“I… erm?” Adam tried to think of something intelligent to say. “What’s it called?”
is called Century Hawk
,” Black Lung replied. The cabin went quiet again.
“Is it bigger on the inside than it is on the outside?” Adam asked.
Black Lung closed one eye, as if trying to concentrate on something inside his head. He tried rearranging the words but they still didn’t make any sense to him. “No. The only place where something appears bigger on the inside than it does on the outside is in adverts for real estate and that’s because them advertisers are paid to be lying bastards.” Black Lung started chewing on his cigar with increased enthusiasm, as if trying to work out a major annoyance. “You’re not in advertising are you?”
“No, no… no. I’m… an investment banker,” Adam said, apologetically. Bankers were worse than advertised in most eyes. Adam cast his eyes down, which was a shame as had he continued looking out of the window, he would have been treated to his first view of the bus station. The kilometres wide stretch of metal rolling lazily against a canvas of star-encrusted black made an impressive sight.
“Got any good investments?” Black Lung asked with renewed menace.
“Probably not anything left now,” Adam murmured, as the bus synchronised itself with an opening on the dull, pitted surface below. A short burst of acceleration pushed the bus through the opening into an abyss-like cavern. “Look at the size of this thing,” Anes said, her voice awed.
“Good, innit?” Shorke said. “I love it here. Kinda like home since they blew up my planet.”
All types of buses were moored for as far as Adam’s disbelieving eyes could see. There were rows of vehicles with spindly maintenance gantries stretching out to their access hatches; buses lumbered in a constant flow with smaller vehicles buzzing round, offering untold services.
“So, what you’re saying is that you’re broke?” Black Lung asked, unfazed by the activity surrounding the bus. Adam shrugged. “May as well just shove you out the door now, save on the air you’re breathing. Expensive stuff, air.” Adam twisted his neck to find Black Lung’s mouth twisted into a smile around the root of his cigar.
“Don’t listen to old Black. He’s just joshing with you,” Anes said, trying to mollify Adam before turning back to the bus’ window. “You’re way too valuable to jettison,” she added sotto voce
Adam was wide eyed as they took a skimmer to the Centre, manoeuvring along wide ‘streets’ between rearing buildings housing various offices and storage banks, personnel dormitories and recreational areas, shops and other services.
Adam tried to wake up. He pinched himself, slapped himself but eventually gave in and decided to go along with what appeared to be his new reality. He started by trying to unravel what he was seeing but looked in every direction without any real comprehension of what he was seeing. Eventually the skimmer nosed into a vacant parking spot and the engine sighed into silence.
“We’re here,” Black Lung announced.
“You reckon they’ll give us a good price?”
“I reckon they’ll give me the best price,” Black Lung corrected. “This is my kind of place.” Anes didn’t like the look of the neighbourhood but was impressed when they were buzzed through a small lobby and into a sparkling gallery which seemed to have the aesthetics of an operating theatre.
Shorke whistled. Two floors had been combined, the upper one having been converted into a balcony that ran around the gallery. Stark white walls reflected the light while the dark floor sparkled. It had the feel of an inner sanctum.
“It’s a bit sparce,” Anes observed.
“This place is tactical genius,” Shorke replied. “The blank features down here offer no cover. A small defending force up there could chew you to bits.” Shorke looked up and wasn’t surprised to find a small defending force already in place.
“Quite.” Every face turned towards the pale, slender humanoid that had entered unnoticed. “Although I’m hoping that there will be no need for unpleasantness today.”
“We’ve got something you might be interested in,” Black Lung said. Mild curiosity showed on the humanoid’s face.
“Really? May I enquire as to what?” Black Lung nodded across to Adam.
“We thought you might be interested in this. Him being the last human and all.”
“The last human? What happened to the rest of them?” the humanoid asked.
“An unfortunate accident befell their planet.” Black Lung winked as he shifted his soggy cigar from one side of his mouth to the other. “We were thinking that their misfortune might result in us getting a good price… for a few samples.” The being peered at Adam, looking him up and down as a butcher might when assessing a megacow grazing in a starfield.
“We would certainly be interested in a couple of samples to add to our collection.”
Adam swallowed. “Samples?”
“Just the usual stuff: blood, sperm - that kind of thing. A couple of needles and you’ll be able to pay your way back onto the bus,” Black Lung said, clasping a heavy hand onto Adam’s shoulder. “What are the options?” Black Lung asked. Adam thought he was being addressed but the question had been directed at the humanoid.
“A couple of needles?” he muttered.
“Well, we wouldn’t use the same needle, Sir,” the humanoid schmoozed. “Contaminated samples can cause major problems, particularly for unusual species.”
“But why do you need to use a needle to collect my sperm?” Adam asked, genuinely alarmed. “At home they just give you a jar, a mucky magazine and a bit of privacy.”
“Yeah. I’m not sure it works like that in here. They’re heartless bastards,” Shorke teased.
“Thank you, Sir.”
“No-one likes to see a man enjoying himself unnecessarily,” Shorke added, directing the barbed comment at Anes.
“We offer a range of extraction methods,” the humanoid informed.
“Such as?” Black Lung asked.
“We usually stick to the basic PESA and TESE.”
“Pisa and teasy?”
“PESA: Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration, which is where we insert a needle through the scrotum into the epididymis and aspirate the sperm. TESE: which is where the needle is stuck directly into the testis.” Even Black Lung had gone a noticeable whiter shade at this information. “Or we could try and dig out EVIE.” A ripple of amusement passed over the humanoid’s face.
“What’s an EVIE?” Adam asked.
“A robot we use for collecting samples.” Adam shivered.
“I really don’t need any help. I don’t even need a magazine,” Adam offered, desperately. “Just give me a jar and a couple of minutes and I’ll give you a sample I’m sure you’ll be happy with.”
Black Lung sneered. “Come-on. Call this EVIE out, it should be good for a laugh.”
“No!” Adam cried. “I can manage on my own, really I can. It’s no bother. There’s no need to call the robot down.” Adam had seen the films. He knew what robots were capable of and wanted to keep the contents of his underpants as far away as possible. He watched with horror an elevator ran up to the floor above, opened its doors to collect something before making a rapid descent.
“I don’t need any help at all!” Adam cried, shrinking away from the opening doors. He found himself grabbing the alien humanoid by its lapels. “OK, OK my mistake,” he said, backing away with the barrel of an enormous gun pressed against the centre of his forehead. He hadn’t even noticed the guards, let alone their guns.
“Are you sure that you don’t need me to help?” The voice was so soft and alluring that it stopped Adam’s retreat. His head turned away from the weapon and although it was pressed into his ear, Adam no longer cared. A young woman was standing in front of the opened doors of the elevator and everything about her had been lifted directly from his imagination.
Adam’s throat was suddenly dry for no reason other than he was looking at the most attractive woman he’d ever seen. Admittedly, she looked decidedly damaged; a girl down on her luck who’d made some bad choices but Adam saw through the tangled mess of dry blonde frizz with darker, greasy strands falling down onto the too-large clothes. The clothes were so large that they looked in danger of falling off the delicate frame if she took another step.
Adam snapped his mouth shut, realising that he had actually licked his lips. “You… don’t look like a robot,” Adam stammered through a frenzy of excited hormones. She looked like the kind of girl whose reflection Adam would have stared at in the window of the bus home and followed up by masturbating about for weeks on end about how his life could have been had some miracle taken place… such as they being the only two people left on Earth. It would have never occurred to Adam to actually talk to her.
“I don’t feel like a robot,” EVIE replied.
“It’s programmed to feel exactly like a woman – only there’s something wrong with it, so we built another one and sent that off instead.” Adam saw what appeared to be hurt behind EVIE’s eyes.
Black Lung strode up to EVIE and started prodding and poking. “What’s wrong with it?” Adam felt something welling up inside him as Black Lung squeezed EVIE’s tits.
“Loads of minor things, which we corrected in the upgraded version. Aside from the obvious physical imperfections, it’s emotionally fucked.”
“You shouldn’t talk about someone like that,” Adam protested.
“It’s not a someone, pal. It’s a fucking robot. And once we finish with you, she’ll probably be for the incinerator along with all the other worthless crap.” Shorke looked pleased with the comment.
“You’re going to kill her?”
“It’s not really alive now,” the humanoid said. “And if you really are the last human, I can’t see any point in keeping it in stock.”
“She looks alive to me,” Adam said.
“You’re the last human, mate. You don’t need to worry about fucking robots. Just let the nice man get your genetic details stored away and we can fuck off while he turns EVIE here into smoke.” Shorke was enjoying winding Adam up. He didn’t seem to be able to defend himself in the way Anes could.
“And she’s smoke?” Adam looked around the faces. None of them held the slightest compassion. Even Anes was wearing a hard expression and despite her colourful complexion, Adam thought of her as being the most human. Didn’t any of them have an empathy?
“It’s just a tool, Adam. It’s not a person. It does a job like any other utensil,” Anes said.
“I’ve never seen a utensil cry before,” Adam snarled.
“I can kill them both right now, if you want,” the guard offered impatiently. “We can always stick the testicles into storage.”
“It’s OK, Adam,” EVIE said. The mellifluous tone wanted to sooth but Adam didn’t let it.
“No, it’s not. They’re going to kill us!”
“It’s going to be OK,” EVIE said again. This time her voice seemed to penetrate Adam. It soothed him. Calmed him.
When his eyes followed the tracks of EVIE’s tears upward, he saw something in her eyes. Determination. He believed her. It was going to be OK.
He took a deep breath. “That’s lucky for you guys,” Adam said, turning towards the guards. “I was just getting ready to kick some ass.” The guard scowled and unfurled a shock stick. The stick crackled with energy as he pointed it menacingly towards Adam’s face.
“Don’t,” the technician warned. “Not until he’s given us his sample.” The guard bowed his head, never once taking his eyes off Adam.
“After you’ve had your fun with that,” he said, nodding towards EVIE. “You and I are going to have a little fun of our own.”
“Let me guess,” Adam retorted. “You want me to shove that stick right up your arse while I wank you off?” The guard didn’t move but every feature on his face flared as Black Lung roared with laughter.
“See?” Black Lung asked joyously. “The boy’s full of spunk.” For a moment Adam thought the guard was going to give in to his desire to kill him but the moment passed.
“Yes, well,” the humanoid technician said, stepping forward, exerting the tenuous authority his lab coat exerted over the enormous black body armour of the guards. “If you’d like to follow me?” Adam looked at EVIE. Her face was a picture of shock – her watery eyes were wide and her mouth was hanging open.
“I can’t believe you spoke to him like that!” she said, after she and Adam had been shoved into a tiny, amour-plated bedroom.
“Well, it won’t do us any good if I can’t find us a way out of here.”
“Us?” EVIE asked.
“Of course, us.” Adam was feeling something he’d never felt before. Here was a situation he had dreamed about. He’d been presented with a beautiful damsel in distress and it was obvious to him that he was destined to save her and that they would live a long and happy life together. He was so obviously the hero of this situation. It was time to be heroic; it was his turn to save the woman, well robot, from certain death at the hands of an evil corporation and if he could get himself laid during the process, all the better. Heroes always seemed to manage a bonk or two, even when their situations were hairier than a python wearing a mohair body stocking.
All he had to do was find a way to stay alive beyond the next 30 minutes or so. And escape.
“Any idea how we can get out of here?” Adam asked as soon as the door closed. The door was some kind of metal and had been at least a foot thick and that was the weak point of the room. It was a soundproof cell and sound wasn’t the only thing which couldn’t escape.
Adam peered through the porthole in the door. The angry guard peered back, waving his shock stick. Adam pulled the curtain across. “Even if we could get out of here, that bastard would just stick his truncheon up my arse and barbecue me.”
“You’re funny,” EVIE said, laughing. “I’ve never really met someone who was properly funny before. Or brave.” Adam had to use every ounce of his self-control to resist the temptation to fuse his lips against EVIE’s. Everything about her was perfectly alluring, from the way she had positioned her body with her hands clasped behind her back, to the demur way she lifted her eyes to his for a fleeting moment as she called him brave.
“I’m not brave,” he said, brushing away the compliment.
“Oh, but you are brave to me. No-one has ever stood up for me before. Ever.” Part of Adam’s body was standing up for EVIE. The way she used her fingers to sweep the greasy strands of her hair back behind her ear put him in mind of sweeping in suddenly, pressing his lips to hers so he could replace her fingers with his. Despite the situation, it was impossible to clear the image out of his mind.
Resisting temptation had never been one of Adam’s strong suits. And nothing and no-one had ever tempted Adam the way EVIE was tempting him in that moment. “Oh fuck it,” he groaned. “If I’m going to die, it’s a fucking amazing way to go.”
If EVIE was in any way surprised, Adam couldn’t detect it. Her body opened against his; as her mouth accepted his tongue, her thighs parted and her arms slid around his back. It was obvious that this robot woman wanted Adam as much as he wanted her.
EVIE, for the first time in what passed for her life, was doing something she wanted to do. Everything was forgotten as she was truly carried away by the moment. By something as simple as a kiss. A kiss with a difference. It was the first kiss EVIE had experienced with the right man.
“This is better than I ever imagined,” Adam whispered into EVIE’s ear, taking a needed break to catch his breath. He didn’t tell EVIE what he had been doing while he’d been imagining doing this with a woman. “You’re so…” Adam wasn’t sure what the best word was and didn’t want to risk breaking the moment by using the wrong one, so instead drew the tip of his tongue along the lobe of EVIE’s ear.
EVIE bit her bottom lip hard to keep from moaning in pleasure, then realised that there was no reason to hold back. “I’ve always fantasised about something… someone like you,” she said, trying to breathe, trying to do anything to ward off the intensity of what was exploding inside her body.
“From the second I saw you,” Adam admitted. His gaze dropped down to EVIE’s lips but much to EVIE’s surprise, Adam didn’t kiss her. Instead he withdrew so that he could study her. EVIE automatically dropped her eyes away from the intensity of Adam’s scrutiny. “You’re the most…” beautiful wasn’t quite the right word. “Attractive woman I’ve ever seen.” EVIE looked up and she knew that he wasn’t lying. She believed him. It wasn’t that she wanted to believe him. She just did.
EVIE held her breath, realising that she wanted Adam to kiss her more than she wanted to breathe. “I want,” she said, reaching for Adam’s cock. Adam’s breath came out in a whoosh as EVIE gripped his burning manhood. He wanted her so badly that his body was screaming for him to touch her.
“Are you sure?” he asked, not daring to move.
“I’ve never been more sure.” Adam ran his fingers up the side of EVIE’s ribcage. His thumb traced the contour of her breast and she turned so that it moved lightly over her nipple. Adam felt it, even through the layers of clothing. It was stiff and as he deliberately pressed a little harder, EVIE sucked in a breath and arched. “I’m… hot,” EVIE stated, as though she were making a weather report.
“Maybe they’ll open the door and let a little air in.” EVIE laughed, and then stopped.
“I’d still be doing this here with you, even if the door was open. I want to do it.”
“Me too,” Adam said, looking down at her intently. “There’s nothing I want more.” He leant down and nuzzled her throat in a way which made EVIE melt.
“I’m so hot. I need to take my clothes off,” she said. Adam stilled and simply stared as EVIE clawed at her clothes.
“I’m sure it’s supposed to be more difficult than this,” Adam said, as EVIE’s body came on display.
EVIE took Adam’s observation as a criticism. “Perhaps it is with real girls,” EVIE said sadly. She looked crestfallen, as though she had exposed something fake about herself.
“You are real, EVIE. When I look at you…” ” Adam sighed. There were no words to describe how EVIE made him feel. She was delicate and stunningly attractive. Perfect. He wanted to protect her, to cherish her and he wanted to…
EVIE saw the flash of heat in Adam’s expression and let her arms fall back into a more receptive, open position. “What are you thinking?” she asked.
“I’m trying not to think,” Adam replied tartly. And I’m going to keep my mouth shut, as anything I say might be the thing which stops this.
Adam started tugging at his clothes, although he was focused only on EVIE. As soon as he was naked, Adam reached for EVIE’s hand and made her shriek by pulling her down onto the bed. Somehow Adam landed on top of her, his powerful arms bracketing either side of her head as he trailed kisses from her shoulder down to her centreline and up the soft swell of her left breast. EVIE gasped as Adam’s teeth trapped her teat and playfully tugged it from side to side. As the hardened flesh slipped from Adam’s mouth, EVIE arched her back, obviously willing Adam to give her more.
“Oh, yesss,” she hissed, as her nipple was sucked up into Adam’s mouth before the teeth threatened her flesh once again. EVIE’s eyes closed so that she could concentrate but it wasn’t her nipple which drew the most attention. The hot, hard length squashed into her thigh held most of EVIE’s attention. Without making a conscious decision, EVIE slid her hand down between their bodies and wrapped her fingers around him. EVIE enjoyed the growl of approval as Adam shifted his position to allow her full access to his cock.
She paused briefly, shifting the angle of her hand to take full benefit of the new position. EVIE encountered the soft foreskin and gasped as Adam thrust gently into her hand which peeled it back. From the sounds echoing through Adam’s chest and throat, every single thing she did to his cock seemed to give it pleasure.
Touching him was deeply erotic, especially when EVIE opened her eyes to find that Adam’s were squeezed tightly closed. She studied his face as she stroked him, finding what pleased him.
EVIE wanted more, and knew how she wanted to get it. She stilled her stroking, forcing Adam to slide into her grasp to maintain the pleasure he had been experiencing. EVIE’s hand became a homing beacon, guiding Adam’s pleasure cruiser right onto her target area.
Adam’s eyes sprang open as the tip of his cock thudded against the opening of EVIE’s vagina. He groaned as EVIE concentrated on angling her body. EVIE was in control, seducing Adam’s cock into penetrating her body. His gaze didn’t leave her face as he lowered his body down. The soft velvet of her hot flesh welcomed his cock and he let the weight of his body ease his cock into EVIE.
The sharp sensation of Adam’s penetration made EVIE cry out; it wasn’t that it hurt, it was just that her senses had gone into overdrive, which made Adam’s cock feel like a hot ember piercing her insides. Her body clung lovingly to Adam’s cock as he withdrew. “Ohhhh!” she sighed appreciatively, as Adam drove back in, his body forcing her thighs further apart as his body closed in on hers.
These were slow, getting-to-know-you strokes and they were simply wonderful; a little too wonderful. “Adam?” EVIE hissed.
“Mmmm?” Adam replied, lingering with his cock deep inside EVIE. Her thoughts were temporarily hidden by a haze of desire. Only as Adam withdrew and pushed in more forcefully did EVIE fight to clear her thoughts. She whimpered as he slid into her again. The whimper was the first involuntary sign of EVIE’s orgasm.
“Adam?” EVIE said more sharply, lifting herself onto her elbows. Her mind flickered at the sight of him there… poised over her and in her, those afterburner-blue eyes hot and aroused; his face flushed with sexual heat. Adam’s expression thrilled her. It was primal, basic and utterly masculine but most of all it was possessive.
She was his now.
“Uhnnn. Adam, something is going to happen when you make me orgasm.” Adam paused, staring down with uncomprehending eyes. He slammed his cock back inside. “Oh fuck it, yes!” EVIE whimpered, as her legs closed around Adam’s waist. “Just try to be ready for the unexpected.”
“I’m making love to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Adam said. A billion miles away from the smoking remains of my planet with a psychopathic guard waiting to do unspeakable things to me, he thought. “I’m ready for anything.” EVIE smiled, making no attempt to fight as her body gave in to Adam’s urgent thrusts and the pleasure spilled over into an enormous spark of sexual energy. “Oooh, fuck!” she cried, as the energies were channelled into her womb, which spasmed, releasing a second altogether different wave of energy. It radiated outwards, consuming her and Adam in a ball of incandescence.
“That was absolutely…” Adam looked around, realising that they were no longer in the bed chamber. “What…?” he started to ask.
“Questions later,” EVIE stated. “Come-on!” EVIE urged Adam up, even as she pulled the greasy, sweat-stained hair out of her eyes. Her body was demanding that that she explore the deep physical connection she had just attained with Adam but instead she ran.
“Where are we going?” Adam wailed, supporting his semi-erect penis and testicles as he tried to catch up with EVIE’s naked bottom. She was sprinting away from him towards a building of some kind. EVIE ducked inside and opened an internal door which revealed a changing area.
“Find something that fits,” she said, pulling random clothes off a rail. That at least made sense to Adam.
“Won’t they come looking for us?”
“Yes. Which is why we have to leave.”
“Your bus, once we’ve got a few supplies.”
“We’ve got clothes, which is a start.” EVIE was pulling a blue coverall with some kind of emblem on the left breast pocket. As Adam pulled on a similar outfit, EVIE stuffed a collection of other clothes into a rucksack. “We need a big sack of nuts for the journey.” Adam boggled. He hadn’t been familiar with the term ‘boggle’ before but finding himself in an alien bus station had made his orgasmic head spin. Trying to keep up with what EVIE was telling him was now making his mind boggle.
“Why do we need nuts?”
“That’s what we need to fuel the Daemon flying the bus.”
“Daemon? Of course, the daemon,” Adam corrected himself hastily as EVIE peered up into his face. He didn’t want to appear stupid. “A demon,” he muttered darkly as EVIE slipped out of the door. "Why the hell not?”*****
“That was the last of my credits but if it means we can get out of here, what does it matter?” Adam hefted the bag labelled ‘Space Nuts’ off the flatbed trolley and onto the skimmer. “I paid him extra not to put the transaction through right away. They’ll know where to look for us if they see what we’ve bought.”
Adam’s spine straightened. “They’re looking for us?”
“I suppose technically, they’re only looking for you,” EVIE said, smiling sadly to herself. Adam frowned and leaned in to her, getting closer. Much closer. His pupils dilated slightly but there was still a hot blue glow which speared into EVIE’s digital soul. “OK, I know, I’m sorry. I am trying.” she said.
“Try harder. You need to stop thinking like that.”
“It’s hard,” EVIE said. “I was written off years ago. And no-one ever cared much about what I thought before that. No-one cared what happened to me.”
“I care.” Adam kept looking into EVIE’s eyes until she offered a smile.
“I know,” she said, as Adam absently moved a strand of loose hair from her cheek. EVIE was surprised to feel a sizzle of sexual interest in her loins. She tried to shelve the thought as she concentrated on following the flow and rhythm of the traffic buzzing around the port. “Which bay did you say you were docked at?”
“Docking Bay 94, I think.”
“94,” EVIE confirmed, signalling as she changed lanes.
“So, how do we get in?” Adam asked, as they pulled up in front of the battered bus.
“Just shake your nuts,” EVIE replied. “Not those nuts,” she added, nodding down between Adam’s legs. As EVIE bent over to lift something off the skimmer, Adam’s gaze drifted down too. Inviting curves had been revealed where EVIE’s shapeless coverall had been pulled tight. EVIE looked round sharply and caught him staring. “If you stop gawking and start moving, I’ll bend over for you like this sans uniform.” Adam gave her a grin as he shook the bag of nuts.
A blur of movement under the wheel arch caught Adam’s eye. He peered down and noticed something odd about the tyre. He bent down to look more closely to confirm his observation. “Hey, this tyre isn’t touching the…” The thought was truncated as something small, brown and furry detached itself from the inside of the wheel arch and landed on Adam’s shoulder.
EVIE smiled. “You’ve found the Daemon.”
“Nice nuts,” the Daemon observed, its voice sounding like solid projectile shots arriving from a great distance. Adam tried to recoil but the Daemon recoiled in the same direction. “Could get a long way with a bag of nuts like that.”
“Who is this?” Adam asked, turning carefully towards EVIE.
“I’m G.O.D.,” the Daemon replied. “And that stands for ‘Good Onest Daemon’. You can call me ‘God’.” The Daemon twisted his chest as he proudly displayed a medal. Adam didn’t need to read the spidery text to know what it said.
“And you’d be willing to help us?” EVIE asked.
“Reckon I would,” the Daemon said, eyeing the sack of nuts.
“In that case, God, we’d be willing to make a small deposit into your sack.” God was a hard-headed trader.
“Not too small,” he replied, hungrily. “Since I’ll be stealing this bus for you.”
“Stealing?” Adam snorted. “I can’t imagine Black Lung paying for it.”
“True enough,” God chuckled. “I likes a bit of excitement and it looks like there’s a bit of excitement heading this way.” Adam and EVIE looked long the dock to where a cluster of vehicles with flashing lights was heading in their direction.
“I just checked our timetable,” God said. “And it’s time we was leaving. All aboard who’s coming aboard.” The Daemon picked up the pallet of supplies with one hand and shoved it through the side of the bus. Adam wanted to know how but knew the question would have to wait as something detonated on the quayside.
“Are they actually shooting at us?” Adam asked fearfully as he leapt on board as the bus began to move. The bus shot away, barely making the turn onto the up ramp as it forced on-coming traffic to swerve to either side. A traffic-monitoring scanner dutifully logged the bus’s licence number for citation and a mandatory court appearance.
“Oh my God!” Adam wailed as the bus drilled a hole through the on-coming traffic. EVIE was sitting in the bus’ cab but it was clear that she wasn’t controlling the vehicle as other traffic dodged and weaved hysterically away. “We’re going to die!” Adam cried, as a pair of enormous guns nosed round towards them. The bus was past and away before they could line-up a shot. The bus continued to weave and swerve erratically before lining up on the Bus Station’s exit.
“It’s closing,” EVIE whispered, as enormous blast doors spiralled shut.
“We’re not going to make it,” Adam said, trying to keep the alarm out of his voice. The doors were almost shut, yet the bus wasn’t turning or slowing down. “You can’t make the whole bus jump outside the station, can you, like you did with us?”
“No,” EVIE said, shaking her head. “My emergency relocator is just for me, plus special guests.” She turned away from the window to give Adam a tight smile. “Before you ask, you’re the only guest I’ve ever had.” Despite their current predicament, Adam’s stomach tightened with excited satisfaction. He’d been her first lover and he’d made her orgasm.
The gaping maw of the station was almost closed; the twenty metre teeth were circling shut with dreadful finality but something odd started happening as the tips began to meet. The teeth continued to close mindlessly but the tips bent away as though encountering an invisible but immovable object.
Adam jumped as God’s hairy face appeared outside the cab’s window. “Just make sure I line this up right,” he said. God turned away but Adam knew that he was grinning maniacally as he lined up on what was very obviously a bus-shaped hole in the armoured doors. With a reckless burst of speed, God tossed a nut into his mouth at the very moment the bus shot out of the ruined doors like a missile from a tube.
“We made it?” Adam asked, just as a ruinous bolt of energy illuminated the cab.
“Not yet,” EVIE announced. “There are a couple of cruisers coming up behind us and there’s no way God has had chance to make the calculations for the jump to night speed while he was getting us through that hole.”
“Night speed?” Adam queried.
“The speed you need to get into Daemon Space. We’ll be safe once we get in there.” The bus lurched violently to avoid a cannonade from the chasing ships. Adam peered down at the scanner. The ships were enormous triangular wedges of destruction. “Doesn’t look like they’re too bothered about taking us alive,” EVIE said, as the space around the bus was lit up with bright streaks of destruction. “They’re using the big Kicker guns. A hit from one of those and we’re dust.”
The bus slammed round with a truly terrifying impact. It righted itself but had rotated through 180 degrees and was now heading towards their pursuers.
“I’m sorry, Adam,” EVIE said as bright lights streaked directly towards the bus.
Something small and furry detached itself from the bottom of the bus and swam angrily through the expanding shards of burnt Daemon nuts.
God was outraged. His nut sack had taken the full impact from the Kicker gun.
God wasn’t always good. That was the reason why the crew of the bus had given him the badge. It was a reminder.
God wasn’t wearing his badge now; he’d left tucked in the rear wheel well which served as his home while he was in this universe. He liked the wheel well, the bus and its new occupants. Anyone who turned up with an enormous bag of nuts was alright as far as God was concerned.
Righteous indignation welled up inside the Daemon as a spread of luminous destruction headed in the direction of his nuts. If someone was going to kick God in his nut sack, they had better be prepared for him to kick back.
The warships closed in on the broken bus and the hairy ball of malevolence waiting for them in the vacuum of space.
Since Daemons weren’t born of this universe, they weren’t governed by its rules. As the lead cruiser approached, God inflated to a more suitable size for fighting capital-class warships. Every weapon was turned onto the enormous primate but other than a few singed hairs, they had no effect for all the energies they discharged.
An enormous foot swung forward, bringing the cruiser to a rapid, shuddering halt. Accompanying the sounds of tearing metal, as supports and struts parted from the superstructure, there was the strangled hiss of atmosphere leaking into the vacuum of space. As God turned to engage the second cruiser, the first ship rolled past the bus leaking vital elements from its severely-flattened front end as freely as it was leaking air.
“I guess it pays to be careful where you’re kicking,” Adam said, as they watched the Daemon collecting his nuts with an enormous section of the second cruiser’s hull. EVIE rolled her eyes.
“That’s not funny. But they haven’t sent any more warships after us, so I guess they are being careful now.”
“So what’s the plan?” Adam asked, making no attempt to hide the hopeful way he was eyeing up EVIE’s bottom as she leant forward to look out into space.
“The plan is for us to head out somewhere off the beaten track. Find a little planet somewhere with a nice atmosphere and just kick back and relax.”
“I was hoping that we could do a bit more than that.” Adam waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “Maybe we could do some other stuff?”
“Oh, we’ll have plenty of time and space to do some ‘other’ stuff.” EVIE winked. “There’s lots of ‘other’ stuff that I want to do with you.” *****
Adam squatted and placed his hand flat on the ground. The bus had driven this way but Adam wasn’t surprised to see that there were no tracks. “Ask him what this is.” EVIE made a series of rather disgusting guttural noises. The man’s brow furrowed, as though he’d been asked the most stupid question he’d ever heard.
“Apparently he doesn’t think much of your intellect and his friend wants to drag me into those bushes and do something unspeakable to me but…”
“He says this is called ‘earth’.”
“Earth? That’s funny name for a planet.”
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<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/fantasy-scifi/the-last-human.aspx">The Last Human</a>