Onson Blade's
adapted from
A History of the Snutch Society (3036)
by Princess Alexandra

The Dead

"Well, hello?" Captain Wayne stood up uncertainly from his breakfast table in the cafeteria at Rhaggan Station. Before him stood a very rare visitor, one of the feline Framloy. If you imagine a cross between an orangutang and a bengal tiger, then you are getting close to what a Framloy looked liked. Just think thinner and taller, like a living reed. But, of course, those round, red eyes were like no other creatures. "What brings you on such a far journey?"

"They call me Lehigh. I bring sad tidings for Wyngs. Do you know where I can find him?"

"Sure. He's right through that door, loading up a breakfast tray. What's the...?" But the Framloy had already moved on in his smooth way, and disappeared through the indicated door. "Now what the hell's going down," muttered Wayne to himself?"

From beyond the door came a sudden clatter and a cry that the Captain couldn't make out. He started to move towards it, but it broke open with a bang, and Wyngs strode out, his face a grim visage.

"Wyngs, what the hell...," asked the Captain, but again he was ignored as Wyngs walked swiftly from the cafeteria. He turned to the Framloy who had followed Wyngs from the inner room.

"Mind telling me what is going on," he asked? The Framloy turned to him slowly.

"Lehigh brought great sadness. Arbela has died in an accident."

"Shit, no!"

"You and your people are invited to drop in at any time during the 300 Suns Festival of Sadness. It is 300 suns because it has been that long since a Framloy died. It begin on the day of her death."

"How did she die," asked Wayne?

"The story will be told every day at the Festival. There will be no more sadness here." The Framloy moved toward the exit, then turned to face the Captain. "This is most fascinating. I'm a young one, and this is my first trip off the homeworld. I thank you for your hospitality." He bowed low. The Captain generally thought of the Framloy as male, but the truth was they were sexless until their time to mate came. Then they could assume either sex, something which was determined by factors in their nearby environment as they went to mate. If one of a pair of Framloy was furthest towards a gender, then the other would automatically assume the other sex.

Suddenly, the building began to shake, and a roar filled the room. As the sound died away, the Captain knew that Wyngs had left for Denise, the Framloy world. He nodded to the Framloy and the latter turned and departed.


On Denise's world, Captain Wayne turned to his host. "I'm sorry, Lehigh. We must depart tonight. We cannot go through that again tomorrow."

"I understand," replied the Framloy. "The life song seems to effect you Earthlings very strongly."

"That is an understatement," said Wayne. "We've had our guts torn from us." He tried not to think about how he had lived Arbela's life in the three hours the song was sung planet-wide. The Framloy were empaths, and their signals had swamped the Earther's thought processes. He looked over to where Glenn was still supporting his wife, Melody. Her face was ashen. The rest of the group wasn't in much better shape. The life song was to be sung daily for the next 280 days. There would be no more Earthers here during that period.

"I'm sorry you missed Wyngs. He listened for three days, then departed," said Lehigh.

"Three days! How could he have taken it!" The Captain shook his head, thinking that three days would have driven him mad.

"Goodbye friend." He took the Framloy's thin hand, held it for a moment, then followed the Earther's party out.


The sharp crack of a sonic boom rolled away to pass over the distant mountains like thunder, as the silver ship appeared high in the dark, oily looking skies of the planet. It came down swiftly, in a curving arc to land beside an equally dark and oily looking lake. For a long time it just sat there, its hull cooling with a series of pops and cracks as the heated, expanded metal shrank to its normal state.

One could see now that the ship was old - battered and dented from traveling countless light years between hundreds of planets. Soon it was silent - almost cooled to the temperature of the surrounding air.

There was a humming, and the side of the ship opened, a gangplank folding down to rest on the black sands before the lake. A man appeared in the opening.

Dressed in black, his lean body seemed a match for the planet itself. He stood there a long time, gazing upon the bleak landscape relieved only by snowcapped mountains in the distance. But even the mountains were surrounded by dingy, gray clouds. He spoke aloud.

"I christen thee, Blacklock. Here, Wyngs, will spend his days until he dies. A bit of flotsom, blown between the worlds." He grinned wryly. He was sure he would spend a lot of time talking to himself in the years ahead. Striding down to the water's edge, he knelt and looked into the dark waters that reflected the greasy sky. For the ten thousandth time his thoughts went to his queen. Why did she have to die?

He shook his head and looked up at the far mountains. Maybe like Chan, who gave up life among men to pine for his bride with white hair, he should make it quick - climb to the top of an icey mountain, kneel, and let himself be frozen into immobility by the freezing winds. There he could well kneel for a thousand years. But it really made little difference. His life had ended long ago.

He shook himself and stood up. Maybe later he would entertain such thoughts. Now he was hungry, and the thought of a fresh cup of black coffee sounded good. He turned, and slowly made his way back to the ship, a dark figure on a dark, empty planet, trudging across dark dreary sands.

The Dying

Arbela as Charmaine

Wyngs was surprised, when he came down the gangplank in the morning, to see the other ship resting alongside the dark lake about a mile away, but realized he should have expected it. Inside his insulated craft he would not have heard the ship descending during the night without his sensors turned on, and they hadn't been turned on in years.

He could see the gangplank was down, and he searched for his visitor, spotting him coming around a house-sized rock about a half mile away. Going back inside, he brought out a small folding table and a couple of chairs. On the table he set a couple of cups and a small replicator. Thumbing the dials he waited a moment, then reached inside to pull out a coffee pot steaming with hot coffee. He poured a cup and sat back sipping, waiting for his visitor.

Captain Wayne came trudging up, and with a sigh fell into the empty chair.

"I'm ready for rejuvenation. I've sadly let these muscles deterioate to the point of pure flab." He looked across the table at Wyngs. "You look like shit."

"Sokay. I still look better than you. How ya doing, other then letting yourself go to fat?"

Wayne shrugged. "Little point in eating right when all you have to do is climb into a bio tank and sleep for a week to correct it. And you - you look like you are way overdue. This place isn't healthy." He looked up into the gray, oily sky and shuddered. "Reminds me of that world we were trapped on for 40 years - with nothing but slimey Nroats to eat the whole time."

"So how's everyone doing back home?"

"Just fine," answered the Captain. "Glenn and Melody remarried again - I think that's over 20 times now. Arden lost a leg to a prac attack on Thermongerath, but that was a couple of years ago. Nasty bastards. I can't stand to look at pracs. Let me think..." He poured himself a cup of coffee, and sat back sipping on it. "Ah, yes. Denise fell in love with a groundling who didn't make the grade for being let into the society, and she moved Earthside to be with him. She won't be back until he dies of old age. She's pretty hung up on him. I hope she doesn't die of old age first. I'm sure she will want to age with him."

"How's your Natalie doing?"

"Just fine. She still treats me like some kind of god-like hero. The rest of the family is doing great. No deaths in the nine years since you left. It has been a while since we've gone that long." Wayne sipped at his coffee. "Don't you think nine years is enough to mourn? It's time to come home, doncha think?"

Wyngs shook his head."I had Arbela's life burned into my brain at the 300 days festival. For me, she died yesterday. I can't go on without her, and this is where it ends."

"Bullshit. You've so much to live for. We have entire universes at our feet for as long as we want to live. How can you throw that away? I don't understand?"

"You don't understand. All of your universes together do not equal one Arbela. They are nothing but dead ashes without her."

"No, I don't understand. She, it, was just a shape-shifting Framloy, for Christ's sake. They don't even have males and females - they're all unisex. What's the attraction?"

"I've tried to tell you before, but no one seemed to listen. I'll try one more time, then you'll finish your coffee and leave." Wyngs poured a fresh cup of coffee, shifted in his chair, and crossed his legs. He looked out across the lake. "Arbela was sent to keep an eye on me. You know the story. The Framloy were fearful of me after I had Onson's strange nodules replicated onto my spine by Melanie. For a long time, this Framloy was little more than a silent observer, but at that time we were unaware they were empaths. I thought nothing of screwing a date with the Framloy sitting in the next room. But I didn't know she was soaking everything up like a sponge. Then one night..."


Charmaine looked down at Wyngs sitting on the bed, his back against the wall, the cigarette hanging from his fingers. She finished buttoning her blouse, as he pursed his lips and threw her a kiss. She was sated, yet filled with regret. Wyngs would never make a commitment. He was kindly, but it could have just as well been any other woman on Rhaggen Station here sexing with him. She sighed. She had told herself she would never come to him again, but here she was. She kneeled on the bed so she could kiss him goodby, pushing a strand of black hair from his eyes.

"See you later, okay hon?" she asked.

"Of course. Sleep well." He squeezed a breast. "I'll see you tomorrow." He watched as she picked up her bag, pursed her lips at him, and went out the door, closing it behind her.

In the outer room the Framloy was sitting there gazing at a telly, but the screen was dark.

"Hello. Are you sleeping?" Charmaine enjoyed talking to the Framloy. It seemed as if just talking to the creatures made ones troubles melt away. The Framloy shook itself. "I'm sorry, you were sleeping."

"No," replied the thin creature in its singsong voice. It got to it's feet and looked down at the woman. "I was just lost in thought. It is very nice to see you again, Charmeen." The woman grinned and put her hand on the Framloys thin arm.

"You also, Arbela. Now go back to sleep." With a swirl of her skirt, she was gone, and the Framloy stood staring at the closed door.

Wyngs threw the cigarette into the waste disposal unit disguised as an ash tray, and reaching up, turned off the light. He lay there in the dark, thinking about the woman who had just left. Better for her to just end it. He knew she wanted more, but he also knew it was not in him to give it to her. He sighed. Charmaine was a good woman and deserved better. As he was about to roll over onto his side, the door suddenly opened, and a flood of light from the other room washed away the darkness.

At first, he thought the Framloy must have come in, but than he saw it was Charmaine silhouetted against the light. "Forget something, honey?" He reached up and turned on the lamp. Charmaine closed the door and came over to the side of the bed and looked down at him. She had a curious expression on her face - almost fearful.

"Char, what's the matter?" The woman did not answer. Instead, she took off her sweater, then reached back and unhooked her bra. Wyngs grinned. "Honey, I'm not sure I have another go in me." She said nothing, but worked off her skirt and panties and slid into the bed alongside him. She lay there on her back for a minute as Wyngs, head on hand, looked down at her in puzzlement. Her eyes were closed.

"Charmaine, speak to me. What's going on?" As he spoke her eyes slowly opened and looked into his. Her eyes were black as night and in them he saw an incredible yearning. Then he realized that he was not just seeing it - he was feeling it. He felt a warmth stealing over his body, and was hardly aware when he had slipped between her legs and entered her. He knew something was not right, but he did not care. His emotions flowed to her and hers to him, then his came back added to hers. It was a continued rising, unbelievable crescendo of raw feeling - of love such as couldn't possibly exist. Then there was a nova explosion of pure joy and Wyngs cried out like an animal - unable to contain himself.

Suddenly he was aware that sunlight was streaming through the window. Arbela was crying and caressing the side of his face. He realized the love making had gone on for hours. "What's the matter...Arbela?"

"You know?"

"Of course. I've known most of the night. Why are you crying?"

"I'm crying for all the times I wanted to come to you and didn't. All those wasted times." Wyngs bent down and laid kisses over her tears.

"But sweetheart, we have an eternity of times ahead of us." She moaned at his words and slid her arms about his neck. Holding her, Wyngs knew that what had been missing had now been found.


"The Framloy realize that to keep their identity, they must limit their contact with humans. And now you know why they will only allow limited diplomatic contact and rarely visit with us." Wayne shook himself, aware that Wyngs was still speaking. He was still thinking of Arbela, and wondering if a little of that empathy hadn't rubbed off onto the speaker. "And it wouldn't be good for the human race either. After Arbela there has never been any urge on my part for a human partner. It would be like you screwing a knothole." He looked at the Captain. "Arbela is the only Framloy to shift into human form. Once she did that, she found the sensation of human femaleness to be irresistable. That's what she communicated back to her people."

After Wyngs finished speaking, he went back to staring across the lake - his eyes lost in the past. The Captain was staring at the ground, slowly rotating his coffee cup between his hands. The tableau held for long minutes, each lost in their thoughts. Then Wyngs shook himself back to the present.

"I have a request to make, Wayne, in accordance with the bylaws."

The Captain looked up. "Anything you wish."

"I know when I'm gone, you'll duplicate me from the data banks. But it is my right, telling you before my death, that I can request whatever save I want."

Wayne nodded. "That is true."

"I don't want my latest save brought back. He will think Arbela still lives, and just die again. In fact, I want you to go all the way back to Onson's first save, and bring him back."

The Captain whistled. "Wooeee. That's a long time back, Wyngs. Onson hadn't even built Rhaggen Station yet."

"I know, but he'll make the adjustment okay. I don't want any other part of Wyngs to exist again."

"It shall be done." Wayne tossed off the last bit of coffee and stood up. "Goodbye, bro." Wyngs held out his hand, but the Captain threw his arms about his brother and held him for a long moment.

"No one will bother you further." Turning, he begin the long walk back to his ship. At the gangplank, he stopped and waved an arm at the distant Wyngs, then he disappeared inside.


Watching the planet recede below him, Wayne spoke aloud, "I'm sorry, Bro, but this is not the end of it." Then he threw the ship into hyperspace and Blacklock disappeared.


Captain Wayne and the Gavinator stood up expectantly when the old Framloy council member entered the room. Lehigh remained where he was, standing against the wall.

"Captain Wayne, and the Gavinator," he said, bowing low.

"Aulsep, honorable council member," said Wayne as he, the Gavinator, and Lehigh bowed in return.

Straightening, Aulsep stared at the two earthlings, his bright red eyes going from red to black, and back again, as he considered his words.

"My friends. I hate to be the bearer of pain, but the council was unanimous in denying your request. The prohibition against Framloy shifting into human form stands."

"But, all we ask is the right to search for a volunteer," objected Wayne.

"I know, my friend, but there would be no volunteer. No Framloy would go against the wishes of the council, and all our people know of the danger involved in consorting with human beings."

"You doom my brother to death," said the Captain.

"Your brother is but a victim of human, Framloy involvement. It points up well, why the council has placed this prohibition in effect. I think you would understand that if this human was not your sibling."

Wayne's shoulders sagged. He knew it had been a long shot to begin with, but as the council deliberated, his hopes had soared.

"Console yourself," went on Aulsep. "Everything was taken into consideration. You have served your sibling to the best of your ability. We all know something of Wyngs, and it was agreed that the likelihood of him accepting a new Framloy was very minimal."

"You are probably correct, but I had no other avenue to explore. I give thanks to the honorable Aulsep for taking my case to the council. Til we meet again." The two Earthlings again bowed low, and turned to leave.

"Wait." They all turned to face Lehigh, who had spoke. "There is one Framloy who will go." He turned to face Aulsep. "You know who that is..."

"Yes, I do. I expected no less, although I had hoped otherwise."

Captain Wayne and the Gavinator looked at each, wondering what was going on?

"You may never return to a Framloy world, Lehigh," went on Aulsep. "What will you do if Wyngs rejects you, as it appears he will?"

"Then, honorable one, I will remain near him until I die."

"So much death and dying." Aulsep turned to the humans. "Many are the times I wished your kind had never shown up, but those are unfriendly words. I apologize." He bowed. Wayne had never seen a Framloy looking as agitated as Aulsep appeared. Then it struck him.

"Lehigh is your offspring?"

"Yes, as was Arbela. Now I lose both."

Lehigh turned to the earthlings. "I'll meet you at your ship. I want a word with my father." Wayne nodded, and with a bow to Aulsep, they departed.


Lehigh did not turn away from the port until the Framloy world had disappeared into the glare of its sun. He saw the Gavinator and Captain Wayne staring at her expectantly. The Captain had delayed the hyperspace shift until he had the full story.

"I shall explain," said Lehigh. She moved over to the table and sat down, opening a self-heating drink. The two Earthlings joined her at the table. "I was young, not fully in control of my emotions yet..."


Lehigh lay in the darkness, listening to the soft murmurings of love between Arbela and Wyngs in the tree above her. She knew she shouldn't be eavesdropping, but a strange feeling was creeping over her body. She realized she was picking up some of what Arbela was feeling above.

As the sensations grew stronger she suddenly realized she was unable to stop what she was doing. She fought silently, but to no avail. Suddenly there was a bursting sense of emotion, and she shifted into human form - the same form that Arbela was in. It was so strange, and so wonderous, but now the sensations increased a hundred fold. She raised her arms, reaching into the darkness, silently mouthing Wyng's name over and over, her human body twisting and writhing...


"Arbela knew what I had done and she was very upset with me. She made me swear to never shift to human again - an oath that I am now going break. She would want me to try and save her Wyngs."

The two men suddenly felt a burst of heat, and before them, sitting where the Framloy had sat, was a beautiful human woman. She was small and had a pixie face looking out from a mass of black hair. She sat still for a moment, then tears trickled down her cheeks.

There was a burst of heat, then before their eyes, Lehigh became a human female

"Oh my..." She got up unsteadily and moved about the control room. "Oh my..."

"Is this the human form from that night," asked the Gavinator?

Lehigh put one hand on the table to steady herself before she answered. "Yes. It's the only human form I know well. Arbela unwittingly transmitted it in detail to me." As she spoke she was running her hands over her body, even between her legs. "Oh my..."

Captain Wayne tore his eyes from her with some difficulty. Turning to the control console he punched in the coordinates for Blacklock, and slapped the hyperspace button.


Head down, watching that he didn't slosh his coffee, Wyngs walked slowly towards the lake. As a consequence he sensed the Framloy before he saw her. He stopped and looked up. She sat cross-legged on the large flat rock at the waters edge, gazing across the oily lake. Dressed only in a black slip, she had a man's large jacket under her.

The coffee cup shattered at his feet, but Wyngs never noticed. He moved forward, and around the rock. Lehigh turned to look at him, reaching up to pull her hair away from her black eyes. Wyngs lips were tight.

"You get the hell out of here. You can tell Wayne it didn't work. Just get the hell off my world and stay off!" Lehigh opened her mouth to speak, but Wyngs cut her off.

"Don't say a goddamn word! Just get the hell out of here!" With that he wheeled about and strode back to the ship, quivering with fury. Inside, he powered up systems that hadn't operated for almost ten years, and the gangplank came slowly up to seal off the ship.

Risking a look through the port, he saw that the Framloy walked to the right along the lake. Coming up on another large rock, she climbed up onto it and sat there as before. Where had the Framloy found that shape, he wondered? Arbela had custom formed it to surprise him. He cursed under his breath. Leave it up to the Captain, he thought.

Not wanting to go outside, he spent the day puttering about the inside of the ship. As darkness fell he made ready for bed, but irresistably he was drawn to the port. In the waning light the woman still sat there, looking across the lake. He swore again, and crawled into bed. He woke once in the night and went to the port, but it was too dark to see anything outside. Later, near dawn, he had the dream again. He saw Arbela standing in a meadow, but when he ran towards her, she receded into the distance and disappeared. He awoke weeping, as always.

In the morning he let down the gangplank and strode out. He could see that she turned to look at him.

"You goddamn monster! Get the fuck off my world!" At his scream she just turned her head away. Wyngs ran back inside, the gangplank coming up behind him. He looked out the port. She had to go sooner or later. She had no food and water.

The following morning, Lehigh crawled shakily off the rock and moved to the water's edge. The water did not look appetizing, but she was so thirsty. She dipped her hand into the muck - and heard footsteps crunching in the sand behind her.

"Don't drink that. It isn't healthy." She looked up. Wyngs was holding out a bottle of water to her.

"Thank you." She was surprised at the quaver in her voice.

"Just get off my world. There will be no food for you. Do you understand?"

"Yes," she answered. "She started to say more, but he was already striding away. When she crawled back onto the rock she saw that a thick blanket was folded up there.

The next morning she was so weak that she didn't feel like doing anything except pulling herself into a fetal position and remaining just as she was. The sun was high when she heard boots crunching in the sand. She lifted her head to see Wyngs standing there.

"What are you doing? Why are you doing this to me?" His voice cracked.

She smiled. "I think I'm starving to death."

"But why?"

"Because if you die here, I want to die here with you."

"Bullshit!" But Wyngs could feel something in the waves of emotion coming from her. With a groan he spun on his heel and strode back to the ship.

Inside he fired up the hyperspace communicator and typed in a secret code. Captain Wayne appeared on the screen.

"Come and get her. She's dying," he ground out.

"I can't. She made a Framloy oath not to leave that world without you."

Wyngs cursed. "Well, I'm leaving, so that takes care of the oath. You come and get her."

"You know she won't look at it that way."

"Well force her to go, goddamn it."

Wayne forced a tight-lipped grin. "You know better than that. She'll die first"

"Who is she?" He listened as the Captain recounted the story that Lehigh had told to him and the Gavinator. Afterwards there was a long silence. Then Wyngs spoke.

"I'm sorry you did this. It cannot work. You should have left well enough alone."

Captain Wayne looked at him for a long moment before speaking. "You're right. I'm terribly sorry - for the both of you."

"Come do what you can with her. I'm leaving within the hour." Wyngs broke the connection.

Lehigh watched as the silver ship rose slowly into the air. It gained speed swiftly, disappearing into the murky sky. A minute later a distant sonic boom arrived on the air. She turned her face back to the lake and looked at the mountains far beyond - feeling an infinite sadness as she realized her time had come. It was time for Lehigh to die. She would do it when darkness came - a more fitting time then in the daylight.

She grew drowsey and was startled when she felt strong arms picking her up. At first her holder's face was lost against the glare of the sky, but as he turned around she saw that it was Wyngs. It suddenly seemed so self evident that it could be no other way.

He carried her into the ship and put her to bed. Preparing a hot soup, he propped her up on pillows, and fed her slowly, a spoonful at a time. Before the bowl was half empty, she fell asleep.

When she awoke she was surprised to see the Captain bending over her.

"How we doing, Lehigh?"

"Everything's perfect now. Thank you."

"That's good news." He grinned and kissed her on the forehead. "We'll see you around." Turning he went out the ship. Wyngs stood on the gangplank.

"I told you it wouldn't work," said Wyngs, " and it won't. But I understand her delimma. It is my delimma. She may die here with me if that's what she choses to do."

"Uh huh," nodded Wayne, grinning inside. "I got ya. This time I won't be back, Take care." He joined with the Gavinator and they walked back towards his ship.

"So what's the haps, Captain?"

"Everything's fine Gav, everything's just fine."


The following morning Wyngs awoke to a naked Lehigh standing by his bed, shaking his shoulder.

"I need some clothes. Is there anything in that replicator of yours?"

"Ah yeah... let me wake up first."

In a short time they had a small mountain of clothes and Lehigh was trying to put a wardrobe together.

"I need help, Wyngs. About all I know is that human females shouldn't run around naked in public."

"Ah yeah, that's true. We're very sexual creatures and that can get you into trouble very fast."

That night there was something different to the dream. As he approached Arbela standing in the meadow, she didn't move away. Shaking, he moved closer. She was smiling at him. As he moved closer, fearful that she might disappear, her outline begin to waver. She seemed to changing. "No!" he screamed, running forward. Then he awoke, his body racked with sobs.

A darker shadow in the room moved forward. Lifting the blankets, Lehigh slide into the bed next to the shaking man.

"It's all right my darling. It's all right," she whispered softly, slipping her arms about Wyngs to hold him.


"It's all right my love," she repeated. Feeling his arms slide about her, she moved to a position beneath him. "It's truely all right. Arbela is here with us."