Iron Rose Bleeding

Chapter 19

Anne Azel

To: Inga, Lisa, and Susan, thanks for your help.

The Anne Azel's World web site is now found at

Note To The Reader: All the information used in this story about trends and concerns on our planet is current and accurate data. In the next fifty years, our world will change completely.

These are the events as we know them.

We recorded them factually and objectively.

And now we report them to you.

"There are so many things that I don't understand," Courtney stated, running her hand through her hair in frustration. "Like: is that really you?. I mean, are you that body or are you just in it?"

Tap raised an eyebrow. "Do you think I got it from rent-a-body? Yes, this is me. I told you, we are very similar genetically. My people's origin is in the third dimension. We have simply developed the ability to live in other dimensions as well."

Courtney nodded, a worried frown forming between her brows. "Then Torgga could kill you."

Tap met Courtney's eyes with a steady gaze. "Yes."

"Would he kill his own sister?"

"Yes. If he can get away with it. I am a threat to his authority. So will you be if he finds out that you carry my child. If anything happens to me, trust Haichen. She will look after you," Tap explained. It was her duty to make sure these matters were settled. She owed it to her people. Yet it hurt to think of not being with Courtney or never seeing their child.

"Why do you have to fight this Mal..."

"Malasha," Tap stated. "Because the alternative is war. I know war, Courtney. I know it well. It is something I will avoid for my people if I can. Nor do I want to bring such devastation so close to this planet. I was born to lead and good leadership means being prepared to defend your people. This is something our child needs to know. If I fail, Tamma will carry on the struggle for us when she is of age."

"What if I do not want that for her? What if I raise her to think she is human, call her Terry, and raise her on Earth?" Courtney questioned.

"She will be no safer on Earth. You know that. Your world is on the brink of chaos. She is born to rule. You can't stop that, Courtney. Nor do I think you would want to."

Courtney's eyes sparked. "Oh I would want to, alright! But if she is anything like you...well, she has a right to be what she needs to be. I will not deny Tamma her birth right."

Tap sighed and relaxed. "I haven't long."

Courtney moved closer and reached up to kiss Tap's cheek softly. "Come with me then. I want to make sure you have a reason to return to us."

Their love making was like a rose, a complex layering of feeling opening slowly into incredible beauty. Yet, the sharp thorns of worry made their bonding a bitter-sweet union. Courtney's soft form slid gently over Tap's muscular body as she nuzzled and kissed hot flesh. Their kisses were deep and earnest, tongues intertwining seeking both passion and comfort.

For Tap, it was the moment of acceptance, when all the walls of authority and position were down and she allowed Courtney to lead and command her body. The vulnerability of the act was both scary and exciting. It felt strange yet good to have someone else lead, if only in the intimacy of their bed. For Courtney, it was the gift of Tap's trust that sealed forever her commitment to their partnership. Whatever lay ahead in this strange union, they would be secure in their trust and love of each other.

Courtney cupped Tap's breast in her hand and used her lips to tease the hard nipple. Tap arched with need and moaned softly. "Slow, hold on, my darling," Courtney whispered, as she slipped down to kiss the inside of her lover's thigh.

When Courtney eventually entered it was with gentle strength, not demanding but taking what Tap was willingly offering. The sex had not germinated out of physical need but was the flowering of their love and desire. It was good, secure, and deep.

After, Courtney lay between Tap's legs her head pillowed on Tap's belly, feeling Tap's heat and wetness against her chest and the waves of after shocks that still radiated from Tap's coming. "You okay?" Courtney whispered after awhile.

"Okay, but needing more," Tap growled, reaching down to pull Courtney up along her body. Their kiss reflected both their passion for each other and the depth of their love. Tap's strong hands roved over Courtney's back and down to cup two tight cheeks. Gently, Tap rolled Courtney over and covered her naked form with her own. The scent of Courtney's excitement was a heady fragrance with an attraction which was overpowering. Tap used her tongue to tease and taste the cream of Courtney's being and was rewarded by the sound of her partner's moans of delight. Carefully, Tap took the woman she loved over the top and held her close as she came down from their love making to rest in a strong, warm embrace.

Courtney held on tightly, knowing that when she had to let go it might be forever. Everything in her being cried out for her to stop Tap from going but she remained quiet. Her future was at the side of a hereditary leader. She had to share her love of Tap with that of her nation, an alien race. She would not send Tap off to battle with her fears.

"Win this battle for your people, my lover, and come home to us. Tamma and I love you," she whispered instead and was rewarded with the soft, pearly tear that slipped from Tap's eye to Courtney's cheek.

Tap kissed her gently. "I have everything to live for now. I mean to win."

Courtney watched as Haichen assisted Tap into her armor. The black material was lightweight, flexible, yet strong. A material that would spread and reflect energy blasts, Haichen had explained. Tap pulled on the thick gloves that rose almost to her elbows and flexed her legs to bounce on the heavy soled boots. She nodded her satisfaction.

Taped turned and walked over to stand before Courtney. Her face was lined with concern. A smile slowly softened her features and she leaned forward with a ripple of muscle to kiss Courtney in front of Haichen.

"Haichen, Courtney Hunter is now Courtney Tap Appalla Punra. She will rule at my side. If I should not return you are tasked with her and our child's protection and will counsel her in raising our child and in ruling until Tamma Tap is old enough to accept that burden. Do you understand?"

Haichen tried her best not to show her shock at Tap's intimacy. She was both intrigued and excited by the sexual tension in the air around her leader and her partner. She thought of the mild attraction and comfort she and Lamount had experienced in their hesitant courting and realized they had a long way to go to achieve the love that existed between Courtney and Tay Tap. Maybe if they could find this passion, they could have offspring. "Yes, Tap."

Tap put her arm around Courtney but spoke to Haichen. "There is a spy in our midst. Make sure that no word of Courtney's condition spreads. I suspect that my brother will use treachery to win this battle if he feels the fight is not going well. Monitor the situation carefully. You have my permission to interfere only if you feel that treachery has put me in a dangerous situation. Do you understand, Haichen Tay Tap?"

Haichen looked up, her eyes wide with shock. Tap had just called her by the title of a second in command under the ruling House. She swallowed, squared her shoulders, and managed to respond with dignity using an ancient title. "I understand, my sovereign Ladies."

Tap smiled. "It is time for me to talk to the Council. Go, Haichen Tay Tap. I wish time alone with Courtney Tap." Haichen stepped back and faded away before a startled Courtney.

"Can you all do that? Where did she go?"

"Yes, we can all do that. She has released the energy that bounds her molecules together to drift back into space/time. You have become aware of that flow of life but as yet your body remains behind."

Courtney snuggled her head against Tap's chest. "There is so much for me to learn. So much responsibility that I will have to take on. Don't die, please, Tay. Come back to us. I need you," she choked out.

There was no answer. Tap held her close for a long time, then kissed Courtney's head softly. Courtney felt her partner slowly vanish from her arms.

Dark eyes scanned the screens in the lab desperately. All other sources had revealed nothing of why Tap was willing to revolt against her brother in order to keep control of this small and insignificant planet. A number of times the human, Courtney Hunter, had been brought to the labs. At first, it had seemed as if this was because she had been ill, her mind over tasked by the work load she had been assigned by Tay. Now, the spy was not sure that was the case.

Tap's sudden decision to rebel after all this time in exile had to be connected to the arrival of Courtney Hunter and whatever Lamount had been up to in this lab all this time. There was more going on here than the study of Earth diseases, that was for sure.

The screen flashed to another file and the dark eyes blinked, at first unable to accept what they were reading. Surely not! The spy slowly sat in the swivel chair and started to read. It was all there on the stand alone. That was why Torgga Tap had been unable to access the data. Tay had mated artificially with the human animal and the insemination had been successful. There was to be an heir to the Tap line after all, but the cost was to be their purity.

The spy moved to another computer, stepping over the unconscious body of Lamount. It was not possible to worry about security now. Torgga Tap must know this information before Tay went before the Council. Then the next step was to kill Courtney Hunter before being captured or killed.

Courtney was worried and chaffing at the inactivity. She paced restlessly around the dark computer room, watching as stern faces scanned screens of rolling data anxiously. Haichen stood to one side, eyes closed, focused on the faint trace of energy that was her leader, now light years away. Courtney bit her lip and frowned. Haichen had said that even with Tay Tap's remarkable abilities it would take time to cross through dimensions to their world. Tappor it was called, Haichen had told her, the Peaceful One. The little Courtney knew about Tapporian history suggested the planet had been anything but peaceful.

"She has arrived and is before the Council," Haichen stated, and moved to stand in front of a monitor. Courtney moved with her although the strange markings meant nothing to her. Haichen had explained that these were not like the computers of Earth but ones that used the low micro wave energy of the dark matter of space to send untraceable impulses through the universe along the strings of space/time. To Courtney it was purely science fiction. The terms she was aware of, the concepts behind them eluded her.

Courtney took to pacing again. The wait seemed endless. Fear gnawed at her gut. She found herself second-guessing all her decisions in the last few days and finding no better answers. She was now the alien, one human woman relying on the loyalty of a group of Tapporians who were virtually strangers. Their world view, their thought patterns, their concepts of right and wrong were so different to hers. She needed Tay here. Without her, Courtney had to admit, she was scared.

Haichen straightened from the screen and looked across the room at Courtney. "The Council has agreed to the Malasha. Torgga has supported this decision. It will start when..."

"Haichen Tay Tap!" interrupted an excited voice. Officers manning modules took off earphones and moved to stand behind the excited officer.

"What is it?" Courtney asked.

"Shit!" exploded Haichen, using an English word that she had learned to be particularly expressive. "Sapata, scan for her. Lucentern, I need details!"

"What is going on?!" Courtney repeated louder, as she watched Haichen's people manning their centres and working feverishly. Fear spread like fire through her gut.

"We don't know where Tay Tap is. Something has happened. Give me a minute to sort through all this mess and I will be able to tell you more," Haichen finally answered Courtney, not taking her eyes off the screen of data that rolled past. Courtney felt her heart contract. This was her worst nightmare coming true.

Haichen scanned the screen madly, trying to make sense of the reports of the observing recorders in the Hall of the Council. It made no sense. A plot against Torgga Tap had been exposed at the last minute and Torgga had managed to escape, pulling Tay Tap with him into another place/time. The Council was in an uproar.

The spy walked calmly into the main rotunda and looked around. They were in the computer room monitoring Tap's progress. It was likely that Courtney Hunter would be with them. The human had guts and daring. It was unlikely that she wouldn't insist on an active role in all this. This meant getting to Courtney Hunter would be easy. It also meant that death was inevitable in the shoot out that would follow.

"Give me strength guardians, to face what I must," Ian thought as he flipped the safety off the gun and opened the door.

Courtney looked up with worried eyes that widened into shock as the gun in Ian's hand raised.

"Ian no!" cried Haichen.

Courtney went down in the crossfire that followed.

Chapter 20

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