Janet (le Fey) Fraiser _____ Sam has a new
              friend!


There are fairies at the bottom of our
              astrophysics lab!


A WORK OF STARGÅTE SG-1 FAN-FICTIONby Van ©2010

Chapter 18

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ



OUR STORY CONTINUES


The First Lightling paced the balcony/landing platform of her tree house apartment.  It was still at least two hours until dawn and the Grove of the Light was totally quiet.  Carefully transplanted bio-luminescent bracket fungi marked the balconies of the thirty or so similar apartments within the First Lightling's sight, but none of her Sisters were up and about.

The First Lightling's apartment was neither grand nor ostentatious, not in its current state and not as ultimately planned.  Nothing set it off from the other Lightling abodes, other than the gold and amber-paned lantern hanging beside the balcony that marked this particular apartment as that of the First Sister.  Eventually, the grafted branches that comprised the balcony's support struts and the roof joists for the rain canopy would fuse with the host tree; but, for now, being only days old, the construction presented a rather raw look.  This was especially true in the apartment's main room, which had been carved directly into the trunk of the tree itself.  Most of the planned decorative carvings were still rough drawings on the bare wood.

To the Lightlings, rank and leadership were tasks, performed for personal satisfaction and for the common good.  The First Lightling did not need or want a grand apartment with special furnishings.  Whatever perks and privileges went with being "in charge" were gifts freely granted by those being led and not anything the First Lightling felt she was owed.  Theatrical displays of dominance were a game for the Dark.

In point of fact, the only truly grand thing planned for the entire Grove was the Green Hall of Light.  It would stretch between the crowns of four forest giants and would be large enough to hold most if not all of the extended Lightling family.  Eventually, with its overlapping canopies of living branches, wing-like, stretched sails of multi-colored canvas, and crystal prism skylights, the Hall would be a sight to behold, a tabernacle celebrating the union of the forest and the fey.  There would be a wide dance floor overlooked by dozens of smaller side-platforms for feasting and carousing, all lit by shafts of rainbow light beamed by mirrors and prisms by day, and strings of bio-luminescent fairy-lights by night.  Yes, someday it would be beautiful enough to stir the soul of the most troglodytic of Darklings.  Someday—but at the moment it was nothing more than several large branches lashed together.

Slowly, carefully, month-by-month, the branches would be winched ever-closer and encouraged to grow into the interlocking positions needed to form the Hall's floor joists and the struts to carry its ceiling panels.  Darklings could carve their rocky mountain (or order the Felger-trolls to do so) and achieve quick results.  Living trees had to be persuaded, even seduced into welcoming the Lightlings.  Patience was called for, and patience was a Lightling forte.

Patience, the First Lightling sighed.  How can I be patient when the Darklings have captured the Queen—and without first winning the Great Hunt, as is the Law?

The First Lightling turned her back on the darkened Grove and focused on the hammock-bed hanging from ornately braided ropes near the back wall of the apartment.  On it, a naked Jennifer Keller slept, sprawled in the tangle of silk sheets and pillows.  Her brown hair was as dark as a raven's wing and her smooth, lightly tanned skin ivory-white under the dim, blue-green light of the glowing fungi in their carved niches.

Poor thing, the First Lightling thought, smiling down at the slumbering human.  She's tuckered out from a hard day of love-making and 'branch seduction'.

Jennifer continued to be the object of a great deal of affection—all day, every day, following every meal and during every rest break.  As a member of the gangs of Lightlings, Hailey-, and Keller-fey that labored at rigging and hauling on the ropes and cables training the canopies into new growth patterns, she worked hard, as did they all.  And as the one and only wingless "earthling" currently a guest of the Lightlings, she got a lot of attention.  There were always fey appearing who had not yet had the pleasure of welcoming "The Keller" (or who claimed they had not yet had the pleasure).

The First Lightling padded to the bed.  She herself was as naked as Keller, but for the gold collar around her throat.  Her robes and other clothing were hung from pegs, awaiting the construction of a proper wardrobe.  She smiled down at the slumbering human, savoring the relaxed peace on her beautiful face.

The Keller has changed a great deal since coming under our care, she reflected.  Gone was the trembling fear of the first days after her capture, and she'd come to accept the casual and constant "friendliness" of her fairy hosts.  Her eyes still widened at the mention of the Darklings, but she knew her Lightling friends wanted her to be happy.  For us, the First Lightling reflected, bondage is a game, much less of an obsession than it was for the Darklings.

In fact, at the moment, Keller wasn't bound at all.  She was still a prisoner, of course.  Without wings, there were only two ways she could leave the apartment: a fatal swan-dive to the forest floor, or with fairy help.  Even to a Bigling, the trees of the Grove of Light were forest giants.  To Jennifer Keller at her current size, it was like being in the penthouse of a skyscraper—a penthouse without stairs or an elevator.

Keller stirred, half-opened her eyes, and blinked at the First Lightling.  "What?" she muttered.

"Nothing, sweetness," the First Lightling purred.  She sat on the bed and gently caressed Keller's right breast.  "Go back to sleep."

Keller sighed, smiled back, and closed her eyes.

Yes, she's changed, and so have we, the First Lightling mused.  My Sisters and I aren't as frantic in our desire to 'entertain' each other as we were when we first hatched.  And the Haileys and Kellers are changing, as well.  The First Lightling knew that all of them, herself included, were only days from their shells.  Yet, she felt like a mature adult, and, as the days passed, like an ever more mature adult.  She realized that her personality—all of their personalities—were becoming better integrated.  Time is having a tempering effect.  Perhaps this too is part of The Plan, she posited.

Suddenly—"Mrrpfh!"—the First Lightling was grabbed from behind!  A hand was clamped tightly over her mouth and an arm squeezed her elbows together, locking her arms behind her back.  A female body was pressing against her folded wings.  She was helpless!

Another figure stepped into view.  It was a Cadman-fairy, covered head-to-toe in a mottled riot of dark, earth-tone paint, including the metal bikini and steel helmet that were her only clothing.  In the dim, eerie light of the glowing fungi, the night camouflage made her as insubstantial as a ghost.  "The Machine of Life requests your presence," the newcomer whispered.  "Do not resist while we make you safe."

The hand left the First Lightling's mouth and rope began tightening around her upper body.  The First Lightling's lips curled in a dimpled smile.  "All you had to do was ask," she whispered.  There were four—no, six of the Cadman fey present, all painted to blend into the night, and all held coils of rope.  The First Lightling opened her mouth and accepted a large, crumpled wad of brown silk, and held her head cooperatively still as a cleave-gag was applied.  She was now box-tied, gagged, and ready to travel.

The Cadmans had done their work with silent efficiency.  Now, as a group, they stood around the bed, gazing down at the slumbering Jennifer Keller.

"The Keller!" one of them whispered, stating the obvious.

"Yes," another agreed.  "Our second target.  How convenient."

The First Lightling watched as the Cadmans made ready their ropes and silk cloths—and pounced!

"Wha—mrrrf!"

Jennifer never had a chance, of course.  In short order she was bound and gagged in the same manner as her Lightling hostess.  She'd been rendered helpless before she was even fully awake, and now she stood shoulder to rope-yolked shoulder with the First Lightling, gazing at their camouflaged captors with wide, frightened eyes.

Just then, four more Cadman-fey arrived, escorting a box-tied and gagged Hailey-fairy and a similarly bound and gagged Keller-fairy.  Both prisoners were naked, but for their tight, expertly applied bonds.

"We found these two cuddling together in a leaf nest," one of the newly arrived warriors whispered.  "They'll do as well as any others to carry the Machine's message to the entire Grove of Light."

"Agreed," one of the Cadmans whispered back.  "Secure them on the bed."

The Keller and Hailey-fairies were lashed together—face-to-face, boob-to-boob, tummy-to-tummy, etc.—then laid on their sides on the rumpled silk sheets.  Additional ropes were used to lash them down, binding them to the bed frame at the ankles, knees, waists, and shoulders.  Even their wings were bound, albeit loosely.

All but three of the Cadmans departed, taking the First Lightling and Jennifer Keller with them.  The remaining Cadman fey stood near the bed, gazing down at the frightened (sort of) servant-fairy captives.

"Thus speaks The Machine of Life," one of the Cadmans whispered.  "The First Lightling has been summoned to the Great Temple to commune with The Machine.  The Lightlings and all their servants are to go about their business and await their leader's return.  That is all."

All three Cadmans' lips curled in evil (mischievous) smiles.

"You may go back to what you were doing before we interrupted," one of them purred.  The trio then turned and left the apartment, fluttering away into the night.

The prisoners on the bed stared after their departed captors—then turned their heads, locked eyes, and sighed through their gags.  Much squirming and struggling ensued.  The captives found they were more-or-less comfortable, but their bonds were totally inescapable.  Also, while squirming in inescapable bondage was rather entertaining, they were not able to resume their former activities, not to any meaningful degree, anyway.  They could manage a little mutual gag-nuzzling, some minor boob-rubbing, and a little thigh-sliding, but that was it.

What a dirty, rotten, Darkling trick the Cadmans had played on them!  The prisoners resumed squirming and writhing in their bonds.  Fun, yes—but dirty, rotten, and Darkling, nonetheless.

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 18

Sam opened her eyes and sat up.  The giant pyramid of glowing crystals that was the Machine of Life seemed the same as before, when Sam and the others rescued by the Cadman-fairy Marines had been brought from the Dark Mountain to the Great Temple.  Waves of light rippled in complex patterns across the surface of the Machine as individual crystals pulsed and waned.  All the colors of the rainbow were represented in the ever-changing light-show.

Are the crystals actually changing colors? Sam wondered.  It looked like they were, which was something she'd never seen in any Goa'uld or Tok'ra technology.  The thing was, when she tried to focus on any one crystal, her mind began to drift, no matter how hard she tried to concentrate.  She couldn't be sure what she was seeing.  The incomprehensible patterns might even be holographic projections, rather than the actual flashing and pulsing of the crystals themselves.  Or, maybe they're both.

Sam lowered her gaze and focused on Janet.  The joined Dark and Light fairy was curled up on her side, almost touching Sam, but not quite.  She was asleep, her beautiful, angelic face totally relaxed.  A hint of a smile curled her incredibly cute, bow lips.  As Sam watched, her eyes rolled under her closed lids.  REM sleep, Sam realized.  She's dreaming.  A thrill of pure love rippled through Sam's body, and she sighed.  She hadn't yet had a chance to talk to Janet in private, and what she had to say to her was very private.  I love you, Jan, Sam thought, smiling down at the dreaming fey.

The others seemed to be asleep, as well.  Jennifer Hailey, Laura Cadman, Markie the Hailey-fey, and the First Darkling.  Sam focused on Hailey, who was curled up on her other side, next to her fairy copy.  It had been quite a happy reunion when they'd all been brought together in the Chamber of the Machine.  Hugs, greetings, quick stories to catch each other up—quite a happy reunion.  The still bound and gagged First Darkling was an exception, of course.  She'd watched with violet eyes as the others chatted and embraced, and as Markie was introduced to Cadman and The Hailey by her Queen, with praise and terms of affection that brought a crimson blush to the suddenly shy fey's pixie face—but the First Darkling, herself, was largely ignored.

The Cadman Marines had ordered them to rest on the large scatter of cushions piled in the middle of the large space equidistant between the base of the Machine and the cavern wall.  They were warned not to try and leave the chamber, and to not untie the First Darkling.  The latter order was one they all seemed more than happy to obey.  Naked but not bound or caged, the group relaxed on the cushions, chatted for a while, then drifted off to sleep.

Two squads of Cadman-fairies stood guard, one at either end of the chamber, armed with quarterstaffs and lassos and ready to enforce the orders they'd relayed to the Machine's "guests".

Sam sat, her thighs pressed against her breasts, her arms wrapped around her shins, and her chin resting on her knees.  She gazed at the Machine, enjoying the play of the light on the walls of the cavern.  After a while, she turned her head to Janet, again.  The fey was still curled on her side, but now, her eyes were open and focused of Sam.  A happy grin dimpled her cheeks.

"What?" Sam demanded, smiling back.

"You're beautiful," Janet sighed.

"Stop," Sam muttered, her cheeks burning.

Janet's smile turned to a pouting moue.  "I'm serious," she cooed,

Sam continued smiling.  "You're beautiful, too, Jan," she whispered.

Now Janet was blushing.  "Flirt," she accused.

"Oh, I like that!" Sam chuckled, quietly.  "Talk about the fairy calling the human a tease..."

Janet sat up, and just then, Markie rolled away from Sam and against Jennifer Hailey.  Jennifer, in turn, yawned, stretched, and draped an arm across Markie's waist.  Both the fairy and her human template were still fast asleep.

Janet turned back to Sam.  Her dimpled smile had returned.  "I have an idea," she whispered, then carefully, quietly climbed to her feet.  She pecked Sam's cheek, then padded in the direction of one of the squads of Cadman Marines.

Sam started to rise.  "Janet!" she hissed.

Janet did a half turn and motioned for Sam to stay put, then continued forward.

The Marine fairies seemed ready to deploy their lassos and restrain the approaching "Lightling".  After a few whispered words; however, they stood easy and listened to the rest of whatever Janet had to say.

The distance was far too great for Sam to hear Janet's words, but sufficiently close for her to see the wink Jan sent in her direction.  One of the Cadman fairies turned and sprinted away down a side corridor.

What now, Janet? Sam wondered, then she frowned when the Marine returned with a shambling Felger-troll.  Janet and the grinning troll had a whispered conversation, during which Janet indicated her right upper arm a couple of times.  Finally, the troll nodded, then giggled and shivered with delight when Janet planted a kiss on the top of his furry head.  Janet waved as the troll shambled away, then bowed to the Marine fairy guards and padded back to the sleeping guests.  She sat next to Sam, a nonchalant smile dimpling her cheeks.

Sam smiled back for several seconds, then shook her head.  "Well?" she whispered.

"Well what?" Janet whispered back, batting her eyes "innocently".

"Unless you want a spanking..." Sam warned.

"You are in a flirty mood," Janet giggled.  "It's a surprise."

"A surprise," Sam huffed, shaking her head, again.  "I ought to spank you just on general principals."

Janet giggled and blew Sam a kiss.  "Flirt!" she mouthed, silently.

Sam's smile faded, and her eyes locked with Janet's.  Finally, she opened her mouth to speak, then she swallowed, to wet her suddenly dry throat.  Her heart was pounding in her chest.  "Janet," she finally managed, "I—"  She was interrupted by the sound of a great many fluttering wings.

Janet's gaze was still locked with Sam's  "What is it?" she asked.

"Later," Sam sighed, and they turned to watch the approach of a group of Cadman-fairy Marines.  They were all painted from head to toe with camouflage in dark, forest colors, and were escorting or carrying two bound, gagged and naked prisoners: the First Lightling, identifiable by her gold collar; and Jennifer Keller, the wingless, round-eared template of the Keller-fey.

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 18

The Cadman-fairy Marines untied and ungagged both newcomers, then withdrew.  Another round of reunion hugs and introductions of Markie ensued.

Sam coolly accepted a kiss and a polite hug from the First Lightling, noting the thinly veiled confusion the Lightling exhibited with respect to Janet, especially after she was introduced as the Janet Fraiser.

She also noted the blushing shyness which Markie continued to display, and edged close to whisper in the little blond fey's ear.  "What's wrong, Markie?" she inquired.

Markie smiled up at her and whispered back.  "I... I'm just a Hailey.  I shouldn't be here with... with all of you."

Hailey—the Hailey—had overheard.  "Some are born great," she said with a smile, "some have greatness thrust upon them, and some get kidnapped by dragons.  In your case—"  She paused to plant a kiss on her fey copy's still blushing cheek.  "You were hatched great."

"Hatched great?" Sam chuckled.

Hailey shrugged.  "She has my DNA."

"Of course," Sam chuckled, rolling her eyes.

Markie followed the exchange with a coy grin.  "Thank you," she whispered, and kissed Hailey's cheek.  She then kissed Sam.  "My Queen."

Meanwhile, the First Lightling had knelt beside the First Darkling and was untying her bonds.

"You sure that's a good idea?" Jennifer Keller asked, a little nervously.

"She'll be good," the First Lightling answered, then focused on her Darkling counterpart.  "Won't you?"

The First Darkling sighed through her gag, and nodded.

"Besides," Laura Cadman purred, "if she gets fresh, I'll kick her butt.  And if she tries to escape, my fellow Marines—"  She nodded towards one of the squads of Cadman-fairy guards.  "—will tie her up so tight she'll think she's a pretzel."

"How do you know?" Keller asked.

Cadman shrugged.  "That's what I'd do."

Just then, a large group of Felger-trolls shambled towards the guests.  All were carrying trays laden with covered dishes or ceramic pitchers beaded with moisture.  The trays interlocked to form one long, low table.  The grinning trolls bowed in unison, then ambled back the way they came.

"Those guys kinda creep me out," Hailey muttered.

"They're friendly enough," Keller conceded.

"Yeah," Sam muttered, a delicate shudder rippling up her spine.  She was remembering the sensation of twenty or thirty wet, warm Felger-troll tongues licking her naked, helpless body for something like two hours.  "Very friendly."

The group pulled up cushions, sat, and began to eat.  The fare was various roasted vegetables and meats, tortilla-like flat-breads, and pitchers of chilled fruit juice.

Sam noticed that the two collared fairies sat together and shared the food without apparent animosity.

Janet leaned close to Sam's ear.  "It really is just a game to them, you know," she whispered.

"A game," Sam grumbled, "with me as the ball."

Just then, a Felger-troll shambled up and handed a small, silk-wrapped bundle to Janet.  She opened the wrappings, peeked inside, and a broad smile lit her face.  "It's beautiful," she sighed, "exactly what I wanted."  She kissed the troll's forehead, and it giggled and shambled away.

"Okay, enough is enough," Sam muttered.  Her eyes were on the silk-wrapped bundle.  "What is it?"

"A gift," Janet responded.

"Look," Sam warned (with a smile), "unless you really do want me to bend you over my knee—"

"Maybe later," Janet chuckled, and unfolded the wrapping in a way that only Sam could see what was within.

"Oh!" Sam gasped.  "It's beautiful."  The gift in question was a wide, silver, cuff-like armband.  Embossed on its surface, in gold, was the figure of a dragon, an exquisite image capturing Goldeneye hovering in mid-flight.

Janet leaned close and whispered in Sam's ear, "for Markie."  She restored the wrapping and handed the armband to Sam.

Sam smiled.  "How thoughtful," she sighed.  "Uh, don't you want to..."

Janet shook her head.  "A gift from her Queen," she whispered.

Sam kissed Janet's cheek.  "You're wonderful," she purred.

Janet blushed.  "You still owe me a spanking."

"Among other things," Sam whispered, then turned to Markie.  "Hey you," she said, "let me see your arm."

"My Queen?" Markie asked.  She'd been trying to follow the whispered conversation about the mysterious silk-wrapped bundle without success.

"Where Goldeneye scratched you," Sam clarified.

Markie scooted forward and presented her right arm to her Queen.

"It's almost completely healed," Janet (the fairy MD) opined, leaning close.  "There will be a scar, but it'll be barely noticeable."

"Agreed," Keller (MD) concurred.

"Well," Sam said, "this should help."  She leaned close and kissed the scratch.  "And this."  She peeled back the silk wrappings and slid the armband up Markie's arm and over her bicep, covering the scratch.

"Oh!" Markie gasped, staring at the torque in wonder.

"It's beautiful!" Hailey sighed.

"Yeah," Keller agreed.

"My Queen," Markie said, her eyes welling.  "It-it's too fine!  I..."

Sam pulled the now sobbing fairy into a tight embrace.  "Markie, the Queen's friend, her protector in the face of dragon peril, her companion in exile."

"My Queen," Markie blubbered.

"Oh please," the First Darkling muttered.  "Not when I'm trying to eat."

"That'll be enough of that," Hailey growled, climbing to her feet.  She grabbed a handful of the rope, the First Darkling's former bonds, and pounced!

"How dare you!" the First Darling cried, as Hailey wrestled her onto her stomach and began binding her wrists behind her back.

"Make sure her arms are under her wings," Sam ordered.

"Why?" Hailey asked, as she cinched and tied off the Darkling's wrist bonds.

"It is painful if a fairy's arms are tied over her wings," Janet explained.

"How painful?" Hailey asked, as she reached for more rope.

"Lieutenant," Sam warned.

"Okay, okay," Hailey chuckled, "under the wings.  Yes, ma'am."

"You need any help?" Cadman offered.

"With this one?" Hailey asked.  "Hardly, but thanks."

The Cadman Marine guards had come closer, to watch the show.  "I didn't know a Hailey could do that," one remarked.

"Air Force Special Forces training isn't half bad," Cadman told the watching fairy Marines.  "Of course, it's not as if she's a member of the Corps."

"Once I'm finished with this one," Hailey muttered, "my dance card is free."  She tied the First Darkling's ankles and lashed them to her wrists in a stringent hogtie.  "I'll be more than happy to show any jarhead who's interested how this is done."

The Cadmans (including Hailey's fellow human) laughed, not in the least bit offended.  "Sorry, we're on duty," one of the fairies answered, and the two squads strolled back to their former positions.

"When we get back to the SGC, zoomie," Jennifer Cadman smiled.  "I'll show you how it's done, in the gym."

"It's a date, Red," Hailey smiled back.

When we get back, Sam thought, then pulled away from Markie and planted a kiss on the wet-eyed fairy's lips.  "I need to try and talk to the Machine," she said.

But before she could say more, there was a violet flash and a rippling curtain of multi-colored lights danced across the front of the Machine of Life.  Then, the glowing crystals began to pulse in unison.

"My Daughters and Guests," the Machine's eerie, multi-layered voice intoned (telepathically).  "Please attend."

"Perfect timing," Janet chuckled.

"Sure, why not?" Hailey muttered.  "I've got nothing else to do than listen to Mister Flashy-Flashy.  What?" she demanded, noticing Keller's mildly shocked expression.  "Mack and I used to chat all the time, back when I was dangling in my canary cage—"  She pointed straight overhead.  "—up there."

"Lieutenant," Sam, said, "please don't mock the giant, intelligent, alien entity with vast, unknown powers that holds our fates in its metaphorical hands."

"Yes, ma'am," Hailey answered.  From her mentor's poorly suppressed smirk she knew she wasn't really being rebuked.

"The time has come for me to reveal important elements of The Plan to the Queen."

"Oh good," Sam muttered under her breath.

"But first," the Machine continued, "hear now the Justice of The Machine of Life.  First Daughter of the Darklings, for the crime of kidnapping the Queen and members of her Court outside the context of a sanctioned Game, you are sentenced to be the personal guest of the First Daughter of the Lightlings for a period of seven days and seven nights."

"It was worth it," the First Darkling sighed, then opened her mouth and accepted a wad of silk stuffing from her Light Sister.

"Don't worry," the First Lightling giggled as she tied a tight cleave-gag.  "My Sisters and I will make you very happy, and we'll finally get to see how good you look in pretty pink costumes!"

"Mrrfh!" the First Darkling mewled through her gag, and a delicate shudder of disgust shook her pale, helpless frame.

Sam shook her head (and suppressed an approving smile), then focused on the Machine.  "I have questions," she growled, "such as—"

 There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 18

"Sam... Sam?"

Janet was calling her name.  Sam opened her mouth to answer—or tried, anyway.  She was sitting upright, as she'd been before, but her eyes were closed... and she couldn't move.

"Sam, are you okay?"

Finally, Sam found she could open her eyes.  She blinked and shook her head.  Janet was leaning close, a concerned look on her beautiful face.

"I'm fine," Sam muttered, picked up her cup and took a sip.  "The Machine spoke to me... I think."  She focused on the still worried Janet.  "I take it this time only I could hear?"

Janet sighed, and kissed Sam's cheek.  "That's right, sweetie.  You've been sitting here for about a minute, not moving."

"What did Mack have to say?" Hailey asked.

Sam shook her head, again.  "I... I can't remember," she muttered.

"The Queen shall recall my message in the fullness of time," the machine announced.  "And now—behold The Plan as it continues to unfold."

There was movement down one of the side passages, and a dozen Felger-trolls came into view.  They were carrying a bier with long, wooden handles, and on the bier, nestled in silk cushions in a riot of rainbow colors, was a flawless, pearl-white egg.

"What now?" Sam whispered under her breath.

The trolls moved to the space between the Machine and the Queen and her court, set down the bier, and gently, carefully moved the egg and its cushions onto the stone floor.  They then picked up the bier and shambled back the way they came.

The egg was the same size as any of the various fairy or troll eggs Sam had seen before.  "It's... beautiful," she sighed.

"If you like white," Hailey said.  "What do you suppose it is?"

The members of Queen's court shrugged (not counting the hog-tied Darkling), and the Machine remained silent.

Sam noticed a quiet muttering noise, and turned to find what had to be a couple of hundred Hailey and Keller-fairies and an equal number of Felger-trolls entering the chamber.  A hundred or so Cadman-fairies in brightly polished bikini armor and armed with quarterstaffs arrived as well, and formed a cordon between the fey host and Sam and her party.  The guards stood at parade rest, and the fairies and trolls settled to the floor and began to softly, quietly sing.  More Haileys, Kellers, and Felgers continued to arrive, all dressed in bikinis or loincloths in rainbow colors.

"This has to be every fey in the Great Temple," Janet whispered to Sam.

"I think you're right," Sam whispered back.

All eyes were on the egg.  The Machine continued its light-show, sending shimmering, opalescent waves rippling across the egg's surface.  The fairy and troll a cappella choir continued their quiet, wordless, multi-part anthem.

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 18

Minutes passed... and turned into an hour.

The singing continued and the egg was still the center of attention; however, the First Lightling was delicately teasing her bound and gagged Dark Sister's pussy—not enough to bring her off, of course—just enough to keep her squirming.  Janet was leaning against Sam's right side, and Markie against her left.  Every now and then, Markie would steal a glance at her beautiful new armband.  It was just tight enough to dimple the flesh of her bicep, a perfect fit.  The others simply sat or lounged on the cushions and watched the egg—and very carefully did not watch the First Lightling entertain her prisoner.

"You still don't remember what the Machine said to you?" Janet whispered.

Sam shook her head.  "No, I—"  She frowned.  "Did the egg just move?"

"I think so," Janet answered.

Six Hailey and six Keller fairies passed through the fairy Marine cordon.  All were wearing silk loincloths of pure white.  Their long blond and brown hair was plaited into tight braids that trailed down their backs and behind their shimmering wings, and their bodies had been lightly oiled  They carried bronze basins of water, and white towels were draped over their arms.  They slowly, gracefully advanced, their pointing feet matching the rhythm of the continuing song.  They formed an arc around the egg with their backs to the Machine, then knelt on the floor and set down their basins and towels.  Their upper bodies began swaying in unison.

The rocking motion of the egg was now unmistakable, and it continued for several minutes.  A crack formed in the shell... then another... and they began to spread.  Fluid oozed from the fissures, and finally, the shell slumped and fell apart.

A slime-covered fairy was revealed.  Her wings began to inflate and lengthen as she remained kneeling with her arms folded against her sides.  Finally, she lifted her dripping head.

Sam, Janet, and the others gasped in amazement!

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 18

THE
END



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