By Brantley Thompson Elkins


Martin Roberson hadn't seen his niece Margaret in ages. So it came as a shock to find her on his doorstep one day, suitcase in hand.


She was 20, he knew. She'd been cute as a child, but she'd grown into a spectacularly beautiful woman -- like a supermodel. She was dressed to show that off -- enbarassingly so.

When she introduced herself, he hadn't recognized her, it had been so long. And he was immediately suspicious, even though she knew his name and his mother's name and his Social Security number. Easy enough to get that sort of thing, he'd thought. But she knew other things, personal things-about how he and Hank had been estranged for 15 years, about things he didn't want to think about.


There was something else that convinced him. That package he'd received the other day. About the only mail Martin ever got from Hank was an annual Christmas letter giving him an update on the family. No pictures for some years now; that was unusual. But from them he knew that Margaret was a pianist, and studying composition at the Rochester Academy of Music. Stuff like that.


She was evasive at first when he asked what she was doing here in the mountains above Snoqualmie, nearly 3,000 miles from Washington or Rochester. "Dad's talked about you all my life," she said. "And I'd heard about how beautiful it is out here. I wanted to see it for myself. I could be a tree hugger."


She proceded to demonstrate. On a really big tree outside.



"The country is beautiful," Martin said. "One of the reasons I came here. But that doesn't cut it. You'd better come up with something better, or you can cut out."


He shouldn't talk to her that way, he realized. After all, she was kin to him, the closest kin he had next to Hank. But she was devious, just like her father in that job of his. Martin didn't like devious.


Margaret's expression suddenly changed, turned somber.


"They killed him. And I'm scared. Really scared."




"Who killed him? When?"


"Two days ago. And I don't know who. But it was a professional job."


Like in terminate with extreme prejudice?


"That's crazy. They don't go in for wet work these days. The agencies, I mean."


"Check it out for yourself."


Martin went on line to google. There was a story from the Washington Post. Not very detailed. Henry C. Roberson, shot execution-style in the garage of his home in Reston, Virginia. Said to work for the DIA, which refused to comment on the case. Fairfax County police and the FBI were said to be investigating.


Martin had never known exactly what Hank did for the DIA, only that he had some sort of a job there. Martin hated spy agencies. He hated the military, too. Ever since their father had been killed in Vietnam. That was why he'd come out here, gone to work for the National Park Service. He'd wanted to put as much distance between himself and-


Those who live by the sword... he thought-and immediately reproached himself. It was unworthy of him. Certainly unworthy of her. She couldn't have had anything to do with --whatever it was that had led to Hank's death.


She didn't look scared. Well, not that scared. But women were different these days, he supposed. More like men, suppressing their emotions. Maybe that was a bad thing -- he didn't know for sure. But it occurred to him that he ought to be showing her the common courtesies.


"Something to eat, drink? You've come a long way."


They sat down to a couple of TV dinners and cokes-Martin, a confirmed bachelor, wasn't much for fixing meals. Or for natural food. It was only then that it occurred to him the package from Hank couldn't have had anything to do with Margaret's impending visit.


"I had some mail from Hank the other day," he said now. "Hadn't gotten around to taking a look at it."


He could see her eyes light up. But he put that out of his mind. He didn't want to think that she might know something about her father's work, or even be involved in it.




After dinner, he trued to strike up conversation-to draw her out, He'd seen Margaret only as a toddler, once again as a five-year old, before thingsbetween him and his brother turned completely sour.


Martin felt ashamed now that he hadn't tried to reach out to his only niece, now his only living kin. So he tried to do that now.


"Classical? Jazz? Pop?"




She seemed puzzled, or perhaps distracted.


"Your compositions. Hank said you were writing for the piano."


"Oh. Kind of a blend. I really haven't done much yet."


"I'd like to hear it, just the same. Only, I don't have a piano."


Was that alarm on her face, followed by relief?


"I can't think about that now," she said after a moment.


He tried to draw her out about her friends at the Academy, about memories of growing up, about her other interests. But she spoke only in generalities, with a few hard facts studding them like raisins in a cake. She became impatient even with that.


"My father just died," she said. "And I don't even know why. Maybe what he sent you...."


That package again. He didn't want to face it, but he knew he had to. There might be something that would help the FBI. He could take it to their field office in Seattle. Let them take it from there.


The package turned out to be a computer disk. No surprise there. Anything and everything important was saved to disk these days.


He popped it into his computer.


The disk seemed to be full of financial records-campaign contributions and bank transactions involving a certain senator. There were annotations -- by Hank, presumably -- regarding the actual source of the funds. Foundations and Section 527 fund-raising groups that meant nothing to him. But what was the DIA doing investigating political corruption, anyway?


Then he saw the answer: Martin had inserted notations next to some of the contributors - "NEC?" and in a few cases "NEC!" But that raised an even greater mystery: What was a Japanese electronics conglomerate doing funneling money into a US political campaign?


He could sense Margaret looking over his shoulder, sensed that it was with rapt attention - more than she'd given to any of his conversation about music and other personal matters.


"Does this mean anything to you?" he asked, turning his head towards her.


"No. Nothing."


He didn't quite believe that.


"How deep into this are you, Margaret?"


"I swear..."


"This is what your father died for: somehow he found out that a foreign corporation was buying a US senator. What I can't understand is why he sent this to me. Wouldn't he have shared it with his DIA colleagues? With the other agencies? This is a Homeland Security matter."


"What are you talking about?"


"The Japanese. NEC is one of the biggest electronics outfits around. They're into hard drives, software, networking solutions, RFID -- you name it. And they're dirty. This could be the biggest scandal since Iran-Contra. If Hank had shared it with anyone else, they wouldn't have killed him. There wouldn't have been any point to it."


There was a strange expression on Margaret's face, as if she were truly baffled now, not just playing a part.


"But how could they have found out?"


"Somebody at the DIA must be dirty too, Hank must have known that."


Margaret's face took on an expression that might be awe, but he didn't pay any attention. He thought he had it all added up now, and that scared him.


"Whoever knew about him must know about you, know about me. We're going to have to get the hell out of here. Head to Seattle, hand this over to the feds ASAP. Another copy to the Post-Intelligencer. They'll just love to get a beat on this. Why Hank didn't try the same thing with the Washington Post I'll never know."


"You can't," she cried. "It's dangerous."


"Dangerous if we don't," Martin said as he copied the disk.


"But we're safer here," she protested. "Out in the open, I can't protect--"


"Protect what?"


She was breathing heavily now, as if in panic. It didn't make sense. None of it made any sense.


But he knew trouble was coming. He could feel it in his bones.




Trouble came sooner than he'd reckoned, while he was in the front room, still arguing with Margaret. He might have had some warning if their voices hadn't been raised.


As it was, the first sign if trouble came when the front door crashed in.


Two men stepped through. One had a heavy sledgehammer in right hand, and a machine pistol strapped to his left shoulder. The other already had a machine pistol aimed at them. The first quickly dropped the hammer and took up his own weapon.


They wore ski masks and fatigues -- typical bounty hunter gear. Martin wondered if they were indeed bounty hunters, only working for whoever had killed Hank instead of trying to collect rewards.


"You know what we want," said Pistol.


"Hand it over now, and we just might let you live," added Hammer.


"After we torture you enough to convince ourselves you don't know what's on it."


"Death or pain. Pretty simple choice."


"She's never even seen it," Martin pleaded. "And it's all gibberish to me."


"Wrong answer," said Pistol. "You might remember enough of the gibberish to make sense of it later. Guess it's bye-bye."


"Don't you love these country jobs?" Hammer quipped to his partner. "No need for sissy guns with silencers. Or even sissier stuff like garrottes. Just let'er rip."


Margaret suddenly stepped in front of Martin.


"Are you crazy?" he shouted, trying to pull her to what dubious shelter might lie behind the couch.


He might as well have tried to move a concrete pillar. Instead, he found himself flung over the couch, hitting the floor behind it painfully. There came the sound of gunfire, and the smell of cordite, followed by screams and what appeared to be the sound of twisting metal.


Then a moment of silence, followed by Margaret's voice.


"It's safe now."




Martin was too shocked to move, let alone try to make sense of what had happened.


Margaret lifted him to his feet. She was obviously unharmed, but her outfit was in shreds.


He glanced away from her for a moment. The two assassins were dead, their necks twisted. Their guns lay crumpled on the floor next to them.


He turned back to -- he suddenly realized it couldn't be Margaret. Couldn't be.


His savior read his expression.


"She's safe," the woman said now. "With one of us."


Then she laughed, a sweet infectious laugh.


It was insane. This whole situation was insane. Martin tried to get his mind back in gear, but he couldn't -- his mental gears were totally stripped.


As if she could read that last word in his mind, the woman -- the blonde goddess as he was beginning to think of her now -- began to strip out what was left of her clothes.


"My cover's blown anyway," she said. "And my imposture is shot to hell. So you might as well see the real me."

She shed the remnants of her later and shorts.


Martin stood there entranced.


"Yes it's all me," she said. "Not a drop of silicone."


"But those bullets..."


"I'll explain. All in due time. But I think there's something else you need now. And I sure need it...


She looked him in the eye, and gave him a wink.


"Could it be the marks of my invulnerability that have you all hot and bothered? Because I'm hot and bothered. Being shot in the chest can do that. To people like me."


It was crazy. He'd just watched her somehow kill two would-be assassins. He should be in shock. And yet all he could think of now was that the blood was rushing to his cock.


"What?" he croaked. "Why?"


"You're a brave man, Martin Roberson, But a foolish one. I'm supposed to take bullets for you, not the other way around."


Somehow it was her teasing facetiousness that engaged his mind again, that restored his voice.


"Like, I was supposed to know that?"


"You weren't supposed to know about us at all. And you wouldn't have, if I hadn't been needed."


"Like Emma Peel."


"Emma who?"


"Forget about it."


She hadn't been here long, he guessed, certainly wasn't up on popular culture. His wit was lost on her. Might as well take the direct approach.


"Who are you?"


"We don't give out names."


"What are you?"


"Your wildest dream." 




This is not happening, he tried to tell himself. This is not happening.


But it was. There was a naked goddess holding him in her arms, kissing and caressing him tenderly. His engorged cock was pressing against her; he knew she could feel it.


Oh God, it had been so long; he didn't know if he could hold it. She must have guessed that, for now she began kissing her way down his chest, planting her lips on his belly and then....


Christ! She had him in her mouth and he was erupting. He took her head in his hands, ran them through her golden tresses as he came and came, screaming incoherently -- loud enough to wake the entire neighborhood, if there'd been a neighborhood.


God, the creamy golden flesh of her arms and legs, as flawless as that of her face, Breasts that proudly defied gravity, an abdomen that could have been sculpted by Michelangelo, finally her hairless mons veneris and the perfect cleft that revealed the tip of her clitoris. He had been mesmerized by her beauty then, as he was now.


She'd returned his admiring gaze.


"But I don't like to be totally naked," she'd said.


She'd gone to her suitcase and retrieved a gold necklace, with a pendant that hung between her magnificent breasts.


"I was already horny, from being hit with the bullets and all."




"But this'll make me even hornier," she'd promised. "And let you put your cock where we both want it, when we both want it."


She'd paused for a second.


"Of course, I'm still umpteen times stronger than you. And still invulnerable."


She'd explained about the gold, and his heart had skipped a beat.


She wants me, he'd thought. This heavenly creature wants me.


And now she wanted him again, wanted him inside her. His cock stood at attention; she gazed at it in rapture, then raised her face to look him in the eyes.


Most men would have gone for a quickie, but he wanted this to last. When she lay down in his bed and raised her hips invitingly, he knelt instead beside her and began kissing her feet. He worked his way up her legs, kissing and caressing, and she began to moan. When he reached her pussy, it was trickling love juice and her clit was as engorged as his cock.


Martin swirled his tongue around her clit, savoring the juices that tasted of honey and wildflowers, then began sucking it greedily.


"Bite it!" she urged him. "Bite it!"


Nothing can hurt her, he realized. Nothing!


She began screaming with ecstasy when he bit down on her, so he bit harder -- as hard as he could. Although he couldn't see them now, he felt his way to her breasts with one hand and began squeezing each of them in turn, tweaking nipples that were already two or three times their normal size. She began bucking and moaning, her pelvis rising to meet his loving assault.


"OH YES, YES, YES!" she cried as multiple orgasms racked her body.


Now it was his turn, but instead of entering her from the missionary position, he whispered his true desire to her: he wanted her to take him from above, that he might gaze at the splendor of her body. He lay on his back, and took in the sight and sound of her as she impaled herself on him. He ogled her breasts and blew kisses at her as he felt her cunt engulf him, hot and tight.


Then she began to move, began to take him to heaven.


"Watch me fuck you! Watch me fuck you!" she shouted as she raised herself almost, but not quite enough to let him slip out. His eyes feasted on her cunt as it swallowed his cock again and again, feasted on her breasts as he squeezed and mauled them, feasted on her face -- a mask of sweet torment yearning for release, as he too was yearning for release.


He could feel his cock coming to a boil; she squeezed her cunt to hold him in check, but soon he was coming to a boil again. His whole body shuddered in anticipation. He pulled her down for a kiss, she let him pull her down, and their tongues met in each other's mouths as he exploded inside her, as she exploded, as scream matched scream, as they were carried away by an uncontrollable passion that had at found its outlet.


He thought for a moment he would faint, so overpowering was his orgasm. But instead there came a sense of fulfillment, of inner peace and utter bliss. He took her in his arms and they lay together in the afterglow.




When Martin awoke the next morning, the superwoman was sitting next to him, wearing a change of street clothes -- jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, along with hiking shoes.


"Been out?" he asked.


"Seeing to necessities."


She gave him a peck on the cheek, but he still wanted to know about the "necessities."


"Do I have to spell it out for you? There were two dead people to dispose of. And their car."


Martin looked shocked, then embarrassed. In the heat of passion, he hadn't even thought of the assassins.


"Maybe we should have..."


"Right. 'Let's get rid of these dead bodies and then fuck.' Not exactly a romantic scenario."


Martin's face turned red.


"I never thanked you," he said now. "For saving my life."


"Part of my job. They're giving me regular assignments now. I started out as just an observer. You have to get to know a world first. And then -- well, I can't talk about that."


"And last night?"


"Not part of the job. Just part of the reward for it. We don't have any of our own men here, so--"




"You weren't just a pickup, though I've done those. Supergirls like to have fun. But as I said, you were brave, even if you were foolish. You were ready to give your life for mine."




"Still. I admire that in a man. You're also smart, although again foolish. I admire that too."


"Smart and foolish?"


"Your interpretation of the records on that disk. It was brilliant -- and totally off the mark. The Japanese have nothing to do with it."


"But NEC?"


"Near Earth Command. And don't repeat that to anybody. They're our enemies, and the enemies behind your brother's enemies. This goes further and deeper than anything you can imagine. I shouldn't be telling this at all. But I do admire you. I want you to have a safe and happy life. And you won't if you pursue this matter. I can guarantee that."


"But the disk?"


"I'm taking that."


"You're going to let them get away with--"


"Who said anything about 'getting away with?' Your brother had something on that senator, but he was in over his head. Now we've got something on him, and we're not in over our heads. We can use this to turn him, just as the Aureans turned him before."




"The enemy. The NEC is their advance force. They could overcome your planet easily. But theyÕd rather conquer from within."


"What can we do?"


"Nothing. But you have Protectors. IÕm one of them. YouÕll have to trust us, because you have no other hope. Depend on it."


"But what do I do now?"


"Live your life. Take care of Margaret; sheÕll need you now."


"Will I see you again?"


"I doubt it. But IÕll remember you."


"And I you."


"Take my advice. Find a nice Earth girl. Marry. Have children. Grow old together."


She pulled him in for a deep kiss, then turned towards the front entrance.


"Better get that fixed," she said.


She waved, and then she was gone. Up, up and away, he supposed, although he didnÕt actually see her take flight.




Margaret arrived a few days later, suitcase in hand.