Standard legal BS. This story, while not sexually graphic, does contain material of an adult nature, so if you are easily offended please don't continue. However if you are of a reasonable age and are not offended by profanity, blood, violence or sexual innuendo, enjoy. All characters in this story are co. me, Aaron Jeffery. I allow for free (meaning not for profit) in all senses, distribution of an unaltered document through any means you can think of.

And so they Met

By Skunkaholic

Daravin watched as the long line of Puma females were marched forward, a long chain connecting them by the manacles around their wrists. Many were struggling against their forced march, only to be put back on track by a swift blow from the shock sticks of their captures. One of the females turned her attention from the ground and her eyes focused directly on Daravin, her lips curled back in a fearsome snarl. Sedgwick, a mean tempered Doberman, slammed her in the back with his shock stick. Her body convulsed for a moment until Sedgwick broke contact between the puma and the stick. She stumbled forward remaining on her feet and continued the trek returning her gaze to the ground.

Sedgwick's brother Nelson was at the other end of the line directing the females into the nearest carrier. Nelson was a bit smaller than Sedgwick but looked more ferocious partially because of the well worn leather patch which covered the remains of his right eye. Daravin had once asked Nelson what had happened but dropped the subject when the only answer he had received was an angry growl. Sedgwick had merely chuckled in a way which removed Daravin's desire for an answer.

Daravin turned his attention away and looked over to the other carrier where Vek, A large coyote who was the slaver band’s leader, was overseeing the loading of the male slaves from their latest raid. The Caravans were large buses, left over from the reign of man. The transport area was sealed off from the drivers compartment, for the safety of the driver, and the entire outside of the vehicles were painted white. The choice of color may seem odd but it was really the only choice, when one considered that more than 70% of North America was now desert with the great rain forest in the south.

Daravin wiped the fingers of his right hand across his forehead, and then transferred the resulting sweat onto his white cotton pants. That was one of the main problems being a skunk in the 23rd century, black fur and desert sun do not go well together. Daravin pulled the canteen of water off his belt and raised it to his muzzle, letting the cool water pour over his parched tongue. He swished the water around for a moment, wetting every part of his mouth before swallowing, and revelling in how nice the water felt out here in the heat of the day. Daravin's attention was drawn back to the first carrier he had been watching by the sounds of Sedgwick shouting.

“Get up Bitch!” the huge dog snarled. From the angle Colleen was at he seemed to be at least 8 feet tall and almost three quarters that distance across the shoulders. She just remained on her hands and knees, crying. Colleen was the last in the line, she had been marching with all the rest of the young women from her village, when she had been overcome by the stress of her situation combined with the heat. In this day and age, no one went out during the heat of day, morning and afternoon were the times to get things done outside. “I said get up!” He repeated, this time his statement was punctuated by a hand around Colleen's throat, lifting her to her feet.

Tears streamed down Colleen's face as she glanced at her captor not appearing quite as large now that she was standing, but the shock stick in his hand more than made up for any vertical shortcomings. “Please,” Colleen whimpered, “Don't hurt me.”

“I'm not allowed to hurt you.” the Dog sneered, Colleen could plainly see the displeasure of this fact written on his face. “Unless . . . Unless you resist, in which case anything you get is your own damn fault. Now get moving.” He threw her forward as the line started moving again. They got up to the door of the large white bus and were ushered inside by another dog of the same type as the first. However this one was a little shorter and slimmer, and wore a leather patch over his right eye, or what should have been his right eye, patches generally served a purpose. Colleen followed the line of furs moving into the back of the bus, which was separated from the drivers compartment by a heavy steel door. After Colleen passed through the door slammed shut and she heard a bolt sliding into place.

Colleen looked around her, this carrier was used specifically to transport the females between the ages of 16 and 26, those ages appropriate for pleasure slaves. She could feel the urge to cry building up inside her, why, why had this happened, these vicious brutes had swept in and killed more than a quarter of the village in under half an hour. Then they gave the remaining villagers the opportunity to surrender. Any who refused had been shot. The image of her friends and family lying bleeding in the sand was burned into Colleen's mind. Why had this happened, they had never brought any harm to anyone, they were just trying to survive daily life in this barren desert. Though Colleen fought it as hard as she could she could no longer hold back the tears. She cried for who knows how long as the vehicle steadily shook first left, then right as it made it's way to a destination unknown to it's precious cargo. Colleen's eyes continued to rain tears down her muzzle streaking the black lines which already marked her fur. She cried and cried, she didn't know how to stop herself but she could hear from around her that she was not alone in her laments. Somehow that made her feel better but she cried on, eventually crying herself to sleep.

Colleen wasn't sure how long she slept, but she was jolted awake as the carrier screeched to a stop. The windows had all been painted over, so all were unable to see where they were or what kind of hour it was, no one could be sure. Time dragged on, Colleen had been expecting one of their captors to come after the vehicle had stopped but a long while had gone by and still no sign of anyone else. She waited, and waited, more time passed, it had surely been several hours since they had stopped. Colleen's stomach growled at her, she hadn't been hungry before they had thrown her and the other puma girls into this vault, but now it was loudly complaining, most of the day must have passed by now. Colleen slumped back against the wall, perhaps they were just going to leave them here until they got wherever it was they were going to sell off their cargo, but that made no sense. What of food, and what if one of them had to relieve themselves. They certainly couldn't do that in this carrier. Finally Colleen's ears swivelled catching the sound of footsteps on the other side of the heavy door, several other pumas had heard it and were now looking in that direction. There was a click as the bolt slid back and the door was opened. In the light of the door she could see the cruel dog, with his shock stick again. Behind him the evening sky was a dazzling red, as the sun finally relented and sank below the far horizon.

The dog herded the line of pumas out of the carrier Colleen again bringing up the rear. They were marched out of the carriers and into one of several large tents set up with the carriers forming corner posts in a massive square surrounding them. By the time Colleen entered the tent several fur's were already detaching the chains from the pumas' shackles and connecting shorter chains which were attached to small poles sticking out of the ground. The pumas chained to these poles had enough chain to move into almost any position except standing straight up. They went down the line attaching each puma to these poles there were nearly thirty pumas in this particular group.

Once they were all secured to their new anchors they were left for a while. Shortly afterward a couple of furs came in with meat, deliciously rare cuts of meat. They distributed these slabs of lizard to the prisoners who gulped them down gladly. At first Colleen was not going to eat, they couldn't force her to co-operate. But her stomach gurgled at her and complained sharply, perhaps it was best if she co-operated, after all starving herself wouldn't accomplish anything. She gnawed hungrily on the meat dripping blood down the chest of her plain white shift. She didn't care about the mess she was making right now, she was hungry. Once she finished her meal she daintily licked the remaining blood from her paws, she felt surprisingly satisfied. Later the two furs who had fed them returned, On their last visit Colleen had been more interested in what they were carrying than what they looked like, but now, her stomach sated she took the time to examine them. The one was a frilled lizard male, and the other a strange looking fur the likes of which Colleen had never seen. It had two powerful legs like most furs and large ears like a rabbit, but it's tail was thick and stocky like a lizard, only not as long. The creature was female and wore a crotch cloth with a barely existent top. She had soft brown fur and a strange pouch of skin on her belly, and her arms were drastically short, barely reaching her waist. The two proceeded to the back of the tent and released the first puma, she was then led out of the tent, only to be returned and reshackled minutes later.

The two went down the line, unshackling a puma, taking her away, returning her and reshackling her. Each and every puma in the tent was taken this way until the strange pair reached Colleen. The chains were unattached from the anchoring post and she was led from the tent. She stepped out under the night sky, the stars twinkling brightly, many was the time Colleen had sought tranquillity on some dune of sand and just stared up at those stars, wondering what life held for her. Who was out there destined for her to love, and what fabulous things would she see. All those questions seemed to have been answered in one feel swoop, life held nothing for Colleen except captivity. There was no love destined for her, and all she would see would be more suffering and humiliation than most would encounter in three lifetimes. She was led a short distance from the tents to a small shack set upon the desert floor. The door to the small building, which was only twice as wide as Colleen, was opened and she was gently shoved inside. The building housed a small seat with a hole in the bottom, and from the smell in the air Colleen could determine the purpose of this building, she had been brought here to relieve herself.

Bracing herself against the stench Colleen sat down and allowed her muscles to relax. As she released the built up toxins and other wastes she heard a female voice from the other side of the door. “Clean yourself with the white cloth when you are finished.” It commanded.

Colleen looked around and soon located the roll of small white cloth hanging on the wall. It was strange, unlike anything Colleen had ever seen before, but she did as she was instructed and used this cloth to clean the areas which had been dirtied. Once she was cleaned Colleen stood and exited the small, foul smelling shack and was escorted back to the holding tent and once again shackled to her anchor post. The two furs again left the tent.

Even though she had slept most of the day, the experience had been very traumatic for Colleen and she could feel the stress of her situation already trying to force her into the safety of sleep again. In sleep it mattered not where her physical body rested or how it was restrained. In sleep her mind was free to go wherever and do whatever it could imagine. Colleen fought the urges for a while, but soon realised that staying awake was simply an endless view of the same tent walls, with no changes. Occasionally the flap at the entrance to the tent would open and a fur would poke it's head in but that was the only change in the scenery. With that in mind Colleen lay her head down upon her paws and gave in to the urges to sleep.

The moon rose high into the night sky, surrounded by a million shimmering points of light. The encampment of the slavers had settled down for the evening, all the prey had settled down whether they were awake or not, and those slavers not on guard duty had mostly returned to their own tents, scattered around the encampment, like the stars in the sky. Things were fairly quite indeed, and amidst that quiet a shadowed figure made it's way up to the first carrier. The figure breathed as softly as possible, even though there was no one within hearing distance, it was a miracle that his white pants hadn't yet attracted attention to him. He crept along the side of the carrier until he finally reached the water tank for the large vehicle.

By the mid twenty first century, before the rebellion, all buses in major North American centres had been converted from fossil fuels to run on a new power system. The system ran water through a special screen with a permeable membrane separating the hydrogen from the oxygen. The former fuelled the vehicles engine while the later was given off as a clean, invisible by-product of the system. Some long range vehicles had special tanks built in which instead of releasing the oxygen added additional hydrogen which was stored in large tanks forming more water to fuel the vehicle.

The figure twisted the cap off of the fuel tank and slid a small metal spike down into the neck of the tank. The spike pried open the dual flap system which in conjunction with the cap kept dust all other debris out of the water tank. Any foreign particles whatsoever, could tear the permeable membrane and ruin the fuel system, or at the least gum it up clogging it and requiring a long and extensive cleaning.

With the flaps opened the shadowed figure scooped up a couple pawfuls of desert sand and dumped them into the water tank. His sabotage completed he removed the throwing spike and replaced the cap, then he glanced around to be sure that no one would see him as he carried on to the next carrier.

Colleen was awoken with a violent start as a paw clasped across her muzzle holding it shut. Terrified her eyes followed the arm to view the face of the fur on the other end. It was the cruel dog who had been marching them earlier. His free paw still held that ever present shock stick which was pointed at Colleen's gut ready for use on a moments impulse. “Wake up little bitch.” He whispered with demented amusement. “Now I'm going to move my paw and you're not going to scream, do you understand?” Colleen mumbled something fiercely through his paw. His thumb slid onto the trigger switch of the shock stick causing it to hum as a current jumped between the two poles of his evil weapon. “Make the slightest noise and you are going to regret ever being born, kitten. Do I make myself clear?” He was still whispering, but his voice was hard and sharp, he meant every syllable. Colleen wanted to cry, but she found herself unable, she had literally cried every tear she had earlier. Colleen shook her head no, trying to maybe reason with this lunatic, begging as much as she could without speech, she was begging with her eyes. The shock stick sparked to life again, drawing closer to Colleen, so close she could practically feel the tingle of electricity. “This is your last chance, bitch.” The dog growled becoming annoyed at her continued free spirit, “Either you do everything I say, when and how I say it or I'm going to take this stick and fry your stinking pelt to a crisp.”

At that Colleen wished she could cry more than anything she had wanted before, her eyes burned from their unconscious effort to bring forth that non-existent river. She just bowed her head forward and nodded yes, she feared for her life too much to resist now.

“Good kitty.” He taunted as he took his paw away from her mouth. “Kneel.” Colleen obeyed, getting into an upright position on her knees with the dog standing directly over her anchor post. His paw set to loosening the strings of his cotton pants, as he drooled in anticipation. Just as he worked the knot of his pants undone they were interrupted by a voice from the door flap of the pavilion behind Colleen's captor.

“Sedgwick!” It was the other dog, the one with the patch. “What the hell are you doing in here?”

“Just excuse me a moment Kitty cat.” He tucked the string back into the waist of his pants and turned to face the other dog. “What does it matter to you Nelson?”

“You're supposed to be out here with me keeping an eye on things. Not in there, getting your rocks off by scaring the piss out of the merchandise. If your not careful she's gonna end up damaged goods, and you know what Vek said he'd do if you traumatised another slave before we could sell it.”

“Fuck Vek. What does he care, I paid for that bitch out of my share.” Sedgwick retorted.

“Anyway, leave the poor thing alone and get your ass out here.”

Sedgwick turned around to Colleen, “It looks like our little party will have to wait.” Then in a barely audible whisper he added, “Play along, or else . . .”

“What's that?” Sedgwick asked Colleen in his normal voice. “Damn it, you were supposed to do that after you were fed.” Colleen wasn't sure what he was talking about but remembered his warning, and so reigned her curiosity. Sedgwick bent down and started fumbling with the clamp which held her chain to the anchor post. He played with his keys and tugged on the clamp while it held firm. “God damn it. Hey Nelson,”

“Yeah, what?” The other dog replied from the door where he stood waiting.

“This bitch has to go again, and she's got the screwed up clamp. My key doesn't fit, but yours does.”

Nelson came over to Colleen and her anchor post, bending down to unhook her from the post. As soon as Nelson bent down to examine the locked clamp a discrepancy became apparent, “This isn't the . . .” He was cut off as a thin sharp line of wire came in under his muzzle from behind. Sedgwick pressed himself against Nelson from behind keeping the wire tight across the other's throat, blocking off his air, and cutting into the flesh. Nelson thrashed about trying to grab his attacker but Sedgwick was too quick, moving to stay behind him. Blood was now starting to flow down Nelson's chest, matting his fur as it left crimson rivers across his torso. Nelson slowed his turning and thrashing, already growing weak from lack of oxygen.

“Now you die brother.” Sedgwick panted excitedly, “And unlike when I took your eye, daddy's isn't going to be around to save you, I saw to that matter personally.” Colleen wanted to look away but found she couldn't tear her eyes from the horrific scene before her. Nelson was no longer struggling, he just knelt there, his chest soaked and matted with his own blood, But the most horrible aspect of this whole tormented being was his eyes. His eyes told a story of ultimate betrayal, Of a brother who had not only crippled his only sibling for life by taking away his eye, but had also murdered their parents. Slowly those eyes closed and Nelson's body went limp.

Colleen had scrambled back as far as her chain would allow and now just lay there shivering in terror. She looked up at Sedgwick, quaking, her eyes begging him to leave her alone. Sedgwick didn't even take notice of her for a moment as he kicked his brother's corpse away.

“Get back over here.” He ordered turning his attention back to Colleen, but the terrified puma just lay there on the ground trembling in fear. “Unless you want to end up like him, “ Sedgwick kicked his brother's dead body, “You will get back over here, and get up on your knees bitch.” Terrified Colleen slowly moved to comply, receiving a warning from the shock stick when she took too long. All too soon she was once again kneeling before the cruel dog, as he slid his pants down revealing his manhood. “Lick it” Sedgwick commanded. Reluctantly Colleen leaned forward and gave the evil dog a single frightened lick.

Sedgwick's one paw grabbed Colleen's muzzle and held it shut as the shock stick sprang to life and jabbed into her gut. Colleen tried to scream but the dog's paw did a sufficient job of muffling it. It felt as though the stick were trying to suck her guts into it through her fur. Her jaw was clenched shut as the intense pain rocked her body, until finally the contact was broken. It had only been a second but that one second had dragged on for a veritable eternity. His paw remained over Colleen's muzzle as she gently wept tearlessly for a moment. “Now lets see if you can do better.” Already his body was responding and it became obvious that he enjoyed inflicting pain and suffering on others. Anxious to avoid another shocking Colleen leaned forward again to resume the unwelcome task, For a moment she thought of biting down, severing his member, he would quickly bleed to death, and then she could use his keys to free herself. But it seemed that Sedgwick had thought of the same thing. He held his keys in his paw and dangled them in front of Colleen before throwing them to the door of the tent. Now if she bite down he may die but she would be stuck here and probably put to death herself for killing him.

Then, from somewhere deep inside, Colleen's body found a secret cache of tears which it hadn't used earlier. The hot fluids were soothing to her dry eyes which had been trying to cry for over an hour but had found none in reserve. They flowed freely for a while, dripping from her chin to the dusty ground. Sedgwick just stood over Colleen for a moment, enjoying watching her cry, and revelling in her anguish. Then suddenly Sedgwick's whole body stiffened from his knees to his neck, and his head thrashed backwards. Colleen wasn't sure what was happening even as he collapsed falling face first, draping himself over Colleen. He was limp and didn't seem to be moving so Colleen scrambled to pull herself out from under her captor.

As soon as Colleen was out from under Sedgwick she turned around to look at him. The dog was laying muzzle first in the dirt, with blood trickling down the sides of his neck. The source of the blood was from a small spike of metal sticking about an inch out of the back of his head, the spike appeared to have been driven directly into his brain. Before Colleen could locate her rescuer her muzzle was again grabbed from behind.

“It's all right,” A man's voice soothed, “I mean you no harm. Now I'm going to let go and you're not going to scream all right?” Colleen nodded her head. The mysterious hero released her and Colleen turned to face him. He was fairly short, just barely taller than she was, but she was fairly tall for a female. She stood 5'10”, and weighed 120 pounds, but he was around 6' and probably weighed a little over 200 pounds. His body was covered with jet black fur except for a white stripe going up his forehead and down his back to his full bushy tail. The skunk was muscular and well built, wearing a simple pair of white cotton pants like the two dogs and the lizard who had fed them, however across his chest he wore a thin leather sash which supported some sort of sword across his back. The skunks eyes revealed a caring, and concern which Colleen found comforting after her ordeal with the dogs. Instinctively Colleen sniffed the air trying to get a scent on him, but all she could smell was the scent of fresh blood in the air from the corpses of the two brothers.

He bent down to Colleen's anchor and used Sedgwick's keys, which he had retrieved upon entering the tent, to release her. As the last of her shackles was removed Colleen turned to rouse the puma sleeping next to her, they were getting out of here! But as soon as she moved the skunk grabbed her by the arm, “No time for the others, we have to get out here now.”

He led Colleen out of the large tent and through the maze of smaller personal tents, until finally they were out in the open desert. Not a word was spoken between the two fugitives as they fled through the night, running hard for the first while. How long had passed was beyond Colleen's guess, she had no way of keeping track of time and the scenery never changed, it was always just mile after mile of repetitive endless desert. Her nameless rescuer would often glance down at the strange band which adorned his wrist and then would change their direction slightly, always running ahead, always leading her by her paw.

Finally, even though the pair had long since slowed to a quick walk, Colleen was beginning to tire. She was breathing harder than before and her legs ached faintly, she needed to rest a while. As tired as Colleen was her companion seemed to be holding up fine, as though this were no sort of ordeal for him.

“Please,” Colleen gasped speaking to the skunk for the first time, “can we rest a moment before I fall down.”

“All right,” he replied sounding rather exhausted himself. He was probably as tired as she was, he had just been doing a better job of hiding it. The two sat themselves down upon a large flat rock, big enough for three to sit comfortably. “Sorry I didn't introduce myself before, my name is Daravin.” His voice was a deep baritone, filled with warmth, It was perhaps the most wonderful sound Colleen had ever heard.

“I'm Colleen.” Now that that was out of the way there was silence again as each tried to think of what to say. “I'd like to thank you . . . for rescuing me and all.” She stammered, unsure of how to say what she wanted to.

“It was the least I could do,” Then embarrassed he added, “It was kind of my fault that you were there . . .” He trailed off.

“What do you mean?” Colleen didn't understand how someone like Daravin, someone as kind and heroic as he could be responsible for what had happened.

“I was a scout for the slavers. It was me who spotted your village and reported it to our leader.”

Colleen didn't know what to say, this fur had saved her, not only from slavery but from rape at the hands of that cruel Doberman. But on the other hand it had also been him who had selected Colleen and everyone she knew for slavery or death, she just didn't know what to make of this new revelation. The situation had changed from' he had rescued her', to ' why had he rescued her?', did he intend to use her for himself as Sedgwick had tried, and then maybe sell her at a slave market to the highest bidder. Colleen turned to look again at her would be rescuer, his eyes were dark and sad. She gazed into his eyes for a moment and in that moment all of her worries about his intentions dissolved like so much sand in an oasis. His eyes painted a vivid tableau of his thoughts, using the colors of sorrow, regret and concern. Colleen felt secure that he had nothing insidious planned for her, However, regardless of his intentions for Colleen's future he was still partially responsible for the death of her family and her own enslavement. The hero's shining white jacket had been stained.

Nothing was said for several minutes, as both sat in silent contemplation. Finally Daravin broke the uncomfortable silence. “We should keep moving, it won't take long for them to notice we're gone.”

“But, surely they won't bother to go to all the trouble of chasing down one runaway slave, will they?” Colleen asked.

“They'll think we killed both Sedgwick and Nelson, for that they'll hunt us down as far as they can chase us, that's why we have to get across the ocean. Once we reach the promised land across the ocean, they won't be able to chase us anymore.” Daravin stood up and offered Colleen his paw. She hesitated a moment, and then took his paw, and the two continued on walking into the night.

Hours passed as the two walked ever onwards, always heading in the same direction, neither speaking a word. Colleen puzzled as they trekked, what could she make of the mysterious Daravin? He had doomed her entire village, when he could have just as easily reported that he had seen nothing. However he also had freed her and was even now trying to change, and lead her far enough from his former allies that they couldn't find her. He was putting his own life on the line by helping her escape, he could have just as easily walked away and left her with Sedgwick, and let Sedgwick take the blame for his brothers death. Why had he placed himself in danger to undo the harm he had performed to her, and why specifically Colleen? Another question nudged at the edge of Colleen's mind, how could they escape the carriers. With those massive transport vehicles they could easily chase down the two runaways, and for that matter why hadn't Daravin and Colleen taken one of the transports to escape? As they strode ever forward a speck of light began to show on the horizon directly ahead, they had been marching into the morning sunrise all night. The light grew stronger as the pair of furs walked steadily onward towards it, by now Colleen's feet were aching from walking all night, but she knew they had to press on to avoid being caught by the slavers who were no doubt already aware of their absence.

They continued to walk, slowly a variation in the landscape became apparent. There was a strip of rock stretching across the path they were travelling. It was about 20' across and stretched as far as the eye could see in both directions. They approached the rather strange landmark when Daravin spotted something. He ran down the side of this strange path which was made of a rock unlike anything Colleen had ever seen before, it was a faded dark grey but seemed to be seamless, as though it were carved out of a single piece of rock. Daravin had run along down this path while Colleen had been examining it's nature, and he was now crouching down at the side of the road. Colleen walked up to where he was crouched low and she could see that he was examining a large tunnel protruding from the ground, which appeared to stretch under this stone road. The tunnel was made out of metal and was about four feet across. It seemed to be empty as Colleen could see out the far side of the tunnel, and it didn't seem to be of any importance, but Daravin was taking great interest in it's presence.

“What is it?” Colleen asked.

“What it originally was is too hard to explain right now, “ Daravin said, “But what it is right now, is a place to sleep for the day, come on.” He crawled inside and motioned for Colleen to follow him. Colleen climbed into this tunnel and crawled after Daravin. Once they reached the middle of the tunnel Daravin stopped, “Well this seems as good a place as any to stop, and better than most.” Daravin commented. “At least we're out of the sun and out of plain view of anyone who might be tracking us.”

“Daravin?” Colleen ventured, “Is it all right if I ask some questions?”

“I'm sorry, I guess you must have a lot that you want to know. I'm sorry if I seem quiet, but I'm not used to being around anyone, I wasn't especially close with the others back there.” He apologised. “Go ahead, ask any questions you want.”

“Okay, first of all why? Why did you stop Sedgwick, You've put yourself at risk for my sake, it would've been a lot easier for you if you'd just left me.”

“I couldn't watch Sedgwick do that to you. I wouldn't be able to stand myself if I had just ignored what was going on, that would make me just as bad as he was. And besides, I noticed you earlier, when I was watching from the hillside, and well . . .” He trailed off again, not really sure what to say. The silence that followed made Colleen uncomfortable, it was like Daravin wanted to say something but didn't know how.

Colleen relieved the silence with another question, “Won't they catch up to us with their transports? I mean from the way we were moving I'm sure they are a lot faster than we can run.”

“Well they won't be able to use the carriers to follow us because I took care of that problem, the carriers won't be going far. And they don't know which direction we're heading, they'll probably head south to Old Santa Fe, and try to use their connections there to track us.”

Colleen wondered, he hadn't stopped to sabotage the carriers after she had been freed, so he must have been planning on leaving, possibly with her, but why had he been planning on leaving before he had killed Sedgwick? She decided not to ask this question as it seemed that it would lead back to that uncomfortable silence.

“Do you have any other questions?” He asked. Colleen just shook her head no, there would be plenty of time for questions later, right now she was starting to feel the effects of being awoken and spending the whole night walking. She curled up, resting her head upon her arms and gently drifted again into slumber.

Sometime later Colleen awoke, she could see the dazzling light of day outside the tunnel, but they were concealed inside the shadows of this tiny underground. She became immediately aware of a peculiar scent, it was a deep musky smell which she found strangely pleasant. Then it suddenly occurred to Colleen what the smell was, she glanced over at her skunk companion asleep a few feet away. As she studied him she fully took in his features, he was well built, his bare pectorals on display. His muzzle had such graceful curves, it was beautiful. Colleen wasn't sure why but she felt an unexplainable desire to be closer to Daravin. Acting on this urge she crawled a little further down the tunnel and laid her muzzle upon his massive chest and relaxed, allowing herself to drift back to sleep.