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SCUDDAR
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SCUDDAR Chapters 001 & 002
SCUDDAR chapters 003 & 004
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SCUDDAR Chapters 007 & 008. WARNING contains sexual explict scenes!
SCUDDAR. Chapters 009 & 010. WARNING! Chapter 009 contains sexually explicit material.
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SCUDDAR Chapters 017 & 018
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SCUDDAR Chapters 021 & 022
SCUDDAR Chapters 023 & 024
SCUDDAR Chapters 025 & 026
SCUDDAR Chapters 027 & 028

SCUDDAR

Chapter 25

Trevor arrived back on Neum to find the clones standing around Joseph with horrified looks on their faces. Joseph was lying on the floor shuddering violently, an anguished look distorting his face. Trevor knelt down beside him.

"Joseph, can you hear me?" asked Trevor anxiously. Joseph gave no sign that he had heard. Trevor went into his mind and mentally recoiled at the confusion that he found there. It was the same confusion he had experienced with the native captives. He unbuckled Joseph’s belt and slid it off him.

"He has the madness," he informed the clones. "We’d better confine him somewhere until we know what to do." He searched to contact Meehuns mind and found it.

"Meehun, do you have any hospitals here?"

"We have no need for hospitals, Trevor," Meehun replied. "Our collective minds heal when one is injured or sick. Remember your own wounds you received when you climbed the mountain on the red planet?"

Trevor remembered how his wounds had miraculously healed overnight.

"We healed you then," finished Meehun.

"Then you are going to have to heal Joseph," Trevor said grimly. "The Scuddar attacked him and he is now mentally sick. In the meantime we need to secure him somewhere."

"I am on my way," said Meehun.

A few minutes later Meehun, Neegon and three other males arrived. Meehun walked briskly to the clones followed by the other Neumites. Their expressions showing the concern they felt for Joseph’s condition. Trevor quickly explained what had happened.

"Don’t get too close to him," he advised. "We don’t know if he can attack us."

"A room is being prepared for him where you can keep him comfortable and secure," said Meehun. "It will be ready soon."

The Neumites stood in a circle around Joseph and closed their eyes. Immediately their expressions changed from concentration to horror.

"We can’t get past the confusion in his mind," said Neegon. "It’s something we have never experienced before."

"We’ll try," said Trevor. "It is possible the Scuddar is in his mind like the natives."

He looked at the clones to get their approval. All acknowledged him with the exception of Michelle. He looked inquiringly at her.

"I daren’t, Trevor," she said in his mind. "Did you see what I did to those natives? That power was uncontrollable."

"It was your emotions at the time that made you do that," replied Trevor. "Anger at what they did to Joseph."

"But if the Scuddar is in his mind I might lose control and kill Joseph."

"I don’t think so but stay away then. Get some rest."

Michelle turned away and left. Trevor explained that she was upset and would not take part in the attempt.

Trevor gave the signal and they all entered Joseph’s mind. The turmoil on the surface was as before. They probed deeper, beyond the confusion, until it cleared.

"This creature is diseased," came a thought. "It is dying. Are you all diseased?" The Scuddar’s thought was agitated.

"What do you mean by diseased?" asked Trevor.

"Its body fluid is slowly congealing."

"You must have given him the disease," Trevor replied.

"No. It is…" The Scuddar stopped speaking in the clone’s minds and they were unable to contact it again.

"What did it mean?" demanded Angela. "How is Joseph diseased?"

"I don’t know," replied Trevor grimly. "We must get him to some place where we can watch him."

"The room is ready," announced Meehun. "Bring Joseph and follow us." He waited while Trevor and Adrian picked up Joseph and led them away from the spire to another room that contained a single bed with straps to hold down Joseph.

It took all five of the clones to hold him while the straps were tightened around Joseph’s arms and legs.

"I hate doing this to him," said Stephanie as they tied the shuddering Joseph to the bed and stood back. Angela put an arm around her to comfort her.

"We can’t trust him now the Scuddar is in him," she said. "We know now that we are not immune to attack."

"You’re right, Angela. Don’t let him bite, scratch or even spit at you," added Charles.

Shock showed on the faces of the clones. In their desire to help Joseph, none had thought of the possibility that he might attack them by scratching or spitting.

"I don’t think the Scuddar has complete control of him yet," Trevor said. "But we have to assume that Joseph is a possible danger to us now."

They watched as Joseph strained against his bonds, the straps chafing his skin as he struggled.

"If only we had a sedative we could give him," whispered Angela.

"Look!" Stephanie pointed at Joseph’s left arm. The skin had broken due to Joseph’s continued struggling against the straps. Blood oozed from the wound. Not red blood as it would normally have been. The blood was a pale pink and had a thick consistency.

"The Scuddar said his body fluids were congealing," Charles said. "Maybe this is what it meant."

"It looks like a mixture of blood and pus," commented Adrian.

"What are we going to do?" demanded Stephanie. "We can’t let him suffer like this."

"What can we do?" asked Trevor. "It isn’t Joseph anymore. Perhaps putting him out of his misery would be the most humane thing to do."

"You mean kill him? Oh, no!" Stephanie’s expression showed the horror she felt about the suggestion.

Charles stepped forward. "The Scuddar said he was diseased and dying."

"Meehun, isn’t there anything you can do?" Trevor appealed to the Neumite leader. The Neumites were so advanced in some areas but so backward in others. They had no hospitals or laboratories. They had no medication for sick people.

"We are all trying hard to help in some way," replied Meehun. "Perhaps if we took a sample of the blood we could examine it." His attitude was one of helplessness. "Wait! One of us has suggested that the disease came from the natives and not the Scuddar."

"They are too primitive to have cures for diseases," said Charles, dashing any hopes that may have arisen.

Trevor took a sample of the blood and gave it to Meehun. "Be careful and don’t touch it with your bare hands," he advised.

"We can’t offer much hope of finding anything but we will try," replied Meehun apologetically. He left the room followed by the other Neumites.

"There’s nothing more we can do here," said Trevor. "Go get some rest. Maybe sleeping on it will give us some ideas tomorrow."

The clones returned to their respective homes.

 

Trevor lay on his bed thinking of the day’s events. One mistake may have caused the loss of one of them. Just one unwary act had brought distress to Joseph and possibly would claim his life. It was a lesson they all had to learn. He thought of Michelle’s spontaneous reaction and her attack on the remaining captive natives. She had been too upset to remain with the rest of the clones while they did their best to help Joseph. She would need to know what had happened. Trevor reached for her mind.

"Michelle?"

"Hi, Trevor."

"Are you all right?"

"Yes. I need to talk, though. Want to come over?"

"Sure. I’ll be right there. There are some things you need to know."

He got up from the bed and went to the spire. He deftly tapped the controls and a moment later he was in Michelle’s bedroom. He wondered why all the spires of the houses were in the bedrooms. Probably because it was the uppermost room of the houses. He thought.

Michelle had been lying on her bed naked and at Trevor’s sudden appearance she flung a cover over her and grinned at him.

"That was quick!" she said.

"Sorry. I’ll go downstairs while you dress," said Trevor apologetically.

"No, it’s all right. I’ll only have to get undressed again when you go," replied Michelle. "You’ve seen my naked body now!" She laughed good-humouredly.

"I’ve seen it many times before your mind had any data," grinned back Trevor. "So did a few other male clones."

"Hmmm. Why don’t I feel violated by that?" she mused. She had a way of making fun of her own sexuality.

Trevor sat down on the edge of the bed and briefly explained what they had discovered about Joseph.

"Poor Joseph," Michelle said when he finished telling her. "He is such a sweet guy although a bit old-fashioned… in his thinking."

Joseph was no older than the rest of the clones. Trevor is the oldest by five years. Michelle’s words made him feel much older.

"Now you are up to date, what did you want to talk about?" asked Trevor.

Michelle shifted her position and looked at him. "This power we have. I’m not sure that I feel safe with it."

Trevor tilted his head and raised an eyebrow encouraging her to explain.

"Did you see what I did? I didn’t want to stop!" She sat up, the cover falling down, exposing her breasts. "What if I misuse this power when I am angry?"

"It doesn’t work like that," Trevor explained. "It is a defensive action. When your life is endangered."

"But my life wasn’t endangered. I was angry at what they did to Joseph."

"Maybe sub-consciously you felt threatened. It could have happened to you." Trevor smiled at her. "We all blasted the one that attacked Joseph."

"You said emotions play a part in its use. I am an emotional person, Trevor."

"We are all emotional. Emotions are part of us… part of our make-up."

"Jealousy is an emotion," mused Michelle. She folded her hands in her lap and stared vacantly at them.

"It’s also a shortcoming. The Neumites can’t express jealousy. They don’t understand it."

"I’m not a nice person, Trevor," Michelle admitted still staring at her hands.

"Why do you say that?"

Michelle shrugged and thought before replying. "I was… am… jealous of Gina. I was glad when she went."

"But it was you that made her come here," said Trevor. "You put her in a position that made her mind up."

Michelle smiled faintly. "That was for you." She tore her eyes away from her hands and looked directly into Trevor’s. "You wanted her." She pulled the sheet up and covered herself.

Trevor thought over what Michelle had said. She was right. He had wanted Gina to come to Neum at all costs. He had been thankful to Michelle for tricking Gina as she had. It was all for nothing. Gina had returned to Earth and he didn’t know if he would ever see her again. She was a born human and he was a clone. Although such marriages usually worked on Earth, he was different from other clones. He had special powers and his destiny, along with the other six, was to save the human race. Gina knew she would never be able to fit in and had left.

"Gina has gone for good, Michelle," he said quietly. "I was selfish and thought I could make her happy."

"And now you are unhappy."

"I’ll get over it," he said. He reached out and hugged Michelle. Her supple body molded to his as she hugged him back. He felt the wetness of her tears on his cheek.

"You’d better go," she whispered.

Trevor nodded and stood up. "Goodnight Michelle," he said and pressed the button on his belt leaving Michelle staring at the empty space where he had stood.

 

Chapter 26

Trevor arrived back at his home and flopped onto his bed. He felt guilty and depressed by the day’s events. His guilt stemmed from the fact that he had brought the clones here and now he was sure that Joseph would die as a result. It had never occurred to him that he would lose one or more of his friends. He had been so sure the powers they had would protect them under all circumstances. Now he had been proved wrong. The Scuddar’s attack on Joseph had been swift and unexpected. None had realised the long tongues of the captive natives could be so deadly.

Even the Scuddar had not known what effect their attack on Joseph would be. It had not known Joseph’s blood would react as it had. Trevor wondered if it was because Joseph was human and therefore humans could not be hosts to the parasitic Scuddar. Or could it be that the native’s saliva contained something that caused Joseph’s blood to congeal in such a strange way? Perhaps some bacteria that quickly spread through his blood. Trevor had no answers to these questions.

His thoughts turned to Michelle. She had become worried that she might misuse her powers and hurt someone unintentionally. Would this slow her reactions in the face of real danger? Her attack on the captive natives had been due to her anger at them for harming Joseph but had been rather excessive. Each of the clones, including him, had struck spontaneously at the native that had attacked Joseph but not at the other two captives.

He went over the conversation he had with her in his mind. She had mentioned jealousy as being an emotion that might trigger a response from her that might hurt or kill someone. She had mentioned her jealousy of Gina. He had been attempting to keep his thoughts of Gina out of his conscious mind to try to forget her. He was so certain that he would never see her again. Now, Michelle had brought Gina back to the surface of his mind. Brought thoughts of what Gina and he had shared together flooding back. He still loved her, he knew, but it was a love lost. Gina had known their love would not last under the circumstances and, in spite of his love for her, he knew she was right. Could he love again? Could he trust himself to love again? He was not blind to the hints Michelle had made about her feelings toward him. Would it be fair to her if he responded knowing that he still loved Gina? Michelle was understanding and was not pushing herself upon him. She was just letting him know she was there for him whenever he was ready.

Trevor remembered the times on Earth with his friend Gordon and the one-night stands they used to bet on before he had met Gina. He had his share of winning as well as losing to Gordon. Those one-night stands were purely for fun and sex and did not involve serious feelings for the women that they had. As for the women, they knew what the score was but went along anyway. Here, on Neum, the situation was different. There were just three human women. Having one-night stands with any of them just did not seem right. In spite of their bodily appearances of being around the age of thirty to thirty-five, with the exception of Trevor, all the clones were virgins. He doubted any had indulged in sex without his knowledge.

As for Michelle, for all her brazen show of sensuality and her broadness of mind, he knew she would not expect to be a one-night stand for any of them. She obviously had principles and had control of her sexual desires. Trevor admired and respected her for that. Michelle would want some kind of commitment before sleeping with a man.

The Neumites attitude toward sex was that intercourse was purely for reproduction purposes. There were no commitments needed or expected between the couples. One simply chose a partner that was agreeable to copulate as in the case of Baheen and himself. His experience with Losin, when he had seduced her, had been the exception to the rule due to his ignorance of their customs. Trevor wondered whether the clones would need to set up their own customs in this world.

He yawned and stretched. "Things will work out," he muttered confidently to himself. He undressed and went to bed.

 

The following morning the clones assembled for breakfast in the community dining room. Charles was picking at the selection of fruits he had chosen for his meal.

"What would I give for a couple of slices of toast saturated in butter," he announced. "Fried eggs and bacon would go down nice, too, even if it was synthetic."

"Or a nice juicy steak, onions and French fries for dinner," added Adrian, chuckling.

"Oh, shut up!" retorted Angela. "How about something more sophisticated like beef Stroganoff or tarragon chicken in a mustard sauce?"

"Angela, if we are going to settle down here for good, you are going to have to see about creating synthetic foods for us," replied Adrian.

"We will need machinery and basic materials to do that," said Angela. "Can the Neumites provide those?"

Before anyone could answer, Meehun came to their table, his face full of concern.

"Joseph has gone into a coma," he said. "One of us has a theory that his blood is turning into insect blood but we are not sure. He is very weak and there is nothing we can do to help him."

Trevor stood up. "I’m going to him," he said. The other clones also stood up to follow him.

Joseph’s face was no longer contorted with pain, as he lay motionless on the bed but his complexion was ghostly pale. His breathing was shallow and erratic. Trevor felt his pulse.

"His pulse is weak," he said dismally. "Let’s see if we can contact the Scuddar again."

The clones probed Joseph’s mind and found the confusion had gone but could not find any evidence that the Scuddar was there.

"Maybe it’s dead," said Michelle hopefully. "Maybe he will get better now."

"We can always hope," answered Stephanie. "I can’t understand why the Neumites can’t help him."

"We can’t get below the surface of his mind to help him." Neegon, accompanied by Losin had arrived in time to hear Stephanie’s statement. "We are unable to make any contact with the Scuddar without your help and it is possible the Scuddar is still there."

"It may be the Scuddar that is preventing our getting below the surface," added Losin. She touched her forehead, respectively acknowledging the clones one by one. "All we have been able to do is give him a little nourishment."

"We would like your permission to take a larger sample of his blood," said Neegon. "We want to examine the molecular structure and compare it to the sample we had."

"You have instruments to do this?" asked Angela.

"The spires can give us the information we need but we are able to construct instruments that may be necessary. None of the survivors of the Scuddar’s attack on our people are experts in any particular field of science but we do know a little about many things. We have a collective memory that includes the memories of those who perished."

"Take the sample if there is any hope of saving Joseph," said Trevor.

"We hold very little hope of saving Joseph but we will be able to find out what is happening to his blood," replied Losin.

Trevor held out a hand toward Joseph’s still form. "Go ahead," he said simply.

Losin produced a pouch from her blouse, removed a small knife and a bowl, the made a small incision in Joseph’s arm. The blood was almost white as it oozed into the bowl, which she carefully covered and placed back into the pouch. She placed a piece of white cloth over the small wound, then stood up.

"You will be happy to know your child continues to grow inside me and is bonding extremely well," she told Trevor by thought transference.

"That makes me very happy," he smiled. "How are you coping?"

"I have never felt better." Losin’s face beamed with happiness. "I have finished. We will examine the sample right away," she said aloud.

Losin and Neegon touched their foreheads and left together leaving the clones with their sick friend.

Trevor sighed and looked at the others. They all stood silently gazing at Joseph. He knew each one wished there were something they could do to help. They felt as helpless as he did.

"All we can do is continue to search for the Scuddar and destroy them," he said. "This should make us all the more determined to succeed."

"You bet!" Charles exclaimed. "It could have been any one of us lying there."

"Let’s get going, then" said Adrian.

"We’ll go back after lunch," announced Trevor.