Ben, too, didn’t lunch. He strode off to the little room behind the bar, muttering something like “chambré.”
Jenna was not pleased, Lily told me later, to find that only three of the seven morning walkers – Lily, Ray and Sabrina – took lunch. But the afternoon group were all there. Sabrina had given an embroidered account of our encounter with the D’Leinotl. And had praised Ray’s attitude and prowess with the discus.
Around the 14, Lily found me in the Pedia room. The hotel was almost empty. The afternoon trippers were getting in the ’mobile. Gabriel and Michael were already in it. Ray was in the kitchen, with lamb on his mind. Dede and Shami were sleeping deeply in their room. The Tuglay had retired. Only Lily and I, Ben and Sabrina, were still about.
Lily kissed me, then said, “To our room. We’re going to do an experiment. Michael tells me it’s ‘for the advancement of science.’ And it will be fun.”
“Please explain,” I said, as she put an arm round me and walked me towards our room.
“On Friday, when we first tried Pulling,” said Lily, “Sabrina and I quickly understood we couldn’t do it. So we asked Michael how else we could help. He told us about a problem with Pulling people, which you will face soon.
“I quote Michael.” Here, she produced a piece of paper, and read from it. “It is not possible to Pull or Push any conscious being in the wakeful state. Therefore, you must put them to sleep. The usual Seraphim sleep-gas, pleasant though it is, acts too slowly to be useful in Pulling.
“So,” continued Lily, “yesterday, Sabrina and I tried some quick-acting sleep-gas mixtures. Only small doses, of course. Some worked better than others.
“Michael suggested that we try these mixtures on others in the Team, to work out which is the most effective. So, I’m going to treat you to an afternoon in bed. Sleep and sex, sex and sleep, whichever way round. Sleep first, I think. The sleep-gas doses are small – only about an hour to an hour and a half each.”
We had reached our room. Lily pulled the curtains, and we undressed quickly. She took something off the bed-table. Then she came to me, cuddled me close, rushed me across the room and bounced me on to the soft, luxurious bed. She kissed me, and there was a tinkling sound – she had broken the sleep-gas capsule. I had two or three seconds feeling high, then I was out.
When I woke, Lily was astride me, with another capsule in her hand. “You haven’t had a Lily-ride for four days and three nights,” she said. “You’ve been so busy, or so tired, you haven’t been ready for me. This will be quick. Enjoy it.”
I did enjoy it, for the brief time it lasted. Up, over and out. And the second sleep-gas acted even faster than the first. One breath, the world spun, and I was out again.
Lily was astride me again when I woke. “This time, I’ll give you Lily’s Special,” she said. “Lie back and try not to move, otherwise you may come too early. Kiss me when you’re ready for the climax.”
I remembered my first time in her bed, on the ship, when she had enraptured me. She had taken me up and up, but not all the way to the climax; then we had rested comfortably for a while before repeating. She had given me that pleasure again and again, each time taking me a little higher, until I finally felt the need to say to her, “Please take me all the way this time.” I enjoyed that.
She had given me Lily’s Special many times since, and I loved her for it. This time, as always, there came a point where I could bear waiting no longer. I kissed her, and she took me to the climax; gently but inexorably. I enjoyed that too.
Right afterwards, I heard the clink of a third capsule. This one gave a lot of pleasure on the way out, almost as good as the Seraphim’s usual gas, but quicker. Far quicker, about five seconds.
When I woke again, Lily was beside me, cuddling me. “That’s the end of the experiment,” she said. “Which do you think was the best?” “You,” I replied without hesitation. “No, of the sleep-gases I mean,” said Lily.
“If we Pull an individual for punishment, or if we need to Pull someone while they are standing or walking,” I said, “then the second sleep-gas, the quickest acting, is the right one. But if the person we must Pull is a friend, and is in bed or in a comfortable chair, we should use the third. If we can give pleasure, let’s do it.”
“You have agreed exactly with me and Sabrina,” said Lily. “Now, before dinner, there isn’t time for more sleep. But” – coming astride me again, and using her hands on my chest to bounce me up and down – “there is time for you to ride again in Lily’s back seat.”
As I lay back and enjoyed what she did, I wondered why she put so much into giving me the highest, most lasting pleasure. Then suddenly I knew why she had been so eager to be my woman.
One of the greatest pleasures a telepathic receiver can experience, is to give pleasure to a telepathic transmitter.
Lily laughed, increased the speed of her motion, and took me for a brief, beautiful ride up to a climax even higher than last time.
Almost everyone was late for dinner. Those who had gone on the afternoon trip, though they had not had any scares or illnesses, were tired. And they had come back late, because John, though slower than the others, had insisted on walking all the way.
Lily and I were slow to leave our bed. So were Ben and Sabrina, who had been doing the same experiment for the advancement of science. Dede was up again, but Shami would be asleep till morning.
When I arrived in the dining room, Ray was starting to get frantic. “Where is everybody? Do they really want their dinner overcooked? Tonight, I have made a dessert instead of a starter, so time is of the essence.”
“I’ll give them a maximum half hour,” I said. “Anyone who comes in after that deserves what they get. Cinders or nowt.”
While Dede laid the table, Lily and I found ourselves as substitute barpersons. Eventually, Ben strode in, did a double-take when he saw Lily and me behind the bar, then rushed into the little room behind. He emerged with three open bottles, laid them with ceremony on the table, then went back for three more.
Now, others came in. Michael and Gabriel, even the Tuglay, were more than twenty minutes late. Then, Ray and Jenna came out from the kitchen, each with an enormous platter of lamb. “Fear not,” Jenna said, “the Lamb is saved.”
Some of the Team laughed, but Jenna continued, “We will have to pick someone to do the carving.” “Michael and Gabriel,” I replied instantly. Then, to them, “Today is your day.” They accepted.
The lamb was excellent. Cees had Pulled it from a president’s personal store. And Ray had cooked it superbly – rare enough even for my taste, yet not so rare as to offend victual philistines, if there had been any among us.
The Bordeaux was even better. Michael, after his first sip, said “This is good.” After the second, “This is very good.” After the third, “You could export this to our planet.”
Afterwards, there was dessert. Ray brought in a tray of pies. Covered with pastry, they looked like small discuses. “There is fruit inside,” said Ray. “Earthly fruit. Like to guess what it is?”
The riddle was much too easy for me. “Raysberries,” I said. It was.