Tales from the Chakat Universe: DANZHOUKEN
By Bernard Doove © 2011


"Karvas, I will be unavailable for the rest of the day except for emergencies," Zhane said as she exited from her office.

Her adjutant nodded in understanding. "You don't have any appointments until 0900 tomorrow, Captain," she replied.

"Good – I'll be in a more receptive mood then."

Karvas sympathised with Zhane's current state and had already scheduled things accordingly. At least she had alternatives that the Star Base's commanding officer did not.

Zhane left the administrative block and headed for the professional services district of the immense orbiting space city that was the Rakshani-controlled Federation Star Base #3. Unfortunately the direct route took her through the restaurant district first. She would rather it did not do so because the way she felt at the moment, the smells of the various cuisines served to the multiplicity of species that worked on the base, tended to make her queasy. However, it would take more time than she currently had patience for to bypass it.

As she made her way through the crowd, she nodded and waved to various people whom she recognised, and returned salutes from Star Fleet personnel. Shi cringed inside though as she was hailed by a Merraki who was standing outside by the door of his establishment, touting for business.

"Greetings, Captain! To patronise my restaurant again when will you be doing? My daughter's new creation your opinion I've been wanting."

Having become a parent, the Merraki had made the change to male gender years ago, but the three children whom he had hatched from the eggs he had laid when he was female were yet to mate, so they were all female still. They had all followed in his footsteps to become part of the family business, and were apparently quite talented chefs... at least to other Merraki. Zhane still could not think of the one meal that she had eaten there with a group of important Merraki functionaries without getting nauseous. While they were perfectly capable of eating just about anything most of the other Federation races did, Merraki had a perverse preference for foods that a starving horgass would have second thoughts about eating.

"I'm sorry, Sanslitt, but your delicacies are wasted on an uncultured palate like mine," she replied diplomatically before nearly gagging on an odour drifting from Sanslitt's restaurant. She made a mental note to get Maintenance to work on increasing the ventilation in this area as she gave Sanslitt a tight smile before hastening onwards. She prided herself on her ability to get along with other species, but some things were beyond the call of duty.

Zhane had no interest in food at the moment, no matter how tempting. Hunger ranked well behind a far more imperative biological need at the moment. She had been unfortunate in having to put off doing something about it until now, but this had been the soonest that she had been able to get an appointment. She made her way quickly through the throngs on the Promenade. She noticed the male Rakshani catch her scent, their heads swivelling in her direction, noses twitching, but she ignored them, and they quickly lost interest.

She finally reached the professional services district and passed by offices for accountants, lawyers, manicurists and fur-stylers. She came to a shop front that had just a simple sign that read , "DANZHOUKEN", and a holographic green candle burning. Strict fire codes prevented the usage of a real traditional green candle that was the symbol of the Danzhouken, but the hologram served just as well, and never burnt out.

Zhane pushed open the door and stepped into the familiar reception room furnished with just a couple of comfortable lounge chairs and a low table. There was a Certificate of Practice on the wall, plus a few tasteful decorations, but little else besides another door that led further into the establishment. She made herself comfortable in one of the chairs, but she did not have long to wait before an older Rakshani female entered to attend to her.

She smiled and said, "It's good to see you again, Zhane. You're a little early however, and Master Ranezath is not ready for you yet."

"Greeting, Lashou. I knew I was early. I often encounter delays even when I am just walking from one place to another, so I make allowances for them. This is one appointment that I could not be late for."

Lashou smiled in agreement. "No, biology doesn't have much consideration for delays. Can I offer you some refreshment while you wait?"

"Just some baach juice, if you have it, please."

"Good choice. I'll be back in a moment."

Lashou fetched a jug of the chilled juice and poured a cup of it for Zhane who thanked her and took a draught from the cup. Baach juice was light, tangy, and refreshing without weighing heavily on the stomach.

"I will return when Master Ranezath is ready. It should not be long," Lashou assured Zhane.

In fact it was only about ten minutes before Lashou returned and ushered Zhane inside. The inner room had subdued lighting and was richly decorated with traditional tapestries and works of art. Immediately in front of Zhane were two plush seats without backs, allowing full movement of the tails of those sitting upon them. Between the seats was a small, ornately carved and lacquered table. Comfortably seated on one chair was a middle-aged male Rakshani dressed only in a long, loose-fitting formal robe. He smiled broadly at Zhane.

"Welcome, Captain Zhane ap Nashene na Zhane. I am pleased to see you once again. I truly look forward to your visits."

"Thank you, Master Ranezath," Zhane replied as she settled down on the other seat.

"I presume that your human mate is still gallivanting about the galaxy?"

Zhane nodded. "Unfortunately, yes. Boyce was called away to deal with a situation on a colony world, adding a lengthy delay to his scheduled visit here. We had both hoped that it would not be too long, but it has proven otherwise."

Ranezath lifted his muzzle a little. Yes, I can scent that you are in full oestrus. You waited until the last moment to seek my services then?"

"No insult intended, Master Ranezath, but I still prefer my mate's attention despite your skills."

Ranezath grinned broadly. "No offence taken. Even one in my profession knows that there is more to making love than sex. Your mate is a good and honourable warrior, and worthy of your dedication. Ah, thank you, Lashou," he added as the female entered from a side door, carrying a tray with a steaming pot upon it.

Ranezath and Zhane

Lashou placed the tray on the table between them. Zhane picked up the pot and poured some of the contents into the single cup that came with the pot. Instead of drinking it, she ceremoniously presented it to Ranezath. "Accept this kharlass brew if you deem me worthy of your services, Master Ranezath."

Taking the cup from Zhane, he replied, "You are indeed worthy, Zhane ap Nashene na Zhane. I pledge to bring you satisfaction in your time of need." He then took a sip of the brew, then a deeper drink. He quickly finished off the cup, and Zhane poured him a second cup. He drank this one more slowly while Zhane waited patiently. She knew that he required the effects of the brew to fully take hold, so despite her urgent need, she had to keep herself restrained.

While she was waiting, she reflected on the need that had brought her to seek his services many times. It was the curse of her species that had made them this way. A terribly high infant mortality rate had evolved their species to constantly breed in order to maintain the population, and all females went into a very strong oestrus every nargeth (about 9 Terran weeks) if they weren't pregnant or actively suckling. In fact even the name for the time period was derived from an old language that basically meant ‘fertile-time'. The time of lust, or as Terrans called it – heat – was impossible to ignore, and Zhane had called upon a lot of discipline to last this long and stay on duty still. Normally one's mate would take care of the need, or a co-mate within the extended family. Zhane had often enjoyed her sex romps with Midnight. However, the disadvantage of a career in Star Fleet was that it frequently drew mates and co-mates apart. Her third alternative, Chakat Forestwalker, was even further away on Earth. Unmated females had little trouble finding unmated males worthy of them to assuage their needs. Plenty of males were ready and willing to prove their worth, which is of course how they found their future mates. Zhane would have attracted plenty of interest anyway if it wasn't for her uniform. Even then she might have had a few suitors due to the lack of the traditional ankle bracelets that indicated her mating status. Her decision to mate according to Caitian custom occasionally caused her problems, but her rank usually kept Fleet personnel behaving themselves, and the civilians respectful. Nevertheless and not for the first time, she considered persuading Boyce to add that in light of their abnormal family.

The advent of civilisation to the Rakshani had had a profound effect on the population. Where once small tribes had roamed, villages began to grow, and with them the benefits of civilisation – more and better food, better shelter from the harsh environment, and less hardship. One of the things that was most strongly influenced by these factors was the infant mortality rate. While still appallingly high by Terran standards, for the Rakshani, it represented a population explosion, something with which they totally unfamiliar and were ill prepared to deal with. With no concept of contraception, and with their instincts pushing them to continue unrestrained breeding, they had to find solution to the problems that threatened their infant culture. Ironically it was found amongst the pariahs of the species – the infertile males. The poor fertility rate was partially attributable to the large number of males who proved unable to sire children. This had reduced their status to the lowest of the low. Now however, females started seeking them out when they already had enough surviving children and they did not want, or could not cope with, any more. Fairly quickly, the Danzhouken, or ‘Childless Ones', saw the potential of the situation and began to organise themselves. Over the years they evolved from groups of males fulfilling a need, to a guild of skilled artisans performing an essential role in society. The continuing primitive nature of Rakshan birth control ensured that their services were always needed.

When Raksha joined the Stellar Federation, one of the biggest impacts that the foreign technology had was on health. The birth-rate which continued to be low throughout their long history, was able to be greatly improved, and cubs rarely died any longer. Now that their natural low fertility rate was overcome by the alien medical techniques, the females more than ever needed the Danzhouken. Thousands of years of culture made them resist the idea of medicines to alleviate their heats, preferring instead the pleasurable ministrations of the traditional solution. However, the population continued to grow until it exceeded the ability of the Danzhouken to cope with, not to mention the shrinking occurrence of infertile males. Technology came to the rescue in the form of holosuites, and perfect, tireless holographic lovers became the accepted alternative to the real thing.

However, there was one thing that even the best holo-program could not match, and that was the intimacy and caring of a genuine, highly-trained Danzhouken. The guild continued to prosper and, relieved of the strain of coping with too many females, was able to spend more time in training new members and refining skills. The modern Danzhouken were highly respected and greatly desired professionals.

Although run by Rakshani, Star Base 3 did not have a Danzhouken in residence when Zhane had been appointed its commanding officer, and she had needed to use the holosuite facilities instead. When she had received the application for a Danzhouken facility from Ranezath, she had fast-tracked the approval and even loaned extra resources to him in order to get the facility set up as soon as possible. To have one such as he on the base was a rare privilege, one brought on by his desire to see the stars and other intelligent species. She intended that he was never given a reason to desire to move on because she, and many other females on the base, much preferred the real thing. She was very much a traditionalist at heart, and she was very glad that her human mate was very understanding of that.

Zhane's reverie was interrupted as Ranezath stood up abruptly with a loud roar. He shrugged off his robe to reveal a well-toned body sporting a rock-hard erection. The kharlass brew had done its job well, stimulating both his manhood and his libido, and now he was ready to perform for as long as she needed. Zhane admired his muscular form of exquisite proportions, and his silken fur with its subtle blue stripes on gold. Her eyes paused momentarily at his crotch. Unlike her lifemate, Ranezath had no scrotum, but that was quite normal for a Rakshani. In fact no Rakshan species had a scrotum because evolution had taken a different path on their world and their testes were safely inside their torso. However, she had gotten so used to Boyce's endowments that it was always made her think twice about which appealed to her more – with or without?

Zhane stood up and stepped over to him. She had chosen to wear the simple skirt-style uniform today, although she was not very fond of it. It did have one advantage though – enabling Ranezath to easily and quickly unfasten it and draw it off her. Clad only in halter and panties, she was hoisted into his arms and carried off into an alcove strewn with sleeping furs. Ranezath put her in the midst of them and artfully removed the rest of her clothing, and Zhane surrendered herself to his ministrations.

A long time later after much imaginative sex-play and several ferocious orgasms, Zhane judged that she was at last satisfied in body and mind. With a bit of time left in her session, she took it just lying with Ranezath, enjoying the warm afterglow. Eventually she sighed and sat up.

"I suppose I had better take my leave. Thank you for another excellent session, Master Ranezath."

"You always make it a joy for me also, Captain Zhane. You will forgive me if I hope that your mate misses his next rendezvous with you?"

"Only if you will forgive me for hoping that he never does," she replied.

"Done." He leaned back into the furs as Zhane got to her feet, resting from his exertions. Zhane knew that he was gathering his strength for his next appointment. The kharlass brew's effects were already wearing off, and by the time that his next client was shown in, he would be ready for another dose.

Lashou entered the room, carrying a basin of scented water, a cloth and brushes. She helped Zhane refresh herself and tidy her fur before getting dressed again. A final brush of her hair and Zhane was ready to leave. Lashou escorted her out to the reception room and then held out an e-commerce terminal with the standard fee displayed upon it. Zhane took out a small PADD from her uniform's pocket and authorised the payment from her account. The terminal acknowledged the payment with a beep and Lashou said, "Thank you for your patronage, as always."

"Please thank Master Ranezath again for his fine work," Zhane replied.

"My mate will be pleased by your gratitude. Until we meet again, I wish you good life."

"Good life to you also," Zhane said with sincerity, then headed out the door. She always wondered what it was like to be the mate of a Danzhouken whose occupation required him to spend the majority of his time with other females. Of course Lashou was much older and more mature in outlook than a mate would normally be for someone Ranezath's age. However, it was quite normal for Danzhouken mates to be of Lashou's age. There were a few reasons for this, with the mature outlook being just the first. Lashou was also past childbearing age, and was no longer looking for a fertile male, and the mate of a Danzhouken was a prestigious position. And while Ranezath did not have to be concerned about not being able to sire a child with her, the main reason Danzhouken took older mates was because of the price that they paid for their profession – they all died prematurely.

In order to be able to service so many females every day, day after day, year after year, they needed to use the kharlass brew constantly. Although an average Rakshani male had more sexual stamina than an average Terran, even a thoroughly trained Danzhouken would tire quickly and not be able to perform. The brew made from the leaves of the kharlass shrub was a popular and basically safe aphrodisiac, but constant usage took its toll on the body. Basically it wore them out very quickly. Most Rakshani males did not need to use it, but those who did only had to occasionally, and so never suffered any long-term effects. Danzhouken, however, almost never stopped, and it eventually burnt them out. Early heart failure was by far the most common cause of death for them. They knew this and accepted the price, and in return they had a handsomely paid and highly prestigious career, but they rarely took mates of their own age. They did not wish to leave widows who would outlive them for a couple of decades or more.

Zhane knew that future medical advances could fundamentally change Rakshani biology, alleviating the need for the Danzhouken. If she had her way though, things would stay exactly as they were now. The Danzhouken were as much part of Rakshan culture as any of the art forms, and one more universally appreciated. In the end, what could be a more honourable career than one that served the needs of so many at the expense of one's own lifespan so that other could go about their lives normally? Zhane made her way back to her quarters with a sense of satisfaction and wellbeing, grateful that the Danzhouken were likely to be around for a long time yet.


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