Chapter 18 - Waiting
I continue to exercise, four hours a day. The I-def gravity isn’t as destructive as no gravity, but it’s not great. And I’m bored.
I try to sleep less, and get down to the recommended third of a day. I think the planet is a 25 hour day, and like smart people (smarter than the Babylonians, anyway) they use metric time. Thank god they’re base 10 or that would really be hell.
I read. I was never much for reading before. Maybe because I never found the right books? I end up in some 21st century popular fiction, and I don’t understand why vampires and bondage turn women on. Well I can understand the vampires. But the bondage? What’s written here seems abusive and inaccurate. The character keeps writing about her “inner goddess.” I don’t know what I’m supposed to picture there, so I go with the Venus of Willendorf.
It’s not pretty.
I read up some on Chinochkan. Crushing atmosphere, hot as hell, red/orange sky. The people are red to pink, tall and reedy, with high brows. I could get in to one or two of them, objectively. Their culture has changed a lot since interstellar, and the new look is a mixture of everything from Qi to Earth to Salk. They love Earth media too. I’m almost a celebrity, and I haven’t even got off the boat.
Makeup and piercings were pretty much unknown on the planet until interstellar contact, and they’ve adopted with abandon.
The Chokan don’t have a large army, or many colonies, but they do have praxite. It’s a gem, integral to faster quantum storage, and absolutely beautiful. You can’t mine it anywhere there hasn’t been carbon life for at least 7 billion years, and then only when plants have evolved that produce hemophyll.
This means the value of the dollar against the hoke is pretty low. Bad for me trying to buy stuff on planet, good for Sector trying to sell them stuff.
And Susan was very right. Human women embody a weird mixture of their ideals of beauty. We’re small, like the a-males. We have breasts like their b-males. We have hair, more of which is considered a sign of virility. And we have two holes to fuck.
The Chokhan excrete liquid waste through something that’s similar to a ureathra. No one wants to get fucked there. Well I’m actually sure there are some pain freaks who love it, but I don’t plan to interact with many of them.
Of course sex on Chinochkan is a three part affair. The women have two genitalia, a vagina and a gynuss. Procreation means getting double plowed, which seems frankly alluring. In my case however this means that two women get to fuck the human girl. Tri-sexuality is the norm for women. Sequestered by the males, they don’t have a lot of options when they’re looking for comfort.
When not procreating the A and B males just have sex with each other. Two of them get married, save up for a woman, knock her up until they get bored with that, and pay for her to get retire on a meager pension. Girls get their own continent though, so that’s kind of nice?
As a man I would be pretty much a non-entity. As a woman I’m a prize. It’ll be nice to be the center of attention, but I have a feeling it’s going to make things harder to get done.
I’m petting myself when I start to feel the little bristles of pubic hair. Then I have to hunt up a haizor and fix that.
Butterfly bodies have follicles all over, just like humans, and just like humans most of them are too fine to see, or even feel. The haizor shrinks my folicles from thick hair, back down to invisible.
Of course this means that the stuble has to be torn down to make room for finer real estate. Leshayah already did my legs and armpits, and that was unpleasant. Stripping my vagina of hair is much less pleasant. Lets just say it’s something I’d like to never ever do again. But I’m meticulous through the pain, and scour the whole zone. I’ve found that cunnilingus is wonderful, and I’d like to make it easier on anyone who wants to give me some.
I’m considerate like that.
Oh, yeah. And there’s some blood too. You’re welcome for that image. Try and get that out of your head.
In the end I’m completely bare, like when I was new born. I go bottomless for a day while my crotch deals with the trauma.
I unpack some of my toys, and go into the hold for a little target practice. This sets off the alarm, and I have to hunt all over to turn it off.
My hands have stopped shaking completely. My triangle at 10 yards is a tight three inches with open irons. At thirty it’s up to six inches with a handgun, and two with a carbine. That makes me feel good inside. I’m a dainty little lady that can give you an extra nostril if I feel like it.
I try out the Feather Duster for a bit. Carolyn was right, it’s Derringer inaccurate.
But… not to knock the Derringer.
When I was seven a squirrel got in to out summer mansion. It couldn’t find it’s way out and started tearing all over the curtains. Nanny disappeared for a second and came back with an antique, percussion cartridge Derringer. She didn’t even draw a bead on the little guy. Just, pop, and there were squirrel brains all over the window. Then she left without a word, came back, and started cleaning the glass.
Never saw that Derringer again. Wasn’t even in her stuff when she died.
Chapter 19 - Dozen
I flip the modem back on, and start checking email. Susan needs me to call her, hopefully nothing on the ground has changed. If there’s been a truce called I’m gonna look like an idiot.
Marcus has messaged me. I decide not to look at it.
The lights are back on full, I’m about to talk to Jordan and catch up, when something pops up on the screen. It’s a blocked contact, but the sender has helpfully provided Ci’s picture.
I didn’t tell her any of my contact information. I didn’t tell her who I worked for, or even the name of my ship. I don’t know how she found me, and my chest gives a little thrill. I open it and see her message.
I go debt. Chocolate is almost come away.
Or to put it another way: I’m in your debt. The chocolate is almost gone.
Strey has three verbs. “Go”, “come,” and “fuck”. They used to have two, we gave them “fuck.” Go English.
Inside are passcodes to my father’s personal computer.
I was never much of a hacker. Sector has a whole cyber espionage division at my disposal. Or at least at Susan’s disposal. Ci has included instructions, nice of her, but they’re in Strey. I have a page translator, but see: above Re: verbs. Through the broken English I figure out I need to download a lot of illegal shit. I get on the deep web and have to search for an hour to find what I need. Curiosity, and the opportunity for extortion keep me going.
There’s code injection, and some FTP, and some acronyms I don’t understand. I’m probably making very detectable mistakes. But one of the programs is routing my IP through five severs across the galaxy. I got in and disabled their key-logger a long time ago.
After two hours of that crap, I have access to my father’s email.
There’s a lot of stuff I already knew, or suspected. Nightmare off shore bank accounts. Three affairs on his current wife. Hard evidence of a lot of war crimes. Those get the hell downloaded out of them.
Then I stumble on something I never suspected there was to suspect.
I have a little sister.
I’m a bastard, of course, and my mother was under the age of consent. (If this surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention.) I don’t even know her full name. I was raised reluctantly—and by a nanny exclusively.
But whoever this girl is, great care has been taken to hide her identity, and a most details in the correspondence are conspicuously missing. Where she is, questions about her mother, her bra size, that kind of stuff. But I find enough to run searches online. I pull up her social profile with no difficulty.
She is 22, grew up off Earth, did very well in school, has lots of friends, and no boyfriend. Or really any social life. Or social life as I understand the concept. She isn’t asking everyone what she did every morning, so we live in separate worlds.
She just got a job in one of our branch companies. A branch of a branch of a branch, actually. Form the letters, she’s close with my—our—father. But she doesn’t know who he is or what he does.
After a ton of searching, I’m sure none of my other siblings know about her. They’ve never mentioned her in 20 years of correspondence. That’s smart. My birth threw the family into chaos, and almost unseated my father as CEO.
And now I really have something on my dad. All the emails get saved onto a personal thumb drive, and as soon as I get a chip, it’s going on that. I feel a little bad about that. Not for stealing his email, but for stealing hers. I tell myself it’s what I have to do.
I pull up her social account again. As I look at the picture of a very pretty girl, with blond hair and blue eyes, wearing pig tails and a plaid shirt; I whisper, “Hello, Dawn.”
But in my mind I’ve already named her.
A week later I’m into Chokhan space and ready for the last leg of the run. I want off this boat pretty bad by now. Anywhere I can feel real gravity, and breath air that hasn’t been filtered a hundred million times.
I have a steak dinner ready, and it’s time for a very special moment. Bertha is going to exit hyperspace.
Big Bertha has a consumer drive, so it’ll take about 15 minutes for the reactor to warm up and make the drop. I make an action set, and punch the whole thing through auto. 10 feet a second is the floor for safety when you leap back to realspace. I’d set it lower, but I’d rather not spread bits of ship over a half parsec. I feel the gs as the I-Def strains to keep me from turning into a pancake. Once we’re down to jogging speed, I jump out of the hot seat, and book it for the hold.
I dance in front of the hold door, waiting for it to put some air back inside, then run for the stern. Bertha has a 150 foot hold, and I find a space among the crates where I can see all the way to the front. Sit down, guess the time at around three minutes.
I’ve never read Flatland but I went to kindergarten, and we did the thing where you make a box out of a T of construction paper. Turning a two dimensional object into a three dimensional object. That’s how you have to think about the drop from four dimensions (hyperspace) to three dimensions (realspace). It’s like slowly laying a piece of paper down against the table.
The drive has been down pitch for five minutes, but otherwise the drop is imperceptible. The only indication comes when the far wall of the hold suddenly ceases to exist. It’s still there of course, the ship still has integrity, it just isn’t in the same dimension I am. The field of invisibility slowly makes it’s way toward me, at 10 feet a second, while there’s nothing; no glass, no space suit, no atmosphere, nothing between me and the stars.
I’m facing an arm of the milky way, looking at dust and solar systems in perfect clarity. They don’t twinkle with the haze of air, or distort through refraction. They’re just there, blue and orange and beautiful. I could reach out, a thousand light years, and burn my hands on them.
And between it all is the more emptiness than the human brain can handle.
It’s wrong, of course, but I like to think of the void as a physical thing. It’s the kind of nothing that cradles me and the ship, and keeps us safe. It’s out all around me, ready right now to kill me in seconds. But in a nice comforting way. It is stunningly beautiful.
I take in all that wonder, and then the part of my ship that had my body in it pulls into realspace. I snap back into the dimension with a closed hull in it, and the stars are gone. I always mean to take the time to watch my body disappear for a split second, and I never do.
For an instant the whirling light of hyperspace, behind me, fills the hold with colors we don’t have names for. Then it’s all gone. The moment is over.
I go off to have a steak dinner. And yes, salad.
I’m out of Anduin space, but there are elements of the Chinochkan SOI that might ask questions about why I’m coming to their planet with enough weapons to win a war. I’m on the edge of the system (nowhere near a planet, of course), so I point Bertha in the right direction, and shut down the reactor. Bertha doesn’t have the tech to hide herself, and it’s cheaper just to turn it off than pay out millions for that kind of shielding. The peripherals can stay on of course. A 1,000 kilowatt generator doesn’t exactly leave a signature, compared to the 600 gigawatt reactor.
It’ll take a week to make the three AU in and it’s time to acclimatize. Low nitrogen, thirty percent oxygen, equal parts CO2 and methane, all at three times the pressure of Earth atmosphere. Enough to liberate my old eyes from their sockets and squish my larva lungs.
After a couple of hours the pressure starts giving me a headache, which is probably normal. The increased oxygen isn’t giving me a high yet, but over the next couple of days I’ll have a lot of energy and think really well. Of course I’ll be breathing enough oxygen to kill a—yadda yadda yadda. The gravity is just .97 G so I’m feeling a little bouncier, but I’m hardly leaping off the walls. After a day I notice that the reduced nitrogen is changing the way the air smells. It goes from “like air” to “not like air,” which is the best description I can give you. Nitrogen makes up 70% of Earth’s atmosphere, you have literally never not smelled it.
Chinochkan is the fourth planet, but it’s deeper inside the Goldilocks zone than Earth is. This means injections to deal with the increase in radiation. They make my mouth really dry, but otherwise I don’t notice.
There’s the ort cloud, and then seven gas giants to go pass, though I won’t be getting close to any. Chinoch 1 is steadily being torn apart by the gravity of the sun, in a way that would be cool to go see. Two asteroid belts. Or one big belt with a hole where a planet is forming in the middle of it. That’ll only take another 500 million years.
Asteroid belts are not the cluster fucks you may have been lead to believe. There are millions of miles between each rock. I have a huge bet riding on my getting within a 100 miles of an asteroid, by chance alone. 3,720:1 my ass.
I’m looking forward to the cross cultural experience. Actually I’m just looking forward to the food. They’ll cook me the local dishes and try to buy me clothes. I’ll be asked to try things out, like a new and exotic toy. The locals treat you like a guest of honor when you bring them things that kill easily and in large quantities.
I’ve had this in my brain for a month now, and I finally get to do it.
My camera is set up to pick up only my face, firmly above the collar bone. I’m worried I’ll move so I make it track my eyes. I wear a shirt, just to be safe. No pants though, that would spoil it.
I call up Susan, so we can discuss the landing site, and who I’m meeting with. The details are, frankly, boring, but I want the face to face for this. She answers from her office in Morocco, it looks like it’s three in the afternoon and the sun is bright.
“Hello, 11. How’s your trip been?” Professional and discreet as always. I think she has a nosy secretary.
“Good,” I tell her. “Out of the black, obviously.” She isn’t making eye contact as the plug fits into my asshole.
“No problems with bugs?” You didn’t run in to customs?
“Nothing even got close,” She looks up and then focuses on another window on the screen, as my anus closes around the stem, and I have to stifle a deep breath.
“You’re meeting with… Tinockt(?) in ‘Mect’(?). It’s the largest port on the southern continent of… ” her professionalism wavers a moment, and she laughs “… I’m not sure. The southern continent, I guess. The women have a few advocates. Tinockt is one.”
“Hmmm” I agree, one hand reaching around my leg from behind to push the plug in little circles.
She continues, “As some of the women try to rebel by wearing clothes, or going out without a man, they run the risk of being beaten to death for civil disobedience.”
I finger finds it’s way into me, up to the second knuckle, “Well we aren’t in the ‘civil’ disobedience market.”
I swirl the knuckle around a little, and get the crook of my finger over my clit.
“We’ve cleared you to enter the atmosphere over…” she drones on. It’s all going to be on reports anyway.
I slip a second finger in, and then give up on that for the moment.
The rabbit is completely silent, but I can feel the vibrations in the back of my hand when I turn it on. Susan drones on while I run it low, and start playing with settings.
“… so approach vector might be difficult.”
“Well Bertha handles like a brick on the end of a fishing rod.” The rabbit ears go on either side of my clit, and I start thrumming and trembling. The buttplug rolls faster under my fingertips.
“… other ships were available…” I’m breathing really heavy now, it’s close. I find a setting I love and my legs jerk reflexively. Alternating, three fast and three slow.
I gulp, “I like Big Bertha, for all her faults.”
“I think next run—”
My head snaps back, and the monitor darts up to hold my face in frame. I feel my eyes roll and don’t care.
“Are you okay?”
“Just fine,” I tell her, as I come back to Earth. “Still some neurological effects. Nothing to worry about.”
“Okay. I’m sending over the information.” Susan signs off and I get ready for round two.
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