Copyright 1998 by Felioness (Felioness@printwizard.net)
Disclaimer #1: This is a futuristic Uber-Xena work of romantic fiction. The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Ephiny, Iolaus, Solari and, oh yes, Argo, belong to MCA/Universal, and are used without intent for commercial profits. Author's copyright does not extend to said characters. The author retains all rights automatically attached to the creation of this work and to the independently created characters. In other words, they're all MINE!
Disclaimer #2: This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. Okay, so now it gets graphic. Actually, it gets downright explicit, so don't say I didn't warn you. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, have a cup of herbal tea and a long hot bath. You really need to relax.
Disclaimer #3: Apologies and acknowledgment to Gene Roddenberry for the unauthorized loan of food replicators and holo suites. I found them to be rather useful home appliances. To get yours today, call Ronco at 1-888-555-1212.
Special thanks to Barbara Maclay for her dramatic renderings of Commander Xandra Lawless and Dr. Brie O'Conner. To see them for yourself, just click the links or visit Barbara's Home Page at www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Bungalow/2591/graphics/. Be sure to check out her other delightful Xena artwork.
Also many thanks to my beta reader, Benet, who tactfully smoothed out all the rough edges.
I welcome all constructive feedback, all bigots will be sent to the great recycle bin in the sky.
Chapter 9 - The Interlude
Sometime in 2243
Brie slept fitfully for several hours, rising every so often to check on her patient. Each time, when she returned to sleep, she would snuggle closer to Xandra's warm body.
Confident that the doctor would care for their small charge, Xandra slept soundly and awakened refreshed. Unused to sleeping with someone else, it took her a few moments to recall the circumstances that led to this enchanting creature lying in her arms. For a time, she just watched Brie sleep, her head resting on Xandra's shoulder, golden lashes fanning across ivory cheeks.
When Xandra's muscles began to tighten, she knew she needed to move. Reluctant to wake Brie, Xandra carefully slipped her arm free. She rose from their bed and made her way to the replicator, selecting a hot fragrant herbal brew. Sipping her drink, she sat at the computer station to check on Amber's progress. Satisfied that the child was steadily improving, she turned her attention to the woman still sleeping on the table across the room.
This woman continued to amaze her. So young and yet so sure of herself. In spite of her fatigue, the doctor had done everything she could to insure her patient's recovery. Although Xandra had no talent of her own, she had known a number of empathic talents. During her years with military intelligence, her primary contacts had often been empathic healers. This had been convenient since usually by the time Xandra reported in she was in need of some kind of medical attention.
Xandra knew the dedication that it took to do this kind of work, and rarely had she seen someone so selflessly put their own safety at risk to save another. Most of the empaths she had known would have refused to work with someone as far gone as the child had been, for fear of losing themselves in the process. Brie had known the risks, made even greater by her level of fatigue, but she hadn't even hesitated.
Still no closer to understanding the young doctor, Xandra decided that a light workout would do her good after years in cryogenic suspension. Checking the doctor and patient once more, Xandra made her way to a large room just down the corridor from the med lab. Though the room had been used as a lounge during the weeks of preparation, it had been cleared of all furnishings just prior to departure, leaving it a large open space.
*Perfect.* The room was just about the size she would need to execute the intricate drills that were part of her routine. She stripped off her uniform jacket and shoes. Clad only in her white tank shirt and closely fitting blue pants, she stretched her tight muscles before moving into the main part of her workout.
In the med lab, Brie woke again this time, alone with her patient. For what seemed like the twentieth time in as many hours, Brie checked the little girl's progress and was relieved to discover that she was recovering rapidly enough to re-enter cryosleep in another 24 hours.
As she continued to read the computer evaluation of Amber's condition, her stomach began to protest her inattention to her own needs. Sighing, she moved to the replicator and making one selection after another, devoured enough food for three normal people. Brie's appetite had always been good, but it was particularly demanding after she had used her talent to help another.
Having quieted the ravenous beast in her belly, Brie decided to look for the Commander. She wandered down the corridor in search of her companion and stopped at a doorway on the left, drawn by the sounds of Xandra's sharp grunts. Curious, Brie leaned against the doorframe to watch, quickly enthralled by the sight of Xandra's powerful body moving through her routine.
The Commander moved with the speed and grace of a
natural predator, the muscles in her back rippling with every movement. Brie found that
she couldn't tear her eyes from the powerful woman, immediately recognizing the moves as
some form of martial arts. She watched Xandra move through a series of kicks and punches
that accentuated her perfect body. The routine left Xandra covered in a light sweat, her
dampened her shirt drawing Brie's attention to the high rounded breasts and prominent
Aware she was being watched, Xandra finished her last drill. She turned to face the young doctor and was stunned at the desire she saw in Brie's eyes. The Commander's breathing increased, not from physical exertion, but from her own rising excitement. Quickly forcing herself to think clearly, Xandra decided that the question was no longer if, but when.
Concern evident in her voice, Xandra asked "How is Amber?" Her sense of responsibility for the child did not prevent her from noticing Brie's obvious interest.
The young woman shifted guiltily at having been caught staring when she should have been absorbed with her patient. Looking away, she missed the desire reflected in the Commander's eyes.
Quickly composing herself, she answered "She's getting better all the time. She should be able to return to cryosleep in about 24 hours."
Xandra's smile deepened as she contemplated how they might entertain themselves while they waited for the child to recover. Inwardly she chided herself for her sensual fantasies. This woman deserved a better courtship that she could offer during their short interlude from cryosleep. Nevertheless, she made a decision to pursue their relationship further once they had arrived at their destination. *Right now* she decided *I need a cold shower.*
"I'm going to clean up. This workout has me a little sticky." Xandra grinned at her unintentional double meaning. "Why don't you meet me on the bridge in say...an hour, and we'll run some systems checks while we wait."
Brie, grateful for the chance to escape before she revealed her own feelings, responded, "Sure, I could use a shower myself. I'll meet you there."
The two frustrated women left the room in different directions, Brie heading for the shower in the med lab and Xandra, to the shower in her ready room off the bridge. Over the next few hours, they worked, ate and slept, while barely managing to contain their feelings for each other.
Working together on the bridge, Brie found she was having difficulty keeping her eyes off the incredibly sensual woman. Xandra's very presence filled the young doctor's mind with erotic thoughts. Brie found herself wondering what it would be like to touch her...taste her. Her body responding to her thoughts, she felt a warm wetness gathering between her thighs.
The Commander was having an equally difficult time controlling her vivid imagination. She longed to know if Brie's breasts were as full and firm as they looked. She imagined the sweet taste of her and wondered how the young woman would look at the height of passion.
The hours passed slowly as they each struggled to control their desire. Brie returned to the bridge after checking Amber's condition once again and pronounced her ready for cryosleep. Together they placed the child into a backup chamber also located in the med lab and Xandra watched as Brie brushed a kiss on the child's soft baby cheek. The doctor initiated the cryosleep process and sat back to watch its completion. She wanted to monitor Amber's condition at least until the process was complete.
A few hours later, satisfied that the little girl was adapting to cryosleep comfortably, Brie indicated that the Commander should re-enter her own chamber. This time, Xandra paused before lying down. She reached out, pulling the young woman into her arms. Their lips met in a melting kiss that held sensual promise for the future.
"Remember, dinner at my place tomorrow." Xandra smiled and continued to hold Brie's eyes as she lay back and waited for the chamber door to close.
Turning toward her own chamber, Brie climbed in and activated the controls, smiling in anticipation as she joined the Commander in sleep.
Chapter 10 - The Awakening
Sometime in 2246
This time when Xandra woke, there were no alarms or flashing lights to cause her to hurry. She knew exactly where she was and lay patiently waiting for the chamber to open, taking several deep breaths before even trying to sit up. Getting her bearings, she looked over at the doctor's chamber in time to see it open and a slim hand reach out to grasp the edge.
"Good morning," Xandra greeted the young woman.
"Morning," Brie muttered as she used her elbows to push herself into a sitting position. "You'd think that for once I'd have had enough sleep, but I guess even fifty years isn't enough."
Xandra chuckled at Brie who was obviously not a morning person. Finally she had found a tiny flaw in the beautiful woman. She was not perfect after all and somehow that fact made her even more appealing. Xandra stood slowly and going to the replicator, retrieved two restorative drinks. Approaching Brie, she handed one cup to her as she dropped a kiss on top of her head. "Good morning again."
Brie looked up at the sleepy woman next to her, took both of their drinks and set them down on the edge of the control panel. Reaching up to thread her fingers into the dark silk of the Commander's hair, Brie raised her lips to Xandra's. Intended to be a gentle greeting, the kiss quickly evolved into a heated expression of need. Both women, dazed by the intensity of the exchange, drew back and sank down onto the chamber bed.
Brie smiled mischievously at the Commander and said, "Good morning to you too." Continuing with her good humor she asked "What time is it anyway."
Her casual comment caused Xandra to laugh, "I don't know, actually. I haven't checked."
Rising, Xandra crossed the room to check their status on the main computer. "Well, according to this we should be entering our new system in 12 hours. That should give us enough time to wake the senior officers. The flight officers will handle our drop from light speed while the others assist you in waking the colonists." Finishing their drinks, they selected high energy bars next and left the med lab, munching contentedly. Over the next few hours, they manually deactivated the chamber seals on the senior staff cryo chambers throughout the ship. Without the costly quick thaw' feature found only on Brie and Xandra's sleep chambers, it would take approximately six hours for the officers to regain consciousness. During that time Brie and Xandra had a leisurely breakfast, showered and were ready to work.
Lt. Commander Hunter was the first to fully awaken and, as soon as she got her bearings, reported to the Commander on the bridge. She was still weak and moving unsteadily. As she headed for her station, she was stopped by the amused voice of the Commander. "Just what do you think you're going to do in your condition? Why don't you relax in my ready room until you feel stronger? I am capable of flying this thing without you. And Stephanie, have something to eat too, you look like a poster child for the inner cities."
Stephanie did as the Commander suggested, more confused by her superior's uncharacteristic show of humor than by her recent awakening. As she was starting on the blueberry muffin and French Roast coffee she had selected, she was joined by Art Hill. He looked a little out of it too and was shaking his head in confusion.
"What's with her?" he rattled on. "I've never seen her act this way. She laughed! I've been with her for three years and I've never heard her laugh. Have you ever heard her laugh?" He paused to look back over his shoulder, utterly amazed.
Stephanie couldn't help laughing herself as she watched the Major's expressive hands emphasize his speech. Through a mouthful of muffin, Stephanie suggested that Art get some food and sit down. Taking a long swallow of the rich dark brew she loved, she watched the Major select an enormous southern breakfast of eggs, sausage, grits, biscuits and gravy. Finishing her muffin, she sat back in her chair to watch and listen as the animated young man alternately chattered and stuffed himself.
Stephanie and Art had known each other as long as they had known their Commander, each being accepted as part of the colonial team within days of the other. Once Art had gotten the message that he wasn't Stephanie's type, the two had become close friends. Over the long months of preparation and training, neither had been sucessful in getting any closer to the Commander. It seemed that the young doctor had been the only one to breech her defenses.
One of the things Stephanie found so endearing about Art was that he gossiped like an old lady. At first she had found the habit annoying, but as she grew to know him better, she came to realize that Art meant no unkindness to anyone. He was simply insatiably curious. His mind was always occupied with unraveling some mystery whether it was solving a malfunction in one of the ship's systems or butting into the personal lives of his fellow officers. No one seemed to mind his interference and sometimes he actually managed to do some good.
He was the one Stephanie had confided in when Brie failed to return her affections. Even though he was an outrageous gossip, Art would never betray a confidence. He had assured her that she had been right in her response to Brie's confession. "After all," he had said, "you rejected me and look what good friends we've become. I wouldn't have missed that for the world."
She finished her coffee about the time Art had swallowed his last bite. "Ready to roll?" she asked, setting her cup down.
"Let's do it," Art grinned in response.
They returned to the bridge, a bit steadier now, and joined the captain to prepare for the drop from light speed. Slowly, over the next few hours, they we're joined by the other flight officers as they awakened and eaten to regain their strength. All systems were ready well before the appointed time. Although they had been thorough, they had laughed and joked together as never before. The excitement of their arrival was infectious and the Commander seemed to have succumbed to the exhilaration as well.
Brie sat with the remaining senior officers in the mess hall, encouraging them to eat as much as they wanted. When Sara wandered in, sleepy and disoriented, Brie helped her to a seat and got her something to eat right away. She would need Sara's help in the next few hours as they woke the colonists, got them fed, and arranged for temporary housing with the quartermaster for the last leg of their journey. Since REM sleep did not occur in cryo, the colonists all felt weak and unsettled, despite the fact that they had slept' for fifty years. At this point, they desperately needed food and rest.
With the senior staff awake and moving, Brie began the process of waking the colonists. As more people woke up, the demand on the public food replicators increased and Brie quickly ran out of places to put people while waiting for their room assignments. If she could just get some of the colonists preassigned, they could go straight to their quarters and use their own replicators. Getting anxious, she decided to discuss her idea with the unapproachable Quartermaster.
Although quite beautiful, Quartermaster Penny Baker had a temperament that could freeze ice on a hot summer day. The ultimate bean counter, Quartermaster Baker was more concerned with rations and allotments than the human beings receiving them. When Brie first explained her idea, the Quartermaster came close to dismissing it, but the increasing number of colonists in line for the replicators and sitting on the floor throughout the ship's corridors changed her mind. Turning to her support staff, who looked like they needed a bit of support themselves, Penny realized that they were all so exhausted that nothing would run efficiently until everyone had eaten and slept a more natural sleep.
Instructing her staff to act on Brie's suggestion, she turned to find the doctor handing her a cup of strong black coffee. Surprised that the young woman would even think of her needs, she accepted the cup without a word. She took a sip of the dark, fragrant liquid and was pleased to find that it was just the way she liked it. As she watched the doctor walk away, she wondered how she had known. *Hmm...there might be more to that one than I thought.* As an afterthought Penny called to Brie, "Thanks, Doc."
"My pleasure, Baker." Brie smiled at Penny over her shoulder, pleased that her powers of observation had once again served her well. During her training, she had noticed that the Quartermaster, like most accountants, was a creature of habit. Each morning Baker had entered the dinning hall at precisely 0537 hours, ate a breakfast of black coffee, fruit and hot cereal, and left the room prompty at 0555, leaving five minutes to get to her office.
The hours seemed to fly by for both Brie and Xandra, each absorbed in their assigned tasks. Brie was in the med lab with Karyn and Amber Rose, having just awakened the child, when the Commander's voice announced that they were entering orbit around their new home. The doctor was so excited she spontaneously hugged Amber to her and kissed both cheeks, telling the child "We're home!"
Brie was pleased that Amber had no problems waking up this time. As they waited for the child's chamber to open, the doctor explained the situation to Karyn. She could see the conflicting emotions flashing in the young mother's eyes as she learned of her daughter's near death and safe recovery. Karyn couldn't thank the doctor enough, and continued to express her gratitude as she watched Amber's return to consciousness. Amber sat up and looked around to see her mother and the doctor and announced, "Hi Mommy. Hi Auntie Brie. What's for breakfast? Where's Lamby?" Karyn and Brie looked at each other and laughed together at the demands of the healthy little girl. Taking her daughter's hand, Karyn led Amber from the med lab to get the child something to eat. Leaning down as Amber passed, Brie whispered conspiratorially, "Lamby has to stay asleep until we land, just like all the other animals." Amber looked back with wide eyes and said "Oh, I knew that."
Shortly after the Commander's announcement, Sara entered the med lab to find Brie asleep with her head resting on the console. Sara gently shook her and ordered her to bed. Brie blinked up at Sara and sleepily informed her that she couldn't give Brie orders since the doctor outranked her. Nonetheless, Brie allowed the nurse to guide her to the corridor and point her in the direction of her newly assigned quarters. "And besides" she confided as she walked away, "I can't sleep, I have a dinner date."
Chapter 11 - Dinner
Xandra left the bridge about an hour after the Artemis settled into orbit, tired but elated that they had reached their destination safely. With Stephanie in command, Xandra knew she could rest easy. Responsibility for their mission had weighed heavily on the Commander over the last few months of preparation and into the journey itself. She felt personally accountable for each and every life in her care.
It seemed to Xandra that she had always been this serious. Louis had enjoyed reminding her of a time in their lives when she had been as happy and care free as any other child, but that was before they had lost their parents. From that moment until the day he died, Xandra had felt completely responsible for her younger brother. Somehow, when Louis became ill, she felt as if she had failed him. When he died, she almost abandoned their colonization project. She was reluctant to have others dependant on her for fear that she would fail them too.
Now, feeling somewhat redeemed, Xandra allowed herself the luxury of anticipating a few hours in the company of the delightful doctor. Although they had actually spent many hours together, it had always involved the well being of the expedition and its colonists.
"Hunter, you have the bridge." Xandra smiled as she headed toward the lift. Her satisfied expression and the lack of urgency in her step continued to amaze her officers.
Hunter and Hill paused to watch as their commander entered the lift. As the doors closed behind her, they looked at each other and shrugged. "Wonder where she's going?" Hill commented with a knowing grin, his eyes meet Stephanie's briefly. Seeing the hurt there, he quickly realized his error and murmured "Sorry Steph."
Stephanie sniffed and looked away to cover her discomfort. "S'okay. I really don't begrudge either of them, I'm just wishing I had someone too." She looked back at her console. "What about you Art? Come across anyone interesting during the testing? After all, you got to see them all at their best and their worst."
Art smiled as he turned back to his own console. "Well, actually I did. There was this woman and her daughter..."
Brie found her tiny room with little difficulty. It took about 10 seconds for her to take in the entire space and she was immediately grateful that she wouldn't be spending much time here. As small as the room was, it did have a hygiene cube and a replicator. *They're so close I could take a shower and eat dinner at the same time, very efficient.*
Selecting a cup of hot black tea, she lay back in her bunk intending to relax and sip her drink. As she lay back, she noticed the monitor set above the foot of the bed. *Hmm...that's really the only place you could put it in this closet.* Then she noticed that she had a message from the Commander.
Smiling, she read:
I believe that we have a dinner date this evening. Please join me in my quarters when you have rested. I look forward to seeing you.
*Well now, we're getting somewhere. I'm still Doctor', but now she's Xandra'.* Brie got up and stripped off her very old uniform. Showering quickly, she wondered if there was any extra clothing in this room. Opening several of the wall compartments revealed not only fresh uniforms but a recycler for soiled ones. She had to give the expedition planners credit, after fifty years, who wouldn't want a shower and change of clothes.
Without her personal belongings, there wasn't much to getting ready. She dressed, brushed her hair and cleaned her teeth. In a final attempt to change her look, she unfastened the high collar of her uniform, revealing her slender throat and the necklace. She knew Xandra's quarters were on deck 17, but beyond that she wasn't sure. Entering the lift she made her selection and waited. She had no idea of which way to go when she got off the lift.
When the doors opened, Brie was met by a young man. In his early teens, he was probably a member of one of the families that signed on with the colony. She smiled and the boy shifted his feet, looking down, obviously very uncomfortable.
"Are you Dr. O'Conner?" he asked, still not looking up.
"Yes I am." Brie answered, a bit surprised that he knew who she was. "And who are you?"
"I'm Jason. I'm supposed to take you to the Commander's quarters. It's not so easy to find."
"Well in that case, I'm glad you're here cause I'm terrible with directions." Brie gently laughed and Jason relaxed enough to look up at her. He was at that awkward stage, still very unsure of himself. She could tell that this journey had been hard on him. Still, he was staying busy running errands for the Commander. Brie suspected that Xandra knew exactly what she was doing with this one.
Jason regained enough composure to remember his manners. "Please come with me, Doctor."
When Jason said that the Commander's quarters were hard to find, he wasn't kidding. Brie felt like a rat being led through a maze to find the cheese. Brie smiled wickedly at her next thought. *Well, I imagine that this will be much tastier than cheese.* The image in her mind was so vivid that she suddenly felt flushed. *Oh, no, better not go there just yet.* She was so distracted that she plowed into Jason when he stopped to show her the Commander's door.
"Ooof...Sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going." Brie giggled nervously.
At first Jason was confused by her reaction. Then it dawned on him that she was as nervous now as he was most of the time. He realized then that he really liked the doctor. "S'okay. I do that a lot too. That's her quarters, go ahead in. She set the panel to open for you."
Jason fled as Brie placed her palm on the reader. The door slid back to reveal quarters much larger than her own. *Thank god for that. I can barely keep my hands off her as it is, but when she's close...*
As she stepped into the room, a variety of sounds and smells assaulted her. The sound system filled the air with music, an instrumental piece that Brie didn't recognize. From a room to her left, she heard someone singing softly with the music. It took her a moment to realize that she was hearing the Commander. The voice was beautiful, its lilting tones blending perfectly with the instrumentals.
From the same direction, she detected the delicious smell of freshly prepared food. Stunned, she tried to remember the last time someone cooked for her. It had been that last Thanksgiving with her family. Brie smiled sadly as she pushed the memory aside, determined not to let anything ruin her evening. Closing her eyes, she tried to identify the smells. *Hmm...let's see, onions, garlic, oregano...I've got it! Italian.*
Brie called out "Hello."
"I'm in the galley, come on in."
Brie crossed the comfortable living space and stood in the doorway of the tiny kitchen. Only large enough for one person at a time, it was extremely well equipped. Lifting the lid on a pot at the rear of the cooking unit, she sniffed and said "Yep, it's Italian. How did you know it's my favorite?"
Handing her a glass of red wine, Xandra raised one eyebrow and gave Brie an amused look.
Taking the glass, Brie chuckled, "Oh yeah, you have all the records. I bet you even know that my favorite color is..." Brie paused, remembering the color of the gown Xandra had given her.
"Green" Xandra finished for her.
Lost in thought Brie didn't hear Xandra. "What?"
"I said your favorite color is green."
Brie, dazzled by Xandra's smile, took a sip of the wine to steady herself. "Can I help?"
"No, it's almost ready anyway. Just sit at the table and keep me company." Xandra checked the pasta as she talked. In minutes the meal was on the table. Xandra served the young woman a generous portion, then picked at her own dinner. She had little appetite for food. She watched Brie clean her plate, all the while telling Xandra about her day. *This is nice* she thought. *It feels like I'm finally part of something.*
Sighing contentedly, Brie leaned back in her seat and sipped her wine. "That was wonderful." She glanced over her shoulder toward the kitchen. "You certainly surprised me. I never had you figured for the domestic type."
"Cooking is my only weakness" Xandra laughed. "My mother was a chef before she died. We used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen together and I guess cooking makes me feel closer to her."
"Well," Brie leaned forward and winked, "your secret is safe with me. Since eating is my greatest weakness, I want to keep you all for myself." Her obvious double meaning caused Xandra to suddenly feel warmer.
Taking their wine into the living space, Xandra sat and rolled her shoulders to relieve the stress of the day. Brie, noticing her action, set her drink on a nearby table. Sweeping Xandra's hair aside, the doctor began to massage her neck and shoulders, her magic fingers finding all the kinks and knots.
Xandra felt the tension of the last weeks melt from her body. Brie's hands felt wonderful. The young woman started with deep muscle massage. Within moments, Brie felt Xandra relax beneath her touch, her breathing becoming slow and deep. Changing to feather light touches designed to excite, rather than soothe, Brie was rewarded by Xandra's sharp intake of breath.
Unable to stop herself, Brie leaned to drop tender kisses along Xandra's neck. Xandra sighed and leaned her head forward to expose more of her neck to the doctor's attentions. Interpreting Xandra's response as an invitation to go further, Brie sank to her knees behind the Commander and gently bit her neck, her hands sliding around to cup Xandra's heavy breasts and lightly trace her nipples through the thin shirt. Brie continued to tease her nipples until Xandra arched into her hands. Pausing to slide Xandra's shirt over her head, Brie move around to face her. Cupping her breasts again, Brie slid her tongue over each hard point before taking first one, then the other into her mouth to lightly suck. Xandra's moans deepened as Brie alternately used her tongue and her teeth to excite her.
Xandra pulled Brie to her lips for a scorching kiss, her hands opening Brie's jacket and reaching for her breasts. They were surprisingly large for such a small woman. Xandra felt the nipples hardening in her palms as Brie's tongue slipped suggestively into her mouth. Sliding the doctor's jacket off her shoulders, she pulled Brie to her, loving the feel of their breasts touching.
Shifting so that she could lift the young woman, Xandra carried Brie through an archway into her sleeping area. Slowly she lowered Brie to her feet, letting their bodies slide against each other. Sitting on the bed, Xandra pulled the young woman forward to rest between her thighs. She licked and blew on Brie's nipples as she stripped the lower half of the young woman's body. Taking a hardened nipple into her mouth, she bit lightly while sliding her fingers into the moist curls at the apex of Brie's thighs.
Brie's breathing came faster as she clasped Xandra's head, gently holding her in place. Her thighs parted in invitation as long fingers slid across the tight bud at her center. Not losing her hold on Brie, Xandra lowered her onto the bed, moving up to capture her mouth as she continued to stroke her lover's sensitive nether lips.
Brie, breathless with desire, whispered "Please...I want to feel all of you against me."
Xandra moved slightly away from the passionate young woman and began to remove the rest of her clothing. Brie watched with heavily lidded eyes, her tongue unconsciously tracing her parted lips. As Xandra settled back onto the bed, Brie used the force of her momentum to roll Xandra beneath her. Gazing into the depths of the dark woman's eyes, Brie began to explore her body with hands, lips and tongue, finding every sensitive spot along the way. She kissed and licked Xandra's hardened nipples while softly stroking the undersides of her beasts with her thumbs.
Moving lower with her attentions, she kissed her way across Xandra's firm belly and lower to slide her tongue into Xandra's moist dark curls. Xandra moaned as Brie found her center, slowly licking her sensitive nub. Brie wanted this woman like she had never wanted anyone before. She wanted her helpless and moaning beneath her. As she increased the speed of her tongue, she slid first one finger then another into Xandra's warm, wet sheath. Xandra's hips arched uncontrollably beneath her in reaction to the invasion.
"More...please, more." Xandra pleaded between her sensual moans.
In response, Brie added a third finger while lightly pinching Xandra's nipples with her free hand.
Xandra's body stiffened, her hands grasping at the sheets beneath her. Brie took her time teasing the magnificent woman, holding her on the edge for what seemed to Xandra like an eternity. When Xandra thought she could take no more, Brie sucked the tiny nub between her lips and began to thrust hard into her lover. Finally pushed over the edge, Xandra called Brie's name over and over as she came apart in her arms.
Relaxing, Brie lay her head against Xandra's smooth belly and waited for the dark woman to catch her breath. Brie had been so excited by Xandra's response that she had almost come herself. She was very wet and still very excited by the taste of Xandra's desire on her lips.
Xandra reached out to pull the young doctor to her for a deep sensual kiss, excited by the taste of her own juices in Brie's mouth. Lifting Brie higher, she licked and nibbled her nipples. Xandra lowered the beautiful woman to her back and slid her thigh between Brie's, rubbing rhythmically against the wetness she found there. Xandra continued rocking her hips against Brie as she cupped the young woman's breasts, raising them to her mouth.
Brie was overwhelmed with sensation as she clasped Xandra closer, wanting to feel her everywhere. Xandra bit lightly on Brie's nipples as she steadily increased the pressure of her thigh against Brie's slick mound. Brie's nails sank convulsively into the firm globes of Xandra's ass as she screamed her release.
Xandra continued to hold Brie as her breathing slowed and her body ceased its trembling. After a few quiet minutes, Xandra looked down to find that Brie had fallen asleep in her arms once again. Smiling to herself, Xandra closed her own eyes and was asleep almost instantly.
Chapter 12 - Landfall
Brie woke late the next day. She was alone as Xandra had long since left to begin her day. The doctor hauled herself out of bed, knowing she had another busy day ahead of her. Stepping into Xandra's ion shower, she allowed herself to remember the night before.
Brie had slept in brief intervals, exhausted by the incredible lovemaking they had shared. The Commander had been insatiable, as had Brie herself. They had loved each other over and over. Each time Brie thought herself too sleepy to become aroused again. Each time Xandra managed to prove her wrong.
Finished with her shower, she dressed and completed her grooming. Looking in the mirror, she paused, her bee-stung lips and contented expression reminding her of the cat who ate the cream. Giggling, she turned away from the mirror.
Pulling herself together, Brie left the Commander's quarters hoping she could remember how to get to the lift. Surprisingly, she went straight to it and selected her destination as the med lab. She was hungry as usual, but decided that since she was starting so late, she'd eat breakfast while she worked.
Sara was already busy in the lab when Brie arrived. Looking up, Sara noted the relaxed look on Brie's face and sighed with relief. She had actually been very worried about the doctor, who had been working much too hard since joining the expedition. It was almost as if she was trying to make up for lost time. Sara had tried several times to get her friend to slow down, but Brie only knew one way to work incessantly.
"Sorry I'm late. I overslept." Brie blushed and looked away as she remembered the reason for her tardiness. "Are we all set for today?"
Brie got her breakfast and sat listening as Sara spent the next few minutes updating her on the status of the mission in general and more specifically their part in it.
"Today more than half of the colonists will make landfall. The first ones down will begin building the temporary shelters we will use until more permanent structures can be constructed. You will accompany the Commander in the first shuttle while I run medical from this end. Commander Lawless intends to make the first landfall, then return to the Artemis to organize the transition. Quartermaster Baker will also be on the first shuttle, along with Major Hill. The three of you will be in charge of setting up the shelters, an infirmary and a storage area for our supplies."
Sara continued to sort and pack medical supplies as she spoke. Brie was impressed with her organization and efficiency.
"Over the next few days, the endangered animals will be brought down. Most will be transported in enclosures that will house them until the zoologists confirm that they can survive the environment. The hoof stock and other domesticated animals will be sent as soon as pens and enclosures are ready. Once all the animals, supplies and equipment are down, the rest of the colonists make landfall."
Sara allowed Brie to finish her meal before adding, "You'd better hurry, the shuttle leaves in 20 minutes."
"Now you tell me" Brie complained as she stood brushing crumbs from her uniform. "I'll have to move fast to make it. Later Sara"
"See you in a few days Doctor." Sara spoke to her retreating back.
Xandra and about half of the senior officers were already aboard the Argo when Brie entered the shuttle. Lt. Commander Hunter was in the pilot's seat with one of the other flight officers as her second. The seat next to Xandra was already occupied by the Quartermaster so Brie squeezed past Art to take the window seat next to him.
" Good morning Art." Brie greeted him with a smile.
"Hiya Doc. You looked like hell yesterday, glad you got some rest."
Brie chuckled at his comment. She genuinely liked this young man and his rough brand of humor. Relaxing in her seat, Brie spent the next hour or so listening to perhaps the only person she'd ever met who could out talk her. She was listening to his detailed explanation of how they would organize their construction efforts when the shuttle broke through the planet's cloud layer. Brie held her breath in excitement as she saw her new home for the first time.
Even from their present altitude, the richness of the planet was evident. As they came closer, Brie could make out forests, mountains and rivers. The shuttle suddenly became quite as the others stared out the nearest window. Even Art had stopped talking and was leaning across her to get a better look.
The shuttle banked left toward a large meadow that would serve as a landing strip. Barely long enough for landing, turn around and take off, the meadow was located in one of the most desirable areas of the planet. They had chosen one of the northern continents for initial colonization primarily because of the temperate climate and because it was connected to two of the other continents by land bridges, making expansion in the future easier for their descendants.
Due to the small size of their landing strip, the shuttles would have to time their deliveries so that only one shuttle would be on the ground at any time.
The Argo lowered her flaps for landing as Brie watched the tops of trees rushing by. Landing smoothly, the shuttle came to a stop just yards before the end of the meadow. Brie smiled, remembering that Stephanie had been a Navy pilot. She was used to taking off and landing on the length of an air craft carrier. Of course here she didn't have any help stopping in time, not that she needed any.
Stephanie opened the shuttle hatch and extended the ramp as everyone waited for the Commander to be the first to set foot on their new world. Xandra released her harness and moved down the aisle to the hatch. Pausing to take in the view, she stepped slowly down the ramp and into the foot high grass of the meadow.
Grinning, she turned to the rest of the senior officers waiting at the top of the ramp. "Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?"
Slowly they each exited the ship, looking all around and breathing deeply of the clean, sweet air. The atmosphere of this planet was slightly more oxygen rich than they were used to, making them all feel a bit light headed. Their bodies would adapt soon enough and in the mean time they attributed the feeling to the sights, sounds and smells of their new home.
Brie set this moment in her mind, planning to record it later when she could get to her journal. She noticed the order in which the officers left the shuttle, how each one reacted to the experience, where they all stood, what they said. These were the things their children and their grandchildren would ask about. In this moment they were Lief Erickson, Christopher Columbus, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Susan Marcus and Elizabeth York. They were explorers and pioneers. They were the heros of this world's future.
Although she hated ceremonies, Xandra also understood their importance. Turning to face the others, she spoke.
"I want each of you to know that you have been an integral part of the success of this mission. In the weeks to come, you will continue to play an important role. In spite of the great responsibility heaped upon you, I encourage you to remember why we all came here. It is my intent to secure the colony as soon as possible so that we can hand the reins to the council. When that time comes, we will be able to begin our new lives here as well. Until then, please try to take some time for yourselves to enjoy what we have worked so hard to accomplish."
Brie absorbed each of Xandra's words. She would add the content of this speech to her recollections of this occasion. The archivist's new job had begun even before finishing her old one.
In the next few hours, the first three temporary
shelters were put up and the shuttle crew was preparing to return to the Artemis for the
next group. Xandra would be returning with most of the flight officers who would be kept
busy piloting the shuttles over the next few days. The Commander's eyes scanned the
clearing until they settled on the young doctor. Brie was occupied setting up her
temporary infirmary. Xandra, taking advantage of the privacy offered by the infirmary
shelter, slipped inside and wrapped her arms around her lover.
Kissing the hollow just below her ear, Xandra whispered, "I'm going to miss you."
Brie leaned back in her embrace and sighed. "Me too. How long before you return?"
Xandra trailed kisses along her jawline, whispering, "Too long. Probably ten days or more."
Turning to face Xandra, Brie slid her arms around her lover and kissed her full on the mouth. The kiss seemed to go on and on, finally ending when Xandra heard Stephanie calling for their departure.
"Soon," Xandra whispered. "Soon."
Chapter 13 - Settlement
Brie sat at her desk chewing on the end of a pen. In the twelve days since first landfall, she hadn't had time to make a single entry. From the minute they'd landed, Brie had been completely immersed in organizing the beginnings of their first settlement. She'd worked tirelessly, without taking any time for herself.
The work schedules had been set based on the daylight hours of the planet. Taking twenty-six hours to rotate on it's axis, their new home provided longer days and nights. The Commander had decided that until the council took over governing responsibilities, everyone would work on a rotating four-day work schedule, three days on and the fourth off.
Brie had missed her first two days off. This morning she had entered the infirmary to find Sara sorting medical supplies. She had made landfall late the night before on one of the last shuttles to leave the starcruiser. Happy to see her friend, Brie had greeted her with a hug. Sara had returned her hug with enthusiasm, then promptly ordered her to leave the infirmary. It seemed that someone had tattled to her nurse that she wasn't taking her personal days and Sara was determined that she would in the future starting today. Although she had grumbled and complained at the prospect of idleness, Brie knew that she needed the day to rest.
Walking back to her shelter in the early morning air almost reminded her of her meditation world, only the grass and trees here were real. It was spring and the smell of wild flowers permeated the air, much sweeter than in her dreams. The melodic birdsong made the music from her fantasies sounding flat in comparison. So many emotions washed over her sadness that her family was not here to share this with her, gratitude for the new friends she had made and pure joy for just being alive on such a glorious morning.
She knew exactly what she would do with her time off. Entering her shelter, she opened all the windows and grabbing a fruit from the bowl by the bed, sat at her desk. Brie loved this desk. Art had made it for her using two metal packing crates and a sleeping pallet he'd scavenged from the Artemis. It didn't have drawers, but the top was enormous, giving her lots of room to spread out when she worked.
Opening her journal, she read the last entry.
June 10, 2198.
I'm excited, afraid, happy, sad and nervous. Tomorrow we leave Earth and everything we've ever known. I miss my family, but I know that even if they were alive they'd never come with me. Dad was too devoted to this tired old world. He'd never give up trying to save it. And Mom, well, she'd stay where ever Dad was. But Lily...Lily might have come with me.
They say our new world is a paradise, but I think that paradise is not a place but a state of mind. As long as we adhere to the principles that brought us together, it will be paradise. If there is a God, I pray that we will all find the inner strength to remain true to those principles when things get difficult.
Turning the page she tried to decide how to begin. Smiling, she took the pen from her mouth and started to write.
Twelve days after Landfall 2246
I am fascinated with the way the colony is evolving. Many specialties were represented among the first group of colonists to make landfall. Botanists came to study the plant life in the immediate vicinity. Their first task was to determine what indigenous fruits and vegetables we could add to our diet and evaluate the nutritional value of each specimen.
As she wrote, memories of recent events rolled through her head.
The fruit she was eating as she wrote had been one of their first finds. It looked like an apple and tasted a bit like strawberries and kiwis combined. Best of all, it was high in vitamins and carbohydrates and low in calories.
The biologists were occupied determining whether the plants and animals brought from earth could survive here. Most of the time any problems could be resolved with minor genetic adaptation. But two of the species they had included could not be made to adapt to the planet the Kangaroo and the Koala. The indigenous plant life lacked an essential amino acid necessary for the Kangaroo's survival. Although the missing nutrient could be synthesized, there was no way to introduce it into the environment. As for the Koalas, no one could quite pinpoint the problem. It wasn't nutritional. They weren't sick. They simply weakened quickly and died only a few days after landing. The veterinarians speculated that cryosleep and not the planet, had finished them. Either way, everyone was saddened by their first casualties.
One morning a few days after they'd landed, Brie overheard several scientists discussing their new home. She had noted that they had begun to refer to the planet as Gaia. Apparently the other colonists liked the name since she heard more and more people using it. Brie liked it too. Maybe the name would eventually be made official.
As adult colonists made landfall, so did their children. The practice of not separating families that had been followed during their training and journey continued as settlement began. At first it was difficult to care for their children while fulfilling other responsibilities. Then, an innovative group of parents formed a family cooperative' in which parents took turns supervising and educating their children. Their curriculum was creative they taught their children about their new world as they made the discoveries themselves. Brie was not surprised when the idea caught on and other similar groups formed.
Brie got to know many of the colonists better, including Karyn Rose, one of the first botanists to arrive. She had been instrumental in forming the first cooperative, probably to save her own sanity. Brie had spent several hours in the company of Karyn's daughter over the last few days and found her to be a delightful - if exhausting - companion. She thought how difficult it must be for Karyn to raise such a precocious child alone.
Amber had been one of her first patients. Not looking where she was going, the child had tripped over a tree root and had broken her wrist when she fell. She had been crying when Karyn brought her to the infirmary. When she saw Brie, her wailing increased, until Brie looked at her and firmly said "Enough. That's quite enough Amber. We know you're hurt." The child had immediately quieted and stared at Brie in surprise. No one had ever talked to her in that tone. She understood yelling her Daddy had done that. She understood crying her Mom did that a lot when they lived with her Daddy. But she'd never heard the sound of quiet authority.
"Now what seems to be the matter." Brie helped the little girl onto the exam table.
Karyn started to answer but Brie shook her head. "I want Amber to tell me."
The child showed Brie where she hurt. Throughout the examination and treatment, Brie spoke directly to Amber. She'd always hated doctors who talked about their patients as if they weren't there. Because of her involvement in her own treatment, Amber forgot to cry. The break had been clean and it took only a few minutes in the bone regenerator to correct it. Soon the child was out of pain and ready to run again. Before leaving the infirmary, Amber politely thanked the doctor and asked to be excused. Karyn watched as her daughter left, pleased that Amber could remember her manners when it was important.
In addition to working in the infirmary, Brie spent many hours working with Quartermaster Baker. She had emerged as the natural liaison between the colonists and the accountant when problems arose. Brie always managed to find the right words to make Baker see the long term benefits of whatever cause she was lobbying for at the time. She had persuaded Baker that the families needed separate housing. The presence of naturally noisy children disrupted the dormitory setting that had been provided. In addition, the authority of the parents was being undermined by other well-meaning colonists. Since Baker had her own quarters, Brie argued, she couldn't understand the importance of what the doctor was asking. She challenged Baker to spend 24 hours in the same environment everyone else was asked to endure. To her credit, Baker accepted. The very next day, the Quartermaster had begun construction on several private shelters. When they were completed, the families were immediately re-assigned and, to her surprise, Brie also got private quarters.
Not all of Brie's encounters with other colonists were as satisfying. While she'd had several colonists ask her for allergy aerosols and headache medications, but nothing turned out to be serious until the third morning on the planet when a young man staggered into the infirmary complaining of severe stomach cramps, nausea and fever. Almost doubled over, he was clearly in pain. Brie immediately recognized the symptoms of food poisoning.
"Can you tell me your name?" she asked, helping him to the table..
"Harris," he managed to croak. "Mitchell Harris."
"Okay Mr. Harris, what have you eaten?" the doctor asked as she checked his vital signs.
Harris turned out to be a most uncooperative patient. Because of his reluctance to provide her with information, she was unable to help him clinically. As his condition worsened, she decided to work empathically. He was unconscious when she made tactile contact and sent her senses tentatively into his system. As she worked, eliminating all traces of the poison from his body, he began to regain his strength. As he began to regain consciousness, she caught fleeting images of the untested fruit he'd eaten that had caused his illness.
*Well, this one can't follow orders even for his own good.* Then the images changed to more unpleasant ones, some perverted, some cruel and some just plain evil. Repulsed by the obvious pleasure he took from these images, she pulled back from Harris abruptly, as if she'd been burned. Not wanting the man to suspect what she'd seen, she attempted to control her expression as she spoke calmly to her patient. "Get some rest. You should be fine in a few hours." Brie walked away, effectively dismissing the man. "Oh, and watch what you eat. Some things that grow here will kill you." As the man left the shelter Brie thought *Well, there's one that slipped the net.*
Brie had been remembering and writing for hours, oblivious to the time. Leaning casually against the doorframe, Xandra watched her for a long time, noting her many moods as she wrote. Happiness, concern, irritation, frustration, amazement and fear all clearly evident in her kaleidoscope of expressions. Xandra wondered who or what had caused her fear. She didn't like the uncomfortable feeling she got at the thought of the young doctor in danger.
Brie looked up to gaze out a window and caught sight of Xandra in the doorway. Dropping her pen, she rose to greet her lover. Brie had experienced some doubts in the time they'd been apart. She had bounced between elation at being in love and worry that she was expecting too much from their relationship. She hesitated, feeling a bit shy, until Xandra crossed the room and embraced her. Brie raised her face for Xandra's kiss and felt all her doubts melt away.
"When did you land?" Brie asked, pausing to take a breath.
Xandra buried her face in Brie's silky hair, kissing the sensitive hollow below her ear. "About thirty minutes ago."
She continued kissing the young woman's eyes, nose and cheeks, finally returning to capture her lips in a searing kiss. Brie was quickly losing her control. Forgetting where they were, she began to tug at Xandra's clothing, frustrated by anything that stood between her and her goal.
"Close the windows." Xandra had to repeat her request several times before Brie finally responded. Taking but a few seconds, they had the windows and door closed and the privacy they needed to greet each other properly.
At the same moment, from somewhere in the settlement, an unauthorized deep space transmission was sent. The main computer aboard the Artemis detected the signal and made note of the time, length of message and the transmission location. The computer recorded the message as well, but the content was encrypted.
Chapter 14 - Betrayal
Brie awakened early and dressed quickly, slipping out of the shelter without disturbing Xandra. Taking a few steps, she paused to breath deeply and gaze at the colors of the morning sky. Now violet, over the next ten minutes or so it would change to lavender, pink and finally the bright blue that would last all day. Never an early riser at home, Brie was surprised to find herself awakening earlier since landing on Gaia. She had tried to convince herself that it was excitement that inspired her to wake with the sun, but admitted that the extra hour of sleep she got as a result of the longer days had a lot to do with it.
She headed toward the settlement's central shelter. Originally a dormitory, this building had been converted to a communal kitchen, dining area and lounge when the family shelters had been completed. Inside, she noticed several colonists seated around one of the tables, drinking tea and conversing quietly. Nodding as she passed, Brie went to get a tray for herself and Xandra. As she loaded the tray with fruit, bread and tea, Stephanie caught her eye and came to meet her.
"Morning Doctor. Have you seen the Commander?" Stephanie felt as if she were prying, but needed to find Xandra as soon as possible. "I need to speak with her right away."
At first Brie was annoyed that Xandra wasn't allowed a minute for herself. Then she saw the expression on Stephanie's face and knew that it must be serious. "Yeah, she's in my quarters. She was still sleeping when I left. Is something wrong?"
"Probably not." Stephanie's answer didn't sound very convincing to Brie.
"Come on, walk back with me. I'll wake her, then the two of you can talk. I have to get to work soon anyway."
Brie and Stephanie were half way across the settlement when they heard unusual noises coming from one of the animal enclosures. Looking first at each other, they turned and headed in the direction of the noise. The noises got louder as they approached one of the dog pens. Several of the dogs were whining and yipping, while a man spoke roughly to them. Stephanie put her arm out and stopped Brie who was going to confront the man. Looking at Stephanie, Brie caught her signal to be quiet and stay out of sight. The man kept getting louder and louder.
"Miserable, filthy animals. They should just take you out and shoot you all. While they're all out there getting the easy jobs, I'm stuck in here playing nursemaid to a bunch of stupid animals." When the man aimed a vicious kick at a small black and white dog, Stephanie had to hold Brie back with one arm and cover her mouth with her free hand. Brie struggled against her briefly, then understanding dawned in her eyes and she relaxed against Stephanie.
The way the animals were reacting to this man, they both knew that he'd been doing this for some time. They could almost smell the dogs' fear.
Whispering to Brie to stay put, Stephanie stood and walked toward the pens, making lots of noise as she went. The man looked up as she approached and Brie gasped. The man torturing these poor animals was Harris. This man was far more dangerous that she had realized. Not knowing how much Stephanie had seen, he decided to play it safe. Standing straight he said "Good Morning Ma'am. What can I do for you?"
Stephanie changed before Brie's eyes. In a heartbeat her friend had been replaced with a most intimidating woman. She walked into the pens, right up in Harris' face. "You can take good care of my friends here" she growled. "I love all the animals, but these are my favorites."
Proving her words, she turned and moved slightly away from the man. Kneeling, she held her hand out to the small dog who'd been kicked. Still afraid of the man, the animal was slow to approach Stephanie. Once he caught her scent, he nosed her palm, whining. She spoke softly to the little dog and ran her hands over his body. When she hit a sore spot, the dog yelped. *Rib's broken, the son of a bitch.*
Looking up at Harris, her message was unmistakable. Her words were flat, devoid of emotion. Stephanie knew that if she released her feelings, she'd be kicking this bastard from here to the next continent. "I think I'll take Sam here with me for the day. He's not acting his normal self. Don't worry, I'll bring him back tomorrow."
Carefully picking up the injured dog, she started to walk toward Brie's hiding place. As an afterthought she turned and looked at Harris once more. "See you later Mr. Harris. Take good care of my other friends. I'll be looking in on them."
Brie joined her friend as soon as she was out of Harris' sight. "That bastard" Stephanie muttered under her breath. Turning damp eyes to Brie, she asked "Can you help him? I know you're not a vet, but I don't want anyone else knowing about this right now."
Brie stopped to pick up the tray she had set on a rock when they had decided to investigate the odd noises and held it out to Stephanie. "You go wake the Commander and I'll take Sam to the infirmary." When Stephanie hesitated, Brie took the poor animal with one hand and shoved the tray into Stephanie's outstretched hands. "Go on, I promise I'll take good care of him."
Stephanie took the tray and stood staring as the doctor gently cradled the dog against her body and walked away.
Brie slipped into the infirmary without being seen. She didn't understand why Stephanie was being so secretive about this. As far as she was concerned, animal cruelty was a crime and should be dealt with immediately. There had to be more to this than she was seeing. Laying her patient on the diagnostic table, she stroked the soft black fur on his head. She ran a few tests to pinpoint the exact location of the break and to made sure that there were no internal injuries. Adjusting the bone regenerator to the proper setting, she positioned the unit over the dog and activated the controls.
While she waited for the bone to heal, she sat at the computer and browsed the personnel files. Sure enough, there was nothing obvious in Harris' file, but Brie decided to investigate further. Thirty minutes later, Sam was healed and Brie was even more frightened than before.
Stephanie knocked before entering Brie's shelter.
Holding the tray in one hand, she opened the door to find the Commander dressed, sitting at the doctor's desk. "Sorry to disturb you Commander," she apologized, setting the tray on the desk and pushing it slightly toward Xandra.
Taking a red fruit from the tray, Xandra sniffed before biting into it. "Mmm...not bad. Alright Hunter, what's going on. This isn't a social call."
"Commander, I was reviewing the Artemis' activity report from yesterday and I came across something that has me worried. Last night someone in the settlement sent a deep space transmission. It took me all night to break the encryption code." Stephanie stared into the Commander's ice blue eyes. "It was just three words We have landed."
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