Disclaimer: Original fiction, Liana and Kelly belong to me!

Type: Alt Adventure/Romance. Unfinished.

Sex: Some self pleasuring, F/F fantasizing.

Violence: Mostly verbal, one tussle.

Ick Factor: None


Part 1

Liana MacCarthy stood at the bar nursing one last drink. The ship was loaded. The documents were in order and the cargo had passed inspection. The deal had gone through with minimum trouble. It was time to go, but she didn't want to. At one time her only wish had been to sail through the stars on her own ship; no bosses, no employees. To go where she wanted to go, to carry what she wanted to carry, to buy and sell loads as she chose. So far this idyllic dream had worked. But despite the fact that she had always considered herself a bit of a loner, the time she spent in solitude between destinations was getting to her. She found she wanted to stay at the space stations and space ports longer than was necessary.

Docking fees varied. Here on Blentheron she could afford to stay an extra day or two. She used that as an excuse to stick around. Maybe find another, small shipment to fill the space left in her hold. Yeah, that was a legitimate reason to stay. But she knew it was false.

She turned around, drink in hand, and scanned the crowded bar. It seemed she was the only human, indeed, one of the few females there. The bar itself, and the tables, were crowded with every alien imaginable, and a few which defied it. Vessels of various shapes which catered to the species drinking from it hung from a rail above the bar. Some were tall and slim, some bulbous, some spirals for those who clutched with tentacles. Atmospheric supply helmets covered the heads of what appeared to be cruise liner passengers clustered in a bunch; thin plastic tubing winding from their drinks to apertures beneath their face plates. One patron wore what seemed to be a reverse wet suit; it held water or some other substance in, not out. The outfit looked impossibly heavy.

The variety of speech and laughs were equally varied; the place sounded like a zoo. She was sick of aliens; sick of trying to make herself understood using a multitude of languages laboriously learned over the years, sick of offending them by mistake and losing business because of it. Not a human to be seen...

No, there was one; a shortish young blond woman talking to a scruffy Nanoolian. A woman, not a man. The rag clad creature waved its four arms exuberantly, then suddenly turned and pointed two of them directly at her.

The woman followed the gesture and met eyes with her. She kept her face neutrally professional as the blond approached, leaving the Nanoolian behind with a word of thanks and a credit chip. She halted at a comfortable distance. She was, Liana, guessed, a few inches shorter than herself, which put her around five foot four inches, and her eyes were a kind of captivating blue she had never seen before. The woman started to offer her hand but thought better of it, as the pilot did not seem amenable to the idea. Instead, she smiled pleasantly, and said, "Captain MacCarthy? My name is Kelly Glazier. I was told you sometimes take passengers. Is that true?"

MacCarthy took stock of Kelly as the woman spoke, and took her time before answering. "I am, and, it depends. Who, how many, and where they want to go."

"Just myself. I'm headed for Galatia."

The Captain took a slow sip of her drink, staring at her would-be passenger over the rim, then asked, "Do you have your ID?"

Kelly blinked. "My IS? Sure." She fished it out of her shirt pocket and handed it over. It was a flat, clear plastic rectangle with a holographic photo of her, ultraviolet retinal and finger prints, and all other pertinent data in black letters.

Captain MacCarthy swept her dark hair back over her shoulders, took it and searched it thoroughly. It didn't look like it had been altered or forged, but without a computer scanner it was very hard to tell. "Mind if I check this out?" she inquired in a manner which brooked no argument.

"Go ahead. You can't be too careful these days, no matter where you are. Especially if you travel alone."

She shot Kelly a sharp, long glance. Was she referring to her, or herself? MacCarthy downed the rest of her drink and headed for the nearest computer terminal, Kelly following closely. This captain obviously distrusted her. Well, it was mutual.

MacCarthy inserted the card and entered an IS check request. The data was compatible. According to the computer, the match was clean. She asked for an arrest record, then travel records. The first came up negative, but the second...

"You've been gadding around a while," she said, handing it back to Kelly. "You're a supply buyer for your colony on Galatia? Heading home?"

"More like a trader, but yes, at last. It's been five Galatian months since I left. Time to go back to the farm and eat real food for a change."

MacCarthy nodded. "I can believe that. Well, Galatia is a bit out of my way, but not too far." She put on her best 'don't-mess-with-me' look and said, "The price is five thousand Galatian credits. You sign a charter contract and obey the conditions. One violation of one clause and I put you off at the nearest habitation minus your fee. By signing the contract you legally allow me defend myself with a deadly weapon, and to physically and/or chemically restrain you should you prove to be a danger to my person. Is that clear?"

Kelly was visibly taken aback, but she quickly regained her equilibrium. "I'll have to read it first. It sounds pretty unusual."

"I'll get a copy from my ship and bring it right back."

Kelly nodded. "I'm not going anywhere."

The captain walked away quickly, thinking hard. Passengers were such a pain most of the time, but they often eased the tedium of long term space travel. If they behaved and didn't make outrageous demands. She'd had more men and aliens come on to her than she liked. On her own ship, no less! And a few women, too. She shook her head, walking faster. Kelly seemed nice. Cute, too, but you couldn't always never tell the psychos from the normals. At least Kelly gave her the right vibes. Gay vibes, that is. Was she single, too? She could only hope.

Kelly was waiting, looking expectant, when she returned. She motioned to a table at the back of the bar where it was quieter. Kelly took her time reading the lengthy document. MacCarthy was glad. It was a good sign. The ones who skimmed through and signed it carelessly were the ones who always caused trouble, their excuse being "I didn't know!"

She seemed to read every sentence twice before continuing with the next. She was, indeed, a buyer of some sort, and a thorough, astute one at that. MacCarthy's concerns lessened a mote. Several minutes later Kelly flipped back to the first page. "It seems you've had a lot of trouble with nosy, sexist... individuals in the past. Have you really had that much bother with your passengers?"

MacCarthy relaxed a tad, and replied, "Yes. Some of them didn't even have compatible anatomy and they still thought I was fair game simply because I was a female."

Kelly shook her head in obvious disgust. "I've been asked to close a sale with my body more than once, so I know how it is. Takes all kinds, doesn't it?" She produced a laser pen. "Everything looks in order, all the legal points and obligations are clear. Do we have a deal?"

The captain considered the journey ahead. The money would be a nice bonus, and as her father had said in years past, two shorten the road. "Yes. Sign here, here, and on the last page.. here." Kelly did so, using an elegant, flowing script, the likes of which MacCarthy had never seen before.

"When do we leave?" Kelly asked.

"As soon as you're ready. Concourse D, docking bay 118."

Kelly glanced at her watch. "I'll meet you there in... an hour?"

"Fine." She offered her hand. This time Captain MacCarthy took it, with a firm grip, and almost smiled. Kelly's heart did a back flip, suddenly very, very curious to know how much prettier MacCarthy was when she smiled a real smile. She flashed a grin which wrought havoc on the captain's composure. "Don't leave without me!" Kelly quickly disappeared in the colorful crowd.

'Never!' MacCarthy said inside; and out of nowhere came a vivid, tangible picture of her under the covers with her passenger, butt naked, while Kelly's warm lips fastened themselves on her... "Oh stop it!" she said out loud, startling some nearby patrons and making them wonder if humans routinely spoke to other humans who were not there.

She shook her head to clear it, but the pleasant, tingly feeling inside remained. Lucky for Ms. Glazier she hadn't heard her. This trip was going to be a bitch, she could tell. "I should've said no," she grumbled to herself as she walked back to the ship.

Kelly neatly folded her clothes into her travel bag and made a final check of the room to make sure she didn't forget anything. She found the ship easily. It was aged, but sleek and well maintained. The Tradewind. It rolled smoothly off the tongue, a pleasant name. Much like its owner, she suspected. She knew an uptight.. well, no, cautious, woman when she saw one. With good reason, no doubt. A good part of the contract dealt with sexual harassment of the crew, meaning the captain, and the penalties resulting from such rude and rash behavior. From males, no doubt.

Still, the thought of getting to know her very well, skin to skin, remained in her head, despite the threats the document had promised for even the tiniest misbehavior on her part. Well, her mind was her own, and she could think what she wanted.

Launch was uneventful. The first few days she kept to himself, eating from the food dispenser in her cabin or in the mess room when the captain wasn't there. She read a lot; the computer terminal in her quarters had a fine library. There was an equal blend of fiction and non-fiction, and all titles were available in several dozen languages. The vid screen accessed a similar repository of movies and serial shows, again with multi-lingual subtitles. However much she enjoyed reading and watching vids, though, she often found herself lying on her bed thinking. Eager to be home, yet knowing once she was there, she would want to leave again.

Perhaps it was her nomadic upbringing. Even though her parents had finally settled on a farm while she was in her mid teens, the place didn't feel like home. No place ever had. While growing up, her family had never stayed in one spot more than a season. Any longer than that and she got restless, wanting to move on.

Liana's face appeared in her mind and something blind sided her. Maybe Home was a person, not a place. Not wanting to think about it, she turned to another thing which she worried about; her preferences. As in romantic attraction. Not men, that was for sure, although she had not been sure of that when she was younger. She had been a hard core tomboy, but so was her younger sister.

In pre-adolescence she had been interested in both boys and girls, but in her teens the boys had fallen out of favor and she found herself captivated by girls only. They were lonely years; watching her sisters go out to barn dances with boys while politely saying no to the few suitors who approached her. Mother and Father assumed she was shy and encouraged her to date, but though the boys were nice, most of them, they had no appeal for her. Worse were the boys whose manners were less than gentlemanly. Luckily her years of playing rough and tumble with them taught her male anatomy, and she knew where to thrust her knee were it hurt the worst.

Boys, and men, were nowhere. They smelled wrong, they had hard muscles covered coarse, hairy skin; and they didn't care about the girl they were courting, only waiting for an opportunity to bed her.

Trouble was, there were no other girls like her. At least none that she knew of. If there were, they did not come forth and let others know what they were. The planetary charter forbade discrimination based on orientation and other things, but having a law and enforcing it were two different things. In some settlements the authorities turned a blind eye to bigoted behavior and many people still thought homosexuality was a sin, or at least wrong and un-natural.

Her parents, though open minded in other areas, thought homosexuality was a genetic mistake, and that 'They' should not be allowed to reproduce by any means so that the defective gene would not continue to be passed on. Even better, they should be put in separate communities and not be allowed to mix with decent, 'normal' people. Her father used the words fag and dyke as terms of abuse toward other people, and though her mother was more circumspect, her dislike of homosexuals was just as obvious.

She knew if she told them what she really was, they would..... What? she wondered. How far would they go in their denial of her? Disown her? Shun her and not allow her to communicate or share physical space with her siblings? Strike her name from the family history and pedigree? Would she give a rat's ass if they did one or any of these things?

She had never been close to her parents. Her father, though loving, was mostly absent, working long hours in the fields. Her mother had three girls and two boys, none of whom she had wanted, and her narrow, angry mind let them know it at every opportunity. She was authoritarian, mercurial (cold one moment, warm and loving the next), snide, and vindictive. She made a game of putting her or one of her children in a no win situation, then punishing them for failure. She called them liars and punished them for things they hadn't done. Most of the punishments were verbal and emotional. There were strict laws concerning child abuse, and physical marks would have given her away. No, she had other ways to maim and cripple....

Kelly shook her head to rid herself of old hurts and concentrated on the future. Galatia had settlements on all its continents, and several island chains, too. No one said she had to go home to her family, not with an entire planet to choose from. She had grown up in one of the bread basket regions and had never seen another climate until she had gone off world for the first time.

What a mind opening experience! It had been a planet whose oceans took up seven eighths of the surface. It was aqua-culture the likes she had never even heard of, much less seen. Floating cities anchored by huge cables to the bedrock miles below the surface. A cuisine which featured none but seafood. Marine vessels of every class and description, from tiny sailing boats to huge transports which dwarfed her own intergalactic freighter. The few bits of land, aside from nature reserves and parks, were densely cultivated; wood trees, exotic flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Grain was non-existent, it had to be imported, which was why she had gone there. Bread was made from several kinds of seaweed. In fact, sea flora were the basis of most vegetable dishes. Since then she had been to many worlds, each having its own unique characteristics.

Still, Galatia called to her for some reason. She knew her brothers and sisters were more accepting of homosexuality. They had grown into a tightly knit group who shared secrets, fears, and dreams; brought closer by their mother's domineering ways. In fact, only one was still home, her younger sister, Maria. One secret they didn't know, her passion for women, but something told her they would accept her whole heartedly.

Liana occupied many of her thoughts, too. If she wasn't mistaken, the tall, beautiful brunette shared her orientation, but the contract she's signed forbade any interaction. It wasn't as if she knew what to do, anyway. Her brief stops at space ports didn't allow for relationships to develop at a normal pace and she wasn't interested in one night stands. The most she had done was kiss another woman... Ok, they had sort of made out, too, but they hadn't gone all the way. She was too nervous, too unsure of herself, and she didn't know the woman well enough.

So, many an hour she day dreamed that she was talking to Liana; sharing her thoughts and dreams. Of course, the conversation was a trifle one sided, but it was the best she could do. Slowly, after several days of solitude, loneliness crept up on her. 'How can she stand this,' Kelly thought, craving conversation and the physical presence of another person. A week went by. She hardly ever saw MacCarthy and never said more than 'Hi'. Two weeks. Kelly gave in.

After a long search she found MacCarthy in the chart room working on a space map the size of a pool table. In fact she guessed that it did double duty as a table; the surface was covered with a clear, hard substance peppered with minute scratches. A steaming hot mug of fragrant liquid rested by the captain's elbow as she traced a path on the large screen with an optical pointer.

She didn't turn around, but Kelly knew she was aware of her. "Hi. Am I interrupting anything?"

"No.." MacCarthy hesitated, then continued. "Not really. Just double checking the navigation coordinates. Do you need something?"

Kelly didn't dare voice what was on her mind, settling instead for, "Well, how about some company. If you're not busy, that it. Do you play cards?"

Liana stared at her passenger. "Yes, but my game is chess."

Kelly brightened instantly, glad that MacCarthy hadn't kicked her out with a dire warning about overstepping the bounds. But.. "I don't know chess. My brother tried teaching me when I was a kid but I never caught on to it."

"Care to try again?" MacCarthy offered.

Kelly leapt at the chance with both feet , elated, but said coolly, "Sure. At your convenience. I don't want to be an ass pain."

The captain's mouth twitched. "Hardly. So far you've been a model passenger. You're quiet and you don't get in the way." Even as she spoke her standard way, it felt wrong, rude somehow, to talk to Kelly like that, and she felt bad...

So, Kelly had come to her at last. They always did, passengers. Sooner or later. She was glad. Unless she had misjudged Kelly, she was truly a nice person. She usually dreaded 'first contact' as she called it. They commonly got over familiar very quickly. She had the feeling Kelly was about to court her the polite, old fashioned way. Not only did she not mind, she couldn't wait. But a warning bell still rang in her mind. She decided to listen to it, but not let it take over. To lessen the impact she smiled and added, "Give me a few minutes, I'll be right with you."

Kelly felt her mouth fall open and her insides lurch. The straight faced Captain MacCarthy had actually smiled at her; it was devastating, and she struggled to look halfway intelligent. She'd spent a lot of time, most of it, wondering what MacCarthy was like when she was relaxed and having a good time with her friends. If she said the right things, maybe she would find out before they reached Galatia. Actually, being marooned in the middle of nowhere was worth finding out what it was like to kiss the dark haired adventurer. All over.

The captain struck her as being very smart, well read, and having an excellent sense of humour. Where she got that idea he didn't know; MacCarthy hadn't spoken enough to her, and so far she'd been consumately professional.. Consummate, well there was an appropriate word for what was going on in her head...

When MacCarthy entered the game room, Kelly was already there, attempting to set up the game. Damn she was cute. And so well mannered. Liana was beginning to regret the stringent rules of the contract, but they had helped a lot in the past and she couldn't just arbitrarily nullify them just because she was attracted to her passenger. Or could she? It was very hard sitting so close to Kelly and imagining how her hands would feel as they stroked lightly over her entire body... 'I'm going nuts..'

"Here, let me do it," she said, pulling the chess board a bit closer. "They go like this." She put all the pieces on the board. "Take a good, long look."

Kelly did, deliberately watching the captain's hands instead of her face. Not that it helped any.

"Now," Liana removed all the pieces, "put them back where they belong."

Kelly did. It took longer than she liked and felt slightly stupid, but she was glad she had something to occupy her mind besides Liana. "Is that right?" she asked when she finished.


MacCarthy switched the Kings and Queens on each side. "Very good." She went on to explain the rules and the moves that each piece could make. "Would you like me to print them up for you? It might be easier to remember them all."

Kelly considered it, then shook her head. "It's better if I learn by playing. You'll correct me if I make an illegal move, no doubt."

MacCarthy's lips turned up in a partial smile. "No doubt I will, Ms. Glazier."

"Kelly. Please call me Kelly. I don't think I can stand the thought of being 'Ms. Glazier' for the next three months. It'll drive me nuts."

"...Okay. Kelly." She rolled the name around in her mind. A common name for an uncommon woman.

"How do you want me to address you?" Kelly asked.

MacCarthy's answer was so automatic she couldn't stop it in time, "Captain;... I mean, Liana."

Kelly repeated it several times in her head, then asked, "Isn't a liana a vine?" The thought of her twining herself around the captain like a jungle creeper was too much to bear.

Looking somewhat puzzled, MacCarthy replied, "Yes. But I think it's a blend of the names Leigh and Anna. That's what I was told."

Kelly mentally kicked himself in the butt and could come up with nothing but a lame sounding "Oh."

Liana imagined wrapping herself over Kelly, her leg between hers, dipping her head to kiss her chin.. "So, are you ready?" Liana asked, wresting her attention back to the chess board.

"Sure,"Kelly returned nonchalantly, drawing her inner reserves to keep from saying to Liana what she really wanted to say.

The frustrated energy they both felt was applied to the game with a vengeance.

Liana won easily. And again. And again.

In the following days they played constantly in a subtle, polite dance of casual conversation. Kelly found herself asking Liana questions which became, very slowly, more and more personal.

Liana usually replied hesitantly, not wanting to reveal too much of herself. Kelly was much more forthcoming in her replies, but Liana asked fewer intimate questions.

Kelly learned quickly, but she was no match for Liana. The captain had been playing the Tradewind's computer for years, and even the human factor Kelly brought to the game was not enough. She could see Kelly gradually losing her taste for the game, so once in a while they played cards instead. Here they were even. Kelly won. She won. But as soon as Kelly had regained her spirits, she suggested playing chess again.

"You have a taste for challenges, don't you?" Liana asked a few days later.

Kelly grinned at her over the board. "Yes. And so do you. Why else do you fly around the galaxy by yourself in search of adventure?"

Liana made a face. "The adventure aspect died long ago. It's just a business, like any other. Boring most of the time."

Kelly hesitated, then took a plunge. "Is this trip boring? Am I boring?" She knew Liana wasn't bored with her, but she wanted hear what the captain would say.

Liana's reply was instantaneous and rather indignant. "Of course not. This one of the best trips I've had in a long, long time!"

"Well, I'm glad to hear that. I've been called quite a few things, but boring wasn't one of them."

Liana cocked her head at her passenger. "Oh? Such as?"

Kelly placed her hand over her heart melodramatically. "I refuse to answer the question on grounds I might incriminate myself."

"That bad? Am I sitting across from a lowlife ruffian? No wonder you're so bad at chess; you have no culture to speak of!" She regarded Kelly evenly without a trace of expression on her face.

Kelly didn't know what to think. Was Liana joking? Was she serious? Something told her she'd just been nailed with one the best deadpans she'd ever heard. There was only one thing to do...

"Who ain't got no culture around here? Don't see you traipsin' around in no evenin' gown, Lady. Bet you never been to a classical music thee-ater neither." She burped and made great show of scratching her arm pit.

Now it was Liana's turn to stare. She struggled to hide a smile and lost. "Had much success with that line?"

Kelly tried not to look like a fish. "Not so far."

Liana got a hold of herself and straightened her face again. "Good. I may be easy but I ain't cheap".

Kelly's eyebrow raised; "I don't know if I'm glad to hear that or not."

Liana replied by moving one her pieces and taking one of her. "Never let your attention drift while you're playing".

Now only five of Kelly's chessmen stood in an anxious huddle staring mutely in different directions. All Liana's men were solidly positioned, defying every move that came into her head.

Not that many did successfully. The captain was too close. Kelly concentrated on the board a few minutes, then glanced up. Liana's eyes were...

Liana looked up too, but what she saw didn't seem to faze her. At least outwardly. The blond's eyes were a penetrating, glacier blue. She wanted to drown in them, but refused to let it show.

Kelly, however was visibly entranced. Liana's eyes were green. A glimmering gray-green, like wet, wave- worn quartz. Mesmerizing...

"You gonna take all day?" Liana asked.

"Huh? Oh. No, just thinking." Kelly made an arbitrary move so Liana wouldn't think.. think what? That her mind was drifting again?

Liana didn't say anything, but immediately captured the pawn Kelly had just moved. "You left yourself wide open that time, honey."

"So I did."

"What's the matter?"

Kelly shook her head. "Nothing." 'Just you, Liana. The way you look, Your eyes, your scent, your hair.. shall I go on? Better not, I'll get myself too worked up. Literally.' Liana was watching her thoughtfully, and she would've killed to know what going in the captain's head.

Liana sighed inwardly. Left brain- 'I know where this is going. Not that I'm completely averse to the idea, but it sure complicates things...' Right brain- 'What! You've been bitching about being lonely for how long? And now this sweet, cute girl comes along who's obviously attracted to you and you complain?! Oh please, give me a break!' Liana shook her head to dispel the ideas before they got out of control.

Every time Kelly made a move it cost her. After a while it started to rankle and she concentrated fully on the game. By the time it was over she had managed to take two pawns and a rook from her opponent. They parted genially.

She avoided Liana for two days. She didn't trust herself not to say something that would get her kicked off her ship. Quite truthfully she didn't have enough credit or cash to get home if Liana did. Never in her life had she violated a contract whether it was written or verbal, and she wasn't about to start now. She thought and analyzed and reflected. Sleep evaded her and she took to exploring the ship after hours, padding barefoot on the warm, shiny metal deck.

...Liana lay awake, lost in a fantasy. Kelly was in bed with her, holding her and kissing her slowly. First on her mouth, then in it. Then all over her face. Her hands stroked their way from her arms to her breasts. Her hands became Kelly's, kneading and caressing the soft skin. Her nipples reared up and she rolled them between thumb and forefinger, wishing Kelly's hands were doing it instead of hers.

Kelly's phantom tongue followed, licking her nipples, then sucking them into her mouth and playing with them. A delicious sense of arousal spread through her and began to build between her legs. Her/Kelly's hand massaged its way down her stomach to her mound. She spread her legs and lifted them, stroking lightly before slipping one finger inside to explore. She could feel Kelly's breath on her. The cute blond parted her and began to circle the nub with her tongue. It swelled, growing more sensitive as she played with it. Her hips began to move with a will of their own, first at random, then with rhythm; pushing up to expose more sensitive flesh. She could feel her fingers rubbing, pretending they were Kelly's tongue...

Kelly strolled past a door in a corridor she'd never been in before when a tiny sound stopped her fast in her tracks. She held her breath and listened intently. There it was again, and it was coming from behind the door. She tiptoed close and put her ear to the metal. From within, a soft gasp.. then another.

Her clit swelled so fast it hurt. She imagined Liana naked on her bed, legs spread as she played with herself. She wondered who Liana was thinking of, hoping it was herself. Liana wasn't very loud; just quick, deep breathing punctuated by those little gasps which made her clit twitch. Kelly clenched and unclenched her fingers. This is wrong, she told herself. This is a serious intrusion on Liana's privacy, just walk away. But she couldn't move, she was rooted the spot. She saw and felt her fingers deep inside Liana, pumping back and forth. She was warm, tight, and wet..

Sweat popped on her face. She practically ripped her pants open and stuck her hand between her legs. Her clit felt bigger than usual, but then, it had a lot of help coming from the other side of the door. Standing as close as possible, she began to stroke herself, wishing heartily she was touching Liana, not herself. The sounds within gained speed and volume and she kept pace.

Liana lost contact with reality. "Kelly!" she whispered out loud, not realizing she had done so. This time was better than usual, with Kelly in her imagination instead of one of her anonymous mystery-women-with-no-face. She strung the stimulating process out, made it last longer, as long as possible. Slowly each new sensation grew on the last. After a few minutes of this determined effort the intensity built faster and faster.. and then it exploded.

She came right up off her bed, curled forward as the shock waves hurtled through her body like an earthquake. She fell back as they continued, burying her finger in the best place and rubbing with fierce determination until she overloaded and the pleasure turned to pain. Panting, she stopped and lay back, then sighed a very deep, extended sigh. And fell asleep in Kelly's absent arms.

Kelly listened as the sounds accelerated... She heard a strangled, quiet voice; "I'm gonna come.. I'm gonna come, I'm gonna.." Liana orgasmed, plain as day. The pleasure she felt was clearly expressed. Kelly stroked harder, faster, past the point of no return where she teetered in ecstacy. Suddenly she climaxed, one hand on the bulkhead to support herself as ripples of pure pleasure rolled through her in waves. She seemed to come forever until it finally ended with a few more convulsive thrusts.

Over her own hard breathing, which she kept quiet, she heard Liana's long sigh. It triggered one last thrust; a few more drops of oozed out and ran down her thighs. She was shaking, especially her legs and hands.

She returned to her cabin. Her clit was still hard, but she was determined to relieve it properly. With Liana. Eventually, tortured for hours by erotic imaginings, she slept.


This sounded serious. Liana turned away from the chart table. "Yes?" she replied with equal politeness.

Kelly took a deep breath and plunged. "I have something to say, I mean, I want to tell you.." She faltered and stopped.

Liana leaned against the table behind her and took some of her weight on her arms. She knew what was coming and debated whether or not to say anything, but opted for silence.

Kelly suddenly had no idea what to do with her hands; Liana was waiting patiently with a pleasant, neutral expression. Get on with it! Her tongue seemed to twist in a knot every time she tried to open her mouth, but after what seemed an eternity she got it under control. But her carefully prepared speech had utterly disappeared, leaving her stumble along and think of the words as she went along. Her palms were wet and her mouth was dry.

"Uh, I wanted to let you know I'm really glad we both happened to be at that bar. I mean, I'm glad I'm flying home on this ship, with you, instead of some smelly alien..." She paused to collect herself. "I have to say you're one nicest women I've met in a long, long time.... I like you a lot. You're damn smart, you have courage and self reliance, a great sense of humour, a razor wit, and I think you're incredibly attractive. I like you a lot. More than that. I'd love to make love to you slowly and thoroughly, over and over til neither one of us can move... There, I've said it."

Liana tried not to let her jaw drop, that would be undignified and unbefitting a Captain. Kelly held out her hands. " This is the first time I've ever willingly broken a contract, and it'll be the last. Here, put me in irons and shackle me in my cabin until we reach the first habitable body."

Liana didn't dare let her amusement show. "Don't be melodramatic, Ms. Glazier, I have no intentions of booting you out."

Kelly let her arms fall. "Why not?"

Liana's answer took her off guard. "It's harassment only if the attentions are unwanted." But before she could speak, Liana pointed straight at her and ordered, "Tomorrow, zero seven hundred hours in the lounge. Wear lots of clothes."

This made no sense at all. "Why?"

The captain drilled her with a stare which burned it way through her brain. "We're gonna play poker."

"So why the extra clothes?"

"Strip poker, honey."

"Oh. What does the winner get?"

Liana's stare was relentless, but her words set Kelly on fire. "Anything they want.. Within reason."

Kelly felt a predatory smile split her face. "You're on, Captain McCarthy." Without waiting for a response she turned on her heel and sauntered out whistling a strip dance tune.

As soon as the little blond was gone Liana collapsed against the table behind her and took a deep breath. Left brain- 'Damn! What in the seven hells made you say that? Of all the half assed ideas! You don't even know this girl. She throws a few pretty words your way and you practically rip your clothes off. Get with it!' Right brain- 'exactly! This girl is such a turn on, why are you waiting so long? ...' Both sides warred for a while til she couldn't think straight anymore and returned to work so she wouldn't go crazy.

But, as it turned out, astronavigation equations did nothing to take hermind off the conversation, she needed physical diversion..

Kelly was attempting to read a book, which was upside down, when her door chime rang. She opened it as casually possible. "Yes?"

Without preamble Liana asked, "Do you fence?"

Kelly blinked. "With a foil?"

"Yes. Well, actually I use a rapier. Do you?"

"I'm a little out of practice."

"So am I. So how about it, ya wanna go a few rounds?"

The challenge was unmistakable. Kelly took her up on it. "Sure. When?"

"Right now."

"No problem."

No words were exchanged on the way to the gym. Liana knew she'd jumped the gun without knowing it. After all, she had already issued a challenge, and here she was with another before the other had commenced.

Kelly pondered the challenge as they walked along the corridor. 'I'll bet anything she's nervous, she wants to prove herself. Probably to herself as well as me. Well, I've never backed down from a contest and I'm not about to start now.'

As they donned protective gear, Liana dropped what she thought would a bomb on her passenger. "I fight medieval style, with a dagger. There are no illegal moves. If there's an opening, I go for it."

Kelly swallowed her smile of anticipation and replied, "Good. It's more fun that way... Actually I'm better with sword and shield, you know, in armour."

Liana stared at her blankly and she explained. "Back home we live in a mix of medieval and modern cultures. Communication, education, off planetary travel, medical and emergency services, and global defense are modern. Everything else is medieval, we plow with animals and reap by hand..basically everything is accomplished by muscle, either human or animal. We have rudimentary technology like water driven mills, but that's about it. We hunt with bows and arrows, and everybody wears a dagger. To get somewhere you have to walk, ride a horse, or drive it. Government officials are elected every 5 years, but unlike the Middle Ages on Earth, women can enter any profession they please. If someone wishes to leave the colony they may do so without harassment. Education is free to all.

"And to complete this Medieval fantasy there's a colony wide club called the Society of Arms, which recreates the tournaments of that era with authentic weapons, armour, and tactics. We fight on foot as well as on horseback. There's always an Event, that what we call it when we get together to fight and feast, on a weekend somewhere, and nearly everybody attends. It's a hell of a lot of fun. When we get to Galatia I'll take you to one if you have the time."

It took Liana a few moments to absorb this unexpected information and put it in perspective. 'Am I in over my head? Is that what she's trying to say? Well, I don't give a shit. I'm damned good with this rapier, and I have a skill she doesn't.' Still, the thought of fighting in armour with a sword and shield excited her..

"That sounds fun. I'm sure I'll be able to spare a day or two. You ready?"

Kelly nodded and they both put on their fencing masks. Neither made a move, testing the other's patience. Suddenly Liana's blade flashed like a snake. Kelly barely parried in time; if she hadn't jumped back Liana would've 'killed' her. She was so swift and relentless in her attack Kelly could only survive by continually retreating and slashing at her. She felt like a half assed first year trainee. Damn Liana was quick! She had no opportunity to counter attack; the Captain was faster than light. Before she knew what had happened she was in a corner with no way out except past her taller opponent. Then it occurred to Kelly that she was playing by the rules.. 'Liana said there are no rules..'

She crossed her blades, swung hers to the side when Liana struck, and lunged forward head first. She hadn't counted on Liana ducking like she did. She found herself being lifted over the captain's back and dumped heavily on the floor. Liana waited for her to rise before attacking again. Kelly met her with flying steel.

This time it was an even fight, each lunging and parrying by turn. They circled and zig-zagged, each trying to find an opening. Liana discovered she had met her match and it did not sit well. 'No rules.' They started taking wild shots at each other's arms and legs, regions considered illegal in proper fencing. But this wasn't proper fencing, it was field battle where even a wound would be fatal if one lost use of a limb.

So far neither had scored even a touch, although bare misses were too numerous to count. No, this failure to 'kill' Kelly irked Liana. The blond was too good with a blade; she needed an edge, something to put her off balance. Liana feinted a shot, and while Kelly's arm was out stretched she darted in and slammed her chest with her shoulder. Not expecting it and totally unprepared, Kelly hit the floor again, hard enough to knock the breath out of her.

As soon as she regained it, which was quickly, she swore and leapt up; now furious at Liana's treachery. She said no more and began to stalk Liana, channeling her anger into cool, clear headed tactics. Things had suddenly veered.. The game had changed. This wasn't a friendly fencing competition anymore; the mood had altered drastically.

Something was going on in Liana's head. What was it? Did she regret the poker game idea? If she did, why didn't she just say so? To save face? Was Liana angry at her? At herself? Was this violent behavior of hers premeditated or a result of her failure to defeat her, Kelly? Kelly suspected the latter. However, that did not justify her actions. If Liana couldn't control her frustration she was damned if she was going to pay the price.

'Anger has no place on the field of battle. An angry fighter is a dead fighter, because they are not thinking, and they are stiff' That was the first thing she'd learned in the Society of Arms while training.

But she couldn't be sure Liana was angry. The fencing mask hid her face and her body was relaxed. This time she attacked first, hoping to overpower Liana, but the brunette sidestepped and narrowly avoided Kelly's blade. There commenced another hurricane of steel which raged the length and width of the gym. Both began to tire.

Neither would give in. Liana was determined to win and set out to do so. However, Kelly was wise to her now and she found it difficult, if not impossible, to get near her. 'Well, I guess I'll just have to wear her down..'

Liana used every trick she knew, and finally got Kelly in a position to her own advantage. When Kelly struck aside her blade and moved in the same direction, Liana switched her dagger hilt first and drove her fist into Kelly's mask in a vicious left hook, throwing her entire body weight behind it. She felt an instant glow of triumph, glee, and oddly, a sense of arousal.

Kelly hit the deck so hard she thought he'd been struck from the saddle. 'That bitch!' She threw her blade down and ripped off her mask, rising at the same time. "Dammit, what the hell is with you! Ya' almost took my fucking' head off!!" She was so high on adrenaline she didn't realize her nose was bleeding. Her face mask had a dent in it from the impact. It had caved in, allowing the blow to strike her face.

Liana appeared unruffled by this outburst or the sight of blood, and merely replied, "Look, honey, if ya' can't take it the door's over there," and pointed.

"Ya wanna wrestle instead?" Kelly shot back.

"Sure." Liana calmly removed her mask and set her blades aside. "Come and get it," she said with a smile which raised Kelly's hackles once again.

She fought to control her temper as they slowly circled, like a pair of binary stars.

Liana's smile faded quickly.

Kelly lunged. Liana grabbed her arm, swung her in an arc, and laid her flat on her back. She bounced back instantly and tried again. This time Liana tripped her and put her on her face. After the third time something dawned on Kelly: Liana wasn't wrestling, she was.. "Wait a minute, you're a martial artist of some kind, aren't you?"

Liana bowed, smiling arrogantly. "Hai, Kelly-San."


"I said yes. San is a Japanese honorific."

Kelly didn't know any form of Asian weaponless fighting. She hated losing. Especially here, now, to Liana. It galled her but she knew damn well she could not defeat her.

Seeing the defeated, angry look on Kelly's face, and her bloody nose, Liana regretted her actions. Kelly said nothing further, although Liana could see she really wanted to tell her what she thought of her, preferably as loudly as possible. But she didn't. She glared at Liana instead, wishing she could have the satisfaction of beating the shit out of her. Wishing her eyes weren't that particular shade of green.

They both stood, heads high, in a stalemate, until Liana admitted to herself the truth. And said so, to Kelly's utter surprise. "I'm sorry, Kelly. I shouldn't have started this whole thing. I guess I got scared; I had no idea you would be such a good fencer..."

"You were scared?" Kelly interrupted. "Of me? I'd never hurt you!"

Liana shook her head, trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. "I don't know why I was scared of you. I hate losing, but... I don't know. All I do know is that I should've called it off as soon as I felt frightened, but I couldn't stop. Quite frankly I don't know what's with me..." She faltered to a halt, not knowing what to say next.

"Frightened people do many odd and questionable things," Kelly assured her. "You are certainly not the first person to hide their fear with braggadocio. And it takes a mature person to admit to wrong."

"You're bleeding."

"I am?" She tentatively touched her now throbbing nose.

"I hit you so hard I dented your mask. See?" She pointed to the damaged head gear.

Kelly stared at it. "You really nailed me." She wiped her nose and gazed at the amount of blood on her hand.

"Here, sit." Liana guided her to the weight bench. She sat obediently and tilted her head back to slow the bleeding. The contrite brunette fetched a small towel and her squeeze bottle of water. She wetted the towel and began cleaning Kelly's hands. When they were done, she started on her face, careful to not apply too much pressure on and near her nose, now swelling from the injury.

Even that slight contact hurt, but it wasn't the first bloody nose she'd ever gotten and knew it wouldn't be the last, either. As long as there was no fracture or displacement of cartilage she wasn't concerned. The flow soon stopped and she breathed through her mouth so the blood would clot in her nose faster.

Liana looked so sorry Kelly wanted to kiss the expression off her face. "Actually, I hate losing too, and I've done some rotten things in my time to make sure I didn't. I keep forgetting you don't know me. Now I know why you have all those self protection clauses in your contract. It's easy for anyone to panic when they feel they're being attacked... All in all I'm relieved that you know your martial arts; I mean, if anything happened to you.." Kelly clapped her mouth shut.

Liana didn't know what to say, and after a few garbled attempts, managed to say "I could teach you, if you like. Maybe it'll help your medieval sword fighting."

Grateful that Liana had deftly changed the emotion laden subject, Kelly immediately agreed.

"Now? Are you sure? Your nose might start bleeding again."

Kelly shrugged. "If it does, we'll stop."

Liana wasn't so sure, but if Kelly wanted to... "First, you have to learn how to fall. And for that we need mats." These were quickly laid down and the lesson proceeded.

"This sure beats the bare floor," Kelly admitted after taking a deliberate tumble in imitation of her teacher. She learned quickly, and after an hour of successful tumbles, requested more advanced moves. Against her better judgement, Liana agreed.

She assumed a standard defense position. "Whenever you're ready."

Kelly took her time, trying to detect a way to take her down, although she knew by now she could not. When she finally rushed Liana, The captain merely stepped aside at the last moment and let her charge by, turning to face her as she did so. "Sometimes the most successful maneuver is the simplest one," Liana said as Kelly stopped and turned back.

"That figures," she grumbled.

"Try it again."

This time, when Liana stepped aside, she moved with her, ducked, and tried to trip her. Kelly found herself flat on her face before she knew what had happened, with Liana straddling her back, and her arms pinned and twisted like a pretzel.

"See what happens when you try to gallop before you can post?" Liana asked sweetly. Her voice had a normal volume but sounded close to her ear.

Kelly's face was squashed into the mat, so her answer was muffled. "Yes Sir."


Liana's breath was warm on her ear, she was very close, close enough that she could smell her scent. "Captain."

This time her lips almost brushed her as she said quietly, "It's Liana. Didn't we agree on first names?"

She mumbled an assent.

Kelly thought Liana would let her up, but she didn't. "Planning on releasing me any time soon?" she managed to ask out the side of her mouth. No reply, but Liana's face was still hovering over her head. That meant she was leaning forward, off balance.

Kelly suddenly twisted to the side and wrenched her arms free. Liana scrambled to get them again but Kelly moved too fast. They wrestled and rolled over the mats trying to gain control over one another. After a good long tussle Kelly managed to grab her in a bear hug. She pinned Liana's arms to the side, tripped her, forced her onto her face , and lay on top of her so she couldn't kick back. Not that she didn't try. She sputtered and swore in a proliferation of languages, many of which Kelly was unfamiliar with. She responded by lifting herself up and dropping down on her again.

The air blew out of Liana's lungs with an "Oof!" But she quickly recovered. "Dammit, get off me!"

"When I feel like it, and not before," Kelly returned laconically. "Actually this feels great; I think I'll stay awhile." She was indeed very comfortable. Her hips were slightly below Liana's so that her clit, fast getting hard, was pressed against Liana's firm rear end. Her arms were firmly clasped together just beneath the captain's breasts, which were heaving with indignation.

"This lesson is officially over, Kelly. Let me go. Now."

She wasn't fooling and Kelly knew it. She also realized she had over stepped the bounds. Kelly released her at once and jumped to her feet, out of arms reach from her. Liana's expression was murderous.

"I think we both got a little carried away. Why don't we count to ten and say what's on our minds?" Kelly suggested.

Liana flitted a bare glance at Kelly, and her frown deepened. She did count to ten, but that wasn't high enough. She needed a few minutes to calm down and hoped Kelly would grant her the time. If she didn't she'd get her head bitten off at the neck. She turned away, went to the weight bench, and sat down.

Kelly knew a pissed off woman when she saw one. When Liana walked away she kept her mouth shut, knowing the captain would speak when she was ready. Kelly stayed standing where she was, glancing at Liana from time to time. Staring would probably earn her a physical assault.

Liana sat still, thinking a mile a minute to figure out what was going on. It took a while, but she came to a tentative conclusion. Kelly hadn't moved, and now she turned and looked at her, fixing her attention on Kelly instead of the wall.

"We just did the same thing twice in a row. Challenges were offered, taken, and acted upon. Both times to extremes. I think there's an element of control here. I like to be in control; when I'm not I get frightened, then angry. If I get too frightened I panic and stop thinking. I really hate not being in control, I hate not being able to think. That's one of the reasons I took up martial arts; to gain a sense of control no matter what the situation."

Kelly was perplexed. "Then why did you ask me to fence with you?"

Liana shrugged, growing tense. "I thought I could beat you. Not too many people know their way around a blade, you know."

"Did you agree to wrestle with me for the same reason?"

"Yes. I strongly doubted you would be able to defeat me there, with my knowledge. But I got into a power trip, and careless on top of that. How dumb."

Kelly didn't dare tell her she'd liked being sat on by her, the situation was complicated enough. "We both went on power trips, Liana. I didn't hurt you, did I?"

Liana almost smiled. "Only my pride. How about you?"

"No, I'm still young enough to be bent into weird shapes and.. I'm sorry I got fresh with you. It was such a temptation. You're so damn pretty."

Liana's eyebrows lifted in surprise.

"Hasn't anyone ever told you that before?" Kelly asked, equally surprised.

"Yes, but not for a long time."

"Are you offended by my last.. maneuver?"

"I should be," was Liana's ambiguous reply.

Kelly wanted to probe but didn't dare. Instead she added, "Well you are pretty. At least I think so. And I like the way your mind works."

"Even now?" the captain pressed.

"Sure. I'm certainly not blameless here. Let's face it, we both screwed up. Tell me, were you afraid when I had you down like that? I know you were angry, but were you frightened too?"

Liana had to force herself to tell the truth. "As much as I hate to admit it, yes. I mean, you really had me. If you had been a criminal or a psycho you could've done whatever you wanted with me."

Kelly approached slowly and sat at the other end of the bench. "No. You're wrong. I had to use both arms to keep you where I wanted you. If I'd wanted to hurt you I'd've had to be able to subdue you with one hand. With your skill you would've been able to disarm me quite easily, and most probably break a bone. You have the skill but not the confidence. I've seen it many times in the Society, but to gain confidence you have to win once in a while. Which is why you thought up tomorrow's poker game and today's fencing bout. Am I right?"

Liana felt stripped bare; and could not make herself face Kelly. To be so damn transparent!

Wisely Kelly did not push her point. It also occurred to her that something might have happened to Liana to shatter her confidence in herself. Something of a physical nature. Liana seemed quite at ease with her intellectually, and most martial artists were very sure of themselves. They had to be in order to win. She decided to change the subject.

"How about some lunch? It's almost one o'clock and I'm starved."

Liana shook her head. "No. It's time for my workout, anyway."

"You sure?" "Yeah. You go ahead. I'd like to be alone for a while."

Kelly wanted to say more but didn't. She figured they both had a lot of thinking to do. She left quietly and they did not see one another again that day.

Liana went to bed late, too tense to sleep. She stared at the ceiling, wondering what had gotten into her. 'She says he's attracted to you in the nicest possible way and you completely lose it! First that stupid strip poker game.. well there's a real great idea! What a wench! Why didn't you just thank her for her compliments and suggest dinner together? Too plain? Too ordinary? And that stupid fencing thing. Oh wonder of wonders, talk about lack of control! You'll be lucky if she even shows up tomorrow morning after you bashed her in the face like that. She wants to know you; let her! I'm telling you she's a nice girl, and you know it too. She understands the word no, if you tell her to stop she will. 'Trust yourself, trust her..." The voices inside her head argued back and forth for hours until she was exhausted. Her sleep was fitful, interrupted by disturbing and frightening dreams.

Zero seven hundred hours. Liana shuffled the deck of cards, sweating already under her many layers of clothes. Kelly came in at one minute past and sat opposite her without a word. She looked as if he were wearing every single item of clothing she'd packed for the trip.

Liana had to say something. "You look like a fat spy from a very bad movie."

Kelly tried not to laugh but failed. And retorted, "Oh? You look like an amazon mechanic who's been posted far from civilization too long."

Liana laughed. "You're half right." Then, "Um, how's the nose?" Kelly's nasal structure was swollen and pinker than normal, too.

"It hurts, but I've had worse. I'll live."

"I'm sorry I hit you so hard. It was wrong of me and I shouldn't have done it."

"It's ok, really; I'm over it. Quit beating yourself up."

"...Ok, if you say so."

"I do say so. Come on, lay some cards on me, I'm gonna beat your butt."

"Famous last words." Kelly smiled as she dealt and they began to play. Liana took her time and schooled her face carefully. Kelly did the same. Neither could read the other no matter what trick was used. Liana won the first hand, and the second, and the third. Then lost one, then won four more. Kelly lost steadily thereafter. Liana lost another hand, but by now a pile of clothing lay thick around Kelly's chair.

"Would you like another deck?" Liana asked her unexpectedly. "You're probably wondering by now if I've stacked it, or if I have a few aces up my sleeve."

"Of course not!" Kelly replied, astonished. But she could tell Kelly had considered the notion. 'Maybe I shouldn't have worn this cologne.. Wait, why not? It's not my fault she can't concentrate just because she smells something nice!'

Liana watched quietly each time Kelly took something off, careful not to betray any emotion, though she thoroughly enjoyed each 'show'. So far she'd removed only her wool cap, bandana, boots and both pairs of socks. When Kelly's last undershirt came off she made sure her expression was neutral and disinterested. Mmm, nice pair... not too big, not too small. Medium blue bra which matched her eyes. Just right. Kissable...Very kissable...

Kelly remained seated and picked up her hand, undeterred. Next she lost a pair of shorts. Then her last pair of boxer shorts, which she removed without getting up. Liana watched her closely, trying not to be obvious. She was very, very glad to be so far ahead of the blond. There was no way Kelly could catch up now. That suited Liana fine. She was so hot from multiple layers of clothing she was tempted to end the game, and would have if it wasn't about to. She dealt Kelly 5 cards at her request. It did no good, even though she tried to stretch the round out by raising the ante. They revealed their cards. Liana won.

Kelly regarded the cards for a moment, then pushed her chair back. She stood, turning slightly away as she did so, and removed her bra. She stayed that way a moment, then turned around.

Liana tried not to stare and failed completely, didn't know she'd risen til she found her self on her feet. She swept Kelly from hair to toes several times, rapidly, unable to tear her eyes from the beautiful young woman. Kelly was gorgeous. Liana stared and stared and stared...

Suddenly she realized how intensely she was staring at her passenger. Blushing furiously, she glanced long at Kelly's face guiltily before lowering her eyes to the floor.

"It's okay, you can look," Kelly said quietly. walking slowly around the table to Liana's side, yet keeping her distance.

The movement caught Liana's attention and she looked up, this time at Kelly's face; searching for signs of disgust or disapproval. Kelly smiled and took a step forward.

"It's been a long time, hasn't it?" She asked kindly.

Liana had to struggle to think. She was drowning in a confusion of emotions; arousal, fear, guilt, humiliation, plus a few others she couldn't identify. "...Yes."

"How long?"

"Um, the last time I saw a human being was about 9 months ago; the last time I, um, 'did it' was about...2 and a half, no about 3 years ago."

"You haven't had sex in 3 years?!" Kelly's jaw almost dropped but she clapped it shut. "That's a hell of a long time."

Liana did not reply. Instead, eyes locked unwaveringly on Kelly, facing the same direction as before, she began to undress. Slowly, methodically, as if she were tired and getting ready for bed. By herself. It was this unforced casualness on her part which made the process so tantalizing, better than a professional stripper could ever be, since she was being herself; no show, no pretense. Kelly grew warm all over.

First off were Liana's heavyweight overalls, then another lighter pair. A jacket, two sweaters, what looked like a pair of military type pants, a long sleeved shirt, another sweater, and another shirt. There she stopped, still wearing and a short sleeved shirt of a soft, faded green tucked into a pair of black pants.

Kelly came to her. "May I?"

"What?" Liana asked, confused. Her mind was moving so fast Kelly's request hadn't made any sense.

"I want to undress you."

Liana blinked. "Um, sure..." Then, "Would you like to go someplace more..." Her buzzing mind struggled for the right word. "Private?"

"Your cabin or mine?" Kelly asked, smiling gently.

"Uh, mine. It's bigger and has a nicer bed. And more amenities than yours."

"Captains quarters usually do."

Feeling that Kelly was in control now, she wanted it back, and did so. She reached out and cupped Kelly's chin, then stroked the soft cheek. Kelly turned her face into the caress and kissed the caressing thumb. Liana stepped closer and took her face in both hands, tipping it up and looking deep into the blue eyes before lowering her own head. Kelly's eyes darted back and forth between the green ones gazing down at her so profoundly. She didn't need Liana's urging, she lifted her face in invitation.

Liana stopped just short of Kelly's lips, asking for permission with her eyes, and receiving it. They kissed. At first lightly, almost tentatively, then more firmly. Eyes closed as they gently explored each other.

At first Kelly thought it was the good sensations sounding off a klaxon in her head, but when Liana abruptly stopped kissing her and ran to the nearest computer terminal, she realized the sound was genuine.

"What's going on?" she half shouted over the loud honking. Liana was gathering information off the screen and didn't turn her head.

"Put some clothes on, hurry. We have to get to the bridge."

"Ok." Nervously she scanned the scattered pile of clothing and snatched up a pair of lightweight black pants and a blue t-shirt. She was about to put on a pair of socks when Liana grabbed her arm.

"Bring 'em with you, we have to get to the bridge. Now."

Kelly snatched up a pair of mismatched socks and her boots before following Liana out of the room and a fast jog. The Captain had her own socks and boots in hand as she sprinted through a maze of corridors.

To Be Continued... Eventually...