“Soon, soon,” Arl consoled him with a friendly pat on the shoulder. “That’s how it starts. You’re travelling in a dangerous universe, and, to be fair, you are a bit fragile, even with the upgrades you got from the Skipper. Once they figure out you can take care of yourself, they’ll ease up. And then you will know all the gory details. And I do mean gory.”

As if they weren’t gory enough already.

Back to Cygnus. And clothing. Or lack thereof.  That was a better subject, as far as Iain was concerned.

So, she’d kept his shirt, and, for the first few days had co-opted the rest of those he’d managed to 3D print. Why? They couldn’t find her clothes, and Skipper had revoked 3D privileges on account of what Arc and Arl had started producing, not that Iain could blame it

What was readily available were the blue and orange cover alls the pair wore and rotated through. Not something Cygnus liked, and Iain wasn’t going to complain.

“Ugh,” was her response to the twin’s offer of sharing their clothes. That was for about at week. And then she ran into the lounge at lunchtime with a stack if blue squares in her hands.

Iain was trying still trying to teach Arc and Arl how to play chess. It still wasn’t going too well. The two had gotten over their whole confusion over how bishops moved, but they still were completely flummoxed by the concept of castling, not to mention pawn promotion. That was kind of like the problems they had with Kinging in checkers. It had made them quite easy to beat, so there was that. When she ran in he had a 185-0 streak going.

Suddenly, without an warning, Arc castled his king, drawing Iain’s attention back to the board.

“Clothes,” Cygnus slapped the stack on the table, beside the board. “Figured it out. Now.”

Iain looked up from the game that had for the first time in weeks become the least bit interesting.

“Now?” he said. “These guys have finally figured out how to castle.”

Cygnus looked over the board. Made twelve moves, for both sides.

“Checkmate,” she said. He’d lost. Iain stared at the board, then looked over at Cygnus. She ignored his dirty look. “Happy. He finally beat you. Now, clothes.”

She pressed a finger into the stack of blue cloth squares on the table. Took off his shirt. Iain stared at her, seeing her naked for the first time since they’d dismembered her ex. Even while being flirty, she’d told him she was still working out whether they were even compatible “dynamically”.

“We’ve got company,” Iain told her, at a loss of what to say at that.

Arl gave her a once over, snorted.

“Nah…,” Arl offered, giving her a good look. “I’m a cloaca guy. What she’s got just doesn’t work for me. It’s all or nothing.”

“She doesn’t have a…” Arc started, then wiggled a hand under his chin. “If you’re going to turn me on, you’re going to need to have a decent wattle as well.”

“Maybe we should take this somewhere else,” Iain suggested.

“Hmmm,” Cygnus said, glanced over at the pair, then back at him. “Maybe you’re right. With all those pieces on the table, it could get a bit uncomfortable.”

Iain perked right up. Had that just been a proposition?

“We’ll practice while you’re gone,” Arl suggested.

Cygnus grabbed his Iain’s hand.

“Let’s go,” she said. “I can’t wait for some decent clothes again. Don’t forget to grab the material.”

Iain allowed himself to be dragged out of there quite willingly.

Go to Chapter Twenty

Go to Chapter Twenty Two

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