Before he could respond, Cygnus ripped apart his 3D printed jeans and tossed them aside.

Then she laughed. It must have been the shocked expression on his face. He was certainly surprised; the jeans had seemed tougher than that.

“See,” she said. “This ship’s printing system is obsolete at best, dangerous at worst. And I’m not even really that strong.”

That’s right, just reach out and touch how soft the flesh of the Porhelian. Warm and pliable to the tough, but don’t let down your guard for a moment, because if you do, she’ll rip your head off!!

A shiver ran though his entire body, as an image of what looked like a praying mantis flashed In his brain. Iain started thinking seriously about brain surgery.

“What is it now?” Cygnus asked.

“’Zos,” he replied, then cocked his head, trying to get a better look at her, somehow break through what they weren’t showing him about her. “You aren’t actually, like some insect are you?”

She gave him a look like he was crazy.

“No,” she said in such a way it brought him right back to the moment, that he was standing naked in front of a woman who had all the kinds of curves he liked, and seemed more than a little interested in him.

“Top?” she asked, square in hand.

He shook his head. Then she looked down, then back up again.

“Oh, there, its back, ” she said her tone perking up. “I guess that means you don’t really believe what those stupid parasites are telling you.”

He looked down, then back up.

“I guess not,” he agreed.

“Your learning. See, that whole differential between what you see and what you feel isn’t really important is it?”

Iain recognized that speculative look in her eyes. Alien or not.

So he made the leap, leaned over, took a hold of her warm shoulders and kissed her soft lips. She didn’t move away, even responded after a moment. Even her lips, and her tongue, or tongues? And her tastes was like, what? Sweet and sour sauce. He didn’t really want to stop exploring, but eventually he needed to take a breath. When they stopped she still had that look in her eyes.

“I can’t argue with you,” he admitted. “Screw the parasites.”

“Then I guess I should finally get to that touching Orwon so rudely interrupted,” she told him with a grin, her cool touch making him shiver again. “We’re certainly not going to get your clothes on properly until that is dealt with.”

The she stepped back, clapped her hands and what he’d spent so much time putting on her put on fell off.

“That could be a problem in future,” he told her.

“Not really. my claps have that particular aural resonance only when I want them to,” she told him. “I think you’ve gotten the hang of putting them together now, so let’s work on some biology, eh?”

The sex was awesome, if disconcerting at times. Again, the cognitive dissonance between what he saw and felt got in the way if he kept his eyes open. Eventually Iain just closed his eyes and went with it. It was better that way, even if her muscles and bones under her skin didn’t quite match where he thought they would be. Stranger still, she was the first to fall asleep. Still her body did feel warm as it cuddled next to his. And soft.

No way at all she was some alien insect.

His sub-conscious responded in kind, shifts of different sex dreams dominated, re-enforcing the pleasure he’d only just experienced.

When Iain woke up, their positions had changed. She was on top, straddling him, looking down at his face, her cornrows swaying slightly as she breathed. Actually, now that he was conscious, he could feel she was shaking him by the shoulders gently as she straddled him.

“’So, you mean what you said?” she asked.

Iain stared up at her confused.

“Which? What?” he asked. Maybe he was still dreaming, or distracted by the fact she hadn’t put on any clothes yet.

“You were just talking,” she told him.

“I was asleep,” he told her. “I must have been talking in my sleep. I do that sometimes…”

“Really?” she asked, clearly not convinced. “You sounded like you were wide awake.”

He reached out to stroke her thighs.

“What did I say?” he asked.

She leaned down and her rather warm body pressed against him. Again that scent of her filled his nostrils as her cheek brushed his.

“You want to get off this ship,” Cygnus whispered hotly in his ear. “And get the hell away from those crazy birdbrains and that psychotic Skipper that runs this ship.”

“I guess,” he agreed. “Wait, was that what I actually said?”

Had he called the Skipper psychotic? Had it heard him?

“Good,” she breathed, ignoring the question. “I do too.”

Then she pushed back up, slapped his chest.

“Let’s get dressed and get to it,” she added.

Go to Chapter Twenty Two

Go to Chapter Twenty Four

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