Friday, September 30, 2011

Don't Forget

It was somewhere between two and three in the morning ship-time when they arrived back on the Sword of the Morning Light. More so than normal, it appeared to be deserted as Alex and Carbon wandered the dimmed halls back to their apartment.

They had finished the bottle of wine on the shuttle. Between the two of them it wasn’t enough to get drunk on - Carbon was particularly careful about how much she drank - but Alex found himself creeping towards a faint buzz. Probably because he had consumed about two thirds of the bottle.

Carbon lead the way, easily navigating the carrier like she’d lived there all her life. Alex suspected she had spent a fair amount of time on it, at least. He was starting to get familiar with it, which he was pretty sure was good. He recognized the door to their apartment-quarters-house thing just as soon as he saw it, at least.

Alex helped her out of her jacket in the vestibule, once the outer door closed. It was something that she could easily do herself but they had been getting a little bit amorous and the gesture was met with approval.

He stopped tugging at the long strip of cloth she had wound around her torso, trying to find where it came undone and cursed quietly.

“What is wrong?” Her hands dropped to her waist and pulled the end free, slipping it into his hand.

Alex grinned and undid a loop from just above her waist. “I forgot the sandwiches.”

“They are in a stasis store.” She reached up and grabbed the lapel of his shirt, pulling him down to her level for a kiss. “They will be as fresh tomorrow as next year.”

“But what if someone eats them?” He unwound a few more loops, exposing more of her midriff. That was surprisingly fun.

She turned away from him with a smirk, pulling him along behind her into the darkness of the apartment proper. “No one is going to eat them... And if they do, we can get more.”

“Fine.” He thought he knew the layout of the small room well enough to not run in to anything, closing the door to the vestibule and leaving the it pitch dark. His hands found her hips and he leaned in to kiss her neck, warm body pressed against him with a happy rumble.  “I guess that’ll be all right.”

“It had better be.” There was a playful seriousness to her voice as she untucked his shirt and slid her hands across his sides, holding him tight against her and grazing his skin with her claws.

“Oh, I don’t know. I might be worrying about this all night.” Alex smiled as he discarded his shirt and turned them around, backing towards what he hoped was the bed. The hard edge that pressed against his calf felt right and he took a chance, pleased to find himself sinking into the plush mattress. “I hope you can think of some way to distract me.”

That got a laugh out of her as she straddled his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck with a kiss. “I am sure that I can find a way.”

Something touched his back, well below where Carbon could reach. A gentle pressure half-way down his rib cage and to the left of his spine and he was transported momentarily to the access tunnel in the launch bays. The unexpected assault, the blade that slid through his torso so sharp and thin that it he barely felt it, even though it had been rammed through his translator implant.

Alex may have screamed like a little girl. He somehow managed not to dump Carbon onto the floor when he launched himself from the bed, adrenaline surging through his body. “Lights!”

The system didn’t understand English, of course. His SERE training had been on his mind lately, the Navy instructors drilling the locations of equipment he carried into him and the various ways it could be used. Left front upper cargo pocket was his emergency med kit. His thumb indexed into a groove on the back as he pulled it, sliding under a safety seal and priming it to deliver a shot of muscle relaxant.

Carbon spoke a heartbeat later and the lights came on. He had apparently knocked over a chair and Carbon managed to land on her feet. There was no assassin waiting for them. Just Neya sitting in their bed looking like she’d just been woken up by someone shrieking in terror. Naked.

He looked from Neya to Carbon, eyes wide and still holding his hit kit out in front of him like a weapon. “What is she doing here?”

Carbon was, for some reason, perturbed. “Where else would she be?”

“I don’t know, in her room?” That seemed like a perfectly reasonable place for her, not sleeping in their bed, in the nude. He started to relax, the kit returning to its inert state as his thumb slid off the panic switch and he slipped it back into his pocket.

“This is her room.” She said it like it was obvious.

That was weird. Why would they be staying in her room? Why did Carbon kick her out of her own room last night? “I thought this was our room?”

Carbon rested her hands on her hips. “It is.”

Alex’s eyes darted to Neya. She was just sitting there with the comforter draped over her legs and watching them talk, now more perplexed than anything. She retrieved a set of those little glowing beads from the side table and began threading them onto her antennae. “But... You, wait. This is her room and our room? At the same time? That is what you are telling me?”

“Yes.” She was starting to look at him like he was the crazy one.

Alex sighed and rubbed his forehead then spun a finger in the air, gesturing to all three of them. “Why are all of our quarters the same?”

“She is my... Our Zeshen, now. Where else would she go?”


  1. And comments that Carbon made way back, about human males needing two women to mate come rushing back. *Smirk*

  2. Archnemesis: Were it so easy for poor Alex...