Thursday, January 28, 2016

August 24 (part 1)

We had another evacuation alarm go off today. Once again, an Earther battlecruiser, Bi’isil hunter/killers, and Tragoom ships were detected. Once again, they flew out of sensor range as soon as the ships went on alert.

There was no way to positively identify them as the same ships that had interrupted our dance club opening, but it seems plenty clear to us all that we are being tracked. Regular ship evacuation drills have been increased. Oses told me that the Empire is sending more destroyers to meet up with us. Our slowpoke transport is about two weeks away from the border of Kalquorian space. The additional destroyers should reach us in five days.

Wow, I just realized how close we are to Kalquor. From the border, it is a two-week trip to the home planet itself, give or take a day or two. I’ll be there in an Earth month.

That’s not all the news. Katrina changed her mind about joining Wotref’s clan in two years. She went ahead and did it.

“I said, fuck it,” she told me and Candy when we came to her quarters, answering her invitation. She poured us all drinks to celebrate. “I was going to do it anyway. I love the big lugs. We’re running out of time before we get to Kalquor, and word is this ship is heading right back to Earth after a two-week layover. I’m going to spend all the time I can as the Matara of Clan Wotref.”

“And your son?” Candy asked, her tone hesitant.

“Matthew can think what he will. If he thinks I’m doing it just to irritate him, then he doesn’t know his mom at all.” Katrina looked at her glass of bohut for a moment, her eyes getting misty. “As for the grandchildren ... well, I thought they had to be dead at one time. Now I know they’re not. That can keep me sane for a little while. Maybe someday if Matthew doesn’t pull his head out of his ass before they’re grown, they’ll come to see me on their own.”

“You can send them messages through your daughter,” I suggested.

She nodded. “I’ve thought of that too. Life is now, my dearest friends. We can’t postpone it in the hopes of what tomorrow might or might not bring us. So toast me, Matara Katrina of Clan Wotref. May God have mercy on my men.”

We laughed and raised our glasses to her. Anrel sat on my lap and I helped her raise her bottle to her Grammy’s good fortune and joy.

After our first sip, Katrina asked, “So who’s going to help me pack all my crap?”

That brought on little cries of anguish from me and Candy. But of course Katrina would be moving in with her mates. Duh. We hadn’t thought of that in the excitement of the moment.

“Why aren’t the guys helping you?” Candy asked when the first rush of dismay ebbed.

“Ret will when his schedule allows. He’ll probably do most of the moving itself. Wotref is busy with those enemy ships following us around. Siko has his hands full for the same reason since all of Security is on alert. Besides, as good as he is with a blaster he’s hopelessly clumsy when it comes to pretty decorations.” Katrina narrowed her eyes at the vases, statuettes, and other mementos she’d brought from home and collected during our voyage. “Sometimes I think that Nobek drops stuff on purpose. If it doesn’t have a practical use, he doesn’t want it ‘junking up’ his space. The man likes to pretend he doesn’t have a sentimental bone in his body.”

I thought of how the battered warrior treated Anrel, hugging and kissing and calling her his little ‘becu’. “We know better.”

Katrina grinned at me. “Yes we do. I told him for every one of my tchotchkes that hits the floor, he’ll have to see me cry for an hour. What I can’t win through violence, I’ll take through manipulation.”

We burst into laughter at her means of controlling the ferocious Nobek. Katrina is wonderfully devious. I should take lessons from her. I can never get one over on Oses or Betra.

“Are you going to have a ceremony of some sort?” Candy wanted to know. “Anrel could be the flower girl! She’d be so cute. Shalia could carry her down the aisle. And you could do it up and knock your men’s socks off. I saw the most delicious wedding gown in Acquisitions. No one has claimed it yet.”

“Because it’s a frothy horror of bows and lace,” Katrina said, wrinkling her nose. “Prophets save us, Candy, I’ve already been married three times. And fucked a platoon of Kalquorians! If I put on a white dress, the universe will turn itself inside out.”

We laughed again. Anrel crowed with us. Katrina gasped in horror and slapped a hand over her mouth as she realized what she’d said in front of the baby.

“Shalia, I’m so sorry! Anrel, don’t listen to Grammy’s nasty mouth. Come here and sit with me so I don’t forget myself again. I swear worse than Siko sometimes.”

I let Katrina hold Anrel. There is nothing like a having a baby around to remind someone just how bad a potty mouth they have. I speak from experience. I shudder to think what my daughter’s first word might be.

“I’m always forgetting to watch my language,” I said, excusing Katrina for the lapse. “So, is there going to be a ceremony?”

Katrina nodded. “Right here on the ship. The guys have spent most of their adult lives with this crew and their immediate families are deceased. Matthew wouldn’t come anywhere near such a thing. Hope, as understanding as she is, wouldn’t be comfortable. You girls are my family, so I want you there along with the friends I’ve made on board the Pussy ‘Porter.”

I had my own romantic thought. “It’s perfect, Katrina. Committing publicly to the men right here where you met and fell in love.”

It sounded sappy, but Katrina got a little watery-eyed again. She took a big swallow of bohut to cover it up before continuing. “The guys are leaving most of the details to me as far as the ceremony is concerned. Wotref and Siko aren’t spiritual, but Ret did say he’d like the Temple of Life priest who’s on board to oversee the spoken commitments. I’m thinking a quick, painless exchange of vows and then a big party in the club.”

“Make yourself and your clan happy,” I encouraged. “It’s your day after all.” I finished my drink and refused a refill. I almost never drink when Anrel is awake. But this was a special occasion. One glass wasn’t going to make me an incompetent mother. “Are you still going to work at the Matara Complex?”

She nodded. “I’ve got to keep busy while my guys are out here saving the universe, don’t I? Besides, I like the thought of making my own money and contributing to our future. Until they retire, the plan stays the same.”

We chattered on, discussing options for the ceremony and reception. We decided we would pack Katrina’s belongings over the next couple of days. “Except for necessities, I may not unpack any of it,” she said. “Is it just me, or does it seem like we just left Earth yesterday? Where did the last eight months go?”

Some of it does seem like a blur. I can’t believe we’re nearing the end.

Monday, January 25, 2016

August 23

I heard from Clan Aslada today. Jaon’s contacts reported a Nang sighting on a small outpost at the far end of Alneusian space. That was a couple of weeks ago. He’s moving slowly, but he’s still coming. Jaon continued to insist Nang won’t get anywhere near me once I’m on Kalquor because he’ll keep an eye on things.

The rest of their message was just what I’d asked for: sharing everyday events. Jaon was about to go on a trip to track down a Nobek suspected of terrorist threats against Joshada. Good heavens, who threatens Joshadans? Those pretty little furballs are as peaceful a race as can be imagined.

Aslada is campaigning for a second Matara Complex, this one to be built on his continent ... and specifically in his territory. “Once other Earther women know how much we wish to take care of you, we will need the second facility. In the long run, we’ll need several. I think many of you will come,” he said with proud assurance. Ah, just wait until he discovers what complicated creatures we Earthers are. I think he might be in for a few surprises, but I believe his heart is in the right place. Who knows? Maybe he’s right.

Meyso has three surgeries scheduled this week. “I’m tired just thinking about it,” he grinned. “That’s what I get for working so close to a Nobek advanced training camp.”

“As long as you operate better than you cook,” Jaon snorted.

Meyso rolled his eyes. “I burned breakfast this morning. I’ll have to listen to Jaon’s complaints about it for at least two days.”

“Well all you had to do was hit the monitor switch to keep it from happening. How hard is that?”

“And you’ve never forgotten anything, have you?” Meyso winked at me. “Someone has a terrible habit of leaving his portable com everywhere he goes. Last week Jaon ‘lost’ his at three restaurants, the shuttle service garage...”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

“...the local police station, the courthouse...”

Jaon bared fangs at his clanmate. “People have permanently disappeared for telling my secrets, you know.”

Meyso was not impressed. “...under the seat in his shuttle, at the gym – am I forgetting any others?”

Jaon made a rude gesture at the Imdiko. Aslada laughed at the pair. It’s good to see the guys loosening up more and more. Betra’s idea to regularly send messages has been a good one.

For all the lightheartedness I enjoyed however, Jaon had reminded me that I still had a big problem on the loose. Nang was a long way off, but he weighed heavily on my mind.

I’d come up against a problem in my knife training lately. It’s my favorite form of combat and everyone has been pleased with my progress in it for the most part. As far as form and basic skills, I’m doing great. I can defend myself pretty good against a blade attack now. Still, Kalquorians are much bigger than me. My instructor Nobek Idow and I have worked hard to overcome the issue of reach. I’m finding it hard to get in close enough to make a hit without him tagging me first. No matter what we do, I can’t seem to mount a decent offensive unless it’s by surprise. Idow and I are getting frustrated, because he’s never had to train someone as short as me. He’s only dealt with adult male Kalquorians.

Idow had already mentioned it might be time to get the advice of my circle’s best expert in the matter. With Jaon’s report fresh on my mind, I shot off a message to Nobek Larten. I described to him what we’d tried and how our attempts were coming up ... no pun intended ... short. Hopefully he’ll have some kind of fix for the trouble I’m having.

Having finished that bit of business, I turned to check on Anrel who was lying on a blanket in the middle of the sitting room floor. I’d set up the vid recorder, along with the monitor so that she could see herself. It was recording, just because there is never a moment not worth preserving when it comes to Anrel. I’m a little crazy when it comes to that. I’ve never met a picture of her I didn’t like.

She’d been laying on her back, kicking her feet in the air and gurgling at her own image to her right, occasionally squealing with seeming delight. I think she liked seeing the ‘other baby’ next to her.

My mouth dropped open. Anrel had rolled over on her tummy, the first time she’d done so. She faced her doppelganger, making chattering sounds as if telling her new friend all the secrets of the world. She raised herself on her elbows as I watched, jerking with excitement. Apparently she’d gotten to the adventure portion of her tale. She sank back down, but never lost a beat in her ‘conversation’.

I got down on the floor and crawled over. “Look at you! Look at my big girl rolling over and raising herself up. Good girl, Anrel! What a big girl. I’m going to have to send this to your granddads and grandmom Joelle. They’ll be so proud!”

She gave me a big toothless smile. Oh, she is so amazing. I am the luckiest woman ever.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

August 22, later (part 3)

We stepped out of the back room and into the musical din of the dance club. I thought a drink was in order since I wasn’t so sure how my still-wobbly legs felt about bopping. I was just about to say something to that effect to Betra and Oses when the music suddenly cut out. Strident alarms took its place, along with a gruff voice.

“This is not a drill. All Mataras and nonessential personnel, evacuate to escape shuttles immediately. Repeat, this is not a drill. All Mataras and nonessential personnel, evacuate to escape shuttles immediately. All officers, report to your stations at once.”

There were a few startled cries, but everyone was already leaving the club in an orderly fashion. We were well practiced for this eventuality.

Betra patted my shoulder and ushered me to take my place in the exodus. “Go. Half our group isn’t in here, so I have to get to the Matara section and snag the rest. I’ll collect Anrel and Megan.”

We hit the exit and he jogged off in the direction opposite where I was going. Oses had already disappeared, no doubt to take his place on the bridge.

I knew Betra would get to Anrel before I could, but my feet dragged anyway as I moved towards the in-house transport that would take me to the shuttle bay. I had my portable com at my mouth when Tep’s voice issued from it.

“Shalia, don’t come to us.”

I breathed a sigh of relief to hear his voice. “Betra’s on his way to get everyone from our group.”

“I’m heading to Medical, but I’m escorting Megan and Anrel to the shuttle bay first. I’ll com Betra that we’ll meet you there.”

“Thanks, Doc. You’re the best.”

Since I knew where my baby was and that she was in the best of care, I stopped second-guessing where I should be go. I squeezed into a transport with a bunch of other women from the club and had a moment to be grateful I’d finished Happy Sex Festivities in the nick of time. Boy, wouldn’t that have been an awkward ending.

Just as the transport opened to the shuttle bay and we surged out, the alarms quit blaring. We turned questioning looks to each other but kept moving until the gruff voice began speaking again.

“Immediate evacuation postponed. Remain calm but on standby for further instructions.”

We halted and looked around, waiting to see what would come next. More transports arrived, spilling out women and liaisons. Tep and Megan also appeared. Megan held Anrel, who blinked wide eyes in the bright lights of the bay. I hurried over to them.

“Here’s Mommy,” Megan said to Anrel. She gave her a kiss on the cheek before handing her over to me. “A dramatic end to the grand opening, huh?”

“No kidding.” I smiled at her and Tep. “Thanks for watching Anrel. Any idea what’s going on, Doc?”

He shook his head. “Not yet, but I should get to Medical just in case. Excuse the abrupt departure.” He brushed Anrel’s cheek, kissed Megan on the forehead, and offered me a little wave before hurrying back to the lift.

“The alarms woke her up,” Megan said. “She yelped once but calmed right down.”

I paused between kissing my baby’s adorable face to ask, “No problems?”

“Not a bit. She’s such a good girl, aren’t you, Anrel?” Megan sighed as she looked at the baby. “I want to play the field before I settle down, but I think I’m getting mommy fever. She is wonderful, Shalia.”

Candy and Katrina located us, followed a second later by Betra and the rest of our group. “All present and accounted for,” he grinned. “And no, I haven’t heard what’s going on this time.”

As if to make a liar out of him, his com went off. The same gruff voice that had come over the public address system issued from the device, speaking Kalquorian. Since I don’t hear as fast as Kalquorians talk, I only caught a couple of words ... but I distinctly heard ‘Earther’.

As soon as Gruff Voice stopped talking, we women gathered around Betra expectantly. He looked troubled. Knowing us so well, he didn’t try to give us any false assurances.

“Potentially bad news. We detected an Earther battlecruiser along with three Tragoom ships and a couple of Bi’isil hunter/killers. They started heading our way, but suddenly turned tail and ran when we went on alert and armed all weapons. No doubt they were feeling out our defenses, seeing how ready we were to engage.”

We stayed silent as we digested that news. My fears reflected on everyone else’s face.

It was Candy who choked out, “Earthers, Tragooms, and Bi’isils? Banded together?”

Betra grimaced. “Maybe. We know that quite a few of your space fleet went rogue after Armageddon. They’re mostly going the way of pirates, attacking smaller vessels for food, power, that sort of thing. A few have targeted Kalquorian vessels, still fighting a guerilla war on their own.”

“But working with Tragooms? How is that even possible?” Katrina spoke slowly, as if in shock.

“Tragooms are opportunistic. Kalquorian technology is a huge prize for them, so it would be no surprise if they offered to help rogue Earth ships in fighting us.” Betra scowled. “It’s more probable that Tragooms got hold of that battlecruiser and are flying it themselves. There may be no Earthers on board at all.”

“What about the Bi’isils?” I wanted to know.

Betra’s lip curled. “As much as I’d like to find a reason to point a finger at those little beasts, it’s most likely the hunter/killers are stolen by Tragooms. I doubt Bi’isils are roaming about with Earthers and Tragooms in the hopes of taking out a small Kalquorian convoy.”

“We’re so close to the Empire,” I mused. “Why would they be flying near your borders?”

“Because once we’re within our borders, they’ve got damned little chance of getting to us,” Betra said. “They know our fleet is mostly concentrated within the Empire and near to Earth. It could be they hoped we would be more relaxed this close to home.”

“They had enough ships to challenge us,” Katrina said. “I wonder why they didn’t?”

“Because a challenge is not a definite win,” Betra said. “Tragooms are cowards if they don’t have a clear-cut advantage along with surprise. They had neither in this instance.”

Candy blew out a breath. “I realize there is no point in worrying. Either they attack us or they don’t. Still, I don’t expect to get a lot of sleep tonight.”

“You didn’t expect to get sleep tonight anyway,” I pointed out. “Go back and dance the night away.”

Candy pulled a face. “I’m afraid my desire for dancing is out the window right now.”

That seemed to be the consensus. With the all-clear given, we drifted towards the transports. Our big night out was done.

Betra had to file reports anyway. And no doubt Oses would be on the bridge for several hours. I smiled at Anrel. “Ready to get into your own bed, little warrior?”

Megan handed me Anrel’s diaper bag. “How was the club until the party was crashed?”

“Amazing. You’re going to love it. And if a more intimate type of dancing is wanted with your beaus, the back room seems to be the place to go.”

Megan laughed. “Gotcha. I’ll keep that in mind.”

We all headed to the transport, ready to call it a night. I was delighted to have Katrina close so I could interrogate her about showing up with Clan Wotref earlier.

“Things are back to normal with you and the captain’s clan?” I asked. I hoped with all my might that the news was good. “Did Matthew—?”

She shook her head. “My son has not come around yet. I hope he will.”

Candy slipped her arm around Katrina’s waist. “So what made you start up with Clan Wotref again?”

Katrina shrugged. “I can’t be held hostage from my own happiness. I want my son and grandchildren in my life, but it’s wrong to let my life be dictated to me. Matthew has no right to force me to live by his beliefs.”

“You must have struggled with that decision,” I said quietly. We reached our section and got off the lift. Megan wished us good night and went on to her quarters.

“Let’s go to my quarters,” I suggested to Candy and Katrina. “If you feel like telling us what happened.”

“I would like to,” Katrina said. “I know it seems like I cut you two out, but I could hardly think about it, let alone talk.”

We went to my rooms. Anrel had drifted off to sleep, so I settled her in her crib. I left the door between rooms open. We sat on my lounger and continued to talk quietly.

Katrina picked up her tale. “As I said, I have decided to live my life as I see fit. I sent Matthew a message saying he no more knows God’s mind than I do and he had no right to be so self-righteous. I asked him to reconsider keeping the grandchildren away from me. I am willing to visit them without my potential clan since it is Matthew’s right to raise them as he feels is right. But I will not cut Clan Wotref out of my life to accommodate him.”

“Good for you,” Candy said. “Even though I know that must have been the hardest message you’ve ever had to send.”

Katrina shrugged. “It’s actually a relief. Had I done as my son wanted me to, I’d resent his interference. I’d feel I’d not been true to myself. I couldn’t live like that, angry at Matthew for ruining my chance at love and happiness.”

“So where does your relationship with Clan Wotref stand now?” I asked. “They looked pleased. Well, Wotref and Ret did. Siko didn’t look ready to tear heads off, so I guess that’s a good sign.”

Katrina snickered at my observation. “Siko is a big marshmallow under all that rude language and grouchiness. When I showed up at their door, he was the first one to hug me. It took Wotref threatening to break his arms before he would let me go.”

“Tell me they’ve asked you to clan,” Candy begged.

Katrina nodded. Candy and I both clapped our hands over our mouths to muffle our delighted squeals. “You said yes, right?” I demanded.

“Settle down, you two hopeless romantics,” Katrina laughed quietly. “I told them to consider us engaged to be clanned.”

“Katrina! Why wait?”

She shook her head. “Because I need a little more time to try and convince Matthew I am doing what is right for me. If I join Wotref’s clan right now, he may think I’m doing it just to spite him.”

“How long will you wait for him to see it your way?” Candy asked.

“Clan Wotref plans to retire from the fleet in a couple of years,” Katrina said. “I can’t stay on the ship with them, and they won’t be on Kalquor too much until then. I will go through with my plans to work as a liaison for the Matara Complex.” Her eyes twinkled mischief. “If my big strong men haven’t come to their senses by the time they resign their commissions and come home to Kalquor, then I will become their Matara.”

Wow. What drama, and for once it’s not mine. I sure hope Matthew gets his act together for everyone’s sake. In the meantime, Katrina can enjoy being with the men she loves.

Monday, January 18, 2016

August 22, later (part 2)

We arrived on the promenade to see a huge crowd clustered at the door to the dance club. I swear, it was like the red carpet at an awards ceremony! Kalquorians lined up to wave and cheer the women going in. Jeez, what a commotion. I knew they’d gotten a kick out of seeing us dance at the club on the Xniktix station, but this was unexpected. After each woman and her escort (or escorts) entered the wide opened double doors, the Kalquorians craned their necks to see inside.

“Big turnout,” Betra laughed as I gasped. “You should have set up a vid feed from the inside so everyone could watch.”

“This is crazy,” I said. “All this fuss over us dancing!”

Oses snickered. “It can be exciting to watch. Especially when you women wear certain things.” He ogled my dress, which covered everything it needed to while being formfitting.

Thinking about all those eyes on me, I looked down at myself to see if my gut was sticking out. That stubborn bit of pooch was disappearing, but not fast enough to suit my vanity. There was a little curve, but I supposed I wouldn’t die of embarrassment over it. Besides, I had a very good reason for having it. I refused to begrudge my Anrel even one stretch mark or bulge.

The shouts of approval as we walked through the throng to the dance club shored up any issues of shaky esteem that might have lingered. I heard my name yelled along with compliments on my appearance and dress. Aw shucks, guys. You know how to make a girl feel good.

We got into the club. I’d seen it in all its stages of being built and decorated. Yet it still dazzled me as if I’d just entered a never-before seen place.

The bar was long and curved like a ‘c’ near one wall. Candy’s Nobek playmates had done a lot of the design and building of the piece. On one end, it held the tall cylinders that dispensed alcohol, keeping track of the crew’s intake since they were allotted only so much during a day. With the dangers of space, no one was allowed to be impaired. There was kloq, dlas, and the more potent bohut, along with a couple of Adraf ales. A bartender was also present with bottles of other beverages ready to be poured.

Right now, the countertop was covered in tall, thin flutes filled with an aquamarine blue liquid. As a present to our little endeavor, Captain Wotref had secured a couple of cases of shel, a Plasian wine-like drink. It would have been nice to have the topnotch leshella, but that’s insanely expensive stuff. I was more than grateful to Wotref for springing for the shel. He’s so nice.

The walls and ceiling were a mix of metallic and mirrored tiles. It gave the room a warm, glowy feel with the lighting reflected. Panels of floor-to-ceiling mirrors interspersed at regular intervals along the walls, making the club look bigger.  All along the edges of the room were circular black tables. Some were low, with white and dark purple seating cushions scattered around them. Other were taller with white and purple upholstered stools. The stark black and white along with the bursts of purple color were a surprise against the metallic walls, but it looked great.

Most of the floor was open space because ... dance club. The flooring was firm with a little give and textured to keep it from being slippery. It was a dull bronze finish with tiny scattered bits of purple, white, and black to tie in with the rest of the decor.

We’d outdone ourselves. The place looked better than we could have dreamed.

Even better than the club were the people filling it. After grabbing my flute of shel, I joined the small group at the front of the room, the people who had put in hours of work to make the club happen. Because of pregnancy and recovering from too many adventures, I’d been more cheerleader than helper. Yet I’d done what I could, and the gang insisted I be a part of the opening ceremony.

I grinned at the women and their dates as they greeted me. I hugged and kissed my shipmates and friends. I thanked the men who made flattering remarks. I got to Candy, Mihi, and Ama for more hugs and such.

“You two deserve the biggest vote of gratitude,” I told Candy’s Nobek paramours. “You did so much of the heavy work and building. How can we possibly thank you?”

Ama and Mihi gave a blushing Candy significant looks. “Don’t worry, Matara Shalia. We are being compensated quite well with the promise of more,” Mihi grinned.

I burst out in laughter. I would probably have laughed a lot longer, except Katrina walked into the club. With Clan Wotref.

Candy gasped and grabbed my hand. “Shalia, look! They’re back together!”

We squealed and jumped up and down like a couple of schoolgirls. Katrina saw us carrying on, of course. She shook her head and laughed at us from across the room. Imdiko Ret grinned and gave us a thumbs up. Captain Wotref winked. Siko stomped along in their wake like the grim, scary Nobek he is. I thought I detected the hint of a smile fighting to escape his typically grouchy face.

I was dying to know for sure that all was well with Katrina and her sweethearts. As the person who had gotten the ball rolling for our club, she was more interested in starting the party. She grabbed her shel and joined us. She raised her glass to everyone. “Welcome to the Plush Bush Club, the newest hotspot of the good ship Pussy ‘Porter! Let’s thank Captain Wotref for the first round.”

I mouthed Plush Bush Club? at Candy. She shook her head and laughed.  We’d never discussed naming the club. It’s always just been ‘the dance club’.

Katrina. That woman always has something outrageous to say.

She made short work thanking everyone involved, but her words were filled with sincerity. We cheered for everyone mentioned. Then Katrina called, “Listen, we’ve got only a few weeks to enjoy this thing. Enough talking. Let’s turn on the music and party already!”

That got the biggest, loudest cheer of them all. The hectic yet sensual beat began to throb from the sound system and the club went into full swing.

We women danced like we’d never get the chance again. Since Kalquorian men don’t dance, we were left to sway and grind and boogie with each other. Sometimes I danced with a knot of my friends. Sometimes I danced with just Candy, since we tended to have the best time together. Sometimes I danced my way over to the bar to refill my glass. Once the shel ran out, I chose to have dlas, the mildest of the Kalquorian drinks. I wasn’t interested in getting smashed. I was all about the joy of dancing. It felt good to move to the music, to celebrate life.

Most of us danced for our dates, who sat at the tables or stood around the dance floor. No man looked bored, even when they weren’t having drinks while hanging out and talking to each other. The guys think dancing is taboo to their masculinity, but they love to watch us women do it. That’s ‘love’ with a capital LUST. I’m going to suggest to Katrina she redub the club ‘The Swollen Crotch’.

I made it a point to gyrate my ass over to Betra and Oses frequently. The looks were quite appreciative I’m glad to say. If I looked ridiculous, it wasn’t to those two. Each time I went over to give them a show, I got closer. I ended up grinding my butt against Betra’s crotch in a most suggestive manner while rubbing my hands over Oses’ chest.

“Someone’s asking for it,” Betra said to the Nobek, yelling to be heard over the thundering pulse of music.

“So I see.” Oses glanced at the door at the back of the club that led to a storeroom. “I say we take her back there and give it to her. I hate for my woman to be reduced to begging.”

I giggled in reply. I’d not gone overboard on the drinking, but I felt few inhibitions. When Oses tugged me towards the door, I danced my way along in his wake. Betra followed close behind.

It turned out we weren’t the only ones seeking a little privacy. The light in the storeroom was turned way down so that all I saw were refill containers for the liquor dispensers and shadowy figures up against walls. Moans and glad cries joined with the bass throbbing a low beat from the main room.

‘The Swollen Crotch’ has a relief room apparently. Good to know.

I’d been uncomfortable that I might be recognized in the pleasure club a few nights ago, but in the dance club’s back room I had no inhibitions. Maybe because it was dark. Maybe because I had been drinking. Maybe because I was so high on having fun. Of course having Oses and Betra as my playmates didn’t hurt either.

Oses led us to a section of wall with a few feet of space between others working off their frustrations. The Nobek’s teeth gleamed a little in the low light as he grinned at Betra. “You can brace yourself up against the wall. Since she’s been offering you her ass, I’ll let you have it.”

“You won’t hear me complain,” Betra laughed. He leaned up against the wall. I couldn’t see much, just enough to know his hand was at the crotch of his pants. Despite the deep thud of distant music and the noises others made in the room, I heard the telltale purr of a seam opening.

Oses pushed me back against the Imdiko, who caught me up by the backs of my thighs and lifted. Oses  whipped my skirt up so that it was caught between our bodies. The hot wet lengths of Betra lay against my ass.

Eager arousal took hold of me. My pussy wept moisture, my senses galvanized by the idea that I was doing something clandestine. I was being taken in a place where anyone could see me. The idea of discovery excited me, much as being shown off to others in the pleasure club had.

The way Betra and Oses went about it tripped all sorts of switches too. I’d been the victim of unwanted sex back on Earth. Nothing about being truly coerced or forced enticed me. Yet the fantasy of being ravished by two men who had pulled me out of the club, of being taken without being asked if it was what I wanted, did something to my head. No doubt I could enjoy it because I trusted Oses and Betra with everything.

With Betra behind me and Oses’ face in shadow, I could pretend these were strangers making me helpless to their lust. My breath caught as I felt rough fingers yank my panties aside. They slid along my slit, examining the soaked flesh held open for ruthless examination. They demanded entrance, first pumping hard into my trembling pussy and then spreading juices back to the rear entrance.

I guess during his exploration Oses brushed up against Betra’s cocks. The Imdiko made a startled noise and shifted to one side.

Oses muttered, “Sorry. I didn’t realize you were right there.”

I felt Betra’s chest move as he pulled in a deep breath. “It’s okay.”

And it was. Oses continued to ready me for rear penetration. If he accidentally touched Betra again ... and I didn’t see how he couldn’t have ... it was not remarked on. It was a measure of how much trust they’d developed between each other that didn’t stop us from continuing on. I felt a rush of happiness for the pair.

A rush of a different kind came when Oses stopped fingering me and stepped in close enough that his prick brushed my female entrance. His hands went to the backs of my knees to lend his support.

“I’ve got her. You can claim that sweet, tight hole now,” he grunted to Betra.

“Oh hell yeah.” The Imdiko’s voice was almost as growly as Oses’. He positioned himself for the first thrust.

He speared me, taking what he wanted all at once. It was forceful and demanding. Once again I thought of sudden, secret liaisons in dark places with faceless men. I cried out, my body responding with a burst of poignant enthrallment.

The big man in front of me, the one whose massive body eclipsed mine, crushed against me. His mouth bit down on mine, his tongue shoving inside. I succumbed to the brutal kiss, knowing there was no denying him. He would take what he wanted, all he wanted.

As the hidden lover behind me drew out of my ass, the one in front shoved inside my pussy. The force of his entrance drove the breath from my lungs. They set up a rhythm, one withdrawing as the other pushed in. The dual friction burned a fiery trail within me, lighting me up like a candle in the dark.

Rough hands shoved the top of my dress down, baring my breasts. The jiggling mounds were treated to squeezes, twists, and pinches that excited more than they hurt. I clawed at cloth-covered shoulders and pounded against a granite wall of chest as brute lust tore at my insides.

I knew Oses and Betra were mindful of what they were doing. I know they were careful to do no damage. Yet they managed to make our back room encounter feel wonderfully violent and harsh. Whether they sensed I wanted the illusion of force or simply had the shared need for a quick and dirty fuck, they gave me the raw, passionate fantasy I could never enjoy in truth.

It took only a minute for ravenous orgasm to rip through me. I wailed as the two men heaved and rutted like animals, shoving their cocks up into me until they too found release. Ecstasy poured into me and overflowed to drip down the insides of my legs and onto the floor.

It was crude. Debauched. And so very, very good.

After a few moan-filled minutes, we sagged against each other. Depleted, we stood there listening to our breathing slow and the cries of other lovers fulfilling their lusts. As our heart rates calmed, the men disengaged from me with satisfied grunts. Betra found stacks of paper napkins on nearby shelving and grabbed a handful so we could clean ourselves up. There was a lot of snickering as we put ourselves to rights, like naughty kids who’d gotten away with smoking in the school restroom. We were pretty pleased with ourselves.

At last we were ready to go back out among the lights and decent-acting people.