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Status Quo - Chapter 21

Written by: Paullell

 Lana starts to shrug her shoulder, dismissing April’s apology as unnecessary when certain things that she says starts to creep into her consciousness.  -Repair my systems- -master human psychology-  Lana’s eyes open wide in realization.  “April, are you a computer?”  She asks but her voice is fairly confident believing that she has understood the situation finally.

 

“Wow, that’s kinda weird.  I’ve been talking to an AI and didn’t even realize it.  You must be very advanced; I would swear I can hear emotions in your voice” Lana smiles ruefully as she backtracks to the previous conversation.  “Thank you for the change of opinion.  I do like to consider myself trustworthy.  But I think I’ve been more of a hindrance than a help for her.”  Lana rubs her thumb across the back of Daray’s hand absently while she talks to April. Her body is slowly relaxing into the comfortable bed as she watches Daray healing in front of her.  “Do me a favor please April.  Don’t let her come after me when she is still injured like that again.  Wherever I am, whatever is wrong I can hold out as long as I know she will come eventually.”  Lana isn’t sure exactly what is prompting her emotions but she knows that she never again wants to see Daray this injured.

 

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APRIL’s response has a tone resembling pride, -I am the first fully-realized tenth generation Artificial Intelligence. My systems are so complex that they require living, neurological tissues to function at full capacity. This is why I am functioning in a diminished capacity while Daray’s brain is being repaired. I must leave adequate processing power for her own biological processes to run their course.-

 

She pauses for a moment, and then continues in a slightly less assured tone, -My program includes emotional algorithms, although I do not yet fully understand how they function or how to interpret their output. I must confess that I still find emotions something of an enigma.-

 

-Believe me, I made every attempt to stop Daray from rushing after you. But she does not listen to me under such circumstances at the best of times, and since her higher brain was partially damaged, I stood no chance of actually swaying her. She is rash and impulsive, a creature of action and physical response.-

 

Another pause. This one longer than before, then she returns again, this time sounding a bit hesitant. -If I may be so bold, I would ask a favor of you. As I mentioned before, I am not good with emotions, and yet, even I understand that being at peace with oneself is essential to life. Daray seems to have some kind of feelings for you, although I would not hazard a guess as to what those feelings might actually amount to. She has no rudder. Since her reconstruction she has done everything in her power to not slow down. To never stop and deal with what she has become. Even now, she dreams about her former self, lost in a stygian abyss. She needs help. She needs guidance that I am not equipped to offer.-

 

Her voice trails off as Daray stirs slightly, wiggling on the bed as if to find a more comfortable spot, but then ending up not actually going anywhere. Her hand never lightens its grip on Lana’s however. A moment later, the thick, cord-like dreadlocks begin to recede back into her scalp, revealing a long, calf-length fan of strawberry blonde hair laid out beneath her. 

 

As the tar-like black material reaches her scalp, it continues to melt away, finally uncovering her face, although it is still a bit sunken and pale, the color and volume could be seen returning slowly. The blackness melts cleanly away from her face, eventually returning to the hard line around the center of her neck, and the rest of the suit thins out slowly, returning to its second-skin appearance.

 

For the first time since they were reunited, Daray’s breath can actually be heard, and her chest can be seen gently rising and falling.

 

-She is asleep.- APRIL’s voice sounds relieved, and content.

 

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Lana stiffens at April’s request, her own inner emotional turmoil tweaked by the mention of deep emotions, rudders and a request to be there for someone in more than a causal fun capacity.  She forces herself to relax and chuckles at her own reaction.  “Wow, you just poked right into one of my emotional issues April.”  She watches as the dreadlocks recede and is amazed at the long beautiful hair left underneath.  “I’ll try April.  I can promise you that much.  I already wanted to help her anyway.  I always want to help the people that I care about.  I just get scared when I start to care too much.  I really do recommend that you or she find some contacts that have been through something at least similar, or a shrink to talk to.  I’m a professional entertainer, not a trained psych doctor.”

 

Lana’s fingers itch to reach out and run through that amazing hair but she doesn’t let go of Daray’s hand knowing that she seems to want the contact.  Lana is able to close her eyes now that she can see Daray returning to a state bordering on normal.  “So, any new information on my mother’s death or the hacker that did it?  I forget, was he back on Venus station or is he where we are headed?”  Lana diverts the conversation to something less emotional while she rests and waits for Daray to wake up.

 

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-Thank you Lana. I apologize for any difficulty my request may have caused.- APRIL replies, then grows silent for a few minutes, seemingly giving thought to Lana’s new line of questioning.

 

-I apologize, I am still waiting or certain systems to come back online. My research has thus far led me to believe that falsified information has ben entered into public records for both you, and your mother. I have tracked the source of the alteration to a small cafe in Hector, on Mars. The facility does not appear to keep digital records of who has used their equipment, so I can not access that information over the network. I believe Daray’s intention was to go there and speak with the proprietor. I am not sure if we will be able to find the person responsible, but I suspect that this path may lead us to a simple pawn.-

 

APRIL pauses as Daray suddenly rolls over, cuddling up against Lana’s side and sighing deeply as her cheek comes to rest on her shoulder and her free hand drapes across Lana’s stomach.

 

-That is a good sign.- APRIL comments. -My suspicion is that there is someone else trying to isolate you from the world for some reason. I am unsure at present, but visiting the site of the original hacking activities may allow me to better track the individual’s path and activities.-

 

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Lana shifts automatically as she notices Daray cuddling into her to find them the most comfortable position possible.  She ends up on her back with her arm under Daray's neck and her hand stroking along her back and through that wonderful long gold hair. She smiles at the irony that she called Daray her treasure and she ended up having hair that looks like that.  Still smiling she talks to April, unable to truly rest until Vash comes back and gives the all clear.  “It's ok April.  You couldn't have known.  My mother always cautioned me about developing deeper relationships than friendship.  My father had broken her heart and she wanted to spare me the same pain I think.”

 

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-Then perhaps the two of you can help one another in equal measure.- APRIL responds, and then goes silent, leaving the quiet of the room to be filled with only the sound of the two women breathing. 

 

It’s difficult to tell the time exactly, but about two hours later, Lady Vash suddenly appears in the room. Her approach is silent, the lights in the room were apparently dialed down low at some point. That and her impeccable grace and fluidity lending themselves to her stealth. It’s almost as if she appears out of nowhere, gently touching Lana’s shoulder to get her attention.

 

She whispers as quietly as possible, not wanting to disturb the resting pair, “Almon’s men are gone. They had a look around and stormed off, saying something about the bodies in the street a little way off. There is an internal comm link on the night stand, when you are awake, use it to let me know, and I will have some food sent to you. Stay and rest comfortably before your journey. From the sound of things, it may be the last quiet, comfortable night you get for a while.” She then stands up, turns around in a swirl of skirts, and glides off into the shadows, leaving them alone again.

 

Some time after that, Daray pulls Lana into a tighter embrace, throwing one of her legs over Lana’s prone form and shifting her now completely normal looking cheek into the hollow of Lana’s neck. She almost stirs as she moves, brushing a light kiss up against Lana’s neck and mumbles something unintelligible before slipping back into sleep. Her breathing is now deep and restful, obviously in a comfortable sleep instead of a catatonic coma. 

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Lana hadn’t been asleep, but she hadn’t been awake either.  When Lady Vash suddenly appears and touches her shoulder she tenses; only that knowledge that any additional movement would disturb Daray keeps her from reacting more fully.  She listens and then relaxes when she relays that the searchers have left.  Before Vash leaves Lana whispers.  “You are a diamond among stones, Lady Vash.  Thank you, for everything.”

 

Lana’s arms tighten around Daray when she snuggles closer and presses a kiss to her temple.  “Good night April” She then drifts off to sleep, lulled by Daray’s warm embrace and the gentle darkness of the room around them.  

 

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If he’d thought he was having a rough day before, he had been completely, utterly, world-shatteringly, and in any other catastrophic way, wrong. Selling the little gene-filth bitch to Almon had seemed like such a good plan at the time. Sure, he’d wanted to fuck the hell out of her, even for gene-filth she was a tasty piece of ass, and there was no way he wouldn’t want a piece of that. But when Almon’s request had come down the wire, that had all changed. Fifty grand was just too good an offer to pass up, so he’d seeded some information to the Runners that had been in port, hoping to get a bite. When Tor contacted him, he knew he’d be able to muscle the bitch off his ship, and probably some more goods as well, all for nothing. The spineless wimp!

 

Well, spineless maybe, but certainly not without his own depths. He leaned forward and puked into the toilet again. Corn… why was it always corn? He didn’t even remember the last time he’d eaten corn! The next time he saw Tor, he was going to kill the bastard! After the crazy black-suited ninja had blazed into ‘The Ether-Bean’ and broken his arm with that metal stick, they had proceeded to make pretty short work of the guards as well. Of course, he’d made a good reckoning of himself before the freaky black blur had broken six of his ribs and then given him such a knock on the head that he didn’t wake up again for three hours.

 

After he’d left the hospital, Captain Flowers had contacted him and discharged him for dereliction of duty, misappropriation, and AWOL. He wasn’t sure if it was legitimate to be dismissed from the military over a comm circuit, but he hadn't wasted much time thinking about it. Instead, he’d determined to do what any sensible Conglomerate officer with criminal leanings would do in a similar situation. He went out, hired some prostitutes to come back to his place in Neo-Tokyo (the one he’d paid for with his illicit activities and the Conglomerate didn’t know about), and spend the evening drinking confiscated whiskey and taking advantage of everything those women had to offer.

 

Two hours into that riotous good time, he’d felt a sudden onset of cold sweat and nausea. He’d had to pull out of the girl he’d been screwing and scramble for the toilet to empty his stomach. After the sixth or seventh time, the hookers had left him there, hovering over the toilet with is wrapped chest, casted arm, and retching stomach.

 

As he dry-heaved one more time, thoughts of wringing Tor’s neck played out in his head, but at the back of it all, was that black streak that had splintered his arm, broken his ribs, and cracked his skull. And the only connection he had to that asshole, was the little gene-filth bitch they’d apparently come to save. So the moment he was able to get away from the toilet, he would throw his considerable ill-gotten resources into finding that bitch and luring out her mysterious benefactor…

 

Soon…

 

He leaned forward and retched again.

 

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Hours before morning rolled around, Daray was up and moving again. She’d woken up long before any sensible person, and immediately set about finding food. At APRIL’s suggestion, she used the comm link on the night stand to get in touch with someone, and then traded the captured vibro-blade for a mountain of food.

 

She helped haul it all in and pile it up around the room, being as quiet as possible so as to avoid waking Lana. She then proceeded to eat until she felt her belly might burst, then climbed back into bed next to Lana and crashed for a few more hours, snuggled up against her friend and reveling in the warm touch of her body.

 

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Finally, she wakes up again, and is immediately greeted by the intoxicating scent of Lana. She grins widely as she inhales several deep breaths, taking in her scent and reveling in its mere presence. She snuggles up against Lana a little tighter, spooning into her back and squeezing her in a tight embrace.

 

The feel of her breasts pressing into Lana’s warm back began stoking fires within her. She felt a surge of warmth to her sex and her nipples hardened at the mere thought of being so close to someone she admired, and loved, so much. She wasn’t sure yet, if it was a real, lover’s love, or just some puppy love brought on by her admiration for Lana, but right now she wasn’t inclined to care too much about little details just now.

 

She pressed her face into the taller woman’s mane of blue hair and inhaled again, reveling in the smell of her and unconsciously pressing her hips closer to Lana’s. That was when she felt something odd between her legs and slowly reached down with her free hand, which was reluctant to release Lana, to investigate.

 

Her hand came into contact with something fluffy, with a ling, thin core, trapped between her thighs. She grinned as she realized that it was Lana’s tail, returning her arm to Lana’s waist and wrapping it snugly around her again, lifting her upper leg to allow Lana’s tail to find a comfortable spot, and secretly hoping that spot would be closer to her heating core.

 

She couldn’t believe how aroused she was getting, just pressing up against Lana, taking in her scent, and feeling her warmth.

 

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  Lana stirs, mumbling when Daray cuddles closer but doesn’t truly wake up until Daray’s hand leaves her waist and wraps around her tail.  The sensation is similar to someone grabbing a handful of hair, they may not be pulling and it doesn’t hurt at all but you are very aware of the grip.  She can feel Daray’s nipples, tight and puckered against her back; and the cadence of her breathing lets Lana know that she is aroused.  When Daray lifts her leg Lana reaches back and grabs Daray’s knee, pulling her leg until it wraps over Lana’s hip and leaves her plenty of room to play with her tail.  Lana’s tail is caught somewhere in flexibility between a cat and a dog and it is easy enough to curl it upwards until it wraps complexly between Daray’s thighs and up between the cheeks of her bottom.  It is long enough that its white tip can tickle the middle of Daray’s back almost between her shoulder blades.  The white and blue fur is incredibly silky, much more even than a natural fox’s tail because it had been designed for pleasure and look instead of any true function.

 

Lana tilts her head back and uses the arm not holding Daray’s knee to bring Daray’s hand up to her breast.  The body suit that she had found is a silky sort of material and her nipples are already responding to the feel of Daray’s body pressing against her.  She grins as she softly encourages.  “I love to wake up being touched.” 

 

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“I love to touch you.” Daray grins as her hand closes around Lana’s breast in response to the movement.

 

“I know it was only one night. But I missed you.” Her voice is quiet and cut off by her kissing the back and side of Lana’s neck. She revels in the sensation of Lana’s tail twining around her body and shudders slightly as the tip of it causes a shiver of pleasure to run down spine.

 

She squirms her other arm beneath Lana’s body and traces her fingertips gently up and down her thigh as she continues to firmly knead the breast in her right hand, pressing the hardened nipple into the center of her palm and working it in tight circles as her fingers roam around the breast.

 

“You’re so warm,” she adds, squeezing Lana even closer, if such a thing was possible, as another shiver runs through her. Although this one seems to be more from a memory than from the teasing of Lana’s tail.

 

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Lana shivers as an echo of the despair she had felt the day before runs through her without the shock to dull its teeth. “Missed me?  Chickie you are in so much trouble right now I wouldn’t mention that.” There is dark humor as well as chastisement in her voice as she rolls over until she is facing Daray, Her tail stuck under her hip but she ignores that for now.  She hadn’t intended to bring it up yet but her good intentions flew right out the window at the memory of the night she had spent in the brig.  “I thought you were dead Daray.  And then you rescue me only to almost die on me again.  If you ever do that to me again… I can’t think of anything harsh enough to do to punish you right now… But you had better just not dare!”  Lana leans forward and kisses Daray with every ounce of relief and happiness that she feels put into it.  She opens her lips and licks at Daray’s until she opens hers as well and Lana can tangle their tongues together, their heads so close that they are sharing each others breath. As Lana wraps her arms around Daray and pulls her as close as she can.

 

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Daray says nothing in response to her chastisement. Either because she is simply accepting it, or because she is too lost in the moment to have really heard it. She  simply revels in the embrace. The warmth and tenderness of the moment.

 

When Lana’s lips press against hers, she melts into the kiss, shuddering as the velvety texture of Lana’s tongue brushes across them. She parts her lips and, as if it has a mind of its own, her tongue ventures out and begins sparring with Lana’s. 

 

Her left arm, still pinned beneath Lana’s body, leverages out behind her, and presses into the small of her back, pulling the woman so close that their bodies are pressed together from their breasts down to their toes, every available inch of flesh in contact with flesh (or the next best thing in Daray’s case). Her right hand slips under Lana’s arm and traces five light lines up her back, between her shoulders, and up her neck, finally twining into her blue hair, fingertips playing lightly at the base of Lana’s skull as the kiss deepens.

 

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Lana’s kiss remains furiously passionate for several minutes until the memories of her fear and worry are dispelled.  Her fervor calms and she gentles her kisses.  She can feel Daray’s fingers threading into her hair and she takes the opportunity to mimic her.  Her fingers sink into the strawberry gold strands and rub them between her knuckles.  

 

She pulls Daray’s leg up and over her hip again, running the fingers of that hand along Daray’s leg and outer hip. Her tail is still partially between Daray’s legs and the tip of it flicks with her enjoyment, brushing across her inner thighs and occasionally against the rubbery folds that the suit has merged with.  

 

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Daray’s kisses remain hungry, even after Lana’s calm from their furious pace. She switches between massaging Lana’s tongue with her own, and nipping at her lips and chin, flicking tiny licks across the patches of skin between her bites. The open lips of her sex twitch and spasm at the feather-light touches of Lana’s tail, which translates to subtle shudders of her lower body and legs. 

 

She moans her pleasure back into Lana’s mouth as she returns there for another long bout of fevered kissing. She then squeezes her right arm against Lana’s body and together with her left arm, still up against Lana’s body on the other side, leverages her lover over onto her back. Coming up on top with a huge, mischievous grin plastered across her face, she moves her legs to the bed on either side of Lana’s hips, and arching her back to keep her mouth within kissing distance. The position pushes her ass up into the air and opens the folds of her sex to more direct contact from Lana’s teasing tail. 

 

The position has both of Daray’s arms on the bed, with Lana’s upper arms atop her own forearms, and her fingers tangled in the fan of blue hair on the bed. Her fingertips continue to play at the back of Lana’s scalp, running around lightly.

 

“I could wake up like this every morning, and never have a regret,” she moans, rubbing her pert nipples against Lana’s, then squishing their breasts together as she dives in for more kisses and adds, “although, actually getting -out- of bed could prove challenging…”

 

Her tongue engages Lana’s again and she moans throatily at the sensations sparking across her body.

 

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Lana rolls easily and grins at Daray as she is perched above her.  She  purrs when Daray rubs her breasts against her  “Oh, we’ll get out of bed, and back in again.”  Lana strokes her fingers through Daray’s hair a few more times before moving on to her arms and shoulders. Her touch alternates between gentle and firm, massaging and gentle scratching.  “I love to touch you.  You’re si fort, so strong and yet you melt under my hands.”  Lana proceeds to caress her way down Daray’s back, rubbing her hands over every inch of rubbery flesh she can reach.  Her tail continues to flick its soft silken fur between Daray’s legs, its dense fluff covering moving slowly along her folds and thighs simultaneously.

 

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Daray captures Lana’s tongue gently in her teeth, and grins wickedly as she flicks her own tongue across the tip of Lana’s captured appendage a few times. When she releases it, she plants a firm kiss on Lana’s lips, then moves down to her chin, nipping and kissing. 

 

She shudders under the ministrations of Lana’s tail, almost loosing her strength as a sudden burst of pleasure rolls through her body. The brief faltering of strength presses their breasts, stomachs, and hips together, the heat of the contact washing through her as she continues to nip and kiss her way down Lana’s chin to her neck.

 

Lana’s hands sliding up and down her sides and back cause rivers of electric sensation to flow through her, and she starts to loose her focus, the heat building up inside her screaming to take control. 

 

“And I love to be touched by you. You seem to know exactly how to get my body to respond to you. I feel so alive.” The brief conversation forces the basal urge back and she continues, growling a low, rumbling growl into Lana’s throat as she licks playfully at the woman’s divinely-scented flesh, then continues kissing, nipping, and licking her way down toward Lana’s breasts through the thin, stretchable material of the body suit.

 

Her hips stay low, pressing against Lana’s, then sliding down her captured thighs as she descends. Her knees have splayed out to the sides, leaving her now gaping, pulsing sex open to assault.

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