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Status Quo - Chapter 30

Written by: Paullell

 Daray leans over Lana, wrapping an arm around her and pulling her close. “I don’t understand either Lana. Maybe he saw yo in the street, or was visiting another girl and saw you or something. It’s impossible to tell at this point. But I’m not going to let them erase you, whether it’s Turin, or someone else. I’m here for you. We can keep each other anchored, you to your life, and me to some kind of rational thought.”

 

“I have a couple contacts around Turin’s organization.” Vincent said. “Because he runs so much of the shipping in and out of Earth and the Moon, it’s almost impossible to run through there without some interactions. I’ll put some feelers out and see if I can glean anything.”

 

“I can ask Jax to see if he can find any traces of the hackers that are working on this.” Riana adds. “I’m sure APRIL is doing a fine job, but another set of eyes can never hurt things.”

 

-I would welcome the assistance. I have been busy collating and storing Lana and her mother’s personal data before it is eliminated entirely.-

 

“She says thank you.” Daray announces, squeezing Lana to her in a comforting gesture. “I think we should track down this guy on Mars still. He may be able to tell us something useful, and if not, we know where to find Almon and Turin anyway, they aren’t going anywhere…”

 

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Lana nods and relaxes into Daray’s embrace.  “I’m sorry.  I’m in no immediate danger.  I shouldn’t let this get to me like this.  Thank you all for being willing to help.  In this area I’m completely out of my depth.”  She sits back up and gives herself a shake that ripples down her body and all the way to the tip of her fuzzy blue tail.  “That’s enough of my histrionics.  Let’s talk about something else.  There doesn’t seem to be anything we can do until we arrive on Mars so let’s change the subject to something more fun.”  She shares a look of gratitude and love with Daray and then forces a smile to her face as she looks at Vincent and Riana expectantly, not knowing where else to direct the conversation next.

 

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Riana blinks at the sudden desire to change tack. When the rest of the group continues to basically stare at one another, her eyes brighten and ears perk up as she smiles at Lana and Daray. “So I’ve always been curious about the mechanics of two women having intercourse. My mothers didn’t have much time together, and Kilishandra was technically dead long before I was born so I never had a chance to talk to Ezrina about it. Do you find that oral stimulation is sufficiently fulfilling, or do find the need for apparatus to be used during intercourse?”

 

Vincent spits a mouthful of water all over the table and Daray blushes so furiously that Lana can actually feel the heat coming off of her through their contact.

 

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Lana jerks back to avoid being hit by any of the spilled water and has to laugh.  She notices Daray’s embarrassment and tries to think of a way to reply that will not result in embarrassing her further.  “Riana, normally I would be quite happy to go into the mechanics of your question.  However apparently some of us at the table...”  She mockingly glares at Vincent.  “…seem to be unable to carry on an adult conversation like this without resorting to theatrics I will simply state that I enjoy sex in all its myriad of forms.  However it sounds like you may have a preference.  It is possible that whichever you are enjoying less may be being performed incorrectly.  I’ll be happy to observe and offer advice if you think it would help.”  She works hard to suppress her giggle as she looks for the expected reaction from Vincent.

 

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Vincent claps his hands together and stands up from the table. “I think I’ll just clean up while you ladies plan out our evening.” His smile suggests that he is not completely put off by the conversation, but he sets about clearing dishes and carrying them to the sink a the rest of the group carries on.

 

Riana’s eyes shine as she talks to Lana. “Well I am open to new experiences. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I sort of worked Daray over when she kissed me. I was sort of in the middle of figuring out some personal preferences. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am most interested in men. This man specifically…” She points at Vincent with a smirk.

 

“Thanks for that.” Vincent chuckles as he moves about the room.

 

“...and we have done some experimenting, most of which has been quite agreeable. I appreciate your offer of sharing insight, but I think we’d prefer to arrive at most of these answers for ourselves, although I might like to chat about things from time to time if you are available. I have preferences of course, but I still wonder about the logistics of same-sex activities.”

 

“Well.” Daray finally pipes in, her face burning scarlet and her shoulders hunched around her neck a bit, “I’ve never… done it… with a guy before… and I don’t really remember a lot of the specifics, but I don’t think I can imagine anything feeling better than…” She turns her head away and mumbles almost unintelligibly, “Lana’s tongue on me…”

 

“I have to say that I find it to be pretty amazing myself, Dare. Not Lana’s of course, but I think you understand.”

 

Daray picks up a bowl of tofu and vegetables before Vincent can grab it, and starts munching some more. She’s easily eaten more than half of what they had prepared, all on her own. He just chuckles and grabs another dish.

 

“So do you think meditation will really work Lana? Or… the restraining thing? I’d like to remember more of what happens instead of just… pleasure… Not that that’s a bad thing mind you, but it seems like there should be a lot more in the way of memorable details you know?”

 

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Lana pouts at Vincent for not over reacting to her teasing comment.  Lana tries to determine if Riana is even aware that the offer had been meant as a jest. When she is unable to decide one way or the other she shrugs her shoulders and assumes that it doesn’t really matter.   “I’ll be happy to talk with you at any time Riana; but perhaps not now.” She hedges, not wanting to cause Daray any more embarrassment.  She laughs when Daray does manage to pipe up with her compliment.  “Thank you very much Daray.”

 

Her eyes widen as she sees Daray pickup another bowl and eat more.  But she turns her attention to Daray’s next question rather than on the quantities of food that she has consumed. She reaches out to brush her fingers along Daray’s temple as though she is pushing away a stray bit of hair.  “I don’t see why it wouldn’t.  It’s also possible that you’ll simply calm down the more… exposure you have to it.  Two days does not an expert make.”  She shifts her hand and runs it down her strawberry blond braid, playing with the thick rope as she goes.  Lana frowns as she realizes what they forgot to do.  “I bet Vincent or Riana have a pair of scissors if you want Daray.  

 

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“Well I’m not complaining about “exposure” to the act.” Daray smirks at Lana, then resumes eating, speaking between bites. “I’m more than a little concerned about hurting you while in the throes of passion…”

 

“I believe meditation will help you control your impulses, as well as your strength Daray. But as Lana says, it will take time.” Riana says with an encouraging smile.

 

Daray’s eyes close as Lana starts playing with her hair, the edge of the bowl dipping downward as her concentration turned toward the sensations Lana is creating. “I don’t know now.” She responds to Lana’s suggestion. “You said yo like it. APRIL showed me a way to deal with it better. If we can keep it from tripping me up…” She half-opens her eyes, looking sideways at Lana to gauge her reaction, “I might be persuaded to keep it for a while…”

 

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Lana grins with delight at Daray’s offer.  “I think your long hair is beautiful, but more importantly I want you to be happy with it.”  Lana slides her hand down Daray’s arm and gives her hand a squeeze. "You make the decision.  I'm just happy being with you."  She then hops up and takes her plate over to where Vincent is cleaning.  “Can I help?” She offers as she reaches for a towel.

 

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Daray smiles at Lana. “Well, I’m willing to give it more than a day to find out I guess. As long as I’m not tripping over it all the time, I guess it’ll be alright.”

 

Vincent smiles at Lana’s offer for assistance, happily handing her the freshly-cleaned dishes to dry and shelve. “Thank you.”

 

Daray and Riana continue talking as Vincent and Lana clean up. 

 

“So, you’ve improved your technique.” Daray offers as she finishes cleaning the food out of the bowl, licking her fingers after dragging them around the rim.

 

“As has yours. You’ve picked up a few new tricks, and refined your style quite a bit in the past couple of years.” Riana smiles. “I’d be willing to sign you off as a Class 2 practitioner, if you can get yourself under better control.”

 

Daray set the empty bowl on the table and took on the look of an admonished child. “I’m trying. I really think Lana is helping me with that. Usually I have to run for hours to shake it off, but Lana can somehow find me in minutes.” She smiles toward Lana contentedly. “I don’t know how she does it, but it seems to be getting better.”

 

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Lana listens as she dries, letting them talk without interruption.  She works next to Vincent for quite a bit Drying and stacking the dishes carefully on the counter since she doesn’t know where to put them away.  She gives Daray a wink and a grin at the comment she makes regarding her help.  By the time she finishes with the dishes her towel is sopping and her fingers are beginning to wrinkle.  “Thank you for the lunch.  That was delicious.  I really want to go settle in now. I’ve got some packages to put away.”  She starts heading towards the door feeling tired and a little worn out from all the rapid changes that have occurred and she wants to go lay down for a bit.  Just to relax and give everything a chance to assimilate. 

 

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“It was my pleasure.” Vincent smiles, “thank you for your help in cleaning up.”

 

Daray sees Lana moving toward the door, and almost vaults out of her chair to catch up with her. “Thanksguyswe’llseeyoulater!”

 

She wraps an arm through Lana’s, twining the fingers of her other hand through Lana’s and leans up against her as they move. She seems unaware of any impropriety or discomfort she may be causing. Leaning her head against Lana’s shoulder she smiles, keeping pace with the taller woman as they make their way to their cabin.

 

Once there, Daray helps Lana pull her purchases from the bags and folds them neatly on the bunk. When she gets to the extra items she’d grabbed, she lays them out for Lana to inspect.

 

“I got these partially to keep you safe during this adventure we’re having, and partially in hopes that you’d take me up on my partnership offer.” She smiles at the thought, but doesn’t look up at Lana as she speaks, her face somewhat unreadable. “These leggings are a light armor weave. Still stretchy but they can stop most small arms fire as long as it isn’t point blank. And the heavier plates on the thighs, calves, and shins will stop just about anything once or twice.”

 

The leggings are heavier than an average pair, but not so heavy that they would be problematic for mobility. The material is thick, but stretchy and smooth to the touch, and the extra plates are positioned strategically to provide maximum protection while not impacting mobility of joints.

 

“The body suit is a light reactive armor. We’ll need to modify it for your tail, same with the leggings, but this one covers you from the neck down and will stop just about any kind of weapon fire. It’s filled with a ferro-fluid between two layers of the same material the leggings are made of. The suit detects impacts and uses EM fields to solidify the ferro-fluid at the point of impact, making a hard, metallic armor for just a second, then returning to a fluid state again to keep you mobile. It can only take so much damage, and usually has to be replaced instead of repaired, but it can really do a lot to save your butt in a bad situation.” She then turns her head and grins at Lana, “plus I think you’ll look dead sexy in a form-fitting body suit…”

 

Pulling the jacket from a bag and holding it up, Lana can see that it is a stylishly cut, ¾ length jacket, fit through the middle and with a broad collar that can be flipped up to cover most of the head from the sides and back. “And this, apart from looking amazing on you, is also lined with an armor weave and has some strategically placed plates to keep you protected.”

 

Finally, Daray grabs the dark green stun gun and pulls it from its molded holster to show it to Lana, rolling it over in her hand a couple of times. “And this is pretty much point and click. This is the business end here.” She touches the beam emitter, then traces her finger along to the bottom of the handle. “This is the energy cell. It’s self-charging, to a point, but if you get in a mess and need more than the five shots it stores, then you can drop it and slap in the spare that’s on the holster.” She demonstrates the procedure for replacing the cartridge, then reholsters the weapon and sets it on the bunk with the other items, smiling at Lana again.

 

“I know you aren’t crazy about the idea of shooting people, which isn’t a bad thing mind you. The stun gun basically fires a high-voltage, low-amperage electrical bolt that causes a little burning and short-circuits the nervous system. The effects last from three to five minutes, depending on the person  and side effects are generally pretty mild, head and muscle aches, some light burns. But you need to know that there is still the remote possibility that people can die from a blast from this weapon. Everyone is a little different, and sometimes reactions can be extreme.”

 

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Lana forces herself to relax under Daray’s arm.  It’s not the other woman’s fault that she is tense and drained.  By the time they reach their room she is feeling better and she makes quick work of putting away all of her purchases with Daray’s help.  Then they finally get to the items that Daray had purchased.  She had been curious earlier and now she grins as she realizes Daray had been thinking of her safely.  She touches the strange protective clothing as Daray explains how they work and then the stun gun as she goes over how it is used

 

“I had no idea they made stuff like this. Je t'aime mon trésor.”  Lana embraces Daray., touched by how much thought she had put into her purchases.  Lana lets herself relax in the hug, pushing all of the worry and confusion about her life away and concentrating on how wonderful it feels to be held by someone who cares.

 

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-I love you, my treasure.-  This time, Lana can hear APRIL translating for Daray through the earpiece. 

 

Daray leans into the hug, squeezing Lana to her and enjoying the simple warmth of their contact. "I just... want you to be safe." She confesses after a long moment. "I don't think I could live with myself if you got hurt. I know I rush into things and almost never have a plan, but with you... Well, I feel like it finally makes sense to plan for the future. To take steps to insure that we're both around tomorrow."

 

She breaks the hug for a moment, to help stow that last couple of items, then pulls herself up onto the bunk, laying down and scooting back against the wall to give Lana room to join her. She pats the mattress and smiles invitingly as her skinsuit softens and fades to a milky, semi-transparent color.

 

"You know. I don't think we've just... slept together... at least, not while I was aware anyway. I don't suppose you'd be willing to just... snuggle? For a while..." She blushes furiously, an effect that can now be seen across most of her body through the milky color of the skinsuit. She seems almost apologetic as she speaks, unsure if she is breaking some kind of protocol or being offensive in some way. "I just... I don't want to loose control again, and miss another opportunity to really be with you. We may not have too many more calm nights in the near future..."

 

The look on her face is mostly unreadable, but there is a definite twinge of some deeply-seeded emotions churning beneath the surface.

 

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Lana giggles at April’s near instant translation.  “April, that’s cheating.”  

 

She nods in understanding as Daray tries to explain how she is feeling.  “I like how that sounds Daray.  I don’t want to see you hurt either.  When I thought you were dead...  I wished that I could be numb.  I couldn’t believe how much I could hurt for the loss of someone I had met so recently. The loss of you was more painful than loosing my mother.” 

 

She trails off, unable to continue down that though for now. She watches as Daray helps to put away the last of the purchases and then climbs up on the bunk.  She sighs in relief at Daray’s next suggestion.  “That sounds perfect.  It’s exactly what I’m in the mood for. Wait right there.”

 

Lana reaches pulls out one of the things she had just put away.  She pulls out the nightgown that she had grabbed in the store before their enemy had shown up.  

 

“I’ll be right back.”  She says before she slips away into the bathroom.  While there she brushes her teeth and wiggles out of her body suit and skirt.  The nightgown is a soft yellow fabric that has spaghetti straps for her shoulders and a white ribbon that runs just under her breasts.  It’s length is short enough that it is comfortable to let her tail dangle below the hem rather than needing a hole to poke through, but long enough that it looks classy instead of trashy.

 

She leaves the bathroom and puts her clothing away neatly before climbing into the bunk with Daray.  She snuggles up to Daray, her head finding its way to the crook of Daray’s shoulder and her legs twining with Daray’s as her arm wraps around her waist.  “Mmmmm.  Perfect.” She comments softly as her body relaxes next to her.

 

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-My apologies Lana, insuring Daray is able to understand everything that is said to her is one of my primary functions.- APRIL responds as Lana moves off to take care of her evening ablutions.

 

‘Tell me again why I don’t have to brush my teeth or use mouthwash…’ She asks APRIL.

 

-Your regenerative ability insures the immediate destruction of any bacteria that attempt to take root in your body. This includes plaque, gingivitis, and any other foreign bodies that might find their way into your mouth.- Lana can still hear APRIL’s end of the conversation in her earpiece, leaving little doubt as to what is being discussed.

 

‘OK, but what about my breath?’

 

-Your breath should be very neutral. If you are worried, you should ask Lana what she thinks.-

 

“Oh my god!” She hollers from their room in abject embarrassment.

 

As Lana re-enters their room, Daray is blushing furiously and hiding her face in the pillow, but quickly comes around, and even starts to grin at Lana’s appearance and happily wraps her arm around Lana, pulling the woman up against her body and reveling in the feel of their combined body heat.

 

“You know. I’ve never been this close to anyone before…” She breathes, planting tiny kisses along the crown of Lana’s head and gently running her fingers through her silky blue hair. “You know… emotionally… Not since my parents were killed. I didn’t think I would ever feel this way about someone. In fact, I kind of avoided people. I think that’s why I started doing what I do for a living. Because it sort of forced me to keep my distance.”

 

She laced the fingers of her free hand through Lana’s, working her fingers through her hair still. “And then, I fell into your life and… Now I have no idea what I would ever do without you…”

 

Her dark eyes were wet with unshed tears as she confessed her feelings, although they did not fall, and it was obvious that she was anything but sad as she spoke.

 

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Lana sighs with contentment as Daray presses her kisses to the top of her head.   She listens to Daray’s confession and tightens her arms in a hug.  “I know what you mean.  I’ve always kept a distance emotionally.  Bad for business, you know.  And then there was the business with my mother.  Always nervous, always sad.  I grew up my whole life being told I should never look to be more than friends with anyone.  And then my mom died and my boss was taken away.  The last people who loved me were gone.  And then you came through my door.”  

 

She looks up at Daray and grins.  “Except for the whole life being erased and chased by soldiers I could call that one of the best days of my life.  Growing to love you is one of the most dangerous and exhilarating things I have ever done.”


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