Hello, Universe Prologue 2

Kyriake and Rachel had headed out early in the morning to go diving. Emma went along, more interested in laying out in the sun than seeing the reef below the water. She was topless, ensuring the boat crew didn’t mind the company. After the last dive, she woke up and joined them in time for the pineapple slices the dive master was handing out.

“Aren’t you wearing sunscreen?” Kyriake asked. “How are you not a lobster?”

Emma laughed. “Nope, and the skipper was pretty bummed he couldn’t help rub it in. It’s a present from dad’s side of the family, my melanin doesn’t work the same way as yours. I don’t really tan much.”

“Why bother laying out?”

“The heat,” Rachel said. “It feels good.”

Emma nodded. “I didn’t think I’d ever miss the desert but these last couple of jobs have been freezing. I’m catching as much sun as possible so I’ll remember it on Deep Freeze 7 or wherever comes next.”

“They didn’t mind you being topless?” Rachel asked.

Emma rolled her eyes at Kyriake. “No, they were fine seeing naked breasts.”

“Good,” Rachel said, stripping out of her dive skin. Underneath, she wore just a pair of bikini bottoms. She smiled at the crew and went to take Emma’s place on the bow.

“She surprises me sometimes,” Kyriake said.

Emma laughed. “She still surprises me occasionally and we grew up together.”

Kyriake stripped off her wet dive skin as well. Underneath it, she was wearing a surprisingly conservative one-piece.

“Exo-med can take care of skin-cancer, right?”

Emma nodded, getting the bottle of sunblock. “Unless you want to do it?” she asked the older man at the wheel.

He laughed. “You go ahead, pretty lady. I’m a little busy here.”

Emma and Kyriake grinned at each other as Emma put a generous amount her hands and rubbed it together. Kyriake peeled off her suit and dropped it on the discarded skin.

“Let’s give them an extra tip,” Kyriake muttered.

Emma chuckled in her throat. “They’ll want to give you an extra tip or two.”

Kyriake went and laid on her stomach beside Rachel. Emma knelt beside her and massaged the sunblock into her back.

“When I was seventeen, I had a boyfriend who used sunscreen whenever he jerked off,” Kyriake said. “The smell of Coppertone still makes me horny.”

Rachel laughed without opening her eyes. “Remember Tommy?”

“He always smelled wonderful,” Emma said, moving down Kyriake’s back. “But every time he went out with either of us, there was a distinct smell of Jurgens.”

“Sure, that’s called a pre-bate,” Kyriake said. “I just made Raphael do it in front of me.”

Emma laughed and Rachel whistled in appreciation.

“Tommy never did that for either of us,” Emma said.

“Because Tommy was gay and hadn’t realized it yet,” Rachel reminded her. “I never got past second base with him.”

“Me either, but Mercy did he smell good,” Emma said. “I noticed Theo was in bed between you two this morning. Have fun?”

“Yes we did,” Rachel said, stretching. “I noticed you weren’t around last night.”

“Willi annoyed Ayr into having sex,” Emma said. “Toni asked me to come along and keep her company until the two of them had finished working it out. Then the four of us hung out together. Spread your legs a little.”

Kyriake spread her legs slightly so that Emma could rub the block into them. Emma went up each leg, finishing on Kyriake’s hard butt each time. Then she slapped it.

“Okay, flip.”

“Uhm, you’d better let me do the front,” Kyriake said as she rolled over. “Otherwise our little show is going to get seriously out of hand.”

Rachel sat up and shaded her eyes. “Hey, I don’t like the look of those clouds, Emma. Let’s keep the crazy shit on dry land.”

“Spoilsports,” Emma said, giving up the bottle of sunscreen. “Rachel’s afraid of the ocean by the way.”

“It’s a healthy respect,” Rachel said. “This is too much open surface. Can  you imagine being trapped in a storm out here?”

“Even get trapped in a storm?” Emma called through the opened windshields.

“Why are we bein’ trapped?” the captain called back. “Engine still works, boat still floats. It thunders, we go to shore.”

“See?” Emma asked. “I’m going to get some more pineapple.”

The two of them dozed in the sun until someone called out that they were getting close to the Caye. Rachel and Kyriake sat up and went aft to get some clothes on. Emma and the older man at the wheel had disappeared and Rachel raised her eyebrows. The divemaster shrugged and pointed to the hatch that led below with a grin. Rachel rolled her eyes and he laughed.

When they’d tied the boat up, Emma came up from below, fully dressed and looking composed. Kyriake and Rachel both tried to give the divemaster more of a traditional tip, but he refused it.

“Mr. Theo, he takin’ care of everything, pretty ones. You go enjoy .”

After some more good-natured arguing, the women gave up and headed back up to the lodge.

“You’d better wipe the corner of your mouth,” Rachel said after a few steps.

Emma automatically wiped her lips before giving Rachel a mock glare. “Nice try, but I swallowed.”

“Space hoochies, that’s us.” Kyriake said cheerfully.

“I used to wonder if I was a nympho,” Emma said. “Someone had a theory that populations from destroyed worlds had naturally heightened sex drives to try and repopulate.”  

“Except you’re half human,” Rachel said. “My sex drive isn’t all that high.”

“Maybe, but we were born on Garradya,” Emma argued.

“And your sex drive is great, once you stop worrying about everything,” Kyriake added. “By the way, who is Imae?”

Emma and Rachel both stopped walking and looked at each other.

“Imae was Ayr’s cousin,” Emma said after a few seconds. “All three of them were in love, Imae and Ayr were Theo’s first time.”

“His first time was a threesome?”

Rachel laughed. “Theo can’t do anything the easy way. Imae was killed during a Bug ambush on a planet called Alnatic Prime. Where did you hear the name?”

“He was talking to her in his sleep last night. Are we not supposed to say her name?”

“Nothing like that,” Rachel said as they started walking again. “Ayr and Holm talk about her sometimes. It was a little surprising, that’s all. Speaking of family, where is your boytoy?”

Emma made a face. “He’s more than a boytoy now, but I’ll admit he started off as one. He’s at Echo, helping Ta’avi town folk pack up and get ready for the next round of transports. He’ll meet up with us on Teydora’s planet and he’ll trade off with Ayr.”

“That’s a laid back approach to duty,” Kyriake said, puzzled.

“It’s the deal Theo made with the Ta’avi,” Rachel said. “They’ll crew with us when needed. The rest of the time, their focus is on supporting their families.”

“And I lost both Holm and Tessa,” Emma grumped.

“You seem to be making the best of things,” Rachel said.

“My heart will carry on,” Emma said. “Because Holm Halfhand is probably neck deep in all the available Ta’avi women. They have a very fun tradition with heroes’ rewards.”

“Maybe hip deep then,” Kyriake said and all three of them laughed.

When the walked into the shaded area, Betsy, a short woman with curly blonde hair was pushing herself on a hammock with one leg over the side. She smiled and waved as they came in but kept talking. Everyone else was sitting around, listening.

“…so, he was really into the whole Giger thing, right? And, I dunno, maybe the memories of my first really amazing sex partner got mixed up with all the Biomechanic art he had on his walls. Or maybe it’s all their formality compared to their size and appearance. My secret is that I find the Ulthira really arousing.”

“Physically,” someone said. “Like, in a sexual way.”

“That’s what I said,” Betsy agreed. “As in, I wouldn’t mind some probing. Thinking about my legs wrapped around that hard exoskeleton….” She shivered.

Kyriake’s eyebrows went up. “Obviously, we’ve wandered into a den of iniquity.”

“Hiya ladies,” Deidre said from a large papasan chair on a shaded porch. “We’re finishing a round of You’re Full of Shit. And Betsy is definitely full of shit. Theo?”

“Pass, I’m the Witness,” he said. “Jonesy?”

His face appeared at the side of a second-story hammock. “I’ll say she’s telling the truth. Toni?”

AS the two women climbed the steps to their cabana, the rest of the group voted on whether or not Betsy was lying.

“What’re they doing?” Kiki asked Rachel as they changed.

“This is what everyone cheating at poker devolves into,” Rachel said with a laugh. “There was a decision that bluffing was the best part of the game, so they made a up a new game that’s all bluffing.

“Okay, Betsy,” they heard Jonesy say. “Votes are close, but I’m afraid the tide is against you. So, Theo. Does our bubbly blonde really have face-hugger fever? Or is she full of shit?”

“Betsy is telling the truth,” Theo announced.

There was immediate laughter and accusations followed by the sounds from everyone’s tablets as wins and losses. There was a general resettling as drinks and bottles of water were distributed. As they came back down to rejoin the group, Kyriake saw that Betsy’s face was still red. She went and grabbed a chair next to her.   

“That’s an interesting insight,” she said. “Too bad you weren’t at the spacedock with us. I streaked through what turned out to be an Ulthiri laundry.”  

“I didn’t think anyone would fall for something that crazy,” Betsy muttered. “Bastards. I’ll be right back.”  

“How does this keep anyone from cheating?” Kiki asked Rachel. “You could make up anything.”

“That’s where the Witness role comes into it. Theo knew about this somehow, so he didn’t get to bet that round. And this bunch have a weird outlook on cheating. Basic cheating is boring, no one would bother. Revealing a clever cheat after the fact is the part they like.”

“This is really twisted,” Kiki said. “I want in.”

“Uh, maybe you should sit through a couple of rounds first.”  

“You can play as long as there’s a witness to your secret,” Betsy said, sitting back down with a bottle of Belikin Beer.

“You’re my Witness then,” Kyriake said to Rachel.

Rachel sighed. “Fine, but remember I warned you. The only way to really win this is not to play.”

Betsy called the game back into play and announced their new player. Ten minutes later, Kyriake was finishing her account of some wild times at her graduation stand-down. She’d been very good at poker but was surprised when the group immediately decided she was Full of Shit.

After Rachel confirmed this, Kyriake’s tablet pinged, deducting pay account and transferring it to the others. They cheered and there was another exodus to spend her money on more drinks, or at least put it in the Tips account because the staff was refusing everyone’s money.

“I always thought I was a good bullshitter,” Kyriake said to Rachel as she came back with a couple bottles of beer. “I mean, I got by my parents all the time.”    

“Who are researchers, right? Think about who you’re playing with here. I told you, most of them are originally from a covert Incident Response Troop. They’re all PhDs in bullshittery. And it’s your first go, even I noticed some of your tells.”

“Oh, that’s why you gambled your big secret,” Kyriake said to Betsy. “You didn’t think they’d believe you and since you were telling the truth, there weren’t any physiological tells….”

Betsy nodded. “…I was gambling that they’d think the facts were too ridiculous to be true. That’s the real danger of the game, trying to bet against gullibility.”

“I didn’t know you were a xeno-perv,” Toni said, sitting down on the planks. “So, you won a little of my scrip at least.”

“But the only way to win is not to play the game,” Rachel repeated. “Right, Theo?”

“Exactly right,” he said from his hammock.

“He’s not allowed to play except under special circumstances,” Betsy said. “He’s got a built in BS detector.”

“It’s not infallible,” Theo admitted. “But I’m pretty good at it.”

“Do we get to know how you found out about Betsy’s interest in interspecies diplomacy?” Toni asked Theo.

“That sounds suspiciously like another round,” Jonesy said.

Above them, Willi announced it was his turn. There were a few groans but he started a story about an operation he’d been on with a couple of others. It involved infiltrating a strip club and Kyriake immediately decided Willi was full of shit and stopped paying attention. She watched Toni lean over, putting head next to Betsy’s. Kyriake was close enough to hear an invitation to discuss her secret in private and smiled. It looked like losing wasn’t always a bad thing.

The beer, combined with too little sleep last night, was making Kyriake drowsy. She dozed on and off until a cheer announced the end of the round. Jonesy was yelling while everyone else seemed to be convulsed with laughter.

“What did I miss?”

Rachel shook her head, grinning. “Willi got busted and took Jonesy down with him.”

“The strip club thing? I figured that was wishful thinking.”

“It wasn’t a female strip club!” Toni laughed. “Oh my god, there has to be surveillance video somewhere.”

“There isn’t!” Jonesy yelled. “I made sure of that. Fuck you Willi!”

“Oh, did you guys go that far?” Betsy asked before dissolving into giggles.

Willi monkey-walked down one of the palms, getting away from Jonesy who was racing up ladders toward him. Willi hit the ground and sprinted for the gate.

“Didn’t think they’d catch on!” he yelled as he disappeared through it.

“Don’t care!” Jones yelled, jumping to the ground from a second floor deck. He landed, rolled and took off after Willi who was screaming apologies as he ran.

“I love this game,” Betsy said, wiping tears off her face.

“Why did a bare-assed Jones just run past the boat dock?” Marisol demanded, appearing at the gate.

There was another happy cheer and people swarmed around Marisol, taking her bags and leading her to the bar that had been set up at the edge of the shade.

“I’ll be back,” Toni said as she got up and grabbed a bottle of rum. “The islanders don’t deserve those two. Especially naked.”

“Better hurry, before Jones tries to marry Willi,” Jack said, setting off another wave of laughter.

“I could use a nap,” Rachel said, getting up.

Kyriake nodded and followed her up to their cabana. They laid on the bed and found each other’s hands, then sighed in unison.

“These are the good times,” Kyriake said, sleepy but happy. “I want a recording of this feeling for the next time things go sideways.”

Rachel meant to agree but sleep claimed her too quickly.


The next night, as Willi had promised, there was an epic event that Rachel decided was a party. The word didn’t do the gathering justice but she didn’t think riots were this friendly. The team had dinner prepared for them by one of the crew of the diving boat, various kinds of fish that they’d managed to catch that afternoon along with a huge selection of side dishes. As dinner wound down, more and more people arrived, and the gathering spilled out into the little street in front of them. Soon, it looked like the entire island had arrived. Massive old-fashioned speakers appeared along with their DJ and the volleyball court soon became a dance floor.

She wasn’t normally a fan of crowds but the atmosphere soon had her dancing along with what seemed like most of the island. Theo and Emma had disappeared after dinner but Rachel noticed them behind the bar serving drinks and it looked like they were having a lot of fun doing it. Kyriake had come out to dance with her, but they’d quickly lost sight of each other in the crowd of swaying bodies. Rachel didn’t worry about it, she loved to dance and refused to worry about anything else while she had the opportunity.

“This is the best Birthday Eve ever!” Emma yelled.

They’d just been taken off their self-appointed bar duty by professionals who appeared to know what they were doing. Rather than try to yell over the noise, Theo just nodded and took a sip from the straw in a large mason jar, a daquiri one of the replacement bartenders had made for him. In his shirt pocket was a mammoth joint that the other bartender had tucked in there. He wasn’t sure what to do with it but Theo appreciated the gift. His thoughts echoed Kyriake’s earlier in the day, he was trying to drink in as much of the good feelings around him as he could. Kawehi’s summation service for the Commonwealth was never far from his mind; winning a fight out there was only a little better than losing it. Not for the first time, he wished Imae could see this. Shep would have loved this place as well. Once she’d gotten over her usual reserve, Kawehi would have enjoyed the time here.

“C’mon, white girl!” Betsy, the palest person on the team, yelled from the crowd at Emma.

Emma leaned against Theo for a moment before whooping and joining Betsy in the crowd. He laughed, watching them.

“Excuse me, can you tell me who’s in charge of this mayhem?” Marisol said in his ear.

Theo turned around and they embraced briefly. “Hey! Friction minimized?”

She looked confused, then nodded. “You heard. Yeah, I didn’t even have to throw her in a sleeper hold but it was close. The gunny wants to take all of her family, which evidently includes everyone she’s ever met. I traded a few messages with Nys, evidently Caerholyn has a lot of empty space. She said something to the effect of ‘the more, the merrier.'”  

“And for what I’m paying her to put a Ta’avi colony there, your mom can take the entire island of Puerto Rico for all I care.”

She laughed. “It’s getting close. My mother’s stylist’s veterinarian has evidently been considered family this whole time. Who knew?”

“My step-brother shipped a couple days ago with god knows how many invitro cattle. There will be plenty of customers for him. Actually, he sounds more useful than the stylist.”

“Don’t let any Abuela-ladies hear you say that!”

They grinned at each other for a second before Marisol noticed the giant joint in his pocket.

“What’s that? I thought you were the responsible one around here.”

“Oh, I’m just holding it for a friend. Want to be my friend?”

Marisol laughed. “I’m so glad to be back around normal people again.”

“People whose crazy matches yours better anyway. Let’s take a walk so we can stop yelling.”

“Yeah, I could use a command meeting. You need a cart for your keg of girlie drink?”

“Nah, I been hittin’ the weights lately,” Theo said, following her away from the crowds and noise.

They walked along the darkened street until they found a pier empty of fishermen and couples making out. They walked past a few moored sailboats to the T-shaped end of the pier. There were a couple of wooden benches bolted to the rail and they sat down on one.

“How’d it go with your brother?”

He laughed. ” I ruthlessly bribed his way onto a ship with a bunch of other ranch hands headed for Hub.”

Marisol looked at him. “You actually bribed someone?”

He shrugged. “The Chief Engineer was Gyr and she is big fan of an old band called the Traveling Wilburys. A permanent datastick with a couple albums might have found its way into her vest.”

“You bribed someone! I think I’m actually proud of you right now. Did they put someone else off to give him a space?”

“No, and I asked. The other ranchers are heading out to Hub and have full households with massive weight allowance but it’s pretty much just him and Julie and a bunch of their pets, so there’s plenty of room for them. I set it up so he’s got plenty to get himself outfitted on Hub when he’s ready. He fit right in with those guys and they were happy to have aboard.”

“He’s actually a rancher, or is this a long-delayed revenge?”

Theo laughed. “No, he chose it. It was just a happy coincidence that the Boone was about to start loading. From what they were saying, he’ll be in big demand as an experienced hand. Since they banked almost all their weight allowance, the two of them are a lot more flexible about working for whoever they like. Julie’s sharp, I’d be surprised if she didn’t have him signed onto one spread or another before they even lifted. He’ll learn what he needs to know and when they’re ready, there’s a  lot of credit waiting to set their own place up. “

Marisol shook her head. “Just when I think that we’ve finally corrupted you, just a little bit, you go and do stuff like this. You think he’ll be okay?”

“Junior, sorry, Andy, turned out to be one of those simple, overly honest types you see sometimes, especially back in the hills. Looking back, I think his dad, Elmer, was the same kind of man. Simple and honest aren’t survival traits though and he got pulled into that cult pretty deep. But I think Andy will do lot better. Julie, his partner, started managing more and more of her dad’s place starting around twelve or thirteen. When you came, she was running it and actually doing pretty good.”

“This is fascinating,” Marisol said. “They were still running the place when you went back?”

Theo laughed. “He was working for one of the ammo plants that sprung up. She was still running the place but had switched crops. Me showing up and wearing a gun scared the hell out of her, they were running an illegal grow, tobacco and marijuana. Nothing impressive, but it kept them going. There’s a couple different defense plants in the area, so laborers were in big demand.”

“So you got along growing up?”

“I wouldn’t go that far. I know he didn’t like that his family was the one that ended up saddled with the weirdo orphan kid, but he never said a word about me being a foster. And there were a lot of other things to fight about. Andy could have been a lot worse and I actually like the guy he grew into. Somehow, he managed to become an actual Christian despite all the weird warping Brother Dark’s cult did with religion.”

“Maybe you were more of an influence that you thought you were.”

Theo chuckled. “I was going to say that he may be smarter than I give him credit for.”

“I’ll split it with you. So, why did you send him at Hub instead of Teydora’s paradise planet?”

He sighed. “When he’s around me, Andy throws out so much guilt and regret that it’s uncomfortable for both of us. They both do but Julie hides it better. I talked to her first and he loves working with animals. More importantly, Hub needs him a lot more than our little outpost. Sooner or later, they’re going to be feeding a lot of people. I’m guessing we’ll be visiting Hub often enough to stop in and visit.”

“Just in case.”

He nodded and they leaned back in the bench and studied the stars above them.

“There’s some old movie where the guy says he forgot how beautiful the stars were,” Marisol said. “I think I know how he felt when he first forgot. I don’t think the stars are pretty anymore.”

“Back in West Virginia, I loved looking up at the night sky. We were far enough away from the freeways that you could see the Milky Way. Venus was as plain as day in the morning sometimes. Best part of my day usually. Now, I wonder which direction the Swarm is and watch the defense sats move across the sky and don’t notice anything else.”

“That’s why I wanted to talk to you actually. This is on the down-low.”

“Always. What’s up?”

“Something my mother yelled at me. She said that she would not abandon the planet, like a rat leaving the sinking ship. I didn’t really think about it then, but it kept me up late wondering if I’m in the right place.”

“Marisol, if you leave me alone with these maniacs….”

She laughed. “I didn’t put in for a transfer, no. But it kind of feels like that’s what we’re doing. There’s been reports of another artifact raid, Siberia this time. Should we be here, fighting for our people?”

“No, we should be out there, fighting for our people,” Theo said, waving a hand at the stars. “There’s mainline military units to deal with the raids and more Redtail fighters are rolling off the lines all over the place. And we’re going out there to minimize threats before they can get close. That’s not running away from something, it’s good tactical strategy. Well, for the rest of us, anyway. I feel like you could probably solo an exo-raid and do okay.”

Marisol snorted. “Come on. Maybe two or three landers but that’s it. Yeah, you’re right and I should remember that, but she’s always known how to push my buttons.”

“I hear that’s what mothers are for.”

“Especially ex-Marine Gunnery Sergeants.”

Theo looked at her. “You’re a second generation Marine?”

“Third actually, my grandfather did twenty-plus years as well.”

They were quiet for a little while.

“But I’m not as fearsome as you think I am.”

Theo chuckled. “We both know that’s a load of crap.”

She laughed. “Well, not all of the time. Light that thing up.”

“I’ve never tried actually smoking,” Theo said, pulling the tightly wrapped cone out of his shirt pocket. “Emma says it’s better than vaping it.”

He lit it and inhaled deeply before bending over and coughing explosively.

Marisol shook her head and patted him on the back. “Here, drink some water.”

He drank some and sat back up, making a face. “Emma is out of her damn mind,” he wheezed.

“Don’t try to inhale the entire thing. Smaller hits, watch.”

She demonstrated the proper method. Theo still looked doubtful but after a few tries, he had gotten used to it. They passed it back and forth until they were down to the filter. Marisol pinched the ember out and dropped the rest in a pocket.

“How’re you doing over there, fearless leader?”

“Wow. This is a lot different, way stronger.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t have smoked this whole thing, I can’t remember where we parked.”

Theo sat straight up and looked at her, eyes wide. “Oh hell, we drove here?”

They both dissolved into giggles for a few minutes.

“I think it’s kicking in,” Theo said, taking a deep breath. “Now, I’m going to lay down so I don’t get a crick in my neck.”

“Good idea. Use these though,” Marisol said.

She went over and took giant bath towels that someone had left on the deck of a sailboat. She handed him two of them.

“Here, roll one up and lay on the other.”

Theo looked at the towels and then at her. “Uh, these are from the Athena.”

“Are they?” Marisol asked, laying hers out. “One of those maniacs left them out here. I’ll chew their asses tomorrow.”

He looked at her for several seconds. Finally, he laid his out next to hers. He sat down, cross legged and looked at her again. Marisol’s linen shirt was pulled wider, enough that Theo could see she wasn’t wearing anything under it.

“You’re not laying down,” Marisol said, looking up at him. She unbuttoned another button on her shirt and it fell completely open.

Theo looked up at the sky. “Oh, Emma is so fucking evil sometimes! Sergeant Gutiérrez, you are officially pronounced Full of Shit.”

Marisol sat up with a look of disbelief. “Wait, how? You’re psychic, aren’t you? You can read minds.”

“No, I can’t and we’re both stoned so I wouldn’t try to ready you at the moment.”

“What was my tell? The shirt?”

“No, but that’s been my favorite part so far. The towels were a big clue and made me wonder about the thing with your mother. I realized that the Chief Sergeant I know wouldn’t get rattled, even by her mother. And, she never seems to have a doubt that wherever she is, it’s exactly where she’s supposed to be.”

Marisol grinned at him. “I’ve never had a conversation where someone tells me that I’m full of shit but somehow manages to get my panties damp a minute later. It wasn’t Emma’s idea but she approved. “

“Ah, I wondered why she felt smug all day. Who was it?”

Marisol shook her head, laying back down.  

“You’d deny my opportunity for revenge?”

“Revenge?” Marisol stretched, arching her back enough that both sides of her unbuttoned shirt fell open. “You see this and you’re thinking about revenge?”

He grinned, laying down on his side facing her, head propped on his hand. “I guess it depends on how much you’re going to tease me here.”

She smiled lazily. “Tease you? No, the only thing that was BS was worrying about what Momma-Gunny said. The best lies have some truth to them, right? I’ve been waiting for the right time to get you alone for a while now.”

“Yeah?” Theo asked, reaching out to run his fingers over her flat stomach.

Marisol shivered. “Yeah. I’ve been hearing some stories about the last couple of days on Nowhere Planet and it really made me wish I’d been there.”

They moved closer to each other. Theo traced the edge of Marisol’s aerola and she gasped. “You’re making me a little crazy.”

Theo smiled. “Good.”

He bent and captured one of her nipples between his lips, flicking it with his tongue. Marisol gasped, her back arching for real this time.

“What was it you were saying about your panties?” Theo teased her, circling her bellybutton.

“It was a figure of speech.”  Marisol reached down and untied the drawstring of her shorts. She took Theo’s hand and moved it under the fabric. “See? I’m not wearing any.”

His fingers pressed along the length of her outer lips for a moment and Marisol’s hips rose, wanting more.

“You seem a little damp all the same.”

She bit her lip as she nodded. Theo just smiled at her and Marisol pushed her shorts lower until she could kick them off. Theo was pulling off his own shirt as she unbuttoned his shorts and reached inside. Theo gasped and Marisol pulled him closer. His hand moved between her legs and he circled her clit with a fingertip. Marisol pulled him on top of her, spreading her legs wider.

“I wanted you to make me beg for it,” she panted. “But next time, I’ve been waiting too long for this.”

She took him in her hand and guided him inside of her. They both moaned as his cock slid into her wet heat. Marisol wrapped her legs around him, pulling him deeper.

“Now fuck me,” she gasped in his ear.

2 thoughts on “Hello, Universe Prologue 2”

  1. After reading the published version, I’d really hoped that Shep’s near death experience would replace his actual death. He’s one of my favorites of that group. The callback him dying with Imae really got to me.
    This is also making me realize how amazing it is that you have dozens of support characters whose names and personalities are all easy to remember. How do you do that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we can assume that the novel is a alternate universe where nothing works out quite the same way.

      And to answer your question, I’m not really sure. I’ve always liked books with a lot of characters, so maybe those techniques rubbed off. Or, I have multiple personalities living in my head. You can pick your own answer 😀

      Like

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