By leonardo maffi
V.0.9, Aug 21 2006
=== Part 1 ===
I look out of the window of the kitchen, "It's a nice day, cold but dry," Kris and Trina come inside, and we lay the table for breakfast.
I start eating the eggs, before they become cold, "We have discussed this yesterday, I've accepted a new mission, because it's short, just two weeks, and we'll need all the money for the big move to Chakona."
"Are you leaving this morning?" asks Trina, sadly.
"Yes, I have an orbital shuttle in about ninety minutes, and Forest isn't here yet." I call hir with the Comm, "Hello Forest, I'm at home still, but I'm leaving soon. Will you come for a hug?"
"Sorry, I'm on the trail in the nothern woods still, but I don't want to miss your leaving! I'll be with you in less than thirty minutes, I'll gallop, wait for me! Later!" And shi hangs up.
Kris stops looking at the PADD, "The solar activity is very high, with very strong X-class flares."
I nod, "Thank you," and I clean the table, "No more toast because I'll be in orbit soon." My belly hurts, so I go in the green lavatory, I lay on the wc, and after a few seconds I evacuate the intestine without problems. When I'm done, I flush the toilet and I clean my undertail with the warm water jets. Then I go to the bathroom, I ultrasound the teeth to clean them, then I do an echograph to scan for cavities, because you can't trust the anti-cavities vaccine fully, but they are fine still. I'll need them for another century and more, so I have to be quite careful. I wash hands, face, arms, and upper chest fur. My hair is starting to look too much long. I brush most of my coat and then the hair too.
I go in my room, I choose something appropriate to put on, a green male-styled shirt, and I finish putting the last things in my backpacks. I add an unwashed Midnight's top and Garrek's blue hat, they are soaked with their scent, it will help me feel less lonely in the following days. I'll be at my male apex in about four days.
I feel Forest approaching and soon I hear the door closing, shi is in time, as usual. I close the backpacks and go to meet hir at the door.
I sit in front of hir and we hug warmly and strongly, shi smells of eucalyptus and many other plants and dirt, and hir pawhands are spreading dirt on the floor near the door. Shi is hot because of the run, but I don't mind hir stronger scent, shi is a part of me.
Shi parts the hug and nuzzles my muzzle a bit, "I'm sure that eventually I'll feel at home on Chakona too, but I know that I'll miss a lot the woods of Earth, probably for all my life. Here I feel close to most life forms. With Kline's help I hope I'll be able to come back here once in while. We'll take care of your children. Well... if you want I can take you to the spaceport."
"Or you can take a shuttle taxi," says Kris.
"I'll use the PTV, and I'll program it to come back on its own."
I hug Kris and Trina; Kris says, "Be careful up there, OK?"
I nod and then I share another strong hug with Forest, I caress hir handpaws with mine and hir spine, and then we interweave muzzles in a very big and wet kiss. Shi presses the muzzle stronger against mine and licks my tongue. I lick back and I murrrr aloud, as shi is irradiating me with so much pleasure to make me instantly unsheathed and hard, and proud to be like this for hir.
Shi parts the hug and the muzzle kiss, smiling, "And probably I'll miss your next rut too. Lucky Tom."
The run in the forest has made hir hot indeed. I wink at hir, I take a couple breaths to calm down, then I tailwave and I exit into our garden. I sniff a couple of our Mandevilla splendens flowers, and I remove some cochineal from their leaves, the heating keeps them safe in all this cold. Probably I'll miss our Earth a bit too, but we are doing this for our children. My arousal is now under control, so I can leave.
The PTV is in autodrive so I can relax, I can see the spaceport approaching already, soon I'll probably meet the other chakat aboard of the starship, they say shi is a new one and I'm quite curious already. Hopefully shi is a technician.
I come inside the orbital shuttle. It's quite tight, it's mostly meant for bipeds. On Chakona all shuttles are designed for taurs. My empathic sense tells me that there is another chakat nearby, and I see hir, beside my seat number. "Professor Braunpfote?" Shi was my high school teacher, but I don't remember hir full name.
Shi looks at me, "Goldfur? It's a lot of time!"
I lay on the taurseat beside hir, and shi helps me with the belts for the lower body. When we are close hir scent makes me recall, Chakat Braunpfote, child of Chakat Darkfeather and Wolftaur Volfheimer. I haven't forgotten hir unusual but beautiful coat, that looks more like a wolfish dog coat than a true wolf's one. Shi smells somewhat of canine too.
I was a bit distracted, so I nod, "Yes, the last time we have met was at the end of my high school."
Shi smiles, "You are beautiful. I'm not a teacher anymore. Now I work as a starship technician."
My face lights up, and then I grin a bit, "On the exploration starship James Cook, docked in orbit?"
"Yes, that one, do you work there too?"
"Yes I do, then probably we'll be colleagues."
Shi nods, then touches my upper back with the tail tip, I smile and appreciate silently. During the last year of high school I had a crush for hir. Hir character somewhat resembles Midnight's one, a bit more masculine than the average. "May I ask you why aren't teaching anymore?"
Shi pets my upper back a bit while we take off, "Sure you can. Teaching was starting to bore me, so I wasn't doing it at my best anymore. I'm young, I'm just 62. Our life is quite long, and it may come the moment to change kind of job. So I've taken a diploma as civil starship technician, and I've done a lot of practice for two years on grounded starships. Recently I've been hired for the James Cook. I know ships, but this is my first mission in space."
I look at the clouds so beautiful, they look almost tasty, while the sky becomes darker and darker. I'm almost lost in memories of my high school friends, morphs and humans, good and bad ones, and in a short time we are in orbit and our tails are touching. Yes, my feelings are under there still, like old embers, they are just covered by new things. We dock to the star ship and we come onboard. We depart, each one going to hir own room, "Later." We'll meet soon again. My PADD leads me to my new room. I go to the toilet to empty the bladder, I wash myself a little, then I open the backpack, and put the images of my mates on a bracket. I'll finish sorting my few things later, now I have to work. I ask the synthesizer some warm milk, it's too early for lunch still. I drink it, I put on my suit, the Comm on my chest, then I stretch a lot, and I go out to work.
First of all I go to see Tom; Braunpfote is already here, it's a good sign.
Tom is sitting behind his desk, "Hello Goldfur, and welcome. I'm happy to have you with us again, you are good at creating agreement in our teams."
I smile, I don't know what to say, "My parents have taught me well."
"Braunpfote was telling me that you know each other already."
I nod, "But we haven't seen each other for many years."
Tom looks at Braunpfote, "Goldfur will be your direct superior."
Shi says "Okay" and smiles at me. Time changes lot of things. But not all of them. It's better to keep this professional, "What's the starting program for today?" I ask Tom.
"You and Braunpfote have to perform some tests and routine maintenance on the ship, to make it ready to leave the docks. You will find details on your PADDs. There are twentyone other technicians doing maintenance in other parts of the ship. If no major problem emerges, we are scheduled to depart in less than thirty hours, hopefully."
This means that our depart time isn't critical. Later I'll read more about the purpose of this short travel. I tell the gentle human an "Aye" and I lead Braun to the fifth deck. Shi is acting well, Tom is almost half hir age but shi has kept hir muzzle shut.
"Tom seems a rather decent human. -- Goldfur? You are a first class lead technician, and Tom has told me that you have been doing work like this for the last years. Why are you a screener technician still after all this time?"
Right to the point, I like this, "Well, I don't like too much to lead groups of people, I'm a practical person, and I like to fix things. Maybe someday I'll be bored too, but until that day, I like my work."
Six hours and a quick lunch later my PADD beeps, so I stop to read it. "Some work priorities have changed, at the beginning of the departing maintenance it happens often. We're almost ready here, so it's better to move into a secondary engine, for a periodical maintenance. Then I'll call our shift done." Few minutes later I lead hir, we take a turbolift, and we enter one of the lateral engines.
Shi looks all around us, "Compared to the other engines this is quite small."
I nod, but compared to us it's still huge, and we are alone here. From the wall I take a band and I strap it on hir arm, "We'll have to be quick, so you may follow the list of things to do and to cheek on this wearable PADD. To do this maintenance we'll have to disable the shield field around this part of the ship," shi nods, and reads on hir arm.
"Computer, I'm Chakat Goldfur, we are starting routine maintenance type 22 at the engine three injectors. I request disabling of the shields as necessary."
The computer beeps a relaxed affirm, and answers with its androgynous voice, "Laser defense activated. Shields disabled on auxiliary engine three section for twelve minutes."
We start working, Braun isn't much experienced yet, but shi is working well, shi signs me with the fingers each step shi has done; we'll probably finish in time.
"Major breach alarm? Here? Where?" Then my training kicks in, I shut up, and scanning the room with the ears I can even feel the ultrasonic hiss of air coming out from the hull, "But it's just a pinhole, it can't be a major breach." I take my PADD looking for more information, "A tiny body has indeed overcome the defenses. They were two and external sensors are less sensitive because of the solar flares, so the laser hasn't found the time to hit both of them. This is very unusual. But the hull will self heal soon."
I keep searching more data in the PADD, and... "But, it has hit the only vulnerable point, it's incredible. Anyway, the engines are disabled, the energy flux is really minimal..."
Braunpfote nods, shi reads more on hir arm and then I see hir run to look inside a tube, "Chain reaction! Computer! Emergency teleport!"
I hear the computer beep an excited high-tone affirm, I see bright plasma just start exploding out of the tube. An unnatural and disagreeable discontinuity. And the room now smells like the infirmary, we're safe! I blink, strangely for a couple seconds my vision is blurred, but then I can see well again. My mouth is somewhat metallic-tasting, we look at each other, our suits are almost destroyed, we are almost nude, we smell a bit of singed, I touch hir a bit, but I can't see any burns on our fur, we seem fine. We have just avoided death, but I must keep myself lucid, I'll let it sink later, "Why are our suits so shredded?"
"I don't know."
A nurse gives us two small plastic bottles with straws, "It's a salty drink, it will help you replace the salts lost during your emergency teleport."
I nod, and I suckle some, "I have a strong headache."
"I too," says Braunpfote.
"Please lay on the beds, the doctor will examine you in a moment." I nod, we lay there, and I close eyes.
After few minutes I see Tom coming inside, and asking about us to the doctor.
"They seem fine, they just have to rest for some hours. Tomorrow morning I'll do another examination, I'll test their minds too, to be sure. -- You two can leave when you feel ready." Then she leaves us with Tom.
Tom is almost in tears, comes between our beds, and pets all my side with both hands, "I'm so glad to see you." He keeps caressing all my nude body, he doesn't care of the place we are in, and I appreciate him for that. Then he goes to look Braun too, and I coil my tail around his leg, to show my appreciation for his care.
Then Tom calms down some and explains, while I keep hir leg with the tail still, "A small explosion has occurred in the engine you were working on, probably because of a micrometeorite. The engine isn't really damaged because as you know the important parts there are made of alloy forty centimeters thick. But that explosion was more than enough to destroy you both, you are lucky. We'll probably need one day of hard work to fix that engine, but tomorrow you will rest for the first half of your shift, other people will do most of the work. An inquiry to find the responsibilities is already in progress, but I'm almost sure you two aren't to blame, so don't worry. The teleport has required thirty times the normal energy to completely collect your body and mind, during the first stages of the explosion."
Braunpfote listens silently, then nods, "Maybe our migraine comes from that huge work done by the teleport, done on our mind matrixes too."
The teleport has outdone itself. We stands up, the nurse gives us two towels to cover our breasts, and we come out in the corridor. Now I can let emotions more free, I shed tears and shiver, I hug Braunpfote warmly, trying to send hir good sensations despite my headache, "That was a so improbable situation, thank you for your quick reaction, you have saved us. Just a second more and..." For a moment I see images of burned skin and flesh, of a chakat friend, more then three years ago, I'm shivering more. "I'm not hungry now, I have to relax and rest, we'll meet tomorrow morning."
Shi holds my hand, " We are frightened still, do you want me to come with you?"
I shake head, "Thank you, but... we'll have time to talk tomorrow, we'll do only half shift."
Shi nods, "Now try to relax, it's all past. Be well then," and we part.
=== End part 1 ===
will happen to Goldfur...
Bernard Doove's Forest tales:
Florence Ambrose that keeps airtight containers as her olfactory
Solar flare classification:
>Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.<
Goldfur, Tom, Kris, Trina, Midnight, Forestwalker, Kline
and Garrek are (c) Bernard Doove, used with permission.
Braunpfote is (c) 2006 leonardo maffi.