The Impossibility of J/CBy Ika
Page 2 of 3
The ship was vibrating in that odd, sideways way that meant it was stationery, and almost as impatient about it as Jenna.
"Come on," she muttered, drumming her fingers on the panel, "how long do these scans...?"
And then the alarm went off. And her hands seemed to have predicted it, because even while her mind was still paralysed with the shock and listening, stupefied, to the automated border voice ("The scans have detected. Weapons. Please hold your position and. Prepare to be boarded") her fingers were dancing to the right buttons, pushing the ship into hums and whines of movement.
"Two bolts launched and running," said Hez from behind her. The ship lurched and stuttered.
"Gavril, you little fucking idiot!" Jenna shouted. "I knew I shouldn't have..."
"Not you," she said to the flight computer, pushing her hair back out of her eyes. "Maintain full retro thrust on 2 and 4. Compute evasion co-ordinates on a two-point-five predictive and feed them to my station. Hez?"
"Inertia stabilizers are compromised. Outer hull's been breached. One more hit and the inner hull will go."
"Shit," said Jenna briefly. "Hang on. I'm going to roll her."
Behind Jenna in the tiny cockpit, Hez pushed her weight back and down into the seat, grabbed the arms and half-closed her eyes as the ship went into its insane spiral. Through her eyelashes she could see Jenna throwing her weight behind every twist on the controls, rolling and swaying as she tried to teach the unwieldy Threefold to dance at a moment's notice. Beyond her, on the main screen, Gavisos loomed and faded, flared and darkened, as plasma bolts corkscrewed past and into its atmosphere.
Cally stood up off the edge of her bunk, and began taking down her sketches of Auron.
Regret is a part of life, but I keep it a small part. As you do, Jenna. As you have demonstrated you do not, Avon.
She hesitated for a moment when she had a stack of papers in her hand. She - they - had spent long enough calibrating losses: Auron, the first time. Blake. Jenna. Auron, again and forever and ever. Dayna's father, Avon's Anna, Tarrant's Deeta, whatever Vila had left behind at the City on the Edge of Worlds... all the deadness and defeat of fighting for nothing but the dead.
But no, she decided, she would not destroy them. She slid the pictures into a drawer and stood for a moment, taking a long breath, with her fingers on the handle.
Blake had known loss, he had grieved for the dead; and yet he had fought not for the dead but for the living and the coming-to-be. His fight, multiple and noisy, had spun and rippled outwards, not chased itself back down the same path to the forever dead.
As she had hoped to do, before Avon's grief had made it clear that it was piloting the Liberator from now on; after the short months of searching for Blake had come the long months of drifting, of going anywhere, it seemed, but along the lines of Blake's fight. As if Avon was still trying to argue with him, the only way he could, and as undeflectably as ever.
Jenna, she thought, it may be that you were right, and she felt the conversation in her mind ending. It was time for her to stop talking to ghosts: for all of them to stop talking to ghosts.
"Hmmm?" says Jenna plaintively. She raises her head a little off the pillow, trying to catch Cally's eye.
Cally's face beside/above hers is maddeningly calm. In the corner of Jenna's eye, a muscle just below Cally's strong shoulder flexes tinily, relaxes, flexes, slow and regular, as her fingers, hooked just under the padding of Jenna's mons, circle slow and regular.
She blinks, looks at Jenna. "I'm sorry, Jenna," she says, smiling in her voice and at the corners of her mouth; "I don't know what you're thinking, you know."
"Some telepath you are."
"Ah," says Cally and slows her fingers a fraction more. "But you see, Jenna, 'telepathy' is not really an accurate name for the abilities I possess. It means, literally, 'suffering from afar', which does not describe... No," she interrupts herself, mock-solicitous, "you needn't move," swinging her knee up over Jenna's thigh, gently pressing it down and immobile against the bed. "Just... rest. That's right."
Jenna smiles at her, lazy and amused, taking up the challenge.
"So you can't read minds. What can you do?"
"Mind-reading," Cally declares, licking a fingertip and running it in a filigree swirl along the tendon under Jenna's arm, around the lower curve of her breast, in towards the hardening nipple, "is an overrated skill. Hardly necessary among human species, if one knows how to read faces, breathing, posture, movement. The sending technology developed on Auron is far more useful."
"Technology?" Jenna is startled into listening to Cally's words instead of the rain-sound of her own body (the blood rushing in her ears, fizzing with pleasure, blossoming everywhere into sweat and wetness, as loud as drenching rain).
"Of course. It is a communications technology. An untraceable, unbreakable code tailored to the individuals sending and receiving it. The Federation try to replicate it with machinery, but mechanical means are more vulnerable than the disciplined mind."
Cally falls silent for a moment, returning Jenna to the prison of her nerves. Her orgasm, rattling on them like bars, stalks somewhere deep inside, faint and caged; waits like an echo from the future, the chord that will be struck when the strings have been tuned.
"There are other benefits," says Cally casually.
//Yes.// Cally's mouth over Jenna's, her tongue sliding swift between Jenna's teeth, her fingers moving firmer and faster.
In the pit of Jenna's stomach her orgasm growls, seeing the cage door opening.
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