“I get the sense that you want plain black coffee."
"Oh no. Not just black. Black-hole black. When the coffee has a ring of Cerenkov blue
around it, you'll have gotten it right.” -- Userfriendly
An ocean. A deep ocean embracing me, favoring me. Cool water around me, streaks of sunlight highlighting the deep blue of ... nothing. I floated, on unseen currents, not caring where I was, or where I'd go.
The ocean collapsed, vanished; bowing to the mandate of reality, as I woke up, involuntarily, to the sound of my data pad beeping. Finding myself in just a mundane bed. Comfy, though.
And still the beeping piercing the air. Somebody wanted to talk to me. My hand reached out, towards the sound, and touched the "Don't Bother Me For Another 10 Minutes" button.
The beeping ceased, but despite the renewed silence, all thought of sleep was gone. Might as well sit up.
I quickly closed my eyes again, so that I wouldn't have to see the room spinning. Feeling it spinning was bad enough. Carefully I extended my mental tendrils out into my body.
Headache? No. Seems that I did something right.
General feeling? Icky.
Had a great night? I noticed the warmth of a body behind me on the bed. With a pang of anxiousness, I peeked: Yes, he was still cute.
Check on "Great Night" then. I hoped.
Thirsty? Definite yes!
I stood up, dared to open my eyes just enough to give me directions. Sink... Water... over there!
But something was wrong.
As I padded barefoot towards the Fountain of Health, navigating more by touch than by sight, the cool air of the room sending chills over my skin, I finally realized what was bugging me: these weren't my quarters. I gleaned back at the bed, and the sleeping figure on it.
This had better been a fabulous night.
I don't remember how long I stood there, alternating between splashing water over my head, and simply drinking it, but eventually I found myself back sitting on the bed.
Draping the blanket haphazardly across my shoulders for some warmth, I picked up the pad and accepted the call. The holo emitters of my pad came alive and formed the image of my caller, hovering a few centimeters above the device.
Female. Dark hair and eye shadow, contrasted by bright red lips. Ni-Kunni. Not Eta, yet she looked familiar.
"Hello...", I tried to say, but what my larynx produced was just a croak. I cleared my throat, and tried again.
"Hello, Miss... ", finally my brain made the connection, "...Phage, right? Long time no see!"
[ Hello Druur, good to finally reach you. ] came the reply. She paused, and looked me down. [ Am I interrupting something? ]
Suddenly I was aware of the fact that my clothing was scattered across the floor of the room. All of it.
Not that I cared.
"No, not really." I replied lightly. "What's up? I haven't see you guys around for a long time."
[ Well, ] she hesitated, [ Things didn't go as well as planned, especially after our cap pilot left. ]
I nodded. Starting a corp from scratch, without friends, was hard. Nigh impossible. For every successful corp, there were dozens who didn't make it. Her's was one of those. I had worked with them in the past, briefly, but to be honest, I was surprised that they were still around at all.
"And now you're coming back?"
[ Unlikely. ] she replied with brutal honesty. [ But before fading into oblivion, there is one last thing I have in mind. A last hurrah, if you will. ]
[ It might not work out, ] she continued, [ but that doesn't concern you. What I hope would concern you is that I need intel. I know that you're good with Cov-Ops, so how does two weeks of recon work sound to you? ]
Well, that would depend on the payment compared to the loyalty point income loss I would incur for not fighting for the Empire during that time.
"I'll take the job." I heard myself say.
What? No. NO!
A realization dawned on me, that a thought had already made itself comfortable in my mind: The war could wait a while.
I blinked in surprise. What had happened last night?
A sleepy memory neuron opened its eyes and volunteered grumpily that there had been undocking involved, and obviously many drinks, but for any further information would I please consult my other memory neurons? Thanks.
[ Excellent! ] Miss Phage beamed, unaware of my thoughts. [ I presume you want to start not before tomorrow? ] The corner of her mouth twitched wryly [ You do look like you would want to take it easy today. ]
"Tomorrow.", I agreed. "The details...?"
[ ...will be sent to you in a separate data packet, as well as the formal contract. ] Her eyes briefly focused on something behind me. [ Pleasure doing business with you, Druur. ]
“The pleasure is mine.", I replied, and her holo image dissolved as the comm channel went dead.
"I sure hope so." said a voice next to my ear. I gave a start, and the blanket slid off my shoulders.
Great. The boy was awake, and had probably heard the tail end of our conversation.
He also had his arms wrapped around me, tickling my belly and planting kisses on my neck. He surely didn’t beat around the bush. Nor was I in much of a mind to put him into his place: a spark ignited in my chest, and I wiggled to slide my pad safely onto the floor.
“I hope for your sake that you didn’t listen in too closely.“ I said in my most stern voice while I still could. “Because if you did, I would have to ... mmhmmmmmm ..."
My train of thought derailed and my voice dissolved into a soft moan, as he played with my breasts with one hand and had moved the other down to tease me between my legs.
"I only heard that you have today off", he said, his voice a seductive baritone. ”Would be a shame to waste it.“