I was bent over my workbench, diligently trying to get the macro- engineered parts of the food processor working. Not that I felt we needed it, mind you; Pan and P'nyssa were doing more than their fair share of work keeping us fed, but it would be nice to have an additional source of food, especially something programmable. Okay, there is something visceral in eating food you've killed yourself, but I wanted other things as well. Like caffeine.
I heard the door to the repair and maintenance center open, and I judged from the pattern and weight of footfalls that it was probably Kathy. As she walked closer her scent rolled over me, and my judgement was confirmed. She walked up behind me and put her hand on my shoulder.
I whirled, grabbing her hand and in one sweeping motion picking up the other as well, hoisted them up over head and leaned her against the back wall of the room. She whimpered slightly and I smiled, leaning down and over to kiss her neck, when she said something. Something I'd never heard her say before, something shocking, and it stopped me in my tracks.
I released her hands. "What's wrong, sweetheart?" I asked.
"I... I can't, Ken. Not now." She smiled a weak smile. "You know, when we... play at our little games, well.. you remember how I was in the beginning. We started this because it made me feel attached to something, it gave me a sense that somebody understood me. But now I can't. I'm sorry. You and Pan, you both mean well, and you mean so much to me, but right now I feel very lost, and tying me down isn't going to help."
I nodded. She continued, "Right now, I just need a hug." I looked at her face, and tears welled in her eyes. I pulled her close to me and wrapped my arms around her, holding her close. As she cried.
I felt very awkward; I never know what to do when somebody, anybody, is crying in my arms. I want to say something and I know that anything I say will be wrong, so I wait and hope that holding is enough.
After a while the sobs eased a little, and she wiped the tears from her eyes. She'd gotten my tunic a little wet as well, but I didn't care. She sniffled. "We're not getting out of here, are we?"
"I wouldn't say that. Pan's got the linear signal going, and we've got food, water, shelter, clothes."
"They think we're dead, Ken. According to Pan's calculations, those two weeks in statis put us sixty years in the future from when we were attacked. We're shipwrecked, and even Pendor gives up after a while." Her tears were still flowing.
Yeah, and we cracked the ship up pretty bad. Mark 743 Starcruisers take a lot of damage, and the landing 'pressors had held up just long enough; we'd been only four meters above the surface when pressor seven died, tipping the ship over and smacking us into the ground. Here we were, seven stranded castaways... when I think of it that way, I feel like singing "Gilligan's Island," but Chroff has promised to slug me if I do.
She wiped away the tears. "I never... never did get a chance to show you my tattoo, did I?"
"You've a tattoo? Kathy, I've seen you without your clothes at least a dozen times since we boarded the 'Elen. Where are you hiding a tattoo?"
"Watch. Pedro, turn the lights down to ten percent, would you?"
The lights dimmed slowly as she backed away from me and unzipped her grey jumpsuit. She smiled as she slid it over her hips, and I winked back, getting a laugh from her. Although she'd let her pubic hair grow back, it was only a light blond fuzz and the feather-and-stone charm I'd given her hung clearly from it's stainless steel hook in her labia. I couldn't see the lock, but I assumed it was there.
She turned her back on me as the light reached their most dim, and she swept her hair over one shoulder, exposing her entire back. I watched her closely, and I noticed a slight, dim glow emanating from the small of her back. It was a handsome coppery color, and it began to grow in intensity and spread up towards her shoulderblades and downwards towards her butt.
The glow at the center seemed to stop growing in intensity, a little less than a candle in strength, and I could see that the image itself was resolving.
The glow came from thousands of small spots a few millimeteres across on a side, and I realized I was looking at a dragon. The head was at her right shoulderblade looking left, it's wings across her back. The tail trailed her left leg and stopped right above her knee, and the talons were visible on her right buttock and hip. The coppery color flowed and shimmered, and the spaces between the spots became more obvious, resolving into scales. I was impressed with the technology, but more than that I was impressed with artwork. It was beautiful.
"Can I have a photograph of this for my wall?"
"You like it?"
"Like it?" I said. "It's incredible. Who did this?"
"The artwork is Pan's." She turned around and walked back over to me, sitting naked in my lap. "He did it for me a few months ago, as a painting, and I had Dr. Temgif transfer the image onto me."
I tentatively put my hand against her back, and stroked her skin. She cooed at my touched, and it felt like normal skin. "What is it?" I asked.
"It's just a light-emitting tattoo."
"Does it hurt?"
"What now? Or getting it?"
"Well, now it doesn't hurt at all. It feels like my normal skin, and really that's all it is. I don't notice it at all, and there's no change in my perception of touch.
"Getting it didn't hurt, not really. It's a lot more boring than you think. It's not like getting a normal tattoo, it's more of a nanotech thing. I got to sit in a zero-g chamber for about sixteen hours with needles in both arms and a rotating scanner running along my body while my back itched like crazy as they installed the entire matrix."
"Oh, so it's basically a subcutaneous installation."
"It's neat," I said, scratching her back casually, now reassured that I couldn't damage the artwork and that she could appreciate my stroking. It was fascinating watching the glow ripple under my fingertips. I kissed her neck.
"Hey, you've got work to do," she said, rising and grabbing for her coveralls.
I seized her wrist. "Wait."
"Sit down, please?" She sat back down on my lap. "Kathy, have we ever... made love?"
She smiled, dimly illustrated by the light of her tattoo. "Lot's of times... but not just... together. Why? Do you want to?"
"It would be nice," I said, my fingers softly caressing the her nipples.
She looked down at me and kissed my forehead, working her way over my nose and down to my lips. In the soft light of her tattoo the whole world became a gentle, coppery glow, and I said, "Pedro, lower the lights all the way."
She smiled. "You really like my tattoo, don't you?"
"I love it. In fact, would you mind if we made love..."
"So you could see it?"
She smiled, stood up and walked over to one of the larger chairs, kneeling, bending over and sticking her ass up in the air. "I remember the first session we ever had," giving me an evil grin, "when you ordered me into this position."
I smiled and unbuckled my pants, dropping them to the floor. "Not much into foreplay, are you?"
She smiled and said "Not right now... fuck me, Ken..."
"Should I take off my shirt?" I asked.
"No! Just get into me... now!" I raised on eyebrow; Kathy's was getting impertinent. I knelt behind her, my cock surged to full length by her talk.
It suddenly occurred to me that she still had her lock in place. In my haste I nearly ripped the chain from around my throat and inserted it into the lock, slipping it out from her labia. I dropped it to the floor, placed one hand on her back and with the other aimed my cock into her pussy and slid forward.
Her cunt, warm and familiar, sucked me in. Her tattoo glowed brighter, and the eyes of the dragon glowed brighter still. It was fascinating, as I began to fuck her; it was like fire, and I imagined small sparks arcing from her back. She buried her head into the chair as I pummeled her. "Harder!" she hissed.
I slowed down instead. The feather tickled my balls. "Please," she moaned, imploring me, "harder, please."
Her magnificent ass arced upward as she begged. It made me smile. I pulled back and slid my hand around her hips. I stopped moving entirely; a small moan escaped her, and she ground her hips back towards me, but I pulled back, then pulled her hard towards me, slamming into her, and began relentlessly pounding her. "Yes... that's it," she said. "Harder, yeah, I like it harder."
"You do, huh?" I said. I looked down, and the tail of the dragon glowed below, the tiny pixels of it's claws shimmering over her buttock, and the talons appeared to be flexing as I pounded against her ass, as her full and beautiful flesh rippled as I fucked her. The light was becoming brighter, or else I was just hallucinating. I didn't think it could get any brighter, or any better. As I pounded her, small growls escaped from my throat. I was going to come, ravishing her, and I suddenly lost control, exploding into her, screaming and bending over her, filling her cunt.
I slid out of her again, and I knelt down onto the floor. I kissed her ass softly, panting, "Thank you, thank you." She knelt down on the floor with me and said, "You're welcome."
I looked up at her, her hair a little sweatier and falling down in front of her eyes. "Feel better?" I asked.
"Mm-hmm," she said, smiling, a little glint shining in her eyes. Her tattoo faded away. "Pedro," she said, "lights up, just a little."
The lights came up and she sagged. "You have no idea how tiring that is."
"What do you mean?" I said.
"That's... That's glucose-driven. I need to go get something to eat."
"Then let's go. Let's see if that new fruit Sara found is any good."