I sighed and leaned back in my chair. I half-debated turning my attention to my study of Sumerian poetry, a subject I had developed a half-hearted interest in since reading about cameral psychology and primitive cultures, but after teaching linear programming for three hours I was really not in the mood to try and wrap my brain around a culture whose thought patterns were as alien to me as an AI's. Perhaps even moreso.
I grabbed my PADD off the desk and examined my upcoming schedule. I wondered where Aaden and P'nyssa were right now, and the schedule only showed Aaden in a meeting on the garden deck and P'nyssa would be working in sickbay for another six hours, dispensing pills and making sure that the crew would survive to see tomorrow.
That didn't help. I debated looking someone up; there were plenty of people on board who I could call on to cuddle with, I suppose, but I really wanted to just have some fun.
"Oh, Lance, is there anything happening on board at this hour?"
"The swimming pool has just become crowded."
"Any particular reason?"
"Probability," Lance replied.
In other words, by coincidence a lot of people had decided to go swimming that day. "What the Hell," I said. "I'll join them." I grabbed a towel from my bathroom and wandered down the hallway to the SDisk. "Recreation and Health," I said.
Blip I found myself in another long hallway in another part of the ship. I was still in the habit of walking around the ship myself and had become used to the layout of the ship, but I knew many people whose internal maps of the ship consisted of a SDisk and all the points conveniently reachable by it, and then a simple, linear list of SDisks on board. It was a very functional method, but in an emergency it could get people in trouble. I preferred to know my way around. In my head I knew where I was relative to the bridge, the engines, and the hull.
I walked through a revolving door into a room full of screaming adolescents and lounging adults, and sometimes it was hard to tell the one from the other. There were also two dolphins swimming leisurely in the pool. I decided that I was here to swim, not sit around and watch other people, so shucking my clothes and folding them into a neat pile under one of the many tables scattered about the tiled deck, I dove into the pool.
"What have we here?" said a voice behind me as I came back up for air.
"Kumakatta!" I said, surprised to hear the voice of an old acquaintance. Kumakatta was a femDolphin I'd met some years back while flying a trip to llerkin. I turned around and, sure enough, it was she. "Do you mean to tell me you've been slinking around in here for the past nine months and I've not known?"
"Well," she clicked at me, "you know how it is. Two thousand people on board, you could never get to know every one of them. And while you're not exactly a recluse, Ken, I come here every day and never see you." She smiled that distinct, dolphin smile. "You've been too busy with your dry friends. Surprising, too. I never thought of you as a particularly dry person."
I chuckled. "I guess I've been busy, Kuma. Besides, why didn't you just look me up? Drop me mail? There were a hundred things you could have done for us to get together."
"Oh, you know." She turned in the water slowly, a gesture of embarrassment. "You're a busy man."
"Not too busy for a surf-buddy," I grinned, running one hand along her flank playfully. "I'd've at least known to come down here more often."
She clicked her laughing acceptance. "I'll remember that. No surf in here, though."
"No, I guess not."
"On the other hand, I don't have to wear one of those suits or use a BCA just to go swimming, or pretend to go swimming." I chuckled knowingly. "So what are you doing these days?"
"I'm playing JOT."
"Yes," she hissed softly. "You always were good at that. So what are you jotting now?"
"Teaching," I said. "I think I'm going to hang onto it. I like hanging out with the young kids, watching their minds bloom. Do you have any kids, Kumy?"
"Not with me. I understand you brought your children with you, but to be honest, as a Fen, I didn't think it would be kind of me to bring any with me. Pendor has great oceans we Fen will never fill, but space, especially in ships made mostly for you landed kinds, is no place for someone not fully grown." She stopped and swished around me in the pool. "Ken, have I said something wrong?"
I shook my head. "No, no. Sometimes I feel regret for creating creatures that cannot share fully in the joys the rest of us have."
"You mean like the joys of swimming through the sea at forty kilometers per hour, leaping into the sky, moving whole mountains underwater and sleeping under the stars in peace with seccors to keep the sharks away?"
I chuckled. "Well put."
She gave a triple-click that I recognized as a "Hmph." "You people put on powered armor and walk around and throw buildings left and right. I put on whole starships and swim around stars."
I found myself enjoying her company. I dove under the water and headed for the bottom; she slipped around me, her fins and bodymass caressing against me. As I headed back to the surface, I wondered about that. I broke surface and said, "Kumy? Come here?"
"Yaaah?" she said.
"Was that a pass?"
"A friendly touch could be interpreted as that, yes."
"You never did that on llerkin."
"That wasn't me. That was just a BCA I drove around."
"I take it you don't do VR."
Not unless I know for sure that it's making the starship I drive around really sling around that star!" She dove down into the water. Splashing to my right attracted my attention; a crowd of children was diving in. I dove downwards, where she met me. I grabbed her fin and she pulled me towards the deep end, where I let go and headed up. Someone dived over my head. "This place is filling up more than before," I pointed out.
"Yeah," she murred. "And I've been in here too long. I think my skin is starting to scale."
I ran my hand along her flank. "Feels just as smooth and sexy to me."
She laughed again. "You flatter me. Would you like to come back to my room and help me wash this water off with something more appropriate?"
"Are we really going to do this?"
"You seemed quite interested in me back on llerkin."
"That was a long time ago. It's not that I've lost interest in you, Kumy; it's just that I seem to be going through a phase where casual screwing around appeals to me a little less."
"Come back to my room anyway," she said, tossing her head in the direction of the exit. While I lay in the water with her a series of nine black spheres came floating through the air. Three took up positions above her while the others dipped to the water line. She rose out of the water and into the air, shaking her body vigorously just to keep from dripping all over the starship. Actually, the hoverspheres would prevent most of that anyway. "Coming?"
"Okay, okay," I grinned. I stepped out and grabbed my towels, waving to some of the kids who were calling my name. I followed her out and up a short passageway to her room. "You're right off the recreation area?"
"Access to water," Kumakatta replied. "But I actually prefer my own room. Be warned, Ken, the gravity is different in my room" She opened to room and I realized what she was talking about. About a meter from the door stood a wall of water that, from my usual perspective, stretched from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.
"Ah," I said. I decided that the only way to easily handle a ninety-degree shift in gravity as well as immersion in water was to dive for it. So I did. My ears didn't even have a chance to complain at the change in direction as I hit the water and spun around, heading for the surface. Confusion was minimal.
She dove in behind me, then surfaced next to me as the door shut. "You didn't have to do that, Ken, there's a transition platform at the door."
"Worked better this way," I said. "But with this layout, you didn't need me to come wash you off."
"No," she agreed, chuckling. "I just wanted to get you alone again." She sidled up against me gently. "Just for old time's sake."
I slid my hands along her slick sides, caressing her down the length of her huge body. A female dolphin outmasses me almost by a factor of two and only the three-dimensional access granted by her watery environment made me feel comfortable maneuvering around her.
Despite the writings of nearly a dozen science-fiction writers prior to Pendor and Earth's meeting, sentient dolphins do not think or are even necessarily proficient at haiku. But some practice it just out of a sense of tradition. They do have their own language of clicks and whistles, and in some cases it is overly rife with analogy, which sometimes makes haiku a useful tool and almost all of them are receptive to it.
"So often at war,
Seeing beauty like yours, are
Temptation and pride!"
She rolled over, clucking slowly. "It's a shame that there are humans out there who do that so well when I can't even do it all. Are you trying to say you're too proud to sleep with me?"
I swam over to her and caressed her flank slowly. "No, I'm trying to say that I don't know how I'd feel about myself if I slept with you so casually," I sighed. "You're a dear fem, Kumy, but I didn't know you so well then, I don't know you well now, and I really am not sure about where into my, well, my life I would fit you right now."
"Isn't that what you're doing?"
"Fitting me into your life? Right now. It's all I would really like from you, Ken, is to finish the flirting we started so many years ago." She flicked her tail to come face to face with me. "All I want is for you to make me come."
I grinned and slid my hand along her flank. "Is that all?"
An easy flick of the tail and she pressed her skin against me, knocking me over slightly. "That's all," she replied. "There's a submerged platform over there where you can stop treading water."
"Thanks," I said, diving down and swimming for it. I found it; the water came up just to my chest here as she circled around me. My hands slid along the powerful dorsal ridge, sliding up over her fin and back along her tail, then back up. I felt the slightly puffy ridge of her vaginal slit, pressing my fingers up into and caressing the first three centimeters or so of it where the nerves were most dense and most likely excite her.
"Yaaahh..." she cooed softly. "I like that."
"If I could find someone to do this for me every day, I'd love it."
"Hands aren't good enough?" I asked, referring to the robotic manipulators many Dolphins used. My fingers slid around gently. I have to admit that I was getting a bit of an erection, and chills traveled up my spine from the combination of the cool water and the moist, hot inside of her cunt.
"Nah... too hard. Not as much fun. Too predictable. Besides, they're not friendly. I like spectators and participants."
I chuckled and slid a third finger into her cunny. She slapped her tail against the water and chirred her pleasure. "Do you have a mouthpiece?"
"Yes. Cabinet in the corner."
I stretched for it, got it open, and grabbed the small black cylinder, placing it between my teeth. "There," I said around the silicone, "Now I can see what I'm doing." I dove beneath the water and looked up. My eyes adjusted to the change in refraction easily, although they felt peculiar with the added pressure of the nanochine reshaping the lenses. I backed up a little, stroking her flanks and underbelly before sliding my fingers back into cunny.
Through the water, her pleasant chittering reached me even more clearly, and I enjoyed the sensation. My erection returned as she shivered and wriggled. I reached up with my feet and wrapped my legs around her tail, relying on her buoyancy to keep her blowhole above the water level. She didn't object.
I grabbed a dorsal fin with my hand and carefully positioned myself so my cock was pressed to her slit, then with the other hand aimed. I pulled myself in with my legs.
I had almost forgotten how tight Dolpins are. The males are generally smaller than their land-based relatives and that's reflected in the shape of the females' vagina. Also the angle is very different, heading up towards the belly at an angle. I had to think before settling into a rhythm that worked for both of us. At least, it worked for me, and from the tremors I felt running through her body, it was working for her. I could feel her flesh quivering with little shocks of pleasure as I fucked her sweet body. She was only slightly warmer than the surrounding water, but it was enough to be different. Pulses of deep sound emanated from within her and sank through my body, ricocheted off the walls of her cabin and bounced off us again.
I breathed hard through the rebreathing cylinder, clenching my teeth to hold it in place. My wrists were starting to hurt from holding on for so long and bucking against her body when she began bucking against me. Her tail went wild, forcing me to hold on even more tightly as she began tossing back and forth. Somewhere in all this I came, my pleasure almost blotted out by my struggle to hold on as she came. I don't know if it was a lot of different orgasms or one long one, but it seemed to last over a minute.
As I slid out of her, she rolled away from me in the water onto her back, wriggling curiously. "You're lovely," I said.
"You weren't bad yourself, Ken," she chirped after righting herself. "Thank you. I didn't expect you to try to fuck me; most of the mels I sneak in here aren't quite so daring."
"Daring is something I can manage occasionally," I laughed, wiping the mouthpiece off and placing it back in the cabinet. I patted her side. "Thank you, Kumy. That was actually a nice way to spend the evening."
"You're welcome. Shall we go back to the pool?"
"I just want to get some more exercise." She kicked down into the pool and into another room, then returned a few minutes later. "Now that I've had my fix of pleasure."
I shook my head, smiling. "If this planet has waves..."
"Then you're going surfing with me!"
"Its a deal."