The sun warmed his naked body as he rested against the oversize beach towel. After four days cramped into a Volkswagen submarine he reveled in the simple pleasure of exposing himself to hot sunlight. The resort town of Nha Trang in Vietnam had been a good choice for a base of operations, he reflected. If nothing else it had the amenities he missed on trips into the wilds of outer space, hunting down tenuous leads on now-extinct spacefaring races, none of which ever seemed to give satisfaction. This simple assignment, to find the treasure of the 23rd Century pirate Nan Dan Ngoc, had proven to be both a challenge and something of a vacation. Like most Terran and llerkindi archeologists he spent most of his time in libraries. The past couple of days Jofuran had felt they had enough data to perhaps find the underwater facility from which his three 21st-Century surplus nuclear submarines, refitted with off-the-shelf fusion drives and motors, had terrorized the sealanes between the United States and Japan for nearly twenty years.
He looked up to see a beautiful brunette woman blocking the bright overhead sunlight. Blinking a few times, he tried to recollect where he had seen her face before but couldn't place it. She appeared to be just one more of the dozens of beautifully sculpted women who frolicked in the surf or took in sunlight on the sand. "Do I know you?"
She seemed earnestly upset. "Surely you recognize your own mother, Kolya!"
Oh, he thought. "No, Mom, not really. Seen a plastor recently?"
"Why yes, Kolya. I'm so happy you see the changes! I am lovely now, yes?"
He had to agree that she looked just like all the other perfectly-molded beachbunnies around him. "You look great, Mom." It wasn't the truth he agreed with, but it was a truth of sorts.
"So," she said, sitting next to him and occupying part of his beach towel. He thought it rude of her to not ask. "How has my son been?"
"I'm doing well, Mom. How about you?"
"I am doing very well too, Kolya. I am opening a new gallery show in a couple of days, surely you will be able to attend?"
"I don't think so, Mom. Today's my first vacation in a couple of months, but I'm going back on assignment the day after tomorrow."
"What do you do, Nickolai?"
"I'm an archeologist, Mom. I told you that in my last letter, remember?" Actually, he told her that in every letter he mailed her. He wondered if she actually read them. It was possible that she was so used to the high-density media of the second millennium that she didn't even bother to read anymore. "We're looking for Nan Dan Ngoc."
Her face revealed she recognized the name. He remembered this particular search had been underwritten by an entertainment consortium as part of their promotion for a new vid of Ngoc's adventures, so it was understandable that the name had some cachet. "He has been dead for seven centuries, Kolya. Can you not rest?"
"I'm afraid not, Mom. It's in my contract." He didn't tell her that the contract had technically expired and they were on a day-to-day operational right now. It didn't matter. "So, how are you otherwise?"
"Oh, I am doing well. The Samanites are doing marvelous things and I understand that you will soon no longer be an only child." She talked on and on for minutes without interruption and seemingly without taking a breath. She talked about how the Pendorians seemed to run everything, about how the llerkindi were getting rich off Terran investments because they had gone "the Pendorian way", about the weather, sunspots, and how she wore the latest fashion crazes. Nickolai realized as she spoke that she was truly as alien to him as anyone he had met in the past century. He felt more kinship with Pendorian AIs than he did with the woman who had raised him.
"Nickolai!" A new and familiar voice interrupted his thoughts and his mother's soliloquy. "Found you!"
"Roger," he said, glancing behind his mother. She turned to see who he had addressed Nickolai and startled, shrieking and scrabbling away. "It's okay, he's a co-worker of mine." He waved the Pamthreat over to his blanket. The large, black-furred beast padded over on six legs in that peculiar simpatico that all Pamthreat make as they walk, even on sand. The appearance of what was on Pendor the ultimate mammalian predator strolling across a Terran beach provoked a strong reaction from the crowd, mostly of curiosity.
"Co-worker? That beast?"
Nickolai was not surprised. Although around for several centuries already, Pamthreats rarely visited Earth and there was still a lot of instinctual fear of the big cat in the Terran collective memory. "Roger, meet Talia Dittrich. Mom, meet Roger, the xenopsychologist on my team."
"Pleased to meet you." The voice synthesizer in Roger's throat worked perfectly.
Nickolai hissed and spat at Roger in a growling, snarling tongue. He would pay for it later, he thought, but it was worth it to keep his conversation with his friend out of reach of his Mom. "What's up?"
Roger responded in kind. "Furry wants you. You have a job offer."
"You and Furry." Roger paused to let his ears lay back and his mouth grin slightly. "Although I think I'd like to go, too."
"You can't tell me any more?"
"It's better if you go see Furry."
He nodded, then turned to his mother. "Gotta go, Mom."
"You speak that beast's tongue?"
"It's not hard too learn, actually. I just have a sore throat afterwards for doing it." He touched her shoulder briefly, giving it a squeeze. "See ya 'round, Mom."
"Goodbye, Nickolai." She sounded honestly saddened as he walked away and he realized that the sensation of alienness had probably run in the other direction too. He headed back to the hotel with its felt wallpaper and mirrored hallways, thinking that someday he would find himself in his mother's position and he hoped that he had a better relationship with his child than he did with his parent.
The door to his room recognized him and let him enter without pause. "Kolya!" Furry said, wrapping her arms around his waist and giving him a hug. She sensed that something was wrong and pushed away from him. "What?"
"He was sitting on the beach talking to a beautiful woman," Roger hinted.
"You were?" Furry asked, puzzled, but only slightly.
"It was my mother," he said.
"You know of any other mothers I have?" he snapped. "I'm sorry, that wasn't right. Yeah, it was her. I guess... seeing her made me feel old all of a sudden."
"Well, I have something that might make you feel young again," Furry said, the lovely, youthful smile he had always adored crossing her muzzle. "We've got a peach assignment. My dad wants us to join him on Ritacha!"
"Ritacha?" he asked. The word wasn't familiar to him.
"You haven't heard?"
"About a month ago. They discovered a post-nuclear planet, total nuclear winter. But there were a few survivors in cryo! We've been invited to go help complete the cultural workup because Shardik's going to do them back to a full population!"
"No way!" he said, smiling all of a sudden.
"Way!" she replied. The older slang came easily to them. They kept it in habit because it made them laugh and it made those around them wonder. "Wanna do it?"
"Absolutely!" he said. "When do we start?"
"I anticipated. The Starcruiser is on the pad and ready to head out. All you have to do is say uh-huh."
"Uh-huh!" he laughed. "Uh... my stuff?"
"Packed," she said. "I told you, it's ready. I've even made our apologies to the Thai ambassador. Get dressed. I'll get a taxi and we'll go."
"Hey, what about me?" Roger asked. "Furry said I could if you agreed."
"You're invited along, Roger," Nickolai said as he pulled his clothes on. "Come on."
The three of them made their way down to the lobby and grabbed a taxi. At the airport they found Nickolai's personal vessel, a Volvo knock-off of the Pelcityran 409 Starcruiser, fueled and supplied with reserve air. Jofuran had had it refit with the best Pendorian equipment and it had proven a steady vessel in the years since. Being archaeologists, they were frequently pulling "paychecks" for Terran service and gaining a reputation in Pendorian circles while being no place to spend it at all. Such a life had made affording the elaborate toy easy.
A six-seat box with stubby, circular wings and a slightly sharpened nose, it was made to go between Terra and Pendor in about six hours, or between Pendor and llerkindi in three days. The seats inside were real leather. Nickolai took the captain's chair.
Within minutes they were airborne and half an hour later they were in order-3 hyperspace on their way to Pendor. "Well," Nickolai said, "Let's make ourselves comfort-- Roger?"
"I'm okay," the Pamthreat said. "I don't handle zero G very well."
"I remember," Nickolai agreed. "Need a bag or something?"
"No," Roger said. "Didn't eat. I just don't feel well, that's all." He glanced around the cabin. "You think you could set me up on the back bed with a net and a curtain?"
Nickolai nodded and put two cushions that normally folded up into a bench seat down into a flat plane, then pushed down further until the two halves had bowed in slightly. Roger eased in, a pair of Pamthreat Hands (stylishly golden, this year's color) helping Nickolai spread the net over the uncomfortable Pamthreat. Nickolai closed the rear curtain of the van, giving Roger both some darkness and some privacy. He dialed the sound system to give Roger some quiet.
"I hope he's okay," Furry said, looking back at the curtain.
"I'm sure he will be. I've flown with him before. He always gets spacesick and he always just sleeps through it. He'll sleep like a rock once he actually does fall asleep."
"That's good," she said. She handed Nickolai his PADD as he strapped himself into the starboard seat in the middle of the van. Furry looked at him quizzically.
"I didn't want to kick something while we're in flight. Besides, those chairs up there are cramped. I'd rather be back here with you." The chair rotated easily, allowing him to turn and look at her. He locked it into place and then began reviewing the PADD she had handed him. "How did I not hear about this?" he asked, looking over the report. "This is amazing."
"Uh-huh," Furry replied with a grin. "When we get on the Palanole' we'll be passing through months before the Ille' Pendoro gets back from Ritacha. I think we're going to be reaching Ritacha before either the Handele' or the Pendoro get in. Check out the schedule. It's tight."
Nickolai examined the data she had indicated and whistled low. This was looking like a tight schedule. Tight and exciting. A whole world, with possibly dormant AIs, just waiting for Furry and he to take it apart at the seams and leave it for the terraformers to make into a paradise.
He started to review the data from the mission assignment proper, that collected by the Ille' Pendoro. Unfiltered, it amounted to an indigestible morass of data. After removing some of the data, filtering some of it, and applying judicious editing to the rest, he had it down to a few interesting, if still prodigious, collections. Most of them were by one Chief Engineer Fezzik (no name differentiation), who had apparently both assisted in the dismantling of the surveillance satellite they had found and in locating the cryogenic survivors. Although at this point by reading between the lines he surmised that the notion of anyone being a 'survivor' was still very much in doubt. These were simply the four cryo tubes still in the best condition; their inhabitants could still well be very dead.
He started to search deeper into the technological assays forwarded from CE Fezzik when a furry finger appeared at the top of his PADD and slowly pulled it down towards his lap. "Furry... wha?"
She smiled at him, then glanced over at the curtain. "Like a rock, huh?"
"Stone cold unconscious," he agreed.
"Wanna help me pass the time?" she asked.
"And how would I help?"
"Sound effects," he repeated.
"Uh-huh," she said as she floated down to the floor and started to unbuckle his pants. He watched with anticipation as she undid the buttons on his fly and took his hardening cock out into her hands. It stood up on end, anxiously awaiting what was to come next.
She lowered her muzzle onto his cock and took it into her mouth. He gasped softly at the warm embrace of tongue and muzzle that slid along the surface of his cock. Her tiny mussine teeth scraped along the top of his penis as she took about half of its length. A hand closed on his shaft, and together her hand and her mouth stroked him insistently, slowly.
Nickolai leaned back in his chair, his hands gripping the armrests as she gave his cock her full attentions. Her tongue, an agile creature all its own, teased the head of his cock and tickled the underside as she worked her magic. She couldn't close her mouth around it-- Markal mouths aren't really designed to do that-- but it didn't really matter because she knew exactly what to do.
At first the sensations were light, gentle, barely noticeable as erotic. She had him charged and hard, but there wasn't much beyond that. But as her teeth and tongue and hands made him pay attention, all his focus came down to her and her skills. Tension built up between his shoulderblades and his hands flexed unconsciously on the grips of his seat as waves of pleasure and immanent need would riot through him and then fade away, only to have her create more waves with her tongue. He looked down and watched as her head bobbed back and forth.
"Furry..." he gasped.
"Mmm-hmm," she replied as her hand picked up rhythm and stroked him to the boiling point. He clamped one hand over his mouth as he came, muffling his loud groan as he felt his climax burst out from inside him to coat the insides of her mouth. He heard her choke slightly, then watched as she swallowed everything he had given her. "Yow," he said, looking at her with still dizzy eyes. She grabbed a small towel from an elastic-sealed pocket to wipe her mouth.
"We managed to make a whole twenty minutes go by that way," she said, looking up at the clock in the front of the cruiser. "What will we do with the rest of these four hours?"
Nickolai pulled her into lap and hugged her tightly. "First," he said, still taking in air, "we recover. Then, we make you come."
"Uh-huh!" she said with a smile. His hands were already busy on her one-piece jumpsuit, tugging down on the plastic zipper. His hands reached in and caressed her bare, furred chest. She murred softly. Nickolai wished that they had some gravity; he would have liked to actually feel her weight against him, but they would have to make do with what they had. Still, the lack of gravity made it easier for him to remove his clothing without making her get up and stand aside. He kicked off his pants and pushed them into the pocket of the seat in front of him then tore his shirt off over his head. He helped Furry with her jumpsuit, stuffing it unceremoniously into the same space as his own clothes.
Naked, they cuddled close as his fingers made their way down her soft bellyfur until he was caressing the soft thatch of fur that covered her pubic mound. She parting her legs with a coo and a sigh, inviting him into her hidden crease. He felt moisture with his fingertips. Moving slowly, he felt the fur give way to bare flesh, a tender surface that he knew. After more than nine decades together he knew how to care for Furry. He pressed his index finger into the slit of her pussy and upwards. He recognized every gentle texture as he found her clit hiding under its hood. Furry arched her back and took in a deep breath. "Kolya..."
He didn't answer her; if she had something to ask for or say, she would be sure to say it aloud. He knew her that well. The only thing holding her to him was his left arm wrapped around her waist; otherwise, she would have floated free about the cabin. He ceased his probing with his fingers and instead took hold of both thighs with both hands. Lifting her, he turned her around and slowly brought her mound to his lips. She let him do all the maneuvering, opening her legs and then locking them as well as she could over the back of the seat. She stretched out, floating, across the width of the cabin until she found the armrests of her own seat. She reached out with her arms and held onto them as he brought his lips in contact with that warmth his fingers had been investigating just a moment before.
"Oh, Kolya, yes..." she sighed. He felt a warmth of pride flow through him. He was so glad that she appreciated this attention from him, since to him it was such a pleasure to perform anyway. He would never tire of the scent of her. His tongue slid between the her lips and upwards. Her skin tasted salty and her fur tickled his nose and he pressed his lips around her clit, licking gently.
Her body seemed to flow in a wave before his eyes whenever he looked up, her muzzle thrown back and opened. He wrapped his arms around her legs to hold her in place, but also to let his fingers reach her vulva and hold her lips apart, giving him greater access to her tiny clit.
He started licking it directly, giving it all the attention he could. She went rigid with the sudden rush of sensation, then relaxed, but the sounds she made grew a little louder and more urgent as he licked her. He slowed his pace, allowing his tongue to feel the ridge of solid flesh that it was running over, taking his time, making her take her time. She groaned loudly at his teasing but didn't object. So he continued.
He released one hand and brought it up under his chin, sliding it into her cunt. If she reacted to that touch directly it was hard to pick out in the hard breathing and soft whimpering exhalations. Her body shook with pre-orgasmic shivers and he pressed downwards, burying his face as completely as possible in her sex as she came, bucking hard and silent against his mouth and grip. He gave her a few delicate licks and then stopped, knowing that if he continued she would wave him off.
"Thank you," she sing-songed to him. Using her grip on the chair to pull herself closer to him, she curled up in his lap. "That was good."
"Good," he said. He looked up at his watch. "Well, we've managed to make an hour pass having sex. What do we do with the next three hours?"
"We get me something to wear," Furry sighed. "I'm cold." Nickolai grabbed her jumpsuit and passed it back to her. "Thanks."
"You're very welcome. For everything."
She smiled at him and gave him a kiss while she dressed, then took her place in his lap again. "Hey, you know, this'll be the first dig we've been on with my parents."
"I was thinking about that."
He caressed her, his hand sliding down her head and back to her butt, then back up. He thought momentarily about teasing her through the tailhole, but decided against it. "Just... I want to thank them. For giving me something I didn't know I wanted at the time. I've come to understand that you're the most important thing in all the universe to me."
She snuggled closer. "I hate zero-G. Can't make love in it, can't even snuggle decently." She tilted her head back to look into his eyes. "Thank you, Kolya. That's how I feel about you, too."
"Really?" he asked.
After a few minutes, Furry rose and took back her old seat. "Back to study," she sighed, picking up the padd. Nickolai watched her go with a warmth he knew came only from knowing her. He found himself thinking that not only was she the most important part of his universe, but that she made his universe complete.