A soft crackle of static told Nickolai that Nix wanted his attention. He closed the book he had been reading, a mid-level child's book but at his level of readership in Tsuguran, the language that these people had spoken. At least, that's how the word was being translated. He wasn't sure if the people of Tsugura had called their language 'Tsuguran' or not yet. "Nickolai?"
"Yeah, Nix?" He was a little annoyed at the interruption. He liked the quiet time when he had a chance to read on his own.
"There is someone in cargo hold two calling for you."
"Who?" Nickolai asked.
"I have been asked not to reveal that piece of information."
Curious now, Nickolai put the book aside. "Bay two?" He asked.
He walked down the hallway of the ancient library towards the front door. He paused for a moment to pull the environment suit helmet up over his head and allow it to transform from soft veriform cloth to a hardened shell before heading out into the still, cold air of the afternoon. The snow crunched under his boots as he made his way to the large, cloth shell that occupied the center of what had once been the open-air plaza of the campus of Besnial University. He passed through the airlock and made his way down a chilly but livable passageway before making a left and entering a doorway marked 'receiving room #2.' Inside was a small warehouse filled with crates, vehicles, and equipment. "Hello?"
The air was still for a moment as his words disappeared into a cloud of frost. Then a voice came from the other side of the large room, behind what looked like a large suit of powered armor and flanked on either side by what were clearly security drones. "Kolya?" The voice was feminine and awakened memories he could not place, suggesting a name he could not recall.
"Over here," he said.
The speaker came out from behind one of the security drones and walked towards him. She was a human with a pale face and masses of loose, black curls falling about her face and shoulders. "Do I know you?" he asked, sure that he did.
"You did once," she said with a secretive smile on wide and playful lips. "A long time ago. You gave me this, remember?"
She surprised him by handing him a small piece of plastic which he recognized as a somewhat archaic identity card. What surprised him even more was that the card bore his image and the symbol of a skeleton key on it imprinted in a hologram. The card read 'Nickolai Dittrich.' He recognized it immediately as his Saman Right of Replacement Card, his legal right to reproduce. A right he had forfeited when he had become a Pendorian, and a right which had been nullfied anyway by the second Saman revolution. "Now, where would someone get one of..." The memory came back to him. The wind, the beautiful young girl, his friend pulling him by the sleeve into the airbus. "Liz... Elizabeth?"
She nodded, throwing herself at him and wrapping her arms around his neck. "You remember!"
"How could I forget?" he asked, hugging her back. "Oh, it's good to see you again!" He held her close and relished the feeling of her in his arms. "What are you doing here?"
"Well," she said, "Two things. The second thing I came to do is some prelim work on Tream and Heeram, although I'm probably only going to be here for a year."
"That's not even long enough to get started!" Nickolai protested. "Why would you want to leave after just a year?"
"Because of the first thing I came here to do." She stepped back and pointed to the card. "I wanted to cash that in."
It took a minute for that phrase to work its way into Nickolai's brain. It pinged about various slang terms, slid through a tangle of ossified memories, and wound up... "You mean, you want me to...I mean, us to...."
She nodded. "You have to get Furry's permission first," she said. "But she let us make love while you two were separated. I don't think she'll have much of a problem with it."
Nickolai swallowed. "I don't know if I'm not going to have a problem with it, Liz. This is a little sudden."
She nodded. "I know. It has to be okay between you two. I made you promise all those years ago and I'm not going to ask you to go back on that now. Promise me still?"
He nodded. "I promise. I'll talk to her tonight."
"I don't know what to say, Kolya," Furry responded when he told her. "She's here?"
He nodded. "She came with the Handele. She's getting a room in the dorm right now. Probably setting up mission specs with one of the military groups since she wants to go poke around inside Tream. I don't think she's going to have any trouble, though. It is her speciality." He reached out his hand and she took it. "She said I had to get your permission first."
"I... " She nodded. "I want to think about it but if she's not going to stay after she has the child then I guess it's okay with me." Furry pulled him into a hug, and he wrapped his arms around his beloved coimelin's short frame. "It's a lot to ask."
"I know," he said. "I've been trying to figure out if there's some nice way to say 'No,' but I did make a promise a long time ago and I like to keep my promises."
"You've never broken one to me," Furry said with a grin. "Kolya?"
"Yes, my sweet?"
"Do you want children?"
He was silent for a moment. "Maybe. I don't know. Do you?"
"I don't know either. I mean, we're both reaching for our century. Aren't we supposed to have our first, long before now?"
"Ken and P'nyssa didn't have their first for almost two hundred years."
"They're a special case," Furry pointed out. "They do everything weird."
"And lots of people have followed their example. At least, that was my impression when I was studying Pendorian history in the fifth and sixth forms." He held her close and fought off a yawn. "I'm ready for bed."
"Me, too," she replied. "Let's go."
Doffing their clothing and turning the heat up slightly, Nickolai joined Furry in bed and cuddled up close to his wife. That she was a Markal, the Pendorian species that could best be described as mouse-like, had never bothered him. He liked the tail, the wide hips, the glittering eyes, and all the rest of her, but what he really appreciated about her was her incessant energy, her bright and optimistic view of the world. Every problem could be overcome, she often said, it just took the right lever.
He pressed himself against her, spoon-fashion, and kissed her between her small ears. He could feel her tail twitching softly against his groin and he felt himself becoming erect. "We did that this morning," she murmured softly.
"So?" he asked. "Are you too tired?"
"Not for you," she sighed. "Kolya, if we had children, would you want a human child or a Markal?"
"Does it matter?" he asked. "We can find a donor for you pretty easily. Finding one for me, or modifying your chemistry to carry a human to term, is a much bigger order." He kissed the back of her neck, finding that one little patch of fur that he knew, if he ruffled it just right with his lips, would make her shudder. It worked.
"Kolya," she moaned softly. He knew he could drive her crazy with just the right combination of kisses, but if she really didn't want to he was ready to back off. "I want to know how you feel about it. I mean, all Elizabeth is asking for is a one-night stand from you."
"More than that. Enough stands that she takes."
"You know what I mean. She doesn't want you for a life mate."
"Mrrr..." he agreed, kissing her neck again. His hand caressed the fur of her chest, causing her to shiver even more. "That's because she knows I love you insanely." His hands stroked down over her belly and she parted her legs slightly to let his hand in. "You're already getting wet."
"Yes, Kolya, yes " she gasped. "You're driving me crazy."
"I could stop " he hinted.
"Uh-uh!" she protested. "Don't stop."
"I won't." His hands slid over the soft fur of her mound and found moisture hidden among the folds. He slid a single finger between her lips and dragged it upwards against her clitoral hood. A loud moan told him he had found her just when she was at her hottest. A century of learning about each other had given each great advantages and, despite all the stories to the contrary, they had yet to get bored of one another's attentions.
His finger wriggled back and forth over her clitoral hood and she gasped in response to his intimate touches. He held her close and felt her body respond in a language they had both mastered long ago. Her tail twitched, her muzzle spasmed slightly as he played her body in ways that nobody else she had ever met had known. Even Kiza, her one fem girlfriend from so long ago, hadn't been able to simply reach in and make her crazy the way Nickolai could. She whimpered in with need and he took advantage of that need to make her desire his touch even more. Although he loved to go down on her, it wasn't something he had to do to give her pleasure; kisses and nibbles on the back of her neck and a persistent hand on her cunt were all that he needed to tire her into exhaustion.
Her legs straightened, bent, straightened, bent, in a rhythm he recognized as her reaching for climax. He didn't change his pace; he had learned that what he was doing was what was working for her and a change right now would throw her off. He just kept stroking her clit with his hand. His wrist was starting to hurt; the angle was a little awkward. But the tension he felt in her back, pressed as it was against his belly, and the noises she made told him he was definitely doing the right thing. Her breathing became rapid, shallow, and more desperate until a soft whimper and a hard kick of her legs announced her climax to him. He eased up and slid his hand out from between her thighs.
"There," he said. "Now you're tired."
"Uh-huh," she gasped. "You're mean."
"Why? Because I made you come?"
"Because you do it when I'm so tired I can't do it back to you."
"You can get me in the morning," he said, kissing her ear.
"Uh-huh!" she giggled.