Chapter Twenty Five – WARNING! NSFW

Her fellow students were gracious enough not to make more of a fuss of her now that her past was out in the open. Some came to her, asking about what it was like in space, on Mars and on Titan. Even in these days when interstellar trips was relatively common, there were still many who were not as well travelled as she was. Jude did not mind being a one-minute wonder but her studies took precedence and she, along with her class, were soon hard at work finishing up their final courses and assessments.

December rolled around all too soon and their final scores were tallied. Jude received good marks and feedback and although she wasn’t anywhere near the top of the class – that honour went to Miro, closely followed by Alta – she was in the upper range. They all were gathered in the main hall to receive information on their postings. At the end of their three months of classroom based study at the institute, those who passed (and in Jude’s intake, that was almost everybody, including the recalcitrant Mo Banza and Drake Calvey, who she now counted as one of her friends) were assigned to various ships and stations. Most of these postings were to ones owned or run by Cee-Cee Inc. but there were a few other operators who offered training and development, taking the students on loan as it were for the remaining fifteen months of their studies on placement. One such organisation was Vale Navigation, run by one Alice duVale, a close friend of Colette Chouinard. Her company provided a great deal of the intergalactic traffic between Earth and her nearby neighbours, managing communications and supplies to many of Cee-Cee’s various outposts and ventures. Ms. duVale had personally come along to the assignment fair, to hand pick her trainees.

 

Jude and Alta were with Mori and Drake, looking over the rosters. Mori was in a celebratory mood, having been assigned to Lin Shang’s team who, having made some strides in their analysis of the “immortal tech” salvaged from the Huygens probe, were making plans to bring in the original Cassini orbiter and other mechanics from the original mission.

“You had better take your thermals,” Jude joked with him. “The nights can get pretty chilly around the rings of Saturn. And the days too, if truth be told.”

“And I won’t have my sweetie to keep me warm,” he moaned. Alta and Mori had finally admitted an attraction for each other and over the past few weeks had become an item. Parting so soon would be hard for them.

Drake had been given a training opportunity at of all places, Kakuda, Jude’s former stamping ground, working for Professor Naoko Mori in her gravimetrics team. Jude asked him to pass on her best wishes.

They scanned the displays for word of where Jude and Alta would be posted to. Both spaces next to their names were blank. Just at that moment, Professor Doohan approached them, accompanied by a tall, confident woman in her middle years.

“Alta, Jude, just the women I’ve been looking for. This is Alice duVale, of Vale Navigation.”

Alice reached out and firmly shook first Alta then Jude’s hand, holding on for a few extra seconds on the latter before letting them fall back.

“My pleasure. Susan here has been telling me so much about you both. I was wondering if I could tempt you away from the clutches of Cee-Cee and offer you a place in our latest venture.”

Jude and Alta both nodded excitedly. Ms. duVale continued.

“We at Vale Navigation have taken on a new contract, providing support to the burgeoning exploration of the Taurus constellation by the Hibakusha Corporation. Are either of you familiar with that project?” She looked to the two young women.

Have I ever? Thought Jude to herself but it was Alta who said “Oh yes. I’ve been studying their research into helium technologies with great interest.”

“Yes,” continued Alice, “I read your dissertation from …err…”

“…Doctor Lavarr’s class,” Professor Doohan interjected, helpfully.

“That’s right. And you,” she said, turning her attention to Jude, “I’ve been hearing great things about your aptitude too.” She focussed back on to both of them. “Therefore, I’d like to offer you two the chance to join the crew of the Mishima, starting just after the New Year.”

“Yes please,” Alta and Jude replied in unison, then laughed. Alice smiled, as did Susan Doohan.

“Good, that’s settled then. We’ll see you at our base in Svalrak. I’ll have my secretary send you confirmation, information and dates.”

Once the women had left, the four chattered elatedly.

“Wow, you two are so lucky.” Drake remarked.

“And the best part is,” Alta noted, teasingly,” you’ll be near your man Hennessey.”

“No,” Jude corrected her. “The best part is you and I will still be together. Roomies forever.”

 

The friends said their goodbyes at Suwalki’s main station. Alta and Mori were heading back to Lodz to spend the holidays with their families.

“See you in a couple of weeks in Spitzbergen,” Alta smiled through her tears, hugging her friend.

From Suwalki, Jude caught the express to Warsaw and from there a flight back to Tokyo. She had, for old times’ sake, rented the beach house in Araihama. Yes, she thought, it was a place of sad memories but it was also a good spot to maybe make some new, better ones. She unpacked her still meagre luggage and put some champagne, which she had picked up on the spur of the moment, in an ice bucket to chill. The sun was setting over the bay, turning the late December sky a flaming orange. Jude heard a cab pull up outside and she ran over to open the door. There, on the porch stood one Shawn Patrick Hennessey, with a duffle bag and large case.

“Can I come in?” he smiled.

“Of course, “Jude took his case and as he strode into the living room and placed his other bag on the couch, she closed the front door.

Had it been too long? Jude wondered to herself. Had all their banter and badinage over the comms been just that? Hennessey shrugged off his pea coat and opened his muscled arms wide. Jude stepped into his embrace, wrapping her own arms around his back.

“Oh, Sadako, I’ve missed you,” he said softly into her hair.

Without another word, she took his hand in hers and led him into the bedroom.

They undressed slowly, peeling back the layers from each other until they both stood naked in the dusk of the early evening. Jude stepped back and lay down on the bed, gently pulling Hennessey with her. They rested side by side, facing each other. Tentatively, Jude stroked one hand from Hennessey’s shoulder, down his bicep and forearm, onto his hip. She leaned in and kissed him tenderly on his velvety warm lips, remembering back to that first sweet graze of his mouth on hers back on Mars. His hand caressed her face as he kissed her in return. His was not so soft but instead heralded a rush of passion that soon swept them both up in its wake. He slid his hand from her cheek, down along her neck and onto her chest. His fingers found her nipple and gently but firmly tugged. In reply, her own fingers traced a languid line across his stomach then down to his hardening shaft. He gasped and grinned, his mouth leaving hers as he gently pushed her onto her back and nibbled his way down to her other breast, where he licked an teased at her neglected nipple, his fingers still toying with its mate.  As he slid from her grasp, she danced her own digits over his ribs and shoulder blades, feeling his muscles ripple beneath her touch. As he kissed her hungrily, she felt his free hand guide her to part her thighs and then his nimble attention therein soon had her pulsing between his fingertips and thumb. All of the need, the want and the pain of the past few months seemed to well up inside Jude and as she felt her first orgasm rising, she gripped Hennessey’s shoulders tightly, his rushing blood beneath reddening them like wings. As her ecstatic peak subsided, she slid down the sheets so that she was again face to face with her lover. With a soothing nudge, they changed positions, with Hennessey now lying on his back. This time, it was Jude’s lips and tongue which traced a path from his navel down the dark line to his stiffening penis. As she tasted him, sucking and mouthing his flesh, she heard him moan. He reached a hand down in between them, stifling her efforts. She looked at his face and could read in his eyes what he wanted now. She sat up onto her knees then moved until she was astride him. Jude slowly guided him into her, lowering herself as Hennessey rose to meet her. He reached one hand up to cup her breast and pushed himself up with the other. He swung his legs around and his arms up to hold her now in a sitting position on his lap. Face to face again, they rocked and moved together. Jude held his head in her hands and looked deep into his eyes. As she leaned in to kiss him, she felt herself crashing into another orgasm and his fevered thrusting beneath her told her he was following suit. Their lips met and as he held her to his body, he muttered.

As she lay in his arms, under the coverlet in the chill of the evening, she asked him.

“What did you say there, Hennessey?”

“When?” he teased back at her.

“You know. As you…”

“Only what I’ve been wanting to tell you for months now.”

“And that is…”

“I love you, Judith Sadako.”

“I love you too, Hennessey.”

 

As they made breakfast the next morning, Jude remembered her good news.

“I got my posting assignment sorted before I left the Institute. I’m joining Vale Navigation, on the supply route to the Crab Nebula.”

Hennessey’s face fell. “Buggeration,” he seethed. “I knew I should have messaged you.”

“Why, honey? What’s up?”

“I got word before I left. I’m back here Earth side for the next foive months to do some further training mayself, in handling new equipment for this new ship, the Sally Ride, that they want me on. Fak.” He slammed down the coffee jar.

“You weren’t to know. I wanted to surprise you. But yeah, it is almost like the universe is conspiring to keep us apart, now that we’re finally together.”

Jude reached over and took the coffee jar and spoon out of her paramour’s hands, then led him out of the kitchen.

“Still,” she purred. “I have you for two weeks. And two weeks is a very, very, very long time.” 

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