Page 26 of Broken Earth

The mineral tub wasn’t what Terri expected. She watched it rise out of the floor in the center of the stark cleansing unit. Just moments before, there had been nothing but four walls, each armed with a nozzle, with a larger one overhead. The tub lifted directly below the overhead nozzle. The moment the rectangular bath clicked into place, Veral touched a panel on the wall. To her surprise, a stream of shimmery powder poured out of the nozzle into the tub below. It ran for several minutes before shutting off.

She looked at the few inches of powder and frowned. Was that it?

Veral drew her back away from the tub and tapped another panel. Water spouted down from above. The contact with the powder made it fizz and pop before swirling and mixing with the water. It appeared almost translucent and pearly in the comfortable lighting of the cleansing unit. It was pretty, but she was uncertain about bathing in it.

“Is that going to be safe for me? Human bodies are pretty sensitive.”

“Of course. I have taken thorough scans of you and have uploaded the information to my ship. This mixture of mineral bath is designed for optimal health benefits for both of us.”

She turned and smiled up at him flirtatiously. “Both of us, huh? Were you planning on joining me, O dark and deadly?”

“I am,” he said with a smirk. He wore nothing but the simple band of cloth he called a sadt, but he unfastened it and allowed it to drop to the floor. For the first time, Terri was treated to the sight of her mate naked in full light. Her mouth went dry at the corded muscles of his arms and torso. His longer body had more abdominal muscles than she’d ever seen on a human, each one carved out perfectly in nine pairs trailing down to his navel. He didn’t have a belly button, just a slight indentation between muscles that she was curious to explore with her tongue.

His sex, however, was almost completely hidden. All that was visible was a thick pouch of pale gray flesh, a stark contrast against his black scales. As she looked at it curiously, there was movement within moments before the black hooked tip of his phallus pushed through. Only the head was visible, and it stayed there for a short time before slowly slipping back into his pouch.

“Whoa,” she whispered and dragged her eyes away from his pouch to his muscular legs. His feet were almost like a human’s except the toes were longer and more curved. She suspected that, like his hands, each digit contained a retractable claw that could be lethal.

Veral trilled, catching her attention. “Do you enjoy what you see?” he asked, throwing her words back at her.

Terri grinned shamelessly up at him. “Without a doubt.”

He trilled again in obvious pleasure, his mandibles vibrating in a purr as he scooted closer to her. Large hands reaching out to her, he stripped every piece of clothing from her body. Once she was completely bare, he closed his hands around her waist and lifted her effortlessly into the tub. Terri gasped at the touch of the pleasantly warm water. After years of bathing in cold water, lacking the luxury of a stable home where water was heated since her mother died, she’d forgotten how good hot water felt. Her gasp turned into a moan as she sank into the shimmering water.

Veral’s mandibles clicked together. “Your sounds of enjoyment are a delight, anastha.”

He stepped into the large tub, settling comfortably with a hiss. Reaching forward, he pulled her over to him so that she was cradled against his chest, the water sloshing at the edges of the tub though never quite spilling over.

Terri relaxed into the heat of his body, all too aware of the way his cock jerked in its pouch before sliding out like a firebrand against her ass. It twisted against her, trying to tunnel toward her sex. Veral groaned and his arms wrapped around her, holding her tight. She wiggled against him, her desire sparking at the feel of his cock caressing her ass. Her mate growled and yanked her up so that her bottom no longer rested on the smooth material of the tub. His cock wedged itself beneath her as it burrowed persistently into her channel, every writhing motion of his phallus grinding against her clit, sending pleasure shooting through her.

He didn’t move. He held her in place and gathered a small padded cloth that when rubbed emitted a pleasant-smelling cleanser. He washed her leisurely, soaping her breasts and belly as his cock twisted and writhed within her. Veral interrupted his washing to gently pinch one of her nipples as the head of his sex bumped a delicious spot within her.

All too soon, his hand moved away, and he continued to explore her body with soapy hands as his cock stroked her insides. She moaned and tried to shift to give herself some relief, but he held her fast, pinned to his pelvis. Soon his moans and growls joined hers and Terri’s body began to quiver, wound tight. His swollen cock dove and flexed once more, brushing a sensitive spot deep within her and she clenched around him, her hips jerking as her orgasm swept over, soon followed by Veral’s.

Her mate growled and panted behind her, his body shaking slightly as he gently pulled her off his phallus, allowing it to retreat back within his pouch. His touch felt gentle as he washed between her legs before tending to himself as they lay together, soaking within the hot water.

At long last, he gathered her in his arms and stepped out of the tub. Touching the same panel that brought it up, the tub drained and sank back into the floor. Another panel started a stream of water sluicing down over them from the nozzle above, and the side nozzles sprayed them from all sides.

“Close your eyes,” he said.

She obliged and discovered that a sweet-smelling substance was spraying on her body and over her head. Lifting her arms, she massaged her scalp to remove any lingering dirt and grime. Within minutes, it shifted back to water, rinsing them thoroughly.

The water shut off and she wiped her fingers over her eyes to remove some of the excess water. She let out a startled squeak of surprise when hot air blew from vents in the walls, drying her rapidly. When they shut off, Terri stood still a moment longer to make sure no other surprises would be sprung on her. Laughing, Terri stepped out of the cleansing unit. Veral chuffed in amusement as he followed her out.

Slipping a long silky robe of the most vivid shade of blue around her, he led her through the ship, letting her explore to her leisure as he pointed out the features of his spacecraft and what specific things did. She was particularly fascinated with the food replicator. The clothing generator soon became her second favorite when he provided a smaller black armored suit to fit over her frame.

“Only for when we are out there. I much prefer seeing the robes on you. They highlight your beauty. The armor, however, will keep you safer to my liking,” he said as he sealed the clasps into place. With those words, he brushed his nose and mandibles over the top of her head before leading her toward the cargo bay. “Come, anastha. I have work to complete here before we can return to Phoenix.”

Terri allowed herself to be pulled along with him, though she was almost disappointed that she had to return to the city so soon. When she was in the ship with Veral, she could almost forget her pitiful life of scavenging for scraps.

Soon, though, that would be behind her. It was a comforting thought.


“Just how long do Argurma pregnancies last?” Terri asked.

Veral glanced up at her from the side of the collector cart that he was sealing and putting into locked mode. She was looking down at her belly, her brow knitted together in concentration while one hand played gently among Krono’s vibrissae. The dorashnal leaned against her, his scales nearly quivering in an expression of bliss. Veral’s own vibrissae moved as his processors lit up with images of his mate swollen with his offspring. He was intrigued by the idea as he latched the cart in place in the hold. Though it was premature to expect to be greeted with young on their first joining, he couldn’t deny that he lusted for it.

“We evolved in a manner that provides slow development to reduce physical stress on the females in a desert environment. This means that the fetus remains very small, building its complex systems over a two-year period. Within the first three lunar cycles of the third year is when it matures rapidly to prepare for birth. The two years are utilized to collect plenty of food and water for these final three months when the female remains in her domicile attended by her mate.”

Tags: S.J. Sanders Argurma Salvager Science Fiction
Articles you may like