The characters in the story are a product of my own imagination and hopefully have no resemblance to any living persons. But if it does it is entirely coincidental. Some of the places mentioned are either fictitious and or adapted to suit the plot of the story.
Sex: This story contains sexual content of a graphic nature between consenting adult women, thus if you are not 18 years old and not allowed to read content of this nature, please move on to other suitable stories.
Archiving : This work is copy written and should not be posted anywhere else with the writer's expressed permission.
Special thanks to my betas rleef and Steph.
Feedback: Constructive criticisms is greatly appreciated, so feel free to drop a line or two at firstname.lastname@example.org or sent me a friend request on Facebook .
The piercing sound of the klaxon was enough to raise the dead and it did as Palmer Middleton exploded into an upright position. For a moment she was confused as to what could've roused her from an exhausted sleep.
“Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”
Bloody hell, she muttered as she grabbed the earlier discarded uniform on the deck and quickly put it on. In less than five minutes she was out of the door, running down the hallway to the bridge. Just as she reached the turbo lift, her comm badge chirped.
“Captain, we need you in the hanger.”
“I'm on my way.” The hangers were one floor up. It should take her less than three minutes to get there. The turbo lift door hissed open and she stepped in only to be brought up short by the fact that her security team, armed to the teeth waited for her inside. She took the phaser handed to her and checked it settings, before looking at her security chief. “What are we dealing with, Commander?”
The heavily muscled woman shook her head. “We're not sure, Captain. I've sent three deputies ahead so we could ensure your safety.”
The turbo door slid open and Palmer didn't wait to see if her detail were following her. The door outside the hanger swarmed with security people. Switching her phaser on, she waited for her security chief to catch up.
“Report,” she barked to the three security deputies who all looked pale.
“The computer's biological scans show our intruder is a Pharmac.”
Only years of rigid training, stopped Palmer from gasping at the news. What would a Pharmac do so far from home? They were still in Terran space which was close to 200 000 light years from Pharm, the Pharmac home world. She looked at the closed doors. “Have we established any communication?”
“Yes, Captain. Your presence was requested.”
“Apparently not, but we were requested to stay out and only allow you inside. But it's not safe to let you go in alone, Captain. Maybe we should try and smoke her out instead. Engineering is on standby to pump gas into the hanger.”
Palmer frowned at that. “This is a Pharmac we're talking about, Commander. But I appreciate the initiative. Was the hanger deserted before the intruder appeared?”
“Two pilots were doing routine checks on the B43 crafts.”
“And they are still in there?”
The man swallowed. “Yes, Captain.”
Palmer handed her phaser to her security chief. “Then the gas idea is out. If the intruder's not armed then I will return the courtesy.” The security chief wanted to protest, but Palmer held up her hand. “I'm going in alone, Commander.”
She placed her hand over the door lock and it slid open.
“Captain on deck,” the computer announced and Palmer made a mental note to have Engineering change that silly broadcast feature. The hangar was huge, housing twenty small deep space short range crafts as well as several ground scaling mobiles used during planet side explorations. With sure steps she rounded the last row of crafts and saw her crew members first. Dressed in the pale blue uniforms of the On-board Flight Force, they stood with their weapons drawn and aimed at a tall, dark clad figure that had its back to her. When she entered the hangar, she'd expected anything, but not this. The crew seemed to have managed to lure the intruder to step over a security plate, which, when activated, shot out duranium bars, imprisoning the intruder. They spotted her and she could see them visibly relax at her presence.
“At ease, men,” she said firmly. She saw the broad shoulders of the intruder stiffen at the sound of her voice. Palmer nodded at the men as she walked around the duranium strengthened cage. The Pharmac was tall, a common feature amongst their Race. The dark head lifted slowly and Palmer couldn't stop the shock that came over her face when she recognized the intruder.
No wonder the men were still nervous even though the woman was encircled by a ring of bars made out of the most indestructible substance in the universe. Solid dark eyes with tiny golden flecks met hers and Palmer felt a strange mixture of sensations settle in her stomach. The woman stood motionless, like a statue, as they studied each other.
“Tell your men I mean you no harm and ask them to leave.”
Palmer turned to her men and found them still aiming their phasers at the Pharmac. She was sure their weapons had been calibrated on the most powerful setting. Had she been surprised by this woman, she probably would've done the same. She nodded at the men and found them staring back at her with shocked expressions.
“Good work, officers. You can leave now.” When they didn't move, her eyes hardened. “That was an order.”
With obvious reluctance, they slowly made their way to the door. She waited until she heard the large hangar doors slide close behind them, before facing the woman again. The silence was heavy as they stared at each other.
“You've done well for yourself, Captain.” The dark eyes were intense as they raked over her. “Eighteen years flew by so quickly.”
Palmer's eyes narrowed. “I doubt you are here to talk about the past, Principal Hemheri. You are trespassing on my ship.”
A cold smirk formed on the alien's lips. “On that account I will say you are wrong.”
The captain refused to show any weakness even in the form of curiosity. “If you have nothing more to say, I'll have you released.” The silence following her subtle warning prompted her to turn away. As soon as the woman was off her ship and far away from them, the better for everyone.
“My daughters will undergo the Yram ritual in one week.” Palmer blinked. Except for the fact that she was surprised to find that the woman had children, she had no idea why she was privy to such information. “Both parents should be present for that.”
Palmer turned to face the scowling alien, her confusion evident “I'm sorry but I don't know why you're telling me this?”
The dark eyes churned with anger, causing the golden flecks to spark. The alien took the bars in both hands and effortlessly bended them, allowing her to step through her obviously inadequate prison. Palmer stiffened when the dark woman came to a stop before, towering over her.
“You knew chanting the Losem while copulating could result in the production of offspring. Now do your part for your daughters and be there when they are initiated as warriors.” A deadly light shone in the dark eyes. “You will regret it if you embarrass them by not showing up.”
In a small burst of crystal dust, the alien was gone, leaving Palmer to stare sightlessly at the place the alien stood a few seconds ago. Memories long buried filtered to the surface and Palmer's eyes slammed shut.
“What have I done?”
As if from a distance, she heard the door to the hangar slide open and the sound of running footsteps.
“Captain? Are you okay, Captain?”
The voice of her security chief finally registered and with a visible shake of the head, she brought herself out of the daze.
“The computer notified us that the intruder had left. Who was it?”
“Principal Hemheri,” she said quietly and watched her security chief turn a deathly pale colour.
“The Pharmac leader? This…this is not good, Captain”
“I know.” She touched her comm badge. “Captain to Commander Rice.”
“Go ahead, Captain.”
“Set course for Terran immediately.” She met the startled eyes of her security chief. “Not now, Commander, I urgently need to meet with the Council.” She briskly walked away, her brain still scrambled by what just happened.
If they turn around now, they would reach Terran in two days. She hoped it was enough time for her to get this problem sorted out.
After a night of tossing and turning, Palmer woke the next morning tired and irritable. She was sipping on a cup of coffee while looking out of her window at the blurring stars as her ship cleaved through space. She looked at the chronometer, she still had half an hour before she had to report for duty.
Her door chime sounded and frowning she walked over to answer it. Looking uncomfortable, but also very determined was her security chief, Mara Stein. “What brings you here at this hour, Commander? I thought that with your wife recently giving birth you'd try to get as much shut eye as possible on your day off.”
The woman nodded curtly. “Good morning, Captain. I apologise for intruding on your time, but I had to talk to you.”
Had it been anyone else barging in on her like this, Palmer would have had them thrown in the brig in the blink of an eye. Mara, however, was family now that she was married to Palmer's younger sister and the ship's pilot. With a sigh, she stepped back, inviting the woman in. Palmer poured herself another cup of coffee.
“You want some, Commander?”
“No thank you, Captain. My wife's monitoring my caffeine intake since I'm assisting her with breastfeeding.”
Palmer cringed inwardly at the news, but kept her features schooled. “How's my nephew?”
It was as if a light had been switched on the woman's eyes, causing the dark green irises to glow. “He's growing bigger every day and he's draining my poor wife at an alarming rate. I'm up most of the night making sure both Taffy and myself are properly hydrated.” As if realizing she was gushing, Mara blushed. “He's doing well, Captain.”
“No need for that, Mara. It is …” Palmer swallowed. “…was a personal choice not to have children. I love your enthusiasm when you talk about Joshua.”
Mara cocked her head to the side. “Have you changed your mind about having children?”
Palmer exhaled noisily as she stared into the liquid darkness of her coffee. “The choice was taken from me many years ago, it seems.”
“I don't know what you're saying, Captain, but I believe you will tell me when you feel I need to know,” Mara said earnestly.
The Captain looked at her security chief and smiled. In the beginning she'd always wondered what her sister had seen in the shy, quiet woman. Whereas Taffy was supermodel gorgeous, Mara was short, stocky and ordinary looking. Since the couple's transfer to her ship, Palmer had gotten to known the woman better. Every meeting with the woman since then had left an indelible impact on Palmer. Mara was one of the few honest souls she'd ever met. The woman was dedicated to her job, but more so to her small family. She'd seen the normally stoic woman change radically when in the presence of her wife. Taffy was gregarious and Mara was introverted, but he security chief was an entirely different person when her wife was in the vicinity. Palmer liked Mara. In fact, she trusted the woman completely. She returned her attention to the quiet woman.
“Then what brings you here, Mara?”
“Why are we turning back, Palmer?” Mara asked directly. “Does it have anything to do with the Pharmac?”
Palmer took a sip of her coffee and grimace when she found it had gone cold. She placed the cup on the island of her small kitchen before she turned to Mara. “The Pharmac brought disturbing news which I have to bring under the attention of the Council.”
Mara blanched. “Are they planning an attack on Terran?”
“No, it's nothing like that,” Palmer said quickly. “It was something personal.”
“The Principal of the Pharmac brought you a personal message? I didn't even know that you two knew each other. Frankly, almost every alien in the universe would prefer not to be known by name to the Principal.”
Palmer looked off into the distance. She didn't know the woman that well. She'd concede that she knew more of the woman than the next person, but that was such a long time ago.
“We've met before, a very long time ago, but haven't been in contact since.”
Mara moved closer, her green eyes sharp as they studied Palmer. “If you want to talk you know where to find me. It's almost time for your shift. You could come for dinner tonight, if you have nothing else going on.”
Palmer smiled. “Thank you. I haven't been to see Joshua in a long time.”
“Three days, Captain, you haven't seen him in three days.”
“Well, that's probably a lifetime in baby years.”
Mara smiled and left.
Palmer was aware of the questioning gazes of her First shift members as she strode onto the bridge, moving directly to her chair. Her Frist Officer approached her and she gave him a cool glare. She had an idea what he wanted to talk to her about.
“Permission to speak, Captain.”
The man held her gaze. “The lower decks are rife with rumours about why we are turning back. I'm not sure if we should leave those rumours unattended.”
He was right of course, but Palmer was in no mood to be accommodating. “It depends what they are gossiping about, Commander. If we're going to react to every shard of gossip coming from the lower decks, we will have very little time left to command this ship.” She saw a flash of embarrassment on the man's face and she quickly came to her feet. “Shall we continue this in my Day Room?”
The man nodded, As soon as the door slid close behind them the First Officer cocked his head. “You seem distracted, Captain. Would you rather I handle this issue on my own?”
“What are they gossiping about, Jason?” Palmer said with a heavy sigh as she walked over the replicator to get herself a cup of coffee.
“The common believe is that the Pharmac are planning on attacking Terran.”
“They won't be the first to think that,” she offered dryly. “Tell them whatever, but I would not have them return to earth and cause massive hysteria with their war talk.” She booted her desk reader, but looked up quickly when the Commander still stood before her desk. “Was there anything else?”
“Are we in danger, Captain? We all know that the Pharmac only venture this far out when they have to issue a warning of some sort.”
“I assure you, Commander, that we are not in any danger,” she said firmly. “But I have to meet with the Council on an urgent private matter. I sent a missive last night and as soon as we reach Port Heverenson in Scandinavia , I will teleport to HQ. I trust you will hold the ship for me. You can draw up a shore leave roster in the meantime. The crew could do with some downtime.”
Jason nodded. “I will get to it immediately.”
Alone again, she punched in her code and ran through the message log to see if there was a reply from the Council. Her heart stuttered when she saw the Council's logo. She took a deep breath before she opened the message.
Your request for an urgent meeting upon your return could unfortunately not be granted. Regretfully two of the Council members are currently touring the planets with a diplomatic envoy from Planet Fedora.
Considering the emergency we can however accommodate you through a visual transmission conference. If you choose to accept, it will take a few minutes to set up and we could hold the meeting as soon as 2000 hours tonight.
Please inform us about your decision so we can make the necessary arrangements.
Lieutenant Herta Jules
Palmer didn't know if she should cry or jump in elation. Last night when she'd sent the missive, she wasn't completely sure if she could stand before the Council and let them in on what had happened eighteen years ago. Talking to them over a screen was just as bad, but it gave her a modicum of security that she could go through with it. She quickly typed up her message accepting the alternative and send it. As soon as she was done, she left her Day Room and settled back in her command chair on the bridge.
“Captain, we are being hailed. It's the Helios.”
She frowned when she saw the face of her nemesis. Gudrun Alstad was her closest competitor at the Academy and also one of the most frustrating women she'd ever met. The Nordic beauty was very ambitious and had her eyes on the Concorde, the flagship of the Academy's fleet and currently under Palmer's command.
“Captain Middleton,” the woman said by way of greeting.
“Captain Alstad,” Palmer returned in a very professional tone.
“We didn't expect you back for another four months.” The woman's sharp eyes studied her closely.
“I know, Captain, but we had an urgent matter to discuss with the Council. If I may ask, why is the Helios stationed in this part of space?”
The Helios captain's face hardened. “We have reason to believe that the bio-signature of a Pharmac has been picked up on our radar. Have you encountered one?”
“Yes, it was the Principal.”
The other woman blinked. “The Principal? She rarely, if ever, ventures from their planet.”
“She came to see me and bring a message. I don't anticipate any trouble from her though and I'm sure that after my meeting with the Council, they will disperse any fears that the Principal's visit might have caused.”
Palmer could see that the woman wanted to press for more information, but Gudrun was the last person Palmer would trust with something like this. Gudrun would surely try and find any way possible to use the information to discredit Palmer. The Concorde was at stake and Gudrun would do anything to take over the command of the legendary exploratory vessel.
“Would you like for me to inform the Port Heverenson of your impending arrival, Captain?”
Palmer smiled thinly. “We've already checked in with them. They're expecting us to dock by noon tomorrow. Thank you for offering, Captain Alstad.”
“Don't mention it. Helios out.”
Palmer turned to face her crew and saw then all trying to look busy so as not to let her know they'd been following the conversation closely. She'd been on many deep space expeditions with them and she probably owed it to them to tell them. She got out of her chair and paced the length of the space between her chair and the helm.
“What I am about to tell you I trust will not leave the bridge until I've consulted with the Council?” She waited until she'd heard the ‘aye captain' from each and every one of them. “The Principal came to inform me that her daughters would be taking part in an initiation ritual in five days. “ She took a deep breath. “It's expected that both parents be present during the ceremony.” She turned her gaze on her sister, who was watching her closely. “I'm the other parent.”
The bridge was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Taffy's mouth was open in shock as she gaped at Palmer.
“You have children?” she asked.
Palmer looked away from her sibling and took in the expressions of the other crew members. Had the situation not been so dire, she would've laughed or at least smiled at their dumbfounded expressions.
“It seems to be the case.”
“But…but how? I fail to understand how you couldn't have known? And even with the deadliest woman in the whole universe?”
Palmer sunk into her chair, ignoring Taffy's barrage of questions. “I understand there are many questions, but until I've spoken with the Council this is all I'm willing to share for the time being.”
Taffy had that stubborn look on her face that said she didn't want to leave things there, but Palmer gave her a cold look. She was still Taffy's Commanding Officer and she wanted the younger woman to remember that. For the rest of the day Palmer was subjected to inquisitive looks from her crew that she pointedly ignored, going through the day as if she didn't just drop her bomb on the bridge a few hours earlier.
She retired to her Day Room a few minutes before her shift ended to see if the Council had responded. They did.
The meeting is set for 2000 hours tonight. All six council members confirmed their attendance.
Palmer glanced at the chronometer. It was still three hours away. She could use the time to update her logs and review the monthly departmental reviews. She grimaced when the chime to her door sounded.
She wasn't surprise to see the lanky form of her sister strode in. The tall blonde came to stand at the desk.
“Do you have a minute, Captain?” Taffy inquired formally.
“At ease, Lieutenant. Sit.” Palmer waited until Taffy was seated. “Why can't you just leave it for now?”
Noticing that her sister had dropped her captain persona, Taffy leaned closer. “What would you do if your sister, who doesn't want any children, tells you out of the blue that she was a mother?”
Palmer sighed. “I didn't know either, Taff. I wouldn't have known if she hadn't told me.”
Blue eyes wide, Taffy shook her head. “But how did you not know?”
“It happened a long time ago. And we haven't seen each other since then.”
“How long ago?”
Palmer rubbed over her eyes, for the umpteenth time in the space of twenty-four hours, she was taken back to that night.
“I'll tell you everything.”
Eighteen years prior…
The liquid was strong and burnt a fiery path down her throat. Not wanting to lose the bet, Palmer closed her eyes tightly, trying to ignore the burning sensation. There were forty hindran on the spell and for a poor space cadet that was a small fortune. She finally drained the glass and slowly put it on the counter. When she opened her eyes, it was to find her friends staring at her with open admiration. She was immediately overwhelmed with congratulatory slaps on the back.
“I can't believe you actually did it. I mean everyone in the bar were quiet as they watched you down the drink,” Helen Goosen, her closest friend and training partner, slurred. The redhead shook her head slowly. “You're either very brave or just plain stupid. That stuff is unbelievably powerful?”
“I'm neither, my friend. Now pay up. The night's still young and we only have this night of shore leave before its back to the training camp.”
Grumbling under their breath, the other four cadets reached into their pockets to retrieve ten hindran each. The bar suddenly felt quiet and looking up, Palmer saw a tall, dark headed figure make its way over to their corner of the bar. She moved with the lazy lithe stride of a cat, her dark head held high. With every step bringing her closer to them, Palmer was enthralled by the good looks of the person. It was only when the figure was a few feet away from them that she realized it was a woman.
“I couldn't help but witness your impressive achievement. The vlernis here is of the strongest in the universe.”
Palmer simply couldn't drag her eyes away from the dark gaze of the smiling woman. She felt a soft kick on her shin which quickly shook her out of the spell she was under.
“My name is Hem.”
“Palmer. Palmer Middleton,” she murmured as she held out her hand to the taller woman.
“It's a pleasure to meet you, Palmer Middleton.” There was flash of bright white teeth as the dark woman smiled at her from her great height. “I wanted to offer to buy you a drink, but after your impressive display, I'm not sure if you'd want another.”
Somehow Palmer knew that if she turned down the offer, the woman would leave. She didn't want that, especially not when the mere nearness of the woman made her nerve endings tingle pleasantly.
“If you like we could take a short walk for me to clear my head a little,” she said hesitantly, praying the woman would accept her invitation. As she looked on the woman's eyes brightened and Palmer was rewarded with a bright toothy grin.
“I would like that very much,” Hem said as she placed her glass on the bar counter. She held out her hand to Palmer. “It is a nice night out.”
Palmer couldn't believe when last she'd ever had such fun in the presence of another. Her academy friends were fun to go out with and get drunk, but she'd never found her mind so stimulated by another being.
Hem was frighteningly intelligent. As they walked they came across many alien species and Palmer was completely floored by the woman's knowledge of each of them. However, she was aware that the woman didn't talk much about her own race except for where their planet was located. Another interesting fact she also picked up was that almost every one of the aliens they came across either gave Hem a wide berth or a curt nod of acknowledgement before they briskly continued.
“You've told me almost all there is to know of the other species in the galaxy. What I don't know is anything about you?”
A crooked smile came over the beautiful face. “You mean you're not more interested in knowing that the Hispalat urinate on their offspring believing that it would make them invincible?”
Palmer blinked at the woman. “They do?”
“Yes, they do. I've witness it a time or two. As disturbing as it was to see, I was most intrigued by the richness of the culture this ritual displayed.”
Palmer stared up at the tall woman, taking in the dark eyes, bright white teeth and windblown dark hair. Something stirred in her as she held spellbound by the dark eyes. Hem was by far the most beautiful creature she'd ever laid eyes on. As if not part of her, Palmer watched as her hand lifted and her palm gently cupped the woman's cheek.
“Is everyone of your race as beautiful as you?”
The dark eyes flared with an unnamed emotion before Hem leaned into the caress. “I don't know. Do you think me beautiful?”
Her fingertips moved to the tall woman's lips, touching them lightly. “I do. I think you're breathtakingly beautiful.”
“Thank you. I think you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen too,” Hem murmured, her eyes watching Palmer intently. “I would like to kiss you.”
“I don't see anyone here stopping you.”
The dark head lowered and Palmer closed her eyes as soft lips brushed over hers. The kiss was light, but left her lips tingling. When she opened her eyes, the dark eyes were very close, the golden flecks lighting up their dark depths.
“I want more, Palmer, but I'm not sure.”
“Sure? What is there to be sure about?”
“You don't know me. I don't want you to regret this.”
“I am leaving in the morning and I'm not sure if I will see you again.” Palmer felt her knees buckle slightly and she wondered if it was from the alcohol or the intoxicating nearness of the woman. “I want this…you…if you want it too.”
Hem took a step back, her eyes guarded. “I might want more, Palmer,” she muttered, a slight edge to her voice. “I'm not sure one night with you with you will be enough for me.”
Disappointed, Palmer nodded. “I understand. I had no right asking that of you.” She swallowed as she pushed her hands through her hair. “Maybe we should go back to the bar.”
The tall woman didn't move. They stared at each other for a long moment. It was as if they made up their minds in that short spell because they moved as one, their lips crashing against each other's. Hem effortlessly lifted Palmer off her feet, so she had better access to her mouth and neck as she rained warm kisses on Palmer's face.
Palmer didn't know how long they stood there kissing each other, but Hem suddenly pulled back and cradled Palmer against her wide chest.
“I can't let you go, Palmer, but I have to.”
“Not for few hours, Hem. You can let me go then.”
The dark eyes stared into her unblinking for a moment, before Hem nodded. “Where do you want to go?”
“Wherever you want to take me,” Palmer said, her eyes holding that of Hem. “I will be safe anyplace as long as you're with me.”
A brilliant smile lit up Hem's dark face as she pressed her face into Palmer's neck, planting a soft kiss there. “I will defend you with my last breath.”
“I like the sound of that,” Palmer teased as she tangled her hair in the short midnight black strands.
Hem chuckled. “Hold on. My accommodation is not far from here.”
With breath taking speed, the tall woman came into motion. Palmer bit back a startled yelp as she threw her arms around the woman's neck and hold on. Everything around her became a blur as Hem's long legs goggled up the earth. They came to an abrupt stop and Palmer realizing that she had closed her eyes, opened them slowly. She blinked as she took in the area around her. This part of the moon base was off limits for almost everyone except a selected few. She leaned back so she could look into Hem's eyes.
“Do you live here?”
“I have accommodations here, yes. But I rarely come here unless I have to.”
Palmer looked at the large palace-like structure. Hem didn't answer her question. She looked back at the woman.
“Please put me down,” she said quietly.
Hem stared at her long and hard before she carefully set Palmer on her feet. “Is there a problem?”
“You're not being honest with me, Hem. This…” Palmer threw her hands wide including the large structure. “…this is unexpected.”
The dark eyes were guarded again. “I though you said you'd be safe with me anywhere in the galaxy.”
Palmer closed her eyes. “I know what I said, but that was before I knew about this. Who are you, Hem?” Her eyes opened and she fixed an intense look on the woman.
“I'm Hem, your friend and hopefully soon-to-be-lover,” Hem said in an exasperated tone.
Hiding a smile at the woman's obvious impatience, Palmer turned away. This was her second visit to the Moon base and every time they'd docked they were reminded not to wander into the very same zone she found herself in. There were rumours of a group of rowdy drunks who disregarded the reminder and breached the zone. Their bodies were discovered the same night piled on top of each other, every bone in their bodies' pulverized. She turned back to Hem.
“Will I not cause trouble being here?”
“No, I brought you here.”
Palmer took a deep breath. “Please tell me who you are?”
“I'm a servant of the people, Palmer. I was born to serve and protect.” Hem looked at the structure not meeting her eyes.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Palmer took the woman's hand. “I take it you're some kind of a bodyguard then.”
The dark eyes were unreadable when they met hers. “You can say that. Is it a problem?”
“Not at all, beautiful,” she said softly, hoping to restore the connection they'd shared earlier. When Hem grinned, Palmer brought the hand she held to her lips. “Now take me somewhere private, will you.”
“As you wish,” Hem said and led Palmer to the large front door. As they came closer, several dark shapes stepped out from nowhere. Hem barked something in a strange, guttural language and the shapes disappeared again. The door swung open and Hem gently ushered her inside.
Palmer didn't have a chance to take it in the space around her, for Hem rushed her down a corridor and into a small room. The room was plain. The only furniture in was a large bed, a desk and chair and a replicator. When her gaze returned to Hem after having scanned the room, she found the woman looking at her with an unreadable expression in her eyes.
“Are you having second thoughts?”
Smiling, Palmer shook her head. “No, I'm not. But I might very soon if you're just going to stand there.”
Hem quickly pulled her into her arms and into the most delicious kiss Palmer ever had. When they broke off the kiss, Palmer still had her eyes closed.
“Where did you learn to kiss like that?” Her eyes opened and she looked up into Hem's flustered face. “I've never been kissed like that before.”
Hem grinned.” I should hope so.”
“Are there more where that one came from?”
“I've more than that. Let me show you.”
A few hours later, Palmer rolled onto her side, her heart hammering in her chest and her body still shaking after the nerve numbing orgasms she'd just experienced. She felt a kiss being placed on her shoulder and she sighed deeply. The woman was an animal in bed. Palmer's hand moved behind her and she grinned when she touched a soft satiny hip.
“More?” Hem asked and Palmer chuckled.
“If I have any more I'm sure it'll fry my circuits. But I don't think you came the last time.”
“Are you offering to take care of me?” The question sounded flirty, but Palmer could almost swear there was a deeper meaning to the words. She rolled onto her back and looked up at the dark woman. Hem's eyes were guarded. Palmer decided against questioning Hem, which was her intention and instead lightened the mood.
“You took such good care of me. You deserve the same, if not better.” Her hand moved down the muscled forearm and brushed over Hem's nipple. “Will you allow me to make you feel good?”
A bright smile lit up Hem's dark face. “You can do with me what you want.”
“You're lucky I'm not a man. I would've taken that as an invitation to impregnate you,” Palmer leaned closer and kissed Hem.
“My race is an all-female specie.”
Palmer blinked. “I didn't know that.” She cocked her head. “How do you reproduce?”
Hem pushed her fingers through Palmer's sweaty locks. “It is rather complex. Do you really want to hear about that now?”
Palmer pressed closer to the alien woman. “I want to know as much as I can about the people I sleep with. Tell me.”
Hem pursed her lips, as she skewered Palmer with a sharp look. “How many have you slept with? You don't seem old enough to have had many lovers.”
As an answer, Palmer's hand went lower. Her fingers delved into the soft moist lips until she found the swollen nub. “I've had enough lovers to know what to do when I find myself in bed with a gorgeous woman. Now tell me.” She gently milked Hem's clit as she held the woman's smouldering gaze. “I'm waiting.”
Hem cleared her throat softly. “To be able to reproduce, a couple has to wait until the seven moons of Pharmac are aligned. This occurs only once a year. We entreat our Moon and Fertility Being, Mistral, by reciting a chant. Every Pharmac is born with five semi-fertilised eggs. The ritual unlocks the egg and completes the fertilization process. Energy flows between the pair and settles in the womb of the strongest and fittest, sometimes the one who feels the most emotion at that particular moment is chosen to carry the fertilised egg.”
Palmer stopped her ministrations at hearing that and Hem let out a sound of disappointment. “Are you telling me that none of the partners know which will be impregnated?”
“No, they don't. In some cases it has happened that both partners were impregnated at the same time.”
“That is very interesting.” A soft sound from Hem, made her grin at the dark woman. “What?”
“Please,” Hem pushed her hips into Palmer's touch. “Continue.”
Palmer twirled her fingertip around Hem's clit before dipping it into the warm opening of her lover. Hem's hips shot up as she threw her head back. “Tell me about the chant. Can you show me how it goes?”
Hem blinked suddenly and pulled away from Palmer. The dark eyes were wary as they studied her. “We might not be on our planet, but it has been known that some have conceived by doing the chant even when in another quadrant. Maybe I should not tell you.”
Palmer pulled the woman closer and kissed her. “Why? I'm planning on becoming a Starship captain one day and my aim is to know everything there is about all the species that inhabits the galaxy. I would really like to know.”
The alien reluctantly moved into Palmer's arms. “I don't think this is a good idea. I have no idea what the cosmic alignment is on our planet.”
“I'm human, Hem. How I see it is I need to be of your species to make a baby with you. Am I wrong?”
“There are no known cases of inter-specie reproductions.” Hem sighed deeply and seemingly having made up her mind, she reached down, grabbed Palmer's hand and placed it on her sex. “The chant is accompanied by physical closeness. Repeat the words after me.” Hem gave her an intense stare. “Don't stop using your hand on me.”
“An army of flesh-eating Juilkler won't stop me from making you scream my name.”
Taffy's eyes were wide as she sat quietly, just staring at Palmer for a long moment. The blonde suddenly jumped to her feet, causing Palmer to jerk in surprise.
“Holy cow, Sis! What were the two of you thinking?” Taffy grabbed her head. “You are both to blame for this. What you did was very irresponsible.”
Palmer blushed at being scolded by her baby sister. In hindsight, Taffy was right. They were both to blame for this, her more than Hem. She should have known when to stop and not have coerced Hem into teaching her the chant.
“I know,” she groaned out. She glanced at the chronometer; her meeting with the Council was slowly creeping closer. If it was this difficult to tell her own sister and judging from Taffy's reaction, she wondered how the Council would take the news.
“What happened afterwards?”
“I don't know. I blacked out and the next morning when I woke up she wasn't in bed with me. I left immediately.”
Taffy bit her lower lip. “Have you ever thought about her after that? Tried to contact her?”
Palmer snorted as she walked over to the replicator to get another cup of coffee. “As soon as we reached the training camp the same day, I found out who and what Hem was. I told no one about it. I returned to our ship early enough that morning and convinced everyone that I had come in the previous night.”
“I would've loved to have met her. It would be interesting to see this legend that makes the galaxy quake in their boots.” Taffy smiled as she replicated herself a juice. “Telling me about her, you made her seen so human and sweet. I refuse to believe that this woman is not locked inside that deadly exterior.”
Palmer pierced her sister with a cold stare. “Stay away from her, Taff. I'm serious. That woman is dangerous.”
“Can you sit there and tell me that you believe everything that is said about her. You slept with her and she was kind to you.”
Swallowing, Palmer closed her eyes. “That was eighteen years ago, Taff. A lot can happen in eighteen years. People change.” She opened her eyes. “Hem changed.”
“But you said earlier that everyone knew about her when you arrived at the training camp. Could it be that even as dangerous as she was, that she was still gentle with you? She could be the same person she was before she met you too. Think about that.”
Palmer didn't want to think about anything anymore. That was all she'd been doing since Hem crashed back into her life. She only wished to get this sorted out and move on with her life.
She shrugged. “I have a meeting with the Council in a few hours. Let me first get through it before I break my head on what to do.” She went to sit behind her desk. “Your wife invited me for dinner tonight, but the meeting came up. Please make an apology for me.”
Taffy walked around the desk and bent low to plant a kiss on her Palmer's crown. “You know you can talk to me, sis, any time. If you feel like company after the meeting just call me or come over. Okay?”
Palmer took her sister's hand and squeezed it. “Okay.”
“Good, because you'll need my help if you're going to have to tell Mom that she had granddaughters hidden somewhere in the galaxy.”
Letting out a pained groan, Palmer cringed at the thought. Her mother had been on her case about grandchildren. Palmer was sure her mother will be beside herself with joy at the news and then she would force Palmer to take her to see her grandbabies.
To be continued...
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