vulcan

Author’s Notes: This story is erotic fantasy written by Etaski. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this story, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Etaski 2010



This story is Star Trek fan fiction, written on request by a reader here on Literotica. Moreover, it is a Pon Farr story. If you don’t know what that is, not to worry, it’ll be explained.



There are no canon characters used in this story; all characters are original, though I researched canon information on the setting and alien physiology from various Star Trek wikis, particularly Memory Alpha.



A hardcore Trekkie may find something inconsistent with those details, but please bear in mind that this was written by a casual fan, for a casual fan, with the hope that others may enjoy it as well. Thank you.




****



Skaun felt the most profound lifting of stress in his life as he relaxed atop Madeleine. Gratitude soon followed and he kissed the back of her neck, noting how strong her scent was at the nape.



Her body was as hot as a Vulcan woman during Pon Farr but her skin was much moister and incredibly soft, delicate even. Even through the fever, he held some fascination in touching her skin. Her breasts were plump and womanly, as were her hips and buttocks; more so than he was used to, perhaps, but on this small human woman, it seemed to suit her.



He was concerned how much water this coupling had used up in her, though. Part of the reason he had taken so long to reach orgasm and had needed to thrust so hard was because she had produced an abundant amount of moisture in her birth canal; it had almost been too slippery. Even now the wetness coated their thighs and around their groins, quickly drying and becoming tacky, and more water was being lost through that soft, much more pervious skin as she sweated. He could detect a light sheen in the moonlight.



If this was normal sexual response for humans, then Earth indeed had an abundance of water.



When he felt and heard her cough softly, he asked, “Do you need your respirator?”



“In a minute,” she murmured quietly. “Although I ask, if you’re not going to focus, then please take your hand from me?”



Skaun realized she was right; he was still touching the skin beneath wet, curled hair between her legs, mainly because he knew it as the center of Vulcan female pleasure, but also because stroking it caused her birth canal to squeeze pleasurably around him and he thought she liked it. “Does it hurt?”



“No. You’re… stimulating me. But not enough.”



Of course. If, and then. She’d used the conditional logic. It implied in the same statement that if he did focus, then she wanted him to keep touching her. She would like release, too.



He was beginning to notice how indirectly Madeleine chose to communicate with him.



Though he was softening inside her, he stayed as he was and rested his chin on her shoulder again, closing his eyes and concentrating on her physical responses as he began touching her with focus this time.



She flinched at first, peeped, but did not try to extricate herself. Her body grew hotter and moister again, and she began making more sounds as he continued, which was a little distracting as he tried to listen to her breathing and heartbeat.



Finally, though, he came to the conclusion that her heartbeat was nothing like his, far too slow, and he couldn’t use it as a guide. Her breathing was also much quicker, and that was opposite, too. She was trembling in what he thought was a good way but wasn’t sure how he could help her find her orgasm if he didn’t know her physiology…



“Wait! Do that again!” she said loudly, finally recapturing his attention to the sounds she was making.



Do what again? He repeated the last gesture he remembered.



“Yes! That! Ohhhh!”



Vocal signals were the key part of her ritual? Very well.



Skaun learned that the more rapid and unsteady the breathing, the better, and the higher the moans and bird-like calls, also the better. The Vulcan began meditating on those sounds, letting his hand respond without analyzing it. She had saved his life; if this pleasured her in return, then it was good. Though his penis slipped out of her during this time, she didn’t seem to note it beyond a moment as his fingers answered her growing urgency.



“Oh, God….oh, God! Yes…press harder…”



When he did, Madeleine began making noises he’d never heard before from any creature.



Successive, short wails, almost “caws,” quickly rose in pitch until it was quite high. Then she shuddered, and shuddered again in near silence, muscles in her abdomen flexing rapidly over and over again as she exhaled on further successive moans, each one lowering in pitch.



It had only taken perhaps fifteen seconds from the time her voice had begun rising to its highest, the shuddering itself about four to five seconds; now she was relaxed. According to her signals, there didn’t seem to be a logical reason to keep pressing on her sex, so Skaun pulled his hand away and she sighed without protest, relaxing further.



“Thank you,” she breathed. Then coughed.



“And you as well.”



The Vulcan shifted off her and leaned back, still on his knees with his pants bunched around them, as he reached for his pack. He had five small containers of clean water, one three-quarters empty. It had been enough to provide him with five days water rations if he needed that much time. At least one container could be considered excess for him, and he was thinking that any excess water should go to Madeleine.



When he offered it, asked her to drink, she protested, shaking her head with a few more dry coughs.



“No, no, I have my own,” she said. “I don’t want to take yours.”



“Your physiology is not meant for extended exposure in a desert, Madeleine,” he answered. “I have more than I need, and you have just lost more than you can spare because of me. Drink it.”



She was quiet for a moment but took the container. “I’ll sip it. Input equals output for me. If I quaff it, I’ll just pass it out again sooner. But thank you.”



Skaun was interested at her highly informative answer despite himself—he knew his liquid waste was only about half of what he ingested, so that was different— but nodded in acceptance without asking more detail. And she did start sipping it in between coughs and using the respirator to ease her lungs.



He had one scrap of cloth that he could spare for them each to try and wipe off as much of the now-tacky lubricant as possible without using their drinking water for bathing. It wasn’t ideal, but not even the human woman suggested such a thing and just accepted the cloth he offered to dry wipe.



He caught her trying to look more closely at whatever was on the cloth without resorting to using her torch lamp.



“You are wondering how Vulcan semen differs from human semen?” he deducted.



“Huh? What?” She brought her head up again quickly and seemed uncomfortable. “Well…yeah.”



“I couldn’t tell you. Go ahead and use your lamp if you need to see,” he said, “just let it be quick. Light can attract some animals out here.”



She accepted the offer to satisfy her curiosity after she finished dressing. When she’d put the lamp away again after a handful of seconds studying the cloth, Skaun decided to ask.



“So what did you determine?”



He could see her smile, pale teeth gleaming dully under the moon. “More viscous, and it seems like you release it more in…globules, I guess. And there’s a pale blue tint to it.”



“That’s what I recall, yes. How does it compare?”



He was curious, truthfully; now that his head didn’t hurt so much and he was started to absorb his actions from a more rational view, he’d also begun having thoughts on what Madeleine thought of the experience. He saw most of those thoughts as superfluous, but he could have one answer before they refocused on their trek.



“Uh…I’m used to thinner, more watery, and either clear or white in color.”



“I see.”



After a pause, she said, “We should get going, right? You seem okay now.”



Skaun nodded, hesitated, then said, “It may take…more than once to alleviate Pon Farr completely, Madeleine.”



She nodded, her face seeming to darken in color for a moment before fading, which was bewildering. “Yes, you said that. It’s okay, I’m still willing.”



“I’m grateful.”



She blinked and actually looked surprised at his statement but said nothing as he watched her take a few more pills from her med kit. She offered without him asking that they were for sore muscles, to relieve stiffness. It was a good idea.



They gathered everything together, climbed back down the hillside, and returned to their path. Their progress seemed to pick up substantially, even with Madeleine’s poor night vision, and they both made good, efficient effort with their limitations. Conversation was sporadic and brief, mostly initiated by Madeleine when she seemed to need to fill the quiet with something, though most of the time they just had to conserve their breath for moving.



The short woman gamely kept up with his long stride by performing a plodding, almost relaxed jog, which seemed to put less strain on her overall than trying to walk very, very quickly. He, in return, let her know if something large was in her path over which she might trip.



Before the first sun was to rise, the horizon turned a deep red, heralding that their travel must end once again. He calculated that, while they had lost a lot of time early in the night, they were perhaps one more full cycle away from the city if they pushed a little farther into the day. He did not fail to notice that Madeleine’s footing grew more sure and her energy level even seemed to pick up as the red light spread across the sky and the first sun edged up over the horizon. She smiled at the sky a few times.



Perhaps it would not be difficult at all to push farther into the day; like the previous one, he would simply have to gauge when the heat became a true danger. The light itself was not a deterrent, so they kept going without having to vocalize the decision to do so.



He began thinking ahead to possible caves where they may be able to take shelter. There they would lie down; would he lie next to her or not? Perhaps…perhaps…



“HEY! I said, are you okay?” Madeleine asked loudly without her respirator, from in front of him and a little above.



Skaun blinked as he realized that he had lost the immediate past in his memory; the second, larger sun was already rising and he didn’t know where that time had gone.



“You were staring,” she said.



“At what was I staring?” he asked.



“My butt. Or my breasts. I climbed up first and turned around…you’d stopped. You were just standing. At first you didn’t hear me through the respirator.” She shifted her weight as if nervous. “Is it time again?”



Observation leading to a logical deduction. And still his mind drifted, and his middle began to tighten. The air was starting to heat up, and dust was picking up in the air as it started to shift with the temperature change.



“I reason so,” he said.



“No point in fighting it and getting lost again at this point only to waste more time, right?” she said.



Also reasonable.



“No. It is also getting hot.”



“Alright, then. Where?”



She readily gave him a very broad smile, and he stared back at her; he did not quite understand why she was smiling at him like that. Unless she felt…anticipation for another coupling with him?



Skaun looked around him and pinpointed a decent shelter he recalled, neither particularly shallow or deep, not far ahead. He pointed, “There.”



Madeleine was breathing a little more quickly than she had been during any other time of their travels today. Her face and her mood were significantly more friendly than they had been earlier in the night, when she did not understand their situation as well as she did now.



As they entered the small shelter, she turned unstrapped her respirator without hesitation, setting it, her helmet, and her gloves down on the ground with her small pack. She waited for him to set down his own pack too before she wrapped her arms around his middle in a show of affection that he at least did understand, even if that surprised him as well.



Her warmth and scent drifted upward, he felt her softness pressed against his chest, and his groin quickly responded. Willing, and not reluctantly so. It helped him relax and give in to Pon Farr more quickly and with less fear for what he would do to her.



However he still started like a high-strung tetanuck when she touched his sex first, and it sounded like she caught herself in a laugh.



“Sorry.”



“Not needed. It…did not hurt.”



“Could I…?” She began tugging at the fastening of his pants. “You undressed me first last night and I couldn’t see anything.”



Basic fairness didn’t provide him with a counterpoint, so he nodded and allowed it, one fist opening and closing a few times as the coming roar in his head began first as a hum, knowing it would grow. Trembling slightly, he otherwise held still as Madeleine exposed his organ to the air. Her eyes widened and her mouth opened a little.



Skaun glanced down at his normal, hairless self. His skin was much paler than Madeleine’s uniformly brown skin even though he had earned more sun-color as a runner than many Vulcans. His genitals usually had a faint green coloring to them and they were typically drawn in much closer to his body for protection. When he was almost fully erect, as he was now, his testicles dropped a bit more as well and the blood rushing to the area forced a much brighter, deeper green into the skin.



He did remember detecting a bright ruddy reddish color between Madeleine’s legs in the dark just before their first coupling when he’d sampled her readiness. It spoke of a fundamental difference in the functioning of their bodies, more than the amount of water or scent that passed through their skins.



“Are you disturbed?” he asked.



Madeleine shook her head, recovering from her stare. “No, no…we both breathe oxygen and I knew Vulcans had green blood because of the copper in it. Mine has iron…so I have red blood. My sex will be very red.” She looked up at him. “Does that thought disturb you?”



Skaun shook his head. “I have already seen it, and there is a logical reason for it.”



She paused before caressing her hand gently across him and he stiffened, sucking in air. The sensitivity had risen a great deal just in the last few minutes and that caress had made him see bright lights. The roaring got much louder in his head.



Now she did laugh softly. “Hm….may I taste it?”



“It?” he asked, no doubt with a bleary expression.



“Your…erection.”



He stared at her. “Why?”



“I take it oral pleasure isn’t common for you?”



“It’s not…unheard of, but…” He struggled to form words as she kept touching him. He couldn’t. He didn’t know how to describe that it took time, more than a taste, for enough saliva to form in Vulcan mouths to make it worthwhile; at least not in a way that would compare and contrast for her. He didn’t understand. He only knew that significant saliva did not even enter his mouth until he was already chewing on something edible (which was a disturbing thought here).



“So may I?” she asked again.



He just nodded, figuring if it was not comfortable he could just ask her to stop. She got down on one knee, barely of a height to line up her mouth with his groin. He tensed, not knowing what to expect.



In retrospect he wondered why he was so surprised that her mouth was immediately slick and so wet that it shocked him into a loud groan. Her birth canal was just as wet, if not more so. The natural lubrication in her mouth kept her actions very comfortable and stimulating as her reddish-pink lips and tongue slid effortlessly across his greenish flesh and one of her hands caressed his testicles.



“Guh…” he gurgled, his fingers finding their way into her short black hair as he touched her head gently. It was a uniquely enthralling sensation and he felt so much pleasure that he let her go on for some long minutes as blood rushed in his ears and the sounds in his head escalated.



Yet he was wary of coming to completion this way. The time it took for him to finish and how urgently he already knew he responded—determinedly clasping hard and pushing in deep, aware of nothing until he was finished ejaculating—he could easily block her air passage and suffocate her.



“Enough….Madeleine,” he choked out, stroking and patting her head. She reluctantly pulled that extraordinary orifice off of his erection and he caught his breath. “My th-thanks, but….it must be…in your birth canal…soon, please…”



She smiled up at him and nodded, standing up. He watched as she unbuttoned and removed her jacket, adding it to her things, then crossed her arms and peeled her shirt up and off.



He stared at her large breasts, noting in the admittedly better light of the early day that her nipples are as dark a ruddy-red as her sex. He hadn’t seen that very well last night either. She was right about the critical difference their blood made on the color of their skin in certain areas.



When she paused and arched her back, lifting her breasts in an offering gesture, he obliged her request, reached out to squeeze and stroke them, experimenting with the nipples and how they responded, tightening and becoming erect as he rubbed and pinched them. She made a few more of those vocal sounds that told him she enjoyed it.



Skaun was becoming too warm and so voluntarily removed his own shirt, and Madeleine touched his own nipples almost immediately, her smile broadening. He could guess why; they had the same dark greenish shade as his genitals. They both matched in their proper colors.



The human began opening her own pants, saying, “I don’t want to remove my boots—”



He nodded, glancing at his very tough, bare feet. Madeleine’s feet were probably as tender as her hands and eyes….and the rest of her skin. Traveling without the boots wasn’t an option for her and it was overall safer to keep them on in case she needed to move quickly.



“—but do you think we could do it facing each other somehow?”



Skaun considered that as well as he could with his raging distraction, thinking of the most efficient way he could mate with her while having her able to see his face. It was a reasonable request, he knew.



He quickly grabbed their shirts and laid them along the ground to provide a little padding. His hands shaking slightly, he took the woman’s arms and encouraged her to lie down on them, kneeling by her.



She leaned to kiss his lips and he answered, aware of hot lips and a wet tongue that flicked at him; he returned the kisses but didn’t use his tongue as much. Soon he started tugging urgently on her trousers and underpants, bringing them over very full curves and bunching them all the way down at her ankles this time. She moaned softly, now set on her back, as Skaun lifted to rest her heels on his shoulder. It raised her buttocks slightly off the ground and gave him access to her brightly colored sex.



Now at last in position, the roaring inside his head finally overwhelmed his control and he looked down, able to see and to press the head of his erection in exactly the correct spot this time.



He felt her give, open to him, and like the first time, he thrust in all at once. Madeleine cried out, then cooed as his next thrust was easier, having been slicked up a little more. Once again she grew very wet very quickly, and he had to thrust hard to overcome it and build toward his release.



He became accustomed to the feeling and he had no objection as he lost himself in the rutting.



****



Madeleine’s eyes were open as Skaun closed his; she wanted to watch his face as he fucked her so energetically. She had imagined him grimacing a lot last night, but saw now that his face was more slack than tight. He didn’t look relaxed so much that it was more he wasn’t wasting any energy on his expression; his mouth was even open a bit.

He was certainly putting all his focus in one place…



She was glad that he had liked the blowjob—he’d certainly been fairly dry at first and tasted different, but still musky—but she was not sure why he’d made her stop the way he did. She was glad they were facing each other now, even though she couldn’t really reach her clitoris to try to get off as well. Maybe afterward, like last time? It wasn’t like he could focus much on her at the moment anyway….



His long arms could easily reach her breasts and shoulders, and he alternated gripping and stroking her in various places, anywhere from her neck down to her hips. It did please her that he touched her in other places as he plunged in over and over; alien or not, he was appreciative of her female curves.



She enjoyed the moment for what it was, not really focused on herself coming but observing as much as she could now that she could actually see.



Skaun shifted her legs a bit higher at one point, folding her up a little more and thrusting in even more deeply. She could feel sore muscles stretching, edging toward protest, as the tip of his penis—which lacked any foreskin but not because he’d been circumcised—nudging persistently against her cervix. If he pushed much harder it would hurt.



The Vulcan could reach her face now as one hand gripped hard to her shoulder for leverage and the rough, dry fingers of the other stroked from her temple down to the skin of her cheek and beneath her jaw.



He did that three times, his thumb passing over her lips, and it felt astonishingly intimate; she rather wished he’d open his blue eyes to meet her dark ones. She herself could barely graze her fingers along any of the Vulcan’s skin except his long arms. She took hold of his hard forearm and squeezed, holding on to it.



As his hand fully cupped the side of her face, she began to hear a low, very low droning sound that was distracting and disconcerting. It was in the background but getting louder. Was it a shuttle passing overhead? An animal? A rock slide? What was it?



It slowly grew in volume, and as it did, Madeleine could feel her pussy heat up as if it had been set on fire. It sounded like someone yelling, echoing, and some crackling sensation started in her toes and fingers and spread inward, making her groan as it overtook her torso. It felt as though some kind of drug had been introduced to her system, and she was able to follow its progress as it diffused throughout tissue.



She thrashed and jerked involuntarily as the powerful effect grew, and she climaxed suddenly; she hadn’t been prepared for it and it slammed into her gut like a boxer had thrown an ecstatic punch: every bit as much pain as pleasure.



When it had settled—if not actually passed— she tried to look around her, she didn’t want to look at Skaun. But again she couldn’t see; it was dark.



How could it be dark already?? The suns had just risen!



She could still feel the Vulcan cycling in and out her but now it felt strange…she became less and less aware of being filled and more aware…of doing the filling. It felt so wonderful, was such a relief, her warm, sticky flesh was so soft and willing and the sensation was heightened with emotion, by deep gratitude to her and love for another who was not here but may be greatly affected by their act nonetheless.



Her breath caught as this washed through her mind repeatedly and her lungs started to itch deep down and she coughed once, twice. Immediately she saw an image in front of her eyes, one of an adolescent Vulcan boy whom she didn’t recognize, lying one a traditional pallet inside a simple hut. He looked thin and weakened, and when he coughed, bright green dots spotted his lips or the cloth that was held to his mouth. The hand that held the cloth was hers…



…or, not hers. His. Skaun’s hand held the cloth.



She squirmed or tried to, bewildered and more than a little frightened, with pleasure still washing over her like waves of cool water.



She saw herself working long hours in the lab, thinking and talking with colleagues, and writing. She felt anew her great excitement at the news of the research project she would be involved in; she would get to travel and see new places, observe and add to the collection of knowledge for the Federation of Planets. She did have resources.



They both still believed she could get Skaun that shuttle he needed.



At the reaffirmation, Madeleine felt a greater relaxation within herself, a giving in or giving over…and she was terrified at the power of the first contraction she felt, the way it swelled and inexorably overtook her, held her helpless. Oh God, it was so powerful, it felt so good, but was so slow even as her heartbeat seemed to triple her normal rate in her own ears.



No…not her heart. Skaun’s. She struggled for at least one independent thought but failed.



With the second and third crests, she didn’t know how long they lasted but everything, every thought and sight and smell blacked out for her except for those unearthly crests of sensation that she experienced right alongside him. She may have screamed, or moaned with each luscious wave, she wasn’t sure, but it felt too big for her to contain in silence.



The following swells began to run together and she stopped counting, barely catching her breath as she prepared for the next one. Something about it reminded her of stories she’d heard of childbirth or rollercoasters: *Hold on, breathe, hang in there, because here we go again…!*



She was lost.



She could barely move when she became semi-aware of the hot, dry air again, as Skaun gently unfolded her body to set her feet to the ground. She winced as the stiff muscles acquiesced only grudgingly. She was really, really wet between her legs…



“Madeleine? Please answer me.”



“Hm?” she asked, her eyes unable to focus on the fuzzy face above her.



“Tell me where you are.”



She turned her head slightly away from him, eyes looking around interestedly like an infant in a cradle. Then she looked back. “I’m in a cave. With my pants down.”



“Correct. And my name? What is it?”



It took a moment, but she answered, “Skaun.”



The young Vulcan nodded and started dabbing that dry scrap of cloth between her legs again, wiping up the worst of the moisture for her as she lay topless on her back. She vaguely wanted to protest him coddling her but really didn’t have the energy. She only wanted to sleep; it was time to sleep…



The Vulcan patiently tugged her panties and pants back into place and did them up for her. He didn’t make her get off their shirts upon which she still laid; he encouraged her onto her side and pressed his chest against her back, putting an arm around her in a bewildering but very comforting gesture.



“Go to sleep, Madeleine.”



****



The shallow cave was cooler and the shade of dusk the next time she opened her eyes, and she immediately started sobbing softly, tears leaking out of her eyes and her body shaking. It woke up the Vulcan but he was silent for a long time as she shook and sucked in air from time to time. She was still facing away from him and certainly didn’t want to roll over.



Skaun got up on his elbow, leaning over and she hid her face with her hands. “Madeleine?”



“What was that? What did you do?” she mumbled.



“What was what?”



“Why could I see your brother lying there, and why could I feel what it’s like for you to cum? And jeez, fuck, how do you stand it??” She uncovered her face and looked over her shoulder at him with a dirt-and-mud streaked face.



The Vulcan blinked and she could actually see the double-layer covering his eyes that she hadn’t noticed before. He was staring again and hadn’t seemed to hear her question. “Why does water flow from your eyes?”



“It…it…I don’t know! It’s how we express strong emotion, I guess!” she blurted, sniffing and wiping her nose, then crossing her bare breasts as she sat up stiffly. “And that’s sure as Hell what I felt. Now you answer me. I saw…S-Srill. His name is Srill, right? I felt your orgasm. Did you do a…a mind meld? Was that what it was?”



He sat up as well and shifted a little back from her, looking at the ground a few moments before looking back. “Yes. Telepathy through contact. I…it’s a normal occurrence during Pon Farr—”



“With other Vulcans, maybe!” she barked. “It didn’t happen to me the first time!”



“I was…holding back,” he said, now sounding a little unsure.



“And you didn’t hold back this last time?”



“You already know the answer to that question.”



“Okay, then why didn’t you hold back?” she demanded.



“You were…willing. You were smiling at me, holding me, and asked me to mate facing you. You…used your mouth on me unlike I’ve known any—”



She closed her eyes and shook her head, making a gesture with her hand that begged he stop talking.



God, he was right…she’d been looking forward to it, as though she had been looking at it much less a necessity and more like very welcome contact out in the wilderness. She had thought it would be a repeat of the first time, only a little more familiar and little more comfortable, because she’d done it once before.



It definitely hadn’t been that. It had been even more alien, and she almost felt pregnant by him regardless, having part of his memories and those intense feelings still inside her head.



“Could’ve warned me….” she whispered. “I had no idea it felt like that….”



“I am sorry, Madeleine. I have to claim complete ignorance on your reproduction. Yet I cannot change what’s already happened.”



She was quiet, not even sure what she was arguing about or what she wanted out of it. He said he was sorry. He was part of a race that could share thoughts and emotion beneath that cold, logical veneer they put up. It was “normal.”



Fine. She couldn’t do it with him again, though, no way she’d risk this raw exposure again. How far could he travel now before…?



A hint of urgency sprouted in her chest as she recalled the memory of Skaun’s brother as clearly as if it had been her own. Srill was still waiting for them. For him.



“We should go, shouldn’t we?” She echoed her earlier words in a tighter, controlled voice as she reached for their tops beneath her, handing him his to beat the dust out of it before putting it on while she did the same. “You feel better, right?”



“Yes. It may have passed, Madeleine, I may not need to mate again.”



“Frankly, I hope so.”



****



That same sense of urgency grew stronger as the second, more distant sun finally set and Madeleine found herself pushing much harder than she had the previous night. She still couldn’t see as well but Skaun held her arm over rough spots and chose easier paths even if they weren’t the most direct.



She wondered whether the urgency was something she was feeling through his touch or as a “leftover” from the sex, still planted in her skull, but regardless the urge to run, and keep running forever, was only relieved by maintaining as fast a pace as she could in the dark. In a way she really appreciated the focus and peace it gave her from her own thoughts and doubts.



Somehow she had a good understanding of just how much she was slowing Skaun down and in frustration she pushed harder and harder. She wasn’t trained for this the way he was, though, and the planet’s gravity still weighed her down more than her companion. Small jumps for him put extra strain on her ankles and knees and lower back. She’d finished her water before the night was a quarter done, and Skaun gave her another container of his.



They ate while walking and shared few words, saving their breath for climbing. She didn’t complain but knew she was still going through her water too quickly; her tongue constantly felt thick and tacky, she started to cough even through her respirator, and her feet and legs were not only hurting from the long hours but dehydration cramps were shooting up her muscles at the half-way point of the night.



From there they saw a diminishing rate as she started limping and her teeth were constantly gritted against pain.



At last Skaun took her shoulder and forced her to stop. “Thank you for everything you’ve done to help, Madeleine, but you’re no longer able to help as you are.”



A shock of fear spiked down her spine as she wondered what he meant by that? No longer able to help? Was he going to leave her out here? Was he going to…do something…?



An expression of surprise showed on his face and he let go of her shoulder as he said, “I won’t hurt you. I won’t leave you to die. I promise.”



“Okay, then…keeping talking,” she murmured, her heart still pounding as she shifted from foot to foot. God, they ached so much…



“We’re not far away, another few hours if I carry you on my back.”



“You’ve got to be joking.”



“Jokes are not very useful out here.”



“So you’re going to carry me instead.”



“You weigh only as much as my pack when full, Madeleine.”



That comparison sort of surprised her. Even though she did know Vulcans were stronger than humans, she hadn’t seen herself as only the same burden as a supply bag.



Great. That was going to stick with her for the rest of her life. Thank God her lab colleagues hadn’t heard that. She was out of water, though, and hurt so much, was so tired. Could he really handle it?



“Well…okay,” she agreed.



Skaun removed his pack and set it carefully on the ground, picking out certain items—particularly Srill’s medicine and the last bottle of water—to transfer to her own smaller bag, which she’d keep on her person. He was going to leave the rest of it here, but he removed two of the straps before he kneeled down to let her climb onto his back, and together they used them to lash her arms and legs about him so she had some leverage and relief against the strain on her limbs.



Madeleine felt a little dizzy as he stood up. So this was what it was like to be tall.



When Skaun started a long-loped gait, it took them working together so her less balanced weight wouldn’t work against him. Once she found the right angle and way to cling to him and he became accustomed to the feel of the woman on his back, their pace picked up again and Madeleine watched the moonscape with her eyes wide open as it passed rather quickly by her.



She felt and heard the deep, deep breaths Skaun was taking, felt his legs flexing and pushing against the ground to carry them over it. It was kind of like riding a horse, all that power bunching beneath you and somehow both pounding the earth jarringly hard while the scenery still glided smoothly past.



Skaun’s skin was hot against her, radiating as she held on, but the only reason it was growing humid between them was because of her. She really did leak water like a sieve….



For a few hours she said nothing, tried to think nothing, to ignore the pain of her body and only listen to Skaun’s body as he carried her. It was meditative. A few times she got sleepy but was shocked awake by the mental image of falling off the Vulcan’s back and cracking her head on a rock—helmet or no helmet, a fall would hurt—and more or less remained awake.



Skaun didn’t speak, and in fact his body moved so rhythmically in every way that she wondered whether he wasn’t meditating a little, too.



In those few hours, as he’d said, she saw city lights glowing just beyond a jagged line of hills and mountains, and she felt Skaun’s excitement in addition to her own. She made a happy sound that made no sense but the Vulcan patted her leg briefly as if saying, “I know.”



As always with long trips, that last ten or fifteen minutes dragged on as they got closer, as Skaun brought them closer. Eventually, though, they made it to the gate and the sunrise hadn’t yet begun.



It took little debate to convince those they met that Madeleine needed medical attention quickly.



****



Even while her human medic was setting up an IV drip to rehydrate her, Madeleine was demanding to see her research partner, Mr. Perette, and would someone please wake him up and bring him here? It was extremely important.



Skaun had been taken to another room to be checked out as well, and the wait seemed interminable as she was treated for the blisters on her feet, the pulled muscles and various scrapes from both the crash and the general trek, and from the sex.



Apparently she had a lot of deep tissue bruises in her abdomen that bewildered her medic at first. She kept her mouth shut until her partner arrived. There would be plenty of evidence for recent sexual activity in her exam, she knew, the medical staff weren’t stupid, but she wanted Skaun gone before then and not to get caught up in any red tape.



Tom Perette showed up looking groggy but dressed in his tawny brown jumpsuit, his sandy brown hair disheveled as if he hadn’t combed it.



“Maddy, don’t take this the wrong way, but what the Hell are you doing back so soon? What happened and why are you here?”



She urged him closer, keeping her voice low. “The shuttle went down before I got there. The Vulcan in the next room helped me get back here, but it was rough going. Now I really need you to help me with something. Skaun, that’s the Vulcan, has a sick brother he’s trying to get back to. As his reward for helping me, I want us to fund a shuttle to take him back.”



Tom stared at the intensity on her face, saw how tired she looked and could at least deduce the last few days had been hard ones. Maybe she was lucky to be alive.



“Well…alright, that shouldn’t be a problem. We do have some spare fuel ration in the grant. So when do you want to do this?”



“Now. Immediately. The longer he stays here, the greater the chance he won’t get the medicine there in time.”



“Gotcha.”



After a pause, she said with a touch of exasperation, “So go get him. He’s next door, he should be fine to leave. He’s not so banged up the way I am.”



Tom smiled jokingly at her, “Thy will be done, Shorty. So I take it the observation of the Time of Reflection is delayed?”



“Hell, yes. I’m in no shape to go there and watch a tribe of Vulcans for ten days. We’ll push it back to next year.”



“Check. Want someone to escort him?”



Madeleine shook her head. “More people means more weight, means higher cost to the shuttle and it’s unnecessary. I still have to justify the fuel use. Just make sure the pilot is someone who is coming right back here afterward so we know it was successful.”



“Okey-dokey.”



Tom left to go to the next room and she heard some soft talking, but not much. It seemed the medic was okay with letting Skaun leave because she heard two sets of feet walking out of the room before long.



Her chest squeezed, partly in fear, partly excitement, as she couldn’t decide whether she wanted Skaun to say good-bye or not. What would they even say to each other?



The Vulcan did pause outside her door but didn’t enter; they made eye contact with Tom watching. Skaun lifted his right hand and saluted her, palm forward with his fingers parted between the middle and ring finger, his thumb outstretched.



She felt a lump in her throat and swallowed against it. Tears welled up in her eyes and she mimicked the gesture with a nod.



“May your brother get well soon,” she said quietly.



Live long and prosper.



****



When the shuttle finally landed on an extremely small platform a quarter mile outside Skaun’s village, his elders were already there nearly clustering around him as he stepped off, eyes straining against the too-bright light of day.



The human pilot had given him a wave good-bye but said he’d remain there until the Vulcans stepped away and then he’d lift off and head back. It had only taken a few hours to get Skaun here; the suns were high and hot in the sky, but not even twelve hours ago he’d still been walking with Madeleine back to Ta’Ralor under moonlight. He was exhausted but still determined to carry his task to the end.

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