TTC: The Cygnus War, Part 5

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The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #5 (Men) By Earl S. Wynn

“She’s lucky they didn’t find the things sooner.” Izandra shifted on the barstool, taking a lazy sip of her drink. It was something non-alcoholic the bartender had called a “Wilson,” and it tasted like Irish coffee, but went down smoother, with half the bite. “Phee’s a nosey little pain in the butt, but she’s smart enough and just lucky enough not to get caught.” She swirled her drink with the tip of a finger, considering it carefully, as if Phoebe’s fate hung suspended somewhere in the depths of the thick brown mixture. “Well, most of the time.” Tessa managed a silent nod.

The officer’s mess was unusually quiet for twenty-one hundred; normally the pilots of Zeus and Hera squadrons were crowded around a couple of pushed-together tables this time of night, red-striped soberstims in hand, playing some heavy-handed drinking game with bottles of cheaply synthesized rotgut and vodka– it was fun to watch them, swilling entire bottles and pressing the 'stims against their necks, stumbling in the wave of clashing aftereffects and beating their chests as they tried to yell coherent words and failed miserably. Not that it mattered– Tessa wasn’t paying attention anyway; the place could have been full of howling drunks and she might never have noticed. Her thoughts were on the Cygnan rig she’d shot down earlier, and Izandra’s words kept echoing endlessly through her mind. There’s never just one. She couldn’t shake the bad feeling that particular thought left in its wake.

“What’s wrong?” Izandra set her drink down and calmly regarded Tessa through her aviators. “You look like you’re a million miles away.”

Glancing up and blinking with the withdrawal from worried reverie, Tessa pulled in a deep breath and shook her head. “Mmh. It’s nothing. Did you meet with the two new guys today, Izzy?”

“Davidson and Cordova?” Tessa nodded silently. Izandra turned back to her drink and paused, staring into its murky depths. “Yeah. I had a couple minutes with them before I went on the range.”

“How did that go?”

“They’re alright. Davidson’s a natural hand with the guns, and Cordova can fly a Blasterchild like hell with wings, but they’re both still pretty green.” Izandra stirred the Wilson again and pushed her glasses back up to the bridge of her nose. “Cordova’s a regs nut and hasn’t flown anything but a simulator in his entire life. He needs some serious one-on-one before we put him in any kind of hostile situation.”

Tessa nodded. “And Davidson?”

“One-on-one would be good for him too.” Izandra pursed her lips thoughtfully. “He’s got a handful of missions under his belt, but they were all cakewalks that could have been flown by a monkey. Typical Earthside duty, pushing Coralate scouter drones into artillery lines and leaving the real work for the warships. That kind of thing.”

Tessa looked down at the bar, staring at her own drink– a “Spudmeyer,” or at least that what was the name that the bartender had given it. It was rough, but she’d grown fond of them in the last few months; in truth, it really wasn’t much more than strong coffee mixed with a dash of tabasco and a shot of vodka supposedly thrown in for flavoring. The drink had just enough booze to get you buzzing, but not enough to require a soberstim if all hell suddenly broke loose. “Sounds like Virek is really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days.”

“Maybe, but I wouldn’t discount these guys Tessa.” Izandra scooped up her drink and took a gulp, fighting back the traces of a grimace. “They’ve got potential and they score well on the RRH bar of exams. We both know that those are the kind of things that really matter.”

Tessa managed a bitter-sounding laugh. “It won’t be worth anything if they can’t keep from getting themselves killed.”

“Can we talk about something else?” Izandra plunked the Wilson against the bar and shifted in her seat again, turning to face Tessa and fixing her with a meaningful look. “They call it ‘off-duty’ for a reason, you know.”

Tessa smiled. “Render unto Virek what is Virek’s...?”

“It’s Ceasar, but yeah, something like that.”

“Sure.” Tessa picked up the Spudmeyer and took a slow, casual sip. “What do you want to talk about?”

“I dunno,” Izandra shrugged, ignoring her own drink. “Anything but the war.”

“Your brother call you yet?”

Izzy rolled her eyes. “Okay, anything but the war or my family.

Tessa swirled her drink absently. “Must have been bad.”

“Yeah.” Izandra paused, fishing the crucifix out of her uniform and turning it over once in the palm of her hand before she continued. “I told him about us.”

Tessa laughed wryly. “What did he say?”

“Basically?” Izandra let the crucifix drop back against her chest and stared accusingly at her drink. “That I was a disgrace in the eyes of God and not worthy of the family name. Oh, and that he was really disappointed in me for choosing to live a life of war and forbidden passion that will ultimately lead to my spending an eternity roasting in the flames of hell, etcetera.”

“Ouch.” Tessa set her drink back on the bar and stared silently at it for a moment. “That’s one hell of a mouthful.” Her brow crinkled slightly, and she turned back to Izandra. “Forbidden passion? I thought the Pope freed things up in regards to that about forty or fifty years ago.”

“Yeah, he did, but it doesn’t matter.” She was staring at her drink again, her face dark and frustrated. “The family’s just... so old fashioned. John Paul II might as well still be in office, for all the papal changes they’re willing to accept.”

“I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing for you to apologize for, Tessa.” Izzy gave a dismissive wave. “My parents just want grandkids so bad they can taste it, and my brother’s taken an oath of celibacy, so I’m their last hope.”

“Well, it’s not like you’re a lesbian or anything.”

“Even if I was, it shouldn’t matter.” Izandra sat upright, scooping up the drink again. “Fact is, I still like men,” she smiled lovingly at Tessa, “I just like you better.”

Tessa grinned back. “Thank God for that!”

Izzy couldn’t help but laugh. “Poetic Tess, real poetic.”

Glancing once at her watch, a little silver number on a smooth strap of black leather, Izzy took another slow sip of the Wilson. “Y’know, we’ve probably got a while before Phee shows up, if she shows up, considering how long Hilleboe’s ass chewings and Virek’s speeches tend to last...” she trailed off, leaving a seductive note hanging between them. The mind was always capable of conjuring its own images in pauses like that, things that were incredibly arousing and easily beat anything she might have said, hands down. Tessa’s imagination had always been spectacular– her grin widened, and Izzy’s matched it.

“My place or yours?” Tessa joked, voice already dropping in volume.

“Yours, of course.” Izandra abandoned her drink to the bar and leaned in close. “Mine’s probably dusty and full of spider webs.” It sounded so sultry coming out of her mouth, so wonderfully dirty.

Tessa’s grin became an absent, lost smile. “Hilleboe would... really have a hemorrhage... if he found out... about... about your quarters...”

Her lips quivered; Izzy was so close now that she could smell the woman’s sweet, honeysuckle scent mingling with the acrid tang of the Wilson on her breath. “Locked doors keep people like him out, Tessa.”

“I could use a pair of locked doors right now.” Tessa breathed, and felt Izzy’s quick breath brush her face in return. “And a bed.”

“Tess...” Izzy’s hand stroked her cheek. Something warm stirred within her, growing hungry, insatiable, needing. Her mouth worked soundlessly for a moment, fingers twitching anxiously, flexing against uniform fabric.

“Stop teasing me.” Tessa’s eyes fluttered excitedly, half-lidded. “Just... just shut up and kiss me already.” Izandra’s lips were so close now, the fire within her was burning out of control, their lips–

“Tessa! Izzy!” Phoebe came sprinting into the officer’s mess at full speed and tripped over a misplaced chair, hitting the deck with a screech and an echoing crash. Her appearance utterly shattered the moment, and the two women drew back from one another imperceptibly, hands returning to drinks, dazed eyes drifting toward the young lieutenant as she got to her feet and quickly pushed the chair aside.

Quickly unrolling her notepad ‘puter and holding it up, Phoebe grinned sheepishly. Blurry neon green text blinked back at Tessa and Izandra from its dark screen. “Hey! New orders direct from Virek!”
Full title: The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #5 (Men)

I am a sap. *laugh* Well, at least when it comes to this series. So I’m releasing #5 early, and #6 will be released in it’s place on this coming Wednesday. I’m gonna try to hold off on the early updates from now on, though, because I need a bit of a cushion in terms of episodes in case I have writers block or an accident or something in the future. Better safe than late! *laugh* Currently, I’m working simultaneously on episodes 8-10.

This is the fifth installment of TTC: The Cygnus War. You can find the previous episode here: [link] The next episode, “Dark Side of the Moon” is done and scheduled to be released first thing next Wednesday(August 16th, Pacific time.)
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langsam's avatar
sp: stems its

Must be pretty good if that's all I can find to complain about.