The cockpit of the Wren was a dreary place. Big enough for two people to sit in it relatively comfortably, the space was more about accommodating the computers than it was about accommodating the humans. The areas that were not dominated by huge monitors and their associated input devices, everything from old fashioned keyboards to interactive headsets, were taken up by two chairs. In theory, Jen and her First Mate David could pilot the freighter from here manually, no matter what went wrong. What Jen had discovered after a few years on these freighter runs was that there was absolutely no need for humans whatsoever.
All of the ships systems were automated. From the operations in engineering to the point-defense lasers that kept stray astral debris from damaging the ship's hull, everything worked itself. Most of the ship, in fact, was taken up by the cargo hold. The length of several dozen football fields, and one more field high, it was filled with hard vacuum and supplies. Without a vac suit and the proper equipment, it was impossible for a human to even enter the place. This left the rest of the ship, the relatively tiny living quarters up front, for the crew. What crew there was.
Over the years, engineers and other scientists had done the calculations and eventually determined that it required only two people to run the ship. One person in case of emergency, and another person to keep them sane. Jen knew, though, from accounts of accidents in deep space that the likelihood of her or David being able to keep the ship together in the event of a major accident was pretty slim. Most of the time, when something happened, the Wren could deal with it herself. Automatic repair druids, redundancies within redundancies built into the software, and a lot of smart engineering made the ship pretty impervious to most kinds of 'accidents'.
The ones that did happen, and did need human assistance, were probably too major to fix anyway. Maybe the hull would breach and depressurize the cabin. Then Jen and David, depending on where they were, would have all of a few minutes to find some vac suits and get into them before they were rendered unconscious. Once in the vac suits, they would need to repair the rupture, and hope to God that enough systems remained active that they could pilot the ship to safety. Otherwise, more likely, they would die a slow death weeks away from the nearest aid. Maybe some system would catch fire. Same thing, Jen or David would have to find some extinguishers and fight the fire before they succumbed to an environment filled with toxic fumes and possibly filled with quite hazardous radiation. The probability of survival in that case was, also, quite limited.
The list of possible problems went on and on, and the chances of surviving them were all equally bleak. Although Jen and David had been trained to deal with any sort of emergency, giving them the maximum chance of saving the multi-billion dollar piece of hardware, they both knew it probably wasn't enough.
"Whatcha up to?" David wandered into the cockpit, having found out from the computer that she was here.
"Monitoring our trajectory."
"Still the same?"
"Expect it to change?"
"I hate this."
"Ya..." Jen sighed and cracked her neck, rolling her head around to relieve the stiffness that came with staring at computer screens for too long.
"You wanna play chess?"
"Not really. I always beat you." Jen grinned mischievously as she looked back over her shoulder at David.
"Ya, ya I guess. I think I'm getting better, though."
"Like Hell you are. I beat you in twenty moves last time."
"You got lucky."
"Ha! Keep telling yourself that." Jen looked back at the computer monitor for a moment and then made a gesture and got rid of all the displays. They had been exactly the same for the past eight months, and would be exactly the same for the next two weeks before they reached their destination.
"This last little while is always the hardest." David shook his head as he plopped into a seat beside Jen.
"Ya, that and the return trip."
"At least we might be able to pick up some new entertainment vids from the people on the station." Although it was a simple matter to transmit such data across the vast interstellar void, the supplies which Jen and David were bringing could not be so easily brought to the remote observation and terraforming platforms among which Jen and David were currently doing a run. The average outer-rim station got the newest and best entertainments, on average, a week after they were released in the core Worlds. By contrast, it took two thirds of a year for supplies to go from Baree-ak Three, the closest core World, to terraforming platform Alpha, the closest out-rim station.
"Or some games." Jen grinned at the thought, though it was really just the idea of having something to do that made her smile. She and David were getting very bored of all the entertainment available on the ship.
"Ya, that would be nice too. A new partner might be good, though... mine keeps winning." Jen snickered as he said this, and then David turned his attention to something in his pocket. He removed a hard copy of a picture and proceeded to stick it to the statically charged surface of the nearest monitor.
"Hey, what's that?" Jen leaned over his shoulder to get a closer look.
"Well, I know how you like to be up here when we dock, so I thought I'd make the place a little homier for when we're gonna spend a coupla weeks just watching that terraformer get closer and closer and closer, inch by insignificant inch."
"Who is it?"
"My girlfriend." There was a bit of a wistful sigh in his voice as he said this, and Jen couldn't help but laugh.
"What's she think of these cargo runs of yours?"
"She hates them as much as I do... but she knows this is the last one. I'm gonna make enough cash from this to start up my own business back on Baree-ak Three. We've got this great old estate in mind, we're gonna buy it up and use it as a vineyard."
"Do you even know the first thing about wine?"
"Of course I do. I'll have you know that I'm a connoisseur of the stuff, and her family's been dabbling in it for years. A coupla crop failures stuck 'em up shit creek, though, and they lost almost everything."
"That's very touching."
"Thank-you. But I'm gonna change all that..." He sighed and stared at the picture again. Unlike Jen, his girlfriend was a delicate, blonde beauty. She had shoulder-length, dirty-blonde hair, a trim figure with curves in all the right places, and a smile that seemed a little too wide to be natural.
"Don't you ever get lonely?" Jen, on the other hand, was a real knock-out. Her looks completely bypassed the senses and went straight for the groin. From her lustrous, dark eyes, to her C-cup breasts and hourglass figure, she seemed to simply exude sex. When she smiled, her moist, full lips quirked up at the edges in a sultry, mishevious, way, and her long, dark hair seemed to frame her face just perfectly. She had been called everything from 'the most beautiful thing I've ever seen' to 'absolutely fuckable'.
"All the time." David sighed and shook his head. Despite her good looks, he and Jen had been nothing but good friends on the few cargo runs they had done together, competing in the various games and simulators that the ship had to offer.
"What do you, you know... do about it?" Jen's grin was fierce, and she liked the way David blushed all the way down to his shoulders.
"I... I don't know what you mean."
"Yes you do. What do you do when, hehe, you need to relieve yourself? You..." She stopped for a second, and looked at his blushing face. "You don't just hold it in, do you?"
"I... ah... I think I'm gonna get some lunch." David got up too quickly from the chair, banging his knees on a console and swearing, before hurrying out of the cockpit.
"Have fun." Jen just giggled to herself and twirled the chair back around to look at the computer. When she banished the black display and once again called up the important system output from the ship, she realized that it was still exactly the same as it had been. Everything was completely normal.
Sighing, she headed out of the cockpit. As she briefly debated following David to lunch, she realized that she had probably stepped a little too far over the line just now, and should give him some space. Nodding to herself, she went off in a different direction, towards the observation lounge.
"Jen, I want you. Since the first time I saw you, I've wanted you, but I've never been able to tell you." David stared despondently into the mirror and tried not to make himself sound desperate. "Jen... I... I need you. I want to... what do I want to do?" He grumbled and threw himself back onto his bed.
"Why do I have to be such a coward?" The two of them had a tacit agreement not to go into each other's bedrooms, so she had never found out that his ceiling was, in fact, covered in photographs of her. Everything from video feeds captured when she and David were eating, or playing games, or talking, to the little thumbnail that appeared on her official records. He hadn't yet gotten up the courage to get pictures of her when she was in her room, or in the shower, although he did have the computer skills to cover up his tracks. Something always made him stop a few keystrokes away from doing it.
"Jen! Come here and suck it for me." He tried to make a brave face, but the pictures just laughed back at him. Her care-free, delightful smile stared at him a thousand times and called him a fool for even thinking about it. He couldn't even say 'cock' when he was alone in his room, let alone in front of her.
"Why isn't this easier?" The photographs still offered no answer, and he sighed, rolling over to look at the picture of Carry, who he was supposed to marry when he returned to Baree-ak Three.
"How come I can't say no to you?" Carry's enigmatic smile mocked him too. He knew that she fooled around on him on a regular basis, even when he was home. He'd walked in once when she and the guy who delivered their mail had been fucking on the bed that he and Carry slept in, but he hadn't had the guts to say anything. She claimed that she loved him, and that she really wanted to marry him and have his kids, and all that, and he had believed her.
"Why am I such a coward?" He knew, though, that she really just wanted him for his money. Because of the lucrative nature of cargo ships like the Wren, and the fact that it had a small crew who had to be away from home for very long periods of time, he made more money from one run than the average middle-class household could make in a lifetime.
"Jen... I... I dunno."
David banged his head against the pillow, and then spent some more time staring at the ceiling. He knew that Jen didn't have anyone back at home, although he knew too that she tended to have a long string of temporary boyfriends. He was also intrigued by her question in the cockpit which had sent him running in fear, but he didn't think he could ever bring himself to make something of it. This was partly because she knew he had a girlfriend, and he didn't know what she would think of him if he tried to cheat on Carry with her, and partly because he was just simply too afraid of rejection. He was even afraid of being rejected by Carry, although the only way to keep that from happening was to have a lot of money in his pocket.
"Damn my cowardice!" He banged his hand against the bulkhead above his deck, and then cursed as the metal hit back, making his whole hand ring out with pain.
Jen loved the observation lounge. When there was nothing to do, and she had already spent hours looking at the senor readouts, this is where she liked to come. The gravity drive which kept the ship at a comfortable one gravity was completely adjustable, and so when she came here she could just turn it off and let herself float. Gravity was maintained in the rest of the ship, but here, her private little sanctuary, she could feel like she was flying, even for just a little while.
Below her was a little strip of metal, about wide enough for two people to stand abreast right now, which led to the entrance of the lounge. The rest of the thing was a huge, transparent bubble that allowed an unrestricted view of the outside of the Wren and the rest of the cosmos. The first few times she came here, she had been boggled by the size of the ship. Although the living quarters were quite large, spacious by anyone's definition, and the engineering level was equally as large, although it was more bare metal instead of the plush, upholstered living areas, the cargo hold was massive. Looking at the Wren from this angle, sticking out the side of the ship and able to get a good view of most of its side, the thing seemed to be the largest structure she had ever seen.
Lately, though, she had started to become interested in the interstellar world that surrounded her. Most of the time, the Wren just piloted through deep space, nowhere near any celestial bodies, and thus through nothing but uninteresting blackness dotted with stars and constellations. Sometimes though, like now, the most direct route took it right through certain astral phenomenon.
They were, right now, flying through a huge electromagnetic storm. Several times the size of Earth, the storm was a raging, swirling mass of blues and greens. Clouds of strange vapours boiled across her view, and arcs of lightning as long as the Wren streaked across the clouds. She felt her breath coming shorter and faster, awe filling her, as she watched the cosmic light show that had been put on, it seemed, just for her.
Although she knew, in the back of her mind, that this was the most dangerous part of the run, she couldn't bring herself to believe it. The savage beauty of the whole thing left her unable to believe anything but how insignificant she was, and how wonderful nature could be. Plus, she could tell herself that the ship was sufficiently shielded from radiation and the other dangers which were associated with such storms that she and David would be okay. The only problem was that it would basically leave them sensor-blind for the duration of the storm, however, the likelihood of a chunk of debris large enough to damage the Wren surviving in the raging tempest outside was pretty slim.
Her contemplation of the infinite was interrupted by the small sound of David's voice from the platform at the entrance to the lounge.
"Isn't it beautiful?"
"Ya, you are... I mean... it is!" Jen blinked and rolled around, taking her eyes off the wonderful sight before her and focusing her attention on David. He was flushed, and she could tell, even from a dozen feet above him, that his breathing was rapid and uneven.
"What's up?" Fear gripped her for a moment, thinking that something was wrong with the ship.
"Umm... umm... n... nothing." Then she relaxed, realizing it was something much more subtle, and more important, that was going on. She had been able to tell, from the first moment he saw her, that David wanted her. However, she had also known he had a girlfriend, and she didn't want to be too aggressive with David lest he come to resent her. She didn't want to spend upwards of twenty months alone in space with someone who hated her.
"Oh, well good. Did you want to talk to me?" She could tell, from the way he looked at her, his eyes trying harder than normal not to stray to her bountiful chest, that he had come to a decision about the whole thing.
"Ya, ya... I... ahem... I was wondering. Umm... what do you do about it?"
"About what David?" She blinked innocently at him, and started to float towards him. She deliberately oriented herself directly above him so that he was forced to look down her cleavage as she descended.
"Umm, you know... the, uhh, the loneliness?"
"Oh! Well, that's easy. I just get myself off." She grinned a little mischievously as he turned an even brighter shade of red. "Don't tell me you've never spied on me with the ship's cameras?" She knew he hadn't, but this caused him to blush and stammer even more.
"No! No, I mean, I never! I would never do that to you, Jen!"
"Shhh, it's okay David. I've spied on you before."
"Ya, when you think you're alone and you stroke that lovely cock of yours, I've watched."
"Y... you... what?"
"It was very arousing..." She moaned a little in the back of her throat and licked her lips. This was only partly planned, because she was telling the truth. David had one of the best dicks she'd ever seen, and she wanted to feel it between her legs.
"Oh... it... it was? Umm, how do you... I mean... uhh... how do you, uhh..."
"How do I get myself off? Well, sometimes I use my fingers." She was only about five feet above him now, and she wiggled the fingers on her right hand at him. If it was possible, he blushed even more. "Usually, though, I use a dildo. With all of our modern technology, we still haven't improved on the feeling of a big, thick shaft inside you." Her mouth drifted open in a seductive manner, and she ran her tongue along the inside of her lips.
"Ah, I... wow..." He obviously was having real trouble with this, but Jen had already gathered she was going to have to do most of the work in this conversation.
"Ya, mmm... just thinking about it makes me so hot. If you don't mind, I think I might just... hehe... head to my quarters?" She was within reach of him now, and started to spin herself around so she could drift towards the floor in front of him.
"Oh? Wait! Don't, uhh... umm... don't do that..." She could see the real panic in David's eyes, and was flattered by how much he seemed to truly respect her, and how hard this was for him.
"Oh? Do you... have a better idea?" She winked at him, and her feet settled easily onto the metal platform. "Computer, regular gravity." Her tits, which had previously been floating up near her shoulders in the zero-grav, bounced impressively when the gravity kicked back in and they both dropped the few inches between them and the ground.
"I, you know... might, umm..."
"Be able to help me?" Jen slid a finger into her mouth coyly and grinned around it, her pink little tongue flicking out to lick her fingertip.
"Ummm... y... ahem.. yes..." David, after saying this, looked away as fast as he could, afraid of what the answer was.
Instead of saying anything, Jen just walked up to him. She put one hand on his cheek to pull his head around to face her, the other hand on his buttocks to squeeze them tightly, and then kissed him. His stammered surprise at her boldness faded into one of the most wonderful kisses she had ever experienced. He might be shy and ashamed of himself when he was speaking, but he kissed her like a master. She moaned involuntarily into it, her tongue dancing with his inside their mouths, and her right knee instinctively rising a little at the passion in the kiss.
"Wow..." She looked at him with admiration when their mouths finally parted, reluctantly, their tongues sliding out of each other's mouths at a glacial speed.
"Was... did I... did you...?" She shhhed him with a finger on his lips, and then proceeded to strip off the black muscle-shirt that he had been wearing.
A wide grin spread across her face as she saw his hard, muscular upper body, and she immediately began to kiss up and down his chest. She started at his neck, and then her luscious lips worked their way down his pecks, her tongue grazed his nipples, and then she explored lower, roaming across the chiseled expanse of his six pack. He moaned and reached down to start massaging her breasts while she lavished attention on his torso, and this caused her to purr deep in the back of her throat.
He looked like he would probably be a clumsy lover, but his hands were every bit as masterful as his tongue, and in his grip her breasts felt so good. He paid loving attention to the skin, his fingers exploring every inch of it through her tank top, but this seemed to only be a reason for him to play with her nipples. He didn't do it directly, instead his palm would slide across the hard tips of her nipples, causing little thrills of pleasure to run up and down her spine, or his fingers would slide across the aureoles, and then away again. In all, it left her panting for more, wanting to feel his hands all across her body, and by the time she reached his belly button there was a fire burning between her legs, the moisture beginning to soak her panties.