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Lucas stared into his drink, watching the blue liquid swirl. It’d been a long day, and what he really wanted was to relax and unwind.
The pulse-pounding music of the Fifth Rock Nightclub wasn’t exactly what he’d had in mind when he’d told his friends as much, but they’d been insistent. It was loud, raucous, and he could barely hear himself think let alone the chatter of his buddies at the bar, but maybe they had a point. If he couldn’t think, he couldn’t brood.
He almost didn’t notice that someone was tapping on his arm until the tap turned into an insistent nudge. Looking up from his drink, he took in the stranger sitting next to him.
The girl next to him had an appearance that seemed full of contradictions. In one sense, she was the picture of prettiness. Her face was soft, her blonde hair was long and well maintained. Even her hands felt smooth and manicured to the touch.
Ignoring those aspects, though, she could have been mistaken for one of the colony’s many Class-D workers. Her arms were strong and thick. The shapeliness of her legs, visible beneath tight fabric pants, showed even more lean muscle, leading up to…
He frowned at the bulge he saw, admiring the thickness of this woman’s butt. It was only when she nudged him again that he realized he’d been blatantly staring at her ass.
“What?” he shouted, trying to hear over the sound of the music.
She opened her mouth, gesturing wildly, then shut it and rolled her eyes. Before he could try and shout another unheard question, she retrieved a clear, rectangular communicator and raised it up, wiggling it for emphasis and pointing back at Lucas.
Frowning, he reached in his pocket for his own communicator. Without another word, the girl reached over, tapped a few times on the screen to bring up the settings menu, and edited the compatibility mode.
In an instant, the sound of the bar was lowered to a background thrum as Lucas’s earpiece filtered it out. He frowned, uncertain what the point was, until the girl spoke again.
“Can you hear me?” Her voice was a little hesitant, but came through clearly. He nodded, and she rolled her eyes again. “I can hear you, too. Just talk normally, your earpiece will pick it up.”
“I didn’t know they could do that,” he said, tentatively. She seemed to follow along, nodding with what he said.
“A lot of people don’t. Your communicator’s pretty versatile, you just have to know how to use it.” She tapped on her own device, and pointed at the bartender, who was in the middle of checking a screen. “A lot easier than trying to call him over and make your order in person.”
“Right.” Lucas looked at his communicator for a moment, then back at the girl. “Uh, so…”
“Sorry, I’m bad at this,” she said, sticking out her hand. “I’m Sara.”
“Lucas,” he said, accepting the greeting. At a loss for how else to start the conversation, he added, “Come here ofte-?”
“Do you want to have sex?” she interrupted, blushing part way through. “Uh, sorry, I uninterrupted you. What were you asking?”
“Uh… Em- That is…” Lucas stammered, completely at a loss for how to respond. “I was asking if you came here… What did you just ask?”
“I know, I shouldn’t interrupt people like that,” Sara said, nodding. “I stop by occasionally. I’m not usually one for clubs, though.”
“No, I mean-” Lucas stared at her, the flashing lights of the club playing over her well-tuned body. “Did you ask if I wanted to have sex?”
“Well, yeah.” Sarah tilted her head a bit, staring back at him. “Do you not? I noticed you looking at the women who were dancing, and I assumed you were-”
“No!” Lucas started, before shaking his head. “I mean, yes! I do, but- you don’t even know who I am.”
Sara seemed even more puzzled. “Does that matter? You look appealing and you’re not coupled with anyone else as far as I can tell.”
“I… huh.” Lucas raised his communicator, looking for a distraction. “How do you order a drink on here?”
“I’ll get it for you.” Sara raised her own device. “What do you want?”
“Another ‘Blue Moon’,” Lucas said, raising his glass. “It’s the house cocktail.”
“There you go.” She punched in the order and pocketed her communicator, beaming at him. “So, is that a yes? Once you’ve finished your drink, that is.”
“Uh…” Lucas considered his options. She didn’t seem to be drunk or not in control. He wasn’t seeing anyone else, and it had been a while. “Yeah. Yes. I’d like that.”
“Great!” She grinned at him, legs kicking a little over the edge of her barstool.
A thought struck Lucas, and he asked, “How old are you?”
That caught Sara off guard, and she had to think for a moment before she answered. “Chronologically? Or how old is my subjective consciousness?”
She came here on a ship, then. “Your consciousness, I guess.”
She nodded, putting it together. “Nineteen.”
That made a few things click in his head. They didn’t let kids come in on colony ships, but they did let pregnant people board. This ‘Sara’ must have spent half her life on travelling in a small, isolated ship community, and the other half living in a growing colony. No wonder her social skills were a bit… uncalibrated.
The bartender dropped off two drinks, another glimmering blue cocktail for him, and something pale and opaque for her.
“So, what do you do?” he asked, sipping at the new cocktail.
Sara looked at him, then past him towards the door. “I don’t want to…” her gaze hardened, and she shook her head. When she spoke again, her tone, even her accent was completely different. “Excuse me a moment.”
Lucas watched her get up out of her stool and make a beeline for the front entrance. Shifting his gaze, he spotted what she was heading towards.
Four security guards were talking to the bouncer, decked out in thick plates of stormtrooper armor and lugging stun batons as big as Lucas’s head. The bouncer, in turn, was pointing towards the seat right next to Lucas.
Right where Sara had been sitting.
His eyes darted through the crowd, trying to spot her. Why are security guards looking for her?
More importantly, Where did she go?
A voice crackled in his earpiece.
“They weren’t supposed to find us here. What the hell? I know. They must have tracked our communicator. They couldn’t have tracked it! It’s completely off the grid, it’s not even connected to the net, unless- You just put it together, didn’t you? Fuck, you’re right.”
It was all dreadfully confusing to hear. It was all Sara’s voice, but every sentence or two it changed, the pitch tone fluctuating back and forth.
He still couldn’t spot her in the crowd, though. Whatever she was doing, she was keeping her head down, and-
There was a crashing sound, loud enough that he heard it even over the music and the muffling from his earpiece. Snapping his vision back to the entrance, Lucas saw only three guards standing, helmets looking back and forth in alarm.
Through the crowd, details were impossible to make out. Someone was taking on the guards, and their heavy stun batons were tearing through the air but, by the sound of it, hitting nothing. In his earpiece, Lucas could hear heavy breathing, but Sara had stopped arguing with herself while she focused on the task at hand.
Another guard went down, apparently dragged by the legs and toppled. He didn’t get back up. A moment later, one of the stun batons was turned against its owner, crackling energy bringing the next armored figure low.
The last guard didn’t stick around. Shouting into his own earpiece, he turned to flee out the door. Nobody pursued.
The music hadn’t stopped. A few people were staring at the commotion, but some hadn’t even noticed.
Lucas could only stare in confusion, trying to puzzle together what he’d even witnessed. Four guards had been neutralized by… what? Sara? Surely a girl like her, even as fit as she seemed to be, couldn’t take on four armed guards and win.
Before he could puzzle it out, Sara was behind him. “Hey.”
He almost fell out of his seat. “What the fu-”
She caught him, steadying Lucas before he could tumble. “I had to take care of something.”
“Did you just fight those guards?” he asked, turning to stare at her. “What was that? How-”
Sara cut him off, leaning forward to plant her lips on his.
The kiss short-circuited Lucas’s brain, skipping his complaints. She grabbed one of his hands and moved it to her breast, and any uncertainty that was still kicking around at the back of his head vanished.
He slid off the stool, and Sarah pulled her body close to his, deepening the kiss. She wasn’t holding back at all, unconcerned with anyone who might be watching. Lucas was vaguely aware that his friends had caught on and were eyeing the display, but he didn’t much care either.
Reaching back, he put a hand on her ass, squeezing and-
He frowned, a little confused, but Sara didn’t pull back from the kiss.
Maybe it’s some kind of armor? Like, a mesh, that-
Exploring around with his fingers, Lucas quickly put that idea out of his mind. He could feel the fabric of her pants slide over whatever it was that was crinkling. Beneath the pants, there was something thick, soft, and as he worked his hand a little lower, he felt it squelch.
Sara didn’t seem to care, pulling herself closer into his body. As far as she cared, he was just grabbing her ass to pull her in tighter.
Had he been sober, had a gorgeous woman not been slobbering into his mouth and aching to drag him to bed, he might have cared more. As it was, he decided that it wasn’t his problem.
Then, in the middle of the kiss, Sara suddenly tensed.
Lucas didn’t know why, until he felt the back of her pants begin to expand, subtly swelling beneath his hand. He had a suspicion of what was happening, that was confirmed when the smell reached his nose, even over the aromas of alcohol and sweaty bodies that the nightclub was generally filled with.
Sara pulled away, suddenly, shaking her head. “No. But I- NO. Fucking hell, no! This is where I draw the line!”
Lucas stared at her in confusion. “Are you alright?”
Speaking softly again, Sara tried to move in for another kiss, then pulled away once more. “No.”
Without explanation, she turned, running towards the exterior deck. Baffled, Lucas ran after her, but despite the fact that she was running with a heavy load between her legs, she still managed to weave through the crowd far more gracefully than he could manage, and she got outside well before him.
Shoving through the door, Lucas looked around at the crowd, trying to spot her. It wasn’t a large space, and in the chill night air, it wasn’t half so crowded as the dance floor inside.
Sara was nowhere to be seen.
“Huh?” he said aloud, walking towards the railing. The balcony was fifty feet up, built on an outcropping that overlooked the rest of the colony bubble. Jumping down would be impossible, and the only door in and out was the one she’d gone through.
She was just gone, with only a slightly stinky puff of air to tell that she’d ever been there.