Written by Darala Starr :: [Wednesday, 17 July 2019 20:29] Last updated by :: [Thursday, 18 July 2019 10:01]
Darala and Jason kissed one more time, deeply, softly and then parted.
“I think we’d better go upstairs,” she said. Jason agreed and they made their way back into the store.
There were customers completing purchases at the counter. Tina took cash and counted change back to them. After a friendly exchange, they left. Darala and Jason made it a point to stand just a little distance from each other in order not to seem conspicuous.
“So,” Tina began, “What’s the plan?”
Darala said, “I think… I think, perhaps, I’d better take things from here,” she said. “The Torellian is no match for me, but he is dangerous, nevertheless. And I could not bear the thought of putting either of you in danger.”
Jason said, “Darala, if we stick together, the three of us, we could…”
Darala lightly put her hand on his shoulder.
“Jason, I can’t ask you, or Tina, to go any further with me. I know how to find the transponder and I can complete my mission once I have it safely secured.”
Noticing Darala’s gentle touch on Jason, Tina said, “Well, perhaps Jason could help you more than I.”
Tina lowered her head and crossed her arms in front of her.
“Look, you two… it’s obvious that there is a very strong connection between you both, even if you are from two different planets. That’s something we just don’t have,” she said, now looking straight at Jason.
Tina took a deep breath and said, “But since I’m letting you keep a pair of my favorite shorts, Darala, I think the least you can do is let me help too.”
Darala smiled warmly and approached Tina, and gave her a hug. Tina embraced her tightly and said, “Just be gentle with him. He doesn’t have Tau Ceti bones as strong as yours.”
They parted and Darala said, “Truly, you are my very, very good friend, Tina.”
Tina whipped a glance back at Jason. “And, Jason… I don’t think you should wear those shorts around Darala.”
“Now,” Tina said, “What’s the plan?”
“Yes, Darala Starr, what is the plan?” It was the ship’s computer voice breaking in through the communication device on Darala’s bracelet.
Tina asked, “Who is that?”
Darala said, “This is my ship’s computer. Very wise and helpful.”
“And worried,” the computer said. “Darala, time is running out and I’m afraid things are bit more complicated than we originally thought.”
Suddenly, the door opened and more customers arrived.
Nervously clearing her throat, Tina said to them, “Welcome! Please have a look around and let me know if you have any questions.”
Darala lowered her voice and spoke directly into her bracelet. “Computer, please don’t say another word. I’m going to move to a more private location.”
Darala turned and quickly ran back down the stairs into the basement.
“Okay,” she said, “Explain.”
The ship’s computer said, “I’ve detected an energy spike from the unit. It’s highly unusual, Darala. I think someone has tampered with the device, perhaps even made some modifications.”
“The Torellian,” Darala said.
The ship’s computer said, “Here is the new signal so you can track coordinates from your bracelet.”
On Darala’s wrist display, new data appeared and a new map as well.
“I advise you to find it as quickly as possible and bring it to the ship,” the computer said. “I will perform an analysis and send the information back to Tau Ceti ahead of our departure.”
Jason appeared in the stairwell, coming quietly down into the room with her.
“I understand,” Darala said. “I’ll find it.”
“And I’ll help her,” Jason said.
“Jason Prince,” the computer said. “It’s nice to hear your voice again.”
Jason smiled. “You too,” he said.
Darala tapped her bracelet to close the communication. She took a deep breath, her stare serious.
“Jason, this could be dangerous.”
Jason put his hands on Darala’s shoulders and said, “Darala, we’re in this together. I’m not going to leave you.”
He kissed her deeply on the mouth and she kissed him back.
“Jason,” she said, “I’m feeling very…,” she hesitated. “I don’t know what the Earth term is, but if there was more time I would very much want to bond with you.”
Jason took a long deep breath and steadied himself. “Darala, the thought of that alone is more than I can handle right now. Let’s go find this device quickly. Then I would love to… bond.”
“I want that very much, Jason,” Darala said and heaved a sigh.
Tina appeared at the top of the stairs, looking down at them.
“Okay, you two lovebirds… if we’re going to help Darala with her mission, we should get going. What’s our first stop?”
Darala said, “I need my mission suit.”
They made their way back upstairs and then outside. As they came out, they noticed Tina’s rear tire was flat.
Exasperated, Tina said, “I can’t believe this!”
Jason examined it and noticed a conspicuous slit on the side of the tire.
“Someone did this,” he said. “Look.”
Tina noticed it also.
“It would appear they don’t want us coming after them,” Jason said.
“I’ve got a spare in the trunk,” Tina said.
“I’ll get it,” Jason said.
He opened the trunk swiftly and recovered the spare tire.
“Don’t forget the jack,” Tina said.
Darala smiled softly, “It’s okay,” she said. “I’ll give you a lift.”
And with no one else around to see, Darala reached beneath the rear bumper of Tina’s car, carefully positioning her hands. She squatted gently, those satin shorts pulling tight around her hips.
With what seemed like little effort, Darala lifted the back of the car. The chassis and suspension groaned as the weight of the vehicle transferred off the axle. The wheels left the ground, now suspended six inches off the dirt. Darala held the car in what looked like a barbell arm curl, her Tau Ceti biceps standing in those beautiful, iron hard peaks.
Tina gasped. “Darala,” she said, “I’m going to miss watching your feats of strength.”
Quickly then, Jason changed the tire and Darala lowered the car back to the ground, the body creaking loudly as the weight transferred back to the suspension. Darala slapped her hands clean and said, “Let’s go.”