| Planetfall: Purpose
Journal Entry 126 / 01022
Erwer, Narnya 05, 01022
I heard the door to the common room whisk open and shut, but ignored it
as I proceeded to press 70 kilos over and over in an attempt to build
stamina. Then I heard crashing and banging sounds that made even Malthus
look up. "Dave, who is that?"
"It's Aaden, Ken. He appears to be packing."
I put the bar back on its rest and stood up, toweling the sweat off my
forehead before heading back into the house. The followed. "Aaden?"
"Ken!" I heard his voice shout. Moments later he floated, or more
accurately, flew out of the grav tube and seized my shoulders. "Drop
whatever your doing. Tell me, lover, right now... do you have any
"How long range?" I asked, bewildered.
"Years. Five or so."
I thought about it. "There are a couple of birthdays I'd like not to miss,
but other than that, no. Why? What's gotten into you, Aaden?"
"We're going into space," he said breathlessly. "We're going to a star
identified in the charts as RD+34o."
"Aaden," I said, "You hate space travel. You barely tolerate trips to
Terra with me, and that's fifteen hours away. According to my b/c link,
RD plus 34 degrees is nearly two years away under Ohadi." Mentally, I also
realized that that's nearly three years of experiential time for the crew.
"Ken, I have to go. This could be the most incredible breakthrough of
"In what?" I asked, trying to think of subjects he became this passionate
over. "Sadomasochism or xenobotany?"
"The second!" he shouted, diving back down the grav tube and vanishing
from sight. "Pick up a PADD and read my article referring to the discovery
of the starship Shakespeare's Sister."
I located my personal PADD and read the salient information quickly. The
Sister, a human starship, had been exploring in that sector when they
came across a world classified as MNT40, a designation which basically
meant humans could live there without hardware, but they wouldn't
enjoy it. The had encountered a complex band of vegetation that
completely circumnavigated the globe at the equatorial region, and that
the vegetation exhibited properties of motion, awareness, reaction. "Read
the conclusion under nodal properties," Aaden shouted.
"'Although data is sketchy at best,'" I read aloud, "'I believe that
these nodes exhibit properties which, if they do not lead to sentience,
at least to lead to an animalistic awareness of their surroundings, and
with the technology at hand, uplift of the first SQ-celled lifeform to
sentience could be possible within the next two to five decades.'" I
chuckled as he rose from the g-tube. "Aaden, you don't need a comma
between 'hand' and 'uplift'. That's a splice."
He pulled the PADD from my hands. "Damned writers," he chuckled. "Don't
you see? I have to go. I have to do this. Please, Ken, I want to be there.
I have to study this. Think of it... sentient vegetation. It's a serious
race, and we can win it... we have the fastest starships in all the
universe. We can get there a year and half before everyone else, if we
move now, under Ohadi."
I thought about it for a second. "Aaden, you're ridiculous. Do you have
any idea what travel like this calls for? Do you know what space travel
"I know you've done it."
"The last time you almost forgot about me because I was declared missing
"Never," he insisted, shaking his head. "I never thought you and
P'nyssa could vanish from my life. I knew you'd both be back. Besides,
the technology's so much greater now, so much safer. Please."
I had trouble believing my ears. Aaden was literally begging me, out of
scene. Begging me to go into space. "You're serious."
"Yes," he breathed softly, looking down into my face. "I need this. More
than anything, I need to be there."
"Have you stopped to consider that we have two children right now? I
mean, I think Noah's enough that I might consider him ready to take
to Castle life in general and just have Ress or somebody watch him,
but Sheja's only eight. And Malthus, hell, he could die of age on
the trip." I squatted down on the floor and began petting the object of
my address, the dog. Noah had insisted.
A look of concern crossed his face. "I want to go; I don't want to go
alone. And I want you all to go with me."
"If we talk Nyss into it, I think we could bring Noah and Sheja."
"You think so?" he asked.
"Shipboard families are becoming the norm," I said slowly. "I would
worry about them becoming unused to groundside life, but we've already
spawned a few spacers in the family."
Aaden grinned. "Like Rainy."
"Rainy's the big one," I admitted. "But Molly too, y'know. And Denni,
He nodded, smiling. I thought about it for all of five seconds. "Dave."
"I'm putting together a Xenobotany expedition outbound for RD+34o,
hereafter referred to in Pendorian literature as Aaden's Star. I want
an Asimov class starship prepped for long-duration voyage refit and
recomissioning. Twenty four weeks, tops, to complete the vessel. I want
a reasonable schedule of stars to explore and/or investigate in return
transit, maximum duration of miscellaneous time is another twenty-four
weeks. I want a complete crew availability roster as soon as possible. The
executive crew is to be lifted in toto from the starship Nyano Neuroth,
pending acceptance by the captain."
Watching Aaden's jaw drop lower and lower was a privilege I rarely get.
"Oh, yeah, although the captain will get final say, pending captain's
acceptance the starship is to be recomissioned with the name Nyano
Aaden was stunned. I smiled. "You asked for it."
"I... but. But. But."
"Isn't that what you wanted?"
Tears were forming in his beautiful eyes. "It's everything I wanted. I
don't believe you!" He grabbed me and hugged me tight. "My fah, I love
you so much." Then he pushed me away. "Isn't this abusing your power?"
"Let me abuse it for once!" I said, smiling. "It's been nearly a century
since I abused my power." He chuckled, and I laughed along. "Only problem
now," I mused, "is how are we going to ask P'nyssa?"
"You want to what?" P'nyssa asked, more than a little surprised. We
started to lay it out for her, out voices jumbling and jumping over one
another, before she held up her mitts. "Wait, wait, I heard you. I just
don't believe you two."
"What's not to believe?" Aaden asked.
"It means going into space, for one thing," P'nyssa said.
"I'll get over it," Aaden insisted, stepping over to where she sat,
kneeling before her and taking her mitten his paws. "P'nyssa, you and
Ken have gone spacefaring many times. I haven't. If I'm going to be part
of this family, like I have been for half a millennium, I have to learn
about that side of this life. I'll go alone if I have to; I won't ask
Ken to come with me, without you."
P'nyssa looked down at him, an angry look crossing her face. "Aaden
Satpulov Shardik," she said, nearly growling the last word, "That's the
last time I ever want to hear you say that. You're just as important to
me as he is, and I'll be damned if you're going to start prioritizing
this triangle because you came second or because you're homosexual. Do
you understand me?"
Aaden gulped. "Yes, Nyss," he said, looking up into her face.
She smiled and kissed the top of his fuzzy head. "Then we have to ask
the children. Noah! Sheja! Come here! Dave, would you find them and tell
them their are looking for them?"
"Already done, P'nyssa," Dave replied calmly. We waited quietly until
the door opened and Noah bounded in, followed by his only slightly
less boisterous sister. "Daddy!" she squealed first, running over into
Aaden's arms. I smiled as Noah slowed down, becoming as cool as a river
in winter. "What's up?" he asked. I almost heard "What have we done
now?" in his voice.
"We have a decision to make," I said.
"Uh-oh," Sheja said. "Sounds ser'os." I laughed as she sat down next to
Aaden on the floor, who tousled our little Mephit's headfur playfully.
"It is, honeyfur," P'nyssa said softly. "Aaden has to go somewhere,
and we have to decide if we're gonna go with him."
Sheja turned to look at Aaden. "Where do you want to go, Daddy?"
"A long way away," Aaden said. "It might take a long time to get there,
and even longer to get back."
"How long is a long time?" Sheja asked.
"Ten years. Longer than you've been around, honey," P'nyssa said softly.
"Oh," she said.
"So what do we have to do with this?" Noah asked, tapping his left forepaw
in boredom. Despite his sometimes overzealous attempts to prove that he
was independent and mature, I really loved Noah. He was a fine kid.
"We want to know if you two think you could take living on a starship
for ten years."
"A starship?" Noah asked, his eyes going as wide as a SDisk. "You mean,
like Molly does?"
"Yep," I said. "Think about it before you decide, Noah. It'll be a
long trip, under Fleet rules, and all of your friends are going to stay
ringside. There won't be that many people your age there."
"What about Malthus?"
"He can go with us," I said. "He's housebroken."
"No problem," Noah said. "If Malthus goes, I can take it."
"Are you sure, Noah?" I asked. "Because they won't be your friends when
you come back, at least, not in the same way. They'll all be at least
ten years older... and that's a lot of change. Think real hard, kiddo,
because ten years ago you were three and could barely talk."
Noah was silent for a while. "Yeah, I could take it. I'll still go to
school and all, right? There will be people like me on the ship, right?"
"Yes, and yes," P'nyssa replied. I was sure I heard particular emphasis
on the first affirmative. For some reason, I never seem to have trouble
with my children going to school, and I was happy with that fact.
"No problem, then," Noah replied.
"What about you, Sheja?" I asked.
"Me? I dunno..." she said, looking around at her three parents. "I mean,
I'll miss Carri and Aldal and Tim, but I want to go with you guys."
"But do you want to go into space?" P'nyssa asked.
"Uh-huh!" she replied, smiling wide. "I would really love to! But it's
gonna be a long trip, right?"
"Yes, honey, a very long trip," P'nyssa said. "You'll grow up all the
way on the trip."
"Oh," she said. "That is a long time." She seemed to think for a long
time, her eyes glittering thoughtfully. "I wanna go..."
"Then why don't you sound sure?" P'nyssa asked.
"Because it seems so long. I'll miss everybody on the ring."
"But you'll come home," I said. "They'll still be here. You'll make new
friends on the trip."
Don't push her, P'nyssa 'pathed to me.
I'm not, I replied. I want all the data to be there. I want the to all be firmly decided. And I want to convey that to an eight year old.
"Okay," Sheja said finally, looking up. "I wanna go."
"Yes," she said, with all the finality an eight-year-old can muster. "If
everybody's going, I'm gonna go, too."
P'nyssa sat back in her seat, sighing. "Okay, that's it then. The five
of us are going, together. Dave, please enroll the kids in the first
Starship Emergency Procedures For Civilians class you can find."
"Done," Dave replied with such speed I could tell he had already made a
deal with whatever AI handled such things, probably Lexander, to reserve
spaces for the kids.
I snuggled up close to P'nyssa later that night, my left hand caressing
her familiar as we lay on our sides, my chest to her back. "Do
you think we're doing the right thing?" I asked.
"I think so," she said. "Like you said once, no matter what you think you
know about something, you're still jumping into it blind, because if you
know everything about it, you wouldn't bother jumping in at all. We've
raised seven children in this house, and we're going to take two of them
"Does that last part frighten you? The last time we took an extended trip
together was a long time ago." My fingers slowly caressed her belly,
feeling the soft flesh giving way under even a delicate touch. P'nyssa
had grown softer as she had had seven children already over the past
"No," she said, reaching back past to run her mitten over my thigh. "I
don't think it does. Lots of people take their children into space
nowadays; we'll just be one more."
I snuggled even closer; she responded by pressing her hips back against
mine, where my body cupped hers. "Feeling a little cheerful tonight, huh?"
"Not especially," she said with a sigh. "I just... people expect change,
especially in themselves. But even when we change, we seem to change
together... all three of us, now. We spend so much of our time apart
that I'm surprised at how together we seem to be."
I kissed her shoulder softly. "You're looking for another way to say
'I love you.'"
She nodded her head solemnly. "I guess I am," she replied. "Because
I do, more than anything else. It's hard to describe how much I love
you." She turned over suddenly to face me. "Aaden is only half wrong,"
she whispered. "I love him utterly and completely. Don't take this the
wrong way, Ken, but he finished you."
"I wouldn't be completely me without him?"
"Uh-huh," she whispered. "You wouldn't be the mel I love so completely if
you didn't have that mel there to love as well. If you weren't that mel...
I would have never have met him, and never fallen in love with him the
way I did, and still do." She stopped.
"So why is he 'half wrong'?"
"Because you and I did come first. But we don't anymore. Without him,
you would be someone different. I want him to stay; I'm willing to risk
my to keep him."
I blinked at that, barely attentive of my hand almost of it's own
habituated will fondling her breasts. Finally I smiled. "I love you both,
P'nyssa, and you're both going with me. We'll know in a decade if our
decision was the right one."
She smiled. "I think it was."
"I do too."
"Then we're going," she said, her mittens sliding up my thighs slowly,
coming to rest as they cupped my genitals.
"We are," I said. "Are you interested in my coming, too?" I said.
She giggled. "Maybe I am." Her mitt closed around my hardening cock,
stroking me. I sighed as she slid down under the covers, her legs
folding up against mine so they would hang off the edge; she's always
been conscientious about keeping the bed "made," even when we were
sleeping in it.
Her mouth slid down the length of my cock. I gasped hard and entwined
my hands in her headfur, long and black and curly enough to be called
hair. I could feel her tongue swirling around my shaft, firmly pressing
the flesh against the roof of her mouth. In the centuries together,
we had done this so often that she knew exactly what excited me, and
just when not to do it, to leave me off balance and wanting more from her.
As her lips suckled my cock, her mitt closed down on my testicles,
tugging at them softly, pulling them until I was just on the verge of
pain. I gasped and sighed at her touch, her sucking. "P'nyssa, dammit,
I want to get inside you."
She looked up at me. "You are inside me," she pointed out.
"Not when you're talking to me, I'm not." I smiled.
She wiggled back up until we were face-to-face again. "Then what would
you recommend as a remedy for that?"
I grabbed her shoulder and hauled her abruptly in my direction, dumping
her face-down onto the bed. With a playful leap I straddled her hips and
laid down on top of her, my cock poking playfully at her cunt. "Can you
keep talking if I get inside you this way?"
She giggled. "I don't know yet." She kissed me cheek.
I shifted my legs so they were now between hers, spreading hers in the
process. Her butt lifted slightly from the surface of the bed. With a
gentle push I slid the head of my cock into her.
"I think so..." she whispered, gasping.
After a quick withdrawal, but not all the way, I slid in again, this time
deeper. And again, until finally I had as much of my cock into her as I
could manage at this angle, her face-down to the bed, my chest pressed
against her back. "How's that?"
"Fine," she gasped, bending her legs at the knees enough to kick me in
the butt. "If I can't talk, I can at least get to ya," she said.
"I know," I said, stroking slowly into her soft cunny, enjoying the
centuries-familiar grip of her body around my shaft. "I love you, Nyss."
She sighed softly, nodding her head against the pillow. I propped myself
up on my hands and slightly on my knees, giving me a better angle. I
began stroking her slowly with my cock, taking my time. As the
pressure to climax rose in my groin, I began stroking her harder. One of
the reasons we both like this position so much is that my cock doesn't
go too deep into her and hit her cervix, and that on the downstroke I
can be as forceful as I like because her ass takes the brunt of it. We
were both gasping for air as I approached closer to my orgasm, and with
a loud shout I came, pressing down deep into her. I just held her close,
feeling my muscles tremble in the intense release, feeling her tremble
along with me.
After a minute or so, I forced my eyes open to look into her. She giggled
again. "I'm still talking."
"I didn't say you couldn't after we were done," I pointed out.
She laughed, then lunged forward and licked my nose.
"Gotcha," she smiled. "I love you."
"I've been slimed," I protested, rolling over to one side and lying next
to her. After wiping her saliva off my nose, I leaned close to kiss her.
Instead, I lunged for her nose.
She dodged easily. "See, I've been living with you for too long. I don't
need my telepathy to read you and know what you're going to do next. I
could see it in your eyes."
"Come on," I said. "Let's go to bed. We've got busy days tomorrow. I
have lists to make, people to visit."
She murred softly. "And I have to get my practice ready to shut down."
"Yeah," I said as she rolled over, cuddling up against me. I wrapped an
arm around her shoulder. "Sorry."
"Don't apologize. It's something I enjoy, but I like space medicine,
too," she mumbled.
She was already asleep.
The Journal Entries of Kennet R'yal Shardik, et. al., and Related Tales
are Copyright (c) 1989-2000 Elf Mathieu Sternberg. Distribution limited
to electronic media not-for-profit use only. All other rights are reserved
to the author.