Woodpecker from Mars
- Dark skin, flushed with heat and slick with sweat. Like coffee grounds - not the crap in a tin the crew get, but the good stuff, the real grown-from-a-plant stuff you can only get in pricey shops in port. The kind that swirls and bubbles in a little pot as a handsome waiter pours and smiles at you, and you sip it and think how indulgent you are. Or maybe chocolate, sweet and creamy with all that terrible sugar they pour into it, that melts in your mouth and coats your tongue with it. Like the vac-sealed packets of fudge locked away in the captain's pantry for special occasions...
- "Quit staring." Vic nudged her with his mug, pushing the cold ceramic against her hand. Amelia coughed and conspicuously became very interested in the pattern of scratches plastered across the galley bench, running a fingernail across the grooves as she averted her eyes. She felt her cheeks start to burn as she focused her gaze downward. Nothing but cold plastic down there, no naked girls dripping with sweat, no brown-skinned women casually sipping juice with their legs splayed open. Just plastic and ceramic. AS it should be.
- Vic sighed as he shuffled himself along the bench, parking himself directly in front of Amelia's eye line. The grizzled spacer shook his head and scratched a calloused hand through his scruff, before returning to his own drink, sipping it slowly with weary eyes. He'd told her their mechanics were a weird sort, but she'd expected shut-ins or technophiliacs, solitary greasers who kept to themselves and had more love for machines than people. Not... perverts...
- "Must be, uh... real hot in the engine room, right?" Vic glared at her, but she couldn't help herself. Back on Earth, you couldn't step outside without three layers of plastic between you and the sun, couldn't feel the air on your skin without sucking it through a mask. Even on the ship in her skinsuit, oversuit, pressure vest and half-veil, Amelia felt naked. Yet she could see every inch of this short little mechanic, every boyish curve, every trailing drop of sweat. Lips were meant to be risque, damnit, this wasn't right.
- "Nah, we just finished fucking." Amelia coughed coffee through her veil, soaking the cloth and half of Vic's face in sprayed liquid as she doubled over to catch her breath. Halla just laughed, leaning back and taking another swig from her cup, legs crossing too wide to cover anything. Vic simply shook his head again and scrunched up a few napkins to help mop up the spilt coffee.
- "Didn't I tell you to wash up before you left, Hal?" The massive figure of Kachi leaned in through the doorway, seeming to fill the cramped galley with his presence alone. He towered over the slight mechanic, and even stout old Vic seemed to shrink in comparison, but the alien moved gently and ducked his head in greeting, though he cocked an eye at the mess. He rested back onto his hind legs, sparing the flimsy galley bench his weight as he combed a clawed hand through Halla's messy hair, despite her indignation. His scales were clear and gleaming, dark like Halla but spotless in contrast to her filthy sweat-stained body. More like an antique wood, knotted and whorled, splayed over thick bundles of muscle. He was as naked as she was, but at least Amelia didn't know whether his species was meant to wear clothes or not.
- Amelia wiped the last of the coffee off the bench, wrung a little of it from her veil, and dumped the wet scraps of napkin into the rubbish compactor. She apologised profusely to the older spacer, bowed and bobbed her head in shame, but Vic gruffly waved her off and drained the last dregs of his mug. She considered just running away and hiding in her quarters, but the big alien was blocking the doorway with his tail, and she was afraid to go too near to the naked mechanic in case she happened to catch something from her, or accidentally caught another glimpse of things she shouldn't see. Amelia hesitated between the benches, standing awkwardly in the middle of the galley until Kachi noticed her.
- "Ah, please let me apologise for her, she's not quite as... civilised as the rest of the crew." Halla frowned and grumbled at the comment, but Kachi's oversized hand softly squeezed her arm until she flushed and quietened down. "I'll make sure she follows the Captain's orders more thoroughly in the future." The big alien dipped his head again, and finally noticed her gazing pointedly towards the door. He laughed quietly, a deep rumbling thing she could almost feel through her feet, and moved his thick tail out of her way. But before she could flee, he raised one of his hands again, almost reaching out to touch her.
- "And that collection of yours was quite... informative. I would be very appreciative if you happened across any more videos like them," he made an attempt to lower his voice, but even in a murmur he was heavy and clear, like thunder rolling in the distance. "Though perhaps something a little smaller, or with just two people would be more useful to us." Amelia burst into nervous laughter, blushed red as a dying star and scrambled out of the galley as fast as she could, covering her eyes with her hands, running from Vic's questioning look, from the heavy alien and the naked, dark-skinned girl.
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