A snippet of my sci-fi adventure erotica, Succulent Stars. Started as my 2016 NaNoWriMo novel, I didn’t get very far but I’ve been picking at it again when Pack It In gets too frustrating to work on. You can see my inspo tumblr blog for it here.
Every living thing has a heartbeat and the universe dutifully pumped star scattered blood through her veins as if there was nothing more pleasing to it. Ana lay nude in the grass, her eyes closed to the dying evening sun, the scent of crushed lavender scattered around her. The trees pressed closed here, their infinite knowledge deeply rooted in the summer soaked earth, the rains carving small rivers through their roots. Ana had been retreating here for years and years, a small private place for her and her thoughts alone. It was the last refuge left to her and it was here that she remembered her purpose in life.
Her fingertips slowly slid over her skin, neither erotic nor exploring, just simple memorization of her own body. The scars that wrapped around her ribs, the failed piercing in one nipple, the successful in the other. The way her spine couldn’t handle being straight anymore, always slightly curved, her hips tilted at a small angle but enough to cause her aches and pains after too many hours standing. The callouses on her own palms that never went away, the divot of her hip bones that dared her to be modified, the prickle of stubble between her thighs she was too lazy to keep up with. What was the point, she thought. If a lover cared that much then she didn’t want to sleep with them anyways. She rolled her ankles, stretched her legs out, pointing her toes. They, too, were covered in scars, white lines interlinked across her tan skin. Stories written in flesh.
Ship life had caused her to lose some of the toning in her body. Flying a craft didn’t take much effort – computers and androids were almost entirely functional without the need for humans – so she didn’t do as much work on her body as she once had. Less risky jobs meant less fighting. She spent more time reading and helping her parents with their research projects these days than she had years ago. Gym time, synthetics, neuronets. They were all on a shelf now and she enjoyed the languid feeling of her body growing soft
“Ana? Are you in here?”
A young girl’s voice drifted through the serenity of the woods and Ana frowned. Someone better be bleeding or on fire if they were bothering her.
“What do you want?”
“You’ve got a com from your mother…”
Ana sighed and ran a hand over her face as she sat up. Her mother was never one to be kept waiting and if Ana didn’t take the com, she’d never hear the end of it.
She slowly got up off the forest floor and stretched her limbs. Her body was still from lying down for so long but the meditation was more important than a few aching muscles. She walked over to a tree and pressed her hand against it, the hologram fading almost instantaneously. The tree flickered and disappeared to reveal the smooth silver metal of her captain’s quarters, the computer display glittering underneath her fingertips. Ana grabbed a robe off of her bed, threw it on, and stomped into her private office and pulled the com to life on the compact computer there.
“What’s going on, Mom?” Ana flung herself into the chair and ran a hand through her hair, half-hoping her mother wouldn’t say anything about the mass of curls.
“Is everything ok? You took so long to respond…” her mother frowned a little bit, lips pursed. Ana was never really sure if her mother was concerned about something being wrong or the fact that Ana was now a grownup with a career of her meant that Elise could treat her like she treated everything else in her life: professionally.
“Things are fine,” Ana said, “I was just in the middle of something.”
Elise was shuffling some paperwork and nodded, “Ok, well, your father and I need some help with a project and we were hoping that you could come by the colony in the next few days. It’s not extremely urgent but we’ve finally secured the government funding for it and would love to get going on it as soon as possible.”
Ana frowned a little. Her mother was always asking her for favors like this. None of them paid well and most of them bored her crew.
“What do you need?”
“Samples,” Elise said, looking up from her list. Her soft brown eyes sparkled with excitement and Ana felt a twist in her gut.
“We’ll explain in further detail when you get here but we need some things from Earth.”
Ana’s frown deepened. There were no recorded missions of anyone returning to Earth for several hundred EarthYears at this point. She didn’t know of anyone herself who had ever gone and had never met another species that dared. The planet was ruined, soaked in chaos, blood, and human weapons.
“I don’t know, Mom,” Ana said, sitting up straighter in her chair, “People don’t go to Earth for a reason…”
“I know, Ana, and I wouldn’t be risking anyone’s life if it wasn’t crucially important.”
Ana snorted, “Which is why you’re sending your own daughter?”
“There’s much more to it than that, you know,” Elise snapped. The excitement was gone from her eyes and the smooth cool exterior was back in place once more. The twist in Ana’s gut hadn’t left but she just nodded slowly.
“I’ve got to finish this delivery but I can come by the colony in maybe an EarthWeek, is that ok? Seven days for you?”
The problem with living in space was figuring out how to measure time. Most humans that lived in the same galaxy as Earth just based it around Earth and it’s solar cycles. Others adopted different alien standards and just translated back and forth as best as possible. Ana moved between both, having grown up with Earth standards on Mars but living and interacting with too many other beings to ignore different time systems. Thank heavens for computers.
“It’s a little long for my taste but it’ll do,” Elise nodded, “Thanks Ana.”
The com cut off before Ana could respond and she sighed. She had spent the last few years doing various missions for her parents across the galaxy and it was alright work. They were both scientists on the historical Mars colony, the first of its kind for humans. Both of her parents were agricultural scientists, Elise focused on animal husbandry, Adrian, her father, on plants and the care taking thereof. They often worked on projects together, finding links over and over again between the two in the field. It made Ana wonder just how much knowledge really was lost when Earth was lost to humankind as a whole. Technology in general had survived but so much had to be started over from scratch if only because space colonies and space stations were very different beasts compared to the dirt and water and air of Earth.
Ana had dreamed of going to visit Earth since she was a small child. She left the office behind to get dressed, half-remembering the tacky posters she had hung up in her childhood room, gauzy old pictures of places on Earth. The most fascinating places were those still covered in greenery, age old forests untouched by humans. She used to spend hours in her father’s office flipping through precious books, real paper and cloth books, staring at the illustrations of plants. Mars hadn’t been a bad colony to grow up on, Ana reflected as she hung her robe up and pulled on her preferred jumpsuit, it was just empty.
After she inherited The Star Avenger in her early twenties from an aunt, Ana had fucked off and left Mars as far behind as she could. Both of her siblings had already left home, a brother gone to the military and a sister to diplomatic treaties. Her parents had hoped she’d go into the scientific fields like them but Ana just wanted to see something other than the cold metal of the colony and the endless dusty red wasteland of Mars. She zipped up her jumpsuit and left her room behind. Ultimately, if she was to return to Earth, she’d need to get the crew on board.