Having delivered the passengers and cargo, Mal and Kaylee offered to take the ship’s children to the nearby lake for a picnic.
“It’s more of a big pond.”said the shopkeeper.
Zoe was taking with the local law about Rahim and Aysha. Jayne was looking for a bar and a willing woman.
At the shopkeeper’s recommendation, Mal walked down the dusty street to a motor sales and rental lot. Kaylee and the kids followed, with Hope carrying the baby and Derry holding his father’s hand.
The proprietor of Gordon’s Motors beamed at the newcomers- obviously, from their pallor, spacers.
“What can I do for you folks? Lookin’ to buy a reliable mule? Or a family vehicle?”
The grim faced older man said, “We’re just passin’ through. Though we’d take a look at the country ‘round here and were told you c’d rent us somethin’ reliable.”
“Yessiree!. Any of my previously enjoyed motors is also available for rent. Will you need a lot of cargo space? Got a nice mule here handles 35 cubes.”
“We’re just headin’ up to the lake for a picnic. Make a change from four walls for the younguns. Won’t be needin’ much cargo space.”
A little boy leaned against the older man. He wore the same boots, khaki pants and suspenders and was practicing the same grim expression.
A girl with blonde dreads carried a plump red-headed baby in a sling. Her expression was impassive. The young woman in a gauzy dress and pigtails had wandered off looking over the stock.
Gordon pointed to an open car at which the young woman had stopped. “That’s a good choice, miss. Fast; comfy seats.”
“An’ the tires so thin you can see the air inside ‘em.” She replied with a cheery grin.”Prolly a hover w’d be best if the road to the lake is no better than the main drag here. Got one with safety harnesses for the kiddie chairs? And kiddie chairs, for that matter.”
Gordon twinkled at the young woman. “I’d have to charge extra for the chairs but the harnesses is standard.”
“No chairs, no rental,” said the grim man. “Keep m’ family safe.”
“Will your wife be joining you then?”
The big man bristled. “This is our party. We’ll need seats for the baby and the boy. Is there GPS on this world or can we get a map?”
“GPS is standard. We may be a new world but we’re right up to date with our tech. You may have seen the satellites as you arrived.“
“We had to dodge a couple,” the girl with the baby interjected.
“Was that the bouncin’? Gotta fly smoother than that, child.” The man grinned at the girl.
Gordon wondered if the girl who appeared to be about twelve, was these spacers’ pilot. It would not have surprised him. Ship kids got responsibility early. It was apparent that the young woman in pigtails would be choosing the rental machine.
“No med clinic here?” the paterfamilias asked
“No,” Gordon was caught unaware by the sudden change of topic.”You folks needing medical help?”
“We just delivered you a midwife. But we have a Flying Doctor clinic from Book Memorial Hospital on Osiris as regular passengers. I was just thinkin’ you might want to be added to his route.”
“Damn right we would!” The big spacer frowned.”Sorry, language, not in front of the kids, eh? Sorry.”
“Always lookin’ for work. Gotta get paid to feed all these pesky kids.”
Kaylee had located a suitable hover and negotiations were quickly completed, Instructions were simple.
“Take the road out past Sweet Sally, then watch for a sign that says ‘Joe Batt’s Arm’. If you miss it, you’ll end up in Elbow, so turn around and look again. It’s about ten klicks down the road.”
Sweet Sally turned out to be only a little past the town limit, and consisted of an eponymous whorehouse, a grocery store and a popup fuel station. The popup was a medium transport ship, set up to process low grade and used vegetable oils into clean usable diesel. The ship had “Alleyne Fuel Recycling” painted on the cargo doors in English, Chinese and some other alphabets that the family did not recognize.
“That’s Zoe’s family name, Mal, I wonder if that’s another relation?”
“We should check on our way back, if we have time. Or Zoe may find them her own self.”
“More likely Jayne, if’n he don’t get too focussed on Sally’s house.”
The road to the lake was worse than anticipated, but the hover made the ride smooth enough that the baby slept the whole way. The passing landscape was green, forested with temperate forest trees, still young and thin, with heavy underbrush.
Mal drove, because Hope was busy identifying what trees were growing. “They’ve got a base crop of alders and birch, but the longer lived trees are spruce and fir. I even think they are looking far enough ahead that some of those are Douglas Fir and maybe sequoia. Look, Derry, a deer!”
A doe it was, stopping by the side of the rough track. Mal slowed as they approached and as their angle changed the children and Kaylee were delighted that she had a spotted fawn with her. She gazed at them with huge limpid eyes. “She’s not afraid because doe huntin’ is illegal. They’ll be tryin’ to build the herd.” Mal whispered.
The doe and her fawn bounded back into the brush.
At the lake, which really was not much bigger than a pond, Kaylee brought the baby out of her restraining safety chair and placed her on the long soft grass. She promptly began to wail at the strange surface so a blanket was hastily spread out for her. Kaylee slathered sunblock on everyone, especially the baby and Mal.
“We’ve been here one day, and already you’re frecklin’, capt’n. Too much sun and I’ll be nursin’ you through sunburn.”
Mal stayed to play with the baby while the rest went over a small rise to the water. When they returned after half an hour, they found her sleeping on the shirtless chest of her father in the dappled shade of a birch.
“Derry, help me set out lunch, “ his mother instructed. “Hope, why don’t you check the bush for plants or seeds you want for your garden.”
In less than ten minutes, a picnic of cold spicy noodles, fresh tomatoes, cucumber , avocado, deep fried chicken wings, and sweet red bean mooncakes was laid out. Hope had made lemonade that morning and chilled it with the ‘whiskey stones” that were kept in the ship’s freezer.
Kaylee and Mal added moonshine to their lemonade. “Hope, I’m gonna let you pilot us back,” Mal promised. Hope gave him her mother’s most old-fashioned look.
Babygirl had already enjoyed finely cut noodles and mashed avocado with the rest of the family, along with a little chicken Mal had pre-chewed for her, and Kaylee settled down with another hard lemonade to nurse. Mal took Derry and Hope back to the pond for a watery version of nameless ball.
“Them kids near wore me out,” he complained a quarter hour later, dropping onto the blanket beside his wife. Babygirl was practicing turning over and pushing herself onto hands and knees, a task made more difficult by the slightly higher gravity on this world. She had not yet succeeded in crawling.
Kaylee had left her dress open after nursing and was propped on her elbows with her face to the sunshine reflected off Heinlein, the planet which Lazarus orbited. Mal lay back and closed his eyes, listening to the baby’s grunts of effort.
“That has to be the noisiest baby ever.” He complained. ”Do you know she snores? Wakes me up sometimes with her racket.” He stroked her ginger curls.
Kaylee watch her man through almost closed eyes. He had stripped down to boxer briefs for the water and she was enjoying watching the sunshine on his broad chest and strong arms. His belly was flat and broad, his thighs thick and powerful. His light bodyhair sparkled golden in the sun. Freckles had appeared on his face and shoulders but a touch of golden tan was beginning on his pale spacer’s skin. He had picked up Babygirl and was lifting her as high as his arms could reach then pulling her down to kiss her chubby belly and pink cheeks.
“Is there anything sexier than a man playing with a baby?” Kaylee thought, and aloud,“You’re gonna burn your chest too if you don’t put on sunblock. I’ll do you and BG if you’ll do me.”
“I’ll do you anytime.”
“Cheap and sleazy, Mal. You c’n do better.”
After the baby was slippery with sunblock and Kaylee had given Mal a touchup, Mal started to slide lotion onto Kaylee’s exposed breasts and shoulders, then undid the buttons all down the front of her dress, exposing her belly and smooth legs. While the baby kicked and laughed at the breeze filled leaves overhead, he smoothed his broad hands over his wife’s body, slowly and appreciatively, gazing into her eyes. She sighed, “<lover> I so want to fuck you right now.”
Mal looked a little startled, “There’s a noticeable lack of privacy with all these kids running about.”
“Yeah, it w’d be naughty.’
“I agree” he said.
“Hmm? Agree to what?”
“ I really wanna fuck you too. Right now.”
“Obviously. But the kids…”
“Yeah. Funny how being old enough to have kids leaves you with the same problems as a horny teenager.”
“We could….remember dry humpin’?”
Kaylee wrapped her legs around Mal’s thigh, pressing her clit tightly to him. Mal’s erection was firmly against her belly. They rubbed together, kissing and exploring.
“Ah, zǔzhòu, this is worse that I remember. I want you inside me so bad.”
Mal gasped when Kaylee pulled his throbbing cock out of his briefs. “Uh… umm…here. Get on top of me and spread out your skirt. From the lake we should pass inspection.”
Kaylee did as instructed, moaning as Mal slipped into her. “We should be quick though.”
Mal thrust hard into her. She squeaked and the baby looked over, astonished. Kaylee covered Mal’s mouth with her own, hiding her moans there. She felt him tremble and then the heat within her that signalled his orgasm. He relaxed, breathing shallow and fast. Kaylee waited, enjoying the comfort of having his cock filling her, even as it slowly retreated. She rolled off him and grabbed a napkin from the picnic basket to clean themselves off.
“Wait,” said Mal, pulling his briefs into place, and slid his hand down to her clit, rubbing and tweaking until Kaylee grabbed his neck and pulled him into another kiss that muffled her cry. She slid bonelessly back on the blanket. Mal gazed at her, and licked his fingers suggestively. Kaylee laughed at his ‘sexyface.”
“I love my captain.”
“I love my wife.”
The baby was snoring again.