A WORLD CALLED SAFFRON

It’s been a while…. ten years or so…..

CHAPTER ONE

The adobe wall was smooth where it pressed against her buttocks while the john thrust away steadily. She found herself moving towards orgasm, a rare occurrence in these circumstances, but enjoyed the ride into the waves , clenching around the john’s dick and allowing herself to moan and gasp. The John redoubled his efforts, fastening his mouth over her nipple and suckling like a starving baby. Her full orgasm hit and she choked out a cry, grabbing his hair, pulling him off her breast and kissing his hot lips.

The john looked surprised by a whore’s kiss, then his eyes glazed as, still engorged, his dick slid out of her and he collapsed unconscious at her feet.

She took a few moments to recover from the bonemelting rush of orgasm before leaning down and rifling his pockets. In scrip and coin he had nearly 200 square plus a cash card, some saleable ID, and an unlocked com. She pulled the spotter from the com and dropped it on the unconscious john, sneering at his still stiff cock.

Goodnight. Sweetie. It was good for me, too bad about you.”

Pulling her logo tee down over her ample bosom, and readjusting her panties under the uniform skirt, she indulged herself in a little frottage of her still excited clit. The alley ran behind the busy tavern where she had hooked him, and she left by the busier street.

All an observer would have seen was a tired waitress on her way home. She found a bus stop just as a bus arrived, paying with a paper ticket and rode for about a klick, before descending at a busy square. There she descended and slipped into a shopping mall. In the women’s washroom, she changed her short skirt and tight tee for a pale yellow dress from her bag and removed her black wig, exposing her own pale red hair. She washed off the waitress’ heavy makeup and added a little light brown mascara and a gloss of the ever useful “lipstick”

She gave a long stretch to her tiny frame, watching how her useful bosom filled out the dress. No straight man ever really saw her face with the girls in evidence.

She walked the length of the mall, back the way she had come on the bus, to a taxi stand. The bicycle rickshaw had a curtained compartment for privacy, and after giving the driver an address, she took advantage of it to continue pleasuring herself with the little vibrator she kept in her purse.

She had two more orgasms by the time the rickshaw arrived, flushed and more relaxed than she had been in weeks. The muscular driver gave her a cocky grin that told her he knew how she had passed the travel time. Keeping her eyes down, she breathed deeply, confirming that he would remember her boobs and perhaps her hair colour but little else about his sexy customer.

She stepped through the unlocked gate of the walled compound and waited for the rickshaw to leave the quiet neighbourhood. Closing the gate behind her, she crossed the street and walked two doors down to a different, locked gate.

Adventure over. Home at last.

The next morning she tossed the card and com into the basket of incidental goodies her staff had picked up overnight. The coms would go to the pawnshop later in the day where less affluent crooks would pay deeply discounted coin for them. The cards would go out with sharps who would empty accounts as soon as possible.

From her home office she watched her staff, few of whom had ever seen her, meet her soldiers and give each his or her percentage of the night’s earnings at the office in a downmarket industrial park, near the oceanfront and spaceport docks. She had a little flyabout that would take her there in less than 15 minutes if it ever became necessary. Over the past five years, that had happened exactly once. That problem was efficiently disposed of….out the airlock between suns. After having a few useful organs harvested for transplant. Under deep anaesthetic of course, no unnecessary cruelty. Waste not, want not.

Sweet Sue, a tiny blonde madam, was accompanied by two brutal faced mercs, bristling with guns and knives. As a legal business, the string of brothels made their deposits to bank accounts, but the side deals were in real money and Sue brought that in herself. She could tune in to the oral report of the past week’s happenings. Sweet Sue was again looking to open a sly house, which she did not consider a paying proposition. The way men’s libidos worked, there was too much damage to staff from customers who were unable to find willing partners.

Of more interest were the truckers and the captains of boats and spaceships. While luxury goods and some necessities were becoming more consistently available, there was still higher demand than supply on these Border worlds, and an even smaller supply out on the Rim. About 20 captains were in the office, checking the electronic bulletin boards for jobs that fit their transports.

A courier was picking up flower arrangements for delivery to the homes of various police and government officials. The courier’s truck was fitted with comfortable seats for the guards protecting the message cards on each bouquet, which held appropriate wage packets of scrip.

She changed her viewers to see the less savoury ‘offices’ of the contractors who worked with smugglers and petty thieves. At the tavern where Fanty and Mingo met their bandit buddies, she stopped and stared…. she recognized that idiotic hat. And coming back from the bar, bearing a tray of beers….. well, if it wasn’t her one time husband…. Mal Reynolds.

He looked pretty good, given the decade that had passed since they last met. Saffron, she was calling herself then, and she remembered how he had lectured what he thought was a shy, scared virgin on self-confidence and making her way in the world. She remembered kissing him and thinking for a moment that it was too bad she didn’t have time to fuck him stupid. It wouldn’t have taken too long, he wasn’t that bright to begin with. But she had a deadline…. and it was the big merc in the idiotic hat whose marksmanship had messed up that deal too.

The Amazon joined them at the table. No sign of that gānrǎo mǔgǒu Companion. Well, she wouldn’t fit into this scruffy tavern. The rest of the crew she didn’t remember too well. Oh well, there were quite a few husbands she couldn’t remember too well either.

He was a little taller than she remembered and a lot broader. It looked as if he had been lifting weights and his biceps strained the sleeves of his red shirt. He still kept his pants up with suspenders, not relying on the tight fit. He was laughing with the merc and the Amazon, looking a lot less grim than he used to be.

Fanty and Mingo arrived, looking tough and grinning like a pair of Cheshire cats. Saffron opened the mic built into the table.

Been a while, boys,” her husband said.

Mal,”said one twin.

We haven’t had anything much that fits your particular skill set lately.” added the other, sounding unconvincingly apologetic.

Don know why. We’ll take on pretty much any jobs that don involve slavin.”

Personnel procurement, Mal”

Slavin. And we don’t want to be involved.”

Fanty and I heard you were on the other side of a slave.. personnel procurement… operation a bit back. Helping out the Alliance.”

There was Alliance involved, but we were helpin out the slaves. And you’re Fanty. Don mess me about.”

Cost one of our employers a lot of money, Mal”

Then he shouldn’t be in the slave business. Do we have anythin to talk about? Do you have work for us?”

Hear you have a doctor on board, Mal”

He’s been with us for goin’ on ten year. He hooked up with the Book Memorial Flyin Doctors and does reg’lar clinics around the Rim.”

Very respectable, Mal.”

And wantin to stay that way. We got kids on board these days. Don need no trouble. We’re reliable, we get the job done. Then we get paid. Simple.”

Where does your doctor go next, Mal?”

No secret. His schedule’s on the cortex. Here I’ll put it on your com.”

So Beaumonde to Greenleaf to St Albans. “

Then back here, prolly, to pick up some back ordered medicines and equipment.There’s enough time between Greenleaf and St Albans for a side trip. Doc’s got several days of surgical clinics set up. Knee replacements, nose jobs, scar removals, nothin emergency. An a few days at St. Albans/”

Saffron found this new-found respectablity amusing. The crew had been living hand to mouth, as appreciative of payment in foodstuffs and cider as they were of cashy money. And now they were ferrying around a Flying Doctor. Great cover for less respectable enterprises.

And if the doctor were less respectable than he appeared. Saffron switched the meeting to “record” and searched for the Flying Doctors schedules. She found Dr. Simon Tam, contracted to the Derrial Book Memorial Hospital, flying with Serenity out of Persephone, captain. Malcolm Reynolds. There was a David Chen listed with Book Memorial as Tam’s nurse. The other crew were listed on the ship register as Zoe Washburne, first mate; Jayne Cobb, supercargo; Kaywinnet Lee Frye, engineer; River Tam, pilot.

Mal’s mention of children puzzled Saffron. There had been a waifish teenager aboard, but she would be in her twenties by now. Perhaps the pilot and the doctor were parents?

No mention of the Companion. But she would be a passenger and not on the crew list. And nothing about the pilot she knew, the jokey guy with a sharp eye for bullshit. Wasn’t he the Amazon’s husband?

She probably got tired of his jokes and tossed him out the airlock. Very direct woman, odd that she’d kept his name, though. Maybe her original name was ridiculous. On a whim, she ran marriage records for Washburne and Zoe. No, she’d been Zoe Alleyne.

She ran Zoe Alleyne, pulling up her birth registration, shipborn, a distinguished service record, albeit with the losing Independents, then a short gap, and then, paydirt.

An outstanding warrant for Zoe Alleyne for terrorist activity. The Amazon was a Dust Devil! Not a huge reward, not enough to put a bounty hunter on her trail, but good enough to give a little pressure of needed. A simple,legal name change after a wedding in a Rim planet registry office made her invisible.

Saffron wondered if Reynolds knew of his first mate’s past. Didn’t matter. She was open to being bound by law at any time. She and the crew she ran with would be Saffron’s bitch any time she wanted them.

CHAPTER TWO

An interesting delivery.

The power chair swung from the window to face the opening door.

Ms. Freda Argo, Sir Gerhard.”

Gerhard Tso smiled at the pretty redhead, “Always a pleasure, Ms. Argo. Michael could you bring us tea and, since it’s quite late in the afternoon, would you care for sandwiches or scones?”

A sandwich would be lovely, thank you, Sir Gerhard.”

When the assistant left, Saffron’s tone changed. “I think I’ve found a ship that will carry your special cargo, Gerry.”

No questions?”

They can’t afford questions.”

You know this is a delicate matter. Requires special handling.”

I’m thinking of doing a little travelling myself. I’m getting bored here. I’m taking too many risks just to keep my hand in.”

Going with the cargo would also mean risk.”

Oh, this crew knows me. They don’t know how well I know them.”

Blue Sun is getting greedy about their GMO plantations. The pharmaceuticals they produce are making them a pretty penny, but the seeds are genetically tagged so they can be identified if they are grown by others.” Tso explained.

Don’t the seeds revert to their parents when they are harvested?’

‘No, you’re thinking of hybrids. GMO organisms are stable and reproduce exactly. ‘

‘So what’s the job?’

‘The company finds itself with an embarrassment of riches. They have badly overproduced on cyclosopinalline. They need to find a market.’

‘Can’t they just store it? ‘

‘That’s expensive in the short run and there is no long run since the drug has only a five year shelf life.’

‘So what’s the job?’

‘We’re taking the disease to a planet that has no immunized population. Then Blue Sun can sell the cyclosopinalline to the federal government who will send in a clinic of Flying Doctors. Government gets brownie points for ending the epidemic, Flying Doctors get paid, Blue Sun gets paid and most important, we get paid.’

‘How do we bring a disease to a world?’

‘Ah, there’s the pretty part. It a ranching world, produces beeves for Blue Sun’s packing plants. We send in some embryos to improve the breeding stock. The ranchers will even pay for them.

‘Cattle don’t get sick but they are part of the infection chain. Like mosquitoes. They don’t get malaria, but they spread it. And, with the disease in the herds, there will be a constant supply of people needing Blue Sun Pharma for cures.’

‘They could get vaccinated.’

‘Remember? They don’t believe in vaccinations. They think it will cause their offspring to be doolalley or some gose like that.’ He steered his power chair over to the window. ‘Assholes. My parents didn’t believe in vaccination either. So when I got flesheating disease as a kid, all that could be done was amputate. And here I am. Assholes.’

Saffron was surprised at the heat behind Gerhard’s words. He had always seemed content with his power chair, although she had occasionally seen him using prosthetics. He had kept one knee and could walk quite well as long as he was on level surface. But the power chair was more efficient

.That he had lost his legs as a result of a stupid belief on the part of his parents was surprising, and might one day be useful. Saffron filed the information away.

There are massive rain forests and jungles on Greenleaf, thanks to a large tropical belt. The plants found here are used to provide a variety of life-saving drugs that cannot be easily synthesized in a lab. Most of the locals on Greenleaf work for the major drug companies who have set up shop here. There are those residents who sensed the profits that could be made in the drug industry and began gathering samples from the pharmaceutical plants and growing them privately, in order to sell them on the black market. In response, the drug companies began to engineer new strains of these plants with genetic tags, so that confiscated merchandise could be traced back to its origin point. It has been difficult to stop the smuggling, since there are dozens of small cartels. The Alliance has restricted landing here more so than on some other planets, in an effort to clamp down on the problem. However, the smugglers who know their way around the jungle are usually able to find a way through.

 

CHAPTER THREE

Fanty and Mingo find work for the crew, including a passenger on a business trip. Modesty can be a disguise. Saffron boards Serenity and totally misunderstands the situation.

Fanty and Mingo had come across with a large mostly legal consignment of genseed and protein rations bound for the Border world of Greenleaf, starting point for Rim homesteaders. While that cargo was being loaded, the twins added a new trip from Greenleaf to Paquin where Serenity was to pick up a passenger, a Ms. Freda Argo, as well as a special cargo bound for the tropical Rim world of Jianyin four days out from Greenleaf. The passenger would return with them to Greenleaf. Mal was glad not to be deadheading back, and even happier that he would not have to search for a paying cargo on Greenleaf.

 

Jayne nudged Davy. “Izzat our passenger?”

Comin our way and the the jitney has luggage and a big box. Likely”

Don’t often see a burqua alone. Even them hijabi girls tend ta run in packs.”

It’s a personal choice, Jayne.”
“Makes me wonder what’s hidin underneath tho’”

The robed figure stopped at the cargo ramp and check a notepad against the name on the side. With a wave of her hand, the jitney drove up the ramp and two tough looking women began to unload.

‘Easy, lads, where can we put this cryobox where it won’t be disturbed?” the smaller dockworker asked.

Anything that isn’t goin to the passenger’s bunk goes in the area marked 13. We can strap it down fer you.’ David led the woman deeper into the hold.

Jayne approached the passenger. “D’ya need any help with yer cabin baggage , ma’m?”

She shook her head and pulled a large wheeled case off the jitney. She spoke quietly to the other docker, who asked, “Where is the lady’s compartment, please?”

I can lead you ma’m,’ offered Jayne, with a grin, meant to be friendly but coming off feral.

The robed woman turned to the docker. “Uh, no. The lady doesn’t interact with men. Tell me and I’ll show her.”

It’s okay, ma’m. Conjure you’re Ms. Argo. I’m Kaylee Frye, mechanic. You’re through this way. Capt’n don’t like strangers wanderin around. No offence, right?”

The docker looked relieved.
‘Nah, we’ll get this stuff strapped and try to pick up another job before dark.”

Oh hey, my friend Sou-Fen at the  Castle may be needing some extra hands today and prolly tomorrow. Want her wave?”

Sure!”

The dockworkers finished strapping down their cargo and left but not before the little one gave Jayne her wave call, with a grin that promised a high energy visit next time Serenity hit Paquin’s spaceport.

Kaylee chattered as she let Ms. Argo into the passenger area.

‘We don’t take many passengers. Our family expanded and took over most of the staterooms. An I turned two of em into a shower room a couple of years ago. So anyways, this is yours.”

She pushed aside the screen. ‘The doors don’t zactly lock, but you can fix it closed with when you’re inside. We’ll take off soon as the capt’n gets back, mebbee twenny minutes or so. An after that, we’ll all meet in the galley. I showed you where that is? For orientation and introductions. We usually eat dinner together, but I kin arrange to bring your meals here is f you don’t wanna mix with the menfolk.”

”That’s fine, “ Ms. Argo said in her whispery voice. “I’ll come to the galley.”

Shiny. Meals are taken in the dining area, the kitchen is pretty much self-explanatory, you’re welcome to eat what there is any time… Waht there is is pretty standard fare, protein in all the colours of the rainbow, fresh stuff when we’v just made planetfall, cans. We do have sit-down meals and the next will be about 1800 hours.”

At 1800 hours, with Serenity well out in the Black, the passenger joined the crew without her burqa.

I’m sorry, I’m afraid I’m late. Did I miss much?”

Shénshèng de gǒu shǐ, Saffron!”

How nice of you to remember. You’re Jayne, I think?. And Simon, And of course I remember you , hubs.”

Mal just stared.

So what do you want?”

Just passage, hubby. Why do you think I would want more?”

Because we’ve met before, happen?”

Water under the bridge, Mal. Just take me to Jianyin, let me give my cows to their buyers and let me off again at Pershphone. No drama.”

Just…no drama. Okay, no drama”

David looked confused. Simon pressed his hand under the table and whispered, “I’ll explain later, dear.”

Kaylee looked upset to the brink of tears.

Look, I’ll make dinner tonight. You all know I’m a good cook. I can make anything nice, even protein.”

Were eatin a lot higher on the hog that that these days.” said Kaylee, miffed. “Anyway, I’m on the roster for tonight.”

Sides, how would we know what we was bein fed?” asked Jayne.

Why would I do anything that would stop me getting to Jianyin? I have business there, People to see and money to collect.”

There’s money on Jianyin?” asked Jayne.

‘Not much, and there will be less after I leave.”

What are you sellin them?” asked Kaylee, always interested in new stories.

New stock. Improve their herds of cattle . Stronger, faster growing. A few additions to the gene pool.”

Why do you go with them?” asked Mal, suspiciously.

Because there are pirates out here. I want to make sure my investment gets to its proper destination. That’s why I chose this boat, sweetie. You take a job, you finish the job… well, usually.”

We always finish the job. Then we get paid.”

I hear tell there was at least once you turned the loot back in and angrified your employer something awful.”

‘Just stay out of my way, In fact, stay in your cabin while we’re underway. I don’t trust you wanderin about.”

‘Sir, Maybe it best if she stay here during daylight hours where we can keep an eye on her.”

Mal considered then nodded. ‘You stay in the galley or the lounge. At night you’ll be locked in your cabin. We don’t trust you, but we will fulfill our bargain. Agree?”

Do you want me to make dinner, since I’ll be in here anyway? My offer stands.”

Mal sneered.

Saffron watched from the lounge while Kaylee, assisted by Simon, prepared dinner. She remember them as courting, stiff and unsure around each other, but as she suspected time, prosperity, and intimacy had relaxed them both, particularly the doctor.

He poured part of a large pot of stock into a smaller pot, then bottled the rest of it. And added the bottles to an almost full freezer. Kaylee added cooked rice, beaten egg and lemon to the hot stock, and set bowls out on the table

Kaylee had washed heads of various leafy vegetables, wearing latex gloves to keep from adding engine grease to the mixture. To two large platters of greens, she added a dozen hard cooked eggs and cold strips of poultry and fried bean curd. Yeast rolls out of the oven and butter from the fridge.Simon added pots of tea.

Simon set the table with forks, knives chopsticks and spoons.

The oven is new, “ confided Kaylee with a proud smile, her good humour restored.”We been bakin and casserolin like real báiwèimín since it went in.” Saffron noticed how quickly the mechanic was to get over her suspicions.

Simon was on the com,”Mei mei, are you coming down to dinner or do you want it there? There’s pie.”

Serenity has to negotiate a small meteor shower. Could I eat here, please? Davy can bring it.”

Saffron identified the big man she had seen working the cargo with Jane as David Chen, the nurse. If ‘mei mei’ was the waif she remembered, time had made a huge change in her, if she were allowed to pilot the ship alone. Perhaps the nurse was her partner? Saffron envied her the muscles of the young man with the long braid, but soon realized that he was sly. Perhaps the merc’s boyfriend? 

They sat down to dinner, with Mal at the head of the table. The Amazon sat on his right hand, with Saffron between her and David. Kaylee was on Mal’s left,flanked by Simon, and Jayne was seated at the bottom of the table.

Kaylee served out the soup she had made and the Cobb salad and rolls were on the table for everyone to serve themselves. Although this was an American style meal, and most of the crew used forks, Jayne and Kaylee used chopsticks. But even Jayne switched to a fork when Kaylee produced an apple pie from the oven.

The pie was deliciously tart and sweet. “It’s as good as anything I make,” said Saffron, only to get a scowl from the mechanic.

‘There’s lots of things I can do better than you. “ said Kaylee.

CHAPTER FOUR

Saffron tries to recapture the love of her husband. Unfortunately, he does not reciprocate the feeling.

After dinner, Zoe said. “I’m waving Emma. Should be near school curfew. Are you still reading to Derry, sir?”

Yeah. Kaylee where the bookpad at?”

Common room, third shelf under the vid screen on the left, if it’s the green one.”

Zoe and Mal left for her cabin but not before Mal dropped a brotherly kiss onto Kaylee’s hair as she passed.

Saffron watch the comings and goings. Jayne and the handsome nurse were setting up a knife sharpening station on the dining table. Kaylee and Simon were scraping plates and laughing as they finished loading the dishwasher. They retired to the commons and sat together on the chesterfield, with Kaylee’s head on his shoulder as he ran through the available choice of vids.

Saffron was considering how to play the three couples. Jayne and Davy she might be able to use if muscle or money was in play, given Jayne’s loose attachment to the crew. The nurse was new and would probably follow his older boyfriend. Simon and Kaylee were both weak in her opinion, though both had skills that could be useful.

And Mal had hooked up with Zoe—she was a formidable enemy. Saffron still could feel the punch she had landed when the Lassiter caper was on the table. Still, she had dumped the husband for Mal so her mind could be changed. Then there was her knowledge of Zoe’s Dust Devil past. Saffron wondered it Zoe ever went with women. She could be fun, if a little danger was to your taste. And Saffron liked danger.

But Mal was the key. And Saffron thought she knew what it would take to put Mal back in her thrall.

Now was the time to act, Saffron rose and made her way to her dorm, where she slipped out of her travel suit and into a gauzy, easily removed dress. No underwear. Her sizeable bosom was natural but she had invested in some surgical aid to keep it high, so even a brassiere was unnecessary.

The captain no longer used a crew bunk, but had moved to one of the rarely-used passenger dorms. The sliding door didn’t lock, and Saffron slipped inside. She looked around. The captain was more into comfort than he had been. A large bed was neatly made with a pink and white quilt and several pillows. The desk was still piled with papers and small machine parts. There was a locked gun cabinet mounted high on the wall, and strings of fairy lights around the top of the walls. She vaguely remembered the map of the Verse and the large calligraphic painting, but there were also many captures of a child, from newborn to about seven. His blue eyes and brown hair would have proclaimed him to be Mal’s, even if the khaki pants and suspenders did not.

Looks like someone finally got hold of your plow, Malcolm Reynolds. He’s not Zoe’s get. Does he live with your babymamma?”

She found a cortpad on the desk, and spent half an hour checking her own accounts for word of the deals her staff were covering. Hearing steps in the corridor, she closed the pad and posed sexily on the bed, pulling her thin dress into an inviting disarray.

And Kaylee entered.

You’re in the wrong dorm.”

No. I’m waiting for my husband.”

That ship sailed a long time ago, Saffron. You know gorram well he was never your man and the marriage weren’t legal. Anyways, the capt’n persuaded Elder G to annul the whole thing—and fork over a nice settlement for all the trouble.”

So what has all this to do with you? Just protecting his chastity? Or are you after him? He’s a nice piece of manflesh, even if he’s a bit simple.”

He ain’t that simple. There’s a lot to him, not that someone like you would ever know.”

Somebody got him, it seems. Who’s the babymamma of the little clone?”

Yer lookin at her.”

An the title would be wife.” Mal said, stepping into the room and slipping an arm around Kaylee’s belly.

And she’s knocked up again, I presume? Quite the stud once you get started. What did you do with that Companion you were mooning over?”

Saffron was amused to notice that Mal’s other hand had moved from Kaylee’s shoulder to her breast. She allowed her dress to slip even lower. Mal swallowed and gripped Kaylee tighter. Chastity indeed.

We’re just returning from her funeral on Sihohn.” said Kaylee “Inara was a dear friend to all of us,”

Not that it’s any of your business,”growled Mal.

Saffron changed tactics. “She was a lovely creature. How sad to die so young.”

She was met with two stoney glares.

Again, not your business,I’ll be thankin you to quit runnin yer mouth and git gone outta here. Didn’t think I’d hafta mention not trespassin in other cabins. You just ain’t got no boundaries.

‘Hubby, that’s not nice.’ Saffron gave a melting glance. ‘If you want, we could all have a little fun together. I’m not adverse to the idea of sharing my wedding night.’

‘GIT OUT,’ roared Mal. Saffron sighed and pulled her filmy dress around her, allowing it to slip below the nipple for a second before arranging herself and hopping off the bed.

‘You don’t need to be mad, sweetie. I’m just offering what you could have had long since.’

Saffron rose gracefully. ‘I can see you can’t speak freely, hubby. Perhaps later.’

She squeezed out the door between them, managing to brush herself against both and cupping Mal’s buttock as she left. ‘Yum.’ she said.

CHAPTER FIVE

Malcolm and Kaywinnet

Kaylee was dumbfounded. ‘Did she really just offer us a threesome?’ she asked.

‘Reckon so. I don’t ever want to be naked near that woman. Too dangerous.’

‘Again.’

What?’

‘Naked again, remember?’ Hóng tóufǎ de shé shé biǎo zi.’

I have always admired your quick grasp of character, Kaywinnet. Now, we wanted to discuss compression coils?’

You still don’t know what a compression coil is, do you, Malcolm?’

I know it’s something I never want to be short of again, bao bei. Once was bad enough.’ He kissed the top of her head, not like a brother this time, and fondled her breast in his big hand. Kaylee leaned back into his embrace, closing her eyes and sighing.

I’m sorry I was so mean, Mal. She’s so pretty and sexy. I get angry when she tries to take advantage of your good nature.’

Mal laughed, ‘MY good nature! Have I still not convinced you that I am a mean old man? Anyways, why eat dog from a market stall when there’s steak at home? Enough talk, darlin. Let me help you with those coveralls.’

Mal framed her face with his hands and pulled her closer for a kiss.He slid his hands down her back, squeezing her bum under her coveralls and panties. Kaylee felt the bulge in his pants grow, and touched his stiffening cock through the layers of fabric.

‘Let me make you happy,’ he whispered.’Just lie back and let me tend to you.’

Kaylee ground her belly with its hard bump against his hips and then lay back on the pink quilt while Mal pulled off her work clothes, leaving her in her cotton panties and a bra trimmed with pink ribbon bows and rosettes. Mal’s breath came faster. He bent to her breasts, sucking and licking them eagerly through the fabric. Kaylee could feel the hot hard curve of him and rubbed herself against it harder.

She reached down and took his cock out, opening his buttoned fly with ease. She pushed her panties aside and rubbed his silken tip over her clit. She moaned feeling herself getting wet. She bit her lower lip and teased his cock with her hot slit, grinding hard and then pulling away at the last possible second.

Mal’s breath was ragged too. He undid her bra and tossed it to the floor returning to her naked breasts with his mouth and tongue. Kaylee revelled in the skin to skin and stroked his face, whispering,’Ni hen xiang ma?” and he smiled.

She guided his cock inside. He gasped, blue eyes fluttering, and their gazes locked as she slowly took in his whole length. They matched quickening thrusts for a few minutes. Kaylee slowed when it felt like he was ready to come. She swiveled her pelvis in slow figure eights. “Not yet’, she whispered. ‘I want this to last.’

He slipped his hand between them, stroking her clit while he watched her with greedy eyes. He moaned when she gripped him with her cunt, feeling him twitch and spasm involuntarily.

‘Darlin..oh… tamade.’ Incoherent with pleasure he thrust harder, gripping her hips with desperate strength and plunging in again and again. His cock found the right spot and she came hard. ‘Fuck me..harder’ she whispered, sobbing with joy. She wrapped her legs around him, and he obeyed, filling her, bringing her to the brink of a second orgasm. His pace grew frantic and he strained against her as they climaxed together.

He collapsed momentarily, resting his entire weight on her. She felt protected and safe. She knew he will never hurt her, never allow anyone to come between them, no matter how tempting the offer. He kissed his way up to her ear and whispered, ‘Thank you.’

‘Thank you, Malcolm. That was …wonderful.’

CHAPTER SIX

Saffron gets hold of a plow. Well, we saw that one coming.

By the next morning Kaylee’s good humour was thoroughly restored and she and Mal were late for breakfast.

What are you bringin to Jianyin, Saffron?’ asked Jayne.

I think the captain and I agreed last night that his business was his and mine was mine.’

Damn straight.’ Muttered Kaylee.

Them crazies on Jianyin got some weird ideas.’Jayne persisted.’Do they really keep women in special houses til they’s hitch’d?’

Yes,’ said Saffron, ‘But I wasn’t one of those girls, I just persuaded Elder G to show me the ceremony. He was planning to give the Captain one of his own daughters.’

Mal gaped, ‘No shit? There was some talk about … well, I didn’t quite figger why at the time, but he was gonna trade us a cook for our services rendered.’

You see, hubby, you could have had your own personal virgin slave.’

I prefer what I got, what I chose.’ He put his hand over Kaylee’s.

What you been doin since we saw you last?’ persisted Jayne.

I have a little business on Greenleaf. Import/export mostly.’

Smugglin and fencin, ‘ translated Mal.

Saffron stuck her tongue out at him, the rude grimace making her seem softer and younger.

I don’t want to be beholden to anyone. I get by.’

Who d’ya work for… we know Fanty and Mingo, Badger?’

I don’t work for anyone. I work with them or they work for me. ‘ How that man could irritate her. She would never allow anyone to understand the breadth of her business. “My clients are my business. You know enough.”

This is a legal cargo then? Why not ship with one of the big transporters?”

Throwing a dog a bone? When I saw your ship was available for hire, I thought you might like the work. And you work cheap and you would go where I need to deliver.”

‘We ain’t going to Elder G’s town are we?’ asked Jayne.

No, Bountiful is on the other side of the world. They’re not related at all. Ranchers, not farmers.’

Mal and Kaylee exchanged looks. Mal sometimes talked of retiring to a ranch. ‘We’ll have to take a look around when we hit dirt.’

‘i’m bored with staring at my cabin walls, Mal,’ complained Saffron. ‘Can I stay here and maybe watch a vid?’

‘Stay off the cortex,’ warned Mal.’We got a shelf of ’em in the commons though. Jayne, you’re on dishes, you keep an eye on our guest?’

‘I got things to do, too, Mal,’ Jayne said, but his excuse was more for the record.

Fine. Just keep her off the cortex. You can work on yer stuff in the dining room or in the commons. Don’t let her get up to anything.’

‘I’ll help with the dishes.’

Mal considered. ‘Wash, don’t dry.’

The crew scattered to their own quarters. Saffron noticed that Simon and David were holding hands as they went off to the infirmary. Another misunderstood relationship. Zoe took a hotdish up to the bridge where the pilot, still unseen, was on watch. Kaylee returned to the engine room and Mal to the cargo bay, where he was using the weight bench.

Saffron and Jayne made quick work of the dishes and she was soon checking out the paper books on the tall bookcase.

Them romances is Kaylee’s. Mostly pretty dumb. There’s a few bookpads on the shelves. The blue ones is technical stuff about spaceships and geography. The green ones is kid’s books, but some of them stories is pretty good. The others is just books, stories and poems and lotsa history. An’ you kin see the vids for yourself.’

‘Anything more stiffening than Kaylee’s romances?’

‘Hell, some of those is pretty hot stuff too. She likes her stories, does Kaylee. You sh’d see her get all over Mal when she’s bin reading for a whiles. All handsy and whispering.’

‘How does he take that?’

‘Just grabs her and they disappears for a whiles. Annoyin for a guy that’s only got hisself to take care of bizness.’

‘Get lonely sometimes, Jayne?’

‘Nah. Horny as hell though. Three women on this boat and Mal’d space me if I touched any one of ’em.’ he considered. ‘Zoe’d space me her own self.’

‘Nothin’ much here to read an all the vids I’ve seen. Ni hen xiang ma?’

‘Huh?’

‘I’m bored. You’re horny. Ni hen xiang ma?’

Jayne considered the busty redhead. On the one hand, she was as slick as a frog and as trustworthy as a cat. On the other side, those tits made his cock twitch.

‘Where?’

‘My room.’

‘No kissing!’

Saffron locked the flimsy door to her cabin behind them and leaned back into Jayne’s broad chest when he grasped her breasts. Surprisingly his grip was gentle. This might be less violent than she had prepared for. She leaned back, and breathed deep. He smelled pretty clean, not soapy, a little sweaty from his work with the cargo earlier. Again, a pleasant surprise. She pushed her ass back into his already stiff cock. He grunted.

She let him explore her body for a few minutes, holding herself still.

‘Ni hen xiang ma?’ she asked again.

‘I’m ready if you are.’

‘I noticed,’ she purred, turning and running her hand across the front of his pants. ‘We’re wearing way too many clothes.’

His hands slid under her dress. ‘Commando?’

‘I don’t like to be restrained. Not by undies anyway. And you got a nice slow hand, sweetie.’

‘What do you like, Saff?’

Well, that’s nice, your hand right there. Huh, and there. You got big fingers. Feels nice.’

‘You get wet awful fast.’

‘You don’t think I been watchin you at the table, sweetie? You’ve got appetites. So do I.’

She turned rubbing her breasts against him. She was so short that her tits touched just above the big merc’s navel. She rubbed her nose on his tee,and slipped her hands underneath.

‘Mmm, nice. D’you know Core guys mostly go Brazilian? An a lotta the Border fellas are doin the same. Not very manly.’ she breathed deep, her breasts on his bare skin.

‘Brazilian?’

‘They remove their body hair. All of it.’

‘Even?’ he gestured at his crotch.

She giggled. ‘Even. I bet that doctor of yours does.’

‘He ain’t got no hair on his chest anyways.’

‘But he could grow a beard almost as fast as you, if he let it go. So I guess he thinks he’s prettier all smooth.’ She licked his nipple and he gasped. His hand was still playing with her clit and cunt. She pushed her hip against his stiffening cock.

‘Wanna get naked, sweetie? Fingers are nice, but you got somethin better for me hiding there.’ She slid her hands under his pants and grasped his ass. ‘I’m not the only one who likes commando.’

‘Only when I ain’t workin. My job it’s always a good idea to wear a cup.’

‘They make them that big?’

Jayne grinned. ‘Now that’s whore talk, girlie. I’ve heard all those lines before.’

‘Then let’s stop talking, sweetie. Whatever you got, I can handle it.’

Jayne picked the little redhead up and laid her on the bed. He spread her hair around her so none was caught under her shoulders. He ran his hands down her body,first straightening her legs, caressing her toes as he did so,then kneeling over her, he pushed her thighs apart with his knee.

Saffron kept her eyes on his. She could feel his hot breath and breathed in his masculine smell. She guessed that he would like her to be passive. He spent a moment sucking on her hard pink nipples, then holding her wrists above her head in one hand, used the other to guide himself into her cunt. For all her boasts, he was larger than she was used to, and he had some trouble.

Yer tighter than…. I’m not hurting you/’

‘Noooo. Oh nooo. That’s …. oh that’s good. Push harder.’

‘Always like to oblige the womenfolk,’ Jayne said and with another effort plunged into her up to the hilt. She could feel his balls on her ass, another turn on. She gasped. ‘Harder. So good.’

Although she had thought passive would be Jayne’s preferance, she let herself move and when he did not object, wrapped her legs around his waist as he plunged his hard cock into her depths. He was hitting her clit with every thrust. Her taint and ass were being massaged by his balls, and that cock was finding places in her cunt that she hadn’t found since her training days at the Madrassa.

He still held her arms above her head and she turned her head away from him to allow herself to breathe. He was silent, making only the occasional grunt, but she could almost hear him subvocalizing. She was startled that the almost heard words were endearments instead of the steady stream of obscenities she was expecting. He was thrusting hard and speeding up. She stopped thinking and allowed the movement to be her all. He had found the place and filled her, stretched her. There was only this moment . Only this man. She let Saffron go, forgot Freda, ignored Bridget and Yolanda. There was only this cock, this man, this moment. The contractions began and she let herself moan, then as she peaked, contracting and flushing, her legs pulling him tighter into her, her arms struggling for the freedom to hold this body close to her. She bit down on his chest, sucking on the hard flesh. Her breath came in bursts. She felt his last hardest thrust and the heat when he came, with a long stream followed by shorter bursts, just as hot. He let her hands go, and she grabbed the sides of his head, intending to kiss him. She wanted to feel his lips on hers. But he pulled away quickly.

‘No, girlie. I ain’t fallin for that one. Mal may be innocent but I don’t want no Goodnight Kiss.’

She pouted. “i don’t have any lipstick on. I just wanted. Well, too late now.’

He ran a thumb over her flushed lips. ‘I don’t kiss on the lips. Not on a first date, anyways.’

Saffron laughed at the unexpected joke. Another misunderstanding. Jayne wasn’t as stupid as she had believed.

That was really good. You …. I’m sorry if you thought I was trying something on. I really just wanted a good fuck. And thank you for giving me just that. ;

‘If yer not doin anythin in twenty minutes or so….’

Saffrom laughed. ;it may take me more than that to recover.; That was really good.

CHAPTER SEVEN

A clinic, a delivery and some bargaining.

The rest of the trip to Jianyin went smoothly. Serenity landed at Bountiful half way around the world from the settlement where they had first met Saffron.

Mal enjoyed watching the community’s cattle. He had a long discussion with the chief herdsman and the foremen in charge of breeding. Kaylee accompanied him on the first of these, but quickly became bored and spent her time with the women who ran the wind machines, solar collectors and bio-diesel plants which powered the community generators. Kaylee noticed that the jobs were strictly apportioned by gender.

Simon and David set up a wellness clinic, ready for the usual general problems these small communities had; pregnancy, immunizations, prescriptions for erectile dysfunction. contras, rheumatism and arthritis, treatment for burns and poorly set bones. They were surprised, considering how many small children there were, that only a few of the townies presented their offspring for the usual immunization jabs.

There was certainly enough work without immunizations. A large percentage of the younger women were pregnant and wanted prenatal checks. One or two women wanted immediate terminations but most were happy to be bringing a new generation to the community. The ultrasound machine the clinic carried was basic, but produced captures of a developing fetus, which delighted the mothers and soothed their concerns.

Simon was surprised at how many of the children were partly or entirely deaf. The store owner, in for a refill on his ED meds, explained that there had been a mumps epidemic a year previously. “We should be checking the affected boys for sterility, then.”

Huh, don’t worry about that. Neither they nor their families will thank you and there’s no cure for it either.”

Still, in a community that is so concerned about growing by births…’

Don’t run too many DNA checks of the babies around here. These women don’t get a lot of choices in who they marry, when they marry, what jobs they can do. So if their husband don’t knock them up pretty damn quick, they find someone who will.”

Simon looked at the merchant’s ED scrip.

Yeah, I can see my own face in some of these kids, which is as good a reason to wear a full beard as any.’ the merchant looked pleased. “But I don’t like it when one of those kids gets sick because of something that could be prevented by vaccination. Or any kid, really.’

And yet,you’re not the only man here getting this prescription.’

But not many contras, I betcha.’

Not meds anyway. Most of the women want IUDs or the annual injection.’

Yeah, so’s the old man don’t know why there ain’t no baby this year.”

Bad basis for a marriage, you’d think.’

Start askin the women the age of their husbands. There are worse bases for marriages.’

Serenity was at Bountiful for two days before Saffron’s customers arrived.

We’re here to meet a Ms. Argo,’ said the small skinny man. His linen duster was smutted from the ride in the open mule. By his side was a larger man, whose slightly vacant look identified him as just muscle.

Kaylee was in the door to the cargo bay. ‘She’ll be with you right quick. Kin I offer you a drink? Water? Tea? Or we make our own shine, if you need to cut the dust.’

The skinny man’s breath hissed as he scowled. ‘We don’t use drugs. No caffeine, no alcohol, no cannaboid. We keep our bodies pure for the Lady’s Work.’

Kaylee was hurt by his harsh tone, and her face fell from its usual happy smile. The big man patted her head. ‘I’d like some water, please, ma’am.’ The skinny man glared at him and at Kaylee for allowing the liberty.

Her face cleared .’C’mon in. We’ll set you in the commons for yer meetin.’ She bounced up the ramp to the door, and waved the men in.

Jayne was just inside, armed, but getting cryoboxes ready for loading onto the buyers’ vehicle. He checked out the visitors and with a glance let Kaylee know that he saw no problem with them. Kaylee led the men to the companionway that led to the galley and commons.

Saffron, ‘Freda Argo’, entered the commons soon after the men were served ice water by Kaylee. She wore a burqa again, disguising her identity completely and was accompanied by Zoe. The skinny man looked pleased at the businesswoman’s modesty.

Saffron had asked that one of the women act a her ‘chaperone’ while she negotiated with the men. ‘This sect keeps men and women very separate. If I don’t have a chaperone, preferably female, they will think I’m a harlot.’. Kaylee had snorted, and Mal, looking uncomfortable, had appointed Zoe for the task.

Kaylee left the commons when the other women arrived.

Thank you for your prompt arrival, gentlemen,’ Saffron cooed. ‘We have six cryoboxes with thirty embryos in each, plus a seventh cryo with vials of semen. The original contract was for 150 embryos, I believe, but we thought you might find buyers for the additional stock.’

‘We are not a rich community, Ms. Argo. I don’t think we can afford any more than the original contract. It’s been a poor harvest and cash is scarce. It don’t even look like we can afford the price you want, not in cash anyways.’

‘I’m disappointed, gentlemen.’ Saffron’s voice was gentle as a mother’s giving bad news to a small child. ‘Given the method of transport, partial orders are not possible.’

We do have our crops. We hoped we could trade for frozen beef or canned fruit.’

I’m deeply sorry. I had thought that the Followers of the Veiled Goddess would keep their word. “Say only the truth and abide in the truth.’ ‘

We are abiding in truth, Ms. Argo. We are able to pay your full price, we can probably even buy your whole cargo, if you are willing to take some of your payment in goods. Jianyin is known for its meat. Our beef is sold even in the Core.’

Do you have any pork? Or anything processed into sausage?’

At the sign of softening on the part of their buyer, the skinny man grinned and set down to bargaining. After half an hour a tentative deal was made, but Saffron hesitated.

This all seems quite workable, but I have been treating the ship as my own. I am only a passenger here. I will have to ask the Captain if he has room for such bulk on the next stage of his journey.’

Captain’s not on board, Ms. Argo,’ said Zoe. ‘He’ll be back for his dinner.’

Then it appears we are at an impasse, gentlemen.’ Saffron said, still quiet and polite.’ Perhaps you would return at 1400? By then we will have discussed the problem with the Captain and come to a final offer.’

CHAPTER EIGHT

Another husband?

Saffron, this is takin advantage again. We ain’t got room to carry sides a’beef alla way back to Greenleaf. We got pre-sold cargo to pickup at Hera for Fanty an Mingo.’

‘But we could sell the fresh beef on at Hera and the ground meat is frozen. Worse comes to worst, stick it in the big airlock and leave it in vacuum. I’ll set up a buyer if you let me on the Cortex for a couple of hours.’

Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. We had a deal. We take you and yer boxes here, you get paid, we get paid, you get off. What’s so hard to understand?’

All I’m asking is a short side trip so I can turn goods into money. Then you get paid. Unless….would you be interested in taking your payment in kind?”

I don’t have a customer. I don’t have cold storage. And that was not the deal.’

‘Well the cargo bay is almost empty and will be until we get to Hera for the pickup. If you won’t let me on the Cortex, could you make a few calls to your contacts and see if they are willing to buy?’

I’d need a fee for transport. And for handlin.’

Sweetie, I know I can satisfy your demands.”

You got contacts on Hera for meat? A highly carnivorous husband or two?’

I haven’t been married that often, hubs.’ She pouted. ‘Well, maybe I have and yes, my Hera contact was my husband. But we were amicably divorced. You don’t need to be worried …. Or jealous.’

Zoe said, ‘We can spare up to 20 cubic metres for crated cargo. So you’d be best go for the boneless and ground.’

Don’t I get a say in what we carry in my own boat?’

Just anticipatin your orders, sir.’

Still suspicious, Mal allowed Saffron to use the cortex under the direct supervision of Kaylee. The ex was delighted to see her, confirming her claim that their split had been amicable. He made a decent offer on the Jianyin beef, known as a premium product, and invited “Melissa” to stay over.

I’m hopin for a dip in your honeypot, Melly,’

Kaylee, chaperoning Saffon while she used the Cortex, rolled her eyes.

This was meant to be a business deal, sweetie,’ said Saffron.’ I’m trying to be strictly business.’

Please, Melly. Be strict with me.’

Kaylee made gagging noises in the background. Saffron glared at her. 

Behave yourself, sweetie,’ Saffron cooed.’Business before pleasure. I’ll see you in two days. I’ll have my girl call your people when we hit atmo.’

I’ll be there in person.’ Said the husband.’ Do you still have that red corset thing?’

I keep it as a momento, but I wasn’t expecting to see you, sweetie. I picked up something on Jianyin you might like though. If you’ve been a good boy.’

No Melly, I’ve been a very bad boy.’

What will I do with you, sweetie? I’ll have to give it some thought, Bye bye for now.”

The homesteading community  paid Saffron in coin for their new livestock, mostly the expected platinum, but enough in silver, aluminium and even bronze that it was evident that the homesteaders has been saving up for some time for this important purchase. As it turned out the coin made up most of the originally agreed payment and the frozen beef and pork were bartered for the extra product.

Serenity left Saffron on Hera with her ex. The crew were fascinated to see a man, bigger even than Jayne, whose eyes shone when he saw the tiny redhead. And it was evident that she had him under her spell, the way he ducked his head and spoke softly to her, touching her hand and her hair as if she were a porcelain figurine.

She shoulda asked a higher price for the meat, ‘ remarked Mal.

Jayne was watching the pair from the catwalk. ‘Guy’ll do anything to get in those pants. Don’t he realize she ain’t wearin any?’

‘She’s a whore. Anythin she says or does, it’s for the coin. He may think he’s gettin a deal on the cargo, but there will be somethin twisted.’

‘None of our concern,’ said Jayne. ‘We got paid. And we walked away.’

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About femmefan1946

Retired professional writer and editor. Nominated for an Aurora Award for work on CAN-CON 2014, which concentrates on introducing new and aspiring writers and artists to agents, editors and publishers.
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