Part Five - Coplanar Motion

Dana was pacing a path in the carpet that lined the large glass windows allowing the waiting passengers to view the docking of the airplanes to the terminal. Her hands were beating a rhythm on her thighs. Then she stopped, stared at the plane, breathed in deeply, then sighed. A moment passed and then she resumed her pacing.

Grace, seated in an uncomfortable vinyl chair, looked up from her magazine and watched her lover's discomfort. It was distorting her normally calm persona. Dana had embarked on her fifth cycle of pacing, and she was become more agitated each time. The rhythm of her hands had progressed from the Waltz to the Cha-Cha.

They were catching the three-thirty out of Bradley International Airport with a transfer to another plane in Detroit. The two had made a deal--if Grace let Dana toss out her pills, Dana would try to fly to San Francisco--a basic Quid Pro Quo. agreement. Grace was a bit surprised that it was easier for her to give up the pills than for Dana to agree to fly, and now she was beginning to see just how deeply the tentacles of Dana's fear extended.

"Jesus! Why do they make us wait so freaking long?"

"Come, sit Dana. It will only be a few more minutes."

"It's stupid that they make us arrive so early. It's torture."

"You should have taken the Valium."

"Stop pushing pills on me, Grace!" the nanotech snapped. "I'm not a junkie."

Grace did her best not to take the remark personally, but it was hard.

Dana turned back to the window. "And where the hell is Rachel?"

"You gave her a pretty large list, Dana. Cut her some slack."

Dana turned to look at her friend, and immediately her face eased in its harshness. She walked over to Grace and sat down in the chair adjoining the doctor's.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by what I said."

"It's okay."

"No, it's not. I'm sorry."

"Let's drop it."

"I don't think you're a junkie, Grace."

"Dana, this is definitely not the place to talk about this," the doctor said looking around at the other waiting passengers.

Dana's eyes followed the same path as her lover's.

"Grace, you shouldn't be ashamed of something like this. It happens to lots of people in high stress jobs. A lot of doctors from what I've read lately."

"Not now, Dana. Ah, here's Rach," Grace said quickly scrambling to her feet and walking over to greet the hacker. Rachel was dressed in faded black jeans, a MIT sweatshirt, and blue don't-fuck-with-me sunglasses. She carried her ticket in her hand and had two large carry-on bags distributed evenly on each shoulder. Grace helped her with one of them and led her over to the nanotech.

"A word of warning. She's really uncomfortable about this flying business, so if you can think of anything to help her with it, I would appreciate it," Grace explained to the hacker.

Rachel dropped her bag heavily and slouched into the chair next to Doc.

"So, I hear you're scared shitless of flying, Doc?"

Dana surveyed the hacker and then looked away, a scowl on her face.

"Did you ever see that movie 'Alive'?" Rachel asked.

"Rachel! "

"Yeah, I've seen it," Dana mumbled and wiped her sweaty palms on her thighs.

"Well, Doc, I just want you to know that if the need should arise, you can eat me."

When Doc turned to face the hacker she was smiling.

"I appreciate the offer, Rach."

"I'm sure Queenie wouldn't mind you eating her either, would ya?"

Dana looked over at the blushing doctor and gave her that crooked little smirk.

"No, I don't mind," Grace managed.

"Well you two can eat me too if need be," Dana replied.

"Yeah, but with Queenie's appetite there won't be any left for me."

"This conversation is sick," Grace commented getting up and walking over to badger the desk clerk.

"Did you get everything we needed?" Dana asked her compadre of double entendre.

"Of course, but getting the layout was a pain in the ass. I have the Virtus layout of the building, as well as the walk-through of the innards, but the program it was created in is old and it tends to freeze-up. You can go through it while we are in the air if you like."

"What did you find out about security?"

"Very little other than the name of the contractor they use. We'll actually have to survey the operation for ourselves. I expect it will take most of the day. I thought once we were in we would basically do what we did last time."

Dana nodded. "And then I will find Reichert."

"And what are you planning to do to him?" the hacker asked as she shoved a piece of Bubbalicious into her mouth.

Dana liked the sweet fruity smell and accepted the wrapped cube that was offered.

"Gum helps pop your ears when you get up there. Otherwise the cabin pressurization makes you feel funny and can give you a headache."

"Thanks," Dana replied.

"No problem."

Grace returned. "They will begin boarding in ten minutes. We get to board first because we are in first class."

"Which means we get our booze first too," Rachel added.

Dana nodded and was doing her best to cover the trembling that originated in her trunk and emanated through her limbs. Grace slipped a hand into hers.

"You're freezing, Dana," she remarked and began to rub the larger hands.

"You two going to join the mile high club up there?" Rachel asked.

"I'm already a member," Grace replied before she could stop herself. Rachel began to choke on her gum.

"What's the mile high club?" Dana asked as she slapped the hacker's back hard, dislodging the gum which landed on the floor and rolled to the window.

Rachel looked away from her friends. "Nothing."


"Nothing, Dana. It's nothing," the doctor answered.

Rachel began to chuckle as she walked over to the garbage can and dropped her used piece in. She added two fresh ones to her mouth and then returned to her seat.

"You a member too, Rach?" Dana asked curiously.

"Yep, an active, card-carrying member. Why, you interested?"

"Nah, I'm not the club type."

God I hope we board soon, Grace thought to herself. "Do you have to use the bathroom or anything, Dana?"

"I don't have to, but I prefer to," Dana replied with a smirk.

"Do you need to? Because airplane toilets are not the best, even in first class."

"I'm fine," Dana replied. "Stop babying me."

"I'm not babying you."

"I just need to get it over with, and then I'll be fine."

"Okay." Grace squeezed her hand and was rewarded with a nervous smile. Then she felt the faintest of trembles in the long bony fingers.

They had been airborne for twenty minutes. Grace studied the large saucer-sized blue eyes staring out of the window at the ground as the plane left Earth. She needed to get Dana to relax her hold on her hand. It was numb, so it no longer hurt, but being a doctor she knew circulation needed to be restored at some point soon. As she wiggled free she congratulated herself for thinking of giving Dana the window seat. It was the best idea of the day.

Rachel was booting up her laptop and watching the two. She shook her head with amusement at the gawking, wonder of the nanotech. A petite blonde flight attendant with short layered hair in a sky-blue uniform leaned over the hacker's shoulder.

"Can I get you anything ma'am?" she asked.

Rachel looked over into the rosy cheeks. "That depends on what you are offering."

The young woman straightened. "Coffee, soda, or something harder if you would like."

"Something harder, please, your choice," Rachel replied with her own version of a smirk.

Grace nudged her from the middle seat. "Behave yourself."

"I am, believe me I am."

"There you go, Mrs. Gates," she said handing Rachel a Bloody Mary.

Rachel's smirk became a brilliant smile. She got such a thrill out of using the identity of Bill Gate's second wife. And the fact that the crew usually studied the passenger list was a plus. "My secretary here would like a Coke if you have one," Rachel ordered. "And my step-daughter would like a milk."

Dana looked over having caught that there was a conversation going on.

"Excuse me miss, do you have any applications for the mile high club?" Dana asked.

Tomato juice and vodka spewed forth from the hacker's main orifice. Grace's face turned bright red.

"I'll see what I can do for you," the flight attendant replied and smiled seductively at Bill Gates' daughter.

"Cool," Dana remarked and took the milk she handed her.

"I'm going to become a member too," Dana excitedly told her companions.

"No your not," Grace said sternly and watched as the stewardess moved to help clean up Mrs. Gates.

"Why not, you're a member?" Dana asked a little miffed.

"Dana be quiet!" Grace said gruffly, her face neon pink.

"I'm fine now, thank you," Rachel told the young woman who was blotting her with a towel. "I'll just take another of these," she said holding up her empty cup.

Grace leaned over to Dana and whispered in her ear exactly what becoming a member of the club consisted of doing. And for Dana's part, despite a silly grin, she did not blush at what she realized was being offered to her by the young attendant. "Oh" was all she said and returned to the window. But her hand settled on Grace's thigh and lightly stroked. Grace leaned into Dana's shoulder and rested her head there. She was still tired from the previous evening and along with the steady movement of the aircraft, the hum of the engines, and the warmth of the body next to her, she began to doze.

"A cute, lesbian flight attendant, a kickin' Bloody Mary, and a first class ticket. This has to be the best flight I've been on in a long time," the hacker exclaimed.

During the second flight, somewhere over the Rockies, the turbulence required all of the passengers to wear their seat belts. The sky was dark, and without anything to look at, Dana had become somewhat edgy. Rachel was seated across the aisle from them, the plane being a smaller, different design, deeply engrossed in her computer. The lights were low and a movie played on a small screen in front of them--a recent remake of an old Brad Pitt film with the newest up-and-coming star playing Pitt's role.

Grace had acquired a blanket for the chill and had it draped across her legs.

"Grace," Dana whispered nervously. The plane shifted abruptly for the umpteenth time.

Grace looked over at her friend in the dim light. "It's okay, Dana. It is very normal to encounter turbulence over the mountains." But her words did not ease the visage of worry from Dana. She knew she needed to make this flying experience different from Dana's first and at the moment could only think of one way to do it. She took her lover's left hand and pulled it under the blanket, settling it on the inside of her right thigh. Blue eyes became saucer-sized once again, but for a different kind of awe.

"Being in a club isn't worth a damn if you can't bring in new recruits," Grace mumbled as she tilted closer to Dana's mouth. She was met with a tentative kiss and watched the blue eyes survey their surroundings. A hand to the nanotech's cheek brought the eyes' attention to where Grace wanted it, her. The plane dropped again causing the kiss to deepen. A few more good bumps, and Dana was well on her way to becoming a member in her first club since the Brownies in first grade.

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