The two camps were set up several hundred yards apart but both were visible from the ship in case of emergency. Biscayne Bay was quite large but not all areas had been deep enough for the ship. One of the crew had remarked that it was much like the one back on their world except none of the dredging had been done.
The weather was cooler than expected with rainstorms nearly every day but the spirits of everyone wasn’t dampened because of it. They merely carried raingear with them all the time and snuggled deeply into their sleeping bags at night. There were quite a few fishing enthusiasts onboard who supplied the camps with fresh fish. The experts also gathered shellfish, wild plants, and one lucky hunter shot a wild pig. The hunter cooked the boar in a pit and the party that night among the scientists and off duty crew had been a little more boisterous than normal.
Janice had arranged her own leave to coincide with Jeren’s. She met with the others in civilian clothing and her duffel and sleeping bags. Only four women were on the list for shore leave and they had been assigned to two small tents. Since the Captain and Jeren seemed on friendly terms they paired them up. The other pair was CG crew and would feel uncomfortable sharing a tent with their CO.
The Captain knew that her presence would prevent the crew from being at ease so she planned on taking a short hike around the area. Casually, she asked Jeren if she would care to join her. She figured the geologist would probably accept. Jeren quickly agreed and in order to throw off any suspicions the captain invited Chief Nolan as well. She knew he hated hiking and would refuse.
“No, thanks Captain. I’d rather stay here and keep an eye on these yahoos. I know you’re capable of watching out for yourself.”
Janice couldn’t help but tease her old friend. “What? You’re going to allow two helpless damsels to walk into the wild alone?”
“Helpless, my great aunt’s garters. Go on with you. Take a radio set with you in case you need anything. I’ll expect you back sometime tomorrow afternoon.”
Janice patted his arm and told Jeren to grab a backpack and any equipment she wanted to bring along. After grabbing a few things for the hike both women left the campsite and headed west.
Jeren waited until they were far enough away from the camp and looked at Janice. “So, were you really in a mood to hike around or were you planning on something else?”
The officer glanced at Jeren from the corner of her eye and tried not to smile. “Hmmm, how do I answer that? Let’s just say that I wanted to leave the day open for anything without worrying about anyone else watching over my shoulder.”
A grin curled Jeren’s lips. Perhaps being eaten alive by bugs would be worth it. “You are a good strategist.”
“That’s why I get the big bucks and the shiny gewgaws on my uniform.”
“And a very nice uniform it is too. Did I mention women in uniforms get me hot and bothered?”
“No, you didn’t, but I thought it was just the weather here in Florida doing it to you,” she said with a poker face.
“Ha ha. C’mere you,” Jeren ordered, urging Janice closer to share a friendly kiss.
Both women were smiling when they headed further inland.
“What type of samples would you like to collect while we’re out here?” the officer asked.
“A little of everything. I also have a digital camera in case I see anything unusual.” Jeren stopped and pointed at something northwest. “Like that for instance.” The geologist removed the camera from her pocket and stepped closer to her subject.
“What is it?” The captain looked at the yellow, green, and orange bird. It looked like a small parrot.
“A Carolina parakeet. They went extinct in the early 1900s.” Jeren snapped several shots of the bird before it flew away.
“I wonder how many extinct animals we’ll see on this trip? Too bad Cierra White banned us from taking live specimens.”
“I don’t blame her. In order to produce a viable breeding stock would mean taking large numbers of a species and taking them to earth. Then there’s no guarantee the animals would thrive there.”
“That’s true. Many of them died because their habitat was destroyed. Well, let’s keep moving. I’d like to make sure our campsite is far enough away that no one will hunt us down before tomorrow.”
They set up camp in a dry area near a small stream. Jeren tested the water and said it was fit for drinking. The area was well known for fresh water in the days of pirates. The way the water was filtered through the ground kept it from being contaminated by the salt water of the bay.
“You know, I expected this area to be marshier than it is. The temperatures are averaging much cooler too.”
“I’ve noticed. We’ll just have to keep warm during the night and have a nice big fire.”
Jeren realized she was in science mode rather than romance. She smiled and refocused her attentions onto the Captain. “Oh yeah. That’s sounds good. Let’s collect a lot of wood while its light so we don’t have to hunt for more later,” she suggested, lowering her tone as she spoke.
The women sat at the fire as the sun set. Neither had wanted to hunt or fish so settled on canned food cooked in a lightweight pot. They chatted about themselves, getting to know one another better.
“What are you going to do after we get back?” Jeren asked.
“Oh, retire most likely. I’ll have twenty-five years in by then but I don’t see myself serving until I’m old. I’d like to have a real home for once. I have a small condo but I’m rarely there. How about yourself?”
“I really don’t know. I teach part of the year and then I do research on site several months of the year, taking grad students along for experience. Maybe I’ll write a book about this one day and make lots of money in royalties and retire,” Jeren said with a smile. The officer could tell her companion was just teasing. The woman must love her work. Perhaps it would be best not to fall for her. Jeren would no doubt be an absentee lover at best.
“You look sad. Was it something I said?”
“Partly.” Janice tossed another stick into the fire. “I was thinking you and I want different things in the future. Maybe it would be best if we stopped this now.”
“Do you really want to? Or is it caution protecting your heart?”
Janice thought about it, examining her feelings. “I’m very much attracted to you, Jeren. I can picture us getting serious about one another easily. But I want a home and to settle down and your career will keep you away for months at a time. I’m not sure I would be happy about that. I’d either have to be without you for long periods or follow you to your research sites.”
“So you’d resent my job taking me away?”
“No, I can understand it. Remember I’m a ship’s Captain. That’s why I never got involved. I knew it was unfair to start a romance then be away for weeks or months.”
“Neither of knows what the future holds. One of us could be killed or seriously injured this trip. Or maybe by the end of two years we may decide to part anyway. We just don’t know. But what I do know now is that I don’t want to spend those two years alone. If nothing else we can ease the loneliness and give comfort to each other.”
Janice chuckled. “A bird in the hand. I can see your point.” She took Jeren’s hand and stroked it lightly, holding it as they watched the sunset.
Once it was dark they each removed most of their clothing and crawled into the tent. The sleeping bags were chilly against their skin and they snuggled up close to one another.
Jeren made the first move, wrapping her arm around the older woman and placing soft kisses on her lips. She explored Janice’s soft mouth, nibbling first on her lower lip then the other before brushing between them with the tip of her tongue. Janice parted her mouth, inviting Jeren to explore further as her hands ran lightly over the younger woman’s skin.
They weren’t in a rush, wanting to enjoy their time together. Chances to linger would be far and few between in the future.
Janice rolled her lover to her back and drank in the sight of her in the flickering light of the fire outside their tent. She ran a fingertip over Jeren’s high cheekbones and down her strong jaw line that had caused the Captain to fantasize more than once about nuzzling. She next traced full lips that always curved upwards, showing the woman’s sweet nature.
“You are beautiful. Even without a speck of makeup you look like you could don a sequin gown and walk down the red carpet in Hollywood and have every photographer lust after you for a pose.”
Jeren blushed. She had never looked like the baby-faced girls who had been sought after in school. She never could seem to drop those extra ten pounds no matter how hard she tried and never looked buff even working out.
“I’m too heavy to be considered beautiful. Nice looking, yes, but--”
Janice leaned closer and kissed her to stop the protests. “You are what every woman should strive for. You are built like a real woman,” her hands ran slowly over each curve, “soft where you should be, strong, and have the hips of a goddess. I won’t tell you how many times I had to tear my eyes away when you walked by me. The sway of your hips is like watching poetry in motion. The graceful way you move your hands, the way you tilt your head when you’re amused. Sweet God above, if you had so much as wiggled a finger my way I might have said to hell with my commission and taken you there and then. You are one sexy woman and don’t you ever doubt it,” Janice said breathlessly.
Jeren sniffled and pulled the older woman tight against her. “Thank you. I thought you were the sexy one between us. You just ooze confidence and those tight buns of yours…” Jeren stopped to grab the very subject she spoke of and moaned.
Janice chuckled huskily. “I never took you for a butt woman.”
“Me either but I want to thank whoever designed your uniform trousers.” Jeren gave the older woman’s ass another squeeze as her own hip rose to press against her.
“Do that again and I’ll say to hell with slow, Jeren,” Janice managed to squeak out. The way the younger woman closed her eyes and looked as though she would come any second had the Captain raring to go full throttle.
The geologist removed her hands from Janice’s behind but she settled one hand over her lover’s breast while the other hand cupped Janice’s nape and pulled her down for a hungry kiss. Jeren could feel the hard nipple behind the silky bra cup. She pulled on the strap and pushed the material down so she could fondle the breast freely.
Janice deepened the kiss, moaning against her lips when Jeren’s fingers tugged on the stiff peak and rolled it firmly between her fingers. Jeren didn’t break the kiss to ask if a little rough was what her lover enjoyed. She just gave the breast more of the same but with more pressure. Janice arched into her palm as she pressed hard into Jeren’s thigh.
The geologist broke the kiss in order to pull off the bra from her lover and rolled her onto her back. She sought out the ignored breast and teased it lightly with the tip of her tongue, tracing around the hard nub lightly before greedily taking it into her mouth. She sucked it hard and was thrilled with Janice’s reaction. The woman cried out in pleasure and grasped her hair, holding her in place.
“Oh God, yes!” she hissed.
Jeren alternated between ultra light and rough touches as Janice writhed beneath her. Her own need was driving her insane as Janice tried to bring their hips together. She reached down and pushed her own panties down then Janice’s before returning to straddle her lover’s strong thigh. She slid against Janice, coating the leg with the proof of her desire.
Janice moaned and shifted, needing more.
Jeren shushed her and cupped her sex briefly then slipped a fingertip between her folds. The teasing exploration was driving the Captain crazy but before she could reach down and guide Jeren’s hand where she wanted it her lover seemed to find the perfect spot. Janice gasped and felt her body rushing quickly towards a climax as the fingertip lightly teased her with the lightest of quick touches.
Before she could stop it her body leaped over the edge. Jeren kept up the slight touch but it felt so good that it was painful. Her body jerked with hard spasms with each stroke.
“No more, please!”
Jeren withdrew her fingertip and asked if she was okay.
“Yeah. Whew, it’s just that I came so hard that I was ultra sensitive that’s all. But now it’s my turn to play,” she grinned, slowly rolling Jeren to her back.
She nuzzled along the voluptuous woman’s neck, teasing it lightly and nipping softly here and there. She planned on exploring every inch.
“Oh God,” Jeren muttered. Janice knew that the exclamation wasn’t of pleasure.
“What is it?”
Jeren laughed breathlessly. “Janice, sweetheart, I can tell you plan on playing for a hell of a long time but I’m ready to explode. Maybe we can take it slow a bit later?”
Janice laughed. “Can I play at least a little? I want to visit these beauties for a little while at least,” she asked, cupping one of Jeren’s full breasts.
“Go for it but don’t be surprised if it’s enough to make me go boom.”
“Noted. Now hush up while I play,” Janice teased. She unlatched the front hook and freed the breasts from their silk prison. They were only slightly lighter than the rest of Jeren’s tanned olive skin, with large, perky nipples that stood upright in the cool night air. Janice brushed her lips over the soft breast and inhaled the natural scent of her lover. She hummed her pleasure as she played with the pebbled nipple with the tip of her nose then her lips. Jeren arched, pressing her breast harder against her mouth. Janice didn’t ignore the invitation and covered the peak with her mouth.
She suckled it softly as her tongue flicked the nipple lazily.
Jeren’s only sane thought lasted a second when she imagined Janice doing the same thing below and exploded.
Long seconds later she recovered enough to open her eyes and saw Janice leaning on her elbow, looking down at her with indulgent amusement.
“Guess you weren’t kidding, huh?”
“Yeah, and when you used your tongue on my nipple I thought about you…well, I imagined it elsewhere and that was all it took.”
Jeren nearly blushed at her confession then gasped. She had seen an immediate naughty gleam appear in the Captain’s eyes just before she moved down towards her hips. Before she could say a word she had her thighs parted. Jeren made a mental note about when and where to mention such things to Janice in the future before her lover drove her cognitive ability out the door.
Continued in Part 5
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