Marla was called to the wardroom. She wasn’t sure why but when she entered the room and spotted several officers going over paperwork she knew it couldn’t be good.
The Captain indicated a chair. “Sit, please. We’ve been going over the charts. We have a list of given places to stop for studying plus some your group had suggested. In order to meet the 2-year deadline we have to end this visit early. I’m sorry, but either we skip a few places or cut this visit short. I think it is more important to get the core samples from each area, wouldn’t you agree?”
The older woman sighed. “You know they stressed us getting those core samples Captain Harrison. Couldn’t we just use the engines more and speed up the trip?”
The officers inside the room chuckled. The scientist felt herself turning red. She didn’t know why they were amused but suddenly felt ignorant.
“Ms. Fletcher, the engines were made for traveling when the winds were against us or to escape from treacherous waters. Unfortunately, they weren’t made for speed. Using them would slow us down. Besides, we have a limited supply of fuel and I’d rather keep it for emergencies.”
“I understand now. How much longer do we have to finish our projects here?”
“We intend to set sail in thirty-eight hours. I’ll send the boats over and we can begin bringing back some of the equipment now to save time. You can go with them and pass the word.”
“Yes, Captain.” Marla stood up and went to her cabin to fetch her rain gear. She knew the others would be disappointed but at least everyone had a little down time during the last ten days.
The others grumbled and whined as she predicted but began packing up what they could. They helped loading the boats then made their plans for the next day, going over what needed to be completed.
Jeren joined the Captain in her stateroom, as was their custom for a game of chess. On occasion one of the senior officers brought requested reports although they didn’t remain for long.
Jeren and Janice enjoyed the other's companionship, only indulging in the physical side once in a while. The fear of being interrupted made them cautious. They usually spent their time chatting while playing chess and then later kissing and cuddling. It was during those times the conversations became more intimate rather than casual.
“My father watched me graduate from OCS just before he died. I had just gotten my assignment when my mother wrote to me, telling me of his death. I had joined up to make him proud of me but suddenly lost the reason for staying.”
“But you didn’t resign, you stayed in,” Jeren commented.
Janice shrugged. “By then I had so much effort invested in my Coast Guard career that I hated to give it up. I had focused on learning to become a naval officer and had ignored any other field. I’m a good Captain but I’m woefully ignorant about anything else. I spent my life trying to please my father.”
“So you replaced him with the Coast Guard. Instead of a stern and uncompromising parent you submitted yourself to a rigid military life with rules and regulations.”
Janice looked surprised but not angry. “I suppose I did. I never thought about it that way but that’s exactly what I had done. I was accustomed to being given boundaries and suddenly being able to make my own choices was unsettling.”
The geologist chuckled softly, brushing aside a strand of hair from her lover’s brow. “It’s not a bad thing. You could have become one of those kids whom turns into a rebel and flouts authority instead. For some strange reason some kids growing up with strong authority figures can go one way or another,” she said with a wink.
Janice giggled huskily. “Like the good Catholic girls turning wild? Hmm, I’m trying to picture me in spikes and leather.”
“Leather? I could enjoy seeing that. You certainly have the carriage and the attitude to wear it. I’d love to see you in old tight jeans, a white T-shirt, and a biker jacket.” Jeren shivered as arousal from the fantasy and crawled over her lover. She began nipping and kissing along Janice’s neck until the older woman growled and took control, flipping her onto her back.
Jeren moaned as Janice took possession of her lips, not quite hard enough to bruise but strong enough to show she wanted to be in charge tonight. The geologist was more than happy to allow it. She moaned as a hand slipped beneath her cotton shirt and began kneading her full breast and teasing the stiff nipple with brief touches. She arched up, urging Janice for more. The touch changed as strong fingers took hold of her hard nipple and squeezed it firmly causing her to gasp in pleasure-pain.
Janice broke the kiss. “You liked that, love?” Jeren nodded and arched as the fingers tugged on the peak. Her lover scooted down and nearly popped the buttons off in her hurry to spread the material. The shirt had no sooner parted that the older woman latched onto the tender breast and began devouring the soft flesh, taking turns suckling and nipping it with her teeth.
“Oh God, Janice!” she arched and told her lover that she wanted her breasts to be tender the next day. Janice obliged, treating each breast a bit roughly for long minutes. Jeren could feel and hear her lover’s excitement, which fueled her own. Then Janice gave one of nipples a squeeze before sliding a hand down her torso until it reached her cotton shorts. Janice yanked on them as Jeren lifted her hips from the mattress.
Warm fingers began searching her intimately before plunging inside with a sudden movement. Jeren gasped as her fingers tightened on Janice’s shoulder and upper arm. Her pelvis lifted in response and she wasn’t aware of anything but the way her lover brought her to a shattering climax faster than she had wanted. She whimpered in frustration even as her body shook with the force of her orgasm.
Janice nuzzled her shoulder. “Soft or rough?” she asked gently.
Jeren ran her fingertips along Janice’s strong jaw. “Soft.”
Jonathan sat next to Jeren at the table. He greeted her warmly as he salted his fish patty.
“I haven’t seen much of you lately. You seem to be spending a lot of time with the Captain.”
“Yup, we play chess most nights.”
“I would think the two of you would have little in common.”
Jeren laughed. “What do you think we do during our games, glare at each other silently? We chat quite a bit. She’s a nice woman.”
“I suppose. She keeps to herself except with you and maybe Commander Hume.” Jonathan leaned close and lowered his voice. “Do you think they’re doing it?”
The geologist coughed as her food stuck halfway down. The colorful scientist patted her back.
Jeren wiped the tears from her eyes. “Yeah, but you need to work on your timing. You could kill someone asking mid-swallow.”
“Sorry. Well, do you?”
“Do I what?” she asked, trying to avoid the question.
“Do you think they are?”
Jeren took a forkful of corn to avoid his eyes. “I doubt it. I bet it’s against regulations or something so I wouldn’t ask that again if I were you.”
“Hell, never thought of that. I bet she’d make me scrub the latrines if she heard about me asking, huh?”
“Yup, better safe than sorry. Gossip is best not started or repeated on a ship. Nobody can pack up and leave if things get too out of hand.” She took her last bite and stood up. “I’ll see you later. I have K.P. duty this afternoon.”
“Oh joy. Have fun.”
Jeren entered the galley and put on a canvas apron. One of the cooks spotted her and waved her over.
“Hey, Nunez, could you do me a favor? The Captain is in her cabin with a headache. Can you take her chow to her for me?”
“Sure, no problem. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She took the covered tray from his hands and headed for Janice’s quarters. She hoped her lover didn’t have a migraine. She reached the door and tapped it lightly.
Jeren spotted Janice sitting at her desk as she walked in. “Hey, I brought you lunch. How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine except for a bit of a headache. I took some aspirin already.”
“Good. Where would you like this?” Jeren asked, holding the tray higher.
Janice pointed to the table and stood up, placing her hand on the cabin door and shutting it quietly.
“C’mere you.” The older woman pulled Jeren closer as her mouth found her lips. They spent quite a bit of time at the pleasant activity before moving apart.
“Just what the doctor ordered. Can you stay for a little while or are they cracking the whip?” she asked as she sat back down.
“Wanna see my marks?” Jeren teased. Janice slid her palm over her bottom, searching for non-existent welts.
“Not there, you imp. I gotta go but hold that thought for later.” Jeren dropped a kiss on Janice’s brow and hurried from the cabin before her sex drive could convince her otherwise.
Their next stop was in the Caribbean area, taking core samples from the islands they passed. The scientific team took hasty readings, plant clippings, took hundreds of photographs, and samples of water, air, soil, and coral.
This method would be used along the entire coast of South America as well. Where the team most wanted to study was the Antarctica region but they had left the wrong time of the year. It would be winter when they reached the area. Since that was out of the question they planned on catching the South Atlantic Current between South America and Africa, studying that coastline until spring in the Southern Hemisphere then head south.
Once there they would investigate areas known in the Old World to have extensive fossil beds and see what they could find.
They reached Venezuela a few weeks later. The scientists wanted to take core samples where major rivers emptied into the ocean. Their first stop was the Orinoco River Delta. The delta, fairly undisturbed in the Old World, would work as a model in differences between the two locations. Because of the size of the delta they had agreed on spending five days for the study.
Most of the crew had been disappointed that shore leave wouldn't be held at that time, but Captain Harrison promised to stop at nearby Quinam Beach in Trinidad for a day. She understood her crew just needed to take a breather away from the ship once in a while.
As the ship approached The Serpent's Mouth, the waters between Venezuela and Trinidad, the waters became choppier. The ship's doctor was issuing motion sickness pills by the droves.
Commander Hume placed his hand on the latch and lifted his other hand to rap on the Captain's door. Before he could knock the ship lurched suddenly to one side and Mason gripped the handle instinctively. The door opened and it was all the man could do to not fall into the room. The officer looked up, hoping his CO didn't see his lack of grace. Instead he spotted the Captain and her friend, Jeren, in a playful embrace on the bed.
With clothing mussed and entwined limbs, he knew their position was one of their choosing. Luckily neither women looked towards the door, not hearing it open. He quickly pulled the door closed and shut it as quietly as he could. Fear of discovery had him rushing from the corridor and around the corner.
Mason went to his own quarters and sat down, grateful he had the cabin to himself. He wanted to think about the ramifications of what he saw. By regulations the Captain could lose her commission and be discharged from the Coast Guard. Even though the military branches were becoming a bit more tolerant, it was a long ways from removing the article forbidding same sex intercourse and sodomy.
Of course, she would still be captain until the voyage ended. The trip had just began and the long-time crew hadn't served with her that long. Mason wasn't sure if her being a lesbian would affect their behavior or respect for her. Of course, he could just keep his mouth shut and hope the women never got caught. After all, he didn't care what they did in the privacy of the Captain's cabin. He rather liked both women and was warming up to the Captain's dry wit and quirky habits.
A grin formed on the Commander's face. They could use a friend to head off rumors.
He had already heard a few whispers about he and the Captain. A veiled hint and a bit of acting could keep the waters muddied as long as he spoke with Captain Harrison first. After all, he felt he needed to confess that he knew about them.
Once the couple realized one person had discovered their relationship it was possible others would too and be more careful. The door, for example, should have been locked.
Satisfied with his decision, he returned to navigation room to continue his calculations.
Continued in Part 6
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