“Looks like Grace has the repairs well in hand,” Lucy said.
Ophelia nodded. “She’s well ahead of schedule thanks to Yuri. That girl is very versatile.”
“She is an android,” Lucy stated. “It’s not surprising that her programming can adapt to multiple tasks. Really, the only odd thing about her is that she has personality routines that make her seem almost human.”
“I wonder why her creator was working towards sentient machines,” Ophelia mused. “It seems counter-intuitive. They can disobey, act immorally and suffer.”
“Can’t every living being?” Lucy asked. “Maybe the good professor wanted the androids to be his children or maybe he was a daft old man who just wanted to push their development to prove it was possible.” She shrugged.
“I’ve got a job for us when Grace’s time is up,” Ophelia said. “The Misses Emily and Levinia Tawaig of Earth. They say that there’s no rush to get there but they’ll anticipate us in a week.”
“And what do they want us to do that’s so not time sensitive?” Lucy asked.
“They want us to retrieve their nephew, one mister Elijah J. Tawaig, known rascal, adventurer and horticulturist, and bring him for a visit. Apparently, they have something important to discuss with him.”
“I’ve heard of him,” Lucy mused. “There’s an argument in the Drotor system over whether he’s a hero or just a pirate. I don’t know if we can get him in a week, though. It gives us less than a day to find and secure him.”
“We don’t have to,” Ophelia explained. “They want to see us in person before we go after him.”
“Oh, that’s not a problem then,” Lucy said.
Farah looked at her dress. It was red, form fitting but not tight and had some lacy accents. She looked at Hyper.
“Do you think it’s too short?” she asked.
The cat looked up at her and mewed.
“Maybe the green one instead,” Farah mused. She tensed up when she heard a knock at the door. “That time already?” she muttered. “Here goes nothing.” She walked over and opened the door.
Grace was there. Wearing a long, green dress with her air tied using matching, sparkly ribbons.
Grace looked Farah over and smiled. “You look gorgeous,” she said.
“Oh, no,” Farah said. “Compared to you I’m just homely. I can’t believe someone as beautiful as you would…”
Grace grabbed her cheek and pulled, gently. “Don’t be down on yourself,” Grace said. “You’re, at least, my match. At least.”
“Sorry,” Farah muttered.
“It’s fine, just be more confident in yourself,” Grace said. She held out her hand. “Well, shall we?”
Farah took her hand and the two began their trip out of the ship, hand in hand.
“I’ve arranged an old-fashioned carriage for us,” Grace said.
Farah looked at it in awe. It looked very much like the ones she’d seen images of. Except that those had been pulled by horses and these ones had reptilian creatures with bright yellow and orange feathers hooked up to it.
“Gur’rrs,” Grace whispered. “The Ca’urrs use them for this kind of thing.”
The two boarded the carriage and enjoyed a leisurely ride. Farah looked at the view for a while, but was quickly drawn to Grace. Grace was looking at the scenery. Farah scrutinised the contours of her body and, embarrassed, turned back to the landscape. Intermittently looking back at Grace.
Finally, their carriage brought them to a fancy restaurant. Farah hadn’t known that there were any of its type on Ca’urrg. The staff wore suits. It had a spot for ballroom dancing and a band that played soft dancing music.
Farah noticed their server drooling at the food once,but he quickly caught himself and wiped his snout with a handkerchief.
They ate, talked, shared a dance and returned to their carriage.
Their driver took them down to a park and they sat on a bench, watching the sun set, holding one another.
“I’ve had a great time,” Farah whispered. “I really missed being with you like this.”
“I’ve missed you too,” Grace whispered back. “There’ll be more times when we’re stuck apart for missions or whatever and there’ll be times when we’re together, but not really in a position for romance. Times like this, times when it’s just the two of us, these are the times I cherish the most.”
“That’s really romantic of you to say,” Farah stated. She felt her face flushing.
“It’s true, though,” Grace said. “I think you feel the same way. You’ve been sneaking glances at me all night.”
“You knew?” Farah asked, more loudly than she meant to.
“I noticed when I was stealing a glance at you,” Grace said, chuckling.
“Me?” Farah asked.
“Yeah,” Grace admitted. “You really look stunning tonight.”
Farah was suddenly aware that their foreheads were very nearly touching, their faces were so close together. She didn’t mind.
Grace’s lips moved down towards hers. Farah closed her eyes and prepared herself. It felt like a long time before Grace pulled away.
Farah grasped Grace’s shoulder. “I… I want more,” she said.
“All right,” Grace said. “I’ll give you as much as you want.”She moved in to kiss Farah again. this time maintaining the embrace even longer.