1. Teelis backhanded his arm, then handed him one of the rags. “It had better be a good one, then. She and her squad came here to help us. How were they to know about the air mines? Plus…” He gestured behind him. “Her whole focus is on getting her men back. She’s not worried about saving herself, or haven’t you noticed that?”
2. The physician nodded. After slipping the blood sample into his belt, he pulled out another instrument. “We stopped using titles like captain and general eons ago. Last test. I promise. I’m going to take a skin sample to check your DNA. I know we share a common ancestry, but we’ve had a few hundred years to adapt to this planetary system. I don’t know if you’ll be able to withstand any long exposure without the use of your safety suit.” He glanced down at where hers lay piled at her feet.
3. It was too quiet. Unnaturally quiet. Even on the stillest nights, he should be hearing noises in the distance from the creatures that stalked in the darkness. He reached out, finding her shoulder, and gently shoved her behind him. At the same time, he pulled his hax from his belt. Looking back at her, he motioned for her to go back inside the bunker, and noticed she’d drawn her blaster. He gestured again and was answered with a vigorous shake of her head. Pressing against the wall, she took a stance that guarded his flank.
4. Setting the skimmer down on the ground, she remained on the seat, dropping her hands to the dirt and laying her head on the gauge panel. She remained that way, barely aware of him moving toward her, until he laid a hand on her bare back. Incredibly, a surge of fresh energy went through her, like a massive second wind, and she opened her eyes to find him bent over, peering down at her.
5. She scrambled over the broken tiles and panels to get back to where Kaxx was waiting by the back door. The Hojinth plowed through the debris as if it was tissue as it tried to come after them. The immense blob squelched and gurgled as it crossed the distance, sending out long, rope-like tendrils as it reached for her. Jelia barely managed to jump aside as the appendage slammed down on the ground where she’d been.
6. She propped her soword against the tunnel wall and removed her clothing. Kaxx let his breeches drop to his ankles and unbuckled the straps holding his armor shoulder caps on, to allow her access to his body. Now that they knew how they were able to meld, he didn’t need to take off his mask or boots. Gazing back up into his face, she impulsively stood on her tiptoes to lift his face mask to kiss him. His mouth trembled beneath hers as he drew his arms around her. “Guess this is it,” she murmured, and bowed her head, pressing her forehead into his sternum. She felt a kiss to the top of her head. In the next instant, they were one.