Challenge #01425-C330: Corrupted Signals

Truly showing someone you love them. -- RecklessPrudence

Mating displays in the common human are more than perplexing. Subtle signs of affection are usually missed and overt signals of hostility are misinterpreted. The dominating culture of an individual can lead to confusion when meeting an individual from another...

"Hey babe."

"I'm working." Kiri didn't even look up from her work. Didn't acknowledge him.

"All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl," said Don. He thought he was being flirtatious. She knew it. The thing was, he had no real idea that she had zero interest in him.

"I am loyal to my best-beloved and I will not be engaging in any kind of sex with any cogniscent being on this vessel," she said. "This includes you."

And once again, Don didn't seem to hear her words. "Glad I'm included in something. Come on. Your little playmate doesn't need to know." He ran a finger up her arm, over her Skins. "You can't be dressed like that if you don't want some form of attention."

Kiri double-clicked the app she had made to automatically report Don for sexual harassment. This was the fifteenth time. Screw mutual understanding on human vessels. "TOUCH ME AGAIN AND I BREAK YOUR POWERS-CURSED HAND!"

At least he backed off. "Hey. Whoah. I'm just being friendly."

She made the mistake of looking him in the eye. "You're being too friendly. Leave me alone."

"Your lips say no, but your body says yes," he had the Universe's greasiest smile.

"If you come near me again, if you touch me again, I will be forced to act in my own defence. Do you understand?"

"But I love you..."

Kiri went back to her work. "Flakk. Off."

"You can't love that weedy nerdy plant tech..."

"That weedy, nerdy, plant tech actually understands me." Kiri reached for the emergency stunner. "Flakk. Off!"

Don finally fled.

Kiri took a deep breath. "Three more days until shore leave. Three more days until shore leave..." and, once again, she sent a message to the Captain about being allowed to wear a stunner for her own protection from wilfully ignorant crewmembers.

Thank the powers that she had an entire paid month off from this flakking ship and would not see Don again for another blessed month.

Three more days, two stunnings, and one broken finger later, Kiri bounced in anticipation as the airlock doors drew closer and closer to each other. She eagerly braced herself for the inevitable judder when the ship kissed and the locks embraced. Don was off with the Captain, receiving yet another lecture about proper respect of crewmembers and listening when female crewmembers flatly told him to flakk off.

He would then have a little tantrum in the ship's gym with the punching bag, but Kiri didn't care. Efe was waiting for her.

The airlocks always took forever to open. Kiri hummed a counterpoint to the mechanical noises as she bounced. Efe was forbidden from waiting lockside, and was doubtless bouncing in anticipation of seeing Kiri, too.

Finally, the lock opened. Kiri put her luggage in the slot and stripped for the obligatory decon and inoculation for station security. She slid into her freshly-sterilised skins and a station-mandatory kaftan before gathering her suitcases on the other side.

She skipped all the way to her lovely wife. Leaped into her arms. Inhaled the perfume of her body and clung tight with arms and legs.

"Oh... Powers... it's good to be home..." Kiri sighed.

Efe took up the suitcases with one hand. "I got you, sweetie. The nest's all ready. I have all your garbage entertainments and snacks all ready for the snuggle session."

"Just let me breathe you in for a few, okay?"

"Yeah, I gotcha."

"Five breaths and I can walk for myself."

"Must've been a bad tour. I'll help you forget all about it."

"Thank you."

"And in two days, the Triumphs of Engineering Tour docks. I already got us and the kids tickets."

"Where are the kids?"

"Daycare. I knew you'd need all of me, today."

"Letters home were a big hint, huh?"

"Oh hells yeah."

Kiri started kissing her. "Missed you, missed you, missed you so much..."

Efe kissed her back. "I know. I missed you too."

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