Chapter 10

That morning as Scalice made to leave, he popped his head into their private suite’s office. Mary’s round face was one of concentration as she sat over the monitor hard at work already. She was on ‘holiday’ but said she had work to do. Her face softened into a smile as she noticed him watching her. ‘I’ve tons of computer work and there are fewer distractions in here.’

Scalice winked at her and left whistling a merry tune. It was time to rub in the benefits of having a wife. He had sex twice already and there’d be a hot cooked meal waiting for him when he got home. He jotted a reminder on his pad to pick up some roses for her and the new necklace he had ordered.

He sat at his desk. Scalice began signing some computer screens and glanced up at the photo on his desk. They looked odd together. Orux and human, both grinning, cheeks pressed hard against the other. Maybe he had fallen in love with her after they had sex for the first time and he had been called away on a training exercise. Three dreary, dirty days later on some desolate wet planet he’d gone through his belongings and came across some half naked pictures of Mary. She had put them in there. Some of the human marines had laughed at first until he casually commented it was his girlfriend and they shut up pretty quick when Pretty Max confirmed it.

She hadn’t included her face in any of them and showed no identifying marks. He wondered who had taken the shots forgetting about the automatic timer. When he arrived back he had looked at Pretty Max suspiciously. He even asked Jorja, who sarcastically replied, ‘Oh yes, Scalice. In my spare time I take nudie pictures.’ Pretty Max had burst out laughing.

When he got home he discovered an album of failed timer attempts. Some of where she had fallen off the bed. He loved looking at those.

But he had a reputation to keep. Mary was a good sport and made sure she nagged him in front of the orux. The orux were jealous that he had a ‘nagging’ wife and therefore had something to whinge about.


Jorja went to deck twelve, blue quadrant, to pick up the orux. It was one of her special jobs when she wasn’t working full time. When she arrived, instead of finding rows of disciplined soldiers she found them standing loosely in groups, lounging on the gym equipment, scratching their balls, picking their teeth, laughing, belching and all manners of oruxisms. Not one to holler like a staff sergeant she raised her voice, ‘Attention, I need the assigned orux to come with me.’

They all looked and started moving but appeared confused.

Zeft swaggered over to her, ‘Allow me?’

She shrugged.

‘Right you petunia’s get a move on. Half with me, half with Jorja and the rest go with Scalice.’

At once the orux divided nicely into three groups, at Jorja’s dumbfounded look Zeft and Scalice laughed. Her wannabe suitor touched her arm, ‘Don’t over think it, Babe…’

‘I wasn’t going to.’ She met his gaze and saw unadulterated desire in his blue eyes, ‘You and me better have a chat.’

‘Tonight?’ he quickly asked with a grin.

‘Tomorrow night’, and left with her orux following faithfully behind her. Zeft hit a few of them as they walked past him, ‘You, behave. Look awake, Porky. Don’t touch the goods, Merdanza.’

Scalice moved closer to Zeft after the last of the orux left the gym. Zeft growled up at his intrepid leader, ‘She wants to have a yak,’ he looked toward the door, ‘tomorrow.’

As he walked back to his group Scalice resumed scowling at the laggards.


Jorja allowed the group to enter the room before her. The platoon of orux whistled and laughed as they sat down. A stocky, ugly woman stood in the front. Gord, Jorja groaned, they’d have to re-think the presenters. Better to a have a thin, beautiful woman who the orux thought unattractive. Marta gave them a stern look and the orux grew silent. The sex education began.

During the session an orux obediently put up his muscular arm. ‘I got a question.’

‘Yes?’ Marta put down her ruler.

‘You said we ‘ave to make sure a woman enjoys sex.’

‘Yes, what’s your point?’

‘What’s an orgasm?’

Marta smiled finally and a few of the orux nudged each other. As she launched into what an orgasm was the orux looked confused.

‘Women have orgasms too?’

‘Yes, of course…’

‘How come they have more than us?’

Marta had to start again and then launched into how to make a woman have an orgasm by means of a recording. The orux seemed amazed at the process and not at all embarrassed. Some drawing notes. They were learning to read and write but many preferred pictures. At the end Marta asked for questions and was promptly asked if she had orgasms, how many and was she free to date. Jorja wondered if Marta would take one of them up on the offer.

A few of the orux winked at Jorja on the way out and she grinned at them. Tomorrow was table etiquette. But now she had to give Scalice some dance lessons. He refused to be taught by anyone else and wanted to surprise Mary for the Grand Promenade.


‘One, two, three…one…two, three…’ Jorja droned on. ‘Step, step…shuffle…ouch..step, my toes…, head up…soft on my…waist…smile…relax…, step…, shuffle…one, two, three…think of it as an adventure…, ouch…relax…enjoy…step…stay on the beat…don’t grip my shoulder like a sword…’

After an hour they both had enough. ‘You’ve improved.’

A scoff made them jump. ‘Come on, Babe. You and me will show him how.’

Before she could stop him he grabbed her from Scalice’s arms and whisked her around the room. She had very little choice in the dance as he knew what he was doing and held her tight. Before long she was breathless and laughing. He slowed it down and pressed his cheek next to hers, ‘Nothing to be afraid of, Babe.’

She was handed back scowling, which matched the scowling Scalice. Zeft ignored both scowls.

‘Ok, go again and get it right.’