Mary, who was on another ship, contacted Jorja on her work com who was, by now, getting annoyed at all the interruptions.
‘Oh, I thought you’d be watching Tila tonight with Scalice.’ Mary said.
‘I am. He’s recording it.’
‘Good, make sure you tell me how he reacts. I wasn’t that happy with the last episode.’
‘Will do, Mary.’
‘I made sure there was beer in the fridge.’
‘Thanks, hopefully it’ll still be there when I finish this.’
‘On a break.’
‘You need to find some more people to work with you.’
‘I’m trying, but you know me.’
‘I know, freak.’ It was said so softly, Jorja didn’t take offence. ‘I think there are some orux who can help you. Talk to Scalice about it.’
‘Thanks, scrawny. But after this I won’t feel like talking shop. I’ll put you through to Deven, I think his break finished five minutes ago.’
Two hours later Scalice turned the sound up even louder. His close neighbours were working shift and he had paid extra to have padding on the dividing walls. Max had told him it looked ugly, but to Scalice, well, it reminded him of living in a cave. He scowled when Pretty Max had flipped a switch which indicated the room was sound-proofed. Pretty Max had quickly switched it off and left muttering.
Half hour to go, Scalice mused to himself. At a light tap he pressed the release to allow Jorja to enter.
‘You smell nice.’
‘I just showered, Scalice, so don’t get excited. It would upset Zeft.’
He laughed and handed her a drink as she collapsed on the soft suite and put her now bare feet on his table. ‘What the…’ she reached down under her left thigh and pulled out a nail. As she flicked it across the room she said, ‘I’ve been invited to the dance tomorrow night.’
He went into his open plan kitchen and grabbed bagfuls of chips and sweets. He thought of sex with Mary as dessert for after the show and licked his thick lips in anticipation.
He snorted. ‘Was he desperate?’
Jorja rolled her eyes, ‘Obviously arse, but I do try to please.’
He sat down and Jorja flicked through one of his magazines.
‘It’s still recording but it won’t be long now, double episode. Zeft’s wondering why you are avoiding him.’ He saw her stubborn expression, ‘Never mind.’
Returning to his past musings, he remembered back, all those months ago. He remembered the lectures that he and his men had suffered when they first boarded the massive Xenica II.
‘Now, your orux can call up anything from food, clothes, personal hygiene items, women, jewellery….’
‘Women?’ Scalice halted the list knowing the men (and him) wanted more on this topic even though Zeft had told them of the ‘no-sex policy’.
An aide spoke, ‘Yeh, Commissionery women and men, they offer services at a cost and generally have rules. Your men need to fill out the online forms, add a photo and put in a request. If there are any problems you’ll need to get in touch with legal advice.’
Later Jorja had translated for them, after consulting with the Commissionery women and Zeft, ‘If you want a woman press the blue button. If you don’t know what to do then press the green button.’
From her cell she’d also organized some of the tall strong Wyang women to join the fleet. They drew many stares but the orux seemed to like them and Zeft assured them orux needs were being met. It became a mutually satisfying arrangement.
Scalice leaned back and noticed Jorja wasn’t turning any pages of the magazine over. She didn’t appear to be reading it. ‘Thanks for thinking of the Wyang women,’ he said.
‘Yeh, no problems.’ After a wild night with the Wyang women and their tales of conquests with the orux Jorja wondered if Zeft was feeling…left out.
Shoving some chips into his mouth Scalice thought about the rest of the welcome speech because Jorja evidently refused to be baited on the topic of Zeft… ‘Now, general, there are certain rules around what you can and cannot do. As a general you are restricted to Commissionery women of Grade A, they have been specially cleared. However, there are not many…’ a beep at his wrist unit made the orcs jump, ‘…excuse me, Sir. I have to go.’
A chorus of ‘Tough luck, general’ came from his men, plus some sniggers and comments that maybe he’d find a ‘girlfriend’ and be enslaved for the rest of his natural life.
A little later, and at a tap with her foot on his towering one next to hers, brought Scalice’s mind back to the present again and she handed him a large slice of choc cake.
‘You thinking again?’
‘The recording has ended. Start the show.’
His thoughts of past months disappeared as he lost himself in the story of ‘The Slaying of the Puritanical Prick’.
He and Jorja laughed at the same spots and afterwards he shared his ideas with her on the show. She always listened politely and discussed it for hours. They had become good friends and he finally had found someone to ‘think’ with. Zeft was usually off training, exercising or studying trying to take his mind of Jorja. She gave a big yawn and picked at her plate. ‘Time for bed.’
At his pretend suggestive look she laughed.
She got up. ‘Thanks, Scalice. And stop smelling me.’
He watched her leave grinning. She lived a busy life, always tired and fought many battles on the ship, almost as gruelling as his real sword battles. He owed her so much. After one military battle to give the orux some practice before tackling Esan, she’d discovered they’d been sent down with ill fitting armour. She went on the war path. He remembered her bursting into the security meeting dragging Margel, a shy orux, behind her with his sharp pointed ears bleeding. She waved his helmet around.
‘Why in hell haven’t all the orux been sent for a proper fitting before their first battle?’
An enraged general had gotten up but before he could open his mouth she snarled at him, ‘Don’t say it, general. I want all the orux fitted before they go out next.’ Margel shuffled behind her trying not to be noticed even though he was about the same height and wider.
Her blazing green eyes turned to Scalice, ‘I’ll see to it myself. Bring them to my suites first shift, my crew and I will work around the clock to get them fitted. The other suites can look after everyone else for a few days.’
He had nodded after seeing the other general dragged to sit back down by two of his equals. It had been evident she wasn’t to be overruled and he had been and was still intrigued by this.
Before the door swished closed he could hear her voice echoing, ‘Don’t forget tomorrow…’ and at his groan he could hear her tinkling laughter continue down the dim corridor.
Tonight he planned to enjoy the rest of his night because his wife was coming home the next day and then he’d have to ‘obey the shrew’ as his men told him, but he’d get to have sex first and that’s what counted. And then he remembered what Jorja had reminded him of and frowned. Tomorrow wasn’t going to be a good day. She kept telling him, ‘Think of it as an adventure. Write about it in your memoirs’.
During the night Scalice felt a warm body get into bed with him. He smiled in the darkness and gathered Mary into his thick muscular chest.
‘Finished early?’ He nuzzled her soft blonde hair feeling himself becoming aroused at her smell.
‘Hmmm. Did Jorja come over?’
But Scalice was completely occupied by the soft body pushing into him and began making his usual oruxish pleasure noises.
It wasn’t until much later that he remembered her question. ‘Yeh, she did and it was a good episode. I sent another letter.’
‘I noticed a response in our box.’
He grunted and rolled away from a grinning Mary. She watched him leave the large bedroom for the lounge amused at his reaction. She heard him open the box to the left of their front door.
Scalice brought the letter in and read it in the dim light. Orux saw well in the dark. Mary saw his erection, ‘A good response from the writer?’
He groaned and finished reading, ‘Gotta show Pretty Max this one. He’ll be green with envy. Come here, my pretty.’