...Actually, Yes

"I'm not picky," she said, not revealing that her heart was about to explode from nervous tension. In actuality, she loved the ship. She always preferred the older models over the sleeker looking designs they were coming out with now-a-days. Knowing very well of what could happen onboard, she was screaming at herself the entire time she mounted the ramp next to him.

They made their way to the cockpit where Emerson took a seat at the controls then turned to look at Ezra who was just smiling and admiring the old ship. "She's a really good ship, Emerson."

Holiday nodded. "Would you like to take the co-pilot seat?"

Ezra nodded but instead of sitting in the seat Emerson had offered to her, she took a seat on his lap. She smirked at him coquettishly. "So where are you taking me, fly-boy?"

Emerson smirked back as he pulled her close again. He just could not get enough of those kisses and she was certainly being passive in not helping. Or perhaps, actively not helping? She was just as eager to meet him in an exchange of passion. Either way he saw it, he loved every second of it.

He pulled away, both kissed breathless that only heightened his libido. "Uhm... Ah, Jericho VI... Saphira," he answered, not even hiding the twinkle in his eye as he said the native name for the planet. He saw her eyes light up and knew why.

The planet was a beautifully blue-hued gas giant comprised mostly of nitrogen and helium-3. The deep sapphire color was photogenically identical to a wild dragon given the same name. Amongst spacers that decided to try and refuel there, they found that the planet's storms were just as fierce as the brood mother herself.

Its odd synergy gave it enough wonder to bring some tourist traffic. But that was few and far and space was pretty damn big.

Of course, thoughts of the planet proceeded to promptly exit stage left as Emerson beheld her fingers curling in his hair. He was running his hands gently up and down her back, Ezra arching a bit into him. He was flushed just as much as her when they locked eyes. She was well aware as him that her chest was close to him, Holiday feeling the backblast of his breath.

Zeke... She wants you... Stop stroking her back...

He obeyed his logic. But he raised his head as she came down slowly to him. This time it was different. It was not the excited and experimenting kiss of previous. This kiss was more than before, a slow embrace that vibrated with barely checked passion that slowly, ever so slowly, leaked through. Emerson contemplated tearing her clothes off and taking her straight to the bunk, she got to him so.

Whoa, Nelly. Zeke, first date. Also, what hurts so much?

He finally acknowledged the growing, dull pain growing in his leg. Her weight was warm and granted a feed to their lust but it currently was starting to be a bit for his injured leg. Finally, as the tango of their kiss ended he tapped her hip. They separated and Emerson gave her a pained look. "Sorry, mera pyaar. But, I can't quite..."

She understood and got up. Ezra was a bit upset on how that ended but thanked herself that it did not go further. He was a sweet man and more than attractive enough for her but something about how that felt, how intense, gave her some wariness. The break was much needed as he rubbed his leg.

"Well, shall we?" he asked rhetorically. He swiped up his headset and flicked a few switches. Lights flickered on as the ship's reactor hummed deeper in diversion of power. As he ran his preflight, he smiled to himself. He was lucky to be alive more times than he cared to have experienced and now this was happening. Finally, things were turning!

"De Lacy-Tango 485, Tower Control. Requesting take-off for orbital ascent," he commed.

"Tower Control, De Lacy-Tango 485. Zeke! Heard you were hurt. How you doin' hun?"

"Sans? That you? Doin' fine down here," he asked, knowing that Sandy was part of the night shift. "Got hit by some weird spacer tale I'll have to tell you sometime."

"I heard you's in the hospital, sugar. I was about to send you a care package, but couldn't find which one you was at."

He glanced at Ezra, who watched him with interest. He let out a breath at the thought of what could have been in there. He moved the mic away momentarily. "Sandy's buckeyes are to die for," he said with a wink. "I actually got a new job... Also, another story!" he said into his mic, emphasizing with a jabbing of his finger. "Trust me, you will want a beer."

"I'm probably going to. Clearance given, take five mikes for air traffic routing. Weather clear, you are green, Zeke."

"Thanks, sugar! Tell the hubby I said hi!" Holiday signed off, flicking the communication off as he grabbed the joysticks.

~~

It was a smooth ascent, mostly due to him cranking the gravity a bit higher. It was now a comfortable Terran norm, unlike the 0.7 G that most veteran spacers kept it at. But the bumps disturbed his leg and for once he opted for comfort. After all, Hammond did offer upgrades and the life support was the first to receive an overhaul.

The onion peel of the atmosphere turning to vacuum was always a sight to see and he watched the amazed smile of Ezra from the corner of his eye. He was focused however, not on the ascent but on the math he had to crunch. Plotting intrasystem jumps were always a bit of a pain with the new drives, as gravity played a much larger role in FTL laws. Still, if it was correct then they would be there in seconds.

It was as the moon passed them that he leaned back from his terminal and eased the throttle back. He flipped the craft around to present the world of Jericho. "Always a sight to see," he said to her. "But it is about to change. You ready for this?" He asked, extending his hand.

"Yes, captain," she answered sweetly.

Emerson engaged the drive. To them, space stretched into deep purples and blues only to transition back to star-view a few seconds later. To the rest of the galaxy, the ship blinked out of existence in a blue-shift of Cherenkov radiation. Over Saphira, the ship reappeared in the same fashion. It hung in the darkness of celestial shadow as Holiday turned to her. He nudged the controls.

Thrusters puffed and the craft oriented to face the gas giant. At first, it was hard to see. But as the terminator began to approach their perspective, the shining rings and deep azure came into clear detail. The bands themselves struck five in number in the rings, each a blue to white of solar detritus. The orb was beyond a blue achievable elsewhere, a blue that made the artist's heart melt in beauty. While he was no artist, he knew a good-looking planet when he saw one. And boy, did that view certainly take your breath away.

He saw Ezra turn and he did as well.

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