Halfway between a silver moon and a green-tinged planet, Jane shifted in her seat, adjusting uncomfortably. The cockpit was too cramped, filled with the faint smell of recycled air and old leather. They’d been flying for three hours now, her and her nine new students, cramped within their individual ships and maneuvering through exercises all afternoon. While the time had been very helpful to Jane, it was also somehow both nerve-wracking and boring. Putting the squad through their paces on the very first day easily showed her which of these rookies would need help in the future and which already had a feel for flying. On the other hand, the exercises were so basic that only a newbie could mess them up, and if anyone was so unskilled, they would cause catastrophic damage.
“Marcus, Preston, ease up on the adjusters. It doesn’t make much difference at these speeds, but if we were flying a surface run you guys would start to drift out of formation like that.”
“Sorry Miss A,” Marcus’ voice crackled over the radio as both offending pilots moved to correct their positioning, nudging the sharp noses of their cruisers back into formation.
“This is a bunch of bullshit.” Although Preston’s radio was tuned to the rookie’s private channel, Jane’s ship was fitted with sensors that let her listen in, “She keeps scolding us for shit she hasn’t told us about; are we supposed to read her mind?”
“If I’m doing something wrong, I’d rather she told us than not,” Marcus responded over the same private channel, levelly, “that’s why she’s the instructor, right? She knows her stuff and we don’t.”
“Always an excuse for her,” Preston scoffed, “you’re a pussy, Marcus.”
Yet you don’t have the balls to complain to my face, Jane thought with a dry smile, but she stayed quiet. It was far more helpful to have a silent way of keeping tabs on the rookie squad. She switched on the public com once again and addressed her fleet; the four boys and five girls that she would be training for the next year.
“Alright ladies and gents, we’ve got one more grouping of drones a few kilometers away, and then we can head back and debrief. I know you’re all probably ready to get out of these things.” Jane flipped open a long range scanner screen to the sound of various murmurs of agreement and dropped her speed, letting the other nine boost on ahead. “I’m going to hang back and watch you, take some notes for this last run,” she warned, “so if you want to impress me, now’s your shot.”
She let herself relax a little bit as the rookies streamed on ahead, assembling in a rough “V” formation. Her eyes flicked between the screens of ship stats and positioning data as she shifted in her seat again, trying to get comfortable. It had been a rough day for her, making sure the squad knew what they were doing. The flight exercises should’ve been relaxing part of the day, but ever since the disastrous crash two years ago, Jane always felt nervous about what the Academy considered “flight-ready”.
“Approaching final drone swarm,” Preston’s voice on the public channel was official-sounding as the students caught sight of the quick-moving practice ships.
“I really want to look good on this one guys,” the quiet voice of one of her girls, Missy, fired over the rookies’ “private” channel, “if we can prove we can handle this well, she seems like the sort of instructor who’ll go a little easier on us.”
“Oh I want to look good too in front of Jane Appet, believe me.” Preston’s voice was sly, and a few of the other boys chuckled in response. Jane stiffened, her face stony even though there was no one around to see it. And so it begins again.
“What do you mean?” Missy asked, curious and oblivious, “Why Captain Appet in particular?”
“Oh haven’t you heard about Captain Appet’s reputation?” Jane could tell that Preston was taking great delight in Missy’s naivete, and she ground her teeth as she listened.
“It’s a pretty well known fact in pre-Cad that you wanna get assigned to Jane Appet’s squad in Academy. See she kinda has a thing for rookies who are grade-A flyers; they get her all weak in the knees.”
For a moment Jane considered speaking up, but she reminded herself that she wanted to know what her new squad were like when they didn’t think anyone was listening. Even so, she hadn’t realized that the rumor had filtered all the way down to the Pre-Academy. She flushed and scowled as Preston’s voice carried on.
“Word is, if you’ve got enough mojo in a cruiser, and you’re in Cap-App’s squad, you can pretty much rest assured that for the whole year she’ll take you under her wing and give you some ‘private docking lessons’, if you know what I mean.” A few guffaws from both male and female cadets told Jane that they did indeed know what he meant.
“Preston, stop being disgusting,” another of her cadets’ voice broke in, then, after a pause, joked “but seriously, let’s look good guys. I called in some serious favors to get assigned to Captain Appet, it’d be a shame if I lost my chance to tap that.”
Jane flicked the radio off to cut off the laughter, plunging the craft into the unnatural silence of space as she watched the screens tracking the rookies’ flight paths around the drones. She breathed deeply and exhaled, trying to get rid of the burning feeling in her stomach. It wasn’t as if the rumors were unearned; she had in fact taken a lover from her squads every year, but Jane liked to think it was nowhere near as crass as the rumors made it sound. Graduates fresh out of Pre-Academy were so used to thinking along such distinct lines, broken up into teacher and student.
They didn’t understand that things were different in the Academy…sure she was technically their instructor this year, but they might be teammates next year, or squad partners. The Academy assigned groups based on technical knowledge alone; it wouldn’t even be unheard of if one of these rookies became her instructor next year, if they had some specialized knowledge she could do to learn. It’s not that weird for two adults to have a perfectly casual thing together, she consoled herself sullenly, and I’m not even the only one who does it, other Instructors… she cast about for some excuse, …are just better at hiding it, that’s all.
Jane could feel the stress of the day pressing into her temples, the tension of keeping track of rookies as she herded them around the orbital base and through their initial tests. She slipped off one glove and stretched out her fingers, then rubbed them against her temples. Breathing in and holding her breath for a while before sighing, she tried to relax her entire body into the seat as she did so. It took a few minutes of staring past the screens, into the black expanse beyond them, but she finally began to calm down, emptying her mind of all thoughts except for the beauty of the void.
She barely noticed that she was slipping her hand across her rigid flightsuit until she touched her belt, then she smiled at herself. Another easy way to relax… A glance at the screen told her the rookies wouldn’t be done with the drones for another ten minutes, and the distance between them was so far that the ships were nowhere near visual range; she reached out with her other hand to carefully close each screen in turn. Jane gently let her fingers trail across the flightsuit’s scaled pieces, while she watched the drifting moon in the corner of her field of view. Breathing a little more evenly in the silence, she let her mind wander as the tingling of her own touch traveled up and down her stomach.
Slowly, lazily, she tugged the sealing tag of her flightsuit down her body, the small toggle letting the seam in the rigid material unseal and open from the neck all the way down. Without the warmth of the flightsuit sealed in, Jane shivered as she suddenly felt the cold of space against her exposed body. While she leaned her head against the back of her seat, she let her fingers drift along the bare skin, barely touching. Looking up into the stars that seemed just beyond her clear cockpit, each touch of her fingers seemed magnified, sending jolts of electricity. Tense, strained muscles finally relaxed against the leather chair.
With a smooth motion Jane slid a thumb through her small patch of brown hair before pressing on her clit, shivering a little at the sensation. A single finger reached further, slipping between her lips as she continued gently rubbing. She was surprised at how wet she already was; it had been awhile since she had done this within her cruiser, and something about the darkness and stillness around her, about the utter silence and serene surroundings, made her able to let go in a way she couldn’t replicate anywhere else. One finger was completely inside her now, moving in small circles to accompany the slick rubbing of her thumb across her clit. As the stars shone like tiny pinpricks all around her, Jane allowed herself the luxury of hovering on the very edge of release, holding completely still for several intense seconds before sliding her thumb back and forth, her finger in and out, then pausing once again.
When her legs began trembling and her breath started to catch in her throat, she thrust her first two fingers within herself, as deep as they would go, while at the same time grinding her thumb against her clit. Her breath came out in a gasp, then a soft moan as her orgasm rippled through her as sharp as the pinpricks of light that lit space around her. Her entire body was shaking, pleasure crashing into her in waves with nothing between her and the beautiful majesty of the stars but a thin layer of the ship’s canopy and a thousand layers of ecstasy.
Leaning back, moaning as her fingers slid out of her and relaxing, Jane gave herself a few minutes to enjoy the ripples that still shivered across her skin. The small cockpit smelled of sweat and her own slightly sweet scent, and she closed her eyes for just a few moments longer.
When she regained her composure, lifting the screens back into place, a much less stressed Jane saw that the rookies were just finishing up disabling the drones. They were all fairly skilled, she noted, and a good crop of flyers made her job much easier. She flicked the radio back on, and the sound cut into the tiny cockpit in the midst of an argument.
“-because some of us are more concerned with learning to fly that getting into an instructor’s pants. You’re gross.” Normally one of the quiet students, Jackson’s deep voice was just wrapping up a lecture of some kind.
“Seriously Jackson, maybe you should stop being such a teacher’s pet and mind your own business,” Preston’s voice was starting to make Jane involuntarily clench her teeth when she heard it, “I paid the Academy recruiter five hundred credits to assign me to this team, if you think you’re gonna convince me to just give up on some tasty Captian ass-”
“Good work rookies,” Jane broadcasted on the public channel as if she hadn’t been listening to the private chat, taking a small bit of vindictive joy in cutting Preston off, “let’s get back to the base, debrief, and call it a day; I know you’re all probably looking forward to it.” The squad transmitted a series of guilty affirmatives as the ten ships swung their trajectories around and began their approach back to the orbital base. Both private and public chat remained sheepishly silent for the five minutes it took them to travel back to the orbital base that housed the Academy, but as they approached the hangar and began slowly nudging the ships into their huge docking stations, Marcus broadcasted privately, his voice quiet as if he was afraid Jane would hear him through the walls,
“Did you guys really pull favors and bribes to get assigned to this squad?”
“Damn straight,” Preston replied, “a little guaranteed action all year? That’s worth some credits to me.”
“Better hope it pays off,” one of his female squadmates commented, her voice filled with disgust, “’cause I guarantee none of the girls in our year are gonna want you.”
Jane could’ve sat and listened to the conversation, but as soon as her ship had docked she slid the small silver lever that dropped her from the seat and onto the hangar bay floor. She had heard enough.
However the conversation had continued, it was obviously fascinating enough for the whole squad to listen to or weigh in on, because Jane had the debriefing room to herself for a full five minutes. She was glad for the small amount of time to gather her thoughts, to breath deeply and just stare at the ceiling of the large round room for a while. It’s the rumor that’s the problem she decided, letting her eyes follow the Academy insignia on the ceiling, I’m not doing anything wrong, technically, the real problem is that I’m not known for training good squadies, I’m known for really good- She drummed her fingers on her arm, listening to the sharp clicking of her gloved fingers against the rigid navy scales of her flightsuit.
Her new squad began filing in, all in a group, some of them smirking, some with their heads downcast, murmuring and chatting about this and that, their conversation about her clearly over with. Jane couldn’t help noticing that Missy was blushing furiously, and refusing to meet her eyes. For some reason that goaded Jane more than anything else. She could live with a reputation as the Academy’s resident sex fiend…could live, even, with some of her rookies thinking of her as an easy lay; if she was being honest with herself, under the right circumstances she was an easy lay. But she would be damned if peoples’ big mouths and a handful of jackasses were going to make sweet innocent little Missy stop looking up to her. Jane didn’t mind a reputation, but she refused to give up respect. Okay…if I have to have a reputation, then I’m gonna choose my own. A reputation that deserves…no, demands respect. Her boots hit the ground with a sharp “click” that quieted the murmuring for a moment. She capitalized on that momentary quiet to stand up and start speaking.
“Alright Rooks, now that you survived your first day and I’m satisfied that you’ll all probably be sticking around for the rest of the year, I think we can settle into what I hope will be our normal mode of operations.” Jane let the group settle into the chairs that surrounded the main speaking circle.
The room was meant for a group of thirty or fifty to debrief, so the group of nine felt particularly cozy as they occupied just the first row, leafing through the folder of schedules and regulations that they’d been collecting throughout the day. “I know you guys will have noticed that a lot of those regulations seem a little extreme. You all can rest assured that what you’ve probably heard about me is true; I tend to have a soft spot in my heart for my squad, you won’t be adhering to those.” She gave the group a big warm grin, and she could actually see the cadets in front of her relax. One of the more gullible boys, clearly thinking she was openly admitting to screwing her rookies, even broke into a grin that matched her own.
“For example,” she continued, “the Academy-standard schedule says there’s a mandated wake-up call at 0600 hours. Yours will be at 0430, so we can get in an hour of simulator training before breakfast.” She knew she was being cruel, but even so she couldn’t help but enjoy the looks on their faces as she continued, the widening eyes and the sudden frowns. “Academy-standard mandates a 2.7 accuracy rating before required extra practices. For my squad that’s a 3.0 rating. Academy strongly encourages three tactical or strategic courses in addition to standard training but makes them optional; guess how many of those are optional for my squad?”
“But Miss Jane-” one of the girls had recovered enough to stammer an interruption, and she was actually raising her hand like some Pre-Academy eighteen-year-old. Jane let the stupid grin still on her face settle into a hard look, one that would silenced teammates, let alone rookie squaddies.
“Captain Appet,” Jane corrected, her voice cold.
“Sorry, Captain Appet, don’t you think you could go easy on us for our first week-”
“No, no, I don’t think you realized how much you fucked up just now,” a small part of her felt guilty for the rookies, as the girl lapsed into a kind of terrified silence. Another small part of her was enjoying herself far too much.
Every single year I want to say these things to them.
“I’m not ‘Miss Jane’, Rook. Not ever.”
Every single year…why has it taken me this long to try this approach?
“I’m Captain Appet, that’s my official title, that’s how you refer to me officially. If you’re feeling particularly friendly, you can use my official title like a nickname, ‘Cap’, just like I may occasionally call you all ‘Rook’. If you decide to refer to me by some friendly, non-official term, you’d damn well better be sure we’re friends.”
Jane realized that she was sort of looming over the girl, and she straightened and let her gaze take in all nine of the new recruits. Most of them seemed…well, cowed. Normally at this point of the first day she would be feeling nervous, wondering if her squad respected her, wondering if she would be able to control her more unruly members. She wasn’t used to feeling so…powerful. Whatever else the rookies were feeling for her right now, they were paying attention. Now to just drive it home, and Jane was well on her way to beginning a new reputation for herself.
“You were probably about to ask why my squad is being held to higher standards than all of the others.” She let her gaze travel across each of the rookies, “whether you believe me or not, you’ll be glad in a year’s time when you’re kicking the ass of every other rookie in your year, and you have teams clamoring for you. You’ll be able to take your pick, which is a big deal in Academy life. And on the chance we get assigned to the same team after this year, I’d prefer to be with people who know what they’re doing. This year, this squad is gonna turn out the best rookies this academy has ever seen. That experience should be well worth five hundred credits.”
Jane only stayed long enough to see the dawning horror on the squad’s faces as they realized she had been listening, and then she turned to the doorway, turning her back on her room as she left so none of them would see the smirk she could no longer hide. “They open the simulation room at 0445 tomorrow, I expect to see you all there. Dismissed,” she barked over her shoulder, before she made her way out of the room.
She felt alive and energized, the entire stressful day almost wiped from her shoulders as she strode down the hallways of the Academy. I might actually have a squad that is worth its salt this year she exulted, smiling at the thought, and even better, a squad that actually listens to me. Maybe even respects me…why haven’t I done this before? Actually took a tough stance with my rookies? Damn it feels good, I feel like I’m on fire. I feel like I want to stand at the head of the grand stairway and scream and pound my chest…or fly my cruiser in a ring around the academy and say who cares about the fuel…I want to…
Jane’s eyes narrowed as she spotted the doorway to an empty conference room in the side of the hallway. Glancing back to confirm she was in the hall on the way to the rookie dormitory, she slipped into the conference room and turned out the light, standing by the doorway but hidden in the dark. She hadn’t been consciously coming this way, but clearly her subconscious had been more attentive than she; it knew exactly what she wanted. When, a few minutes later, the rookie squad walked past, heading towards their dorms, her pulse quickened. Just as she had assumed, Marcus was at the very back of the group, not interacting with anyone in the squad, simply following. When they passed, with a smooth motion Jane stepped out, hooking a gloved finger into the neck of his flightsuit and pulling him gently into the dark conference room. To his credit, Marcus didn’t jump or make a noise as she grabbed him, or even when she pushed him against the wall next to the door. There, in the half-dark, she considered him for a moment.
Marcus wasn’t tall, shorter even than she was, but the way he held himself, his hair hanging in dreadlocks like a mane, and his broad shoulders and chest gave him a presence that she liked. In the dim light that filtered in through the door his dark skin seemed even darker, hiding most of his expression except for his eyes which met hers steadily. For a second Jane had a vivid mental picture of her own pale skin contrasted against his dark brown, and her smile bordered on the predatory at the thought. She knew that what she was about to do would make it harder to gain the reputation she wanted, but she also knew she didn’t want to give this particular habit up. Besides, he had defended her to his more immature squadmates; she owed him a thank-you for that.
“Marcus Acosta,” she breathed, knowing he could hear her in the deathly still conference room, “I want to make it clear to you that regardless of how the next few minutes play out, I will be treating you no differently than the rest of your squadmates this year. You are entirely free to step out that door, and there will be no repercussions for doing so. But if you don’t…” even as close as they were, pressed against each other, the hard scales on their flightsuits prevented her from feeling the heat of his body against her, but she pressed her hips forward ever so slightly, just enough that he would feel the pressure against his own, “…I’m prepared to give you a very special welcome to the Academy.”
Jane waited for a heartbeat, then a few seconds, to see if he would leave. Sometimes they did; true to her word she was always very careful not to let it affect her relationship with her rookies. She didn’t realize she was holding her breath until Marcus lunged forward, pressing his lips into hers. Smug beneath his kiss, she reached out with a foot hit the motion sensor that slid the door closed, plunging them both into darkness and privacy. Jane almost smiled at the eagerness with which he kissed her; there was something so adorably awkward about it. It was clear the young man wasn’t used to this sort of thing. She reached up to snag the zipper of his flightsuit, while the other hand snaked around his neck.
Her lips parted as his tongue flicked at them, and she allowed herself a small moan as the kiss deepened and his arms move to clasp her. His hands, slightly fumbling in their gloves, slid along her waist, then up to her chest. Jane broke the kiss, staring at him with disbelief, even though he couldn’t see her in the dark. Is…is he trying to feel me up through my flightsuit? She didn’t want to embarrass him by pointing out that no one could feel anything through the rigid material, so half smiling, half shaking her head, she clasped both of the boy’s wrists and lifted them above his head, pressing them against the wall. Holding his wrists in place with one hand, keeping him immobile and against the wall, she slid the seal downward. Jane’s heartbeat quickened as his body was exposed, her eyes straining in the dark to see his smooth chest, his hard, dark abs. She left the flightsuit sealed up to the waist, loose enough that she could slip a hand within when she wanted.
Brushing her lips across his, Jane could feel his breath quickening, and she ginned. Though there were some cons in an inexperienced man like Marcus, there was one benefit which she liked; they were always quite appreciative. Marcus’ breath was warm on her lips as she slowly slid a hand into his flightsuit, her nails lightly scraping across his pelvis, down his shaft, and very gently across his head. His whole body stiffened and shivered, and for a moment she was worried he was about to cum, but instead he breathed a wordless moan and tried to move his hands down to clasp her again. Jane firmly banged his wrists back against the wall, holding him still while she cupped his member in her hand, gently stroking while she considered it in the dark. It was smaller than average, but she was sure that between his eagerness and her readiness, Marcus would be able to satisfy her with it.
Very deliberately dragging her thumb along his entire length, Jane let go, enjoying his small gasp of disappointment as he couldn’t see her unsealing her own flightsuit. She was pulling the fabric down to her thighs by the time he understood, quivering in anticipation as the cool air in the conference room wafted against her naked bottom, and she could only imagine Marcus’ expression she moved closer to him. There was no uncertainty or hesitation in her movements as she slid his length from the restrictive suit, and her grin was wide enough that she had to stop kissing him for a moment, turning her head to let his kisses fall on her cheek and neck.
She could feel his pulse pounding beneath her fingers as she slowly slid his head from her lower stomach across her mound, leaving a slick trail through her pubic hair along its path until she settled it between her legs, pressing against her clit and lips. Marcus’ breath was so shallow she could barely tell he was breathing, and Jane almost wanted to keep still for a few moments, just to see what he would do. However, she too was beginning to ache in her core, all too aware of the wetness dripping onto the pulsing length that sat between her legs, so close…
Hooking a finger beneath his shaft, Jane pulled it up while sliding her hips forward, taking his entire length inside of her in one glorious, heart-stopping moment. Marcus gasped out a cry, loud enough that Jane put a hand over his mouth, laughing a little under her breath. They stood like that for long, intense seconds, neither moving as they both revelled in the pleasure that locked them together. When she was sure no one had heard Marcus’ outcry, Jane began to move, slowly sliding her hips back until only his very tip was within her, then slamming forward, pushing him into her until she couldn’t any more.
She tried to keep up the achingly unhurried rhythm for as long as she could, but Marcus’ hips were moving as well, bucking forward and back at a pace out of sync with her own, sending unexpected spurts of pleasure through her at irregular times. Although his efforts were still fumbling and slightly counterproductive, Jane could feel the sexual desire pulsing and building inside her, could feel how wet the heat between her legs was becoming. Letting go of his wrists, she grabbed his hips and forced him to move in sync with her, speeding up so that he could thrust inside of her at a faster pace but forcing him into her rhythm. Her orgasm ripped through her so suddenly that it was all she could do to hold on to him, pulling on his hips to slam him into herself again and again, first her legs then her entire body quivering as it overtook her.
Easing her hands up his body, Jane slowly came down from the high of her pleasure as she let Marcus take up his own pace, pushing quickly in and out of her as he approached his own climax. A second before he came, as she felt him tense inside of her, she placed a hand over his mouth again, just a second before he gave a shout that would’ve almost certainly been heard had it not been muffled. She pushed him against the wall with her hips, moving them gently as she felt him shooting inside of her, trembling and straining while he filled her.
With a smile that was almost fond Jane carefully stepped back, delicately sliding the sealer over Marcus’ spent member so that there would be no offending stains that could be seen. Only when she had carefully pulled her own flightsuit back up over her shoulders did she reach over and flick on the light. Marcus’s grin was so genuine and enthusiastic that when she saw it Jane had to grin in response.
“That was…that….” he struggled for words, still smiling, while she slid the seal back up to the neck, “…that was pretty fun, Miss Jane,” he finished awkwardly. Jane looked at him, the very picture of an awkward boy, unsure of where to look or what to do with his hands, and decided to go easy on him. She reached over and flicked his nose with a rigid glove, hard enough to mark but not bruise. “It was a lot of fun Rook,” she said, smiling to take some of the sting out of the reminder, or at least to take the bite out of her words, “but it doesn’t make us friends.”
“Oh. I mean, sure, I didn’t mean-” Marcus scrambled to recover, but Jane simply smiled again, reached past him, and opened the door. After considering for a moment, she kissed him quickly on the cheek so he would know she wasn’t angry.
“See you at 0445,” she smiled, and left quickly enough that the door would slide shut behind her before he could fumble for a response.
Her cravings satisfied for awhile, Jane walked up the hallway towards her own quarters, turning the day over in her head. I think it’s going to be a very interesting year…