The Mission

She felt the undulations in the captain’s bed. It was delicious revelry in between sleep and awake as the ship rose and fell like a galloping horse underneath her.  Gloria looked out the portal into the waning day, reflected on the broken surface of the sea. There was comfort in the isolation of seeing nothing but water as it stretched out toward the horizon. There was security in not knowing what lurked beneath or above.

The smell of coffee and bread warming in the galley roused her. Gloria stretched, inhaled the enticing aromas, and decided it was time to leave the comforting scent and feel of the bed. The captain’s T-shirt caught in the curve of her back, revealing her backside in the dim light that filtered through the portal. She made her way to the galley to find the captain of the ship and master of her sequestered heart.

“Ah, I see you are awake. Come on in and have the last dinner with an old sailor.”

Gloria slid across the cushion of the bench seat at the table as Raul lifted two loaves of bread from the oven and set the pan on top of the stove. He went back to fiddle with a glass globe with and alcohol burner under it.

“You certainly don’t act old in bed,” Gloria mused.

“Oh, that. The seas were a little rough last night. I was just trying to hold on and not get thrown onto the floor.”

Gloria laughed at Raul’s mischievous grin. His playfulness seemed out of place with his rugged features and usual scowl.

“What is that contraption you’re showing so much love to? I think I’m jealous of it.”

“The finest coffee maker the world has seen fit to provide,” Raul replied like a magician showing off his magic box.

“Oh, stop trying to woo me with all your sexy talk and pour me a cup,” Gloria scolded in a mock tone.  

Gloria feigned irritation in her voice, but her eyes glistened as she watched her lover attend his coffee maker like a mad scientist. She carefully considered asking him to join her on the mission. A twinge of regret went through her at the thought of leaving him again. His strength and cunning made him a valuable ally and kept her nights from being so lonely. Convincing Raul to leave his beloved ship would pit him against his love for her, the boat, and his desire for open water away from the confines of civilization.

Raul poured two cups of coffee and gave one to Gloria, then cut the loaves of bread and added the ingredients for a sandwich. He placed the sandwiches and bowls of soup on the table and sat across from Gloria, savoring the warmth and smell of the coffee.

“We should hit the coast in about three hours. Do you have a contact?”  Raul asked.

Gloria nodded and washed down her food with more coffee.

“Tamari is meeting me just inside the treeline if we manage to make landfall in the right spot.”

“Have no fear, my love. The nav-system takes its job seriously. It will deliver you right where you ask it to.” Raul winked and took another bite of his sandwich.

“Raul, what will you do after you drop me off?”

Raul looked for a long moment at the woman across the table. The look in her eyes questioned him with their pain, and the quiet suffering on her face was not the Dragon Warrior he knew. He had never known Gloria to show such unease before.

“I’ll go back to Romania. Constanta has a small harbor north of the port. I love Old Town and all its decay. The Hotel Ibis is nearby overlooking the beach area. I’ll wait there for the signal to pick you up.”

Gloria looked down at her cup, lifted it to her lips, and looked over the top at the only man she could trust. She took a long sip letting the warm liquid soothe her throat, giving her a moment to find her voice.

“I want you to come with me. I need you.”

“I’m not the gladiator I used to be. Hell, my knees hurt just climbing the stairs to the pilothouse.”

“We won’t be doing much stair climbing.” Gloria coaxed with pleading eyes.

“What about the ship?”  Raul’s concern was evident.

“You can send it to a spot outside the shipping lanes and have it wait until we call it back.”

“Very well. Tell me about what you’d have me do on this vacation. You can start by telling me where we’re going.” Raul did not sound at all like he was ready to leave his solitary life behind for a trip across hundreds of miles of rugged territory.

“We’re headed to Astana in Kazakhstan to meet Peter’s daughter, Val.  She will give us a dossier on our target.” Gloria’s demeanor switched instantly to the cold professional she always was when she focused on her job. It was time for business, and all her vulnerabilities were suddenly tucked away behind a facade of confidence.

Raul’s jovial nature evaporated as well. His penetrating stare fixed Gloria in place as he leaned closer. Gloria felt his intensity on her skin and paused to let the sensation pass before she continued.

“Tamari is our guide. She will escort us through Georgia and Azerbaijan to Baku. We’ll catch another vessel to cross the Caspian Sea to Aktau on the coast of Kazakhstan, pick up another escort team and make a series of hops across the open steppes to Astana.  We’ll avoid alerting the Cybrids by staying away from the main routes.”

“What information will the dossier provide us?” Raul’s question sounded like an interrogation. Gloria felt the deep rumble of his voice in the pit of her stomach. The rawness of her captain made her desire him even more.

“We’ll get all the intel on our target. Routes in, route out, and action in the areas of ingress and egress. Also, the dossier will have a list of safe houses, secondary roads, contacts, and steps to take if compromised. We won’t know much until we get there. That keeps us from giving up too much information if we’re caught and tortured.”

“I don’t hold up well under torture anymore, my love. As soon as they ask, I’m giving up your bra size, so they don’t beat me.”

“Then I’ll beat you.” Gloria mused.

“On second thought, I’ll just take it as the good sea captain I am and stay quiet.

 “That’s a good boy. I’ve trained you well.”

Raul laughed as Gloria sipped her coffee and smirked at him with wet lips.

“So, are we going after a single decapitation or a group?” Raul was serious again.

“The primary is the Cybrid leader of the rebel group that organized most of the resistance in the area. Kazakhstan has a limited number of Dragons, so they called me to do the hit to keep the focus off of them.”

“Who’s the secondary?”

“Members of the primary’s staff and support personnel.”

Satisfied, he knew enough for the moment Raul got up and signaled Gloria to follow. “Come, my love. Let us watch the sunset from the flying bridge before we prepare for landfall.”

Gloria looked at Raul. She saw the yearning in his eyes. Gloria felt drawn to his lips as his hands cupped her bottom and pressed her tight against him. The Praetorian couldn’t think of attack angles and weapon choices while Raul’s hands sent hot flashes through her skin, forcing her to inhale as her heart thumped against his chest. Gloria closed her eyes and let him have his way. She knew there were too few of these moments left in what remained of their lives.

21 thoughts on “March of the Cybrids-16

        1. You did it! That’s a good Dragon story binge. It’s probably easier to follow when you can read from chapter to chapter rather than wait a chapter at a time.

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  1. Holy magical mystery tour Hype…almost missed this! Love the journey you are taking us on. Romantic, filled with bittersweet memories of times long past. Also, something about it tells me you’ve been on that boat, with the rising seas and the swelling waves, because you know and describe the scenery in such knowing, exquisite detail. Oh yea. I’d sail away with Hype. In fact…I am. And the way you describe her just lifting that coffee cup? Sensual indeed.

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    1. I’m mighty pleased you are digging this phase of the story. We are headed toward the grand adventure now. You will definitely see and feel my interjection of life’s experiences into the scene. Of course, reality in conflict is more unbelievable than fiction, so I could not be too precise in my dialog or it would seem too unreal thus all too true. Ahhh, those seafaring adventures of old are memories I’ll never relinquish to the fog of my eccentricity. There is something about a lovely lady riding a horse, a Harley, or a 2000hp inboard outboard high performance 37 foot racer that makes clothing optional moments a reality in the great expanse of nature.

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      1. Gimme that horse and Harley shot all…day…long. Yeah, reality is more unbelievable than fiction. I’ll have a post up soon referencing the geriatric set receiving pharmaceutical lobotomies as yet another a Gov’t conspiracy–which I thought I pulled out of my ass…now research is showing truth to this tall tale! I can’t create conspiracies and fantasies outlandish enough to beat the truth!!

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        1. LMAO 😂. Right when you think you have the best fiction available, gov reality has already been there, done that, and established the conspiracy theory to cast doubt. The trouble is, all those kids raised on bizarre cartoons and science fiction movies are now working for the government trying to make their fantasies a reality. Life is imitating art instead of the other way around.

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    1. Hi Ray! Thank you for dropping by, I’m always happy to hear from you. LOL 😆. I didn’t see where a lot of writers are making sexy coffee breaks and I thought there might be a small niche for all the coffee lovers out there. I bet one could substitute some good Iron Goddess green tea too. All one needs is a nice boat to go with it. 😍☕️🥰

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  2. Gloria has certainly become softer and more sensual. These two seemed to be very captivated with one another. That Raul has agreed to follow her on this dangerous venture is exciting. I’m looking forward to their adventure and the outcome Dan.

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    1. Thank you Rene! Yes, I want everyone to see what was behind Gloria and why she acted the way she did, also how she has changed since she was shot for posing a threat to Mariah and Alexa. She still struggles with acceptance, but Raul loves her regardless of her past or physical changes. This part of the story involves some difficult scenes as conflicts normally do but we see how people bond in difficult times as well as the price exacted from all the participants. I hope the true message of love and compassion in all their forms are what saves our humanity is evident in the story.

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    1. Sex on a stormy sea isn’t nearly as fun without steampunk brewed coffee, unless it’s steampunk brewed Matcha tea 🍵 I enjoy the magic between Gloria and Raul. We get to see Gloria’s softer side although she is always the consummate Praetorian, she does have a soft and sensual side.

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