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Natalie 2

by Pete Lowery

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© Copyright 2004 - Pete Lowery - Used by permission

Storycodes: Solo-M/F; MF; latex; catsuits; hoods; clothing; encased; vr; sci-fi; armor; weapons; raid; rom; emb; cons; X

story continues from part one

...Meyer said nothing, trying to gather his thoughts and collect his fleeting feelings, too stunned that such a lovely and intelligent lady would be interested in him.

Natalie tried to transmit her feelings, she wanted to let him know how she felt, but did not know how, without possibly scaring him off. She sensed his timidity and could understand how he felt. She felt herself out on a very thin branch and was scared to go further.

“Natalie… I… I like you a lot.” Meyer blurted, suddenly. “I enjoy your company.”

OK! Here we go… Natalie thought, dreading the next part. She imagined the rest… “I think you’re really sweet, but…”

“I think you are very sweet, but…” Meyer continued, “…but I do not know how to express it. I would like to spend more time with you. I would like to have you as a partner. I would very much like to sleep with you.” Meyer shocked himself by actually saying what he was thinking. He stepped back and turned away in disgrace and shame. He had unleashed his innermost thoughts and feelings. He felt utterly bare and defenceless.

Nat did an invisible double-take behind her favourite facemask. Did I just hear what I thought he said? She stood back and wondered if she had been worrying about nothing. For fucks sake, Nat, don’t let this guy go!

“Seth?” She stood close behind him, but careful not to stand too close, for fear of being too forward. “Seth, look at me.”

He turned slowly, pleased but a bit shocked to find her so close to him. Abruptly, he recalled Gloria Portric’s last words and ordered “EmCon: Local, suppressed. Privacy: Total!” It was the first time he could recall using the command.

In a distant chamber, Zana said “Damnation! It was just getting good.”

Gloria Portric smiled invisibly and nodded. “Yes, Zana. But I think that your little problem has been fixed, don’t you?”

“Yes. I think you are right, Gloria. I think you are right…”

GO ON.....

Part Two

Seth Meyer had to force himself into a state of calmness; or as close as he had ever known it. No-care and free-time were an anathema to him. He had been working amongst the slings and arrows, the Molotov Cocktails and organised dissention for weeks, and had to keep reminding himself that “in here” was safe. The riots and demonstrations were thrust aside in favour of this girl.

“This girl...” he thought, “...this girl who has me so entranced and fumble-headed.” He watched her watching a bed rise out of the floor, and figured she had ordered it.

Natalie Dennison saw the furniture forming out of the floor, and reckoned that Seth had summoned it. Feeling hot in her loins, she moved towards it, seeing and seeking the smooth black sheets and liquid-filled pillows. She began to long for Meyer to be beside her on the bed where she might absorb his pain and feel his strength.

Meyer observed the bed emerging, made with the same material they both wore; black and sleek; comforting and inviting. He felt an urge to lay beside this caring and lovely woman, staying and holding close until they were satiated. He felt tired beyond despair, lonely past informal celibacy, and desperate for the cling and comfort of a good woman, any woman but this one especially.

No, not any woman... Meyer had long ago decided that if he ever found a partner, she would be a Closed Habitat member, meaning that it would be through The Sanctuary. That she was already a Member, was a massive bonus. The last woman he had been attracted to was a Candidate, but she had opted out of her application; consequently she and Seth had seen no more of each over. It was a pity, she had a security-rating better than Meyer had. That was a long, long time ago; too long.

Before he was a Full Member himself, a mere Member; in another new identity. It was soon after that “one last job!” that cost him a few more jumbled holes in his body-parts and left him “Pensioned, but fully fit” as the medical report read. In morose moments Meyer thought of it as “Paid-off, and fit to hide”.

Now, as a Full Member with Lifetime Privileges, he had priority on all facilities in any Sanctuary, unless the Grand Member or any of the Main Committee were there first. It was a rare and notable right, bestowed only on the richest and most generous, or the most dedicated Full Members. Some were awarded that special rating for “exemplary and special services rendered in the cause of the Closed Habitat”...

But, Meyer could not oblige himself of such favours; the tasks he had performed for the Habitat had almost been a pleasure that required his services, hardly worthy of any accolade. His Formalist upbringing still had him allowing women through a door first, standing when one, or a senior or an elder, entered the room. He called people by their full name, addressed his bosses as Sir or Ma’am as applicable; unlike that rogue Burnside who even called Judge Mganius by her abbreviated familiar name. All his requests were polite inquiries, to be carried out in no hurry. He had never used the advantage of his position within the Habitat, nor did he ever want to. Until now...

Distantly, he recognised a voice, a friendly but urgent tone calling him. Vaguely, he interpreted the Familiar, then the Formal, and then the Instant use of his name before he realised the content.


“Seth Meyer.”

“Seth, are you OK?!”

“Meyer! Meyer, Report.”

“...Nat!? Yes, yes, I am OK. What’s wrong?!” He said realising that it wasn’t a report, nor an adequate reason for why he had been away with the faeries.

“You stopped, stood so still... I, I didn’t know what to do.” She was laying on the bed, now sitting up, extending an arm toward him. “Come to me, Seth, and rest. You look tired...”

Unintentionally, he felt himself drawn to her, moving toward.

In plain vision, she was a comforting, inviting, beautiful woman. In sleek black, on black, asking him to her. Sensitive, caring, appropriately attributed. He thought of the levels of security between him and her, and the outside world. He felt safe. Her blanked face looked to him in perceived concern.

In his enhanced vision, sensed in Beyond Visual Spectrum, Thermal Signature, Pressure and Sonic, Natalie Denison posed no threat. Neural input to his right Optic Nerve displayed her statistics in a zoom-able replacement eye.


Membership Rating/More...



A strong green glow outlined her Profile, indicating that she was a friendly. A hovering icon showed that she was the nearest CloHab Member. It remained until he disabled the other features of his IFF suite of software. 

Soon, they were just Natalie and Seth, sitting on a bed. She, trying to be non-committal, no threat; he tensed on the edge of the bed.

Natalie waited until his bio-readings relaxed somewhat before she touched him. He didn’t flinch, but Nat could feel the iron of his muscles beneath the gloss elastic skin that was his uniform, his life; his disguise .

There was more of his shiny covered frame to see than usual. The usual Hi-Threat body armour and comm-paks, holsters and pouches, were missing. Even his helmet was a lighter model than what he’d been wearing lately, more of a soft hood with a hard curved faceplate.

She thought for a moment that she could feel the heat of his body through the thin layers of elastomeric polymers as she lay her gloved palm flat on Meyer’s left forearm.

Her suits, she now had eight; well... nine, if her “special relaxation suit” was to be included; (she blushed at the thought) had none of the thicker outer layers that were a part of Seth's rig.  Nor did she want or need it. The microscopic layer of insulation embedded in her outfits was ample. The +/-45C rating was plenty for her daily transit between her apartment and the Sanctuary. She also didn’t have the Cut&Stab-Proof®™ reinforcing that he polished so regularly to a high gleam.

Today, this morning, he didn’t wear the chipped and abused ballistic armour that he had arrived in. A courier from the Central Administration Area Headquarters had arrived with an Enforcement Branch escort to have that taken away to be repaired. Attached to it was sealed and explosively alarmed message pack. Nat didn’t need to surmise it was full of the reports he had been feverishly writing, late into the night; she just knew it. Her only concern was that the contents might harm Seth.

A sonic scrub and massage preceded “a power nap” as he called it; waking exactly at 0600 and making his first data entry seconds later. Without going near him, Natalie did what she could; keeping an open channel to the room he seemed to have permanently available for him. He barely finished asking for breakfast, some coffee and... before she had keyed the data into the food processor and set the delivery system into action.

It was Natalie that had suggested the long hot bath that Meyer had dozed in earlier. At Zana’s prompting admittedly, but she had offered it to him and to her delight, after a long pause he had said “That would be grand. Thank you Natalie Denison. A long hot immersion bath is a good and timely idea.”

“He what!? Meyer?... a bath? Yeah?! Well, I’ll be...” The Sanctuary Host exclaimed. The soft thin rubber of her mask wavered with her raised eyebrows and shaking head.

“It’s true! ...and I was only joking!” Zana added from behind her hood.

Gloria Portric thought for a moment and began to worry. “The last time he had a bath, considering he has the best self-cleaning systems available, was after he got shot that last time... do you remember?”

“How could I forget?! His... ugh!... Do you think he’s alright!?” Zana asked, realising that trying to get the reluctant Nat and the mysterious Meyer together, was more serious than it seemed. “Should I get Doktor Masing? He’s here...”

Bambang Masing was one of only two civilian physicians that were allowed to examine Meyer. It was one of the main reasons that Meyer frequented the 53rd Sanctuary. Any and all the others, Zana reckoned, would arrive in CenAd vehicles and probably with a Lance of Marines to guard them. It was another intriguing side of Meyer, like how Portric was so protective of him and always knew where and what his movements were.

Gloria Portric looked at the solid pile of Seth’s gear sitting in the security cage beside her warehouse office desk. The ricochet marks and shattered armour were an indication of life outside the Sanctuary lately. More and more lock-ups were being filled with the personal protection devices of Members, although few that came here had the authority to carry the hardened kit of Seth Meyer.

“No... If Seth was that badly hurt, he’d’ve been medivac’d ages ago. I imagine he’s just a bit banged up... In need of some R&R...

“Ask young Nat’ to come and see me, when she has a moment, would you?”

Zana took the dismissal as politely as it was given, curtsied  and nodded “Yes, Ma’am” before going to find that little scamp Natalie...

Nat was beside Seth on the bed; she, more lying than sitting. She longed to edge closer, to hug him hold him and never let him go. Instead she kept her hand still, resting lightly on his arm. She felt a slight abrasion on his suit and rubbed it gently as if to heal it, to polish it away.

His right hand, big and strong but light and timid, hovered over hers. Seth lowered his paw onto her tiny little hand, almost scared that he might damage her. She seemed so fragile and delicate that he hesitated in his movements.

Meyer’s world was one of action and dynamic effect, where tactile appreciation meant knowing what ammunition to use against any given target.

His heart skipped a beat, then raced to catch up, as she folded her other hand over his. She looked up at him and he felt his heart slow.

It was his own heart too, not a vat-grown replacement like his liver, a lung and 23.81 centimetres of his intestines that the Marine surgeons had given him. “Besides,” they’d said “you can’t get appendicitis now!” But, they’d left his heart alone, for the most part. Apparently, the TECHMED Grade-9 that had done the pre-op had disconnected his hearts output and that had allowed it to idle away and easily repair the slight damage done. He had been later told that the overworked surgeon had been so busy, and no-one had thought to mention... after a lung and liver replacement, not to mention the bowel and some other plumbing... In CryoStasis, he noticed nothing as a machine took over from his heart, and a few other functions, allowing it to tick away and heal. Meyer, although that was not his name then, could see no problems with it, with being alive. “Good news... “ he mumbled to the doctors when they revived him.

In fact, anything and everything from seeing the Roscoe with the blaster on the stairwell; to waking up on Mars was news to him.

“Well, sir, it’s like this... “ His unit legal rep had hold him at the hospital on Mars. “Because we had to kidnap the quack that did all the surgery, and paid him with the money we stole... the work he did, is ummm... not... I say again, sir, not  considered kosher by the Marine or that CenAd Office we were working for. Even though the mission was a success and most of us got medals for it!...

“I can’t find any way around this, boss... I’ve searched every loophole I know of! I’m sorry.”

He looked sheepish as he produced a signature table and explained, “Allied Earth Intelligence has asked the Senior Medical Officer Aboard, and he has told me you are fit to read and sign this... sir. I’m sorry, I’m under orders to invite you to sign this... You have the right to refuse or seek legal council, of course... but... “ He stopped.

The view of the Ferric Lady Elisbeth Mines and the Spaceport was not that interesting, but the young lieutenant faced the window to view it. “Hells Teeth skipper! It’s krap! I’m sorry. You’re between Scilla and Charybdis, sir.”

Meyer had asked the junior Lieutenant what the document said and meant, and after a brief explanation, he signed the pad with more flourish than he felt. It became a ritual. Every recovery from every surgery, after too many missions, henceforth,  had required the disclaimer stating that “due to non-conformal procedures and unauthorised bio-repairs”, the work done by “real” doctors was not guaranteed because of the... bla bla bla. He kept on signing his life away... He had no choice; they dangled the carrot of a total medical pension.

It had been the turning point on the road from a covert world of Special Missions to the sphere of deniable Black Operations, where happenings were not admitted and events just never happened. The Marine had discharged him on the excuse of Asset Reduction Size Evaluation, or some such krap acronym. A casual comment from a bloke in a gym, one day, soon introduced Meyer to a shadowy but well-provided contact who was “Looking for people of Special Talent, and no identity, for tasks of Extra-Strategic Affect.”

Meyer found it easy to think of his recruitment into The Allied Earth Intelligence Organisation, and its ESA Unit, as “head-hunting” but often felt that it was a “set-up”. It began a fairly short but very dangerous life that lead him to his current persona and life.

As a young marine Seth began to keep tally of the stitches and wounds; until surgical adhesive and fake skin became common place and he lost count. He was carried off four battlefields, wounded and decorated for gallantry. His medical record went into volumes. Now, with stock all-type, replacement parts;  a lung, a liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, a few feet of gizzards; a bio-mechanical eye, a machine-tool mandible and a hard-plastic cheek bone, Meyer faced his greatest fear. There were no bullets flying, nor was the air full of slicing shrapnel to harm him. He did not need to face the burning recovery periods or further operations. No-one threw Molotovs at him, he was safe from any physical harm.

His Main Threat, was the sultry woman in the gleaming black rubber suit beside him, and her calming voice, her inviting body. “No Threat” his systems told him, but there was something that scared him, always.

Natalie lay on the bed, half-reclining, half-sitting beside Meyer. She could feel his unease, his inbuilt reluctance. She wanted him to be at peace. She wanted him for her.

So big and strong. So perfect and polite, with his correct manners and charming accent. She’d often dreamt of what he might look like, under that black latex and elastomer harness. Without the guns and badge and armour. Somehow she imagined spikey short blonde hair and a large jaw, probably blue or grey eyes, under a heavy brow... Not stunningly attractive, but serious and shy, attentive too.. ...but she didn’t mind, any way. He might be hideous with a wart on his nose, and Natalie wouldn’t mind.

Once she had laughed when Zana had tried to tell her that Seth Meyer was a Negroid Plutonian. That night she dreamed that Seth had a woman's face and a mans voice.

She’d been helping out on Bulk Nutrient Transfer since Seth had gone out after his bath, but rushed back.

It was good solid work, connecting the pipes and guiding the stores. Nat liked yakking with the CloHab drivers in their huge rigs, sometimes chatted with the in-house techs that usually hung out down at the bays. She heard the reports of whole sections of the metropolis cordoned off due to riots and crime. Seth was out in that !...

He was forever sneaking in or rushing off... Occasionally for days but often for most of a twenty-four hour period. Natalie was thinking about when she’d seen Meyer slip in through the Service Portal one time. She bumped into him and apologised profusely, barely hearing his own apologies.

She was remembering his quiet but cheeky laugh as he said that he’d “been caught”, when Zana, her WerkGang Leader found her. She wouldn’t say what was going on but hinted it was “about your Seth, you need to see Gloria, soonest”. Nat froze, suddenly scared.

She knew he was an Investigator, and working with Enforcement, but nothing beyond that. Nor did she want to know. If the truth be told, she thought, all I want is to know he’s OK.

...and in bed with me! She dared to think, definitely not for the first time. I just wanna cuddle up to him and make him sleep-in and relax. “Is he OK?!”

“He’s fine!” came from the back of her helmet as she headed down the passage-way.

Acting Primary Sanctuary Host Portric was in her couch, but not connected. She adjusted her “throne” with a deft practised motion and sat up. “Ah... Natalie! Come in, please, take a seat. Zana, dear... stay, please. Sit.”

When Gloria began with “Natalie... I’m sure you are well aware of the Closed Habitat’s Rules for Fraternising and Co-socialising within Membership Levels?...” Nat’s heart leapt.

She feared losing her job. She was well aware that making a pass at  guest member could be grounds for dismissal. She would not even be able to become a Social Member... No upgrades, downloads, or cheap outfits!...

More, she would need to re-convert her domicile, or leave the Habitat. Ugh! The thought of going back to being “unsuited”...

Worse; she would likely never see her Seth again. Her Seth? That was how she was thinking of him, wasn’t it? And it was true; she would miss Seth the most!

“Well... It has come to my attention that you have developed a... a bias, shall we say? For Full Member Seth Meyer...? Yes?”

Natalie swallowed hard, knowing that her bio-readings would be going crazy, in Portric’s faceshield. Lying was never an option to a Managing Member.

“Yes Ma’am!...”  She clasped her gloved hands together before her. “...But, I’m awfully fond of him! I’m sorry.”

Portric said nothing for a moment, and then stopped what she was going to say when Natalie continued. “Seth Meyer is a very lovely man! I just wanna... I just... I mean! ...He stands up, when I come in the room! He says please and thank-you...”

“He stands when anyone enters the room, but no red-blooded woman could miss those broad shoulders or solid hips that shape Meyer’s tight black rubber! That’s fo’ sure...” Zana had hesitantly offered, looking up from under hidden eyebrows. “And polite, too! Yes.”

Gloria rose and crossed the small office space to the chair next to Nat. She placed a polished pewter hand on the girl’s knee gloss black knee. “Natalie... I’ve decided that Meyer is finally going to take a Personal Attendant! Due to his... ‘energetic efforts in the dedicated pursuit of his role and position’... I’ve decided that he requires one; even if he doesn’t want one! His Membership entitles him to it, and you’re the lassie that is going to convince him to accept it!

“Now?! Would you like the assignment?”

“Would I?! Oh!...” She straightened. “Umm... Yes! Yes, that would be grand, Ma’am. Thank you!”

Gloria flashed a <grin: sly wink: sage nod> to Natalie and patted her on the knee reassuringly. “We’ve noticed your... preference, for our Seth. I want you to look after him. He’s, well... I don’t think Meyer has any friends, but he’s... worth looking after. I’m fond of him, too.”

“But not like you are! Hehehe...” Zana chuckled. “Do you know much about bandages?...”

And that was how she came to be lying beside Meyer. Zana had received another CloHab Employee to replace Nat, and Natalie had earned a pay-rise and all the time in the world to look after Her Seth. She daringly stroked his hand, cautiously extending to his wrist and forearm. “Wait..” Meyer told her.

“room command: local privacy/total; authenticate...”

“authenticated! room command: set!” The building answered. Seth barely hesitated, then withdrew his hand and deftly removed his HiGrip mittens, leaving only the thin gloves that covered his meaty fists. “I think I do not need impact resistance or abrasive retaliation... to hold your hand, Natalie. You have fine-boned hands. They are very attractive...”

Nat saw his bio-readings skyrocket as he returned both of his hands to hers. The upgrade to her onboard software, courtesy of her new position and Gloria Portric’s authority, allowed her to see most of the outputs to his bio-pick-ups. She feared telling him, out of the thought that it may make him feel more vulnerable.

“...You! ...are very attractive! I mean no disrespect with this statement, Natalie Denison! I feel that the emotion may be reciprocated...” He raced to an explanation.

“It is! It is, Seth Meyer.” She squeezed the heavy mass of his big hands. “Please... be calm...”

Nat felt an amount of tension flow from him, reluctantly, hesitantly. Some it splashed upon her, much more washed away through the floor and the walls. She moved their hands to the bed between them, as a neutral move.

For months now, since she had first realised the presence of Seth Meyer, she had been studying him, eyeing him. He had been a regular at the 53rd when she had first walked in the doors, in her polyestyline everyday clothes over a year ago now, but she had not spotted him until much later. Nat had become a Candidate, a Member and then a Probationary Employee Member before she had caught a glimpse of the bulking figure of Meyer. She was werking the Main Bar, like all new PEM’s do, when an apparition appeared before her.

She had just refilled her tray for another patrol of the quiet bar and quieter lounge, when an alarm went off, discreetly, in her helmet. Natalie’s display warned her of the Impending Local Threat, the actions the building had taken, and the additional tasks she needed to perform... which were none. She continued her duties until she saw the airlock open and admit “a man in black”. Nat didn’t notice his companions.

It was one of her private jokes that “her Seth” was “tall dark and handsome”. Zana would roll hers eyes at her mention of him.

He wasn’t “her Seth” at all, some of his height was from five centimetres of armoured heat-resistant boot-soles and almost everyone at the Closed habitat Sanctuaries was in “dark” rubber suits. “Handsome” was purely a matter of opinion and conjecture, and imaginative hopefulness.

The man in grubby black, unpolished and scuffed, wore a badge both visual and electronically signalled, guns, armour. He scanned the room and ordered his followers in various directions by urgent hand-signals. Turning to mostly face her, he had his body-weight evenly distributed, in a slight crouch.

“You! Dennison! Where is Yahshinta Markeentosh?!” He pointed a hand, not just a finger, toward her. The other hand, was hovering near the slung assault carbine and the handgun he wore. Natalie wondered why she noticed he was right-handed and well spoken.

Stunned, she pointed toward a small room at the far end of the lounge. “I saw her last, in there... five minutes ago, sir! I believe she is still there.”

The man-in-charge-in-black came to her and placed a hand on her shoulder, pulling her close and guiding her to safety. “It is OK, Natalie Denison, take the grav-tube to the ground floor! Go, now... Be safe and well.”

Vaguely, as she’d hurried to the lift-tube, she heard “Be safe and well, sir? ...what’s going on there, sah?!”

Nat heard the Man answer “It can’t hurt, to be friendly, to the locals Sergeant... Now, back to the mission.”

The Special Forces Marines knew, from the Closed Habitats sensors, that the Wanted: Markeentosh was unarmed and alone. For them it was a walk in the park, but with less danger. She came out, hands up and compliant as any sensible person would.

Staff and Members and Guests were assembled in the Initial Evacuation Area, ...the foyer, when Meyer’s SF troopers led the Detainee: Markeentosh to the  front door. Natalie thought that it was appropriate, that the black-clad troopers from Allied Earth Special Forces should conduct a raid like this. A murmur of comments filled the secure airwaves of the Sanctuary, a healthy round of applause gave karma.

It was, after all, the Allied Earth Special Forces that originally designed the tight gleaming outfits that the Closed Habitat was based upon.

It was then, that she’d properly met her Supervisor, Zana Belokov. The woman had pulled her aside, and warned her concerned about publicity and adverse affect, as a New Employee, that the Closed Habitat comply fully with Enforcement, and the Marine. They were, she said, Friends.

“Seth Meyer...” Nat answered, suddenly angry and defensive. “ Investigations Branch, not Enforcement. And as for disobeying a Marine Order... I would never! How dare you!?”

Nat wondered why she was so far on the offensive, and defending someone was hadn’t actually met. “I should... I could, I should....”

Zana took a step back “Whoa, grrl! Steady ON!”

Natalie gasped. “I’m sorry!” The shock of a squad of marines bursting into a calm and safe Sanctuary, concerns about breaking the protocols of the Habitat, and a bewildering interest in Meyer had her confused. Nat led a very sheltered life.

From her apartment in the Outer East, a very safe and respectable area; to the controlled and regulated environment of her workplace, Natalie Dennison only saw the troubles of Allied Earth in the media or from the fleeting glimpse of an airbus. This afternoon was the first time she’d ever been in the same room as a gun, let alone shouted commands and aimed weapons.

She sat down on the nearest floatchair and hardly felt the arms of Zana around her as she wept into her facemask....

It was the point that Natalie had instantly leapt to Meyers defence, that intrigued Zana and set her on a mission course. The new young employee had seemed, almost insulted, that Zana had inferred that Meyer was one of those brutish thugs from Enforcement. If she didn’t know better, Zana might have thought it was love at first sight. That only ever happens in cheap space-dramas, not in real life, certainly not in armed raids by Investigations and the Special Forces. Something in her, still said that Natalie and Meyer should be together.

“Miss Denison? Natalie Denison?... “

She remembered that she was at work, and a Probationary Employee Member, but Zana had told her to “lay down a rest a while”. Nat pressed a key to increase the transparency of her facemask lenses. As she sat up, the sound within her hood returned to room volume. “Sir?”

“Remain at rest, please Ma’am. I came to apologise for scaring you...”

Natalie had stiffened at the sight and realisation of the “Commander” as she thought of him. The Commander of the raid that saved her, The Sanctuary, from the terrorist Markeentosh. Briefly, she wondered if she was in trouble, but then scrabbled for any information this powerful man might require for his investigations. She wanted to help, so badly. “Scaring me, Sir? But.... you saved me!”

Meyer hesitated. “We made an arrest of a known insurgent... and an imposing threat to The Sanctuary, Miss. I was doing my duty no more.”

That didn’t sound as I had wanted it.... Meyer thought as he caught himself quickly slipping into official-speak.

The mention of The Sanctuary was designed to bring some form of level keel with the young lady he had startled. He felt it was common ground. His Sargent had been shocked, and warned him, about going to see her. I just want to see if she’s OK, Sarge!

“Thank you, Sir... I am just resting. I was a bit shocked at the suddenness of the event, that is all.” Natalie berated herself for not speaking her mind.

“That is good and well, Ma’am. Again, I apologise. I must go...”

And he was gone. Her faceless knight in grubby scuffed, body armour. Big and strong under the layers of latex.

Meyer felt bruised and derided, not by her response, but his own inability to convey the scared-secret longings and feelings he had for the girl. It was fortunate that his duties send him off-world in search of other quarries. It was months before he returned to Earth.

Natalie Dennison had convinced herself that the appearance and affect of Meyer was due to the presence of the terrorist  Yahshinta Markeentosh. She wondered if he would ever return to the 53rd Sanctuary. Natalie had not been a member long enough to know that Meyer regularly used this location as his base of operations and resting place. His absence was not noted by the more experienced, to them Meyers presence was more unusual than his absence.

...Then he returned. Gloria Portric’s stern suggestion that he take a Personal Assistant as befitting his status and Membership, was a shock until he saw that it was to be the lovely Natalie Dennison.

Natalie, the girl, lady, he had thought of in the oddest moments when on assignment. She had offered him an immersion bath, “to ease your stress!”

Now, she lay beside him gently holding his hand.

He, for all his trials-by-fire and derring-do, was beside himself with anxiety and fright. He felt the potential loss of this woman more than her presence or possibility. Meyer was paralysed by the possibility of doing something wrong or overt. For the first time in a long, long time, indecision overrode him.


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