Matilda has discovered that there might be Trimagnite on Saltulle. She is sensitive to the elusive, toxic, liquid ore. Wil & her father have asked her to show Wil where she was when she had her encounter. Matilda has made another discovery too, she realizes that she's falling in love with "Uncle Wil".
Matilda dressed carefully but with an eye to practicality. First, comfortable jeans which fit her very well, emphasizing her slender hips and firm thighs. Her shirt was a long sleeved, plaid cotton worn over a white tank top. Gloves and helmet were standard issue. No one left them or their goggles and filter masks behind. Thick soled boots completed her outfit. It wasn’t fancy, but it was the best she could do.
Brigette tapped on her door and poked her head in. “Uncle Wil says, are you ready?”
“Be right there.” A dab of her favorite perfume behind each ear and she was ready.
Wil was waiting outside on a bright red floater cycle. He grinned widely, as if he hadn’t a care in the world.
“Hey, baby girl,” he borrowed her father’s nickname. “Ready?”
In reply, she hopped on the back seat of the cycle, strapped in and gave Wil the coordinates of the spot she had felt the Trimagnite’s pull the day before.
“If you feel anything at all, say so. I don’t care how dumb or trivial it seems. If your nose itches, tell me.”
“Okay, Uncle Wil.”
They took off smoothly. Wil’s cycle was heavier than the Guild’s but more powerful and maneuverable. It was also completely silent. All they heard were the stones, kicked up by as it glided by, hitting the bottom of the cycle.
“I think you’re old enough to call me just plain Wil, don’t you?”
He glanced over his shoulder at her when she did not reply right away. She nodded and was opening her mouth to reply, when they hit a patch of turbulence, a small dust devil which was easier to go through than around. Conversation was impossible and she had to throw her arms around Wil and hang on, afraid she’d fall off.
A year ago this small gesture would not have affected her, but as her body changed and blossomed, she was very conscious of her growing breasts pressed against his muscular back. It felt strange. She was aware, too, of how comforting his body was near hers. Not in the way of a child with her favorite uncle, but as a woman with a man.
The effect on Wil when she clung to him, was electric! An insignificant thing set his heart pounding and his adrenaline rushing.
“She's a child,” he reminded himself. “My friend’s child, what’s more.”
He fought for self control and concentrated on maneuvering the cycle through the dust devil. He successfully got himself under control until the wind shifted, bringing with it the scent of her perfume.
It was expensive, something he had bought for her mother, but in her peculiar way, Mary had said it wasn’t her style. She gave it to Matilda, not because Mary didn’t like the scent, but because she saw the expression of longing in her daughter’s eyes when she looked at the tiny, blue crystal bottle and experienced the fragrance.
It mixed with a woman’s chemistry and was guaranteed to smell different on everyone. Wil’s sensitive nose loved the exotic aroma and he enjoyed picking out the subtle differences between them. He suppressed a sigh of contentment as her scent wafted toward him.
“A child...” echoed in his mind.
She stiffened suddenly, as they approached the site. Still several clix away, she was experiencing something. Taking careful note of the coordinates, he stopped the cycle and turned to her.
Her face was pale and drawn, dark eyes wide with confused terror. She clung to him as if she were drowning and only he could save her. He had seen the look before on the face of sensitives. The pocket must be very close. He sniffed, lifting his head, filtering out her scent. Standing with difficulty, as she refused to release her hold, he slid away from her gently. Her hand shot out, grabbing his shirt in a vice grip, pulling the hairs on his chest. Tortured eyes sought his.
“Don’t leave me,” she gasped. “What is it? Why do I feel...?” She could not put the feeling in words.
Holding her hand, he walked a few feet from the cycle and sniffed again. There it was! The tang was unmistakable; like lemon oil, cloves and sweat with an overlay of metal. He drew a breath through his mouth, tasting the air as it traveled across his tongue.
“It’s a big one.” He went back to the cycle and she trailed him silently, wide eyed like a frightened puppy.
Wil took a sophisticated scanning device and made detailed readings of the area. Matilda sat on the sled, shivering, although it was a hot day. Absorbed in his work, Wil didn’t notice right away. He spoke to her, but she didn’t respond, and he grew concerned.
He glanced at her, immediately worried. She was going into shock. He marked the post with a guild beeper and gathered his equipment. Then he picked her up, plopped her on the seat in front of him and turned the cycle toward Mine Base One. He radioed ahead and Murdock met them personally. Wil had been friends with Murdock for years.
“What’s wrong?” Murdock's eyes held deep concern for Matilda.
Wil looked around, his penetrating gaze deterring interference from others. He leaned over to Murdock and whispered, “Trim shock.”
“Trim shock?” The other man was appalled.
Trimagnite sensitives would sometimes react badly to a pocket, particularly a large one which was near the surface.
“First time out, it’s my fault. The pocket is huge! Where’s the doctor?”
“Watson’s in his office, sober for once.”
“Let’s get her there immediately, show me.” He lifted Matilda up as if she weighed nothing and followed Murdock to the doctor’s house which doubled as an office.
The old man clicked into high gear when he heard what the problem was. “Get me a double shot of joe,” he told Murdock.
Look for Part 8 at my Word Press site: http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com