The stars were bright outside of the porthole as Luke closed in on the dusty blob outside in the cold dark vacuum of space. Slow and easy, slow and easy. We can't allow the minor thrust from the ship, The Upturned Lily, to affect the orbit of the moon or whatever it might be, he thought. Jenny was asleep waiting for the bounder lines to be grappled upon the useless moon or, as they hoped, the artifact.
There were another 20 hours of approach and Luke had nothing to do until the grapple was released. It gave him time to muse, and he chose to review how this journey had come about. It was simple, really, as Jenny's dad was rich and he, and Luke, both loved Jenny! When the exploratory spaceship came up for sale Jenny convinced her father to buy it for her, and that's the way it went – Jenny wanted, and she got it. Jenny was 24 years old and dropdead gorgeous. Luke was 65, but he could afford parabiosis, and he had kept up the blood transfusion treatments and maintained his apparent age at 30. But transfusing blood from the young to the old had some of its own problems. For instance Luke had the testosterone level of a young man and the anger that he had hoped to mellow with age was still with him making him sometimes reckless. He also had the rough surface that rich girls liked so much while the electroshock machine on the ship kept him in tiptop shape. Even being spoiled and kept they made a pretty good team.
The fourmonth trip to the moons of Saturn was trying on his previous family. Divorced three times he had 8 children all of who cared for him. His indiscretions had hurt his children from various unions enough that none of them actually loved him, but they did respect him and were partial to his affections. As the distance increased, it was only possible to leave messages that were unanswerable for hours. At this distance, it was about a day between sending and receiving leaving any hope of passionate speech useless and the entire process mundane.
Traveling as a spaceman wasn't as difficult for him. Luke had thought about retirement many times especially when being served by his exwives but opportunities kept presenting themselves. He was the first man to set foot on the Mars moon Phobos and was helpful in learning that it was a giant AI, dead, killed in the massive war of 65 million years ago. He was with the initial mining team of Io the volcanic moon of Jupiter. That landing turned out to be so volatile that they lost 4 good men, half of the initial squad. That trip alone took four years and cost him nearness with his second wife and two of his children. Unfortunately for his fraternal instincts, he liked space.
Jenny stirred to wakefulness at her berth near the viewport. She wore one of the silk granny gowns to sleep in, and it was a sight to behold, The fabric flowed about her body. Parts of her lean body being revealed by the thin material while other parts were occluded. Her uncovered legs were churning to consciousness less than modestly.
Jenny focused on him. "Oh baby, come give me a big hug" she murmured. Luke did as instructed and helped her release her harness.
"Looks pretty dull," she said, taking a position at the port.
She ignored the magnificent view of Saturn and the rings. They had been slowing down to match orbit with the moonlet for weeks, and the picture was old hat. She did reach out with her arms to advance the hug but Luke drew back.
Jenny made a face at Luke and glided across the small room to enter the lavatory while Luke got back to watching that the feathered thruster didn't nudge the rock below him the wrong way. He lit up the spectrograph and verified that it did seem to be mostly iron. After some thought, he decided to drop the mechanical grapples in favor of magnetic grippers. He used the controls to stow the unused grips on the outside of his ship.
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