Take off the environment suit?
The sensual impact of that fantasy stopped Feroza in her tracks, imagining air on her skin. Sloughing away this plodding, restrictive armor. Feeling warmth over the invisible hairs on her body…
No. No, she couldn’t allow herself to say what was on her mind. Couldn’t allow herself to even think of the decadence of… “I suppose a bath would be out of the question?”
Silence. Feroza cringed. How had Toledo described her? As privileged? Self-indulgent? Not to mention hypocritical. Feroza was the woman who had prepared to walk into the jungle and make her environment suit into her tomb. Who had told Toledo he should regret every Petrolean life he feed into his still. And now she would use those precious resources to make soap and hot water?
“I apologize,” Feroza said. “Please forget that I said…that I wanted…it was wrong of me.”
“Oh, no. I don’t think it’s wrong, Dr. Merchant.” Toledo’s voice had gone husky. “I was only visualizing how…what resources we would need to requisition. Heating the water should be easy. Soap…I think I can fabricate. A bath…hm.”
“A bath?” She said mortified. A princess of Petrolea, indeed! How could he think she would demand a bathtub? “No, no, I was thinking of a sponge bath,” she assured him.
“Sponge…” he said “…bath. Oh. Oh. That would be…feasible, yes.” He cleared his throat. “I will make a curtain, of course. For privacy.”
And Feroza understood. ‘I was just visualizing,’ he had said. And then she had suggested a sponge bath. Of course. The point of life was reproduction.
Feroza’s cheeks burned against the pads of her helmet. What must he think of her? And what was she thinking of him? Toledo would be out of his suit, as well. And would she perhaps enjoy giving him one?
Once Feroza allowed herself something so louche as a bath in a Dragon’s nest, a bath with a man in a Dragon’s nest hardly seemed worse. And whether they agreed about environmentalist philosophy or not, the two of them were going to be stuck together for some time. Adrift. Benighted. Bereft. With lots of free time…
“This is not the time. Nor–even remotely!–the place.” Feroza picked up her bonesteel staff. “So we shall concentrate merely on staying alive.” She swung, and clubbed the nearest mechanoid to death.