A couple enjoy a summer's afternoon in the parks of Vichy. Sex Images

Rick trains Chrissie's ass with a little help from Zoey.

It tasted like water and smoke. Not very much like she had imagined it would, she thought, catching another in her hand and inspecting it.

They looked different from what she'd seen in pictures, too. Instead of being like tiny geometrical stars, they were wisps of wet cotton, and it didn't take long until the hood of her jacket was heavy with their amassed weight. She shook her head, spreading it around, and looked at both sides of the street before crossing over. Traffic on human Earth wasn't like it was in Barashi, where automobiles were still a rare commodity, and the worst that could happen if you didn't pay attention was being run over by a chariot. Here, she had to be careful. Walking away from an accident unscathed would raise too many questions, and Jack's aunt had been adamant about the importance of a low profile.

She bought a newspaper from the boy that stood shouting around the corner with the money that her hosts had given her and leafed through it. Most of the headlines pertained to the war. She was trying to educate herself about it the best she could, so there were some words and names of locations that were starting to seem more familiar - Japan, which her hosts had told her to now be the enemy of the country she was living in, had attacked a place called Hawaii some weeks ago, and the news was dedicated to the fallout.

She only hoped it didn't mean that soon there'd be armies on the streets, killing everyone. Barashi hadn't known an inner war since before the Sinking, although its people were always searching for means to wage it on other worlds, and fighting those was a man's duty. She was unprepared for one as grave as the headlines made it out to be, and nobody was around to protect her. For the first time, she truly resented Jack for sending her there. Even if family bonds had clouded his judgment when it came to Marabeth, would it be too much to ask to not be shipped off to a world on the brink of war?

Still feeling a bit miffed, she rolled up the newspaper and turned the corner, walking further and further away from the busier streets and occasionally stopping to ask directions. It appeared that her accent was worse than her previous encounters with English-speaking humans had led her to believe. She had to repeat herself multiple times, and was asked if she was Russian almost as often.

At last she found the place and had to check the paper on which she had scribbled it down to make sure she was where she was supposed to be. None of the houses around her looked like they had been lived in recently or, at least, not by people who were concerned with things like paint or unbroken windows. She was examining a drawing on a wall and frowning at the crudeness of it when she heard a yell behind her.

"Girl! Valerie! Over here!" She turned. Jack's aunt stood on the sidewalk on the other side of the street, waving at her. "Come on, come on, chop chop. We have a lot to take care of today."

"Oh?" she managed to expel before she was grabbed by the arm and hauled away. Yet another thing in which the woman differed from her sister, she thought. Whereas Briseis was like a bouncy ball of barely contained energy, Marabeth always moved very slowly, like a snake on the prowl. When she let go of her, the girl had to run to keep up with her pace. "Where...uhm...where are we going?"

"My place.