Note: This story was dynamically reformatted for online reading convenience. The Voyage of a Lifetime, Chapter Three by Chris Hailey, Copyright 2018 Story codes: MF, Mg, romance, sci-fi Summary: A man finds love and meaning during a trip to Mars. A little light science fiction, but mostly romance and loli sex! ============== "The topology that I propose," Michael Dubane said to the image projected on the screen in front of him, in Conference Room Xenon aboard the mighty _Hi'iaka_, "involves three relays, one for communications with Earth, one for the station, and a third for redundancy, which can be switched to either channel when necessary." He had to imagine the response of the three people in the conference room at the colony on Mars; he would not see or hear their response for another twenty three minutes and twenty-six seconds; nearly twelve minutes for them to hear him, and another twelve for him to get their reply. As it was, the image they were currently seeing of him was from eleven minutes and forty-three seconds ago, as was the one he was seeing of them. It was a damned awkward way to communicate, but Michael was used to it by now, having spent the last year attending these meetings. Everyone involved knew it'd be much more sensible to just text chat each other, but the CIO of the GSA believed in face-to-face, he said so many times at lavish parties all over Earth. "The primary problem we have with IT infrastructure at _Kakadu_," Michael had heard the man say in his broken Bulgarian accent, using the given name for the Martian colony, "is a lack of communication." No, Michael thought, the primary problem is how unreliable the infrastructure is. Mars, it seems, is a Harsh Mistress, especially if you are an outpost monitoring station, or a mining rig, and in need wireless contact with the colony, or with Earth, or both. As it stands currently when a rig goes silent, one of the crew has to suit up and take a rover out on what can be a very dangerous mission, sometimes alone or with another crewmate in the Martian desert for days, and depending on what the problem is when they get there and what supplies they have on hand, they might have to take parts back to the base for some impromptu repairs and head out into the alien desert a second time. This gave rise to Michael's mantra, which he'd been preaching for the last year: _ruggedized redundancy_. The Earth-side testing of the outpost comm equipment obviously did not test for nearly harsh enough conditions, conditions that sometimes last unremittingly for days or weeks on end. Not only did their tests need to be far more robust, but they must also assume that the equipment will inevitably fail, and so redundancy had to be built in at every step. But, that's why there's people like Dr. Molov, who's job it is to say the things that politicians want to hear so that the funding keeps coming, because this shit costs a hell of a lot of money. And why there's people like Michael Dubane, whose job it is to do the actual work that actually needs to be done. The only downside is that, in order for Molov's words to be taken seriously by the politicians back home, his underlings have to do what he says publicly that he wants them to do... And, therefore, here Michael sat, staring at obsolete video footage from a million miles away, waiting for their mundane response to an issue that had already been discussed and decided long ago via email and text. The interim wait, the interminable wait, for the reply from Mars gave Michael the opportunity to think. And while he sat still, knowing that his every move would be observed by people eleven minutes in the future, he pretended to be looking at some papers in front of him as if they were, if not interesting, at least important. But in fact his mind was wandering, to the favorite place for his mind to wander these days. His and Robin's relationship had moved quickly from the cute flirtation of the first few days, to the nervous, excited exploration Of each other's bodies, until, as is so often the case with new lovers, eventually settling into endless mind-numbingly beautiful sex. An unquenchable desire for each other. Confident, experimental, his body inexplicably able to perform as if he were fifteen years younger. Shuffling the papers before him in a pantomime of attentive thought for the viewers in the future, he tried to count the number of times he and Robin had made love: almost every night for the last two weeks since the _Hi'iaka_ launched; those few nights that they had missed stood out most prominently in his memory for the aching absence. How many times had he cum inside her? Fifteen times at least, if he didn't count her mouth; maybe twenty-five, if he did. And how many times had she cum? How many times did he lie between her legs, lapping at her sex, tasting her womanwine? He had to clear his mind of these sorts of thoughts now, for fear that he would instinctively reach down to his now-engorged cock while being observed eleven minutes in the future by his employees on Mars. Instead, he focused on the afternoon before him. Once this agonizingly dull, long meeting was done, he would go to the computer lab to help Charlie and Maggie with their schooling. In a sense, the kids weren't so much being "home schooled," as participating in long-distance learning--very, very long distance. A million miles of distance. Their future Martian teacher, Mrs. Habberdash or some weird name like that, assessed their progress online and participated as best she could in their instruction. Michael mostly served as technician, local tutor, and hall pass monitor--"No, Charlie, you just went to the bathroom a half an hour ago and you were gone for ten lousy minutes. I'm sure you can hold it until class is over!" When they were done, the three of them were planning go to the gymnasium again to ride bikes around the oval. Physical education, part of a well-rounded curriculum. Michael couldn't wait for that, he'd been sitting in this damned conference room chair for so long now that his butt cheeks were going numb. "You can't catch me!" Charlie hollered, furiously peddling his child-sized bike as he sped away from Michael, who put up a half-hearted chase while Maggie lapped them both, laughing as she did. Michael then left Charlie behind and chased after her, as around and around in the oval they rode, panting and sweating and having a hell of a lot of fun. Afterwards, the bikes put away, they changed into their swimming suits and jumped in the pool. Michael felt decidedly self-conscious at this point, having only brought with him on the voyage his tight athletic suit, that left little to the imagination. Oh, how he wished he'd bought a swimsuit more suitable to playing in the pool with an eleven year old girl! But he steeled himself, determined to remain focused on being a father-figure to her. Fathers play in the pool with their kids, without all these ridiculous encumbrances, and damned if he couldn't do the same. Maggie did not make his task easy. She looked nothing short of astounding in her little blue flowered bikini when she walked out of the changing room. He had to avert his eyes, feeling foolish; if he looked, he could not help but stare. She had the perfect little filly body: long thin legs, her skin a wonderful brownish cream; narrow hips, a taut belly leading to a tiny bra that lay flat against her childish chest. Michael tried not to gape at the beautiful vision; he tried his damnedest to treat her like nothing more than the child of his girlfriend. She, however, did not return the favor. Maggie stared. She simply stared, unabashedly, right at his manhood, the shape of it displayed quite visibly through the tight suit. It wasn't exactly what you'd call an "innocent" stare; more like, curious interest. The young girl's stare undid all of his noble efforts to restrain his thoughts, and quickly, he was growing hard. He saw the young girl's eyes focus their attention as she witnessed the transformation though his suit, before he slipped into the water to avoid any further embarrassment. Eventually, the swimming done, the three of them went together to the observation deck. They located Earth, a tiny blue dot now, and Mars, a reddish dot in the opposite direction. Then Maggie and Michael stood at the broad expanse of windows, looking at Jupiter through one of the available telescopes to identify its moons. Charlie looked through the telescope's lens occasionally, but mostly fidgeted, in withdraw like an addict, denied his video games until his homework was finished for the night. They found the Galileans through the telescope, but could see no others. Then they turned the telescope to Mars, pinpointing the location of the colony's biodome (not visible yet, not for several months), and trying, unsuccessfully, to locate the Martian moons. "It will be soooo cool, to have two moons!" Maggie said. "Won't it, though?" Michael agreed. "I wonder what they're like?" Maggie asked, so Michael pulled up a web page on the subject and they sat down and read together, one head against the other, Michael smelling the chlorine of the pool in her hair mixing with her natural perfumes. Charlie joined them and they read aloud and showed him pictures. When the web page had been thoroughly consumed, Maggie scanned the stars out of the huge window with Michael's binoculars. "There's so many stars," she said, with profound reverence. It was true; free from Earth's atmosphere (and from the light pollution that was now a sadly ubiquitous part of most Earthlings' experience of the stars), the display of the celestial heavens was awe-inspiring--the undifferentiated colorful glow of the Milky Way, the more precise pinpoints of neighboring stars. Added by an app on Michael's phone, they identified what they could among the heavenly bodies--Alpha Centaur, Mizar and Alcor; the Orion Nebula, the Magellan Clouds, Andromeda. Astronomy lessons now finished, they met with Robin for dinner in the cafeteria, Maggie abuzz with delight at the afternoon's discoveries. "Maybe I should be an astronomer?" she said. "It's all so beautiful!" Robin smiled. "There ought to be many opportunities at the colony for an astronomer." "Do you think?" her daughter said, wide-eyed and bouncing excitedly in her chair. "I could study the moons! Maybe I could even go to the moons!" "Wouldn't that be fantastic?" Michael said. "You could come with me!" Maggie glowed at him. Her excitement was contagious, even Charlie joining in. "I could go too!" "We could all go, even you, Mama!" Maggie exclaimed. Robin laughed. "I don't think they need a veterinarian on the Martian moons!" Maggie contemplated this for a moment. "Probably not, but they would need a systems engineer, right, Michael?" Michael laughed as well. "Maybe so." "And then Mama would have to come, too, because they wouldn't make you to be apart, right?" Michael reached a hand across the table to Robin's. "We wouldn't allow it!" Maggie's face was a self-satisfied smile now. "No we wouldn't!" Family rules dictated that the kids complete their homework for the day before Michael could read to them. Robin had acquired a small folding table and a set of folding chairs for their kids to do their homework,.and it now occupied what little space there was in the corner of their family room. Maggie sat down at the table and went right to work, but Charlie dallied all evening, despite having what Michael considered fairly simple homework--some basic arithmetic, a spelling list that consisted of few words beyond four letters in length, a paragraph to write on the functions of the US government. Maggie's work was much more advanced, honors-level stuff, Michael thought, for a girl her age--algebraic equations, a presentation about their voyage, Russian vocabulary (Russian, being the second most common language at the colony, was required for all students; Chinese was, too, but those lessons would wait until they were physically there). Maggie set to work with purpose, regardless of the difficulty, and not more than a hour after dinner she was done and ready to join Michael for their nightly read-a-thon. While he read, she sketched images of Jupiter and her moons, and of galaxies. Robin along with several of their adult podmates listened to the story as well, it becoming a ritual for all of them, and eventually Charlie did finally finish his work and joined them, disappointed to have missed two chapters. When the reading session was done, Maggie insisted on a goodnight kiss from Michael. As he leaned over her bed to kiss her on the forehead, she lifted her face such that their lips met instead. "Goodnight, Daddy," she said after the kiss. Michael tried to act casual, despite being surprised and a bit disconcerted by the kiss. "Goodnight, sweetheart." A half an hour later, Michael and Robin were engaging in some foreplay that involved the two of them attempting to find the proper angles for their activities, one set of feet hanging off the edge of the little bed, another set in the opposing direction against the wall. Robin's voice came up from between his legs, "This little bed sucks!" "It dobs," was his muffled reply. She sat up. "I think I'm getting a crook in my neck! This is seriously limiting my inventiveness!" The both laughed, Michael sitting up now, too. "Well, we can't have that!" She got a devilish smile, which reminded him of the conspiratorial look that Maggie sometimes got. "You know," she batted her eyes, "we have a perfectly fine double bed at our disposal in my room!" Michael laughed again. "We do! It is always nicer when we put that bed to good use." It was, too--although they didn't make love in her room very often, they did it a couple times when they knew the kids would be away for long enough, and it was a much better experience. Michael would have to report back to the GSA--if you want single people to hook up aboard the _Hi'iaka_, you need to give them bigger beds. That same devilish smile. "Let's do it! Charlie sleeps like a log, and..." "Are you serious?" he asked. "Right now?" "You do want me to be inventive, right?" "Um..." "Believe me," she said, her eyes twinkling, "you do!" "What if we wake up the kids?" "Oh, what the fuck does that matter, really? Just think of it like the sex ed part of the curriculum!" He laughed. "That's an interesting way to look at it." She was already dressed. "So are you coming or what, big guy?" So they made love in her bed that night, in the dim light with the stars out the portal windows shining down on them. Charlie was pretty clearly asleep the entire time, and if Maggie woke up, she didn't make this fact known. But it seemed unlikely that she was able to sleep through the events; Michael was nervously quiet at first, but Robin seemed particularly animated that night, at once giggling like a schoolgirl, then moaning loudly. And inventive, she most certainly was, down between his legs and lapping at his balls, then moving lower to lick his anus. Then she climbed on top of him, turning her backside to him, and mounted him reverse-cowgirl style, bouncing the bedsprings with a loud and merry enthusiasm and groaning as she rode. Were Maggie watching, Michael knew, she'd see her mother's naked body in the dim light, facing her, breasts heaving, both her and Michael's hands between her legs as together they stroked her clitoris. And he knew the girl would also see his cock, sliding in and out of her mother's cunt, his balls bouncing below and shining wetly from Robin's cum as it flowed like a fountain out of her. Having ridden him to several loud and shuttering orgasms for herself, and him to the brink of his own magical moment, she dismounted and crawled away from him. "Do you want to fuck me, Daddy?" she said over her shoulder. "Do you want to cum inside your little girl?" Grinning, finally getting into the fun--possibly because he was rather in desperate need of orgasm now--he reached out and grabbed her hips. She let out a loud sound of mock surprise, "Oh!" and scrambled away from him. "You'll have to catch me, if you want to fuck me!" They played a silly little crawling game of chase on the bed, Michael's cock large and shining red and swinging side to side. She squealed with delight each time he caught her, and squirmed away, until finally she let him catch her ankle and flip her over onto her back. She giggled as she spread her legs wide, and he climbed on top of her and mounted her and fucked her hard, slamming in and out, until he finally moaned aloud himself and came, pent-up semen exploding out of him. "Oh, yes, Daddy!" she hollered as he orgasmed. "Fill your dirty girl with cum!" Yes, indeed, if the kids had been awoken by their sex, and surely at least Maggie had been, they would have gotten quite a lesson in human sexualIty that night. [If you like this story--or if you don't like it!--please consider leaving a comment at my erotic fiction web site, Thanks!]