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The Two Companions

For self-protection, the guild had always maintained an elite group of covert
agents drawn from within their own ranks who discreetly provided protection to the
Companions. Of course, all Companions were trained in a variety of self-defense
arts including weapons. It was a point of honor that no-one ever robbed or forced a
Companion against their will without suffering severe repercussions including
death.
Unlike corporations, with their top-down hierarchy, the Companion Guild was
always run by an association of elected officials with leadership coming from the
most skilled practitioners and teachers of sexual arts: priestesses. Most
Companions were female. Males tended to gravitate towards administration or
enforcement as they got older.
Setting: Inara’s shuttle
Inara sat in the pilot’s seat, going through preflight check, flames lanced past her
cockpit window. Like the true professional she was, Inara was extremely thorough.
She thought to herself _“I see Kaylee tightened up those coupling sleeves. I don’t
detect even the slightest leak.”_ Kaylee’s friendship and the adoration of that young
female mechanic meant that Inara’s shuttle always received loving attention.
Inara looked out at the flames blasting past and admired their beauty and thought
“This is what the first astronauts must have seen on reentry”.
The young pilot River’s voice came over the intercom. “OK, Inara our speed is
dropping down to MACH two and you’re good to go.” (Shuttle deployment at
higher than twice the speed of sound in any local atmosphere is dangerous for both
vehicles.)
“Thanks Mei-mei; undocking, three-two-one: undocked.” When the shuttle cleared,
Inara pulled up on the yoke, kicked the rudder with a hard turn and pulled a
complete Immilman turn which inverted the shuttle and turned the craft 180
degrees to Serenity’s axis and path and headed towards her appointment. She then
pulled a barrel roll out of sheer exuberance.
One thing that Inara had never confessed to the late beloved pilot, Walsh, Captain
Malcom, or even the new pilot, River (though she was sure River knew) was that
she loved to fly. Most Companions utilized shuttles as short range transport. To
them it was just a way of getting from here to there; but to Inara, flight was almost
as much fun as sex. Just then River’s voice chirped “Yahoo, cowgirl – have fun.”
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