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Traveling For Pleasure Not Just Business

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Ivan Hood had become used to the whole leader thing. You can’t carry the banner ‘The Great Exterminator’ around lightly, and these unwashed, mutinous rabbles of human refuse depended on him to make the right choice.

But no experience he’d been through could quite compare to the duty he was tempted to undertake now. And with his ‘chronicler’ at his feet every two seconds, it was hard to get some down time.

So he sent the guy off on a fishing trip – a long fishing trip - once they cleared the Tellurides. He and Kelly were never really alone anyway, but the men who served as their volunteer guard were discrete and easily distracted. He pointed out some shiny rocks and they all started gathering them for weapons. Then there was just him and Kelly and the mountain air.

“Nice view,” he said, looking right at her.

She nodded. “There’s no bugs around – it’s a damn picnic.”

Ivan smirked and pulled her into his arms. “I wasn’t talking about the mountain.” She got a kiss for that, and she tucked her head against his shoulder. Their weapons jostled against their sides, clashing against harnesses and the metal belt buckles of repeatedly-laundered-on-mountain-rocks astronaut uniforms.

“Is that all?” she smirked. “I’m not your junior exterminator?”

“You are,” he looked out over the wide vistas sprawled before them. He kissed her took her right hand in his left, stroked the stumps of her missing digits. “Look, honey, we’ve come a long way…”

She smiled tentatively “Mmm….”

“…And I want you to keep coming with me…”

She raised an eyebrow. “I haven’t stopped,” she teased.

“I wasn’t trying to make a joke,” Ivan insisted.

She smirked up at him pertly. “For once.”

“Right. So. How about it?”

Her brow furrowed. “How about what?”

“How about getting married?”

She looked up at him for a minute, her brow quirked, a smirk on her face. “How would we do that? We don’t have a priest.”

Ivan had to consider that one for a minute. “You’re still a captain, right?”

She nodded.

“Then take my hand in yours and say ‘man and wife.”

She shook her head. “This isn’t the Princess Bride!”

“Well, take my hand and say what you wanna say.”

She rolled her eyes and took his hand. “Fine.” She looked into his eyes. “Ivan, there’s no one else I would rather spend the apocalypse with.” Silence passed between them. “Uh, Ivan…”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Kelly, there’s no one I’d rather kill alien slime with.” He produced what looked like a washer ring from his front pocket. “With this quarter inch lugnut, I thee wed.”

It fit her finger, even though it seemed to weigh her whole arm down. “Where’s yours?”

He snapped his fingers, then reached into the other pocket to pull out another lugnut. She plucked it from his grip.

“And with this two-inch lugnut, I thee wed.” She slipped it on Ivan’s finger and kissed his hand.

“How’d you know what it was?” Ivan asked as she slipped it onto his finger.

“My mom was a mechanic. Are we ready?”

He smirked. “Ready as we’ll ever be. Kiss me hello, Missus Hood.”

She did, and he laughed as he threw his arms around her waist.