The Dragon-Queen of Venus Rescaled
Copyright 2010 Lee Brackett
Tex stirred uneasily where she lay on the parapet, staring into the heavy, Venusian fog. The greasy moisture ran down the fort wall, lay rank on her lips. With a sigh for the hot, dry air of Texas, and a curse for the adventure-thirst that made her leave it, she shifted her short, steel-hard body and wrinkled her sandy-red brows in the never-ending effort to see.
A stifled cough turned her head. She whispered, 'Hi, Breska.'
The Martian grinned and lay down beside her. Her skin was wind-burned like Tex's, her black eyes nested in wrinkles caused by squinting against sun and blowing dust.
For a second they were silent, feeling the desert like a bond between them. Then Breska, mastering her cough, grunted:
'They're an hour late now. What's the matter with 'em?'
Tex was worried, too. The regular dawn attack of the swamp-dwellers was long overdue.
'Reckon they're thinking up some new tricks,' she said. 'I sure wish our relief would get here. I could use a vacation.'