Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, First, Safe Sex, Oral Sex, Slow,
Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A young, atheist astronomy buff has a chance encounter with a Christian fundamentalist who's undergoing a crisis of faith. His conversations with her guide her away from a steadfast, literal interpretation of the Bible; and also take them from friendship through platonic to physical love. Then an unforeseen crisis tests both her faith and their love.
Paul trudged to the top of Observatory Hill. He headed for an outcropping of grey rock overlooking the campus. Sitting on it was a young woman he recognized from one of his classes.
He approached her. "Well, if it isn't Shy Anne," he remarked as he sat beside her on the rock.
"My name is Cheyenne," she replied tartly, "not Shy Anne."
"I'm Paul. I recognize you from our American Lit class. You sit in the front; I sit in back." Cheyenne turned from him. "You are sitting on my rock."
"I didn't see your name on it. Do you hold title to it somehow?"
"It's my favorite spot. I come here often, just to enjoy the view."
"So do I."
Paul regarded her. She was of medium height, slender and small-breasted with an oblong, oval face, strong jaw, high forehead and medium nose. She wore oval, wire-framed glasses with thick lenses. The bridge of her nose had an indentation, no doubt from a lifetime of wearing them. She had shoulder-length, brown hair that was parted down the middle. Her upper lip was a bit too short and her mouth a bit too wide for her face, and her lips had a tendency to part, revealing an overbite. Her eyes were widely spaced and deeply set, and had heavy lids that covered the top parts of her brown irises.
"So -- what are you doing up here?" he asked.
"I came here to be alone," she retorted tersely.
"Fine. I'll leave you alone."
Paul hopped off the rock. He headed toward a structure, dome-covered and resembling a short grain silo. Digging keys from his pocket he unlocked the door and stepped inside, pausing to admire the telescope sitting therein. With another key he admitted himself to a small workshop. Turning valves on an inverted tank he regarded readings on the gauges.
"So -- what are YOU doing here?" he heard a voice asked. Paul turned and saw Cheyenne standing in the doorway. "Do you belong here?"
"As an officer of the astronomy club, yes I do," he replied as he closed the valves on the tank. "I've signed up to use the equipment tonight. I'm going to try to get a photograph and a spectrogram of the Ring Nebula."
She looked over her shoulder at the telescope. "With that?"
"That? That's the school's 36-inch f/8. No, I won't be using that. It's reserved for astronomy majors -- upperclassmen and grad students. As a member of the club I may use the school's twelve-inch f/4 Schmidt."
"Where's that?" she asked.
Paul gestured her out of the workshop and locked the door. He tested the lock. Then he waved her out of the observatory building, locked the door and tested it. "Over here..." He led her to a small shed, this one secured with a combination lock. Spinning the dial, he unlocked it, the roof opening like a clamshell. "It's small," he said, patting the telescope the shed sheltered, "but it's still a pretty nice light bucket." Paul switched on the synchronous mount and picked up controls to slew the 'scope. "Seems to be in good working order."
After powering down the equipment he closed the roof and locked the shed.
"So you'll be back here after dark," she remarked.
"Quite a bit after. The ring nebula is in Lyra. That's a summer constellation. Since this is April, it won't rise 'til well after midnight. I figure it'll be in good viewing position around three in the morning."
"You're coming back here at three in the morning?"
"More like two," he said. "That'll give me time to get set up." Paul slipped the keys back into his pocket. He started heading down the hill.
"Are you headed back?" Cheyenne asked.
"Can I walk with you?"
Paul shrugged. "Why not?"
They headed down the hill. "So -- are you an astronomy major?" she asked.
"No. I'm a physics major. Astronomy is only a hobby. You?"
"I'm a humanities major," she replied. "I don't know what sort of work I'll do after I graduate. You'll probably have no trouble finding a job."
"I'll probably go to grad school," he said.
They reached the edge of campus. "Well," she said, "I'm headed to Warren House."
"I'm going to Cubley." He regarded her for a moment. "See you in class?"
"Yeah..." Cheyenne turned and headed in another direction.
Paul unlocked his dorm room. His roommate was polishing a pair of army boots. "Hey, Sandy," he said. "ROTC review coming up?"
"Yeah. I gotta figure out how to brasso these buttons without getting the shit on my jacket."
"Cut the buttons off, brasso them and sew them back on."
"Without that much work."
"I was just up on the hill and I ran into Shy Anne," Paul remarked.
"Really? What was she doing up there?"
"I have no idea."
"Genie knows her ... from her dorm floor. Genie's friends with her roommate. She's a strange girl ... a Fundie I think."
"Fundamentalist ... Jesus freak."
"She's in one of my classes," Paul remarked, "American Lit. She keeps to herself. Must be how Cheyenne turns into Shy Anne."
Paul lay on his bed in his clothes, trying to get some shut-eye. He was only about three-quarters asleep, knowing that his alarm would sound any moment now.
It rang. He shot out an arm to switch it off and then swung his feet to the floor. His roommate was asleep and snoring softly. Paul quietly picked up his backpack, quietly unlocked the door and stepped into the hallway.
He trudged toward Observatory Hill. Overhead stars shown and he reflected on how his luck was holding -- the weather forecast for clear skies overnight had held true. He reached the summit of the hill and admitted himself into the main observatory.
Once inside the workshop he turned valves on the tank and then on another device. With a loud hiss and a cloud of vapor, liquid carbon dioxide from the tank filled an aluminum mould and froze into a hockey-pucked sized, white disk of dry ice.
Slipping on a heavy glove Paul picked up the disk.
"What are you doing?"
Paul jumped and spun around. He saw Cheyenne standing in the workshop doorway. "Holy shit!" he exclaimed. "You startled me! What the hell are you doing here?"
"I couldn't sleep. I thought it would be interesting to see astronomy in action."
"As long as you don't get underfoot," he replied. "And -- don't touch anything."
"What's that?" she asked, pointing to the white mass he held in his gloved hand.
"So, that's how you make dry ice..."
He waved her out of the workshop and the building, locking and testing doors behind him. Then, he unlocked the shed and switched on dim, red work lights. On a bench he set the disk of dry ice and with a screwdriver broke off a chunk.
"Why the red lights?" Cheyenne asked.
"It lets you see while preserving your night vision," he replied.
"What's the dry ice for?"
"To chill the CCD detector," Paul replied as he slipped some dry ice into a receptacle on the telescope's detector. "It reduces thermal noise. Liquid nitrogen would be better but dry ice is easier to handle. We'll give that a chance to cool down."
"It's a pretty night," she remarked. "I usually don't look at the stars. Which one is the ring nebula?"
"You can't see it with a naked eye." He pointed to a bright star in the Eastern sky. "That's Vega -- the bright star in Lyra. The nebula is near it. Paul manipulated a keyboard and a sky map appeared. He selected a menu of deep sky objects, positioned the mouse over Lyra and selected it. The computer began slewing the telescope in that direction.
Picking up a hand controller, Paul peered through an eyepiece. Pressing buttons on the controller he fine-tuned the telescope's attitude. Looking into another objective he adjusted the focus and then waved Cheyenne over. "Look in here -- but don't touch anything."
She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and leaned toward the eyepiece. "I can't see anything."
"Take off your glasses." He put the controller in her hand and positioned her thumb on a thumbwheel. "This is the focus. You're looking for a ghostly doughnut floating in space."
Cheyenne smiled broadly. "Yes -- I think I see it."
"Now, we're going to take an exposure," he said. "We'll try fifteen minutes." He adjusted the focus again and then pressed a key on the keyboard. Holding the controller he peered intently into an eyepiece connected to a slave 'scope attached to the main one.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Please, don't distract me," he replied. "What I'm doing is hand-guiding the exposure. This guide 'scope is trained on a nearby star and I'm keeping that star dead-centered in the crosshairs ... The mount has a clock drive to track the earth's rotation. For a photograph I need to compensate in case the mount's a bit out of alignment ... which it is..." He pressed a button on the control. "Shit!"
"I pushed the wrong button... 'scope went the wrong way." Paul reset the exposure and resumed peering into the eyepiece, now and then pressing buttons to keep the telescope trained on his objective.
"PLEASE ... Don't distract me. Okay?"
"Okay..." Cheyenne paced back and forth.
"Hey -- if you're bored ... Remember, I didn't invite you here."
"I'd like to be useful."
"Then -- watch that computer screen and tell me when the exposure is over."
"How will I know it's over?"
"The image will go blank."
Paul continued to peer into the eyepiece, pressing buttons to adjust the telescope's position whenever the star strayed from the crosshairs. "It's done," she remarked.
He put down the controller and rubbed his eyes. "Let's take a look." He reviewed the image on the computer screen, the screen intensity set low. "Yes ... I think that's a keeper. Now, I'll hook up the spectrophotometer. That'll require a longer exposure. I think we'll go for forty-five minutes."
Paul made adjustments to the equipment and started the exposure. "You're not hand-guiding this one?"
"No. No need. The spectrophotometer won't care if the image is smeared."
Cheyenne looked at the sky. "It's too bad there's no moon," she remarked.
"We're damned lucky there's no moon," Paul retorted. "Otherwise it would wash out a deep-sky object like the Ring."
"I'd like to see the moon through an instrument like that."
"It's too big a 'scope. It would be an unpleasant experience -- like staring at a two hundred watt light bulb." He scanned the sky. "There might be a couple of interesting objects, though." He pointed to the west. "That looks like Saturn."
"How can you tell?"
"After a while," he replied, "you learn what these objects look like."
Cheyenne approached the computer keyboard. "I want to look at that image again..."
Paul pushed her hands away. "Please -- don't touch anything. This computer isn't good at multitasking. We shouldn't disturb it while it's acquiring data."
"Sorry ... That ring. How far away is it?"
"About twenty-three hundred light years," he replied. "The light we're seeing right now emanated from it twenty-three hundred years ago."
"Before Christ," she remarked.
"And, it was another sixteen hundred years before that when the star exploded, forming the nebula."
"Almost two thousand BC," Cheyenne muttered.
"Some Bronze Age shepherd might've looked up and seen a sudden, bright light in the sky ... one that faded in the coming weeks."
Paul watched the exposure timer on the computer screen. "About twenty minutes to go..."
"This morning when I came up here..."
"Do you mean, yesterday morning? Because it's Monday already."
"Right. I came here instead of going to church. It's the first time I've missed church in eight years."
Paul let out a low whistle. "Eight years ... That is quite a coincidence, Cheyenne."
"What do you mean?"
"It's been eight years since I set foot in a church."
"Last time I missed it only because I was sick and throwing up."
"It's been eight years since you've been sick and thrown up?"
"Eight years since I've been sick on a Sunday. Now, I've been having a crisis of faith. Did you have a crisis of faith?" she asked.
"Of sorts," he replied "Why did you come here, instead?"
"I thought maybe up here I'd be closer to God."
"This hill is what? Six hundred feet above the average terrain? Six hundred feet closer is gonna make a difference?"
"No ... The vista ... looking down on the village and the lake ... seeing the sky ... being in nature."
"Did it help?"
She shook her head. "No. I couldn't sleep thinking about it ... so I remembered you saying you'd be up here. I thought maybe this telescope could bring me closer."
"Looking for God with a telescope would be like scanning a bed sheet with a microscope," Paul replied. He glanced at the screen. "Exposure's over. Let's look..." He brought up the spectrograph and pointed. "That's what I was looking for."
"Is this for a project?" she asked.
"For an astronomy class?"
"No -- for a Physics class ... quantum mechanics. The light from the nebula is very interesting, from a quantum-mechanical viewpoint."
"How so?" she asked.
"How not to get too technical ... Let's just say, it arises from conditions that only exist in deep space. They cannot be replicated here on Earth."
"Oh. I see ... I think."
"The reasons stem from quantum mechanics."
"Surely you could've obtained these images off the web."
"And, better ones, no doubt. Part of the fun is doing it myself." Paul manipulated the keyboard and the 'scope began to slew toward the West. He peered through the eyepiece. "Want to glimpse Saturn?" He handed her the controller. Cheyenne slipped off her glasses and looked, adjusting the focus thumbwheel.
"That's beautiful!" she exclaimed. "Can we take a picture of Saturn?"
"Sure. Shouldn't be a long exposure..." He made adjustments and set the exposure. "There. I'll copy these to a thumb drive."
"Can I have a copy?"
"Sure." Paul slipped the drive from the slot and pocketed it. "Let's close this up. I have an eight AM class ... if I don't sleep through it."
"I'm lucky -- my first class is at one."
Paul switched off the equipment and closed and locked the shed. He slipped on his backpack and headed down the hill.
"Tell me about your crisis of faith."
"Well ... I wouldn't call it a crisis. One day it just stopped making sense to me."
"The whole religion thing."
"Do you believe in God?"
"No ... I don't."
"What do you believe in?"
"I'm a physicist, Cheyenne."
"That means you have no faith at all."
"Not true. There's a dirty secret all scientists share but few admit. Science is based on a faith that is just is profound, just as deep and just as untestable as any religious faith."
"Do you mean science is a religion?" she asked.
"No. Science evolves. Religions don't. Each religion is like a time capsule of the era in which it originated."
"What do you mean, science evolves?"
"Science is the continual testing of theories against observed facts. When the facts don't match the theory..."
" ... it means the theory is wrong," she interjected.
"It means the theory needs to be adjusted."
"What about the theory of evolution?"
"What about it?"
"Don't you think competing theories should be taught, too?"
He made a snort. "Evolution is about as close to fact as we can come."
"But -- it's only a theory. There are other theories."
"Cheyenne ... I think non-scientists have a misconception about how we use the word, theory. Non-scientists think it means, hypothesis ... or, conjecture ... one of many possible explanations. To a scientist, a theory is the currently most exact explanation that fits the observable facts."
"You said theories can be wrong," she protested.
"You said that. I said theories might need to be adjusted. I can't speak with authority on evolution. You'll need to talk to a biologist for that. I can speak with some confidence on the standard model."
"What's that?" she asked.
"It's a particle physics theory. We know it's incomplete, but nonetheless it's very useful for ... for predicting the behavior of matter. Every particle in the model has been observed, experimentally, except for one -- the Higgs boson."
"The God particle?"
Paul chuckled. "Calling it the God particle is a disservice to both God and particles. Right now, the teams at CERN are closing in on it."
"What if you can't find it?"
"There are variants to the model that operate without it," he replied. "The smart money has it that we will observe it."
"Then where does faith come into it?" she asked.
"Science is based on the faith that what we perceive with our own senses is reality."
"That's obvious -- isn't it?"
"Not necessarily. Not all belief systems hold that faith. Hinduism, for example, holds that all we perceive is Maya -- illusion -- and the goal of devotion is to dissolve Maya and perceive the universe as it really is. All science is based in the underlying faith that what we observe with our senses -- is reality. I don't know any way to prove that what we observe IS reality, any more than anyone can prove the existence of God." They reached the bottom of the hill. "Well ... here's where we must part ways, Cheyenne. I hope you can get some sleep."
"Right -- but I have to be in class at eight."
Paul climbed the steps to his dorm room, unlocked the door and flopped onto his bed in his clothes.
The bell rang ending his literature class and Paul picked up his backpack. He headed for the corridor and saw Cheyenne loitering by the door. "Paul," she said as she approached him. "Thanks for sending me those images. I looked at them and they are beautiful."
"Not a problem."
"Do you have another class?"
"No. I was going to head over to the quad cafeteria for some dinner."
"Would you mind if I join you?"
"Not at all, Cheyenne..." He regarded her. "Is it okay if I call you Shy. Not Shy Anne but just Shy? As a nickname."
"Okay. I don't mind. Some of my friends already call me Shy." She walked with him to across the campus green. "I enjoyed our conversation last night. I've never spoken to a scientist before."
"I'm not really a scientist. I'm only a scientist-in-training. Scientist cadet ... junior grade. I hope I didn't bore you with technical stuff."
"Not at all. I found it interesting ... helpful."
They reached the cafeteria. Paul dug his student ID from his wallet. He picked up a tray and handed it to Cheyenne and picked up another for himself. Working his way through the line he took a plate of meat loaf and potatoes and some vegetables.
Cheyenne sat across from him. "Paul -- do you think science is incompatible with the Bible?"
"If you're talking about a literal, fundamentalist interpretation; then, yes. Science is totally incompatible."
"However, I don't see anything incompatible with science and the notion of God as a metaphor."
"Metaphor? Metaphor for what?"
"I think religion ... any of them ... can be useful metaphors for the fundamental, underlying mystery of the universe."
"Where did we come from and where are we going?"
Cheyenne took a bite from the chicken wrap she had selected. She looked up in thought and swallowed. "Is that how you think about God?"
"I guess ... when I think of Him ... which isn't often. I think everyone has a right to believe what he wants." He regarded her. "What are your beliefs, Shy?"
"That's what I'm trying to work out. I told you I'm having a crisis of faith, Paul. It's making me miserable. I was brought up as a Christian..."
"Yes, I guess that's what you'd call it. I was taught the Bible is the word of God."
"It's the words of men, Shy."
"I'm telling you what I was taught ... I went to a school run by my church."
"Why did you come here? This isn't a religious university."
"I know. What they're teaching here is so at odds with what I was taught."
"There are plenty of Christian colleges that would be right in line with your church school."
"I know and my parents preferred that I attend one. I applied here and was accepted. I couldn't turn down the opportunity."
"This is an excellent school, Shy."
"I know it is. That's why I decided to come here. I'm looking for the truth, Paul. I don't know what to believe. That's why talking to you has been helpful to me." She reached across the table and put her hand on his. He looked up into her brown eyes and she smiled.
"I'm going to get some ice cream," he said. "Want some?"
"Sure." He returned with two bowls and handed one to her. "Thanks," she said and looked up at him. "Paul?"
"Have you ever had a personal encounter with God?"
"Never. Have you?"
She shook her head. "If I had -- it would make my dilemma easier to solve. Some in my church have had God speak to them, directly."
"So they claim. It's a difficult claim to verify."
"Thus spake the scientist," she replied. "If you can't observe it -- it doesn't exist."
"That is a philosophy that has served me well."
"When I was little I heard tales of their encounters. I was so envious. I wished God would speak to me, directly. It never happened."
"Not to me, either. I'll take your tray for you."
"Now, I have to get to an astronomy club meeting. I'll see you in class, Shy."