~ Tree Huggers, Children Broken Decoys… ~

by Ali Vali

Disclaimers: The characters are of my own creation. Any similarities to anyone living or dead are purely coincidental. No part of this story may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from me, the author. (I know this may sound rude, but imagine my surprise when I found some guy selling copies of my stuff on Yahoo.)

If the thought of two women being romantically involved is not for you, then this story is one you won't want to read. But seriously if you are underage and live someplace where that is not allowed move on, literally.

Sit back and enjoy the story and if you have any comments you would like to share please write to me at terrali20@yahoo.com.

I want to thank my betas for correcting this for me. Jaden, Sue R and Den, you are all godsends. I bow to your grammatical knowledge.

This one is dedicated to every person that knows how to take a joke, April Fool or otherwise. Thank you all for reading and thank you for all the wonderful notes you have sent. I appreciate them all.

Tree Huggers, Children Broken Decoys…

You've Got To Be Kidding


Ali Vali

The three men standing on the edge of the rig could just make out the flame from the underwater welding equipment about twenty feet below the surface. A brilliant sun and calm water helped as they waited for their boss to make her way back to the surface. In the distance they could hear the prop of an incoming helicopter and the three scanned the skies looking for the incoming bird. They weren't expecting company today.

"Junior, you expecting anyone today?"

"Yeah, Possum, I got tired of looking at your ugly mug after all these weeks so I sent for Miss July to give me a lap dance tonight after dinner. Tell Ted to send the basket down, I'm finished." Possum clipped his radio back to his belt and laughed with the other two men at their boss's answer. A black fleck toward the southeast was all they could make of the chopper headed their way.

Below them, bubbles hit the surface just before Junior's head did, as she looked for the basket that would give her a ride to the surface. The tether for the unmanned sub had damaged one of their anchor cables and she had volunteered to go for a swim to assess the damage, and fix it if necessary. As she rode back to the super structure above her, Junior didn't take off her diving helmet so she could talk to her men standing on one of the rig's modules.

"Who's our company?"

"Don't know yet, boss. They're still about ten miles out."

From her seat, Jillian Sterling looked out over the blue green water trying to prepare herself for the sight of something in her heart, she knew didn't belong there. Beside her, her partner Tony Dorsett sat with his eyes closed taking a nap. It wasn't a short ride from the southern most point of Louisiana to the outer shelf of the Gulf of Mexico, but it was necessary if you wanted to visit the new super rigs as they were called.

Jillie expelled a sigh once it came into view. Now I know why they put super in its name, but I suppose anything that can pump over a hundred thousand barrels of oil out of the Gulf a day needs to be big. The massive structure that was actually floating in the water was a new creation in offshore drilling. Built of varying modules, it floated over ten thousand feet above the bottom of what was known as the outer shelf of the Gulf. Any company willing to try pumping the extraordinary amount of oil found at these depths was not only leading the industry in new technology, but they were getting a break from Uncle Sam. Every ounce of crude brought up was not going to be federally taxed until the company's entire research and development budget for the project was recouped.

"Good God, look at it." Tony's eyes had opened and taken in Baxter Oil's Pegasus Project. The pilot radioed ahead and was given the go ahead to put down on the northern landing pad and the OSHA inspector couldn't wait to take a look around what, in his mind, was history in the making.

"Quite the eye sore." Tony laughed at his partner's "green" thinking coming out in full force. When the Feds had started issuing leases for these depths Jillie had gone on about the potential for environmental disaster for weeks.

"Come on, girl, you have to keep an open mind before we get out there. Baxter has a fairly good record at working in harmony with nature wherever they drill."

"That's because they now have to contend with people like us, not because they are chartered members of Green Peace, my friend." A pad came out of her briefcase the moment her foot touched the surface of the rig. In one of the corners of the landing structure someone had left a welding torch and tank along with other various tools. Since there was no one welding, it was Baxter's first violation and Jillian was more than happy to write it up.

"Hello, and welcome to the Pegasus." Jillian continued writing and ignored Possum's greeting until she was done.

"Hi, I'm Tony Dorsett and this is my partner Jillian Sterling. We're here to conduct your first inspection. Are you the person in charge?" Possum shook hands with Tony and tried to do the same with Jillian but the woman was still jotting something down on the pad in her hand.

"No, sir, the person in charge should be coming up anytime now."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Jillian flipped the pad closed and directed her question to the Baxter employee.

The radio on Possum's belt came to life and the voice Ellis Gaston's, one of the men he had been standing with, was just heard over the dying prop of the helicopter. "The basket's up and we're done, Possum. Boss says to bring whoever landed over to the main deck."

"Roger that, buddy, we'll be right down. If you will follow me." The pilot stayed behind to secure the helicopter to the pad, then he was headed down to the mess hall for some lunch. This was his fifth trip out here and the Pegasus had the best cooks in the Gulf.

All three people coming down the steep stairs from the pad watched the tall figure standing at the bottom strip off a tank and other gear leaving her in only a short, sleeveless wet suit. She had already housed the helmet and flippers in the equipment closet, and as soon as the rest of the stuff was put away, she grabbed the towel she had left on the deck. A perfect tan colored every inch of the exposed skin from her feet up to her head, and the shaggy light brown hair was blowing in all directions in the breeze. Both Tony and Jillian watched as a large hand pulled the unruly strands back and put on an old Baxter Oil cap handed to her by one of the guys standing near her.

"Impressive, you have a female diver," said Jillian. As much as she tried, Jillian couldn't take her eyes off the body in front of her. A big part of her brain wanted to go over there and offer to finish the drying job for her.

"No, ma'am, Junior's not our diver. She just felt like getting wet today so she volunteered to go down and fix a little problem the Rover created." Possum hit the deck and guided them around some workers that were setting up equipment near the bottom of the landing pad. "Junior, OSHA's here for our first inspection."

The woman he called to put on a pair of sunglasses before turning around. Her old friend and employee had seen the slight tightening of her back muscles when he mentioned who was with him. Jillian was about to open her notebook and start writing again, but the woman the man had called Junior made her want to look more than she wanted to write up the next infraction she had seen.

She looked to be over six feet tall, tanned, muscled and mussed in an adorable sort of way. It was the best way that Jillie could think to describe her. Maybe it was the light brown hair that had been blowing around her head in a disorderly fashion before the ball cap was added that caused Jillian to notice. But as unkempt as Junior's hair looked, that was where the analogy ended because everything else about her was all classic looking lines. Both Jillie and Tony waited for her to say something.

"Hello, I'm Tony Dorsett and this is my partner Jillian Sterling. We just need someone to walk us around or we could do it ourselves, however you want to work it will be fine with us."

"I'm figuring if you have this crap job, you never played for the Dallas Cowboys, Mr. Dorsett, and there's no way in hell you two are walking around here alone. Possum, take the inquisition for their inspection. If they start now, they might just be finished before it's too late for them to head back." Just leave now and the woman won't think you are a total ass. What are you thinking, Junior? Without another word Junior strode passed them and headed to her room to change. Junior wanted more than anything to stay and start flirting with Tony's partner, but figured it would come off as trying to soften up the outcome of their inspection. She hadn't gotten more than twenty feet when Jillian's caustic comments stopped her.

"Our job isn't crap, lady, it's important so idiots like yourself leave something of the environment for our children to enjoy. I don't want my kids to read about trees in books because there aren't any left. We haven't been here ten minutes and I've already found sixty thousand dollars worth in infractions. I can't wait for the rest of the tour." Good looking but she's no better than all the other assholes I run into out here.

"Possum, get moving." The old man pointed toward the other side of the rig and started walking. He was finding Junior's behavior odd since she just usually took these things in stride, but there was something about the small blonde behind him that had set her off.

Junior stepped into the living quarters and offices of the Pegasus operation trying to figure out why she was in such a bad mood. Could be the bitchy tree lover writing up everything she can get into that notebook? The little voice in her head was a constant unwanted companion, but more often than not it hit on the problem on the first shot.

"Boss, are there two visitors on board by any chance?" The radio operator Rick sat behind the desk at the entrance holding a message slip in his hand.

"Yeah, they just flew in, so please tell me all of our paperwork is in order?"

"The tour might be short. Their office just radioed over and one of them has to fly out to the Mobile operation. Jack's group hit some sort of snag in off loading into one of the boats and they had a minor spill."

"Fuck, that's too bad for them, and just Jack's luck in that he's getting the bitch from hell over there to add to his problems." The air was starting to get chilly against her still damp skin so Junior started toward her quarters.

"If her name is Tony then we'll say a prayer for him." Rick got someone to listen for any other incoming messages while he went off to look for Possum and their guests as his boss walked down the hall cursing up a blue streak.

Jillian didn't hold out any hope that her partner was going to be back that night after the initial report they had gotten on the rig seventy-five miles away from where she was stuck for the night. The spill confirmed her fears of what could happen when you drilled at the depths these people were trying. She had finished her tour with the nice older gentleman named Possum pointing out where they needed some modifications and work before they would be given the go ahead to start drilling. Going against her gut, Jillian had cut them some slack in some areas after Possum explained that it had only been six months since they had started to put the platform together and would be at least another eight months before they even thought of letting Pegasus fly.

Dinner with the three main supervisors, Billy Bob, Ellis and her tour guide had been nice and Jillie had to agree with their pilot in that Baxter Oil did employ the best cooks in the Gulf. Her hosts had offered to walk her to the guests quarters, but the thought of being stuck in the living quarters until the next morning didn't sound all that appealing since it was only seven o'clock.

With the help of the rig's lighting Jillian made her way back up to the helipad, which was dark for the night. In her experience in coming out to the rigs, this was the best place to visit at night because it gave you the greatest view of the stars. With no buildings or city lights, the sky would come alive out here at night. It reminded Jillie of why she put up with the oilfield mentality on a daily basis.