Receiving a distress signal from the SS Stephen William Hawking, Dave ordered a course change in search of the call. Kyle came to the bridge to find out what stray cat they were chasing.
Tomo was approached by Hal in the Science labs. Hal suggested that he focus mainly on Science, though Tomo stated that if he had to choose, he would want Engineering, but still learn different sciences, at a slower rate.
Jace gave up the Ass't Chief of Operations so Steve could move up. For Jace, he didn't lose anything, but gained a little more free time. Dave also made Shasho, and then Sukotto, "Acting Ensigns."
Sukotto went to the Operations Office to get his uniforms and met Noah. The two went on their first date that night. Juro and Tomo spent the night with Zifaa. Dr. Tom and Christian also spent the night together.
The twins celebrated their birthday on the Holodeck, and at the party, Shasho and Akage discovered each other. Later that night, Jordan, Jace and the twins spoke with Will's mom and brother when they called their family.
The next day, when they were searching for the Hawking, they discovered Commander Frank David. He explained that the Captain of Hawking was planning to attack Earth.
When Will's birthday arrived, John asked Will to marry him this time. Afterwards, they spoke with Will's brother and mom. She finally accepted Will for being gay, and added she loved John.
"Captain, they've detected us and have increased their speed to max, their max."
"Kyle, increase speed to HF10. Juro, open hailing frequencies."
"SS Stephen William Hawking, this is Captain David Bowman of the SS Sooloo, please respond."
"No response, Sir," Juro informed Dave.
"Captain Reagan, this is Captain Bowman of the SS Sooloo. You will respond, or I will open fire on your vessel."
"He's raising shields, Sir."
Dave responded, "Tell Prince Zarek that Operation: Dragon Strike is a go. He will know what I mean."
"The Shouryou acknowledged and has jumped to HF13."
Aiden and Commander David walked onto the bridge. Aiden watched as Juro continued functioning as the Tactical Officer. Dave ordered, "Target his engines and fire lasers when in range."
"Engines are targeted, Sir. We will be in range in three… two… one." Juro shot a laser blast at the Hawking's engines. "His shields absorbed the laser, but they are down to ninety percent."
Dave hit his comm, "RDS Shouryou, how long until you are in front of him?"
"Almost there, Sooloo," Prince Zarek replied.
"Another shot at his engines. Use a torpedo, this time."
Juro fired a torpedo. "His shields are down to sixty percent. The Kaisokusen fired a torpedo, as well."
"Hailing Frequencies still open?"
"Captain Reagan, this is Captain Bowman of the SS Sooloo. I don't want to destroy your ship if I don't have to, but I will. Surely, you see the other two ships with me. Drop your shields, reduce your speed to sub-light or we will fire."
"Back off Bowman, I don't want to destroy you, but I will," came the reply.
"Aaron, don't be a fool. The Sooloo has been upgraded, the Hawking hasn't."
"Maybe so Dave, but I have an urgent mission and can't let you stop me. NOW BACK OFF!!!"
"Close the hailing frequency and fire another torpedo."
After the torpedo hit, Juro reported, "Shields are down, Sir, but he's maintaining speed. He is taxing his engines, trying to get away."
"Hail him," Dave ordered. Juro acknowledged the hailing frequency was open again and Dave called out, "Aaron, you have no shields, your engines are about to go critical. You have a Draconian Vessel in front of you, ready to destroy you, if necessary. Stand Down and prepare to be boarded."
"Sir, he is powering up lasers," Juro announced.
"Disable his weapons array."
Juro looked at Aiden, so Aiden stepped in and fired a low beam laser at the weapons array. "Direct hit, Sir," Aiden reported. "His weapons are disabled, and he has dropped to impulse speed."
Commander David sighed, "Thank you for not destroying the ship, Captain."
In a low voice so only Juro could hear, Aiden stated, "We will talk about what happened later. For now, take some deep breaths and relax."
The Sooloo and the two Draconian vessels surrounded the Hawking. Dave told Aiden, "Take a full security team over there, but wear environmental suits. We don't know what caused this action, and I'd rather not take any chances."
"Dr. Tom cleared Commander David, but I understand your concerns, Sir."
Commander David requested, "I'd like to volunteer to be on the away team, Sir."
Dave and Aiden looked at each other for a few minutes, almost as if debating the subject in their minds.
Cmdr. David was the Chief Tactical and Security Officer for the Hawking, but Aiden wasn't sure it was a good idea. However, Dave didn't object, so Aiden told Frank to suit up. The Security Team would consist of Aiden, Cmdr Frank David, Lt. Enzan Kage, Lt. Łukasz Trevor, Ensign Doug Erickson and Ensign Brandon Cox. Aiden piloted the shuttle.
Once they were aboard the Hawking, they received no resistance. They made their way to the Bridge but checked every room on the way. Once on the Bridge, Commander David looked at Captain Reagan, "Sir, I relieve you of command and am placing you under arrest. Out of respect, you may be confined to your quarters, or your Ready Room."
"Thank you, Commander," the Captain had a tear roll down his cheek. "May I take care of some business in my Ready Room and then go to my quarters until my court-martial?" Frank did a quick nod. The rest of the Senior Staff were confined to their quarters, as well.
Aiden called back to the Sooloo, "Captain, Commander David has assumed command of the Hawking, but she's going nowhere. They burnt out their FTL engines and barely have impulse."
"The Shouryou has a way to tow her to Earth," Dave informed Aiden. "Leave Enzan, Erikson and Cox over there, then you and Trevor can come back. Danny has the Raphael ready to fly a medical team over."
Danny had ferried Dr. Tom and his medical team, consisting of Lt. Vargas, Lt. Abernathy and Lab Tech Crewman Wesley Scott, over to the Hawking. Then he headed back to the Sooloo since Dr. Tom didn't know how long it would take. He would need to run full physicals on the entire crew, including every blood test. He set Antonio up to work with the Howser Medical Hologram while he and Christian worked together. Wesley Scott was running the lab work for both teams. As they were doing the physicals, they were also interviewing each crew member.
After speaking to several members of the crew of the Hawking, and running several analyses of their blood, Dr. Tom made a diagnosis.
"Captain, it appears that the members of the Hawking who were affected ate some of the indigenous plant life on that planet. Some of the crew were affected in a negative manner, causing mass hallucinations. It seems that these hallucinations caused them to perceive threats where none existed. Without further testing, I cannot as of yet determine if these changes in their thought processes are temporary or permanent. I highly recommend that they be quarantined and evaluated on Earth. Meanwhile, I will start them on a treatment."
Dave considered these facts and agreed, "Doctor, please make all of the necessary arrangements. Is there a need to quarantine all of the crew or only those showing symptoms?"
"It seems that only those who directly ingested the plant life were effected, so keeping the others under observation should suffice."
Dave issued the necessary orders placing the crew of the Hawking either under quarantine or observation, based on the diagnosis of Dr. Tom Abernathy.
"It's been awhile since we've done this," Steve commented.
Danny snuggled closer to his friend. "I guess being a dad makes you weird or something," he responded.
"I told Brad this was going to happen when we decided to become Shasho's guardians, but I guess it already did happen since you and Kyle kind of became a little less daring; at least that's how Brad put it. I know I sure couldn't understand it and then suddenly we had a kid and it all made sense. Then we graduated from guardians to real parents and it all became super serious."
"Are you sorry you did it?"
"Oh, fuck no. That crazy kid has made my life better than it's ever been. I didn't know there was that kind of love in the galaxy. But Brad and I do like some outside sex; we're kinda weird that way, I guess."
"Kyle and I still like it, but Koji is a full-time job. Also, we're not sure how we would explain our outside activities and what he would think of them."
Steve stroked Danny's chest. "Brad is in your bed tonight, you know."
"Duh… that is the way it works. Koji is in bed with Jason tonight, so what he doesn't know won't hurt him. Did you say anything to Shasho about tonight?"
"I told him the truth. And since Brad and I weren't married we had more freedom in bed."
Danny stared at Steve for a moment and then commented, "That doesn't sound like your kind of explanation."
"It's incomplete since Kyle and I are married and supposedly it does matter."
"You two have an open marriage. Not totally open, but you let some outsiders in."
"Yeah, mainly you and Brad, but that hasn't happened for a while."
"Mainly us? That hints that somebody else has had his moment."
"Jessie Gross likes getting oral rewards… and don't worry, Kyle knows."
"Why would I worry about that? Anyway, as much as Shasho likes to think in absolutes, which is one of many reasons I love him, he kind of understands that there is more to life on this ship than it sometimes looks on the surface. I certainly have to wonder how that organized mind of his, mixed with his hormones, will put things together as he spends tonight with Akage."
"Wouldn't we both like to know," Danny grinned.
"Well, I told Shasho that we don't fuck, that we don't kiss, that it's jerking each other off and with a blow job thrown in. It's sex but it's not like, totally serious sex… or something like that. But, my being open with him has led to him feeling relaxed and open with me, I think."
"What about Brad?"
"Well, with both of us, but weird as it sounds, since I was so against even thinking of having him as a ward when I first heard it, but I think Shasho and I are closer to each other than Shasho and Brad are. That said, Brad was with me when I explained tonight to Shasho, so it's not like he's in the background."
Danny wrapped an arm around Steve and hypothesized, "I'm willing to bet Brad and Kyle are having a discussion about the same topic as ours, only knowing Kyle, it will be a bit more… um… serious, I guess. Now, I might only be twelve, but I do get horny and I could take one more romp with you before I go back to my cabin and sleep with my honey."
"Your honey? Do you really call Kyle your honey?"
"Are you kidding? I always call him SIR!"
"Like I said, you're nuts," Steve laughed as he reached down and started to massage Danny's hardening cock.
After the battle, what little battle there really was, Jordan and Jace were sitting on the couch in their quarters. "Not really much of a battle, but still, tension was uneasy on the Bridge as we anticipated more of a fight," Jordan declared.
"Juro did everything perfect, clear up to the last shot, when he turned controls over to Aiden. What do you suppose that was all about?"
"First time actually firing on a live ship, when they had shields, he wasn't worried, but shooting at them without shields, he was probably worried about killing them. At least he was smart enough to turn controls over to Aiden."
Jace chuckled, "It was Aiden's first time firing on a live ship, too."
"But Aiden has had more official training," Jordan argued. "Sure, Juro passed the bridge qualification test, so he knows what to do, but shooting at a Holodeck simulated ship is easier than shooting at a real ship. I'm going to suggest to Aiden that Juro and all the Acting Ensigns under Aiden get a few hours of Academy Tactical training."
"That wouldn't be a bad idea for all the Acting Ensigns. Those in Engineering or Science may need it less, but it still wouldn't hurt."
"Yeah, Operations isn't a cake walk. Shasho has only seen the paperwork part of the position. If he really wants to be an Operations Officer, he needs to know how to work in Engineering, what goes on in the Shuttle bays, especially when no shuttles are flying. An Operations Officer needs to be able to fill in for every operation of the ship."
"I know, Babe," Jace chortled. "Remember, I was your Assistant Chief until you fired me."
"I didn't fire you, Sweetheart," Jordan laughed. "We just thought you would appreciate not having that stress, and that it would be a good way to let Steve know we appreciate what he does."
Jace winked, "Gotcha… I know why you did it, and I am happy that you were able to promote Steve like that. That doesn't mean I can't give you a hard time. Jonas is spending the night with Lars; Jason and his visitor are fast asleep. Want me to give you something else hard?"
"No, I'm gonna peek in on Jason and Koji, then I need to get some sleep. Since Dave was on the bridge for the battle, I have the 0800 watch." Jordan walked to the door for Jason's and Jordan's room and peeked in. He quickly called Jace over in a hushed tone, "Jace, you gotta see this."
Jace walked over and took a gander, "How did they do that? I hope their hands were clean," he whispered as he looked at the sleeping boys. Koji was spooned against Jason and had his left thumb in Jason's mouth while Jason's left arm went under Koji and that thumb was in Koji's mouth. On the stand beside the bed, the two dolls from the cake were in a "69" position.
Though the confrontation with the Hawking was over, and with as late as it lasted, school was still cancelled on Monday. The younger children, as well as those not on watch or without assigned duties, were kept in a safe interior area, namely the holodeck. A playground program was set up for them and electronic games were provided.
Koji, Lars, Jonas, Jason, Akage, Tei, and Shasho were assigned to the holodeck. Even though Shasho was a temporary Ensign, he was not on duty during the battle situation, so he was given an assignment: helping Ali "herd" the boys. For the most part, Ali left Shasho in charge, telling the boys to be on their best behavior and not give Shasho any trouble. He warned them that he would check in on them when he could and that he trusted them to be good. While Koji could be unpredictable, Ali was confident the boys would not let him or their fathers down.
That turned out to be the case; even Koji was on his best behavior. Brad had programmed a lot of fun activities and games, many of them suggested by Shasho, and the boys were too busy to create problems. At times they became worried about what was happening on the other ship, but Shasho and Ali, when he made a visit, assured the boys that everything was working out.
Things have calmed down enough that Dave allowed school to be back in session and, for the most part, the boys were back in their routine. Ali noticed they were somewhat hyper but attributed it to the excitement of the last couple of days. Tomo, Juro and Sukotto joined the other boys in class.
At the start of Class, Ali told the students there would be a class meeting before lunch. Most of them were certain what the topic would be and made a brief mention of it during their mid-morning break.
"He is going to talk about giving us our naked swimming and recess back at lunch time," Koji predicted confidently. Lars and the twins were in full agreement.
"Don't be so sure," Sukotto told them. "There was a reason that was stopped, and some of us think it was a good reason."
"And some of us don't think it was good," Lars argued. But the conversation died since their opinions wouldn't mean much until the meeting.
It turned out their opinions on the topic of lunch recess meant nothing because that ended up not being the topic. The topic was the makeover of the classroom and the creation of a regular lounge and game room for the boys to enjoy.
Koji, Lars and the twins were disappointed that the topic was not what they thought it was going to be and Koji voiced his objection. "What about lunch recess?" he asked after Ali announced the topic.
"What about it?" Ali shot back.
"Aren't we going to talk about it?"
"The decision has been made and you know the reasons behind it."
"Nobody ever asked us…"
"Koji, that is not the topic of this meeting. If you waste any more of the class's time then I will waste some of yours. Understood?"
Koji knew that Ali was talking about detention, which none of the boys was fond of and Koji considered a total abomination. "I understand, but…"
Koji knew he had reached his limit and sulked silently. But once the discussion warmed up, he found it to be interesting and got right into the middle of it. He surprised Ali by presenting some good ideas for the layout of the lounge.
Ali remembered what Kyle had told him a few days ago. "Koji will push you right to the edge until you wonder if he ever thinks before he acts, and then he'll put his mind to a task or topic and remind you how intelligent and motivated he can be."
Just before lunch, Ali ended the discussion. "Good job. You guys came up with some great ideas for the classroom and the game room."
"I have all of the ideas in folders on the computer," Shasho informed them. To no one's surprise, Shasho had taken over the task of organizing the operations of the class.
"We need to talk about what we thought we were going to talk about in the meeting," Juro stated as they filed out of the classroom for lunch in the holodeck.
Randy Jenkins had lunch laid out for them. He loved putting together the boys' lunch every day. He had already made up his mind that he would keep that duty after he became the head chef. Why should I give up what I love because I'm the boss? he thought.
As they ate, Juro and Tomo suggested the group discuss the changes made in their lunch recess. "Tomo and I feel like we started having some bad feelings at the break this morning. We're all becoming really good friends and I think we need to talk about recess and make a decision about what we want." Juro's classmates were impressed with his growing leadership skills. Tomo looked at his boyfriend with pride.
"We want to have skinny dipping nekkid swimming again." Koji went past the preliminaries and got right to the topic.
"But not everybody wants it, Koji," Juro debated. "That's why Ali thought we should stop doing it."
"But Ali told us it was just for a little bit until all the new kids got used to things," Lars pointed out.
"Koji says we stopped and now we start again." Koji reverted to third person as he still did frequently when he was under stress.
"Who doesn't want to do it?" Jonas inquired.
"I don't know if I want to," Sukotto confessed, looking at Shasho for support.
"We did it at our birthday party," Jason pointed out.
"Jason is right. Their parents made it clothing optical," Koji confirmed.
"It's clothing optional," Shasho corrected.
"Everybody did get nakey, eventually," Jonas argued.
"No matter what, I'm wearing my swimsuit," Akage avowed.
Shasho looked at him in surprise. "You wore your birthday suit at the party once we got going," he reminded his friend.
"But if I wear my swimsuit, then you can untie it again." Akage grinned mischievously.
Koji exasperated, "We all did it before!" His frustration with Juro's stubbornness was apparent.
"But that was a party, and this is school," Juro countered.
Koji shook his head, "No, I mean before it was stopped."
This time it was Tomo who acted as peacemaker. He placed a calming hand on Koji's right shoulder and said, "We can talk about this forever. Why don't we just vote?"
"Ali will just say no," Shasho groused.
"You don't know that," Tomo told him.
"I move we reinstate our swimming, make it clothing optional and tell Ali what we decided." Ali had been teaching the class proper meeting procedure and some of it was sticking.
"I minute that," Koji called out.
"You what?" Shasho asked.
Koji explained, "In our meetings when we vote somebody needs to make a second. I am making a minute because it is longer and that makes it even better."
"Okay then, it's been moved and minuted that we vote," Juro chuckled. "It would probably be best if we had pieces of paper to vote on, but we don't so we'll just raise our hands."
"I have slips," Shasho announced to no one's surprise.
"Do you always carry paper with you?" Sukotto asked.
"I thought we might end up having a vote on this, so I was ready," Shasho replied.
Shasho handed out a ballot and a pen to each boy. The voting took less than thirty seconds. Shasho and Tomo counted the ballots. Every boy but one voted for the motion. The one vote was "I don't know" by Sukotto, which was, in essence, an abstention. The boys then picked Jason to report the vote to Ali.
When class started for the afternoon, Jason raised his hand and told Ali about the vote. Ali nodded, and looked at each boy as he considered his response. The boys sat tensely, anticipating a veto from Ali.
"I get the impression you held a formal meeting, like you have learned to do in class."
"It was close to formal, I guess," Tomo noted, "but in the end we voted on a motion."
"And I minuted the motion," Koji grinned. At that point the class broke out into loud laughter and Ali was able to get an accurate reading on the mood of the boys.
Ali signaled for them to calm. The boys quickly got themselves under control. "Before I decide, does anyone have a problem with the others getting naked?"
Sukotto voiced his opinion, "I was the only one who didn't vote for it, but I didn't vote against it, either. I have no problem with them getting naked. I just haven't decided yet if I want to."
"Thank you, Sukotto," Ali looked pleased. "It looks like lunch recess will now be clothing optional, which means nobody ever has to be naked if he doesn't want to. I mean, if this vote was so huge it needed a minute instead of a second, how could I say no."
The class cheered. Ali had a good idea of what the outcome of the class's impromptu meeting would be, but he wanted the boys to make that decision. He was pleased, as any teacher would be, that they made a reasonable attempt to do things correctly with their impromptu meeting. Ali made a mental note to review the procedures and terminology used in running a meeting, but the class was obviously well on its way to becoming a smooth working operation.
"It will be juivend'veh recess time!" Akage declared.
Ali was not at all surprised that the afternoon session was much more productive than the morning session had been.
"Captain… Connor, Aiden, Randy Kohl and I sat together, and this is the schedule we came up with for the Acting Ensigns." Jordan handed Dave a PADD. Jordan continued, "The top schedule is for prior to Sukotto passing the Bridge Qualification. He will work with Juro during Juro's two watches in Tactical because Aiden and I believe Juro can be a big help to him."
"His tests will not be the same as Juro's," Dave reminded his Second officer.
Jordan smiled, "Juro is aware of that and has already told Sukotto that his test will be different, then he started sharing different areas that had tripped him up."
"Good, do you believe Sukotto will be ready to take the Qualification test by next Monday?" Dave inquired. "I will have Hal and Lieutenant Scott Trevor administer Sukotto's."
"His dad?" Jordan was surprised.
"Aiden administered Juro's," Dave pointed out. "I believe that if his dad is administering the test, Sukotto won't feel as much pressure. So… can he be ready?"
"Yes Sir, he will be. And once he passes, the lower schedule will come into play."
Dave looked over the chart again for a few minutes before responding. "I see you are giving each ensign two days off back to back, other than their schooling. How do Juro and Tomo feel about not having days off together with this schedule?"
"Well, they will have Saturday from 1200 to Sunday at 1000 off together, and then after 1400 until classes start Monday. Plus, they will have two days a week together in Engineering. When they were approached, they were like, 'whatever is best for the ship.'"
"I'm glad to hear that. This schedule works for me." Dave handed the PADD back to Jordan and dismissed him.
Juro was busy explaining more about the Tactical Station to Sukotto when a light started blinking. "What's that?" Sukotto asked.
"One second," Juro replied. He called out, "Commander Rivers, Prince Zarek is hailing us."
"On screen," Jordan replied. Once Zarek was on screen, Jordan asked, "What can we do for you, Zarek?"
Juro whispered to Sukotto, "That's the indicator light telling me that someone was hailing us."
"I just wanted to check on my brother," Zarek answered. "I miss the little drot (" Drot is Draconian for boy or male child under the age of thirteen, especially for those ten or younger. ")."
"He's great," Juro thought out loud, then covered his mouth.
Zarek laughed, "Juro, I take it, you and Tomo have been taking advantage of the time with my brother."
"Honestly, Sire," Juro articulated his feelings, "Tomo and I will miss him when he leaves us. We wish he could stay aboard the Sooloo with us."
"I know, Juro, I know," Zarek gave a knowing wink.
Juro thought, FUCK! Zarek probably knows what we did. He can read minds and I was thinking about it when we were talking. Zarek grinned even more.
Zifaa walked onto the bridge and seeing Zarek on the screen, he became excited, "Zarek, I can't wait until we reach Earth so I can hug you. I have so much to tell you."
"Yeah, I bet you do," chortled Zarek. "I miss you too and was hoping to see you."
Shasho was busy when Connor called to the Operations Office, "Operations, this is Ensign Boyer, how may I help you?"
"You sounded very professional, Shasho," Connor replied. "Good job. The reason I am calling is, I have all my PADDs tied up at the moment and was wondering if you had a spare one I could borrow."
"Yes Sir, I do. I am busy at the moment but can have a crewman bring it down."
"That will work, thank you, Shasho."
Shasho saw Noah walking in the hall with Crewman Grant Roberts, "Crewman Marquis, would you take this PADD down to Engineering right away?" Shasho requested.
Noah responded, "Yes Sir, consider it done."
"Thank you, Noah."
As Noah headed for Engineering, Crewman Roberts looked at him, "Are you seriously going to let one of those Draconian brats tell you what to do?"
"Shasho is an officer, he may be an 'Acting Ensign,' but he is still an officer. He doesn't abuse his authority over me, he is polite and respectful, so yeah, when he requests I do something, I will do it," Noah almost snapped.
Crewman Roberts shook his head and spouted off as he walked away, "That alien whatever tell me what to do, I'll turn him over my knee and teach him how to respect his elders." Noah made a mental note to inform Steve and Jordan after he completed the task Shasho requested of him.
The next day, Jordan called a mandatory Operations Meeting. He had it early enough so that Shasho wouldn't miss school. Some of the crewmen were not happy about being up so early, but Jordan wanted to nip the situation Noah told him about right away. Jace offered to handle Ops so all Ops personnel could be present.
Being the only Officers in Ops, Jordan, Steve and Shasho sat at a table at the front of the room they were using while all the crewmen sat in chairs. Jordan stood up, "It has come to my attention that some of you may not want to take orders from Ensign Boyer…"
"Sir, don't you mean Lieutenant Commander Boyer?" Roberts interrupted.
Jordan growled, "No, I mean Ensign Boyer, Ensign Shasho Boyer. Though his rank is designated as 'acting' for now, he is an ensign and ensigns ARE officers. Failure to follow his orders is equivalent to failing to follow MY orders. Do I make myself clear?"
"Sir, yes Sir," the group chorused as though they were part of a choir.
"If I ever hear of someone on my staff being disrespectful to an officer again, they will answer to me. Dismissed."
As the crewmen filed out, Shasho looked at Steve, "Opsola Unca Steve, did someone not want to follow my orders? I don't recall ordering anything, but I did make a request to Noah. He seemed okay with it."
"First, when an officer makes a request of someone under them, it is the same as an order. Second, Noah had no problem doing your request but while doing it, he heard someone say something and let Jordan and me know about it right away. He respects you."
"I'm glad, I like Noah and he is dating my friend Sukotto."
Akage was holding Kage's hand as they made their way to the Dining Hall. Actually, it was more; Akage was dragging him to the Dining Hall. Today was his opsola's sixteenth birthday and Akage was anxious for his dad to see the cake. Ben Maxey had asked Akage for ideas, and what they came up with would probably surprise Kage.
Jaku and Tei met them outside the Dining Hall. Jaku asked, "Any idea what design Ben came up with for your cake?"
"I don't really know. I'm not sure where he gets his ideas, but he seems to know everyone. I'm curious to see what he knows about me." Hearing Kage comment, Akage smiled and was even more eager for his opsola to see the cake.
"Randy mentioned that he made meatloaf using shimmy and guyya meat for lunch today," Tei stated.
Jaku did a one-armed hug as they walked, "Is that what you want for lunch, Bro?"
"I think so," Tei responded.
As they sat down, Shasho felt hurt because Akage didn't sit with him. He walked over, "Are you mad at me?"
"No, why?" Akage inquired.
Sadness in his voice, Shasho questioned, "Why didn't you sit with me?"
"Today is Opsola's birthday and I want to sit with him. You gotta see his cake."
"Would you mind if I sit with you?"
Akage looked at Kage, "Can he? And can he spend the night with us?"
Kage looked at Steve who just nodded. "His dad said it's alright, so yes, he can join us and spend the night." Steve had a mischievous grin."
After the meal, Randy Jenkins handed Kage a present. It was flat, about 1.8 meters (6') long and .6 meters (2') high. "I know we normally don't do presents, but we were so amazed with how the cake turned out, we had to make this for you. Don't open it until after you see the cake, though."
Kage started getting anxious but didn't have to wait long. Ben Maxey brought out the cake, and Kage could only say, "Oh… my…"
"Do you like it, Opsola?"
"No, Akage, I love it, but how?
"Ben was asking me what he should do for your cake. This was my idea, but he did the artwork."
"Where did you get the image? We never posed for this."
Ben smiled, "I used the images in your files and combined them."
Kage opened the present Randy had given him and it was the image used on the cake in a frame. Tei looked at the cake and sniffled, "You even have me in there."
"Well, you are family," declared Akage.
Shasho averred, "I want the piece with Akage."
"That is too much cake for one person. Besides, the whole crew will be eating some cake," Steve stated.
"But I want to eat Akage," whined Shasho.
Steve compromised, "You may have a piece of him, but not all of him."
"The piece I really want isn't there," Shasho blurted before realizing he said it out loud. Akage blushed.
Juro and Sukotto had just gotten off duty and raced to the Dining Hall. They were a little hungry, but they also knew another one of Ben's cakes was about to be revealed. Everyone was getting anxious to see what Ben was going to create when their birthday arrived.
As they walked in, they saw that Kage and his family were still eating lunch. Juro saw Tomo sitting at a table and went to join him. Sukotto looked around, hoping to see Noah.
He couldn't believe it when he saw Noah wearing a blue kimono. "You make that kimono look gorgeous," Sukotto purred.
"I was hoping you would like it. I've been wanting to do something special ever since our first date," Noah cooed. "Shasho and I were in Ops yesterday and he suggested this. He even made a fundoshi and helped me put it on."
"So Shasho got to see you naked before I did," Sukotto chuckled. "That's okay, he's seen me naked, too."
"But you two were roommates, that was almost inevitable."
"True, and for the record, just being you is special enough, this… this is like icing on the cake."
"Speaking of cake, Randy is bringing something out."
"I don't think that's a cake," Juro laughed.
Noah chirped, "No, it's not. Here comes Ben with the cake and it looks amazing."
Sukotto whispered, "I hope when my birthday comes, the cake has you and me kissing."
"Wanna go someplace and practice?" Noah suggested.
"Opsola relieved me on the Bridge, so he's there. Dad is over there with Commander Aiden. We call him that so we don't confuse him with Commander Connor."
"So…" Noah started fidgeting, "We planning to just kiss, or do you want to do something besides?"
"I don't know, I've only experimented with Shasho, but that only included kissing, touching and we tried sucking once but that only caused spasms, so we didn't do it again."
"So, who is the better kisser?" Noah taunted.
Sukotto grinned broadly, "Shasho was like kissing a brother, but you kiss like you love me."
"Because I think I do," Noah explained.
The boys headed to Sukotto's bedroom to see what comes up.
Steve and Brad were enjoying dinner together in the Officers' Mess. Shasho was spending the night with Akage and would be eating with him and probably Kage as well.
"Are you having any second thoughts about not having dinner served to our quarters, Mister Senior Officer?" Steve asked.
"A couple, but everybody is busy enough as it is at mealtime. Like I said, we'll save room service for a special occasion?" Brad replied.
"I consider being alone with you a special occasion," Steve grinned.
"The feeling is mutual, but when we have dinner in our quarters, I want it to be a long, romantic evening, which would not be the case tonight."
"You are a busy boy. I guess with you and Shasho gone, it will be a nice night to sit naked by the window, watch the stars fly by, and have a masturbation marathon. I mean, just thinking of Shasho sleeping with Akage has me with a wicked hard-on while eating my pork chops, and I know that, good as they are, it's not the chops that are making me hard."
"What happened to your plan to spring a surprise inspection on Jessie Gross?"
"He actually was working for living. The Donatello flunked its systems check this morning and he and a couple of crewmen from Engineering had to track down and fix the problem."
"Were they successful?"
Steve shook his head. "At the time I left they were just figuring out what the problem was and were checking the manuals for a fix."
"Maybe he might need some relaxation tonight," Brad smirked. "Look at it this way; Jace has been doing some research into the twins' family history, but progress has been slow, so he has asked me for some help. We'll meet in an hour and I'll pick his brain to give me clues so I can dig in the deepest files in the ship's computer. Then I have first watch and after that I could spend a couple of hours working on getting the computer ready for its upgrade after we reach Earth. And finally, I'll eat breakfast and probably get back to our quarters around 0730."
"And the purpose of this long diatribe is?"
"Shasho will be doing the things to Akage that you imagine him to be doing, I will be pulling an all-nighter, and you will have our quarters all to yourself for the entire night and…"
"…and, as you mentioned, Jessie might need some relaxation tonight."
"Or some exercise," Brad laughed. "At least as much as you can give a straight boy."
"You underestimate the powers of a Geek Sex God."
"I'm glad you qualified the Sex God part."
"Hey, lover boy, I've never heard you complain."
Steve and Brad returned to their quarters together. "I think I might go see if the problem with the Donatello has been solved and fixed," Steve told Brad with an air of innocence.
"Sounds like a good plan." Brad grabbed a tote bag of personal items from their bed. "But whatever you and Crewman Gross do, please remember this, lover boy."
Brad gave Steve a deep and loving kiss and started for the door. "Have a fucking good time!" he laughed as he started to leave the quarters. He stopped at the door. "And don't forget to put fresh sheets on the bed in the morning." He gave Steve a salute and left the quarters.
Steve shook his head and grinned. He was so happy to have someone as goofy and loveable as Brad in his life. Yeah, and I should add sexy to his list of attributes, he thought. Steve left the quarters and headed for the shuttle bay. If the repair crew was gone, Jessie wouldn't be there either since his watch had been over a couple of hours ago.
Shasho and Akage slipped into Akage's room. Tei had started to follow, but Jaku called him over, "Shasho and Akage are starting a relationship and they need some alone time. Why don't you watch a video?"
"There's a really good one called Speed Racer that I think you will like. You have your choice, we have anime from 1967 to '68, there is also The New Adventures of Speed Racer from 1993. Then there was a series called Speed Racer: The Next Generation, which ran from 2008 to 2013. And you have a movie from 2008. Personally, I like the '67 to '68 anime best."
"Then, I'll watch that." Tei settled on the couch while Kage set up the video.
As Shasho and Akage were doing whatever in Akage's bedroom, and Tei was watching the Speed Racer video, Jaku and Kage sat at a table chatting. "I wonder what those two have planned," Kage commented, tilting his head toward Akage's room.
Jaku looked thoughtful, "I have no idea. I know Akage is still a virgin. The kiss at the party eleven days ago was the most he's done. When he was in the orphanage, all the boys teased him about having red hair. That was why I wanted you to meet him so badly."
"And I'm glad I got him out of there. He told me that some of the boys have even punched him in the niguntiki a few times, whatever that is. I have no doubt that he loves me, and I love him. I fell in love with him as my son from the moment I met him. I also know that he loves you."
Jaku started to cry, "He never told me about that. Niguntiki are his genitals." He took a deep breath and continued. "Akage needs a gentle, loving touch. Shasho is a wonderful boy, but he might not be right for Akage."
"Why do you say that?"
"He is so, how would one say it, disciplined. He is all about being organized. Akage is not a collection of files to be sorted. He is a boy who has been hurt and needs love."
Tei nodded and patted Jaku's arm. "I don't think Shasho would ever hurt Akage."
"I agree. Like I said, Shasho is a wonderful kid and I am happy he is Akage's friend. I hope they have a lot of fun in Akage's bed. I just think Akage needs more than what he's going to get."
"I am so happy you are spending the night with me," Akage expressed shyly. "I was afraid you were going to change your mind."
Shasho was aware of Akage's shyness and had vowed to be patient before leaving for his new friend's quarters. "You're my friend, Akage. There was no way I would change my mind about coming to spend the night with you."
Akage flashed the brilliant grin that lit up his face and Shasho was already learning to love. "We are going to sleep in my bed," he said firmly.
"I don't see any place else for me except on the floor."
"No, I meant I was happy we are going to sleep together on my bed. Will we sleep nakey?"
Shasho was amused that Akage was using the word the twins loved so much. "If you want to," he replied. Shasho was certain of what Akage wanted to do—he quickly became one of the first to strip down at recess.
The boys were sitting next to each other on the edge of the bed. They weren't touching but were as close to each other as they could be without touching. Akage flashed his smile again, causing his red hair to appear that it was lighting up, causing warm feelings to shoot through Shasho.
"You can start," Akage suggested with his customary shyness. For Akage, getting naked one-on-one with his friend felt much more difficult than doing it as a member of a group.
Shasho pulled off his shirt, revealing his smooth, chest and abdomen which were well-developed for a boy of his age. Akage followed suit, his torso thinner and more boyish than Shasho's. Next came their socks, followed by their pants. They were now stripped down to their fundoshi.
Shasho could sense his friend's hesitancy. "Are you ready for the last step?"
"I don't know. At the orphanage the bullies would hit me in my niguntiki and hurt me and sometimes pull on my thing."
Shasho scooted closer to Akage on the bed and put his arm around his friend's thin shoulders. "Do you think I would do that?" Akage shook his head. "I would never hurt you, Akage."
"I hear how Jason and Jonas and Lars and Koji touch each other on their niguntiki and you know…"
"Everybody calls niguntiki balls in English, and the word for your thing is your penis. And I won't touch anything you don't want me to touch."
"Don't touch. It hurts when it's touched."
Shasho wondered what he could do to help Akage lose his fear. He thought in terms of how he liked taking care of things. He liked being organized. If he were alphabetizing files, he would start sorting by the first letter before he went to the second or third letters. His first step would be simple. He would have the files neatly stacked and easy to reach. He thought about his first step now and to him it was simple. He pulled off his fundoshi and was now naked.
"Do I have to?" Akage asked.
"No, you don't have to. Do it only if you want to."
Akage thought about lying on his bed, wearing his pajamas, his knees up and his legs spread out for comfort. He was reading a book that was propped on his thighs, when Riko, one of the bullies, whapped him in his nigu… in his balls. It hurt worse than any of the others, in part because he had his legs spread and in part because he thought of his bed as a safe place and found out that nothing was safe.
Now he was sitting on a different bed, but it was still his bed, and the naked boy with his arm around him wasn't Riko, he was Shasho, who was his friend and would never hurt him.
Akage removed Shasho's arm from his shoulder. Shasho sat patiently, saying nothing. Akage decided to find out how safe his bed was by flopping on his back, removing his fundoshi, and spreading his legs. He was now as vulnerable as he had ever felt in his life and knew he had just given Shasho all of his trust.
Shasho took in the beauty of the body stretched out next to him. The files had been stacked and it was now time to sort them by their first letter. He shifted himself and dropped to the bed on his side, facing his red headed friend. He could see the look of trust in Akage's eyes and swore to himself he would never violate that trust.
Shasho placed his hand on his friend's smooth, warm chest and slowly rubbed it, keeping his touch light. Akage exhaled with a slight squeak. Shasho wondered if kissing his chest would be wrong, and decided it could only be right, and so he leaned in and kissed below Akage's left nipple. He wasn't experienced enough yet to know how sensitive a boy's nipples were, but his kiss found the nipple, causing Akage to squeak louder.
"I like that," he whispered, his little body twisting slightly.
Still not understanding what he had done, Shasho did it again and rubbed Akage's smooth warm belly as he did. Akage didn't understand what Shasho was doing to him, but he hoped he wouldn't stop. His little penis had become rock hard. Shasho was acting on instinct as he kissed Akage down to his belly, stopping short of his bare pubis. His hand kept going lower as well and was rubbing Akage's thin thigh, his hand moving up and down, his touch still light. He avoided his friend's groin area and focused on his belly and legs.
For Shasho, the time had come to file by the third letter. He moved his hand up Akage's left thigh, stopping just short of his tight little ball sac.
"No, don't touch me there," Akage snapped. "It will hurt just like Riko's touch hurt."
"I am your friend and will never hurt you Akage. Do you trust me to help you? Do you trust me to show you that you can be touched, and it will not hurt but feel really good?" Shasho, who was now hard as well, remembered how good Sukotto had made him feel by just barely touching his balls.
"I trust you," Akage said in a barely audible whisper.
Shasho moved his hand up until his fingers barely touched the smooth skin of Akage's ball sac. Akage tensed as soon as he felt Shasho's touch and then relaxed when he realized what he felt was not pain but the love of his friend. Akage now knew that his trust was not misplaced and that Shasho helped make his bed a safe place.
"Don't stop, it feels good," he whispered once again. "Keep doing more."
Akage gave himself to Shasho. The boys didn't realize it, but at that point they had fallen truly in love with each other. Shasho kept doing a little more, moving his touches, showing not only Akage, but himself, what being with somebody you loved was all about. When Akage finally let out the loud yelp of his first ever orgasm, he was convinced that Shasho had become the center of the galaxy. When they finally snuggled under the covers, enjoying how their naked bodies felt against their partner their sleep wasn't one of lust and sex, rather it was one of innocence and love.
When Jaku and Kage looked in on the boys there was enough ambient light in the dark room for them to see how they were wrapped together under the covers. Even though he didn't know all that had transpired between Shasho and Akage, Jaku knew that Akage had picked his friend well. He could tell there was much more to Shasho than a boy obsessed with being organized. He was also a boy of sensitivity and love.
Jaku and Kage closed the door knowing that Akage was starting on the road to healing and trusting.
When Steve reached the shuttle bay, he saw the repair crew was exiting the walkway from the Donatello and was disappointed that Jessie wasn't with them. He was greeted by Ensign Kai Daniels, who was the leader of the repair team. Following him were crewmen Vince Abrams and Mark Wallace. "Commander Boyer, what are you doing here?" Kai asked, maintaining proper discipline in front of the crewmen.
"I was curious whether you guys were still working," Steve responded.
"We just finished. Finding the problem was a real pain in the ass, but Jessie knows the diagnostic system better than anybody and finally found the issue. After that, fixing it was a piece of Ben Maxey cake. The Donatello is repaired," Kai told Steve.
Steve looked past the three boys in the repair crew and acted curiously. "What happened to Jessie? Did he tell you what to fix and then bolt?"
"Jessie's real private and doesn't usually talk much, but he's not like that. He's good at his job. He stayed in the shuttle control room and ran a diagnostic when we needed it. He's there now talking to the bridge, letting him know the Donatello is ready to fly, but should stay inactive until they give it a test flight."
"Congratulations on your successful repairs. Have you had dinner yet?"
"Oh yes. Randy Jenkins himself brought us shimmy stew," Kai grinned. "I still can't believe how good that stuff tastes."
"I'll go see how Jessie is doing," Steve volunteered.
"His watch relief has been there for a couple of hours. He might be gone."
"Thanks, but I'll go look anyway." Steve was eager for a taste of Jessie's cock.
As Steve headed up the corridor to the shuttle control room, he heard Kai praise his two assistants on doing a great job. Steve took a couple of steps and saw Jessie walking out of the control room and down the corridor.
"Did you come to inspect our work?" Jessie grinned when he saw Steve.
"I want to do a full inspection," Steve replied.
"The Donatello isn't going anywhere."
"I was thinking of someplace more intimate."
Steve nodded and asked Jessie if he'd had dinner.
"Jenkins brought some of that shimmy shit," Jessie said. "I ate it."
"Almost everybody likes it."
"That's the fucking problem. I happen to like that shit, too," Jessie laughed. "I didn't get dessert, though."
"I'll provide some for you."
"There's nobody there. Shasho is overnighting with Akage and Brad is doing an all-nighter on the Bridge, so the place is all mine."
"You mean I get to sleep in an officer's bed in officer's quarters."
"Yep, and you can do it in the nude."
After entering Steve's quarters, Jessie looked around. "I thought this place would be bigger."
"A private sleeping area was built in for Shasho."
"That's right. I talked to the guys who built it. I helped with the one in Commander Robinson's cabin, but didn't see the final result. So, now what?"
"We strip. We get off a few times and go to bed. Or we go to bed and get off a few times."
Jessie looked directly at Steve. "Just remember, I am not gay and there are things I won't do. Like a lot of things."
"I respect that," Steve stated. "You say stop, I stop. And I promise I won't push things. I'll tell you my plans and you can accept or reject any part of them."
"I like fucking girls."
"And, as you've no doubt noticed, there aren't any on the Sooloo."
"But there is one good cocksucker, who I think is a pretty cool dude for an officer."
"Let's strip," Steve commanded, and the two boys were naked in an instant.
From that point, the evening's entertainment started with Steve giving Jessie a blow job as Jessie sat in the seat with the view out the window. It continued with Jessie getting Steve off for the first time by jerking him off as he lay on the couch. Their previous sexual contacts had been Steve sucking Jessie's cock on a docked shuttle and then jerking himself off.
"I did that with my friends when I was like, twelve," Jessie confessed. "I liked making you cum, even though I am straight."
"Dude, let's quit with the labels and just have fun. That's what Brad told me when he left for the Bridge, to have fun."
The next time was on Brad and Steve's bed after Steve convinced Jessie that humping each other and rubbing their cocks against each other was a great way to get each other off. Jessie imposed a no kissing rule but found himself forgetting when he kissed Steve's neck just before creating a mess on Steve's belly. As badly as Steve wanted to kiss Jessie it didn't feel like the right thing to do, so he simply got himself off rubbing against Jessie's genitals.
The third time was much less intense than the first two. The two teens slowly jerked themselves off as they talked about their lives growing up, with emphasis on their sex lives. They were changing from two fleeting horny boys looking for quick sex on a shuttle to two teens who were finding reasons to become friends. The session ended with them jerking each other off.
"Maybe next time we do the shuttle thing, I'll try doing what you do to me," Jessie told Steve as they prepared for bed.
"Whatever you want to do is good with me."
"But, I'm not…"
Jessie nodded with a grin. The two teens settled into bed. Jessie surprised Steve by cuddling up against him. It was obvious to Steve that Jessie was desperate for a simple, non-sexual, loving touch with another person.
"I've never slept naked with a guy before," Jessie confessed.
"Ummmm," Jessie purred as he scooted tighter and closer and fell quickly to sleep.
Jace had several PADDs and a few monitors running when Brad came into the Conference Room. "So, what do you need from me?" Brad inquired.
"Well, I've researched everything we have about the Medici family in Vegas, but I can't find any mention of Jason, Jonas or their parents. According to the records we have on file, The Medici family hasn't lived in Vegas since the Treaty was signed in 2061."
Brad asked, "So, what do we know about the twins' parents?"
"Jonas said they were killed two years ago, but there is no record of any Medici family being killed in Vegas. I've even searched Nevada."
Brad started typing then asked, "Do you know their first names?"
"I asked Jonas and he said, 'Mom and Dad,'" Jace chuckled.
Brad smiled, "They were six or seven when they lost them, so, I guess that IS what they would have known them by. Did you look through the files of the orphanage?"
"They are not there. I guess Space Fleet didn't think we would need them. And we are still too far out to hack into them."
"What? The computer has virtually every file that has existed since 2067, except those?" Brad was surprised.
"Yeah, I can tell you that the Seattle Mariners won the World Series in the first four games of 2068, but I can't find anything about the Medici family."
"Who did they beat?" Brad asked.
"The article said they beat the Chicago Cubs. The score of the final game was six to zero."
"Here's something you might find interesting. In Canada, there was a single-car accident. Mrs. Greg Robinson was driving and critically injured…"
"Did you say Mrs. Greg Robinson?" Jace wasn't sure he was hearing right. "Wouldn't that be Kyle's mom?"
"Possibly, but not necessarily. Anyway, her passengers, a fifth cousin and his wife were killed instantly. They left two boys, twins, who were being looked after by a friend in Henderson, just outside of Vegas."
"So... if that WAS Kyle's mom and she's a fifth cousin to Jason and Jonas' dad, she would have to be Draconian. Does the article give her full name?" Brad pointed to her name and Jace hit the comm button. "Kyle, what is your mother's name?"
I wanted to take this opportunity to send my thanks to each and every one of you for your love and support over the past week while I have been in the hospital.
The outcome, whereas it wasn't as I'd hoped, wasn't totally unexpected. I will now have to turn a page in the book of life and learn to live life with only one leg.
Again, Thank you all for your kind words, emails, and other expressions of support. It's just further proof that we have the best fan-base out there. I love you all.