A Rogue Star... recent problems aboard the SS Sooloo were discovered to be the cause of a Rogue Star. Somehow the star had been manipulating, and controlling the crew, or that is the crew wearing anything. Kyle, Danny, Brad and the Terrific Trio escaped in a shuttle and headed for an exit through a rift, only when they went through, there appeared to be an explosion and the shuttle was gone.
Dave was in shock. He had just witnessed the apparent destruction of one of his shuttles. Normally, with the way he was feeling about Kyle, Brad and Danny at that moment, he would have felt it was for the best. But, in this case, his son and the sons of Jace and Jordan were on the shuttle as well.
He looked down and saw the scrap of paper on the floor and his anger took him once again, "What the FUCK is happening here… first I have several of my most trusted officers mutiny on me, now I look, and we can’t even keep the fucking bridge clean! I thought this ship was supposed to be self-cleaning!" Dave bent over, picked up the scrap of paper, and opened it. In the scrawl of a child, he saw a written note. He read it, closed his hand around it and said, "I’ll be in my ready room. Let me know when someone figures out how this cluster fuck happened.
Dave walked into his Ready room saying, "Hal, you have the conn."
The remainder of the bridge crew stared at Dave’s back as he exited the bridge, not knowing what to say or do. Hal took his seat, knowing he needed to give Dave a chance to get things sorted in his own mind. He’d have an opportunity to assuage his husband in due time.
The boys hung onto their arm rests as the G's pushed them back hard. The Raphael shook and shimmied as the framework groaned under the forces straining it. The boys could see the stars behind the opening in the rift. A bright flash lit up the shuttle's cabin, almost blinding them even through the darkened glass, and then the six boys fell into darkness.
The darkness lasted only seconds as emergency lighting flickered on. The shuttle's engines had cut out and its momentum was carrying it forward. Danny shook off the effects of the bright flash of light, looked at his instrument readings and decided it was safe to attempt a restart of the shuttle's engines. He pushed the start button and breathed a sigh of relief when he heard the engines start to spring to life.
Kyle saw stars out of the viewports, or at least he thought they were stars. He surmised that they could also be fake stars or even the aftereffect of the bright flash of light. "Is everybody okay?" he asked. He could tell Danny was okay since he was busily working at his instrument panel.
"What was that about?" Brad asked.
"I have a theory, but let's check on the Trio first and go from there."
Jonas, Jason and Lars checked in and said they felt tired, hungry, and thirsty. Since the shuttle carried a full tank of drinking water, everybody got to take care of their thirst. Steve had snatched a bag of snacks from the crew buffet on his way to Kyle's Quarters earlier and sat them in a basket on Danny's dresser which Jason grabbed, so hunger was taken care of.
"As soon as Danny stops us, you guys can take a nap," Kyle told the boys. If they were as tired as he was, they truly needed a nap. Dealing with the stars had exhausted him mentally and the boys, especially Lars and Jason, had worked as hard or harder. He gave them a proud glance as full lighting returned.
They were more than three years younger than he was, which at their age and maturity levels, was close to an eternity. Without a word of complaint, they had become heroes in Kyle's mind. The pride and love Kyle felt at that moment for the Terrific Trio couldn't be measured. They were indeed terrific.
"Okay, guys, I have full power back," Danny announced. "I'm going to engage the reverse thrusters and bring us to a stop. Thankfully it will be gentler than the full reverse thrusters that brought the Sooloo to a screeching stop. I have no clue how that happened."
"Good job, Kyle," Brad said. "Once we stop we should probably try to figure out where we are and do some planning."
Once the Raphael stopped, the twins and Lars left their seats, dropped to the floor, and fell almost instantly to sleep. Kyle wished he could join them. Instead he set up his telescope to check the stars. He used the front window since it had the widest range of vision. He turned on the computer screen and brought up his star charts. He wasn't completely sure where they were, but he had a pretty good idea.
"From what I can see we're still in sector Alpha Delta 7747," Kyle stated with a sigh of relief.
"That means we made it through the rift and out of that energy field we were trapped in," Brad said.
"That's the good news. The bad news is we're looking at this area at an angle that hasn't been charted yet, so I'm not positive about our exact location." He turned to Danny. "But, while I'm figuring things out, maybe you can turn on the ship's video recorders and record as much as possible. I mean we are explorers and this will help in making the charts more accurate."
"You seem positive we'll be returning home," Brad said.
"You don't think we will?" Kyle scowled, "Since when have you been Mr. Negative?"
"I guess I said that wrong. All we have to do is get the Sooloo through that rift and we'll be continuing our mission."
"But how do we help get them through when they're under the control of the rogue star?" Danny asked.
"Well, while you turn us around and fly us back to the rift, I'll figure something out,” Brad promised.
Kyle opened the hand-written navigation log. What he needed was a way to connect where they were to their last known locale; from there, they would be back on course. If he could find the star AD-7747-F4 he felt he could line everything up, but finding it was the issue. He recognized the stars from the chart but couldn't get the pattern he needed.
Danny turned the shuttle around, giving Kyle new angles, but not the ones he needed. Even if he had the full telescopic capabilities of the Sooloo it would take him a couple of hours to figure out the route he wanted, so doing it from the shuttle was probably impossible. If he could do it, however, the Sooloo could move away from the rift and on their correct course that much quicker.
"We're approaching the rift," Danny announced.
"Don't get too close," Brad cautioned. "We don't know how the Sooloo got sucked into it, or into whatever one it was sucked into."
Danny nodded and brought the Raphael to a stop at a far distance from the rift. They all hoped the distance was far enough.
"I guess we're back to 'now what?'" Kyle said.
"Well, the Sooloo had to have seen us disappear," Brad noted. "Now it's a question of what they're going to try to do about it."
"If I were them, I'd either move to the rift or send a shuttle there to find out what happened." Kyle, Brad, and Danny weren't aware that the Sooloo was locked into its orbit.
"So, then we sit and wait for them to come through?" Danny asked.
"Not good enough," Brad said. "The stars guided us to the proper place and we're going to have to find a way to reconnect to the stars, so they can give us the proper coordinates for the Sooloo," Brad said.
"We don't connect with the stars, they connect with us," Kyle informed Brad. "I have absolutely no doubt they are going to do just that at the right time. The only question is, how do we communicate that information with the Sooloo?"
"That's where my expertise comes in," Brad grinned. "With Danny's help we'll use some of the not-so-well known communication features of a starship shuttlecraft."
"Can't the stars simply communicate with the Sooloo themselves?" Danny asked.
"I don't think they can, and I have my theory about why," Kyle said.
"Well, you're the theory expert, so give us this one."
"Until Lars came on board, I was the only person on the Sooloo the stars were able to talk to. And Lars is a rookie, that is, unless he had contact with them on New Earth. They've been talking to me for over half my life. And even if they could send out a message, you saw that they have their limits in that energy field, even though they created it."
"How do you know they created it?" Danny asked.
"Who else would have the power to lock up that evil star in an energy or stasis field or whatever it is?" Kyle took a deep breath and went on. He wondered if he was beginning to sound like one of the profs at the academy. "Lars needs me to hold him, he needs Jason to have his arm around his shoulder, and Jason needs Jonas to hold his hand. On top of that, I needed to be contacting Megrez and Lars needed the runes on his necklace. It all had to work together and even then, it totally wore us out." At that point Kyle stifled a yawn; how he envied the sleeping boys.
What Kyle didn't know was that when the stars understood the gravity of the situation, they knew the three boys were the key. They also knew the stress of what they had to do inside the energy field could be more than any one of them could handle and live through. While the stars believed that the good of the many outweighed the needs of the few, they also knew they didn't have to accept that there was only one way to use the three boys, for the stars were good and compassionate and loving and very creative.
Lars had the ability to communicate with them with the help of the amulet Hal had given him as his talisman. But, he was too inexperienced to take on the responsibility and stress of the task on his own. Jason, they realized, was like a living talisman. By reaching out and wrapping his arm around Lars, bare skin to bare skin, he helped magnify the stars' communication and to ease the stress in Lars. Jonas had no communication abilities, but he did have the ability to ease the stress in his brother by touching him. And to tie it altogether was Kyle Robinson, who had more than once shown his abilities. Kyle, with Megrez, would help the communications and with his arms wrapped around Lars he would communicate his love and bridge his strength to the young boy and keep him from becoming overwhelmed or fatally crushed by the stress.
Three young boys with a sense of deep friendship that is anciently touched and received triple strength, all of which was sealed in them through Kyle Robinson and Megrez the Penguin as well as Megrez the star. The "corollary" that came through the stars was ‘the needs of the many gifted to them by the strength of the few.’
Kyle was getting impatient, which was not a rare occurrence for him. "We can't just sit here, we have to do something."
"The way I see it is, we have three choices," Brad said. "We sit here and hope somebody on the Sooloo comes to his senses and sees the correlation between nudity and sanity. Even as chaotic as things are right now, people get undressed in their quarters for showering, sleeping," he looked at the sleeping boys, "or whatever. And when they do and look out of their window they will notice that the so-called stars have disappeared."
"Okay, so choice one probably won't happen. What is choice two?"
"We sit here until the Sooloo appears or we die of thirst and starvation or air, whichever comes first.”
"The air is good for five days on one of these puppies before the recycling and filtering system becomes so overloaded it's no longer breathable," Danny told them.
"Choice three must be to go back through the rift," Kyle said.
"Exactly. We tell Steve Boyer to have weapons ready for us and start an armed mutiny. Hell, we're in such deep shit already, it can't get much worse."
"This calls for a chocolate chip cookie," Kyle said. He reached into the goody bag and pulled out a cookie. "I gotta say that Steve knows how to grab snacks. And Jason, thanks for bringing them from our quarters. You did a good job, too."
"I think we wait for three days and if nothing happens, go back," Brad suggested. Nobody argued; they didn't have much choice.
"Well, I'm bored. I'm going to try to plot a course one more time now that I have some CC cookie power in me. If I only had a way to be sure which star is AD-7747-F4.
Lars rolled over on his back and uttered, "Zorn," in his little boy voice.
Danny, Kyle, and Brad stared out of the front as if they expected to see the Golden Dragon out of the window, but there was nothing except the stars and the reflection of light off the edges of the rift. "I bet he meant Zorn's telescope," Danny suggested.
Kyle agreed. What Lars said must have been the stars speaking. For a moment Kyle was resentful that the stars spoke through Lars instead of communicating directly with him. Then he realized that Lars was wearing the necklace with the rune and Megrez was sitting on the control panel. Why the stars still needed a conduit was a mystery to Kyle, but then the stars had been a mystery to him since the moment they first communicated.
With nothing better to do, Kyle unpacked the antique telescope from its case and set it up. Brad took over Kyle's telescope and they went on a search for the AD-7747-F4, with Brad using the telescope's computer as his reference and Kyle using the star chart on the shuttle's monitor. It was an optimistic act for both of them, based on the belief that the Sooloo would somehow appear at the rift.
Dave stood there looking at the stars out of the viewport in his ready room. He couldn’t understand why things had happened the way they did. His own frustrations were causing him to dwell on things that had happened several years in the past…
Dave came home to find his mother curled up in a ball. He had seen her in this state several times.
The then 15-year-old ran over to his mother and held her. Her skin was cold and clammy. She barely opened her eyes and said, "Davey, I need a hit… can you find me some? Please?"
Dave then shook his head, laid his mother back onto the sofa and left their home. He knew where to go; he had done it several times before. He arrived at the appointed location and went to talk to the man he always dealt with.
"She’s in a bad way, again. I need some of her usual." The problem was Dave had no way to pay the man; at least no way to pay for it with money or credits.
The man went to a desk, opened the drawer and pulled out a baggie. "So, how are you gonna pay for this, kid?"
Dave resolved himself to help his mother in the only way he knew. He walked over to the man, dropped to his knees and pulled down the man’s zipper.
Fifteen minutes later, Dave was on his way back to his home with his mother, finding her nearly unconscious. He took the baggie and prepared the drugs and a needle as he had done a hundred times before. He injected her.
At first things were looking better. His mother came to become more conscious, but then closed her eyes… unmoving. He felt for a pulse, but there was none to be found.
In a panic, Dave called the one person he knew he could count on, Hal. His boyfriend told him to stay where he was, that he would be there in a few minutes.
Dave sat there, the body of his mother cradled in his arms, sobbing. Hal arrived only moments before the emergency medical people did. Hal took Dave into his arms as the men loaded the body of Dave’s mother onto a cart.
Two days later, Dave was contacted by the local constabulary. It seems his mother had been given a tainted dose of the drug; one that was intentionally prepared to kill the user.
The Detective asked if Dave knew where she got it. He lied, saying he had no idea. Hal and Inga (Hal’s mother) had helped Dave to cope with the death of his mother, but Dave knew he had to avenge his mother’s death.
He left the Tietokone’s home where he had been staying since his mother’s death and went to find the man he received that final dose from. When he left there twenty minutes later, Dave knew that the man could never hurt anyone… ever again.
Dave cried as he remembered that terrible day. It was at that point that he opened his hand and saw the scrap of paper he had picked up off the deck. Looking at it, he could tell it was written in Lars’ handwriting. He read it twice… "Get Nakey. Important. Everybody. Get Nakey."
Dave couldn’t understand why Lars would tell him that, but in his addled mind, he figured he could honor the memory of his dead son by doing what he asked.
A voice in his head was urging him not to do it, but he ignored it. Dave stared out the window as he disrobed. Once he was totally naked he realized that the stars he had been staring at were no longer there.
Hal walked in to find his husband standing naked at the viewport crying. He went to his husband and wrapped his arms around Dave. "I love you, baby, but why are you naked?"
"Hal, strip. Please."
"But why would I…"
"Just do it, please? For me? For Lars?" Dave interrupted.
Hal began to disrobe.
Jace, Jordan, John Luke, Aiden, Roger Duncan, and Randy Thompson were all on the bridge. They stared at the naked commanding officers and then looked at each other. Even through their captive minds they could see they had nothing to lose… unless Dave and Hal were conning them somehow. The question now was who was going to test their honesty by stripping first.
John Luke broke the ice and quickly stripped naked. As soon as he pulled off his last sock he stared at the window and saw exactly what Dave and Hal knew he would see, solid black except for the lone star visible off the port bow.
"Holy shit," John Luke muttered. "What does it mean?" he asked Dave and Hal.
"It means your mind is free of that star you see out the window. That star has somehow been controlling our minds. Don't ask me how and don't ask me why being naked frees us, but it does. This is what Kyle and Brad were trying to tell us from the start, but we were trapped in our own minds and didn't listen, nor did we read all the clues that were right in front of us."
"What are you guys talking about?" Aiden demanded.
"See all those stars out there?" John Luke asked. The officers nodded. "Take off your uniforms, take off everything, and those stars will be gone. You're going to see what's really out there."
Jace was stripping as John Luke talked and as soon as he pulled off his boxer briefs, he saw that John Luke was right. It didn't take much more convincing to get the rest of the bridge crew naked. The talk of mutiny was gone; instead they asked Dave what his plans were.
"The first thing we need to do is get ourselves out of this orbit, which means convincing Connor and anyone else down in engineering to get naked," Dave told them.
"I think a sharply worded order will work wonders," Hal said.
"And if not, I'm taking Lieutenant Kuc with me to engineering in case somebody needs to get pantsed," Aiden grinned. "I convinced the lieutenant to join us, and after his little humiliation from Brad he was more than willing to obey."
"I want a security guard outside the bridge entrance to ensure that nobody wearing clothes gains entrance to the bridge," Dave ordered.
"I'll wait here to see what Connor has to say first."
"You want me to do what?" Connor yelled into the intercom after he heard Dave's order.
Dave repeated the order and Connor agreed to go along with the program. "And I thought things couldn't get any weirder than they already were."
"That was easy," Dave said.
"I wonder if whatever has the hold over the ship is losing his power as more of us become naked. Maybe he thrives off the negative energy he was creating in the crew."
Dave turned to Aiden. "I'll put out an all-call that nudity is the uniform of the day. You can get me two guards for the bridge and then join Hal with another officer to help make sure everyone strips."
"Captain, I think I have our computers up to snuff," Roger Duncan told Dave. Roger was the Assistant Chief Information Systems Officer. "We were hit hard by an energy virus that penetrated our firewalls. I've isolated the virus and strengthened the firewalls. No guarantees for how long this will work, but for now we can trust our data."
"Good work, Lieutenant. I think it's time for us to look for Number 20."
"Sir, we saw it destroyed by an explosion," John Luke said.
"Maybe we did, maybe we didn't. I think we should investigate for ourselves. I have a feeling the way out of this mess is at the last place we saw the Raphael." The crew noted the use of the shuttle's name instead of its number, which told them that for the Captain, this mission had become personal.
Connor was naked as were the engineering crew members on watch. He sat at his engineering command console wondering what was going to happen next when Dave contacted him.
"I want you to take us out of the orbit we're in. You can move us out in any direction except port."
"But, I don't trust the number on my readouts. We almost shook apart the first time I tried to move us."
"Just do it, Commander."
Connor rechecked the displays on the console and saw the readouts had returned to normal. "Tom, here is what I need you to do," he said before giving Ensign Tom Kohl a set of instructions. He then set to work entering instructions into the computer.
Five minutes later, Connor contacted Dave. "Captain, we're ready. I tried using the thrusters the first time, which was dumb since they don't have the needed power. I've disabled the governor on the impulse engines to give us everything we have. This is going to be a long process and will either shake us apart or get us out of orbit. I guess we'll find out soon." He turned to the ensign.
"Tom, ninety percent impulse power." Having disabled the governor, Connor didn't want to go directly to full impulse power. It turned out both of his predictions were wrong. At ninety-three percent power there was a very slight vibration. Connor saw an indicator go green and directed the Sooloo to make a thirty-five degree turn to starboard. The starship moved through the energy barrier that was holding them in the orbit like it was butter. The entire process had taken less than five minutes.
"Hell of a job, Connor," Dave called down. "That was a smooth and short half-hour. John, set a course for the last known position of the Raphael."
"I did what I could, Captain." What Connor didn't tell Dave was the entire process had worked exactly as he told Tom it would.
Azazel sensed the negative energy from the pod decreasing. It was as if his children no longer wished to obey him. He tried increasing his output and was furious that he was unable to do so.
The little irritation for the pod had escaped through the door to the outside. He attempted to close the door, but every bit of progress was reversed. Considering he had created the door, he should be able to close it, but he was now fighting the star council which appeared to be aiding the pod.
And now his rebellious children, or what few of them he could still detect, had left the home he had created for them; an orbit for them to travel in for as long as their miserably short lives lasted.
Because of their disobedience, those lives would be much shorter than if they had behaved. If I can't keep them from escaping, then I must destroy them.
"What is that?" Hal asked as reflected lighting on the edges of the rift came into view.
"It appears to be an opening in the stasis field," Randy Thompson, the Chief Science Officer speculated.
"And I believe the Raphael is on the other side," Dave said. "What we saw was not an explosion but the shuttle going through that rift. Remember the flash when we were drawn through it? I'm sure that's what we saw."
Jordan fought back his tears of hope. He'd already shed more than his share of tears of despair. "So, you think Jason, Jonas, Lars and the rest are alive?"
"How did they fit through that slit?" Jace asked. "It doesn't look big enough."
"It sure isn't big enough for us," Randy said.
"Not unless there is someone involved who has friends in high places," Dave told them.
"Kyle and the stars?"
Dave nodded, not knowing who it was his son had been introduced to.
"Then why did they steal the 20, escape through that little slit, and leave us behind?"
"I can answer that," Hal said. "How many of us listened to what they had to say? 'None of us' is the correct answer. Maybe they decided that instead of telling us what to do, they had to show us."
"Oh, they told us, too," Dave said as he held up the crumbled note from Lars.
"Now that we're here, what do we do?" John Luke asked.
"We turn on all of the ship's outside lights and then sit outside the little slit and wait."
Kyle peered through the antique telescope Zorn had gifted him. "I found it!" he called out. "Holy, holy shit, I found it." He waved Brad over. "Take a look at the blinking star and compare it to the star at eleven o'clock."
Brad looked saying, "Stars don't blink."
"Did it blink when you looked at it through my telescope?" Brad shook his head. "So, Zorn is right again. The telescope has a connection to the stars and we can see AD-7747-F4 blink through that telescope."
Kyle quickly went to work doing calculations in his head and in the shuttle's computer. He hastily wrote coordinates into the red log book. "I've got it—our way to our original course."
Brad shook his head as he watched his fellow officer and good friend finish his work. He doubted that any astrogator in the fleet could have completed those calculations as quickly.
"So, as soon as the Sooloo comes through the rift and we board her, then she's ready to go, I take it," Brad said.
"Well, as soon as somebody places this log book in John Luke's hands," Kyle told him.
Suddenly the Terrific Trio awoke at the same time. Lars looked out the front and pointed to the rift. "Look!" he cried.
All six boys peered through the window and saw the bright lights of the Sooloo's hull shining through the rifts. "The Sooloo, Sooloo, Sooloo, ohhhh, it's the Sooloo," Danny wailed. "It's there and now we get to tell it how to get here."
"Wow, the entire bridge is full of naked officers," Brad giggled as he sat in the seat next to the pilot's seat. "Who would have ever thought it."
Danny tried unsuccessfully to contact the Sooloo by radio. While the boys were certain it would fail, they had to at least try it, because they weren't completely sure. It was time for Brad to take charge.
"Shoot the laser, Danny," Brad ordered. A bright red light shot out from the Raphael's bow and through the slit. They could see that it was missing the Sooloo by at least a thousand meters. Danny adjusted the position of the shuttle until the laser touched the starship.
"Dave, look." Hal pointed to the rift where a red laser beam shot out.
"That's from the Raphael," Dave cried. "They made it. They're on the other side waiting for us. The laser has to be for communication. Roger, connect us to it." Gathering data while exploring was the primary purpose of the lasers on the shuttles; however, they could be used for two-way communication, although it was an awkward process for both receiving and sending. It was a good back-up method when all else failed.
Roger quickly connected his receiver into the laser beam and ran it through the ship's radio. "This is shuttle 20 calling Sooloo. Shuttle 20 calling Sooloo…" They recognized the voice as Danny's.
Knowing who should send the reply, Roger pointed to Dave who said, "Sooloo replying to shuttle 20. It's great to…"
He didn't get a chance to finish when he heard a high-pitched boy's voice shout out, "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADY!" That voice sent Dave over the edge and he started sobbing. After the way he had treated his son the last time he had seen him, there he was shouting in excitement because he heard his daddy's voice. As he wiped his eyes with the tissues Hal handed him, he had no doubt that Kyle and Brad had convinced Lars that his daddy was not the person who yelled at him and kicked him off the bridge, and for that he was extremely grateful.
Dave looked up at Hal, who was also crying, and then over at Jace and Jordan, whose cheeks were moist. He gestured for one of them to speak. "Hello Jason and Jonas," Jace uttered quietly. The twin screeches from the twins almost blew the speakers and it was now Jace and Jordan's turn to cry.
Figuring their time was short before the star recovered from its setback. Dave took some deep breaths in order to get his composure back and called the Raphael.
Brad came on and explained what was about to happen. "Listen to Lars," Brad finished. "He is the one the stars are using to save us. When he finally says go, GO with everything those impulse engines have and don't worry about the size of the rift. If we did everything properly you will make it through."
"And if we don't?" Dave asked.
"You are making it, end of story," the ever-optimistic teen said.
Once again, Lars sat on Kyle's lap holding the amulet with one hand and Megrez with the other, Jason placed his arm around Lars’ shoulder, and Jonas held Jason's hand. Just like he had for the Raphael, Lars read coordinates and John Luke maneuvered the ship in accordance with the numbers.
The Sooloo finally stopped dead a few thousand meters from the rift. It was sitting at an angle to the rift. Everyone on the bridge was convinced there wasn't enough room for the Sooloo to get through. In fact, it wasn't even close.
The Sooloo was no longer visible to the Raphael. Danny, Kyle and Brad knew they would not see the starship again until it made it through the rift. 'IF it makes it through the rift,' Kyle thought gloomily.
'Be ready Kyle Robinson. it will come. It needs your strength now. Be ready now,' came the voice of the stars Kyle knew so well. He tightened his hold on Lars' warm smooth body. 'I will be ready,' he thought, 'I will be ready.'
'Listen now,' came the stellar voice. As it had happened earlier they counted down.
At that point nobody breathed, Danny shut off the laser, Connor gave the Sooloo's engines the necessary power and then some, and amidst a bright flash of light followed by a maze of colors, the Sooloo barreled through the rift and flew past the Raphael. Connor applied the front thrusters to bring the big ship to a controlled stop.
"It's going to take Connor some time and distance to slow that big puppy down," Danny observed correctly. "I guess we'd better chase after it. Hang on, the G's are going to go up a wee bit."
Since the shuttle was facing the rift, he started the shuttle in that direction, engaged his thrusters. Feeling a slight pull toward the rift, Danny engaged the after thrusters, and started an upward loop, then with the help of the starboard thrusters, corkscrewed until they were facing the rear of the Sooloo. "That was awesome, cool and just plain fun fancy flying,” Brad marveled.
The Terrific Trio ooohed and aaahed with a combination of excitement and fright. "That was awesome!" Jonas yelled out.
"The master pilot at your service," Danny grinned as he quickly caught up with the Sooloo. No one noticed that the rift slammed shut just centimeters behind the shuttle as it raced to catch the Sooloo.
Dave had the view from the stern of the ship placed in the viewscreen. He saw the Raphael approach. He noticed dark marks on its otherwise shiny surface. 'It looks like the shuttle dock crew is going to have some inspection and cleanup work to do,' he thought about his son on board and how he almost wanted to jump into the vacuum to meet him. He also thought about the twins and how relieved and happy Jace and Jordon looked now.
And then there were the three crewmembers on board; Kyle Robinson, Danny Harper, and Brad Kanye. He could charge them with a myriad of crimes, including but not limited to gross insubordination, conspiracy to commit mutiny, hijacking, kidnapping, and saving the SS Sooloo and its crew with their bravery and sheer force of will. 'Meeting with them is going to be interesting,' he thought.
"Shuttle 20 requesting permission to enter the Sooloo shuttle bay for docking," came Danny's voice.
"Permission granted," Dave said in a choked-up voice. "You will proceed to Dock 2." He paused and then said, "I hope you are all in the uniform of the day."
"Captain, you know we aren't dressed," Brad said.
"Good to hear. That means that you are currently in uniform."
Danny, Brad, and Kyle noticed dark streaks along the hull of the Sooloo. 'Somebody is going to be doing an EVA for cleanup work,' Kyle thought.
As always Danny expertly docked his shuttle. The Raphael and its passengers were home.
Lars was the first one out of the shuttle. He gave a big hug to Dave then stated that he had to run to the bridge with the logbook so John Luke could set a proper course. Dave looked at his son, "Go, hurry, and while you are on the bridge, give your other dad a much-needed hug. I will be along shortly; I just need to speak with Commander Robinson and his crew."
Lars noticed that Dave called him "Commander" again, so he smiled as he ran his naked butt, and the rest of him, to the bridge.
The twins were next, Jason ran to the waiting arms of Jace while Jonas ran to Jordan. "Daddy, Pappy, we are so sorry for disobeying…" they started.
Jace responded first, "I wouldn't exactly say you were disobeying, at least in this instance. You were doing the right thing, and since we were controlled by that evil star, you weren't really disobeying us. I am glad that you disobeyed that star, you helped save us and we are proud of you…"
"Both of you," Jordan finished.
Kyle, Danny and Brad finally disembarked and walked up to Dave. Even though the last Kyle knew, he was "fired," he greeted Dave with a salute, hoping it was appreciated. Dave responded, "As you were, Commander. You know, I could charge you with so many crimes…"
Hearing Dave call him "Commander" told Kyle that Dave was being official, but also said that Dave was also forgiving them. He started to smile, "We understand Sir, and now that the ship IS saved…"
"That's another point, I am so damn proud of the three of you risking everything to save the ship and my son. I am going to forgo the charges provided you return to duty when you are scheduled, and you continue doing the job as you always have."
"We can do that," Kyle stated as he hugged Dave. Danny and Brad gave him a hug as well. Dave wanted to say something about it wasn't following protocol to hug your commanding officer when you are receiving a "dressing down," but all Dave could do was laugh.
"It's great to be back home," Kyle said with a sense of relief.
Danny opened the light shields used to protect the interior when the ship is close enough to a star to light up the room. The shields also protect the windows when going through an asteroid field. Danny looked at the solid gray outside the window, "Dude, I am so happy to be back here even all that gray looks beautiful."
Kyle was sitting at the Astrogation Table. This wouldn't normally be his watch, but he wanted to do some calculations and set a course in the computer. He chuckled as he looked around the bridge and saw everyone was still naked. Dave thought it was prudent to get some distance from the star before they clothed. As the ship was travelling in FTL, Kyle was looking through the ship's telescope.
He was looking at the stars of the constellation Draco. He had heard that Fleet Admiral Mirah was hoping that one of the ships would visit Draconia, and the Sooloo was closest to Draco, where Draconia supposedly is.
As he looked, the first star he looked at was Alpha Draconis, a white star, but Kyle was puzzled, this star isn't white, it was blue. "Captain," Kyle called out using proper protocol since they were among others.
"What is it, Commander," Dave seemed happy to call Kyle "Commander," again. Kyle went on to tell Dave what he discovered. Dave considered what Kyle had informed him, "Set a course, I believe that will be our next star system to investigate. Did you see any planets?"
"We are still too far to see, even at maximum zoom, Sir."
"Have a course laid in?"
"Yes Sir, ready for when you give the word."
Dave smiled, "Make it so, Commander. (" \"Make it so\" is a phrase that had been used by the military for as long as the British Navy had been around. Many militaries have picked it up. It was made famous by Star Trek:TNG, but is not copywritten to the show, ")"
Tom Kohl had been sleeping in Randy's quarters every night since Randy's birthday. In the twelve days, the two had become much closer, mentally, physically and sexually. They had drunk half the apple cider. Tom just got off work and Randy had a meal from the Officers' Mess. As Tom sat to eat, he asked, "What do we plan for tonight?"
"I think it's your turn to top, so you get to decide."
"Can I try fucking you again? I know last time really hurt."
"It was your first time fucking and my first time getting fucked. It may hurt for a few times, but unless we do it, it will always hurt the next time."
"So…" Tom looked puzzled, "I take it, you want me to fuck you?"
"Not every time, but yeah, enough to where we both enjoy it. I know this may be fast, but I think I love you and I want us to enjoy our time together. I'd like to ask Jordan or Steve for permission to move you into my quarters."
Tom put his fork down, "Randy, I've virtually moved in already, I would love to make it official. Truth is, I liked you and thought you were cute before we started seeing each other, but since we've been hanging together, and sleeping together, that like is still there, but I also love you."
"I know it's too soon, but have you considered marriage?"
"To you?" Tom inquired. "I'm sorry, that didn't come out right. Yes, I have thought about marriage; I started thinking about it when I was fourteen. Since meeting you, I have added you to those thoughts."
"Then maybe someday?" Randy asked.
Tom nodded his head, "Yeah, give us a few weeks… at least, and maybe we can ask the Captain to marry us. Maybe we should hold off having sex to determine whether it's really love or lust."
"For you, I can do that… after tonight, but once we marry…" Randy grinned.
"That was intense," Brad cooed. "How does somebody who's not even a teenager yet manage to be so sexy?"
"I dunno, I just kind of do it," Kyle replied. He slowly rubbed his friend's chocolate brown chest.
"You and Steve would place up at the top in a fellatio competition."
"A fancy word for blow job. You really should learn the sexual lexicon. You two both know how to use your mouths and tongues and lips and throats, along with your hands and even your teeth. Well, Steve can do magic with his teeth. The next time the four of us trade off you should have Steve show you how he uses his teeth. Damn, he can send a guy right to the next galaxy the way he works his teeth into a BJ."
Kyle put his tongue to work on Brad's nipples, causing them to harden and Brad to elicit a quiet moan. Kyle continued to rub Brad's chest. "I love feeling your skin," Kyle said as he looked up at Brad's handsome face. "It's so soft and beautiful. I'm so happy we agreed to this idea."
After their experience battling the Rogue Star and the crew that was under its influence, Kyle, Brad, Danny, and Steve had become much closer as friends. The week before, they, in Brad and Steve's quarters, were talking about their sexual experiences. Nobody was surprised that Brad was by far the most experienced.
Kyle and Danny were surprised by Steve telling them how he had sucked off Jesse Gross a couple of days earlier. "I know he was under the influence of the Rogue," Steve said, "but he was expecting a blow job when I convinced him to get naked. I told him I'd make it up to him, and that's what I did. I think things are very cool between us now." He looked over at Danny and grinned. "Any time you need to steal a shuttle, we have an ally at the shuttle bay."
Being the horny pubescent boys that they were, their pants eventually came off, their hands found their way to their hard cocks, shirt were removed, underpants vanished, the four friends jerked off madly, their eyes on each other. Danny, Steve, and Kyle shot their loads within thirty seconds of each other then watched Brad as he shot his white seed over his dark skin, something the three of them thought was incredibly sexy. Of course, Steve had seen Brad do that often.
"We need to do a boyfriend swap," Steve said as they cleaned themselves off.
"Damn, listen to that nerdy boyfriend of mine," Brad chuckled. "Who would ever suspect what a pervert he is. But I happen to be as perverted as him so why not. If we check the schedule, I bet we find a place where we should be able to pull it off."
The four boys agreed to two simple rules. No butt penetration with either cocks or fingers, and no passionate kissing.
"What's the difference between a passionate kiss and a regular kiss?" Danny asked.
"I'd say the amount of tongue you use," Steve speculated. "So, like if Brad's kissing Kyle, his tongue goes into Kyle's mouth, and he thinks the kiss feels as good as it does with his boyfriend," he pointed to himself, "then it is a passionate kiss and you stop kissing."
"It sounds complicated," Kyle said. "Maybe we should agree on no kissing at all."
"When did you become a prude?" Brad asked. "You can't have sex without kissing."
"Okay, okay, no passionate kissing." Kyle looked around at his friends and said, "And I'm not a prude." Which was true, although when compared to Danny, Steve, and Brad, especially the last two, he was somewhat prudish.
That was how Brad ended up in bed with Kyle and Danny with Steve and Kyle found himself on top of the boy who, for a very brief time, had been his roommate, petting his chest and kissing his lips.
Brad rolled Kyle off him and they lay side-by-side on their backs. "To be continued," Brad said, "but I want a few more moments to recharge."
Kyle looked at Brad's hard four inches. "You looked plenty recharged to me," he grinned.
"Can I ask you a personal question?" Brad asked.
"After what we've been through, I don't think there's much we can't ask each other, so ask away."
"Do you and Danny ever talk about getting married?"
"Yeah. I mean, it does seem to be the thing to do on the SooLoo."
"But we are only twelve, so it’s like when we talk about it, we think that getting married is like… a zillion years in the future. Instead, we get to just be boyfriends who love each other and still get to trade partners for a night like we are tonight or even maybe do a four-way or a three-way, sometime."
"You can be married and do that, especially the four-way."
"Maybe, but for now we like being boyfriends. And everybody who's married or getting married seems either has kids or wants to adopt a kid. Danny and I don't want that so why do we need to be married? We like things the way they are."
"I thought you liked little kids. You're great being "Unca Kyle" with the Trio.
"They're great kids and I love them, but they're not that much younger than us. If we all get tired of each other, we can shut down the holodeck and send them to their dads. That’s why it’s a good thing we can’t get married until we’re way older. Think about it—Dave and Hal are like eight or nine years older than Lars, and Jace and Jordan are about the same with the twins. If me and Danny had a kid that much younger, he'd be three or four. He'd barely be potty trained. We'd need to have a day-care center and then a school and the next thing you know we'd be a transport ship instead of a ship on an exploration mission. So, yeah, Danny and me talk about what would happen if we got married and both think it’s a good idea we couldn’t even if we wanted to."
"Sounds like you and Danny have talked this over pretty seriously."
"Yep. And how do you and Steve?"
Brad placed Kyle's right hand on his package. "Funny how things work out. Steve and I are past thirteen, and sometimes we think that’s old enough to be married. I mean Jordan and Jace got special permission to marry and who knows, we may find a planet where you become an adult at thirteen and can marry. It used to be like that in lots of places on Earth back in ancient times. But, you know what?"
"We both feel the same way about it that you and Danny feel." He rubbed his hand along Kyle's almost four-inch tool. "Let’s wait until we’re older and be boyfriends who love each other and love having fun with other guys when we can, too."
"I don't know how Danny feels, but I know what you're doing feels good to me."
"I think we're ready for you to get on top of me and kiss me and hump me and make it so we shoot our goo on each other and then get to sleep. How do you think that would feel?"
Kyle got on top of Brad and kissed him lightly on the lips. I think it will feel perfect." The boys then did things in the order Brad described.
"How did you do that with the teeth?" Danny asked Steve.
"Very carefully," Steve replied with a grin.
"Did somebody teach that to you when you were younger?"
"Nope. Other than jerk off sessions, I never had sex of any kind with a guy until I lost my virginity with Brad. I just liked trying stuff and when I found out a little light rub with my teeth at times drove Brad crazy, well I worked to perfect the technique."
"I thought I wasn't going to like this idea of switching partners," Danny said, "but having sex with you was fun, even if you are way older than me."
"Hey, fourteen and twelve isn't that different. And next time you get to mess with Brad, and he's only thirteen. But yeah, sucking your cock was fun and I'm glad we agreed not to fuck. That keeps it from being serious."
Danny rose from the bed. "I gotta pee," he announced. "I'll be right back." When Danny returned, he snuggled his naked body up against Steve. "Maybe we can get another couple to mess with us," he suggested.
"You are a pervy little horndog."
"And proud of it. Wait until I hit thirteen and get some serious hair on my cock. But this ship is full of horndogs, so it's not easy being a pervert."
That's when Steve told Danny about him fucking Brad while he sat in the pilot's chair of a shuttle. "See, it is possible to be a pervert if you really work at it."
"Wow, I can't wait to tell Kyle about that. I bet he'll want to try it."
"Anyway, speaking of couples, most of the so-called boyfriends aren't gay. If you brought a gaggle of girls on board the Sooloo, they'd take them to bed in a hurry. And really, there aren't that many couples. Mostly it's horny straight boys wanting to get off with somebody, anybody. It's like me sucking Jesse Gross—he was just a straight boy who wanted to get his cock sucked. There was no way he was going to turn it down no matter who was sucking it.”
"But there are gay couples, too. I mean me and Kyle and you and Brad are two. And Hal and Dave, Jordan and Jace, Aiden and Connor are some of the serious gay couples. But they're so serious I don't think they'd want to mess around like we're doing."
"But I think I know who would love to try playing around," Steve said. "Randy Jenkins and Whit would be perfect. Randy and I both like off the wall sex, at least from the things he said."
"Wow, we could get all six of us together and have an orgy or something," Danny gushed.
"Don't go overboard here." Steve felt Danny's raging three-inch hard on. "Before we crash, I think we need to take care of each other," he told his friend. "I believe the magic number is sixty-nine,"
That turned out to be exactly the case.
It had been three weeks to the day since the Sooloo headed for Alpha Draconis. They were now close enough that Kyle could see planets orbiting the star. The closest one was a blue planet with a red "dwarf-star-size" satellite. The next closest planet was about as far out as Jupiter is from the sun. Dave thought it would be wise to get more information about the first planet.
After sending a long-range probe, and getting information back, Randy Thompson spoke up, "The atmosphere is very close to Earth's, but with a lower nitrogen rating and a noticeable sulfur content. From what I can tell, the temperature is a bit warm. The average temperature of the planet surface at this time is 35° Celsius (95° Fahrenheit)."
Randy was getting ready to say more, but Aiden Douglass called out, "We are being attacked! They came out of nowhere; shields are up!"
The first hit shook the ship and Aiden called out, "Shields are down to 85%."
"Try contacting them, and if you can't, can you get a lock on them?" Dave inquired. "Try to take out their weapons array."
"Negative, that ship is not responding to our hails, but is maneuvering around us like a butterfly. She's faster and more agile than we are, Sir. Shields are down to 70%."
"Send out a general distress call and keep trying to hail them. If you manage to get any lock on that ship, take a shot. We will not go down without a fight."
Several hits later, Aiden warned, "We are down to 10% shield. Next hit will leave us without shields. More ships are coming Sir..."