With repairs being completed, Jace Blackwell and Brad Kanye were working together, looking over the personnel in the IS Department. "You've seen them at work more than I have, do you have anyone in mind?" Jace inquired.
"Well, we only have three officers, and the rest are crewmen. The officers are Roger Duncan, Tai Fujima and Benjamin R. Kennedy. Ben is alright, but he's more bark than byte."
Jace started to chuckle but then corrected himself, "Are you saying that because his initials are BRK? It is kind of cute, but we need to be careful. It would be like calling you 'King' because your initials are BBK. While it may not be meant as offensive, some may be offended."
"I actually have the nickname 'King' for that very reason," Brad stated with a grin. "I kind of like it, but I see what you are saying. Anyway, as I said, Ben is good and deserves his position, but I don't think he's ready for the assistant position."
"What about Tai? I understand that he's been working on computers since before he could talk."
Brad just shook his head slowly. "That may be true, but he doesn't have any people skills. Personally, I think our best choice is Roger. Tai knows more about computers than Roger, but Roger knows how to deal with the crew. When given a task and a team, he knows how to delegate and get the job done. Tai just tries to do everything himself."
Jace looked at Brad, smiling before saying, "Then I believe you already know who to promote. Should we let Captain Bowman know of our choice before informing Roger?"
Brad chuckled, "I think Dave would appreciate that."
With that, Brad and Jace went to find Captain Bowman in his ready room. They hit the chime and Dave told them to enter. Jace looked at the captain and said, "Sir, Commander Kanye has made a decision of who he believes would be the best choice for the Assistant Chief over the IS Department."
"Good to hear; why don't I get Hal and Jordan in here so we can get their thoughts, as well?" Dave asked, then proceeded to call the missing officers to his Ready Room. As they waited, Dave queried, "How much longer until Brad's quarters are ready for him to move into them?"
Jace grimaced, "I had planned to have them ready before 1200, but with the damage to the ship taking priority, it may not be until later this evening, or tomorrow. Even with the twelve-hour delay, my goal is to have the quarters ready by 1800 tonight. Once done here, Brad and I can inspect the quarters; I would like to see if he would like anything special done to make his quarters more personal, while I am working on it."
Dave gave Jace a grin, "Understandable, the ship does need to take priority, but I am sure that the sooner Brad has his own quarters, the sooner both he and Mr. Robinson will be even happier. And with the delay, only six hours later is impressive."
"I'm grateful that Kyle offered to share quarters with me," Brad declared, "but yeah, I think we both will be. Especially since he discovered his friend. As to making it personal, if I could do something like you and Jordan did, having the bedroom separate from the rest, and then a dining area and your front entrance room, I think I would like that."
Jace was about to say something when the door chimed. Dave called out for whoever to enter, suspecting that it would have been Hal and/or Jordan. As the door opened, Hal walked in, followed by Jordan. Dave looked at Jace and asked, "Would you like to explain to these two why we are all here?"
Jace looked at Brad, "I would, but since this is Commander Kanye's department and his choice, which I fully back, I believe I will let him explain."
"Sirs," Brad started, "Commander Blackwell and I have been discussing who to promote to the Assistant Chief of IS position. I am confident that the best choice is Ensign Roger Duncan."
Hal looked at Brad and had to ask, "Have you considered Tai Fujima? From looking at the personnel reports, he is better with computers, surpassed only by you and Jace."
Brad gave a grin that said, 'I know what I am doing,' and then spoke, "Yes Sir, I have. As I explained to Jace, while Fujima may know computers better, he tends not to delegate and does the work himself. Duncan does know the systems, and when given a team, his team always outshines the other teams. He knows how to delegate properly, and he's good with the crew. Duncan isn't afraid to share his knowledge with those willing to listen, and he will demonstrate what he expects if needed. Overall, I believe Ensign Duncan is the best candidate to run the department in my absence."
Jordan nodded, "It sounds to me like you've put enough thought into your decision. Providing Ensign Duncan is willing to accept the promotion, you have my support."
Dave gave Brad a nod, "Very well, Commander, ask Ensign Duncan to join us in the briefing room at 0800 and we will see what he thinks."
With the meeting concluded, Brad and Jace headed for Brad's quarters. Dave and Hal walked with them, heading for their own quarters. Jordan stayed on the Bridge to oversee diagnostics and prepare to resume course once completed.
Once they were at Brad's quarters, Jace punched in the code to open the door. As soon as the door opened, Brad gasped, shocked by what he saw.
Jace called out, "Captain, Commander, you need to see this."
Kyle walked onto the bridge finding, as expected, John Luke there waiting for him. He took his seat at the Astrogation station, then turned to his Assistant and said, "They've got the new lens installed. We need to make sure it's aligned properly. Last time I did it, but I want you to know how to do it also, so this time, you'll do it and I'll supervise. If you have any questions, I'll be right here to help, but you're going to do it."
John Luke looked a little apprehensive, but knew he would be able to accomplish the task. Nodding, he explained and performed the tasks as Kyle guided him through the process.
"First thing we need to do is to make sure that the telescope is clear of any obstructions. How do you think we do that?"
With confidence John said, "Simple. Look through it. It doesn't matter what we look at, we just want to make sure that we can look through it."
"Exactly, then what?" Kyle queried.
"Then we take the alignment readings using the alignment lasers. If any adjustments need to be made, we do so until we have a variance of less than 2 microns."
"Exactly, then what?"
"Then we take readings based on our known position, calculate them and determine if there is any variance. If there is, we may have a faulty lens. This isn't likely since we did an analysis on it before we put it in the telescope, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have been damaged during installation."
Kyle smiled, knowing that John Luke would be able to perform this task with little or no help. "Okay, I'll be here if you have any questions, if you don't, we'll be done soon."
John got to work as Kyle sat back. Jordan had been watching as Kyle got John working and made a note to talk to Dave and inform him about how professional Kyle had been during this process. He showed true leadership ability in how he handled this task.
Thirty minutes later, John Luke brought his figures, diagrams, and calculations to the Chief Astrogator. Kyle reviewed them and gave John a smile. "You've done good work, John. I think we can let the Captain know we're ready to get on with our calculations to continue our voyage. You did it, so why don't you do that?"
The pride was evident on John Luke's face as he walked over to inform the Jordan.
On the Bridge, everyone was busy. Kyle Robinson and John Luke were busy with navigational procedures, the Engineering station was manned by one of the junior officers since Jace and Connor were occupied supervising the repairs to the ship. Aiden had a member of his staff manning the Tactical station.
Aiden was on comms talking with a crew member who was reporting activity that Aiden would need to investigate. "I'll look into this further, you have my word." Aiden then closed the comm channel, looking forward, deep in thought. He came to realize that this was something he needed to bring to the attention of his senior commanders.
"Commander Rivers, do you have a moment?"
"Sure, what's up?"
"Can we go into the briefing room, Sir?"
After making sure the bridge was properly staffed, and notifying Kyle he'd be the ranking officer on the bridge for a few minutes, the pair entered the room and as soon as the door closed and the two sat across the table from one another Jordan asked, "So, what did you need to talk to me about in private?"
"Jordan, I've received some complaints."
"What sort of complaints… and how many?"
"Well, they're all about one specific officer. He's being accused of taking advantage of his position and literally harassing several junior officers and crewmen. If I'd only received one or two, I could just think of them as misunderstandings, however I've received nine so far. I think there may be something to it."
Jordan shook his head and said, "It's Richard Head, isn't it?"
Aiden was dumbfounded; "How did you know?"
"I didn't. But I think I know the crew and his was the first name that came to mind. I somewhat expected there'd be problems with him."
"What happens if we substantiate these claims?"
"Well, he'd have to be confronted. If it's determined that he's overstepped his authority, and it was a malicious act… ultimately it would be up to Dave, Hal and me to determine what would happen. It could be anything from a reprimand to a demotion. If I were you, I'd have someone in mind to replace him if it comes to that."
"I know my staff and I know exactly who I'd choose, but let's wait and see. Why don't we make mention of it during the 0800 briefing? We'll have a lot of free time once we get into FTL. I'm told it will be weeks before we'd return to normal space."
"Sounds good. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. After the briefing, let's meet again and bring the crew members who've lodged complaints in and talk to them together."
"Yes Sir. That sounds like a workable plan. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me."
"Any time, Aiden. Now let's go back and see if they've managed to destroy the bridge while we were gone."
As they were walking toward the door back onto the bridge Aiden laughed and said, "I don't think they'd cross Kyle. The crew does respect him for the most part. I know I do."
Jordan agreed, "Yeah, I respect Kyle, too. He has some problems to deal with, but don't we all..."
"Can one of you tell me your names, please?" Dave pleaded. Hal was seated beside him as he had been trying to get information from these two boys for over an hour. Finally, he hit the comm, "Commander Blackwell, report to my Ready Room, immediately."
"He did seem to connect with them earlier," Hal assured.
Brad stepped onto the Bridge as Jordan and Aiden returned from their meeting. He had his hands behind his back as he approached Kyle and John Luke. "Kyle, I have some good news for you. We found Megrez."
Kyle started to get excited, but then thought about when they thought they found him before. He also considered the chances of a third penguin. "Are you sure that it's Megrez, this time? I'll go check him out when I am done here. After all, my duties to the ship MUST take priority."
Brad was smiling big; Aiden and Jordan could see what was behind his back, but Kyle couldn't. "You don't have to wait, I brought him with me," Brad announced as he brought his hands around, holding Megrez caringly in one of them.
Seeing the penguin, Kyle started getting excited. It sure looked like Megrez. He accepted the penguin from Brad and inspected him. This IS his missing penguin. Kyle hugged the penguin and asked, "Where did you find him?"
Aiden spoke up, "We'll discuss it more in detail in the meeting. I wanted to tell you almost an hour ago, but Brad wanted to surprise you."
"Yeah," Brad looked down, "I'm sorry that it took so long to get here, but I had duties that needed my attention as well. One of those duties included informing an ensign to be at the meeting at 0800. I didn't want to do it over the comm."
Kyle gave Brad a hug, "I understand, I'm just glad you brought him to me. Thank you." Kyle then placed the penguin in his usual spot on the Bridge and Jordan could have sworn the penguin smiled.
"Hi again, boys," Jace was squatted down so he could look them in the eyes. "My name is Jason, but my friends call me Jace."
"My brother's name is Jason," the more active boy stated. "My name is Jonas."
Jace smiled, "Good to know Jonas. How did you get on the ship?"
"Ummm," Jonas seemed to fidget, not wanting to answer.
"Do your parents know that you are here?"
"We have no parents," Jonas answered. "They was killed two years ago." As if to emphasize, Jonas held up two fingers. Upon hearing this, a tear started in each of the officers' eye.
"I see, so who was looking out for you?"
"I look out for Jason, 'cause Mommy and Daddy said that he's artistic."
Jace gave a weak smile, "Do you mean autistic?"
"Yeah, that," Jonas confirmed.
"So ummm," Jace asked, "Who looks out for you? Will anyone know that you are missing?"
"I don't know, maybe," Jonas gave a shrug. "We was in an orphanage, but they wanted to split us up."
"What? Why?" Jace raised his voice a little, causing Jason to jump. "I'm sorry, it just upsets me that they wanted to split you boys up," Jace apologized.
"Well, ummm…" Jonas was hesitant, but seeing how Jace apologized, and doesn't think they should be split up, he added, "they caught me sucking on… on… on Jason's peepee. It makes him feel good and I like it."
"And there is nothing wrong with that," assured Jace.
Dave added, "Yeah, most of the boys on this ship like doing that, so you have nothing to be ashamed of."
"Really?" Jonas seemed more at ease.
Hal nodded his head, "Really, I admit, I've done it."
Dave told Jonas, "We have a meeting through that door. If you boys want to play in here, I'll see if I can find some toys for you to play with, and then we'll figure out what we can do about you. You won't be leaving the ship any time soon, I can assure you of that."
Jason spoke for the first time, "Can we stay with Jace? I like him."
As everyone took their seats, Ensign Duncan sat beside Brad, confused as to why he was called to this meeting. Once all were seated, Dave said, "First, as you may have noticed, we have an ensign with us. Brad, would you explain to your officer why he is here?"
"Gladly, Sir," Brad grinned, then turned to Roger, "As you know, I was the Assistant Chief of the IS Department. After an accident removed the Chief from active duty, I was promoted to the Chief position. Since that time, I had been… what are you smiling about?"
"Sir, if you are asking me if I am interested in being the Assistant Chief, I am, but wouldn't Tai be a better choice? He knows the computers better than almost anybody, and…"
"That has been discussed," Brad interrupted his officer. "I believe overall, you are better qualified. Don't cut yourself short, you are every bit as good as Ensign Fujima, plus I believe you care more about the ship, as you have demonstrated here. Of the three ensigns in our division, who has had the most success with a team? Who is better at delegating, which includes putting the right person on the job? Who is more willing to show his crew the proper way of doing something?"
Ensign Duncan looked at Brad, "I was just doing my job to the best of my ability, Sir. I understand why you are considering me, and with what you have said, I do accept. I just hope that I can serve you… and the ship, even better as I learn more from you and gain more experience."
"From what I've seen, Lieutenant Duncan, you will," Dave stated, sliding the lieutenant insignia over to Brad, who in turn handed them to Roger. Roger looked stunned, not realizing that the promotion included a promotion in rank.
"Next, gentlemen," Dave moved on, "as many of you know, we have found our thief, or rather thieves. Thanks to Aiden and his crew, along with an assistance by Brad, who fought with me on the right to return him, Megrez has been returned to Kyle, along with everything else that was taken being given to their rightful owners."
"So, who were the thieves?" Kyle asked.
Connor inquired, "How did they get into everyone's quarters?"
"Those questions will be answered with our next subject. It seems that we had two young stow-a-ways. They are orphans, and one is autistic. They used the air ducts to gain entry. I can't send them back to earth as we are too far out, and we can't spare the crewmember or the shuttle, so what are we going to do?"
Aiden looked up, "Sir, I don't think Connor and I can take responsibility, but we would like to help in any way we can. Being that we were orphans ourselves…"
"I concur with Aiden," Connor agreed.
Jordan looked at Jace and could feel his heart. He simply asked, "You've grown attached to them, haven't you?" Jace just nodded. "Sir, Jace and I were talking about adopting once we return to Earth. While we won't be officially adopting these two boys until then, we would like to take responsibility over them."
"I was hoping you would say that. They are twins, but the blond boy is autistic, his name is Jason and he has expressed wanting to stay with Jace."
Jordan was a little surprised, "One of them is named Jason? Then we have to take them in. What's the other one's name?"
Jace responded quietly, "Jonas."
Jordan looked up, "It's settled, Captain. We can convert the area we set up as a dining room as their bedroom. Jace and I will take care of them. And I'm sure Shadow will be of help to Jason."
Jace smiled, "I have heard that animals have a way with autistic people."
Dave continued with the meeting, "That settled, next on the agenda... Status report on each department? I have heard from most of the departments that they are ready; is there any not ready to resume our mission?"
Jordan replied, "All departments have stated that they are ready, Sir, however in Security, Aiden has received a number of complaints about one of his officers, nine total, I believe. He and I will be conducting interviews once we return to FTL status."
Roger spoke up, "Was one of those complainants Ensign Harper? I know that he was harassed by the Assistant Chief of Security."
"Make that ten, Sir," Jordan stated. He could see anger in Kyle's eyes.
Dave ordered, "Conduct your interviews. Hal will have the bridge until you are done. Let me know what you discover." With that, Dave adjourned the meeting. Everyone took their places as the ship resumed course.
Once they egressed from the solar system, Kyle set the ship to FTL 9, then turned over his station to Lt. Tyler Lynch. "Come on, Megrez, it's time for you to return to our quarters."
Kyle clutched his precious penguin as he made his way back to his quarters. Since Brad had handed him Megrez, he had used every ounce of his training to maintain the poise of a senior officer. It would not do for him to breakdown on the bridge of Sooloo. He was tired of being a twelve-year-old who was supposed to act like he was eighteen, yet acting like he was eight.
But, maintaining that poise was becoming harder and harder as he approached his cabin. Kyle barely remembered trudging through the corridors as he tried to make his feet move faster. He entered his cabin and set Megrez on his bed and undressed completely.
"I am so happy you're back, Megrez," he said in a shaky voice, after pulling off his shirt. Now that he was alone, he didn't care if he acted like an eight-year-old and talked to a stuffed animal. He once again had the little penguin he loved so much. "I'm happy those little bastards didn't harm you."
He sat on the bed and petted the little stuffed animal along each wing and then stroked its back. He set Megrez down and walked around the cabin, trying to control his emotions, working hard not to cry and not to throw something. "I can't believe that two little brats took you, Megrez. They stole you from me. They might as well have cut out my heart if they would have damaged you." Kyle knew he was exaggerating some, but he was furious.
"They were so lucky I didn't see them or I would have been in their stupid little faces and told them what a pair of little fuckers they were. I hate them and I hope Dave keeps them locked up for the rest of their lives."
Kyle sat back on the bed and placed the animal on his lap. He knew that if he quit being angry he would bust out crying, and that aspect of acting like an eight-year-old was what he didn't want to do.
"I hope I never see them, Megrez, because they will be so sorry they took you. And I mean really fucking sorry. I hate them, I hate them, I HATE THEM!!!" The red beak of the penguin pointed at him, its face expressionless, its eyes glistening. "You deserved better than being kidnapped. Much better. I hate them. I just wish I knew what to do now. I am so fucking pissed off I don't know what to do."
Kyle rose from the bed once again and walked to his small cabin window, carrying Megrez with him. He looked out at black space dotted by stars as unblinking as the eyes on his penguin.
'We are about love,' came the voice into his head—the voice of the stars. 'We are about forgiveness. We are about making things right. You know what we are about because you have our qualities locked in your heart. You love Megrez. Now you must love those who have been loving him since he entered their lives. Hate is not part of your heart, Kyle Robinson. Never is it a part of your heart.'
"No," Kyle protested. "I am not giving Megrez back to them. I am not. He is connected to my heart."
'We know that. The two of you are connected through the stars, through us, and you belong together forever.' Kyle looked down at Megrez and noticed that he was not facing out of the window like he thought, but back to his chest of drawers.
It was then that the darkness in his mind and the light of the stars began to shine in his heart. "I love you, Megrez," he whispered as he walked to the chest. "You are right my friend. You and the stars are right. The answer to what I do now is in here."
Kyle opened the top drawer and pulled out Al Bear. He sat on his bed once again, sitting his stuffed bear to one side of him and his stuffed penguin to the other, holding their soft bodies against him. He thought about how his father had given him the bear before he left Earth to serve as a connection. Al Bear was meant to help ease the emptiness and loneliness, the darkness, that he felt so often when he needed the love and hugs from his father that never came to him.
Then he thought of the darkness the two little twins must have felt, moving through the ship, afraid of being caught, foraging for food and searching for things to give them comfort. Megrez had given them comfort just as the penguin had always given himself comfort. "I know they loved you Megrez. I know it. That is why they wanted you. No, why they needed you, just like I needed you."
He looked at the bear. "They need you, Al Bear. They need somebody to love and to hug and sleep with when they get lonely. My dad gave you to me to tell me he loves me. Now, I am going to give you to Jason and Jonas because I love them and want to be their friend. And it means my dad loves them, too."
'Love the bear,' came the voice of the stars. Kyle picked up Al and set him on his bare groin. He felt himself harden as the light pressure and warmth of the teddy bear stimulated his boy cock. He started rubbing his erection along the bear's soft, yet rough fur, his small fucking motions bringing him close to orgasm. One last thrust took him over the edge and he grunted, wondering what it was he had just done.
He felt some wetness on the fur and realized he had just squirted a drop or two of cum. It was then that Kyle realized what he had done. He had given a small drop of his life to Jason and Jonas, two boys who knew loneliness more than even he did.
"I love you Al Bear. Now you can love my two new friends."
Kyle dressed himself in his work suit, not bothering to put on underwear. He picked up the bear, and went back out into the corridor. This time he didn't try to fight his tears, because he knew they weren't tears of anger or tears of sadness—he knew they were tears of love. The stars had told him so.
He passed two crewmembers who wondered why one of their senior officers was walking by them with tears running down his cheeks while he was holding a teddy bear. "Commander Robinson can get really weird, sometimes," one of them told the other, once they were out of earshot.
Kyle was almost to Dave Bowman's ready room when he saw Richard Head, aka Dick Head, in the corridor connecting him to the Captain.
"Well, will you look at this," Richard said to the empty corridor. "A little six-year-old senior officer holding a stuffed bear and crying his eyes out. I can't believe I got assigned to his scow. Going to go cry to the captain, little boy? Let him know what a miserable fuck you are?"
Kyle turned to the Lieutenant, not knowing that Richard had just had a chat with the Captain regarding his attitude. "I'm going to talk to him about one word you know nothing about," Kyle said, his voice steady in spite of his quivering emotions. "Love." He then turned and took the final steps to the Ready Room.
He clutched the bear that had a drop of his love on it close to his chest. He wanted to wipe his tears but couldn't unless he set the bear down, which he wasn't going to do. His body shook. He took a deep breath but it didn't stop his knees from shaking. Thoughts of empty days at school moved through his head. Thoughts of empty corridors on a star ship without enough food or enough love moved through his head. Thoughts of emptiness wanting to be filled with love moved through his head.
Kyle pushed the button for Dave's door chime. As he waited for the Captain to answer or call him in, he quivered and the tears that had been dripping down his cheeks turned to a flood. The sniffles that he fought turned to a flow of moisture through his nose, causing it to run. And a couple of little sobs turned to the bawling of a two-year-old. Richard Head had to smile. He knew that Kyle Robinson's stint as a senior officer would end as soon as the Captain's door opened.
As he opened his door. Captain Dave Bowman saw his Chief Astrogator standing outside, his cheeks flooded by tears, his nose running buckets down across his lips and chin, a teddy bear clutched to his chest as he cried noisily. At the same time he gushed out sobs of love, he was desperate for the hugs, love and the strength of a man.
When he saw the Captain, Kyle held Al Bear out to him and, as he forced the words out between sobs, "This is for them." He shook with sobs and then got out his last words, "This is… is… is for Jason and Jonas," before burying his face into Bowman's uniform shirt.
It took a moment for Dave to collect his own emotions. He held Kyle tightly, Al the Bear between them and choked out, "I am absolutely certain they'll love him as much as you do, Kyle. I'm so very proud of you! You are showing your true maturity in this act of love and kindness."
Lt. Head couldn't believe his eyes. He wanted to say something, but knew that he had better not. Looking out into the corridor, Dave noticed Richard Head standing there; his face betrayed the level of contempt he held not only for Kyle, but for Dave as well. Dave was looking forward to the results of Aiden and Jordan's investigation. He knew what he'd do, but he felt as if he needed to follow proper procedure.
Bowman closed the door to his ready room, placed his arm around the sobbing boy, and led him to the sofa. "It's okay, Kyle," the Captain said gently. "You did the right thing. It was very brave of you to walk here with your emotions out in the open."
"I acted like a baby. I hated them, Dave. I hated them for taking Megrez and now… now… I know it was wrong and want to help them and give them my love and I got so confused." Dave handed Kyle some tissues, which he quickly went through.
"No, you didn't act like a baby, Kyle. You acted with maturity through a tough situation. Dealing with emotions instead of burying them inside of you is not easy, whether you're twelve, or eighteen. I'm proud of you for bringing the bear to me." The Captain gave his Astrogator a serious, yet friendly look. “Here is why I think you're being mature. From what I was told, when Brad handed you Megrez, you acted like it was nothing. He might as well have handed you a pencil for all the emotion you showed. Everybody there knew how you felt about that penguin, but you barely cracked a smile. To me, Kyle, you wanted to show the crewmen around you that you were a senior officer who won’t have his emotions control him when he has a duty to perform. Remember how you acted when you found Megrez missing? That type of behavior showed far less maturity.”
Kyle sniffled and Dave handed him the entire box of tissues. Kyle had managed to gain a measure of control over himself. He blew his nose and wiped his face. Dave handed Al Bear back to Kyle, who set it on his lap. The drop of love juice which had dried by now would be Kyle's secret.
"You're really proud of me? You're not just making me feel good."
"You dealt with some very rough emotions. You resented what Jonas and Jason did to you, and yet you dealt with them and made the right decision. It takes a man to look at himself in that kind of situation and do the right thing."
"Will you give Al to the twins?"
"Nope. You're going to do that, and here is how you will do it." Dave proceeded to explain where the twins were and what'll be happening concerning them.
Jordan looked over at Aiden after the ninth complainant had left the briefing room. "Looks like there's something to these complaints. We have one more, after talking to Danny we'll have a pretty good idea of what to recommend to Dave."
Aiden agreed as they heard the chime indicating the last interviewee, Danny Harper, was there. After calling out to come in, Danny took a seat across from the two senior officers.
Aiden opened the interview, "Danny, we were told that you had an experience with Richard Head the other night. Can you please, in your own words, explain what happened?"
"Yes Sir. I had just gotten off of my duty shift and was going to meet Kyle… Commander Robinson for dinner. He and I are old friends and we haven't seen each other in a long time."
After Danny paused, Jordan then stated, "We know, Danny. Please continue."
"Lieutenant Head was in the corridor when I exited the Pilot's lounge. He told me he had a report that needed to be taken to Lieutenant Boyer and wanted me to take it. I explained that I was off duty and had plans to meet Commander Robinson but he said he didn't care if I was off duty, he was giving me an order and I had to do it."
"So, he handed me a memory stick and I went to the Admin office to take it to Lieutenant Boyer. Lieutenant Boyer was confused because he wasn't expecting any report from Lieutenant Head. Any reports from Security would come from you, Sir, Commander Douglass."
"That's right, it would." Aiden confirmed, then added, "and not only that, I would have given them to Commander Rivers, directly. He may have had Boyer take care of them, but he IS the Chief of Operations."
Danny continued, "Before I left, Lieutenant Boyer stopped me and asked if I had given him the right memory stick because the one I'd given him was blank. I've been thinking about it since I heard that Lieutenant Head doesn't like Kyle… um… Commander Robinson so maybe he knew I was gonna have dinner with him and wanted to make me late."
Aiden looked over at Jordan before stating, "I think we have all we need at this point, Ensign. Thank you for coming in to talk to us. Please do not discuss this with anyone, and that includes Commander Robinson. You are dismissed."
Danny stood and saluted the two, turned and left the briefing room.
Jordan opened a comm channel to Lieutenant Boyer and asked, "Lieutenant, did Ensign Harper bring you a memory stick from Lieutenant Head?"
"Yes Sir. It was strange because it was blank. After Ensign Harper left, I compared the serial number of the memory stick and found that it was, in fact, registered to Lieutenant Head."
"Thank you, Lieutenant. If I need anything more, either Commander Douglass or I will get back to you. Please do not discuss this with anyone."
Aiden turned to Jordan and said, "I think we need to take this to Dave and Hal. We have a serious problem here, in my opinion."
"I agree." Jordan said before opening a comm channel to the Captain in his quarters.
Upon answering, Jordan stated, "Sir, Commander Douglass and I have just concluded a preliminary investigation into some complaints we've received about the Assistant Security Chief, Lieutenant Richard Head, and we feel we need to discuss our findings with you."
"Ok, Commander, we'll be right there."
Hal and Dave entered the briefing room where we found Aiden and Jordan waiting for us. After they were seated, Dave asked, "So gentlemen, what was it exactly that you needed to see us about."
Jordan replied, "Sirs, Commander Douglass had received a number of complaints, as you know. We interviewed all nine of the complaints he'd received and spoke to Ensign Harper – who hadn't filed a complaint, but we know from the staff meeting, had a relevant experience."
Aiden picked it up from that point, "One or two complaints were to be expected, however when I received so many from different areas of the ship, I had to take notice. In each case, the descriptions of the behavior were so similar it's difficult to believe they weren't actually happening."
Hal asked, "Could you explain what's been going on?"
"Yes Sir. Three of the complainants, and the least egregious of the lot, described being treated with less respect than one might expect. Four, in addition to Ensign Harper, reported that this individual ordered them to perform duties that were in no way their responsibilities. These ranged from sweeping out a storage closet by an Ensign from the shuttle bay. The storage closet was in the residential section of the junior officer's wing, to Ensign Harper being ordered to deliver a report from Security to Lt. Boyer. This wouldn't ever happen in that any reporting interaction between Security and Operations would be handled by Commander Rivers and myself directly. In addition, the memory stick that was given to Ensign Harper was blank."
Jordan continued, "It's been well known that the individual, Lieutenant Richard Head, doesn't like Commander Robinson. Ensign Harper had an appointment with Commander Robinson and was told when he informed the Lieutenant that he had such an appointment that it didn't matter who he had an appointment with, he'd given the Ensign an order and it would be carried out. In my opinion, this was done maliciously. In my opinion, we have a bully as second in command of Security."
Dave shook his head, "I had a feeling we'd be having problems with him. I haven't seen anything with my own eyes but my instincts said he was going to be trouble. When time permits, let's bring him in and confront him with this evidence. Commander Douglass, just in case, have an idea who you would replace him with as Assistant Chief. There should be no further discussion of this matter with anyone outside this room until that time."
"Yes, Sir." Both Jordan and Aiden replied.
After Jordan and Aiden left, Hal said, "You know you're going to have a major problem if you decide to demote him. We may have to take some pretty drastic action."
"That's what I'm afraid of, Babe. Let's just see how this pans out."
Kyle awoke with an uneasy feeling. He couldn't quite figure out what it was but it was tangible to him. He shook off the feeling and looked at his clock. 1115, time to get up and ready for his shift starting at 1200.
He took a quick shower, dried himself, dressed and headed up to the bridge. Kyle arrived at the navigation table on the bridge about 1145. The crewman on duty gave him a report that all seemed normal.
Kyle couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. He peered into the ocular of the telescope and he heard them, the stars had spoken to him. The feeling that something wasn't right intensified. He took readings of the key navigation stars, sat back, and used his computer to make some calculations.
When he'd finished, all color drained from his face. He recalculated the position of the ship three times before calling John Luke.
"John, I need you to come up to the bridge for a bit. Something is not right and I need you to verify my figures."
"Sure, Kyle. I'll be right there."
Jordan, the officer in charge of the bridge, overheard Kyle and asked, "Something is wrong? Should we come to an all stop?"
"Ummm, maybe," Kyle replied as he recalculated one more time, waiting for John to return. He explained what he'd found to John but refused to let John see his calculations. John repeated the readings that Kyle had done and did his own calculations. They were only slightly different than Kyle's.
The pair overheard Jordan issuing an "All Stop" order to the helm.
"This is really freaky." John Luke's expression betrayed a level of confusion.
"Do you realize what this means?"
John shook his head, as if to clear it and said, "It means we've gone way farther than we expected to go in this amount of time."
"It means we've traveled almost 490 light years in about 4 and a half hours. We'd have to be traveling at nearly 40,000 times the speed of light. There's no way that could happen. We need to talk to the Captain about this."
Leaving John Luke to man the nav table, Kyle took his notes and approached Jordan. "Sir, something has happened and… I don't know how to say this, but… we're almost at our destination."
"First, if you ever think something is wrong like this, let whoever is in charge know right away. If what you say is correct, there is a chance we could have overshot our destination had we kept going," Jordan admonished Kyle as nicely as he could. "Second, are you sure? We were supposed to be at FTL for four weeks to get there."
"I can't explain it yet, but I think we need to inform the Captain."
"I agree." Jordan hit his comm and called the Captain's quarters, "Sir, you're needed urgently on the bridge. Commander Robinson has made a very curious discovery."
"Hal and I will be there in a few minutes." He then closed the comm channel.
Jordan reviewed both Kyle's and John Luke's notes and calculations while they waited for Dave and Hal to arrive.
When the two arrived, Dave asked, "So, what's got you two's panties in a twist?"
Jordan looked over at Kyle who said, "Sirs, it seems that we're only about five light years away from our destination."
Hal's surprise was evident when he asked, "How can that be?"
Kyle explained what he'd found. Surprise was evident on the faces of both senior-most officers of the Sooloo. Dave finally said, "Contact Commanders Blackwell and Marlin and get them to the briefing room in five minutes. The six of us will discuss this at that time."
Jordan nodded and said, "Yes, Sir." Jordan made the call and the four sat there saying nothing while they waited.
Jace was surprised with how quickly Brad's quarters came together. The twins helped him move their dining room stuff into Brad's dining room and all that was left was setting up the sofa and whatever else Brad may want for his front room, or 'living room.' Brad can arrange with Lt. Boyer for that, Jace's work was actually done, a half hour earlier than he originally planned.
Next on Jace's needs was to remove the bed Brad was using from Kyle's quarters. It will go into what was his and Jordan's dining room so the twins could use it. He will need to arrange a time with Kyle for when he can do that. For now, he wanted to get the boys back to their quarters and cleaned up.
While the boys were in the shower, Jace was looking through some of his clothes for anything that the boys could wear. The door chimed and two naked boys ran past Jace. Jonas opened the door while Jason hid behind the couch. "Jonas, don't answer the door naked," Jace chuckled, hoping that Steve Boyer wouldn't be as embarrassed by it as he was.
Steve just laughed, "They are boys. When I was that age, my mom had a heck of a time keeping me dressed. I remember one time in church… never mind. I came, knowing that the boys didn't have any clothes other than what they were wearing. I'm sure that they want something clean to wear, when they wear anything, so here you go." Steve handed Jace ten uniforms the perfect size for the boys.
Jace had just taken the uniforms, thanked Steve and handed one to each boy when his comm went off telling him to be at the briefing room in five minutes.
"Would you like for me to watch the boys for you?" Steve offered.
"We wanna go with Jace," Jonas proclaimed.
"Boys, I don't have time for you to get dressed. Steve is a really nice guy, and I promise, I will be back. You could maybe talk Steve into taking you and Shadow to the holodeck to play."
Reluctantly, Jonas agreed. As Jace was heading out the door, he informed Steve, "Brad's quarters are ready for him to move in, he may need some help, and he may need some furniture from you."
Steve smiled, "I'll take care of it, personally."
The two other officers entered and sat at the table. Dave asked Kyle to repeat what he'd reported.
"Sirs, it seems that we're only about five light years away from our destination. For that to happen… for us to travel the 490+ light years in this short a time we'd have to be traveling at speeds somewhere around…"
"Somewhere around 40,000 times the speed-of-light," interrupted Jace. "This ship wouldn't be able to handle that kind of speed, there's got to be another answer."
Kyle shook his head and said, "What about an artificial wormhole?"
That question hung in the air for a few minutes when Jace said, "That would definitely explain how we’ve gone so far, so fast, but… how?"
Speaking for the first time in the meeting, Connor postulated, "These engines have never been tested at FTL 9 for any prolonged amount of time. What happens at that speed is largely theoretical. I think we need to do some testing. By doing some bursts of FTL 9 over the remaining distance to our destination at gradually decreased time increments, we can come up with a more workable measure of what's happened. If we traveled roughly 485 light years in about five hours, we could do an initial test of say, fifteen minutes and see how far we get… then either decrease or increase the time until we get to our first destination."
After some additional discussion, a plan was put into place and Dave gave the order to implement the plan. They'd review it after they'd arrived at their first planetfall.
"It looks like we've got everything in my room," Brad Kanye said as he watched Steve Boyer and Whit Olson place the last of his things on his bed. With his own room, Brad was finally realizing that he was indeed on officer on a star ship. He was amazed how quickly his life had moved from a last-minute replacement on the crew of the Sooloo to an officer in the crew.
"Yep, it looks like we're done," Steve said. "Now you get to put all of your personal stuff away."
"Thanks for everything, guys."
"Well, this is in our job description," Steve grinned.
"Isn't everything in your job description?"
"I haven't had to fill in as captain, yet," Steve said with a chuckle.
"Yeah, but he would if he could," Whit said. Whit Olson was fourteen and a jack-of-all-trades crew member who did grunt work where needed. He was also trained to work on ship's security.
"I guess we better go," Steve said. "I'm sure the paperwork on my desk has grown by at least a foot while I've helped move furniture."
Steve and Whit headed for the door. "Could you hang on for a minute, Steve?" Brad asked. "I have a question for you."
Steve hung back as Whit gave everybody a wave and left the room. "What's up, Sir?"
"Don't 'sir' me in my room. Besides, you know more about the shit that happens on this ship than anybody."
"Okay, then, what's up?" Steve smiled. "What's your question?"
"I just wondered if you'd mind letting your paperwork stack up another six inches or so and help me put some of this stuff away."
"Is that an order?"
"No, of course not. It's a request to a, well, to a friend."
Steve saw a look of shyness on Brad's face. He couldn't recall the outgoing thirteen-year-old ever looking shy before, except maybe the time Brad and Kyle Robinson were briefly roommates. He liked how Brad looked. It made him appear even cuter. Steve knew he wasn't supposed to think of a commander and senior officer as being cute, but he couldn't help it. In his mind the African boy was cute, and there was nothing he could do about how he thought.
"Wow, I guess that makes us friends," Steve grinned.
"I hope so. You're always so helpful to me, and you've hung around with me a lot at meal time, and well, it's like you go out of your way to talk to me and well, I… um… I know I go out of my way to talk to you."
"If doing that makes us friends, then we're friends. But there is one important thing we should do to seal that friendship." Steve felt a throb of sexual energy pass through him, which surprised him. The thing he had in mind wasn't about sex, it was about friendship. But then, Brad was so cute he couldn't help but get turned on some.
"What's that?" Brad hoped it meant touching. He'd had a thing for Steve Boyer ever since the older boy came to his quarters when he and Kyle were roomies. He loved being around the sweet, easy going boy. He loved his smile, the brown hair on his head, his perfect white teeth, his brown eyes, hell, he even loved his organizational skills. Who else to help him organize his cabin than the person who appeared to organize everything on the ship?
"I have to show you," Steve said hoarsely. Somehow, his cock had become rock hard. He looked down towards his crotch and could see that his uniform pants were bulging slightly. 'What if Brad sees that?' Steve thought in a moment of panic.
Even though he was fourteen, Steve wasn't very experienced in the ways of sex. Sure, he'd jerked off with his various roommates and with some friends on occasion, but who at the prep school and academy didn't jerk off with friends and roommates? He'd made out a couple of times with a girl at home, but they never got past second base. And he'd certainly never had a boy standing in front of him cause him to spring a boner.
Brad's close to four-inch uncut cock was hard as well. He had even less of an idea why it was than Steve had about his. Brad was by far the more experienced of the two young teens. The sex among boys and girls in his neighborhood and former school in Kenya was loose and easy. He'd lost count of his jerk-off partners. He sucked and been sucked by a dozen boys or so. He'd been fucked by three boys and fucked two of them. He'd also had intercourse with two different girls.
None of those experiences had Brad feeling what he was feeling right then. It was like the attraction he'd been feeling toward Steve had just grown ten-fold. The experiences he'd had at home and the couple he had at the academy were sexual play and experimentation, not that he saw it as that. To Brad, it was all about sex. But, somehow, this felt different. It felt real. He had never been so totally turned on by just standing in front of a boy fully dressed.
Steve walked over to Brad and wrapped his arms around the smaller boy, giving him a body hug. "It's a friendship hug," Steve whispered, not certain if he believed that.
Steve broke the hug and stepped back, but Brad stepped up to Steve and gave him a hug of his own. "My friendship hug." Brad's cock was throbbing inside his pants and his body felt like it was on fire. "But, we need to have a very special hug," Brad said, so quietly Steve could barely hear him.
This time Brad stepped away. He grabbed his shirt and pulled the hem out of his pants, lifted it up, removed it, and tossed it onto the floor. Steve gasped as he saw the smooth, light chocolate color of Brad's slender chest.
"I'm skinny," Brad apologized.
"You're perfect," Steve said to himself as much as to Brad. He followed Brad's lead and removed his uniform shirt, dropping it next to Brad's. He didn't wait for Brad to move; he stepped in and once again wrapped his arms around his friend, their naked chests, damp from the heat of their desire, touching, causing their overcharged teen erections to come on the edge of creaming their pants.
"Kiss me," Brad pleaded.
While Steve had never kissed a boy, he had kissed his one-time girlfriend when he was thirteen and had figured out what to do. He bent down slightly and planted his lips on Brad's and kissed him hard. Like Steve, Brad had kissed a girl, but had never kissed any of the boys he'd messed around like this. But, right now he didn't care that Steve was a boy, because it didn't matter. What mattered was that Brad wanted his friend, desperately.
Brad opened his mouth and pushed his tongue against Steve's lips, which opened to allow him in. As their tongues battled, the teens did a mating dance to Brad's bed, and dropped onto the bare mattress, both on a side and facing each other.
Steve overcame the momentary guilt and shame he had felt at making out with a boy. This is not a boy, this is Brad Kanye, was the thought that shot through Steve's head as his teen hormones raised the level of fire inside of him. Steve's hand reached for Brad's uniform pants and pulled them and his gray and black boxers down to his shoes. 'Damn shoes,' Steve thought, as he fought to take them off and take the pants off and then pulled away and admired the most beautiful sight he had ever seen, Brad Kanye—naked.
To keep Brad from having to battle with his clothes, Steve quickly stripped and the teens were now naked. Steve admired Brad's hard, uncut cock, precum seeping out of it. He noticed just a couple of short, curly pubic hairs on his otherwise bare pubic area. Brad was so beautiful Steve almost wanted to cry.
Brad saw a boy with a cut cock about an inch longer than his, it's tip wet with precum. He saw a smattering of hair in his pubic area, and a smooth ball sac hanging down. He reached for Steve's balls and stroked them causing the older teen to moan with pleasure and surprise.
If the two boys hadn't been secretly in love with each other, seeing each other's sex-charged naked bodies would have sealed the deal. Brad knew what he wanted. He knew he needed to get it right away because his cock felt ready to explode just from the stimulus of Steve looking at it.
"Fuck me, Steve. I want you to fuck me now."
"Fuck you? In the butt?"
"I want you. I want you bad. I need you to fuck me bad," Brad cried out with desire.
"But how? It will hurt."
Brad looked around the room and breathed a sigh of relief when he quickly saw what he was looking for. He got off of the bed and pulled a small box out of the sack that held his toiletries. He found his tube of lubrication and pulled it out. While he did this, Steve lay on the bed panting as he admired Brad's brown ass as he bent down to retrieve what he needed.
"Put this on your cock and rub some in my asshole," Brad instructed. "You won't hurt me cuz I'm not a virgin." Then he looked Steve in the eye and said, "But I've never done this with somebody I love."
Steve rubbed lube on his cock, afraid the action of his hand would make him cum. Brad lifted his legs, exposing his beautiful ass to Steve, who instinctively knew what to do. He rubbed lube around Brad's anus.
"Now, put it in me, put your cock in me. Oh fuck, I want you to fuck me."
And for the first time in his life, Steve Boyer pushed his boyhood inside of another person and it was more fantastic than he ever dreamed it could be. He was afraid to move, it felt so good, but he finally got it in all the way to his pubes.
"Fuck me," Brad wailed, "fuck me before I shoot."
Steve started the fucking motion that was ingrained in the brain of every boy. The young teens grunted and moaned and kissed as Steve pumped in and out of Brad, in and out, in and out, feeling like his cock was about to explode and launch itself right off his body. While it wasn't the fastest fuck in history, its two-minute endurance caused it to end all too quickly.
"Oh, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck," Brad cried out as he had the first no-touch orgasm of his life, his cock spewing clear sweet cum on his brown chest and across his belly.
The squeezing motion of Brad's ass muscles ended any chance of Steve holding out and rammed his cock as deeply into Brad as it would go and cried out, "Oh, shit fuck, oh fuck, fuck…" and his balls emptied out into Brad's bowels with an orgasm that hit Steve to the core of his being.
Steve pulled out and Brad dropped his legs, letting Steve fall on top of his lover, his body getting sticky wet with Brad's discharge. The teens were fighting to catch their breath, fighting to get a semblance of consciousness.
Brad finally uttered the three words they were thinking but weren't sure if they should be used. "Oh, god, I love you Steve. I love you."
Steve felt tears on his cheeks. His life had always been about school and organization and doing the right thing, not about loving somebody. He planted a long, loving kiss on Brad's lips until he had to come up for air. "I love you, too, Bradley Kanye. I want you to be…," his voice dropped off and he said quietly, but with courage and conviction, "…I want you to be my boyfriend."
Brad's returned kiss was his answer. "Yes, always," he finished.
In a moment of panic, Brad looked at the time and let out a sigh of relief. They weren't late for anything.
Brad started dressing. "Aren't you going to wipe the cum off you?" Steve asked.
"No, it will remind me the rest of the day what happened."
"And I got some of yours on me, too. It will remind me that I just got myself the best boyfriend on the Sooloo."
The boys finished dressing and looked around Brad's quarters. "Looks like we didn't get anything put away," Brad said.
"I guess that means I'll have to help you with it after dinner," Steve grinned.
Brad knew that before then he would have to look up the rules regarding members of the crew, even officers, sleeping with a senior officer. Steve wasn't going to have to look anything up. His organized mind knew virtually every rule in the manual. He was all but certain he would be sleeping with Brad on his first night in his new quarters. Steve had a feeling he would be lasting a lot longer than two minutes this time.