Weeks after the funeral of Admiral Truefan, those in Space Fleet were still feeling the loss. Everyone loved him and he impacted many lives. Even though many on the Sooloo were mourning, they still had to prepare for their eventual departure. Commander Kyle Robinson worked with his new Ensign, being sure Mïtuti Tudupe was on top of his game.
As Commodore Tietokone, Admiral Bowman and their boys were leaving the ship for the last time, Drake Crusoe and Jonas Blackwell-River were hugging their boyfriends, crying. Drake, trying to act mature, told Oliver, "I wish you weren't leaving, but since you have no choice, I hope you and Matthew can get together."
"I like Matthew… a lot, but I love you," Oliver averred.
"I know, and I love you. Thing is, we will probably never see each other again, and I want you happy. Matthew makes you happy."
"He does, but if you ever come to the Academy, I hope we can get back together."
Jonas was having a similar conversation with Lars.
As the family boarded the Shuttle, Drake ran and hugged Will, while Jonas hugged Jace.
Everyone gathered in the Conference Room with Jordan entering last at 1249. "I want to thank everyone for being early. We can start now or wait until 1300."
"We might as well start now," Connor suggested.
"Very well," Jordan smiled. "As all of you have already figured out, Jace will be my First Officer. Kash as the Chief of Operations will be the Second Officer, though he doesn't have that title. Fourth in Command, as the Third Officer, will be Kyle, though that title doesn't exist, either."
Kyle's jaw dropped in surprise. "Me? Why me? I'm not even thirteen yet. Plus, I love being the Chief Astrogator."
"Kyle, you are the only one who has commented about wanting to be a Captain someday," Jordan explained. "Plus, when we were on New Earth, who did Dave put in Command of the search party?"
"Me," Kyle responded humbly. "But it's because I was available."
"Then, when we were dealing with the Rogue Star, who took charge? Need I say more?"
"But that's different," Kyle replied. "I hadn't been affected by the rogue star and I had a pretty good idea of what was really happening."
"Exactly," Jordan said. "You saw what you needed to do to defeat the star and you did it. A young, untested officer, and you jumped right in and took command like you were born to do it."
"I didn't have much choice. I was lucky I was right."
"One of the best quotes I heard at the academy, and I'm sure you've heard it as well is: 'Luck is when skill and opportunity come together.' You are right, you HAD to act and act decisively, and you had the skill to know what to do. And by skill, I don't mean just the science and strategy, but the right leadership skills. So, it's time to concede to the fact that you are qualified—no, make that more than qualified—to be fourth in command of this ship. One of the things I know you've learned serving in the Explorer Program is that age isn't always a factor since we all grow and mature at different rates, especially at your age."
Kyle was aware that he had the attention of everyone in the room, that the senior officers were focused on him. "Okay, I concede that I'm qualified. But I love astrogation and I love being the Chief Astrogator. What are my duties going to be as the third officer?"
"The answer to that is you're going to astrogate. Your job title will still be Chief Astrogator, it's just that you will be moving up in the chain of command. Nothing will change except that you'll have more duties and responsibilities."
"That won't be a problem for me," Kyle said as his poise and confidence returned.
"That's what I wanted to hear," Jordan said. He was happy to see Kyle quickly get over his shock, which he was certain would happen once Kyle saw what his new duties would mean.
"After Kyle, the chain of leadership will be Aiden, Connor, Brad, Randy Kohl and Dr. Tom. This is just a list of who runs the ship if everyone before them is not capable." Everyone nodded that they understood. "Next topic is Dave's Ready Room, or I should say, what was Dave's Ready Room. Kyle, I've heard you've been using it to conduct training with our new Astrogator."
Kyle looked sheepish, "It's just that the Astrogation Office is so small…"
"No need to explain, I understand," Jordan declared. "As long as the new owner doesn't have a problem with it."
"Going to make it Jace's Ready Room?" Kyle asked.
"Nope," Jordan grinned. "Dave's desk has already been removed and a second Astrogation table was put in. We're moving your office there. That Astrogation Table will not be able to control the ship like the one on the Bridge… unless you put YOUR command code in to make necessary changes."
"Oh wow. That is amazing. I mean totally amazing. Putting the astrogation table into training has always made me a little nervous because I like having it ready 24/7, and now it always will be. Well, all that said, I accept being your third officer and promise to give you the best I have to keep your trust in me. Thanks for the opportunity."
"You've earned it Kyle," Jordan declared with a grin. "Anyone have any questions?"
"Sir…" Kash began.
"Sir?" Jordan interrupted. "Hal and Dave never expected such formality except when necessary. That doesn't change with me."
Kash dropped his head, then looked up smiling, "Jordan, with Jace becoming First Officer, what happens to Internal Operations?"
"I'm glad you asked that. That position was created because Jace was excellent in Engineering AND Information Systems," Jordan stated. "With Jace becoming the First Officer, the position no longer exists, and Engineering and IS will go back under Operations."
"I know Jace was the only Internal Operations Officer, but is there any way I can get another Operations personnel, or two?"
Jordan pressed a button in front of him on the table, and the door leading to his Ready Room opened. "I already anticipated this question, Kash, I would like for you to meet Ensign Lenny Daniel, Ensign Clark Welling, Lieutenant Travis Kliiss and his younger brother Trevor Kliiss. Commodore Hal thought you could use four more personnel. Lieutenant Kliiss transferred from the SS Explorer; the other three just completed their Academy training."
"Works for me," Kash grinned, "Gentlemen, after this meeting, I will lead you to the Operations Officer and have my Assistant Chief assign your quarters and everything. I can't wait for him to meet you, Clark."
"If no one has other questions, we will be leaving Space Dock at 1300," Jordan declared. "Kyle, I would appreciate you on Astrogation and Ensign Mïtuti at the Helm."
"Already planned that way," Kyle stated with a grin.
After the meeting, Kash walked with his new crewmembers to Operations. He started chatting to get to know them better. "Travis, why did you leave the Explorer? Problems?"
"No, Sir," Travis responded. "The Explorer was a great ship, but when my brother completed his training, they didn't have room for him. I promised Mom that I would do everything I could to make sure we were on the same ship. Captain Freeman said that he hated to see me leave, but also that he understood."
"Trevor, why are you a crewman? Why not an officer?"
"I took the Ensign's exam, and scored a 98 on it," Trevor explained, "but I was told that if I became an officer, there was little chance of serving on the same ship as Travis."
"Who told you that?" Kash seemed doubtful.
"One of my classmates."
"Well, that was bullshit," Kash exclaimed. "If you would like to be an officer, I can see what needs to be done."
Trevor grinned, "Even if I have to retake the exam, I wouldn't mind."
As Kash walked into the Operations Office, He informed Steve, "We have four more personnel."
Steve didn't even look up, "Excellent, Jordan already gave me their names. Travis and Trevor, I need you to help in Engineering. Clark, I heard you were good on computers, so IS can use you. That leaves, Leonard…"
"I prefer Lenny," Ensign Daniel stated.
"Okay, Lenny," Steve corrected himself, "Security has a man in the Medical Bay, so if you can help them."
"Who's in the Medical Bay?" Kash questioned.
"Ensign Cox," Steve replied, finally looking at Kash. "He was… why are you smiling?"
"You didn't even see the new guys, did you?"
"Too busy," Steve answered. "Once we launch, I'll have more time to get to know them."
"Just make sure you get to know Clark," Kash chuckled.
"You'll find out soon enough."
The Sooloo was preparing to leave again. Jordan was wondering if anything or anyone would stop them this time. "All Departments report," he ordered. One by one, each department reported that they were ready.
Lieutenant Łukasz Trevor was standing at Tactical, "Space Fleet cleared us for departure."
"Very good," Jordan grinned, "Ensign Mïtuti, take us out."
"Aye, Sir, disengaging umbilicals…" As the ensign said that, there was a quick flicker indicating that the ship was now under its own power. "Retracting clamps."
The ship eased away from the space dock, and once it was clear, Tudupe set course for where Kyle programmed. "Excellent job, Ensign," Kyle averred.
"Leaving Space Dock is easy," Tudupe responded, "docking is just a little harder."
"Still, you did it properly, and I believe in acknowledging that," Kyle stated.
"You know, you haven't been an arrogant asshole once since you turned thirteen," Kyle said to his older husband.
"When was I ever an arrogant asshole?" Danny asked with mock innocence.
"Like you don't know. Back when we were little every time you had a birthday you wouldn't let me forget that you were older than me."
"That's not being an arrogant asshole, that's just collecting my reward for being the oldest one between us and making sure you understood you were the youngest one."
"Jeez, Danno, you're an Explorer officer and should be speaking proper English. You were the older one, not the oldest one and I was the younger one."
"Who's being the arrogant asshole now? Right now I am the oldest: O-L-D-E-S-T. Live with it."
"I'll live with it when you learn the difference between the comparative case and the superlative case." Danny shook his head and presented his younger the middle finger of his right hand. Kyle ignored it and went on with his rant. "I thought for sure the minute you became a teenager you'd be giving me nothing but shit until my thirteenth birthday."
"Oh, I could never do that, seeing as you're my superior officer and all. I'd hate to think of what you'd put in my evaluation. Probably something like, 'Commander Robinson needs to learn to show his commanding officer proper respect.'"
Kyle sat on their bed and looked up at the husband he loved so much. "Is sudden ignorance a part of becoming a teenager? You know I'm not your commanding officer since I'm your husband. You report to Jace for your evaluations."
"But you're still my commander on the job since you play like you're running Navigation," Danny pointed out.
"You know what?" Kyle asked with a sly smile.
"What you need is a good fucking. All we've done is mess around since your birthday and it's time for your senior officer husband to plow you hard fast and deep. It's time for him to show his teenage husband who is the superior officer and by doing so he will be making sure you're not an arrogant teenage asshole."
Danny said nothing. Instead, he quickly stripped off his uniform and underwear and stood naked in front of his younger husband. "You know what?" he asked as he moved his hard teen cock to within inches of Kyle's face.
"Yes, I do. I know you want it BAD, and I mean really BAD."
"So, quit talking and get naked."
Kyle was naked in an instant. "No more talk—let's do it."
Despite their strutting lead in to sex, the two knew there was more to this than macho talk. They knew instinctively that it was a time for them not to show who was dominant or superior, but to show just how deep their love for each other truly was. The two didn't have to say anything to that effect because they knew deep down what it was, they wanted. Their first serious sex since Danny turned thirteen was exactly what they wanted and needed—it was an expression of their deep-seated love for each other. Never had it been more obvious to each other than during that session on their bed.
Randy Jenkins was standing on the platform used for announcements. "If I may have everyone's attention. We had several people born during the month of June, but with getting ready to leave Earth, we hadn't had time to celebrate. Ben Maxey had made some beautiful cakes, but then one of the Cook's Assistants accidentally knocked several of them off this morning, so in a hurry we just have six plain white cakes. I know y'all look forward to seeing Ben's creations, but what can you do?"
A few of the boys groaned, but Randy Jenkins continued, "We did have one cake survive, but before it is revealed, let me read off those who birthdays we missed. On the fourth, Ensign Kai Daniels turned sixteen. On the fifth, Commander Brad Kanye turned fourteen, and Hosayaku Haimono Jaku turned seventeen. Then Danny turned thirteen, finally making him a teenager, on the twelfth, while our youngest member, Arytiss turned one.
"Crewman Wesley Scott turned seventeen on the eighteenth. Shasho, whose cake is the one that survived, turned twelve just three days ago. I won't mention that his father highlighted his name before giving me the list but didn't highlight his husbands. I don't know about anyone else, but I find THAT amusing."
Steve spoke up, "That's because Brad wouldn't let me highlight his, or I would have. But we both agreed to highlight Shasho's."
"Anyway, finally, we have Commander Connor Marlin-Douglass who will be fourteen, tomorrow. Let's have a round of applause for all of these young men."
Everyone applauded and grabbed a piece of cake. Shasho's cake was the first to disappear, but Randy made sure Shasho, Steve and Brad received a piece of it.
Juro fed Arytiss his cake, and the one-year-old boy still managed to make a mess of himself. Though many birthdays were delayed, all those involved understood, and everyone, especially Arytiss, enjoyed the cakes.
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