Voyagers Book II

Chapter Two: Surprises

A Collaboration of TrueFan, Zarek Dragon and Douglas DD

Bob Adams was assigned to a Martian hauler shortly before the Robinsons went to Mars on their vacation. Prince Zarek had invited Kyle to breakfast the morning of the trip, and then invited him to join him and Jace when they go to meet Medici.

Jordan turned down the Captaincy he was offered, and Commander Frank David accepted it. Jordan would have had first choice of ships, but since he turned it down David had his choice, he chose the SS Darastix.

John and Will went to Will's mom's yacht. As they were checking it out, they discovered a stowaway… a young boy named Drake had been using the yacht as a place to stay. He had run away from a group home where he felt unwanted. Will and John let him know he WAS wanted and made him very happy. They visited the Home and could see why Drake ran away.

Danny started the Fighter Pilots training session and Julian "Juju" Danvers was the first candidate selected to train. Fifty candidates were dropped. Juju may have an admirer.

Debriefing of the crew began and one admiral questioned Kyle's marriage and adoption of Koji. When Prince Zifaa said something on behalf of Kyle, that admiral wasn't pleased and started heading toward the prince.

A ceremony was held to honor the crew of the SS Sooloo and to promote Captain David Bowman to Commodore. The RDS Kaisokusen was given to Space Fleet during this ceremony and several other promotions took place, including the "Acting Ensigns" becoming actual Ensigns.

Oliver's adoption was officially finalized on his ninth birthday, the day before John and Will's wedding.

Saturday, 17 January 2122

Crusoe Yacht, in the Atlantic ~ 1100

Robinson's YachtThe Ballroom wasn't too full, mainly in attendance were John's and Will's families and their friends from the Sooloo. In all, about forty people attended. John Luke and Will were standing at the back of the ballroom. Everything was decorated in white and blue, the shade of the Operations Department. Drake Alexander was looking around at those present when his eyes spotted a boy sitting with Lars and Hal. The two boys' eyes met, and both felt an immediate attraction. Drake knew it wasn't the time to even ask about this boy.

Oliver however, turned to Hal and asked, "Who is that boy standing with the wedding party?"

Hal turned and looked but wasn't familiar with the boy. He turned to his new son and replied, "I don't know, but you can find out during the reception. Oliver smiled at this but couldn't take his eyes off the boy as Drake Alexander walked slowly down the aisle carrying the pillow with the rings. The pillow was blue with white trim. Once Drake was halfway, Robby walked down the aisle. Will had asked Robby to be his best man; Robby was excited when Will asked.

After Robby reached halfway down the aisle, Matthew, John's brother and best man, took his turn. Before he began his walk, he whispered to John and Will, "I'm wearing the butt plug you gave me for my birthday. I really like it." Finally, John and Will walked the aisle together. They were smiling because they loved each other, and they were thinking about what Matthew had just said.

Once they reached the front, Dave, being given the Captaincy of the yacht, began the ceremony, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here, in the face of this company, to join these two men in matrimony.

"It is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, advisedly, discreetly and solemnly. Marriage is the union of two people in heart, mind and body. It is intended for their mutual joy, and for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity. Through this union, John James Luke and Will Robinson Crusoe make a commitment to embrace their dreams, realize their hopes and to accept each other’s failings.

"Since the days of the first ships, Captains have enjoyed the joining of two people together in the bonds of holy matrimony. There is no greater joy for a Captain than to unite members of his crew. We are here today to witness this occasion, the celebration of love and commitment with which these two men begin their life together. Not separately, but as two halves forming a whole.

"If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together, then let them speak now, or forever hold their peace."

At that time, there was a lot of noise as a shuttle was hovering over the bow of the yacht. A ladder extended down and a man in Operations Blue Dress uniform climbed down. Will looked confused when he saw the man. His mom almost fainted but called out, "ROBERT?!?!"

The man ran down to Will's mom and hugged her. Will cried out, "Dad? How? Why?"

The man explained, "I vaguely remember what happened. My shuttle lost power and was about to crash, so I bailed out. Apparently, I was in a coma for twelve years as a John Doe. Next thing I knew, I woke up in a hospital a week ago. When the hospital found out I was with Space Fleet, they called Fleet Admiral Mirah. He told me that they found my shuttle but there was little left and since no one could have survived that, they thought I was dead."

Robert continued, "He also told me that Robby was born shortly after the crash, that Will was getting married today and that I should definitely be here."

Fidgeting with her wedding ring, Danielle cried, "I have missed you so much."

"Yeah, Mom refused to date anyone because she felt like you were still alive," Robby blabbed. "Everyone thought she was just still grieving, but now that I see you, maybe she knew deep down that you were."

Commander Robert Crusoe looked at Robby and smiled, "Maybe she did, anyway, I came to watch my son get married."

Robby looked at Will and then to the man he just met for the first time, "Dad, I don't really know you, but I think Will would be honored if you took my place as his best man."

"I appreciate the offer, and I am touched that you would do that for me. Your mom raised you well. If Will wants me to be his best man, I will be, but…" Robert looked at Will, "I think the best man for the job already has it."

"I would love for you to be my best man, Dad, but when we thought you were gone, I promised Robby that he could be. A promise is a promise, whether you say it is or not, and I keep my promises as long as I am able."

"As it should be, I am happy to sit with your mom and watch. You look so handsome."

As Robert Crusoe sat with his wife, Dave continued, "Do you, John James Luke, take Will Robinson Crusoe, to be your husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him, for as long as you both shall live?"

"I do,"

"And do you, Will Robinson Crusoe, take John James Luke, to be your husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him, for as long as you both shall live?"

"I do."

"Would you like to say your own vows at this time?"

Will looked at John and cried, "I'm sorry, with my dad's sudden appearance, I forgot what I had planned to say, so I'm just going to speak from my heart. John, I love you, and knew from the first moment we talked that I wanted to be with you. You are my sun in the morning, making the day look bright, and you are my moon at night, guiding my dreams. I love you more each day and promise to express my love to you forever and ever."

"Will, I love you more each day, and knew our lives were intertwined with the stars. I see how much you love your family, and I feel as though you love me even more. I promise to express my love to you forever and ever."

"By the power vested in me by the United States of Earth, by Space Fleet and by God, I now pronounce you husbands. You may kiss"

The Reception ~ 1230

Will watched as Matthew and his brother were talking. He looked over at John and asked, "You told your mother that you and Matthew had messed around, I get what you mean, but am curious. What exactly did you guys do?"

John replied with a question, "Did you ever experiment with friends?"

"Yeah, growing up with my best friends, Darrell and Lenny... we used to masturbate together, and we even mutually masturbated, but nothing more than that. You were the first person I ever kissed romantically."

"Why didn't you invite them to the wedding?" John was surprised he hadn't met them.

"I did, but when they told their parents I was marrying you, they said their parents called us fags. They both apologized, saying they wished they could be here."

"Well, what I was getting at, Matthew and I mainly masturbated, He would sneak into my room after our parents went to bed. He asked me to teach him how to masturbate without getting his cock sore. I think that boy masturbates all day long."

"He thinks the world of you, he is a smart boy."

"Yeah, but he did get mad at me. He wanted me to fuck him, and I refused. I told him that should be left for whomever he decides to marry. But, even when he was mad at me, he still wanted to masturbate with me, and kiss. He is a good kisser, almost as good as you."

"By the way," Will asked, "Where'd Drake disappear to?"

"He went to go get a piece of cake," John replied. "There he is... oh no, he just ran into another boy."


Once the reception was underway, Oliver asked permission to leave the table. He just had to find out who that boy was. Having been given the permission he was seeking, he left the table, and was walking around, looking.

Eventually, almost as if pushed by fate, the two literally collided with one another; being the smaller of the two, Oliver fell on his butt. Oliver's eyes met those of Drake, and both stared, statue-like, unable to speak. After a time, Oliver began to laugh, which caused Drake to do the same. Then Drake held out his hand to help Oliver up.

The moment their hands touched, both felt an almost electrical sensation. Oliver's mouth went dry, but Drake spoke, "I'm Drake, what's your name?"

Oliver regained his ability to speak and he introduced himself. When Oliver was standing, Drake did not relinquish his grip on Oliver. Instead he pulled Oliver in to him and kissed him on the lips.

Oliver, at first surprised by the kiss, as if it were instinctual, kissed Drake back. It wasn't until someone standing nearby 'cleared their throat' that they separated. Oliver, blushing deeply, merely said a breathy, "Wow!"

Matthew and Robby...

"So, did you have any problem finding out your brother was gay?" Robby asked.

Matthew shook his head, "No, in fact, I used that to get him to teach me some things, like masturbation and kissing."

"Did he ever..." Robby wasn't sure how he should phrase it.

Matthew smiled, "Fuck me? No, I wanted him to, but he said I should save that for someone special."

Robby's eye widened, "You wanted him to fuck you, and he refused? Boy, I have been taught wrong. Will told us he was gay, and I was kind of mean because of what I was taught at church and by Mom. Also, I was a little scared."

"Scared of what?" Matthew asked.

Robby started shaking, ever so slightly, but he started this line of conversation, "I think I might be gay."

"If you are, you are, that's nothing to be scared of. Why do you think you might be gay?"

"For starters, I have an urge to kiss you. And in school, when we shower after gym, I really like seeing the other boys naked. John told me that you and I would make a perfect couple, but I said I wasn't ready to couple with anyone. I actually got excited over the thought."

"That doesn't mean you are gay, but there is a good chance of it. I know I am gay." Matthew whispered to Robby, "John gave me a butt plug for my birthday. It has a purple dog tail hanging down. I have it on right now."

"Can I see it?"

"Come to the bathroom with me, and I'll even let you try it."

Robby looked like he was concerned, then asked, "Once we are in there, can we kiss? I want to see if I like kissing you as much as I think I would, but don't want anyone to see us do it."

Matthew smiled and grabbed Robby's hand.

After the Reception ~ 1500

On the trip home from the wedding reception, Oliver seemed lost in thought. He was so absorbed that he completely ignored, or didn't even realize, that Lars had been asking him questions.

Dave and Hal noticed this, but nonverbally agreed they'd wait until they got home to have a talk with him.

When they got home, meaning Mama's home, Hal took Lars aside and explained that they needed to have a private chat with his new brother. Lars, as Hal knew he would, said he would spend some time with Grandma.

With a hug, Lars went to find Inga and Hal walked into the room that they'd set aside for Dave to use as an office while on Earth. He found Dave sitting on the couch with Oliver across from him. Hal sat beside Dave, and they could tell that Oliver had something on his mind.

After a few moments of the three looking into each other's eyes and not a word being said, Dave, in a quiet voice stated, "I can tell there's something bothering you, Oliver. If you shared it with your Pop and me, we might be able to help."

Oliver stared back, his upper lip started to quiver, with the beginnings of tears forming in his eyes. Hal decided that Oliver needed to hear something, and he was pretty sure what it was.

"Oliver, you need to know that nothing you can say or do will make your Dad or me love you any less. You are our son. Nothing will happen to change that. If you have a problem, we want to be able to help you, but you have to trust us."

Oliver stared into his Pop's eyes, then shifted to Dave; all he found there was love. He went to the couch, wrapped his arms around Hal and buried his face into Hal's chest. At this point, his tears started to fall. Dave and Hal kept quiet, allowing their son a chance to get his emotions under control. Hal held their son as Dave started gently rubbing Oliver's back.

A few moments later, Oliver was able to reign in his emotions and he said in barely more than a whisper, "I'm a bad boy."

This was concerning to Dave, so he asked, "Why are you a bad boy, Oliver? Did something happen?"

Oliver hesitated before saying, "I met a boy at the reception... and we... we kissed."

Hal smiled but Dave replied, "Why does kissing another boy make you bad?"

"I don't know, but we just met, and... the kiss..."

Dave was pretty certain that Oliver just didn't understand what he was feeling, and it was scaring him. He kept his tone soft and gentle as he replied, "If kissing a boy makes you a bad person, then I guess I am one too... as a matter of fact, I would say that almost all of the crew of the Sooloo would be bad people if kissing another boy makes you bad."

Oliver looked into Dave's eyes and saw that Dave was telling him what he believed to be the truth. Still holding on to Hal, Oliver asked, "But... what if I wanted to do more than just kiss?"

"Are we talking about the boy you saw at the wedding?" Hal asked.

Oliver nodded his head against Hal's chest. "His name is Drake, and when he touched my hand, I felt weird. When I look at him, my thoughts go all crazy and I can't even talk right."

Hal hugged his son tightly, "Congratulations, Oliver. You have your first 'crush.' So, tell us about Drake."

Oliver was surprised that his parents were being so cool about it. This gave him the courage to pull back and look at both as he spent the next 10 minutes telling them all about Drake.

After they calmed Oliver down, they suggested he go find Lars and apologize for ignoring him. Once Oliver left, Dave turned to Hal, "Do you know who this Drake is?"

"If I understand it correctly, Will and John Luke found the boy hiding on the yacht. He's an orphan and the pair decided to adopt him, I believe."

"Well, I think it would be a good idea to get to know him. If that is the case, he'll be on the Sooloo when we leave, and if his feelings are the same as Oliver's, they'll likely become boyfriends. Why don't we see if we can get John and Will to agree to allow Drake to spend a few days here with us, and Oliver."

Monday, 19 January 2122

Philadelphia Group Home ~ 0900

On Monday, John and Will took Drake to the Philadelphia Group Home to officially adopt him. Mr. McVette looked at them, "You had to bring him here, didn't you?"

"Yes, sir, we've come to make the adoption official," Will growled.

"Drake, I boxed up what you left here, please check to make sure nothing is missing or damaged. I will get the paperwork, and if you take it over to the courthouse, you should have no problem finalizing the adoption."

After Mr. McVette handed Will the paperwork, Drake gave him a hug, "I will miss you Mr. McVette. I know I caused you problems, and I am sorry, but I never felt like I belonged here."

"No, Drake, you never really did, this was just a temporary place for you until you found these two young men who must really care about you. I hope they fulfill your need of having parents, and..." Mr. McVette looked like he was about to cry, which surprised Will and John, "I will miss you, too."

As they headed to the courthouse, John looked at Will, "We may have misjudged Mr. McVette, a little."

"Yeah, he may not be a total dick head."

"He surprised me," Drake admitted.

Philadelphia Courthouse ~ 1200

"We have been waiting here for two hours, what's taking so long?" Drake whined.

John sighed, "Have you seen how many people were here? We just need to wait our turn."

Finally, a bailiff told John, Will and Drake they could go in the judge's chamber. Judge William R. Prescott looked at them, "I understand that you two boys wish to adopt this younger boy as your son. Are you aware that in order to adopt, you must be eighteen?"

"Yes, Your Honor," Will replied, "However, if you look at these emancipation papers, we are legal adults permitting us to do anything an eighteen-year-old may do, except drive a car until we are fifteen. And then, only with a license. I am already fifteen, and John will be fifteen in a few months."

"And, I see you brought your marriage license," the judge acknowledged. "You know, you could have gone through Space Fleet's Judicial Services and had a smooth hearing, guaranteeing the adoption; instead, you came here where I can deny your request."

"We thought about going through Space Fleet, but thought it would be more respectful of Philadelphia's Courts if we came here," John replied.

"I appreciate the respect," Prescott averred. "Drake Alexander, how do you feel about this adoption? You are only ten, so technically, you have no say, but I feel you should be heard, and your feelings be considered."

"Your Honor," Drake began, "my mom passed away just over three years ago. It was a week before Christmas, and someone attacked her and took the presents from her. I spent that Christmas at her hospital bed, holding her hand. She woke up for the first time on Christmas morning and told the police what happened. She could barely talk, but she told me to be a good boy.

"Just after midnight, the day after Christmas, she crashed. The hospital did everything they could to revive her, but she was gone. It was like she stayed alive just so I wouldn't lose her on Christmas. I was taken to a group home, but never felt like I fitted in, so I ran away several times. I wasn't the good boy my mom asked me to be.

"The last time I ran away, Dad and Papa found me. For the first time since my mom passed away, I felt like I belonged. You asked me how I feel about this adoption and I ask you to please grant it."

The judge had to excuse himself to blow his nose and wipe tears from his eyes. He offered tissues to all the boys. "Young man, I believe you feel as though you belong with these two. I have read a forty-page letter, which is part of what took so long before you could come in. It was from Mr. McVette. He detailed all of your issues with being in the home, 'several times' is an understatement. Mr. McVette also added, 'Drake is a smart young man who never felt at home in the Home. He has found a place where he feels loved and he loves back. The young men have proven to me that they truly love Drake, and I feel it would be in Drake's best interest if this adoption is granted.' I only have one more question to ask."

"Which is?" Drake inquired.

"Drake, how would you like your name on your new birth certificate? I am granting your adoption."

Space Fleet Headquarters, Vegas ~ 1600

At 0800 hours, Hal and Jordan had begun interviewing cadets to fill the position of Chief Operations Officer. Admittedly, none would be as qualified as Lt. Commander Steve Boyer, but he didn't feel ready for the position, and they respected his decision. Hal could have done the interviews solo, much like Dave had done, but he thought this would be a good learning experience for Jordan, and also it would pull them closer together as a team.

Kash RiversHaving interviewed several who didn't really impress Hal or Jordan, they had one candidate left. After him, they would call it a day. Hal knew the name of the next candidate but didn't say anything. He even purposely saved this candidate for last, hoping that Jordan would be pleasantly surprised by the candidate. When the candidate entered the office, he did in fact surprise Jordan. "Kash? Why didn't you tell me at Christmas that this was the duty station you were possibly getting?"

"I wanted to surprise you, Cousin."

"You did THAT, alright. Before you arrived at Christmas, I was just telling your mom that I wish I could get you to interview for this position."

"This interview is for the Chief of Operations Officer, so Cadet Rivers, do you believe you are capable of running the Operations Department?" Hal asked.

"Sir, with all due respect, I believe you had the best Chief of Operations Officer. It will be hard to fill his position, but I will do my best."

Jordan asked, "What is something no one knows about you, not even me, and how would it help you fill this position?"

"That is a tough one, Sir," Kash proclaimed. "The only thing you may not know about me is that I am gay. I wanted to tell you at your wedding, but I had Academy business and wasn't able to attend. I'm not sure how that will help me fill the position."

"Academy business on a Saturday?" Hal questioned.

"Yes, Sir, Admiral Minnic requested my participation in an Academic exercise in tactical operations. I tried to tell him that my cousin was getting married on the Sooloo, and I even had Fleet Admiral Mirah's permission to attend, but he said that it was too bad. Either I did this exercise, or he would personally make sure I never graduated."

Hal growled, "What an asshole. I will check into this and let Fleet Admiral Mirah know."

"He already does know, Sir. When he returned from the Sooloo, he asked me why I didn't attend the wedding. Admiral Minnic was transferred from the Academy that day."

"Nicely handled," Hal smiled. "So, how well do you and Admiral Mirah know each other?"

"Well, Sir, he likes to call me YDB, or Zippy, Jr."

"Let me guess, 'Young David Bowman'?"

"Yes, Sir, he claims that I remind him a lot of David Bowman. I'm not sure how he came up with Zippy, Jr, except maybe because when he first called me that, he suggested I examine my fly."

"You are a lot like my husband," Hal laughed.

The interview lasted for almost an hour as Hal got to know Kash Rivers better. Before they concluded it, he asked, "Sirs, a very close friend recently passed away..."

"Brice?" Jordan asked. Brice Montgomery was a very close friend of Kash's mom. His wife died giving birth and Juanita Rivers helped with raising the baby. That baby was now nine years old and now, Brice died of cancer, even though it was treatable. Kash was only fourteen, even so, he had asked to be able to adopt the boy.

"Yes, Sir," Kash confirmed, "and he left behind a nine-year-old boy."

Jordan looked sorrowful, "I heard about his passing from my mom and yours. They didn't tell me he left a son."

"I applied to adopt while I was still in the Academy, and since my parents backed me, and since I am in Space Fleet, I was approved. The adoption will be finalized tomorrow."

Hal looked at Kash, "You are hoping to bring him aboard the Sooloo?"

"Yes, Sir," Kash admitted, "but if that is not permitted, my parents and I have created a contingency plan. They agreed to watch after him. I know several officers do have children, so I am hoping to also and that would also provide him with boys to play with."

"Once we decide who we place, we will let you know," Hal stated, then he looked at Jordan, "I believe we know who we should place in the position."

"Yeah, Malcolm," Jordan said straight-faced, but barely able to keep from laughing.

Hal gave Jordan a strange look, "Malcolm? I think he was the worst candidate."

Now, Jordan was laughing, and once he calmed down, he agreed, "I may be biased, but I knew before he even interviewed that my cousin would make the perfect Chief of Operations Officer."

"Well, I'm not biased," Hal averred, "and I believe so, too." Then they turned to Kash, and Hal told him, "As Chief of Operations, you will report directly to this clown. As for your new son, what's his name so I may add him to the roster?"

"I have always respected my cousin. I have no problem with that, but if he puts on a red nose, I may start busting a gut. As for my son, his name will officially be Jordan Rivers, once the adoption is finalized, but he likes to go by Jay. He's around the same age as your boys, Jordan. And... Brice named him after you."

"Be careful, my boys will want to be kissing cousins, and maybe more. As for his name, I like it, but I was only six when he was born. Why did he name him after me?" Jordan was stunned.

"When Uncle James and Aunt Jessica named you, he liked the name and said if he ever had a son, he would name him after you."

"I feel honored," Jordan smiled, then added, "Just so you know, we have a Chief of Internal Operations. He is my husband Jace. Instead of you being automatically the Second Officer, he is. We have a few officers aboard that have seniority over you, and they report to Jace instead of you. The Chief of Engineering and the Chief of IS are under Jace and have earned their spots as Third and Fourth Officers, though not officially. Should something happen to Captain Tietokone, myself and Jace, they would be the ones in charge."

Kash nodded, "They probably have more experience, especially since I only graduated a month ago. I have no problem with that."

Hal looked thoughtful, "The Chiefs of the Departments under you are also Commanders. I am inclined to promote you to Commander."

"Sir," Kash looked seriously at Hal, "The lowest rank I can be for this position is a Lieutenant Commander. You said that my Assistant Chief is a Lieutenant Commander. I believe if you give me that rank and allow me to earn the rank of Commander, I will have more respect from those Chiefs than I would have if you instantly made me a Commander."

Hal smiled, "I see your point and I agree with you." Hal placed a Lieutenant Commander insignia on the table. "Commander Rivers, will you please remove the Lieutenant Commander's erroneous cadet insignia and place this correct insignia on his collar?"

"I would love to, Sir."

After Jordan placed the Lt. Commander insignia on his cousin, Hal called it a day. The three walked out of the office together and Kash stated, "I think I am going out for a root beer to celebrate. I'm buying."

"I appreciate the offer, but I want to get home to my husband and two boys," Hal declined.

"I have a better idea," Jordan looked at Kash. "How about you come to my Mom and Dad's? I'm sure Mom will make a special meal to celebrate."

"That's not fair, you know I can't turn down Aunt Jessica's cooking." He looked around, then whispered as if spies were around, "Don't tell my mom this, but I think she's a better cook than Mom."

As they headed to Jordan's home, the two officers discussed Jay.

Rivers' Home ~ 1630

When Jordan and Kash walked into the house, Jordan announced, "Hal and I have selected the new Chief of Operations for the Sooloo."

"Do I know him?" Jace asked. "Hey, Kash... wait, Kash? I thought you already had an assignment."

"I said I had a possible assignment. Bill set me up to interview for the Sooloo. He and Captain Tietokone kept it a secret from Jordan."

"What?" Jace seemed stunned, "you call Fleet Admiral Mirah, Bill and Hal, Captain?"

"Apparently, he is about as close to Bill as Dave is," Jordan explained, "and he doesn't know Hal as well. Kash, tell Jace about Jay."

"You mean Brice's son?" Mama Rivers asked. "Aren't you supposed to pick Jay up tonight?"

Kash smiled, "Yeah, any time between 1700 and 2200, then he will go with me tomorrow to finalize the adoption."

"I suggest you go get him, it'll be close enough to 1700," Mama ordered. "Then you bring him here. I'm calling your parents to come over and we are having Shimmy steaks to celebrate."

"Yes, Aunt Jessica." Kash gave her a kiss on the cheek, then headed for the door.

James Rivers called out, "Wait, Kash, I'll drive you."

Jordan Shortly after 1700, James, Kash and Jay walked in the door. Jordan looked at the twins, "Jonas, Jason, this is your new cousin Jordan, but he likes to go by Jay."

Jonas commented, "He has the same name as you, Daddy."

"Yes, he does, so I am glad he uses a nickname; it'll be less confusing," Jordan smiled.

"Hi," Jonas introduced himself, "I'm Jonas, and Daddy says we are cousins." Jonas proceeded to kiss Jay on the cheek.

Jason walked up to Jay and gave him a big hug, then kissed him on the lips. Jay opened his mouth slightly allowing Jason's tongue in. As they separated, Jason declared, "I am your cousin Jason, and I think you are cute."

"You're cute, too," Jay responded.

Jordan nudged Kash, "I warned you the twins will want to be kissing cousins, didn't I?"

"Yeah, and I definitely see a spark between Jason and Jay."

Jonas whispered, "Koji might not like you kissing Jay like that."

"Perhaps," Jason defended himself, "but he sleeps and plays with Lars and you, and whoever will sleep with him. We haven't been exclusive, none of us boys have, and you have to admit, Jay is cute."

As the boys were whispering, the "adults" were talking. Jace asked, "So, you were at Headquarters all day; what's the word on the Endurance?"

"They will be docking tonight," Jordan informed him, "and the SS Victorious will be arriving on the first of February. Four from the Endurance would like to transfer to the Darastix and three from the Victorious."

Jace smiled, "I heard that since Dave had his chat with Captain Garcia, the crew of the Endurance has been extremely happy. I'm glad that most of the crew are being loyal."

"Yeah, well the ones requesting a transfer are more interested in serving on a different class of ship than anything. When they requested a transfer, they said if they couldn't serve on the Darastix, they wanted to stay aboard the Endurance. Also, I heard it was Captain Garcia who first suggested Dave be made a Commodore. He even requested to have the Endurance as one of Dave's ships."

"Well, I guess that means Dave's talk gave Captain Garcia a new respect for him. I'm glad he took Dave's chat to heart."

"Devin French has made a real change, too. I was privy to reading one of Garcia's reports and he stated, [Commander French has issued note books to all the staff of Astrogation. I had requested these notepads on the recommendation of Commander Robinson. When French handed them out, he ordered, 'We were recommended to use these in class, but I failed to enforce that. Commander Robinson suggested it and our Captain has requested it. We WILL be keeping a journal of every course we enter into the computer. We WILL mimic what Commander Robinson does on the Sooloo.' And he may come on the Bridge and ask whoever is on watch at the Astrogation table to see their notebook. I am very proud of his change.]"

"Wow," Jace was a little surprised, "it's hard to imagine that he used to hate Kyle, now he has grown to respect him."

"Yeah, I am kinda looking forward to those two meeting to see what happens," Jordan chuckled.

Supper was served and Kash ate a bite of his shimmy steak. After he swallowed, he asked, "What kind of steak did you say this was? It is really delicious."

"It is shimmy steak," Jordan replied. "Until the Sooloo runs out, we will eat a lot of this; the crew really loves it."

"What exactly is shimmy steak? I've never heard of it."

"Perhaps you should take him outside to explain," Jace suggested. Jordan smiled.

The two went outside and Jordan explained, "Shimmy is short for Shimasukanku. It is a creature on Darastix similar to Earth's skunk, except it is completely black."

"So..." Kash was thinking and Jordan half expected his cousin to vomit, "in essence, we are eating extraterrestrial skunk. I wish our skunk tasted this good."

"You've eaten skunk?" Jordan was surprised.

"During Survival Training," Kash admitted. "It wasn't easy getting its stink bag out, but when you are on survival training, you'll eat whatever you can kill."

Jordan and Kash rejoined the family and finished their meal.

Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania ~ 1800

Will and John were preparing to leave for their honeymoon when Robert stopped in Will's room. "Son, I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you, and seeing you get married made me very happy. I know this is short notice, but I need to go to Vegas to be declared alive with Space Fleet, as well as take care of receiving back pay, and Admiral Mirah wants to talk with me about some promotion."

"So, what are you saying, Dad?" Will was a bit worried.

"Mom will be going with me, and Robby will be visiting his new boyfriend, Matthew. I believe he lives in Vancouver."

"His boyfriend?" Will was shocked.

"My brother?" John almost lost it. "I knew they would hit it off."

"Anyway, there would be no one here to be with Drake, so is there any chance he can go with Robby, or..."

John's and Will's comms sounded off. John answered his and told Dave that Will was there, talking with his dad about a dilemma.

"What dilemma, maybe I can help?" Dave had his suspicions, knowing Robert had just returned from the dead, as well as John and Will going on their honeymoon.

"Did you see the boy who carried the rings in our ceremony?"

For clarification, Dave inquired, "You mean Drake?"

"How did you know his name?" John was surprised.

"Our son, Oliver, told us."

"Will and I officially adopted him today," explained John, and he told Dave about their dilemma.

"I'm glad I waited to call you, it means you'll be more receptive to what I have to ask." Dave told John about his own dilemma and invited Drake to spend time with them, which would help resolve both dilemmas.

John disconnected the call and told Will and Robert, "Captain... er, I mean Commodore Bowman HAS invited Drake to spend some time with his family."

"It will be just for a few days, then I would love spending time with him myself."

"I love you, Dad."

"And I love you. I love all of you boys, including you, John."

"And I love you," John hugged Robert. "You are my dad as much as my dad is also Will's."

John and Will found Drake sitting in Robby's room. When they walked in, Drake questioned, "How long will you be gone?"

"About a week, why?" Will responded with his own question.

Drake was looking down, "I have something to tell you, but I think it should wait until you return."

"Is it about Oliver?" John quizzed. "We saw the two of you run into each other, and..." seeing the reaction on Drake's face, John stopped.

"Honest, I know I have a reputation of kissing everyone, but his kiss was different. I'm not even sure which of us initiated it, or if it was mutual. Who is he?"

"Relax, Drake," Will smiled. "There was nothing wrong with you kissing Oliver. In fact, as you described it, it was probably the right thing to do. When the Sooloo had their celebration last week, do you remember seeing Captain Bowman being made a Commodore?"

"Yes," Drake replied, feeling more comfortable.

"Oliver is his and Hal's son. Hal is the Captain of the Sooloo."

"The Commodore's son? He's not mad at me, is he?"

"No, Drake, but he would like to get to know you better. With Papa and I going on our honeymoon, Grandpa and Grandma needing to go to Vegas and Robby going to Vancouver, you would be here alone for a few days. Or, Dave has invited you to spend those few days with his family."

"Will Oliver be there?"

"Yes, and you may end up sharing a bed with him and Lars."

"Will he expect to have sex with me?"

"What makes you ask that? I don't know what he will expect, but I advise you, don't do anything you are not ready for and don't make him do anything he isn't ready for. Has anyone ever had the sex talk with you?"

Drake admitted, "I heard some of the boys at the reception talking about sex, boys younger than me. They talked as if all the boys on the Sooloo had sex. And no, no one has ever had that talk with me. I don't think I am ready for it or sex."

"Well, if you are not ready for the talk, you are definitely not ready for sex. Kissing is fine, but anything else is off the table until you are ready."

"Thanks, Dad and Papa. I do feel better."

Tuesday, 20 January 2122

Robinson's Residence ~ 0947

Kyle had been surprised to have received a message from Dave. He checked his comm as he finished his breakfast. "Call me once you wake up," it was terse.

"Once I wake up," Kyle grumbled to himself. "Dave must think I'm a lazy fuck just because I'm on leave," as he cleaned up the kitchen table. He looked at the stove clock, which read 0947, and which was about a half hour after he had awakened for the second time that morning. "Once I wake up," he grumbled again, "getting up at nine is plenty early enough. So, what if I went back to sleep after Danny's alarm woke me up?" Danny had to get up at 0600 in order to arrive for his training sessions at Space Fleet HQ by 0730.

He sat his naked self on the couch and placed a call to his Captain, or his Commodore, or whatever he actually was. "Good Morning, Kyle, nice of you to call before lunch time," came Dave's serious voice.

"Dave, it's not even ten in the morning and…." He stopped when he heard Dave's laughter and realized that Dave was having fun at his expense. "Okay, so I slept in a little bit." Kyle was fondling himself as he talked, the thought of jerking off as soon as he found out what Dave wanted. "What can I do for you?" Kyle knew Dave well enough to figure out that Dave wouldn't be calling him unless he wanted something.

"Actually, it's somebody else who wants something of you. I'm just passing his message on." Kyle waited for Dave to continue. He now had an erection and hoped Dave would get to his point quickly. "I had a chat with Eric Garcia, and he would like for you to contact him ASAP."

Kyle wondered what the Captain of the Endurance could want. "Why didn't he call me himself?"

"He wanted my okay to contact you about this favor. I told him I wanted to run the idea through you first and he was okay with that." Once again, Kyle waited for Dave to continue. "Devin French would like to talk to you, but he thought it was best if he went through proper channels to do so."

"It must not be something bad if he's looking for the okay to contact me." Kyle and Devin had a history between them that had not always been pleasant. Despite Kyle's comment, he couldn't help but be leery about Devin's motives for the meeting.

"I didn't ask Eric about the purpose of the meeting," Dave said. "With your permission, I will tell Eric you're okay with him calling and give him your number which he could have looked up, as you no doubt know."

"I'll be ready for his call. Thanks for letting me know."

"And thanks for your willingness to talk to somebody I know you have had a difficult relationship with. I'll be talking to you again very soon," Dave said before disconnecting the call.

Kyle lay back on the couch and got more serious about masturbating. He wasn't worried about being caught since his father was at work and his mother-to-be was at the University working on her extraterrestrial study, one Kyle was becoming a part of. Koji has spent the night with Lars and friends and wouldn't be home until dinner time and Danny was training pilots. Kyle didn't care if Koji caught him; it wouldn't be the first time. He would simply stop and cover himself; Koji was not naïve about the ways of the world. And as Kyle's husband, Danny wasn't a factor at all.

Before Kyle could finish, his phone played its generic ring tone. The call didn't surprise him since it was probably Captain Garcia. He was hoping he'd have time to get off before Garcia called, but it wasn't to be. His coda would have to wait until after the call was finished. Kyle didn't think it would take long—the call that is, not the orgasm.

Kyle saw that the caller was Eric Garcia and connected with his formal greeting, "Hello Captain Garcia, this is Kyle Robinson."

"This is Eric Garcia. How good to hear your voice, Commander Robinson. I know Commodore Bowman told you I would be calling."

"Yes, he did, Sir."

"With your approval, I would like for our conversation to be on a personal level."

"I'm good with it. That's how Dave and I do business."

"Did Dave tell you the purpose of my call?"

"He said that Devin French wants to talk to me."

"That is correct. He is on leave as the Endurance waits in line for its retrofit." Space Fleet was limited as to how many of the surprise retrofits it could do at one time. "Since he wants to leave Vegas to visit his family in Missouri, I think it would be a good idea if the two of you meet as soon as possible. How will tomorrow work?"

"I have to watch Koji tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure the day after tomorrow will work. Alicia is supposed to be home for the day. I can check this evening when she gets home from the U."

"That should work fine. I'll arrange things for a meeting here at headquarters. Will you be needing a ride?"

"I'll ask Alicia first. She can use that as an excuse to go shopping or have lunch with Koji."

Captain Garcia knew who Koji was from his talk with Dave but had no idea who Alicia was and decided he had no need to know. "Call me as soon you learn if Thursday is okay."

"I will."

"Oh, and to set your mind at ease, I think this will be a very positive meeting. Devin has matured quite a bit since you last saw him. In fact, he has grown into being an outstanding officer."

"Thank you for letting me know, Sir. I will call you as soon as I learn exactly what I am doing." After disconnecting, Kyle wondered why he went formal on Garcia, and decided it was because he really didn't know that Captain the way he knew Dave.

Kyle looked down at his crotch where his cock had gone limp. For the third time that morning he rubbed his fingers along his bare pubis, hoping to find even the remotest sign of a pubic hair. The result was the same as the first two times he had searched. Nothing. He resurrected his erection and went back to work on it. The result this time was a very pleasant something.

Clark County Courthouse ~ 0950

Kash Rivers and Jay were at the courthouse ten minutes before their scheduled time. Kash was wearing his dress uniform. An attorney from the Leo, Adams and Wilkes Law Firm was waiting on them. Darrell Adams had been a friend of the Rivers family since before Kash's birth. He personally assigned Kevin Majin to Kash. "All investigations have been completed. The judge met with Jordan... er, I'm sorry, Jay, yesterday. Today, there may be one or two questions, but we are mainly here to hear the judge's decision."

"So, Kevin," Kash seemed nervous, "is there any chance that the judge will turn down this adoption?"

"There is always a chance, but I am hopeful. The judge read Brice's will requesting you be given custody of Jay. The interview with Jay was... well, it couldn't have been any more perfect. The judge could see Jay's eyes sparkle when he spoke of you. The only thing that might hurt you is being in Space Fleet and serving on a ship."

Kash questioned, "How can that hurt me?"

"You are going to be away for how long? And who will look after Jay?"

"I'm not certain how long I'll be away, but Jay will be on the ship with me. There will be other children and the ship has a school."

"Good, that will improve your chances, although I thought they were high enough already."

They were finally before Family Court Judge David A. Davenport, "Before I give my decision, I have one simple question. While you are on a starship, who will look after the boy?"

"Your Honor," Kash began, "I have just been accepted to serve aboard the SS Sooloo as her Chief of Operations. There are other children on board, and they have a school. Jay will be on the ship with me. My quarters are already being made to have a bedroom for each of us."

"Thank you. I had given this a lot of thought and was prepared to deny your request. I didn't think it would be right for the boy to have a father who would never be home. That answer eased my worries, and therefore I am hereby approving this adoption. Go downstairs to the Hall of Records and they will have all your certificates and paperwork ready in a few minutes." Judge Davenport tapped his gavel once, stood up and left the room.

Space Fleet Headquarters, Vegas ~ 1000

Fleet Admiral Mirah and Commodore Bowman were having a discussion, now a daily occurrence. "Dave, I've been having some thoughts about making a cadet Captain of the Hawking. We have a good XO who I believe should be offered the position first, then we can assign a cadet to the Endurance. It will be Garcia's decision whether he wants to promote someone on the ship to the XO position or use the cadet."

"I believe Worsley would make a great Captain. I am meeting with Eric on Thursday and can see what he thinks about losing him.

22 January 2122

Space Fleet Headquarters, Vegas ~ 0900

Kyle sat next to Koji in the backseat of Alicia's car. He thought back to his chat with Danny in bed the night before about his meeting with Devin. Danny wasn't as sure as Captain Garcia and Kyle were about the meeting being a positive one.

"An asshole is an asshole is an asshole, and Devin French was and always will be an asshole," Danny told him.

"When did you become so negative?" Kyle asked. "I thought I was the negative one." Danny shrugged so Kyle went on. "You know as well as I do that my dad changed a lot from the time he kicked you out of our house."

"Your dad wasn't an asshole, he just acted like one because he had lots of things going on. Now he's acting like your dad."

"So maybe Devin had a lot of shit going on, too."

"He pretty much bullied you at the Academy."

"So what? People change and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt."


"Good? You just said you didn't think it would be a good meeting, so make up your mind."

"I just wanted to make sure that Kyle the Negative Ninny was being positive."

Kyle gave Danny a friendly punch on the shoulder followed by a friendlier kiss on his left cheek. "Oh, so now you're Dr. Harper, Ace Psychologist."

"Yep, that's me. I have to be to train the whackos under my command."

"Well, you're a whack yourself, but I love you for it."

The conversation was followed by something even more satisfying than Kyle's solo performance on the couch the morning before.

Kyle was brought back to Earth by his son, who asked him if the person he was meeting was a friend of his.

"I already told you, he's just somebody I know from the Endurance."

"I know you told me, but I don't get why you want to meet each other if you aren't friends."  Kyle was pleased with how Koji had dived right into first person.

"It's a long story, Son. Maybe I will have more to tell you after our meeting."

Alicia broke in and gave her soon-to-be grandson her take on the meeting. "Koji, sometimes people meet with each other to take care of a problem, to learn new information, or simply to catch up on news. They don't always have to be friends."

"Koji likes meeting with his friends." Kyle shook his head at Koji jumping back to third person. At least the boy is making progress, he thought.

Alicia dropped Kyle off at the Headquarters building. Captain Garcia had told Kyle that he had reserved a conference room for the meeting with Devin.

Kyle went to the information desk in the foyer, as instructed. He was dressed in his uniform as instructed. Eric and Dave had agreed that both boys being in uniform would start them on an equal footing as well as adding an air of formality to the meeting.

"I'm Commander Robinson," he told the receptionist. "I have a meeting scheduled." The lady behind the desk reminded Kyle of Alicia.

"Welcome, Commander. Your meeting will be in Conference Room D-7 on the fourth floor. I will call for a crewman to escort you."

A Specialist First Class appeared seemingly from nowhere. The name on his uniform shirt read, A. Foster. He was in his mid-twenties and stood over a foot taller than Kyle. He snapped off a smart salute to the officer in front of him as expected.

Although Alan Foster understood why he had to salute, it still struck him as strange to be saluting a child in uniform who would have looked like a kid in Halloween costume, except he wore a perfectly fitting, sharply creased uniform, with the confidence of an experienced officer. Foster understood what the Space Explorer program was about and also knew that the boy's father was an Admiral. Nevertheless, the entire procedure still seemed strange. At least the first boy he escorted had been a teen with some size and physical maturity to him. Even though he was young, he looked like an officer.

"Follow me, sir," Foster said with an air of professional politeness. When they reached the hallway on the fourth floor where the conference rooms were situated, Foster and Kyle were met by Eric and Dave, who were both in uniform. Foster gave both Senior Officers a salute. Kyle noted that the salute he received from the Specialist had been as crisp and professional as the one the two Command Officers had received. That observation gave him a real sense of pleasure—he was an officer who was being treated as an officer in the Headquarters of Space Fleet, and not a little kid being looked down on, except in the spatial sense.

"Hello, Kyle," Dave grinned. "Thank you, Mr. Foster, for escorting Commander Robinson to us."

"My pleasure, Sir." Foster gave a salute obviously meant for all three officers and took his leave. While he thought escorting an officer who was a little child was a bit strange, he was also a consummate professional in how he handled the situation.

"Devin is here, waiting to meet you," Captain Garcia said. "You two don't need a formal introduction from us, so go on in. Dave and I will be enjoying coffee down in the cafeteria. You two can give us a call when you're finished."

Kyle wondered why a supposedly informal meeting between him and Devin needed all the formality it was receiving, especially with him being met by not one, but both Command Officers, but he shrugged it off, gave the door a knock, and entered Conference Room D-7.

Kyle saw Devin French sitting in a cushioned chair that was one of four at a conference table. He pretty much looked the way he looked the last time Kyle had seen him, with some differences. He was a bit taller and his skinny body had filled out some. Another difference was that his uniform was pressed and creased, unlike the work uniform he had been wearing on the Endurance. But the biggest difference was in his face; the surly look was gone, replaced by a look of calm acceptance.

Devin looked up as Kyle entered the room, closing the door behind him. That was when Devin did something Kyle never thought his one-time adversary would ever do—he stood up, took two steps toward the smaller boy, and wrapped his arms around him in a warm and sincere hug.

"Before we talk about anything else, I want to thank you from the depths of my soul."

"What did I do?" Kyle asked as he worked not to be smothered by the bigger boy.

Devin let go of Kyle and smiled down on him. Kyle wasn't aware that Devin even knew how to smile, except of the arrogant smirk he seemed to have mastered at the academy. "Let's sit down and talk."

The boys sat across from each other at the table. Kyle noted that the conference room was a few notches above what he has seen before. Considering its cushioned chairs, wooden table, wood paneled walls and the view of the Headquarters' campus, it was obviously a place where important people were expected to meet. He wondered if there were bigger rooms than this one.

"That was quite a hug," Kyle said. "I wasn't expecting anything like that."

"I didn't expect to give it to you until you walked through the door."

"Is that what you wanted to meet me about, to thank me?"

"More than that, I wanted to make amends to you."

"Your apology is accepted."

Devin shook his head. "This is more than an apology. To amend something is to change it, and you showed me how to change my life."

"Well then, once again I gotta ask, what did I do?"

"Let's see. I now require that Astrogation notebooks be filled out by my staff. That by itself makes things more professional. I no longer think my shit doesn't stink and have the necessary checks and balances to insure we don't end up in the wrong star system as we did when you last met me."

"That's all stuff we learned in school," Kyle pointed out.

"And it was stuff I thought I knew better than Commander Hanson and anybody else who tried to tell me how to do the job I knew. I could do the math, what I couldn't do is the job. All it took is that one error with me thinking I had it all down and we managed to get our asses lost. There is one more thing you showed me."

"What was that?"

"How to not be an asshole and treat people right. You could have screwed me totally over. Instead you took the effort to show me how to be better. You showed me how to do my job without being an asshole. Between what you showed me and what your Captain showed Captain Garcia, the Endurance went from being a hellhole to being a really good ship."

"I was just trying to help," Kyle said modestly.

"Well, I guess you succeeded big time then. I have a feeling you will make a good Captain someday."

"That's what I want to work toward," Kyle admitted. "I really want to be a Captain when I'm old enough."

"From what I've seen of you, you could end up being the youngest Captain in Space Fleet," Devin laughed.

"Well, as long as we're handing out compliments, I have to say that you have really changed since I helped out on the Endurance. I could kind of sense it when we were working together, but now I really know it. And that would mean a HUGE change from our Academy days when I graded you at the top of the asshole scale."

"Or would that be considered the bottom of the scale?" The boys fell silent for a moment, looking at each other with renewed respect. "Kyle, I gotta tell you that when I do my Astrogation work I always make sure everything we do is by the book and I always ask myself, 'What would Kyle do?'"

"I am honored to have been able to help you."

Devin sensed he was making Kyle uncomfortable and decided to change the subject. "I have a couple more things to talk about." Kyle nodded for the teen to continue. "I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but is everybody on the Sooloo gay?"

"Everybody wonders about that, including me. The answer is no, but I'm sure that most of the boys are, which puts us way above the expected number. I know crew members like Whit and Jesse could hardly wait to find an old girlfriend or get a new one. They aren't the only ones, but they're the ones that come to mind."

"Do they have sex at all?"

"Whit is paired up with Randy, our Chief Executive Chef and Jesse enjoys getting blow jobs from two sources who don't expect one in return. Jesse does masturbate them in return sometimes." Kyle was referring to Steve Boyer and Danny.

There was something about this part of the conversation that was bothering Kyle and he decided the best thing he could do was deal with it? "Did you pick on me during training at the Academy because I was gay?"

"Nope, at least not directly. You see, I'm gay, too, and I knew it then. I even had a secret boyfriend during training who is now serving on the Asimov. No, I picked on you because I thought you were a spoiled little brat who acted like he knew everything when he didn't know shit. I picked on you because I thought you were a total pussy. I picked on you because I didn't like you."

"Well, I guess that answers that question. And you're gay? I mean, wow, I never would have thought. But then, I don't have the gaydar that Danny has. He just seems to know while I don't have a clue. Are there a lot of gays on the Endurance too?"

"There are eight that I know of, including me, which makes our crew about average. That doesn't mean guys don't shack up with each other, but we don't have the marriages and adoptions and all that stuff that the Sooloo has. There are only two regular couples, and I'm not in one of them. The only sex I get is from my cousin Denver.

"Kyle, I want more than sex, but there is nobody on the Endurance I connect with. I don't know what to do, I just know it gets kind of lonely."

"You've got new guys coming on board, including the new fighter pilots. Danny says his gaydar has detected a half-dozen or so gays, and there are probably a couple more. His detector isn't perfect, but it's good. Keep your eyes open, and I bet somebody will show up."

"How did you and Danny become friends so fast? I mean here you are not even teens yet and you married each other."

"It wasn't as fast as you think. Danny and I have been friends since preschool. We got lucky and ended up on the same ship together." Kyle didn't think he needed to tell Devin the details of his friendship.

"I am envious. I don't have much else to say. You've been a big help."

"I was happy to hear how much you'd changed, but I was still nervous about this meeting. I'm glad what was being said about you was true. I hope you keep making things better on the Endurance and I really hope some cute guy is assigned to your ship and sees how hot you are."

Devin's jaw dropped. "You really think I'm hot?"

"Without question."

Devin grinned. "You've turned into a good friend, Kyle, and I appreciate it."

"Good luck to you, my friend," Kyle said as he stepped up to Devin and returned the hug that had greeted him. It had been fulfilling to learn that not everyone was like Dick Head and A. Hole. People actually could change.

Cafeteria ~ 0915

After getting drinks and taking a seat in the Cafeteria, David Bowman and Eric Garcia looked at one another, neither speaking. After nearly a minute, a broad smile came to Dave's face, which caused one nearly identical on Garcia's.

"Well, Eric, you do know that I will be holding you totally responsible for causing me so much more work in the future. I was told that you were the one who put the word in Admiral Mirah's ear about reviving the 'Commodore' rank. But, seriously, I am honored that you felt as you did after our last meeting."

"Dave, when we met last at 'New Earth' I was leading a ship whose crew was on the verge of a total breakdown in discipline. There were two ways you could have dealt with the issue... and I am very thankful that you chose to help me regain control of my ship. You were able to show us not only how we were supposed to do our jobs, but you were able to show us how we should do our jobs. As a result, officers and who would likely have been washed out at the first opportunity, developed into exceptional crew members."

"Well, I could tell you knew how to do the job, you just needed a push in the right direction. You made the mistake that many younger Command Officers make; you tried to be a friend to your subordinates over being their Commanding Officer. All I did was show you how to win their friendship because you were their Commanding Officer. I'm curious, how are things working with Denver French, Devin's cousin?"

"Denver has proven his worth as the Assistant Chief of Security. Lt. Commander Tomalok is putting in for a promotion and transfer, and I am seriously considering offering Denver the Chief of Tactical and Security position. If I do that, I will offer Lt. Sanders a promotion to Lt. Commander and make him Assistant Chief of both departments under Denver."

"Well, I am looking forward to getting the task force organized, and I will be expecting help from you in getting that done. I will let you know now that I plan on asking Admiral Mirah to name you as my second in command of the Task Force in addition to your remaining as Captain of the Endurance."

Eric was surprised at this announcement. "Dave, I will do my best to live up to the faith you are putting in me."

"There is one other thing, Eric," Dave began. "The SS Stephen William Hawking is in need of a new Captain."

"And you're wanting someone from my crew?"

Dave smiled, "What is your honest opinion of Commander Worsley?"

"I would hate to lose him, but I believe he will make a great Captain."

"Then you wouldn't be upset if we offered the position to him?" Dave questioned. "It'll be your choice whether you promote one of your officers to XO or take someone from the Academy."

Garcia argued, "Either way, I will have a void needing filled, either the XO or the position vacated by whoever I promote."

"We are aware; interview a few cadets, see how you like them and select one to fill the void, however you see fit."

With business out of the way, the two friends enjoyed some good-natured conversation for a time while they waited for Kyle and Devin French to finish their meeting.



End Notes:

This work is a collaboration of 3 authors. We will be posting chapters of this story as we are able. When commenting, please send to all three authors or click here... Authors of Voyagers