Voyagers

Chapter Nine: The Launch ~ Part II

A Collaboration of TrueFan, Zarek Dragon and DouglasDD

 

23 August 2121

SS Sooloo:

Hal ~ 0600

Waking up this morning is so fantastic. Last night, Dave and I made love and it was different than it's ever been. He was so much more… how can I put this… "In Charge" than he usually is. I kind of liked it. When it was all over, I said to him, "You do realize that's the last time we'll make love while we're single?"

"You think so?" He laughed and said, "What if I decide to ravage you in the morning?"

"Well, if you ravage me then we wouldn't be making love… not that I would mind you ravaging me." I replied with a grin.

So, this morning, he didn't ravage me in bed. I think he's pretty nervous about the wedding, a fact he hides well from everyone but me.

There are so many little details to get ready for. My mom will be arriving via the shuttle about 0800. Even though we're getting married in eight hours, I still have duties on Sooloo that need to be attended to. Dave would tell me to pawn them off on someone else, but… who? The only crew that are here are the senior staff and they all have their own responsibilities. I'll figure it out, I always do.

Dave

Hal looked so good this morning. I wanted to take him again, but figured we'd be busy with that tonight. Our furniture is supposed to be delivered sometime this morning. Probably coming up on one of the shuttles carrying the families.

The one person I am most looking forward to talking with is Adm. Robinson. I want him to know, from me, how important his son is to this mission. I also want him to know that Kyle is the most natural Astrogator I've ever heard of, let alone seen. He should be proud.

Hal's mother is bound to make a fuss over us today. After my mom died, she treated me like her natural son as much as she did Hal. I wonder… does that make ours an incestuous marriage? I know it doesn't, but it's a funny thought.

Looking at the schedule, we have until 0800 when we meet the shuttle Hal's mom is on. Our furniture was supposed to be on the 1330 shuttle but I put a stop to that. I told them that if it could not arrive by 1000z, it would have to wait until after the ceremony, and I'd make sure someone paid dearly if it didn't show up on the ship today. Sometimes throwing my rank around is fun, especially when dealing with adults who try to treat me like a first-year Ensign.

Jace

THIS is how the day should start: Jordan and I waking up beside each other after having a peaceful, restful sleep. I don't know about Jordan, but I am both excited and nervous. We are getting married, but that's hours away. I received word that my parents arrived and stayed with Jordan's parents last night. It's always nice when your parents and future in-laws get along so great.

Jordan opened his eyes and he stared at me and I see a smile forming on his face. He asked me, "Do you realize that in just a few hours we will be married."

I whispered, "I'm sorry." And he got a puzzled look on his face.

"Wh… what do you mean?" I think I worried him.

I snickered, "Well, in a few hours you will be marrying me. That means you'll be stuck with me and unable to find someone truly worthy of you."

"I think you have it backwards; I'm not worthy of you," Jordan cooed. "But I am lucky somehow, to have you in my life."

We got out of bed, both of us buck naked and he started making the dang thing. I walked over to his side and whispered, "You know, neither one of us ever really did propose. We talked about it and both of us agreed that we want this, but neither one of us proposed to the other."

Jordan gave me a smile and asked, "Are you wanting a proposal?"

I shook my head as I got down on one knee, "No, I want to propose to you. Ever since Savage took me to the dorm room that we shared, I was smitten, and today I would like to ask you, Jordan Andrew Rivers, if you will marry me?" He didn't see me grab the box I had hidden, no not THERE… It was hidden in my uniform laying on the floor. When I held it out for him, he took the black tungsten ring and he slipped it onto his finger.

"Oh my gosh, this is so sudden," Jordan teased. "I never in a million years dreamt that you would ask me. I don't know what to say."

"Well I know what one part of you is saying," I kidded. "He seems excited at the idea."

He acted like it was a chore to get married, "OK, since we are getting married in just under nine hours, I guess I should say yes."

"If you don't want to get married," I teased back, "we don't have to." I had the most hurt expression I could fake on my face.

That was when he looked deep into my eyes and I could sense the true love we had for each other. Without any hesitation, as sincerely as he could say it, Jordan said, "Jace… Jason Patrick Blackwell, there is no one I love more than you and it will make me very happy to marry you. Now, will you help me make the bed and clean up this pig sty?"

"Pig sty?" I chuckled. "Babe, we have everything where it needs to go until our furniture is delivered."

"Yeah, well I feel like everything except our clothes is out of place. At least the closet had drawers for the stuff that doesn't hang."

As we finished making the bed, I assured him that the furniture would be here soon enough. He told me that our furniture would be arriving at 0900 hours, giving us only an hour to organize before our parents arrive. Unfortunately, Kanye's bed won't arrive until 2100 hours tonight. I'm not sure how that affects us, but Jordan threw it out there.

Jordan

Waking up seeing Jace staring at me felt good. Hal and I thought we shouldn't see each other until the wedding and sleep separately, but Dave and Jace disagreed with us. They said there wasn't any possibility that we could function, doing our jobs, and visiting with family and NOT see each other, so we agreed and slept in our own beds. I'm glad we did. I must admit, waking up, seeing Jace is a whole lot better than waking up and seeing Hal, at least to me. Don't get me wrong, Hal is a good-looking guy, but I'm not in love with him.

Jace scared me when we started talking. At first, I thought he was apologizing because he wanted to call off the wedding, but then he explained again that he feels unworthy of me. How many times do I need to explain, first, he is so worthy of me, I am the lucky one. And second, true love isn't based on worth. I have never been a true fan of the caste system where royals can only marry royals. Where is true love in that? I am so glad that we did away with that in most of Earth's cultures.

After we got up, I didn't even take time to get dressed before I started making the bed. My uniform laid neatly folded on top of a box. Jace may be the most organized person I know, but his Engagement Ringuniform was piled on the floor. I guess he was too tired to fold it and just took it off. Instead of helping me make the bed, he reached down to his uniform, but didn't pick it up. He was commenting about neither of us proposing, so I was getting ready to when he dropped to one knee. He held out a unique looking ring. It was one which definitely said "Jace" to me. It was a black tungsten ring with a blue dragon. It also had a diamond and an emerald, which while are our birthstones, more importantly have another meaning; the diamond represents love and the emerald is the stone of marriage. Once we marry, I will put this ring on a black chain and wear it close to my heart. Then he did help me make the bed.

Jordan ~ 0800

The shuttle arrived with Commander Tietokone's mom. Dave and Hal were there to greet her. The pilot seemed a little nervous as he helped unload his cargo. He told me to be sure the Captain knew his furniture was on the ship. I grabbed some workers and was about to have them haul it to the Captain's quarters, when the Captain excused himself from Mrs. Tietokone and took time long enough to verify that everything he ordered was there. Once done, he went back to his guest and I led the crew to his quarters. Unsure of whether the Captain would want someone to put it together for him, or if he liked doing that himself, we left things organized about where I thought they should go.

As I returned to the shuttle bay with the crew, the next shuttle was landing. This one had Jace's and my furniture; it was earlier than I was expecting. The pilot explained that the Captain barked at someone so they got busy and hopped on getting things delivered. I was not too upset about that. I let Jace know that our furniture arrived and he said he would meet us at our quarters.

Once everything was placed in our quarters, Jace started assembling it. I was still on duty until 1000, when our parents were scheduled, so I left Jace to assembling and arranging our place.

Dave

I don't know why I was so nervous. Hal's mother, or 'Mama' as I called her, was arriving. I loved her and I was certain she loved me. But I was nervous. I was going to get married to her son. When she stepped off the shuttle she came to me before her own son.

"David, I am so proud of you. Not only because you're going to truly be my son… okay son-in-law in a few hours, but because of all you've accomplished. You're seventeen and the commander of a starship! I knew you were destined for great things."

Hal was standing back, not wanting to intrude on my moment with Mama.

Her words brought tears to my eyes. "Mama… I love you so much. I do know one thing. After my mother died you were the one who picked up the pieces of me. Had you not been there for me, I wouldn't be here. I want you to have this." I reached up to my arm and pulled the Velcro attached patch from my sleeve.

"When you get to thinking about us, you can look at this and know you'll always be part of my crew. I love you so much, as a matter of fact there's only one person in this universe I love more."

Hal came over to me and I put my arm around him. Mama smiled and gave us each a kiss on the cheek. "Ok, Captain, Commander, why don't you show me this magnificent vessel."

Hal

Seeing Mom come off the shuttle and go straight to Dave was the best thing I could have hoped for. I assumed she'd come to me first, but seeing her and hearing her words, caused me to get misty-eyed. I didn't want to intrude, but when Dave motioned me over I went and stood by him. No words were necessary.

Mom asked for a tour so, with me on one side, and Dave on the other, Mom holding an arm of each of us, we showed her the ship.

During our tour we introduced her to each of the Senior Staff we encountered. Lt. Kanye was in I.S. performing an additional diagnostic. He explained that there was a single anomalous reading on one of the secondary sub-processors and he wanted to get on it before it became a problem.

I was pleased and if I know my future husband, I know he was pleased with the fact that Brad was jumping into his new position and taking charge, but not afraid to get in and do the work also.

Next stop was Engineering; Connor Marlin was sitting at a desk reviewing a report. He stood and saluted as we entered. I introduced him to Mom, then we headed toward our quarters.

Jace ~ 1000

I just finished getting things arranged as Jordan and I discussed, and had everything put away, then raced to the shuttle bay. Jordan looked at me and said, "Perfect timing, how close were you able to get with arranging our 'apartment,' so to speak."

I chuckled, "I guess in a way, that would be what our quarters are. I have it completely done. I think you will be happy with how I arranged everything."

Jordan was his usual "I put you first" self, "If it's even close to how we discussed, I will be. If you are happy with it, I know I will be. Your happiness is all that matters to me." I believe he truly means that, but for once I would like for him to tell me that he would like something different. I never know if he really is happy or if he's happy just because I like something.

Once the shuttle landed, Jordan's mom and dad came out. They walked over to us and gave Jordan a hug and then me. I started to worry when I hadn't seen my parents come out. Then Mom Rivers started talking, "Jace, the reason your parents haven't gotten off the shuttle yet is, well, I don't…"

"They're not coming, are they?" I interrupted.

"I didn't say that," Mom Rivers pointed out.

Jordan must have been thinking the same thing, he asked, "Would you like to go to our quarters first, or have a tour?"

I no sooner turned around and I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder, then I heard a familiar voice ask, "Don't Grandpas get hugs anymore?"

I turned around to see my grandpa staring at me, with Mom, Dad and Christmas behind him. "Grandpa, I wasn't expecting you, but I'm so happy to see you?" I started to cry as I hugged the man.

Grandpa explained, "So, I hear that you are getting married and will be living in space for a while. When your dad told me, I had to come."

I gave him a smile and a kiss on the cheek. "Grandpa, this is Jordan, the young man that I love."

"He's as handsome as I would expect for my grandson," Grandpa surprised me.

I was inquisitive, "You don't mind that I am gay?"

"Of course I mind that you are happy," Grandpa snapped. "If loving another young man makes you so, then why should I be upset? Do you remember Uncle Leo?"

I shook my head, and looked at my dad, "I don't think I've ever met him."

My dad spoke up in a sad voice, "That's my fault. I haven't spoken to my brother since he married Ashton. I tried to contact him to apologize and tell him about Jace's wedding, but he refused the call. I guess I deserve that, but Jace doesn't."

As we were showing our families around, we met Captain Bowman and Commander Tietokone. "Captain, I would like to introduce you to my family. This is my mom and dad along with my eight-month-old brother, Christmas. And this handsome gentleman is my grandpa."

Dave looked surprised, "Grandpa? You don't look old enough to have a son, let alone a grandson Jace's age."

Grandpa smiled before admitting, "That's so kind of you, but I turned fifty-six last month on the twenty-first."

Captain Bowman chatted with my family for a bit and then introduced Hal's mom to us. I guess, Jordan met her when she got off the shuttle. We finished giving our tour at our quarters. When we stepped in, I hoped that Jordan appreciated how I had everything.

As he walked in, the lights came on and his face lit up. "Babe, you set this up perfectly, and you put everything in its place for me. Thank you, so much."

"I just remembered what you said you would like, and I was happy with how it turned out."

Jordan went to kiss me and after he did, Grandpa spoke up, "You two can do plenty of that tonight, for now, I have a present for you."

"You being here is present enough, Grandpa," I chimed.

He held out a small box, "I hope that you haven't picked out wedding bands yet.Wedding Ring This was your great grandfather's. He didn't feel like traveling, so he asked me to give you this." He handed me the box and I opened it. There was a wedding band inside the box. Jordan and I did already have bands picked, but once we saw the black ring with two dragons facing each other and the emerald and diamond stones, we knew that had to be one of our bands. Then Grandpa removed his ring and said, "This should be going to your son, but I want you both to have matching bands." Jordan accepted the ring.

"Thank you, Grandpa. We love these rings." Then we chatted until it was time to get ready for the wedding.

Hal

On our way to our quarters we stopped by Jace and Jordan's quarters to greet their parents.

"Captain, Commander, I'd like to introduce you to my family," Jace said proudly, "my mother Michelle, and my father Jason, and Sir, Christmas is with us year-round. That's my baby brother's name."

Captain Bowman questioned, "Jason, is that why your son goes by Jace?"

"Actually, I was the only one who called him that until he met Jordan. But that is why I did," Jason Blackwell replied. The Captain then turned to Jace's mother and asked if he could hold Christmas.

"Well, young man, I want you to know how great your brother is. Jace is one of my most trusted advisors. He's a very important man here. I know you will grow up to be just as great a man as he is. I look forward to seeing you when we return, all grown up." He then gave Christmas a kiss on the forehead before handing him back to Jace's mother who had a very proud expression on her face. She handed the baby to her husband before asking, "Captain, may I give you a hug?"

"Michelle, please, call me Dave, and I would be honored." He reached down and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Jace continued, "And this handsome gentleman is my grandpa Jake."

"Grandpa?" David said in surprise, "You don't look old enough to have a son, let alone a grandson Jace's age."

Jordan introduced his parents, "Sirs, I'm proud to introduce you to my parents. Ayden and Rochelle Rivers."

He greeted them and said, "Mr. and Mrs. Rivers, welcome aboard. Jordan is probably the best choice I made when I assembled this crew. You should be very proud of him. I want to introduce you to my future Mother-in-law, Inga Tietokone. She's Hal's mother, but she's my Mama."

As we exited their quarters Jace's grandfather asked to speak to us. He explained what he wanted and Dave guaranteed him he'd do what he could. We then continued toward our quarters.

On the way, we ran into Admiral and Commander Robinson. After the usual pleasantries, we introduced them to Mom. The Admiral was quite complimentary, congratulating her on having her two boys tie the knot. Kyle just stood by with a huge smile on his face.

When we arrived at our quarters I turned to Mom and said, "I'm sorry you're going to see it basically empty. Our furniture is scheduled to be arriving today." However when we entered everything was already delivered and set-up. They must have found my diagram I had left on the bed and put everything where I'd wanted it.

We sat and talked to Mom until it was time for us to get ready for the wedding.

Kyle ~1100

Admiral Gregory Robinson looked out of his view port on the shuttle "Challenger IV," at the slowly approaching starship Sooloo. Captain Dae Ho Choo eased the shuttle into the shuttle bay of the large starship.

For the first time in three years, Robinson was going into space. "I really do need to put in for a transfer," he thought. "I've been sitting at a desk much too long."

As soon as the all-clear was given, the Admiral took his package out of the overhead compartment. He then retrieved a bagged uniform hanging on the front bulkhead and became the first to step through the hatch. Rank did indeed, have its privileges. When he stepped into the reception area, he handed his package to a young lieutenant who looked to be fourteen or fifteen. The name on his shirt read Steve Boyer.

He handed the bag and package to the lieutenant. Robinson told him where he wanted it to go. "Please take care of that for me as soon as possible, Lieutenant Boyer," a request which from an Admiral was the equivalent of an order.

"Aye, sir."

He was then accorded all the ceremony given to a visiting Admiral. Captain Bowman, First Officer Tietokone, Chief of Operations Rivers, Chief of Internal Operations Blackwell, Chief Engineer Marlin, Chief Tactical and Security Officer Douglass and Chief Astrogator Robinson comprised the welcoming party. Admiral Robinson gave his son, Kyle, a smile and was pleased to see it returned.

The official greeting was quick and painless. Space Fleet didn't stand on long ceremonies. Admiral Robinson and his son were soon alone. Gregory gave Kyle a hug before the boy could protest. A lot had changed in Admiral Robinson in the past couple of weeks.

"It's good to see you again, son. Thanks for the invitation to join you on board the Sooloo."

"You could have come anyway," Kyle reminded him. "I mean, you are an Admiral."

"I wouldn't have come without you wanting me here."

"How would you like a tour of the ship, Dad?" Kyle stopped and looked at his father. "I can call you Dad, right?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way."

Kyle showed off his new home to his father and was pleased at how his father was genuinely interested in his tour. He asked a lot of questions, which Kyle liked, and often placed a hand on his shoulder, a piece of intimacy that gave Kyle a warm feeling inside. He was particularly proud of the Astrogation station, which he spent an extra amount of time explaining. He impressed his father with not only his knowledge, but also his ability to explain what he knew in a way that someone unfamiliar with it could understand.

"I suppose we'd better get ready for the main event," Gregory said, referring to the wedding. Kyle wondered how his father would react to being invited to a gay wedding. He remembered his father going ballistic when he caught him naked and masturbating Danny Harper when he was ten. That incident all but split up Kyle's family.

"Yeah, I guess. We do still have a lot of time." Kyle felt a sense of foreboding as to how his father would react to being invited to the wedding. He was glad that his father hadn't broached the subject, because he sure wasn't going to.

"I know we do. But I have a couple of things to discuss with you." Kyle didn't like the sound of that. When his father used the word "discuss" it usually meant there would be a one-sided conversation.

Kyle's quarters were the last place on the tour. They entered the almost bare room. The only furniture was Kyle's bed.

"You need to get some furniture in here," Gregory said, echoing Captain Bowman. The similarity of the two statements had Kyle fighting a grin.

"I ordered some that is supposed to come on one of the last shuttles."

"Good. Nobody should spend a big chunk of his life alone in a bare room." Kyle's father sat on the bed and patted the place to his right. Kyle sat next to his father, wondering if all the good things that had happened over the last couple of days were about to be erased—he wouldn't put it past his father.

Before the Admiral could talk, Kyle nervously told his dad, "Actually, I won't be alone, at least not for a few weeks." He then went to explain the situation and told his dad that they were waiting for the second bed to arrive with the rest of his furniture.

"I assume that you're surprised that I agreed to come aboard the Sooloo and attend a gay wedding?" Kyle nodded. He knew it was going to come to this. He wanted to put his hands over his ears and shut out everything his father had to say, an action he had often taken when listening to his father.

"Son, I have served with gays my entire career. I have never had a problem with the sexual preference of those men. Or women, for that matter. They have served Space Fleet well. A couple of times my duties had me attending a gay wedding, although admittedly I would have liked to skip it."

"Then why are you here?" Kyle asked quietly.

"To see you one last time before you left my life."

"Are you going to skip the wedding then?"

"Be quiet and listen for a moment, son."

"Hah," Kyle thought, "now my father is really sounding like my father."

"I know you remember the incident with you and Danny Harper." Kyle nodded again, scooting away from his father. He knew he was going to hear all the accusations again—that he was going to relive that horrible day when he and his best friend were humiliated and his mother threw in the towel and left the family.

Gregory put his arm around his son and tried to pull him back in close, but Kyle fought him off. Gregory let go and looked directly at his son. It was not the piercing look that he always had in these one-sided discussions. Instead it was a look of sadness. "I was wrong," he said in a quiet, but steady voice. "I was so wrong and I created too much hurt."

"We were just messing around," Kyle said, thinking he had to defend himself again.

"I know that. But I was scared by what I saw." What his father had seen was two boys who were almost eleven, naked in Kyle's room, masturbating each other. "I was afraid you were going to be gay—that you weren't going to be the man I wanted you to be when you grew up. I never even gave it a thought that you might just be two boys experimenting with your bodies." Kyle often wondered what his dad would have thought if they had been engaged in giving each other blow jobs instead of jerking each other off. "I was wrong. I was so, so wrong."

It seemed like hours had gone by when Kyle broke the silence. "It hurt me bad. I lost my best friend, and Mom left, and… and… you made me feel… I don't know, like I was nothing. Like being me wasn't good enough, that I could only be what you told me to be."

"I brought something for you." Gregory rose from the bed and walked across the room. Kyle had seen the uniform that had been carefully placed on the centerpiece of the room, but he hadn't seen the package that his father brought back to the bed. He sat down and was pleasantly surprised when his son closed the distance between them.

"I took away your innocence, and a lot of your life that day. Throwing away your stuffed animals was part of it. I saw how that hurt you, but I did it anyway. I wanted you to be strong, not a whiny baby who was gay, and liked stuffed animals. I forgot about the boy who was already being strong on the soccer pitch, the baseball field, the basketball court. I just saw you being weak."

"I wasn't weak; I was just being me."

"I realize that now. But on that day, I didn't, and so I took away something precious to you and destroyed it. All of it."

Kyle wanted to yell that his father had missed one thing—a little stuffed penguin named Megrez. He wanted to get in his father's face and tell him he was imperfect. Instead, he used part of his leadership training, the part that said to pause before opening one's mouth. So he took a deep breath, and paused.

Gregory handed his son the package and asked him to open it. Kyle took it. Whatever was inside was soft and pliable. He opened the package and pulled out a white stuffed bear. The bear Al Bearwas wearing a dress uniform shirt with four stars on the collar. Kyle looked down and the marvel in his hands and felt tears rolling down his cheeks. He held the bear tightly against his chest as if it would run away if he let it go.

"I should have never taken your stuffed animals away. I know you took comfort from their presence. This will never make up for it, but those times you feel lonely and miss your father, you can talk to the bear. He might be more responsive than I ever was."

Still holding onto the bear, Kyle got off the bed and walked to where his belongings sat, waiting for the furniture to arrive so they could be stored. He set the bear down and reached into a leather satchel and pulled out Megrez, his little stuffed penguin. He straightened the penguin's green scarf, picked the bear off the floor and brought them back to the bed. He sat down so close to his father that they touched.

"You missed one," he told his father. "I guess Danny and I must have kicked him off and under the bed while we were messing around."

"Did you just pull that out to let me know you don't really need that bear?"

"Dad, just shut up and listen, okay?" When the Admiral gave him a shocked look, Kyle flashed him an impish grin. "I'm going to tell you why this bear is going to be very special."

"But, didn't Megrez remind you of how much I hurt you and…"

"Daaad!"

"Okay, tell me." Deep down Admiral Gregory Robinson was proud of his son for standing up to him even as he held on to two stuffed animals.

Instead of addressing his father, he addressed the penguin. "Megrez, I would like you to meet your new roommate, Al the Bear." He turned to the bear and said. "Al, meet Megrez" He brought the two animals together until they touched noses.

What Gregory saw in his son at that moment, was a little boy instead of a boy on the verge of manhood. But, it was a little boy who looked happy and content. "Al the Bear?"

"Sheesh dad," Kyle grinned. "His full name is Alpha Proxima Centauri. He is named for the closest star to Earth after the sun. He is an alpha male, just like the dad who gave him to me, right down to his uniform." Kyle had learned about alpha males in leadership training. "And he's named Proxima, because it tells me that because he gave me this special bear, my dad will always be close to me. He is Alpha Proxima Centauri, shortened to Alpha, and shortened even more to Al."

Even as his son sounded and looked like a little boy, Gregory Robinson could hear the maturity in what he said.

Kyle put his head against his dad's shoulder. "I love you, Daddy. Megrez loved me when I needed loving, just like the stars do. Alpha will love me too, only added to his love will be your love because these last two days I got the best love I ever got in my life, and I am so happy and…," he turned his head into his dad's chest.

Everything he'd held back since the first tears when he saw the white bear burst out and his tears started soaking the Admiral's uniform. He fought back a sudden burst of laughter combined with his sobbing as he realized in the last six months he'd cried into the shirts of two Admirals and a captain. That sure makes me the kind of officer for my dad to be proud of, he thought.

He pulled away from his dad and stretched out on the bed and turned so he was facing his father. He patted the bed and his father lay on the bed facing his sobbing son. He kissed his son on the forehead and became the first Admiral in history to cry into the uniform shirt of a Commander. They lay facing each other until they regained control of themselves.

"You know, I was trained to be an officer, and I am good at it. I became a father, and did okay at it…"

"You did?"

Greg put a finger to his lips. "Shhhh… I gave you the basics of life… food, a roof over your head, an education, toys…"

"… a telescope," Kyle grinned.

"Yeah, that too. But, I was a lousy dad. One of my recent mentors (he was referring to Admiral Mirah) said anybody could be a father just by planting sperm in the right place at the right time. But, it takes work to be a dad."

"You're a good dad now," Kyle said sincerely.

"Thank you, Son. That means a lot." He looked at the time. "Shit, we better put our dress uniforms on. There's a wedding coming up, soon."

They hopped out of bed. Kyle placed Al and Megrez next to each other on the bed. "So they can get to know each other," he grinned at his dad. His dad saw a young adolescent being a little boy at the same time he was trying to be a man.

The two shed their now wrinkled and wet uniforms and stood in their boxer briefs, a style of underwear that had withstood many changes in style. Greg admired his son's body. He wasn't a big boy, but he was a well-built athlete.

As the two officers donned their dress uniforms, Greg knew he needed to ask one more tough question. He hoped it wouldn't upset the delicate balance he and his son had between them.

"You don't have to answer this, Kyle." Kyle nodded. He had an idea what the question was going to be about, and if he was right, he had the answer. "But, do you think you're gay?"

It was the question he expected and he answered without hesitation. "I think I'm confused. I never did sex things with anybody but Danny—not even kissing and making out. But you know what, Dad?"

"What?"

"I really don't give a rat's ass, and I hope you don't either. All I want to be is the best officer I can be for Captain Bowman, and to make you proud, and to just be me. I guess if I'm going to have any sex in my life, it's going to be with a guy. But, like we learned in training, any port in a storm. But it's not what I want—I want somebody to love and somebody to love me and I don't care if that somebody is gonna be a guy. So, let me ask you, do you care whether I'm gay or not?"

"Nope, I care that you're happy, and that you're free to be you. I hope you find the most fantastic partner in the galaxy on this ship."

They were now dressed for the wedding. "You look very sharp in that dress uniform, Son. You make me very proud to be your father… to be your dad."

"You look pretty sharp, too. I guess I learned some things from you," Kyle smiled.

"Let's go watch some happy boys—no, happy men, tie the knot."

Commander Kyle Robinson took the hand of Admiral Gregory Robinson and held it as they walked the corridors of the ship. Neither the Commander or the Admiral cared who saw, because they were father and son and had shared love and tears together.

 

Separator

End Notes:

This work is a collaboration of 3 authors. We will be posting chapters of this story on a bi-weekly basis. When commenting, please cc all three authors. Authors of Voyagers