Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Truth Found

Truth Found

Day 4 (cont)


0827 Hours


MacGregor stared at the computer screen, but the words were blurred beyond reading. "Alright, what's next?"

"The next entry is her arrival to her first assignment, aboard the Thomas," Beth replied. "Just a straight-forward acknowledgement of her arrival as a technician. Did you want to dip into her Academy records?"

He stifled a yawn. "No, I think we've got enough, don't you?"

"I thought we had enough after just the past year."

"I needed to know how bad she's had it. Smitty's taken-" He stopped, not wanting to say anything that might be taken as negative about his fellow officer. Well, you don't have to convince anybody she's nearing a nervous breakdown."

Temple gave him a sharp look. "Is she?"

He indicated the screen and its numerous entries. "Don't know how she could not be. No wonder she was thrilled to arrive here, where she has someone to help her." He sighed. "I used to think Winthrop was the exception and I was fairly normal. From the looks of her record, Winthrop is normal, and I'm horribly undersexed."

The head nurse shuddered. "I refuse to believe Winthrop is 'normal'," she stated. "I'm not going to blame Mac for the hell she's been through, either, but let's face it - even you declared yourself to be in lust the moment you saw her."

A gorgeous redhead bounced into the sick bay lobby. "Okay, I've officially entered my rutting season," he stated quietly. He shook the memory off. "I've been trying to behave myself," he stated. "After seeing what other officers have put her through, I'll be trying even harder."

Temple smiled. "That's because you're a good man. One who is capable of seeing Mac as a person, and not just a sexy body."

She glided down the corridor, her long dress flowing, its swirling movements hinting erotically of the curves she had no hope of truly hiding. A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead, and that was just a memory of a daydream. "Let's hope so." It's a hell of a body. "Space, Bugalu's got his work cut out for him."

"To get her into his bed? Really, doctor-"

"To keep the men away from her!" he declared, and pointed to the screen. "To keep any more of that from happening! However she managed a transfer to the Fireball with this kind of a record, she came because she sees him as a brother."

The nurse sat back, her eyes round. "Wow."

"Exactly," he agreed. He tried to stifle another yawn. "Make a copy of that, would you, Beth? It must be late, why don't I buy you supper?"

"I'd rather have breakfast," she returned as she typed the computer its instructions.

Drake sat back and eyed the nurse speculatively. All this talk of men finding Mac irresistible - is she trying to remind me she's a woman, too? I don't need reminded. "Forgive me for being dense, but just what did you mean by that?"

She smiled. As if she knows exactly what's on my mind, and finds it amusing.

"I mean that it's morning, doctor. We've been here all night."

"What?" He turned to look at the clock. "You should have hit me over the head around midnight and told me enough was enough."

"I could have," she agreed. "But I was just as interested as you were." She handed him the disc with the file of discrepancies they had discovered, turned off the computer and stood. "Now what?"

He followed her out of the office. "Now I take you for that meal I promised you," he stated. "And then you take the day off. Monroe's here, and-" He stopped short at the sight of 2 nurses already in the nurse's station and turned to face Beth. "This is your day off, isn't it?"


"And you probably had plans last night, too."

"None of your business," she returned lightly. "As for that meal, can I have a rain check? I'm more in the mood for a hot shower and a long nap."

"Suit yourself. But I do owe you."

"What are you going to do with what we discovered?"

"That's what I get to decide today. It's gone on far too long. It has to be addressed, and the sooner, the better." He frowned at the floor. "I have to figure out how to do it without causing more pain for Mac. She's been through enough already."

Temple smiled. "Like I said, you're a good man." She waved to the on-duty nurses and left.

Hope I'm as good as she thinks I am.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Disturbing Dream, Disturbing Dream 2, and Rumors of Discrepancy

Disturbing Dream
Day 3 (cont)
2309 Hours

One arm encircled a woman’s form, his hand rested on her round buttock. His other hand fondled a firm breast so that her nipple came erect. The heat of her body soaked into him. His organ also came erect, pressed against her. "Oh, dear." Her voice was seductive, and sweet on his face.
He adjusted her position atop him. "Yes," he agreed, and pulled her head down for a kiss.
"Give me that!" Bugalu pulled the redhead away, into the darkness.
"Hey!" Smitty found himself sitting in his bed in the dark. There was no indication that anyone else had been there. Blast! I knew I should have had a cold shower. I've got no business thinking - or dreaming - of her like that!
I knew she and Bugalu were an item when I saw them together that first day.
He punched his pillow; flopped down to try to go back to sleep. Just two more days. After shore leave, she'll be on midnights, and I needn't see her again.
Hardly ever.

Disturbing Dream 2
Day 3 (cont)
2359 Hours

She was there when he emerged from the bathroom. "Don't you knock?"
She faced him with a teasing smile. "Why? Aren't you decent?" She wasn't quite decent herself, her boots off, her uniform tunic haphazardly fastened.
Sweat dampened his forehead as her cool hands slid up his naked chest. "What’s gotten into you?" he asked hoarsely.
"Would you like to?" she returned. She leaned against him as she stood on her toes. His instincts took over and he lowered his head until their lips almost touched. "Are you finally going to teach me how this sex stuff is done?"
Surprised, he opened his eyes, jerked back. Gone was the red-hot sexpot. Now she was a very young, very immature little girl.
"Mac!" He awoke with a start, her name on his lips. She's not here. I sent her home with the last of Bear's whiskey. Which wasn’t much. He lay in the darkness to sort his thoughts. That first part was how others see her. I thought I knew better. Because that last part is the real her. An immature innocent.
He touched the hologram frame on the nightstand, and the miniature threesome silently laughed and hugged each other. "Matt, I'm doing my best," he whispered to the other male in the hologram. "It's not easy. She hasn't got a clue what she's doing, most of the time." He sighed and settled deeper into the mattress.
After a moment, he looked at the hologram again. "That's why I became her ninth brother, isn't it? You couldn't handle it alone." He rolled over. "Wish I had someone to share the chore with."

Rumors of Discrepancies
Day 4
0755 Hours

Seeing her supervisor about to leave the mess hall, Abdulla stepped between him and the doorway. "Just a moment, please, Mr Smythe. I need to speak with you." He looks tired. Well, we'll all be happy when shore leave finally gets here.
"Can't it wait, Abdulla?" he asked. His voice was like gravel, almost a warning growl. "I'm due on duty-"
"As am I," she returned. "So I won't take long, I don’t want to find myself on report. My supervisor can be a real tyrant, sometimes." His grimace made her hesitate. That should have gotten at least a half-smile out of him. Move on. If he's in a bad mood, don't waste time. "It's about Lt MacDowell."
He looked up sharply, his scowl even blacker, though his cheeks were pink. "Now what?"
"I've reviewed her files, and I found ... discrepancies."
"What kind?" he demanded.
Foul mood doesn’t begin to describe him this morning. Too late to back out now. "I believe she's been shorted on shore leave-"
"Ridiculous!" His snort dismissed the idea. "Shore leave is regular on a tug. Now, excuse me. I've got work to do." He moved around her and was gone.
Flabbergasted, Abdulla stared after him.
"Headed for the bridge, Lieutenant?"
Abdulla turned. Capt Burke waited for an answer. "Yes" Her mind whirling, she started for the turbo lift while her own mood blackened. "Whatever the reason for his foul mood, it's no excuse for just blowing me off!" she muttered to herself.
"Wasn't Mr Smythe able to solve your problem?"
Abdulla looked up, surprised to find the Captain walking with her. How do I answer that? If I complain, I betray a superior. If I don't, I perpetuate a terrible injustice.
"I noticed that Mr Smythe is ... preoccupied this morning," the captain went on. They entered the lift together, and it started for the bridge. "I don’t think the auxiliary bridge is going as well as he had hoped. Since he’s busy, perhaps I could offer some advice regarding your problem?"
She's given me an opportunity. I just have to be careful how I say it. "I'm sure you're correct, Captain. Mr Smythe did seem to be in a hurry. I may not have explained myself well."
"Explain it to me. I'm not as preoccupied as he is."
Abdulla swallowed. "As I tried to explain to Mr Smythe, I've reviewed Lt MacDowell's files."
"Very commendable."
"Thank you. However, I found several entries that seem to indicate she did not receive the normal number of shore leave days that a tug's crew member would have received. I know that shore leave is usually very regular on a tug-"
"Get to it," the captain urged. "How many leaves were denied in the past year?"
Staggered by the abrupt question, the communications officer had to breathe before she could answer. "At least 11 of the 13--"
The captain gave a low whistle. "She was on someone's shit list." She gave a curt nod. "Okay. I'll convince Smythe she needs all 3 days of shore leave. That's the best we can do at this point. I'll convince him it's his own idea."
Abdulla took a disk from her pocket. "I have proof-"
"Don't need it."
Burke regarded the lieutenant. "If you've misrepresented the facts, lieutenant, then you'll be on my shit list, won't you?"
"I imagine so," she agreed softly.
"Then we understand each other." The turbo lift door opened, and they emerged onto the bridge.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bugalu's First Clue

Bugalu’s First Clue
Day 3 (cont)
2107 Hours

Once the turbo lift door opened, Bugalu pounced inside, stopped short in shock. "Woops." Mac lay atop Smythe, both looked dazed. Not only is he still alive, it doesn't look like she's made any effort to stop him. What is going on with her? And him, too! She's a subordinate!
"What in space is going on?" Smythe bellowed as he hastily disengaged from the redhead. "MacDowell-!" Bugalu offered the man a hand, and Smythe looked him over. Can imagine what he thinks, me with no shirt. Do I explain she stole it? No, that doesn't sound good.
"I didn't see you," Mac breathed as she and her unintended victim climbed to their feet. Desperate to be believed, she moved closer. "i swear I didn't see you! I was getting away from Bugs, 'cause I played another trick on him, and ... I didn't see you!"
Smythe backed up against the turbo lift wall; sweat appeared on his forehead. A simple accident brings them in contact, and he's- Well, I knew she had that effect on men.
But what's she doing? She keeps inching closer, like she's daring him to- No, that can't be right. He chewed her out and now she's trying not to be on his bad side? Going about it all wrong. I’d better break this up. "give me that!" he said, grabbing his shirt out of her hand.
She turned her head. Like she didn't realize I was here until now. "You've got to believe me, Bugs, I didn't see him!"
"I believe you." She's practically on his toes. Is Mr Smythe her molehill?
Mac was beginning to babble. "I'm trying to be a good girl, Bugs, I am!" [Blast that father of hers!] "But I can't hit anybody anymore, he won't let me. And Tall Bear asked me out, and I couldn't--" [Bear, already?] "And you took your shirt off, and how could I resist that? But then I ran right into him, and ... and we were on the floor, and he was-"
Doing things that would have gotten another man beaten. Is she admitting-? Not in front of him! He lunged forward and began to tickle her, so that her words were replaced by peals of laughter.
"What are you doing?" Smythe asked. The turbo lift door opened yet again.
Trying to keep her from saying something she should not say. "She's a jokester," he stated. "She's been asking for this since she arrived. Now she'll get it!” Blast! Why doesn't he leave? How long will that door stay open? I've got to get her away from here! He turned to look at the older man. "Good night, Mr Smythe." That should give him the hint!
"Will you be alright, MacDowell?"
"She'll be--"
"I asked Colleen!" Smythe snapped.
He won't take my word-? Wait. Colleen? I've never heard him call a subordinate by their given name! Bugalu stopped tickling and moved away, leaving her gasping for breath, leaning again the wall. "Mr Smythe wants to know if you'll be okay if he leaves you alone with me, Mac."
Round green eyes stared at Smythe for a long time. And Bugalu stared at those eyes, analyzed what he saw in them. In Matt’s eyes, that would be lust! But this is Mac, so I should see fear, confusion, panic. If this is her mountain, it is a mountain, not the molehill she tried to pretend! She shifted her look to Bugalu. Scared and confused and completely out of her league. Anything more? I don’t know.
Suddenly, she threw her arms around him. "Your place, Bugsy, please!"
He heard the door close, sent the turbo lift to the stop closest to his room. In a few moments, they were sitting on the sofa in his living room, and she still had not let go of him.
They sat for a long time, arms wrapped around each other. Neither said a word. She's not crying, that's good. She's quiet, that's hard to believe. She's trembling fiercely, and that can't be good. At least she's not breaking my ribs, so she's able to think that much. He raised a hand to brush a lock of her hair off her forehead. "You should have told me."
"Told you what?"
She's still playing dumb. Pretend she doesn't have any feelings because Pa trained her they were bad. If I push, she'll retreat even further into that brainwashing. Blast her father!
Or else she really doesn't realize what's happening because of that brainwashing. If she did recognize it, it would mean she's going against Pa's training, and no telling what that would do to her head.
Either way, I don't know what to do next.
Be a friend, I guess. I can't solve all her problems, even if I want to. So what can I do for her right now? She hasn't had any time off in a year and a half, no booze in 8 months ... I feel a party coming on.
"Let me up for a minute," he told her. She reluctantly let go, and he went through his bedroom to the bathroom, tricked the door locks and eased into Tall Bear's quarters. In a moment, he was back, with two bottles. Good thing he doesn't drink much, so he had something I could 'borrow'. Good thing shore leave is only a couple days away, or he would definitely have problems with my borrowing it. I hope he doesn't mind.
Her eyes lit up when she saw the bottles. "I didn't know you had a private stash."
"This is Tall Bear's supply. Be sure you replace it."
"If ... if I don't get shore leave, then what?"
She's still worried about that. "Then I will," he told her. He handed her the open bottle, and sat down again. "Okay. I gather you had a bad day. Tell me about it."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unexpected Meeting

Unexpected Meeting
Day 3 (cont)
2058 Hours

Smythe stepped onto the turbo lift carefully and sent it toward the gym. I won't do too hard a workout tonight; I've drunk far more than I should have. I'll just do some cycling and have a long sauna, get some of the alcohol out of my system. Why did I suddenly have such a need for whiskey? It doesn't make sense. I entered the rec room for a coffee, resolved that issue with MacDowell and Jones, and then I had this overwhelming urge for a stiff drink. It wasn't the issue; I've dealt with sexual harassment before. I've dealt with Jones before, too, at least once on that same subject. Which seems to leave only...
She kept her head down, refusing to look at him. She took a deep breath and crossed her arms, which deepened his view of her cleavage.
No! That wasn't it! There's plenty of women on this ship, if I can't wait until shore leave, but that one is a subordinate!
The turbo lift reached his destination, and the door opened. He stepped forward to exit, his thoughts black as well as muddled, when someone ran right into him and knocked him to the turbo lift floor.
What happened? Why am I on the floor? Surely I'm not that drunk. No, someone ran into me. A great weight lay atop him, one of his arms encircled a very feminine body so that hand rested on a round buttock while the other hand fondled a firm, large breast. This is what I need. All the right curves, and plenty of them. And I know she's been working out, but I can still smell the lilacs--
A cold icicle replaced his spine. Lilacs?
"Oh, dear," she breathed.
His eyes popped open, but his vision was obscured by red curls. Beyond those, he vaguely saw the turbo lift door re-open and an angry, naked Bugalu pounced inside. The negro stopped short in shock at seeing the two of them on the floor. "Woops."
"What in space is going on?" he bellowed, and rolled her delightful body off him. "MacDowell-" He stopped when the helmsman offered a hand to help him up, finally realized the younger man wasn't naked, only shirtless.
"I didn't see you," she breathed as they both climbed to their feet. She evidently didn't think he'd heard her, for she moved closer, stared at him with round green eyes. "I swear I didn't see you! I was getting away from Bugs, see, 'cause I played another trick on him, and ... I didn't see you!"
Smythe backed away from her until he felt his back pressed against the turbo lift's curved wall. This is what I need. All the right curves, and plenty of them. No! Not this one!
"Give me that!" Bugalu snarled as he grabbed some material out of her hand.
She turned her head with a jerk, as if suddenly reminded the helmsman was also present. "You've got to believe me, Bugs, I didn't see him!"
"I believe you," Bugalu told her quietly.
But the look Bugalu gave the engineer was calculating. Like he's assaying the competition! Surely he knows I wouldn't-!
MacDowell, however, continued on; the pitch of her voice drifted higher as she began to babble. "I'm trying to be a good girl, Bugs, you know I am! But I can't hit anybody anymore, he won't let me. And then Tall Bear asked me out, and I-- And you took your shirt off, and how could I possibly resist that? But then I ran right into him - of all people! - and we were on the floor, and-" Bugalu suddenly pulled her away from Smythe and tickled her, producing instant peals of laughter.
"What are you doing?" Smythe demanded. He looked up at a familiar noise, realized the turbo lift door had opened again.
"She's a jokester," the helmsman replied. "She's been using practical jokes to ask for my attention ever since she arrived. Well, now she's got it."
Smythe hesitated, put a foot in the door so it couldn't close again, some part inside of him screaming that he should leave. Now. Still, the thought intruded; That could be a threat.
Bugalu turned his head to look at him. "Good night, Mr Smythe."
Smythe stiffened at the dismissal. "Will you be alright, MacDowell?"
"She'll be-"
"I asked Colleen!" he snapped.
Bugalu shrugged, stopped tickling her, and held her up for a moment. Then he took a small step away, leaving her gasping for breath as she leaned against the wall. "Mr Smythe would like to know if you're going to be okay if he leaves you alone with me, Mac."
Round green eyes stared at Smythe for a long time. It was all he could do not to succumb to their siren call, not to step back inside the lift. Then her attention shifted to Bugalu, and Smythe firmly kept his foot on the threshold. After a long moment, the redhead threw her arms around the negro. "Your place, Bugsy, please!"
Well, there's no mistaking that. Smythe refused to admit her decision had disappointed him. He stepped outside the turbo lift and let the door close on the two lovers. All the right curves, and plenty of them. He sighed. Forget the cycle. Just a sauna then. And after that, a long cold shower might be just the thing.