If Dreams Came True
Month 3, Day 15
It had been an ugly scene between the lovers, and Smitty hadn’t meant to intrude on it. But it had happened so quickly, it had concluded before he had thought of leaving the area. “We are not a couple, Mac!” Bugalu told her angrily. “Not anymore!”
The redhead went absolutely white, broke into tears, and seemed ready to collapse. He instinctively moved forward, reached out to pat her shoulder. She threw herself against him, and his arms went around her of their own volition. “It’s okay,” he told her. “You’re better off without him.”
“Maybe,” she sniffed, and her arms found their way around him. Her body warmth soaked into him from chest to thigh. Tender kisses fluttered against his neck, and her warm breath blew in his ear. “But I need someone.”
“Me, too,” he agreed, moving his mouth to catch hers in a proper kiss. She felt so good. He wanted her so much. It was the perfect opportunity-
Smitty groaned and opened his eyes, checked the bedroom clock. The perfect opportunity! Ha! If MacGreg hadn’t beaten me to it. If she wasn’t my subordinate. If it wouldn’t have been taking advantage of her. Other than all of that, it would have been the perfect opportunity! But since all of that was in place... He sighed and climbed out of bed. Time for another cold shower.
Month 3, Day 16
Abdulla’s eyes sparked at the rumpled, non-uniformed Bugalu already on the lift. She crossed her arms and glared at him. “Okay, what’s going on?”
“I need to see Mac,” he mumbled hoarsely.
“Word is, you were plenty mad last night when you pulled her out of the gym. She give you another gerkat shower?”
He shook his head. “That would have deserved a tickling, not... what I did.”
What’s with them? Most of the time, they’re like siblings. Or lovers. Then they fight, and it’s devastation. For both of them. “Then what is the problem?” The lift stopped, and she moved closer as more people got on.
He sighed. “I’ve been refused dates because women think we’re serious.”
No, he wouldn’t be happy about that. Unless... “Are you serious?”
He recoiled from the suggestion, his eyes round. “Don’t be ridiculous!”
“Just checking,” she said soothingly. “Why in the universe would you take that out on Mac?”
Bugalu sighed. “I shouldn’t have. It’s just that... Mac came here knowing it would happen. She knew! And she tried to warn me, but I didn’t pay attention. Nothing like that would ever interrupt my life.”
“She’s not stupid, Bugalu.”
“No,” he agreed. “Maybe she understands women better than I think I do. Maybe that idea is part of why I got so mad, and that’s not her fault, either. Now I have to apologize. And I mean right now, because if I don’t, I probably won’t find her for days. She knows how to hide, if she wants to.”
“Captain doesn’t like off-duties distracting the bridge crew,” she reminded him.
“I have to risk that,” he returned.
The lift stopped at the bridge, and Abdulla turned as others began to exit. Lt Cmdr Smythe waited just inside the doorway as others exited, his eyes on the off-duty helmsman. “You’re sure this is what you want?”
“Yes,” Bugalu answered without hesitation.
The higher officer sighed, no doubt thinking of the captain’s displeasure. “Alright, come along. Both of you.” He led them onto the bridge, where they stepped to the side. “Relieve her, lieutenant,” he instructed softly.
The captain, Abdulla realized, actually was on the bridge, conversing with Takor and the midnight science officer. If Bugalu were lucky, Burke wouldn’t notice his presence. She took another step toward communications, put a hand on Mac’s shoulder. “I’m here.”
Mac turned, her face white, her green eyes red-rimmed, as if she’d been crying. Her mouth, however, was pressed tightly closed. “I’ll kill him, one day,” she snarled under her breath.
Has she been stewing about their argument all night? “W-Who?” she stammered.
“Evans!” Mac spat out.
Abdulla glanced around, wondering how many had heard. The captain’s eyes flicked in their direction for a nano-second, and Evans - who was being relieved - suddenly turned pink. “Oh.” Abdulla put on her headset and ran the equipment through the shift change run at her highest speed. “If he’s been bothering you, report him.”
“Like that does any good! The man gets a slap on the wrist for being too persistent, so he gets even more persistent.” She sighed and rubbed her eyes. “Sometimes, I wish I were married.”
Startled, Abdulla missed her final check, slapped the button again. Thought they weren’t serious? “You’re relieved,” she told the redhead.
Mac tossed her headpiece into its holder and whirled as she stood, obviously eager to get off the bridge. “Smit!”
Turning her head, Abdulla saw that Mac had nearly run into the senior engineer, who stood stiffly in her path, staring at her in what looked like intense confusion. “Rough night?” he finally asked softly.
Finally, he lets some of his humanity show!
“N-Not p-particularly.” Mac’s voice was meek as she stumbled with her words.
I said you should report Evans! You’re acting like... like you’re in the middle of a probational!
Smythe stared at the redhead for another minute, nodded, and moved to the engineering console.
“Mac,” Bugalu greeted.
“Are you sure this is public enough for you?” the redhead derided.
“You aren’t supposed to be here,” Evans hissed at Bugalu upon his approach to the lift door.
“Back off, Evans!” Bugalu and Mac told the intruder in unison.
Alarmed, Abdulla glanced at the captain, who not only didn’t look, but actually turned, so that her back was slightly more toward the pair. Meanwhile, the two friends had stepped closer and began to chuckle.
“Bugsy, I don’t know how to undo something I never intended to happen,” Mac said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Bugalu told her. The lift door opened, and the last of the day crew got off. “We’ll figure something out. Maybe I’m over-reacting. Let me do a proper apology, and then I’ll help you study.” They joined others getting on the lift, and Bugalu’s arm slipped around Mac’s waist as the door closed.
At the science console, the captain’s voice became slightly louder. “Okay, have I cleared up this misunderstanding? Are we all clear about this?”
“Yes, captain,” Takor answered. “I do understand now. Thank you for the clarification.”
“Glad I could help,” Burke responded. “Lt Hauser, if you don’t mind, I’ll ride the lift with you. I have a couple questions I’d like to ask.”
“Not at all,” Hauser answered, and as they walked toward the lift, he dared to ask, “What field of science, Captain?”
“Biology,” she responded at once.
“Hmm. Not one of my strongest suits, but I’ll do my best.”
The lift door opened to admit them. “I know you’ll have answers for me,” Burke stated as they stepped aboard.