Senator Allen Cooper had won the election by one vote, but during the recount, it was discovered that several people that voted were already deceased, making Ethan Zeller the actual winner.
The Robinson family enjoyed a family meal and chat on the SS Darastix. Kyle, Danny, Koji, Duskin and Jay would be going to Earth on the SS Darastix. Tommy spent the night and was given a lesson by Danny, then he returned to the Sooloo.
Kash was asked to help on the SS Joseph Hooker since much of their crew had been traumatized. He practically ran the entire ship, working almost sixteen hours a day. His dedication didn't go without notice.
While dropping Jay off with Kyle and Danny, they went to lunch. Kash was smitten by the Darastix’s Cook's Assistant, Kenny Booker, and heartbroken when told Kenny couldn't transfer to the Sooloo due to not being able to work with Randy.
Dave was given charge of the entirety of the Explorer Program. Though he is a Commodore, Rear Admiral Robert Crusoe is technically under him covering the Logistic division of the Explorer Program. Admiral Greg Robison is also still assigned to the Explorer Program, but in an advisory position.
Captain Cody Zeller had a special ceremony for the nine boys staying with the Alvaeyosians. It was one they wouldn't soon forget. Commodore Bowman gave a speech.
No surprise, but Koji got himself and Duskin in trouble. This time, it was very serious trouble. After getting advice from Greg and Pop-Pop, Kyle and Danny handled the situation as loving and caring, disciplinary parents.
Captain Zeller and Ian Douglass (relationship to Aiden Marlin-Douglass unknown) adopted Liber while Dr. Nazif and Morgan O Morgan adopted Yulong. On the way to Earth, Fleet Admiral William Mirah performed a wedding ceremony for the two couples.
They entered Earth's orbit on 1 May 2122. Captain David reminded everyone that Pants Day was the first Friday of May and that the first was a Friday.
As Timothy Cooper disembarked off the shuttle borrowed from the SS Darastix , a man wearing two stars on the epaulette of his Space Fleet uniform and the J.A.G. emblem on his chest approached. "Timothy Cooper?" he inquired. "I am Vice Admiral Léopold Hugo of the Judge Advocate General's office."
"Did I do something wrong?" Timothy questioned, "or is this about my grandfather."
"Neither, exactly," the man stated point blank, "but your grandfather IS involved, in a way. As a member of Space Fleet, you are officially an emancipated minor, making you a legal adult. Your grandfather is facing several charges, including voter fraud, sabotage, espionage and a list of others. That leaves your brother Jimmy without a legal guardian. That is, unless you wish to be his guardian."
"Voter fraud?" Timothy questioned.
The man nodded his head, "When they did the recount, they found several votes cast by deceased people, all for your grandfather. These votes were sent electronically, and while the people were from various parts of the area, they all came from one computer. That computer was located in an office next door to your grandfather. There were over three hundred votes. Evan Zeller won the election."
"Am I able to be Jimmy's guardian at my age?" Timothy was shocked. "I mean, I am only fifteen, but will be sixteen in a couple of weeks."
"That is why I mentioned you being officially emancipated. In the eyes of the court, you are legally an adult. If you wish to be Jimmy's guardian, that can be arranged, otherwise, he will be placed in foster care."
"Will he be allowed to travel on the Hooker with me?"
"That's up to your captain, but I don't see any other reasons why not," Léopold grinned.
"Then YES!!!" Timothy shouted.
Upon reaching Earth and before disembarking, Kyle approached Lt Commander Tyler Kyle. "I feel that the Astrogation staff are much better prepared to carry out their duties than two weeks before. You are doing an excellent job with them and proving to be a first class Astrogation Chief. I am proud to have had you under my wing on our first voyage."
"Thanks Kyle," Tyler responded. "I feel that I learned a lot from you while I was one of your crewmembers, but I also know that I still have a lot to learn."
"We all do," Kyle humbly commented.
Elsewhere on the ship, Danny was having a conversation with Lieutenant JG Faita Bureibu. "The pilots worked hard, and I am confident in their flying abilities. They could fly a shuttle to a planet and land it on rough surfaces. They all mastered the fighter simulations, too, and know what to do in the Darastixian fighters. While nothing short of actually flying the fighters could make them master pilots, they knew enough to have a start in reaching that status. They are yours to command, Lieutenant JG Faita Bureibu."
And most importantly, as far as Kyle was concerned, he felt that Jay had been a big help by being a stable influence on Koji and Duskin. He also noted that Duskin seemed a little less eager to jump every time Koji said to jump. The incident in the shuttle bay seemed to have settled him down some.
After the Darastix had established orbit around Earth, it was met by the shuttle Atlantis, which made a perfect landing in the main Shuttle Bay. The Robinsons wouldn't be riding that shuttle. They had the Mars (or the Marsh, as Koji tends to call it) which they needed to take down to Earth. Kyle, Danny, and the three boys were joined by Greg and William Robinson in the Mars.
When Captain David had said two shuttles to Earth, he wasn't aware that the Atlantis would be taking groups to Earth as well. He was only counting two of the Darastixian Shuttles that were assigned to the Darastix. Most of the Admiralty would head to Earth on the Atlantis.
When Commander Hisashi Suzuki, the captain of the Atlantis, learned he would be shuttling Admirals to Earth it didn’t faze him a bit. In his fifteen years in the shuttle service, seven as a chief pilot and shuttle captain, he had ferried many admirals. After a smooth landing at the Tiberius Spaceport, Suzuki taxied to the terminal where two staff cars were waiting for the Admirals.
Timothy asked, "Where is Jimmy? Is Grandpa out on bail, or is Jimmy sitting in a group home somewhere?"
Hugo replied, "Neither… he's at your grandfather's home with one of my officers staying with him. We didn't think it would be fair for him to be pulled out of it, especially knowing that you were on your way home. If you would like, my car can take you to him."
"I would like that a lot, thank you."
When the two staff cars carrying the Robinsons arrived at the Robinson residence Alicia was waiting in the courtyard between the house and the garage to greet them. She grinned when the cars parked side by side in the driveway and started to empty out. Kyle, Koji, Duskin, and Jay stepped out of the closer one first, and then Greg and Danny exited on the other side of the driveway. William remained in the car on Greg's instructions.
"Welcome to the Robinsons," Alicia grinned. "I'm ready to give a welcoming hug to each of you."
All but Jay stood in a queue to exchange hugs with Alicia. When Kyle saw Jay standing off to the side, he knew why the boy was standing by himself. As soon as he finished hugging Alicia, he scooted over to Jay.
"Hey, kiddo, get over there and give my mother hug," Kyle said.
Looking at Kyle's white skin, Jay compared it to Alicia's dark skin. "She's your mother?" he asked doubtfully.
"You'd better believe it. I'll explain later—right now go give her a hug."
"But she doesn't know me."
"Then I'll introduce you. Follow me."
While Koji gave Alicia an extended hug, Kyle stepped in front of Danny. Danny and Greg were the last two in line. Both nodded their approval. They knew what Kyle was doing.
"And who do we have here?" Alicia asked when Koji finally let her go.
"This is Jay," Kyle replied. "He'll just be with us for a couple of days. Kash, his father is our Chief of Operations and he's still helping on the Hooker so he could get them reorganized. As soon as he's done, Jay will join him. Koji and Duskin are good friends with Jay."
Alicia gave Jay a firm hug and the boy quickly melted into her arms as he enjoyed a rare motherly hug. "Jay, it's a pleasure to have you with us. Koji told me you two are really good friends and you helped him and Duskin a lot on the trip here," Alicia grinned.
"Thank you for having me, Mrs. Robinson."
"And thank you for being a help to my grandsons."
After breaking the hug, Jay walked over to Kyle. "Thank you, Kyle. I was feeling kind of lost."
"You don't need to feel lost here ever again," Kyle said. "Just remember you're a friend of the family."
As Kyle and Jay talked, Danny got in his hug and then Greg stepped up to his wife. Her outstretched arms were waiting for him, but he stopped short of hugging her. "There's somebody waiting to meet you first," Greg told her. He waved in the direction of the driveway and William stepped out.
Alicia nodded. "I wondered where the guest was hiding," she said, although she had no doubt Greg had him stay in the car, so he could get his own special hug. She had heard how the ageing process had nearly stopped with the survivors of the Explorer of the Stars, but even that knowledge left her unprepared for the handsome middle-aged man who entered the courtyard and walked up to her. He looked exactly as he did in the pictures displayed in the house. She stood speechless, a rare occurrence for her, as he wrapped his arms around her and gave her a strong, manly hug.
"My goodness," Alicia finally got out as they ended the hug. "It's hard to believe that the handsome young man standing in front of me is my father-in-law."
"Well, it's not difficult for me to believe that the beautiful woman standing in front of me is my daughter-in-law. It's good to see that my son has such good taste in women."
"I must say, flattery gets you everywhere." She looked up at Greg, "And now that husband with such good taste had better get over here and get his well-earned hug." The hug between Greg and his wife was the longest hug of the afternoon.
"I elected not to fix dinner tonight except to make a big mixed salad," Alicia told the group. "Dinner will be that all-American delight—pizza from the House of Pizza." That elicited cheers from the boys who wondered if the pizza would be as good as what Randy and the Sooloo kitchen staff cooked up. Kyle and Danny, who literally grew up on House of Pizza's pies thought that Randy's pizzas won out, but not by much.
"Give your pizza wishes to Danny within the next hour if you want anything special. Now, let's go out back and park ourselves in the patio, so I can hear your adventures."
"What about the plans for the reunion?" Kyle asked.
"There is plenty of time to talk plans, especially since most of the reunion has been organized," Alicia said. "Today is a day to get to know each other or to know each other better and to share your adventures."
William grinned to himself, thinking how Alicia was the perfect wife for Greg. He was sure that her take charge personality was exactly what his son needed and wanted in a wife.
As they found seats on the patio, Koji asked if he, Duskin, and Jay could go swimming. Greg and Alicia gave simultaneous okays. "Can we go nakey?" Koji asked.
"Feel free," Greg answered.
Greg barely got the words out when Koji and Duskin stripped naked.
"Is it really okay?" Jay asked. "I mean… there's a lady here and everything."
"Jay, I've seen many young boys naked," Alicia told him. "And speaking of naked young boys, here comes one of those boys right now, my son Ronnie."
Everyone looked toward the house and saw Ronnie Robinson standing at the patio door in his duty uniform. Greg quickly made introductions. Kyle and Greg gave Ronnie special hugs before Ronnie turned to William and shook his hand.
"You're really my grandfather?" he asked William.
"So, I've been told, Commander Robinson," William answered.
"It's Ronnie. I'll be out of this uniform before we eat."
"No problem. I just wanted to let you know I was impressed by your bearing. I see you're in engineering."
"Yep, Chief Engineer on the Victorious." He looked William over and said, "You look younger than my dad."
"You've heard the story of what happened, right?"
"Yep, but seeing it is different than hearing about it."
That got the chat focusing on William's adventure and the life he led in confinement. As much as Kyle, Danny, and Ronnie wanted to join the skinny dippers in the pool, they found William's story so fascinating that they didn't want to break away from it. Danny finally had to interrupt the talk by announcing the hour was almost up and anybody wanting to make a special pizza order would have to make it now.
Ronnie gave Danny his pizza order. William then asked Ronnie why he was in uniform.
"The Victorious is currently being upgraded," Ronnie explained. "Since I am the Chief Engineer, I am assigned to active duty on the ship three days a week to learn what is being installed and why. I take the morning shuttle that carries the technicians to the ship and return on the evening shuttle that brings them home. I also go to advanced training at the Academy, to learn the ins and outs of how the new propulsion system works. This not only helps me to understand what the techs are doing, but also everything I need to know concerning the operation of the new systems. When I am on the ship and see a certain control panel being installed, the training helps me know what those controls do and what all the readouts mean. It's all rather complicated, but I feel confident in what I'm doing. Oh, and my top two assistants are also taking the training and serving on board the ship. Sundays are my day off."
"It sounds like you're right on top of things," William commented. "I've always had the utmost respect for the Chief Engineer and the crew under him, but as a Captain I couldn't help but be amazed by what those men knew and could do. How old are you?"
"I'm fifteen. I'm one of the youngest Chief Engineers in the Explorer fleet. I know at least one other younger than me."
"And the fact that you not only mastered one starship propulsion system but are now working to master an entirely new system amazes the hell out of me."
"I do my best, sir."
"This is an informal setting, so call me Will." Ronnie nodded that he understood. "Are you going to be able to participate in the festivities at all?" William asked.
"Yep. I'm taking leave time those two days." Ronnie looked at the boys in the cool water of the pool and decided he wanted to get some exercise and cool down before dinner arrived. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I want to get some pool time in before pizza gets here."
Ronnie walked to the pool, removed his uniform and underclothing, then joined the skinny dippers in the pool. William loved how the young adolescent who had a sophisticated knowledge base few grown men would be able to master, could suddenly become a teenage boy and enjoy skinny dipping with a group of boys.
The water was up to Ronnie's waist at the place he stepped into the pool. Right away, Koji jumped on his back and sat on his shoulders. "Throw me in the water Unca Ronnie, throw me high in the water," the young boy screamed. Ronnie was more than happy to oblige, sending the screeching boy flying into the deep end. Of course, Duskin wanted the same treatment and received it with the same happy result.
Kyle and Danny both enjoyed the look of Ronnie's wet and smooth dark skin. They thought that Kyle's stepbrother/Danny's brother-in-law, was a very sexy teen. They managed to get into a little water wrestling with Ronnie, leading to a bit of grab ass and a lot of laughter. The three youngest boys protested mildly when they learned they would have to dress for dinner.
"But it's just pizza," Koji groused. Alicia's glare told him to say no more.
The pizza was good and plentiful, the evening consisted of more swimming, games, conversation, and a video playing in the recreation room for those who happened to become bored, which ended up being nobody.
The boys were all tired from the long day and headed for bed early. Ronnie had his own bedroom, Kyle and Danny shared the king bed in the guest room. Koji, Duskin, and Jay shared a queen bed and a rollout single in what was referred to as extra room by Alicia. Jay took the single, falling asleep when his head hit the pillow.
The first day of the reunion visit was a fantastic, but tiring, day for everyone involved, and all the boys were sound asleep almost an hour before their usual bedtime.
Timothy ran into the house to look for Jimmy. He found him in their grandfather's room, "Jimmy why are you in here?"
"They took him away, and it's all your fault," Jimmy cried. "If you hadn't showed me that bug program, they wouldn't have taken him. I hate you."
"Jimmy, what Grandfather did was wrong. He broke several laws and will be facing two trials. Grandfather did this to himself." Timothy tried to put an arm around Jimmy, to show him that he still loved him.
"Get away from me, I said I hate you!" Jimmy screamed.
"No, you're just mad right now, and I understand," Timothy assured. "Once you realize that it wasn't my fault, but Grandfather's, I will still be here for you."
Lieutenant Darryl Raye was standing outside the door. He couldn't help but hear what was being said. He walked in and looked at Timothy, "May I?" Timothy just motioned to Jimmy. Darryl knelt to look Jimmy in the eye, "Jimmy, none of this is Timothy's fault. He never said a word to us. We had long suspected your grandfather of these crimes, and it wasn't until you asked him about his bug program that we knew for sure."
"So, I am to blame?" Jimmy cried.
"No, you are not. You are completely innocent. It was your grandfather being a bad boy that caused all of this. What happens when you are a bad boy?"
"Grandfather sends me to my room," Jimmy declared, "sometimes overnight."
Raye smiled, "And that's basically what's happening to your grandfather, only he will be given a new room and spend several 'overnights.' You see, neither you nor Timothy are to blame, but your grandfather is."
Jimmy looked at Timothy, "I'm sorry, and I don't hate you."
Timothy hugged Jimmy and started explaining what was planned for him.
While Grandma Alicia was spending time with her grandsons and Jay, Kyle and Danny took the opportunity to visit Corey Adams.
They arrived at the Adams residence and rang the bell. Moments later, through the still closed door, they heard Corey yelling excitedly, "They're here!"
The door flew open, and the pair found themselves in a three-way bear hug from the younger boy. "I missed you guys! Come in, I have a lot of stuff to tell you about before my new boyfriend gets here."
Kyle grinned and as they followed Corey into the home, Kyle turned to Danny and with a mirthful expression mouthed silently, "Boyfriend?"
Once seated in his bedroom, Corey began, "With all the help I've gotten from Commander Hansen…"
Danny interrupted and averred, "Well… don't sell your efforts short, bud. From what I've been told, you may have had some guidance and support, but you put in a lot more effort than anyone expected. You made it clear that you WANTED to succeed."
Corey smiled before replying, "Kyle gave me the desire to do it. After being such a dick to him…" Corey took a deep breath, trying to contain his emotions before continuing, "He treated me like a friend. Honestly, had the situation been reversed, I'd have told him to go fuck himself. I'm glad the situation wasn't reversed.
"Anyway, I was told a few days ago that I was accepted to the Academy for the Fall Semester. My dad was really surprised that I put in the work, and he told me how proud he was of me." Corey then 'whispered', "I think it was the first time I saw a tear dripping out of dad's eye. Of course, he said it must have been something blew into his eye, but I knew better. Especially since he did something after that he hasn't done since I was like 7… he wrapped me in a really tight hug. I had to tell him that there must be something in the room because something blew into my eye too. We have Orientation on Monday."
About that time is when the door to Corey's room burst open and a boy entered. He went to Corey and gave him a hug before turning his attention to Kyle and Danny. "We've been really excited since we heard you guys were coming to Earth."
Danny smiled before saying, "Hey Gordy, are you…"
Kyle interjected, "Does your brother know you realized which team you were playing for? Last time we saw you, we were under the impression you hadn't figured if you were gay or not."
"I really wasn't sure until I started spending time with this handsome hunk of a boy." Gordy winked. "Did my brother pack any Shimmy for you? We ran out about a month ago and I really miss it."
"I believe all we have is cooked food, but we can check. I think you and Corey make a cute couple."
Both Gordy and Corey blushed before taking each other's hand and then sat together on Corey's bed. "I think so too… but do me a favor… I haven't told Randy yet so please don't mention it. I promise to tell him before you have to leave to go back to the ship."
Kyle stated, "We won't say a word, I promise. You guys met Koji, but you haven't met our new son. We'll be on Earth for about two weeks, and we'll make sure you guys get to meet Duskin. Did Randy teach you how to make his Galactic special Shimmy Lasagna? I was hoping to serve it for dinner on the last day of our family reunion."
The four boys talked for a while, giving Kyle and Danny a chance to tell the boys about rescuing the crew of the SS Joseph Hooker and finding Grandpa William's crew who had been missing since before any of them had been born.
They visited for another hour before Kyle and Danny said goodbye to the younger couple, promising to see them in the next day or two. Gordy told them that he would talk to Randy and tell him about Corey and him being boyfriends and to make sure he had the recipe right for Shimmy Lasagna. Corey gave both a hug before Kyle and Danny left Corey and Gordy alone.
"You know… I'm happy for them. Gordy is a great kid and I think he will keep Corey too busy to get into too much trouble… we'll have to tell them about how lucky they are not to be from the planet we rescued the Hooker and Grandpa's crew from… at least they don't have to worry about getting each other pregnant…"
Danny laughed at that as they got into the car that had been assigned to them for the duration of their visit. They asked Grant to take them back to the Robinson home. On the way they discussed the plans for the reunion.
"I'm looking forward to Grandma Miranda's expression when she sees how young Grandpa William looks, I'm sure she will have a snappy comment or two."
Robert Crusoe was flying his son to the Academy.
"Dad, I'm just curious," Robby began, "if classes don't start until August, why do they want us to report in by tomorrow?"
"Orientation and getting you used to dorm life," Robert answered. "It'll be easier without the added stress of classes."
"I guess that makes sense," Robby agreed, "but I have been curious about one thing. If you would have been around when I was born, would I still have Robert as my first name?"
"I doubt it, after all, we didn't name Will Robert," Robert answered. "Besides, what does it matter? I love you for you."
"Then me having the same name as you doesn't bother you?"
Robert explained, "Truthfully, I feel honored by it. When you were born, I was thought lost. I'm told your mom asked Will what they should name you. Will suggested my name to honor me and remember me by. He was only three when you were born, but he was very intelligent."
"Will always made sure I knew he loved me," Robby cried. "Even when I hurt him when he told us he was gay. I'm glad he gave me your name. It showed that he loved me even back then."
"Yes he hurt, but he understood you didn't mean what you said."
"Don't take this the wrong way, but in a way, I'm glad you weren't around. I like having the same name as you."
Robert laughed, "I have to admit, I like you having it, too."
When Zack was accepted into the Academy, his dad bought him the Lego version of the ships the Explorer Program was using. The two of them put hours into building it, using a special adhesive so it could never come apart without breaking it. When it was finished, Marcus Anderson asked his son, "Are you going to take it with you to Vegas?"
"No way, Dad. I would be too afraid of it getting broke. Besides, even though you bought it for me, I think it's half yours. I can see it when I visit during the holidays," Zack replied.
"I'm already anxious for the holidays," Brenda Anderson pouted. "My baby is going away in less than a month."
"Maybe you and Dad can create a baby brother or sister for me while I am gone," Zack chuckled.
Marcus grinned, "There's an idea, except… your mom found out this morning, she is due in December."
"REALLY!!!" Zack practically shouted. "Do you know what it is yet?"
"Does it matter?" Brenda inquired.
"Not really," Zack replied, "but it would be nice to know so we can plan stuff. Even though I will be away, I can still call home and help plan."
"What would you say if I told you that he is a girl," Marcus chuckled.
Zack looked confused, "I think I would have the best sister ever, but you said he, not she is a girl."
Marcus grinned, "You caught that, did you? What if I told you that he and she are a boy and a girl?"
"Twins?" Zack smiled. "Can we name the boy after that Darastixian prince that was here? I can't believe that when I wrote the Darastixian Embassy last December, Zarek actually flew here to meet me."
"I think Zarek would be a wonderful name for your brother," Brenda responded. "Have any thoughts for your sister's name?"
"If it were just a sister, I was thinking Zara," Zack replied, "but what are you thinking, Mom?"
"I think I like Zarek and Zara for their names," Brenda answered, "and telling them their older brother gave them names special to him will be beautiful."
Zack grinned, "Thanks, Mom."
Until it was time for Zack to leave, he was ever diligent with helping his mom whenever he could.
"I will miss you, Mom and Dad," Zack hugged both his parents before boarding the shuttle taking him to Vegas and the Academy.
Brandon's mom passed away shortly after he was born. It wasn't long after that when Brandon was taken away from his father for child neglect and abuse. Brandon wasn't even a year old.
Years went by, and it seemed everyone forgot about the orphans in this group home. Brandon doesn't recall anyone ever visiting. Every year for Christmas, Brandon got the usual, new underwear (including socks) and one age-appropriate toy.
At the age of seven, Brandon asked the matron, "Why doesn't anyone come visit? Don't get me wrong, this is the only home I remember, and I love it here, but I wish Santa would bring me a family."
"I wish I knew. If they had one look at you, I'm sure you would find a forever home. You are such a sweet and handsome boy."
Brandon was fourteen years and seven months old when some military looking dude finally visited. When they came out of the matron's office, Brandon overheard her say, "I have only one boy here who fits your description, and this is him."
The man spoke with Brandon, "Son, my name is Colonel Javier Savage. Have you heard anything about the Explorer Program?"
"Pleased to meet you Colonel Savage, and to answer your question, just what some Canadian senator has been saying," Brandon admitted. "He seems to have had a problem with it."
Colonel Savage told Brandon everything he could about the Explorer Program. He told him about the test he had to take but assured him that as long as his score was high enough, he would be able to enter the Academy. After taking the test, Brandon was told he scored a ninety-eight on the exam. "So, when will I go to the Academy?"
"The next classes don't start until August, but you will need to be there on the fourth of May. I would like for you to stay at my house until then. My wife is preparing rooms for all the boys I recruit. We think it'll help you adjust to dorm life without all the pressures of being at the Academy." Brandon hugged the Matron and thanked her for caring so much about him. He said he would miss her, but not the Home in general.
When Jamie was born, 24 April 2108, his dad started calling him Jimmy. His real name is James, so he didn't mind anyone calling him Jimmy, but then when he was five, his dad yelled at his mom, then looked at him and said, "I wish you were never born." That was the last time Jamie even saw that man.
Jamie looked at his mom and cried, "What did I do wrong?"
"You did nothing, Honey," his mom tried comforting him. "He was just in a bad mood because he lost his job. He’s gone and I won’t take him back."
Then the boy huffed, "If he wishes I was never born, then I don't want to be called Jimmy. He started it."
"You want to go by James, Jim or you can go by Jamie," his mom suggested.
The boy's face lit up, "I like Jamie."
"So do I, Jamie," his mom declared as she hugged him tightly.
At that time, they were living in the city of Piqua, Ohio, where Jamie was born.
Jamie's mom met a man who seemed interested in her. She was upfront about having a son and the man didn't seem to mind. In fact, when they dated and no one was available to stay with the boy, he offered to take Jamie on the dates with them. One of the nights when Jamie was with them, the man asked his mom, "Michelle, I love you and you know how much I love Jamie. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife and allowing me to adopt Jamie as if he were our son?"
Michelle looked at her son. She wanted to say yes without hesitation, but she had to think of him. He was all smiles and nodding his head, so she decided to accept. Before she could, the man added, "Before you answer, there is something I should tell you. As you know, I am a lieutenant in Space Fleet. I received orders today that a transfer I requested before we met was approved. I leave for Vegas at the end of this week."
"Before I answer, what are your plans about the wedding?" Michelle inquired.
"If you wouldn't have any objection, I would like to marry you tomorrow at the courts, and then we can plan a more formal wedding either here or in Vegas. Whatever makes you and Jamie happy is what I want."
"I would love a wedding, either here so my best friend can be my maid of honor, or in Vegas, but not one of those drive-by weddings."
"I can arrange for your friend to come to Vegas. I'd be willing to cover getting her there."
"In that case, Lieutenant Michael Foster, I would love to marry you. As for adopting Jamie…"
Commander Foster interrupted her, "I've already spoke with the Judge Advocate General at Wright-Patt, Space Fleets base in Dayton. If I go through Space Fleet's Family Court, it can be a done deal once we are married. With how his father left him and it being four years ago, they said they would approve the adoption. You already did the hard part by having his parental rights severed."
"What I was going to say is, that would be Jamie's decision, but seeing how he is trying to nod his head off," Michelle chuckled, "I think that's a yes. He really loves you."
The next morning, Michael Foster, Michelle and Jamie were at the courthouse in Troy, OH, before it opened. Once it did, Michael led the group to the marriage license office. Everything was in order, and they went to the Family Court Judge to get married. Once they were, the judge looked at Michael, "I understand that you wish to adopt Jamie."
"That is my plan, your honor. I have everything set up with Space Fleet's Family Court."
"Michael, Michelle, would you have a problem if I approved the adoption?" the judge inquired. "I am in contact with Space Fleet's courts on a regular basis. They called me just before you arrived, telling me your plans. They said that if I wanted to approve the adoption, I could."
Michelle burst out first, "Then by all means, let's complete this family right away."
Michael laughed at the enthusiasm of his new wife. "I think it would be great."
"Anything you wish to add, Jamie?"
"Just that he's my dad and that's our choice. I love him as a father, and he loves me as a son. When my birth father left, he put a hole in my heart that I thought could never be filled. Then Mom started dating Dad and he accepted me right away. Mom was quick to let him know I was part of the package if he wanted to date her, and he accepted that."
"And never regretted it," Michael added. "Jamie is a great son and his father was a fool, but I'm glad he was."
The judge got a wicked grin on his face, "Okay, I have to take everything into consideration." Michael got a "what the fuck" look on his face as the judge turned his chair. Jamie looked as if he was going to ask "What," but before he could, the judge completed a 360 degree turn and said, "After a long time considering everything, I decided to approve the adoption. Really, I knew I was going to approve it as soon as you agreed to let me." Jamie started to laugh.
At the end of the week, the family was in a Space Fleet Shuttle heading to Vegas. Michael commented as they flew, "When we set down, there will be two vehicles. One to take you two to our new house and one to take me to meet the Fleet Admiral. I understand that he wants me to work in his office. He's starting a new program called the Explorer Program."
Michael Foster worked under Fleet Admiral William Mirah for four years before the Explorer Program finally was ready to send the first twenty ships into the unknown. In that time, Michael Foster had been promoted three times, before reaching the rank of Captain. Within five months of the first ships leaving orbit, he'd been transferred to work under Rear Admiral Crusoe as Executive Officer of the Logistics Division.
After five years working with the Explorer Program, Michael was happy to have Jamie joining the Academy. Jamie was to report to the Academy by the fourth of May.
After both of his parents were killed in an accident, Andy moved in with his mother's brother and his husband. He was seven years old at the time. He was a precocious boy and excelled in school. Living in a gay household, Andy was not coaxed to any specific sexuality. When asked, he purports to be bisexual, but he is more attracted to other boys, especially Asian boys.
He was recruited to the academy when he took an aptitude test in school. His score was such that he was in high demand. He's unsure of what discipline he wants to work toward but feels that he will have time to decide later.
The Admiralty were having a meeting that was called by Fleet Admiral William Mirah.
"While I was off planet, it came to my attention that some of you felt I was spending far too much of my time dealing with the Explorer program. Before any of you comment, I wanted to express that I agree with you."
Bill looked around the room at the surprise on several faces. He was certain that they had come loaded for bear. After a brief pause, he continued, "I've had discussions with both Admirals Robinson and Crusoe, and we have a solution that should alleviate those concerns."
"We have taken steps to put overall operational control for the Explorer Fleet in the hands of Commodore David Bowman. Each of the 20 ships will report to him and he will send a combined report back to Earth so that we… all the Admirals, can make suggestions or simply be kept informed of the progress of the program. I believe that in the time since they launched, they have more than proven that the program works. Admiral Robinson will be over the entirety of the program, but as far as the ships are concerned, he is only in an advisory position for Commodore Bowman. Admiral Crusoe will remain in charge of the Explorer Programs logistics. He will also be a voice Bowman can rely on."
One of the Admirals queried, "So, Commodore Bowman will be returning to Earth?"
"For the time being, he will manage his fleet from the SS Sooloo."
That same Admiral protested, "I'm not sure that will work, Bill. There is too much for him to manage from anywhere but the offices here."
Greg Robinson replied, "I disagree. With the instantaneous communications we now have, thanks wholly to the Explorer Program, he can communicate with any or all of us remotely. He also has access to all the resources he will have on Earth"
"Fine," another replied, continuing, "but I don't believe that the responsibility for this large a program should be placed with someone of only the rank of Commodore."
Robert Crusoe chimed in, "It is my opinion that we give this a trial period. I agree that this should be handled by an Admiral. But a Commodore can also be called a Rear Admiral Lower. At the conclusion of the trial period, I recommend that Commodore Bowman's rank be made a Rear Admiral Lower. It's not a promotion yet fulfills what you wish."
The Admirals argued this for some time before agreeing to revisit the subject at the end of a three-month trial period.
It was Orientation for the new cadets at the Academy. Four young friends walked in and took their seats. Corey Adams, Gordy Jenkins, Robbie Crusoe and Matthew Luke knew each other by having connections with the Sooloo. As they took their seats, another first year cadet asked if he could sit with them. He gave his name as Sajan Kanye. "All of you look kind of familiar to me," he claimed.
"You kind of remind me of the Chief Information Officer on board the ship my brother works on," Matthew responded. "His last name is Kanye, too."
"Brad Kanye?" Sajan questioned. "He's my brother, but since I was adopted, I'm not sure how I could look like him."
"To be honest, I never said you look like him, I said you remind me of him," Matthew explained. "You have a Nairobi accent, if I am not mistaken, and I know Brad is from Nairobi. Plus, you have the same last name."
Sajan laughed, "Good detective work, and yes, I suppose I do have a Nairobi accent."
"Corey is friends with Commander Kyle Robinson, but the rest of us have a brother on the Sooloo. I'm Matt Luke and my brother is John Luke. Robbie is the brother of John's husband, Will Crusoe. And Gordy's brother is the infamous chef on the Sooloo, Randy Jenkins."
"I heard that the last time the Sooloo was at Earth, the Academy talked Randy into making his Galaxy Known Lasagna, and they put it in stasis so we could have it for our lunch today."
Gordy piped up, "I helped him make all of them. It took us hours to prepare enough." Gordy decided it was best not to mention what was in it that elevated it from "World Class" to "Galaxy" level.
Another boy sat close to them. He introduced himself as Lei Dong causing some of the boys in the area to snicker. Corey stood up, "What's so funny?"
"His name is Dong," one boy laughed. "With his first name, he sounds like a French cock."
"And what's your name?" Corey inquired. "Maybe we can make fun of it, too."
"Ummm…" the boy quit laughing.
"What? You think you have a funny name?" Corey pushed.
The boy looked at Lei, "I guess I shouldn't make fun of your name, especially since mine is Richard Short. Bullies like to call me Short Dick."
"What do you like being called?" Corey gave a friendly smile.
"I don't mind being called Dick, but my friends call me Richard," the boy answered. His eyes looked moist.
"Okay, Richard, hang with us, you too, Lei," Corey almost ordered. Corey was happy that the extent of his defending was verbal. It wasn't that long ago when he was the bully who would have made fun of either boy.
As the rest of the class took their seats, a man stood up at the podium. What caught the students' attention was that he was wearing glasses. "Greetings Class," the man began, he had an obvious Australian accent, "my name is Julian Saxe. I will be your instructor next semester in Ethics 101. I am a civilian, so you do not salute me. Welcome to Cadet Orientation."
A girl raised her hand, "Mr. Saxe, why do you wear glasses?"
"Because I feel ugly without them," he replied. "I could have a procedure done so I wouldn't need them, but I simply don't like how I look without them."
Sajan whispered, "Are we sure that isn't Steve Boyer in disguise?"
"Mr. Kanye, do you have something to share with the class?" Julian inquired.
"No sir," Sajan felt nervous. "It's just that my brother-in-law wears glasses. He no longer needs them but insist on wearing them because of how he feels they make him look."
"And you think that's wrong?"
"Never said that. I was just commenting that you make me think of him, and I highly respect him. How he looks doesn't matter to me as long as he is happy with himself."
"I like your answer," Julian smiled. He looked at Matthew, "It wasn't long that we had a student with names of the Bible as his names. Someone called him Bible Boy and he took it with stride."
"That would be my older brother, John Luke," Matthew stated.
"And how do you feel about the nickname?" Julian inquired.
"If someone called me the same nickname my brother had at the Academy, I would feel honored, maybe weird at first because I love and respect my brother, but still honored."
Julian grinned, "I never said anything about calling you Bible Boy, but I was getting to that. You are very perceptive. In honor of your brother, what about Gospel?"
"I feel like that's close enough to honor him yet not be weird by being the same name," Matthew averred.
"Then, I dub thee Gospel," Julian motioned like he had a sword touching Matthew's shoulders.
Mr. Saxe continued the orientation with telling the students what was expected of them. He finished just as the klaxons went off saying that part of the orientation was over. The group, which had grown to seven, moved to the next part, which was with Commander John Glenn Mirah.
Kash had been busy help Captain Zeller and their Chief of Operations, Commander Ian Douglass-Zeller with all the reports that they needed, he hadn't realized how many days had gone by. With the deaths of eight boys and those that stayed at Alvaeyos, as well as the crew being captured, there was a lot of "paperwork." Kash thought, I wish Steve, Shasho or both were here, this would go a lot faster. On the plus side, they heard from Former Crewman Alex Jackson. It seems that Zoeb and ten of the sixteen the other eight mated with are with child. The shocking part isn't that they already know, but that all of them are carrying twins. Alex said that Drekzul was ecstatic when he found out and their doctors have determined it to by a side effect of mating with Terrans.
Once it was all finally finished, Kash stretched and asked, "What time is it?"
"It's 0900, Tuesday morning," Ian replied.
"TUESDAY?" Kash couldn't believe it. "I hope Kyle isn't too upset with how long we took."
"He knew we had a lot to do," Cody assured, "and we really appreciated your help."
Kash grabbed a car and had the driver take him to the Robinson house.
Kash got out of the car and asked the driver to wait. As he headed for the door, it sprang open. "Finally get all the reports filed?" Kyle inquired.
"I didn't realize it would take this long," Kash responded. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Kyle commented. "Jay has been an angel this whole time. We loved having him here."
"Where is he? I have a driver waiting."
"Do you already have plans? The boys are swimming, just ask the driver to come back in an hour."
Kash went out to the car and asked the driver if he could come back. The driver insisted that it wouldn't be a problem. Kash went out back and watched the boys swimming.
After an hour, the driver returned and Kash asked to head back to the Base to get his things. Once they arrived, Kash asked Jay, "Would you like a tour before we go get my stuff?"
"Can we go to the holosuites? I hear they are better than the holodecks on the ships."
"I suppose, what do you want to do?"
"Swim in a lake, I really like swimming."
"Since you were just swimming for an hour or more, I guess you do."
They headed in the direction of the Holosuites.
Kash and Jay were walking almost to the Holosuites when a young man bumped into Kash. "Oh, sorry, I guess I wasn't watching where I was going," the boy claimed. "Not that you need to know this, Sir, but uh… my mind has been preoccupied since my boyfriend dumped me."
"Are you a cadet here?" Kash questioned. The boy was carrying his shirt instead of wearing it, so Kash couldn't see any rank, but he DID call him Sir, so…
"I was, Sir, but I just finished my Ensign's Exam. My boyfriend flunked his, which is why he broke up with me."
Kash perked up, "Kind of a stupid reason if you were to ask me. He doesn't deserve you if he's that way."
"I suppose not, but I still loved him. Captain Rawlings saw what happened and said he would take care of him."
"Captain Rawlings, the Academy Officer in charge of the Crewmen's first assignments?"
"Yes, Sir," the boy smiled for the first time.
Kash laughed, "I would hate to be your ex."
The boy then introduced himself, "I am Ensign Mason Brooks. I was just on my way to the holosuites, if you and your brother would like to join me."
Kash put an arm around Jay, "He's actually my son, but we were heading to the holosuites."
"Oh," Mason frowned, "so you are married, then?"
Kash shook his head, "No, single father. I adopted Jay after his father, a close family friend, passed away."
Jay motioned to Kash that he wanted to whisper in his ear, so Kash bent down. "He's cute, Dad."
"Cuter than Kenny?" Jay whispered.
"Definitely," Jay pointed out. "I hope you date him and marry him."
Kash stood up, "So Mason, have you been assigned to a ship yet?"
"Yes, but I have to wait for the Victorious to leave and take me to her. I will be on Commodore Bowman's ship, the SS Sooloo."
Kash perked up even more, "Really, and what position will you be holding?"
"I will be an Operations Officer. When I get to the Sooloo, I'm supposed to report to the Assistant Chief of Operations, Lt. Commander Boyer. It seems the Chief of Operations won't be aboard the ship for a few more weeks."
"By the way, I am Lt. Commander Kash Rivers, and this is my son, Jay."
Mason looked stunned, "Lt. Commander Kash Rivers? As in the Chief Operations Officer of the Sooloo? I feel so embarrassed."
"Don't be," Kash suggested. "You had no way of knowing."
"I'm glad we'll be on the same ship, but since I will be a subordinate, I guess dating is out of the question."
"I would like to date you, too, and as long as it doesn't affect us doing our jobs, it is acceptable."
"I originally reserved the holosuites for my ex and I to celebrate taking the Ensign exams, but I would really like to take you and Jay there."
"Can I call you Mase?" Jay questioned.
"That sounds so loving," Mason smiled. "I would like that."
"The Victorious will be leaving the day before we do," Kash averred. "She can travel faster than us, but if you would like to travel with us instead…"
"It would save the Victorious from an out of the way trip," Mason agreed, "and I would get more time with you and Jay."
"Are you wanting to marry my dad?" Jay blurted out.
"JAY!!!" Kash shouted. Kash never felt more embarrassed, not even when he embarrassed himself with Kenny.
Mason laughed, "It is a possibility I would consider, but your dad and I would need to get to know each other better before I can make that decision. Are you wanting me to marry your dad?" Kash turned even redder.
"I wouldn't mind it, I like you, but Dad is Dad and I wanna keep calling you Mase."
"I would like that, Mason commented as they entered the holosuites. Then he asked, "Jay, what program would you like for us to run?"
Jay grinned, "A lake so we can go skinny-dipping."
"I don't have a swimsuit with me," Mason declared before it clicked what Jay said.
Jay shook his head, "You don't need one to skinny-dip."
"No, I suppose you don't," Mason chuckled. He turned to Kash, "What do you think?"
"Ummm… I, ummm…"
"Come on, Dad, or are you afraid you'll be hard because Mase is so cute?"
"Jay!" Kash kept shaking his head. "I think you've hung with Koji too much."
Mason whispered, "If you are afraid that you'll be hard, Kash, I can admit you've already made me that way."
Kash grinned, "Alright, I guess we can skinny-dip."
As Kash and Mason sat naked on the side of a lake, watching Jay play in the water, Mason took a long stressful breath. "I really needed this after an exam, but there is something you should know."
"What?" Kash questioned, then he teased, "you're really a girl and that's a strap on?"
"No, seriously," Mason was obviously not amused. "Kash, if we decide to pursue a relationship, I have to tell you, I have a son."
Kash nods, "You know I have Jay. It doesn’t bother me that you have a son, too."
"Yes, but…" Mason began, "you adopted Jay. Ethan is my biological son."
"You are what? Fifteen, and have a biological son? How old is he?"
"I'll be fifteen on the seventh of July; Ethan, though he looks five, will be three on seventeenth of July," Mason began to cry. "When I was eleven and a half, I was seduced by a nineteen-year-old girl. I was just starting to have feelings for guys, but wasn't 100% sure I was gay, and she said I was too young to get her pregnant. She was wrong. Seven months later, when she went into labor, there was a burst of light. She was gone and a baby boy was there. Ethan's aged about five years in the last three years. I hope he slows down his aging soon, I mean, at this rate, he'll be fifteen physical by the time he's nine. DNA tests confirmed I was, without any doubt, Ethan's father. We have no idea what happened to the girl, so I was given custody. Doctors wanted to examine him, and my parents allowed them to take a phial of blood but said it was up to me if any other exams were done. Then my mom sent me to the Academy, and then she and Bentley, my younger brother, watched Ethan until I graduated."
"I will be fifteen in July, too, on the twenty-seventh. Jay will be ten, same day as Ethan's third birthday. I am glad you told me about Ethan, but he doesn’t change anything."
"I was hoping you would say that." Mason put his arms around Kash.
"When do I get to meet Ethan?"
"Bentley, my younger brother, will be bringing him here in about an hour."
"I think he should bring him now," Kash suggested, "but that's your call."
Mason picked up his communicator and tapped a few buttons, "Bentley, are you busy?"
"Not really. Ethan just asked why we can't join you."
Mason smiled at Kash. "That's actually why I'm calling. Alex broke up with me because I passed the Ensign Exam, and he didn't. I was hoping you could bring Ethan to the holosuites now. I'm in Holosuite 19, but I am not alone. Kash, the guy I'm with, would like to meet Ethan, but be warned, we are skinny-dipping."
Bentley laughed, "Ethan will love that. And congrats on passing. So, are you and Kash dating? How will you being assigned to a ship affect your relationship?"
"Kash and I just met, but we seem to like each other… a lot, and I am assigned to his ship."
Mason could hear a smile in Bentley's voice, "And Kash already wants to meet Ethan; I so approve. It sounds like he will be better for you than Alex ever was. Did you know Alex was hoping you couldn't have Ethan with you on the ship?"
"I felt like he was hiding his feelings about Ethan, but no, he never told me. Why didn't you?"
"Because you loved Alex and I was afraid you wouldn't believe me. I never really cared for Alex but love you enough to tolerate him for your sake."
Mason hung his head, "I see your point and you may have been right, but I still wish you had said something."
"Now, back to you and Kash…"
"I'm not going to even go there until I see how he and Ethan interact. Plus, Kash has an adopted son. I need to see how Ethan gets along with him.
"Glad to hear it, but if everyone DOES get along?"
"I will definitely be willing to date Kash. Is that what you want to hear?"
"Mason, I just want you and Ethan to be happy. It sounds like Kash does that for you."
Mason smiled, "That he does, and I so hope Ethan likes him and Jay."
It was just a few minutes when a bundle of joy came running into the Holosuite. "Daddy, you are nuded," Ethan laughed. Then he pointed at Kash, "Who is that?"
Mason grabbed Kash's hand, "This is Kash. Daddy just met him. He has a son playing in the water. His name is Jay."
"Can I get nuded, too and play in the water with Jay?"
Mason nodded, "Of course you can. That's why I asked Uncle Bentley to bring you now."
Ethan could give Kyle or Koji a run for their money when it comes to getting out of clothes. In no time, he was out of his and found Jay in the water. Mason looked at Bentley, "Would you like to join us and get to know Kash a little?"
Bentley looked at Kash and then Mason, "You two seem so perfect together. I have never seen you so happy, Mason. Alex never made you this happy. I would love to join the two of you and get to know Kash, but only if he doesn't mind."
"I don't mind at all. How old are you, Bentley?"
"I just recently turned thirteen almost a month ago on the thirteenth," the boy replied while removing his clothes, including his boxer briefs.
"You look younger than thirteen," Kash commented.
Bentley grimaced, "I know, I seemed to quit growing when Ethan was born."
Time seemed to fly in the holosuite and as it was winding down, everyone started to get dressed. Bentley felt great about the relationship after learning some about Kash. Kash looked at Ethan and commented to Mason, "Ethan seems like a great kid. Thanks for introducing him."
Before Mason could respond, Ethan ran up and hugged Kash, "Will Jay be on the ship with us? I like him and hope he becomes my older brother."
"Out of the mouth of babes," Mason chuckled. "It seems both of our boys think we should get married."
"Does seem that way, but we've just met." Kash really liked Mason and secretly hoped this relationship led to marriage, but he didn't want to risk pushing that far so soon. "But I have to admit, though I barely know you, I wouldn't mind."
"To be honest," Mason began, "neither would I. We may have just met, but I really like you. What do you think? Maybe date on a weekly basis, then possibly discuss it in maybe three months?"
"I say we play it by ear," Kash suggested. "I don't want to set a time frame. When we both feel right about it…"
"I already feel right about it," Mason declared, then kissed Kash.
Kash was a bit surprised but didn't resist. In fact, he began kissing back. When they came up for air, Kash questioned, "Are we crazy? I mean, we've just met and already want to get married."
"Perhaps," Mason grinned, "but when you know, you know."
Kash couldn't believe how fast things were moving between him and Mason. "When we get back to the ship, we can ask Hal to marry us, but that would leave Ethan out of the wedding. I wish the Sooloo were coming to Earth so we could have everyone here. My cousin is on the Sooloo, and I would like for him to be my best man."
"Ask who to marry us?" Mason thought he heard Kash call their captain by his first name.
"Hal, or rather Captain Tietokone."
"So, you DID call him by his first name," Mason clarified.
Kash nodded, "Yeah, we believe there is a time and place for formality, but otherwise, things move more smoothly and friendlier on an informal basis."
"Good to know."
"Now, about quarters…" Kash smiled, "You would be assigned to share quarters with other Junior Officers, but I don't know where to put Ethan. Or… the other option is… since we are getting married, you and Ethan can share my quarters, Ethan can share Jay's room."
"Mmmmmmmm, I like option two," Mason grinned.
Not far away, Ethan and Jay were having their own conversation. "Jay, will you be my older brother?"
"I would like that, but we need to convince our dads. You can share my room with me."
"Don't look, my daddy just kissed your daddy. I think they are convinced."
Jay nodded his head, "I do, too, Little Brother."
"Class, I hope you enjoyed your lunch, but let's move on. This is Cadet Kevin Hogan. He is a third-year cadet earning a few credits by modelling the Winter Gear. You will receive this as part of your gear. Kevin, how warm are you?"
"I'm very toasty, Ma'am. The Temp output on my sleeve claims that I am in -32C (-25.2°) weather, but the pants and jacket are keeping me warm. The jacket comes with a hood, which works even better, but when the hood is down, you have vents that blow gently on your face and ears."
"Thank you, Kevin. You may step out of the holodeck, now. As a reward for modelling, the credits are already on your student account, and you get to keep that jacket." Then turning to the class, the instructor started discussing more variations of what is allowed when the cadets are considered on duty. "On Duty means from the time your first class starts until your last class ends. Some instructors, like Commander Mirah for PE, may have specific requirements for their class. You will heed their requirements, or you may be removed from the Academy. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Ma'am," the class chanted in unison.
The instructor looked around, then called up to the platform Brandon Collier. He was nervous as he stood there, not sure what the instructor was planning. The instructor called out, "Cadet Zack Anderson, can you tell me what is wrong with this cadet's uniform?"
"Honestly, Ma'am," Zack began, "I don't see a thing wrong with it. He's wearing the sweatshirt we were given upon arrival. He's wearing the navy blue pants with the cadet gray cuffs. And if I must say, he makes them look good."
"I agree," Miss Betchler smiled, "Class, this is a perfect example of how you should dress. I hope I didn't make you nervous, Cadet, but you had the best looking uniform when I did a quick scan."
"You did make me a little nervous, Ma'am," Brandon admitted. "But now that I know why you called on me, I feel much better."
"I appreciate your understanding, and for your trouble, I will add some credits to your account," Miss Betchler grinned. "And it looks like you have an admirer. Would you like to sit with Zack for the first semester?"
"If he doesn't mind, I would love that."
Zack blushed but replied, "I would love that, too."
One of the cadets called out, "FAG!!!" and Zack stood up, "Yeah, I am gay, and I hope Brandon is, too. So what? In this day and age, I was hoping the other cadets would be more understanding."
"Zack Anderson, please sit down," Miss Betchler ordered. "The rest of this orientation is on hold until whoever said that confesses. I can have the voice analyzed to find out who did it, but I will give you a chance. If you admit it, you will receive a suspension for however many days it takes for you to complete a course explaining why you were wrong. If I must find out who it was, you will be expelled."
A boy stood up, "I am so sorry. My girlfriend thought it would be funny and promised more than just kissing if I did it. To be honest, I knew it was wrong, but did it anyway, so I accept whatever punishment I get. I think it's great that Zack is so willing to be openly gay, and I hope Brandon feels as comfortable." The boy started crying.
"Ah yes, the boy who blindly does what his girlfriend wants so he can have sex. Thank you for your honesty, Erik. I believe you are truly sorry, so I think we can modify your punishment after class. Who is your girlfriend?"
Before Eric could give up her name, a girl sitting beside him screeched at him, "Don't you dare give me up or we are through."
"I think that would be wise, anyway," Erik cried. He pointed at her.
"And thank you Miss Davenport for pointing yourself out," Miss Betchler growled. "If you gather your things, Security will escort you to your dorm and help you pack. You are no longer welcome at this school."
Brandon sat beside Zack Anderson and whispered, "Yes, I am gay, but I have never done anything with another boy."
Zack grabbed Brandon's hand and sat like that until class resumed.
"Brandon, Zack. I am truly sorry I placed you in a position where that could happen. I never expected it here, so I inadvertently am the cause."
Zack stood up, still holding Brandon's hand, "I don't think any of us expected it. I think I speak for Brandon and myself saying we accept your apology." Brandon gave a quick nod, and orientation continued. After class, Erik made his way to Brandon and Zack, then apologized profusely.
Miss Betchler looked at Erik, "I was happy to watch you apologize. Part of my punishment was going to be to tell you to, but you totally did that on your own. Do you know why what you did was wrong?"
Tears welled up in Eric's eyes, "It's discrimination, and a form of bullying. I should have never done it, but I did. I don't deserve any mercy, Miss Betchler."
"I disagree," Brandon stated. "I believe you admitted to doing it because you honestly felt bad, not to avoid being expelled."
I agree with Brandon," Miss Betchler grinned. "Brandon, what do you think should happen to Eric?"
Brandon answered as though he knew he was going to be asked. "I think punishment should be suspended for the first semester. As long as Erik doesn't do anything like this again, I believe he learned his lesson, but if he does, expulsion wouldn't be off the table."
"What do you think of his punishment for you?" Miss Betchler inquired of Eric.
"He's being awfully generous," Erik sniffled, "but I know I will NEVER do that again. I started crying as soon as I said it."
"Fair enough. Erik," Miss Betchler declared, "punishment is suspended until Christmas break. As long as you prove that this was the right punishment, it will be dropped when we take our Christmas break. If you ever do something like this, you will be expelled."
"Thank you, Miss Betchler, you have my word." Erik turned to Brandon, "And a great thank you to you, Brandon. I truly am sorry. I hope you and Zack are happy together."
After the Orientation let out, the group was told they would have nearly two weeks before they needed to be in the dorms. Brandon suggested that they go to Col. Savage's house and see if those needing a place could stay for the two weeks. He was fairly certain that the Savages wouldn't mind but couldn't make any promises.
Former Senator Alan Cooper had one of the best lawyers in the country, Eric Douglas. Mr. Douglas had the highest success rates of any lawyer, with a 98%-win ratio. As the court convened, the judge stated, "Mr. Cooper…"
"That's Senator Cooper, Your Honor," Cooper interrupted.
"FORMER Senator Cooper, you have 300 counts of voter fraud against you. That is nothing compared to what Space Fleet is charging you with, so I will make this simple. If you plead guilty, I will sentence you to 3000 hours of community service to be served after whatever penalty Space Fleet gives you. If you take this to court and are found guilty, you will be fined 500 credits plus two-years prison time for each count. So, how do you plead?"
Former Senator Cooper and his lawyer conferred for fifteen minutes before he responded, "At the advice of my lawyer, I wish to plea guilty. Your Honor."
"Very well, thank you for not wasting any more of my time, I hereby find you guilty and sentence you to 3000 hours of community service. Furthermore, while this is NOT a part of your sentence, since you have been found guilty of voting fraud, you may never run for a public office again. I hereby remand you to Space Fleet to stand trial for your crimes there. I understand that trial will be in about two weeks."
Jace woke up from a peaceful dream. He and Jordan had taken the boys and Shadow to the holodeck and had a picnic. They were celebrating his birthday, and everyone was in their birthday suits. Trouble is, Jace kept hearing someone say, "I wish he would wake up; I want to wish Pappy a happy birthday." Only the twins called him "Pappy," but they were there with him.
Once he opened his eyes, both boys pounced on him, "Happy Birthday, Pappy," they crowed in unison.
"Thank you, boys," Jace replied. "Why don't you get dressed and we can go have a picnic to celebrate."
"Oh, no," Jordan dismissed the idea. "I have watch from 0800 to 1200 on the Bridge. Then, you know Ben Maxey probably has a special cake for you. Remember the cake he made for me"
"How could I forget," Jace chuckled. "He made it look exactly like me, and you ate the piece between my legs."
"I couldn't let anyone else have that piece," Jordan laughed.
Jace smiled, "The boys shared the piece where my heart would have been."
As Jace was getting dressed, he turned back toward Jordan, "I love you, too… more now than the day we first met."
"What?" Jordan was surprised.
Jace couldn't believe Jordan had asked what he was talking about, "Well, didn't you just say that you loved watching me dress?"
Jordan shook his head, "I thought it, but I never actually said it."
"Then," Jace smiled, "perhaps my full telepathy kicked in, or at least as full as a half Darastixian can get."
"Then, I guess I better curb my fantasies of having sex with the milk man," Jordan teased.
"I don't know... for you, I am the milk man." Jace wrapped Jordan up in a loving embrace.
Randy called out, "May I have everyone's attention? Today is Commander Jace Blackwell's sixteenth birthday. I don't know what Ben has baked up, but I promise it will be spectacular…"
Ben wheeled out the "Birthday Cake" cart. Steve Boyer had taken one of the dining room carts and added four "posts" to it. The posts were at each corner of the cart and tall enough that Ben could make a massive cake without worrying that the sheet placed over it would touch it. They were made of the same stainless metal as the cart, so they looked as if they belonged. And the tops were curved in case anyone slipped and fell on it; they wouldn't get stabbed.
Before Ben removed the covering, he averred, "As Randy said, today is Jace's sixteenth birthday. And since we discovered, he is of royal heritage along the Darastixian line, I wanted to create a special cake. With those two things in mind, I thought Jace deserved his very own castle, which we are going to eat into ruins." Ben removed the sheet to reveal a castle cake made with Jace's favorite, spice cake. The castle was complete with flags, a moat and candy fish. The moat was made using bluish-green colored cream cheese frosting.
Everyone sang Happy Birthday and Ben started dishing out the cake. Jace and Jordan shared the castle door along with some of the moat.
The Sooloo was en route to a planet completely covered with water, when they started receiving a strange message. They couldn't make out what was being said, if anything, but it sounded like it might be a cry for help. Captain Tietokone altered course to investigate from where the beacon was originating.
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