Monday, March 23, 2015
May 10, early
Wow, the ship is quiet. I think I’m the only person left in the Matara area.
Everyone else is on shore leave. They are on a small moon outpost of a system I can’t even pronounce. It’s mostly a collection of tiny villages inhabited by the Darotkins. Those are the aliens with brains in each of their twelve hands. One on the Xniktix station made a couple of dancing outfits for me and the gals.
After consultation with Dr. Feru, I opted to not go on shore leave. For one thing, the idea makes me squeamish. I do not feel comfortable leaving my safe transport ... not after what happened with Finiuld. The trauma remains. As much as I’d like to suck it up and face my fears, it’s just too much right now. I think I could do it if I really wanted to, but I’ve got another reason to stay on board the Pussy ‘Porter.
That reason would be Weapons Commander Nobek Oses. If I’m skittish about going on shore leave, he’s twice as freaked out about me leaving the ship. In his mind, he can’t properly protect me, and protecting me is the Number 1 Priority on Oses’ list. He’s got his own demons to conquer after our abduction weeks ago.
We both sat down to discuss the matter with Feru yesterday. Nobeks are notoriously difficult to treat for psychological issues. They hate admitting to weakness. However, Oses is an older and wiser member of his breed. As long as his struggle remains known by only a select few whom he trusts, he is willing to accept help for the emotional storms he faces since being taken prisoner.
“The thought of Shalia off this ship makes me crazy with fear and anger,” he admitted to Feru in a low voice. His muscles, of which he has many and big, corded with tension. “I hate the idea of her being vulnerable in surroundings over which I have little control.”
“That’s fine, Commander,” Feru said in a noncommittal tone. He knows better than to offer sympathy. It’s never welcome among the warrior caste. “Shalia is not ready to take that step anyway. That gives you time to continue your exercises in coping with this anxiety.”
Oses clenched his hands into fists a few times. He drew a deep breath. “Eventually, I have to face that she will want to visit these places we are stopping at along the way. I do not know how I can let her go without fearing for her safety.”
“One issue at a time, Commander. Look at the present, not the future. We are dealing with the here and now only. Right now, Shalia is remaining on board the transport. Were you able to spend the last day away from her all right?”
I smiled as he jerked a nod. I hadn’t seen my big, bad Nobek since my birthday. I’ve missed him, though the send-off sex before our imposed ‘separation’ had been spectacular enough to keep a smile on my face when I thought about it.
“It was not easy,” Oses admitted. “After a few hours, I spent every moment wanting to check on her and make sure she was safe.”
Feru made a note. “You were able to discuss her well-being with her liaison Betra, however. Did that help?”
Oses nodded. “Betra was excellent about taking my coms and letting me know everything was all right. I don’t believe I would have made it the entire day if I hadn’t been afforded that ability.”
Feru eased into a smile. “You did it, however. You made it through 27 hours of separation and took another step forward in releasing the trauma. Building on these small successes will allow you bigger gains. I won’t lie and tell you that there won’t be anxiety when Shalia is ready to take shore leaves again. However, you will find yourself better able to deal with it.”
Little by little, Oses and I are both recovering. Baby steps can be frustrating when a person wants to put the past behind them in a big hurry. I keep reminding myself and my Nobek lover that though small, they are still steps forward.
Candy was not too happy to hear I wouldn’t be joining everyone on shore leave. “Oh, but I heard there is going to be an arts trading fair while we visit!” she told me. “I wanted you to pick out a birthday present. That’s why I didn’t give you anything on your birthday!”
“You and Katrina arranged a surprise party for me,” I pointed out. “That was present enough.” They’d even arranged for a five-tier birthday cake. It had delicate candy butterflies and flowers, a veritable garden of a cake. I’d never seen anything so beautiful. Hormonal to the hilt, I cried over it and made Betra take two dozen still picture vids of the thing. I’d even had to leave the room while they cut it up because I couldn’t bear to see them do it. I managed to get over it however, and the cake was delicious.
Candy still pouted. “You are so difficult to buy for, Shalia. We don’t like the same things.”
Katrina, the eldest of our trio, snickered and shook her silvered head. “Just find the frilliest, most precious, pinkest thing at the market, something that will fit in that ruffled nightmare of a room of yours. Then find the opposite of that and buy it for Shalia.”
Candy blew a raspberry at Katrina. “Just because you don’t like girly stuff—“
“Candy, no female over the age of five likes that much frou-frou. Those two Nobeks who you’ve been keeping company with probably have nightmares every time they come over from their destroyer to spend the night.”
“What, you’re seeing just two men now?” I asked. “When did this start?”
“After I met them on the concourse outside the pleasure club,” Candy said. Her smile was sunny again as she dropped her debate with Katrina. “Don’t you remember? Ama and Mihi. They were there the day that we looked at locations for our dance club.”
I had a vague recollection of two Kalquorians, one scarred and another with an appealing devilish smile. I blinked at Candy. “You’re exclusive with them?”
“For now.” Candy shrugged. “They have a long-term thing going with each other and I’m enjoying seeing how I can fit in a committed relationship between men. That’s what’s ahead when I get to Kalquor and join a clan, so why not try it out now?”
I nodded, though I hoped with all my heart Candy would not end up in love with men she can’t keep. That struggle is all too familiar to me.
I turned my attention to Katrina. “So now when you hold a salon, you’ve got more guys to yourself.”
Katrina reddened. “Ah, well, I’m not doing that so much these days. I’m a little distracted what with putting the dance club together.”
“Captain Wotref’s clan wouldn’t be another ‘distraction’ would it?” Candy teased.
“Wait, what?” I spluttered. “What the hell is going on? You too? Why am I just finding out about all this?”
“You’ve had plenty to deal with,” Katrina pointed out. “Plus I’m not making a big deal about it. There is no reason to. I’m simply enjoying the captain and his clanmates’ company for now.”
“Holy Hannah,” I said, throwing my hands up in the air dramatically. “The universe has gone crazy when you two settle down. What happened to all the free love?”
“My pussy got tired,” Katrina said in a droll voice. That left Candy and me shouting with laughter.
Neither woman may want to make a big issue out of their current arrangements, but I know for a fact that they will be joined by their paramours on this shore leave. It kind of makes me wish Oses and I were well enough to go down there, along with Betra. Walking along, hand-in-hand with my temporary sweethearts while playing tourist sounds kind of nice.
But Betra is down on the moon by himself, keeping an eye on his group of Earthers and making sure they don’t get into any trouble. Oses and I are up here in orbit. Since Feru is not making my favorite Nobek stay away from me for another week or so, I think we should console each other.