Chapter Two, Part Three
The meeting was already well under way by the time the security captain arrived. The old man hated sitting through the hospitality and finance reports, and there was nothing that the station commander could do to force him to show up for them. He believed that the most important report was that in the security of the station; everyone needed to know who was coming and going, and whether any of the life-forms from the myriad of planets posed a threat to the safety of their fellow travelers. It was, after all, a big galaxy, filled with all sorts of things both alive and not. Before there was to be any eating or dancing or sleeping, there absolutely had to be safety.
“Captain ‘T’krost, how good of you to come.”
The station commander always said the same thing, the security leader thought to himself. “You make it easy, the way you always wait for me.”
He met the station commander’s gaze evenly with his steel-gray eyes, which were several shades darker than the blush-gray hue of his skin, and also had a distinctly metallic sheen to them. Black lines traced the backs of his hands and arms, even his long, knobby fingers, as though painted there by an ancient ink brush. His mercurial hair, cut short, was also accentuated by the same type of black lines. He wore a close-fitting grey shirt, the collar of which appeared smaller due to his long neck, and a long black jacket, which reach down past his knees, over it. It had had to be specially made for him, due to his body proportions being longer than those of many species. Fortunately for him, his height made him appear quite formidable, and he commanded the respect of everyone who met him.
“Are you read to give your security report for the day, then?” the station commander asked as his head of security set his stack of files down hard and took a seat. “I am curious about the incident that happened with the shuttle from the Hoshi-Narada.”
“Of course, commander,” T’krost replied as he opened the first file. “To begin with, you will be glad to know that Regulus Station II is completely safe, and that no… undesirable elements were able to board the station. My security team identified a single scout flier attempting to sneak in with the shuttle earlier today. Once the pilot knew that we had discovered it, he left immediately and shuttle 2361-QXZRW was able to come aboard without any mishap. My pilots tracked down the scout and warned him not to come anywhere near the station again. All subsequent shuttles came to the station with full security escorts, and no further incidents have occurred.”
“I commend you for your excellent service, as usual,” the station commander told him. “Who do we have as guests, then?”
“A typical assortment of folks, really.” Security Captain T’krost went over the names of the passengers and their home-worlds quickly, until he came to the last three files. “These passengers have been placed on temporary watch until their backgrounds and travel documentations can be completely traced.”
A few of the attendants of the meeting gasped, but the station commander did not seem troubled.
“Is that so? What have they done?”
“It is not what they have done, sir, but what they are.”
The commander nodded with a certain understanding. “Terrans again?”
“yes, sir. It is their human DNA that gives us the most trouble, really. With the way it mutates, and all of the errors that it is full of, it is too easy for the vile forces we have in our galaxy to take advantage of that weakness. They would be glad that we were looking after them, if they were not so prideful of their independence.”
With a sigh, the commander asked his security captain, “Who are they, then? And should we be worrying about them directly? I have heard of humans being easy to bribe.”
“The first two are of good character,” T’krost told the commander. Citlally Winterhawk, descendant of an ancient tribe called the Aztec. Once her people regained their land at the end of their twenty-first century, they became one of the most honorable and powerful people that Earth knows. The other is Endan Clarendon, of Irish descent. Like her, he honors his warrior ancestors, but we have nothing to fear from him. The two of them met at a multi-cultural school set on the ideals of peace, and although they have been to a few demonstrations, they were all based on non-violence.”
“They exchanged vows of love before leaving Earth to travel the stars,” the cultural advisor noted as she leaned close to T’krost so review their files. “To them, this would be considered a very romantic notion.”
T’krost cleared his throat as a clear show of annoyance and closed the files. “Yes, as I was saying, we have nothing to fear from them, save that someone else might attempt to take advantage of their DNA. Their blood samples have been eradicated, and the electronic files of them are now encrypted. I have already put into place the forces needed to keep them safe.”
“A private security team just for the newlyweds?” the cultural advisor asked. Then she giggled and added, “Do you know what human couple do on their honeymoon? I am certain that they have already exchanged plenty of DNA.”
“Dhanae, let’s keep this civil and decent,” the station commander warned her with a weary sigh. “I have little enough patience for humans as it is.”
“Yes, sir, commander,” she agreed, though with a few more giggles before a glare from some of the men settled her down.
“Who is the third human?” the commander asked.
“Well, sir,” Security Captain T’krost replied with a smirk, “that is is where things get interesting.”
* ** *** ** *
Citlally’s body, glistening with sweat in the starlight that poured into their otherwise darkened room, lay curled against Endan’s, sharing in the mutual warmth leftover from their love-making. To her, there was no feeling better then the hard curves of his muscles as he held her tenderly. She felt both safe and helpless in his arms, weak from the sheer exertion of what they had done, but secure in the knowledge that he still had enough strength to protect her from anything that should come their way; not that she expected anything to wish harm on them. It was enough to know that this warrior spirit was strong.
With her his on his chest, she could hear the way his heart raced, and smiled with the knowledge that he had loved what she had done to him. He beat was just starting to calm down when she let out a long, contented sigh and decided to ask him what was on her mind.
“Endan, what happens if I become pregnant out here?”
“Mmm…?” He turned slightly, and peered down at her. Ever so tenderly, he pushed a lock of hair off her cheek and gave her a tired smile. “My love, you must be weary from travel. Why else would you have forgotten how this works? You are supposed to ask that before I–”
“Oh, hush!” she said with a giggle. “You know very well that it not having a baby that worries me. All these year together, and you think that? What I meant was, what if it happens way out here, so far from home?”
“A true child of the stars,” he grinned.
Citlally eyed him in a way that meant she was warning him to behave. “Would we have to go back home? Cut our journey short?”
“Would you want to?” Endan countered, this time more serious. “We have been planning this for years. Why should our child stop that? He– or she– would want to have traveled the stars just as much as we do. But if you don’t agree, we can go down to the pharmacy and ask whether they keep any human contraceptives in stock.”
“Do you really mean that?”
“Well, yes, I mean, if you felt this way, you should have brought some with you when we left Earth, but–”
“No, not that,” she told him, shaking her head. “I mean, the part about wanting to travel with a child.”
“Citlally,” he began, pulling her closer and kissing her forehead, “as log as we are together, it does not matter where we are. You can have my baby, ten of them even–”
“Calm yourself, warrior,” she teased.
“–on any planet, ship or station that you feel comfortable on. We took those vows together for a reason, and having a family in our future was part of that. Traveling across the galaxy was the other thing that you have always had your heart set on. As long as I have you by my side, I am happy with anything else that happens.”
“Endan, how did I ever get to be so lucky as to have met you?”
He chuckled a little and rubbed her shoulder affectionately. “Well, the first thing I remember id you signing up for most of the same classes I did.”
“Purely by chance,” she reminded him.
“You still insist that after all these years? Well, either way, there was also the fact that you refused to go to the parade with that arrogant guy—what was his name?”
“What does it matter anymore?” Citlally asked. “That year’s peace parade was a success because we worked together.”
“Oh yes, we did!” he added wryly, his tone clearly referring to certain extracurricular activities that they had participated in.
“I did not mean that… but it was wonderful.”
“And you still are,” he whispered, pulling her close for a kiss, which left her smiling and wishing that she had at least some energy left.
“Promise me one thing,” Endan said after a long time spent just staring out at the stars and enjoying the quiet of nothing more than one another’s breathing and the faint hum of the station’s electricity. “Even with all of the vows that we took together, this will be the one promise that really matters to me.”
“What is it?” she whispered as she gazed up at him, curious of the more serious tone that he was now using.
“If anything happens… I know we are safe out here, that we are traveling along a peaceful route, but if the worst should happen, anything unexpected…” He faltered, worried that he was frightening her.
“Go on,” Citlally urged him.
“Just… promise me that if we are ever separated… if we are ever not together, promise that you will never stop trying to come back to me. I need to know that you will always be looking for me, because I swear to you, I love you too much to ever—ever— give up on getting you back in my arms again.”
Citlally sat up and looked down into his eyes. They shone as though they were welling up from the feelings deep inside of him, and she knew that he was completely serious. He feared being separated from her, and she had no doubts that he meant every word that he said. Of course, she felt the same way about him.
“Endan, you have my word. If the worst happens, then I will fight with every once of my being to get back to you. I could not go on without you in my life, and I would never give up on finding you. Even if they tell me that you have– that you–” She choked back her own tears, and Endan reached up to wipe her cheeks dry.
“I did not say this to upset you, my love. I feel the same way. I will not believe anyone who tries to tell me about your demise… not until I see it for myself, and I am able to carry you home and lay you to rest in your homeland. I would never give up on you.”
“Nor I you,” Citlally whimpered in reply, suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of them being parted in a such a way. “I promise. But… let’s not do anything dangerous, okay? Nothing that could separate us out here.”
“Agreed,” he told her, pulling her close to comfort her. “I just wanted you to know how much you mean to me.”
For the rest of that evening, they laid together watching the stars, talking about all the worlds that were out there and all the adventures and romances that were being had both far and near. They talked until Citlally have a long, sighing yawn and nuzzled closer to Endan, and he felt her breathing falling into the slow, deep pattern of sleep. Then he pull the blanket over their still-naked bodies, and let his eyes close as well. There was no greater bliss than his, be thought as he drifted off into a dream. He never wanted to leave Regulus Station II.