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And stop calling it Shoreleave

By Executrix
Page 1 of 1

1. "Good lords, what are you doing here...?" Gan asked, stopping himself just in time from using Blake's name.

"I'm an engineer, remember?" Blake said with some asperity. "Suppose I told you that I was inspecting the plumbing."

"Expect we'll see some awfully sound construction," Gan said. He was a bit embarrassed that the playbill on his lap, advertising the all-male (and ALL MALE) burlesque show at the Globes Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, was already canted at a comfortable reading angle.

Before the interval (when a stout gray-haired lady wheeled around a cart full of tea trays), Blake and Gan were treated to a regularly undulating alternation between all sorts of masculine pulchritude, dreadful musical interludes, and baggy-pants comics telling jokes so old that they had heard them from Vila.

The second half of the program was much the same, and Gan, growing slightly restive, with bits of indifferent caramel slice securing his molars, consulted the playbill to see how much more of this there was going to be. Then the lights got brighter for the grand finale.

With the help of the program notes, Gan decided that the fellow with the feathered headdress, moccasins (and nothing in between--well, he had war paint, which in this setting counted as being a bit overdressed) must be the Native Arcturian. Then there was a helmeted, booted Federation trooper, a naugaherder with a ten-gallon....hat....,a lariat, and chaps (none of them was exactly a virgin). Last to emerge was a construction worker in laced boots and hard hat. He had to put down his extensive power tool to join the kickline as the Quarry People burst into "It's FUN to stay at the YMCA!"

2. After all that vicarious stimulation, Blake and Gan were eager to check in to one of the short-term lodging establishments recommended in the theater program--the kind of place where somebody or other would unquestionably have left a bottle of hand lotion around.

"Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more," the receptionist said idly.

With difficulty, they kept apart until Blake's shaky hand encoded the combination to the door lock, and Blake located the hidden camera, Gan adjusted the lighting, and they both reminded themselves to take the tape as a souvenir.

The burly rebel tightly embraced the burly rebel (fortunately he had long arms), feeling his long, thick erection throb against his long, thick erection. Then he broke the embrace and twined his hands in the big man's springy, anarchic curls, pulling him toward him for a searching deep kiss.

Sometimes you can't tell the players without a scorecard.

3. "The soldier's pole is fall'n/And young boys are girls are level now with men," Blake said sadly. And, on cue, the boy appeared--a tall, slender young man with sapphire eyes, wearing a burgundy Room Service uniform with "Del" embroidered on the chest, pushing a metal cart.

"Ice cream! Get-ta you' tootsi-frootsi ice cream!"

Gan edged surreptitiously toward the waiter, until they were standing nearly back to back. "Blake? What do you think?"

"He's a bit taller, I'm afraid," Blake said. Well, at least he was getting his own back for being The Smaller Man. Especially since it was his ship anyway so he thought that entitled him to be on top.

"It's not fair," Gan said. "I just had my hair cut."

"I measured from the hairline down," Blake reassured him.

The young man tugged at the single clasp that held his break-away jacket in place and wriggled out of trousers that turned out to be a single spiral of material. He knew what was expected of The Younger Man. "Right, then. Who's on first?"

Gan knitted his brow. "Ummmm, not sure about that, but I Don't Know is on third."

4. "This isn't really what I do," Tarrant said.

Blake sighed wearily. "Oh, very well, just leave your screenplay on the table when you go, I'll read it when I get the chance."

"No, you don't understand, I'm actually an FSA-trained pilot, but ever since I deserted I've had to do menial jobs like this, I'm desperate to get back into space. Is there anything you can do to help me?"

"Actually...." Gan said.

5. It was just after they bought the new outfit for Del that Gan whispered, "Blake...we only have the two bracelets."

Blake made a few rapid calculations with his hand computer. "Del's no sort of weight at all, I think if we both wore our bracelets on our right hands to strengthen the field and stood very close..."

A moment later, a sort of firm, full, tightly packed Blake-Tarrant-Gan Cuban sandwich shimmied onto the teleport bay. Fortunately, Orac had been operating the teleport, so they were able to break the embrace away from the presence of embarrassing bystanders.

Tarrant gazed around him, rapt with wonder.

Blake asked himself if there was time for a cold shower, and regretfully decided there wasn't. "Travis Lazeron-ing his nostril hair," he whispered to Gan.

"Ewwww! Bercol jumping naked out of a birthday cake!"

Well, that seemed to have done the trick.

6. Blake called a crew meeting. As usual, Cally was brightly attentive. Gan, who usually took the minutes, this time yawned from sheer exertion and doodled idly in the Minute book.

"Had a nice time on shoreleave, lads?" Avon asked, halfway through the Arcturian Times crossword.

"Stop trivializing it," Blake said. "It wasn't 'shoreleave,' it was a very important mission that resulted in significant enhancement of our crew strength and readiness."

"Highly sensitive," Gan said.

Tarrant giggled.

"Our new recruit, Del..., uh, Del...."

"Tarrant," Tarrant said. "FSA '76, mercentary and pirate and....etcera...since then."

"Is a crucial new member to be added to the team," Blake concluded.

Jenna grumbled. "He looks hot..."

Blake smirked.

"....headed," Jenna finished. "A loose cannon."

"I've verified that there's no danger of his going off half-cocked," Blake reassured her.

"Smashing!" Jenna said. "I'll just head off to bed then, I've put in three hours of overtime. There's a time worm just to the left of us, three pursuit ships to the right, and thanks to an AutoRepair malfunction the Battle Computer reports aren't quite reliable. Harpo over there can take of it."

Tarrant suffered beautifully at this remark, silent except for the honk of the horn he pulled out of his overcoat pocket.

Vila, ticked off that he wasn't going to be able to solve Rubik's HyperCube this time either, whistled softly. "What do think about what just happened?" he whispered to Avon.

"The interplay of personalities...the petit-bourgeois insecurities...the enmities aroused by trivialities...positively Balzacian," Avon said.

Vila nodded. He thought meetings were really boring too.

7. Gan went into the bathroom to brush his teeth as Blake looked at the titles on the neatly arranged shelf of readerdisks over Gan's desk. Most of the disks were in the "SciFi/Fantasy" section. "Not much Lovecraft," Blake called over the sound of running water.

"No, but I like to think I make up for it in enthusiasm," Gan said.

"Oh, bugger me," Tarrant said (over the tannoy...he still hadn't found the on/off switch for the flight deck pilot's console). "That must not be the right one..."

The ship lurched. On the floor, Blake and Gan clutched one another affectionately.


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