“You were my first, you know?” Airah asked, breaking the silence between us. I felt myself blush at the idea, partially because I had been too drunk to even remember what we did. What if my performance had been so bad that I had spoiled things for her, forever?
Not quite sure how to answer, I simply kept quiet, waiting her out. It didn’t take long for her to speak again, telling me about her childhood. It sounded about as lonely as I had expected, with her Mother the leader of her people. And her mother had to be a true leader, to motivate her people to follow her, without a tradition to guide them. I had never questioned that I was part of the Federation, I had simply been born into it. I had never even considered questioning the state of things, let alone conceived the idea to leave it, to seek my fortune elsewhere.
Airah told me more about the Void Guard itself, how their home-base was structured and such. It seemed relatively similar to the way Jake’s Place was build, only on a larger scale. They had made their home on multiple moons and even a planet, none of them truly large but all more or less self-sufficient. That part was quite impressive to me, getting a habitat to the point of self-sufficiency seemed to be quite hard, with the need to grow food in fully artificial conditions.
But mostly, her tale focused on people, the older people who had followed her mother into exile and the children born to them. How they respected, some even revered, her mother and, in turn, treated Airah friendly but distant. She wasn’t Airah Andrews, she was the daughter of Admiral Kezost. The deep shadow cast by her mother had always hung around her, which might have played a large part why her mother had supported her going to Starfleet Academy. To allow Airah to thrive away from her influence and the obvious comparison between the two.
I mostly listened, simply making the appropriate sounds to show I hadn’t fallen asleep and let her talk. It made me realise that the friendship we had struck up had been one of the first relationships not influenced by her Mother’s shadow.
Finally, when we had left Jake’s Place quite a distance behind us, she wound down and I realised that what I had seen as confident indifference was simply a mask, to hide that she wasn’t sure what to say or do. It made me smile, knowing that I wasn’t the only one struggling how to explain myself or my feelings.
“Where would you like to go from here?” I asked, gently rubbing the hand I was still holding with my thumb. She was quiet for a moment, obviously thinking.
“I’m not sure. What happened yesterday was…” she paused and I felt my stomach flip a few times, “it was wonderful.” she admitted, blushing bright crimson again. Closing my eyes for a moment, I focused on the Tyton, trying to channel the confidence and control I was feeling when flying a spaceship. If I was able to brave the dark void of space, the empty, black skies, I had to be able to talk to the girl I liked, right?
“I’m sure we can do better.” I said, looking over and giving her a grin. “I was drunk enough that I barely remember what we did, next time, I’ll be sober.” I added, trying to project every ounce of confidence I could find in my body.
Airah’s blush deepened a little and a shy smile appeared on her face, as if she had been unsure if there would ever be a repeat performance.
“Two weeks back, you offered me to become a partner in business with you, operating the Tyton as an independent courier. Would you like to expand that partnership a little, not just as business-partners but also romantic ones?” I asked, trying to toe the line between coming on too strong and not conveying just how much she meant to me.
I noticed her closing her eyes for a moment, similar to what I had done a moment before and when I looked over, I almost started to laugh out loud. Luckily, I managed to keep it in, even if a small giggle escaped. Airah had pulled herself up straight, projecting a calm and collected air, something I would expect from the commander of a vessel, when the enemy torpedos are on the way.
“Is that you, asking to be my girlfriend?” she asked, sounding quite calm but I thought there was a bit of nervousness hiding behind the command-persona she had put on.
“If you want to call it that, Ma’am.” I replied, poking a little fun at the fact that she seemed to be using her leadership-training for something that should be a romantic moment.
“Yes, I want to be your girlfriend, Airah.” I added, just to make sure that my intent was understood. The smile on her face was beaming enough that I worried we’d register as a solar-flare. A moment later, she deactivated the manual controls in the cockpit after turning down artificial gravity to a comfortable ten percent and, without missing a beat, swung over the center-console, straddling my lap.
The difference in our sizes made the position a little awkward, if she kept herself straight, my face was in heaven, at least it would be if she wasn’t wearing a ship-suit. She curled in a little, getting her face far enough down to give me a sweet and very enthusiastic kiss that I returned with equal fervor.
“This doesn’t quite work.” I muttered, using the lowered gravity to push both of us up and shift her around, so her legs were hanging over the center-console while her behind was in my lap. She still had to curl up a bit, but it worked a lot better, allowing me to keep my arms around her and kiss her at will.
It was a good thing that space was vast and mostly empty, allowing us to continue on our flight without running into anything. Because neither of us was paying any attention to anything but the other, as we continued to enjoy our new status, a different kind of closeness and intimacy than the one we had shared before. Sure, we had seen the other in almost every state imaginable, but there had always been a distance, more the closeness of siblings than the intimacy of romantic partners. Now, I my hand was gently exploring her suit-covered body, the curves I had only salivated from afar now open to discovery.
Finally, the soft grumbling sound of a stomach, caused our focus to return to reality and our surroundings. Looking at Airah in my arms, I felt great, as if I had just won in life. Just for this feeling, shooting those three guys had been worth it, even if there had been the odd nightmare and, of course, the fact that it had changed the course of my whole life.
“Let’s get something to eat.” Airah suggested, trying to remember how her legs worked. Her wiggling around was quite pleasant, especially the view. At some point, I had peeled her out of the upper half of her ship-suit and there was some interesting resonance between the movement of her lower half and the jiggling of her upper half.
“Mhm, sounds good.” I agreed, my mind far from nourishment. My thoughts must have shown on my face, causing Airah to blush, as she pulled herself up.
“Give me a moment, I want to make sure that we are on course.” I added, after taking another good look at her, as she was rolling her suit back up.
“I’ll put something together, join me as soon as you are done.” she answered, as I focused on my connection with the computer. Our course had worked out just as programmed, bringing us right where I wanted us to be. A quick scan made sure that there wouldn’t be a need to intervene for some time, unless something seriously unexpected happened.
De-linking from the headgear gave me a moment to think about the events of the morning, and their sheer intensity. Having Airah on my lap had felt awesome, kissing her had felt glorious and feeling her body, there were no words.
But it was also incredibly scary, now, I was feeling as if we had pushed the thrusters to their limit, the acceleration pressing us down but the thrill of the ride had been just as intense. Part of me worried if we had done the right thing. Now that I had a little more headspace to think about it, we had added a potential complication to an already complicated relationship. What if we split up? I, for one, had hitched my fortune and future to her and her plans. Every possession of mine was on this ship, I was flying without spare-parts, hoping that my course wouldn’t launch me into a black hole.
But I had started on my current course and had achieved escape velocity. It was too late for regrets, there was only one way to go. Forward.