Out of Time

by Jay Berger Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2002 at 8:22 PM

I don't know if this really belongs here, but this is the beginning of a short story I'm writing and I was wondering if any of you LA heads could critique it for me. I wonder if it's bad enough to get banned, heh heh. All good art should be banned at least once.

The starship "Invictus" slid silently through space in the Alpha Enridani system, most of her 18 person crew soundly asleep except for the night cycle watch. Her captain, one Pleiadian named Killiam Stel, was restless in his cabin watching Lt. Tamara Amaru sleeping gently. Even as he reveled in the odor of

their spent passions, he was agonizing over the implications of their affair. For long space journeys ConFed command had long since abandoned the practice of curtailing the sex lives of crewmembers, and Pleiadians were just as human as Earthers

having come from the same prehistorical stock. Culturally, they were as different as night and day.

Mating with an Earther was dangerous because so many of them had culturally ingrained complexes about it that Pleiadians simply did not share. But she was the only other telepath on the "Invictus", and sex without empathic connection had always left him cold. She had indicated the same, but he wondered if she had the same psychological block that most Terran TP's had

about forming emotional connections. Some side effect of the way Terran TP's were trained seemed to cause them to automatically phase out anyone who got close to them, which in his view not only automatically ruined the sex after the first couple of times but created a dangerous situation in terms of crew morale. He could not afford to have one of his people constantly on guard against him simply because he liked her.

She shifted subtly in the bed, bathed as they all were in Earth-normal artificial gravity. Her long black hair settled gently over her shoulders, and he sensed that she had come quietly awake and was aware of him watching. Their minds touched briefly, and he

was relieved at the delight he sensed in her at the contact.

She stretched gently, yawning. To him, that was very erotic and she sensed this also.

"So it's right what they say about Pleiadians."

"What do they say about us?"

She sat up on the edge of the bed, her pert breasts sending yet another thrill up him. "Best lovers in known space. And that every sensation is a universe of pleasure all it's own."

"Why wouldn't it be?"

He sensed a momentary withdrawl on her part, as if he had not understood something. But she recovered quickly.

"Pass the bong, dear?"

"Already loaded." he handed her the device, loaded from his personal stash of cannabis. She lit, and inhaled deeply. He watched her subtle lines and curves, noticed how her attention was drawn to a point on the bong like a ballerina about to make a pirouette. To him she was all grace and precision, as focussed as she was chaotic and it was all beauty. he shivered

internally, again. Like most of his kind, he was especially receptive to impressions after lovemaking and he felt her fighting that damned withdrawl reflex.

"It makes us better able to concentrate, 'Kil. If I lose myself in you I could miss something. But I know it's not necessary right now even though it goes against my conditioning," she said exhaling a cloud of vapour. It was good that the atmosphere recyc systems of such vessels had long since become advanced enough to make shipboard smoking possible.

She had of course guessed right. "In the Cluster we train our TP's, we don't condition them. I can pull back whenever I want or need to." He didn't need to speak of what that "conditioning" entailed. It was classified of course, in typically paranoid Terran style but it was hard for any TP not to ever reflect on those memories and the leakage could be detected by any sensitive. This among other reasons was why Pleiadians considered

Terrans to be somewhat barbaric to say the very least.

Fortunately Tamara was not reflecting on those memories as he had taken every precaution to calm her and make her present situation as pleasantly distracting as possible. She detected the passing thought, and smiled at him gently.

"Thank you for that. You aren't very shielded right now, are you?"

"We consider it rude to be that shielded to someone we have just made love to."

"But I'm partially shielded even now," she said challengingly. "Do you think me rude?" She had that smile on her face now that she got whenever she felt she had made a point.

"You mostly shield yourself against yourself because of that damned conditioning." Anger spiked in him which he quickly suppressed. "I don't want to look into those spaces any more than you do, nor do I want -YOU- looking there. I..." he trailed off. He had almost said something which would have certainly triggered her conditioning.

She smiled again, and this time crossed the room to sit genly in his lap where he sat at his ship's terminal. She put her arms around him and buried her head in his neck. "You don't have to say it. I can see it in every little thing you do and I've never seen anything like it. And I'm not a broken toy, 'Kil. Or a porcelain doll."

"I don't think of you..."

"Of course you don't, but you are so afraid of hurting me that it practically oozes out of your pores." She straightened, and looked him in his eyes. Those eyes contained smouldering steel for a moment, then softened. "I'm pretty tough, Mr. Pleiadian Lieutenant with his first command so worried about

his crew morale index and the broken Terran woman he has just opened his almighty empathy to. I can handle it. I can work through this just as much as I could work through explosive decompression or seeing all my friends eviscerated. You," she

said smiling and radiaiting an air of absolute confidence, "have fallen completely in love with me." His fear spiked, and he quickly suppressed it knowing she had sensed it. A long moment of silence ensued in which his latent prescience felt lines of probability spiking in all directions. He was suddenly paralysed with absolute terror.

"And I love you, too." She kissed him savagely, their tongues commingling and he kissed back with a passion he had never felt before as all of his terror released itself in that moment. He had the passing thought that if there had been another TP on board they could not have helped but notice the sudden energy

spike as their minds merged, shields dropping completely in an utter supernova of passion and he felt humbled that it had been she, and not he, who had manipulated this outcome.

After what seemed like an eternity, they withdrew and fell more back into individual conciousness each carrying a bit of the other with them. She stared at him defiantly, still glowing in her passion.

"I fear nothing, 'Kil. Because I always know that I can dust myself off and start over. Remember that. And never think that I am a broken ball of conditioned reflexes ever again." She smiled. It had been unecessary to say it, because they both knew what the other had seen in the merging, what had been

shared could never be unshared. They would always be one, and could never shield against the other again. This had been what he had wanted, but was afraid to do. He had wanted to go slower, edge past her conditioning while keeping her calm...

But Tamara Amaru knew no fear. A lesser Terran TP would not have dared attempt this. They found that they wanted each other again, wanted to screw with an almost insane desperation and they moved as one towards the bed...

But the lights suddenly dimmed, replaced by the red

emergency lights as the electronic "Whoop!" of the alert signal filled the ship. They sensed minds coming awake around them with varying degrees of speed and she giggled as 'Kil noted to himself that the crew was reacting with a decent amount of efficiency.

"Captain to C&C!" the comm in the room blared as his wrist unit softly vibrated. He hit the "Aknowledge" button on it, and spoke into it. "On my way in five," he said. "Sitrep, please." They separated and began scrambling for their uniforms. No time for a shower...

"Something in the thousand ton range with ConFed markings has just come out of T-space. It's heavily damaged and broadcasting a distress signal. But Captain..." The commander of a vessel was always referred to as Captain no matter his actual rank while on board and in command by convention going back to ancient seagoing times.

"Yes, Mister Wilde?"

"It's not any ship I've ever heard of and neither has the

computer. And the standard ConFed time stamp on the signal is eighty-three years ahead of us."

A possible temporal alert?!? "Try to raise ConFed security. I'm on my way!"

They rushed out the door of his cabin into pure Chaos...

Copyright 2002 Jay Berger

all rights reserved

Original: Out of Time