USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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To Wife

Posted on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 @ 4:42am by Major Storr Garlake

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: USS Ribble (Shuttle)
Timeline: Mission Day 75: 0930

Storr sat in the pilot's seat of the Ribble with authority, his duffel already dropped in the entryway storage compartment. The Danube-class runabout was a veritable miniature starship at the Marine's command and thanks to the late Lieutenant Wilson's instruction, he knew at least enough to start the contraption.

Jaya joined him after preparing her quarters which were separate from that of her betrothed. Technically they were in the same general area, but propriety was such that even ridiculous measures were taken. If someone were convicted of breaking her Oath without having actually done it, well, that would be insult to injury.

"We're all set in the back," Jaya said cheerfully as she slinked up behind Storr. She enfolded herself across his broad shoulders while her hands met together on his burly chest. "Are human women expected to stow their husbands' gear at all times?" Her voice never lost its cheer, though she gave his chest a playful squeeze.

The MCO chortled and placed a hand over hers, his other roving over the various LCARS controls. "It sounds like you know your place well enough...a man could get used to this," he said with a cocksure smile, his hand moving from hers to her cheek, stroking it gently.

"Runabout Ribble to flight control, requesting permission to depart," his voice echoed in the small cockpit after activating the comm system. The Marine was quite pleased with himself that he was able to get through the entire radio call without error; unbeknownst to the rest of his men, he had practiced the entire night before their training so that he didn't sound like a fool on the airwaves.

"Runabout Love Boat, you're cleared to depart," replied Lieutenant Ryland Dedeker, the humor nearly palpable through the speakers. Garlake rolled his eyes; if only Ryland knew that the small ship would be the picture of propriety and chasteness.

"Love Boat, huh?" Jaya clicked her tongue against her cheek. "I like the sound of that. Do you think we could change the registry when we arrive at Earth?"

"Given the Captain's predilection for rainbow lights in the corridors, don't mention it to her...she might actually go for it," Storr said with a chuckle and shake of his head.

"That was a unique touch," Jaya said. "It will take me awhile to get used to the rotation." She plopped into the copilot seat and slid down the back with her knees folded up to her chest. "So when do we discuss your family's expectations?"

As the shuttle pulled away from the Vindex, Storr engaged the warp drive and shifted the stars from their natural points to streaking lines of white light. Sighing, he double-checked the autopilot's navigation settings and once satisfied, rotated the chair towards Jaya while rubbing his eyes.

"That's the 64 thousand dollar question and I suppose now is as good a time as any. Expectations...wow. Well, let's see. You already failed the first one, which was to be a fellow Afrikaner but I would say that your dedication to me and your willingness to give yourself completely to becoming a boervrou soothes that wound."

Jaya nodded. Sectarianism was nothing new.

"To be fair," he continued, now with a grin as he wrapped her hands in his, current passing between them and causing his entire forearms to tingle, "I also blew it by not asking your father for your hand in marriage. My family is very...traditional and I was raised to be a part of a history, religion, and culture much larger than myself and the ceremony will reflect that. For example, they've been reading our names in church and collecting the twelve symbols of our future marriage (salt, pepper, wheat, wine, bitter herbs, a Bible, a broom, honey, a spoon, a spear, a shield and a pot.) for the last two Sundays and if there are no objections..." the MCO checked his chronometer and looked back up into his beloved's eyes, "...tomorrow, then we have the blessing of the congregation and community." He couldn't think of...well, Cora was the only reason that he could potentially think of causing an issue but she was the one who left him. Shaking his head, the MCO cleared his mind of his late fiance.

"Sorry, you were wanting expectations and I started blabbing about my old parish. Tell me a little about your family and what you've told them," he said, sitting back in the surprisingly comfortable chair.

"Fortunately for you, there are no familiar obligations," Jaya said. "Seyalian culture on Delta IV has no concept of marriage. In many ways, everybody is part of an extended family. Petty squabbles happen between various groups, but wars were unheard of since ancient times. We all just... travel and roam, and when we find somewhere to settle down, we form a community to service others in their journey."

Jaya stared at her foot swinging back and forth beneath the copilot seat.

"My parents settled on the largest moon. Seyann. It's practically another world by comparison to the tropical archipelago chains of the main world. And, as the director of the Meteorological Commission, he's the closest thing the moon has to an administrator. I doubt he could get away for long, particularly for an obscure Human rite that defies our way of life."

That brought Jaya to the cusp of the matter. She looked Storr straight in the eyes as she continued.

"You see, my parents are not monogamous. Nor is any other couple on Seyalia. Delta IV." She chewed her lip. "Were we to visit, you would be exempted from social polyamory out of hand due to your primitive sexuality, and I could share that exemption as a result. But... we could never live there."

Storr nodded slightly. He knew that it wasn't meant as an insult but being referred to as "primitive" in his desire to take Jaya for wife for life still stung the core of who he was. As for living on Seyalia, it wasn't really anything that had crossed his mind and as he toyed with the idea for a few moments, discounted it completely; the temptation would be too great for the both of them, for very different reasons.

Such details were uncomfortable to discuss, but they needed to be shared before Jaya committed to Storr in marriage.

"When I swore the Oath of Celibacy, it... is akin to castration. I swore to never again join anyone in sexual relations. The Human institution of marriage is an acceptable exemption due to the traditional origin. Many species mate for life, but Humans are among the rare breed who see it as more than that. We will join more than our bodies for life, but our souls. 'As one flesh,' I hear it is told. That fits in lockstep with the Deltan philosophy, with the only difference being that we consider our entire race to be 'one flesh.' Human marriage, an oath of monogamy, is a shocking anomaly for my people."

Here it came.

"As a result, my parents aren't coming."

Storr felt winded as he sighed. To tell the truth, it was something that he had thought might be the case but having it confirmed did nothing to lessen the impact. He of all people was not one to fantasize about his wedding but the reality of not having her family (or potentially anyone at all!) on her side of the church was like a punch in the gut.

"What...do you think about that? Do they at least approve of us, or is my brutish and backward culture too much of a hurdle for them to contemplate for their daughter?"

The last phrase emerged bristling with far more defensiveness than he had anticipated. The even more surprising thing was that he wasn't immediately apologetic for it...this was obviously an issue that had been festering under his emotional surface without his direct knowledge and it almost felt good to have it released.

"In a word... yes, but not like it sounds." Jaya surrendered her face to a sympathetic frown. "Family is... awkward. Communal families are cherished above all else, but even children are kept in private until they're old enough to... enter society. And by society I mean..." She tilted her head. "You know." When she continued, she began speaking with her hands in rolling gestures as much as her words.
"Monogamy is a social aberration of our communal intimacy of body and soul, but even more extreme. Humans are viewed as too primitive to survive sexual relations with my species, so in our joining together, the implication will be that you will be joined to me rather than an equal relationship."

Jaya sensed tact was failing her, so she switched to candor.

"Storr, my family will view you as little more than my sex slave. Under those circumstances, would you expect them to honor our relationship?"

The man's mouth silently gaped open and closed several times, like a fish out of water. Storr knew that there would be some obvious social issues that he hadn't considered but Jaya's succinct statement left him completely speechless.

He was no water-carrier for egalitarianism but this was turning his complementarianism paradigm completely on its head. Sure, he knew that her esper characteristics would make their...physical relationship more challenging (and yes, he recognized even potentially fatal) but did that make her superior to him, even as a master to a slave? And would he be a slave if it was a relationship entered into willingly? And was the physical relationship all there was? Were Deltans so shallow as to not recognize the leaving of paternal relationships and cleaving to one another, binding themselves and their souls together for the rest of their natural lives? His entire life revolved around a family and community that revered male leadership in and out of the home; while he anticipated Jaya gladly finding her place in that dynamic, how did he really know? And if she did, how much did it matter to him that her parents thought the polar opposite concerning the working-out of his inter-relationship between headship, service, and love?

Garlake felt his ears burning as heat bubbled up from his neck. Shame? Anger? Apprehension? Fear? Whatever it was, it threatened to overtake the Marine and make a fool of him in front of his wife-to-be.

Standing, he walked over to the port-side viewing window and crossed his arms, taking a deep breath before slowly letting it out. "The monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred, timeless act that binds us together in a way that I can barely put into words. There are mandates that are set forward and practical ways on how we can live them out so that we might live in harmony together...be a blessing to each other and those around us...to create a sweet aroma of love and glory in our home for future children and our guests." Storr sighed before chuckling and looking over his shoulder to the beauty that sat in the far control seat, "Then again, I say all this assuming you feel the same way as your parents...if that were true, I doubt you'd be in this shuttle."

Jaya stared at him for several moments before responding.

"There was a time that I did." The admission stung her nearly as much as it did him. She could feel it so intensely it was hard to tell where her shame ended and his began.

"You are special, Storr. Deltans display our evolved sexuality in a universal expression, making it vulgar to romantically consort with species who haven't attained that. It's like our Prime Directive. But sometimes rules need to be broken."

When his cold shoulder failed to thaw, she got up to stand behind him. Her hands traced his back from his shoulders to his hips before pulling around his waist and embracing him from behind.

"It's unfair for billions of souls to be written off in generalized disgrace," Jaya whispered with her cheek against his back. "When I first begged you not to make me love you, you wondered if I was manipulating you. I wasn't. Truly loving you became a real prospect even then--and it terrified me for all the reasons I gave. After everything we've been through, I am ready to defy conventional wisdom. I want to show everyone back home that Humans are not a pack of braying beasts, that your ideals and values are not primitive attempts to evolve beyond your baser instincts. You are the one to do that, my love. I believe that with all my heart."

Breath flowed into Storr's lungs as the lights became a bit brighter, the colors more vivid, the soft edges sharpened in his vision...it was like a massive load that he did not know he was carrying was lifted from his shoulders and fell away. Warmth and light emanated from his waist and he took a moment, eyes closed, to enjoy the simple sensation.

Taking Jaya's wrist, he firmly spun her in front of him, pinning her between his mass and the bulkhead. Taking his right hand, the MCO gently ran the back of his fingers across her delicate cheekbone and trailed them down her jaw before rising back up the other side to cup her face from the opposite cheek.

"I've feared that this desire for you has been a complete mental and physical intoxication, something completely out of my control. Now, though, I know that I'm a fool to think that; you're what I've always wanted in a woman, in a mate, in a...bride. You complement me in all the ways that I lack before I even knew I needed shoring up in those areas, and all this you've discovered in a shorter time than even I can fathom."

Smiling, the Marine brought his hand back under Jaya's chin and tilted her up to him, his lips lingering after a tender kiss. "I know that I've pursued you, hard in some cases, but I can think of no better prize than your companionship and love for the remainder of my days. In a way," Storr continued with his concupiscent smile, his hand releasing her wrist and slowly snaking lower past the small of her back, "I feel sorry for your Deltan 'conventional wisdom' and I'm glad that together we can show the value of the path that I've...you've...we've chosen."

A soft moan escaped Jaya's mouth as it pressed against Storr's. It was tempting to let go and just open the floodgates. His kisses ignited with greater passion than ever before, and squelching that was utterly counterintuitive. The sensation of his strong arm lovingly pinning her to the wall, the flush of his strong hand along the small of her back drifting ever lower, the smell of his musk filling her nostrils--everything fanned her flame of sensual desire for more of him. Her foot snaked its way up the side of his calf and wrapped around his knee.

"You didn't win me, you know," she whispered to him between kisses. "If you recall, I chose you first."

A growl emanated from the back of Storr's throat as he playfully nipped at her lips with his teeth. "Vanity, vanity..." he mumbled, his hand moving from her face to catch her thigh and pin it against his.

The competitive reaction made Jaya giggle. More than the words, she felt the raw passionate yet playful insistence of his chivalric worldview which would not be denied. When her laughter interrupted their kissing, she felt Storr simply move from her mouth to her jaw and neck.

"Oh, my love..." Jaya closed her eyes to revel in the feeling. She clutched the back of his head with his hair splayed through her fingers. "That's... that is so good. Too good." She nearly went limp, which triggered her internal barrier. "But that's enough... for now."

The blackness crashed upon Storr harder than any ocean tide he had ever felt at the Cape of Good Hope, sending the MCO reeling to the floor where he shivered nearly uncontrollably from the loss of the passionate heat that had completely enveloped them. While the Deltan was a mere foot away, it felt as if their bond had severed, so intense was their sensual connection and subsequent loss. Deep, ragged breaths racked the Marine Major.

*If he could barely survive a few passionate kisses...* Storr shook his head, trying to physically fling it from his mind. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, he propped himself up onto one elbow and flashed a smile at his beau. "Those lips pack a serious punch...you know that, right?"

Jaya held a look of concern, though Storr's quip melted it into a grin.

"Can't say as I didn't warn you, Major." Jaya upturned her chin to stare down at him over her pursed lips with a sporty look in her eyes. "Are you sure you're ready for the total package?"

Storr chuckled as he slowly rose to his feet, his hands holding his head as he popped his neck first to the left, then right. "Well, I've been known to skip the owner's manuals but as to your challenge, you have no idea how your world is going to be shaken to its core." With a cocksure grin, he flopped into the seat and kicked his feet into her now-empty chair. "However, I think that about a week's worth of waiting would do good to prepare you."

Jaya played her hands out across Storr's broad and burly chest.
"You may be right," she said softly. When her eyes lifted up to meet his, they conveyed a determination that equaled Storr's own. "But I wouldn't count on it." A wink trailed on her words.

She turned back to the copilot's seat to resume their long trek toward Earth. She leapt forward and spun around to sprawl across both seats with her hands behind her head. "I'll be ready when you are."

 

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