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 Outside - Wedding of Clover and Naomi

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PostSubject: Outside - Wedding of Clover and Naomi   March 1st 2010, 8:06 am

Outside - Story Six
The Wedding of Clover and Naomi

Part 1

My name is Sherman Albert Holmes, but I got stuck with the log name of Watson. What is worse, people actually prefer using my log name to that of my real name. Some say that I represent the bad luck to balance the good luck that is associated with Clover. Truthfully, my life is not so bad. It could be better, but you don’t find me complaining even as others will mention how I might have it better.

I am the token homosexual of the Menlo Park. None of the ladies spend time with each other, at least not for sex. They look at the men the same as they look to them. I keep myself in shape, so the ladies will look to me, but I don’t look back. I look at the men, but they don’t look back. Still, I am here for the money and not the sex. As long as those around me keep my bank account building, I will not complain even as I dream of holding those who I want to hold, and who will want to hold me.

I really do not see what the men like about the female body. I would rather a firm strong physique against mine. The hairiness of the masculine form I also find pleasing. The soft smooth body of a woman just does not have the power that I want in the physiques I desire to possess.

The men of the Menlo Park are very pleasing to look at. They all spend time exercising their bodies to stay healthy and fit. They aren't doing it for me, but they are nice enough to let me look. They are, of course, hoping that the ladies look, but just because the birds don't sing for you does not mean that they sound less sweet.

Clover is a young man that I would not mind having for my own. His body was toned by hard physical labor as he worked with his Amish emigrants, and the lean layer of muscle has not been allowed to go slack. I try to go to the gym every time Clover is in there just to watch his youthful body run a few miles on the treadmill or work out with the weights. He runs when he has some problem that he needs to resolve himself, and he is silent as he forces his body to move while I know his mind is feverishly working to determine some answer. He is usually talking when he works with weights, and I have learned a lot about how he thinks as he dictated letters or computer code. Naomi is lucky, but I have to admit that I had no chance at Clover.

Most of the other men are about my age of twenty-eight. Castle is a few years younger, but his constant mumbling drives me up a wall. Terry is not that much older than Castle, and I originally thought that I would have some luck with him, but his body is as poorly exercised as his mind. Felix and Malcolm are both handsome, and Malcolm has the body hair that I like, but they are also the ones most likely to disappear with a lady.

Clover was in the communications room talking to Harley when Castle and I returned from our time at point. Clover has the next shift with Castle. I would then fly with Clover on the next rotation, but that would be a number of days away with Clover possibly being a married man. I could not help but once again try and make a move on him.

"Having second thoughts about Naomi? I am still available."

"You would not want to go through life dealing with my sister, Watson." Yes, Clover knows that I am homosexual, and he does not care. "Naomi actually had a lovely conversation with her however, so I guess she passes every test."

Harley said, "Clover was trying to get me to reveal what plans Thor has been making. He knows that Rachel has been planning the wedding, but is scared that Thor has been setting up a bachelor party."

Castle replied, "How can we go to Stanley's and not have a party?"

Clover returned, "We should have the bachelor party now. Naomi is with Rachel and Sandra getting her hair done. None of us are going back on duty until we leave Stanley's."

A voice came over the speaker, "Ah, come on, guys."

"I owe you one, Felix."

"The rate that I drink? You owe me more than one, Clover."

Castle asked the important question, "Where are we going to have it?"

Clover returned, "Right here. Harley is off duty, so she can run off to spend time with the ladies while we entertain ourselves right here."

She returned, "Hold it. I could use some money to spend at Stanley's. Anyone want me to do a table dance?"

Castle returned, "Wait until we drink a bit, then come back, Harley."

A voice from the doorway asked, "And what are you men intending to drink?"

We all greeted Thor and told him to come on over. He might be our boss, and a sturdy powerful form that we would rather not get mad at us, but the crew of the Menlo Park were honestly a group of some of the most respectable people one could hope to work with. Clover was the most rambunctious of our group, yet he was the one that spent a number of years working with a religious sect and gained enough respect that they were willing to trust one of their daughters with him. None of us had any fear of seeing Thor.

Castle spoke out as our captain approached, "We have beer and a variety of wines."

Thor returned, "Ah, those are drinking beverages. I know you boys can handle that stuff." He moved to the communications console, then said, "Malcolm, get Diamond, then drop by my room. Rachel has a box that I need you to bring to communications." He then punched some other buttons before saying, "Rachel, darling, go to our room and give Malcolm or Diamond that box from the military."

The next words were to us, "I don't think you boys know much about tradition. The purpose of a bachelor party is to mark a time of passing. The alcohol, the ladies, the talk, it is all a final temptation to test the man of his determination to marry. I believe you boys would only socialize while not drinking enough to cloud your ability to play Scrabble."

As I said, Clover is the most rambunctious one among us, so he replied, "Do you think that my determination to marry Naomi needs testing?"

"It really does not matter, because it is a tradition. So sit down, Clover, it is time to face the music."

I thought it was cute the way that Clover went to a cabinet, got the Scrabble game, then sat down. I sat down next to him, but he did not look at me. He kept his eyes on Thor. Our captain knew that he was being challenged, but he also knew that weapons were being brought to him.

Thor actually kept his focus on Clover, although would glance at the table enough to grab his tiles and start choosing his words. When Malcolm and Diamond showed up they were not sure what was going on, but sat down the box and took a seat at the table. Castle had not taken the fourth position, but he was one to comment on our word choices. Malcolm acted as if he would rather go back to doing something else. Diamond sat down as if intending to take the fourth position, although he showed some knowledge of the situation.

"I don’t see how what is in the box relates to a friendly game."

Thor replied, "Oh, this will not be a friendly game."

He reached down and opened the box. There was a chink of glass as he lifted a bottle of whiskey informing us that there was at least one more still in the box. Malcolm stood up to get some glasses, but Thor told him to sit as those of the Reagan had made certain that all was proper. The large shot glasses that our captain now placed around the table all had the icon of the military ship emblazoned in gold. As he filled up our glasses, Thor let us know what else was in the box.

"Those of the Reagan also supplied some cards, and some poker chips. I have to say that poker is not our game. We have our own gambling games. I don't think our military friends know just how vicious of a game Scrabble can be."

Thor lifted his shot glass, then stated a toast, "To Clover and Naomi!"

None of us were afraid of alcohol, so downed our glasses. Instead of refilling, Thor stated that he felt 'Z' went first, and put down the word 'ZONED.' He then refilled our glasses.

"I thought I was the lucky one," Clover replied. "Still …"

As he was setting down his tiles, Thor put down his hand over the board and said, "Whoa, Clover, wait." He then grinned as he asked, "What if Naomi says that?"

"If I didn't think she wouldn't have a reason, I wouldn't marry her. The problem is Thor, that she wants children just as Rachel does. You and I are the ones saying, 'wait.'"

"You got me on that one, Clover." Thor poured some whiskey into his glass, then tossed it down his throat. "I assume that you are working on it?"

"Yeah, Thor, I am working on it. I also have plenty of pressure on me about it. In case you did not know, we have diapers on our inventory sheets. Your wife put them down as hand towels, but the invoice says different."

Clover had played his tiles, so both he and Thor looked at me and asked if I was going to play. The captain filled my shot glass and told me to drink. I did so, then listened as he, Clover, and Diamond discussed children. One thing nice about being homosexual, I don't have to worry about any reproductive consequences of my fooling around. That was a complication of dating that I believed would make a lot of people swear off the opposite sex, but I listened as the other men spoke positively on the topic. When it came back around to Thor's turn, it was Clover who covered the board with his hand.

"I have most of my closets filled."

"They do the arranging. Just don't let them throw your stuff away."

Clover downed some whiskey. Thor played his word. He then put his hand over the board.

"Are you going after her breasts first, or having her drop her panties?"

That got my companions really talking, and drinking. I mostly concentrated on the game, although it was played with less and less quality. It finally broke down as Clover turned over Thor's tiles to make 'YETI' instead of 'TOY' – Castle should have known better than to play an easily accessible 'E.' The whiskey was finished, but Thor said that he had more in his room. I stayed behind to clean up.

The men had not gone far when Rachel came through the doorway. She did not say anything, but came over to help me. Sandra came in a few minutes later, and she was the one that broke the silence.

"Men, men, men. And don't you look at me funny, Sherman, because you would have acted the same way if it was a couple of homosexuals pairing up."

"I believe my friends would have done it with more glamour."

Sandra looked to Rachel as she said, "Truthfully, it ain't much of a mess here. I was expecting worse."

Rachel replied, "It was worse the night before Thor and I were actually married, but the setting was far different. I came in the middle of it mad at Thor, but he asked me, at the top of his voice, if I wanted our marriage to last. I left allowing him to perform his tradition. Our marriage has lasted, and I am still glad that I chose him.

"In case you are wondering, Watson, we drank wine. Naomi holds her alcohol pretty well, but I suspect waking her upon our arrival at Stanley's to be rather difficult."

"I hope that is the only problem that we have."

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PostSubject: Part 2   March 6th 2010, 8:13 am

Outside - Story Six
The Wedding of Clover and Naomi

Part 2

After cleaning up, Harley moved to her console knowing that we would soon be arriving at Stanley's Station. We were truthfully still over an hour away, but Darlene keeps up a chatter that is often entertaining to listen to. There was also the added conversation of a military ship attempting to dock at Stanley's.

Hiesenberg's point was important because it existed. A lot of our technology was very recent, and most of the theories behind our equipment was still being tested. A number of people once tried to be heard as they screamed that 'necessity is the mother of invention,' but those in control of mankind were reluctant to go into space. Once an outlet for the flow of humanity tired of being condemned to the planet of our creation was opened, the pioneering spirit was revived and ideas that had never been thought before, or only theorized, were put to the test. Once certain inventions were created, the problem then was to fully explain them. Albert Kert could tell people how his field technology worked, but it really sounded more like pseudo-science. He and most scientists agreed on a verifiable test, and the search for Heisenberg's point was begun. When it was found, then the arguments started.

Einstein stated that all speeds were relative to the observer. The problem with his equations was that they clearly set the speed of light as a barrier. Light ALWAYS traveled at a set rate, and Einstein declared that mankind was doomed for eternity not to exceed that limit. Of course, humans are not ones to stay put, so looked for ways around the wall effectively holding them to our solar system. The solution was to find an observer that was traveling faster than light who would then see us as also traveling faster than light.

Science itself gave us the theoretical observers. The further something is away from Earth, the faster it was found to be moving. The evidence supported the theory of a Big Bang with the limit of observation stating the age of the universe. The problem however came in that some objects were measured to be further away than this ‘edge of the universe.’ Science then came up with rationales for these distant objects. What they did not intend was to prove that there were objects going faster-than-light. They actually came up with reasons the objects were not actually going faster-than-light – because of Einstein – but the truth was that in relation to us they WERE going faster-than-light. In reverse, they would see us as traveling faster-than-light, and that was what we needed.

Arnold Kert gave us the practical method to make use of their observation. People studying the device to apply its reality to the equations however immediately ran into a contradiction. While someone using the Kert Field Drive would be traveling faster than light in relation to us, it would actually be stationary to another distant observer. While many people simply said, "Yee-haw," and took off into space, a few debated the topic and concluded there had to be a point where an observer would see the traveler going from a faster-than-light velocity to slower-than-light, and, impossibly, going AT the speed of light. That location is now known as Hiesenberg's Point.

There was no rock near Hiesenberg's Point, so space stations were built. Under the assumption that scientists were people too, businesses set up to give the researchers something to spend their research money upon. With Arnold Kert not being connected to the government, and most who were going into space were not government people, a number of independent companies set up to see if they could again do what their tax dollars could not. Thus, Hiesenberg's Point became a rather populated spot in space.

Stanley's Station never was a place for government people. Stanley Blaine simply realized that with so many operations going up in a single location, warehouse space to store things would be needed. He brought a large ship with a multitude of docking berths near Hiesenberg's Point, and declared every bay as sacrosanct territory to whoever paid him. The government staffs did their usual time-consuming process of delegating even simple decisions, so almost every part of Stanley's ship was bought by corporations or independents. It is rumored that the government does have one or two bays, but the truth was that a government official in Stanley's Station was not welcomed.

Military are a gray area in the minds of most independents. While the military is definitely a government body, they are one agency that is helpful and keeps their promises. If you are in trouble, and call to the military for assistance, but stress to them that they are to contain themselves to a certain area, they will come in and contain themselves to a certain area. Call to any other government agency, and you will have all sorts of agents looking in every nook and cranny. Most independents would rather not have the military around, but all are glad that they are on patrol.

As for me, I have friends in the military. When we were aboard the Reagan, I had a party thrown in my honor for doing my part in stopping the slavery operation. I did my best to make certain members of the military glad to have me aboard. I thus listened to Stanley harass the military ship waiting for the names of those who wanted to attend the wedding. This ship was the Gorbechev, not the Reagan, but I still smiled upon hearing a couple of names.

There was actually hope that we would meet other space traveling beings at Hiesenberg's Point, but that did not happen. Surely any other race that traveled as we did had found such a place near their own home. While there was still a dream that such would happen, humanity was working hard to fill all available space. The number of research stations, business stations, and other containers of atmosphere were enough to force Hiesenberg to have its own territorial control station to assure that things did not bump together. The population was large enough, and considered stable enough, that Hiesenberg's Point was considered an official member of the United Inhabited Worlds. While it did not feel like it, we were still Inside.

As soon as the Menlo Park returned to a sub-light velocity, Harley started the procedure of bringing in our point people. Rachel had left after cleaning up, but came back into communications wearing a very elegant dress. Both Harley and I looked the lady over, but she did not say anything until hitting a switch on Harley's board.

"Crew of the Menlo Park. We are approaching Stanley's Station. We have no freight to pick up or unload, so we are moving to Stanley's as simple visitors. That means I will carry everyone over on the Next Experiment. Men, you will need to get yourselves ready and gather in the large bedroom in the back of my boat. Ladies we will then enter the Next Experiment. The groom is not supposed to see the bride before the ceremony, so the guys will be locked in the bedroom. I promise not to go joyriding for the journey to Stanley's."

I asked, "Will you want me to guard the door?"

"You can join the men, Watson. Only Naomi is not to be seen, so any of the rest of us ladies can let you men know when to come out. Now, go get dressed."

Felix caught those words as he opened the door from the port docking corridor, and said as he entered communications, "Come on, Watson. I will walk with you to your room."

Ezra Benjamin Guiosky is one of our ex-military personnel aboard the Menlo Park. He acquired the log name of Felix, as in 'the cat,' during his military days for being able to easily move about after curfew. He has a more substantial form than most who travel in space, and has a physiology that almost forces him to constantly diet and exercise. The ladies seem to be able to identify with his weight problem, so Felix usually has an easy time speaking with them. Being ex-military, he tends to favor the other ex-military personnel on board, Sandra and Indigo. I am not military, although I do keep relations with a number of soldiers. That connection however has not won me any time with Felix.

I knew that Felix spent time with most of the ladies on board the Menlo Park. While he favored Sandra and Indigo, no arguments had occurred in the previous voyage concerning the ladies wanting him to commit. I truthfully doubted that he had discussed marriage with either of them, and his question as we moved through the corridors supported that assumption.

"Who do you think will be next to declare? With two married couples on board, don't you think our other ladies will choose a partner?"

"I definitely don't see any of them as lesbians."

I had originally worked as a tug captain around Saturn. There are good communities around the planet, but I had not seen a future of making good money. Even if I could manage to get my own tug, I knew that by the time most gained enough money to be comfortable they needed to go back into debt to buy a new tug. I thus looked for other means of employment.

I remember getting a lot of messages when I mentioned seeking a position aboard the Menlo Park. Thor had started his career in spaceship construction, and used his knowledge to make his first boat. He quickly jumped to claim a system that most considered would be profitable when a tachyon vector was found that would make it easily accessible. The star did indeed have some good planets around it, and Thor made enough to build a better vessel for space travel. He oversaw the building of the Menlo Park himself, and while doing so convinced another successful space traveler to join him. Being that Rachel and Thor were clearly interested in each other, I was told by many of those I considered friends that they would have a heterosexual ship. I was not looking for a job where I could gain new partners however, but one that would gain me some money. While I appreciated the messages I was receiving, I did not believe they understood what I really wanted with my life.

I accepted the job offer, and I did quickly learn that I was the only homosexual on board. All of the ladies were known to prefer men. The amount of flirting and general congeniality between the sexes was not hidden. No orgies broke out on the last mission, but there were a number of times when the pheromones were thick in the air. I never felt threatened though. The Menlo Park was for me merely an occupation where I earned some money, and for that I could not be in a better place.

Just for the record, I don't see any of the ladies aboard the Menlo Park as settling with any of the men on board. I was walking with Felix, and truthfully he had the best potential as the next one to make a commitment. If neither Sandra nor Indigo were fighting for him, I didn’t see any hope for him before this mission was finished. I believe that all of us on board were seeking money. Except for the two couples already committed, I am certain all are like me in making their own plans for what they were going to do when this mission was over.

Spaceships were not a good place for married couples, but mankind still felt an urge to populate all territories. The early ships were very unfriendly places for rearing children, as a lack of gravity and spare room prevented proper growth. Now that we had artificial gravity, both problems were being solved, although there were still numerous concerns about the problems on a developing body. While medical advances had allowed ladies to give birth at any age, most spaceships were like ours in having limited available facilities for special treatments. Rachel felt her internal clock ticking, and wanted to let certain organs get to work. We all heard Naomi also state a desire for children. The Menlo Park thus was very probably soon to have infants listed as crewmembers.

Felix had not replied to my earlier statement, so I said, "Harley's boyfriend works around Hiesenberg, and she gained assurance that he would be at the wedding. She is thus as eager to get to Stanley's as I am. Darlene already has another job offer that I suspect our present mission will only secure. You tend to hang out with Indigo and Sandra, but I doubt they are willing to share you for life."

Before the conversation could develop, we were at our room. I left Felix at his door, then went through my own. The rooms are not big, but they are more than most believe. Certain luxuries are really present to assure survival should we be trapped inside. We still haven't figured out suspended animation, and even if we did there is no assurance that our computers could fly us to our destination. If the Menlo Park was to experience a catastrophe, I could play computer games while eating MRE's and drinking recycled water for quite some time.

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PostSubject: Part 3   March 11th 2010, 7:48 am

Outside - Story Six
The Wedding of Clover and Naomi

Part 3

There was no ship uniform. There should be, but every attempt I or a lady made to create such was met with absolutely no enthusiasm. Some of the crew however needed some standard applied to their choice of wardrobe. Thor would not penalize anyone for poor fashion. As long as there was solid work to justify it, he would not even fuss at anyone for poor hygiene. When we were busy collecting the facts and data for a solar system, I often wished for the regulations of a military vessel.

I chose a new colorful outfit to assure that I would look as elegant as possible for the wedding. I wanted to look my best for my men, but I also had no doubt that there would be photographs. Obviously someone else had similar thoughts, because I suddenly heard my name being called over the intercom.

"Computer, unlock the door."

We have voice command, but we seldom use it. Computers were being taught how to listen to people back when the machines were still binary number crunchers. Once inexact logic and ‘Maybe’ NAND gates, were perfected, computers became very capable of dealing with people. The problem is that only a select few like actually talking to a computer. Still, at times it helps being able to have a machine do something for you.

Clover came back to where I was checking my hair in a mirror. I fussed at him for having such a nice suit on board and never letting me see it. He stated that he had an almost entirely new wardrobe. He had finished growing before joining the crew of the Menlo Park, but his previous wardrobe was mostly from Neosalem. Wool and cotton were not materials made for space, and the fashion of Neosalem did not reflect any modern style of clothing. Clover had thus not been the best dressed on the last voyage. Chabron had a substantial population, so supported a large commercial district. While visiting Castle's family, he had purchased clothes better suited for his work. He also had some made simply to give him a better image when put before cameras. I could not help but give him my approval.

The voice of Rachel suddenly sounded over the speakers, "Clover, where are you?"

As stated, computers were able to understand us. My computer system knew what had just been said, and knew that Clover was in my room. While it knows not to obey any other voice but mine, it knew that Clover needed to be heard over the ship's communication system.

"I was letting Watson check my appearance."

"That is fine, but you men need to load up first. Watson can finish what he is doing aboard the Next Experiment."

"I thought you said that you were not going to joyride over to Stanley's."

"How much time do you men need?"

I now spoke, "Clover looks fine, Rachel. I will finish looking myself over when I get in your boat."

It wasn't just Clover that looked fine. All of the men were attired in new clothes that were the height of fashion. Thor was the worst dressed, but his captain's uniform looked just as regal as his old one. He claimed that his wife forced him to update the attire, but I don't think she improved the look. Thor trusted the clothes to make the man, and I could not complain.

The trip to Stanley's seemed long because we had to wait for the ladies to come aboard, then exit when we arrived. The men with me were trying to be patient, but Thor pulled out some cards and started playing some games with Diamond, Felix, and Malcolm. Clover simply stood with an expression of being bored in a corner. I tried to move over and speak with him, but I found his demeanor to be nervousness. Understanding, I simply found a place to wait out the ride. It did not help my feeling of being confined when the four card players began arguing about certain rules. Our attitudes were not improved when the voice of Sandra came over the speaker.

"You guys are going to have to just wait. There seems to be a situation past the airlock."

Thor wanted to get out of the room, but I knew that he would feel that way with or without something occurring outside his boat. There was the knowledge that Sandra would have opened the door had the situation been drastic. The cards were however put up as the men became too anxious to passively wait.

The pacing stopped when the door did open, but no smiles appeared on our faces. There were three men in the doorway. They did not hold weapons, but something worse – briefcases. We all knew they were trouble before they spoke.

"Ronald Stirgam, we need to speak with you before you do anything further. Having witnesses would be appropriate."

Clover never did like people of this type, one of the reasons he stayed on Neosalem instead of finishing his education at an Inside institution, and it showed in his voice. "Hold it. You guys were present to see Naomi. Certainly you spoke to her. What problem do you have?"

"She said that you had not spoken to her of a pre-nuptial agreement."

"I did, but we don't call them that. Naomi and I are going to sign the same contract that Rachel and Thor signed at the end of their first voyage together."

One of the other men now spoke, "Oh, Mrs. Hawkins. Yes, I believe she did mention a certain contract. We would like to see particulars of that agreement."

Thor was quick to respond to that in speech and action. "I can help you out there, boys. It happens to be right here on the wall."

Most of us could have left as the lawyers looked over the marriage contract between Thor and Rachel. Outsiders however don't leave each other. We stayed. Sandra was sitting in a chair in the room beyond. Rachel and the other ladies had probably gone on to deal with getting the ceremony ready, but only the fact that they had their own problems would have caused them to move on.

Finally, one of the lawyers said, "Ronald, what does your contract say in the event that you die?"

"Unless I make an official statement of my disaffection with Naomi, she gets half of my estate with half going to Neosalem."

"What if both of you die?"

"It all goes to Neosalem, although they must develop my property as a sanctuary for horses and have it provide shelter for any visitor in need. There is really no way to force the Amish to do that, but most of that wording is in the original title when I sold the world to them."

I had actually planned to visit with Clover his property on Neosalem. I liked speaking to him of his horses. The situation that resulted on our last voyage causing us to decide to come on back for another mission had us change a number of plans however. Hearing him mention his property however had me consider again to spend some time with him.

The lawyers did not stop their questioning. "What if there is a child, and it happens to survive while neither of you do."

"Neosalem gets to raise the child."

"What about your sister?"

"You're lawyers for my sister, aren't you?"

Another of the lawyers said, "She would have liked to have been present."

Clover spoke with the attitude that he considered the conversation finished. "Yeah, she would have liked to have escaped from her boarding school, like I did. She would have liked to have gone into space and found a habitable planet, like I did. She would like to now be working in space, like I do. Well, she didn't, she didn't, and she needs to stay in school so she can have some worth besides her inheritance. I however am expecting her to marry someone as shallow and lazy as she."

"You don’t have control over your sister's life, Mr. Stirgam."

Clover moved up to look the men in the face as he said, "I don't have lawyers at her doorstep."

"Do you mind if we attend the wedding, Mr. Stirgam?"

The young man pushed his way passed the lawyers as he said, "Just don't get drunk afterwards. We think it's funny to watch the mess lawyers make in airlocks."

Their reaction to that statement told all of us the worse – they were Inside lawyers. We already suspected that, because Outside lawyers would have contacted Clover instead of making a surprise appearance. Surprises in space are often deadly, so not treated with any friendliness. An Outside lawyer would thus make contact just to assure a pleasant discussion. The guys moving behind us had no intention of being sociable. Even if they were homosexual, I felt certain that I would not get along with them. They replied to Clover's statement about the penalty for murder. We all left the room hoping to get the event over so we could get away from Insiders.

Thor stayed behind to seal the ship while Sandra moved ahead to make certain that everyone was ready for our arrival. Truthfully, Sandra was not needed. There were some military men present adding decorum to the room. I knew better than to show any initial affection openly to the men in uniform. It had nothing to do with me being homosexual, but with the event. I was present for the joining of two young people, and however hopeful I might be of one day doing the same, at present I was not yet at their level. Any sign of affection by me would not compare. While my handshakes and hugs with a couple of soldiers were a little warm, that was as much as I did while waiting for the wedding to occur.

Stanley had done some decorating to the room. I did not doubt that Clover paid for most of it, although I also knew that he allowed others to decide on what should be shown. The guy does not throw his money around, but he is also not a miser. I walked around with David and Henry, my two military friends, commenting between ourselves on what we saw.

There were camera crews from the news agencies present and their relaxed manner indicated that they felt their companies had paid for some of the hospitality. Indigo was presently going through an interview, and Clover was continually surrounded by a couple of reporters. I knew that my bar tab would be covered, so went ahead and ordered me and my companions a drink. We dropped innuendoes while discussing the view.

Everybody uses the term, marriage, although only the religious really get married. The legal definition is a 'joint union.' There was once a time when only heterosexual couples could get married, but the ensuing argument caused the government to equalize everyone by saying that they were no longer going to authorize marriage. Stressing the fact that most believed in a separation of church and state, the government declared that they would only authorize ‘joint unions.’

That ruling actually gave more freedom to people than anyone suspected. People suddenly began signing ‘joint unions’ for a number of previously unallowed associations. About the only ‘joint union’ that stayed illegal was between a person and an animal. People gained the freedom to sign any agreement giving others certain liberties with their body and information. The government would not step in until there were serious disagreements or children. As soon as a child was born or adopted however, all sorts of particulars were made binding. Attempting to break a union, get a divorce, while there was a child obligation was almost impossible. The debate considering the pros and cons of child custody laws was ever going, but the government would do everything it could to assure that children grew up with parental supervision.

Heterosexual couples, like Thor and Rachel or Clover and Naomi, do have more regulations put on them during a ‘joint union’ ceremony than a homosexual couple. The reason is that the heterosexual couples can breed. Homosexual couples have done stunts to reproduce as well, and they get introduced to all sorts of legalities whenever the growing fetus is learned about. The enforced philosophy is not to create life unless you plan on spending your life with your partner and the child. Most support the underlying logic whether they like their situation or not.

I have no plans on committing to a single person, although I hope to one day settle in a more masculine settlement. Truthfully, I have enough contacts in the military that I am sure to one day have a home. My men are busy flying around the systems keeping the peace while I am roaming around making money. When we retire, we might want to pass along our stories to a child, but that does not mean that we will want to raise them.

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Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Part 4   March 16th 2010, 8:38 am

Outside - Story Six
The Wedding of Clover and Naomi

Part 4

There was a priest present to perform the ceremony. With Naomi growing up a member of a religious sect, and Clover having strong connections to that sect, they were able to get a real marriage. It really meant little legally, but often a religious affiliation did help ease the paperwork when the female member of a heterosexual couple became pregnant.

One of my companions, the one named Dave, asked me, "Do you think they will have children?"

"I am quite certain of it. Something was already in the works between Thor and Rachel that Clover was working with them on, but with him gaining Naomi the plans are a little more definite."

"That is not the life you guys are going out to find?"

"As long as I get my bonus, it is fine with me."

Just in case anyone is wondering, yes, we are supposed to know where to discover life. A few facts support that claim. What does not support our knowledge of knowing where to find life is that we did discover life. The truth is that we were lucky. Clover recognized it, and he is supposedly the lucky one on board – and in this case the log name fit. We were all out studying the system, but Clover saw the connection while the rest of us ignored certain odd little facts about one planet. The oxygen scrubber bacteria is extremely simple, but it matches the qualifications for life. It really is a complex silicon based protein, but it does eat and reproduce. The lack of DNA enchants biologists, even as they wonder how it could evolve into higher order forms. What enchanted me was my bonus, and it was definitely an incentive to go back out and look some more. It still has nothing to do with our knowledge of other life being out in the stars.

What is a fact of our supposed private knowledge is the fact we all signed on for another tour. It is strange for an entire crew to agree to be cooped up together for another set of years. Mankind is expanding outwards, so each voyage has to go out further in space. Most that come home successful want to make things more comfortable for themselves. Truthfully, being the only homosexual aboard the Menlo Park does make me wish I was aboard another vessel, but no other ship has a crew that is so determined to make money.

It is also a fact that Terry is still a member of the crew. While the knowledge of Terry being a horrible medical officer is on record, everyone also knows that we strangely have accepted him. The public response is that he is a capable chemist. The rumor did however surface that we are keeping Terry silent as we go off to make the initial contact with another intelligent species. Truthfully, Terry tends to stay in his cabin and not bother anyone. We have no need to keep him silent. He does do his job, so no one gripes about his paycheck even as we don’t really consider him a member of the crew.

The third fact is that we came home from the previous voyage early, and did not renew all of our claims. We are heading out in basically the same direction as we were going last time, but not exactly. People should expect us to reconsider our flight plan, so I consider this one of the poorer pieces of logic that we might know something that we are not telling.

The actual truth is that I am a crewmember of the Menlo Park because I believe it is the best place for me to make money. However much I might miss certain companions, I am doing what I must to make a pleasant future home for whoever eventually settles with me. If you expect me to say different, it will not happen. Even my private companions in the height of my pleasure do not hear me say anything than what I have just told you.

The news agencies were all present with a reporter that wanted the prestige of covering a major news event and speaking to major celebrities. Clover has been a media darling all his life. The stunt he pulled to get into space and discover Neosalem was taught in all the schools, because he actually followed established rules. Everyone might say that Clover was lucky and rambunctious, but the truth was that he did everything in the proper manner. Only his youth worked against him, and he played the game to work around that disadvantage as well. Because no one could actually find fault with him, he came from a wealthy family, and he was successful on his own, everyone wanted to stay up to date on what he was doing. It was also considered important that he was marrying a lady from a planet that was about to become part of the United Inhabited Worlds who had a story all her own. The rest of us were interviewed just because we were associated with the couple, but at least I got to give some kind words to all of my military friends.

I guess that being famous was its own punishment. Having the wedding in an establishment known for doing business beneath the eye of the law was also probably not the wisest of choices. We were Outsiders however, and wanted a ceremony with those of our kind. While Stanley's was considered a haven for Outsiders, it was also considered a safe stop for those who were hiding from the government. Normally, such people were the best of companions, but there were always exceptions.

The news media attempted to give the wedding some extra glamour. It prolonged getting things started, but eventually Naomi was released from where she had been secluded and moved to Clover as dignified as possible. I looked at the lady wondering what he saw in her. Her hair was long and well styled. The dress was very elegant. Holding her would however not have the same feel as the firm muscled bodies of my military companions. To each his own however, and I comforted myself with the knowledge that I could still admire Clover as he exercised.

Suddenly, some idiot watching against a wall near where the lawyers were standing, pulled out two large pistols and shouted, "All right, this wedding is not going to happen!"

One thing that you never do to an Outsider was point a gun at them. We lived our life too close to certain death. A weapon was not even threatening, because its damage could be repaired. A tear in your spacesuit could not be repaired, nor would you be repairable should such happen. We really did not consider a gun to present a life or death decision unless we were in a spacesuit.

As soon as the idiot drew his weapons and made his statement, he was put out of commission. Yes, we were armed. We were not futuristic cowboys, but a blaster had a number of practical uses. Inside had laws about carrying weapons, but we did not consider Stanley's to be part of Inside. It was thus not surprising that a number of blasters came out and fried the one who thought he was making a scene.

A number of things happened as the man fell probably due to a heart attack. Blasters had a strong electrical charge within a plasma field. The plasma would burn, but the shock of electricity both from the plasma and the contained electrons was what really disturbed the body. A single shot was normally nothing more than an irritant that would cause your body to momentarily act strangely. A strong application of the energy however, and hearts were known to stop beating. Anyway, as the first attacker fell we learned of another even as Clover and Naomi were being pulled into safe positions.

"I am not as cavalier as my associate, so everyone drop their weapon now."

This next guy fired a shot from a guarded position. I don't know who he was aiming at, but nobody went down. Considering that he was firing a projectile, he might have been attempting to get Clover or Naomi on a ricochet. He probably considered himself firing a warning shot. He should have noticed that we did not fire warning shots. Places in space are made of metal, so they are not hurt by a plasma blast. Enough energy was however sent in his direction that he probably still felt a sting as the electrons built up in the metal.

"Listen, everyone, you do not need to make this situation intolerable for me. You are firing blasters, but I have a projectile weapon. I am not scared of blowing a hole in your wall."

"Oh, Hell!" Stanley shouted. There was then the obvious setting of a rifle round into a chamber as he moved while declaring, "When I advertise that my establishment is safe from all forms of attack, I mean it is safe!"

The shot he fired was meant to ricochet. I don't know how thick whatever transparent material was used for his windows, but it withstood the bullet. The aim was not true to its target, but we all suddenly heard a curse and the sound of the man moving.

Dave said to me, "Sherman, you are not authorized to carry."

"In this place I am more authorized than you are."

"My uniform has netting to protect me from a blaster."

"He is firing bullets."

My other companion, Henry, said, “Military uniforms are supposed to be able to protect us from shrapnel from a mine. I will take the middle. Sherman, left. Dave, right."

Stanley was bragging to a camera about the qualities of his building. The news people were definitely excited to have some action. A number of people were hovering around Clover and Naomi. A few were looking over the first person to announce their intent to disturb the wedding, as it seemed that he was still alive. A few more were checking the monitors. While a majority were waiting with weapons ready should the second person move back, my two companions and I were the only ones that advanced.

I might not have the practiced moves of my companions, but I could run up to a wall without accidentally having my blaster go off in my hands. The smile from Dave was appreciated. Both of us had our faces turn serious as we heard Henry suddenly curse as he moved. We thus moved on into the short hallway. Henry moved passed us screaming into the main room.

"Stanley, open the door!"

Malcolm was at the monitors, and responded, "He is moving to bay eighteen. I cannot tell you more than that."

Stanley responded from where he was talking to reporters, "Everyone's privacy is assured. You cannot tell more than that."

Henry's voice dropped in tone to sound very official as he commanded, "Sir, we need to apprehend this perpetrator."

"How do you think I maintain my reputation? Each bay is private territory. The only method that I can take control is a failure to pay."

"Sir, we have a serious situation that needs resolved."

I spoke to calm my companion, "Henry, you are part of a greater organization. Malcolm, inform the Gorbechev that we have a fleeing perpetrator that will exit bay eighteen. Inform the Gorbechev that they only need to watch a news channel for particulars."

The look from Henry was thankful. All of the news media had their own ships, and they were quick to send messages back to their crew to turn cameras on any action outside the facility. Those of us inside Stanley's were distracted by the one who first acted being revived. Naomi had moved to the man, and recognized that he still lived in spite of his body taking a massive electrical shock. I still would not want to have sex with the lady, but I believe that I will be glad to have her aboard the Menlo Park. I looked back at my companions, and we shared a smile that stated who we wanted to spend time with.

As we tossed questions at the first perpetrator, a situation quickly developed outside Stanley's. The news people were eager to hear what the revived man had to say even as they kept one eye on certain monitors tracking the events outside. Naomi was put in touch with the medical officer aboard the Gorbachev, and she obeyed his instructions and answered questions to assure the quality of the health of the first perpetrator. Only after enough consideration was taken to assure that no lawyer could claim a further intent to harm was a command given for my companions to take the perpetrator into custody. Stanley had some handcuffs, so the man was secured before I had to tell Henry and Dave goodbye.

The situation outside resolved itself almost as soon as it started. It was interesting to watch our modern technology completely eliminate the plans of the second perpetrator. Two missiles were launched that appeared to veer off into completely improper directions, but they curved around to explode in front of the bay just as it opened enough to allow a vessel to exit. The Gorbachev definitely had sensors that could see through the cloud of carbon dust, and as the ship tried to leave another missile went directly into the bay to impact on the spacecraft. The bay was open, the perpetrator was recognized to be inside, so the military did not bother with formalities. We turned from the monitors satisfied as boats left the Gorbachev moving with thrusters to secure the area and apprehend the suspect.

Drinks had been passed around as we watched things resolve, and at least one glass was emptied by all as certain events occurred. Everyone was thus in a pleasant mood when the suggestion was made to go ahead and have the wedding. It was not a sober ceremony, but it was joyous. Comments were made, but no one took offense at any statement. When the couple made their first kiss as man and wife, everyone cheered, finished their glass, and rushed to get a refill.

My dates for the evening had been taken from me, but I did not spoil the occasion for the others. I participated in the celebration as much as possible. I actually had to be taken from the dance floor to speak to one of my previous companions.

It was Henry on a monitor, "Sherman, tell Clover that the perpetrators are talking. They were not against the wedding, but had hopes that their scene could force a revelation of where the Menlo Park was actually heading. It seems that the rumor you guys are going after intelligent life is being taken a little more seriously by some. Just as the saucers are tracking you, although they have now gone on – don't know where they are going, but they are trying to get there ahead of you – be warned that a number are watching this voyage of the Menlo Park closely."

Thor spoke from behind me. "Well, if they attempt to jump our claims, I assure you that I won't intentionally leave any trace of their misfortune."

I could tell that Henry wanted to smile, but he kept his face even as he said, "Well, we of the Gorbachev want Clover and Naomi to know that we wish them the best. As for the crew of the Menlo Park, just a warning: if you do find intelligent life, all you will do is make Inside larger."

Everyone cheered. It was not really due to a statement of pleasure in what was said, but that we all knew such was happening because of us already. The solar system of which Neosalem was a part was becoming part of Inside, and the U.I.W. would continue to grow whether we found another intelligent species or not. Mankind was definitely spreading Outside and claiming it for its own. Hopefully, one day I would find somebody of my own to share my life with and I would have the money to relax while looking at my man.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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