The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

A Brother’s Secret

Chapter 3
An Interlude: Work and Relationships

© The author reserves all rights to this work.


This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.

NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.

Date: 17 May 2675, Monday

“Whose that guy in the technician’s uniform?” asked Lily.

“Ms. Li? Who?” asked Mark Keith. He was helping out a twenty-two year old graduate from Earth. Lily Li had just got on the cruise ship and was going to travel with the Pellegrine to Uranus. Mark turned around to see Heath. He was using a small device to do a last check on the equipment found in the corridor. “Ah! That’s one of our astro-engineering assistants. He’s just doing some final checks on the energy conduits before we set off.”

“Oh!” said Lily in a disappointed tone.

“Why? Is there a problem?” enquired the assistant Cruise Director.

“It just means that he is usually down in the bowels of the ship, right?” asked Lily. “I mean he doesn’t come up to join the guests.”

Mark shook his head, “No, I’m afraid not.”

“What a shame!” sighed Lily.

Her remarked puzzled Mark yet again. “Uh?”

“Well, he’s kinda cute and …” Lily seemed lost in thought. “Er … never mind.”

Mark smiled to himself. Heath had caught the eye of one of the guests. He knew he could not tell the guest that Heath was gay.

Mark kept Lily Li in his mind all throughout boarding. It was only when the ship went into the first relay that Mark was able to get back to the cruise director’s office.

“You must’ve had a nice group of people this time. You’re grinning from ear to ear,” remarked Jacques.

“Oh its, nothing …” replied Mark.

Phew! Perhaps I shouldn’t tell him about Lily Li being attracted to Heath. He might get jealous but he shouldn’t worry. Heath loves him too much, Mark thought. His projected thoughts were picked up by Jacques rather easily.

Jacques didn’t trust the sound of a woman chasing after his man and so he decided to keep a close eye on the woman.

¤ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ¤

“Excuse me, could you tell me where the lifts are, I seem to have lost my way …” Lily said.

Jacques was walking along the corridor when he saw the woman speaking to a man in an engineering uniform. The man was fixing something in the wall and was on his knees. His head and shoulders were hidden from view because of he was inside the wall but the lower half of his body was sticking out prominently. Apparently, he did not hear the woman because he did not come out to answer her. Lily was not the least bit bothered. The seat of the uniform stretched out giving a generous view of the man’s behind. Lily, in fact, was taking her time to enjoy the view.

Jacques looked carefully at the arse and found it to be quite familiar. It was Heath working in there!

How could he? He’s exhibiting himself to that … that … woman! Jacques thought to himself. *Heath! Heath! Come out of there!* Jacques shouted mentally. There was no answer. *Heath! Come out of there!* There was still no answer.

Jacques wanted to yank his partner out of the wall. *Your arse is mine! No one, especially not that sex-starved woman, has the right to ogle at it!* Jacques screamed in his mind.

*Is that a little bit of jealousy I sense?* Heath’s mental voice came through.

*You get yourself out of there!* Jacques replied.

*Perhaps I should be the one who is jealous. After all, my partner is claiming another man’s arse!* Heath’s voice was laughing.

Then Jacques felt a hand on his left shoulder. He jumped a little and then turned around to see Heath standing behind him with a huge grin. “What? …” Jacques began. He turned back to see that the man in the wall had not moved. It slowly dawned on him what was happening. He turned a shade of red.

“Let’s get back to our quarters to talk about this okay?” whispered Heath with a grin.

“What about my duties. I’ve got things to take care of and my shift isn’t over until three hours time,” said Jacques not looking at Heath.

“Let me take care of this,” said Heath, picking up the ship wide communicator. He pressed a few buttons and waited. Then he spoke to Mark to ask him to cover for Jacques and then to the Captain to inform him of his arrangement with Mark.

“Everything’s arranged,” said Heath after he had switched off his communicator. He put his arm round Jacques shoulders and continued, “Let’s get back to the cabin and talk. We need to.”

In the meantime, the man in the wall came out. It was Ollie, one of the non-magi staff. He had joined the ship after her maiden voyage. “Sorry Ma’am, I didn’t realise you were here. Was there anything I could do for you?” he asked Lily, who was still standing there lost in her thoughts.

“Oh … no!” replied Lily, looking a little flushed. “I just needed to know the way to the nearest lift.”

Ollie pointed down the corridor. “Just walk down to the end of this corridor and turn right.”

“Thank you,” said Lily. She was a little disappointed because Ollie was not who she thought it was and Ollie was wearing a wedding ring. Ollie was a little too plain for her. She walked off and Ollie closed up the wall again. He walked in the opposite direction and got into the staff exit. The doors of the staff exit were blended in with the wall panels and only the engineering and command staff had access to it. Lily decided, after walking halfway towards the lift, to have a go at Ollie. She felt that she needed some adventure and the fact that Ollie being married gave her a strange thrill. She turned around and found that Ollie had disappeared. She scowled in disappointment and started for the lift again.

When Jacques and Heath reached their cabin, Jacques was grumbling under his breath. Heath did not have to reach into his partner’s mind to see what the grumbling was all about.

“We need to talk, Jacques,” said Heath seriously.

“I made a simple mistake. You don’t have to make it sound so serious,” Jacques protested.

Heath turned Jacques to face him and said, “This isn’t about making a mistake. This is about us. This is about trust.”

“I’m going to get a lecture, aren’t I?” said Jacques, looking down and pouting just a little.

“I wouldn’t call clarifying things getting a lecture,” said Heath in a gentle but disapproving tone. “You’ve been having a lot in your mind and I think we need to talk about those things.”

“What things?” asked Jacques innocently.

“A few months ago, you were thinking about having a child. Now you seem to think I’m flaunting myself at women. The last time, if I recall rightly, you were feeling fatherly but you said I was thinking of having children …”

Jacques hung down his head. “It’s the classical psychological symptom of transference.”

“Are you doing the same thing now?” Heath asked.

“I homestly don’t know,” replied Jacques. “All I know is that I needed to protect what was mine. I was so afraid to lose you …”

“Jacques, do you think I’m that fickle?” asked Heath.

Jacques shook his head. “No, it was just a reflex, that’s all. I guess I’m feeling a little insecure.”

Heath’s face was full of concern. “Jacques, I love you. Perhaps I don’t say it enough. Alright. I’m going to call you every chance I get and tell you how much you mean to me.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Jacques said quietly. He gave a little smile, “but I do appreciate the thought.”

Heath moved closer to Jacques. “You know I’m not that expressive and creative when it comes to words so you’ve got to forgive me if I use similar phrases and ideas. I really love you, Jacques. I’ll try my best to be inventive and create as many poems of love as I can …”

Jacques put his hand over Heath’s mouth. “Heath, a simple ‘I love you’ would be sufficient. I don’t want you to write poems just to satisfy me. The problem is my insecurity. This is a problem that I have to solve.”

“Let me help,” pleaded Heath. “We’re now part of each other. You can’t do this alone. Don’t shut yourself out from me.”

Jacques smiled in appreciation. “Thanks Heath. I won’t hide anything from you but this is something only I can change; but with you supporting me, I’m sure I’ll be able to do it.”

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 18 May 2675, Tuesday

The Pellegrine had just moved into Jupiter’s space port. There was a ten hour stop at the planet before the ship would head for Saturn. Many of the passengers had disembarked to visit the many of the attractions of the planet. Named after the ancient Roman, humans had developed special gravity spheres floating just above the heavy atmosphere. The Red Dot Restaurant was very popular. It was where tourists could dine and watch the Jupiter’s famous red spot swirling slowly as they dined. However, the most popular spot was the Jupiter-11 Night Club and Casino. It was a place where millions can be made or lost. It’s greatest draw was not the casino but the night club where anyone could fit in. Everything was done discreetly but lavishly. The rates were neither exorbitant nor cheap. Depending on the services required, escorts, as they were called, could charge a pittance for a quick romp or a fortune for a week of simulated romance or debauchery.

Heath had no desire to go there. He was in space-suit repairing some faulty fuel conduits. The chief engineer, Iris, had informed him of the worn out fuel conduit just before the ship docked and he was asked to get the conduit fixed the moment they were cleared for disembarking. He took about half an hour to replace the faulty parts and another fifteen minutes to make sure that everything was working. Then he returned back into the ship. He changed out of the space-suit and he was given a pass to enter into the port area. He was dressed in his blue engineering uniform.

Most of the passengers had already cleared customs and were either on their way to their destinations or were already starting their experiences with the various attractions. As Heath walked out into the arrival platform, a man stepped forward and waved his hand.

“You’re from the Pellegrine right?” the man asked.

“Yes sir, can I do anything for you?” Heath asked politely. The crew were told to be polite and to direct anyone to the information counter if necessary.

“I was supposed to meet a friend here, a Mr. Koppon,” replied the man. The man was in his fifties. He had light brown hair and was with a moustache and beard. He was light-skinned and was dressed quite elegantly in a tweed suit.

“I’m afraid I don’t have the information you need,” said Heath. Then he pointed towards the direction of the information counter, “If you could go to the counter there, I’m sure they would be able to help you.”

“I know it’s not my business but you seem to be troubled,” said the man. He put his right hand on Heath’s left shoulder.

“No sir. I’m not troubled. Actually, I just finished some external repairs. I’m just feeling a little tired,” Heath replied.

“In that case, what’s left to do is to thank you,” said the man, extending his hand towards Heath.

Heath grasped the hand and shook it, saying, “It was nothing at all sir. I was glad to be of help.”

Heath felt strange after shaking the man’s hand. There was a lingering feeling of uncertainty but it disappeared after about five seconds.

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 19 May 2675, Wednesday

“Captain,” the helmsman announced, “we’re nearing Titan.”

“Good,” replied Jorg. “enter orbit around the satellite.”

Jorg flipped open the ship public address system. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We’re approaching Titan, the biggest of Saturn’s moons. Those on the port side should have been able to see the planet Saturn. When we have established a stable orbit, those who have signed up for the Tour of the Rings of Saturn would be able to start their day’s visit to one of the most spectacular planets in the solar system.”

“Saturn’s is hailing us, sir,” the communications officer informed Jorg.

“Turn on audio and video,” ordered Jorg.

The small display in front of Jorg activated and the duty officer on Saturn’s main relay station appeared. “Pellegrine, this is Lt. Ruby O’Leary, welcome to Saturn. We need to discuss a change of your itinerary.”

“Yes, Saturn, Captain Michael Brown here. What changes are we looking at?” responded Jorg.

“We’re reading seismic activity over Titan,” replied the officer. “It’s probably nothing but we think that it’s better to be more careful. We request that you come straight to the relay station and not orbit Titan.”

“That’s not a problem for us,” said Jorg as he took a look at his charts. “However, it means a delay in our schedules. Is there a change in the shuttle routes?”

“Yes. The shuttles have been given a new route. You can set up a link to see the routes,” replied Lt. O’Leary.

“Roger.” Turning to the communications officer, Jorg said, “Lt. Kunga, please establish a link with the relay’s computers and download the change in shuttle itinerary. Helm, change course to Saturn’s relay station. Please give me an ETA.”

The helm officer answered, “Changing course sir … we’ll be arriving in about half an hour,” replied the helmsman.

“Thank you,” said Jorg. He turned back to the lieutenant at the relay, “Lieutenant, we’ll be arriving in about thirty minutes. I’ll contact you once we’re nearer.”

“Understood, Saturn out.”

Just then, the light on the captain’s intraship communications lit up.

“Captain here,” Jorg acknowledged.

“Sir,” Jacques’ voice came through loud and clear. “I have tonight’s dinner guest list ready for your approval.”

“They look like a group of unmarried women,” remarked Jorg as he read the names of the list before him at his display.

“Yes Captain. They made the request for dinner at your table en bloc. I have an alternative list if you’d like.”

Jorg looked at the second list and said, “Let the first list stand.”

‡ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ‡

Date: 22 May 2675, Saturday

Jorg was a little tired. His job as captain of the Pellegrine was not that difficult but this last cruise was tough mentally. A group of old spinsters had come on board at Neptune. Jacques had a tough time trying to keep them occupied but they had only one thing on their minds: to snag the handsome young captain! During the day time, they would keep an eye out for Jorg when he made the compulsory rounds through the various parts of the ship. Jorg had to think on the fly, changing schedules immediately if he sensed any of them near. He was not always successful, especially just before dinner time when he was on his way back to his cabin. Thankfully, he had an excuse for moving away. He had to go back to his cabin to take a bath and change. One of the spinsters even wanted to take a bath with him! Dinner was stressful because he couldn’t escape the spinsters. In fact, that was how he met them at the first place. They’d been his guests at dinner. Jorg only started to relax when the ship was docked. He changed himself to his actual appearance and slipped off the ship without the spinsters noticing.

After a rest of three hours, he summoned Kean.

“I’m ready for training,” he told Kean.

Kean looked uncertain. “Are you sure? You were quite stressed out during this trip.”

“I didn’t have a chance to train on board. Now, I’m pretty well rested and relaxed. I should be able to handle at least two hours,” replied Jorg. “Are you able to handle it?” he asked Kean instead.

“Of course,” said Kean with a smile. “Since I moved into inventory, I didn’t have to run around too much. I’m okay.”

Jorg initiated his training. Kean linked to him and kept himself stable. His job for the next two hours is to project a protective shell around Jorg and himself, and to be psychically linked to Jorg.

Jorg entered into himself and he experienced a calm. He moved deeper and deeper and then he experienced a surge of energy. It was a normal occurrence of his training. It merely meant that his psychic energy was increasing. He continued going deeper until he began to experience something new. He could feel something new. He searched for the source of this new experience. It was outside his body. Slowly, he reached out of his body and came into contact with a transmitting tower. It took his a few moments to realise that he was detecting radio waves. He realised that he had reached a new level in magi powers. That realisation brought about a fatigue. He recognised that fatigue well, after he reached a new level, he would always experience a fatigue. Like a spring that has been over stretched, he would have to relax psychically and slowly return to his mind and allow the spring to coil up again.

Kean recognised Jorg’s voice and slowly guided him back to consciousness.

“You look extremely tired,” Kean said with much concern in his voice.

“I’m okay. I just need to rest. I’ve just reached level fifteen,” explained Jorg softly.

“Wow!” exclaimed Kean. He was pleasantly surprised. “No wonder you’re tired! My father warned me about this. I’m sorry for not paying more attention to you. I should have given you some of my energy.”

Jorg smiled and shook his head. “No, it’s all right. Kean, you are supposed to be my guide. Even though you have more energy than others, I’d prefer if that energy be used to protect rather than to supplement. Our adversary is still out there. I’m the most vulnerable when I’m in training and I need you to be at full power to pull me out if there’s a psychic attack. If you gave me some of your energies, you won’t be at full alert and then both of us will be hurt as well.”

Kean nodded solemnly.

“I wish I could train you to a higher level …” remarked Jorg with regret in his voice.

“No, Jorg. Your work is more important. I’m just useless …” said Kean. There were tears in his eyes.

“No you’re not! Kean! You’re not useless. I could never love someone useless. You mean a lot to me,” said Jorg lovingly. He took Kean in his arms. His eyes were wet and he whispered into Kean’s ears, “Kean, I love you. I know I don’t express my love physically but I do love you.” Then Jorg moved to face Kean, gently brushed away Kean’s tears with his fingers and kissed Kean’s eyes. “Kean,” he continued, “Because of my mission, I’m holding you back. There are times when I wonder if I should let you go because I’m depriving you; depriving you of the intimacies that a first love should have. I feel selfish to be taking from you and not giving back.”

Kean answered Jorg with a kiss. His lips touched Jorg’s lingered there for a little while. He resisted the temptation to use his tongue. He knew that Jorg would respond but in his weakened state, Jorg would be more frustrated. “Jorg,” he said after releasing Jorg. “You aren’t using me. You give me more affection than I need. That affection shows me that you love me. Our present situation means that we’ve to accept that we can’t do more than just hold each other. We’ve set for ourselves unattainable goals and we’re feeling down because of it. That doesn’t help us at all. I’ve to accept that you love me just as I am and you’ve got to accept that I love you just the way you are.”

Jorg just smiled and hugged Kean again.

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