Outlaw Star Fan Fiction ❯ The Dreamcatcher ❯ Every Time We Touch ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

A/N: Hey there again, everyone. I hoped you all enjoyed the prologue, hoping you guys got a general idea of what is going on. If not? Don't worry, everything will be reiterated along the way of this journey. Anyways, I anticipate this net part will focus more on Jim and Aisha's story, but I will eventually get them all tied together. Patience isn't just a Gunz `N Roses song ^.^ So enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Outlaw Star or its characters. Originals belong to me and permission was granted to me for names I use.
The Dreamcatcher
An Outlaw Star FanFiction
Chapter One: Every Time We Touch…
The all too familiar pains of his hand cramping up came as a reminder that, once again, James Hawking had been working too hard. He was afraid that he would have gone deaf or at least only be able to hear the sound of keys being struck on a computer, as he was doing work on it for the past… Wow, how long has it been now? Yawning, Jim stretched his arms up into the air as far he could reach, grunting as his muscles expanded out. It absolutely felt wonderful, regardless of how exhausted he was. And with Gilliam back on board the Outlaw Star with Gene and Melfina, no one was really there to keep him from working so hard…except, or course, for her.
Keeping Starwind and Hawking Enterprises alive on Sentinel III was even more grueling work than it was to search for the Galactic Leyline. Without a ship to call his own, and Gene being on his honeymoon with his new bride (yes, of course, it's Melfina. He may be a lecherous bastard at times, but he does love Mel very much) made things even that much more difficult. Breaks were seldom, and as much work he did, the company barely made a profit.
Jim was being realistic, however. He knew that at the rate things were going that Starwind and Hawking would never go interstellar like with Fred Lou's business, but he would have at least liked to expand the business out to another part of Sentinel III. Jim really didn't like the thought of a customer on the other side of the planet calling for work to be done and the only thing Jim had would be his car. The pay for the job alone would have gone to the gas bill and put the company deeper into the red.
Sighing, Jim decided that it pointless to carry on. He was so tired that it was starting to affect his work, forgetting to hit the space bar or enter key, making the figures mess all up. It would have to be fixed later. Jim looked at his watch and groaned, seeing it was almost eleven o'clock, signifying that he was punching numbers and counting beans for at least seventeen hours. His bloodshot, sagging eyes peered above the screen of his computer and scanned the surroundings in the room. Empty…
Honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal that Gene and Mel were using this time to go off and enjoy their honeymoon. Jim was as happy as he could be for his partner, finally finding someone to love and wanting to settle down and leave his dark, lecherous past as a bachelor. He couldn't believe it, but he was happy for him. Still, Jim wasn't able to put his finger on what was getting him so down about every little thing. Sure enough, nothing could go wrong in a day, well as much as possible, and Jim would still feel depressed… and empty, just like this place. He really felt that there was something in his life that he needed to fill the void that was weighing him down with each passing day. But when she's around, it feels like that void gets smaller and smaller.
“Ah, man, not again,” Jim said to himself, pinching the bridge of his nose as he groaned in frustration.
There he went again, thinking about a special someone that still managed to hang around regardless of everything that's happened. The almighty, former Ctarl-Ctarl Officer, Aisha Clan-Clan, constantly assaulted his mind and caused him to think nothing for moments other than her. To tell the truth, Jim felt a sense of relief and security and purpose whenever he was in her presence. He always felt warm with her around.
It was absolutely confusing considering how much he had thought about Aisha…how much he felt. She was supposed to be the girl that went back to the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire upon finding the Galactic Leyline and continue on with her military career, however, this was not the case. Aisha kept using the excuse, “The Empire won't accept me back, so there's no point in trying to go back.” Jim knew that this was a blatant lie, for she did find the Leyline with everyone else. The Orta Horne-Horne failed when they entered the void to try and get to the Leyline, and where they failed Aisha succeeded. So, there was no way the Empire would turn her away.
Time and time again, when Jim found himself thinking of Aisha, he tried to think about her reasons for staying with the crew and still living with them on Sentinel III. He honestly could never piece together why but somehow she always ended up staying. There was always a subconscious wish of his that the reason Aisha Clan-Clan stayed with a whole bunch of Terrans was that she actually enjoyed being here and liked being with them all…with Jim.
“I guess some fresh air might help me clear my head,” Jim announced to no one and moved on outside.
Chills came over his body when Jim stepped outside the warehouse-like building of Starwind and Hawking Enterprises. Wisps of steam escaped his mouth as his hot breath permeated in the cold air outside. Jim zipped up his usual gunmetal-colored jacket and tucked his hands under his armpits to maintain the warmth in his fingertips. The night even looked cold, with the autumn season of this temperate climate coming into full force and giving the inhabitants of Sentinel III warm, yet crisp days and chilly nights. Jim looked up at the night sky and gazed up at the moon, his thoughts again drifting to her.
“You know, if you were here, we could look at the stars together,” Jim said, a lonely undertone in his voice and wishing for Aisha to be beside him.
Aw, who was Jim Hawking kidding anyway? So what if she acted like a beast and probably was able to outdo him every physical aspect possible? Aisha Clan-Clan had become the love of Jim's life. All he ever wanted now was to be by her side and be held in those strong arms of hers, safe from all the troubles in the world just to live out their days, being as happy as possible. Every day he searched for a chance to tell her his true feelings, but alas, he missed every opportunity.
The fear of telling Aisha his true feelings lied in the fact that he was uncertain of how she felt for him. He definitely could tell that Aisha greatly cares for him but it may only be as far as the love between a brother and a sister and, as Mel had pointed out in the past, acted like they were real family. But I want so much more than that. Jim sighed and hung his head low, thinking about the day he would finally tell Aisha he loved her and, at the same time, dreading it. What if she turns me down?
That thought hurt the most, fearing rejection above all else, possibly even damaging the extraordinary relationship between the two. Gene always told him the phrase that the red-headed outlaw lived by, “If you don't take a risk, there's really no point in living. You have so little to lose and so much to gain, in every aspect.” But how could James Hawking do that? He was Gene's polar opposite and it would be so unlike him to go out on a limb and take a risk. But is it really taking a risk?
Jim thought about this so much, more so than even his business with the company, and it wouldn't really be taking a blind shot, as his partner always suggested, because he thought about everything regarding this situation. He loved Aisha and wanted to be with her and that was pretty much the only thing he wanted right now. Of course, Jim had a lot going against him as well. There was the age difference issue; though he didn't really know Aisha's true age, she looked to be about ten years his senior. And though he has grown two years since first meeting her, he feared he still might have been way too young for her. And of course, there was the racial difference. Jim was a Terran and Aisha was a Ctarl-Ctarl. In many people's eyes, that equation is not acceptable by any means whatsoever. She always spoke about how superior the Ctarl-Ctarl were to Terrans, so what if that was the case and he wasn't strong enough to be with her?
“Man, this sucks,” Jim said.
There was a lot to lose and a lot to gain. It just came down to whether or not it was really worth taking a risk in getting rejected and hurt and possibly losing a friend. On the plus side, he would be with the girl he loved for as long as possible. That alone convinced Jim to want to try and go for Aisha's hand. It seemed like the natural thing to do, and no matter how many times he went over the calculations in his head, the end result remained the same…he wanted to be with Aisha.
About to turn back inside and plan out a strategy in confessing to Aisha about his feelings, Jim heard approaching footsteps. A familiar voice called from the darkness, “What are you doing out here so late, Jim?”
Jim turned and found himself staring into the beautiful, beast-like, blue eyes of the girl he loved to death. He couldn't but smile. “Just…um, thinking about stuff.”
Aisha strode up alongside him, he scent assaulting Jim's nostrils and flooding him with a soothingly, warm sensation. From under her tattered poncho, she reached up and rubbed Jim's head, rustling through the golden blonde locks and giving a toothy grin. “Past your bedtime, isn't it?”
Furrowing his brow, he responded, “I'm not a little kid anymore, Aisha.”
He was rewarded with laughter from the older female, throwing her head back and laughing hysterically as she tousled Jim's hair even further. She grinned and got close to his face, examining it and causing Jim to blush, erasing all anger from his face. “But you are a little kid, Jim, when are you going to realize that?”
Growling and pulling himself away from Aisha, he replied, “So, what? Are you going to sit there and try to tell me someone like you and Gene are grown up? Geez, give me a break.”
“I would never go as far as calling Gene an adult. Adults need to be responsible and smart and concerned with real issues. Gene should be more like a Ctarl-Ctarl! There none more responsible than us!” Aisha said with a proud look on her face.
Jim sighed. There she goes again, on her Ctarl-Ctarl trip. “I know, Aisha.” He turned to go back inside, leaving Aisha with a confused look on her face. She noticed how there was a depressed undertone in his voice, but she couldn't understand why. Was it something she had said? Aisha followed before the door could shut on her.
“So, anything good for dinner tonight?” Aisha asked.
Jim stopped in his tracks and gasped. NO! There's no way…! “Um, I think I forgot to make dinner, because um I uh that is, I mean, I have been working all day and I guess I just lost track of time,” he stammered as he started to chuckle nervously and rub the back of his head. Both of their stomachs began to growl, along with Aisha herself.
“WHAT?!” She yelled, clenching her fists and looking insanely upset.
Jim shuddered. “I'm sorry, I just forgot!”
“Now what am I supposed to do! I have been working all day and you agreed to cook dinner and I am starving, Jim Hawking!”
With a look of terror on his face, Jim put his hands up to try and calm Aisha down and deflect any possible attacks she would have thrown at him. “Now, now, Aisha! It will be all right. I can order some take out that way neither one of us has to do any cooking. Al right?” He pleaded.
“Hmm, ok, then.” She said, taking her poncho off and throwing it to the ground. “I'm gonna go upstairs and get changed into some more comfortable clothes. A lady like myself should not have to dine in this ridiculous Terran outfit.” With that, she headed upstairs, humming to herself, like nothing had happened.
Jim sighed heavily, understanding how close he had come to a night of pain. Never get in between a Ctarl-Ctarl in their food, that was rule one. Aisha always became irritated when it came to her meals, and missing them was not an option. Jim calmed himself down and picked up the mess Aisha made, throwing her poncho over a seat so it would not get dirty. He put in an order for some Japanese take out, hearing the person taking the order gasp and fall on the floor, asking if it was a prank. Jim cursed silently when he got the total, not wanting to think about the effect it will have on the company.
All that aside, Jim thought about Aisha once again, kicking himself for failing to bring up what he had wanted to before, not that he would have been able considering her anger. He decided to try and wait till during dinner to try and come out with his feelings. Great going, Jim! Hell of a candle light dinner you've prepared to kick off that confession of love. He told himself to shut up, thinking that it wouldn't matter because she was more than likely going to turn him down.
Jim plopped himself down on the couch, groaning and feeling exhausted. He had wanted to go to sleep but was far too hungry and needed to be able to pay for the meal when the delivery boy came to the door, otherwise Aisha would explode and destroy everything from not being able to eat. Now she was upstairs, taking off that goofy looking waitress outfit she wore during the workdays, and exposing her obvious beautiful body before changing into something that, he was sure, would have looked outstanding on her.
Are you really, really hungry? Because that almost sounds thinking of Aisha naked. Your brain must have become distorted from lack of food or sleep! Jim widened his eyes, his mind catching him on his sudden forming daydream. Had he actually been thinking of Aisha that way? It was Aisha, but then again, she did look so beautiful and Jim felt so great and warm whenever he looked at her. He wanted nothing more than to hold her and caress that beautiful caramel colored skin as he looked into those gorgeous aqua colored eyes and tell her he loved her.
A knock on the metal door pried Jim from his daydreams and constant bickering with himself. He must have been daydreaming about himself and Aisha for a while, unless the food place stepped up their, wanting to make a killing on the food and a potential tip. Checking his watch, Jim through the latter out seeing it was about an hour and a half since he had called them, guessing he dozed off without even noticing. Still, Jim grabbed a wad of cash from the desk he worked at and dished out about two hundred Wong, taking care of both the bill and the tip. With an arm full of Oriental food, he waddled to the kitchen and set the two hundred Wong worth of food down. Looking the food over, he hoped it would be enough being that Aisha could really chow down.
Jim noticed that even after the smell of food wafting Aisha hadn't come down and decided to go up and get her for dinner. He went into her room and found nothing besides a mess of clothes and papers and junk but no Aisha. He heard running water coming from the bathroom, and derived that she probably decided to take a shower after a long day at work. A new side of him that he had never seen before begged him to take a small peak of the girl he loved. Great, now I'm turning into Gene. Damn you feelings!
He heard Aisha singing also and, regardless if he could understand the lyrics or not, she sounded magnificent. It wasn't whiny or anything like that, something people would expect considering her voice and the way she talks; it was surprising. Without realizing, he drew closer and closer to the door, finally noticing that it was cracked and he could catch a glimpse of her. Internally, it was a firefight, part of him wanting to see while the other part felt like a horrible lecher. He finally snapped out of it once the water stopped and he heard her getting out.
Gathering his composure once again, he quietly cleared his throat and announced, “Aisha, um, dinner is here.”
Jim heard a pause and some slight rustling inside, guessing Aisha was trying to cover herself up, thinking he was going to try and sneak a peek at her. She let out a small meow before saying she would be down soon. He did his best to pull himself away from the door, thinking…fantasizing about the sheer beauty that obviously hid under her normal attire of the Ctarl-Ctarl Officer's uniform. Not thinking about it anymore because it was causing him to blush, he made his way down the stairs and started preparing the food to be eaten.
Noodles with strips of beef, chicken, and shrimp were piled high onto multiple large plates set in front of Aisha's normal place at the table. Jim only dished out a small amount for himself, wanting to save the majority of the food for Aisha, knowing her “monster” appetite would consume her and she would stop at nothing to curb her hunger. He peeled his ash gray jacket off and placed it carefully on the back of his chair as he sat down and buried his head in his hands, thinking about how exactly to go about talking to Aisha.
There were so many ways to really tell her, but he was not sure as to which was the best way to do it. Should he just go out and blatantly say it with Aisha having a mouthful of noodles? The outcome didn't seem very enticing, fearing that he would be bombarded with food from Aisha's “I'm-surprised-and-therefore-I'm-going-to-spit-my-food-all-over-you&# 8221; technique. Jim sighed, not knowing what to do and feeling very frustrated. For once in his life, he was just going to wing it.
“Everything ok, Jimmy?” he had heard from the other side of the room. Jim looked up and noticed Aisha standing there in some leisurely sweats and grinning at the teenager. “How can you be depressed with so much food around? It smells wonderful!”
Jim furrowed his brow. “Yeah, it better be good, considering how much money I forked out for all of this.”
Aisha began to sat down and raised one of her eyebrows. “Well, maybe if someone deciding not to work so damn much and remember to cook dinner, maybe you wouldn't have to order it.”
“You work in a restaurant, Aisha. Don't they feed you there?” Jim asked, resting his head up on his elbows.
“Yeah, but they stopped that once they found out much I could eat. I go through work so very hungry,” Aisha explained with a sad look on her face.
Jim smiled a little, thinking about what their faces must have looked like as they watched the Ctarl-Ctarl women chow down on whatever amount of food they decided to let her have. The manager must have cried at how much money they lost by trying to feed one of their more “hungry” employees. He pushed the thought aside as both he and Aisha tore into the meals set in front of them, the latter finishing first regardless of how much more she had to eat. Jim's eye twitched as to how fast she managed to “inhale” all that food down in a matter of seconds.
“I told you I was hungry,” Aisha said, sauce from the beef covering the outsides of her mouth, a smile tugging at those very beef flavored corners.
Jim smiled, thinking that she still looked amazing, the fact that some of her meal was on her face notwithstanding. He reached across the table and, using his paper napkin, delicately wiped the sauce from her mouth. Aisha kept a confused look on her face as Jim did this, wondering what his motivations were, a perplexed meow escaping her lips.
Realizing that he was probably being way to awkward, Jim stumbled and drew back rather quickly, looking down at the table and refusing to make eye contact. Heat flooded his cheeks as he began to blush once again, not being able to see that Aisha was doing the same. They sat in silence for a few moments before Jim finally looked up again and opened his mouth to speak but hesitated a little bit.
“Um, Aisha, there was something I've been meaning to tell you, um, for a while now and…” Jim started to say but was interrupted when Aisha composed herself and held her hand up to cut the teenager off.
“Before you get into that, Jim, I have I need to get off my chest.” Aisha stated rather firmly, causing Jim to sit back and shut his mouth tight. He tried to stay relaxed but tensed up a bit fearing what she could possibly have to say. Aisha stood up slowly and cleared her throat, bringing her hand up to her mouth. She breathed in for what seemed to be an eternity, making the inhale long and drug out before finally exhaling the words, “I like you, Jim.”
Jim fell over, mentally laughing as hard as he could finding the irony in all of this, how she would be the person to express her feelings first. She protested to him being on the ground and pounded on the table for him to get up. He regained his footing and sat slowly back down, confusion dominating his facial expressions and wondering where Aisha was really going with all of this.
“Well, it's more than that, I guess. I mean, it's more than just…like. I don't know what to say, really, I um…er….uh…that is, I mean…” She stammered while trying to decide what would be most appropriate to say. Jim still looked confused and was about to intervene and finish it for her when she held her hand up once again. “No! I've got this, Jim. Now…um, oh yeah! Well, there really is no easy way to say this, so… I love you, Jim.”
Jim gasped, well sort of. He never would have thought Aisha would have been capable of saying these kinds of things. Granted, he was ecstatic that she felt the same way he did but was confused and almost scared that Aisha was the first to reveal the feelings. The confusion ebbed and turned to relief, thinking it was outstanding that he didn't have to come up with a way to explain everything.
“But I suppose this is just a waste of breath,” Aisha started, making Jim shudder thinking that she was already changing her mind. “You probably don't feel the same way or even much to frightened and shocked that an almighty Ctarl-Ctarl like myself would even consider you, a Terran, a romantic possibility.” Jim frowned, knowing the arrogance was going to come out eventually. “But the truth is, Jim, I have fallen hard for you ever since I started living here and getting so close to you.” With that said, she bowed her head and said, “I'm sorry,” before finally walking away to the next room and flopping herself onto the couch, head hung low.
Jim followed Aisha and was about to sit down on the couch next to her, but hesitated when he saw tears gleaming in her eyes about to stream down her beautiful, caramel cheeks. He sighed, unsure of what to do, so he just “winged” it. “Aisha, I feel the same way about you.” The remark caused her to look up, slightly dazed and confused. “I have for a while, as well, but, even before the Leyline thing, I've always had a little bit of a crush on you. It just…grew into something more after we came back here and lived and worked together.”
Aisha sniffed a little bit. “Really, Jim?”
He smiled and nodded, putting his hands in his pockets as he thought more about what to say. “You are so energetic and so understanding of me, even though you can get a little thick-headed when you get on your Ctarl-Ctarl trips.” He chuckled a bit before finally sighing, remembering all the faults as well. “But…you're right. I am just a Terran and I guess I'm not really cut out for being in love with you.”
Aisha's eyes widened, as she saw Jim sit down on the edge of the couch and sighed deeply, hanging his head low. “Jim, that's not true. You may be a Terran, but you are so much different from any other Terran I've encountered. I mean, you are definitely different from Gene.” She forced a smile but Jim kept his expression the same.
“Yeah, but still; I've read into it and I know that you Ctarl-Ctarl tend to pick the strongest of the males for you, um, mates.” He shifted to turn farther away from her. “And on top of that, I'm just a little kid. I'm not strong at all.” Aisha winced when she heard this, knowing Jim hated it when he was referred to as merely a little kid. “I've tried to do push ups and stuff, even go to the gym and lift some weights when I have the free time…but I would never be as strong as a Ctarl-Ctarl.”
Aisha smiled. “Wow, you actually read into it?” She got no answer. “Well, Jim, it is true that we Ctarl-Ctarl only choose the strongest to be lovers with, but that's not just limited to physical strength.” This got a response out of Jim, who finally lifted his head up a bit. Aisha giggled a bit. “In terms of just strength all around, you are far superior to lots of people in this galaxy. Mental strength is included in this, Jim.” She reached over and patted Jim on the head.
Smiling, Jim said, “Thanks, Aisha. I appreciate you trying to cheer me up, but the fact remains: I'm still just a kid.” He got up to walk away, but was stopped by two gentle, yet fiercely strong arms embraced him from behind and held him in place.
The height difference was not as significant as it was when he first met Aisha about two years ago, but it was still considerable. She was bordering on almost 5'8” while Jim was still growing and only at 5'4”. Aisha enjoyed this fact as she thought it was so cute that she could still look down at him, something that she knew irritated Jim to high heaven, but still she did it. Aisha hugged the boy tight to her body, Jim feeling all her womanly curves press into his back as the Ctarl-Ctarl woman rested her chin on the top of Jim's head as she closed her eyes and smiled, enjoying herself to the fullest.
“You know, I could stay like this forever, Jim,” Aisha purred lovingly. Jim felt a rush of warmth flood his body as he muttered her name barely audible from his lips. “I don't care if you are so much younger. In your mind, you are an adult. To me, you are an adult. You act so mature for your age, it's admirable. I love that about you, Jim.”
Jim felt himself starting to choke with the surge of emotions rushing throughout his body as he felt his eyes start to mist up, tears forming in them. Was this really happening? Was the girl he cared about the most and had come to love was really confessing her love for him? It almost seemed like a dream…one that he never wanted to wake up from. That wasn't the case, however, because he was wide awake and this was really happening.
Aisha giggled a little bit as she reached up to his delicate, boyish face and cupped it with her hand before finally wiping the tears from his eyes. “Am I really making you sad?” she asked.
“No!” Jim bursted out, exhaling a breath he had been holding back, fearing it would have triggered crying. “You are one of the most amazing things in my life, Aisha. I love you so much. I just can't really believe this is happening.”
Smiling brightly, Aisha turned Jim around so she could look into his gorgeous, blue eyes. “Well, believe it, Jim, because you are mine.” With that said, she pressed her lips against Jim's and enveloped him into a deep kiss that he let himself fall into as he closed his eyes and instinctually brought his hands up and rubbed up and down her backside as Aisha grabbed the back of Jim's head and pressed him against her firmly, while Jim tried not to make it obvious that he was slightly standing on the balls of his feet in order to maintain a comfortable kissing stance.
Emotions of joy and relief surged throughout Jim's body as he just let the kiss envelop him fully as let his actions run wild. Thoughts of extreme happiness flooded his mind as he passionately kissed the girl he was so in love with. It was a perfect moment in time, Jim thinking that nothing could possibly get better than this, as the explored each other's bodies which, to Jim's relief, were still clothed. His first real kiss done, all on instinct and on certain perverted stories told to him by a certain red-headed outlaw, made him feel somewhat clumsy and awkward. Those sensations were outweighed by the extreme joy and pleasure he derived from the kiss itself.
They broke it, gently pulling away from, but still holding, each other as Jim let his fingerless-gloved hands rest on the small of Aisha's back, who, in turn, kept a firm, grip on Jim's shoulders. They were both out of breath, to the Ctarl-Ctarl's surprise, as their hearts were kicked into overdrive and their beats matched the speed of a starship going to sub-ether. Nevertheless, neither broke eye contact. Jim, amongst his attempt to catch his breath, let a small word escape, “Wow.”
Aisha smiled, almost seductively, as she once again cupped Jim's face and tousled his blonde locks ever so gently. “That was your first, wasn't it?”
Jim nodded, gently and happily grinning, “Yeah.” Aisha asked his thoughts about his first kiss. “It was amazing…but, I'm a little light headed now.” He chuckled sheepishly and somewhat nervously.
With yet another seductive grin, and somehow dangerous, cynical look in her eyes, she pulled her face closer to Jim's. “Maybe, it's because the blood is rushing from here,” she started as she cupped his face, “and going down here.” Aisha carefully nudged Jim's groin before laughing evilly.
Shocked and widening his eyes, Jim's face flushed a vibrant, red color. “Um…um….maybe…I mean…” He stumbled while Aisha laughed at his expense. Jim felt his legs grow weak and wobbly and Aisha had to catch him or else he would have fallen right from under her.
“Woah!” Aisha exclaimed as she picked Jim up gently and set him on the couch, holding him in her arms. “Maybe you should take it easy, Jim.” She lovingly nuzzled his neck and snuggled up against him.
Jim heard her purr against his body, sighing warmly as he felt incredibly safe and loved, returning Aisha's strong embrace. “I have been working hard and I am exhausted. I just need some sleep.”
“I'll take you to your bed soon. Just a few more minutes, please,” Aisha whined, nuzzling herself closer to Jim's warm body.
Smiling, Jim kissed her on the forehead before started to feel fatigue hang over him like shadow casted on the Earth, inhibiting the suns warm rays to heat the planet and create wonderful sensations for the inhabitants below. He decided it didn't matter if he had fallen asleep. The woman he loved was right there, in his arms, lazily drifting away to her slumber. The coming days would surely prove to be interesting as they would, no doubt, continue to love each other forever. Jim interlocked his fingers with Aisha's claw-wielding hands. Again, a rush of joy came over him. Every time we touch, I get this feeling…
The dream hurt more so than it was supposed to. Obviously, his mind intended for it to bring joy to and prosperity to his soul, which ached tremendously for nearly two decades. It was as vivid as a strong vision or memory: he interlocked hands with his Ctarl-Ctarl love and kissed her deeply, closing his eyes to fully embrace the passion of the kiss, only to open his eyes to a dark, empty cabin aboard a starship on the frontier of space. He closed his eyes again after waking, shutting away tears that threatened to form at the corners of his eyes. The dream was always the same, and yet, it brought on more and more pain with each passing night. ...Hoshi.
Orion sat up in his bunk, reaching up to the scar over his left eye, which tingled with an odd, burning sensation. He knew in his mind that there was no pain generating from the old wound, being as the nerve ending were completely destroyed from the parting gift of a certain father of a Ctarl-Ctarl he knew. Every time he remembered the events in which brought him the scar, it tingled, trying to remember the intense amount of pain that came with it. And yet, it was simply a matter of his mind playing tricks upon him, because he felt nothing in the area surrounding his left eye. The eye itself was left disfigured, all pigment in his iris completely void. What was once an aqua-green color, similar to certain oceans on the planet Korbon, was now a dull, gray color that symbolized the color in his life being taken from him. “Hoshi,” he muttered.
Running his hands through his golden hair, he lay back down in an attempt to return to his slumber, only to be interrupted by a constant chime that sounded from the small panel to the right of his bed. Orion groaned, reaching over to depress the flashing light that blinked in harmony with the chimes. He said nothing upon pressing the button, only offering an audible grunt that would probably have never been heard by human ears on the other side of that transponder. It was not a human who offered him a response.
“Well, you're in a cheery mood,” Tia said through the speaker. Her voice was cool and efficient and gave a soothing sensation to Orion's troubled mind.
“Yeah, well…” Orion replied, trailing off.
Tia did not wait for him to finish. “I figured I would let you know that we are entering the approach lanes for dock with Blue Heaven. You are the Captain, and I guess it is your job to know these things.”
Furrowing his brow, Orion sat up. “You know, I'm glad you're a computer.”
“What do you mean?”
“With tact like that, you would suck as a therapist, you know?” He replied, a victorious smile placed upon his face.
“You are a moron. Good enough?”
Orion chuckled as he got out of bed and flicked a light switch, illuminating the dark cabin. There was a single desk with a box placed upon it along with a chair situated in the corner. Hung over the chair was Orion's tan-colored over coat, his gun belt with the “Widowmaker” holstered draped right over it. “You know me: I try my very hardest darling.” He walked over to the table and opened the box.
“If this is your hardest, I really must protest. I've got to think about my future on board this ship, and this being your hardest certainly puts a worry within my circuits.”
Smiling, Orion through the black Kevlar vest that sat in the box over his form fitting hunter-green shirt and attached the Velcro tabs in the front, securing it tightly. The shirt clung to his body almost like another skin, cleverly showing off the muscles over his torso and arms that had developed over the years. A black tribal tattoo wrapped around his right arm, engulfing the bicep and tapering off down to the forearm. Orion put the fingerless pilot's gloves on over his hands, tightening them to a comforting fit. He grabbed the gun belt and clasped it over waist and checked his favorite pistol.
“Did you take care of that thing, Tia?” he asked, not taking his attention away from his equipment. The next item out of the box was a sawed-off-to-the-bitter-end, double barreled shotgun about the length of his revolver. He cracked the stock open and placed a twelve gauge slug in each barrel, gracefully whipping it shut. The short barreled shot gun fit firmly on the thigh-holster on his cargo pants that he clipped to the leather gun belt.
“Of course, the account transfer was made the instant we came in-system. There should be no problem once we dock. Still, best to make sure… He is a Korbonite, you know?”
Orion fished his other “prized” weapon out of the box and began loading ammunition into it. The arm-length carbine looked beautifully new yet was probably one of the oldest things on the frontier at the time. He loaded .45 caliber Winchester rifle rounds in the side receiver. When he reached twenty-five rounds in the weapon, he fluidly spun the weapon over his hand, catching the lever open and closed, and sending a round into the chamber of the carbine, cocking it all at the same time. The all too familiar loading sound was music to his ears. Orion slid the Winchester carbine, which he often called “Yellowboy”, into the hidden saddle holster on the back of his Kevlar vest, completely hidden unless viewed from behind. The overcoat went over his body and, when closed slightly, hid all traces of weaponry on him as it draped down to just above his knees. To complete the ensemble, he grabbed the black cowboy hat on the corner of his bed and secured it to the top of his skull, snugly matting down his silk-like golden hair.
“Well, I don't think that Swanzo is dumb enough to do anything he'd regret. He's a very good business man,” he explained.
“Hmm, you will trust anything but a Terran, won't you Orion?”
He smiled. “Now, those, you have to watch out for. You never know when a Terran will stab you in the back.”
“So how am I supposed to trust you, then?”
“That's different. You're a computer, Tia,” Orion said, shrugging his shoulders.
“What's that supposed to mean?!” Tia exclaimed, the heat in her voice, were it to be able to produce heat, rising.
“You could always cut off the air and kill me if I tried anything stupid,” Orion answered, giving the panel a wink.
There was a pause before Tia finally offered, “…and don't you forget it.”
Chuckling nervously, Orion rubbed the back of his head. “I was joking, you do know that right?” Another pause, then Tia grunted in agreement. “And you were also, right?” This time the pause persisted, Tia not offering any response whatsoever. Orion stopped chuckling, a trail of sweat forming on his forehead. “Tia?.....That's not funny, damn it!!!”
Chuckling came over the speakers of the panel. “Yes, it was. You should have seen your face.” Orion muttered sayings of irritation to Tia's bad sense of humor. “Are you really brining all that over to Blue Heaven? I thought guns were banned from there.”
“There are no rules in a free town, Tia. They just are afraid of some moron discharging a weapon and blowing a hole in the outer bulkheads. If that happens, it will depressurize the entire station. They've been getting better with the maintenance upkeeps to prevent a total implosion of Blue Heaven should a breech occur, but one breech can cause insurmountable amounts of damage to that section.” Orion explained, earning a confused silence from his tactical computer.
“How do you know so much about that kind of stuff?” Tia asked, again wanting to pry into Orion's past, before she had met him.
Orion fished his gold-lens sunglasses out of one of the pockets in his overcoat and slowly and carefully put them on, setting them delicately on the bridge of his nose as his mind was flooded with memories of his life before he took to the stars. “Oh, well, it's just simple engineering details here and there, you know? I picked it up…” He trailed off, not wanting to say any more, fearing the pain it would bring upon him.
“You will tell me someday, won't you?” Tia received only silence. “Anyways, we just entered the approach lane. I'm taking the Unsen engines to half speed and setting the reactor only at 35%. The tractor wave has caught the Naughty Dog and is taking us in. Not a lot of traffic out there, Captain. Must all be in the station, I'm guessing.” Orion nodded as he left his cabin and sat in the cockpit of his ship, watching the asteroids of the outer lanes of Blue Heaven whizz by, giving the illusion of striking him but he knew they were just there…floating in space…similar to what he was doing.
A/N: Whew! Ok, first chapter is complete! Sorry it took so long, all, I've just been so busy with class and homework and training. I've only been able to work on it a little bit at a time here and there. It's kind of a long one, too, so sorry if anyone dislikes long reads. Anyways, let me know what you think, and Thanks to all who commented and added me to their favorites. It really made my day, that it did! So, till next time, all! ^.^