Love And War Bk. 03byIronDragon©
Welcome to Book 3 of Love And War. Jason and Delaara face a few more adventures in this one, and so do their squadron mates! Sex is a bit more prevalent in this story than in the previous books, but I don't think it detracts from the overall plot. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)
The Land of the Risian Sun
Captain Rachael Thatcher had been on birth control tablets for years, since she'd never wanted to have children until she was retired, if even then. She had nearly a year and a half left on this tour. The complication was that now she was pregnant. She looked at her tiny baby bump under her uniform in the mirror and smiled. No matter what happened, and why the birth control had failed, it was a blessing for her. Her husband, Lt. Commander Ryan 'Rash' Rasher put his arms around her from behind.
"I love you, bunny," he said with a smile. "You're the most beautiful mom-to-be in Starfleet."
She turned and kissed him lovingly. "Thank you, darling. At least the morning sickness is pretty much gone."
"That's great, honey! Hey, I just had a thought. Do you think Q had anything to do with your birth control failing?" Rash had his theory.
"It's possible. Maybe trying to make up for making 4 years of our lives mean absolutely nothing?" She shrugged. "Well, if he IS responsible, I think we should thank the bloody wanker."
Captain Rachael Thatcher was born in Suffolk County, England, and raised in the Upper East Side of London. She had attended Oxford before going to Starfleet Academy. Her tours of duty on various starships had seen her receive commendation after commendation. She'd been promoted fairly rapidly, but not nearly as fast as most of the senior Starfighter Pilots on her carrier, the USS Nimitz.
The Quasar Class Carrier was based on the Nebula Class design, with the weapons pod on top of the saucer section replaced by a large three squadron flight hangar deck. Two squadrons launched from the forward hangar, while one squadron launched from the aft hangar. Her pilots had many names for it. The hangar deck, The flight deck, or sometimes just The deck.
"Honestly, honey, I think we might have been a little harsh on him. He did make sure that we could all stay together with none of us dying." He shrugged and smiled.
"You were the one who beat the tar out of him, sweety." Rachael was grinning at the memory of her husband beating the hell out of one of the most powerful beings in existence.
"True, and it did feel good at the time," he agreed with an impish smile. He had enjoyed it quite a bit. He was pissed off. At Q for kidnapping them. At Q for stealing 4 years of their lives that would now have to be replaced. At Q for coming into their Quarters in the middle of the night when they'd only been asleep for a few hours, and he had to use his standard double espresso medium hot to wake up enough to beat the hell out of the all-powerful turd.
"Yeah, on second thought, I don't regret a thing," he shrugged and grinned. "Especially not getting you pregnant, my Captain," he nuzzled her neck.
"Ok, hubby o' mine. We're going to be late for shift." She giggled like a school girl when she thought of him, more than 20 years her junior, loving her more than his own life. The truth was that she felt exactly the same about him, and blessed the day she'd promoted him from Ensign to J.G. and he'd used that horrible, yet somehow charming pickup line on her in 11Forward.
"Yes, dear," he said with a wink and a grin. "Make sure you eat enough for the baby, honey!" He called as he went out the door.
Jason and Delaara stood across the mat from each other, padded short staves in their hands. She was instructing him in the use of Ra'Tra'Ora fighting staves. The short staves were only 60 centimeters long, but when used properly, could disable or even kill an opponent very quickly. She was a 27th degree shonn in the art, but he was a quick learner. Their sparring sessions were exhilarating for both of them.
Jason, for his part, had studied Escrima stick fighting while in High School and Starfleet Academy. The Phillipino martial art wasn't very different than Ra'Tra'Ora. He had surprised her in their first bout when he had actually beaten her handily.
"You've studied Ra'Tra'Ora before!" She had accused him.
"Not a day of it, sweetheart," he'd said in return. She knew he was telling the truth, but she also knew he was holding something back.
"Well, if I win the next round, you will tell me what you did study that was similar, deal?" She'd said it sweetly with a smile.
"Deal, honey," he'd said.
It had taken her two more matches to win one against his Escrima style.
As she had him pinned to the mat with her staves crossed over his throat, he'd finally relented. "Ok, ok. It's called Escrima, and it's a Phillipino martial art from Earth." He'd smiled and shrugged.
She had studied what she could from the Nimitz's database, and had discovered that nearly every Ra'Tra'Ora move had its counterpart in Escrima. There were a few differences. The length and width of the staves was slightly different, and there were a few moves in one art that weren't in the other, and vice versa. Other than that, they were identical martial disciplines.
"Ok, hotshot. One more before shift?" She asked, grinning and breathing heavily. They had a small audience watching their bouts.
"Sounds good to me, sweetheart," he grinned back, breathing a bit heavy himself. He'd beaten her 1 out of 2 so far, and she always wanted 2 out of 3.
They took their places. "Ra shar!" She said, starting the bout. Their sticks moved like lightning, too fast for the untrained eye to follow. Soft clacks of the padded staves hitting each other sounded through the ship's dojo. Alex, Jenny, Roy, Mariel, and Gabrielle were all watching them intently as they duelled.
Jason was getting winded, in spite of his excellent physical shape and wiry muscles. His breathing became even heavier as they duelled back and forth across the mat. Delaara wasn't faring any better. She was coated in a sheen of perspiration, her skin glistening in the long form fitting shorts that came to just above her knee and the tank style halter top she wore. Her bare midriff looked as if it belonged to a warrior goddess.
Her breathing had gotten very heavy in this match, as they closed any openings that appeared in their defenses as soon as they appeared. Their staves flashed even faster, then he dropped below her swing at his head and swiped both staves through her legs. She jumped to avoid them, and he used his momentum to catch her in the ribs, knocking the wind out of her. However, she didn't fall, so the match was still live. She moved inside his defense and shoved both staves into his chest, knocking him backwards onto his ass.
"Ra shos," she said, bowing to him as he rose. He bowed back in respect.
They had taken to doing this every day for a month now, ever since he'd asked her about Romulan martial arts.
She moved forward and kissed him hungrily, her arms going around his neck. He kissed her passionately back, loving the taste of her lips and tongue. Finally breaking the kiss, she said "Your skill is improving. If I had been Human, you would have beaten me easily. In fact, you would beat most Romulans easily, baby." She grinned.
"How long have you trained in Ra'Tra'Ora, sweetheart?" He had to know.
"Since before you were born, sweetness," she winked at him. He had to chuckle at that.
When they'd first met, she'd been nearly three times his age, since Romulans, like their Vulcan cousins, aged much slower than Humans. However, it didn't stop them from first finding comfort in each other's arms, then falling deeply and truly in love with each other.
"Qu vos," he said, bowing to her. The Escrima/Ra'Tra'Ora had brought them even closer. They already respected each other as people, warriors, and lovers. Now their respect had bloomed into completeness with this primal cultural exchange.
She nodded approvingly of his pronunciation. "You're learning Romulan fast, my love," she said with a smile of respect.
He turned to their audience. "And that is how you keep your lady happy, gentlemen. You let her win." He smiled, grimaced, and held his ribs as he walked off the mat to shower and dress.
"Yes, gentlemen. You do need to lose to your lady every once in a while. But not every day," she winked. They all chuckled at that. "Now, hit the showers. We have Simulator today!"
Jason and Delaara walked into his office. "I know, sweetheart," he said. "Alex and Jenny are perfect for teaching a class or two. They're both quick learners." He chuckled.
"So, what do you think?" She asked, nervously.
"I think it's a great idea. He knows what he's learned from Worf and at the Klingon Academy when it comes to Klingon martial arts. I think a Human/Klingon/Romulan Mix would be an awesome fighting style. Maybe throw some Vulcan jiu jitsu style in there for submission moves."
Jenny had shown that she was very adept at Karate. Alex was a master at K'vekor, and Delaara had shown him a few moves of Rarasho'nokir, an unarmed combat style that significantly resembled Krav Maga.
"Good! We can talk to Rachael about it after shift!" She grinned. "Honey, this is one of our best achievements yet!"
"I agree, sweetheart." He smiled. She continued to take his breath away at least once per day, and not just in the martial arts ring. He was once again struck by her beauty in many little things she did. Moving a stray hair back over her ear. Her perfectly upward swept eyebrows. The gentle curve of her ears before culminating in sharp points at the top. A slight touch here and there. The way she smiled when she was happy. Her beautiful amber brown eyes.
She caught him staring at her with a smile on his face. "Do I still take your breath away, baby?"
"Every time I see you, my beautiful wife", he said with conviction.
She loved him more than she could express. The way he moved like a great cat. Silently, but with an air of slight menace in his movements. It was too subtle for most people to even notice, but she had been trained as a Praetorian Guard, and knew what to look for. His even temperament and his sense of humor. He rarely lost his composure, and saw the bright side in most everything. She loved that he actually could challenge her in the ring, and she had only won that morning because she had gone all out against him to win. He had trained himself to the peak of Human perfection physically. He could go toe to toe with a Klingon warrior and win, as she had seen him do a few months earlier on Deep Space Nine.
They found peace enjoyable. No wars threatening them for the moment. For over a full year, they had been nearly constantly at war. First their own governments, the Federation and Empire, and then the Ferengi and Orions. So far, the peace had held for over a year with the Romulans, and she was even allowed to return home for certain occasions. Her visits were restricted to certain holidays, but at least Jason was allowed to visit with her. He'd been welcomed into her family with open arms, for the most part. Her father had started off very brusque with him, but after almost two years of marriage, he'd finally softened significantly to Jason. Stovrin was a good man, and his son Stovral had been a good man. Jason still regretted his death, but knew that he couldn't undo it. Everyone had forgiven him. He had even forgiven himself. He just wouldn't allow himself to forget.
But, as is the saying, 'to secure peace is to prepare for war'. That's what the simulator is for.
As the Skulls showed up, Jason addressed them. "Ok, boys and girls, today we are going to all be running the same simulation for each flight. Scores will determine our readiness against.... Klingons. Yes, they're allies, but they've also been enemies in the past. Most notably in recent history, the Cardassian Conflict. Our goal here is to make it so that we are prepared to face any enemy. By the way, Alex did the honors of programming the simulator today." He grinned and nodded to his teammate, who smiled evilly back.
There were several groans from the Squadron. A few were not too keen on Alex's programs, since they usually ended with entire flights in EV. The kid had talent for creating barely beatable scenarios where precision was the key to victory.
"Charlie Flight. You're up first." Alpha and Bravo moved into the monitor room as Charlie entered the Simulator.
Charlie flight did well against Alex's program. They only lost three flight members to the eight Elite K-Raptors that Alex had programmed with variable adaptive AI so that each simulation learned from the previous defeats and learned from them.
As they exited the simulator, flight suits stained with sweat, Jason and Delaara debriefed them. Bounce looked like death warmed over, as he'd been the third to die, but had accounted for two of the eight kills.
"You did well, guys", said Jason. "There are a few areas to improve on, but all in all that was an impressive first run against an unknown simulation."
Bounce perked up at that. Having known Jason since their Academy days, he knew that his Wing Commander and Skull Leader didn't hand out praise lightly. If you got his praise, you damn sure earned it.
Bounce got his flight together and went into his office to review the footage for themselves.
"Ok, Rash. Show us how it's done." Jason grinned at his best friend.
"Oh, we'll show you how it's done! Come on, Arrow and the Angels!" Rash punched Jason in the arm as they jogged to the simulator.
They got in the Simulator and started the fight. Rash kept his flight together to concentrate firepower for the first four kills, and didn't lose anyone. The last four were the bitch, though. They lost Arrow and Cherub, but Seraph and Rash were able to take the last 3 K-Raptors down.
"Excellent job, guys," said Jason. "That was great thinking at first, Rash. Keeping your flight together for concentrating firepower. Works well at long range and against capital ships, but kind of sucks when you're fighting at relatively close quarters. When you finally split off for one vs one was when you shined. Seraph, great job with 3 kills! Rash, you had mostly combined kills, but managed to score 1 solo."
Rash shrugged and grinned. "Better than nothin'."
"Cherub, not bad but no solos. Your damage output was good, but Arrow got 2 solos. Whoever lost that bet, I hope you're ready to pay it."
Gabby was chuckling softly. "Trust me, Boss, I don't mind paying off our bets," she winked at everyone, grabbed her two lovers and led them out and back to their Quarters. Mari and Gabby had moved in with Roy, and they were all very happy together.
"Ok, Alpha. That just leaves us. Let's go to work. Razor, I'm probably going to forward this program to the other Squadron Leaders. It's a good one!"
Alex smiled and said "Thanks, sir. Jenny helped me write it."
Jason nodded at Jenny approvingly. "Good job, Gem. There might be an instructor slot or two for you guys later on."
They entered and ran the simulation. Jason split them into two man flights apiece and they wiped out the first five with precision and liberal use of missiles. With three left, things got interesting in a hurry. Jason had Gem with him as they fired repeatedly at their target but missed each time. This was of course the last run, and the simulator hadn't been reset since the first run. The enemy AI had learned a lot during the past few hours. Finally Jason and Jenny were able to catch it in a crossfire, and the K-Raptor fireballed.
"Cobalt, Razor is EV", came Demoness over the comm.
"Roger that, Demoness. We have two left. Let's do this. Form up on my other wing, Two.
"Forming up now, Cobalt. We have two bandits coming around for another pass, and I'm out of missiles."
"Roger. Three pronged crossfire formation. Spread out to double and we'll take the port side bandit first." Jason said.
They spread out to double normal formation spacing, and vaped the port side bandit in a perfect crossfire. The last fighter banked hard to starboard, and Jason went after it. It kept juking and jinking and he had to sweep fire in order to hit it. Delaara opened up on it and they managed to score a few hits from each burst, but not very many. Gem had swung out wide and hit her warp burner to gain some ground on the fleeing Raptor. She turned towards it and led it while firing, depleting its shields fairly rapidly. Jason fired and his burst blew its engine as Demoness finished it off with her own burst.
"Razor, that was intense!" Jason said as they exited the simulator. They were all covered in sweat down to their socks. None of them had any solo kills, but they had stuck together and worked as a team more than the other flights had.
"Thanks, Jason. It's a survival test more than a kill contest." Alex explained.
Jason nodded. "I thought so, judging by how the other flights did first. You realize that facing that many enemies at a time where everyone of them could go one vs one with us would be very slim, right?"
Alex grinned. "Yes, sir. I just figured it would make a great team survival test. It's best to be prepared."
"Very true, Alex. Ok, guys. Beers are on me! I'll forward this sim to Stiletto and Scorpion Squads in the morning.
Alpha went and showered and changed. They met in 11Forward and Delaara and Jason started drinking with Rash. Rachael was drinking club soda, but still having a great time. Delaara asked her permission to put together a mixed martial arts class made up of Human, Romulan, and Klingon martial disciplines, and she was all for it. Jason briefed her on the Skulls' performance, and she was impressed.
"You mean he snuck a team survival test in with our kill counters?" Rash looked hurt.
"Hey, it's necessary, brother," Jason said. "I know the chances are slim that we would ever face such odds with that many skilled pilots on the enemy side, but it could happen. In those situations it's always better to work as a team."
"You boys and your toys," said Rachael with a smile.
"Which is why I joined Starfleet in the first place, Rachael," Jason said with a grin. "Where else would I get to fly around the galaxy, meet new and interesting people, and then kill them?"
"Honey, that's the RIF Recruiting poster." Delaara winked and smiled. Rash just about fell off his barstool, and Marie walked in with Bounce on her arm.
Marie Reynolds wasn't a sexpot or supermodel type. She was your average girl next door with a command rank and a spine of pure tritanium. At the age of 34, she wasn't old by any stretch. Her dark blonde hair and blue eyes made her good looking, but her smile would light up a dead sun. That was what made guys want her. That, and she had a dirty mind that would make a Marine blush, and had on several occasions. While on duty, she was always professional. But when she let her hair down, you had better watch out! There were even rumors of her in bed having a mouth that would burn through your eardrums with the string of profanities that ran out of it.
"Wow, Marie! We don't see you in here very often," said Rash with a smile.
"Well, Tony asked me out, so I decided that I wouldn't mind joining you flyboys and girls for a drink or twenty," she smiled.
"We don't get to see this side of you very often, Marie," said Delaara with a smile and hug for her friend.
When Jason had proposed the idea that ended the Ferengi-Orion War, Marie had grabbed the nearest guy and stuck her tongue down his throat in celebration. Nearly unfortunately fatal for her, she had grabbed Jason and done it in front of Delaara. She hadn't even realized who she'd been kissing until afterward when Rachael explained how close she'd come to getting decapitated by a jealous Romulan. She'd gone and apologized to both of them, and it had been forgiven and forgotten.