Project Phoenix Ch. 03byyaoi_lover_21©
Hello Guys, I'm sorry it took me so long to post this chapter. I had to go back and edit the chapter a few times until they'd accept it (and I'd kept adding things to it lol).
But I'm really proud of this chapter. I really wanted Mitch to come off more sympathetic. I also wanted to try and portray, as accurately as I could, the feelings of man who was faced with the mind blowing idea of being able to get pregnant and what that would mean for his self-esteem. In addition I wanted Dex to start to face his past and his feelings for Mitch.
Overall my goal was to make the characters seem as human and genuine as possible. I hope I succeeded. I can't wait for your comments!
Take off for the FSC Prudential was delayed for another day due to mechanical problems on board. Luckily the engineering, mechanical staff and the other crewmen were able to fix the malfunctions. Mitch and Dex didn't see much of each other before take off. Mitch was constantly repairing equipment and running from level to level supervising ship mechanics. Dex had his hands full with running system scans, checking over spaceship plans, and double checking everything in between.
Finally the FSC Prudential launched off into space. The take off was smooth with no mishaps. A sigh of relief seemed to ripple through the ship. The atmosphere had been pretty tense the first couple of days. With people getting situated and meeting their companions. Understandably people had been on edge for awhile.
Mitch had to check in for the modification surgery soon. He wasn't in a rush. The idea of carrying a child didn't scare him as much as he thought it would. He always wanted to be a dad, he just didn't see it happening quite like this so he just pushing the thought from his mind. Mitch believed in the program and wanted to help his planet.
Mitch was in the gaming corridor on level 10 when Dex walked up beside him.
"Hey!" Mitch said surprised.
"Hey. Where you headed?" Dex looked a bit tired but seemed happy to see Mitch.
"The Arena. I'm gonna play a last game of HoverBall before my surgery."
"Ah. Mind if I join you? I have a few hours until I have to return to the Helm." Dex was in a good mood; the stress of preparing for take off finally off his shoulders.
Mitch was taken aback at Dex's positive attitude. He was usually such a closed off guy. Mitch didn't know whether to trust it or not.
"Umm, sure." Mitch said hesitantly. They hadn't really spoken since their awkward talk the day before. Mitch still had a lot of questions but that didn't seem like the time to bring them up.
"I just have to warn you I played lead on my university team." Mitch smiled full of pride and intimidation choosing to go with the flow for as long as it lasted.
"I think I can take you Lieutenant". Dex seemed sincere enough.
"We'll see about that, Captain". Mitch raised his eyebrow.
Two hours later Dex collapsed onto the Arena floor exhausted. Mitch dropped down next to him. They were both shirtless, having removed their uniform tops as they started to work up a sweat. Dex was able to hold his own in HoverBall but Mitch wasn't lying when he said he was great. He was able to throw the hallow titanium ball across the hover field with ease and perfect aim. The score was 14-10 Mitch.
"Not bad for an amateur." Mitch said out of breath at Dex, he was beaming proudly. He'd really enjoyed spending time with Dex without the black cloud that seemed to hang around the Captain.
"Huh, I'm pretty sure you cheated at those last two throws." Dex layed back on the sim-grass. It was cool and rubbery against his skin.
"You wish." Mitch was looking Dex's body up and down. Their eyes caught as Dex watched Mitch examining his physique.
Dex nervously cleared his throat and looked away."You worried about your surgery?" Dex tried to break the ice.
Mitch was brought out of a particular naughty daydream of Dex learning the art of sucking cock.
"A little." Mitch shrugged off the question. Dex got the feeling Mitch was avoiding talking about it.
"Well you've got to be a little nervous. I mean its the core of our mission to Rius 22, Lieutenant. I have to admit, I am."
"I said a little, didn't I?" Mitch was getting annoyed for some reason. Why couldn't Dex use his mouth for something other than talking?
"And besides, what's put you in such a chatty mood? I'd think you'd be freaked about my surgery?"
Dex had to admit that the idea of Mitch having surgery so he could have Dex's child did terrify him, but it was what he'd signed up for. He knew going in what Project Phoenix was all about and what would be required of him. His new attitude was partly attributed to that. As Captain of the FSC Prudential, Dex felt that it was his duty to lead by example. After all, he was the one at orientation urging everyone to try to assimilate and get to know their new companions.
"I am freaked out but its part of our mission. And I intend to follow my orders." Dex didn't mean for it to sound so cold. He failed miserably.
Mitch stiffened at Dex's statement. So all this was just him following orders, huh? Anger swept over Mitch.
"Following orders!? Well screw you too, wait... already did that." Mitch said with a deadly edge. He stood up off the sim-grass and put his shirt back on. Dex just had to spoil the moment didn't he?
"Wait, Mitch, I didn't mean to upset you!" Dex was backtracking fast. "I just meant-that I'm going to follow through, you know? Hold up my end of the bargain."
"Bargain? Please, just stop talking." Mitch stood glaring at Dex as Dex got up and put on his shirt as well. Mitch was still fuming but he tried to keep his composure.
"Mitch, I'm sorry." Dex mumbled. Why did dealing with Mitch turn him into a stuttering teenage boy?
"I said stop talking." Mitch was clearly aggravated.
Suddenly a voice came over the ship's com unit.
"Attention. Lieutenant Stone please report to the Maintenance Room on G Deck level 24. Repeat, Lieutenant Stone please report to G Deck." Mitch silently thanked the heavens.
"Well that's me. Look I've got to go."
Dex only nodded, figuring it was safer not to say anything.
"My surgery is tomorrow at 3pm on M Deck, Sick Bay. You can..umm...come if you want." Mitch whispered quietly before he left.
Dex smiled and nodded again. Mitch returned the grin but his heart wasn't in it.
As Mitch stepped onto the ele-port outside the arena he couldn't help but feel that suddenly the clock was ticking down to his doom.
Dex returned to the ship's Helm silently kicking himself for upsetting Mitch. The Captain's mood took a turn for the worst when he saw his Navigating Officer, Sergeant Nathaniel Zimms sporting a black eye.
"Good morning Captain." Nathaniel greeted Dex. A chorus of good mornings followed as the other members of the flight crew addressed the Captain as well.
The Helm was always noisy. There were officers talking and displaying maps, machines beeping, and the whooshing sounds of hover screens turning on; a few companions were there too. It seemed that some people adjusted pretty fast to being part of the Project Phoenix.
"Good morning Zimms. What happened to your face?" Dex asked but he already knew the answer.
"Oh..erm... nothing, Captain. I was playing around with some of the guys yesterday and got clumsy. It's nothing." Nate seemed to be reassuring himself more than Dex.
"Lying to a superior officer is punishable with up to 1 year in the stockade. Do you really want to go there with me, Zimms?" Dex was not in the mood to beat around the bush.
Nate let out a sigh and looked down. Nate was short, with green eyes, milky skin and a mass of red curls. He looked much younger than his 25, especially when he smiled and showed off his dimples.
Nate wrung his hands together and and let out a defeated sigh. "Fine. It was Sten. He was pretty angry last night. But Sir he didn't mean it! He's already apologized." Nate was talking fast like he was covering for a friend when they skipped school.
"Zimms- Nate, this isn't a good sign." Dex put a hand on the young officer's shoulder. "You should go to the Project Office and request a different companion. I'm sure they won't hesitate since you have proof of abuse". Dex spoke in a low voice so only he and Nate could hear. Dex had been protective of Nate since all those years ago when they used to be lovers.
"Thanks Dex, but it won't happen again. I promise." Nate grabbed Dex's hand quickly and squeezed it before turning and walking away.
Dex watched Nate turn away. He wanted to have Sten up for court martial for hurting Nate. But his hands were tied. Unless Nate chose to report Sten to the Project Office then there was nothing he could do.
Dex shook his head sadly and walked over to the Captain's chair and sat down.
"Good Morning Captain Ordenal." the feminine computer acknowledged him.
"Good Morning I.N.E.S" Dex pulled up the navigational unit in front of him. He saw Nate take his own seat to the right of him.
"Are we on course?" Dex asked the Internal Navigation and Exploratory System. INES was the state of the art on board computer that helped the flight crew chart expeditions and controlled the equipment for other world settling and exploration. The com units, ports, and InfoScanns had her voice but were run by the ships AI network.
"Yes Captain. Warp Drive is engaged and we will arrive on Rius 22 in 20 days, 3 hrs, and 17 minutes."
"Thank you INES. Bring up the course charts for me on hover screen." Warp Drive expanded space behind a stationary object in space while narrowing space in front of the stationary object to narrow. Thus bringing the stationary object forward, and moving faster than the speed of light. However, engaging Warp Drive was still very dangerous and a lot could go wrong. Special technicians and engineers were trained in monitoring the equipment and computers that helped it function.
The air in front of Dex shimmered then a 3 dimensional view of the Galaxy appeared. The planets and stars were blinking and rotating completely realistic like you could reach out and touch them. The sun was a bright orange ball, flares spinning off of it every couple of seconds. The other planets in the solar system were displayed clearly as well; Mars with its red surface shifting with wind storms, Saturn's rings slowly orbiting the planet.
The asteroid belt and the outer planets were visible as well. There was Kronesta 17 a planet made mostly of ice. And Hexalon which was used for mining precious metals. In the farthest reaches there was a large, egg shaped planet named Yolaris. It's atmosphere was dark gray and it seas were yellow with and it was covered in rainforest.
People back on earth once thought that Yolaris could have been a possible relocation sight for the planet just after the onset of EDTS but the National Federation had deemed the planet uninhabitable and set it under quarantine. was a small green planet with two large oceans, a dozen continents and little inland seas scattered all about, Rius 22. A white line traced through the sea of dark blue space from Earth to Rius 22. Dex examined the course with expert eyes, committing it to memory.
The voyage looked like it would be uneventful until it came almost within orbit of Rius 22. Rius 22 was similar to Earth but, in addition to a moon, it was also surrounded by what they called a Meteor Net.
A meteor net occurs only in deep space when chunks of rock and ice come in contact with a strong orbital energy field. The meteors are not dense enough to penetrate the atmosphere so instead they hover outside of it. Meteor Nets pose a large threat to space ships trying to go through them.
"Nate, is there a break in the Net around Rius 22?" Dex was concerned about whether the large Prudential could navigate the net safely.
"Yes Captain. But the break is erratic, occurring at will between points 89, sections 3 and 4." Which meant they had to get through the clearing as fast as they could before it closed in on them and they were crushed.
"Great." Dex rubbed his temple the stress slowly settling on his shoulders again. He was responsible for the safe passage of everyone involved in Project Phoenix. Worry lines creased his forehead as he studied the map trying to find any other ways of landing on Rius safely.
"Sir?" Nate was looking at the Captain, well at least trying to since his left eye was slowly swelling shut. Dex ground his teeth.
"Sir if we go around Rius 22 then loop back by Hexalon we can approach the planet from underneath. The Net doesn't extend that far down."
INES traced the alternate route on the 3D map. It looked simple enough.
"That would bring us closer to the energy field extended further out horizontally that way though. Its a gamble." Dex had to choose between trying to maneuver a large starship filled with the fate of the human race through a mine field or risk disrupting the Warp Drive and getting blasted to some unknown location.
Dex frowned harder and ground his teeth. Being a Captain on a Starship wasn't easy and he was the best their was. Dex went with his gut.
Ok, Zimms. I.N.E.S alternate the route on the maps to go around Hexalon and approach Rius 22 from the south.
"Yes, Captain Ordenal." INES swung the hover map around a re charted the map.
"Good eye, Zimms." The Captain addressed Nate. He was genuinely impressed. Sergeant Zimms was proving himself to be a very capable Navigational Officer.
"Thank you Sir." Nate said smiling, showing off his dimples.
Dex couldn't help but smile in return. He and Nate had a special relationship. It had been 3 years since Dex's wife had caught them sleeping together and afterwards Dex had almost fired Nate. But Nate was sweet, childlike, and reminded Dex of Kay. Eventually they had developed a brotherly relationship grown during long missions in deep space and the haunting memory of Kay's death.
"Don't let it go to your head Sergeant." Dex said breaking out of his revelry. Dex still made sure Nate understood that no matter their past Dex was still the Captain of the FSC Prudential first and foremost.
"Yes sir, of course not sir, thank you sir." Nate stuttered, turning back to a set of flight plans.
"Captain Ordenal you have a message waiting for you from M Deck level 12 ." INES stated.
Dex turned his head in time to see the transport tube near him buzz then a letter appeared. Dex reached for it and opened it. It was a reminder that his companion Lt. Mitchell Stone was scheduled for surgery that day at 3pm.
"Wait, this cant be right. Mitch said it was tomorrow." Dex was speaking to himself, frowning. Nate turned to the Captain curiously.
"Hey is that a surgery reminder? I got mine today too! I'm so excited. Hey! I forgot to ask you about your companion. Is everything going well?" Nate was talking fast, his smile huge.
But Dex wasn't listening. He slowly stood up and started heading, gaining speed as he neared the Helm Door.
"INES what time is it?" Dex called out as he neared the doorway.
Dex started running.
Mitch stood outside door to Sick Bay where he had to report for his surgery. He'd been standing outside for about 20 minutes so far but couldn't bring himself to walk in.
Stepping through that door meant that the world Mitch knew and what was expected of a man, of him, would change forever. Mitch was sweating and his eyes darting around.
A green light flashed about fifty feet down the corridor. A human figure suddenly appeared on the ele-port pad.
"MITCH!" Mitch jumped and stared hard at the imposing figure walking fast towards him.
Shit! It was Dex! Mitch didn't want him there especially not pissed off like he was now.
"Sorry can't talk!" Mitch hollered down the corridor at Dex quickly before stepping forward causing the automatic door to slide open as he stepped inside the Sick Bay.
He was hit with a blinding white light. Mitch had to blink a few times and cover his eyes before he could see properly.
Sick Bay was a white washed room with hover chairs placed in the waiting room. A sickly blue glow pulsed under the floor as bright white lights shown down from the ceiling. It smelled like rubbing alcohol and plastic. Mitch swallowed, becoming nauseous. About a dozen FSC officers were sitting on the hover chairs. There were engineers of every field, technical crew men, mess hall workers, scientist and clerks all seated and waiting to be called.
There were was no furniture in the room besides the chairs. The men looked scared and like they were ready to bolt at the first sound. The only piece of decoration was a recruiting poster for the National Federation Army hanging above the check-in desk that was next to another set of white double doors.
Mitch felt sick and his head started spinning. He couldn't do this. The look of pure fear on those men's faces scared the hell out of him.
"Lieutenant M.Stone?" A tall thin man asked appearing beside Mitch. He looked like on of those creepy janitors you used to see in old horror movies. He was bone thin, with yellowing nails and a bald head. His eyes were a dull blue and his teeth were stained brown. The guy had on a lab coat and a set of white scrubs.
"Y-yes?" Mitch heard the door behind him open and could feel Dex's angry presents at his back.
"Mitch you lied to me!" Dex said in a low, angry voice before Dex noticed the other people in the room and their fearful faces. His own face instantly lost his color and his mouth snapped shut.
"Lieutenant your surgery was scheduled for a half hour ago, they've been waiting for you. I'm Doctor Welsh I'll be your primary physician and will be assisting in your surgery. Are you ready to-"
The doctor's words were cut off as a the white double doors that led to the surgical unit busted open. Everyone jumped and turned wild eyes towards the doors. Dex instinctively took a step closer to Mitch and put a protective arm around him.
Another doctor in white scrubs came barreling through the doors with his scrubs covered with blood. Mitch couldn't see what he looked like because half of his the surgeon's face was covered by a surgical mask.
"Doctor Welsh! We need your help in unit 6 quickly, the patient is hemorrhaging!" The doctor was out of breath and speaking loudly.
Dr. Welsh didn't hesitate but followed the man back to the surgical unit.
Mitch didn't even wait until the doors had shut before he bolted for the exit. Dex snapped out of his trance and caught Mitch by the elbow.
"Let go of me!! I can't do this!" Mitch yelled and pulled away from Dex. He was free for about half a step before Dex wrapped both arms around him and pulled him away from the exit door.
"Calm down, Mitch!"
"No! Fuck you! Did you see that guy? He was covered in blood!" Mitch was trying to wrestle out of Dex's grasp. Mitch was a pretty athletic guy but Dex held on to him tightly.
"Just calm down! Its not as bad as it seems. I read all about the procedure its-"
"I don't care! I thought I could handle it but I can't! I can't be pregnant!" Mitch was kicking at Dex as his companion pulled a chair out and turned him around.
"Sit down and relax." Dex spoke as calmly as he could, like he was talking to a frightened horse.
Mitch was red in the face, his eyes constantly moving and his whole body seemed to be shaking. He felt like a sheep in a wolf's den. All Mitch's mind could do was scream: RUN!
"To hell with you! Relax? Are you kidding me? They're gonna cut me open and put chick parts in me so I can get knocked up. I'm a good soldier but not THAT good."
At that little statement the entire lobby broke out into hysterics. Some men started crying others jumped from their seats and headed for the exist as well. A couple guys just stayed seated and stared straight ahead. One guy took two steps then fainted. Their companions tried to comfort them and soothe them but it wasn't helping. Mostly all of them were being restrained by their companions.