Canopus Station
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Where Have You BEEN?

Posted on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 @ 2:34am by Stephen Spires & Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci

Mission: S0E0: What Came Before
Location: Mara’s quarters

After leaving Ingram at the bar, Mara had wandered around the Xilosian area for awhile. One young lady had found her hair so interesting that she had convinced Mara to allowed her to make “art” with it. And of course, since Mara was a bit tipsy from the alcohol served at the Xilosian bar, she had consented. Thus followed about an hour of giggling as the woman attempted to “sculpt” her hair.

This had, of course, failed, and with a promise to teach her how to make hair stay put, Mara had left to head back to her quarters.

And so it was well past midnight when she returned to her quarters to find Spires there with Ravioli. “Hi, Rav!” she greeted the dog, who had decided now was jump on mummy time. “Spires! Dashing as always. No, I take that back. You are looking super hot right now.”

Spires raised his eyebrow and realized right away the familiar sights and sounds of inebriation. "Mara, you're drunk," he teased. "I like drunk sex as much as the next guy, right up to the point where you pass out." He got up from the sofa and gestured toward the head. His keen journalist eye noted the sexy attire and the tussled hair. How good of a night had it been? "Come on. I'll get you in the shower."

"I'm not drunk," promised Mara. "Just a li'l buzzed. But a shower with the sexy guy I just found in my quarters. Yes, please."

"Oh yeah?" Spires chuckled. "Spell 'electro-plasma condut'." The dual hydrosonic showerhead was a piece of luxury, one that Stephen had used on Mara on more than one occasion, and he activated it while he watched her stumble into the room.

"Elect- what?" said Mara, confused. "Okay, so I'm a li'l drunk. Remind me never to go drinking with Ingram again."

Spires felt his brow shoot up in surprise. "Ingram? What occasioned you to go drinking with him?"

"I was going to tell him that we'd completed enough repairs to be considered done," she explained, attempting to get out of her shirt. "Cuz, yanno, a station always has repairs to do. But, then I found him in a X'losian bar. And I forgot all about it."

"Forget about repairs?" Spires pressed. Her sex hair was a particularly worrying detail the longer her story went. "That doesn't sound like you. Must have been a grand ol' time with Ingram..."

"Turns out he can make me forget about work, especially when there's X'losian alcohol involved," she giggled, finally extricating herself from her shirt.

"Uh huh..." Spires was decidedly not turned on. "What else did he make you forget?" Or, rather, who?

"How much alcohol I can handle, apparently," she replied, rubbing one eye.

Spires crossed his arms. "Is there anything else I need to know?" he asked. "'Cause I ain't about to help myself to Ingram's sloppy seconds tonight."

At first, Mara's expression registered confusion. Then, when her inebriated brain finally caught up, her nose wrinkled. "Come on, Spires," she said. "I like Ingram, but not that much."

"Sober Mara? Maybe not. Drunk Mara, though..." He inclined his head, his look almost accusing. "Is there anything she wouldn't do for her big boss man?"

"We're talking about me here, not you," she shot back. "When have I ever given you reason to think I'd sleep with someone else?"

Spires bristled a bit at the accusation. "Takes one to know one, as they say," he countered. "So if I say you'd suck Ingram's greasy cock if it came as a direct order with a commendation, then it can't be far from the truth."

Now Mara actually was appalled. "Where is this even coming from?" she demanded. "Why would you even say that?"

"Because you come in here drunk as a skunk with wild sex hair and a horny disposition," Spires said. "If I know anything, it's the recipe for a sex cocktail. And I know how you respond to pushy men. Ingram is as pushy as they come. It's simple calculus, Mara."

She gave him an incredulous look for a full five seconds. "You are such an idiot, Spires," she finally said. "It just so happens that I met a X'losian woman who wanted to learn how to fix my hair. I have to show her how to use hair spray, but that's beside the point. There is only one pushy man I've ever fucked in my life. And I seem to remember initiating that myself."

"Xilosian," Spires repeated, equally incredulous. "Hairspray. How fucking stupid do you think I am, Mara? If you wanna' fuck someone else, fine, whatever." Clearly it wouldn't be so fine, but that was beside the point. "Just be honest and tell me."

"I am being honest," she replied, sounding hurt this time. "Why would I want anybody else?"

Spires shrugged. "Why does anybody fuck anybody? Fun. Advancement. Intoxication. All equally common if not valid reasons."

"And none of them good enough for me," she replied, crossing to stand before him, stumbling on the way. "In case you hadn't noticed, I'm kind of an introvert. I have neither the energy nor the patience for multiple partners. Sometimes not even for one. But I like you Spires. I love you. That's the reason I'll stick with you as long as you'll let me."

The L word stopped Spires cold. Mara loved him, or so she said. Love was a concept used to inspire people with confidence, or used to manipulate them into a confidence game. Stephen was faced with a choice to decide which this was.

And he chose poorly.

"You love me. Right. Like I'm just going to drop everything and pretend you didn't just paint the station red with your asshole boss. I wasn't born yesterday."

He brushed past her, leaving the showerhead running as he'd left it.

Mara's jaw clenched and she chased him out into the main area of her quarters. "You seriously trust me so little that you would prefer to believe that I'd go sleep with someone else just for the hell of it?" she shouted at his back. "Or is this your way of getting out? You don't want to be with me anymore so you're grasping at straws so you'll have a valid reason to leave!"

"There it is," Stephen spat. "Manipulation. Don't try and turn this back around on me. A little honesty is not asking for much. I am not the bad guy here."

"I don't understand you," she shot back. "You want me to be honest and then when I am and it turns out you're wrong, you can't handle it. Why even ask me if you're just going to believe whatever you want?"

"Because I have eyes!" Spires shouted. "I've lived the lives of five men. I know what adults do. They fuck, lie, cheat, and steal." His voice nearly choked but he managed to swallow it. "I just thought you were different."

“I am different, Spires!” she retorted. “What do you want me to do? Say I slept with him? Do you want me to actually sleep with him?” She felt tears coming to her eyes and clenched her jaw. “It hurts, Spires. That you actually think I'm that cheap.”

Spires wanted to believe her. Life experience told him it was a virtual certainty she was lying. It demanded his disbelief. But she was sticking to her guns.

"Fine," he said at length. "Go tell him off. Tell him exactly what he is. He'll forgive you. You're both drunk. Tell him he's a slimy little shit dick you wouldn't touch with a 39½ foot pole, and I'll believe your story."

Mara was so frustrated, she felt like she was going to cry. But then a memory pierced her alcohol-muddled brain. “Spires, I really don’t want to say something like that to my direct superior,” she said. “If that’s what it takes for you to believe me, I’ll do it, but I want you to remember something very important first: I believed you!”

Rather than speak, Stephen just narrowed his eyes and shook his head.

“On Carpathia,” she replied, frustrated tears swimming in her eyes. “When we all went to the bar and that random guy chased you around accusing you of sleeping with his wife. You said you didn’t and even gave an implausible scenario and I believed you! I knew what you were like and yet I believed you! And you know what I’m like and you won’t believe me! Why, Spires? Why is it so hard to believe that I have no interest in fucking anybody else but you?” She took a deep breath and swallowed the lump that had risen in her throat. “If you still want me to say that to someone I consider a friend, I’ll do it, but I’d really rather not. Even if we are both drunk.”

She almost had him there, but one truth did not prove another lie as true. Not unrelated as they were. "So I'm supposed to decide that despite all appearances, you did not just drunk-fuck your boss whose ass you can't kiss often enough because you didn't believe an enraged psychopath who said I banged a total stranger he happened to be married to?" Stephen tapped his temple with his two fingers. "Apples and oranges, Mara. Apples and oranges!"

Mara’s jaw clenched and she sighed agitatedly. “Fine!” she growled, stomping towards the door. “Well? Are you coming?”

Well, this was a surprise. Stephen did not expect Mara to go through with it. She must be drunker than he thought. "After you, principessa."

"Don't call me that," she muttered as she stormed into the corridor. She got three steps beyond the door when she realized she had taken her shirt off and went back to put it on again. Finally ready, she stomped all the way to Ingram's quarters where she pressed her thumb to the chime. When the door opened, revealing Ingram, she said, "will you kindly tell Mr. Spires what we did earlier?"

Ingram narrowed his eyes at the two, reached a hand beyond the side of the door, and pressed a button. The door hissed closed, and the heavy clunk of mechanical locks sliding into place. Then the exterior control padd went dark and off line.

Mara stood there staring incredulously at the door for a moment before a fist raised of its own volition and pounded twice on Ingram's door. "You piece of shit!" she shouted angrily. "I thought we were friends! Pencil dick! Get out here so I can tell you to your face! I WOULDN'T TOUCH YOU WITH A... GRINCH POLE!"

The entire situation broke Stephen's frustrated demeanor. He began laughing, slowly at first but it soon turned hysterical. "Yeah, pencil dick!" he shouted at the closed door. "Go fuck yourself with a micro caliper!"

“See if I ever go drinking with you again!” Mara grumbled to the closed door, arms crossed. “I’m going to bed!” And she turned on her heels and stalked back in the direction of her own quarters.

"All right, Mara," Stephen said. "I believe you. I'm not sorry for my questions, but I'm sorry we fought over them." A sly grin came over his face. "Bed sounds mighty good right about now though..."

Mara whirled on Spires. “Never question my loyalty again!” she said hotly, eye blazing.

"Don't come home drunk with sex hair after drinking with your work crush," Stephen retorted with a sarcastic tone. He knew he looked back, but damned if he'd admit it.

She rolled her eyes. Crush indeed! Ingram would be lucky if she didn’t add bed bugs to his quarters after this. “Deal,” she said, then swayed a bit. “Remind me to stick to one drink at Xylosian bars from now on.”

"How do they even have a bar up already?" Stephen asked. "They're fucking refugees for God's sake. What next? A shipyard?"

“The first thing any refugee needs is a bar,” said Mara as if this were the most obvious thing in the universe. “Anyway, if you want to share my bed, get moving.” And she turned, swaying a bit as she did, and headed down the corridor.

As Stephen watched Mara walk, he saw the telltale sway of her hips that she knew drove him wild. Fool that he may be, he couldn't help but grin. Tonight's angry makeup session was going to be out of this world.


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