Chapter 2: Firsts
Prallan woke up with a splitting headache. The room spun, and he shut his eyes hard to get it to stop. He had no memory of what he had done last night, and several days before that were a little hazy. He recalled getting his new uniforms and other personal effects ready for his transfer to the Hermus, smiling proudly at the single gold flame embroidered on the shoulders and collar where before was a single red flame. Lucky officers had those flames spread across their uniforms as swiftly as an inferno, but for him, the single golden flame was as glorious as it was the uniform of a Fleet Admiral.
Something moved beside him in the bed, and he opened his eyes again. Lying with her face away from him was a woman with dark hair and olive skin. He felt a wave of panic and embarrassment as he could not remember who she was, and realized they were both naked. He slowly snuck out of the bed, dressing himself as quickly as he could from the clothes that were strewn about the room. He had made it to the door when a soft voice called.
“Prallan, where are you going?” He turned, and saw the woman sitting up in the bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “We have five hours until the Hermus arrives. Come back to bed.” It took a minute to process in Prallan’s bewildered brain that this beautiful young woman was the same crewman who he had found burned and bleeding on the way to the Armory. Panick gripped his heart as the implications got through to his brain. He had slept with a crewman who, through the technicality of neither of them having taken a new assignment yet, was under his command. As the most senior surviving officer, it was a major breach of policy and ethics, and his gold flame would wither into a red one at best, if he wasn’t court martialed out of the navy altogether.
“Did we….oh, burning spirits I’m done for.” Prallan moaned, sinking to the floor against the door. “Career ruined because I couldn’t resist a beautiful woman.”
She smirked at him, and got up out of the bed. The sheets slid from her naked form, revealing a body that made him think that it might have all been worth it. He noticed that her arm still had several discolored patches from the regenerative therapy. It would go away with time, leaving her with unmarred beauty. “How much of last night do you remember, dear Prallan?” She asked, stepping over to one of the small tables in the room. There was a stack of papers on it, along with several cards and pictures.
“I don’t even remember much of the last two days, yet. Once I get my wits together, maybe I can figure it out.”
“That’s a shame, but your memory will return, I hope.” She picked up one of the cards, and walked towards him. “This should make you feel considerably better.” She handed him the card.
He looked it over. It was a fairly generic congratulations card. Upon opening it, he saw the bold flowing script that matched the bold flowing personality of its owner. “I am happy to have signed off on the order allowing your union to Crewman Lily Brishon. It is my firm belief that every good young officer needs a strong and supportive spouse. Your courtship may have been short, but I wish you many happy years together.” It was signed Defense Admiral Hernst Wintan.