CHAPTER 17

The Voyage Back

This story contains sex between minor boys and teen-agers. If such things
offend you, or you are not at least 18 years of age, then please don't read
on. This story is not true, but who knows, maybe some day it will be.


It was Friday morning. Some things on the ship were returning to normal.
The boys headed for breakfast. The dining halls were running
again. Everyone was asking Scooter and Douglas about what they did during
the storm. They both didn't like talking about it. Douglas said they did
it only because nobody was in Engineering.

"So when is the Captain giving you your medals?" Mike asked.

"I heard he's not real happy," Douglas said.

"Why? You saved the ship and everybody's life. What is there not to be
happy about?"

"I don't know. He just isn't."

"Well, if he needs any help figuring out you guys are heroes I'll go to the
bridge and let him know."

Just then the Captain's voice came over the speakers. They stopped talking
to listen.

"This is the Captain speaking. As you all know we've had a rough couple of
days. We got into a warp storm, which usually is a little bouncy, but
nothing like what happened to us. We figure because we had the warp
enhancer going it made the effects of the storm much larger. We didn't shut
it down going into the storm because leaving warp has destroyed ships
before and we didn't know what suddenly changing speeds would do. The whole
event has caused some strange things to happen.

"Before I talk about that I want to tell you that we lost three lives
during the storm. Crewman Richards who worked in the Life Support section,
passenger David Smith, and Crewman Gray, from Engineering. Let's have a
moment of silence for them."

The whole ship became quiet and then the Captain went on. "Next I want to
make some announcements praising those who helped so much during and after
the storm." He mentioned some crewmen and a couple of passengers. Then he
said the announcement that got all the boys' attention.

"I want to thank the upper school students. The girls, led by Lisa, helped
so much in getting the dining areas ready to serve meals again." None of
the boys knew that and thought that was very cool news. "I also want to
thank Robert Charles, the upper class president, for organizing the boys in
helping with injured passengers. Robert Charles showed great leadership and
responsibility and courage through the crisis and inspired all the students
in his class."

The Captain went on to say something else but they lost what it was.

"What a bunch of bullshit," Alex said. "He never did a thing. We did that
ourselves. If it was up to him we'd still be cleaning that fucking office."

"Shhhh," Douglas said. "He's going on to something else."

"Lastly, I have something you all need to know. Somehow the storm and the
warp enhancer did something we don't understand right now. We got knocked
off course. We got sent off course at speeds we didn't think were
possible. Right now according to our calculations, to get to Alpha Orion IV
will take us a year at full warp."

Noise broke out all over the dining hall, but the Captain went on. "We
don't know how we got sent so far in two days. And we don't know how to
make it happen again. But the warp enhancer right now can take three
months off the return trip. This afternoon I will tell you all how we plan
to make our voyage home, after I talk with all my senior staff. I need you
all to be brave. The ship is in one piece. Our warp drive works. We will
make it back. I'm going to need all your help to do that. We will try to
keep things as normal as possible. This includes school, which will start
again on Monday. Thank you."

The boys all looked at each other.

"He never said a word about Scooter and Douglas. Nothing. You saved this
ship and the hero is nerf nuts for doing nothing but sit on his fat ass,"
Alex said. "I can't believe this ship. The crew sucks, the ship is a year
away from anywhere, and for that whole time we're stuck with Robert
Charles. Maybe it's time for me to go kick the shit out of him. I'm tired
of him."

"Well, Scooter and I didn't go up to Engineering so that the Captain could
tell us what big heroes we are. We just did it because we had to do
it. Scooter's dad told us what he had to do. If his leg wasn't hurt it
would have been him doing it."

Mike said, "Douglas. Scooter. We all know better. To us you guys are
heroes. End of conversation." Douglas and Scooter blushed, but didn't say
anything else.

Just as the table was finishing breakfast Robert Charles came in with
Jordan, Matthew, Lisa, and Carmen. He walked up to the table and looked at
the eight boys there. While they were looking at the table, Matthew snuck
a note next to Mike. Mike quickly picked it up and put it in his pocket.

"I don't remember hearing Scooter and Douglas on the list of heroes. Too
bad. I guess running around trying to crash the ship isn't the way to
go. Time to take lessons from me again." He laughed and walked away.

The boys got up after he left. Alex wanted to follow Robert Charles and
finally kick his ass the way he deserved to have it kicked, but went with
everybody else. Mike, Jim, Scooter, and Douglas were going with Alex
andStevie to their room. Ryan and Travis said they wanted to be alone for a
while. The games room was closed until the next day and school wasn't
starting until Monday so everybody was trying to find things to do.

On the way they ran into Brett and Jeremy who were heading for breakfast.
They said they slept in, but all the boys figured more happened than
sleeping in.

When they got to Alex's room Alex asked Mike about the note.

"Oh, you saw him leave it."

"Yeah. I hope Robert Charles didn't."

"What does it say, Mike?"

Mike pulled it out of his pocket and read it aloud. "Please meet me as soon
as you can. Don't tell anyone. Don't call me tell me at lunch. Your friend
Matthew."

"Your friend?" Alex asked. "Not bad from some kid you supposedly beat up.
When are you going to meet him?"

"After lunch I suppose."

"Why can't you call him?" Jim asked.

"Because I'm not allowed to see him except at school and stuff," Mike
answered. "His parents still believe I'm the one who beat him up."

The boys talked a little more. Then they left to meet Marie. She was going
to take them down to the cargo hold to check on Alex and Stevie's
instruments. Marie was waiting for them at the elevator. They all went
down. The cargo hold was a mess. Crewmen were working on cleaning it
up. Alex saw it first. The keyboard was smashed. Then Stevie saw the pieces
of his guitar.

Mike gave Alex a big hug. "I'm so sorry, love. Now your music is gone."

"Well, it is and it isn't. Our best instruments are packed away. They are
in a cargo hold somewhere. If they didn't get smashed crashing around. But
at least it's not hopeless. I doubt we can get to them until we get to AO
IV. If we get there."

"We will. It will just take longer."

"Yeah it will. And did you think about this? Do we have enough air? Food?
Fuel?"

"No. I didn't think of that. Have you heard anything about that Marie?"

"No, I haven't. As far as I know we go back to warp as soon as they have
the warp drive checked. I don't know how long that will take. And that
somehow we got a long way from home. I don't know anything else."

"See, Alex. We don't have anything to worry about," Mike said.

"Not yet, anyway. But I think we will soon," Alex replied.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Robert Charles watched Brett and Jeremy come into the dining hall for
breakfast. He decided to hang there and wait for them to finish. Jordan and
Matthew left and so did the girls. Robert Charles said he would find them
later.

When Brett and Jeremy finished he got up and followed them out. He caught
up to them and asked if they could come to his room, that he had something
to tell them. They didn't really want to, but decided it couldn't hurt and
it might help them since Robert Charles was the class leader. So they said
yes.

Robert Charles was all niceness until they got to his room. He had a whole
separate cabin than his dad did. When they got to the room he told the two
boys he had a few things to say.

"Like what?" Jeremy asked.

"Who did you guys vote for?" Robert Charles.

"And what business is that of yours?" Jeremy asked.

"I just want to know how much I can count on you."

"Well, if you want to know the truth, I voted for you because of the Mike
stuff. But now I'm not so sure it was the right thing. You sure aren't
making many friends."

Robert Charles felt himself getting a little mad. He didn't like Jeremy's
attitude. He had a big mouth like that little fucker, Alex. And they both
would pay for it somewhere along the line.

"A real leader doesn't. Making friends isn't important. If you lead you're
going to make people mad."

"Douglas leads. And he makes friends."

"Douglas leads? Hahahahaha. Then why wasn't he elected? Douglas doesn't
know how to lead. He was president of some school. Big deal. That just
means doing what the teachers told him."

"And what makes you a good leader?"

"Power. I know how to get it and use it. Douglas knows nothing about
power. He thinks leading is being a nice guy. But in the end people with
power beat nice guys.

"Well, Brett? How did you vote?"

Brett had voted for Douglas, and was glad of it. But he didn't want Robert
Charles to know and he didn't want to lie. So he just stood there saying
nothing and wishing Jeremy hadn't agreed to come to this room.

Robert Charles walked up to Brett and pushed him up against the wall.

"Hey, leave my friend alone," Jeremy said. He started moving in on Robert
Charles.

"Stay right there punk!" Robert Charles said. "Let me teach you guys about
power. I'm not going to hurt him."

He let Brett go but kept him against the wall. "Now, your parents are on AO
IV. And they are poor and trying to make a farm work, right?"

Jeremy nodded his head.

"And to make it they have to have everything okay with the colonial
government. Like all the right papers and money paid and stuff, right?"

Jeremy didn't like where this was going. "I guess so."

"And of course you know who the colonial Governor is."

"Yeah."

"Enough said. I just might need a vote of yours in class sometime. And if I
do, just remember, my dad and I are close. Real close. And he can make life
miserable for your parents if he just happened to want to."

"This is a democracy. Even on AO IV. You can't do that."

"It's called power. And I wouldn't risk your parents by trying to find out
whether I have it ro not.. Your parents are a long way off right now. And I
have a long memory. When we get to AO IV, you might just be real happy you
have me as your friend."

Then he turned to Brett. "And I know all about your rich daddy. But all his
money doesn't give him power over my dad." He shoved Brett back up against
the wall. Brett felt tears coming on. "There is another kind of power
too. This kind!" Robert Charles said, and he swung his fist right at
Brett's stomach. Brett flinched and closed his eyes, but Robert Charles
stopped just short of hitting him. Brett could feel the fist touch him. He
was shaking.

"That is more power. Don't cross me and we will be really good friends.
Cross me or vote against me, and you will be very sorry. I won't stop next
time. Your friend here will be helpless to stop me and your dad won't be
able to do a thing about it."

"You're the one who hit Ryan and Matthew aren't you?"

Robert Charles didn't say a thing. He just smirked. He told Jeremy and
Brett they could go. As they left the room he said, "Remember who has the
power."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Captain was starting a meeting in his office. There was a lot to
discuss. The meeting included him, the First Officer, the Chief Engineer,
the Environmental Engineer, the Governor, Scooter's dad, and Doug's
dad. Doug's dad was there because he was an engineer and the Captain
thought he might have some ideas to add. Jim's mom was there too because
she knew so much about life support and making clean air and water.

He told them that he would report on how the ship was doing. Then they
would talk about how they would get home. He said the warp engines were
okay. They were totally checked out by Engineering. Chief Engineer Paxton
said that whatever sent them running through warp space like they did
hadn't hurt the engines.

"Gordon checked out the Warp Enhancer and it seems to be okay."

"Whatever those kids did to it didn't damage it then?" the Captain asked.

Scooter's dad looked at the Captain and said, "One of those kids happens to
be my son. The other is Larry's. Those kids saved your ship Captain."

"How? By sending it dropping down almost 90 degrees? By going up there
punching in numbers hoping something will happen. Not only were they
irresponsible, Mr. Starr, but so were you in sending them up there to do
it." Everybody could see Captain Fuller was angry.

Scooter's dad pounded the table with his fist. "You know the story. The
phone went out when I was talking to Chief Paxton. I gave Scooter the code
I was sure would work. There wasn't time to get hold of you. Scooter was
going to give the numbers to the Chief. He wasn't sent up there to put them
in. The Chief already agreed to enter the code...."

"That's a lie," Chief Paxton said. "You never gave me any codes, and I
never said I would put them in." Chief Paxton knew that if he said he was
going to put the codes into the Warp Enhancer without the Captain's
permission he would be in big trouble. So he said he was never going to do
it and never told Scooter's dad that he was.

"Let's discuss this later, gentlemen. I have time set aside for that.
Right now we have to talk about getting home." Captain Fuller was letting
everybody know he was in charge.

He explained that they were a year away from Alpha Orion IV at full warp
speed and that they only had nine months of fuel left at that speed. They
had six months of food at regular rations. The big thing was the life
support. It could go on for a year but it would keep going down. After six
months the air would start getting worse and worse and the water dirtier
and dirtier. The Environmental Engineer was working with Jim's mom to make
it work better so the air and water could stay cleaner longer. The ship was
made to run for a lot longer than a single voyage. It was supplied to go a
round trip and then some in case of emergency. They might have to cut
rations but they should do okay.

Then he asked Scooter's dad how much time and fuel the Warp Enhancer could
save them.

"If you use it the way it was tested, it will save you a month on the same
fuel. We get one month closer before we run out. If you use it like you
were using it then we can make it there on the fuel we have."

"Well, each day counts for air and food and fuel. Chief Engineer Paxton
thinks he has found a way to make the Enhancer work even better. From
things he learned getting the warp drive and the enhancer ready. Chief, you
want to tell us?"

"I found out the Warp Enhancer can be coded to go even faster than we were
going when we hit the storm. Why weren't we ever told about that, Gordon?"

"It was never tested. When we had problems with it getting too hot at the
speed we were going, we decided to wait to test it that fast. Our
calculations showed that there could be a problem with vibrations in the
warp drive too. We figured what we had was safe and tested if it was used
right. We were going to do more tests at faster speeds when the
"Starkeeper" came back and we could check everything out. It's a shame some
people were in a hurry and we weren't allowed to fully test the enhancer
before installing it on this ship"

"So if we went at that speed," the Captain asked, "how long would it take
us?"

"If we went at the top speed possible, it would take 6 months. But I
wouldn't recommend it."

"Why not? That would be the exact right time. Our air and water would still
be fresh. We wouldn't have to ration food. It's perfect."

"Because it has never been tested. And because it will use up extra fuel at
that speed."

"How much extra?"

Scooter's dad did some calculating on his hand computer. "Instead of nine
months you will have six months."

"Exactly right again. I don't see a problem here," the Captain said. "We
had no problem at all with over-heating. The temperature gauge never moved
the whole time we were in warp."

"Did you check that? Did you run the computer printouts every day like I
instructed? I know nobody would let me look at them if you did."

The Captain looked at Chief Paxton. "Well, Chief?"

"I saw them every day. Nothing happened."

"Why wasn't Gordon allowed to look at them? He is on board to make sure the
enhancer works right."

"Everything was normal. There was nothing to show. We checked the printout
every day."

"Do you know the code for the top speed?" the Captain asked Gordon.

"Yes."

"Then let me tell you this. We are going at top speed. Chief you will show
Gordon the tapes twice a day no matter how perfect they look. Is that
clear?"

"Yes, sir." Chief Paxton was not happy.

Scooter's dad spoke up. "Captain, I just want to say that I disagree with
you again. Tapes or no tapes the Warp Enhancer has never been tested at
that speed. We have enough food, water, fuel, and air to make it if we are
careful. Why risk everybody's life for this?"

"Because it cuts our time in half. Because we are where nobody has been
before. Because I plan on getting everybody back quickly and safely. And I
mean safely. We don't have to take a year. It's a big part of everybody's
life. That's all for now. Gordon and Larry, I want you to be back here
after lunch with your sons. Number One, I want you to be here too."

Captain Fuller got up and left the room. Then everybody else followed.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ryan and Travis lay in Ryan's bed together. Travis had just made love to
Ryan. They were both still glowing from the sex.

"I love you, Ryan. You are so sweet and special."

"I love you, Travis. I'm so glad you will be with me when we get back.
I'll tell you this. I'm almost not sorry this trip will take a year. I'm in
no hurry to see my parents. I don't like them and they don't like me."

Travis kissed Ryan and stroked him gently. "I'm sorry my love. I will
always be here for you. You know that."

The boys hugged tightly on the bed and fell asleep.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When lunch came the usual group of eight sat together. Ryan and Travis woke
up in time to make lunch. Brett and Jeremy came in and Alex invited them to
sit at the table next to them, but they went off to another table. They all
talked about the two after lunch meetings. Mike was going to meet with
Matthew, and Scooter and Douglas were going to be meeting with the
Captain. One meeting was a mystery and the other could be trouble.

Matthew came into the room alone. He walked up to the table and stood next
to Mike.

"Jordan and Robert Charles and the girls are in dining hall 2. I told them
I wasn't feeling good. Did you get my note?"

Yes, I did," Mike said. "Want to meet in my cabin in 15 minutes?"

"Alone?"

"Well, yeah. Unless you want somebody else there with you?"

"No. It's okay." Matthew was real quiet and shy. "I'll see you then." He
walked out of the dining hall.

In a few minutes, everybody except Jeremy and Brett was finished with their
lunch. They got up and left.

Matthew walked back to the other dining hall and sat with Robert Charles
and Jordan. They asked him if he was feeling better. He said not really
and that he was going to go to his cabin and lie down. He got up and
left. Jordan looked at Robert Charles who nodded. Jordan got up and
followed Matthew.

Matthew headed straight to Mike's cabin. Jordan waited for Matthew to turn
corners and then he would follow him to the next corner. Finally he lost
him. But he knew he went into a cabin in the section. He would look at the
chart in his dad's room and find out whose cabin was there.

Matthew was scared when Mike let him into the cabin. Brad was gone to a
lounge so it was just Mike and Matthew. Matthew was still a little afraid
of Mike, but he had to tell somebody, and Mike kept saying he would be
there for him.

Mike told Matthew to sit down and asked him if he wanted something to
drink. Matthew was so nervous his mouth was dry. He ended up asking for a
Coke and Mike got it for him.

Matthew was sitting on the couch. Mike sat on a chair across from him and
smiled.

"Okay buddy, what's on your mind?"

Matthew sat there almost shaking. He felt like he wanted to cry. He knew
for sure now that Mike didn't beat him up. He knew he could trust him. But
he was afraid of Jordan and Robert Charles finding out he was talking to
Mike. He was realizing more and more that he was afraid of them.

"You know...," he started. Then he started crying. Mike got up and sat next
to the little boy on the couch, but his arm around him and hugged him close
to his side.

"Don't worry, Matthew. You're safe here with me. Nobody is going to hurt
you. I'm your friend and I will protect you. I promise."

Matthew just laid his head against Mike and sobbed. Mike could feel his
shirt get damp from his tears. Matthew let out all the hurt he had inside
since they voyage began. He lay against Mike and shook. Mike just hugged
him and stroked his back and face and hair and told him it was all
okay. When Matthew finally calmed down and could breath normally, Mike
gently asked him to tell him what was bothering him.

"You know how...how RC is like our leader?"

"Yes. Unfortunately."

"Well..he..he didn't really win the election."

Mike stared at him. He wasn't sure he heard it right. "You want to say that
again?"

"The votes. They were fake."

"But I marked a ballot. Mr. Z collected all of them. How could they be
fake? And how do you know this?"

Matthew was getting nervous. He was feeling like Mike wasn't believing him.

"They switched them. I heard Robert Charles and Jordan and Lisa talk about
it."

"Who switched them?"

Matthew sat there quietly. He felt tears coming again. This wasn't working
at all. Mike wasn't believing him.

Mike hugged him again. He knew what Matthew was thinking. "Hey, little bro,
don't cry. I believe you. I just have to think this over. This is very
weird news." Matthew felt a couple of sobs. Without thinking Mike kissed
his wet cheek. Matthew looked at him and smiled. Every minute he knew that
the big kid next to him would never hurt him. And he called him little bro.
He liked that. Suddenly he wasn't feeling so lonely.

Mike kept holding Matthew. "Who switched them?" he said quietly.

"The RD."

Mike remembered the RD coming in with a lot of papers after the election
that day. He wondered what happened to the original ballots if they were
switched.

"So that means Douglas actually won the election?"

"I dunno."

"Because nobody ever counted the original ballots?"

"I guess."

Mike kept holding on to Matthew. Matthew gave him a hug back. Mike was
thinking what he should do next.

"Please don't tell anybody I told you. Robert Charles will kill me. So will
Jordan."

"Remember, I promised you nobody will hurt you. That means nobody. But I
think we should tell Douglas."

"Please....no."

"Listen. You can trust Douglas. Totally. You can trust my whole group. At
least eight of us."

"Eight? Who?"

"Me. Douglas. Alex and Stevie. Jim, Ryan, Travis, and Scooter."

"What about Jeremy and Brett?"

"We're not sure about them. They haven't really taken to our group. We
think they are tight with RC. But I think they should be there."

"Your group needs a name."

"You're right. Good idea. Do have an idea for one?"

Matthew thought a second. "The eight balls?"

Mike started laughing. Matthew was hurt at first, then he could tell Mike
wasn't laughing at him, and he started laughing too. Pretty soon Mike was
tickling Matthew and he was laughing harder. They both laughed until they
were crying.

"Hey, are you crying again?"

"Yeah," Matthew giggled. "But so are you." Mike tickled him some more until
they both got tired of it. Then they sat there on the couch. Matthew was
leaning his head against Mike, thinking how safe he felt.

"Now, little bro. I think we should tell Douglas."

"Okay," Matthew said. "I trust you." He turned and hugged Mike so tight he
almost squeezed the air out of him. "Big bro."

Mike squeezed Matthew back. "Let's go see if his meeting is done yet."



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Scooter, his dad, Douglas, his dad, the Chief, the Purser, and the Captain
were in a conference room sitting at a table. They were waiting for the
first officer. The Captain's communicator went off. It was the First
Officer.

"I have to help solve a problem in Engineering. If you could get Lt. Jones
to sit in I will get there as soon as I can." Lt. Jones was the Second
Officer.

"Is it a serious problem, Number One?" The Captain asked.

"No. Just a something I need to check out and it's taking longer than I
thought. Tell the Chief it's nothing to worry about. I'll be right there."

"Okay, Number One." The Captain called Lt. Jones, who came to the room in a
few minutes.

The Captain started the hearing. He told both boys and their dads what
their rights were. He was accusing them of putting the ship, crew, and
passengers in deadly danger. He said that this was very serious and it
could keep them locked up not only for the rest of the voyage, but also
when they reached Alpha Orion IV. He said that the three crew members would
vote on whether they were guilty of innocent after the hearing was
over. The ship's rules said the First Officer, the Purser, and the Chief
Engineer were supposed to be the voters. But Lt. Jones was sitting in for
the First Officer.

Next the Captain read what they were charged with. Going into the crew area
without permission. Going into Engineering without permission. Then
endangering the ship by putting in a code that caused the ship to make a
sudden change in direction and end up lost light years off course. He asked
them if they were guilty or not guilty.

Both boys said very loudly, "Not guilty."

The Second Engineer then went over how they got into Engineering. Then he
talked about how they put the code into the Warp Enhancer and the ship went
into a wild spin.

Scooter's dad talked next. He told about his talk with Chief Paxton and how
he knew the codes would work to slow the ship down a little bit at a
time. He said Chief Paxton agreed to put in the codes, but the phone went
out when he started giving the code and he had no crew communicators. He
also said that all the codes were six digits, and that he wanted everybody
to understand that five digits or less wouldn't do anything.

Then it was the boys' turn. They both told how the ship did the wild spin
before they put the sixth digit in, that they got it in at the last second
before slipping away. They didn't say that Scooter had no idea what digit
he put in last, since they figured it must have been the right one.

Next the Second Engineer said that the ship probably slowed on its own
because it was kicked out of the storm by the wild ride. But that didn't
excuse what the two boys did. He said they definitely weren't heroes and
should be punished. He said they were all lucky to be alive.

Doug's dad then talked about how both boys were good kids with excellent
records and backgrounds. He said they would never do anything to endanger
anyone and were doing what they were told would save the ship.

The Captain finished by saying there was no evidence the two boys slowed
them down and out of danger, and every bit of evidence that the code
numbers they put in got them into major danger. He then told the three
officers to vote. They got up and left. The Captain left and said they
would call for him when they got back.

The officers were back in 10 minutes. The Captain was called back.

"Have you reached a verdict?" he asked.

"Yes, Sir, we have," the Chief said.

"What did you decide?"

"On the charges of endangering the ship we find both boys guilty. We
figured this charge is so serious that the rest of charges be dropped since
they mean nothing."

Scooter, Douglas, and their dads sat there stunned. Both Scooter and
Douglas felt like crying, but they sat there quietly and bravely. They felt
like they had been slugged.

The Captain told them that they had been found guilty of very serious
charges. The smaller charges were dropped, but they were old enough to get
the full punishment for the serious one. He had already made out what it
would be. He asked both boys to stand up. He asked them if they understood
that only luck had kept them from destroying his ship.

They both nodded. They knew better. Scooter's dad had gone through the
whole thing with them. And he had no doubt they saved the ship.

"Gentlemen, I am going to sentence you both to...," but before he could
finish the First Officer came in with the Second Engineer.

"Sir. I'm sorry for interrupting, but before you say anything else we think
you should see this."

Another crewman rolled in a monitor and a vid machine. The First Officer
put a disk in.

"Number One, may I ask what is going on?"

"Sir. Everybody is quick to blame somebody for what happened. Especially
two young boys, who I heard were just found guilty of doing something that
they never did." As soon as he said that everybody started talking at
once. The Captain barked for order.

"Do you mind explaining that, Number One?"

"Watch this vid. We put the read out of the Warp Enhancer next to the
readout of what the ship did. We had the computer do it exactly to the
100th of a second. Watch closely."

Scooter's dad was fascinated. He had thought about this. He knew it could
be done, but he couldn't convince the Captain or the Chief. They said it
could only be done on a research ship like Scooter's dad used to test the
Warp Enhancer.

The First Officer started playing the vid. All Scooter and Douglas saw were
numbers. But they meant something to the officers and to Scooter's dad. The
First Officer explained it so the rest could understand it.

"This shows the ship is going way beyond normal warp speed. It also shows
that it left the storm a long time ago. Only nobody knew it because the
ship was out of control. But it still was on a rough ride because of the
incredible speed. Now, right here it starts getting worse again. Whatever
kind of space we entered into is not a smooth place. Okay, right here you
see the code numbers going in. 7 1 3. The ship shakes very hard here. The
energy from the Warp Enhancer is incredible. Now goes in 8, then 5. Now the
spin happens. We all know it takes 6 digits to enter a code, so they didn't
do a thing. The ship dips and is totally out of control. It is probably ten
to fifteen minutes from breaking apart.

"Check out the third column of numbers. The stress on the ship is already
more than it was built for. Now the 7 goes in. The code is entered, AFTER,
the spin starts. The rest of this readout shows that even though the ride
is rough every minute after the code is entered the speed and the stress go
down until we can finally get control of the ship back.

"Captain. These boys don't deserve punishment. They should be given a medal
for saving this ship and everybody on it." He sat down.

Captain Fuller didn't look happy. He didn't like having his First Officer
make him look like a fool. But right now there was nothing he could do. He
looked at Scooter and Douglas.

"There will be no medals. All the charges are dropped. But I will not make
heroes of you two. I don't ever want somebody else thinking they can run
around playing hero on my ship. Number One, I want to see you in my
office. You are all dismissed."

The Captain got up to leave. But Scooter's dad stopped him. "Captain Fuller
I just want to say this. You didn't even have the courtesy to apologize to
those boys. They saved your ship and your life and you treat them like
little criminals. Those boys are heroes and you know it.

"I've served on research ships, exploration ships, science ships, and here
on a great passenger liner. I know that some ship has the to have the worst
Captain in the entire fleet. Well, Sir, with all due respect, I think I'm
talking to him right now." Scooter's dad put his arm around Scooter's
shoulder. "I'm proud of my son. I'm proud of his friend Douglas. I'm proud
of what they did. It took amazing courage to do that on a ship that was
ready to fly apart. I heard no apology and no thank you."

The Captain glared at him. "Do you have anything else, Mr. Starr?

"No, Sir. I think I've had my say."

"Very well. I want the new code given to the Chief. Dismissed."

The Captain walked out. The First Officer came up to him. Scooter stopped
him and shook his hand. Then his dad did. Douglas and his dad did the same
thing.

"Thank you, Sir," Douglas said.

"I didn't do anything but make sure we found out the truth, son. I didn't
think this ship just slowed down on it's own because the weather got
better. Scott's dad is right. You two are heroes. I'm honored to have
helped you. I'd be honored to have you on my ship when I get one." Then he
walked out too.

The boys and their dads left the room. "Boys," Scooter's dad said, "you
never heard this. Captain Fuller is an asshole. First Officer Benson is the
kind of man I'm used to seeing as captain. He will make a great one. I hope
this didn't get him into bad trouble. Captain Fuller wasn't very happy with
him."

When Douglas got to his cabin his mom and dad both hugged him. Told him how
proud they were. And how proud they were of Scooter.

Douglas went into his room. His message light was flashing. He had a
message from Mike. He needed to meet him right away.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A half hour later Douglas was in Mike's room with him and Matthew. First he
told them what happened at the hearing. Then listened to Matthew tell his
story. This time Matthew told it with a lot more confidence. His big
brother was hugging him and telling him it was safe. When he finished
Douglas shook his head. He couldn't believe what he just heard. The big
high he was on after the hearing was tumbling down.

"What do you think we should do?" Mike asked him.

Douglas thought then said, "Whatever we do has to be with Matthew's
approval. He took a big risk coming to tell us. And we don't need him in
any kind of trouble. He trusted us."

"I agree and I knew you would say that." He gave Matthew a squeeze.

"Matthew, I think we need to do two things. But only if you say yes."

Matthew nodded his head.

"First, we tell the rest of the group. I mean Alex, Stevie, Scooter,
Travis, Ryan, and Jim. I trust them all totally. Is that okay with you?"

Matthew nodded yes.

Mike added that he thought Brett and Jeremy should be there even if they
didn't totally trust them. Douglas wasn't so sure about it, but Matthew
nodded yes. They all agreed they would be real careful before saying
anything.

"Second, we tell one of the only two crew members we can trust. We tell
Marie."

Matthew agreed again.

"I also think you shouldn't be there. Right now you have to watch out for
Robert Charles. But, Matthew, don't let them bully you. We're going to meet
tonight. And we will stand behind you. But you know you can be
attacked. It's happened, and it wasn't by Mike. But we are your
friends. Don't forget that."

"I won't."

"And I am your brother," Mike added, and he kissed Matthew on his smooth
cheek.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Just before dinner Robert Charles saw Matthew.

"I heard you went visiting today. And I thought you weren't feeling good."

"I heard you were at Mike's cabin."

Matthew's heart started thumping. "Who told you?"

"A little birdie?"

"Mike?"

Robert Charles laughed. "That's for me to know and you to find out." He
pinned Matthew against the wall. "Just remember this, little boy. Don't
cross you friends. Or you will be very sorry. And don't trust any of those
guys. They will turn on you for anything. Offer those fags a nice BJ and
they will turn on their mothers." He laughed again and walked away.

Matthew was near tears again. Mike was his brother. He said so. He would
never turn on him. But how did Robert Charles know he visited Mike? Just
when he thought he had everything figured out he was all confused again.

Then Robert Charles looked up Brett and Jeremy.

"I heard a rumor of a big meeting. I don't seem to have been invited. I
want a full report. And I mean full." He grabbed Brett's
shirt. "Understand?"

Brett nodded yes. Then Robert Charles turned to Jeremy. "And don't forget
how much your parents love their farm." He walked away.

That night after dinner the boys all met in Alex and Stevie's cabin. Alex
and Stevie were both naked when everybody got there. Nobody but Mike and
Douglas knew what the meeting was about. Matthew wasn't there. They didn't
want Robert Charles and Jordan suspecting too much.

Alex and Stevie told everybody coming in they should undress. That birthday
suits were the accepting clothing in their cabin. Everybody was happy to do
it, and nobody seemed to care when a couple of boners were popped. The last
two to get there were Brett and Jeremy. They both stopped when they saw the
room full of naked boys, some of them with boners.

"Do we have to get undressed?" Brett asked.

"Only if you want to," Alex said. "But birthday suits are the preferred
clothing here."

Jeremy loved it and started unbuckling his pants. But Brett didn't move, so
Jeremy stopped. He buckled back up and sat on the floor with Brett. Brett
is coming along, he thought, but I have a long way to go with him. Maybe
he'll start living up to his new name soon.

"Douglas brought us here to discuss some news he heard today," Alex said.
"But first, I want to say with all of us here how glad we all are that
somebody on this ship from hell appreciates what Douglas and Scooter did to
save us. You know we thought you were heroes, and now people know it."
Douglas and Scooter got cheers and applause from the rest of the boys and
both of them blushed with embarrassment.

"We did what we were told to do," Douglas said. "If that makes us heroes
then we're heroes." Douglas looked at Scooter. "And I love my hero." He
gave his lover a big kiss.

"Well, Douglas. What is this all about?"

Douglas was one of the boys with a boner. But he started getting serious,
and everybody could see his dick get soft. Scooter loved watching it move.

"First, I have to ask Brett and Jeremy something."

"And what would that be?" Jeremy asked.

"What I have to say is not going to go over well with our leader, Mr. RC. I
know you're not a big fan of mine, Jeremy, but I think you and Brett should
know what I am going to say. What I need to know is, can we trust you to
keep everything that is said tonight completely secret?"

Now Jeremy had to think. If we stay, and tell Robert Charles, then we can
never be trusted by the boys I like most. If we leave, then they will know
that for some reason we might tell Robert Charles what is going on, but
maybe we can keep their trust. He tried to figure out the best way to say
it.

"Brett and I like all of you, even if our clothes are on. I think we better
leave though."

"What? Why?" Brett asked.

"I'll tell you. Just get up and we'll go." He looked at the group of naked
boys. He was so hard and wanted to get naked with them so bad. He didn't
even try to hide his tent.

"We're sorry we have to go. But I think this is best." He grabbed Brett's
arm and led him out of the door.

"What was that all about?" Travis asked.

"I think Jeremy was telling us that RC has some kind of hold over them, but
that we could trust them. In other words, he can't tell RC what he doesn't
know," Douglas replied.

They asked Douglas to start again.

He turned things over to Mike first. Mike told him about his meeting with
Matthew and how Matthew said the election was rigged. Then Douglas told
them of what he told Matthew, about telling the group and telling Marie.

"Okay, you told us," Alex said. "Now what?"

"We tell Marie. I think we can trust her. After that we wait and see. But
if RC did cheat, then I think we need to have a new election. We need to
have somebody neutral count the ballots. We're going to be together for
more than a few weeks now, and suddenly this election is very important. If
RC wins that one, at least we know we deserve to get pissed on."

Everybody laughed at that, because that was how they were beginning to
feel. But they agreed that the next step was for Douglas to tell
Marie. They agreed they would protect Matthew at any cost. And they agreed
they were totally pissed off at Robert Charles and his group.

"Now, I have something to say," Alex said. "At the concert I did for Mike
we all gave our love for each other. I think we are a very special group. A
star cluster on this ship. And I want to celebrate that tonight.""With
love." He called Mike over and kissed him on the lips, his hand reaching
for Mike's dick, which started getting hard right away. Nobody said a
word. Douglas turned to Scooter and started making out with him. Stevie
was with Jim right away and Travis and Ryan wasted no time kissing and
feeling each other. Each boy was lost in his love, but also knew what was
going on around him. And none of them cared that they were doing it in
front of somebody else. The love in the room was so complete that it
filled them all. The room was naked butts and dicks and arms and legs and
moans and groans and I love yous. Sometimes they would roll on the floor
and hit another couple. Douglas did that against Travis, so they just
rubbed butts while Douglas sucked on Scooter and Travis sucked on Ryan. It
didn't take long and the room was full of moans and low screams and flying
cum. Some came in mouths and some shot on partners or the guy next to the
partner. They were careful to get none on the floor and every drop was
swallowed or licked up.

They all lay back glowing and quietly kissing. "That was awesome," Scooter
said.

"It was," Mike agreed. "We have to do this again. This room is so full of
love I can't believe it. I love you all."

Nobody argued. When it was time to dress and leave they were all kind of
sad.

"Hey guys," Douglas said. "Next time, let's spend the night here. If it's
okay with Alex and Stevie that is."

"It's great with us. Let's do it next week."

Once again, nobody argued.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Engineering crew was getting the Warp Enhancer ready. Scooter's dad
was checking things out before putting the super speed code in. One of the
things he did was put in the Engineering log that he was against doing it,
but was ordered to. While he was getting the Enhancer ready he saw
something. A connection was broken. He looked at it. It was the
connection that gave the temperature gauge readings to the computer. No
wonder all the readouts looked so good, he thought. The temperature
changes were never recorded. He showed Chief Paxton and said the Captain
should be told.

The Chief agreed and called the Captain. They talked awhile. The Captain
decided that since they needed to get back as fast as possible and since
there was no evidence the temperature ever went up that they would go ahead
and put the code in.

Scooter's dad argued that there was no evidence that it didn't go up. At
the speed they were going there was a good chance it might have been
overheating and should be checked again. The Captain asked Gordon if he
saw anything that showed it overheated. Gordon said no, but he would need
to take it apart to really check it out.

"How long will it take?" The Captain asked.

"Two to three weeks to be sure."

"We don't have two to three weeks. It's worked fine. Put the code in."

"At this point I have to refuse to do that, Captain."

"I'm giving you a direct order, Mr. Starr."

"I'm a consultant. I'm not a member of your crew. You can't order me."

"Chief Paxton, has Mr. Starr given you the code yet."

"Not yet, Sir." He picked up a notebook off of a work table. "But I know
it is in here, and I know which page it's on."

"Fine. Then put the code in. We don't need our consultant. If his
thirteen year old boy can do the codes on this thing, I think we can handle
it just fine. You can leave Engineering now, Mr. Starr. We will return
your notebook when we're finished with it."

Scooter's dad started to leave then stopped to say something. "Captain
Fuller, when I said you might just be the worst Captain in the fleet, I was
giving you a compliment. You are without a doubt not only the worst
Captain in the fleet, you might just be the worst one in the history of the
fleet. Putting that code in without giving the Warp Enhancer a total check
up is totally irresponsible."

"I've heard enough. You can leave. Put the code in, Chief."

Gordon Starr left Engineering for the last time feeling a sense of doom.
He had the feeling that the warp storm was going to be nothing compared to
what could happened if the Warp Enhancer overheated.

The last night found very few boys alone. Matthew was alone even though
Jordan had invited him to his cabin. Jordan was alone, drinking more of
his dad's booze. Robert Charles had talked Lisa into sleeping with him.
Lisa's parents thought she was at Carmen's spending the night. They had
done everything but intercourse, and now for the first time since he just
turned 14 Robert Charles was sleeping naked with a girl. The last step was
close, he thought. Scooter and Douglas were in bed together at Scooter's.
Braden and Jeremy were sleeping in Braden's bed. They had a good rub off
after Jeremy told Braden why they left Alex's room. Jim was in Stevie's
bed with Stevie, and Alex was in Mike's bed with Mike. Even after the
little orgy the boys were hungry for their lovers.

They were all still asleep when they felt the ship and themselves go into
warp space. Everybody but Gordon Starr was happy. The feeling meant they
were starting the voyage back, and Gordon Starr was very afraid that they
wouldn't make it all the way home.



Next: Chapter 18 Helpers and Leaders

Constructive comments are welcome. E-mail me at TheHakaanen@Hotmail.com.
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