The Education of John Matheson:

by Mistress Sarah

Summary: John Matheson discovers that even the PSI Corps & EF didn't give him enough education for some of the more enjoyable experiences in Life.
Series: This is the third portion of The Education of John Matheson series in which John Matheson is taught about life and love by:
Sarah Chambers (Elementary), Dureena (Preparatory), Galen (Bachelors), Max Eilerson (Masters), Matthew Gideon (Doctorate), Matthew Gideon (Post Doctorate)
Disclaimer: They aren't my characters, they belong to other people, but I dusted them off and borrowed them :D.
Rating: R
Notes: thoughts. I hope you like this series. If you don't...don't flame me, blame John Matheson. He's the one that's living it.

John Matheson's Third Lesson

I was in the elevator with one of my tutors when I started grinning like a complete idiot. Fortunately, I was alone with her, so no one else saw me break from the “John Matheson, EF Officer” persona that I maintained for the universe. I just couldn’t help smiling at her. There was just something in the way in which Dureena leaned against the wall, her stance mocking the world, that just struck me as humorous. The entire thing was a ruse, a mask to hide the real Dureena from those she didn't trust.

As I hid the real John, so did she hide behind her facade.

"So," she murmured. "Do you feel up to taking your final?"  From the amusement glimmering in her golden eyes, I could tell she'd known exactly what I was thinking.  As she had trusted me enough to show me the real Dureena, so I had hesitantly shown her the rather shy man hiding behind the “XO”. I had done so, uncertainly, fearing that she would ridicule me.  For so long I had focused on becoming the “John Matheson, XO” façade, that the rare times I was “John Matheson, lonely and insecure Telepath” were few and far in between. But, amazingly, she had liked the “real” John Matheson, and I had become quite fond of the “real” Dureena.

Each of us, hiding our true selves from the universe, were far more similar to one another than I had ever dreamed possible.  So as our relationship developed and changed, so had my teacher metamorphosed. Originally, she had enjoyed the fact that she called all the shots in our relationship.  Then, when Dureena had realized how nervous I was with her, she had taken compassion on me. It must have been when I had told Dureena that she was so beautiful that she scared me. Dureena so terrifying alive had always attracted me. And I, always being so tightly controlled and regulated, deeply envied how alive she was. She didn’t just live; she BLAZED with vibrant emotion.

Dureena and I were both the only one of our kinds on the Excalibur. She was the last of her race, and I was the only Telepath on board.  And each of us were tired of being alone, and so our relationship had bloomed.  Lovely, lonely Dureena.  How I thanked God that you were willing to tutor me.

"Over so soon?" I whispered.  That disappointed me, as I would miss my lovely Dureena.  My beautiful golden-eyed thief and Sarah, my compassionate doctor had given me so much.  Through my adventures with them, I realized that they were filling a deep need within my soul.  No, not the lusty, sweaty part of my soul, but the quiet, introspective part of me that was filled to the brim with cobwebs and never-ending solitude.  The dazzling duo of beauties talked to me, and I could converse with them, slowly and haltingly at first, but more smoothly as I gain more confidence in our relationship.

Matthew and I spoke constantly, but there was always the unspoken barrier between us. He was my Commanding Officer, and I would be willing to die for him, but I was always afraid of being too familiar with him. If something mentally slipped because of our close friendship then Jones would know.  There would be a scan, and I would be Court Maritaled.

If that happened, then my Captain would be so disappointed with me, and I don’t think I could have lived with the stain of having lost his trust in me.

These two women were part of our team, but they were technically civilians.  Too much familiarity with them, and I’d probably get a slap on the wrist by Jones. Neither of them were my commanding officers, nor were they technically in my chain of command, so I felt easier talking to them.  Perhaps both women were both empaths, as they seemed to understand my deep need for conversation, and they would encourage me to talk. The three of us would talk for hours about any subject that crossed our minds, no matter how weighty, and no matter how inane.

My relationship with Matthew had been built over years, and so I carefully ‘borrowed’ from it, to use as a base for dealing with these two dangerous women.  Matthew would often encourage me to vent, and did Sarah and Dureena.  So, I had done so carefully at first, pretending that I was talking to Matthew, and then almost recklessly as they had prompted and encouraged me to unburden myself. God above, I was just so lonely, and tired of being “John Matheson, XO” that I found myself talking to the two women earnestly about my hopes and my goals, and I listened intently as they told me theirs. I guess I was almost as giddy as being in love for the first time, as I had finally found two people that accepted the true John Matheson.

Shy, reserved, and so terrified of failing.

If they had ridiculed me, it would have shattered my soul. I would have fled back to the comfort of hiding behind my façade, and never again would I have dared to let anyone get to know the real John Matheson.

Both of the women appeared to delight in consoling and soothing me, and I gain more confidence in being the true John Matheson, and so I had bloomed under their care.  Among the others of the quest, I was still the quiet, reserved “John Matheson, XO” but when I was alone with them, I could be… me.

"You're a fast learner, dear." Dureena gave me a quick smile. "Besides, you ought to know that I'll always have time for you. Don't deny that sometimes you and Sarah..." she paused as she made a rather fluid motion with her hand. She gave me a knowing wink, and I smirked at her.

"Busted" I admitted. "Do I at least get a chance to cram for my final?" The elevator door opened, and I turned to face... Oh MY Good God.

Matthew Gideon.

"Hello, sir," I said carefully.  I straighten up quickly, and I also rapidly removed any trace of a grin from my face, but I could see that he had noted and cataloged the disappearance of my smile. For some reason, after Sarah had decided to educate me, I had decided to keep it as quiet as possible.  I just didn’t want Matthew to know anything about what I was experiencing. What was happening between my teachers and myself was … rather incredible and I just didn’t feel comfortable sharing it with anyone.

Especially Gideon.

He was my closest friend on the Excalibur, even though Matthew was now no longer my only friend.  Dureena and Sarah had become my friends, and I enjoyed talking with them. I guess I didn’t mention what was going on to Matthew, as I was afraid of being ridiculed.  I doubted that Matthew would laugh at what was going on, but… God! Matthew was years older than I was, and so more experienced with women that I was.  But, it was still doubtful that he’d understand what I was feeling when I couldn’t put it into words. These two beautiful, intelligent women had decided to tutor me, and what an education it was!

Dureena noted that I had suddenly returned to “John Matheson, XO”, in full force, and she gave me a wink.  She took a blue ribbon… from somewhere, and she began running it over her hands.

Damn it.

She was feeling playful, and that meant that Dureena would try to instigate something.  Matthew noted the ribbon, looked at me, and I gave him a shrug that plainly said, “I have no idea what the ribbon is for.” I think Matthew believed me, as I have been told that I have the look of ‘innocence’.  Matt looks guilty as hell, and I look honest, steadfast, and true.

Which rhymed with blue, which was the color of the damn ribbon she was waving about in the damn elevator!  Fortunately, she was getting off at the next floor, so it was a short, though somewhat nerve-wracking ride. I was waiting for Dureena to offer to tie me up or  anything.  But she didn’t…

"Goodbye, John, Matt," grinned Dureena, as she left the elevator. Matthew gave her a sideways look when she exited the elevator, and then gave me a penetrating look.  The elevator doors closed, and then the inquisition began.  It would start off slowly, while Matthew searched for any weakness that he could exploit. I knew exactly how my Captain was. Perhaps I was feeling giddy after seeing Dureena, but I suddenly felt reckless.  If Matthew wanted to start questioning me, I’d give him something he didn’t expect. It would do him good!

"You and... Dureena... seem... friendly." He spoke softly, while I inwardly groaned. Here it came. The Gideon inquisition!  The way he paused and waited for any reaction to his words, trying to gauge any sort of response from his victim. In his eyes, even no reaction to his prying comments was something to focus on in his prey. What was that comment Galen had once made; there is nothing so obvious as silence from an honest man?

Did Matt think that I didn't know what he was doing? After working with him all these years? Matthew was trying to snoop into my personal life! Amazing! I kept myself in “John Matheson, XO” mode, while I laughed internally at his audacity.  I could maintain that calm, outwardly cool façade even if I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever of forty-two degrees Celsius.

"Not that I'm complaining or anything, but... I just wanted to let you know that I noticed.  Just... like you and Sarah ... seem awfully friendly." Matthew then gave me a look that plainly he wanted me to spill my guts to him.

"Sir," I said innocently. "You know that Sarah and I have been friends since that shuttle craft accident." I looked at him directly in his eyes, radiating sincerity and honesty.   He gave me another odd look, and I then waited for his NEXT question.  He was circling, looking for any weakness.  I knew that, and I was prepared.

"That's true." He then gave me another shrewd look. Matthew counted my teeth and my hair with that look, while my façade fairly shined with earnestness and complete candor.  He just didn’t trust what I was telling him, so he’d circle again, trying to get a reaction from me.

"And Dureena and Sarah are very close friends." I reminded him of the obvious. “Well, remember, in my last evaluation, you told me that I really needed to start working on learning to network with the rest of staff.”

Matthew nodded again. Actually what he had told me was that I should unbend occasionally and get to know the rest of the crew. Matthew had meant well, but the thought that the majority of the crew didn’t want to deal with me as I was a Telepath had apparently never crossed his mind.  I had softly rebutted his suggestion with a reminder of that simple fact, and Matthew had apparently been upset that he had had suggested it. He had meant well, but most of the crew kept me at arm’s length.  Matthew had vigorously apologized for his tactless comment after I had reminded him of that simple fact of life.

So far, so good. Now it was time to lay the guilt trip on him, after reminding him of that awkward moment when he had realized WHY the crew didn’t want to me to socialize with them.  Just a few words, softly spoken, would get Matthew so upset over unintentionally hurting me again, that he might decide not to pry any further into my personal life. It wouldn’t work, not at all, but at least I could make Matthew feel guilty. The snoop deserved THAT much!

"So, Sarah decided it was her mission in life..." [to get me laid.] I paused, slightly. "This is embarrassing to admit..." I tried to appear shamefaced, looked at my clipboard, tried to show Matt that this was... humiliating me. After all, I couldn't even look him in the eyes.  Maybe he'd drop the issue, out of respect for me. But he wouldn't, as I knew my Captain well enough to know that he was like a bird dog, tracking the smell of a bird.

I was trying to out-Gideon, Gideon and just a few more steps… and then… I’d mention something that he wasn’t expecting from “John Matheson, XO”, but something that the “real” John Matheson would say.

"Go ahead, John. I won't tell anyone what you said." My captain was using a soothing and comforting voice, trying to subconsciously get me to confess to whatever I was hiding from him.

God, Matthew! Like I didn’t know your tricks verbatim after all our years together! So, I pretended to grimace, and I looked at him.  His eyes sparkled with interest, and I knew that I was going to disappoint him. Bitterly. This was almost going to be FUN, if I wasn’t concentrating on appearing so embarrassed. I sighed, a deep, long sigh while concentrating on looking... mortified, and I decided that I was having far too much fun playing with Matthew to stop now. The simple fact was I still didn’t know what Sarah was getting out my education, except for a sinking feeling that she found it amusing that I was under her tutorage.

"But, she told Dureena to be friendly with me. Sarah's concerned, because... I don't have..." I saw Gideon lean forward, his eyes alive with interest. How he was going to be so disappointed. "... Any friends. As you had reminded me at my last evaluation." I pretended to be mortified and looked at my shoes.  I felt a slight blush tint my cheeks, and I heard Gideon sigh.

“John. I apologized for that remark.” Gideon HAD repeatedly apologized for his suggestion after he believed that he had upset me with his comment.  Matthew didn’t realized that I had simply long ago accepted the fact that most Mundane didn’t want to make the effort to be “Friendly” with a Teep.  Only rare non-Telepaths ever made that effort, like he had, and, as had my two instructors. “Are you still upset about that stupid comment I made? I am sorry.”

Pretending to still be uncomfortable, I counted to thirty-three slowly, feigning that I was regaining my composure until I could look at him in the eyes, and I gave him a weak, timid smile. Two could play at this game, after all. “They felt really sorry for me, as they don’t think I have any friends. They’re right, you know.”

"What am I, John?" He asked carefully. If I didn't know better, I think he was... wounded. Why? Was it because I didn't think him as my friend? Or was it that he KNEW I was lying to him?

"You're my commanding officer, Sir." The door opened, and it was my stop. "In case, you've forgotten." I then leapt from the elevator, making my escape, leaving Gideon standing bemused in the elevator.


"You're my COMMANDING officer, SIR, In case you've FORGOTTEN" I mimicked. Damn it, I had thought I was going to get the truth from him.  I wasn't prying, I wasn't being nosey, but I just wanted to know why suddenly my first officer was suddenly so damn...  HAPPY. Cheerful! Ok, I am an incorrigible sneak, moderately whimsical, ruggedly handsome, and just...  plain old nosey pain in the ass.

And I KNEW something was going on. First Sarah, then Dureena, and I pondered those two women for a while, debating what it could be that had affected John so positively. I continued staring at the wall, while I tried to think of what it could be. The dynamics of my senior staff had noticeably shifted ever since that shuttle accident. Sarah, Dureena and Matheson were all... awfully chummy lately. Rather extremely chummy lately.  And John… John… my XO was always smiling whenever he saw them. Sometimes it was an open smile, but usually it was a rather shy, and I’d almost say… bemused, secret smile. Whenever I saw it, it reminded me of the day after the first time my first serious girlfriend and I had been intimate. The two of us… grinning like fools…

Then it hit me.  "Dureena, Sarah and JOHN? Matheson? You dirty dog, are you sleeping with both of them?"  Then the absurdity of it hit me. John "Boy Scout" Matheson was having a torrid affair with BOTH Dr. Chambers and Dureena Nafeel?  My mind nearly shut down at that lewd image as it was obviously long past time for me to get some sleep.

He was obviously involved with someone, as the last time I had rummaged through his desk, I  had seen a fire engine red lace panty. They were hidden in one of his rarely used drawers, as though John was keeping them as a trophy.

John! I had asked you to socialize with the crew more. I don’t seem to remember asking you to sexually succor the entire damn command staff! I was chuckling when I left the elevator, causing an ensign to look at me in concern.

Lord! Your face! What’s the matter, Ensign? Can’t a Captain laugh occasionally?

I laughed even harder then, and she RAN from me.  Sometimes, it was good to be the Captain!

John Matheson.  I was tempted to tell John that he was playing with fire, if he was juggling both of them at the same time, but it wasn’t really any of my concern. It would become my concern only if there was a catfight over him, and I doubted either woman would resort to that.

Come to think of it, I had seen a lot of Sarah, John and Dureena together lately. Neither of the women had appeared to be the least bit possessive over John, and John had been sitting in the middle of the two of them.  He had been … smiling shyly at Sarah ever since his shuttlecraft accident with the beautiful and apparently rather frisky Doctor Sarah…Chambers.

Sarah had apparently decided to use her downtime to good measure by seducing John.  For a moment, I wondered who had learned more from the experience, Sarah or John.  You know what they say about having sex with a Telepath.

Tsk. Tsk. Matthew Gideon! You are a dirty old man thinking lewd thoughts about your XO. Good thing they don’t scan you every six months!

Hmm… Sarah first… then Dureena.  That was the order, I decided.

So… apparently my ship’s doctor and my favorite sneak thief had decided among themselves to share John Matheson. It was a responsible, ladylike decision that spoke loudly of the friendship between the two women.

Who was I fooling? I felt like pounding down his door, and demanding to know what his secret was. Sarah and Dureena? Wow! John after all these years together, I would have never had thought you were the type.  Eilerson, yes, but you, no. Not at all.

John Matheson

I went to my quarters, quickly slipped out of my uniform and crawled into my bed. It was soft and inviting, but the conversation with Gideon kept running through my head.  He had been curious and I don't think my answer had completely satisfied him.  Why the hell was he so interested in my social life? Wasn't he happy with Elizabeth?  I thought he was, considering we usually made a stop at Babylon 5 every few months or so, and I KNEW that he was communicating with her regularly.

Then it hit me. Gideon was a dirty old man, and he wanted to know what I was up, too. I laughed hard at that thought, and then went to sleep easily.


I woke to a warm body next to me and a warm body on my other side.  I looked and was positively amazed, Dureena on one side, while Sarah was giving me a whimsical smile on the other.  "What a lovely set of bookends," I grinned at them, enjoying the sight of my blankets covering strategic pieces of both women.

"It's crunch time, John." Sarah whispered, as I leaned over to kiss her. Our lips touched softly, and I concentrated on her for just a moment.

"Hey!" Dureena exclaimed as she gave me a solid hit to my arm, "What am I? Day old flarn? Focus some attention on me."  I leaned over to kiss her, and SARAH proceeded to claw my back. HARD.  And so my final began, with each woman vying for my attention.   I tried to make sure each woman got the same attention that the other one had, but things quickly got out of hand as each woman started demanding my complete attention.

"John! How about ME?" whispered Sarah while I concentrating on kissing Dureena.

"Ignore her, think of me!" threatened Dureena, when I turned to nuzzle her breasts.  And so it continued for some time, until... I was getting BRUISED! And Eilerson thought threesomes were erotic? I was having performance anxiety AND I was getting beaten up! Large, ugly bruises! And let's not mention the claw marks! And the little love bites.

"I give up. I can't do this!" I admitted. I closed my eyes, and shook my head vigorously. "I surrender. I throw myself on your tender mercies, ladies. Have pity on me."  It was a pretty speech, and I hoped it would save my neck.

"That's all we wanted to hear, right, Dureena?" whispered Sarah.

"Absolutely, looks like we're going to have to take things over." Dureena gave me a wicked smile, and then...

Oh my God. That's all I'm going to say about THAT. But take it from me, Eilerson's got a pretty good heart if he can handle the both of them regularly.

I was exhausted, and drifting off to sleep. "Did... did I pass?" I nervously asked, while the women proceeded to make themselves comfortable next to me.

I'm sure I didn't. But further training would be fun... after I waited for the bruising to heal.

"We already passed you weeks ago, we just wanted to have some fun," admitted Dureena while Sarah laughed.

"WHAT?"  I exclaimed. I tried to sit up in my bed, but the two women forced me back down into my bed. "You.... You... You...."

"Enjoyed every minute of it, Matheson, admit it." That was dark-haired Sarah who was busy kissing my back.

"I did," I admitted softly. "So, my lovely ladies... what now?"

"More education... New Tutor" whispered Dureena while I mentally groaned. She wiggled closer to me, and began stroking my chest.

"W-w-who?" My voice cracked and I winced. Dureena laughed and motioned for Sarah to tease me some more. Then I saw Sarah's face and I knew I was in trouble.  She was trying not to grin ear to ear and my heart sank. EILERSON! I just knew that my next teacher was going to be EILERSON. He had a flair for domination, I had heard, and I was nervous.  I didn't even think it could be Galen, as the thought of implants was just... just... making me apprehensive. IMPLANTS!

"He'll introduce himself to you... in the fullness of time," smirked Sarah.

"GALEN! GALEN? GALEN!" My voice was fearful, and the two women took compassion on me.

"Actually, Galen's very gentle.  Just... whatever you do... don't stare at his implants.  Makes him uncomfortable, as some people just can’t see past his implants. Look at them, touch them, and acknowledge that they’re there. But remember that Galen is not just made of implants.  I don't know why you're nervous, John. Don't you trust US?" They asked, their chins quivering.  Damn those two vixens, they even had mock tears in their eyes. They just knew I hated seeing a woman cry, so they’d use it, mercilessly. First, they’d physically wound me and then emotionally.

"You know I do, but GALEN?" I groaned.

"Why? Do you think we should have picked EILERSON next?" asked Dureena while Sarah laughed. I babbled in my panic, and then they dragged me back to bed with the end result being that I was late to my second staff meeting in six months because of them!

Few days later, in Sarah's quarters.


Apparently, Sarah wants me to seduce John Matheson NEXT.   I was so startled by her statement, that I put my cup down hard on her table. She had already given out the assignments, and I was apparently next in the "batting rotation", as Gideon would say. Sarah had already planned his education, deciding that since we four were more experienced in some "matters" than John was that we should guide and teach him.

I don’t know how the hell I got involved with her plans for John Matheson. Fact is, I still wasn’t sure exactly what her plans for John Matheson actually were, and I doubted if Sarah knew exactly what her plans actually were. John was pleasant, I suppose, but I had rarely spoken more than four or five cryptic words at a time to him.  He had the disgusting habit of seeing right to the heart of the matters, even when I was being deliberately vague, so I tried to stay away from him.  It was a trait that reminded me strongly of Isabelle, as she had always looked at me and sighed. “Oh, Galen. Can’t you ever behave?”

After all our years together, Isabelle had enough evidence to answer that rhetorical question. No, I couldn’t behave. It was genetic, something to do with my seventeenth Chromosome, I believe. Got it from my mother.

Obviously after dealing with Matthew all these years, the supposedly shy and retiring John Matheson recognized a con artist when he saw one. John would always give me a cool, aloof glance, that hid the fact that he was trying to figure out what the hell I really wanted in reference to a certain stray cat by the name of Matthew Gideon. John’s eyes were dark like my father’s, and come to think of it, I never managed to hide anything from him… either nor had my mother. Damn it! I was doomed by genetics!

Oh Galen, can’t you ever behave! For a moment, I heard her voice again, and I heard her laugh.

"Sarah, don't you realize that he and Matthew?"  I asked her.  I wasn't going to come between a Captain and his XO.  If Sarah didn’t see that John was hopelessly and completely besotted with his Captain, I wasn’t going to be the one to burst her soap bubble fantasy.

"They're NOT. OK? Take it from me, they're NOT!"  Sarah was lying on her couch, while Max was giving her a look full of promise that was making my blood burn. "He's involved with that peanut head, Lochley."

"Gideon could do better than her. Like John, for example, who worships the ground he walks on. Apparently, Young John Matheson, and our Honored and Most Revered Captain aren't…" Max laughed. "And to think, all this time, we thought they were. Rather amusing isn't it? Just think, all that time our young, virginal John Matheson… was just crying out to be deflowered." He gave me an eager smile. "Leave me a little of him, when you're done with him.  Just enough of him to enjoy." He licked his lips, and then he gave a mock pout. "Sarah, why am I always the last person? Why do I always get the leftovers? After all this time, don’t you trust me?"

"Because we knew that if you got him first, you would have scared him celibate," smirked Dureena.

"But he would have enjoyed every moment of it." Eilerson smirked, while I gave him a disgusted look.  He had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer being used to swat a fly.

"You would have enjoyed every minute of it, while he was screaming in terror."

I’m not necessarily a precognitive, nor has the talent been documented among my fellow Technomages but I suddenly had a vision.  While Sarah and the rest chatted about John and Matthew’s relationship or lack of it, I suddenly saw the two of them.  It was obviously quite a few years from now, as John was much older.  His hair was still dark, only lightly touched with gray, but I nearly wept to see how Matthew looked.  Matthew was lying on a floor, and the older John was holding him, and… John was trying not to cry.

Matthew was dying, it was obvious from the unhealthy tinge to his face and lips, and he was trying to talk to John. I couldn’t hear him, but I could see Matthew’s eyes.  For the first time in all the years I had known him, he was at peace. Matthew was at peace with himself as the monsters in his soul had been slain, and I suddenly realized that John Matheson was the reason.  My Stray obviously cared deeply for his XO and John reciprocated those feelings.  I knew that most important part of the responsibility for picking up a stray was after healing and feeding them, was to set them on the road to self-sufficiency.

Matthew had demons in his soul that needed to be slain, so that he could be at peace with himself.  And as the Technomage who had picked up the Stray Captain so many years ago, I had to help him along on his road toward ‘self-realization.’   The path apparently included John Matheson and I found myself hoping that perhaps… by helping Matthew and John along, I could heal the own unhealed ache in my heart.

Oh Isabelle, I miss you still.

When the vision cleared, I found the group looking at me.

“Well?” asked Sarah.

“I’ll do it. But in my own time, and in my own special style.”


I was nervous, waiting for him to show up.  He'd make one of HIS entrances, no doubt in a puff of smoke, trumpets flaring, and I’d end up being thrown over his shoulder like a trophy, probably. No doubt this would occur in front of a very stunned Matthew Gideon.

“John? Galen? Why the hell do you have my XO slung over your shoulder like a piece of meat?” Gideon would ask Galen that, his voice full of surprise.

“I’m going to seduce him. Whenever I’m done with him, I’ll return the leftovers to you. Come along, John. Be a good sport. This won’t hurt too much.”

Then I’d be carried off by the Technomage to God knows where, while Matthew would have a look of ‘GREAT! More paperwork to fill out. How the hell am I going to explain THIS one to HQ?’

 How the HELL did I get myself into this? I was more than willing to dally with both Sarah and Dureena, but Sarah had some sort of ulterior motive. Which no doubt involved me being tied up, and being dropped off in Eilerson’s bed late one night!

“Lt. Matheson? Do you realize that you’re not wearing any clothes right now?” That would be a smirking Eilerson’s first comment, and then it would get worse after that.

I was solitarily drinking coffee in the cafeteria when I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder.  I turned and saw that it was THE TECHNOMAGE.

"John, Sarah made me aware of the fact that you wished to speak to me."  His voice was soft and his eyes were definitely amused.  He was dressed in his usual black clothing, but if I didn't know better, I think he had made an effort to look even more impressive than normal. No, not Galen. Why would he?

"She advised me that... you could probably... continue my education." I whispered quietly.  This was EMBARASSING! In the middle of the cafeteria, he was trying to pick me up! Lord, Galen, couldn’t you do it like everyone else? At the gym?

"In what field, John?” His voice was loud and booming, and I winced. Damn Sarah! Galen always performed whenever he had an audience.  In front of a few people, he was rather obvious.  Throw in a crowd of people, and he turned in Galen the Grandiose, expecting people to ooh and awe in appreciation at his skills.  It was just my luck; there were enough people present to make Galen decide to put on a show.

"Interstellar relationships," I told him.

He laughed hard, roaring at my pun.  And then he grabbed my shoulder again. "Expect me... when you see me!" He then left the cafeteria.

I really wish he hadn't said that last comment.   I'd be checking the bottom of my bed, searching my closest, rearranging my shelves, just to make sure he wasn't hiding there. It was going to be a long, painful seduction.  I saw a few people staring at me in the cafeteria, so I tried to save face. MY face.

"Technomages. Does anyone REALLY understand them?" I was vainly hoping for some sort of answer from the studio audience. They shook their heads. They didn't understand him either. Which didn't make me feel any better.

Two weeks later, Planet side.

"Find anything yet, Mr. Eilerson?" I asked quietly.  The archeologist was sitting in the scorching heat of the desert planet. He was dressed in desert gear, and he was pouring water over a handkerchief. Having done so, he then wrapped it around his neck.  Gideon had already been down on the planet, developed heat exhaustion from over exerting himself, and then had been banished to the ship by Sarah. Last thing I had saw was Chambers threatening to send the Marines after him if he left Medbay.  While I enjoyed being planet side, I really was missing seeing that particular argument wind its way down. Somehow, I thought Chambers would win that fight. I know from personal experience that Sarah can be quite...  convincing.

"Lt. Matheson, can I ask you a question?" His eyes were blazing, and I realized that he was going to be snippy and caustic.  His temper was even shorter in the heat than normal, I had noted that already. Just like Gideon’s short fuse had diminished just before he collapsed.

"If you can behave, Mr. Eilerson."  Trying to keep my voice dry, I realized that I simply didn't have the energy to spare to fight with Max.

He sneered at my comment, while I gave him a tight smile.

"How the hell does anyone think I can get ANYTHING accomplished with people always asking me... 'Find anything yet, Mr. Eilerson'? Rest assured, if I found anything, you and Captain Gideon would be the first ones to KNOW!"  He was cherry red, and for a moment, I wondered if he was going to had an attack of apoplexy or have heat stroke.

Suddenly, I realized that the two of us were no longer alone.  "Leave him alone, John. Maximilian's no good," Galen's voice was soft, but I saw Eilerson's temper flare. "With the heat," he added smoothly.

Eilerson growled at him, and then stormed off to another point in the site, no doubt about to take his growing frustrations out on them. For a moment, I felt pity for the IPX crew that was going to get Eilerson in full force, but then I realized that I was now alone with Galen.

"Poor Maximilian, thin-skinned and fair-skinned". Galen was smirking at Max's obvious discomfort.

"He's right, it's pretty damn hot out here, and the dry heat isn’t helping any." I wiped my head, and sighed.

"Why don't you go inspect the ruins. I think Maximilian is going to storm over to that group over there, and you can take a look at those over here." He gave me his usual wide smile, and I grew nervous. "And it looks like we might be having nasty weather in a few short minutes."

He was right, I could see the clouds from a sandstorm looming over the horizon.  Where the hell did that storm come from? It wasn't on any of the weather forecasts we had analyzed.

"Damn, they're fast moving too. EVERYONE TAKE COVER!" I yelled, watching the teams scatter for shelter.


Galen had half dragged; half pulled me into the ruins, as suddenly I wasn't feeling that well. "It's a lot cooler in here," I admitted, my eyes focusing in the darkness.  I suddenly felt something cool and wet on the back of my neck, and I gasped. It was delightful, so soothing and so cool, and I was just so hot.

"You and Maximilian are both going to get heatstroke if you don't take better care of yourself."  I felt Galen's presence behind me, and I suddenly knew...  Oh God. In the middle of an expedition site? He then proceeded to apply an equally cool moist rag to my face, and proceeded to unzip my jumpsuit. "Didn't Matthew's collapse show you anything?"

"Galen?"  The room was suddenly spinning, and I really didn't feel that well.

"You're on the verge of having heatstroke, John." He suddenly made a magical gesture, and I saw a bright light hovering over me. I realized that I was possibly delirious as the fireball looked NERVOUS? Galen stared at it for a few minutes, and then gave a laugh. "Really? You're afraid of the dark? I'll make you a friend, don't you worry."  He then created a smaller light that stayed close to the original light.

"Sorry about that, Sparky's afraid of the dark. It's a good fireball other than that. Must be something from his childhood. We're all limited by our childhood traumas, whether we admit it or not." He gave me another smile, and then took his cloak off and put it on an IPX crate that was conveniently located nearby.  "Nobody else is in here, John. They must have found shelter elsewhere and that certainly sounds like a dozy of a sand storm."

I turned to talk to him, felt dizzy and then blacked out. The last thing I remember is Galen saying "See what happens when you wear black on a desert planet?  Next time; don't be so style conscious. Only a Technomage could pull that outfit off on a desert planet."


John had collapsed, and fortunately I had managed to control his descent to the floor, as I’m sure that if he broke his nose it would put a damper on things.  I snapped my fingers, and he was unclothed, covered by a light blanket with a pillow under his head.  Debating the propriety of what I was doing, I quickly applied cold compresses to certain strategic areas of the younger man’s body.

“Keep an eye on him, please.” I spoke politely to the two fireballs that were racing about the site, like two young children playing tag. “He’ll be very frightened if he wakes up and you’re not nearby.” Sparky bobbed in the air, and he appeared to understand that for John waking up in the darkness might be a little scary.  So, being the senior of the two, and … forgive me for saying this being the brighter of the two fireballs, he hovered closely over the prone figure, while Sparkette hovered higher. “If you need me, I’ll be in the next room. I need to think.”

It was a sign of how working with these Terrans had affected my better judgement.  I was talking to inanimate objects, and I was even trying to cheer them up because they were both afraid of the dark!

I shouldn’t be doing this, nor should I even be thinking of doing this.  Why the hell was I even thinking of doing this?  It wasn’t because Sarah and Dureena had talked me into this… well… ok… They had. I can't believe that Sarah talked me into this. Well, actually THEY talked me into this. What had started as a little fun bedtime frolic with Dureena had quickly mushroomed into both Sarah and Dureena. I knew perfectly well that Maximilian was also heavily involved with those two... strumpets... but the two of us had a perfect understanding. 'Twas not enough room in the Centauri emperor's bed for me, him and our egos.  Have you ever seen it? It's easily ten meters wide.  4 meters long. And even forty square feet isn't enough for both of us. Sometimes, I don't think there's enough room in the universe for the two of us.

Damn it, he should go to one side of the galaxy, and I’ll go to the other!

But I digress.

Anyway, those two dark haired vixens had commandeered me just before this mission to remind me that I was the next in line to instruct John Matheson. They warned me to be gentle and careful with John.  Apparently, he's rather private and shy, but he’s also an extremely willing pupil. It was as though they thought that I'd terrorize him or something! Please, I wasn't Maximilian! John Matheson is a delightful chap, though everyone knows he's crazy for Matthew, who's too blind to see it.

Ah... Galen, the ugly roar of jealousy.  While I would love to have a quick frolic with Matthew, I know that he and John are pretty much soul mates. Matthew - trickster and con-artist, and John- understanding exactly who and what Matthew is. Probably better than anyone else in Matthew's life, including Matthew, John knows who and what Matthew's personal demons are. Too bad they're in the EF, if they weren't superior officer and XO, I'm sure they'd have been happy together, living in some backwater Proxima Prime tourist trap, selling snow cones or something like that.  Matthew would be constantly getting into trouble with the local authorities by cheating at cards, while John would just sigh loudly and pay his bail money.

But that vision I had seemed to point out to the fact that the older, more self assured John Matheson was to be instrumental in Matthew achieving peace.  John had looked at Matthew as an equal, not as his superior office. Had Sarah seen that somehow? And that’s where she was going with this education of hers?

Well, it was a pity for John but Matthew was involved with Elizabeth Lochley. Doesn't do a darn thing for me, but I'm a Technomage, everyone knows we're selective. If he only he'd unbent long enough to see what was in front of him!

But Sarah had seduced him first. Amazing, a man that age and still a virgin!  I was surprised that he just hadn't painted his Starfury with purple, pink, silver and gold unicorns of various sizes.  Awfully symbolic don't you think, virginity and those horns! Next time I see a unicorn, I'll have to ask him about THAT connection. Let me make a mental note about that....

Ok, mental note filed. Where was I? Oh… yes, how I got into this mess.

So I "technomajiked" as Dureena would say, a small desert storm to keep John and I alone for a few days. And well, because it would irk Maximilian to NO end.  Poor Maximilian, those blonde haired, blue eyed Scandinavian types get wicked sunburns, almost as bad as someone ... who's bald.  But fortunately, I'm a Technomage and we've got built in sunscreen. Those little nanonites are just industrious as the proverbial bees, trying to keep me running well. And Sunburn Free!

It's GOOD to be a Technomage.

And now it was time for his lessons to begin.  And by the time I was done with him, I'm sure even Maximilian wouldn't be able to terrify him. But I’d take my time with this shy young man next to me. John would enjoy our lessons, I was sure of it.

After all, it was a matter of Technomage pride.

But why the hell did I agree with this? I could have laughed in their faces, turned them down cold... but I hadn’t.

Then why the hell hadn’t I?

The simple fact was that I liked them.  I really did.  Even Eilerson and his waspish wit I liked… ok, tolerated.  Betraying Matthew had hurt me as badly as I had hurt him, deeply. Maybe, in this small way, by helping John with his hurdle, I could ease the pain I had caused Matthew. John was apparently the one capable of healing the wounds in Matthew’s soul, as John knew them intimately. Maybe if our little group of irregulars helped John overcome this problem of his, he’d feel more confident in approaching Matthew as an equal. For John would never willingly admit that he loved a man he considered his better.

By picking up that one stray those many years ago, apparently I had picked up other strays.  Now it was time to gather them up, and force independence on them! Out of the house, it was time to stand on your own.  Be gone all of you! And don’t forget to write!

Who the hell was I fooling? I knew the real reason why I had gotten involved with Dureena, Sarah and now… John.

I was lonely.

And I had gone NATIVE.

How my fellow Mages would laugh to know that I had gone native. For a moment, I thought of Alwyn, who would be laughing the hardest at me, after all, I had severely chastized him for going native.

Whispering softly, I woke the slumbering man up.

John Matheson

I was undressed, lying on the floor of the ruins. There was a blanket under me, and a pillow was underneath my head.  I had cold cloths applied to my head, armpits and...Oh god. Yes, there were a few cold cloths applied to my groin.  And I was stripped completely naked. Well, at least he gave me the courtesy of having a sheet over my naked body.   Though, I noticed it was distinctly on the transparent side, so I tried to mentally bolster my fading courage.

Just bite the bullet, Matheson.

"Feeling better?" asked the Technomage. "Here, have a few ice chips." He placed a few ice chips in my mouth and I sucked at his fingers.  He removed his fingers from my mouth, and then idly traced a few arcane gestures on my chest with them. They were chilly, and I shivered from his touch, and he looked at me. "Feeling the cold, John?"

"Y-yes." I said. "Where did you get the ice chips from?"

"Do you really want to know, John?” He asked with his usual trace of mockery. "And if you're feeling cold, let's see if I can warm you again. Don't want you catching cold." And then he reached over and proceeded to kiss me.

Intense. That was one word for it. Sarah was gentle, compassionate, Dureena playful while Galen was intense. Very, very intense.  He slipped his tongue between my teeth and I grabbed his back, trying to position him over me. From my first instruction with Dureena, I found out that it was better to be a willing student. Else they'd still get you in their bed. This way I had a chance of having my pride intact when this was over. No more BLUE RIBBONS, if I could help it.  When I hit an implant, I stopped.

Moment ruined.

Somehow stroking someone's back was a little bit nerve wracking when you accidentally hit an implant. Suddenly I got chilly, all those metal implants. Dear God, you don't think... That's an implant too?  He grabbed my head, and then kissed me again, and soon I found my hands were firmly pinned by his.

Then I noticed something, and I broke our kiss. "Umm. Galen?" I asked.

The Mage sighed and glared at me. "Do you really expect that I'm going to let you back on the ship with this unconsummated? I have to maintain the infallible reputation of Technomages, especially in this field."

"Can you just do something about... them?" I shakily pointed at Sparky and  Sparkette, who were busy staring at me, hovering over Galen's shoulder. "I ...have a problem performing for an audience," I admitted. Even if they're fireballs.

"Go! Over there!"  He pointed absently toward a spot away from us. They quickly fled away from "Daddy" as Galen began kissing me, and suddenly I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.  It was took me a few minutes before I noticed that there was the smell of charred wool in the air. I broke our kiss, and sighed again.

"Galen… your cloak's on fire."

Galen swore softly under his breath, and I don’t think I was supposed to hear the allegedly unflappable Technomage cursing like a member of the Teamsters union.

“Over here! Now!” He snapped. The two errant fireballs hesitantly approached “Daddy”, and Galen sighed.  “Now. Keep away from the cloak.  And you two will behave.  Don’t you dare get frisky, as I know two little orbs of flame that misbehaved. They were very bad fireballs, and they played with fire. Do you know what happened to them?”

I took their flickering forms to mean that they were saying “No.”

“They spontaneously combusted! BAM! Now, BEHAVE!”

The two fireballs gave a combined mindless shriek of terror and they zipped away from the obviously annoyed Technomage.

“Alwyn never had this problem. Never!” Galen mumbled that softly.


Fireballs were taken care of and were safely away from anything flammable and me, Galen returned to my instruction. "So, John…" he drawled in that rich voice of his. “John…" he said again, while stroking my abdomen.  "Can you tell me why you think I'm your next instructor rather than Maximilian?" His hand slipped lower for a moment, and I felt him lightly trace my hipbone. I shifted my weight, but his hand remained there, exploring.  He was gentle, I had to give Dureena credit for the truth on that.  But he had IMPLANTS! IMPLANTS!

A thousand and one reasons fled through my mind, and I debated which one to tell him.  The real reason I knew was because I feared Eilerson's sharp edged tongue, and I knew he had rather exotic tastes.  I would have been hung out to dry... if he had gotten his hands on me. The thought both frightened... and intrigued me.  Sure, I’d learn something from the experience, but I still wasn’t that sure if I’d survive my lessons with Eilerson.

"Because…" I spoke slowly, gasping when his large hand began to continue to touch my hipbone.  Shivers were running like wildfire throughout my body, and I was enjoying it.

"Come now, tell me the truth, John." He gave me an evil look while I struggled to concentrate on our conversation.  It was certainly getting harder to concentrate and so was that ... other thing.

"Because I fear his... tongue."

"Actually, by the time he's done with you, you might enjoy his tongue. But yes, our Maximilian is a little sharp tongued." He leaned over to kiss me, and I tried to kiss him back, but instead. He NIPPED me. On the neck.

"So John, we're probably going to be here for a while. I think that storm's going to last for three or four days."  He gave me a contented smile. "I am rather proficient with desert storms."

"You? Did THAT?" The storm winds were rising and shrieking in the background.  "Why?"

The Mage gave me a look. "Just because. Isn't that enough of a reason?"


I don’t think he knew what I was doing. Rather deliberately, I was spell casting by tracing patterns over his skin. Don’t give me that horrified look. You’d do it too if you just knew how. Carefully, I was soothing his nervousness away, allowing him to relax….


Galen suddenly stopped what he was doing, and lay down next to me.  He wrapped the two of us into a heavy blanket, and whispered softly. "Don't worry, no one's going to bother us, John. At least, not until after your first lesson ends."

"Oh." I said. His large hands were busy stroking my chest; my abdomen and sliding further south.   He was trying something different, and he wasn't stroking any of my erotic spots. My nipples and my erection, he blatantly ignored. Instead, he was now concentrating on just touching me. Roaming over my body, his large hands... were possessive.  Touching my face, my arms, my shoulders, my legs, I found myself quivering from his touch.  His caress was spreading shivers through my body, and he was grinning.

"Delightfully responsive," he said, as I gasped when he was tracing patterns on my thigh. Then, he slowed down, and he began tracing a pattern on my face with one of his fingers. Tracing my face, concentrating on my cheekbones, lingering on my lips, his finger was being extremely erotic.

“You know your heart’s racing right now, John?” Galen softly questioned me. “Like a rabbit that’s been caught in a snare, your heart is hammering away.”

Thank you for a delightful metaphor, Galen. Remind me to never allow Sarah Chambers to set me up on a blind date again? I debated a moment, remembering what I had learned from my lessons with Sarah and Dureena. Rule number one was to never be an inconsiderate lover, so I decided that I should try to follow that law.  While the Mage was tracing my mouth, I moved slightly, and began sucking on his finger. His eyes widened in delight, as I gently suckled his finger.  He pulled it from my mouth, and traced down my throat, while I concentrated on what I feeling.  Galen continued for what seemed like hours, deliberately tracing patterns on my naked skin.  It was erotic as hell, and he still hadn't touched anything that I had originally thought as an erotic zone.

“Are those Technomage patterns?” I thought to ask while he continued to trace his finger over my skin.


“Please.  That sounds like a question our dear friend Maximilian would ask. No, we don’t have Technomage patterns for seduction.”  I spoke to John softly. Technically, I wasn’t lying.  I wasn’t using the patterns to seduce him. Instead, I was trying to relax him and calm him.

"The mind is the most erotic organ, never forget that, John." My voice was soft, and gentle, and still I stroked and touched.  Then I spoke a single word and I hoped I was doing the right thing now. For a brief moment earlier during my seduction of John, I had another vision of Matthew and John. In it, a weaken Matthew allowing John to seduce him. John had been deliberate and careful with his seduction of Matthew, as though remembering that first and foremost, that my Stray Cat-Captain was a man of dignity and of pride.

Perhaps that would be my lesson to John, not merely being one of the joys of two men having sex, but something more.  That compassion and caring between two intelligent people could be as erotic and as satisfying as sheer mindless animal lust, especially if one of the partners was less experienced... or… dying. Perhaps when and if that time came, John would remember this lesson.

John tried to move, and suddenly he found his body weak and unresponsive.

“Galen? I can’t… move.”  His voice was tremulous and he looked nervous.

“No. You can’t.” I had teased him about not letting him leave the planet until our relationship was consummated, but I knew that it wouldn’t happen here. It would take time and effort for John to become comfortable before we reached that step. “You need to relax, and enjoy.”  I whispered that.  “I won’t hurt you, and you’ll probably enjoy the sensations.  But I think talking would be nice, as you’ve been awfully quiet all evening. So tell me, why do you think I’m doing this?”

Half expecting a flippant answer, I gently continued to run my finger over his neck and face.  Gently, I kissed his jaw, and his neck, feeling his pulse race.

“Sarah asked you.” His voice was barely above a whisper.

“Come now, John, I expect a better answer than that!” I gently nipped his earlobe, and I began toying with it.  He didn’t answer, so I continued to nuzzle his neck. He sighed, and he relaxed further.

“How… about I answer that question in a bit?”

I debated that question for a moment, and then I decided to be lenient with my pupil. “Absolutely.”

“I have two questions, though, o’ teacher o’ mine.”  His voice was dry, and John had a wicked smile on his face.

“Which are?”

“Can I see you? Truly and completely?”

I wasn’t expecting that question, but I quickly agreed. Both Dureena and Sarah had seen my implants, and fortunately, they hadn’t been obvious in staring at them. Instead, both women had concentrated on touching my implants while they had both explored my body.  The first time between us had found the two women caressing my implants with their fingertips while I shivered in delight. I had been amazed as the two women had understood implicitly that what I craved the most from them, was their understanding that the man standing in front of them, and the implants were totally fused.

I was not completely a man, nor was I made completely of implants. Instead, I was both, and I was the sum of both my parts.  Rarely had I ever taken a lover who wasn’t a Mage as most people could only stare at my implants.  Instead, these two ladies had accepted me for what I was.  Instead of ignoring my implants, they had asked if it was all right to touch and to feel them, and I had agreed softly.

I had softly moaned when Sarah had touched me, and Dureena had laughed. “Do you like having your implants touched and caressed? You’re shaking, Galen. Is it because we’re touching you? Really touching you?”  She had run her fingernails over one of my implants, and I had gasped my answer.


Gently, they had kissed my skin, slowly lingering on the edges between the mechanical implants and me.  It was erotic as hell, as the implants had sensitized my skin to an unbearable degree.  Dureena especially seemed to crave the taste of my skin and my implants, as she usually focused on that during our times together.

She’d lap at my implants daintily with her tongue, as though she desired the salt from my skin and the metallic taste of my implants.  Then Sarah was busy playing with other… parts of my body, and so the inevitable occurred.

Repeatedly, as I remember.

Don’t look so surprised.  I’m a Mage, not a Cyborg.

John Matheson

Galen stood up from my prone body, and he whistled softly.  “Come along, come along, little ones, I need some light.”  The fireballs cheerfully raced into the room, and landed on his open palms. “Brighter, brighter, brighter!”  The fireballs started to blaze, trying to keep their master happy, and Galen smiled. “That’s quite good. Now, go over there, ok?”

Mr. & Ms. Fireball gently floated off, and Galen began to strip.  It was almost dreamlike, watching the tall Technomage strip out of his clothes. I was paralyzed due to Galen’s spell casting, but Galen had assured me that he had done this for our first lesson. Since he noticed that I was rather nervous, he decided that he would handle my seduction and that I just had to enjoy everything he tried.  He began unbuttoning his shirt, and he suddenly smirked.

“Shall I do a bump and grind number, John?”

“No. What you’re doing is ok.”  I tried not to stare when Galen removed his shirt.  He had implants on his chest and on his back. Numerous ones and I suddenly found myself wondering about the young child Galen must once have been. Galen couldn’t have been born, fully formed like some deity from Greek Mythology, now could he? “Did they hurt?”  Fortunately Galen was standing in a position that I didn’t have to crane my neck in order to view him.

“The implants? I don’t remember, honestly. I’ve always had them.”

Galen then completed stripping, and he stood there, plainly waiting for the second question. He smiled at me, bemused, that I was just staring at his implant-covered body.

“Can you turn around?” I spoke that softly.

“Was that your second question? I’m rather disappointed, actually.”  Then Galen slowly did a 360 for me, allowing me to view him completely.

“No, my second question is that an implant, also?”

And Galen laughed.


I then gently asked the fireballs to darken. Then I sat down next to John, and he grinned shyly.  Then I rolled over and I began to kiss him, on the lips. It was a chaste kiss that found the two of us wanting more.

“So have you decided why Sarah asked me to continue your education?”

“Because… I think Sarah realizes that… deep down, we’re both solitary people. You’re as lonely as the rest of us, in spite of your implants, your fancy ship, your staff and your long black cloak. Or maybe… you’re lonely because of them.  We’re just two solitary, lonely people. Very few people are comfortable around me because I’m a Telepath, and very few people are comfortable around you because you’re a Mage.”

Damn him, he had seen right to the very core of me, just like Isabelle use to see the scared boy hiding behind the cloak. Galen, can’t you EVER behave?

I gave him a gentle, tender smile that I'm sure didn’t manage to hide how his comments had surprised me.  “Is there anything else you’d like to add before we continue.”

“I can’t hear you mentally.  Is it because of the spell casting?”

“Yes.”  I admitted that softly.

“Good.  It’s hard for me to keep my shields up during my lessons.  I really want to share what I’m feeling completely with my partner, but I want to save that experience for someone that…” He looked embarrassed.

For someone that I love.  That was his unspoken comment, and I found myself thinking that Matthew Gideon was going to be a lucky man, one-day.

“It’s a gift, John, that should be given to someone that you care for deeply.  The others understand that.” Trying to assure him, I found myself in the role of protector and confidant. Damn it, Galen, you’re supposed to push him toward independence, NOT toward leaning on you.

“I’m glad. I was worried that I was going to offend you, that I was willing to share… our bodies, but that I was saving that… for someone else. Dureena and Sarah both understood about that, fortunately.”

“Now. Enough talking, John.” And I kissed him.  Then for the next few hours, I concentrated on touching him.  I nibbled at his neck, while my hands stroked and caressed his body.  One of the side affects of the spell I had cast makes one’s skin extremely sensitive, so John was being bombarded with erotic sensation layered upon erotic sensation.  I have to admit that I found it enchanting listening to him gasp out in delight when I allowed him to climax. Then we returned to page number one of the textbook…

He was a young man, and rather resilient, so his first lesson lasted a little bit longer than I had been expecting as we repeated his class work thoroughly, trying to make sure that he grasped the lesson.  “Now that I know the course syllabus thoroughly, your next lesson will continue from there.”  Tracing a slight pattern on his shoulder, I motioned to him that he could move now.

“Galen?” His voice was sleepy and dazed.


“How about you? You didn’t get any… satisfaction out of this.”

Thinking of that brief precognitive vision I had of John and Matthew, I knew that I had to drive my lesson home.  If my vision was correct, one day in the future, a dying Matthew might be asking John the very same question, and how I answered this, would determine if both men’s pride were damaged.

Sarah, did you know what framework you were laying when you decided to seduce this young man?  For a moment, I wondered what John had learned from Sarah and Dureena, and what Max’s lesson would be.

“For this, it was all about you. Besides…you're exhausted, John. You better get dressed before Matthew shows up. Don't want him to suspect anything." I whispered that and then kissed him softly. Lingeringly.

"Galen, thank you." Then he proceeded to change back into my uniform and then toppled back onto the floor.  He gave me a smile, rolled over next to me, his body heat warming me. But I had to laugh as Sparky and Sparkette were hanging over my head, and I think they were laughing in delighted approval.

“Don’t forget. We’ll have quite a few more lessons to be scheduled. Fortunately for you, I’m pretty much free for the next millennia unless, I’ve got to rescue Matthew again. He does get himself into more trouble than a host of Technomage Acolytes. He’s also lucky that I don’t keep a record about how many times I’ve rescued him, or else I might get annoyed with some of his snippy comments. ‘Least wanted, and least needed’, indeed!”

“So… when?” John gently smiled at me, as though eager for our lessons to continue.

“Expect me…” I started softly.

“When you see me,” we answered together.

I let him sleep for a bit, and then Sparky bobbed in front of me to get my attention.

“What?” I asked, distractedly.  I concentrated for a moment, and I was suddenly surprised how bright Sparky was.  He was a rather intelligent fireball as he suddenly reminded me of something rather important. “You’re a good fireball, Sparky. I hadn’t thought of that. It would be kind of odd if John returned to the ship in fine form, and Matthew would get curious about what we were doing in here for all this time. Somehow I don’t think he’d buy the idea that we were playing Old Maid.”

Whispering a few words softly, I released my spell.  I touched John’s forehead carefully.  “Hmmm… John’s not feeling very well. Must be the heat.”


I found my 1st officer and Galen. They were located in a ruin that was covered by sand from that freak sandstorm. Eilerson had already been taken to Medbay along with half of the IPX team. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, sunburns, sun stroke, hyperthermia and sun poisoning! You name it, and they had it. It would be weeks before the damn team was able to work again, I thought darkly.  Least it will be quiet, without Eilerson's constant bitching. And... Galen was carrying Matheson out of the ruin.

Matheson also looked like hell, as apparently he had suffered greatly from the damn heat. And Galen... Galen was strangely protective of my first officer, insisting on carrying him to the shuttlecraft.  Matheson gave him a shy, gentle smile, right after Galen carefully placed him into a seat. And then the Technomage covered him with his cloak and Matheson went to sleep almost immediately. For a moment, I thought I saw Galen carefully trace a glyph on John’s forehead, as though in benediction. It was a display that I had never seen Galen do before. It was as gentle as a farewell… and done as shyly as a knowing, secret smile between two lovers.

Oh. Dear GOD, no. Sarah. Dureena. GALEN? GALEN. GALEN! GALEN!

There was a sudden flare of light, and I saw a fireball zip out of Galen’s pocket.  It hovered over John’s head as though it was guarding John.

“No, little one. You can’t stay with John. Sparky, I know you’re worried about him, but people would find it odd if you were floating around, looking after him.  These people just wouldn’t understand and they’d tried to capture you. Knowing Maximilian, he’d probably sell you to a Centauri circus or something. Come along now.”

The fireball wasn’t happy, and it regretfully returned to Galen’s pocket.  During this warm exchange between Technomage and Fireball, I had walked over to where John was sleeping. What was going on here?

Galen looked at me, and gave me a challenging look. "Is there a problem, Matthew?"

"No, should there be?" Suddenly I realized that I was face to face with Galen, glaring at his deep blue eyes, and Galen... was amused. He was also standing firmly between John Matheson and myself. It was an oddly protective stance, I noted.

"For a moment, Matthew, I thought there might have been." He spoke to me, softly, warning me not to push the issue.  "Tell John, I'll be back for the cloak, later. Expect me when you see me." And the tall Technomage walked out of the shuttle and then he disappeared in the middle of the desert.

I stared at the spot where he disappeared, and I just couldn't stop THINKING. Sarah, Dureena. Matheson. Galen. John. Galen. Dureena. Sarah. Sarah. MATHESON. My mind was wildly going in circles, singing songs about who had seduced my first officer. For a moment of brief hysteria, I wondered if Sparky had slept with John also, but I quickly snapped back to reality after looking for scorch marks.  Most of the senior staff members had apparently seduced him, rather willingly. John was happier than I had ever seen him but there was one person left in the batting rotation of my senior staff. Eilerson... EILERSON. Eilerson was the last remaining senior staff member... and that meant that the caustic man was probably NEXT.

If Eilerson hurt John, I'd kill him. Damn Eilerson and his exotic, erotic tastes. I thought of those porn crystals I had viewed, and my blood suddenly froze. He'd brutalize my innocent John.  And I suddenly realized my fists were clenched in rage. I was furiously angry with Sarah, for I saw the potential of John getting emotionally hurt by "his" sexual education. For suddenly, I had realized Sarah had seduced John originally, and that she was the one directing his education.

I wouldn't have done this to John, if he had come to me. Not at all. NOT AT ALL. WHAT WAS SARAH THINKING? Unclenching my fists, I turned to face my first officer, and I gently touched his shoulder.  Fortunately, I didn't wake him.

"Time to go back to the ship, John. You sleep now." My voice was soft and soothing as I looked at my first officer. I was going to have to talk to Eilerson.  I had to protect Matheson from HIM. Somebody had to, as apparently no one else saw the fast approaching emotional destruction of John Matheson.

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{Mistress Sarah}

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