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 fourth 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.

"You haven't talked to him yet, have you?" Sarah looked at me in amusement.

"Well..." I was hedging, and she grinned. Damnable, lovable Sarah knew I was trying to evade the question so she smirked at me.

"You haven't. Are you scared of him?" she whispered in amusement. "Of Maximilian? An EF officer, afraid of a mere Xeno-archeologist?"

"Mere? Max, a mere Xeno-archeologist? Sarah, that's like comparing the Plague to a bad case of the flu!" I looked at her and whispered across the table. "Shhh! Here's Gideon!" My captain was in the room, staring in disgust at whatever he had on his plate. Plainly the "Tuesday night" special was leaving much to be desired.

"Coward." Her dark eyes were ablaze with amusement. She thought this entire thing was FUNNY! FUNNY! Meanwhile, I just wanted to crawl underneath the table, as the person in question, Maximilian Eilerson, was looking for a place to sit and have his meal. He was emblazoned with his IPX logo everywhere, shirt, jacket and pants. And for a moment, I wondered if his boxers were emblazoned with the IPX logo. I started to laugh, but I stopped laughing when I heard his voice.

"Hello? Can I sit here?" The older man noticed my amusement, like he noticed everything else, and slipped it away for future reference.

"Sure... I was just leaving, anyway. Doctor's job is never done." Then, Sarah Chambers, sweet and innocent, Sarah Chambers smirked at me and left the table. Leaving the lamb to the wolf! Max sat in the chair she just vacated and we both concentrated on eating... whatever the "Tuesday night" special was. Max sighed, and put his fork down in disdain.

"This isn't going to work." His voice was soft and for a moment, I was confused about what he was talking.

"Yes, this is inedible." I agreed with the older man, trying to make some sort of harmless conversation with the older man.  It was difficult at best to talk with Max, what with his superior attitude, and his general condescending way of dealing with people.  Add to that mixture, the fact that he was going to try to pick me up, had me almost speechless in terror.

"No. Not that. Sarah talked to me, and she told me to expect you for...'lessons'. "'Max leaned back in his chair avidly weighing, measuring and categorizing me. "That was... some time ago," he admitted, plainly taking my snub of "instructions" personally.

Oh NO!!!! "I've been busy." OK, actually I've have been fearing that this moment would arrive, ever since Galen declared me "competent". I looked away from him for a second and I saw Gideon heading over my way. For a split second, I debated about crawling underneath the table, but decided that would be rather noticeable.

Maybe I could become violently ill.

Dinner easily could have done that.

No, no, no.

That was probably a bit too noticeable.  Discretion is the better part of valor, I've been told.

"Two months worth of busy?" Max smirked at me. "Ok, as much as it bruises my ego to do this, I'm going to have to actually invite you to my quarters. Tonight. 6 pm. Wear something long sleeved, casual and comfortable. Any questions?"

"None." I said softly.

"One question?" He gave me a winning smile, and I felt like screaming in fear. Even Gideon got nervous when Eilerson smiled like that.

"Y-y-yes?" My voice cracked and he grinned at my fear! Like a cat that has caught a mouse, played with it, flipped it over and over until ... he got bored. Then LUNCH! Max was the cat, and I was definitely looking like a delectable desert, not lunch.  I fully expected him to start licking his lips in anticipation, shortly.

"Do you bruise easily?"  Max said that in a tone of voice that one normally used for inanities such as "Could you pass the salt, please."

Do I bruise easily? I wasn't expecting that question, and I nearly choked on my dinner. I wasn't sure how to answer that, when suddenly, I thought... Oh my God...!  How the hell could this scene get any worse!

Stupid question John! There are things you never say in Earth Force. "Quiet Shift" and "How could things get worse?" Briefly, I remember how one of my instructors at the academy had warned against ever speaking those thoughts out loud.

'For the minute you say it's boring, that's when the little green aliens with three little red eyes, and eight little arms, come on board your ship. Then they kidnap all your command officers, leaving behind the cleaning crew to figure out how the hell to rescue your sorry little asses just because you were bored! Be happy when you're bored! It beats having to rescue people or facing down a PPG in your face!"

She was a wise woman, I had often thought over the years.  And it had gotten worse. But I would have preferred to have that little green alien with the red eyes and multiple arms to sit down next to me, rather than... Matthew Gideon!

"What was that I was hearing, Max? Does he bruise easily?"

 I could tell by Gideon's voice that he wasn't quite amused with the conversation I was having.

My stomach was right now in the immediate vicinity of my toes.  Sarah and Dureena had both been discrete in their pick-ups lines, but Galen and Eilerson were each too Alpha Male to have pity on me.  Galen had loudly asked me if I wanted further instruction in interstellar relationships, and now Eilerson was wondering if I bruised easily. Damn it!

Why don't you just put a sign up over my head "EF XO looking for lust in all the wrong places?"

Sarah! Damn it! How about putting a personal ad on the ship's net?  That would only be slightly less obvious. Let's see... it would probably say something along the lines of "Lonely Telepathic XO looking for further fun. Virginity's been only recently stolen/taken, so looking for someone who's a little patient. Doesn't matter if you're one of the following Male/Female/Human/Xanderian/Technomage/ Confused?  Doesn't matter! Just don't hurt me too badly! See John Matheson, XO, if interested."

"Yes, Captain. I did ask him if he bruises easily. Didn't you notice the bruise on his hand?" For a moment, Max touched my hand with his long fingers, and I felt a shiver down my spine. "Right here, next to his thumb..." He traced something on my hand, and I felt more shivers running down my back. "Looks like he was overdoing his workouts at the gym. That's not good, Lt. Matheson. Not at all. I was just concerned about his safety. Somebody has to be concerned, as he's not taking care of his health and well being. Well, time for me to be going. Good night, gentlemen."

Gideon and I mumbled our good-byes, and I didn't say anything to Matt as I was just concentrating on eating... whatever it was. Gideon was eating slowly when he suddenly shook his head and put his fork down.


Oh god, EILERSON! EILERSON! And Matheson. I was in the cafeteria staring at "something" on my plate, when I saw my favorite Xeno-archeologist and linguist, circling like a vulture around my first officer. I should explain that well, I know...

Actually I should say that I have a sneaky suspicion that our lovely ship's doctor seduced my virginal first officer. Nothing confirmed, or anything like that but, just call it a Captain's hunch that was confirmed by finding a pair of fire engine red panties in John Matheson's desk drawer. And then she got Dureena involved, who in turn led to Galen. Fine, fine, fine! I have no problem with Matheson's sexual high-jinks. If he wants Sarah, Dureena and Galen at the same time, (and GOD help me, my mind was imploding at that mental thought) far be it from me to complain. John was an adult, and apparently enjoying his little excursions with the rest of the senior officers.

He was happy. John Matheson was happy. Smiling. Grinning like a fool sometimes. And he was... relaxed. John's never been truly relaxed in all the many years I've know him. He's always been... reserved and solitary, shutting himself off from the very people he needed to be friendly with, by hiding behind that façade of "John Matheson, XO".  For years, I had tried to get him to loosen up, and he had always refused.  I guess he felt that if he actually relaxed now and then, that a random thought would go zipping into his head, causing the need for Jones to get involved.  I had to respect that, but I didn't have to like the fact that I saw the younger man being suffocated under the weight he carried.  A few friends would make it easier to shoulder that burden and a lover might even willing to help support him in carrying that responsibility.

Now... now... John was slowly coming out of his shell, with a few select people.  I had watched carefully, in concern, hoping that Sarah's good sense would prevent him from getting hurt.  He was flourishing now, as obviously, Sarah had taken him under her wing and had shown him how to fly solo in a big, bad universe.   Thank you, Sarah. I could never thank you enough for helping John along the way, but I still hoped to God that you knew what you were doing when you got Dureena and Galen involved.

To my amazement, that had apparently worked both ways also.  Dureena seemed... mellower... ok... less likely to randomly kill someone, and Galen was at times, rather subdued which was a delightful change from bombastic!.  But... Max.... Max.... MAX. Sarah, couldn't you just skip that particular class? Did John really need BDS&M 101 to graduate from the Chambers School of Sex?

I had a recurring nightmare where a session with Max would put John in traction.

Can you imagine the paperwork for that?  What was I suppose to put down in the little box marked Mechanism of Injury?

Xeno-archeologist Max Eilerson???

John is probably the only person I trust completely in this entire universe.  Dependable, reliable, and just the person I most rely on. We've been friends for years, ever since I agreed to take on a rather self-effacing Ensign by the name of John Matheson who had just happened to be a Telepath. No one else in EF wanted to deal with him, but I was always picking up strays here, and there, so I had agreed to it.

It was a smart decision I had made, as Matheson would die for me just for that one little action.  There were times when I thought that perhaps John was skirting too fine a line of hero-worship.  I was his Captain, and sometimes I thought that he was too... dedicated.

But now my XO was moving away from me, and learning to trust other people.  I'm not complaining. I should be happy that John was finally learning to trust other people!  Sarah, Dureena  and even... GALEN... I'm sure wouldn't hurt John. But Eilerson, my favorite cracked linguist.... He'd play his mind games on John, and I could see John getting hurt. Then he'd retreat into his shell again and I didn't want that happening to him.

Eilerson, my cracked Xeno-archeologist was far too brilliant and far too erratic to be John's educator in the realm of sex.  Max liked porn, I knew, and I knew that he had a distinct flair for domination.  John, after being a recluse for so long, was a little bit too naïve and inexperienced to wrestle with Max. I just hoped that John was smart enough to realize that Eilerson was a big boy, who liked playing big boy games.

It's not that I was jealous for something that simply couldn't be between John and myself. No, not at all. But I didn't want my first officer hurt. Especially not by EILERSON. And now, Eilerson... EILERSON...  was ... sniffing around John. Apparently, all the extra work I had given John for the last two months wasn't enough to keep Eilerson from wanting to "play" with John.

So I sat next to my first officer, and I had given my favorite linguist a warning look when Max innocently asked if John bruised easily.  Max had glibly ignored my warning, and then I proceeded to mentally glare at Eilerson for a bit, and then... Eilerson turned tail and ran. Always said you were smart, Eilerson.

"John." I spoke carefully, not wanting to embarrass him, not in a public setting.

"Yes?" he mumbled, trying to inhale his dinner.

Damn it, I can't warn him. He'd be embarrassed if he thought I knew..."Never mind...I forgot".

We continued eating for a few more minutes when finally I ... just... had to say something. All sorts of warning bells were going off in my head, and I just couldn't stand by and watch my XO burn himself with Max.   "Watch out for Eilerson.  He's got that look on his face that either means he's constipated or he's about to do something that will end up with me getting my ass chewed out by HQ."

John was quiet, but he nodded his head in acknowledgement of my warning.

6 pm.
Eilerson's quarters.

"So you did show up. I had my doubts." The archeologist was wearing something silky and dark, and he noticed my stunned look. "Yes, I do have something that doesn't have IPX on it."

I nodded shyly. My heart was racing, and I was debating about getting the hell out of here. But then Eilerson would be amused, and he'd make little comments at the wrong time to make my life a living hell. Like in the middle of our next staff meeting, he would direct a pointed barb in my direction.

"We need to talk. This is going to be a little different than what you're expecting. Sit. There." His voice was commanding, and I sat down. "Why are you here?"

"I... don't know. Sarah suggested it." My eyes were downcast, and I suddenly realized, Max had taken complete control of the situation. And I was letting him!

"Not good enough for an answer. Why are you here? What do you want from this experience?  If you want lusty, sweaty passion, you can get plenty of that elsewhere. Sarah and Dureena come to mind. Probably even Galen might be sufficient for that.  So, John, why are you here?" His voice was soft, and I felt him gently stroke my hair. "Don't be afraid. I need to know. Why are you here?"

"Sarah suggested that I come here for further instruction."  I wasn't sure exactly how I felt or why I was really here. So I settled on what I assumed to be a safe answer.  Sarah had spoken to Dureena and Galen, so I knew that she had spoken to Max. My emotions were in a little bit of turmoil, as my mind just didn't trust Eilerson, while my body was craving what I thought he could teach me. For a moment, I thought of candle wax, leathers and silks, and I knew that I really wanted this experience.

I guess since Sarah had been 'educating' me for close to a year, I was feeling... frisky.

I suddenly had a mental image of my Captain and me.  Matthew was the one in charge, and I was his willing sub.  I was tied to his bed, he was wearing his leather command jacket, and he was about to drip candle wax on rather sensitive parts of my naked body. Oh GOD! Where the hell did that idea come from?

Max... not my fantasy Matthew sighed again. "Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. All you mention is SARAH. I know why Sarah sent you to me, but I need to know WHY you're sitting here." His voice was full of disapproval, and I was surprised at how BAD I felt. Obviously, Max was a master at what he was planning on teaching me. Bite the bullet, John.

"Because... I want to learn more." My voice was soft and tremulous.

"Better. Much better answer, there my pet." Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw that he sat down on the couch, easily. He seemed happy with my answer, and for a moment, I was happy, too.

This is getting a little... too weird here, John.

"Now... I want you to get undressed, down to your boxers? Then lie down on my bed, and I'll be there shortly." He fondled my hair, and I was amazed how quickly I enjoyed that. From what I had heard during pillow talk, Max had a distinct quirk for domination, and I was getting intrigued.

I was lying on his bed, nervous, and he walked into his bedroom. Max motioned at me to spread out on the bed, and he sat on the edge of the bed, facing me.

"So." He spoke softly, as he began stroking my face. "You're shaking. Do you trust me?"

"I... I...I" I couldn't answer him. Trust? Eilerson? Ah.. NO. Not as a person. Not at all. Then why am I here? Because, down deep, I really wanted to walk on the dark side for a bit and to escape from the role of John Matheson, Eagle Scout?

OK!  That's the reason, secretly I really wanted to experience this, and I figured that Sarah wouldn't steer me wrong. After all, she had been right about Dureena and Galen so far.

"Do you trust me, completely and utterly? Do you believe that if you tell me to stop, I will? I need to know this before we go any farther. So, pet, do you trust me?" He was gently stroking my face while I tried to answer him.

"Do you, John Matheson?"  Questioning me again, he was plainly expecting an answer.

"DO YOU?" His voice was loud, and I just couldn't answer him.

The linguist shook his head, and was obviously angry. "You're wasting my time. It's obvious you don't trust me. Go to Sarah. Go to your trusted and revered Captain. Go to whomever it is you trust, but don't waste my time until you can trust me. OUT! GET OUT NOW!"

And he walked out of his quarters! Leaving me lying on his bed, in my boxers.

Maximilian Eilerson

He had shown up, and I had been surprised.  Completely and totally surprised, but then again, I really shouldn't have been. It's usually those that appear the most aloof and composed that secretly crave the chance to be dominated. That description apparently matched our dear Executive Officer.

Sarah had gotten me involved with the education of John Matheson along with the others.  I had been waiting, hungrily, impatiently in the background, anticipating for that first moment when he'd look at me, and realize that I was the one in complete control.   I would kiss John's tears away, and heal him from his false pride.  An EF officer as my slave. Delightful.  I had so many among the Excalibur crew, but not ... an officer and a gentleman.

John had a remarkable effect on our little circle.  Sarah would often return from a session from him, wearing a bemused look on her face. Dureena would be vivacious, almost effervescent and our resident Technomage would be quiet and subdued.

Seeing the changes in our little circle made me curious, and it made me hungry. What was it about John Matheson that affected these different people so radically?



"What is it about him?" I  asked Sarah.

"I can't clarify it, exactly." That's all she would explain, softly.

"What is your goal in this, Sarah?  Another notch on your belt and his heart as your own?" My tone was acidic, and I had thought that would prompt an answer from her. She absolutely hated when I used that tone of voice with her.

""  Our lovely ship's doctor  shook her head, while I paced her quarters.

I loved sparring with Chambers.  Her mind was quick, almost as quick as my own and she was a worthy verbal foe.  We enjoyed our war of words, as we each knew each other far too well.  No one had noticed this, of course, but Sarah was quite similar to me.  She had fooled them all into thinking she was the angel of mercy, but I knew better.  That beneath those bright smiles of Sarah's, her heart was full of pain.

So much like my own.

"Ah. I know... you're planning on throwing him into Gideon's bed? Complete with a blue ribbon? Our dear Captain won't go for that. He's too honorable a man to break the chain of command, Sarah. " I waited for her reaction to that tidbit.

She gave me a dirty look, while I feigned innocence.

"You mean you didn't notice? Matthew is not an unobservant man.  He knows."

Amazing, she refused to believe me when I assured her that Matthew KNEW.  It was obvious from the way Matthew would stand in the corner of his ready room, and scan the room while we trooped in for our daily meeting. His eyes would shift back and forth between us, obviously trying to figure out the latest changes in our little group's dynamics.

Just to be really annoying, I would always wink at him when he looked at me, hoping that one day I'd actually see the steam billowing out his ears.

"You're not getting those hands of yours on him. He's not ready for you yet." Her dark eyes blazed a challenge at me, and I was intrigued. How I loved a dare, especially when it was dressed in a short skirt like that.  God, her legs went on for light-years.

"Soon? How much longer must I wait? I've been so very patient, Sarah." Giving her a wolfish grin, I noticed that Sarah was suddenly getting serious.

"Max. I need you to promise me something.  When I send him on to you, you'll have to be careful with him."

"Sarah... I'm careful with all my subs. You, of all people, should know that."  I was indignant! He was a grown man, and Sarah was trying to protect him.  What was it with John Matheson that had everyone defending him?  Matt, Dureena, Galen and Sarah were exceeding considerate of the young man, and I couldn't figure out why. Matthew was as protective as a Mama bear with a cub, except...  Matthew was too Alpha male to ever be 'Mamma', and so then I knew that his interest was hiding something else.

So nice of you to confirm what I've long suspected, Gideon.

"No. Not that. I want you to keep two things in your mind while you're teaching him.  First of all, you're not to forget that for John, this is just a walk on the wild side."

"Damn. Maybe if I try hard enough, I can convince him to live the lifestyle. Straight sex is just so.... Vanilla."  Leering that comment at her, I licked my lips while Chambers gave me the evil eye.  "So safe, so secure... so utterly boring."

"Max..." she warned.

"Sarah..." I mimicked her tone of voice.

"I also want you to teach him how to be a top."

"Sarah. You can't teach someone that. It's genetics." I threw that at her, waiting for her to start sparring with me.  Verbal word play with Sarah usually led to foreplay... and I was tired of talking about John Matheson, Innocent.  Instead, I wanted to talk intimately with Sarah Chambers, Wanton and Not-So-Innocent.



That conversation ended up with both of us deciding that perhaps both genetics AND environment played a key role in determining... one's position in life and in other things.

And my time had finally arrived, and I had sent him on his way.  He didn't trust me, and so I had told him to leave.  To dominate, one must have the complete trust of your slave or else you both could end up getting emotionally scarred.

But first, I was going to take my frustrations out on Sarah. It was all her fault that I had been looking forward to this, and now that feeling of anticipation had been ruined by John Matheson's refusal to trust me.


Sarah Chambers.

"He turned you down?" I was still stunned. After all his little snide comments about getting his hands on John for a little one on one instruction, Eilerson had turned him down. COLD. Max had stormed over to me in my office, had just growled at me, waved his hands in irritation, and then he had LEFT.

"Oh. He asked if you trusted him enough to stop. And you didn't. Right?"

John shook his head. "And things are uncomfortable between us right now." For some reason, I think Gideon's rather pleased with that state of affairs. He had even commented on how uptight Eilerson had been lately.

I rolled over on my stomach, and kicked up my heels. John gave me a gentle smile, and began stroking my back. "Max is an odd one, he needs to know you trust him, as... he doesn't trust anyone. He has to be in complete control, normally. Only rarely has he ever shown me that there's someone else hiding behind the "master". A scared little boy who's been hurt a lot. I really enjoy those moments, as I try to comfort him when he's that upset."

"Really?" John was startled by that information. He stopped stroking my back until I glared at him, and then he started again.

"Yes, when his ex-wife left him, it nearly shattered him. He loved her, and I think he still does. But... she's such a flake."

"Flake?" John was amused by my character reference, so I smiled at him.

 "She's always crying to him for money or begging for help with an insurmountable problem that any self respecting woman never would have gotten herself into in the first place. Max always gives everything she wants to her. Then after she leaves him again, he's devastated and goes into a deep depression.  Those are the nights I find him in my quarters, hoping that I'm dominate him badly enough so that he'll be able to forget about her. For Max, domination is the only way he can handle love.  When I dominate him, he loves me for the fact that he knows that I'll hurt and wound him."

"Max expects to be hurt when ever he loves anyone.  But the pain is within limits in our game, as Max can always use his safe word with me. But his ex-wife, there were no limits, as he loved her totally and completely. And she destroyed him, because Cynthia wasn't strong enough to handle him."

"In his own way, Max knows he's not a likable person, so he can takes his pets to the very edges of emotion, and if he goes too far, they'll use their safe word.  He loves them because each and every one of them, in their special own way is strong enough to tell him to stop hurting them. Unlike his ex-wife."

She gave me a promising look. "Try it again. Trust me. You need to learn how to trust and to control, and Max is the one to teach it to you."


I caught him in the elevator. He was studiously ignoring me, and I took a deep breath. I leaned on him, carefully and whispered in his ear - "Shall we try it again?" Max ignored me. Completely. I took another deep breath and whispered even softer in his ear. "I was afraid. And I still am. But can we try it again, Max?"

He ignored me, and I then tentatively kissed the back of his neck. I heard the elevator stop at its next stop, so I quickly sprang to the other side of the elevator. Then the door opened and in walked...Gideon. He gave us both an odd look and then shook his head. Pressing the button for his stop, he proceeded to step in between Max and myself. Gideon crossed his arms and gave EILERSON an intense look that earned an amused look from Eilerson. The tension in the elevator rose another few degrees, and I industriously ignored both Eilerson and Gideon.

When the door opened, I fled from the duo.  When the door closed, I knew they were still just ignoring each other but there was a fight brewing, I could feel it. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it going to be about.

Unless, I suddenly thought, the fight was going to be about me.

Gideon and Eilerson couldn't be fighting over ME?  Matt had always stayed out of this crew's personal life, and I didn't think that he'd break that rule for anyone.  MY GOD! That didn't mean, Gideon KNEW? No. Don't panic. Eilerson's expense voucher probably was just sky high again. That's all it was.  Please?


John had fled the scene of the crime, and I was grateful for that. His tentative kiss on the back of my neck had surprised me greatly, and I was pondering what to do next when Gideon showed up. Important issues were racing about in my mind, such as, in the elevator, or not? And then Gideon had shown up, and I knew that he was aware of what was going on. I just knew that Matthew Gideon had already figured out what was going with this XO and his senior staff, but Sarah and the rest didn't. They thought they were hiding it, oh so well, from our illustrious Captain. That look he shot me in the elevator had certainly confirmed my little hypothesis of how much Matthew knew.

If he had a PPG rifle, I would have been lying dead on the floor of the elevator. One shot! Directly to the forehead!

I didn't even think our scared little Telepath realized that Gideon KNEW. And I even think Gideon approved of John's education, except for the fact that I was to be one of John's instructors. It was funny, Matheson was the Telepath, but he was just so blind. Especially regarding his one great weakness, Matthew Gideon.

The gentleman in question was glaring at the back of my neck. I felt John's hesitant kiss glowing with an almost nuclear heat, and I felt like laughing. Instead, I turned ever so slightly, just to give Matt a wide smile that he could see. Gideon. JEALOUS. El Capitan was a jealous man. Gideon, always so damn snide and holier than thou, and he was JEALOUS! Life was a wonderful thing. Obviously, someone was a little bit too concerned about his XO's personal life.

Heh heh heh.  I think I hear the sound of someone gnawing on his own liver. Shall I pass the salt, Matthew? On second thought, maybe I better not. Your blood pressure is high enough right now without the sodium.

"Eilerson." The threat in his voice really didn't surprise me. Not really, especially after that little flash of insight into Gideon's covetous psyche.

"Captain." I acknowledge the threat with one of my own. Amazing, the tension in the room rose only another ten degrees.  If he had a PPG rifle, the doors would have opened to find Gideon emptying cartridge after cartridge into my dead body. Matthew would have looked up to find security staring at him in horror, and he would have grabbed their guns to continue riddling my body with PPG bullets.

'Need to make sure he's truly dead. He might rise from the dead like a vampire' I'd imagine our illustrious Captain saying through clenched teeth. 'I need another round just to make sure!' He'd be still aiming at me while they dragged him off to the brig.

"We need to... talk." If anyone else had been in the elevator, they would have frozen from the chill in his voice. But not I, certainly, not Maximilian Eilerson.

"Absolutely. Not here. But where? Someplace... private, I believe."

It was going to be a glorious argument. I could feel it and I was even looking forward to it.

Conference Room- Excalibur


It started ugly and it got worse. Eilerson and myself arguing over HIM like we were a couple of schoolboys arguing over a toy.

"Eilerson. I know what you're doing. DON'T!" I warned him.

"Don't what?" He gave me that mocking grin that I absolutely hated, and I knew my blood pressure was sky high.

"Do what you're going to do."  We were in the staff meeting room. And he was ... sitting in *MY* chair. And it was DELIBERATE. Max had gotten into the room first, and he had made a beeline for my chair! Another example of his little power plays. How Eilerson made my blood burn! Matheson! He was a babe in the woods and Eilerson was going to terrorize and brutalize him. But NOT if I could help it. I wouldn't stand by and watch the finest XO I've ever served with get emotionally destroyed by the saturnine, lascivious Maximilian Eilerson.

"Which is? Do tell me... Captain. I simply do not understand this conversation. Enlighten me." His blues eyes were twinkling.

"I know... about Sarah and the rest. And I know what you're going to do." My disapproval was obvious to him, as he gave me another mocking grin. "I don't approve. Not at all. So, I'm giving you a friendly warning between two gentlemen, advising you not to even thinking of doing it.  Even though I certainly don't think you're that much of a gentleman, I'll still do it."

"What am I suppose to be doing that has gotten you oh so upset, Captain? Your face is almost crimson. Perhaps you see Sarah after this and have your blood pressure checked?" Max questioned me in an all too innocent voice. "As a member of your team, I am finding myself concerned about your... physical... health and your emotional also. Is there something you want to discuss with me?"

"You're going to play your little mind games with him. AND I simply do not approve." My voice was suddenly lower, and I realized that I was deadly calm. It was my usual composure when I was anticipating a fight of some sort. Had Max rattled me THAT much?

"You don't have to approve. You're not involved. REMEMBER?" He looked at me, and gave me a bright smile. He then started laughing. Hard.  Then, Max leaned back in MY chair, and he continued laughing.

"What's so funny, Mr. Eilerson?" I threatened.

"You are involved with Lochley. Remember?" He gave me another searching look, and then put his hands together. He was still laughing. AT ME! "Remember her- Lovely Liz? The B5 Babe?"

"And?"  Stalking closer, I waited for his answer.  I leaned down onto the arms of MY chair so that he could no longer lean back.  Instead, I was in his face, making it impossible for him to ignore the promise of dire and divine retribution in my eyes. "What about ...Captain. Elizabeth . Lochley?" I used her full title to inform Max that I didn't like the way he had described her as the B5 Babe.

Realizing that I had the upper hand, he stood up to face me, directly, eye to eye, pushing me out of his way. His voice was smooth and mocking. "And you, my dear, revered Captain, are jealous.  JEALOUS.  Your eyes aren't hazel, they're GREEN!"  I felt him hit my chest with his finger, as though he was trying to drive that point home.

I wasn't jealous of the possibility of a relationship between John and Max. No, I was just concerned about the fact that a close friend was going to be deeply wounded by this older, brutal Lothario.  "You hurt him, Max and I'll SPACE you.  I'll do it personally; open the bay doors, shove you out, and enjoy every single moment of it.  It will only take ONE time, Max.  Do.  You.  Understand.  Me?"

It didn't sink into his head. For someone supposedly so intelligent, who was such a brainiac,  Max was being...dense... almost... purposely obtuse.

"Have you ever seen anyone die from being Spaced? It's not pretty and I'm sure it hurts.  And no one will come to help you, because in space, no one can hear you scream."  My voice was about 10 degrees Kelvin, and he just smiled at me!

The man had a death wish.  Nothing I said was making any type of impression on him as he still stood there with that superior look waiting for me to finish.  Frustrated, I wanted to cold cock the bastard.  But I couldn't do that, as unfortunately all of Earth was riding on the hopes that this caustic asshole would help save them form the Plague. We had billions of lives riding on this guy, and all he wanted was a little action. Lord, Man! Think with your brain, not with your dick! Zip your pants up and shut your mouth, damn it!

"Go to Babylon 5 to visit with your lovely captain. Scratch your itch there, or here, in the conference room, for all I care. Or in the elevator, or... Captain, even in the bullet car. But remember you can't scratch your itch with him. But I can. I'm not in his chain of command. I'm a civilian, and I can do anything I want to him. And I will, and you know something, Captain?"

"What?" I snarled that at him, despite vowing that I wouldn't answer this question.

"He'll enjoy it, and he'll come back, begging for more. From what I understand, John Matheson... is a rather... fiery, passionate soul and he needs to be tamed. Perhaps when I'm done with him, and he's housebroken, I'll drop him off in your bed one night as a present, between two gentlemen.  I'll have him wrapped in nothing more than a big, blue bow."

Max then walked out of the conference room, smirking, and laughing. HARD. The door closed and I almost threw an empty cup at his departing back. I had found the cup in my shaking hands, and it had taken all my willpower to put it back down on the table. It was tempting to throw it at Eilerson, but it simply wasn't acceptable! God, how he managed to annoy me with his comments. But they weren't true. I mean, could I be jealous of THAT man and HIS ego? I think not.


For a moment, I heard his last comment repeated.

Did you think...John would really enjoy it?


I entered Eilerson's quarters. For some reason, he seemed delighted when I announced that I was outside his door. The room was dark, and he welcomed me in. "Have you decided to trust me?" His voice was soft, and I nodded.

"I need to hear you. Tell me that you trust me." He was hiding in the dark corners, and I had to focus on him to see him. As before, he was wearing something soft and silky, and for a brief moment, I was amused by my disappointment.Admit it John, you were expecting Eilerson to be decked out in Leather and Studs, weren't you? He'd probably be horrified if he realized that! 'Please, Lt! Aesthetics. Remember!'

"I trust you. I know that you'll stop when I use my safe word. I've done some reading, in hopes that I would ready for you, Sir."  My nerves were tingling in fear, but I had been disturbed to find out that there was a part of me that was looking forward to this.  Like a moth to the candle, I found myself more and more drawn to Eilerson.

He nodded in approval. "Have you decided what word to use? I need to know it before we continue. A suggestion I'll make is that you use something that's personal to you that means something. Usually a safe word is something that is familiar and easily remembered by both partners yet can never be accidentally spoken in the heat of passion.  It should be something that dampens ones ardor and it doesn't need to be creative either.  If you want to use 'stop', we can. But some people like protesting and begging for the domination to stop, so I'd use another word. For someone like me, it's an incredible turn on to hear your sub begging you to stop, but knowing that they really don't want you to stop.  And remember, in this relationship especially, both of us get something we crave out of it."

"I get complete mastery, and you get to lose any and all inhibition that you have."  His wintry smile sent a feeling of anticipation throughout my body.

"If you trust me enough, we can reach heights and depths of emotion that you've never known before.  Your world will consist of only one thing. My pleasure, nothing more. And by pleasing me, you please yourself.  It will be ... an incredible experience for you. Walk on the wild side for once, and stop being that tightly controlled EF officer.  Let yourself go, by allowing me complete control."

God, for a moment, I wanted to run from this older, brutal man, but then... a voice deep inside said to me...'Aren't you tired of always being boring, respectable, stolid? Walk on the wild side, John. For once, act a little bit more like Matthew. He doesn't play by the straight and narrow.'

I debated carefully, and gave him a shy smile. "How about... Aphrodite?"

"The goddess of love? My pet, secretly, you're a romantic." Max walked over to me, gave me an amused smile, and ruffled my hair again. He was wearing leather gloves, and suddenly he began stroking my face, gently. "Now, I know you're not going to scan me, Sarah assures me that you've mastered THAT. But there are other things to learn, pet. And I plan on teaching you everything. Now, go to my bedroom, strip to your briefs, and I will be there shortly. I need to finish something first. Lie down on the bed, I'll be there."

Two hours later.


"Shortly? This is shortly?" I asked, in amusement. Apparently, something had distracted Eilerson, leaving me in his bedroom unattended for a bit. OK- more than a bit. He had meandered in shortly after I had stripped to almost nothing and ordered me to spread my arms and legs apart. And then he tied me to his bedposts.

I was tied to his bedpost with BLUE ribbons, of all things. Obviously, Dureena had blabbed. Then he had left me again, muttering something about Gideon and a project of some sorts? His voice was too low for me to catch so I had no idea what he was talking about but he had seemed amused.

The ribbons were soft against my skin, and I knew that if I really wanted to, I easily could get myself out of them without too many problems. But I waited for him, deciding to enjoy the chance to relax on his king-sized bed. It was much more comfortable than my standard issued EF twin bed, and I again decided that Sarah and Max, being contracted employees of the quest, were getting quite a few perks to keep them happy. "But no one cares if I'm happy," I mumbled.

"You're wrong. I care." It was Max, and he had quite a few data crystals in his hands. He put them down on the table next to his bed, and then proceeded to crawl into the bed next to me. "I care, deeply about you. Especially now, while I'm trying to tutor you. You understand, nothing goes outside of this room. Not to Sarah, not to Dureena, and not to... Gideon." He gave me a wicked smile when he mentioned the last name.

"G-Gideon?" My voice cracked and he began stroking my face again, gently.

"No, especially not to our dear revered, compassionate, last best hope for humanity. Not that I think that you would go to him, of course, as he's got so much stuff on his poor, overloaded little mind.  So, pet. I'm in control here, and I will teach you many things. But I need to ask you a few questions."

"Ok, sir?" I questioned him about what to call him. He nodded in approval, and I felt like smiling.

"Very good, pet. You're picking up a few things without having me to explain them to you. The basics are so very boring don't you agree? I always want to rush over them to get to the good points." And with that comment, he pinched my left nipple. HARD.

"So, I need to ask you a few questions. And you'll have to be completely honest with me, or face my disapproval? Have you read "The Sleeping Beauty" trilogy?"

"No..." and for a moment, he frowned at me, and pinched my nipple HARD, again. "Sir," I quickly added.

"You'll need to. It's a good beginner's guide to some of what we'll be dabbling in.  You're "Beauty" if you will, and I'll be your instructor. " He reached over to the table, and took one of the data crystals from the table, seemingly at random. Max rubbed it against my face, slowly traced my lips with it, glided it down my chest, and then, slid his hand underneath my waistband. His hand was warm against my growing desire, and I felt him gently trace the crystal over it. He left the crystal in my briefs, and then moved his hand slowly away, but not before running his hand over my arousal.

I closed my eyes for a second, and he tersely ordered me to open them.

"How about 'The Joy of Sex' Terran version?"

To each of my whispered "No, Sirs" he then repeated what he had done, except taking longer and longer to play with my steadily hardening erection.

"Centauri? Karma Sutra? Minbar? "The Idiot's Guide to BDS&M? Have you ever read the Centauri book on the 6 Pleasures in the Original Centauri?" His tone grew more and more shocked as he began to realize what a country bumpkin I truly was.

"No, Sir. I don't read Centauri." He squeezed me hard for that comment, and he gave me a slight frown of disapproval.

"Make the effort, pet. If you don't, it just proves that you're an inconsiderate lover, not wanting to learn how to completely please your partner."  Max's voice was full of disapproval.

"Y-yes. Sir."

And so he continued for some time, discussing forty or so data crystals. Each time, he was more and more disturbed with my lack of education.

"Don't you READ? Don't you want to learn? Come now, I obviously thought better of you." This was said while he was gently continuing to squeeze my erection while I writhed under his touch.

He then stood up, leaving me aching for MORE. I was staring at him in disappointed hunger, as he proceeded to put on his pants, one leg at time.


"I'm not wasting any more of my time. Study those crystals, and when you're done, come back to see me. There will be a test, and I'll be highly disappointed if you fail. Perhaps, I won't be that disappointed if you fail, as I'll have to think of some... delicious punishment for you." And then Max Eilerson, finishing changing into his regular clothes and left me alone in his quarters, tied to his bed. Highly aroused and with forty or so data crystals in my briefs.

After I managed to free myself from his bed, I ran back to my quarters, grateful that no one saw me. It would have been hard to explain, now, wouldn't it?

One month later.


"Sir, I have read much, and wish to discuss what I have learned with you." I spoke to Eilerson quietly. We were in the elevator, and it was my first chance to speak to him privately in some time.

"All of them?"

"Yes, I had some difficulty with the crystals in Centauri, but I think I managed to get the basic understanding of it." I admitted THAT carefully.

"Good. Further lessons, tomorrow night. My quarters."

That night, Eilerson laid the framework for my education.  From now on, I was his, and his alone until he decided to release me.

"You're not the seductive Sarah's, nor the dazzling Dureena's, nor our Gallant Galen Galahad's.  You're completely mine.  Especially this."  He pointed specifically at my waist. "Mine. Lesson number one is 'It is within the experience of everyone that when pleasure and pain reach a certain intensity they are indistinguishable.' Thomas Arnold Bennett said that.  Pay attention pet, we're going to see what your intensity level is. But there's more to this syllabus then just your body."

"For example, your mind." He grinned and quoted again. "'Love is the answer, but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.' Woody Allen.  You might have heard of him?"

"No, sir." I admitted.

Max just sighed, loudly.  "What do you Earth Force Officers do in your spare time? Or do you just go out and blow things up for fun?"

"Well...yes." Reluctantly, I affirmed that while Max laughed harshly.

And so my instructions began. He would make me strip and he would bond my hands with blue ribbons. For some reason, Eilerson delighted in using different blue ribbons for each lesson, and he would question me fiercely and intensely about different positions in the Karma Sutra, or query me about some alien sex technique. Eilerson's mind was quick and his tongue quicker, if I failed to answer him correctly.

"Pet, you're incorrect. Restudy that passage again for your next lesson. And now, you must make amends to your teacher for obviously not studying. I desire you to ...." and my teacher would instruct me in some technique or position that would end up gratifying him, while I did ALL the work.  While my master was enjoying this, I was hungering for release.

When I answered correctly his questions, my master would be pleased with me, and he would ask me more and more questions.  Eilerson's mind was quick, and I found myself growing fond of my exasperatingly tart-tongued master as I found him a different person than Max Eilerson, Linguist and Xeno-Archeologist.  As an educator, I found him to be quite fair and rather understanding of my failures.  By that I should say, that if I truly made the effort to grasp the course material and failed, he was more accepting of that than if I hadn't made the effort.

 Perhaps all of us had a façade that we showed the universe, and suddenly I was afraid of that thought as it meant that I truly didn't know Matthew as well as I thought I did.   My master was soft spoken with me and he rarely used his sarcastic wit to drive a point home.  He still did, but it was significantly rarer than in our normal day to day dealings.

 I had multiple sessions with my master, and he'd interrogate me for several hours. When Max was done with my lesson for the evening, he'd chase me out of his quarters. "Time to go, Lt. Go, before your reputation is in shatters. GO." And so I would flee from his quarters.

I was constantly reading for my master, and I had grown resigned to the fact that I'd be studying for the next millennia.  And people thought this was fun?  I felt like I was back in college!

"Pet.  You have done well so far. So, I think we're done with that part of your education.  Most of my pets come to me with more seasoning and maturity than you have, so I wanted to make sure that you understood what you were going to experience.  Next time, we meet, we will begin. Now go!"

"Sir?" I asked softly.

"From this night on, you will not speak unless you are spoken to.  You will not look me in the eyes.  When you come to my quarters, you are quickly undress, and kneel on the floor.  Then you will follow every command that I give you.  If you displease me, I will make you regret it. And you are still... MINE. You are not Sarah's, nor Gideon's or anyone else's.  You belong to me.  Completely!"

He began stroking my hair softly. "From now, you're going to sit by me at the staff meetings.  At dinner, at lunch, at breakfast. If you and I are in the same room, you are to sit next to me, unless I give you express leave not to sit nearby. As a sign of your complete obedience to me, you will do a few small things so I know that even though we're not in a lesson, that you're mine."

"For example, you're not to talk to me while we're eating together unless I speak to you first.  The staff meetings, I guess I'm going to have to let you talk to the others, because they might find it odd that you're suddenly turned completely taciturn. But I will be keeping an eye on you, and if I find that you're... talking to one particular person more than the others, I will make sure it doesn't happen again."

I felt a delightful chill shiver down my back.

"No underwear. No boxers, no briefs, no undershirt.  Just you, and the jumpsuit.  I will be looking, and I'll be very upset if I notice anything besides your silhouette.  I want to look at you, and realize that your body is mine."

"And...  at dinner, I expect you to eat your carrots."  Max gave me a smirk of superiority at that little dig. His blue eyes were glinting in amusement.

I hated carrots. Especially the way the Excalibur served them cooked into one mass of orangey goo. How the hell did he realize I avoided them like the Plague?

"You'll need your strength for our lessons, so eat them. Actually, a double serving might be in order. As your master, I have to make sure that you're eating correctly. Silly pet, you'd probably ignore your vegetables completely if I wasn't here to keep an eye on you. Don't worry, I'll keep an eye on you, and keep you safe from your mistakes and those that would harm you."

I left his quarters quickly, and my heart was racing from excitement.

We sat together at our meals, and I concentrated on eating my carrots.  Sprinkling soy sauce on them helped kill the taste, somewhat, so I proceeded to experiment with other condiments. Mustard didn't work that well, I found, but still I ate them. My master enjoyed these times together, as I often found his hand stroking my leg, and sliding north.

"Just want to remind you. Mine. Not yours. Not HIS. Mine." He'd gently fondle me, while I concentrated on eating my meal.

"Mind if I join you two?" That was Sarah, and I waited for Max to answer.  This ... lesson was odd for me, as part of my mind was vigorously protesting the fact that Eilerson was in complete control over me.  But there was another part of mind that was relishing the fact that I had someone to protect me, and watch over me.  My master cared for me, deeply, and I was no longer so alone in the world.  He assured me of that constantly whenever we were alone together.

"Of course. John, you'd like that, wouldn't you?" My master's voice was warm with amusement.

"Yes, I would." I answered that softly, and smiled crookedly.  I didn't look up at her, as I was busy trying to eat the turnips that Max had insisted I take.  Besides overcooked carrots, I hated turnips more than anything else in the universe. It hadn't been such a surprise that my master would make me eat the damn things after there was a suspicious shortage of carrots on the Excalibur.

Sarah looked at me, and then at Max.  She wasn't very happy with how this lesson was progressing, I knew.  Max had assured me one night that she and the rest were jealous, as he had completely taken over my lessons, and that I was to ignore them.  'There's no telling what they might do to you, and you being... so trusting of them and so very passionate, just might get hurt. Ignore them. You're completely mine now, so if they try to tempt you into debauchery, don't even think about it."

"Is there a problem, Sarah?" Max asked cheerfully.

"No... not yet." She warned Max quietly, while my master smirked.

Then he ignored me for the next several weeks, while I waited and yearned. It was in the middle of a staff meeting when he suddenly leaned over my shoulder, and whispered softly. "Tonight. My quarters. 8pm."

I was at his quarters, promptly, at 8pm.

"Enter" he said softly.

I entered his quarters, and I quickly stripped.  Trying to quell the nervousness I was feeling, I quickly sank into the submissive posture. And so my lessons began.  Max delighted in the psychological aspects of domination, especially relishing the chance  to confuse me and trick me with words. Power plays, he called them, or sometimes... scenes. Each one was different, as Max had a vivid imagination. One night, I'd be this, and the next session would find me in a different role.

One night, Max decided to play a different scene with me. It made me nervous, afraid, and yet... I found myself secretly enjoying the experience.

"Tonight, new power play meaning new roles.  You just be you, naïve, sweet and innocent. I'm going to be... a rather cranky, brusque and condescending Earth Force Captain, who just happens to be your immediate supervisor.  I really think that you might enjoy this one. Trust me."

He sat down at his desk and brusquely ordered me to strip. I did so quickly, feeling a quivering deep in my belly.

"Stand at attention, Lt. I have some concerns I wish to address with you." Max snapped that at me so quickly that for a moment, I almost thought he was an Earth Force Officer.  I stood at attention for several minutes, while my 'Captain' nonchalantly finished his paperwork.  It was done purposely, trying to delay and heighten my fear. As each minute passed, I found myself more concerned about what he had planned.

Finally, he sighed loudly, and he stalked over to where I was still standing at attention.  He began circling me, like a predator tracking his prey.  Focusing intently, I tried not to flinch when he began slapping his leather gloves against his hand.

Quietly, he began listing the infractions for which I would be punished.  It was a rather long list enumerating each violation in the minutest of details.  I hadn't been firmly at attention when I saluted, so that would be punished by lightly whipping my cock with a cat'o'nine tails. It was made of the softest leather, and it stung slightly.

His voice positively oozed threats of promised retribution. I hadn't displayed the proper amount of respect that a senior officer demanded from a junior officer, so I would pay for that.  My 'Captain' would prove to me that I was most assuredly... his underling.  That implied threat caused me to shiver in anticipation as I wondered what my "Captain" would do to me to make me a better XO. For a brief moment, I had a vision of Matthew dominating me, ordering me about, and punishing me for the smallest infraction. It would have been... delectable.  When I felt Max's riding crop run up and down my spine, I suddenly realized... why people craved this.  My taste of fear was heightening my arousal, and...  I suddenly really wanted to know how this would end.

"Lt., I don't think you understand.  When I order you to stand at attention, I want every single part of you at attention. I mean... every... single... part.  Especially this one particular part has to be at attention at all times. Erect, and firm, do you understand me, Lt?"  He slapped his gloves against my erection, and I bit my lip to try and prevent myself from crying out.  At least, he hadn't used the riding crop. That would have hurt.

"Bluntly, I want your main gun powered up and ready to fire at all times, do you understand me, Lt.?"  Then he slapped his gloves against my belly, moving down slowly to strike the offending organ. Each light blow made me more aware of how I was on the very edge.  He took something from somewhere, and he began rubbing it over my belly. It was leather.

"You know what that is.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to put you in a ring, just so you'll be properly at attention for me at all times. I think I'm going to have to order you to wear it.  Especially on the bridge.  That's much better, now.  At ease, Lt.." He growled that at me. "I do not need to remind you, that I still want that particular part of you at attention, do I? No, apparently, I do not.  I have some serious concerns about you.  I have been keeping an eye on you lately, and do you know what I've seen lately?"

"No, Sir." I answered that softly.

"Louder." He snarled. "I can't hear you." He pinched my nipples hard, hoping to provoke a louder response from me.

"No, SIR!"  I answered that like I was in boot camp.

"I'm absolutely scandalized by my XO lately. Apparently, you're a very bad boy. I've been watching you, and I've noticed that you are absolutely raw underneath that jumpsuit you wear so diligently.  Aren't there specific requirements for EF officers to wear EF approval underwear?"   He was screaming that in my ear, and I stared straight ahead.

"Yes, Sir!"

Max kept circling around me, and I was reminded of nothing more than a shark, wearing down its prey.  The shark would nudge its victim, reminding its prey that it was still there, waiting for the exhausted victim to become more and more terrorized.   He was gently caressing my nipples, and I tried not to inhale when he severely pinched them with clamps. "So, I had to think on why my naughty XO has decided to violate every known EF precept.  Then I realized why.  Simply, you're a slut.  You're a boy toy. Secretly, you want your Captain to take you in the middle of the bridge and mark you as his own. Admit it, Lt." He snapped that at me.  "You want nothing more than to have your Captain to take you on the bridge repeatedly. And you're such a bad little boy, that you want it done in front of the horrified and scandalized crew.  You want ISN to tape it for broadcasting."

"I... I...." For a moment, I suddenly got confused.  Max's voice had changed somewhat, and I suddenly knew that our scene had suddenly turned from role playing into a mind fuck.  He was deliberately pushing my buttons, trying to get an emotional response from this. Meanwhile my nipples were throbbing in time to my racing pulse.

"It's ok. As your Captain, I understand you. We've worked together for years.  For years, I've known."  His voice was soft.  "Don't you think I've noticed? The way you look at me, the way you're always up for any adventure?  I've been amused, at the way you flaunt that trim ass of yours."  He struck me several times with the riding crop on my buttocks. "As though you're silently begging me to take you."

I was suddenly silent.  Oh God.  No. NO! NO! Suddenly, I noticed that my breathing had sped up, so I tried to calm down. No. This was part of the game, Max didn't know. Did he?

"Answer me. Don't you think I've noticed, Lt?" Snarling that at me, his voice was an accusation.

"No, no Sir!" Dear God, he hadn't noticed had he? He couldn't have. My emotions were in a whirlpool, and I was suddenly deeply afraid of my educator.

"Do you think I'm stupid? Do you think I don't notice the way you eye the table in the Ready Room? If I told you to get on that table, Lt, and spread your legs, would you do so?" His blue eyes were blazing into mine, and suddenly, I realized... that I was in over my head as Max was far too dangerous for a mere child like me to handle.

"Sir?" I was grabbing for any type of purchase, anything to prevent me from confirming his accusation.

"Answer me! I am asking you a simple question. If I told you to get on that table..."

He was spreading my legs apart.  Lubricating me... and I felt something enter me. My master was teasing me as he was slowly sliding a phallus into me.  Oh my God... He knew. Oh my God, Eilerson knew... There was no other way that he'd be able to psychologically reduce me to this state of near panic, unless he knew.  These were not lucky pot shots, randomly aimed. He was scoring on me, directly and deeply. Oh dear God, Eilerson... KNEW...which means that...

"And told you to spread your legs. You'd do it. You'd do it willingly, wouldn't you? You'd do it in front of the senior staff?  If Jones was here, right now, watching, you'd let me take you in front of him, wouldn't you? Answer me, Lt.. You're such a slut, you'd do it willingly! I probably wouldn't even have to lube you.   I barely had to, right now. What if I ordered you to get on the table and spread it? You'd be on that damn table so fast..."

That meant that Gideon probably was aware of my secret crush I had on him.  Oh shit. Oh Shit. I tasted salt in my mouth, and I realized that I was in tears.

I felt his body behind me.  He was almost crooning in my ear while he was blindfolding me.  I was shaking, and I realized that I was deeply terrified of him.

"I'm going to treat you like you deserve. I'll have you report to my ready room, where I'll make you strip out of the EF uniform, and you'll put on the uniform you're wearing right now. My bad little boy will do it willingly.  Then I'll take my bad little boy, and walk you down to the brig while everyone watches you.  Won't that be something?  While you blindfolded, you won't know who's looking... but I will.  And then... when we're down there, I'll punish you for being such a slut."

"Aphrodite. Aphrodite. Aphrodite. Please." I spoke that softly, and unknowing if he could hear my safe word through my tears.  Suddenly, I was on my knees, rocking slowly back and forth, and I heard my 'Captain' sigh.  He was instantly on the floor next to me, holding me gently, and I tried to stop sniffling.

For a moment, I thought someone else was in the room with me, for the voice was most assuredly not Max's.  It was a soft voice who was trying to calm me down.  For a moment, I thought of Matthew, and I began to weep again.  Dear God, if he ever knew...

The blindfold was removed quickly, and he rapidly removed the rest of my adornments. I felt empty, and terrified.

"It's ok. It's ok. You should have told me that I was upsetting you that much.  We have words that we've agreed on to prevent you from getting hurt, physically and emotionally. Why didn't you use them before now, my pet?" Max was tracing the tears down my face with his fingers and I then suddenly realized he was kissing my tears away, tenderly as though savoring and delighting in my pain.

"We've agreed on 'yellow' words to let me know that you're uncomfortable, and we've certainly agreed on the 'red' word which would have stopped me before this point. Why didn't you use the 'yellow' word to let me know that you didn't like what I was doing?"

I just shook my head. I couldn't explain to Max about how secretly part of me had craved what was going on.  That I had been pretending that it had been actually Matthew...

"He doesn't know.  He truly doesn't know.  Our illustrious Captain is too blind to see, and no one else on the crew has noticed anything. Your secret's still safe with me."

I was startled not to hear any sarcasm in my Master's voice. Instead, his voice was compassionate, and I realized that if I wasn't careful, this pain filled man could easily snare me with his contradictions. One moment, my master would be dominating me, reducing me to this state, and the next, I would be in his arms, allowing him to soothe me.

"Thank you, Master." I was exhausted, emotionally and physically, and I didn't want him throwing me out of his quarters just yet.  So I held onto him, leaning into his embrace, and I was surprised when he began kissing me on the lips, softly.


I had gone too far with my pupil and he had used his safe word.  For all the many years I had done this, I never had any of my subs use their safe word. Nor their yellow word, either. He was weeping on the floor, and I suddenly realized that I was a tired old man.  Once, I had been in love like that, and when she had left, she had taken my soul and my cat with her.  Over the years, I had realized that I missed the cat more than I missed my soul.

His strong emotional reaction to my comments made me realize that John hadn't ever admitted even to himself, that he loved his Captain. Holding him securely, I asked John softly why he hadn't used his yellow words.  As our lessons had progressed, I had made him chose a yellow word, to use as a warning when he was becoming uneasy.

John just shook his head, when I repeatedly asked him why he hadn't used it.  He didn't think I'd understand that deep down, he was pretending that I had been Matthew.  It was a violation of every known decree in domination that he had been fanaticizing about someone else besides his master, but I had known he was.  Was that what had made me push those buttons so relentlessly? I thought that I was just setting up my normal scene, but perhaps subconsciously, I had wanted to reduce him to this state.  But why?   Had I done this to relish in the knowledge that I had completely crushed this supposedly self-assured EF officer?  Or was I just forcing him to last admit what was blindly obvious to me?  Was I jealous that Matthew Gideon had his young man's complete trust and loyalty?

I was simply too old to play like this anymore, and so I softly assured him that nobody knew about his feelings about his Captain, and that his secret was safe with me.  It was a little white lie as only his teachers had guessed at the possibility that John adored his captain. Kissing his tears away, I realized that he was feeling emotionally bereft and that he didn't want to be sent away.  Cursing myself for having grown fond of the younger man, I allowed him to stay in my bed, and we ended up making love for most of the night.

No games, no safe words, nothing.  It had been years since I had experienced anything like this, and I damned myself again for being a sentimental fool.  I was careful with him, trying to comfort and console him, while inwardly I raged at myself.  Being too damn sure of myself, I had wounded him, and it would be a long time before I could forgive myself that, if ever.

As John had affected Sarah, Dureena and Galen, so had he influenced me.  I guess I was getting soft in my old age or else somewhere during these lessons, I had finally found my tattered soul.

John Matheson

He understood my unspoken request fully, and he continued to kiss me. Then Max took me to his bed, and he made love with me that night. Gently, he kissed my tears away, and I allowed him to do anything he wanted to me.  I had no defense against Eilerson as he had seen and commented on my deepest held secret.

 I loved Matthew, deeply, and I was terrified that one day he'd find out.

That night there were no power plays, no mind fucks or games. Instead, it was two lonely men who were trying to ease each other's pain.  Max hadn't expected me to respond like I had, and he blamed himself for hurting me.  Intellectually, I knew that Max hadn't been trying to emotionally wound me.  This scene was a common one, in which the top took on a role of being the sub's immediate supervisor, and I think my emotional response to the scene took even Max by surprise.    It would be some time before he could forgive himself for the pain he had unintentionally inflicted on me.  But emotionally, I felt raw and stretched by my session, so I was grateful for the chance to be consoled and caressed.

Basking in the afterglow, I was just tired, so he allowed me to rest with my head on his chest while he stroked my sweaty hair. After one of our scenes, my master would give me an hour or so of his time, when I could snuggle up to him in his bed.  He would offer me something to drink and something to snack on, and Max loved to hand feed me. Max would usually offer me bite-sized pieces of something, and I'd usually end up sucking on his fingers when I was finished.  Our time afterwards was a debriefing or a cool down, in which I was allowed a chance to regroup and reform before leaving his quarters to face the outside world.   Usually, we didn't talk during this time, instead, he would hold me tenderly while I dozed in his bed.

Tonight, the older man continued to caress me while I tried not to fall asleep. Waves upon waves of drowsiness were crashing over me, and I wondered if I was awake enough to find my way back to my quarters.   Perhaps, if I begged him, he'd let me sleep for a bit.  I opened my mouth to ask him, when he interrupted me.

"It's all right. Go to sleep. For tonight, you can stay as long as you want."

And so I did.

He was careful with me the next few times, avoiding anything that might remind me of the previous incident. Neither mind games nor power plays, instead he concentrated on teaching me self-control.  I would allow him to sexually tease me for hours, until he allowed me my pleasure.

I have to admit that I never realized how a peacock feather could be erotic.

While Max was my only instructor during this part of my lessons, Max still had time for other pets.  I was amazed by this as I knew his subs were a variety of souls sprinkled through out the Excalibur, and ... NEVER would I have guessed who they were. One night, it was Sarah who wept for forgiveness while Max tenderly stroked her hair. "My beautiful one, you have displeased me." And she had wept harder for all that softly spoken comment. "I know you try, so, so hard. But you're weak and you need the discipline. I will forge you in fire, and you will be stronger. Do not disappoint me again, my pet." She had tearfully promised that next time, she would do better. Unreal!

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. " Max quoted that softly to Sarah, and she wept harder.

"You should strive harder to please me for I love you, my pet. You should try harder, like he does, as he wants me to be happy. Of all my pets, he endeavors the hardest to make me happy. For that, he deserves a reward. Don't you believe that? John..."

I was startled, as this was the first time Max had ever used my name during one of these lessons.  This lesson was also the very first time my master had allowed me to see him punish one of his other slaves.  He hadn't hit her, or even raised his voice. Instead, my master had softly spoken to her, carefully stroking her hair while he told her how she had disappointed him.  The master loved his pet, for her beauty and for herself, and she had failed him.

"Tonight. She's yours to do with, as you like. You could top her and teach her respect. But... afterwards, be gentle with her, and console her.  She's so beautiful, but she can't help the fact that she's flawed. You need to help her, guide her and teach her."  His voice was full of such sorrow that I longed to comfort him.

For a moment, I just looked at Sarah, who was had thankfully, stopped crying. My nerves were jittery, and I wondered how to begin.  Max was just looking at the two of us, and I suddenly realized that he had true pain in his eyes.  He profoundly cared for her, and she had hurt him deeply.  I wasn't sure what had happened, but I suddenly knew that Sarah hadn't comprehended until now how much Max cared for her.

"Kiss her tears away.  Slowly.  Enjoy the taste of her salt on your lips."  He instructed me quietly while I continued staring at Sarah. "It's a gift of her tears that is given freely."

I leaned over Sarah, and I began to kiss her face slowly, and gently, tasting the salt in my mouth from her tears.  She was shaking while I kissed her face, so I slowed down, savoring each tear.

Max truly wanted to console her and forgive her, but within the realm of master, he had to be the absolute power. That's why he was giving her to me, in the hopes that I would be gentle with her.  That was my second lesson with Max, I believed.  That behind every person, no matter how self-assured or in command, lurks a small child that has been hurt once too often.   Max was similar to me in that respect, as we had both been hiding behind a barrier.  When Sarah had seen John Matheson, the boy hiding behind my soul's barricade, she had been instrumental in freeing him from his jail.

Max wasn't so lucky.  That inner child had been hurt so often and so well by those few that he trusted that he wasn't capable of true forgiveness.  That's why he had to be in complete control, and that's why he couldn't pardon her.  For he feared that by showing Sarah that 'weakness' that Sarah could hurt him again by exploiting it.

I ended up being very gentle with Sarah that night.  Easily, I had learned enough from being Max's toy to dominate her completely. I could easily have teased her with candle wax, sex toys and clamps.  I could have restrained her, but instead, I concentrated on being compassionate and caring.

Max watched us for the entire time, his face unreadable.  He gently made a few suggestions to me, regarding what Sarah would like and a position or two to try.  It was odd, making love to Sarah while Max looked on.   When the two of us were lying, sated, in each other arms, he covered us with blankets.  It was a tender gesture that spoke volumes of the pain he was feeling.

"Console her," he whispered at me, as he left the room. "For she knows that she is weak."

Sarah clung to me, and I held her tightly. "What happened?"

"I have no idea, but I really hurt him. Did you see his eyes?"  Sarah's voice was barely loud enough for me to hear. "They were like ice."


And so our lessons continued for the next few months, concentrating on control, pleasure and pain. I thought myself an adept student and never did I think that I'd be the one begging for his forgiveness. NEVER, I had vowed, would I be the one at his feet, trying so hard to please him, while crying and sobbing for his forgiveness. Our sessions together were intermittent, and Max had been rather patient with me for my failings. That's why I got cocky. And I had no one else but me to blame when I failed.

Two months later;

Planet side.

Gideon and Eilerson were standing by some forgotten relic, and for some reason, I had actually gotten off the ship, and was standing alongside them, dirt side. For a while there, the relationship between the two men appeared to be "Strained", but the two men had reached an uneasy peace between themselves.

"Sarah- what's going on between the two of them?" I had asked my tutor late one night. She had laughed softly, and wouldn't tell me what was going on, so the topic had been forgotten until now. For today, was the day when their uneasy truce broke wide open.

"Captain, I can't do this." Eilerson gave a snort of disgust.

"Do it. Eilerson. I'm not asking. I'm ordering you to do this."

"I don't think you understand, Captain. I simply can't do this piecemeal..."

It went downhill fast after that, with Gideon giving Eilerson a dressing down that was unmatched by any of Gideon's previous "dressing downs" in my memory. Gideon made a big mistake when he verbally browbeat Eilerson. He did it in front of me. And I had smiled briefly, when the cocky Eilerson had been so thoroughly chastised by Gideon. It was a brief smile, which Eilerson had seen and noted. But I didn't know that until my next lesson.

"Enter" His voice was soft.

"Sir, I have come for my next lesson." I quickly stripped, allowing my hands to be tied behind me.

"Yes, you have." His voice was soft, and suddenly, I got nervous.  "Tonight, we are going to experiment with Shigari.  It's a Japanese tradition that involves the bottom being bound by ropes. I'm not really a rope person, too much fuss, and sometimes, especially if your bottoms a little excitable, there's the problem with rope burns.  So I use silk. Come over here, now."

I stood next to him, and he forced a gag into my mouth. This was new, and he softly assured me. "Don't worry, pet.  I'll make sure you that you still have your safe word.  Only now, it will be a little different."

Then he tied my wrists together, and placed a small round toy in my hands.  He shook my hands carefully, and I heard the sound of bells. "Grasp that.  If you get afraid, drop it.  It's got a rather noticeable sound, so I'll know when you drop it. We're going to experiment tonight, and you are going to learn so much from this. Trust me, you'll enjoy this."

He blindfolded me, and I was suddenly nervous. I gagged, blinded and bound and my master was rubbing more silk against my body. "You like silk. I know you do, my kitten. Kneel, so I can tie your legs together."

I was securely restrained, and still he wasn't happy. "If I were only home, I'd hang you several feet off the group, just to watch you shake and tremble.  But I can't do that, not in these quarters.  I so wish I could do so."

"I've also noticed that you like leather."  There was a rustling sound, and suddenly I realized that Max was taking off his belt.  He began rubbing it over my face, softly. "You love the smell of leather, especially when your Captain's wearing it."

Then I felt him settle down on the couch, and suddenly he flipped me over his knee.  "You're going to learn a very important lesson tonight.  I've been rather gentle with you, but perhaps I shouldn't have been. Your lesson tonight is... don't ever mistake... KINDNESS for WEAKNESS."

"You have disappointed me. Greatly. Did you think I wouldn't have noticed that you were amused by Gideon's treatment of me? Do you not know that I keep an eye on you, not only here, but also outside these walls? You will have to be punished. Severely."

Gently he proceeded to smooth something on my buttocks, and also inside of me, and I began to get nervous.

"Stop fighting, my very bad little one. You need this. You deserve this." And with that, he proceeded to use his belt on my ass. I struggled for a few moments, and the belt landed harder on my buttocks. "Stop it. You're only making me unhappy with you. I'll need to punish you for your disobedience on the planet most severely. Don't make me continue to punish you for what happens NOW. So you thought it was funny that your Captain tried to humiliate me? You enjoyed watching it, I know you did. I saw you smile. My pet, I'm just so disappointed with you." His voice was soft, and he stroked my hair softly. Then the blow landed.

It HURT. He was a devil, using the belt on my buttocks. Max was careful, making sure he didn't break any skin, and soon, I knew my buttocks were a nice toasty red. They were also giving off an almost nuclear heat, which I tried to ignore. After a while, I was still struggling, and that's when he stopped using his belt on me. Instead, he started using his bare hand. It was far more intimate than the belt and far more degrading for me.

His hand landed hard on my swollen cheeks, and it continued to land repeatedly. The sound of flesh striking flesh filled the air, while Max was concentrating on the spots he had missed with his belt, and I was starting to get nervous. He wasn't speaking to me, instead Max was grimly concentrating on what he was doing.

When he finally spoke, his words wounded me deeply. "You've been bad, pet. I don't know why I wasted my time on you."

Then he went back to his punishment.

"I thought you had potential. Obviously, I was mistaken. As was Sarah, as was Dureena. Even the all mighty Technomage Galen ended up being wrong about you. But... hopefully you won't fail Matthew.  He depends on you, trusts you, and you're his rock of Gilbraltar.  Don't fail him, John, or else he may never get over it. You might even utterly destroy him when you fail him." The disappointment in his voice stabbed at me. I had tried so hard to learn, to please my master. Hadn't I spent numerous sleepless nights trying to learn Centauri?

"Remember, I'm not a cruel master, I just understand your weakness and foibles. Perhaps I should have expected it, my pet that you would want to prance and show off for Gideon. I know you were trying to get his attention focused on you. But as your loving and caring master, you should have treated me better.  You thought me weak, because I showed you kindness."

"You're just like her. I thought you were better than Sarah. But you too, failed me."

For a moment, he whispered something softly, that I don't believe I was supposed to hear. "Alone... again."

Max was an odd man, full of old regrets, and half-healed wounds, hiding behind his barricade.  He trusted rarely, and I had betrayed him. It had been a simple smile when Gideon had lambasted him, but for Max, it had meant so much more.  As Sarah had hurt him, so had I.  I had grown fond of Max, both the Master and the man, during our time together, and I bitterly regretted hurting him.

So to my horror, I found myself weeping and sobbing, and begging him for forgiveness. I couldn't remove the gag from my mouth, so I tried to submit to his spanking, to admit to him that I did deserve it. At no time, did I think to stop this by using my safety exit! If I had opened my hand, the toy would have fallen.  The bells would have rung, and he would have stopped immediately.  He had won, completely and totally. He was the master, and I, his sub.

At last he stopped, sighed again, and placed me on the floor. I was kneeling on the floor, and he prodded me to his bed by using the toe of his shoe to direct me.  When I finally reached the bed, he released me from my bonds, roughly, and motioned to me to lie face down in his bed.  Instead, of obeying him, I knelt before him, and kissed his feet! I couldn't believe that I had sunk so low, to be the one weeping before Max, and hoping for his forgiveness! But I had betrayed my Master, and I desired his forgiveness.

For a moment, I thought he was going to go easy on me, but again he motioned me to lie in his bed. When I had positioned myself according to his terse instructions, he began stroking my ass. I whimpered in pain, and he smiled delightedly.  Max climbed into the bed, and he reached over to me. Gently he kissed me, his tongue carefully entering my mouth. Max carefully kissed me for some time, while I shivered from his kiss. Shame, desire, regret, lusts... love? All of these emotions and more boiled within my soul.

We broke apart, and I laid my head on his chest. "Thank you, sir." I drifted off to sleep, next to my master, and I fell asleep with Eilerson stroking my hair, softly.

The next day, I couldn't sit down. And wouldn't you know, that that was the day that Gideon had an all day staff conference? And Eilerson smirked like a Cheshire cat, while Gideon scowled.

And so my lessons in the romantic "arts" continued by Doctor, Thief, Technomage and Linguist for the next few months. Not just in sex, but also in other things. One of the funniest moments in my time in the Excalibur was when Eilerson was trying to teach me to dance. He instructed Dureena and me in the basic steps, while Sarah watched and made numerous comments. It was not an easy assignment for Max, as up until then he never realized that I had problems with my coordination, especially with the very lovely Dureena in my arms.

"No, No. No. John! Like this," and then he demonstrated a perfect turn with Sarah.

I grinned evilly at Dureena and whispered "Did you ever notice that Eilerson ALWAYS uses Sarah as his partner?"

"Yes" she admitted with a twinkle in her eye. "Max says I'm too short to be his partner." She gave me a delighted laugh. "Hmmm. You're about as tall as he is, and he doesn't claim you're too tall." So we twirled and flourished for a bit, stopping quietly to see Sarah and Max lost in a dance of their own, plainly ignoring the two of us. "Aren't they cute together?"

Babylon 5- Months later.


"Sarah, I've got to see someone on B5, so don't tag along." I spoke to Sarah softly. We were standing in the middle of the Zocalo, and for some reason, Sarah had decided to tag along after me. She was being her usual mercurial, thoroughly maddening self, so I decided that I had to be blunt with her. I was meeting with someone...and I didn't want anyone there.

"Let me guess, it's that ditzy, flaky ex-wife of yours," she said tartly. "Max, I've got problems. I owe money to the mob. Max, the sink's clogged. The cat's coughed up a hairball. Max! Max! Max!" She growled again at me, and I flashed her a smile.

"There are ties between myself and her," I admitted.

"Yes, I know. I know. Oh look, here she comes! Ditzy ex-wife and look! What a complete surprise! Someone's following her. I better practice my moves now. Never know when it might come in handy with your ex-wife around," and with that, Sarah, the exasperatingly tart tongued doctor, proceeded to execute a perfect kung fu move. It managed to terrify three bystanders and soon had B5 security running our way. Everyone thought Sarah was just so sweet, but I knew better. She was fire and ice, wrapped up behind that facade of compassion.

"Misunderstanding, I'm afraid." I murmured softly, thanking them for their fast response. "Do you mind, Sarah? Can you leave?"

"Can't make me. Like to see you try, oh Maximilian," she grinned cheerfully at me. The two people drew closer, and then Sarah sweetly called out, "Oh Hello, Cindy?" Sarah deliberately butchered her name!

"Cynthia" I murmured again, raising a questioning eye toward the man following her.

"Max Eilerson, Dr. Sonya." She pointed at Sarah, and I waited for the catfight to start. I thought they had gotten along well when they originally met, but I wasn't so sure of a sudden. There was a smell in the air, that as a formerly married man, I knew foreboded trouble. What the heck was going on?

"SARAH," I inserted, flashing a grin at Sarah.

"SARAH... Chambers," Cynthia continued to smile at her, while I mentally groaned.

"Who's the guy?" Sarah asked sweetly. "Do you owe him money too?"

Things were getting worse, but I assured myself quietly, that things couldn't get WORSE than this. I was mistaken, as always.

"This is Thomas, he's my new husband." Cynthia tried to smile, to soften the blow, but it didn't work.

I felt a dagger in my heart, and I tried to hide it well. "Congratulations. Thomas, Cynthia. I hope you invited the cat to the wedding." Smile though your heart is breaking, Eilerson. Never let her know how upset you are.

Sarah suddenly smiled, and inwardly, I froze again.

 "Well, Max, it's obviously time to discuss old times. Congratulations. Hopefully now, you'll stop bothering Max every time you need something. I swear, Max, you're too kind to put up with your ex-wife constantly calling and begging you to save her from her problems. She's got a new knight on a white charger, Right, Sir Thomas?" Sarah suddenly leaned over and kissed me on the mouth. What a kiss it was, if we hadn't been in the middle of the Zocalo, I think I would have willingly ripped her clothes off of her.

"Bye, Max. Don't forget, you promised... tonight. My quarters." Then that crazy doctor proceeded to strut off into the crowd. I watched in stunned amazement, as I've NEVER seen Sarah walk like that, oozing sex appeal, strutting away like a living advertisement for sin, debauchery and sex.

"That's quite a woman you've got there, Maxie" said Thomas.

"Tommy, you're married now, you should realize that you don't own a woman. She comes and goes as she sees fit, much like a cat. So, congratulations. How did you two meet?" I tried to listen to them, but I couldn't get over the dagger she had carelessly thrust into my heart. Alone. Again.

John Matheson

Sarah Chambers walked over to me with a strut that had quite a few men and women look at her hungrily. She was oozing sex appeal, and I just couldn't help put give her a bemused look. "Dr. Chambers, I've never seen you walk like this." I was at my drollest, and she ignored me.

"BITCH," she said. She turned away from me, and gave a disgusted look at Eilerson, who was talking to a red haired woman and a dark haired man.

"And your mouth. What happens to people when they come to B5? Gideon's suddenly cheerful and you're suddenly acidic." I was pretending to be innocent, and she still was glaring at that flamed-haired woman.

"That's Eilerson's ex-wife." She growled again.

"Really?" I peered over her shoulder to see what the big deal was.

"The one that he's still pining over? She just told him that she's remarried, and I think Eilerson's going to pretend that he doesn't care, but I know she just emotionally destroyed him. We've got to keep an eye on him." Sarah gave me a look that I knew perfectly well, meant trouble.

"We've?!?!" I asked curiously. Somehow she had volunteered me into doing something, and I wasn't sure what it was.

"What else did you have planned? You weren't going to follow Matt and Lizzie around were you?"

"Aahh!" I was embarrassed, tried to change the subject. "I don't think that's a good idea."

"So, good." She pulled out a chair at a table, and motioned for me to take the other. The waiter arrived and took our drink order.

Eilerson got drunk after the newlyweds left. He was drinking like a man determined to find some sort of solace in an empty bottle, and he worried me. The hours passed slowly while I watched him drink with a vengeance. "Sarah. We better get him out of here. I don't think he's sober enough to find his way back to the shuttle." I hissed at her. "Besides, he might get robbed."

"You're right."

We walked over to Max, each pretending to be cheerful and happy. "Maximilian!" I pretended to be surprised. "What are you doing here? You know it's almost time for the last shuttle back."

"Come on, Max. Let's pay your bar tab and leave." Sarah was speaking to him quietly. He shook his head, ignoring what she saying to him.

Between the two of us, we pulled him to his feet, paid his bar tab, and then dragged him to the shuttle. I was hoping for a nice, quiet trip to the Excalibur. Instead, Gideon and Lochley were there, as Matt apparently had decided to take the last trip back to the ship. Gideon was somewhat... ok... VERY annoyed with the condition that Max was in, and he growled at him.

"Drunk, Mr. Eilerson?"

 Elizabeth Lochley was there also, and didn't look much happier than Gideon. There was a bit of tension in the air, and for the life of me, I didn't think it was entirely caused by our drunken linguist. Then the two of them looked disapproving at SARAH and ME! Guilt by association, apparently. The look Liz gave me could have frozen a supernova. What did I do?

"Captain? You look... radiant. Captain Lochley, I mean. Gideon just looks pissed. Come on Captain, it's shore leave. You're supposed to get laid! Least, I hope you did, as you're pretty unbearable... most of the time when you're...Climbing the walls." Max's voice was slightly slurred, but he was still aware enough of the situation to get a few digs in. "Come on S-Sarah, John... we've got to let the lovebirds get their good byes in."

Then he staggered off into the shuttle-craft, Sarah keeping an eye on him as he was staggering at a dangerous angle. I had been abandoned by both of them, leaving me to face the tag team of Lochley and Gideon. Staring at a spot directly ABOVE Elizabeth's head, I tried to not HEAR the comment Eilerson was making to Sarah about the two captains. "Give her a big smooch, Mattie. I'll bet that'll.... Thaw the ice maiden out."

"JOHN!" Gideon said, glaring at me. He noticed I wasn't looking at him, and he waved his hand to get my attention.

I tried to explain, but leaving a great deal of it out of it. Eilerson... was demanding, rude and arrogant, but just had his heart apparently completely waffle-stomped by his ex-wife. Did Gideon and Lochley really need to know all that?

"Max got some bad news while we were here. He's pretty upset... and pretty loaded, right now. I wouldn't take him too seriously, right now. He'll have forgotten it by tomorrow. Sarah and I found him and decided that we'd better get him back on the ship before he ended up with his throat cut."

"LT MATHESON! Are you IMPLYING that my station is full of riff-raff that would slash someone's throat?!" Lochley wasn't happy, either.

"Sir? I better help Sarah. Max is a bit of a handful when he's sober. Drunk, he's easily three times the trouble." I winced as Max nearly took a header, taking Sarah with him. By now, Max was singing a rather obscene song... in Centauri, I believe. I flinched, as I realized exactly WHAT song Eilerson was singing. It was the one with the Centauri emperor who liked the number six. Six attributes and six wives... you know the one.

Gideon nodded and I ran toward the shuttle, but not before I heard Gideon sigh loudly.

"CONTRACTORS! You can't do anything with them, and you can't space 'em because of the paperwork."

Shuttle en route to the Excalibur


Eilerson was rip roaring drunk, and in rare form. Bitter, sarcastic, nasty, rude and down right *hateful*. But he was funny, I had to admit that. If I wasn't the captain being roasted, I probably would have laughed. But no, I was the captain, and he was making very loud comments about how I didn't appear to have a very good shore leave. Ok, I hadn't, but I didn't need him making a public service announcement over it. The worse part was, after one of Eilerson's particularly caustic comments, Sarah and John had to refrain from looking at each other. They were trying not to laugh, damn them. Trying not to laugh at ME!

Matheson and Chambers, finally, had decided to try their damnest to shut the guy up. But it didn't work; even my evil glare didn't sink in. He was totally, absolutely stinking drunk, and I just finally roared at him. "MR EILERSON. SHUT UP!" and, amazingly enough, he did.

The entire shuttle SHUT up in fact. For the remainder of the shuttle craft ride, all two minutes of it, I enjoyed the blessed quietness.

When we reached the Excalibur, I left Matheson to clean the mess up. After all he was my XO, and Eilerson was his responsibility.  I know for a fact, if Max were my responsibility I would have spaced him a while ago.

I just went to my quarters, checked to make sure nothing had happened during my leave, and got caught up on some paperwork. But my mind wasn't in it. Elizabeth and I had quite a few arguments this time and I knew that somehow it was my entire fault. But I refused to believe that Elizabeth was threatened... by my concerns about John.

The first argument had started simply. We were basking in the afterglow, and she asked me what was new?

"Nothing. Well. I think my first officer is having torrid affairs with most of my senior staff members." I admitted that bit of news, dryly.

"Really?" she had been amused and laughed. "Good for John!" Then she laughed again.

"What's so funny about that?" I had asked her softly.

"I think you're... jealous." Elizabeth gave me a grin, and then proceeded to lay her head on my chest. I was about to stroke her hair, but I suddenly stopped.

"Am NOT! John Matheson is a fantastic first officer. And he's a good friend. But I worry about him. Especially regarding Eilerson." I shook my head. "He's got exotic tastes."

"Really, and how would you know?" she had asked archly. "I think you're jealous, Matt. Admit it. John's a rather attractive fellow, no doubt he's always had people flocking to him."

"I am not jealous of Eilerson." She had laughed again. "I am NOT." I knew John Matheson, VERY well, and I knew that no matter how many people had thrown themselves at him, he had usually dodged them. His social life had been less existent than mine had been, in all the many years I had known him. Actually, I didn't think he had EVER gone out with anyone... in spite of the many interested parties. Single-mindedly, he had avoided them.... As though his interests were elsewhere?!?!?! For a brief moment, I had a sudden vision of John, lying on top of the conference table, while I taught him a few things. I shook my head, HARD, to rid myself of that image. But even Eilerson had looked stunned at what I had shown Matheson.

"YOU ARE!" She laughed hard, and proceeded to tickle me.

I hate being tickled. By anyone, especially when they were calling me jealous. And somehow that conversation had turned ugly, and it had ended up with Elizabeth storming off, upset and annoyed with me. She was a captain, couldn't she understand why I was concerned? I had enough problems daily without having my first officer distracted by Eilerson's mind games. It was bad enough that one-day, when John was in obvious pain in the conference room. I couldn't have proved anything, except that Eilerson had been smirking a lot during that meeting.

I let her go, deciding that she'd be back shortly, when she cooled down. But she didn't come back. And she hadn't cooled down. It had taken the majority of my shore leave, but we were talking again.

Women! I don't understand them! Not at all!

Scenes Throughout the Excalibur while chasing a drunken Xeno-archeologist around the damn place.

John Matheson

Sarah and I had grabbed Max and we were pretty much carrying him to his quarters. "So nice to me, especially when I'm pathetically drunk like this, Sarah." Sarah nodded her head, and tried her darndest not to inhale, as Max's breath was quite intoxicating. I had felt my Blood alcohol content rising when he breathed on me. "You too, John. Thanks." He gave me a sweet smile, and then proceeded to try to stagger off...

In the WRONG direction.

"No! no! Wrong way Max." The two of us turned him toward the right direction. It would have been almost hysterically funny, except he managed to elbow me HARD in my jaw, while he was protesting our assistance!

"I'm always wrong. Cynthia always use to tell me that. Did you hear John? She's remarried? She didn't even invite me to the wedding." Suddenly, he turned morose, no longer the jovial drunk he had been a few minutes ago. Sarah and I were holding onto him, and trying to lead ... herd... him back to his quarters. He grew angry with us. "Leave me alone. Damn it. Leave me alone."

Possessing a strength, I didn't realize he was capable of, especially considering that he was drunker than the proverbial Centauri General, he pulled away from us, and proceeded to stagger back to his quarters. Sarah and I tried to be nonchalant and followed the rather inebriated Maximilian back to his quarters.

"We better follow him. He'd probably fall down the elevator shaft or something." Sarah whispered at me.

"I can HEAR you two! Leave me alone!" he roared.

He staggered into his quarters, and we stood outside.

"Give him a few minutes, he's probably going to crash on his bed." Sarah's voice was soft. "Or the Floor. Didn't I tell you, deep down, he's a little boy that's been hurt?"

"You know him pretty well, far better than I do" I admitted.

"He talks to me sometimes. Rare and far between, but there are times when we talk. I've really made the effort after that one little blow up we had. He's really a very lonely man." Her voice was soft and suddenly I realized that there was definitely something going on between the two of them. "Shall we go in?" She hit the door lock a few times, and it opened up. "Amazing, that medical over-ride code, isn't it?" Sarah was obviously enjoying my stunned look.

Eilerson's quarters.

He had collapsed in his bed, and was apparently unconscious. Or Sleeping. Or Dead. I wasn't sure which, but Sarah didn't appear that concerned. "Get his shoes off, remove his glasses, and let's get him undressed as best we can." She grabbed his notebook and carefully placed it on the nightstand. "One of these days, I'm going to break that code that he uses in that notebook of his, but he's so sneaky that he's uses a shorthand code of shorthand. Max! You've got to help us, you're too damn big to undress without help."

Cajoling him, threatening him, teasing him, we managed to rouse him enough so that he was quite a bit of hindrance in getting him undressed. Mission accomplished, Max was already sleeping the innocent sleep of the extremely, obscenely drunk when Sarah slid into his bed. "Come on, he's going to be in no shape for any fun tonight, but it would be better if we don't leave him alone."

I complied quickly, and the three of us were asleep within minutes. It had been a rather draining shore leave.

I woke up later that night to see a sleeping Sarah draped over Max's chest. He was stroking her hair, with a surprisingly gentleness. "So, I must have been pretty drunk to end up in bed with both of you, and not remember my seduction. You two are such bad, wicked people, taking advantage of an innocent like me. My reputation is going to be in shambles when word of this gets out." Sarah was waking up, and he gently whispered at her to go back to bed. Instead, she sleepily smiled and cuddled next to him closer. "She's been harassing me to give you your finals. So, here it is. Your final. Are you ready?"

"I don't know," I whispered while Sarah gave me a gentle smile.

"You are, dearest. You are." She assured me softly.

"If you ever fall in love, everything you've learned, gets completely thrown out the window. Nothing makes sense, and there's nothing you can do, except hope that you've picked the right person to love. And do your best and hope that's enough. But you've got to remember that loving someone completely and utterly can... really... really hurt. And that's a lesson you'll have to find out on your own."

Sarah gave him another gentle smile and Max... smiled back at her.

"There, you've passed the course. You're free to go out and sleep with the entire damn crew now. But I think it's time you properly thanked your principal for making up your course curriculum. " Max gave Sarah a wolfish glare, and she suddenly shrieked when Max pulled her body over his. She landed in the middle of us, and Max suddenly gave me a leer.  "I'll help you out as she's a lively wench. You might need reinforcements. Shall I get Galen?"

"No. I think the two of us can handle her."

 I smiled at Sarah, and she suddenly smirked.

"Wanna bet?"

Looking back, maybe Max was right. Maybe we should have gotten Galen's help.

Time: Ten years after the Crusade had ended.

John Matheson, CAPTAIN. En route to Geneva.

Personal Log- Recording.

I think I was the only person on the Excalibur that wasn't surprised to find out that Sarah and Max had run off and eloped during that one particularly memorable shore leave on Proxima II. I had always suspected something was brewing between the two of them, and the incident regarding Max's ex-wife had proved it. So for the next few years, I watched and waited for the two of them to admit it to themselves and to us. After the Cure had been found, and we were returning to Terra as heroes, I had smiled to myself when Max admitted that a recent job offer in IPX headquarters in Geneva was appealing to him.

A native Martian? Living on Terra? Working at a company that was... situated closely to where Sarah's new job as the ISA director of a Center for Disease Control Hospital was located.

So finally, I asked them, at our final staff meeting. It was just before we docked the Excalibur for the final time, and the old girl was decommissioned. Matthew had commended us all on a job well done, and for a moment, we were misty-eyed. Our crew...our family, was breaking up, and going on with their lives. Well... some of us were still going to be together... even after the Crusade had ended.

I had to burst their bubble. The two of them were sitting together, pretending that *nothing* was going on, and I just couldn't phantom why the heck Max and Sarah hadn't told us. "Sarah? Max?" I had asked. "Don't you think it's time you told us?" I gestured at their friends, sitting at the "Round Table" while the two of them gave me a quizzical look.

"What?" they had exclaimed in unison.

"That you've married? I've already sent my wedding gift to your new house in Geneva. Speaking of which, I hope that I had a standing invitation to stay and visit." Grinning evilly at them, I could have heard a pin drop over THAT announcement. Sometimes, I'm so sneaky, that I can surprise.. everyone... INCLUDING Gideon. He hadn't known, it was obvious by his startled look. Nor had Dureena... or Galen!

And my lessons were completed, or so I had thought. Sarah, Dureena, Galen and Max had taught me as much as they could teach me and perhaps, one day I could find my ... true love. Someone who I could love and trust enough to... completely drop my shields. What can I say? I'm a bit of an old-fashioned romantic that way. But the ten years since then have found me much the same, alone, except for the delightful times when old friends meet again...

End Recording Personal Log.

My personal log completed for now, I decided to replay a message that I had already memorized. I had repeated it so often that I knew every pause and every breath that Sarah had taken in the message. She had been trying to hold back her tears, as my lovely Sarah always took death so personally.

"John... It's time...for you to see him. Come to Earth. Quickly. There isn't much... time... left. Please hurry. He's asking to ... see you."

It was long past time for me to see him. It had been a meeting that I had been dreading for sometime, but I had always known that I would be there with him, at the end. But the EF had delayed acting upon my request for an emergency personal leave, until my XO got involved. I think my XO Katerina Sashi had pulled a few strings with a certain uncle-General of hers. "For the heroes of the Excalibur, can't you do this one little thing and snip the paperwork?"

While I hated when Sashi did the hero worship thing, especially when she directed it toward me, I had to bless her for getting her uncle involved with my request. You see, I hoped that I was going to be in time to see Matthew before he died.

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