“Of course. Subjugator is a perfect name. It is intimidating and menacing…and will make the women curious.”
Greg blinked a few times as his blue eyes felt scratchy. “But, sir…it’s a cargo vessel. In fact, we’re the galactic equivalent of a tug-boat.”
“Yes, but we’re astronauts…” Mark looked pleased with himself in his permed black hair and crisp blinding-white uniform that accentuated the bulge between his legs.
Greg looked at his blue jeans and dusted a hamburger crumb away. His black tee-shirt was tight around his muscled torso. “That’s true, but that doesn’t work so well as a pickup line in this century. We’re all astronauts. Earth is gone, remember.”
“Oh, right.” Mark’s brown eyes showed a moment of confusion. “But still, chicks dig astronauts, right?”
“Oh yeah, I guess they have no choice…and, chicks? Sir?”
“Women…females…Greg, don’t be so naive. The ones we need to convince to allow us to play with the vagina they house.”
Greg had no response to this.
“I do miss the big hair, though.”
“Big hair, sir?”
A smile blossomed as Mark reminisced. “When I was playing football for the University of Western New York back in 1986, all the chicks used to have hair that was this high…” He raised a hand over his head to demonstrate. “…and this long. It was great for those times that you could wrap your fist in it and pull while you…” Even seated, he seemed to get an air hip thrust in.
Clenched lips made Greg’s face go dark red. “First, there was no University of Western New York in 1986. Second, you didn’t play football.”
“Oh, well, how do you know?”
A tap of the vid screen and Greg quickly brought up the profile on Mark Smith. “It says here you were born in 1965 and 1986 was spent incarcerated in a Buffalo city penitentiary where you took up astronomy in your spare time.”
“See…Western New York.”
Mark shrugged and looked amused. “Prison, university…I’m not sure I see the difference.”
“Maybe you should go back to find out the difference.”
No answer this time.
“Fine, apparently General Gramm has seen it in her best interest to appoint you as first mate of…um…the Subjugator…”
“Glad you like the name.”
“Right.” Greg’s accent was tight and upper British with crisp pronunciation. “She has also seen fit to assign you to a captain who is severely more qualified than you are.”
“You’re not that experienced, Greg,” Mark scolded.
“Not me, you nitwit. Lieutenant Dragen.”
Brown eyes almost popped from Mark’s face. “Apple Dragen?”
“The leggy redhead?”
“The one that almost put me through the pub wall when I commented on her nice shoes and asked if she wanted to mate?”
“You got her in one, sir.”
“Not the one I wanted…but wow. Didn’t see that one coming.” He took a sip of his ale and thought for a moment. “So what is your position in my crew?”
“I am Executive Officer…and it is her crew. I will deal with the comfort of our passengers while we tow their vessels into port.”
“Oh, cruise director.”
Greg’s mouth fell open. “Ummm…no….”
“Yeah, the Love Boat…I remember that. Think we need a blonde for that, though.”
“Yeah…Julie, I think. Can I call you Julie?”
“No,” Greg shook his head.
“Think the actress was an addict to something, but that shouldn’t matter.” His eyes quickly gave Greg a once over. “How short are your skirts?”
“Sir!!! I don’t wear skirts.”
A hand clapped Greg on the shoulder as Mark nearly fell over laughing. “You take me way too seriously, my friend. Besides, no skirts required so long as you wear pumps on my ship.”
Another eye roll and finally Greg gave in to a gush of laughter. “You’re such a dog.”
“Absofuckinglutely…hound dog…and you’re a St. Bernard, I think.”
“You realize the sexual innuendo has to stop before Dragen joins us. It isn’t your ship, remember?”
A raspberry erupted from Mark’s lips. “What fun would that be?”
“Might keep you employed, for one thing.”
“You give me enough time with Dame Apple there and I’ll have her on her knees licking my….”
“Oh please don’t.”
“It’s your unemployment line.” Greg sipped his own beer.
“What the fuck kind of name is ‘Apple’, anyway?”
“I really wouldn’t know.”
“You know, Greg…when they found me and thawed me out, it really showed how much they need my expertise here. Certain things only I would know.”
“I suspect that has more to do with the lack of manpower available after the Fifth Martian War and all the massacres before we excaped…but you obviously see that differently.”
“Did I ever tell you about that old campy 70s television show, ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’?”
“Oh, damn, here we go.”
More reminiscing and a grin formed on Mark’s lips. “Beau Bridges was the actor in this show…”
“Actually, it was Gil Gerard, but you’re not listening.”
“…and he played this astronaut that was frozen, only to be thawed out five hundred years later. Sound familiar?”
“You weren’t an astronaut. In fact, correct me if I am wrong, but you were frozen by accident when you locked yourself inside a cryogenic coffin as a joke.”
“Yeah…not that much different from Buck.”
A long sip of his beer before Greg spoke again. “And to think, they didn’t put you on a space ship sooner.”