Flash: Bowman

Rating: Mature

Bowman reviewed the duty assignment screen wistfully. His unit-individual number was followed by a blinking active, in-port code, and after that was a duty code he was beginning to know far too well. No change from yesterday. Meaning he got to mop floors in the Mess … again. He grabbed his undress yellow blouse and made his way to the Port Kitchen, arranging the securing sashes before stepping out of the empty barracks.

His severed hand, a minor injury by modern standards, had held him up just long enough to miss the 94th Infantry Division’s deployment. The tattooed private inhaled as he walked into the cooking area. He had to admit after all the times he had been on brick rations, being around live food was nearly worth the monotony.

It did not make up for the loneliness.

He wondered who was left to cook for. The last remaining divisions using Squamata Port mustered out yesterday for the Orion Theatre. All the support staff except for a few old-timers went with them. He never did get to adequately thank the doctor who screwed up his nerve reattachment badly enough that even after the second and more successful surgery was completed, he had to go through physical therapy.

Stripping out of as much of his uniform as one could tweak regulations, Bowman tied an apron over his already kitchen stained trousers and made his way to the ticking sounds of rapidly moving knives. “So Fatso, what are we mutilating today?”

Rounding the corner, Bowman saw a perfect heart-shaped butt snugged in mustard yellow weave. His eyes made their way up a back bare of everything but two apron loops. His fingers twitched for a second as he contemplated untying the loops. A blond by the military fuzz adorning her scalp. Damn, he loved blonds.

“That would be Colonel Fatso.” Replied a heavenly contralto, with an unmistakable undertone of command. “And breakfast will be vegetable omelet.”

Served him right for forgetting Faraday had been on one of the outgoing ships yesterday. “I am so sorry, Sir. What do you want me to do, Sir?”

“Apology accepted; been in kitchens before.” Watching her julienne the potatoes, Bowman had no doubt about that claim. “Second, it’s Dame. Air Force not Army – civilized people have genders. Third get the food. Net closest to the entrance. Put all three meals there when got vegetables last night.”

Bowman looked at the officer’s profile out of the corner of his eye while pulling on the environmental suit. Her small breasts popped over the top of the apron, tangerine nipples puckered tight. Her face was young; she could pass for his age. Her golden-hued eyes gave away her home sector of Orion, pushing up Bowman’s age estimate from nineteen to twice that. His eyes dropped to verify her origin, sure enough, a Rigelian parasite had replaced the pinky and ring fingers on her left hand.

After a second staring at the red veins pulsing with human blood visible through the translucent green skin, Bowman discovered he was caught staring. Cold gold chips met his blue eyes, “Do you have a problem, Private?”

“No, Sir … Dame.” Normally he wouldn’t add more, the Army did not like explanations – either getting them or giving them, but he had heard Air Force was a little different. “I just haven’t seen one before. Not in person, Dame.”

She sighed, “Get the food and we will let you closer look. Can’t have you making an accident staring.”

Wanting to break the tension and trying to gauge the officer. “Does that count for the boobs too, Dame?”

A laugh escaped her. A surprised look crossed her face like she didn’t laugh much. “Get in the airlock Private. … And no. Men having accidents over knockers is inevitable. Nothing can be done to help there.”

“Getting in the airlock, Dame.” He sealed the door and starting doing what his superiors constantly grumbled was his defining characteristic. He started thinking.

While moving the food to from the cold storage nets located on the skin of the port habitat, he went over the puzzle represented by the new person in charge of the Mess. An Orion in a Sol uniform, Air Force in an Army Port, Colonel cooking in a kitchen where the highest officer since before today was a lost second lieutenant, a new person after the base has been emptied, – and most importantly – the sexiest woman he had ever seen. Whatever was about to happen in the Snake Rut was big and very, very secret.

The big question: Could he avoid the shit fan about to hit, while also getting a chance to hit on her? Rhetorical really, he admitted as he started the airlock cycle to return inside. No way would a mud pounder be able to avoid any shit fan, let alone the size that this one seemed to be. And no way would he be able to jump that high of a grade let alone fuck another military branch.

(words 837 – originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 3/25/2013 – See the picture that inspired the story! – As I do not know the copyright permissions, I have not copied it here; republished new blog format 8/12/2018)