Four short stories from The Rocinante

Camina Drummer

"Good Morning beautiful" I said as I slowly woke up and then reality came crashing down on me. I'm not at home and I'm not with her.

I touched the empty side of the bed and felt like crying but I don't. Because I don't cry, no this time I won't cry for her sake not mine.

The laughing upstairs made my stomach churn. I knew I wouldn't sleep with all their giddy group love circle crap so I got out of bed.

I put on my form fitting grey sports bra and a pair of grey sweats. I attached my metals as well as the O.P.A emblem to my bra. I was proud to stand for the O.P.A now that Anderson Dawes had been arrested and tried as a war criminal by both the inner planets and the belt in a joint trial. I smiled. Fred Johnson had achieved his dream. The new U.N located on a small floating asteroid, which isn't part of any side now houses a building that answers to everyone.

I sighed. As I walked, a tingle went up my leg. Somehow, even my feet knew that I wasn't on our ship. The ship I should be on.

I fought with her to go. I argued over and over that I would stay with our daughter and the ship but she refused.

She is so much like me it's scary sometimes. No one believed in us and we showed the world that not believing in us was a horrible mistake on their parts.

Ive heard there is an old Earther story called Romeo and Juliet about two people who fell in love from two very different families and the two ended up dying.

I shook. Chocking it up to the temperature on the ship, which was way to damn cold, I tried not to think of the fact we could be those two. An Earther and a Belter. Now we are separated and it could be life or death. Again I tried to shake that off.

Our daughter could've gone with her or myself but neither of us found it safe for a two year old to be in space in nothing more than a helmet keeping her from death. So she was stuck there as well.

The freaks that took my family, our ship and our crew would pay dearly. Taking a relaxing breath I continued getting myself together.

Grabbing my duffle, I looked in the mirror before heading to the mediocre work out room this ship had. It wasn't the worst I had seen but it wasn't anywhere near the best.

I almost didn't recognize the woman staring back at me. She was tired and looked like she could break at the slightest touch.

"Don't worry, we will make them all pay" I said to the reflection in the mirror and then she was ok. She smiled back at me with the grin of someone who was ready to fight. Then her face relaxed and was ready for her morning work out.

Clasping my duffle tighter, I heard a small squeak. If it wasn't for the next sound i would've thought it was just my bunk. But there it was. The smallest mewing sound.

I looked at my duffle with a look of amazement, shock and confusions. Reaching over, I unzipped the bag and looking down I saw Kosh, my daughters mechanical cat. Attached to Kosh's neck was a note.

"Kosh protect ma ce, love Etara" was written in crayon. My eyes watered and quickly wiping them dry, I put Kosh on my bedside table and smiled.

Etara was only two but that firecracker taught herself how to write. She couldn't write you a full letter but she could write her name and a few other things. She was definitely just like us.

I noticed the red light on my room console was flashing. I had turned it to record so i didn't have to be bothered by the sunshine brigade.

I listened to the message which was nothing but another invite to join them upstairs from Naomi.

Naomi was the only the other person except for Ashford I trust on this dump they call a ship.

I had already engaged in small talk. I didn't care to do it anymore then I had to. Dinner was nice enough, even though it was something made by a Martian, and talking with Naomi was pleasant.

I know that i should've tried to get to know the others but i wasn't really in the mood.

I petted Kosh's head promising him that I would return him safely to Etara very soon. He gave a mew of acceptance and I smiled again.

Zipping up my bag again I looked at the strange bed in front of me. The emptiness washed over me like an ocean on Earth. That old saying "you don't know what you have until it's gone" is true.

Taking in a deep breath I walked around to the opposite side from where I was sleeping.

I looked at the half made bed, no sign of anyone else. I knew she wasn't here but I just kept thinking if I stood there long enough she would walk up behind me. She would wrap her arms around me and ask if we were scheduled to space anyone. Her body outlined in the sheets on her side of the bed.

After a few, long minutes, I took the sheet and covered the empty spot. Before I turned to go though I whispered softly "Good morning beautiful".

Amos and Alex

Emptying out the food trays into the garbage, I couldn't help but think that It wouldn't be long before all hell broke loose, I mean this was the Rocinante.

I got all the dishes done and the kitchen cleaned pretty quickly. I didn't like leaving the kitchen unkept because bear would just make things worse.

I wondered where the bear was at. He usually sits on one of the kitchen chairs, his feet up on the chair across from him, a beer in his hand and watches me work.

He wasn't there though. I started panicking a little. Was the food bad? Was having company upsetting him? Did he not care to have me around anymore?

I splashed some water on my face. Those were all dumb questions. My food was always perfect. He didn't give two fucks who was on this ship and if they bothered him he ignored them.

The third one though I couldn't shake. What if I wasn't interesting to him anymore? What if I was just the flavor of the week?

My data pad beeped. I looked down and the ships readings had just come in. All positive numbers. "Hey girl, you trying to tell me to stay positive" I said smiling to the data pad.

"Should I be jealous?" Asked a man with a southern accent from right behind me, making me jump half a freaking mile.

"Don't do that Hoss" I said slapping bear on the shoulder. He laughed. I loved when he laughed. He had such a deep and contagious one.

His eyes were blue as blue could get. You could just get lost in them for hours. his red-brown hair was beautiful and surprisingly very soft.

He suddenly pulled me in for a hug. His arms could've wrapped around me twice and it was comforting. Being against his strong chest always made me feel safe and loved.

On Mars, I played the mans man. I did what a man on Mars was expected to do. Actually it was what all Martians were expected to do but hells this is my feelings. Anyway, I joined the Marines, I got married and had a kid but something was wrong. I never felt safe in that life. My Ex always pushing to have kids when she knew that it would more than likely end in a miscarriage. That on-top of Being grounded was the worst.

I never want to go back to that life and because of Bear I don't have to. The minute we came together, he adopted my son as his own. My sister is now the head of Mars and I get to talk to her often.

I felt the demon pin he wore on his chest. Bear had been through a lot but he was so resilient.

Suddenly I was no longer on my feet. Instinctually my legs wrapped around bears strong torso and I wrapped my arms around his sturdy neck.

Suddenly like a thunderstorm on a sunny day he was kissing me like he missed me. As the kiss got deeper his tongues began to play against the edges of the inside of my cheek.

I let out a soft moan of pleasure and I could feel his lips form a sadistic smile against mine.

Suddenly we were moving but never once did I feel like I would fall and his lips never left mine.

We stopped and I heard what could only be our room door open and then we were moving again.

The sound of the door closing sent my body into overdrive. I knew what was coming and I was more than ready for it.

Laying me down softly on the bed, bear crawled on top of me and smiled.

Suddenly out of nowhere an old Earth song, Evil in the night by Adam Lambert started playing softly. Amos grinned again.

"I'm tired of all you cowboy hokey pokey music Martian. Tonight the playlist

Consists of only songs that say fuck me hard" bear said growling deeply.

"Yes Hoss" was all I could choke out from the excitement over taking my body.

Again bear gave me that wicked smile. After another electrifying kiss, bear began to undo my shirt. He methodically went one by one through the buttons. I moaned to see if i could get him to go faster but instead it slowed him down.

As soon as my shirt was off next came my pants. Thankfully I didn't wear a pair with a belt that day so all he had was one button and the zipper. Just as I thought my underwear were next he stood up.

He stared at me for a minute then began unbuttoning his shirt. Once again methodically going one by one. I licked my lips as his chest became apparent from behind his shirt. He was ripped. He didn't even have to work out a lot it seemed. I think he was naturally born as a tank.

Next came his jeans. I am so glad I got him out of that damn jumpsuit and into a nice pair of jeans. I watched as he unmapped the button and couldn't help but moan.

Smiling he slowed down, unzipping the jeans inch by inch. "Come on hoss, let me ride you now" i said as my body started to heat up but bear kept playing.

Finally the shirt and the pants were gone. I thought for sure the underwear was next but no. The song suddenly changed to "When you say nothing at all" by Allison Krauss and Union Station.

Bear laid next to me and pulled me in close. This time I was against his bare chest and could hear his heart beating. It was a song of its own. The most beautiful one in the universe.

"Happy anniversary cowboy" bear said kissing my temple very softly. I cried. I cried against bears chest and didn't care. It wasn't our wedding anniversary but I knew what it was. It was the first day that we christened The Tachi as The Rocinante and the four of us became an inseparable family.

I kissed him softly. And as the music changed to a soft musical melody I drifted off to a blissful sleep against bears chest.

Tomorrow might bring hell but tonight I was in heaven. After all this was my home, the two sleeping in the other room was as much my family as bear, no it wasn't heaven, it was better, it was The Rocinante.

laes Ashford

I walked into my quarters and looked around. I huffed. At my age and rank I shouldn't have to sleep in quarters like this I thought throwing my duffle on the bed.

I guess i should be more thankful. I was an unexpected guest and one none of those people trusted. Possibly Camina trusted me but I couldn't be positive of that.

Thinking back to the reason I was stuck here made me upset. I don't know what took the ship but atleast now we have a chance.

I thought of Camina in the other room and frowned. The fact she had to leave her wife and daughter must be eating at her badly.

I tried not to think to long on that because then my anger will flare again. Though the anger wouldn't be towards the bastards who commandeered their ship but towards myself.

I wasn't supposed to run. I wasn't supposed to surrender but here I am. I punched the wall nearest to me. The pain subsided almost instantaneously.

I didn't know who exactly attacked the ship, but I had a good idea on who sent them. I just don't know how to explain it to Camina and the others. I knew I would have to soon but I didn't understand why they were here.

Having nothing of value to them, they had never bothered.

Looking at my knuckle I watched as the greenish blue tint gently left my hand.

A secret of mine. Another secret on-top of secrets I had. I didn't care about having them but like guilt, secrets can eat at you at the worst of moments.

I mumbled some not so very nice words and unzipped my duffle. Inside I had the one change of clothes I could grab and some personal mementos.

Throwing the clothes in a drawer, I laid out some of my personal mementos on the bed.

My medals of course came with me. They kept me grounded when I started to feel I was loosing it.

The next item was a little red box. There was nothing inside of it but the man who gave it to me meant more than the world.

I wish he was here with me right now. To hold me and make me feel safe. He would know exactly what to say and when to make sure I wasn't upset or to get me to laugh if I was.

The next three items made my heart hurt even more. They were mementos of my three daughters. Three beautiful, strong ladies who haven't known myself or their father in a year.

It was the worst day of my life. I had just finished some paperwork to file. One of the girls walked by and ignored me. I thought nothing of it. She was an adult and probably having a bad day.

Then another one came strolling by and just nodded in my direction. My heart at that point began to beat faster.

Then it was when the third child came into the room and said "Commander Ashford, I'm here for the papers" that my heart broke into a million little pieces.

Her eyes told me everything. She didn't see her mother, she saw a commander.

I had called my husband right away and told him. That night we mulled over it in our heads. As we contemplated the reasons a message was delivered to my com. We listened together and that's when the name The Stenza was first said out loud.

I withheld the urge to throw anything or scream and curse in all the different languages I knew.

I placed the jade necklace, the stuffed bird and the keychain with a star at the end of it on the bedside desk. I kept those three little trinkets with me at all times. they reminded me what i was fighting everyday for. I was no longer fighting for the Belt, I was fighting for my family.

Laying down I stared up at the metal wall above me. It has been a long time since I wished to look up and see a sky or even a roof.

The cold, lifeless metal was starting to eat at me. Day after day, walking around like I am unbreakable, unshakeable and heartless was starting to wear on me.

I loved my job and my home but without my family none of it seemed worthwhile.

I closed my eyes and sung a belter lullaby softly to myself. The girls have always loved me singing to them. Even as adults when one of them can't sleep or are afraid they call, no matter where they are and ask me to sing for them. I miss that. I want that back. "Hey alien assholes, I will get my children back" I growled to the empty room.

When the only answer i got was the creaking of metal I sighed. Turning on my side I said a prayer to whatever entity was listening at that point.

"To whom may be listening, I know I have been malicious and I'm not sorry for that because it's what I had to be but if you could find some room to grant me a single wish it would be for someone to bring my children back to me. I'm not going to promise to change or be someone I'm not but I will promise this, I will protect as many people as possible with every breath I take with or without you promising me a reward".

I knew that wasn't much of a prayer but it helped relax me a little. As I closed my eyes, I silently said goodnight to my three little angels and allowed myself to drift off into a peaceful slumber.

Naomi Nagata and Jim Holden

I once again fluffed the pillows on our couch. I couldn't stop fidgeting. That's just how I am. With the surprise guests and the story that came with them I was thrown a little off guard.

Once the pillows were perfect, atleast for the next five minutes, I dared to relax, on a chair not the couch or I would have to redo the pillows.

I was glad Mina was on the ship with us but I also knew she was hurting. Between not knowing what held her family hostage and being captain of a ship which made her responsible for everyone on board she was a mess. Being away from family hurts, I should know all to well.

I thought about the two men right next door. They had given everything to this family and Jim and I have taken them for granted. We seemed to always allow our own interests to come before theirs.

I wiped away the tears forming at the edges of my eyes. I promised myself right then I would stop being so selfish and think more about what our family as a whole needs, not just what Jim and I need.

Getting up and stretching my legs I went into the small nook and made a cup of coffee. It was no where as good as the coffee in the galley but it would do for now.

As I sipped my coffee, I thought about how far Jim and I had come romantically. It was a miracle but we have kept it together.

First the hiding from the others then our selfish needs that pulled us apart one to many times. All the times we were apart we could've been together if our ego's wouldn't have gotten in our way.

When Amos adopted Alex's son as his own, it had made us wonder if we wanted children as well. After a few nights of back and forth we decided that Mellas was enough kid for us right now. Anyway, Alex and Amos had named us Mellas's godparents so we basically were parents to him as well. Again, Alex and Amos not being as selfish as we've been.

As I mulled over life, I felt a pair of arms wrap around my waist. I would know those arms from anywhere. They were strong, yet gentle. I leaned back onto the chest that belonged to the arms. It was warm and I could hear the beating of the heart inside.

I loved the man the chest and arms helped make up. He has supported me through all the highs and the lows.

"Nao I got a surprise for you" Jim said softly against my ear. "Oh and what's that Jimmy" I said teasingly as I turned in his arms to face him.

As I saw his face I knew it was something big. Part of me started to get nervous it wasn't a good something.

"Nao, Alex found Filip and we contacted him. After a long talk with Alex, since he has more experience with children I let him take the reigns, He has decided to come to live with us on The Roci" Jim said keeping his face neutral.

The emotions swirling inside me could have been a category five hurricane. i hadn't seen my son in years and the fact the man in front of me and the two next door invested themselves into this, the emotions just exploded.

I buried my face in Jim's chest and cried. The best part is he let me. He didn't say a word, he just let me cry.

After what seemed like forever I finally lifted my head from his shirt. I couldn't help but laugh at the tear stains.

I let Jim lead me to the couch. He sat down and pulled me into his lap which I didn't refuse. I had so many questions but couldn't find my tongue to ask them.

"Nao one more thing, I legally adopted Filip and added Alex and Amos as his godparents" Jim said softly as he stroke my hair.

"Jim, I don't deserve any of you" I said trying not to bawl my eyes out again. "Nao, you deserve so much more" Jim said softly bending over and kissing my forehead.

I smiled up at him. I couldn't wait to have Filip with me again and this time I won't let him go. I also couldn't wait to have Mellas on board as well. They could learn from each other. Neither of them ever had a sibling so this is a good chance for both.

I wrapped my arms around Jim's neck and pulled him down for another deep kiss.

"Jim, I want to do something really special for Alex and Amos. Today is the day that we became the Rocinante so it's a anniversary for all of us but we all know this is Alex's baby" I said with a laugh.

Jim nodded. "We will figure out something by tonight, Im sure with Drummer and Ashford helping we can come up with something fun but right now I want to take my wife to bed" Jim said with a smirk.

I grinned and stood up. I watched as Jim stood up and headed towards the bedroom, motioning for me to follow him.

I stuck my tongue out at him and before I followed my handsome husband, I once again, just to make myself feel better, fluffed the pillows on the couch.

Learn more when you read A Travelers Tale