Kiraling – Part 09 (Chapter 36-40)
Written by anonxyzus :: [Thursday, 19 April 2018 04:18] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 08 May 2018 11:38]
I got out of bed, very gingerly, and did a couple of stretches. Mostly to try to work out the soreness but partly to see if everything still worked. Then I put on a pair of shorts and headed for the bathroom. All the while Dixon and Johnson were carrying on like it had been them who had just had the most incredible night of sex in their lives. I wanted to tell them to shut the hell up, but with the kind of hearing Velorians have I didn’t think it wise.
As I got to the bathroom door my left hamstring twitched a little and I limped a bit, and then heard, very distinctly, the giggling of at least three Velorians coming from the living room. How did I know they were all Velorians you ask? Once you’ve heard one of them laugh you’ll never forget that beautiful melodious sound again. Dixon and Johnson stopped talking for just a moment, looked at each other, and then broke out laughing. They just weren’t going to give me a break.
I took a long hot shower and shaved, went back to my room and got dressed. I came out of my room and walked into the kitchen and found three Velorians, an Arion and an enhanced Terran putting the finishing touches on brunch. There were pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice and coffee in enough quantities to feed a platoon. More food, in fact, than I had in my fridge and pantry. Obviously, they’d been shopping, and for once I was going to have a home cooked meal on their dime!
We filled our plates with food, and Sharon looked at mine and said, “Is that all you’re eating Joe? You need to build your strength up in case I decide I want to go for round two.”
I just about spit my juice out through my nose! “Sharon!” I mean, really, Xara was sitting next to me!
Kara, Xara and Gloria were laughing so hard I thought they’d fall off their chairs onto the floor.
“Now honestly Joe,” said Sharon, “wasn’t that the best sex you’ve ever had?”
Good lord! I looked to Kara for help and got none, “Yes Joe, tell us, was it the best you’ve ever had?”
I could see it in her eyes. She was enjoying this. They all were enjoying this. So, I decided to go with the answer Dixon suggested, “Sharon, I think that was the best sex anyone has ever had.”
They all laughed. Gloria high fived me. Apparently, sex with Velorians is like a televised sporting event complete with color commentary.
And then a thought hit me. “Sharon, umm … did we use protection?” Xara giggled.
“You can’t get me pregnant, or give me a disease, and I can’t give you a disease. And there is no protection from me Joe.” Xara giggled again.
Kara said, “Eat up Joe. I’ll protect you from Sharon, but after we do the dishes we’re all going to sit down and have a come-to-Jesus meeting.
It was an intervention. It was the most uncomfortable afternoon I’ve ever had that didn’t qualify for a Purple Heart.
“Joseph, we have some serious issues that we need to discuss. Sharon, Xara and I have all observed alarming behaviors from you and we want to help you. You need our help. And Sharon has made it clear that we have contributed to your problems.”
“Kara, I don’t think I need …”
“Stop Joseph. Let me finish.”
When Kara uses that tone, you shut up and listen.
“We all care deeply for you Joseph. We aren’t here to beat you up. Unnecessarily anyway. Now, Crystal is going to be a bit of a moderator. We’ll be talking about issues pertaining to Terran and Supremis relationships, and she will help us, or help you to help us understand the Terran side of the equation. Okay?”
“Why is Gloria here?”
“Gloria is, like you, a warrior. And unlike any of us, she is a trained medical professional. As such she has a unique perspective which may be valuable for us today.”
“I don’t want to do this.” My heart started beating faster and I could feel sweat starting to form on my brow.
“Joseph, it’s necessary.”
“Kara, I really don’t want to do this!”
“Joseph, you have no choice in the matter. We’re going to have a discussion and you are going to participate.”
Again, that tone. Dixon and Johnson abandoned me. I gave up.
“Okay”, I said, “Where do we start?”
“I think we can start with you apologizing to my daughter, for the way you treated her at the end of your camping trip. And then she can apologize to you for the pressure she put you under.”
“We’ll get to that. Joseph, do you understand that you treated her poorly yesterday?”
“I know the morning was a little rough, but by the time we parted ways I thought we were good. Weren’t we Xara?”
“I was still upset Joe. You were downright rude to me and I didn’t know what I had done to deserve it.”
“You didn’t do anything Xara. It’s just one of those things. Sometimes I get a little moody, you know, and … “
“We’ve seen it Joseph, and when it happens you need to talk to us, to let us help you … “
“Kara, I don’t need you to help me! I’ve never asked you for your help. You’ve all been so very kind to me, but I’ve never asked anything of you and you’re starting to make me feel like you are forcing yourselves on me. I know you are grateful because I got you out of that cave, but you’ve amply paid me back for that. We’re even.”
I knew that was a mistake the second it came out of my mouth, though I didn’t understand why. Kara was turning red and I could feel heat from her eyes flashing across my face. Sharon was giving me a very disapproving look, Gloria was looking away and Xara, God bless her, had her face in her hands and was trying not to laugh.
“What’s so funny Xara?”
“Mom, can’t you see? He doesn’t get it.”
Crystal spoke up. “Maybe this is where I can help. Joe, they’ve explained the concept of Kiraling to you, haven’t they?”
“Good. Tell me what it means.”
“It means they feel they owe a debt to me because I helped them get out of that cave. But the debt is repaid. They don’t owe me anything anymore.”
“Well, yes and no. Kiraling isn’t a debt as much as it is a relationship. Between two of them”, and she pointed to Kara, Sharon and Xara, “it might be a lifelong commitment of always being there for the other, to answer the call when it comes, so to speak. Much like I imagine it might be between two soldiers who rescued each other in battle. Does that make sense?”
“Well, there is a complication here, and it is a big one. They are Homo Sapiens Supremis. You are Homo Sapiens. You take your life in your hands every time you cross the street. You could have died any number of times during your deployments. Any one of them,” and here she pointed to the Velorians again, “could defeat all the armies on earth, before breakfast, and not break a sweat. The most insignificant insects are more of a threat to you than you are to them.
“Kara is here to protect earth against the Arions, who are also Supremis, because without her, earth has no chance against the Empire. And the Empire does see you as insignificant insects.
“And Joe, you saved them! You say you ‘helped them get out of that cave’, but without you they surely would have died. You, Joe Ricci, a mere Terran, saved them, the mighty Velorians, from the Arions. And you are so very, very fragile compared to the Supremis, to them what you did is nothing less that astounding.
“And they are so very much aware of your fragility and mortality, much more so than you are, that it pains them to the depths of their beings to think that something could happen to you. You are very high in their estimation. You are precious to them. Because of the huge power imbalance between you and them, there is no way they could ever consider their debt to you paid. It is an insult to them that you would ever think that they are out of your debt, or that you would want them out of your life.”
“Alright, they think they owe me a huge debt they can never repay, even if I think they already have several times over. Does this give them the right to interfere in my life every time I have a bad day?”
“No Joseph, not a right, an obligation. And we won’t interfere with a bad day if you don’t want us too. But we’ve gone beyond a bad day to a very bad day. We’re getting ahead of ourselves though, let’s dial back the emotion a bit and get back to how you treated Xara.”
“Kara, doesn’t she ever get moody and sullen?”
“More often than I care for. But she’s a teenager. What’s your excuse?”
“Look at me Kara. That’s my excuse.”
“What? You’re feeling sorry for yourself? There are men all over the world who’d give anything to spend a night in a tent with Xara!” Xara was nodding. “In your wildest dreams did you ever think you’d be surrounded by beautiful women like you are now?”
Well, she had me there, I couldn’t argue with that, but now it was up to me to try to find the words to explain it to her.
“No Kara, I wasn’t referring to just my face and my wounds. In my three deployments I saw a lot of death. I caused a lot of death. And it is always with me. I see the faces of the dead every where I look. At night it can be very bad. I don’t always know what brings it on, but I think this weekend the confrontation with the deputy, and then the Arions contributed to it. I had nightmares. Bad ones. I saw friends and enemies being shot, stabbed, blown up. I heard the dying calling out for their wives and mothers.” I looked at Xara, “How am I supposed to explain that to a child? Xara should be thinking about prom and school and going to parties with boys, not worrying about a broken-down soldier.”
I thought I was holding it together, but when I looked at the faces of the women I got the distinct impression they didn’t think so. I turned to Xara, “Xara, please don’t look at me that way. I don’t want your pity. I don’t need your pity. I carry a lot of baggage around and it isn’t fair to expect you to help me carry it. I’m sorry for my bad behavior, and I ask you to forgive me. I wish I could tell you that it will never happen again, but I can’t.”
Xara smiled at me and said, “I can forgive you Joe, if you’ll promise to talk to me next time instead of freezing me out.”
“I’ll try Xara. That’s the most I can promise, I’ll try.” And she hugged me. Oh, it was a good hug.
“Alright”, said Kara, “One down. Now it’s Xara’s turn to apologize to Joe.”
“Apologize for what Kara? Xara didn’t do anything to me she needs to apologize for.”
“It’s nice of you to say that Joseph, but Xara knows better than to use her pheromones on a Terran when she doesn’t have any gold. She put you in great danger.”
“Mom, all I was going to do was give him a hand job! You know very well that I don’t need gold for that.”
“Xara, what if you’d lost control of yourself like you did with that poor Jorgenson boy? He was in a cast for months!”
Holy Crap! I didn’t want to hear about Xara’s sex life! But lo and behold, suddenly Dixon and Johnson showed up and that was all they wanted to hear about.
Sharon started asking questions, “Joe, from what Xara tells me, you ran out of the tent. Is that right?”
“Yes.” Where is this going? That was the right thing to do, wasn’t it?
“Xara, has a Terran ever gotten away from you before?”
“No. I was completely surprised. I’ve never even met one who wanted to.”
“Joseph,” Kara asked, “How did you find the resolve to get out of the tent?”
“You’re kidding, right? This is what you’re worried about, not your minor daughter having sex with an adult man?”
“Of course I’m worried about her having sex with you. She didn’t have any gold. You could have been hurt.”
“Mom! He was perfectly safe with me!”
“What the hell?!! I’m in my twenties. She’s a teenager. There was a deputy grilling me on my relationship with her, just waiting for the chance to pounce and hall me into jail for sexually assaulting a minor!” I didn’t think I should add the part about being afraid of Kara’s reaction. At this point I was totally confused about her parenting style.
“Joe”, Sharon laughed, “We’re Velorians. Xara is well past the acceptable age for having sex with whomever she wants. Your Terran rules about sexual propriety do not apply to us.”
“Oh. Okay. Now I understand.
“Your honor, I’m innocent of statutory rape and sexual misconduct with a minor because our laws do not apply to Velorians.
“Well, Sgt. Ricci, our laws may not apply to them, but they do apply to you. 10 years in prison and on the sex offender registry for the rest of your life. Next case!”
Xara winked at me and said, “No worries Joe, I’d break you out of jail.”
“I don’t understand you guys”, I said.
Crystal, who had been unsuccessfully trying to keep a straight face through this said, “Joe, the Velorian concept of sex is very different from ours. They don’t view it as a procreative function. To them it is strictly for recreation. Or combat. They can explain the combat part to you. But mainly for recreation. The way I imagine it is like this: on their home world, if a Velorian is not having sex, then they either just finished having sex or are about to have sex.”
“That sounds about right”, said Sharon.
“Joe”, said Xara, “I’m sorry I rattled you like that. I’ll do my best not to put you into a compromising position again.”
“Thank you, Xara,”, I said.
“Well”, said Kara, “That should do it for the preliminaries. Now let’s get down to the reason we are all here.”
“Umm, Kara, I’m here because I live here.”
“Yes, Joseph, you do. Let’s get started.”
“Sharon, tell us how you found Joe when you arrived here yesterday.”
Well, I knew where this was going. And I didn’t want to go there, but I didn’t know how to stop it. So, I tried to delay it.
“Sharon, why did you come here yesterday?”, I asked her.
“Because Xara called me. She told me you had been acting strange, distant, and she didn’t know what to do. So, I decided to pay you a visit. And after I put you to bed this morning I called Kara and filled her in on what I found.”
Kara said, “Go ahead Sharon, tell us what you found.”
“I found Joe sitting in the back by the lake with a case of beer. He’d had at least five. He was in tears and was holding a revolver. I asked him what he was doing, and he said, ‘they’re all gone’, I asked him who was gone, and he told me about soldiers he knew who had died.
“He was obviously in a lot of pain. I don’t know how to heal that kind of pain, but I do know how to distract from it. So, I fluffed up my hair, got in his face and had a pretty good evening”, this last she said while winking at me.
“Joe”, she asked, “Before last night, when was the last time you had sex?”
“There is no way we need to get into that Sharon.”
“Yes, there is”, said Gloria. “It will help me understand where you are in your recovery.”
I didn’t say anything. There was uncomfortable silence, and then Kara said, “Joseph, you are among friends here.”
There was more silence. They just waited for me. Finally, I told them, “Before my last deployment.”
“Well Sharon”, Kara said, “You’re right. We’ve let him down.”
“How have you let me down? You’ve been nothing but great friends to me.”
“I’ve been a grieving widow”, said Kara.
“I’ve been worried about how Deb would react”, said Sharon.
Xara said, “I accidentally break one guy’s pelvis and mom just won’t let it go. It’s like wearing a verbal chastity belt: Messengers only young lady until you learn to act more responsibly!”
Gloria asked, “What about Terran women Joe? Don’t you have any girlfriends?”
“I used to. Before I came home looking like this. You guys seem to be a lot more concerned about this than I am. I was prepared for this.”
“How were you prepared?” Gloria asked.
“At Walter Reed, when they were getting ready to discharge me, a couple of psychiatrists took me into a room with a big mirror. They told me to look in the mirror and then told me that women aren’t attracted to men who look like me. That I could come to grips with that fact, accept it and move on, or be miserable for the rest of my life. I chose to move on.
“When I met you three, and you lavished all that attention on me, I was thrilled. But I never, ever expected to have a night like we did last night Sharon. And it’s okay if I never do again.”
“Alright. Thank you for sharing that with us Joseph. Ladies, I think there are few things we need to work on. But we can deal with that later.
“Joseph, what were you going to do with the revolver?”
I didn’t say anything. I just sat there, staring at the floor.
Xara asked, “Joe, do you want to die?”
“No Xara,” I answered, “I definitely do not want to die. But sometimes, it seems like continuing to live takes more strength than I’ve got. And sometimes, when I think of all those good men who died around me, it just seems so unfair that I’m still here, that I don’t deserve to be. I don’t want to die, I really don’t, but I often think of the men I went to war with, and that justice demands that I join them.”
Everyone was quiet for a while after that. And then Kara broke the silence, “Gloria will be staying with you for a few days Joseph.”
“Kara, I have to be back at JBLM tomorrow.”
Kara looked at Crystal, who nodded, and then Kara said, “Check your orders.”
I went to my laptop and signed in. Sure enough, I was on leave with no definite end date.
“How do you do that Kara?”
“I have contacts in your government Joseph. You’ll meet some of them.”
“Soon, I hope. We’re still negotiating some conditions.”
I was going to ask about those conditions when Xara came into the living room carrying my class A uniform on a hanger in one hand and my family’s old Lawn Darts game in the other, the old kind with the pointy ends.
“Mom, here’s the uniform Joe’s going to wear to the prom. What do you think?”
“I think we can find a dress that will go with that.”
“Shoes too mom, and a purse.”
“Of course, honey. Joe, we’ll send you a picture of the dress, so you can get the right corsage. Or would you rather we got it?”
“I can get it Kara.”
“Good. Crystal will make your travel arrangements. She or Gloria will fly with you. You’ll stay at the house with me and Xara and Crystal will be your chauffer prom night.”
(Later, in private, Crystal told me that since I would be flying commercial, she would take care of the corsage, so it wouldn’t wilt or get crushed on the flight.)
Sharon picked up the Lawn Darts and said, “Ooo, I haven’t seen these in quite a while. Weren’t they banned or something?”
I said, “Those are pretty old, from before the ban. We never had any problems with them.”
“Xara, are we going to play with these?”, asked Sharon.
“Yeah. Teams. Me and Joe against you and mom.”
“What about Crystal and Gloria?”, I asked her.
“They’re going shopping for dinner. Gloria wants to practice grilling steaks. The hard way. You know, no heat vision.”
Now, Lawn Darts is really a simple game. Throw the darts at a ring. Score points for getting the dart inside the ring, score points for having the closest dart outside the ring. If your opponent’s dart lands in the ring you can negate their points by putting your own dart in the ring. It’s a family game, really. Meant to be played by adults and kids just to have fun.
As I was about to learn, Velorians don’t play games ‘just for fun’. No. They play to win. All the time. My first inkling of this was when Xara argued for getting a handicap for “having the Terran” on her team. Sharon and Kara agreed to that, but only if they got bonus points for landing special shots. Like hanging in the air, upside down, facing away from the ring. They must have spent ten minutes arguing about and settling on the final rules.
And then they wanted to place the rings way far apart. Like an extra 50 yards across my property line. But they backed off on that when Sharon pointed out that I can’t throw the dart that far with any accuracy. She was being kind. I couldn’t throw the dart that far, period.
It isn’t that hard a game. I could hit the circle about 30% of the time and be close the other 70%. Not so for them. Dead center of the ring. Every time. Whether throwing the dart like a normal human being, or throwing it backwards over their shoulder, or even hanging upside down in the air. I didn’t even bother to keep score. But they did. Kara and Sharon won. Because of, well, you know, “the Terran”.
Oh, and then, after the game, when Crystal and Gloria joined us, they wanted to go for a swim. It was a beautiful day for it. They would have known that by checking the weather forecast for Bellingham before coming up. And of course, when you go to visit someone who lives on a lake you know there is a good chance of going for a swim. Did any of them bring a swimsuit? No. And they didn’t care for my suggestion to go swimming in their flight suits. They wanted to go skinny dipping. They wanted me to go skinny dipping too. Something about it being “only fair”. Fair for whom they didn’t say. And they didn’t understand that I was reticent because, you know, the beautiful and legally underage teenager with the pheromones who just a couple of days before had tried to have her way with me, and the only concern her mother had about that was that she didn’t have any gold. But now there was gold. Sharon had brought it.
Turns out, I didn’t have anything to worry about. No one came after me. They were happy, though, to put on a show for a couple of boaters who passed by. I’m sure I’ll hear from their wives at the next home owner’s association meeting.
It was interesting to observe their bodies, in ways other than the obvious. Crystal is a hottie, but pales in comparison to the Velorians, who are all shapely and curvy while also looking athletic. But Gloria was different. Beautiful in her own right, but a body that was visibly more muscular than the Velorians. Crystal told me she isn’t as strong as them, but she sure looks it.
After we dried off and dressed and were waiting for Gloria to finish burning the steaks (Arions are not gifted cooks, or at least this one isn’t) I decided to ask some questions myself.
“Ladies, you gave me a pretty good grilling today (here we had to stop and explain to Gloria that ‘grilling’ had more than one meaning), and I’d like to get some answers for myself, if you don’t mind.”
“Ask your questions Joseph, and we’ll tell you if we mind.”
“For over a year now you guys have all come and gone from this place, pretty much as you pleased, and you’ve never explained to me how you get in. Sharon once said something like, “locks aren’t a problem for us”, and just left me wondering. How do you get in? What kind of power do you guys have that lets you get in and out of locked buildings?”
Kara said, “Fair question. Ladies, let’s show him.” And they all reached into either a flight suit, a pocket or a purse and pulled out keys. And then they burst out laughing. “Joseph, did you think we could pass through walls like ghosts?” Oh, they thought that was funny.
Dinner wasn’t too bad, nothing a liberal use of steak sauce couldn’t fix. After dinner I showed Gloria how to clean the grill. We did the dishes and cleaned up, and then Kara, Crystal, and Xara said their goodbyes and left. I turned to Sharon and asked her if she was leaving too. She said, “Oh no tiger, it’s time for round two.”