"Querik said something," Jeremy said, "back when I first met him, that I'm curious about." They were curled up in bed, after a long session of sex. It had been about a month since he'd finally over come the last of what had been done to him on that station, almost two years ago, and they had been enjoying that time, a lot.
"What did he say?" Gral asked, when Jeremy didn't continue.
Jeremy shook himself back to the present. "He said that kelsirians were warriors. That you attack problems, instead of just letting them pull you down."
Gral thought for a moment. "I suppose that yes, as a whole we are warriors. Why are you curious about that?"
"The ship's pilot, he's been giving me dirty looks."
"The gray one, with splotches of white."
"If he doesn't like me, why doesn't he just confront me or something? Instead of just giving me those looks?"
"Some of us are more warrior like than others, but in his case, I think it's worry over what I might do if he confronts you. We used to be close, until you came along."
"So he thinks I stole you away from him?"
"I don't know what he thinks. Maybe you should be the one to confront him about it. Remember, you are also a warrior."
The com interrupted Jeremy's reply. "Captain, we've just docked with the station."
"Very well. Tell them I'm on my way."
Gral rolled out of bed, and Jeremy grabbed his hand before he could walk away. "Do you really have to go? I'm worried about what they might do."
"I can't ignore a direct order. And don't worry, you're perfectly safe on the ship."
"I'm afraid of what they might do to you."
Gral smiled. "I hope they try something. I want an excuse to sink my claws in them." He kissed Jeremy, before heading out to clean up and then go deal with this meeting.
* * * * *
They only kept him sitting in the audience for two hours this time, while a kelsirian ambassador, humans and taouling discussed government matters. He approached the table when called.
"Where is my son?" one of the humans asked.
The human representative silenced him with a look, and turned back to Gral. "The order was for both you and mister Krommer to be present, where is he?"
"The last time I allowed Jeremy to be on the same station as humans, he was kidnapped and tortured. He decided he wasn't going to risk that happening a second time."
"He decided? Or you did you decide for him? Maybe you locked him up somewhere on your ship to make sure he couldn't beg us to free him from you."
"I don't know how you treat you mates, but I wouldn't imprison him anywhere, or let anyone else do it to him. He has free reign of the ship."
"That is easy for you to say while we are sitting here, with no way to verify this. Would you be willing to let some of our people inside you ship so we can verify that he is indeed free to move about as he pleases?"
"No," Gral replied flatly. "Let me make something clear. The only reason I came here, inside human space, to your station, is that I was ordered to. I have no desire to deal with anyone of your species. But if you want proof that Jeremy isn't a prisoner, I can provide it." He looked at the controls in front of him. "Does your com system have vid capability?"
"Of course," the human replied.
Gral contacted his ship. "Viper's bane, here."
"Ar'ridian, Gralgiranselhelrarvnir here." He continued in English, for the benefits of the humans. "Where is Jeremy?"
There was a moment of silence. "He's in the level three, front aft recreation room." The reply also came back in English.
"Good. Send the video feed to my location."
"Aren't you in the meeting room, with the humans?"
"I'm not sure it's a good idea for them to see the feed."
Gral frowned. "Just send the feed. We'll judge if it's appropriate or not."
"Very well, captain." A moment later the room appeared over the table. The camera was at a high angle so all they could really see was Jeremy's naked back and legs. It took a moment for Gral to realize that he had a set of gray furry legs on his shoulder and that he was thrusting, rather energetically. He tilted his head, trying to figure out who Jeremy was with. Was that Toom?
"Oh dear Gods," the kelsirian ambassador said, "please turn this off."
Gral cut the feed, surprised, but pleased that Jeremy had decided to confront Toom.
"See," the human said, "even your ambassador can't stand watching this kind of abomination."
"You misunderstand the reason for my request," the ambassador said, fanning himself. "At my age, being surprised by such an exciting scene isn't good for my heart."
"What? You can't honestly tell me that you approve of such depraved behavior."
"Please, calm yourself senator," the ambassador said, "you know very well that my people finds nothing offensive with males having sex together."
"Look," Gral interrupted, "why am I here? Are you just looking to insult me, and my people, or is there an actual reason I was ordered to come here."
The human sat down and took a moment to compose himself. "You are here to respond to accusation of kidnapping, as well as charged of corrupting a human citizen."
"Again? We already dealt with that. Why didn't you just go over the logs of that meeting?"
"The accusations have been laid by mister Krommer's father."
The human who had made the earlier outburst stood. "What did you do to my son? He was a perfectly normal and healthy boy before you got your ugly paws on him!"
Gral stood. "You call being forced to receive mental reprogramming, reinforced by subliminals normal? What kind of father lets something like that be done to his child?"
"The kind that cares about his well being. There was something wrong with him, so they fixed him?"
"There is nothing wrong with him!" The human sat down under the force of Gral's voice.
"Perhaps, we should have a recess," the ambassador said, in the ensuing silence. "To let the tempers calm. How about we reconvene tomorrow morning?" everyone agreed. "Captain," he called after him, before Gral could leave. "Please have you mate here with you tomorrow. I promise you that he will be safe." Gral reluctantly promised. "Good, and now I need to find one of my mates to work off the excitement your mate has generated in me."
* * * * *
Gral's personal com informed him he had a message as soon as he entered the ship.
"Captain," the voice was Barniah, the head of security, "You're going to want to come to cargo bay two, when you have a chance." Gral thought about it, he had planned to head to the recreation room and join Jeremy, but she wouldn't have bothered with the message if it wasn't important.
"I'm on my way," he sent back to her.
* * * * *
What she wanted him to see was obvious the moment he entered. Six humans, in what he judge to be military EVA suit, guarded by six of her security. To the side he saw helmets, and oxy tanks, in the same black as the human's suits.
"What are they doing here?" he asked her.
"We caught them in the decompression access for the bay."
"They got in?" Gral stared at her, surprised. "How did the Gods let that happen?"
She shook her head. "They didn't. We let them in," she continued, before Gral could say anything. "I let them try to force the door while I put people in position, then opened it for them. They piled up in the chamber, closed the door behind them, and found themselves facing rifles. They aren't as stupid as the reports led me to think. They surrendered."
Gral let out a breath in relief. If humans had been able to force their way into his ship he would have to rethink how much of a threat they were. "Why aren't they in the brig already?"
"I figured that you might want to space them. It's quicker to just wait for you and march them back to the chamber."
"As tempting as that is," he said, after looking the humans over, "I don't want to provoke the human government. Strip them and throw them in the brig. I'll talk with the ambassador on station for the best way to deal with them. Have the techs go over their equipment, just in case there's anything we can use. Post the rest on the market boards as salvage."
He headed out as she gave orders to her people.
* * * * *
The bridge confirmed that Jeremy was still in the recreation room, and Gral found him there, on one of the beds, his naked back to him, and an arm over Toom's body. He knelt behind him, and licked the side of his neck.
Jeremy bolted to a sitting position. "Growler! I didn't know you were back. This. . . . This isn't what it looks like."
Gral tilted his head sideways, surprised at the panic evident on his face and by the fact he'd called him by the name Queric had introduced him with on that first meeting. He took his face in both hands to stop him from looking around, obviously looking for an escape, and kissed him. Jeremy was still panting when they broke the kiss, but the panic as gone from his face.
"You have nothing to fear," Gral said, "You are free to have sex with whom ever you want, that will not stop you from being my Heart. And I did suggest you confront Toom, find out what the problem was." He nodded to his pilot, who nodded back, arms behind his head and contented smile on his face. "I see you did work things out."
"Yeah, we did," Jeremy said, smiling and reddening. "All his looks were because he thought I was forcing you to me mine and mine alone. I told him we were both adults, able to decide who we had sex with, and then proceeded to show him. I hadn't really planned on it, I swear."
"It' alright," Gral said, caressing his cheek, "in fact your timing was rather good. The humans reaction on seeing you two have sex was rather priceless."
"You what?" Jeremy yelled.
Gral caught him and forced him to remain seated. "The humans accused me of keeping you locked up. They demanded proof, so it was either provide a feed to what you were doing or let them on the ship."
Jeremy was silent for a moment. "Priceless, huh?"
"They were livid. Of course they then accused me of having corrupted you, of taking you from the innocent human you were to the depraved creature they saw."
"Damnit! Can't they leave us alone? I'm really getting fed up with them trying to decide how I'm suppose to live my life, especially when they aren't even on the same ship as me."
Toom stretched. "I'll leave you two alone, I need go clean up and get ready for my shift." He licked the back of Jeremy's neck. "I'm happy you forced the issue." He looked at Gral. "Your warrior is very energetic." He stood to leave, but Gral caught his hand and pulled him down to nuzzle his neck.
"I'm glad you and Jeremy can be friends."
Toom nodded and smiles.
"Are you really okay with me having sex with him?" Jeremy asked once they were alone.
"Of course. I told you that, a long time ago."
"I thought you said that because you thought that's what I wanted to hear."
Gral shook his head. "You need to remember that for us, sex is about pleasure and procreation, not about our Heart. You are free to have sex with whom ever you want."
"I guess I still have some human attitude ingrained in me."
"I don't want you to force yourself to, but if you want to have sex with anyone on the ship you are comfortable with, know that I will accept it."
Jeremy nodded. "So long as you do to. Toom has missed you a lot."
"I'll make sure to spend some time with him, but right now I am going to have sex with you." He pushed Jeremy back on the bed and climbed over him.
* * * * *
"You have got to be kidding me!" Jeremy was pacing back an forth in front of the naked humans behind the force field. They were all working very had at not looking to one another, and covering their crotch with they hands. "What the fuck are you doing here? No, don't answer that. I know why your here. You were suppose to capture me, weren't you?" None of them said anything. Jeremy screamed in anger and stormed out.
Gral caught him as he left the brig.
"Let go of me. I'm going to go tell those assholes what I think of this."
"Not right now. The meeting is in the morning."
"Why did you tell me about them if you didn't want me to go claw them a new asshole?"
"Because I didn't want you to be surprised when I bring them to the meeting tomorrow. But I need you to be calm."
Jeremy looked at him, and nodded, but Gral could see the anger behind his eyes. "I swear to you," Jeremy said, "that this is the last time they ever do something like this." He took a few breath. "I'll be okay. I just need to go do something to calm myself down. I'll see you later."
Gral nodded and let him go.
* * * * *
"How are you feeling?" Gral asked.
"I'm ready to deal with them once and for all." Jeremy flexed his fingers and the claws in his gloves extended.
Gral smiled and looked his little warrior over as they walked toward the meeting chamber. He looked good in his uniform. A none-armored version of Alpha's assault uniform. His was dark green pants and shirt with a tan jacket over it. Gral wore a similar one, but in brown that matched his fur and a white jacket. Behind them six others were escorting them, the same six as when they rescued Jeremy that first time.
Staying behind was another group, guarding the humans, dressed in prisoner's gray. They would wait for the signal before coming to the chamber.
They entered the chamber, and all heads turned their way. The humans' impatience was visible on their face. Gral had waited until the bridge let him know he had been called to the meeting, before leaving the ship. They'd kept him waiting the last two times, this one they could be the ones waiting.
Their escort stopped ten paces before the table, but remained standing. Gral sat as he reached the table, while Jeremy looked everyone over, his gaze stopping for a moment over his father before continuing.
"Mister Krommer," the human representative started.
"Shut up," Jeremy said, continuing to look around the table.
"Mister Krommer, I won't be . . . ."
"I said shut the fuck up."
"Jeremy!" his father said, standing. "Don't speak to him that way."
"Shut up and sit down, dad."
"Don't you dare use that tone on me, young man. I'm your father, you are going to respect me."
"Why the fuck would I respect you? You let these bastards torture me."
"You were sick, they treated you."
"I wasn't sick," Jeremy growled. "Now, sit the fuck down!"
His father sat down, stunned.
"This is going to be quick, because I don't give a fuck about what you want. I am here to tell you that as of right now, I'm renouncing my human citizenship. I'm kelsirian now."
"You can't do that!" the human representative said.
"Actually, I can. I spent all of last night going over federation rules regarding changing citizenship. So long as I can find someone else to take me as their citizen, I can renounce the previous one."
"And what makes you think they are going to take you? Just because you fornicate with this captain?"
"Actually," the ambassador said, before Jeremy got to let his anger loose on that human, "Jeremy has been a kelsirian citizen since he became Gralgiranselhelrarvnir's mate. So he doesn't have to ask."
Gral sent the signal to the other group. "So you need to remember," he said, "that from this point forward, if you attack Jeremy, you're not repatriating one of your citizen, you're kidnapping a kelsirian, and we will have to respond appropriately." The group with the prisoner entered the room, and the few people in the audience gasped.
"What is the meaning of this?" the representative said.
"I though you'd want your warriors back. I'm keeping their equipment, to make up for the trouble they caused."
The humans quickly talked among each others, and with the taouling among them. "I have no idea what you are talking about." The representative said, finally.
"You mean, these aren't your warriors? Sent to break into my ship?"
Gral turned to watch the prisoner's reactions. They did their best, but he could read the surprise on their face.
"Do you know who sent them?"
Gral leaned back in the chair. He hadn't expected that. "Ambassador. Their crimes are on my ship, which is kelsirian space. I have reports by the security forces who captured them, supported by video. Breaking into a military ship his punishable by fifteen years on a penal colony. If the humans will not take them, I have no choice."
Gral saw the glare the representative was giving in the direction of the prisoners, and he turned again. A couple of them looked like they wanted to say something.
"Do you have anything to say?" Gral asked them, but they shook their head.
"Senator," the ambassador said, "the colonies are no place for your people. I ask that you reconsider, and take ownership of them."
"No. To do that would be to admit to having attacked a kelsirian military vessel, and we would never do that."
"Very well. Captain, I don't have a brig here, so you'll have to transport them to the nearest federation station yourself. I'll make sure everything is in order for their transport to a colony from there."
Gral nodded and they left.