“Ten,” comes out of my headphones.“Oh shit, this is really happening!” I say to myself, feeling the adrenaline rush.“Nine.”You know when you haven’t fully acknowledged that something totally amazing is going to happen and it’s only mere seconds before it starts that you fully grasp the enormity of it. Well, that’s where I’m right now!“Eight.”Oh, I need to pee so much. Why do we have to get in so early? We’ve been waiting for two hours now.“Seven.”Is it going to hurt? Of course, it’s going to hurt. Four Gs they said…“Six.”Hope Mom and Dad have found a good place to watch.“Five.”Oh, I hope we don’t fail, that would be the day!“Four.”What am I saying, I’m fulfilling my biggest dream and I think about getting hurt or dying?“Three.”Oh, my bladder. I don’t want to piss my pants.“Two.”Can we pause at this point? I need to go to the bathroom.“One.”OH SHIT! IT’S HAPPENING!All of a sudden, everything starts to shake and I get pushed back in my chair. Even with the helmet and headphones, I can hear the deafening roar under me.“LIFTOFF!” is blasted in my ears.With each passing second, I feel more and more the acceleration pressing me in my chair. Everything is shaking and making weird noises as we pick up speed. I look up at the screen in front of me; we are already two kilometers in the air and going away from Earth at an impressive speed. My brain is in overload, from the pressure exerted on me and from the sheer realization that I will be accomplishing my long-time dream, I’m heading for space!—Me, Alex Bouchard, as incredible as it sounds, I’m going into space. From my young age, I have always been fascinated by it. From discovering fascinating new worlds, meeting new alien species, and having lots of adventures, I looked at the night sky as the goal of my life. Fast forward ten years or so, that dream has not wavered like many of my friends, but it got beaten pretty hard during admission to University. I selected the best way for me to fulfill my goal. I had to go for the big gun, for the Astronautical Administration Bachelor and Master program. In plain English, this would have given me all I need to become a starship captain. I prepared a year in advance, watching tons of YouTube videos on how to write your motivation letter, I took many mock tests of the qualifications exam and even had my father grill me in a fake interview. I felt ready, I failed miserably. I could blame the mock test for not representing how hard the exam really is, but I have now accepted that I just wasn’t meant to become captain.When I received my refusal and the mediocre result of my test, I was able to apply for another program that still had empty seats. I went for my second choice, Computer Science. In the end, I was able to do a major in Computer Science and a minor in Astronautical Engineering. Even though I couldn’t get into Astronautical Administration, I could still enjoy doing some classes on the subject and learn about it. Realistically, I never thought it would serve me, at least not in the near future. There are so few job possibilities for a computer engineer on a starship, the chance for me to get one is non-existent, so I thought. At least not right after Uni.After I graduated, I started searching for a job in network administration. I must have applied to hundreds of jobs, sometimes not even looking where I was applying. I just wanted to get a paycheck, to be able to get out of my parents’ house. After a long month of waiting, I got an email from a company called PSS to pass an interview. I didn’t look at who they were or what business they were in, I just accepted.During the first Zoom meeting, the HR lady started blabbing about how the job requires long work hours, saying that I would be away for a month each trip and to take into consideration the hazard of the whole thing. This puzzled me and I was nervous about not understanding what I was getting myself into. Finally, she told me that I passed all the basic requirements, so the next interview would be with the Executive Office to see if I would fit in the crew. She told me that the interview would be in an hour, so we dropped the call.I immediately Googled ‘PSS’ and I was delightfully shocked that I was applying for a job at Powell Star Shipping. It was good my folks weren’t home, I shouted and danced for nearly the hour between both interviews. Fortunately, it went very, very well. The XO, Bruce, seemed to have taken a liking for me and offered me the job without discussing it with the HR lady or even the captain. I found it weird that they didn’t want to look at other candidates, but, hey, not complaining. Long story short, I accepted the job on the ‘PSS Lady of the Stars’ as the computer specialist. As this is my first time in space, they offered me a single trip contract of thirty days, renewable if I did well.After two weeks of orientation and company training at the PSS headquarters in the UK, I’m finally blasting off from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon18 with nineteen other employees. Our ride is for low Earth orbit, where the station ‘PSS Dot in the Sky’ is located and the ‘PSS Lady of the Stars’ is waiting for me to depart.A little about me, I’m twenty-three years old, two meters tall, brown hair, blue eyes, and a slender and lightly muscular body. If you put me in a category, I’m in the nerdy geeky type. During my childhood and most of my teenage years, I was mostly closed up on myself, playing VR video games with the few friends I had and reading Sci-Fi e-books one after the other. With University and all the like-minded people that I meet there, I opened up to socializing. Friends would probably say that I’m impulsive and sometimes a little bit naive, I just say it’s part of my charms. It was also during my time at Uni that I lost my V card to Charlotte. We had a good six months of intense fun together, but in the end… We split up… After her, came few girlfriends that didn’t last very long, not finding what I was searching for in them. I’ve been single for nine months now and, to be honest, it’s good that I am, as a long-distance relationship doesn’t seem appealing.—Back to the present, we seem to be throttling down, some of the elephants sitting on my chest are moving off. I rotate my head toward the side of the capsule and I look through the porthole, seeing the atmosphere bahis siteleri thinning and moving from a bright blue sky to a dark blue, and finally to black. The beginning of my journey is surreal and I just enjoy the whole experience, leaving all my fears on Earth. As the novelty of the event wears off, my heart starts to slow down and the adrenaline is thinning in my veins.Suddenly, the engine thrusts stops and I hear mechanical sounds coming from under us. As I’m wondering what’s happening, we restart accelerating again. Looking at the screen, I see that we just dropped the first stage of the rocket. It will fly back to Earth, preparing for another liftoff.As we continue our progress toward the station, I wonder why we are still using the same method as a hundred years ago to blast into orbit. No shuttle or transporter like in Star Trek… Oh shoot, I’ll be missing the release of the twentieth movie… Forget it, I’m making my own adventure right now!The trip continues like this for another thirty minutes while we race toward the station. As we get closer, the vacuum engine stops roaring and I feel for the first-time weightlessness. In wonder, I focus on the sensation while the capsule is docking with the orbital station. It’s difficult to describe how it feels.As we unbuckle and float out of the capsule, I feel my face hurting like never in the past. I realize that I’ve been smiling since launch, an hour ago. Even finding out that I’ve pissed my adult diaper on our way up doesn’t remove the grin off my face, I’m finally in space!After removing my spacesuit and taking five minutes to change to my normal clothes, a welcome attendant tells me that I need to head directly for docking port twelve as the ‘PSS Lady of the Stars’ is waiting for me to depart. This means no time to visit the station, unfortunately. With a little bit of disappointment, I push myself through the corridors to the docking port twelve. To be honest, this section of the station is not that impressive, it’s just a wide and curved corridor with lots of handlebars on the walls so people can guide themselves while floating around.As I get closer to docking port twelve, I see space through the starboard portholes. I awkwardly move in front of one and marvel at the emptiness of space. As I look out, I can see part of Earth on the right, the curvature of our big blue marble. I take a mental picture in case I miss it during the trip.Looking left, I see a ship and figure out this is the ‘PSS Lady of the Stars’. It’s not one of those sexy-looking ships from Sci-Fi like in last year’s movie Battleground Mars or Star Trek NCC-1701-I from the last movie. To be honest, it looks like a big box with a ring and multiple bells protruding at the back. Looking at it closely, I remember from my astronautical classes that the bells are for sub-light propulsion and the ring is for warp propulsion. What is even more surprising is how non-aerodynamic the ship would be if it would get in contact with an atmosphere. All of the big cargo pods are mounted on the four side faces of the cube, looking like a big plus. The ship seems to be relatively new, it’s not too scratched and the paint seems to be in good shape. I don’t know how long I stayed there, but I realize that I should get going, I don’t want my new colleagues waiting for me.As I finally arrive at docking port twelve, I see Bruce, the XO of the ship, in conversation with a dock worker. Bruce is taller than I, close to 2.1 meters, dark brown skin, blue eyes, and short dark hair. He has a football frame with muscles showing on his somewhat tight flight suit. From our interview over Zoom, he has a slight South African accent.As he raises his head from his tablet, he sees me approaching. With an impatient tone, he says, “Alex, we have been waiting for you! It doesn’t take long to remove a suit. On your way, have you stopped in the red-light district?”I freeze in fright, my premonition realizing. Here is my first day on what should be the best job I could hope for and I’m already late. As I search for apologies explaining my lateness, I don’t realize that I’m not stopping, floating past docking port twelve. Finally, figuring out that I should find a handlebar to stop drifting, I panic and start making lots of quick gestures in trying to stop me. Not only this didn’t help me in any way, but now I’m rotating on all three axes while still drifting away.Suddenly, a hand grabs and stabilizes me. As my head stops spinning, I find myself face to face with Bruce, who sports a huge grin while laughing.“Wow, that was the funniest reaction to one of my jokes. For that, I’m already glad that we hired you,” Bruce says to me, proud of himself.Not knowing what to answer, I blurt, “Eh, thank you?”“Don’t worry, we have grav-plating on the ship. This shouldn’t be a problem for you,” Bruce says, trying to stifle a laugh.“Sorry if I’m late. I stopped for ten seconds to look at the ship. Maybe I stayed too long. I was marveling at the ship—” I say quickly, trying to explain myself.“Whoa, slow down, cowboy. It’s a joke,” Bruce says, trying very hard not to laugh.“So, I’m not late?” I ask Bruce, hopeful that I’m not causing a delay.“No, you’re not late. We have been waiting for you, but your luggage and our last food provisions haven’t been unloaded from the capsule you just rode. It will take another hour before we can undock,” Bruce confirms.I feel an immediate sentiment of relief. It wouldn’t be a good start for the trip and my career in space.“So, let’s do a tour of the ship while we wait for what’s missing,” Bruce suggests.“I would love that, thank you,” I accept joyfully.“Follow me,” Bruce replies. He turns around and float away, toward the docking port.I follow him more slowly, to make sure I don’t repeat my mishap. As we exit the long docking port, we arrive in an oval room with a long bench in the middle. On the two side walls, there are ten white and gray EV suits, all strapped in compartments. It looks like to be the room where you suit up if you need to do an EVA.Bruce stops at the airlock, on the other side of the room. “As we cross this airlock, the grav-plating takes effect. So, make sure that you have your feet on the ground when you pass the threshold. I suggest that you try to sit on the airlock rings and then pass your legs through. canlı bahis siteleri Blasting from the surface is hard on your body, you will be able to judge if you can support normal Earth gravity,” he says seriously. Changing his tone, he playfully tells me, winking at the same time, “Otherwise, I’ll have to carry you to your room.”Okay… Is there a hidden message? Oh well, I may as well do as he says, the prospect of having him carry me to my room is not really the way I want to make my entrance on the ship.Bruce passes the threshold and invites me to follow. Using the handlebars to guide me, I get close to the airlock rings and slowly swing my legs on the other side. As they cross the border, I feel their weight again, making my body move down on the ring, my feet attracted to the floor. The sensation is weird, having one half of your body in weightlessness and the other on normal Earth’s gravity. I test my legs and finally raise myself from the airlock rings, using the handlebars on the side. The transition is not too bad, but I understand what he means by the fatigue of the trip. Nonetheless, I steady myself and offer a brave smile to Bruce.“Good job. Let start this tour then,” Bruce says. He points to the door on the left, “This is the bridge.” He points to the door on the right, “This is the captain’s stateroom.” Looking back, he points to another airlock directly in front of us, “This is the starboard airlock.” He finishes with the middle of the hallway, “Here we have the stairs and the elevator that connect all decks. The ship has five of them, we should have the time to visit everything.” With that explained, he heads for the bridge.I follow slowly after him, taking in what would be my home for the next month. The interior of the ship is composed of brushed metal panels for the wall and ceiling and textured plates for the floor. All are coated with gray paints of different shades and few lines of black to delimit doors and wall-mounted equipment. I wouldn’t say it’s dull, but it definitely hasn’t won any prizes for its interior design. It shows that the ship has been in use for some time, as there are some marks here and there, some pucks or dings in few places.As I enter the bridge, my heart speeds up, my brain going in overdrive. I look around with wide eyes and a bright smile, I finally made it. I marvel at every detail: the viewscreen, the stations, the chairs, the little locker on the wall, the lighting on the ceiling… I hear Bruce clear his throat, to gain my attention.He is beside a very beautiful woman. I would say 1.8 meters tall, slightly curled blond hair that goes a little bit past her shoulders, very bright green eyes, and a smile that is going to make you fall in love with her instantly. I try not to stare too much, but man, she has big tits, bigger than any of my previous girlfriends. With her very slim shape and curved ass, my attraction for her is so intense that I have to force myself to look her in the eyes.Trying to sound competent and not that distracted by her beauty, I say, “Alex Bouchard, reporting for duty, captain.” Thinking that I’ve made a proper introduction, I breathe easy. I wasn’t expecting the reaction I got from her.With annoyance and her British accent, she tells me, “Bloody hell! You know, Alex, this isn’t a military ship. I don’t want you to be all tensed up, calling me captain. You call me Angela. No captain, no madam, and especially, no Miss Powell.”Oh, that wasn’t what I was expecting of her, captains are usually very distant and formal. Her last name also concerns me, is she in the family of the founder and CEO of PSS, Matt Powell? Even though she just told me that she wants me to use her first name, I don’t feel comfortable doing so… It’s too informal.“If I may ask capt…” I start to say, but stop as I see her look of annoyance, back on her face. I quickly decide that she is very serious about it. “Angela, are you related to M. Powell, the CEO of PSS?” I ask her, getting anxious about my poor performance with the captain so far.She seems to agree with my revised use of her name. “Yes, I’m his daughter,” she tells me with a smile.OH SHIT! I’m on the ship captained by the daughter of the CEO of the company? I’ll have to be very careful if I want to keep my job.Angela lightly laughs at my disconcert and says, “Don’t worry, it’s not because I’m the CEO’s daughter that I’ll be bossing your ass off. I prefer leaving that to Bruce.”I look at the XO, he has a huge grin on his face. “Oh yeah, I’ll be bossing your ass alright!” he says with confidence.This is a weird thing to say? Oh well, he seems to joke a lot. It still makes me uncomfortable.Angela rolls her eyes and says, “Anyway… Welcome on the Lady of the Stars. I hope you like our crew. Let’s see, maybe this will not be your only trip with us,” she says with a comforting smile. “As you can imagine, we are currently preparing to depart from the station, so I have to get back to it. We can catch-up later for a proper introduction?” she asks me.“Thank you, Angela. Yes, I would love that,” I tell her.She turns to Bruce and asks him, “Are you going to do the tour with him? Introducing everyone?”He replies, “Of course. I was to show him all the dark corners of the ship.”Angela sighs heavily. “Don’t be too hard on him, please. I don’t want a repeat of last time; too much paperwork,” she pleads to him.“Okay, okay, I’ll be gentle,” he replies to her, but winking at me.What a weird dude! This can’t be just joking around…With that settled, Angela turns her chair toward the viewscreen and looks at some of the screens she has in front of her.Bruce swings his arm to show the bridge and say, “So, here is the bridge, the central control center of the ship.”As he speaks, I fully take on the room. In the form of a half-cylinder, the bridge contains six stations. Two are located in the back, for the captain and XO, and four in front of the curved wall for the different departments. In front of those stations, the main viewscreen occupies most of the wall, currently displaying part of the orbital station on the left and space everywhere else. It also superimposes some text and graphs of the ship statistics for everyone to see. Each station is composed of multiple screens directly in front of the operator and a flat desk where you have canlı bahis a keyboard and mouse, a ton of buttons to trigger actions and other gadgets specific for the function of the station.Bruce brings me to the first one on the right, where the communication specialist is seated. From the back, she seems to be shorter than me, close to 1.7 meters, but with long and straight dark hair that goes to her hip. Bruce tells her, “Akari, I would like you to meet Alex, our new computer specialist.”As she turns, I’m dumbstruck by her Japanese traits. Her petite figure is so beautiful, with her brown eyes, small nose, and narrow, but reddish, lips. Her breasts aren’t nearly as big as Angela’s, but her C cup tits are just enough for her flight suit to be stretched in front. As she rises from her chair, her slim body is well molded by her suit, showing all her curves.As she sees how shy I’m, she smiles widely and says in Japanese, “あなたはすてきな受けから、ブルースはあなたを愛します。” My surprise must show on my face, as she starts laughing. “Don’t worry, I also speak English. It’s nice to meet you, Alex. I’m Akari,” she tells me with a bright smile.I regain my composure and reply, “It’s nice to meet you too, Akari. Could I ask, what did you just say in Japanese?”She replies with a devilish smile, “Sorry, it doesn’t translate well in English. It’s a sort of greeting.”I have the feeling that she is deceiving me, that it wasn’t a greeting.Before I can reply, she listens to her headphones. I assume she is receiving some instructions over the comm. “I have to get back to my comm line, but I hope to see you later to know you better?” she asks me, returning to a bright smile.“I would love that,” I tell her, returning her smile. I feel my cheeks reddening a little bit, she is very attractive and I would really love to know her better.“後で, which means later,” she tells me with a warm smile.I try to reply with the same word, but it blurts out like ‘Hatobe’.She laughs softly and pronounces each syllable individually, “It’s a-to-de.” As I was to try again, I hear a voice coming from her headphone. She mouths ‘Sorry’ and turns around to answer the request she just received over the comm line.I turn to Bruce, who is laughing his ass off. “Let’s go meet our navigator before you embarrass yourself even more,” he tells me.We move to the next station and as the person sitting on the chair starts to swing around, something catches my eyes. Not only do I see purple hair, but it looks like their skin is also a shade of purple-blue. As their face comes into view, I suddenly realize that I have a Volnec in front of me.As humans invented warp drive around thirty years ago, we started exploring our neighboring stars and we discovered the Volnecs in the solar system of Wolf 359. Since then, we have discovered many other alien species, but the Volnecs have been our closest allies. I have seen many through VR content and some in the distance, but never one up-close.As they rise, I can fully register the differences between our two species. Their skin is not like humans, it looks like a sort of soft shell, closer to leather but more, much more durable and harder. Their frame is pretty similar to humans, two legs, two arms, flat chest, and a bigger head on a smaller neck than most humans. Looking at their face, I see their deep purple eyes, a little bit bigger in comparison with humans. The nose is only a small protrusion with nostrils completely visible. Their mouth is wider, making their smile so big, showing all of their teeth. Speaking of, I see that they have a dentition similar to humans. One clear difference, though, they have more pronounced canine teeth, finishing in fine points that would easily pierce my skin if they bit my arm. Those teeth give their smile a ferocious effect, which is kind of attractive.Bruce introduces me to the Volnec, “Alex, this is Blistas, our navigator.”I only blurt a small ‘Hi’ as I’m feeling intimidated in the presence of a Volnec. I always wanted to meet one, but even though I have seen many in VR, it’s nothing compared to seeing one in person.They just start laughing, which is a kind of a high pitch sound. “Am I the first Volnec you have met?” they ask.“I’m so sorry, it is no disrespect. Yes, you are the first Volnec that I have seen in person,” I try to explain to them, feeling shy.“Don’t worry, your reaction is very common. I wish for us to have time over the trip to know each other, maybe become friends?” they tell me with an even wider smile.This is making me even more attracted to them. It’s a weird sentiment to be allured by a non-human, but they are so arousing right now. Maybe it’s just the fact that I have a Volnec in front of me, rather than sexual attraction, but there is definitely something there. Although, thinking of the urban legends, could they be true?“I would love that!” I shyly reply, really hoping I can get closer to them and to learn more about their kind.“And, before you ask, you can use feminine pronouns with me, that’s what I prefer and what the rest of the crew use with me,” they suggest. At first, I don’t get what they are saying, but I soon realize that because they are an alien, our customs of using pronouns based on our sexual identity doesn’t really work with the Volnecs. Because of this, most Volnecs choose between the different groups of pronouns that humans are using, for ease of communication.“Okay, I didn’t even think about it. Thank you for sharing, Blistas,” I confess to her.“You are welcome,” she replies. “Let’s have a chat later. I’m eager to know you better.”“Okay,” I say cheerfully.She gives me a small wave using her purple hand and turns around to her station.As we move to the third station, I see that it is empty.“It looks like our tactical specialist is not at her post…” says Bruce.I approach the station and take a look at all the consoles and buttons.“Ah, here she is!”I don’t pay attention to what Bruce just said as I familiarize myself with the displays, making sure not to touch anything. Suddenly, I feel a presence behind me. Not only do I have the feeling of being watched, but the presence is creating a shadow all around me. Thinking that it might be Bruce, I turn around and come face to face with the most badass woman… No, badass isn’t even strong enough for her! Her arms are as big as her legs. Her flight suit accentuating the fact that she has a six-pack. Her breasts are not only big, it looks like they could kill me if I put my head between them. Finally, her head is so muscled that I see some of them twitch through her skin.