by The Enigmatic Big Miss Sunbeam
"It's Mister, Mister," said Scotty with a pleasant smile. "I'm just a simple engineer, not a teacher. Filling in here at the Academy while I'm at drydock."
"Look at the equation I worked out. Can this be possible?"
Scotty moved stiffly across the classroom to look over the boy's vidscreen (umph, his arthritis! Luckily he had whisky back in his quarters). "Well, ye appear to have changed the laws of physics. No, lad, it canna be possible. Check your math."
"Oh," said the disappointed boy.
"No harm. Better to make mistakes here at Starfleet Academy than in the great scary moors of space!"
The boy returned to his vidscreen.
Scotty looked over the classroom: all these fine promising lads and lassies, strapping, robust, a real credit to the Academy. Oh, to be sure there were one or two that were obviously going to wash out of engineering, but, even so, there would still be a place for them. Starfleet needed all kinds of officers; Scotty would be proud to serve beside any of these children.
He was sneaking a peek at the evening starfield when he heard another student call him: "Mr. Scott, I've finished the assignment. May I go on to do something on my own?"
He knew who it was without looking around. That Noonian Soong was a caution. Soong always finished first and wanted to go do some work on his own. Scotty had wondered about the nature of his studies, but it was none of his business. No sense breeding queries when there was no need. Besides, Scotty felt sorry for young Noonian. All the other lad and lassies left class with their friendly arms across each other's shoulders, all the others laughed and teased. Awkward and shy, Noonian appeared to have no friends.
And the poor boy didn't even have the excuse of not being Terran. Vulcans, Zakdorns, TeNelgs, Scutlotes, Mizarians, and at least seven other populations were represented in this basic engineering class, and, since the Academy was on Earth, it would seem that Noonian would have a native advantage. But no.
"Mister Scott, will you let us go early?" said one little strikingly annelidian Mizarian.
"Hmmm . . . it is the beginning of the holiday, isn't it, lads?"
Everyone smiled. Everyone but Noonian.
"Very well. You can leave early. And I wish you a good couple of weeks. But you better have your projects finished when you get back to your regular instructor, that's all I have to say."
The students began to drift out. Scotty was packing up when he saw Noonian still sitting at his vidscreen.
"Mister Soong, any more questions?" he called to the young man.
"Oh, no, sir. I'm just working on . . . something."
There was a curious enclosed nature to the boy's face; his head was careful on his shoulders.
"I hope ye have a good holiday."
"Will I be able to access this classroom, sir?"
Scotty was shocked. "Ye won't be going home?"
Noonian said nothing. His face was still calm and composed, but Scotty felt something.
Then the boy spoke: "My family and I are somewhat estranged. My mother does not live with my father and myself. And . . . my father . . . and I have a curiously . . . "
Scotty suddenly felt sorry for the lad; he was the best student in the class, and here he was, lonesome, isolated.
"What are you doing for supper, boy?"
Scotty was sixty-eight years old, bulky, arthritic. He'd grown a mustache because he could, and then he had gotten rather fond of it. Gave him a rakish air it did. Scotty's hair had always been his secret vanity.
He looked in the mirror. The engineering of hairstyles was surely intriguing. He had been smart to grow that dark moustache. The unornamented platter of skin that was the human face did seem featureless next to the rococo flesh of, say, Zakdorns or Klingons or . . . look at the Scutlotes, for instance, with their four roving eye stems! But a mustache gave the eye a place to dock, it did.
Hairstyling aside, no one had ever thought of him as a piece of ass.
Scotty took a stiff drink. Sex. The greatest mystery in the universe.
He'd seen that damned Jim Kirk get some on every planet. And then wind up being Mr. Spock's roommate. (Scotty knew the rumors about their relationship were false; he'd been there, man, he wasn't blind! Even the bonding ceremony those two had invited everyone to had been platonic in nature. Oh, yes, Mr. Chekov, roll those eyes! Chekov said Kirk and Spock had been lovers all along and it was good that they were finally coming out of the closet and everyone ought to have recognized it. And Scotty had retorted, oh really, who says, your aunty back in Smolensky who invented sloe gin, and everyone had laughed and winked at each other. Chekov was obviously wrong.)
He took another drink. Why the hell was he even thinking about this . . . same sex stuff?
Supper with young Soong was quite pleasant, and they had discussed artificial intelligence to a fare-thee-well, and he'd brought Noonian back to his quarters so Noonian could show him some of the impressive quadrifractorials he was working on and Noonian had been so hangdog about being left behind on a holiday and . . .
Scotty was beginning to like Noonian, his attentiveness, his ability to solve problems.
Well, he made a few too.
"Can I stay here tonight?"
"Why, lad, what's wrong?"
"Everyone in my dormitory has somewhere to go, everyone but me."
"Your father isn't . . ."
Noonian said nothing.
Then suddenly: "Were you ever married, Mister Scott?"
"No." Scotty was curt.
"Why did you never marry?"
"Och, the female machinery is very tricky. There are no technical manuals for her."
"You don't regret not having children?"
"My engines are my children."
"Your children are machines? Intriguing." Then Noonian looked downcast. "I am sure . . . my father would have preferred a machine to the tangled mess of wiring I turned out to be."
Scotty was wildly uncomfortable with this line of chat. "I'm sure ye don't mean it, laddy. Now it's time to turn in if we want to get an early start on those new configurations tomorrow. I believe this sofa lets out into a bed."
"I am grateful. May I use your bath unit?"
It was a small set of rooms. Scotty could see Noonian toweling off, bent over, his round buttocks lush as a woman's.
Scotty took a drink.
The boy would be twenty years old next month.
Ward him off, don't let him in.
"Good night, Noonian!"
"Thank you, Mr. Scott! And the same to you."
Scotty quietly shut his bedroom door and quickly put on his voluminous pyjamas.
Then he knelt by his bedside cabinet.
Ummmmph. Kneeling was no easy task these days! Always too fond of his supper, now he was paying the price.
He began to sort through all his old technical manuals, looking for the right one, smiling at their tattered quality. These were the real thing, boyo!
Aha! Engine schematics! Scotty loved his engine schematics! The presence of the boy was somewhat unnerving; nothing would soothe him like a long evening looking at schematics, at things that by God made some sense. Their plain truth comforted a fella.
Now to engineer getting out of a kneeling position.
He fell against the bed.
"Mister Scott," he heard a voice.
"I'm all right, laddy. A mattress won't kill me."
Young Soong appeared in the doorway. He was wearing only his black Starfleet skivvies.
"Here, let me help you up." And then Noonian was helping Scotty sit on the edge of the bed, and carefully putting the magazines on top of the nightstand. "Oh, schematics. Tell me what you're looking at."
And he sat down right beside Scotty on the bed.
Scotty looked out the window. He felt slightly trapped. But it would be wrong to turn down the lad's request for information.
An hour later, Scotty yawned. "It's time to knock it off. I mean it this time."
"My sofa is not comfortable. May I stay in here?"
Well, what in the heavens could Scotty say? "Then I'll sleep on the sofa."
"Mr. Scott," Noonian said deliberately and clipped off the light.
So there they were in the star light.
Still sitting up.
"Laddy . . ." Scotty began.
The boy stood up and rolled his briefs off; now he was naked by the light of the stars.
Scotty looked at him, no harm in looking; the boy was pretty and slender, his skin smooth and warm. "Is there anything I can do for you, Mr. Scott?" he asked in his smooth warm voice.
"Perhaps we should turn in," Scotty said.
The boy seemed to slump a little, as if sad, and so Scotty reached out and took his hand and the boy grasped back and Scotty pulled him down onto the bed.
"Thank you," the boy said and pulled the covers over them.
Scotty could hardly believe he was in bed with this naked youth, so warm and real, so human. Noonian burrowed very close to him, touching the entire length of Scotty's body with his slenderness.
"Will you kiss me?" he whispered, and Scotty gently pressed his lips to the boy's smooth cheek. The boy's hand was snaking down his body now, opening the front of his pyjamas, reaching in, finding Scotty's arousal, making him more aroused, covering Scotty's mouth with his own open wet lips.
Scotty shut his eyes. This little bit wasn't too bad, couldn't disturb things too much.
"It's okay, Mister Scott. Let me," and Noonian turned to him and the next thing he knew Noonian had taken his manhood into his soft boy's mouth and was licking him there, swirling his tongue around the tip and moving it back and forth in the slit on the top insistently and Scotty's ears were buzzing.
And then Noonian pulled away and rolled over and placed his pliant buttocks up against the front of Scotty's body and then he was moving against him and Scotty only had to move a little and he was penetrating the boy, and it was incredibly pleasant, warmth in a rain, and the boy was groaning, and Scotty moved back and forth, trying to find the place inside he knew the boy would love, and he moved again and again against him.
And the boy started pulling at his own aroused flesh, and something so sexy yet innocent about the gesture made Scotty drive harder into the boy and they were both coming and panting and sighing, all their seed being shed against each other, and it was over.
Scotty kissed the boy's back.
And Noonian turned over and kissed Scotty again and again and nestled against him, and Scotty kissed the top of Noonian's head and they both slept.
Starfleet's replicators made wonderful breakfasts. Breakfast haddock burritos and a large pot of coffee and wee grapes on the stem and fine big oatmeal pastries.
Scotty sat down and looked at the big breakfast he'd keyed in.
Here came Noonian.
"Sit ye down, laddy, and eat. Put some meat on those bones."
The boy's big blue eyes slid over to Scotty and then to the breakfast. "I always have just a cup of hot water and a nutrition bar in the morning," he said shyly.
And he sat down. Watching every move Scotty made.
Well, this wouldna do.
"Laddy, you know I'm shoving off very soon."
The boy said nothing.
"Must return to the stars. Ye know. God's technical manual."
"Can I go with you?" Noonian said in a small voice.
"No, laddy, I'm afraid not."
"But I want to."
"I think ye dinna ken what ye want, laddy."
"No!" Noonian turned those big blue eyes on him and Scotty was mildly distracted by their wide innocent beauty.
"Boy, can you take an assignment?" Scott was thinking wildly.
"You can stay here at Starfleet and work in space, or you can go into the private concerns. You've got gifts I've never seen. You could do very well there, and with the salary and opportunities you'd have your own planet or moon or . . . before you know it. And as for me, as pretty a picture as it is to have your very young body lying across me lap . . . I'm not comfortable. It doesn't feel right, and I'm funny about right. We engineers are that way."
"I'll think about it."
"I should have been a machine," Noonian looked away. "With wires you could connect and circuits you could wind and when there was pain you could disconnect that section. Then you'd want me and my father would love me and I wouldn't be the awful flesh I am."
"Your father. This isn't about me at all."
"I know." The boy's voice was full of tears. "Are you mad at me?"
"No, but you must know what you want to sail before you go to the ship yard."
Noonian's small mouth was petulant.
"The world of machinery is my world, lad. That was a gift last night, but now I'm sorry."
He was sorry. An old man like him was like an old machine; by now all its resistance was worn down. But a new machine like the boy here, the first time you put the screw to it you ripped its finish asunder and scarred it forever.
The boy sat there just looking at him with his lovely eyes, so smooth and human.
Scotty suddenly remembered holding the lad's strange detached beauty as they slept. The human machine. Sometimes it broke down, and sometimes it wore out.
"I'm not leavin' for a fortnight, lad. You're welcome to stay." The words were ripped from him; he could not believe he was saying them. "That's the extent of our contract."
And Noonian smiled and picked up Scotty's hand and led him back down the hall.