They gave me a new uniform. It was so strange, to be looking at myself in uniform again. The worst part was getting my hair cut. Looking at myself, with hair like a pixie doll, it was strange. I spent years growing that hair out long. It had become part of my identity. But I was a pilot too. That’s how it goes. The bucket hat that I was wearing, in this black getup, made me feel powerful again. Getting into uniform was fun. I was glad that somebody remembered that my hips are wider than other girls. Jack used to joke that I was “a white girl with a big black booty.” Always acted annoyed, but you can’t fight the way your body is made. It has only been an inconvenience when getting pants and getting into uniform. G-suits are made to squeeze around a body, so they fit loosely when you first put them on, then tighten when you hit the sensor. Since men and women pilot, they knew to keep the design open to different body types. I respect that.
Pinning the last of my medals and rank identifiers on my chest and arms, I was ready to face him. Jack was sitting in the other room. He told me he was stoked to see what I look like in uniform. The old uniform I had was blue, back in my days serving alongside the Earth Forces Navy. My outfit was the part of a special Colonial section. This new uniform was black, with red on the trim. It was imposing, and a sign of Colonial solidarity. The fatigues were black as well, but without the red. I would have to wear those on the ship. Told Jack I would model them for him next.
“Geez, honey, you ever coming out of there?”
Snapped back to reality, I groaned. “You try putting on a uniform and tell me how quickly it goes.”
“Don’t know if I would fit in yours, babe. Care to find out?”
I rolled my eyes, but still felt good. He was trying to be positive, so I didn’t worry. I love him so much. The idea of leaving him to go fight in a war, it scared the fuck out of me. But then I remember what it was like, watching that Colony explode when the Earth Forces attacked. What if that had been here? What if Jack had been one of the bodies that I saw floating up into space? Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t handle the thought. That is why I am fighting. If there was a chance that I could watch the man I love be that person…no, I wouldn’t. I will fight, as hard as I possibly can, to keep him safe. He’s my man. Mine. No planetside fuck is going to take him away from me. I laced up my dress boots, straightened my hat, and walked out.
The look on his face, mouth agape, made me blush a little.
“That good, huh?”
He smiled at me, raising his Band and snapping a pic. “You fucking know it! Holy shit, babe! You look incredible!” Getting up he came over. Looked me over, felt weird. Then he ran his hand over the name insignia on my chest.
“Pilot Barnes. Awesome. That uniform is so fucking hot on you.”
“A pity it’s a dress uniform. Wouldn’t mind being peeled out of it.”
A wink. “Well, maybe we’ll get to find out what that’s like yet, Pilot.”
“Now, go change into your fatigues, Pilot! I want to see how it looks!”
I snap to attention. “Sir!”
Heading back into the bathroom, he pinches my ass. I wheel around, looking indignant, but he just grabs me and kisses me. This commanding officer role-play could be fun. He seems to be enjoying himself. Plus, given how nervous I feel, this makes me feel a lot better.
“Snap to, Pilot.”
“Yes sir,” I whisper, pulling back.
Back in the bathroom, I am very gentle about removing the dress uniform. Not going to risk it getting wrinkled. You wouldn’t believe it, but proper folding is something you learn in basic. Among all sorts of nit-picky bullshit about the service. I hang the uniform back up, and then turn to see where my fatigues are sitting on the counter. It’s then that I catch sight of the implant modulator. Like most women, I have an implant that I use as birth control. I can automatically refill it. It is dry. Jack and I had been talking about having a baby for months. Looking down at my hand, I see the engagement ring. The wedding was supposed to be during the summer cycle. We had it planned out that we could celebrate being pregnant at the same time as getting married. Cut down on celebrations. So many friends had already asked if I was carrying. No luck yet. But things had changed. Now I was back on active duty.
I couldn’t risk getting pregnant now. Taking out the modulator, I insert the end into skin where my implant is. Part of me feels real shame. Not only was I putting my wedding on hold, I was putting all of our plans on hold. Even if we won the war, how long would I still be on active duty? When would we get another chance to start a family? It killed me inside, but it is what it is. A pop, and the birth control injection is complete. Another three years where I don’t have to worry about getting periods or having babies. I’m sorry, Jack. I’m so sorry.
Getting my mind back on more positive things, I open up my fatigues. The pattern, so familiar, but just in different colors. My name is on these as well. Much easier to put on than my dress uniform, I slip in. Should get into the issued-underwear. That’s right, you have uniform underwear in the military. It’s weird. And a touch uncomfortable. Oh well. I’m doing this outfit, and I want to do it right. Once I get everything situated, again I look at myself in the mirror. It’s so strange. This is some other girl. Some girl I don’t know. We’re just meeting for the first time.
“Hey you,” I say into the mirror. “What’s your name?” The girl just stares back at me.
“You say something, B?”
“No. Just mumbling to myself.” This girl and I would get very close, very soon.
I step out of the bathroom, and once again he is in awe. Takes a pic on his Band, then sits on the edge of the bed.
“You look incredible.”
His eyes pierce right through me. “You scared, babe?”
Don’t want to admit the truth, but I can’t lie to him. “Yeah, I am.”
Then came a response I didn’t expect, “so am I.”
I look at him in shock.
“It’s not that I don’t think you’re a good pilot. I know you are. You’re gonna kick ass out there. But wars are complicated. All it could take is one thing going wrong and the wrong time. Of course I’m scared.”
“Doesn’t help that if we lose, I’ll probably be taken to a military prison. Or at the very least, lose my wings.”
We are there in silence for some time.
Finally, he looks up at me. “Come here.”
Quietly, I obey. He suddenly grabs my arm and throws me down onto the bed. Pinning my arms above me, He gets on top of me. My breathing is so fast.
“All we have is tonight. At 0400, you head out, right?”
“Then let’s peel out of this uniform!”
A grin comes to my face. “Yes sir!”
I wake up in his arms. Naked, sticky, with my uniform and regulation underwear all over the room. That was incredible. I haven’t had sex like that in years. Jack was an animal, but not once did I take issue. All we had was tonight, and he made the most of it. Still a little tingly. Guess the orgasm didn’t fade just yet. Ride the high, as it were, right? Girls have it so much better than guys in this regard. Pleasure is a different thing for women than men. Get us into enough of a mood, and every part of our body is basically like a sex organ. Our entire body becomes sensitive and reactive. Erogenous zones become a none-issue. That’s what happened to me just now. Amazing.
Still, I won’t be able to go back to sleep. Gotta do something. Maybe a run will help. I grab a quick shower, to get the sticky off. Some places are just going to stay sticky for a while. Can’t get up in there. But it still feels good. I throw on a tanktop, sweats, and my Colonial Navy sweater. They gave us exercise clothes too. Thought of everything. Lace up my shoes, then head out. It’s still cool. The weather cycle is still in the morning. I see my breath in the recycled air. Still dark, too. The night-time filter is still active.
I take off. Moving at a gentle pace, the rhythm of running helps to calm my nerves. It feels so good. As I move down the dimly-lit pavement, I think about what Jack said. He’s right. Wars are unpredictable. Anything can go wrong. Everyone keeps telling me what a kick-ass pilot I am. They might be right. But I can’t go allowing myself to think that way. The moment that I allow myself to start thinking that way is the moment I die. I’ve watched far too many pilots get swept up by their own ego. They stopped being cautious and careful. And they paid the price for their arrogance.
Each step, I can’t help but notice that I am heading toward a destination – the port. Why? It then hits me – there is someone else that I need to say goodbye to. A girl that I am not going to be seeing for a very long time. Depending on how this plays out, maybe ever again.
She’s right where I left her. The marks from where I was dodging impacts are still there. Time was, I would already be here, around the time that I will be heading out, working on getting her back up to shape. I’ve had some dangerous run-ins with meteors and other space weather. Since the only person who touches my bird, outside of the crew who does replacements of hull plating, is myself, I took repairs very seriously. Would test the girl after I was done, just to make sure everything was running smoothly. Part of me couldn’t wait to be doing that to my new bird, whatever it would be.
My rig looked very sad, sitting there. Like a wounded pet that you have to abandon. That’s how I felt. Like my dog got hurt and I had to leave it for a few years. Yeah, kind of felt like a piece of shit.
“I’ll make sure she’s here waiting for you, when you get back.”
I turned and saw Red, standing there.
“I knew you’d come in to say goodbye to her. I don’t care if we are back-logged to the point that ships have to wait outside, I won’t be moving her. Hand to god.”
Walking over, I put my hand on his big, old, bushy beard. “Thanks, Red. But I don’t know when I’ll be back to see her.”
“Don’t matter to me. If you never show up again, she’ll be right where you left her. So long as I’m tending this dock, that’s how it will be. And I’ll make sure that whoever replaces me knows it too. The Queen Bee ain’t goin’ nowhere! But I know you’ll be coming back. Might be parking a fighter next to your girl, but you’ll be back.” His big, gentle smile from beneath the gray hair.
I hug him tight. “Take care of yourself, Red.”
“You too, Queen Bee. Go kick ass out there! Make those planetside bastards pay for the lives they’ve taken.”
Pulling back, I nod. Time to get back home. It will be a much longer jog back.
When I arrive, I see that the lights are on. A familiar scent greets me as I get to the door. What a man, I have. A miner, and a cook. When this is all over, he’s going to make one hell of a father. That’s the plan. After the war, no more modulation of the implant. I want a baby with him. First thing after I get back, we get married. Then, we get pregnant.
Opening the door, he looks up at me. “Welcome home, B.”
Until next time, a quote,
“Do your duty as you see it, and damn the consequences.” – George S. Patton