Lily in the Sky with Diamonds

Posted Aug. 9, 2022, 7:15 p.m. by Lieutenant Duncan Rhodes (Chief Science Officer) (David Shotton)

Posted by Lieutenant Lily Locksley (Chief Medical Officer) in Lily in the Sky with Diamonds

Posted by Lieutenant Duncan Rhodes (Chief Science Officer) in Lily in the Sky with Diamonds

Posted by Lieutenant Lily Locksley (Chief Medical Officer) in Lily in the Sky with Diamonds
Posted by… suppressed (12) by the Post Ghost! 👻


Duncan hardly needed to think before he answered. “Lily can talk a mans ear off for an hour and at the end, there has been no actual conversation between us but I’ve learned everything she has spoken to everyone else about and who said what to who and who is doing what where.” Duncan laughed and bit the cookie again, sitting back a bit lower in the chair and audibly talking slower now as the moonshine and cookie sugar relaxed him.

“I love her to pieces, but man can she talk. I have to pick my moments to throw a grunt in or a yep to let her know I’m still awake and listening. My sister is the same of course, probably why they get on so well!”

Lily’s dad let out a large laugh. “It’s funny how the women you love reduce you to that. When you first meet them you are so enamored with them you can barely speak. When you get to know they can make you so mad you can barely speak. When you are really getting to know them in the middle of the night they reduce you to that. When you are as old as me and cant remember a time without them you just don’t get a chance to speak. They always call us cavemen but on some level they do that to us. Its really an unfair analogy,” he nodded again imparting a useless but to him valuable life lesson.

Pushing himself to his feet, Duncan felt amazingly relaxed and lightheaded. “Wow, that moonshine really works,” he smiled, then picked up two more cookies. “One for me and one for Lily,” he said, almost slurring his words. “They got those berries she loves, I should head back and get some sleep, see if she’s finished with Megan and her robot yet. Night Mr Locksley,” Duncan tipped an imaginary hat to her dad.

Walking into the house again, Duncan put his hand out against the wall to steady himself as he walked. “Holy cow, that drink is strong,” he muttered and eventually, despite a wrong turn or two made it to the door. Turning the handle he opened the door and stepped inside the bedroom. “Love, you still awake?” He whispered it in case she was asleep, but it was a loud whisper. “I have cookies, you gotta try these.”


Lily put down the book she was reading and looked at Duncan wide eyed. “You ate the cookie? How many?” Watching him standing in the doorway with his lopsided grin and bearing the gift of cookies, she got a wide smile on her face. “You ate a lot of cookies.”

“I did not,” Duncan whispered loudly to her. “I only ate three!” He held up four fingers to show her he knew exactly what he was saying and that he was in full control.

Throwing back the covers, she dropped her feet over the edge and walked slowly up to him. It was rare to see Duncan in this state. He was always in control. Tonight not so much. Wrapping her arm around his waist she looked up at him with a smile. “How you feelin’ handsome?”

Lily Locksley

“I’m feeling good, baby.” Duncan smiled back down at her and placed his arms over her shoulders. She was much shorter than him, so the stance was natural. “Your dad gave me moonshine and your mom makes really, really good cookies, how come you never made any of these?”

“Because the berries only grow here and they taste weird if you don’t put them into stasis,” she admitted with a half chuckle. There had been many times she had thought Duncan needed a cookie but without the ability to give him one, she had found other ways to make him relax when needed.

Duncan laughed and held one in front of her lips. “I brought you one, just one though, the other one is mine. How are you feeling baby, has my sister gone? I don’t want her listening when I describe what I want to do to you later.” Now Duncan smirked but it was lopsided and clumsy.

Duncan Rhodes, CSO

“Thank you,” she took one and then the other. “Two hands, two cookies,” Lily replied as if it were a fact of the universe.

“Hayyyyyyy,” Duncan’s words came out with a slow, lazy drawl. “That one was my cookie,” He went to reach for it, but before he could take it back she had moved them out of his reach. Instead, his arms came to rest over her shoulders.

Tossing them onto the dresser next to her, Lily shifted position so that she was in front of Duncan with her arms wrapped around his waist. Looking up she smiled at him. “I can think of two things your hands could be holding,” she bit her lip and raked her teeth over it. Slowly taking a step back she led Duncan towards the bed. It was a more waddle than stroll but Duncan was not as steady on his feet as normal.

“Oh yeah?” Duncan now gave his full attention to Lily, cookies forgotten and a stupid, wide smile on his face that he completely thought was seductive. He followed her, arms over her shoulders and his head down and close to hers, but the height difference made his unsteady walk more pronounced as he couldn’t see where he was going and had no care. “I can think of more than two, like this,” His hands slid down to her shoulders and were going to slide further, but Duncan attempted to mimic the way she bit her lip. Only, Duncan’s bite on his own lip was harder than he intended. “Ow, crap that hurt,” he pulled his head back slightly and began to giggle. Duncan never giggled.

“How do you do this,” she laughed putting her head on his chest as they moved. “It usually is far easier on my end than it is right now,” she teased, “however I am liking you this way. Pliable, passive…maybe you should get out of control a little more.”

Lily Locksley CMO

“But you like me in control Lil,” Duncan grinned at her. “And I am, see!” He did nothing to make her see he was in control, just looked at her. He clearly thought he was making some kind of serious face, but neither of his eyes wanted to provide that intense stare that he was well known for. Instead, they looked at her with a far-too-relaxed gaze that Lily would be very familiar with from her hometown.

“You are a beacon of control and authority,” she rose on her toes up to plant a soft kiss on his lips.

“Yes I am.” Duncan said slowly and deliberately, and swayed slightly as he returned the soft kiss she gave him.

“I would follow you anywhere.” The truth was Duncan Rhodes was not the the first person in her life she had followed. Since she was sixteen, Lily followed everyone everywhere: Small moons, busy cities, remote planets, and well known-core worlds. The difference is she only followed them to the destination. Duncan was different. She didn’t follow him to the Outpost but since then she had followed him wherever he led. Duncan was stable ground. Duncan was not going to wake up one morning and decide sheep herding on Perskie V was a good plan or weaving hats on Risa would sustain them. He had a far more traditional plan. Join the Federation, save the universe, and along the way make a few scientific discoveries. It was as good a plan as any. He balanced Lily except for tonight. Tonight she was literally balancing him.

“Totally in control,” he replied and nodded. “Damn, that moonshine was good. Have you tried it? It made me so relaxed.”

“Yes we are literally weaned on the stuff,” she let out a laugh. “Makes you all relaxed and giggly.” A crease furrowed her brow as she bit her lip in a completely non-romantic way. “Which one did you drink. The blue tinged one,” she cast a glance up and noticed how dilated his pupils were. “Oh god you were drinking the blueshine,” she let out a breathy snort. “That explains why you are so relaxed.

“Relaxed, yes, but not tooh relaxed. Still in control. I only had one glass.” Determined to show Lily how in control he was, he let his arms slide down her body, one going behind her legs, and he picked her up in the classic groom carrying the bride style. It was only a few steps to the bed now, Lily had managed to guide them both towards it without incident.

Duncan Rhodes, CSO

“Baby if you were drinking with my father you had way more than one. He has top it off syndrome. It is completely incurable and highly con…ta....gious,” she let out a small happy yelp as Duncan dropped her on the bed. She moved back as he began to strip off his shirt. “You are in such a better mood,” she moved to the top of the bed and propped herself up on the headboard.

“Yes I am,” Duncan repeated the earlier statement he had made, and grinned as he tried to remove his shirt again. It took a moment, it got caught his the elbows as he tried to take it off and that resulted in an awkward shuffle of his shoulders and a quick tug so that one arm came free. He let the shirt drop to the ground and then turned to face Lily. “Okay, now that’s done, maybe we try this again.” He laughed and rolled his shoulders and arms as if he was getting ready for a weight lifting session. He wasn’t a heavily built and muscle bound man like those who worked Security, but he was fit and toned enough so that each muscle group was clearly defined.

“Come here,” she bent her finger and wiggled it so that it would lead Duncan forward. “Let me show you a game I played here as a teenager. It is a variation of hide and seek.” Her tone was slow and sultry No matter how stoned or drunk Duncan was on the tartaberry cookies and shine, he was definitely going to like playing this game.

Lily Locksley CMO

“Yes ma’am,” he answered and leaned forward onto the bed, one knee missing the edge entirely as he made to move on all fours towards her. A slight pause, another try and he was on the bed and moving forwards towards Lily. “Whatever you say.” When Lily’s voice took on that tone, it always made Duncan pay attention no matter where he was. It was harder when he was on duty, and she knew that. Now of course, he wasn’t anywhere near duty and she had his full attention, all of it.

Reaching her, he moved so that his body straddled hers and his face was mere inches from Lily’s. “So tell me about this game,” he looked her in the eyes and smiled slowly. “What are the rules you played by when you played here as a teenager? I bet I can beat the high score.”

Duncan Rhodes, CSO

“Baby remember that night,” she said feeling his lips touch the curve of her neck. Duncan could make it so hard to talk and concentrate at times. She let out a laugh and laid back adjusting her body so he had better access, “on Risa. Well you set the bar so high you broke the machine. You are the high score holder.” Lying back, Lily stopped talking. There were far better things to do right now than playful banter. It had been a long day and even longer night getting her. It felt like it had been a month since they stepped foot on the gravel path instead of twelve hours. Lily ran her fingers through his hair moving his lips to hers. “You have no idea how much I love you Duncan.”

“Good, I want you to remember how much you love me,” Duncans voice answered from somewhere below her neck line, sounding muffled while his fingers gently traced the curve of her jaw in a downward direction heading towards his voice. “Because I am about to make it seem like I don’t.” Moving back up her body, Duncan paused and looked at her hungrily for a moment, before dropping her lips quickly to hers.

Lily let her hands travel down to his hips and pulled him closer to her. Closing her eyes, she let Duncan take her exactly where she needed to be. He was always so good at that. Blurring the lines of reality into fantasy. The longer she was with him, the more Lily realized the only home she would ever need was in his arms or standing next to him. The hour blurred by with a frenzy and a passion that felt almost like a fantasy. Words slipped into mumbled pillow talk as both Lily and Duncan focused all their attention on each other.

Lily was soon as relaxed as Duncan and curled up on is chest listening to the steady beat of his heart. “I like you a little drunk and a lot out of control,” she teased running her fingers up his side tickling him. “We need to do this far more often.”

Lily Locksley CMO

He grunted with a pleased sound to his voice and turned his head to look at her. “Who said I was out of control?” He grinned and the look on his face turned again into one of strong lust and an immediate need. “But yes, we should do this far more often. Like right now.” Rolling over on top of her again, his lips cut the sound of her surprised laugh short as he kissed her hard. Once he pulled his lips away from hers slightly, biting her lip gently as he did, he smirked. “No talking till I say so, behave.”

Lily dragged her top teeth over her lip nodding slightly. Few people knew the side of Duncan she did. He was not prim nor was he proper in these moments. He was however everything she wanted or needed.

Three hours later

The night went far faster than Duncan probably ever realized. While he started his little chat with Lily’s father as the sun dipped below the horizon, the cookies and moonshine filled far more time than Duncan realized. When he finally arrived back in Lily’s room, without a clock he had no idea how much time had passed as the couple were able to block out the world and find some much-needed time for themselves. The only thing that seemed to mark the passage of time in what went for Lily’s hometown was the sun. One only saw the large solar body as astronomical on a starship or starbase. On a planet, it fueled one’s circadian rhythms. By now it was streaming through the windows in blinding waves of light. The caw of birds sounded almost deafening as it streamed through the open window along with the sound of children’s voices already at play outside. There was no way to be sure if the house was being mobbed by either of them from the vantage point of the soft bed.

Squeezing his eyes shut from the sudden light that came to them as he woke, the first thing Duncan felt wasn’t the warmth of a womans body against his or the warmth of the sun on his back. It was a strong and unpleasant throb in his head that he immediately knew was the moonshine that Lily’s father had given him. The light he knew, was coming from the same direction as the noise outside. Doing the most sensible thing he could, he rolled over so that he was facing away from that light.

It took a moment for him to get to a place where his head could stop spinning enough from the roll to open his eyes. Once he did, he couldn’t understand what he was looking at. It seemed metallic, and close enough to touch.

“Coffee,” Johnny said bumping the bed and lowering his eyes to the level of Duncan’s eyes. “Would you like coffee?”

“Oh my God!” Duncan half yelled as he sat up in bed and threw himself backwards, coming to rest against the wall that the bed sat against. Of course, his head met the wall first and he swore and grabbed the back of it, the impact adding to the already thumping headache. “What are you doing?”

“Our Lily said to not bother you. She also said you enjoy Pidgeon sweat but they are hard to catch.” While the little robot only had mechanical features, it could be possibly seen as frustration about what he had just said.

Johnny the Bot

Duncan said nothing for a moment, just blinked at the robot not having a clue what he was talking about as he rubbed his head.

Johnny turned his head to the side and placed the tips of his flat pad-like hands together tapping them slowly in an evil genius type gesture as he monologued. “I am not sure how to make them sweat but if Duncan wants a cup of it I will find a way to get it.” As if on cue the sound of a bird call began to play from his speakers causing a few to land on the windowsill. “Come here my little pretty. I won’t hurt you. I just need you to sweat a little.”

“What do you mean pigeon sweat?” He asked, and then almost immediately stopped talking. “Ah, Tea, that’s what our Lily calls it.”

Johnny stopped the calls and looked at him. “Tea is coffee,” he looked at Duncan confused.

Duncan stopped again and looked at the robot. “Wait a minute, what do you mean our Lily? You belong to her right? What are you talking about our for, you got some screws loose?”

“Well, I am willing to share her. Lily said Johnny and Duncan will be friends forever,” the little robot seemed to sigh as if happy.

“Okay Coffee, forget I said anything.” Duncan sighed. “You can make coffee, right? If a flap opens down by your gyro and coffee comes out though, I ain’t touching it. Where is Lily?”

“She is not here,” Johnny said. “She was up and then Gladys called. She was a nice lady but seemed to be confused about you getting married. Lily is going to handle her.”

Looking at the chair, and then on the ground, Duncan moved forwards to the edge of the bed quickly and looked around. “Johnny, where the hell are my clothes?”

Lt Duncan Rhodes, CSO

“I have taken them. You can have them back later,” Johnny said in a low tone drawing himself up another few inches as if trying to make himself seem opposing. “If you are not going to drink coffee or the sweat of a pigeon let us start our day.” Opening his clamp-like hands, Johnny slapped them together hard. “I will develop myself to the maximum of my potential in all ways.” Johnny seemed to drop back as if ready to lunge at the Duncan who was only wearing his boxers. “I will maintain an attitude of open-mindedness toward another person’s viewpoint, while still holding fast to that which I know to be true and honest.” Johnny opened his eyes and then bowed his head. “I will say nothing if I have nothing good to say about a person.” After his random spiel, Johnny moved toward Duncan rolling over his foot with a flat tread.

“Watch what you are doing!” Duncan yelped, picking up his foot and falling back to sit on the bed as Johnny’s tread rolled over his foot.

“Is that considered a point? Have I scored in Chun Kuk Do? Our Lily says you do it every morning. I have read the manual from the Great Norris and I am learning his teachings. Do you want to see more?”

“No I do not want to see more,” Duncan stood up and looked around the room. The only things he could see in it were items of clothing that clearly belonged to Lily and that gave two problems. First, they were far too small for him and second, not his style or colour. Picking up a pair of boy shorts from her bag lying open beside the bed, Duncan looked at them a moment and then at the door.

“I am not sure those are yours,” Johnny blinked twice and then circled Duncan before proudly offering, “you might be able to pull them off.” The comment tried to sound sincere from the robot.

“No way in hell I’m wearing them,” he dropped them back into her bag and looked around again. The only thing that could possibly work was a short looking dressing gown hanging on the back of the door, still clearly Lily’s and still too small for him.

Running his hands over his face, Duncan shook his head. “Fantastic. Lily’s talking to grandma and I have no clothes to stop this train wreck.” Looking back at the bed, he dropped his hands and bit his lip in thought a moment.

Exiting the long staircase would dump Duncan in the kitchen which was not filled with just Lily or maybe Lily and her parents. The space was filled with half a dozen woman all chattering over cups of coffee. “Duncan, we thought you were going to sleep the day away. Would you like some coffee” Lily’s mom said in a happy tone?

“It’s not quite 7am yet, you all get up early here.” Duncan smiled and adjusted the fold of cloth in the hastily constructed roman Toga that he had assembled from the sheets on Lily’s bed. Thankfully, this was one skill from his Academy days he had not lost and physically he could make a Toga still look good.

“My you look…historical,” she said trying to sound upbeat. “Blue however would go better with your eyes. Mavis....Mavis,” she yelled down the hall. “Could you go fetch me those blue sheets? The ones in the hall closet.”

“Are you sure,” she said sincerely. “I just want you to feel at home Duncan,” Willow Locksley patted her future son in law on the arm. “No need to stand on being proper here. You want to look like a gladiator you do it.” While in any other situation the comment might have sounded snarky, in this crazy corner of the world it was not the only crazy thing that surfaced. Willow Locksley completely meant what she said and did not mean anything negative by it. “Now about that coffee.”

“Coffee, yes please. I think I need some badly, you um, wouldn’t happen to know where that robot of Lily’s put my clothes would you?”

“Oh yes but we need to remove the replicated toxins off of them so we are washing them,” she walked over with a mug and a pot of coffee.

“The what?” Duncan paused and asked, looking confused but taking the mug and holding it out for coffee. “Toxins?”

“Replicated toxins are like soap suds,” she said. “You know that stuff that is left over after you replicate something. Trust me you will thank me I washed all your clothes when you get them back. It should only be another two hours or so. It is a warm day so they should dry quickly today.”

“You know there isn’t anything like replicated toxins right?” Duncan said as he took a sip of the coffee. “Replication doesn’t produce any toxic residue or energy in the process we use. It’s completely safe and works with the basic buildings blocks of all matter to create a final product that is just as safe, if not safer than anything hand made, for a fraction of the price and energy needs of a whole production chain creating waste and high energy costs.”

Lily’s mom wore the expression of someone who was positive the other person they were talking to was lying. The slight nod and silence meant as a woman she really wasn’t listening to Duncan’s reasoning as to why there was no such thing as replicated toxins. “Here,” she put the pot down and grabbed a plate of cookies with the same blue-colored berries Lily claimed was her favorite. “Maybe you should have a cookie and take your coffee out back. Lily is there arranging things with your sister Bronwyn. Bron is pretty intense for someone so young. She is your younger sister right or is that Megan?”

Lily’s mom

Duncan quite literally spat out his mouthful of coffee when Bronwyns name was announced. Luckily, he managed to turn his head so that instead of spraying Lily’s mother or the other women, it just went over the floor.

“Oh..oh dear was it to hot,” Willow reached over to pat Duncan’s back and rub it in small circles as if he were vomiting instead of spitting due to shock.

“Bronwyn is here?” he stammered out, putting down the cup of coffee as if it was burning him. “Turdballs!” He looked around and picked up a cloth that was lying close by, dropping it on the ground and wiping the spilt coffee with his foot on the rag. “I am so sorry, let me sort this.”

“Oh,” Willion held up her finger as Duncan used his foot to sop up the spilled coffee on the floor. “I…um,” she pursed her crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her upper lip with her finger. It was not the actions of someone that was angry but more someone that was confused or perplexed.

“How long has Bronwyn been here?” He asked and in his voice, was the ever so slight sound of panic. “And Lily is with her, all by herself? Alone in the middle of nowhere with no witnesses?” Looking down at the cloth, he picked it up and then looked for a waste bin to drop it in. “Uh, sorry about this one.”

“You know,” Lily’s mom snatched it out of his hand and held it delicately in the wad she received it. “Don’t worry about this. I…I have it,” she slowly held a corner shaking it out. “Yep this is no problem. No problem whats so ever…because soap works so much better with no toxins,” she said in the characteristically upbeat tone of a mom trying to love a macaroni necklace as a gift. “Why don’t you go have a chat with your sister,” she turned the cloth around and gave a small nod. “It is going to be fine,” she said with a slightly faked smile. Setting it on the table she reached over and picked up another mug of coffee and cookies. “Here honey. Have a cookie. You will feel sooo much better,” she said in a tone as if trying to convince herself of the same thing as she took a bite of a cookie.

Picking up his coffee, he turned and made for the door but stopped as he reached it and looked back. In Lily’s mothers hand still, was the plate of cookies. “Actually, If I may, I need all the cookies. Every single one.” He walked back to Lily’s mother and lifted the plate from her hands. “Mrs Locksley, these are amazing. I have to get the recipe from you one day and a barrel of these berries.”

Duncan Rhodes

As he made his way towards the back door, it was easy to hear Lily talking to his sister. “Bron it is going to be okay,” Lily’s voice held the bedside manner of someone trying to convince a dying patient they would be fine. “We whip these things together all the time but of course we are going to pause long enough for Gladys and the rest of your family to come. Luck for you Duncan and I don’t have to go to the Ministry of Harmony. That makes weddings take weeks and who knows if we would even be matched although I think we would.”

“Whip these things together? Whip them together?” Bronwyns voice was far from hysterical but it was clear to anyone who knew her that she was about to buy the planet and then sell it to a mining corporation. “Lillian this is not a Whip it together occasion! This is a Rhodes wedding! One does not simply whip it up” Her voice changed to some weird mimicry of a hippy, hipster tone. “You don’t even have a priest, you mushroom sniffing Rainbow child!”

“Hello,” a little girl asked poking her head out of the window. She looked to be about four or five. “Your shoes are like really high. How do you run?”

Bronwyn looked at the girl, doing a double take at her appearance and then looked down at her feet. “Oh honey, these shoes are made for walking. A lady never runs, you have the people that work for you do all the running. Remember that, a lady doesn’t run, even for fun.”

“Rainbow go get us some more cookies,” Lily said to the little girl in the window. “Careful using nature terms. I have a cousin named Stone and Hail.”

“Why does that not surprise me,” Bronwyn deadpanned, looking back at Lily and shaking her head. Now, she simply crossed her arms, bent her forward knee slightly and glared at the woman who was leading her brother into a world of ridicule and antiquated décor. “Tell me when your cousins Hellfire and Brimstone arrive,” she raised an eyebrow in the exact manner that Duncan did. “I feel like I’ll get some sense out of them.”

“Also we broke away from Mintara Prime. The contracts do have some validity but life is not a sure thing so what can a piece of paper do that two people can’t. And actually we don’t use priests in the way others do. They are voting on who gets to do the ceremony later today. Personally I hope it is Maj Ocean,” Lily said in a hopeful tone so rapidly that the name sounded like one word instead of two.

“Mag what?” Bronwyn paused and looked at Lily in horror. “You have no priest, but some magician?” Not pausing she shook her head. “So no formal marriage? No pre-nup?” Bronwyn pursed her lips. Maybe she could make this work.

“No no his name is Majestic. His last name is Ocean,” Lily corrected Bronwyn.

“Ohkay, this isn’t going to work, at all.” Bronwyn turned and started reaching for her personal communicator. “We can fix this. I just have to run a media blackout of this entire system, cancel all shipping and hire a swat team to take out the fairies before they burn Duncan alive in a wicker statue.” Bronwyns tone was level, as if these things were a very real possibility.

“We tend to…oh my god,” Lily broke out laughing seeing Duncan exit the house in the flowing white toga. “What are you wearing,” she stood up moving to give him a kiss. “You know if you just wanted to bang it out again this morning you could have called me and not brought the bed down. I can take a hint,” she slowly snaked her hand through the folds as if looking for something.

Lily Locksely

“Oh my god they have brainwashed him already.” Bronwyns hand with the communicator dropped and she stared open mouthed at her brother.

“Not funny LIly,” Duncan said not sure if he wanted to deal with his future wife or his big sister first, but he took her hand and moved it out from under the blanket, gripping it firmly in his and turning to Bronwyn, but speaking out of the corner of his mouth to Lily. “Why do I feel like early morning naked Yoga is a thing here? Not one person blinked twice when I walked downstairs in bed sheets.”

“Are you sure because I am finding a lot of amusement in Gladiator Rhodes? I mean tell me again you are British right and not Italian or have I gotten my facts wrong?”

Lily Locksley CMO

“Somebody stole my clothes, even my bag.” Duncan said looking at Bronwyn with a shrug and then at Lily. “Apparently, they had to wash the contamination from the transporter particles out of them, or something. I’m not sure but there was nothing else and your robot wasn’t helpful.”

“I warned you there were more on the holistic side,” Lily leaned against to porch rail. “Besides you will thank me. There is nothing more amazing than clothes and sheets hung out in the fresh air. It makes them smell like happiness.” Lily jerked her head over to the side of the house were everything that Duncan brought was being clipped to a line and blowing in the breeze.

The scene was idyllic and almost like a page out of history. There were no vehicles or technology the three of them were used to. People were walking everywhere up and down the street and voices drifted from the house as if it were a party and a regular morning.

“They had to wash what?” Bronwyn asked. “Duncan you can’t be serious about going through with a wedding, here of all places and without a priest? Do you have any idea what the family is going to do? You will make us a laughing stock. Duncan, the grand patron of the great Rhodes Foundation is marrying his fairy wonderchild in the valley of love and simple ways without a priest or a Pre-Nup, on Mintara Prime, the land of the marriage contract.”

“Fairy wonderchild is my cousin,” Lily shot back with a good natured grin. She liked Bronwyn even if she thought the woman needed sedative from time to time. Nothing she was saying Lily took as anti-her. It was more Bronwyn just liked to manage things and have things a certain way.

“How many cousins do you have?” Bronwyn paused and looked at her icily. “I swear if the first kid that is born to this generations Rhodes patriarch has six toes on his third foot and can see behind him without turning his head, I will not be held responsible for what happens.” Looking back at Duncan, she shook her head. “What are you thinking? She’s pretty, sure and can probably suck chrome off a faucet, but this fast? Without telling anyone? Here!?” Bronwyn held out her hands as if to emphasize where she was meaning, and turned around. “They don’t even have a restaurant, Duncan. No replicators either. They grow their food in dirt and poo and eat it. You are marrying into a tribe of knuckle dragging flat-earther hunter gatherers and every second one is related! Duncan!”

“Well, it has happened a little faster than I thought, I admit,” he looked at Lily and pointedly not at Bronwyn. “But we really should have my family here before it starts. Do you think we can delay it a little? What if I run away and go missing for a bit?” Duncan grinned. He was teasing, but he looked hopeful.

Duncan Rhodes, CSO

“That works,” Bronwyn nodded. “I like it, I can arrange that.”

“Baby,” her voice dropped a few octaves, “it doesn’t matter when in the universe we are as long as we are together. Honey you are going to love the Wolverine. Why are you so worried about your parents finding out you are not on the Outpost but a Brazen class ship? Sweetheart, I will marry you now. Go get the nearest holy man because it is about us and no one else.” It was clear she was narrating different points of their relationship. It was all in jest because she had willingly and happily followed him. Lily loved Duncan relatively fast after she married him but it was funny to hear him suddenly want to slow things down when they moved in together twenty four hours after they had met. Not that was not fair either. Lily nor Duncan knew it would be a shot gun wedding for them less than 24 hours after they arrived at her parents place.

Reaching out she took Bronwyn’s hand in and then Duncan’s. “Look this is supposed to be a vacation. So lets just relax and have fun. Besides it is not like your marriage contract is going to be anymore legally binding with a priest and paperwork than ours would with Majestic Ocean and cookies.”

“Can you even understand the words coming out of your mouth?” Bronwyn looked at Lily, her own jaw hanging open. “Cookies mean nothing, some wicker man shaman also means nothing. Lily this is not about fun, nothing about this is about fun!” She stepped back and shook her head. “This is a wedding, Duncans’ wedding. He’s going to have an entire manufacturing empire and trade deals hanging over his head as his....” now she paused and tried to think of another description, she even looked around to make sure nobody was listening that might put up their hand and respond hyuck hyuck, thads Mahhh naim y’awl, “bare-foot berry-munching potato farmer makes him her husband-cousin!”

Lily took the cookies and handed one to Bronwyn. “Besides I was talking to Glayds this morning and she should be here tomorrow and Megan is supposed to arrive later this afternoon. Trust me this is going to be fun and it will be our first family get together. We have a motto here. When you are here you are family,” she said with a smile taking a bite of her cookie. “Look lemme let you two talk and I will get coffee.” Reaching up on her toes she whispered in his ear, “have her eat a cookie.”

Lily Locksley.

“What is is with you people and cookies?” Duncan looked at her and raised his eyebrow in the exact same way Bronwyn had, but he kissed her cheek and turned to his sister.

“You are an idiot.” Bronwyn started the conversation and really, Duncan looked down at his bedsheet toga and had to agree.

“Yeah okay, point to you,” he admitted and looked up again. “Look, neither of us knew about the wedding till we got here. It just kind of, came out and we didn’t know what to do so, you know, went with it.” Duncan shrugged. “Especially after Lily lied to her mom and said she was pregnant.”

“She did what?” Bronwyn froze, and the cookie dropped to the ground. She didn’t notice or seem to care as a nearby dog ran over to her, brushed against her leg and snatched up the cookie before trotting off happily to a patch of shade under a tree with it’s prize. “Duncan. Duncan,” she walked towards him slowly, holding her hands out as if telling him to stop and not jump out of that window. “Duncan you need to snap out of this. Want me to slap the crap out of you?”

“What? No. Bronwyn stop okay, it isn’t that bad. I want to marry Lily and no, there is no way in hell I want some Ocean dude to perform the wedding. Look the Wolverine is still nearby, I can ask Remy to officiate. He’s a Starfleet Captain, he is well within his jurisdiction to do it for us.”

“A Starfleet Captain?” Bronwyn shook her head. “Duncan we need a priest, our family is traditional okay.” Just then, she paused and looked over the small settlement and bit her lip. “Does your Captain and his ship have a full armory of torpedoes?”

Duncan and Bronwyn Rhodes

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