By Geneseepaws.                August 14, 2013

for Demet Wolf

Not to be rescued: the  Preface

Instructor: Tanant Kaht T’heer

    An Introduction to Culture and Protocol for Non-Kilm Interactions:
Begin:
Lesson Two: What do they mean when they say “Time”?

The adages and saws of the Desert Tribes are many, perhaps more than five each for any useful occasion — sometimes many more.
Scouring the desert for enough green for the herds to eat requires a lot of time.  And crossing the desert vastness leads to more rote memorization of information- as a culture;

1)  you have the time, and not much else to do.
2)  it helps to pass the time.  And;

3) it conserves energy.  And by that I mean: you have fewer heavy books to lug across the hot sands.

There are among the many saws several that reference the perception of Time either directly, or even very indirectly; as five of the ten in the counting rhyme refer to things that can be used to measure the passage of time.   Day and Night, Meals of the day, Phases of the moons, the Hours of the work-day, and the Zodiacal constellations.

.
Translator’s Note: the counts refer to the Desert Kilm dialects;

One, the nose; to point your way.

Two your toes; they’re Night and Day, (1)

Three, the fingers; Breakfast, Lunch and your Supper
Four, our moons; Nerl, Hep, Luheh,

Only tiny Char visible in late in the year  (2)
Five your friends: Avsaroke and Ch’kavee, then Karakul, Kortan, and pretty Maui,
Six your senses:  smell, vision, taste, touch, hearing, pit-sight* (3)
Seven your Blessed Beings, Sacred to the Kilm: Temhota, Sivri, and then Neith, …  Nox, Vaga, Sakar, and Lilith.
Eight the paths to peace; movement, stillness(4), fasting, eating, sword practice (5), then prayer, hard work, and acts of kindness
Nine; the constellations in their slow trek across the sky from East to West (6)

Ten hours; the Time to work your best,
—  Now, let’s count them again with all the rest (7)

        Other saws about time include:

@   Your rich friends come to visit the hour that your dinner is finished, your poor friends come during the hour your supper begins.

@   Welcome the hand* that honors Nox; when your joy is to welcome your friends.  Fear the hand that honors Vaga; this is when you grasp your enemies’ strike.

*(Here, ‘hand’ means a three hours span of time, not meaning an actual ‘hand’. Enemies come before you are fully awake, still sleep addled, friends come in the cool of the evening, respectfully, so they will not require as much of Your water as they would during the daytime.  Grasp may refer to preventing the attack, or may refer to comprehending THAT you are being attacked, it is not clear.   And ‘strike’ maybe refers to an attack, but maybe a type of pattern bladed  sword, the meaning is uncertain. -Trans.)

@   Worry for the Times Passed?  The Past is not gone, it has not even left your tent!  (or: it is still within the family tent (resides- but not living?)  Very nuanced word choice -Trans.)

@  Time is powerless to thin friendship, nor is it so for distance.   (thin: employ sand or chalk to dilute feed-grain. Used as an example of a shameful act of both cowardice and theft).   (also distance:  “prohibited or constrained from lengthening.?” This is a very rough translation, the dialect seems, again, very nuanced  -Translator)

@    Being with you* and not being with you** are the only ways I have to measure time.

* here the implication is “time of shining”?  Trans. is uncertain.    ** here, the phrase used implies that “I” (being the speaker) have -with intent- closed some level of existence with you (the beloved) during this interval  (my time negation (duration of suffering?)). Translator.

Translator’s notes:

1). Two toes for the Kilm, the T’hyrians have three toes on each foot.

2). Here  In = through, or maybe throughout   ( or During- (implied).  It orbits more slowly than the others – Translator

3).  The so called heat-pits may prove to be a form of dark-adapted imaging. Not proven, yet.

4).  Stillness here is confusing to translate, it is not certain what is meant by “stillness.”  In previous texts it has never been used to refer to “sleep”, but perhaps it refers to meditation? The translation is still in progress.

5. “sword practice”? here it is not clear to the translator what is being said.  I have translated it in three ways, none are satisfactory:
1) your dance partner has the same value as a drawn sword?
2) your partner for the dance is holding a drawn sword?
3)  you perform the dance while holding your partner and a drawn sword?

6). The other numbers are all enumerated, except 9 and 10, this leads me to suspect they are more recent additions to the list?

7). Perhaps here is implied:  friends, or maybe clan (Tribe) members?

————————————-

Not to Be Rescued:  The Story

Time is odd in its movement; sometimes so fast, other times too slow.
And just that quickly– too fast again.   Or perhaps it is our perceptions that makes it seem so.
Moo, that is, Sar’ Muss  Khat-T’heer  (Moo only to his family), was feeling rushed again.  To be sure, he was feeling conflicted, too.
Again.

The burning and itching of his ears, the grumbling stomach-  both bothering him again.  And he never wanted to be caught scratching his ears in public.  Although he was not in public at the moment, but alone in his room, looking at his options for clothing to a festive event.

That devil student, Sar’ Helm, had invited him to another frelling party.  But what fun he’d had at the last one!  What a disaster -when he spilled the punch bowl!  And what a wonderful feeling he’d felt being there, laughing– (when last, when indeed had he laughed so hard?)  When had he heard such funny jokes!

To be sure–  he did not consider the partyers his friends — Yet.  But still, such a time, so much joy and fun, even had he to be with so many strangers!
He had been so uncomfortable at first, knowing only his host–and not really knowing him at all!  Yet they had shared such friendly intimacy!  And adding to the discomfort, Sar Helm Would stand so close to him!  It quite made him nervous!
But the riddles that were asked!  And after that the jokes!  OMG, such fun he’d had!
Some of the jokes were quite coarse, he remembered; “But then the Kilma said, ‘If you had danced half so well as the kortan did, then I’d need neither one!’ ”
And by that time the whole party was laughing so hysterically some had collapsed to the floor!

The whole wretched occurrence of his sister, Tanant, graduating.  Her taking ‘Leave’ from the Station, thus ‘leaving’ him all alone, and friendless, on the Station.  Alone.

He felt crushed, — so alone, yet again abandoned.
His burning agony this: Sar’ Helm had found him moping, – hiding – And only asked if everything was all right?  When he began to cry and Helm had held him, comforting him as he cried — as a family member would…  Or used to, anyway.
And Moo felt scared of him!  What was he doing?  Why?  And his confusion upset his nerves, when his nerves got the best of his digestion and he threw-up … Then Helm had wiped up Moo’s body-mess (only a mother could love you that much, right?), Helm had taken him into his own quarters, and offered him food.  Then invited him to a party.

    He had refused, of course!

Time was again moving too fast and he felt rushed –.  This ‘befriending’ by Helm confused him;  it had been a whirl.  Forced, as if being swept down a narrow city alley by a mosh of strangers,  feeling he was being helplessly carried away by the events of the past weeks.   Well, he had thought he refused the invitation to the party.  In the end Sar’ Helm had not heard him, or had misheard him, or not heard him purposely, and taken his “No,” for a “Yes,”    And now!  Here he was looking at his uniforms to see what he might wear to another party.

“Of course, you will not think of refusing to come to my party.”

“No. No, Thank you, Sar’ Helm, I couldn’t do that.”

    How had that gone so awry?

“Helm,” as he was encouraged to call him, had befriended Moo against his will.

Popular Helm, the one cadet everyone seemed to know, if not well — they all knew who he was, as baffling as that seemed.  To Moo, anyway.
Reaching out with a trembling hand, Moo selected a crisply pressed formal uniform — the cleanest, newest, best uniform he had.  Then hesitated.  Was it too formal?  He drew his hand back and clenched his fists, fretting with his indecision.  If he, as a friend of the party’s host, wore less than the best he had how would that look to the other guests?  What would Helm think?  And he wanted Helm to think well of him.  On the other hand, if he ruined his best uniform, he couldn’t expect to receive a replacement uniform for a year … And then, only if he grew taller.  Or fatter.    Neither very likely.  His hand moved to hover over the second best uniform, this one, also pressed smooth, but not as spotless – some few stains had not come out entirely.  It was just a little frayed at the cuffs where being a little bit too long in the legs for him, it had dragged on the floors when new.  Now it fit very well, even handsomely, and looked good on him.  — Except for the stains and the frayed cuffs on the pants and a tiny hole he had sewn up, under the right arm.

   He looked at the sewing job.

He could barerly see it,  it was so small.  But looking more closely, well, … the repair looked bigger than he remembered…
It would show–that is; others would know how poor he was.

Hiding from the Day’s sun, stretched out, shaded by a kortan-skin tent pitched atop hell-fire hot dunes of blinding bright sand during the interminable day.
The burning, never-ending day.

   Shivering, huddled, hiding between the rocks of a freezing cold interminable night.
   The scary and dangerous dark, the eternal night.

His small family separated from their Tribe, living not in the cities but not with their Tribe, either … wandering, lost.  Their kortans across, driven across the soft gently rolling dunes of sand before mealtimes, the beat of time passing so slowly–  sunny day after starry night, then starry night after sunny day.   For most of the year with green so rare, so sought after, the growing green so precious for the kortan herd his family tended, they had not money to even think about sending one child to school.

   Then, on the long, slow, once-yearly trip into town to market their grown kortans, to sell their fatted herd, things had changed.

Suddenly, time sped by.

Moo and his sister, Tanant, had been at the herd’s fore, steering the two hands-full of grown beasts toward the sales pens of the city’s market place.
   In a whirl of cries and fears and hopes, their father led them from the market the same day the family had arrived.

Their father explained that Tanant was too bright, too smart, to live in a tent.  Quick testing had discovered her to be a “Talent” of languages!

   And he!  Also found; discovered to be a “Talent” of engineering.

Suddenly training at the Altairian Academy had proven too enticing a prospect for their father.  Next morning, without discussion, he pushed them off onto the School’s front plaza and sent them awayl.

He protested that he would miss them both terribly ….

Moo, being the third-eldest son, was still  waiting:  awaiting any letter, any word,  from his father.  Three years without any word.  Their father had promised them that the Academy would give them money, pay them handsomely.  Well, they got clothes, shelter, and food, but that was all they got.  The Kaht T’heer Clan children were among the very poorest students at school, and later at Altair Academy.

   All they got was the food and shelter the academy provided.

All they owned: their school issued clothing.
They had only the minimum, no casual clothing – having outgrown their tribal robes, only  having school uniforms now.  Those, and the cast-offs they had ‘acquired’ from other students, often pulled surreptitiously at twilight from the refuse bins behind the dormitories.  It was shameful, Moo knew that.  But the alternative was … What?  Begging in the classroom?  Asking Instructors for handouts?  Going bare?  Or wearing cast-offs?

   No, Moo thought, he would wear his second best uniform, and there was no way around that.

It was all happening too fast!   His stomach tightened. He didn’t have time to think it all through.  And Tanant would be coming back, soon!  Her leave ending soon, and a job teaching here at the Academy had been accepted.  She would return to him and begin teaching, here, and soon!

A knock at the door rattled Moo’s thinking -made him jump a little.  He stepped aside and pulled open the door to see who was there?
Helm.

Helm towered over Moo.  More than a head taller than Moo, head and shoulders taller.  Tall, thin, and kind-of handsome, Moo often felt confused and worried just looking at Helm.

   Worried by what others said.

He did not so much have a BAD reputation, but there were rumors.  Nothing concrete, mind you.  No examples, no witnesses; just innuendo and gossip.  Things like “Not good at counting Change”, “lick-spittle” , … And others less savory, “Pounder,” “Kilma-Kilmi”, “Samer,” and worse.   And yet, Helm was very near the top of the first years in grades.  If he showed no clear special Talent in any one subject, really, he was equally good at all of them.  A model student, it would seem.  It was baffling to Moo, for whom the standard was, “Could you back that up?”

95 chin-ups?  Back up what you say, “show us!”

In the desert empty promises were deadly: “Said you could? You’d better make good.”

That was not an idle saw of the desert.  However, once having proven your claims– your word was your bond.
And nothing Helm had claimed was ever proven false, not to Moo’s satisfaction.  Moo giggled remembering the old desert saw: “Alright!  Now, let us count them, together.”  If the tallies matched, you were known to be equal to your word.  And in the desert that was almost as valuable as water.  And that was Helm, charming, tall, witty, and fun, only with a shady reputation.

Helm was all smiles, stepping into the room.

“Lucky day for us, Muss.  Lucky day!  My-Esteemed-Mother declares; “Shopping-Trip!”  By her fiat I may: ‘Take one friend shopping for buying clothes.’  But from this depends her caveat: what I buy for myself, I must also buy one of for my friend.  So if I buy for myself one shirt, must I, for my friend, also one shirt buy!”
“And you are to come along, shopping.  Now!”

Moo was confused.
“What?  Helm!  That doesn’t make sense.  What if you bought two pants and three shirts for yourself?  Then you would be obliged to purchase three shirts and then buy two pants for your friend, also!”

   “Exactly!  That is why YOU must accompany me to the market area and partake of this bounty.  I must do this before she realizes what she has done!
“Come quickly with me, now!”

Bafflement quickly turned to fear, and it came out of Moo’s mouth as anger.

“No, Sar’ Helm, you may NOT put me into such an obligation, No!  I will not allow you to dishonor me in such a way.”

Helm, took a step back, fearing all his plans might shatter and fall.

But Helm was a faster thinker, and did not panic– instead he started a new tack:
“Muss, we are friends, yes? How will you, my friend -by your own admission-  not share in this, to your benefit, this windfall from my family?  Wherein lies this  -what you name-  dishonor?”

Moo turned his face away from Helm.  Shaking now with two angers, one: that he must admit to poverty, again– he couldn’t afford his own clothes.   And two: that someone was again gifting him to whom he had no hopes of repaying such a large debt.  Drawing a ragged breath, and fearing that Helm had heard his discomfort, he went on the offensive.  Quickly then, turning about with shoulders down, nose up, ears down, eyes up and staring, eyes burning into Helm.
“Where are you from then?  What family?  Or what tribe, that you can insult so freely?  How can you enter into my room and act so, you, who call me your friend, and then burden me with such an onerous burdensome debt?   You being an honorable Kilm, how can you do this?  Me, with no money to repay you?    … What indignity shall I submit to, to acquire such funds to repay your generous gift??

With gentle eyes, soft easy smile, and ears well forward then did then Helm sit on Moo’s floor and pulling one knee hard against his chest, with the other crossed under him, did he sit as the Tribal-Kilm of the desert sit, and patting the floor next to him, beckoned Moo to sit so with him.
And then did Moo sit so, and ears well forward look attentively at Helm to hear what he might say.
“Sar’ Muss.  Please explain it, in plain, how I have carried insult into your tent and some shame into my own.  Please!  Explain!

   Moo sat as still as he might, and launched into a rant, letting slip his vitriol:

“No one gives anything away for free.  Money is too dear, gold too rare, kortans too valuable … Only Love and Friendship are given away, and even if for free, they are still hung with obligations.  You still must honor those friendships, or lose them.”  Moo’s rant was already out of steam, and he sagged and hung his head, ears well back, feeling at a loss to make his thoughts clear, stumbling on to, “What do you WANT from me?”

“Oh, Muss, oh my friend!  Oh-No.  No-no, you have misunderstood me.  Oh, no, I did not mean that this was my gift to you, this is a gift from my mother.”

Standing up, shaking his head and looking bewildered, he stared devoid of a coherent thought.  And finally, flapping his hands at his sides, “I have never met ANY of your family!  How can your Mother act so?”

“No, Muss.  No.  Not a present to you from her, a present from her to me.  You see?  No?”

“Her gift is to me, that I may be generous, the debt to repay is mine.  There is no obligation that then falls to you.  Do you yet see?  The debt is all mine, and to my mother, that only!  You owe nothing — not a thing- and that- to none.  But I, I must make account of my actions to my mother and quickly!  No, only you will do, you must come quickly with me and we must purchase clothes!”

Time had sped up again.  In a rush they were on their way to the stores.  This put Moo into a sour mood.  He was ‘forced’ to smile by dint of Helm’s quick wit, and razor-like critiques of current styles and fashions.  He would NOT shut up and leave Moo stewing in his humours.  And in the end, prevailing against the mood, did Helm get Moo to laugh, and to try on some clothes.
And such clothes!
Moo was eager now to try them on, if only to feel the fineness of the fabrics.  He had not ever in his 3.4315×10^1 years felt cloths  like these, the weave so fine- tight- small-, the dye-job was very even throughout the pieces, whatever color they might be.  Dark blue, almost black or pale or creamy: all the colours the sky might be.  Or rich red and gold to pale whispy white, the colours of sand wherever you lived, and still the fabric – soft as a breath.  Some were light as a lover’s word, some stiff or coarse,  some of the weaves were a very thick heavy cloth, like tent leather;  yet still -somehow- soft and supple as a baby blanket.    Moo was trying to figure out the mechanics of this; maybe if you a spun the threads of the twill –that lay adjacent to each other– in opposite directions– the twill would offer an artificial rigidity–  based on the pairing,  not available to softer fabrics?  But that didn’t explain the weight … Hmmm

“Muss!  Come on!  Look at this! You must see.”

Again!  Oh, this was such a constant cry that Moo had wearied of it.
It wasn’t that he didn’t care what Helm picked out for the party, it was that whatever Helm held up before trying it on was always something nice, but always not to Moo’s taste, it was always something that would look alright, or even good on Helm or someone else — but so far nothing to his liking.

Pretty!  Muss, look at this!   What does this say?

Moo did look,… Oh!  And looked, again.  Oh!
It was stunning!

A beautiful dark fog-gray shirt, sold with a vest that was the color of the Winter Desert’s green with the black of the night sky shot through it, as if viewed through broken glass.  And turquoise blue…  It was splendid!

  Moo was captivated.  He couldn’t look away.  His ears forward, his mouth open, his eyes wide and glazed.  Just for a moment, some pair of seconds, but just that moment said it all.
He recovered himself instantly.

“Well, that IS very nice, perhaps the most right thing for you to wear that you have selected so far today, Helm.  More colour!  See?  The colours sacred to Nox, to Neith, AND to Temhota?  It honors the desert. You could wear it proudly!”

“Oh, Muss, I always forget; you remember more about that old stuff than I ever will know.  You are such an Innocent!  Not for me to wear, for you, you silly!  You could wear it to the party!”
Oh, that hurt Moo, and he gasped!  That cut.

Knowing the temptation was more than he could withstand.  He knew then, he was going to wear it to the party; all his resistance, gone.  All his fortitude, gone.  No.  Nothing in his personal arsenal of resistance would prevail.  There could not be enough in him to resist this.
He looked at it, quite unaware that he had pulled it out of Helm’s hands to hold it out before himself.
He stared at it.
Helm turned quietly back to the racks of pants and with that knowing smirk on his face and selected a pair of darker late Summer green slacks, as a “go with” for the shirt and vest.  Turning back, he picked up the clothes he had already selected, and guided Moo up to where Helm would pay for it all.

A cynical thought indeed; “What a bargain!  He got a new outfit And a new heart to play with.  The glow on Muss’ face worth every tenth of a credit it had cost.  Just right-then, Helm was certain: The snare had sprung, leaving only to drag the hapless prey into his claws – and bite him.

  Later, locked in his room, alone in his bed, Helm allowed his wandering hand to stray, while he savored thoughts of his victory   – far into the night.

A half-week later, classes over for the day, Moo was again picking out snacks with Helm, this time at the Academy Store, for the party-food.  Carrying back such a weight of supplies had Moo deep in thought and not paying much attention to Helm.  So the question caught him quite by surprise!
“Kilmi?  Or Kilma?”
“I’m sorry, Helm, could you repeat the question?

   “It’s not that complicated, Muss.  For sex, do you prefer Kilmi?  Or Kilma?”

    Oh!  Moo blushed brightly. So off guard, and such a question!
Ah, Er, … I, I, … Helm, I don’t know what to say!”
“Oh!  Both, then, is it?  Oh, that IS interesting!”
“No!  It’s not like that!”
   So you’re not a ‘samer’?
No! No!  That’s not it!
   So just Kilmi, then?
Yes. No!  No, I’m not like that!  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  It’s just that I don’t do that.  I mean I want — I’ve never, … What I mean to…”

“OMG, what you mean is; you’re a virgin!  I don’t believe it!”

“Helm!!  Stop, you say that so it sounds shameful or dirty!”

   “Well, I DON’T mean to make fun of you.  I like you far too much to tease you about that.  What I mean is, you are not only gentle and sweet, but you’re gentle and sweet and pure.”

“Helm, why must you make it sound so wrong.  It’s not.  And I know about sex.  I know what goes on.  I, well, I … just, haven’t had a chance … to, yet.  Please don’t tease me, I haven’t had an opportunity to try.”

   And here Moo colored up brightly, and turned away.
   “Oh, that is so sweet!  Well I won’t tease you about it, then.  So what do you look for in a partner?”

Moo had to pause, thoughts tumbling through his head, running all over his brain, making him physically uncomfortable and feeling awkward. He flushed again up to his ear tips, which had fallen slightly backward, in his discomfort.
Helm’s ears had in contrast, moved up, forward,  listening for reply.

“Well, I don’t know.  Someone tall, I suppose, and strong but not TOO strong, … have to be smart, but not a know-it-all!  Er, … gentle and kind?…”

Moo looked up to see Helm leaning forward despite the bags they were carrying, and starting at him intently, staring into his eyes.  Suddenly Moo flushed realizing what had been assumed, and blurted out, “And Female!”

Helm faced forward again, and smiled, wickedly.

Moo thought that had settled the matter, and he felt a little more comfortable chatting this way.
Helm merely smiled, and thought to himself, “We shall see about that.  You have described me to a ‘T’, but almost.  I’ll wager my Mother’s new gems you’ll sing a  different song for me soon enough.   Oh, Did I say Sing for me?  I’ll see you beg!”

But he didn’t make any comments more about it, not out loud.

Quickly it was the night for the party and Moo had hurriedly showered, then dressed in his new threads, checked himself in the mirror, and with butterflies in his gut, headed out looking forward, to the future, to friendship, and for a good time .
For Moo, the party was everything one could want– and all in one place.  Such a party!  Good food, funny jokes, a couple of pranks, good food, a pratfall, a magician, great food, lots of it, and a very tasty punch with an interesting kick to it.  Moo thought that he heard someone say the spiced flavor was …Merrum.   He didn’t know:  It had something else in it that sounded like pop-overs, or something.  But it made him feel really good, he was slowly getting into the party, finally relaxed enough to loosen up enough to start having fun.  It seemed like that took forever with him, yet it did finally happen.  And here was the host, hovering around him, getting him punch, getting him more food, bringing him over to talk to more engineers, (though- truth be known- they didn’t seem as fun to talk to as usual.  Kind of stiff and argumentative tonight.  Why was that?)

“Helm is being far too nice to everyone,” thought Moo accepting another glass of punch.  Helm was always nice, to everyone, why did so many Kilmi say bad things about him?  Helm was such a good friend to him.  He was his best friend, ever!  He was handsome and nice, and very huggable.  Moo remembered suddenly, that, from two weeks before.
That thought made Moo frown, he realized that Helm had hugged him, held him, but he had never hugged Helm back.
Why was that?   He brushed a cookie crumb from his vest.
He tried to think of why that was.   But he couldn’t find the thoughts he was looking for.  He’d ask the squad leader!

“Hey, Raeen? Why doesn’t everybody ever fall in love with Helm?  He ish just the best guy on the whooole station!  And he provides us such great parties!  Why ish that!?”

“Muss, you are higher than a kite.  Best stop drinking the punch.  Now!  You had better be in good shape for your next class!” he chided.
Moo drew back at the criticism.  I ham not druunnnk.  I have not a surfeit but Nonly a suficiency had,…. Sar’… Sar’…  “Squaaaded lead’r Sar’ Raeen Tarn, why are you kickinj sand in-ter my tent? Wwhiiyyee?” he cried, and with that Moo made a fist and swung at Raeen’s nose.
He missed, spun around…  and around, trying to stay up, and to still find Raeen’s nose, and wobbling, he planted himself – sitting safely on the floor.
Which promptly spun around one more time before pushing Moo down onto itself, flat on his back.  But only for safety, mind you.  It was a nice floor.  Moo agreed and he stayed there for some minutes, enjoying the nice floor while gazing up at its counterpart.

Time jumoed forward again, the party started thinning out and though he was loath to leave, it was time to and certainly Moo didn’t want to be the last one out the door and shame his host.  No, if the party was over, then it was time to head out that door into the hall and down-down the hall and around the corner, the Good Old Corner and down the Very Best Hall on Station, and into his Favorite Bed in the Whole World, and just to sleep.  He felt far too good to sleep, but there it was–  his eyes were floating about looking at stuff, and here was the Man of the Hour, Helm, his hero and best friend!  And he said so:

“Sar’ Helm! That was a marvelooos party, ..  Sar’ Helm, …!    Oh, Helm,!  I don’t know yur full namesh.  Helm! That’s awful.  Yer mah besh friend, and I don’t even…”
Moo staggered standing up.

   “There, there, where are you going?” Helm asked.

“Back to my room, bed.  Thissh  part’s over, now is it high time I hie me hence, and make some sense.  Hey!  Helm, that rhymed!  That’s funny!”  Moo collapsed into a fit of giggles.  And fell again onto the floor.

“Oh dear, that was too much.  I am afraid for your poor brain, Moo, it will not be your friend in the morning.”

“Uhn?  Why not?  What’s wrong with it!? Itch why I’m here, ma brain, in this, .. On this, .. At thish, yesh!  At thish Academy.  Cor, I love this plashe!  And you, Helm, you are my best friends, and you are tall and pretty as Lilith, like water, only in the desert ish it so ‘portant, to have.  Is water.

“Here Muss, here, let me help you up, c’mon, I’ll take you back to your room.”  Extending a hand, he pulled Moo to his feet and provided a hand to Moo’s shoulder to steady him.

Back to Moo’s room they walked, or rather tottered: Helm very steadily and straight down the hall.  And Moo moving the best he could, so drugged up, like a little planet orbiting around Helm, on unsteady pins.  First on one side, then on the other, then almost trailing behind, now being held upright in Helm’s strong arms.

“Helm?”
“Yes, Muss?”
“Did you know?  You Are my best friend!”

   “Yes, Muss!  It seems sometimes your only friend,…”
   “Why ish that, Helm?  Are all engineers sho dishagreeable?  ‘Sat why they’re all so ch’kavee headed tonight?  Is that why, Helm?  Tell me!  A’cause they’re all inginurrs? I wasn’t was I, tell me, Helm, was I a jintlemin tonigh?”

“Yes, you were a ‘jinlemin’, tonight, Muss. Though some people at the party were not.”

They tottered down the hall as best as Moo could, but with the occasional stumble.  And here Moo reached out and lurched at the same time and while he only went to pet Helm’s ear, he ended up grabbing it with a little more force than was comfortable.

“Frelling demons!  Moo, that hurt. Watch the ears! No grabby!”
Moo was instantly contrite.

   “Oh, Helm, I’m sorry!  I’m so sorry, here, let me kiss it and make it better, that always worked when my sister did it, honest.  Let me kiss it!”

Indeed, when Helm decided to humor him and stopped and leaned down, Moo did in earnest kiss the proffered ear.  And not a sloppy drunk job of it, either.  It was soft and tender and gentle as any mother would have done.   And it showed just how earnest Moo was about his apology that he didn’t stop with one kiss.  Clearly drunker than he was rational.

This was more than Helm hoped.  He was going to have to get a medallion of Sivri when he saw his mother next.  That would make her pause.  For a surety, she would have questions!
  And as long as Moo was tenderly healing his best friend’s ear- and unsure now, just where he’d grabbed, he was making very sure then, he’d done an adequate job of it!  Beginning at the tip -cradled softly in one hand -and moving carefully down, covering it thoroughly, past the other hand carefully holding the curl, he kept it up, unsure if the apology had balanced the offense.
When Moo got as far as the mouth —  Helm showed remarkable restraint by stopping him, then hurried him down the hall as far as Moo’s room door.

They stopped.  -Or rather Helm stopped —

Moo careened into Helm from his own orbit with a Velikovskyan catastrophe.

Worlds in Collision it seemed.
   He stumbled, toppling over, falling, then caught – and so gently folded into Helm’s strong arms.  This left the tipsy Moo hanging from Helm, looking up at Helm gazing down.  Moo appearing so vulnerable — so delicious!
So Helm made short work of getting the door open and carrying his charge inside, and shoving the door shut with his foot.  With Moo finally splayed-out on the bed, eyes closed.  He smiled broadly.  And paused – just to look.

Still smiling he slowly sat on the bed edge, disturbing Moo who peered up, smiling up at him, too, with the slightly confused countenance of the newly besotted.

   Looking down, Helm paused, and with mock uncertainty asked, and only got as far into his request as, “Moo? Would you…?”
And with that Moo sat up — a little unsteadily to be sure — but he grasped the ear closest him, gently.  Gently – as his wobbling permitted, he frowned slightly, petting the ear slowly- carefully, then as he leaned in to kiss it, Helm moaned softly.  Moo paused now, the first questions rising, filtering up but not breaking on his awareness, yet.
Helm, perceiving some hesitancy on Moo’s part — pushed the issue, “Moo, Please?”  His breath the first betrayal of no small urgency on his part.

Now showing some confusion, still but leaning in close, Moo inhaled ready to kiss, the masculine scent of Helm spurring him on.  Once his lips met the target, he resumed his sensual attack on Helm, with rather more enthusiasm– if less accuracy than before.  Helm had called him Moo.  Not Muss.  When did he tell Helm his nick-name?  He wouldn’t, he hadn’t.  How had Helm learned that?  That was disturbing.  He was confused and now more so, he did want Helm to call him Moo, but he wanted to be better friends than this before he allowed that.  And yet, Helm was so generous, shouldn’t he allow more liberty to a friend like that?  He did want that closeness, especially with his sister gone.  He paused in kissing Helm’s ear.

It was not that Moo wanted Helm as a lover.  Not that he didn’t desire Helm, either.  His stomach tied in knots thinking about how much he cherished his new friend, while fearing that this was all moving too fast, delta-tee-paran-tee-super two, or something– he couldn’t think clearly.

   Kissing Helm was,.. Exciting, and thrilling!   And in a way he couldn’t describe.  It was intoxicating!   But torn is the only way to describe his feelings; his body wanted more, more of Helm to kiss him, to be kissed by him, and more…, but his mind thought he didn’t want a guy, and his heart didn’t know which way to turn, he loved Helm.   It brought a sudden sadness to the fore, and he roughly hugged Helm to hide the confusion.
He was falling for Helm, clearly, but as a novice, a virgin … he didn’t know if it was the friendship making him feel this way, or the roiling hormones churning between his legs?  Or infatuation?
Or what if he WAS gay —  What DID he want?
Because he’d never been with either a Kilmi before, or a Kilma.  He’d less experience, he figured, than anyone on this station, maybe less than his sister — he’d never the chance to find out about sex, never played “Going to the Doctor,” never had the chance to play “Whoops! Look– See? Gone!” with anyone else.  Everything he knew about procreation he had learned from a glimpse once, while carrying water from an Oasis for his little brothers’ baths.  And from the dry text books that told you everything you didn’t need to know, showed you everything almost, except what you so desperately wanted to know more about.  It always stopped just short of saying anything useful.
And here it would be so wonderful if he only knew what he was doing, but he could’t, didn’t, hadn’t, oh, he couldn’t think clearly.  Hugging Helm to hide his pain, he buried his cheek against Helm’s warm back.

Helm for his part was confused, he had hoped that Moo would continue to get more excited, so he twisted about to see what was showing on Moo’s face, and saw the moistness there under the eyes.   Damn!  This was going to be complicated, if he didn’t get this under control, fast!

“Moo?  Would you please let me kiss you?”

Twisting around in Moo’s embrace he placed his hands under Moo’s cheeks and lifted Moo’s face to his.  Moo was soft, relaxed in his hands,  looking up at Helm, so innocent — so trusting.

   He smiled; well, … Now, yes –…  but not for long!
“Moo, I’m going to kiss you,…”. And he did.  First softly, then with more energy.  For a moment, Moo responded, but then when Helm pressed him closer, he tried to pull back.  Helm was having none of this, and held him closely, tightly, and kissed him hard.

Moo felt everything was spinning out of control, he couldn’t get control of his mind, it felt as wooly as a kortan, and wavering, asea in his thoughts.  He wanted this — sort of, but not like this, he was sooo tired and so confused, and he pushed at Helm to get space to think!  But Helm was insistent, and leaned over him, and kissed him holding his face in one hand and rubbing his back with the other.  “Moo, raise your hands!”

   Moo complied because it required no real thought, and seemed harmless, and he just wanted to focus on thinking, what was happening, what was wrong with his brain?  And why did he feel so confused?

Helm grabbed the hem of Moo’s shirt and started to try to pull it straight up and over Moo’s head.  But with the buttons not undone, it was too close on Moo to have the slack to slide  properly.  Not a quitter, Helm kept at the task, which only made Moo feel trapped and panicky.

   “Helm, what are you a trying to do?”
“What do you think I’m trying to do, you drunk lump?  I’m trying to get your shirt off!”
“I’ll take it off when I get ready for bed, Helm, I’m not ready yet, you are still here.”
“Yes, yes, I’m still here! That is why I’m taking it off.”
“Leave it on, Helm.  I don’t want you to undress me, I can do that.”
“Well, you don’t want to do that now, so I will.  Don’t fight me about this!” Helm said with a warning growl to his voice.

Now the fight in Moo was coming to the fore.  What was happening here was not good, and this was not the behavior he expected from his friends.  … Were he to have more than one.

  “Helm, no, I don’t want to do anything more tonight.  Please leave me to sleep.  We can discuss this in the morning.”

“There is nothing to discuss.  I do not wish to wait till morning, and I don’t think I shall.”
Helm tried once more to get the hem of the shirt pulled up, and over Moo’s head, and Moo struggled to keep the hem down at his waist, or lower.  It was not a battle of equals, Helm was superior in stature, strength, and position, not to mention clarity of mind and reflex.  Moo was drunk and drugged, and tired, and weaker, and Helm took full advantage of that.  Moo made a valiant effort, but in the end the shirt tore, and Moo was left fighting Helm for possession of the ragged remains.  Helm stood up and released his end, and left Moo to fall back on the bed, where he pounced on him and started in at Moo’s belt.

   Moo for his part only started to argue with Helm, and Helm kept trying to get more of Moo’s clothes off.

“Helm, stop!  Stop it!  I don’t want to do this now.”

“Oh, you’re fine, just relax, it’s going to happen anyway, you might as well enjoy it.  And stop fighting it.”
He had gotten Moo pinned to the bed, and was holding him by the chest and undoing the belt with the other hand.  Moo was trying to dislodge Helm’s hand pinning him, and their voices began to rise in the battle of wills.

   In Helm’s arsenal: “You will let me strip you, you don’t need to fight me about this!  I am going to pleasure us, do this and you’ll like it.”
Pitted against Moo’s, “Why are you doing this!  I thought we were friends!”
“We are friends, that is why you are going to let me do this, do this with me.!”
“No, stoppit! Helm, stop!”

After struggling for some few minutes, they each ran out of breath; Helm’s superior muscle against Moo’s fear based strength.  Here, in a pause between warring parties, in that silence that can stretch out so interminably long, …  a loud thunk sounded from behind Helm.
They both turned to see what was happening.  The door had banged open, and there in the doorway stood a tall Kilma, in starched Ensign’s uniform, a Faculty badge on her long sleeves, her arms folded across her chest, and looking at Helm as an avenging Demon.  Her anger fearsome to behold.

“You are Sar’ Helm, yes?”
Helm nodded.
“Take your hands off Sar’ Muss!  Now!”  She pulled out her communicator.

“Or shall I put in a call to ‘Old Don’ so you can explain to him, again, how you thought ‘No, stop!’ meant ‘yes, thank you!’.
“Get out of here, you don’t know what this is about!  Leave us alone!”

“Sar’ Helm!  Do you really think you could make it through another Disciplinary Board Hearing?  Think you could pull that off again? Are you a big enough gambler to want to give it a try?”

A single word was heard from Moo; “Tana.”

“Oh- Frell!  That’s your sister?,” Helm released Moo, sagged and sat on the bed edge again.  Turning to Moo he said, “Look, Muss.  I didn’t mean any harm, and I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
Moo looked up, eyes wet.  The pain he was experiencing showing clearly and plain on his face.  But he said nothing out loud.  His eyes said it for him.

Turning to Tanant, he said, “Are you going to get me into trouble, Ensign?”
Tanant laughed a barking laugh; very loud, very sharp.  “How is it that you have such good grades, when you are sooo stupid?  You are so damnably stupid.  I have herded kortans smarter than you!  Ensign? I’m faculty, I don’t need to get you INTO trouble.  No,  I’ve no need to do for you what you have done so well, for yourself.  And you were already deep in trouble, before this.

Tanant smiled- not a smile of joy, but a smile of righteous victory, as Helm slunk out of the room.

Sar’ Muss Kaht T’heer wept.  For the loss of trust, the fear released, the empty feeling of losing a friend, and the loss of the hope he had.
There was a fierce expression on Tana’s face as she sat on the bed’s edge and wrapped her arms about the trembling weeping Moo.
She didn’t speak, but held him in her strong arms, and let him cry himself to sleep.
In the silence as he slept she lofted a silent prayer to Neith, with gratitude for danger averted. And the silence stretched on, and on, and time seemed to wait patiently in respect for a sister caring for her naive little brother.

(Fin)

Author’s Note:  No means No!  Unless there is a prearranged safe word, no always and ever means no.
Forcing someone might be a fantasy, but in real life is it a Terrible thing with Terrible and long lasting consquenses.  Rape is not something I condone in any way, manner, shape, or form in real life.  Rape has no place except and only in fantasy.