It had been a long day for Dylan Hunt, full of ship inspections and getting to know his crew members. He had just taken command of the ship he’d gotten command of after being promoted to the rank of captain upon completion of the mission he’d ‘volunteered’ for. At Admiral Stark’s orders, he’d worked along side his now second in command, Gaheris Rhade, a Nietzschean of Pride Majoram. From what he knew, Pride Majoram was a relatively small one as far as they went. Still, in the short time that he’d known Gaheris, he’d grown to like the man. Which was a good thing as Gaheris was sitting across a Go board from him and currently in the process of beating him at a game of Go. Both men were seated in Gaheris’s temporary quarters in the space dock where the Glorious Heritage class heavy cruiser Andromeda Ascendant was docked, awaiting her next mission while repairs and upgrades were being made to her systems.
“So, Rhade,” Dylan said conversationally. “Is it just me or do you look a little more worn around the edges than you did when you were promoted?”
Gaheris looked at him after placing a white Go piece on the board. “A little,” he admitted. “I have more duties now than I did then and I still have to…adjust to them. It shouldn’t take long.”
“Since you’re Nietzschean, I’m guessing that you’re married. How are your wives adjusting to this change of things?”
“My first wife, Nimue, isn’t reacting too well to my long absences, but she has two sons to keep her occupied. Amalthea, my second wife, is proud of my promotion and sees my absences as a mark of prestige rather than a sorrow. Besides, she’s recently delivered of a baby girl and is more than happy to be able to focus all of her attentions on little Selene.” He paused, looking thoughtful. “I had been hoping to earn a third wife for some time now.”
“Did you have anyone in particular in mind for that?”
“With Nietzscheans, if you are not worthy, no females will choose you. That is how we do things, but to answer your inevitable question, I was seen as worthy by a most unexpected woman. Why she chose me when she could have any male she wanted…I simply don’t understand.”
“Don’t look gift horses in the mouth, Gaheris,” Dylan said, smiling. “So tell me about her. What makes her so unusual?”
“How much do you know of Nietzschean society, captain?”
“A fair amount, but please just call me Dylan. I’m not used to the rank yet.”
“Her name is Valkyrie, first daughter of the Drago-Kazov Pride,” he said proudly.
Dylan looked stunned. “You’re telling me that Valkyrie Museveni chose you. I find that very hard to believe.”
“Believe what you will, but she’s here. She came all the way from Ayn Rand station for that reason. She’s still here and will be until the Andromeda leaves, whenever that may be. Ask Lieutenant Refractions of Dawn. She’s met Valkyrie. Briefly, but they’ve met.”
Dylan shrugged, looking at the board. “I give up, Gaheris. You win.” He stood. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning,” he said as he left.
Once Dylan was gone, the door to Gaheris’ bedroom opened and a tall, elegantly slim woman walked in. She looked every inch the Nietzschean first daughter with her floor length black hair and elegant but deadly bone blades protruding from the delicate silver bracers on her forearms. Her skin was fine and soft. Despite its paleness, she looked quite healthy. She walked over to Gaheris and leaned on his shoulders. “Doesn’t believe you, does he?”
“Not in the slightest,” Gaheris replied, touching her hand.
She sat down in his lap. Touching her nose to his, she smiled. “Well, we’ll just have to convince him, now won’t we?”
He stroked her long black hair and returned her smile. “Perhaps some other night.”