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Part of USS Odyssey: First Excursion

First Excursion – 5

USS Telemachus (NCC-80000/2-A), Verkien System, Kotaba Expanse, Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78502.4
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“Cadet Alfie Thomas McCallister-Reyas, don’t you dare ignore me!” 

Sighing inwards, Alfie almost rolled his eyes as he turned to face his friend, quickly approaching him from behind. “I wasn’t ignoring you, Cadet Jordan Luke Duncan-Court!” He replied, emphasising his friend’s rank and names as much as he did.

Jordan picked up his pace and approached Alfie. “What’s this I hear that you’ve requested an assignment to the engineering team. I thought we were going to do science department together for this excursion?”

Alfie felt guilty that Jordan found out this way. “I had a change of heart and thought doing system analysis would help me better.”

Jordan took a step back, his upset showing in his expression. “But we’ve always done everything together.”

“I know, Jordan, but we don’t need to do everything together,” Alfie countered. “There’s nothing wrong with us taking a break from each other.”

Jordan appeared even more confused and hurt by that, and quickly, Alfie realised how mean that sounded. He stepped forward and grabbed hold of both of Jordan’s arms. “I’m sorry, Jordan, I didn’t mean it like that.”

Shaking his head, Jordan shrugged his friend’s hold off from him. “No, I don’t think you are.” He said.

Realising they were out in a public place, more specifically, in the corridors of deck three next to the mechanical bay, Alfie gestured for them to enter the bay. Jordan just shook his head and crossed his arms against his chest. 

“I’m genuinely sorry, Jordan, I am, and that was a poor choice of words. You know I love spending time with you,” Alfie pleaded with Jordan. “You’re my best mate, my bud, and I should have told you. I am genuinely sorry.”

Jordan then looked at his friend for a second before his eyes opened wide. “I know why you put the request of assignment in.”

“You do?”

“It’s Brook, isn’t it?” Jordan said with a huge sigh. “Man, and you say Bea and I are super close. I wondered what department he was being assigned to. You want to do engineering because he is there. Don’t you?”

Sighing loudly, Alfie shook his head. Alfie couldn’t believe the mess he was in with this deception of going along with Jordan’s conspiracy that he fancied Brook Westerham-Banfield, but the actual truth (which Jordan didn’t know) was that he was having an affair with Jordan’s girlfriend, Beatrice, without him knowing. Now Alfie found himself deep in this mess with no way out. “Jordan, Brook isn’t in engineering. He’s in science, too.”

That statement confused Jordan further. “Science?” He paused. “So why don’t you want to do science with me, Athena, Brook and Beatrice?”

“It’s…” Alfie paused before he answered. “Complicated.”

“Complicated?” Jordan asked. The young cadet still appeared perplexed. “What’s complicated about it?”

“I can’t explain, Jordan,” Alfie said. His heart was now aching at the web of lies he found himself in and how much he didn’t want to upset his best friend. Jordan’s eyes looked like a sad puppy. “Please, just drop it, Jordan.”

Jordan crossed his arms. “No, we’ve always told each other everything, so why don’t you want to tell me what’s going on?”

Alfie placed his hands on his hips as he tried to find the words. “Jordan, it’s just…” He paused again as he wrangled with the right approach. “I don’t want anything to happen that will change what we have between us.” He pointed to them both. “You mean so much to me, and the whole thing with Brook isn’t what you think it is. Don’t get me wrong, he is a nice guy; he’s charming, funny, good-looking, but I’m not sure he’s the one for me.”

“You’ve barely given it a chance, Alf,” Jordan replied instantly. 

“That’s not what I meant,” Alfie said, rubbing his temple. “I mean, he isn’t the one I like to be with.” He looked at Jordan, hoping he didn’t need to spell it out and was able to close this topic down soon. “I don’t want to upset you, Jordan and Beatrice said I shouldn’t say anything but I-I-can’t go any more without telling you the truth. You mean so much to me.” Alfie could feel his heartbreak, knowing he was about to lose his best friend as he admitted the truth. 

“Oh,” Jordan replied. His eyes were wide again as he somehow appeared to understand what Alfie was trying to say. “Oh.” He repeated and gasped for air. “I think I get it.” He took a big gulp. “I mean, I suppose I never saw it before.”

“Ah shit,” Alfie groaned. He could feel his eyes stinging from possible tears forming. “I’m sorry, Jordan, I didn’t want you to find out this way.”

Jordan took a step backwards. “It’s fine, cool even,” He said with several nods. “It’s flattering, and you know, Alf, that I love you more like a brother than anything else.”

Alfie nodded. “I know you do.” He then stopped and took a second to recap what Jordan just said. “Come again? What do you mean you’re flattered?”

“About us,” Jordan pointed between them. “Ah, man, did I mess up again, Alf?” He started to pace between the two bulkheads that were nearby. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, Alf, you’re handsome, and funny, and clever, and you mean the galaxy to me.” He looked thoughtfully at Alfie, “And we get on really well, and I’ve never thought of you that way, and I know people say we’re close, but I never thought of you that way.” He took in a deep breath. “But if you want something more, then I think I need time to think about it and think about whether or not I want to be with Beatrice or you.”

“No, wait, Jordan,” Alfie quickly said, trying to calm down his friend and stop him from spiralling any further. “Jordan, listen to me,” He reached out to Jordan with his hand.

“No, it’s fine, Alfie, I think you’re right. Perhaps spending some time apart in different departments is good for us. I need time to think, and I’m sorry if I ever made you think I want something more between us. It’s just, you know, with everything that happened to me, and Will and you were there to help me through it, and I suppose I took that comfort too far.” He paused again. Jordan was flustered, and his cheeks were now red. “I’m so embarrassed. I need to think.” 

Jordan locked eyes with Alfie for a moment, and in that moment, he took a chance. Without warning, he pulled Alfie close and pressed his lips to his in a passionate kiss. Alfie was caught off guard by Jordan’s sudden move, his body tensing up at first but then gradually melting into the embrace. The kiss was soft yet intense, and as soon as Jordan released his gentle hold on Alfie’s neck, Alfie took a deep breath, his heart still racing from the unexpected turn of events and him kissing his best friend. That wasn’t what he expected, and he regretted not saying something sooner to stop this hurricane of mess from hitting them both. 

He was so stupid. 

Jordan looked at Alfie with a mix of regret in his eyes, apologising once more before turning and running down the corridor, leaving Alfie stunned and breathless.

“Shit,” Alfie cursed himself. He was genuinely making a mess between himself and his friend. 

“I knew it,” spoke the words that made Alfie want to curl into the nearest escape pod. Beatrice Grant stood in her cadet uniform with her arms crossed at the other end of the corridor. She glared at Alfie. “You are such a pig, Alfie McCallister.”

“Beatrice, it’s not what you think,” He said, wiping his mouth; he could still feel the taste of Jordan’s lips on his. “You know Jordan doesn’t get certain social norms. He’s got it all wrong. I wasn’t professing my love for him.”

“It doesn’t matter; you were going to tell him about us and instead made him think you had a thing for him to hide the fact you won’t accept the truth that you are a pig,” Beatrice said as she approached him. “We are so over, and if you think I will keep what we did a secret, then you know nothing.”

“Beatrice, please,” Alfie pleaded. “You promised.”

“I promised nothing,” She snapped back. “You’ve dug this hole, Alfie McCallister; get out of it yourself.”

She shoved her shoulder into him and walked past. Her determination to ruin Alfie’s life in her wake.

Left alone in the corridor, Alfie couldn’t believe how much harder he had made everything.  He couldn’t shake off the sinking feeling in his chest as he trudged through the corridors of the Telemachus. The weight of his tangled web of lies and secrets seemed to grow heavier with each passing moment. His encounter with Jordan had left him feeling exposed and vulnerable, a far cry from the confident cadet he usually portrayed.

As he replayed the conversation in his mind, Alfie couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt for deceiving his closest friend. Jordan’s hurt expression haunted him, a stark reminder of the consequences of his actions. He had never intended to hurt Jordan or jeopardise their friendship. Yet, here he was again, grappling with the fallout of his own deceit.