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Not a Lunch Date

Posted on Wed Aug 17th, 2022 @ 10:20am by 2nd Lieutenant Christian Rogers
Edited on on Mon Aug 22nd, 2022 @ 5:02pm

Mission: M1: A New World
Location: Pioneer Mess Hall
Timeline: Concurrent to "Hard Decisions"

Lance Corporal Triss Cort sat at the table, his half finished lunch on a tray before him. Corporal Chakton, Corporal Steinman, Petty Officer Everton and Petty Officer Fellini sat with him. While he may not be the newest member of the unit, he was the youngest by several months and also the lowest ranked, again by several months. With the exception of Steinman and Chakton, none of the MACOs had permanent partner assignments. They were usually paired up with one of the Fleeter security personnel at the beginning of each duty shift. Because of the red alerts with the Malon attacks and the away teams, Cort was assigned a ‘floater’ - meaning he would be sent to wherever personnel were needed the most.

“No, I’m going to-” Cort was saying, answering Steinman’s question about helping Kawolski after duty and dinner. The house was almost complete, leaving some inside furnishings, the deck and some outdoor fixings to be completed. He happened to look up as the doors to the Mess opened and Petty Officer Perkins entered. He gave a wave and smile to someone that called to him but headed toward the serving line.

“To what?” Steinman asked then followed Cort’s gaze. Cort tried to look away quickly, but it was too late.

“Oh,” Steinman said with an eyeroll. “That again.”

“What?” Everton asked, looking around the room. All he saw was Perkins entering, otherwise nothing new.

Cort caught Steinman’s attention and gave a small shake of his head, but also felt the burning in his face that indicated the blushing. Unfortunately, working so closely with his Marine fellows, they got to know each other pretty well. Coming from a very conservative, rural area of Bajor, Cort always hid a part of himself - while it wasn’t quite the same problem it was in decades past, it was still not well regarded. It caught him off guard, then, when his fellow Marines - even others who came from conversative and rural backgrounds as well. But he still felt he was an ‘odd man out’ when it came to certain aspects of who he was. But they knew. Somehow they knew.

“Perkins,” Steinman said, nodding to Chakton. Chakton, the unjoined Trill corporal only shrugged.

Everton still looked confused and got no help from Fellini.

“Perkins!” Chakton called out, waving to the tall security officer. He looked over and seeing the five of them, gave a wide, bright smile. His blue eyes flicked to Cort for a moment before he nodded, acknowledging Chakton’s wave.

“Why’d you do that?” Cort hissed, starting to gather up his tray, preparing to leave.

He wasn’t quite quick enough because Perkins was already at the table, setting his tray down opposite Cort, the only open seat. Cort smelled the man’s cologne, something woodsy and spicy, but also the underlying scent of Perkins himself. Cort knew Perkins preferred to work out in the morning, then shower and make his way to his Alpha shift. By lunch, the natural musk lay just below the cologne.

“You’re leaving?” Perkins asked as he saw Cort’s collected tray. “You haven’t finished your lunch yet.”

“Yeah,” Cort said, glaring at Chakton and Steinman, mostly to avoid looking at Perkins. He wasn’t sure he could carry out his departure if he did that. Blue eyes, the light brown hair bordering on blonde. The square jaw and bright smile. “I have to get back to rounds then…” Prophets forgive him but lying needed to be justified at the moment! “I hear Lieutenant is looking for me.”

“Oh,” Perkins said, shrugging. Thick shoulders, muscular arms. Broad chest. Tight abs.

Cort had a tactile memory recall of working on hand to hand combat classes. He’d worked rounds with Perkins before and knew he was classically handsome. Knew he was large and worked out in a way that would make a Marine proud - a few years older than Cort, he’d put on muscle easier than the smaller, thinner Bajoran. Despite adding pounds of muscle since leaving Bajor and enlisting in the Marines, he was still leaner than all the others. Warren, his elder by only a few months, was lean as well, but Cort desired to be more like Hunter or Baldwin. He admired Brownie’s physique. Hell, even the Lieutenant, twice Cort’s own age of nineteen by the Federation calendar, had a better body.

But he never had the instant, visceral reaction he had when in the hand to hand class he was partnered with Perkins. That first moment when he’d accidentally brushed his fingers and felt the tight, hard muscled chest under their PT gear, Cort knew he reacted in ways to Perkins than he did the others. Even when he’d first met the unit. But he’d been thrown in with them, working with them so much that the relationship became brotherly very quickly.

With that stray brush of a hand, there was no way Cort would ever feel about Perkins as a brother. That was just the beginning, though. Throughout the rest of the class - having to put his hands on Perkins, having Perkins toss him, or straddle him, hold him down…everything became more and more intense. But Cort knew that he was like that. He felt intensely toward someone for a few days, then he would start to notice the jaw wasn’t that square, the abs not that tight. Flaws would show through.

When Perkins asked if he wanted to join him at the gym, Cort of course immediately agreed. While he knew his fascination - his desire if he was being honest - would fade. Perkins had a background in fitness and nutrition. Cort felt he made gains in the few weeks he worked with Perkins. But the desire for him hadn’t yet begun to fade. It only grew stronger. Then he noticed he was being partnered more often with Perkins.
Then it got to a point where Cort knew he couldn’t do it anymore. In a workout session, working on chest, with Perkins spotting him. Cort on the bench and Perkins standing so close to him. Cort knew then he wasn’t going to lose his desire and fascination for the petty officer if he continued spending time around him. It wasn’t just the body - though Cort had definite ideas about that - but also the conversations and dialogue. Perkins was a decent man with values aligned with Cort’s own.

Since then Cort worked on trying to keep distance between him and Perkins, working to stay away from him. To not smell his cologne and musk, or be in a position to see that smile and how it lit up those blue eyes. Or to accidentally brush up against the man, to feel the warmth of his lean, muscular body…Cort shook his head to clear even the imaginings of that happening.

“You going to be helping later tonight?” Perkins asked, “cause I’ll see you then.”

Prophets! the man was even eager to be helpful and join in with the other security members working on building the house for Kawolski and Weaver. Why did he have to be so…amazing in everything he does? If there was only something wrong with him.

“No, I have…” Cort thought quickly, trying to come up with something that would hold up under scrutiny. “I’ll be working on a project from the Lieutenant.”

That should work. He doubted Perkins, or anyone really, would ask Lieutenant Rogers about it. He caught the other four and their confused looks. He prayed they would take the hint and remain silent as he picked up his tray.

“Oh, that sucks,” Perkins said, genuine regret in his voice. “Am I going to see you back in the gym?”

Cort wanted to sigh and shake his head but that was too rude. “I…uhm…I’ve had to switch to after duty shifts, before dinner. Sorry.”

“Okay,” Perkins said, frowning as he sat. Then he gave a weak smile. “Well, if things change, let me know. Working out alone sucks.”

“Yeah, sure,” Cort said, grabbing his tray and turning to walk away. Little did he know that he actually was being called to speak to Rogers, Chakton as well. Which left Perkins with just Fellini and Steinman.

Perkins watched the others leave until the doors to the Mess closed and he lost sight of them. “Has Cort said anything to you guys about why he’s mad at me?”

“Mad?” Steinman asked, chuckling. “I don’t think he’s mad at you.”

“Then what’d I do that he’s avoiding me?” Perkins asked, chewing on a couple fries he dipped in mayonnaise.

“I don’t think it’s anything you’ve done,” Steinman said, glancing at Fellini who still showed he wasn’t quite sure what was happening. “But I think that’s about all I can say about it. Just, yeah, I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong.”

Perkins only seemed more confused by what Steinman said, but if that was all he was going to get out of them, he had to accept that. “Crazy with the Malons, right?” Perkins asked, happily changing the subject. “I’ve been hearing things - well other than what we’ve all heard over the shipwide!”

“Oh, yeah, that,” Steinman said, “I’m sure Baldwin and Kawolski haven’t heard the last about that either.”

“I know they won’t, I heard Rogers is on the warpath over that getting played. I’m sure Warren is still hiding somewhere.” This from Fellini.

Perkins laughed and agreed, but he glanced at the door several times when it opened, wondering if maybe Cort would return and at least let him know what was going on between them.


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