“We’re gathered here today, not as comrades-in-arm, but as friends and family, to celebrate the marriage of two of Starfleet’s finest.” Captain Frank Müller announced before the crowd that was assembled in the crew lounge of the Discovery. He could see everyone from his crew, for the first time in weeks since their launch, actually smiling. The sense of joy just filled the room. It was sweetly nice, and it was a welcome change instead of the regular combat duty the ship had endured recently. Clearing his throat, he carried on going through his speech, “As Captain, the honour of joining these two people has fallen to me. But before I declare them married, Alex and Michael have prepared their own vows.” Müller looked to the man to his right and just smiled with a single nod for him to take over.
Alex Rodham, Discovery’s first officer and chief helm officer, took his cue from his captain and returned the smile before looking back at the man that stood before. His smile turned into a grin and he couldn’t stop. (Inside he felt like a giddy school kid, he was so happy and couldn’t believe he was going through with this). “Michael, I still don’t know what I’ve done to warrant you being in my life. But whatever I’ve done to deserve you, I’ll do my best to prove to you every day that us being together forever was the best choice we made. And I promise to stand by you, to honour you, till death do us part.” Instantly, Alex took the hands of the man that he had just pledged to live the rest of his life with. Still smiling. Behind him, Lieutenant Commander Nathan Wallis (Discovery’s chief armoury officer) handed him a silver-platinum ring. Alex took the ring and placed it on the man he would be calling his husband any moment. “May this ring be the symbol of our eternal love.”
Taking in a deep breath, Michael Stanton followed through with his own vows. “You stood by me when most people would have ignored me or not realised that I was in the room. You were willing to see past my shortcomings and you made me a better person, even when I didn’t know it at first. I look forward to our journey together.” Stanton received the ring he would give to Alex; it was exactly the same design as the one he had just been given. “Alex, I promise to stand by you, to honour you, till death do us part and may this ring be the symbol of our eternal love.”
Both of them remained smiling and looked back at Müller. Realising it was his cue, the captain spoke. “Commander Alexander Wesley Rodham, Commander Michael Zachary Stanton, With the power vested in me by Starfleet Command and the United Earth Commonwealth, I now pronounce you husband and husband.” He looked at his first officer as the cheers and applause erupted in the room. “Now you can kiss him Alex.”
Rodham smirked at his superior officer and pulled his husband in for a deep kiss. They both smiled as they embraced each other, further cheers filled the room as confetti was thrown in the air over them.
The crew lounge’s atmosphere remained buzzing as the celebration of the marriage of their first officer had brought a welcome change to the crew of the Discovery. Michael was now leaning against one of the circular windows with a glass of champagne in one hand. The shotgun wedding that they had put together had happened so fast, he hadn’t expected it when Challenger had pulled into the Obama Repair Facility. Something about seeing Alex almost instantly once he had arrived home had made him realise how precious life was and he didn’t want to wait anymore. He needed him to know how much he loved him, and this just seemed right. If it hadn’t been for Levesque almost kicking him off Challenger, if he hadn’t waited for Alex to return home, if the war was not on, then he didn’t think he would be standing on the Discovery now a married man.
Looking around the room, Michael couldn’t get over how on some level the Discovery was so similar to Challenger. The design and layouts of both NX-class ships were the same, however Captain Müller had used his own command discretion to give Discovery its own personalised look. Unlike Challenger, which had its own décor of blues, turquoises, greys and silvers, Discovery’s themed colours appeared to be a range of golds and burgundy red (the latter on the doors and most of the chairs). Michael quite liked the look that Müller had gone for, but then he had always liked the way Challenger was decorated.
Even though it was a Starfleet vessel, filled with some of Starfleet’s finest, he still felt like a stranger. This wasn’t his home, it was Alex’s. As a result of this, he didn’t really have anyone here from his side, however that didn’t completely bother him. He didn’t want to interrupt Captain Burton (who was dealing with father’s death) or Commander Levesque (who was dealing with her unexpected pregnancy). The rest of his colleagues were all enjoying their break. He slightly regretted not getting his family to attend, but there was just no time to get them clearance and up to the ship before it left.
Distracted by his own thoughts, he hadn’t noticed his husband (that was weird to say that to himself, he thought), approach him. It wasn’t until Alex leant down to kiss him again. Michael kissed back passionately. He loved this man so much.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Alex asked as he placed his arms over Michael’s shoulders.
Shaking his head to shrug his expression as nothing important, Michael responded. “Just thinking this was not how I saw myself using my time off.”
“I don’t detect a hint of regret there Mr Rodham-Stanton?” Alex teased him as he pulled Michael into him further.
“Absolutely not.” Michael hastily said back. “I’m just glad we were able to do it before you leave.”
“Me too.” Alex said, “Although I have a strong inkling that Captain Müller is going to expect a favour in return.”
“Well since he made you his first officer, I’m sure he owes you with the amount of work you’ve had to do.” Michael replied.
“Are you going to defend my honour against the man who oppresses me under paperwork then?” Alex wondered with a smirk.
Nodding a bit, Michael responded with a similar smile. “Absolutely and I’ll be happy to ride you out of your misery on the back of a white horse – like any knight in shining armour!”
Both men chuckled at the possible image of Stanton in such apparel.
“My hero.” Alex whispered as he leant in for another kiss.
Their romantic encounter was interrupted by someone clearing their throat. Standing near to them, with an almost embarrassed look, was Lieutenant Commander Wallis.
Alex pulled away from Michael and looked to the armoury officer. “You okay Nathan?”
Nathan Wallis looked and sounded apologetic as he spoke, “Sorry sir, but the captain just got called to the bridge. We’ve been ordered to launch.”
Alex looked to Michael quickly and then back to the armoury officer. By the way Wallis was appearing, the order for launch wasn’t for a good reason. “What’s happened?” He asked.
Whispering, Wallis answered, “The farming colony of Gault has been attacked by the Romulans.”
Shock just appeared across the recently happily married couple. Michael cleared his throat after the initial shock dissipated. “Where’s Starfleet sending Discovery?” he asked.
Wallis ushered for them to follow him outside of the crew lounge and away from the crowd of crew that could hear them. Once they were alone in the corridor, Wallis answered the question. “The captain just said that Starfleet wants us to lead the relief efforts. There’s multiple distress calls coming from the colony.” He paused, “The captain wants you on the bridge with him Alex, sorry.”
Alex’s entire posture changed further; his shoulders almost slumped further. “Okay thanks Nath, will you give me a moment with Michael? I’ll be up there in a moment.”
Wallis nodded in acknowledgement and excused himself away from the married couple. Once he was away from them Alex turned to his husband. “I’m sorry.”
“Hey, it’s okay.” Michael said instantly as he took Alex’s hands into his. “This comes with wearing the uniform.”
“I know, but I was hoping for us to have a bit more time together.” Alex said, leaning in as he started to kiss the neck of his husband.
Michael smirked at Alex’s last-ditch efforts of trying to be romantic. “Alex you are in your dress uniform, if anyone catches you then you won’t be setting a good example to your crew.”
Alex moaned into Michael’s neck as he placed gentle kisses on his neck and pulled him into him further. “I don’t care.”
“I do.” Michael said and lightly pushed his husband off him. “You’ve got a job to do.”
Almost deflating further, Alex surrendered to the idea that he could no longer enjoy himself. “Do you need a hand in packing your stuff up?” He asked, knowing that Michael would have to leave Discovery quickly.
Michael shook his head. “No, you go, and I’ll see myself off the ship.”
Sighing one more time at the bad timing of this all. “I promise that when I get back, you and I are going to enjoy our honeymoon.”
“Oh, don’t you worry, I will have everything ready for our trip to Miami when you return.” Michael leant in one more time and planted a long kiss on his husband’s lips. “I love you Alex Rodham-Stanton.” He said after breaking away.
“I love you too Michael Rodham-Stanton.” Alex replied as he looked at his partner. He smiled at him. “How the hell was I so lucky to land a catch like you?”
Michael shrugged his shoulders. “What can I say? I’m a hoot!”
Alex smirked and then released Michael and followed in the footsteps of Wallis towards the bridge. As he entered the lift, he took one more look at his husband, blew him a cheeky kiss followed by a wink. He hoped this wasn’t going to be their last time together.
Friday, September 1st, 2141
Starfleet Training Command Campus, San Francisco, United States of America, Earth
“Don’t be nervous, don’t be shy, don’t be nervous, don’t be shy.” Were the words that Cadet Michael Stanton kept on repeating to himself as he made his way toward his hall of residence. It was his first day at STC and his anxiety was getting the best of him. He had said his goodbye to his parents and sister back in Boston. He had taken the journey across the country by himself as this was a brand-new chapter in his life. Wanting to prove to his family and more importantly himself, that he could do this.
For most of his childhood, Michael had been extremely shy which impacted on his social life greatly. He barely had any friends at school, the only person he would identify as being close to was his younger sister. If anything, his father and mother had always said he was the exemplary older brother. Looking out for her, supporting her and encouraging her – had been how Michael and Rachel had become so close. From an early age, she idolised him for always being there for her. As they got older the tables became more equally balanced as she began to recognise how reclusive her older sibling could be around others. She had always allowed him to join her mixed group of friends, even though they were younger than him, when they were over. However, none of that had helped him go further in making his own friends.
On the other hand, Michael was extremely bright. He left high school as valedictorian and he had been helped by his sister with his speech to his graduating class. Being a public speaker was not something he was interested in. It was pure science and mathematics that interested him. Being able to solve problems as quickly as possible was what got him out of bed every day. He enjoyed taking things apart, repairing them and even improving them. As a result of this he had shocked his parents when he had said he wanted to join Starfleet. Having access to the latest frontier technology was too much of a tease for him to ignore. He craved the adventures of seeing what was beyond Earth through science, technology and mathematics.
After successfully passing the admission exams and just scraping by with the physical endurance tests, Michael was finally on his way to living his dreams. Entering the main entrance to where he would be living for the next four years, he was guided by a fourth-year cadet to his room. With a large suitcase on wheels that he dragged behind him, a rucksack on his back and duffle bag over his right shoulder, Michael Zachary Stanton had finally arrived at Starfleet.
Looking at the room he was surprised to find it quite spacious and accommodating. It had a massive balcony that looked over the Presidio. Obviously, Starfleet wanted their officers in training to feel relaxed. The room itself was divided into different areas. Entering through the main door, which was almost central along the wall it was located, Michael saw something he dreaded instantly. Two beds. He had spoken to the recruitment officer in New York about this and had been assured that for some cadets they got a room by themselves. He had requested that, but it looked like that had fallen on deaf ears. Both beds were facing parallel to each other and had bedside cabinets on either side of them. There were lamps also situated on them too. At the end of the beds were chests of drawers. Two large four-door cupboards then faced towards the beds (one for each occupant). Their location allowed them to separate what would have been the bedroom area away from the rest of the dorm. Behind the right-hand cupboard appeared to be a small kitchenette with a sink and other appliances and utensils for some meals to be made there. A breakfast bar with two stalls was situated next to it, looking towards the balcony. On the left-hand side was a living area space which included a single two-person sofa and one armchair with a small glass coffee table. A side door with a sign saying bathroom on it was also located in this corner of the room.
Placing his bags down near the entrance to his new place, Michael continued to look around. He hadn’t realised that he was on the top floor of the complex, this had only dawned on him once he had seen the skyline windows that sat within the high ceiling.
“Impressive huh?” spoke a deep masculine from the other end of the room.
Michael automatically snapped out of gaze and looked to where the voice had come from. Standing in just a towel, with water dripping off his hair, face (practically his whole body) was a man who appeared to be of a similar age to him but just slightly taller. Not realising he was almost gawking; Michael once again shook his head to regain his concentration. “Erm, hi!” He said almost sheepishly. Inside he was kicking himself for being such an idiot.
Without warning, the tall, muscular guy walked across the room. With one hand holding his towel, he used the other to extend a handshake towards Michael. “I’m Alex Rodham.” He spoke as he shook Michael’s right hand. “I guess we’re roomies!” He added with a warm smile.
Michael just replied with a “uh huh” at first. He couldn’t get over how attractive this fella was. He had short black hair that had a brushed up spiky fringe. A one- or two-day old growth of stubble sat around the edge of his almost chiselled chin that was complimented by dimples as he flashed his perfect white teeth smile.
It was obvious that Alex had noticed Michael’s lack of response as he chuckled slightly to himself. “And you are?” He asked.
Instantly Michael blushed. “Michael,” He blurted out. “Michael Stanton” He said again, this time with a bit more composure. “I’m sorry. I’m just a bit tired from my journey.” Michael said, trying to cover-up his faux pas.
Alex continued to flash him that same smile. “Oh, no worries at all.” He looked around the room and picked up what was his cadet jumpsuit uniform. “Let me go dry myself and get changed and then we can properly get to know each other.”
“Yeah sure.” Michael said. He watched Alex walk back the way he came in, as he approached the bathroom door, Alex turned around and flashed him another smile and wink before closing the door behind him.
The moment he was by himself he groaned inwards at how ridiculous he had been. Glad he had yet to put his own jumpsuit on, he went towards the bed that had been unclaimed and sat down on the edge of it. Instantly he fell backwards and groaned again to himself. He didn’t want to start this new chapter in his life so awkwardly.
“So, when my parents got home from their dinner, they couldn’t get past the security lock!”
Alex burst out laughing at Michael’s recount about the time he had rewired his home’s computer network that led to him being banned from using any form of technology for a week. The two of them were just re-entering their dorm after spending the evening out with other first year cadets at a local Italian restaurant called Fiorella’s. They had all grabbed dinner there which had been followed with quite a bit of wine. Both Alex and Michael had decided to walk back to their halls, while saying good night to the others who had all shared a hover-cab back to the campus. While walking back they had started to share different stories from their backgrounds. On some level Michael was grateful for Alex giving him almost a second chance. He hated the fact how shy and nervous he had come across in their first encounter.
“Did your parents tell you off?” Alex asked as he took off his leather jacket and just threw it on the floor beside his bed.
Nodding in reply, Michael had continued walking past their sleeping area and towards what they had nicknamed earlier their galley. He took out a glass from one of the cupboards and began to pour a glass of water for himself as he elaborated on his story. “My sister, being the saint that she is, tried to take responsibility for it.”
Alex had made his way over and nodded in acknowledgement when Michael offered him a glass of water too. “Why did your sister do that?”
Michael rolled his eyes, showing how embarrassing the story was on some sort of level. “I had only rebuilt my mum’s hovercar the week before after I had crashed it.” He took out the extra glass and filled it with water.
Further laughter erupted from Alex as he took the glass from Michael. “Oh my god Michael, you are a terror! Remind me never to leave any of my electrical devices out when I go to classes!”
Michael chuckled, “Don’t worry I’m over pulling those types of things apart.”
“Ah a man after the same thing I am then?” Alex questioned. “However, whereas I want to fly a warp drive, you probably wanna take it apart and rebuild it from scratch?”
Shrugging his shoulders to indicate Alex may be right, Michael only smiled further as he took his glass and laid across the small sofa in their living room. “What can I say?” He added as he stretched out, “Just call me the next Zefram Cochrane!”
Alex tittered further as he moved from the galley and towards where Michael laid. Picking up Michael’s legs, he sat down on the sofa and placed Michael’s legs on top of his lap. “I wouldn’t have expected you to be such a rebel when I first met you.”
Feeling a little bit uncomfortable with how close Alex was to him, Michael sat up slightly. “I promise you, I’m not that exciting.”
“Well as long as we survive STC, then I’ve got the next four years to find out!” Alex said as he raised his glass towards Michael.
Smiling at the gesture, Michael lifted his glass of water and clinked it with Alex’s. Perhaps this new chapter in his life wouldn’t be so bad, he thought.
Monday, October 7th, 2155
Discovery NX-04, docked at the Obama Repair Facility
“Danke chief.” Captain Müller said as he nodded to the tall Indian man as he took the tablet from the quartermaster and made his way around the engineering section of his ship.
In a past life, Frank Müller had been a chief engineer before he had been thrust into the middle chair of Starfleet’s fourth NX-class ship. As a result, he had come to enjoy the time he spent in Discovery’s engine room. It reminded him of the good old days back when he served on his previous assignments. He only wished that these days he had time for nostalgia. Since the declaration of war with the Romulans and the launch of his new ship, he had yet had the privilege to spend any decent time in the ship’s engineering department. However, his chief engineer was one an up and coming officer with impressive skills and talents. That he said he currently didn’t have his chief engineer to go over everything that needed to be done before they left Earth and headed to Gault. Deciding to take it upon himself to undertake such duties, Captain Müller was dashing around trying to get his ship ready for launch.
“Captain Müller, do you have a moment sir?” Spoke a calm voice among the sea of chaos that surrounded Discovery’s skipper.
Müller quickly glanced up from the tablet he was reading and was surprised to see his first officer’s husband standing in the doorway of the engineering room. “Are you lost Commander Stanton?” He asked through his German accent.
“No sir,” Stanton said as he walked over to him. “Quite the opposite actually.”
Looking back down at the tablet before signing it with his thumbprint, he replied back to Stanton’s confusing remark. “I don’t think I quite understand you commander and along with that I really don’t have the time.”
“Yes, I know sir, I wanted to see if I could help?” Stanton offered him as he started to follow Müller around the room.
“What do you mean Michael?” Müller asked as he stood still for a moment.
Stanton seemed pretty serious as he answered. “I know you don’t have Commander Burton back as he is on leave plus from the looks of things, you’re pretty thin on the ground around here.”
“Your point Michael?” Müller now insisted that the engineer before him stopped talking in riddles.
“Sir, I mean to say that if…” Stanton stuttered slightly. “What I want to say is…” He took a breath. “Let me join Discovery.”
“Pardon me?” Müller responded with, still perplexed at the man before him.
“You need a chief engineer, someone who knows their way around a warp five engine and someone who can handle an engineering department on a NX-class. I’m your man!” Stanton said, trying to sound quite clever.
Müller shook his head and went back to the work he was undertaking. “That’s very kind of you Michael but for one I don’t have the time to fill out the paperwork for a transfer and two, I already owe a massive debt to your skipper. I don’t think Lloyd will be happy with me if I steal his chief engineer.”
“He has your chief engineer right now, doesn’t he?” Stanton countered with. “Plus, this would only be temporary, at least until Roman returns.”
Müller considered his options and stopped walking to do so. He turned to look back at the engineer. “Have you spoken about this with Alex?” He wondered.
Shaking his head once, Stanton explained himself further. “No not really, he was busy on the bridge and I didn’t want to disturb him.”
Leaning up against a railing, Müller crossed his arms as he considered the offer of help from Stanton. “Alright Commander Stanton. This is a temporary assignment, but if this becomes an issue with either your husband or skipper then I hold you responsible!” He pointed finger at him as he spoke.
“Understood sir.” Stanton said with a friendly and uneasy smile.
Müller handed him the tablet in his hands, “Don’t make me regret this.” He added as he let go of the device and it landed in Stanton’s hands.
Almost a quarter of an hour had passed since Michael had taken over the reins of Discovery’s engineering room from Captain Müller when the main hatch opened. The moment it did it was followed by a familiar voice asking him, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Michael, who was standing by the compartment that held the main plasma injector assembly, didn’t bother to turn around as he knew he could feel his husband’s presence before he spoke. “I’m re-aligning the plasma injectors.” In his hands he held a coil spanner while in between his teeth he held a flux coupler. “What can I do for you Commander Rodham?” He dropped the coupler out of his mouth and into his spare empty hand.
Infuriated by his husband’s response, Alex stood closer to him. “You know what I mean Michael. Don’t play smart with me.”
Michael, deciding to wind up his other half a bit further, carried on with the pretence. “Well then you know that without the injectors you can’t press that pretty button up on the bridge for this ship to fly at warp. So, for you to do that I need to finish this work.” He carried on with his work and soon felt Alex’s body up against his.
“No,” Alex said in a low voice, doing his best not to make a scene in front of the crew. “What the hell are you doing staying on board Discovery?” He asked. “You’re meant to be off the ship by now.”
“Well I noticed that Commander Burton hadn’t returned, and you were short of engineers.” Michael began to explain. “By the way, your second engineer still hasn’t reported on board. Lieutenant Mulgrew is it?” He paused to take a breath, “Sounds like a good guy but the other engineers said he was visiting a relative who lived on the Moon. I don’t think he will be back in time before you head out to Gault. So, you are faced with a slight crisis in your engineering department. Luckily for you, a handsome chief engineer from your sister ship has arrived to save the day. I’m here, so use me.”
Sighing hugely at the situation they were in; Alex knew there was no way he could get past Michael’s stubborn side. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate the gesture Michael, I just don’t want to…”
“Be worried if I’m still alive the moment you fly this ship into battle?” Michael finished for him. He stopped his work and put his tools down. Taking Alex’s face into both of his hands he pulled the man he had only just married a few hours ago closer to him. “I have the same dread for you, whether I’m here or on Challenger. I love you and I want to be with you.”
Giving up in trying to convince him to leave, Alex took both of Michael’s hands. “Damn you Michael Rodham-Stanton.”
“Damn you Alex Rodham-Stanton.” Michael replied and kissed his husband on the cheek. “Now get the hell out of my engineering room!”
“Hey, remember I’m your superior officer right now.” Alex protested back. “That’s no way to speak to a first officer.”
“And I hold the rank of commander a lot longer than you did darling, so I’m your senior officer.” Michael responded with. “I suppose we cancel each other out on our pulling of rank argument.”
Alex chuckled, “I’ll leave you to give me all the power I need to fly this tin can into oblivion.”
“That’s right, fly-boy. Let the grown-ups sort this mess out while you do some fancy manoeuvres.” Michael added as he turned back to his work.
Leaning in one more time, Alex kissed the top of Michael’s head before leaving engineering.
Smirking to himself, Michael carried on with his work, safe with the knowledge that he had just won his first domestic fight with his new husband.