The Everlasting Beyond Of Eternal Happiness

Chapter One

"Ooh, Simms." Mandy’s Texan voice was a breathless purr, inviting and intimate. "I'll fess up, I've always had a big thing for guys in uniform."

She stepped forward, black PVC stiletto boots clicking on the polished metal floor. Her gloss-red lips parted slightly, twisting up into a knowing half-smile, jaws working furiously on her chewing gum. Putting one foot up on the computer console, she ran a hand lightly down the ragged, fishnet top that clung to the curves of her womanhood. When her fingers came to rest on the hem of her black plastic miniskirt, she tweaked it upwards by a tantalising fraction.

Simms shrank back, the soft leather of the Captain's seat creaking beneath him. The Captain's seat. Yes, he was Commander Simms, aboard the Starship Cola Français. He had men at command, an international reputation to maintain. His reputation!

Dragging his gaze from the tempting siren before him, he checked the bridge. They were alone amongst the banks of computers and the screen showing the vast night of space, alight with the brilliance of a billion stars.

He turned back to Mandy, perspiration dappling his brow. At last, a tryst with this gorgeous, blonde vixen. It was only slightly terrifying.

He wasn't a handsome man. Tall, thin, all elbows and knees, has was hunched, clumsy, and awkward. Oversized, bovine eyes bore down on a thin, once-broken nose. Tight blond curls hugged his head, their position fixed by an enticing mixture of evaporated sweat and low-grade psoriasis, But to hell with looks, it was power women wanted, and he was Simms. Commander Simms. Commander…Simms.

His plumy English accent betrayed a public school upbringing, with just the hint of inbreeding.

"Mandy, I, I, I never, I never thought…" Little pools of spit accumulated at the corners of his mouth.

She put a finger to her lips. "Hush, you naughty, naughty boy."

Bringing her leg down from the console, she stood directly in front of him, hands on hips. A small, rather grubby, pink cloth cat swung at her waist. She blew a bubble in her gum.

"Simms, you are so brave. And so clever."

"I…er, well…"

"Ah get you, so modest."

She glided effortlessly into his lap, one knee raised, left hand playing with the soft hair at the base of his neck. With her right hand, she ran a finger across his lips and down onto the zipper of his black jumpsuit. Heart pounding, he breathed out heavily.

"Woah, Simms, Simms. Funky." She coughed, eyes watering, trying to conceal a flicker of annoyance with her hasty smile. "Just one moment, tiger."

She jumped up, wobbling slightly on her stilettos, and hobbled to the far side of the console. Giving him a rather hurried pout, she hauled out her handbag and started rummaging through.

"Ah, here we are."

Dumping her handbag, she strode back and flumped heavily down into his lap.

His eyes crossed. "Ooof."

Mandy stifled a giggle. “Is that you?”

Simm’s voice was tighter and higher than before. “Yes.”

"Sorry." Adjusting her weight, Mandy held up a small aerosol canister to his mouth. "Open wide."

Simms obliged and Mandy made two short puffs. An air of minty freshness filled his mouth. Halitosis? Yes, of course. He suffered badly from it. The memory came back to him suddenly and with it the realisation that a disorientating fog shrouded all recollection of the past. Still, at least this was one thing he could hang onto. His breath stank.

Putting a hand to his forehead, he gave his head a little shake.

Come on old fruit, get a grip.

To hell with all this doubt, to hell with lousy looks and bad breath. He had power on his side, authority. Women loved that. He was Simms. Commander…Simms. What was his first name?

Mandy pulled the zipper of his jumpsuit open to the navel and slid her hand in. "Commander Simms, you've been so clever, it's your mind I love you for."

"I have? You do?"

She ran a long nailed finger around his nipple. "So respectable, such a reputation, yet all this time a secret terrorist."

Simms spluttered. "Terrorist? I'm not a terrorist."

"Hush, hush, tiger." She left his nipple and placed a finger on his lips. "Put your hand on my knee."

Simms gulped and placed a trembling hand gently on the shiny black plastic of her boot.

Mandy put her mouth close to his ear and whispered. "Some say terrorist. I say freedom fighter."

"Freedom fighter?"

"Freedom fighter. Ooh, those words get me so hot. If only…no, you can't say."

"What?"

"Oh, no, I couldn't possibly ask you to." She lowered her knee out of his reach. "It's plain wrong of me to go asking dumb questions. I should go."

"No." Simms wondered if he dared touch her again. "Ask away. What ho, anything, just ask. You know me, I'm Information Off…"

His thoughts clouded. "I'm Inf…"

"You're Commander Simms." Mandy leant close again, taking his hand and placing it back on her leg. "Oh, if only you could tell me 'bout some of the brave things you done."

"Brave things?" Simms stared at his hand on her booted knee, struggling through his memory for brave things. Everything was wrong. Well, everything was right but somehow in the wrong way. Commander Simms with the gorgeous Mandy, yes, but how had he got here? And confound it, what was his bloody first name? His confused, jumbled mind raced. He had been on a Space Station, hadn't he? Called The Nice and Spicy Nacho-Niks. Something had gone terribly wrong. If only he could remember.

Mandy clicked her tongue. "Brave things."

Brave things, brave things...He readjusted the position of his sweating palm on her boot, making an audible sloop.

"Ah, I had to do a presentation once to some senior guys from Starfleet Command and…"

"No, no silly." A slight edge crept into Mandy's voice. "Terrorist things."

"But…I'm not…"

"Not a terrorist? Really? I'm all choked up 'bout that." Mandy's brow furrowed. She pulled away just a fraction.

"No, wait. Well, I might be. Never can tell, eh?" He winked conspiratorially.

Mandy leant closer again, her voice lowered. "I bet you know Agent Higgs."

"Higgs? Yes. No. Well, maybe. Security Officer Higgs?"

She tapped his nose lightly. "Oh you tease. You know and I know the whole security officer thing is just a front. Agent Higgs, one of the most dashing freedom fighters."

"Dashing?" Simms gave Mandy's knee a nervous, well lubricated little rub. "Yes, yes, of course I know Higgs. Higgsy, Higgsy, Higgsy. We go back, oh, back to college together."

"College? You were at college with Agent Higgs?"

"Yes. Er, at…at Terrorist College."

Mandy cocked her head, eyebrows raised.

Simms struggled. "We did…bomb making together."

Mandy sighed, shaking her head. "This is like trying to scratch my ass with my elbow."

"We did."

"Right. Terrorist College?"

"Er…It was clandestine. One had to say a secret password to get in.” Simms’ desperate imagination piled words into his mouth. “I blew up an ice cream van once."

"What?"

"I…an ice cream van. Me and Higgsy…" Simms' voice trailed off.

Mandy unwound herself from him and stood, folding her arms crossly. "You're not a terrorist are you, Simms?"

"I am."

"Really?"

Simms chewed his top lip and shook his head.

"Okay, that's it." Mandy clapped her hands. "Show's over."

A woman's voice filled the air around them, a wholesome, Deep South voice, all apple pie and church on a Sunday. "Agent Mandy, Information Officer Simms has revealed himself as a terrorist and confessed to a number of subversive activities. Why have you discontinued the interrogation?"

Mandy tutted, running her fingers through her hair. "Ma'am, trust me, he's not a terrorist."

"Agent Mandy, Information Officer Simms clearly stated he had attended a terrorist training facility."

"Ma'am, whatever, Simms has nothing useful to tell us about the terrorist insurgency."

"Agent Mandy, I accept your conclusion. Information Officer Simms."

Simms jolted upright. The unseen woman was addressing him. She was right, he remembered now, he was an Information Officer. Where had the notion he was Commander Simms come from? "Er, yes ma'am?"

"You are condemned not only by your confession but also your recent terrorist activities. For your own security and well being, you will now be terminated. Have a nice day."

Simms backed right up in his seat. "Wait. What terrorist activities?"

"You murdered a senior ranking official by blowing yourself up."

"What?" Simms glanced down at himself. He seemed to be quite intact. "Surely you're mistaken, madam. I'm sure I'd remember if I'd blown myself up."

Mandy kicked the chair. "Simms, button it."

The unseen woman continued. "I am sorry, Information Officer Simms, but my judgement is final." The top of the computer console swung upwards and a robotic arm emerged, aiming an automatic pistol at Simms' head.

"What, no, please. I don't want to die. Mandy."

"What?"

He pointed at the gun. "It's going to kill me."

"Yeah, so? Don't be such a baby."

"I don't want to die. Please, madam, whoever you are, I don't want to die."

"I am sorry Information Officer Simms, Agent Mandy has deemed it no longer useful to interrogate you."

Simms slid from the chair to his knees, hands clenched together as he begged. "Please, Mandy don't let it kill me, I don't want to die, please."

Mandy half turned away. "Stop going on, you creep. You're embarrassing me."

He fell sobbing on his face, pawing her feet. "Please, Mandy, please."

"Oh, okay, okay already. Get off." She kicked his hands away. "Ma'am. There might be some further questions I could ask this jerk."

The arm retreated back from whence it came and the top of the console swung shut. "Very well, Agent Mandy."

Mandy booted Simms in the ribs impatiently. "Get up."

He stumbled to his feet and followed her across to the far side of the room where a row of lockers stood. She opened one and gestured inside.

"Get in."

Simms pointed at the cramped space and mouthed at her "in there?"

"In."

Simms wrung his hands, whining. "But I don't want to go in the locker."

"Get in. Now. Or, darn it, I'll change my mind."

Trembling, Simms eased himself into the tiny compartment. There was barely enough height to stand. Mandy slammed the door before he was fully in.

"Ow. Mandy, please."

"Oh, get in…"

As Mandy forced the door shut and turned the key, Simms found himself in almost total darkness. The only light stabbed in from three thin louvers in the door. Putting his face up to them, he peeped out. "Mandy?"

"And keep quiet."

She snapped her fingers and everything went black.

Chapter Two