33: Surprise Gift

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"Aren't you forgetting something there stud.", the doctor interjected. "The M.A.N.T.A. is a one person ship."

"Yes. Thanks doc.", Nick quickly fired back. "The thought had crossed my mind, but the seat is deep enough that I think ~if I scooted back far enough, that would give you room to sit -- in front.", Nick said motioning forward with his hands.

The look on Jordan's face suddenly turned skeptical. "You want me to sit in your lap?"

This idea was sounding more ridiculous by the moment.

"Not in my lap.", Nick quickly fired back defensively. "More...just in front of me."

Jordan thought for a moment then smirked, "No."

It was true, the possibility of piloting the ship that she'd spent a large part of her life creating was exciting as hell, but the reality of the proposal still seemed way out of reach.

"Thank you, but no.", she said with a quiet laugh as she pushed away from the console, making her way past Nick.

"Why not?", he asked as she passed him. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity he was offering. How could she not jump at the chance.

"A million reasons.", Jordan replied. "It's not approved. The Admiral would courtmartial both of us -- and I am not sitting in your lap."

"Listen, we'll keep it off the records.", Nick said. "Officially, it will never happen. The only person that will know is Doc --and he's not telling anyone."

Jordan shook her head again as she continued to walk away, "It's a weapons test. I haven't even been trained on the weapons systems."

"I'll be there. I'll talk you through the weapons test. We're going to blast some unsuspecting rock formation.", Nick countered following on her heels. "You just get us there and back."

Nick slung the hanger with the M.A.N.T.A. suit in front of her stopping Jordan in her tracks, "Look, this is a one size fits all. Put it on. See how it feels. The pilot has to wear it or the ship won't respond."

Nick took advantage of Jordan's pause and stepped in front of her, leaving the M.A.N.T.A. suit separating them.

"This is a one shot deal Commander.", Nick continued in a more serious tone. "You're here. The M.A.N.T.A. is right there.", he said motioning to the ship floating silently in the moon pool.

"Let's be honest. With all that I've done wrong on this trip, they're never going to let me sit behind the controls once we get topside. This is the last run. The last chance. Your last chance."

Nick looked into Jordan's eyes and for the first time saw the spark, the hunger, the fire that he'd never seen before. He saw the caged pilot that wanted so badly to fly.

Jordan knew he was right. After this run, assuming the weapons fired, they would be headed back to the surface by tomorrow afternoon. All of her rules and military training told her "no", but every fiber in her being was yearning to sit behind the controls of the M.A.N.T.A. and fly through the depths.

Jordan shook her head once more, "This is crazy."

"Exactly.", Nick grinned. "In my book that's typically the reason I look for to do something."

A smile slowly grew across Jordan's face as she casually reached up and slid the hanger from Nicks finger.

"I am not sitting on your lap.", she strongly reiterated.

"Please.", Nick said flashing his best roguish grin. "I wouldn't go through all this trouble just to get you sit on my lap."

"Uh huh. I'll try it on.", Jordan replied as she headed toward her quarters. "But no promises."

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