We had come there for a purpose.
I tried hard not to be nervous;
But when he saw me and half-started,
My heart beat out of my chest.
He approached and kissed my hand;
Not at all what I had planned.
He was the captain of the ship;
And I, supposed to be a simple guest.
A spy was meant to blend in;
But, my companions saw a win,
And their eager nods to our captain’s invitation
Saw us that night around his dining table.
He spoke nearly to no other
And I so wished to run for cover,
For he was charming, and sweet,
And to consider harm from me, he seemed unable.
His name, he said, was Nikolai;
No other name he’d let me call him by.
And a fond familiarity with post-it note poetry
Grew over the course of the next few days.
The poems were left to me anonymous
But, they were really no less obvious
And I couldn’t help but blush and smile
Every time another came my way.
My companions, for their part
Wanted me to use his heart
And gain what we had come to get:
An edge for those we served — his enemies.
But I found that I no longer could
And so I did what I then always would,
And ran from cause and captain both:
Losing all to a choice I would not seize.
Drawn from a dream I once had, involving an interstellar civil war, an infatuated Russian spaceship captain (who left me little love poems on post-it notes, it was kind of adorable), and a choice that I refused to make — that last seeming to be a recurring character flaw of mine.