The door wouldn’t open.
The yawning void of space beyond its metal barrier was nothing compared to the look on Helga’s face as she wielded the torn box he’d given her. Bits of red cellophane still clung by small pieces of tape on its cardboard surface. Lightning flashed in the depths of her eyes, her voice echoed like thunder in the small cargo bay, and her scarlet cape billowed behind her as she approached. The small room had absolutely no wind, not even a small breeze from the air-conditioning vent, but she managed to make it billow just the same.
Ziggy tried the door once more, pounding on the big red button repeatedly, but the fail-safe refused to be overridden while the ship’s AI detected life-forms within the chamber. Then again, the AI wasn’t married to Helga. Why did he buy his anniversary gift from Hans Olof of all people? Smugglers weren’t known for their expertise in romance, but since they both were in love with strong women…Valkyries weren’t that different from princesses, were they? They both had high standards, were tough as nails, and looked great in brass bikinis.
Still, for all her bravado, no matter how short Hans fell in the romance department, his beloved was still a diplomat whose displeasure would not result in physical violence upon his person. Valkyries were not known for diplomacy. Helga was a warrior maiden, servant of Odin, and kick-ass starship pilot, so her displeasure was an altogether different matter.
“What in the name of Asgard is this?” screamed Helga in the voice that had made lesser men turn to jelly, and she threw the box with deadly aim at Zigfried. It hit the thick metal door, just to the left of his head, and left a large dent.
“You missed,” he said. What the hell was he thinking? He watched her sparkling eyes, the way her nostrils flared, her ample hips and heaving bosom. She was not a tiny woman; her presence was intimidating. Was it any wonder he had fallen for her all those years ago?
“No, I didn’t,” corrected Helga, her voice low with terrifyingly sweetness. “We vowed ‘Til Death do you part’, and I’m not done with you yet.”
Ziggy, adrenaline singing, desperately tried to control himself as he bent to pick up the shattered remnants of his substandard gift. “It’s my anniversary present to the most beautiful-”
“Cut the crap. You know what I want,” said Helga. Then, in a throaty whisper, she added, “You always know what I want.”
Holding the demolished fragments of the ancient sword, Zigfried tossed them aside for the ship’s autobots to clean later. “Fine, you know what I want too.”
“That’s right, baby,” said Helga, quickly stripping down to her brass lingerie. “I do.”
Later, in the warm afterglow of post-coital bliss, they discussed other activities and adventures for their second honeymoon. Odin had given her two full weeks off, and they intended to make the most of it. After all, millennial anniversaries were special. Helga’s accrued vacation hours were more than enough time to visit the pleasure planets on the outer rim, as well as battle a few space-pirates along the way. What better way to spend a romantic getaway?