Sid sighs with relief as he straps himself into one of the jets. Not that he doesn't love the Penguin, because she's a beauty of a ship, but there's something about taking a jet out on his own and arching over the landscape of a planet that can't be matched.
This is a base planet, too, which means he doesn't have to file a flight plan. The Tower and the jet's systems will track him and the rest of the traffic and let him know if he's on an intercept path with anyone, but other than that, he gets to just fly where he wants.
He stays intent and careful on takeoff, heads away from the central base, out over the unoccupied lands where it feels like he can breathe easier. He's still being monitored, but he doesn't have to watch anyone watching him. He does a few easy rolls, loops through the sky, and only rights himself when the systems tell him there's a pair of planes on a parallel course.
"Sid!" The voice comes over the comms, and Sid shakes his head.
"Call me Alex," Ovechkin says, not for the first time. He and Geno are on either side of Sid, close enough that Sid can see them from the cockpit if he looks out.
"We not staying," Geno says. "Have exercise."
"Before we go," Ovechkin says, "formation ten."
Sid grins and counts them in to do the loops and twirls. It's an easy formation, one they all know how to do and have been taught to do so well they don't need to have practiced with each other to do it together.
They're all laughing over the comms when they come out of it, and Geno and Ovechkin both wave at Sid as they overtake him and continue on to whatever training exercise they're on.
Sid flies for a while longer, until he's gotten it out of his system enough to turn back and fly straight to the airfield, no more turns or loops or buzzing the treetops.
"Malkin and Ovechkin back?" he asks when he signs the jet back in.
"Twenty minutes ago. They were headed to the mess."
Sid tosses off a thanks and heads for the mess himself. Ovechkin is holding court at a table in the center of the room, Geno grinning next to him. Sid gets some food before he heads toward them, people making way for him with only a few whispers in his wake.
Ovechkin shakes hands with the grunt he's talking to and then dismisses the crowd with a nod of his head. It's a skill Sid wishes he had.
"What are you even doing here?" Sid asks. "I though they had you out in the Omicron Quadrant somewhere."
"Called back," Ovechkin says with a careless shrug. He leans in, Sid unconsciously mirroring the motion. "Something happening here. Probably sending us out together."
Sid looks at Geno, whose smile has faded into a grim nod.
"Shit," Sid says, sitting back in his chair. Anything big enough to need both the Penguin and the Capital is a big deal.
Ovechkin claps a hand on Sid's upper arm. "Have a few days, maybe a week." He grins, slow and wide, and his eyes range across Sid's chest. "Enough time for some fun."
Sid glances at Geno before he says to Ovechkin, "You and me, free air space, scrimmage."
Ovechkin laughs and squeezes Sid's arm. "Okay," he says, "but that wasn't what I meant." He takes his hand off of Sid's arm, but runs his fingers over Sid's lips before returning it to his side of the table.
Sid flushes, because it's not the first time Ovechkin has flirted with him, but it's the first time it's come with such a blatant invitation.
"Sid," Geno says, and Sid's gaze snaps to him. He's so used to Geno being at his side that he'd almost forgotten that Geno might have input into this conversation, that Geno isn't just an extension of himself. He's been so focused on Ovechkin reaching out to him that he hasn't even noticed Ovechkin's other arm slung over the back of Geno's chair.
"Say yes," Geno says. His gaze doesn't waver, his face serious and his eyes meeting Sid's. Then his mouth and the corners of his eyes crinkle into a smile. "Will be fun."
A few days isn't much, and half of it will be taken up with strategy and mission prep before Ovechkin goes with his ship and Sid and Geno go with theirs. Even a joint mission won't give them much time together.
Sid flicks his eyes to Ovechkin, sees him watching them both, waiting for Sid's answer. He's not pushing; he's just waiting, attention on both of them and something hopeful in the way his eyes meet Sid's.
"Okay," Sid says. "Yes." He reaches across the table to brush the backs of his fingers over Geno's cheek, his thumb over Alex's chin.
Geno smiles at him, happy as Sid's ever seen him, and Alex says, "Few days, plenty of time to have some fun."