CHAPTER 20

The Moonduster

This story contains sex between minor boys and teen-agers. If such things
offend you, or you are not at least 18 years of age, then please don't read
on. This story is not true, but who knows, maybe some day it will be.





The "Moonduster" was quiet. Only the air conditioning fans, the boy's
breathing, and the instruments could be heard. Eleven boys sat in their
seats looking out into space wondering what happened and hoping any minute
to see the "Starkeeper" appear. Minutes ticked by and nothing happened
except the silence.

Alex sat in the cockpit and looked at Robert Charles. "What the fuck did
you do that for?"

"We were going to be killed. You saw Douglas shutting the doors. There was
an explosion or something on the ship and in the corridor. I did what I had
to. I saved our lives."

"Bullshit, RC, you panicked and you know it."

Robert Charles looked down at himself. For a minute he was afraid he had
wet his pants, but he saw they were dry and breathed easy. He sure felt
like wetting them, and if anybody saw he did he would be totally finished.

"I just saved your fucking life and you're saying I panicked. Fuck you,
Alex. You're nothing but a big mouthed...."

Alex lunged at Robert Charles and knocked him up against the wall. Since
the shuttle had lower than 1.0 gravity Robert Charles hit the wall
hard. All the lights except the emergency ones went out and the life
support fans went out. He still had Robert Charles pinned against the side
control panel. Mike came in and grabbed Alex, pulling him off Robert
Charles.

"Stop it! Not in here! You're gonna wreck this thing!" Mike shouted.

Alex and Robert Charles glared at each other. Mike had his arms wrapped
around Alex in a big hug. Alex tried to pull free and get back at Robert
Charles, who was still stunned a little from hitting the wall.

"Alex! Robert Charles! It's going to have to wait." Everybody stood there
getting their breath back. Finally Alex told Mike he was okay. He moved
toward Robert Charles who put a fist up.

"I'm going to reset the switches. If you would kindly move out of the way."

Alex looked at the panel. Nothing was broken. Mike was right. This wasn't
the place. They got lucky. But the place and time were going to happen, and
when it did he would be ready. He reset the switches and the lights and
fans came back on. He breathed a sigh of relief. Without life support
running they would be dead in a few hours.

"We all need to meet," Mike said. "Let's go into the main cabin."

The three of them came out of the cockpit. They saw worried looks on the
faces in front of them. Mike went to his seat. Alex stayed in front along
with Robert Charles. Robert Charles took over.

"It looks like we're in trouble. But we're not. We'll just stay here and
the 'Starkeeper' will come back to find us."

"How can it if it was destroyed like you said?" Alex asked. "I mean with
you saving our lives and all it must have blown up, right?"

"I never said that. All I know is something blew up and whatever was coming
down the corridor could have blown us up."

"Douglas shut the airlock. Nothing could come in"

"Look, let's not argue this, Alex. We stay here. We have a locator and the
'Starkeeper' will come back."

"Who put you in charge?" Alex asked.

"Last I looked, I was still the elected leader."

"Only until we had a new vote."

"But we never did have one did we?"

"Then maybe it's time to have one," Mike said.

"Between who?"

"Between you and Douglas, of course."

"No," Douglas said. "I don't want to. I'm not interested."

Scooter looked at him. "What? Why not? Douglas, what's wrong?"

"Nothing." Douglas got up out of his seat, bumped his head on the ceiling,
and floated back down. They were all going to have to get used to the lower
gravity on the shuttle.

He walked to the back and into the galley the best he could. He shut the
door, went to a table and sat down. He heard the door open and close and
looked up and saw Scooter.

"What's wrong my love?" he asked.

Douglas was fighting off tears. "I can't do it, Scooter. You know it and I
know it."

"I do? All I know is we can't think of anybody else to lead us. You almost
got Robert Charles out of office. One more day and you would have. That was
all you, Douglas. You've been a president, and a team captain, and you were
our real leader on the 'Starkeeper'. We all believe in you. And I love
you."

"Scooter. I'm great when I have adults around. When I was school president,
I could lead because I had the principal and the teachers behind me. And
when I was a team captain, I had the coach behind me. And when things got
going on the ship, I had Marie. I've never done it alone. I don't know
how."

Scooter grabbed Douglas and hugged him - tight. He sent all his love to
him. He showed Douglas how his love had made him as happy as he could ever
be. How Douglas making love to him freed him from all the things he was
afraid of. Now it was his turn to free Douglas from what he was afraid of.

"None of the rest of us do either. All I know is I don't want RC to be the
leader."

"There's lots of guys who can Scooter." Mike came into the galley. "All of
them could do it."

"Do what?" Mike asked.

"Douglas thinks he's not good enough to lead us."

"Bullshit," Mike said. "There is no one better."

"Alex."

"Alex is my love and best friend. But his temper rules him too much. And he
doesn't have the experience you have."

"You, Mike. You're the oldest. I mean you're almost 16 and all."

"I've never lead anybody. I play hard and follow hard. I follow orders
hard. I don't lead. Douglas, we all respect and love you. We would follow
you anywhere."

Douglas fought back tears. He told Mike what he told Scooter. "When RC got
the spa and I didn't...well...you saw how I handled that. With a load of
tears. Like now. Some fucking leader I am. Now, just leave me alone, okay?"

Both boys stood there feeling helpless. They knew Douglas was the one they
wanted. They saw what he can do. But how do they convince him? They needed
him because he was the best.

"Just go!" Douglas said. Scooter stood there looking hurt. He closed his
eyes and thought hard. I love you, Douglas. You can do it Douglas. We all
love you. We all know you can do it. Look inside yourself. You're
strong. And I send all my strength to you. There is nothing for you to be
afraid of. Douglas didn't look up. He dropped his head and let the tears
flow. Scooter and Mike went back onto the cabin. Douglas sat there, his
head down. He already missed his mom and dad. He was so scared he would
never see them again. With his dad gone he didn't know what to do.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

While that was going on in the galley, Alex and Robert Charles went back
into the cockpit. They weren't agreeing on much if anything.

"Let's get one thing straight, RC, this is my cockpit."

"Bullshit. And quit calling me RC, Al. I'm older, I'm bigger, and I'm still
the elected leader."

"That doesn't make you a pilot."

"And, I have twice the flying hours you have."

"Now I call bullshit. I saw your simulator scores. You lied about your
hours. Your scores were good for somebody playing like a game, but not for
somebody with flying experience. In fact, the scores are still here in the
cockpit if you want to see them. I think I kicked your ass there, RC."

"I said, quit calling me RC, or I'll kick your ass, and I don't mean on a
computer. I'm fucking tired of your attitude, Alex. You are nothing but a
mouth."

Alex looked up at Robert Charles, who was 6 inches taller. "This is my
cockpit. I'm the pilot. You want us to survive, you turn it over to
me. Because I'm better than you, and you know it"

"I'll tell you what, shrimp. You run the cockpit, and I'll take care of the
rest. You drive, I'll lead."

"You know we want Douglas."

"I don't see why. He's back somewhere crying like a wuss. Put the pressure
on him and he folds like an accordion."

"Douglas knows how to handle people. When Douglas asks you to do something,
you feel like you're important for doing it. You ask and you make people
feel like shit and have to threaten to get your way. He leads, you bully."

"I get things done. He doesn't. And right now, to survive, we don't need
some pretty boy school president looking for a way to have a candy sale. We
need a real leader with some meanness and toughness. Somebody who was born
and trained to do this. And that somebody is me."

"Well, you're mean all right." Alex stood toe to toe with Robert Charles.
Somehow to Robert Charles, even thought he was six inches shorter he seemed
to be the same height. "Look, RC! I know what you did to little
Matthew. You and Jordan both. And what's more, I know what you did to my
little brother, Stevie. Right now we gotta survive. And like it or not, you
seem to be the only one willing to make decisions. But I want you to know,
I have a very long memory, and the first chance I get I'm gonna knock you
off your perch, and then I'm going to kick your ass."

"What Ever!"

"No, RC. You really don't get it, so let me put it this way. If you touch
anybody on this ship against their will, or make them do anything like what
you did to Matthew and Stevie, I'll have you go out and change the oil,
without a space suit on."

"What if they want it?" Robert Charles said.

"Okay, let me put it so even a moron like you will understand. You touch
either one of them, I will kick your ass out of the air lock....naked."
Robert Charles swore Alex was standing eyeball to eyeball with him. "Is
that clear enough?"

Robert Charles had no doubt Alex meant every word. "Very clear," he said.
But, he thought, I have a very long memory too. And when we don't need a
pilot any more, your ass is mine.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Back in the cabin, Scooter was talking to Mike. "I don't understand what's
happened to Douglas. I can't believe he's turning his back on us," Scooter
said.

"He isn't," Mike said. "He needs to get things sorted out, like we all do.
He was the closest to his parents of all of us I think. We all need to just
think. I miss Brad. You miss your dad..." He heard some
sniffling. "Everybody misses somebody."

"But he turned me away." Scooter was near tears.

"No, he didn't. He needs you Scooter. Just the two of you. Go back to him
now."

But before he could get up, the cabin door opened and Alex and Stevie
stepped out. "We want you to know that we decided some things," Robert
Charles said. "Alex is going to be our pilot, if we ever decide to leave
this spot, which we won't. Because I am going to make the decisions. And
my decision is the safest place of us to be is here until the 'Starkeeper'
comes back for us."

"How do they get off doing that?" Mike whispered to Scooter.

"Somebody has to do it, and I guess it won't be Douglas," Scooter replied.

"Now, I know everybody is scared and lonely. But we'll get out of this.
The first thing we have to do is eat. The food is downstairs in the storage
area. Let's bring up enough for today and tomorrow. Travis, you and Jeremy
can take care of that. You're both bigger guys."

A voice came from the back of the cabin. "Shouldn't we be rationing?"
Everybody looked back. The voice belonged to Douglas.

"No. Full helpings. We have plenty of food. There is food and water for 3
months for 60 people. There are only 11 of us. You do the math. Eat and
drink what you want. If we don't get found here, it won't matter much
anyway."

Matthew heard that and his sniffling turned into totally bawling. Mike got
up and glared at Robert Charles. "Great attitude, oh great leader." He went
back to Matthew and hugged him close, letting his little brother know it
was okay. Matthew snuggled up tight to Mike.

Travis and Jeremy went back and down the ladder to get food to bring up.
Scooter went back to see Douglas.

"You were awesome, my sweetness. Welcome back."

"I'm not back, Scooter. Robert Charles is the leader. Officially we elected
him. He's an asshole, but he does know how to run things."

"So do you."

"But, I needed to let him know we gotta ration food. And Scooter, we can't
just hang here. We have to move. If we're not found we need a place to
go. Our locator will bring any rescuers. But we can't just sit here. We'll
die doing that."

"Where do we go?"

"How do I know. You're the astronomer."

"I just like it. I don't really know it. Not like Jim does."

"Then you and Jim should start looking at those stars out there and see if
any of them tell you anything. If nothing else it will keep you busy. Get a
helper each, get them busy too."

Scooter kissed Douglas on the lips. "You are back. You're our leader.
You're my hero."

"Scooter, I'm not going to lead. I don't want to. I'm not good enough. And
what we don't need is RC working against us. As long as he things he's
running the show we avoid a lot of trouble. Alex has the right idea. Make
him think we think his shit doesn't stink and he'll stand up there telling
people to go bring the food up when he is the biggest guy here except for
Mike and can help do it himself. Scooter, we can't afford fights right
now."

Scooter hugged Douglas tighter.

"Oh, and Scooter...thanks for sending me your love back there. I needed
it. And it helped. I love you." He kissed Scooter's lips. "Now, let's go
help Travis and Jeremy. After we eat, we'll get Jim and talk about start
gazing."

Scooter felt the warm glow from his soulmate. He knew he would follow
Douglas anywhere and so would almost anybody else on the shuttle. Now they
just had to make Douglas believe that.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mike got the packages of food into the microwaves. In spite of what Robert
Charles said, he was putting in only one package per person. The food
packages were made so they could be microwaved or cooked in water. They
were made for survival.

"So you're having just one too?" Alex asked with a smile.

"Hard to believe, isn't it?"

"Very."

Robert Charles walked in. "Did you put two in for me? I'm hungry."

"You get just one like everybody else, RC. You're nobody special."

"Last time I looked, I was the leader here. And I said everybody can eat as
much as they want. And don't call me RC, Mikey." Mike didn't mind being
called Mikey by RC, only because he loved making him mad by calling him
RC. And he sure wasn't going to let Robert Charles have the pleasure of
making him mad.

"Well, RC (Robert Charles glared at him), just like Alex is in charge of
the cockpit, I'm in charge of the kitchen. If you don't like it, you can do
the cooking."

Robert Charles grunted and walked out of the galley. Mike and Alex smiled
at each other.

When dinner was ready everybody sat around the two tables and the counter
in the galley. With a full sixty people they would have to eat in shifts,
but with just 11 there was room for everybody, even if the seating was
close. For all their problems, everybody was hungry, and more than one boy
wished they could have a second helping. After all Robert Charles had said
it was okay, and a couple were a little peeved at Mike for cooking only one
per person.

After dinner Douglas and Scooter went around the cabin and talked to
everybody to check how they were. Brett and Matthew had done a lot of
crying earlier and were still very sad. Matthew missed his mom and dad,
even if they never seemed to pay any attention to him. Brett was close to
his dad, and was missing him terribly. They both were worried that their
parents were dead. Jeremy and Ryan didn't have parents on board. Ryan would
just as soon not see his parents anyway, but Jeremy wanted to see his
badly. Jim was missing his mom. Alex and Stevie weren't sure how they felt
since their life had been changing so much anyway. Mike was close to his
brother Brad and was worried about him. Travis missed his parents and was
sure they were dead. He was as sad as anybody. Jordan missed his dad
too. He worshipped his dad, and was afraid the Engineering deck had blown
up and killed his father. Plus he realized he wanted a drink badly, and
there was nothing on the "Moonduster" except the bottle of vodka he had in
his backpack for sneak drinks in class. He was going to save it until he
got desperate. Scooter missed his dad terribly and was very worried about
him. He was sure it was the Warp Enhancer that caused whatever happened to
the "Starkeeper". He knew if they had let his dad run it nothing would have
happened. Robert Charles wanted everybody to think he was tough and strong
and didn't need his dad, but he missed him badly. And Douglas wanted his
dad to talk to so badly and missed his mom.

The seats were made to lean back with leg rests that kicked up. But they
were uncomfortable and nobody could imagine spending days sleeping like
that. Travis mentioned that there were survival sleeping bags on the lower
deck and room to sleep on the floor down there. That sounded better than
sleeping in the seats to a lot of them. They went down the ladder to the
lower deck. Even for the short boys it was a tight fit. Scooter wondered
how hard it must be for an adult to move around down there. They found the
sleeping bags and laid them out. Nobody was surprised when some of them
were shared by a partner. The first day on the "Moonduster" was ending.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The second day raced by. Not much happened. The boys missed their parents
and the "Starkeeper". They wondered how long it would be before they were
found, or if they ever would be found. They all wondered what happened to
the ship that had been their home.

Scooter and Jim were on their stomachs on the lower deck. There were two
telescopes down there that were connected to each side. The boys sometimes
got their legs tangled. They weren't sure what they were looking for, but
they searched the stars hoping to see something. Scooter picked Matthew as
his helper. Matthew took notes on what Scooter saw. Jim had picked his
boyfriend Stevie. Neither of them found anything that could help them that
first day. They even switched sides hoping one boy would see something the
other one missed. Both of them were feeling that this was a waste of time,
but it was something to do.

That night Scooter and Douglas were sharing a sleeping bag on the floor on
a narrow aisle between a row of boxes. There was barely room for the two of
them.

"Douglas."

"Yes, my love?"

"Are you feeling better? You've been doing awesome."

"Sure, because RC is the one making the decisions. Anybody can tell people
to go waste their time looking at the stars through telescopes. No pressure
there."

"Douglas, remember during the warp storm? Going up to engineering? And you
keeping so calm and putting the numbers in my head when I was so scared?"

"I was scared too, Scooter. It was all I could do not to pee my pants I was
so scared."

"But you came through. You didn't cry or panic. You were calm and brave."

"That was different. I wasn't in charge. It just happened. I don't want to
make the decisions, Scooter. I'm afraid I'll make the wrong one and kill us
all."

"Douglas, you would only make the best. And you would ask us about the hard
ones. And we all love and respect you. Right now RC is getting his way
because nobody cares what he decides because we aren't going anywhere. But
we all hate him, and when things get tough we won't want to follow him."

"Scooter, why do you want to follow somebody who isn't even sure of
himself?"

"Douglas, we're all kids. None of us is sure of himself. It's just when it
gets tough, you're the one we're going to be sure of."

Douglas lay on his back, his hands behind his head. Scooter was wrong. He
didn't have what it took. He was good because adults said he was, not
because he really was. Suddenly Scooter was on top of him kissing
him. They kissed and cuddled and touch, and somewhere along the line they
were on top of the sleeping bag, Douglas's legs were raised up, and for the
first time he had another person inside him, as his soulmate made sweet
love to him. When they finished they slept close and tight in the narrow
aisle, happy with their love for each other, and sad because of where they
were.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Matthew woke up in the dark on the galley floor screaming out. He was
squeezed between Alex and Mike. His brother and his brother's
boyfriend. They had made him feel so good and loved last night. But now he
had just had a nightmare. He was on the "Starkeeper" and it had exploded
and thrown him out into the vacuum of space. Alex hugged him close and
kissed the back of his neck.

"It's okay Matthew. We're here. We love you." Matthew felt Mike squeeze his
leg. He felt his heart slow down, and then drifted back to sleep, happy
that he had his big brother and his friend to love him.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When morning of the third day came, Mike was up getting breakfast. He loved
being the cook, even if it only meant picking what was going to be served
and putting it in the microwave. It gave him something to do. And it was
getting boring just sitting here in one spot waiting. But they had no place
to go. He knew that Jim and Scooter were trying to find something
somewhere.

During breakfast a couple of things were decided. First, they would all be
naked. They had no fresh clothes and no way to wash them, so being naked
would save their clothes from becoming too ripe. Second, because there were
only eleven of them, they could afford to use some of their precious water
to wash with. They could recycle used water twice through before it had to
be flushed out into space. The toilets used chemicals which could be
recycled too. The recycled water would be their wash water. Each boy could
wash himself every other day. The boys were happy with this, because not
only were they beginning to smell strongly, but so was the cabin.

After breakfast, Scooter and Jim went down to look through the telescopes
again. Before they went down, Scooter had Alex moved the ship so they could
search a different area. Scooter gave Jim a kiss, and Jim returned
it. Stevie watched, knowing that the old friends would always love each
other. Then Jim looked and Stevie and kissed him. Matthew watched, saw
Scooter looking at him, and then Scooter reached over and kissed
Matthew. Matthew found a new way to help Scooter that day, giving him a
gentle blow job as he searched the stars for something. Jim got a similar
pleasure from Stevie. And when they took a break from watching, Scooter and
Jim returned the favor.

When Mike was getting lunch into the microwave, he was pleased when Douglas
gave him some pleasure, sucking him while he sat in a seat waiting for
lunch to cook. Man, Mike thought, cooking sure is a tough job.

Even Jordan got some pleasure, getting and giving a BJ to Robert Charles in
the cockpit. It was tight but it worked.

By the next day, the boys were all pretty willing to leave their lovers to
comfort somebody in the daytime. They were all naked, horny boys after
all. But at night they slept with their lovers, with Alex and Matthew
having an extra sometimes, or if not, Matthew was with somebody else. He
liked sleeping with Douglas and Scooter who treated him with as much love
and sweetness as Alex and Mike did. Stevie and Alex found time to give each
other love too.

On the seventh day Jordan couldn't stand it any more. He had to sneak a
drink. He took his backpack down to the lower deck, got out his bottle and
took a swallow. It felt so warm going down. He took another one. That was
better. Just one more, to get a little buzz, then he would put the bottle
away. He guzzled down a big swallow. Oh man, that was good. One more
wouldn't hurt, and he'd still have plenty left. He could already feel it
hit his head as the alcohol went through his little body fast. That felt so
good he would guzzle one more. He put the bottle up and swallowed again.

Nobody knew what happened until Travis and Ryan went down to bring up food.
That was when they saw Jordan passed out, with a 3/4 empty bottle next to
him, lying in his own vomit. Ryan went up and quickly got help. Douglas and
Mike came down and saw Jordan. They quickly cleaned him up, dumped the
rest of the bottle out, and put him in a sleeping bag. Robert Charles came
down, shook his head, and said he would watch Jordan. He also wished they
hadn't dumped the rest of the bottle, because he sure could use it right
now.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It was the morning of their eighth day sitting in space. They were
beginning to realize that nobody was going to come back to find them. If
they had, their locator beacon would've led them right to them. But they
also knew that space was big, that the "Starkeeper" could have come back
and been too far away to get the signal. Or it could be the "Starkeeper"
was destroyed, in which case nobody would ever find them.

"We can't stay here forever," Mike said. "Even if we move they can still
follow the beacon and find us once they find the signal."

"Where are we going to go?" Robert Charles asked. "Our astronomers haven't
found shit. They won't find shit. You want to pick a direction? Get one at
random? Face it, we have no place to go. We are all going to die on this
fucking ship."

"Don't get too optimistic, RC," Alex said. "Why don't you go downstairs and
tell little Matthew he is dead. Look at your friend Jordan. He's 12. Tell
him there is nothing you can do but sit here. Some leader you are. You lead
by sitting on your fat ass."

Robert Charles got up out of his seat, ready to slug Alex. Alex glared at
him and he wisely backed down. It still wasn't the time.

Just then the intercom buzzed. It was Jim. He had finished searching and
was looking at his calculations. "Alex, can you turn the ship five degrees
down, please?"

"Will do." Alex went into the cockpit, punched some buttons, and listened
to two of the small side retrorockets start. He punched in a number and saw
the stars move in the front view screen. He looked at a couple of gauges
and after the ship turned its five degrees he fired the other retrorocket
to stop the turn. The ship was still again. He shut both rockets down and
went back into the cabin.

Scooter and Jim looked at some new stars. They were all looking so much
alike and they still didn't know what they were looking for. Today, Douglas
was helping Scooter and Ryan was helping Jim. After an hour of searching
they were ready to give up and have the shuttle moved again. Suddenly Jim
thought he saw something. He looked again.

"Scooter, come look at this."

"What?"

"Just come here and look."

Scooter crawled across the cramped space. He looked through Jim's
telescope. "What am I looking for?"

"Do you remember seeing pictures of the sun, what it looked like from the
edge of the solar system?"

"Yeah, sure, so....." Then Scooter saw it. A star a little larger than the
others. Almost the same size and brightness as the pictures of the sun. And
there was more. He saw a couple of bright objects to the side. Could they
be planets?

"What is it?" Douglas asked.

"I'm not sure," Jim said, "but I think we just found a place to fly to."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"No way, we stay right here!" Robert Charles said for the tenth time.
"Nobody will ever find us if we go too far."

"You still don't get it, do you? They can follow the locator."

"Yeah, but only so far. It's not that strong. Tell them, Jordan."

"He's right and he isn't," Jordan said. Jordan was familiar with how ship's
systems worked. Jordan felt miserable. He wanted to get drunk so
badly. "They can trail it if we leave. But it isn't that strong and it's
easy to lose. I vote we stay here."

"We've been here over a week. I haven't seen anybody yet," Mike said.

"Look," Robert Charles said. "Let's say they're right. And we don't know
that they are. That could be a big star light years away. But even if they
are, the odds are there is no Earth sized planet orbiting it. And if there
was, a planet with a livable atmosphere has never been found. We've had to
create the atmosphere on every planet we've ever settled. And we're dozens
of light years away from any colony we've ever made. What do you think the
odds are of us finding a place to land - if we could land - since Alex has
never landed a shuttle?"

"Hmmmmmmm...about a billion to one I suppose," Douglas said.

"Well, for once we agree on something," Robert Charles said. Well, we agree
you're a total wuss, he thought to himself. Even you know that about
yourself, Douglas the fearful leader.

"And the odds of us finding a safe place staying here are zero," Douglas
added. "I like a billion to one better. It's time for us to move."

"Well, since this isn't a democracy, we stay."

"Oh, but you're wrong, Robert Charles. This is our lives you're talking
about. And if you haven't forgotten, you're not our boss. So don't pretend
to be. Remember what Mr. Benson said."

"He isn't here, Dougie. And you can remember that." Robert Charles had
pretty much been quiet for a week, but now his old self was showing
again. He was ready to run the show.

Douglas sat there quietly. Here he was using an adult again. Well, there
were no adults here to bail him out, and he had better remember
that. Robert Charles was the one with the power now, whether he liked it or
not.

"I'm with Douglas," Alex said. "I call for a vote. I don't want to rot and
die in this spot. If I'm gonna die, I want to die fighting."

"I'm with Alex," Mike said.

"I don't want to die sitting here," Brett put in, tears running down his
cheek. That clinched it with everybody, since Brett usually sat there and
never said anything. They were all shouting for a vote now. Robert Charles
was smart enough to know when to back down, and he did here. The vote was
fast. Everybody voted to head for the star Jim and Scooter saw.

An hour later Alex and Robert Charles finished going through their
checklist. So far Alex had only fired the retrorockets, now he was going to
fire the huge Centron Interplanetary rockets. Jim figured it would take
three days to reach the orbit path of the type of planet they were looking
for, if there was such a planet. Everything checked out. Alex quietly
thanked First Officer Benson for taking the time to show them something he
thought they would never use. Robert Charles started counting down. When he
got to three, Alex flipped a switch. When he got to zero, Alex pushed the
ignition button, and the big rockets fired, pushing everybody back into
their seats. Alex ran the shuttle to its top speed, then cut the
rockets. In space their inertia would keep them going. From here they would
follow the path Scooter and Jim mapped out. In three days they would start
to learn if they had any chance of surviving at all.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Douglas was napping in a reclining seat. Brett came and sat next to him
looking at Douglas, waiting for him to wake up. When he did, Brett talked
to him about the time their cardsgot picked in Alex's room. He asked
Douglas if he wanted to do something with him. Brett still had his crush on
Douglas.

"We could go downstairs, and, well...you know," Brett said.

"Brett, Scooter and I have a deal. I think it's the same as a lot of guys
right now. We need to help each other in any way we can. But making love is
for my lover only. You want us to suck each other off, I'm cool with
it. But that's as far as it goes."

That was all Brett needed to know. Douglas kicked down the leg rest, and
Brett got between his legs, watching Douglas get hard as he licked his
dick. He slowly slid Douglas's hardness into his mouth, and started sucking
him. Douglas leaned back, thinking of how Jeremy had helped this quiet
little sad boy become so much happier and alive. Then he got lost in the
sensations of Brett's mouth. They didn't even notice Ryan, Jim, or Stevie
go by, and they enjoyed each other. Douglas arched his back and shot his
thin boyish cum into Brett's mouth. Brett let some dribble out and Douglas
licked it off.

Then they changed places, and Douglas did Brett, teasing and licking and
sucking him until he came wildly into Douglas's mouth.

Brett got up to leave, and looked at the boy he had such a crush on. "If it
wasn't for Scooter, I'd be your boyfriend." Then he blushed, realizing what
he said was stupid.

"Brett. You can always be my friend and my brother," Douglas smiled.

Brett smiled back. "My brother. I love you, my brother. I'll follow you
anywhere." He leaned over, kissed Douglas's cheek and then walked up the
aisle.

Brett and Douglas weren't the only ones to take in somebody's love as they
raced towards the star ahead of them. Travis and Mike. Alex and
Scooter. Matthew and Stevie. Those were just a few during the day. And at
night it was each boy with his partner again, with Matthew sharing bags
with Alex and Mike one night, Scooter and Douglas the second night, and
Ryan and Travis the third. Robert Charles and Jordan asked, but he refused,
and Robert Charles avoided a trip through the airlock by not pushing it.

And they were heading to a nearby star. It got bigger all the time, until
by the third day it was the size of their own sun. Only one thing happened
on the way. An alarm went off on the third night. Alex went sleepily to
the cockpit. It read a meteor hit them, but it didn't penetrate the
hull. They weren't losing any air or pressure. Alex shut off the alarm and
went back to his sleeping bag.

As they got close to planet Scooter noticed that Jim was looking a little
depressed.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing. My birthday was yesterday. Kind of a bad place to have it I
guess. Nobody even knew it, and I kind of forgot."

Scooter felt badly. He should have remembered that it was Jim's birthday.
He had turned 14 yesterday, lost in space. Nobody remembered it. Scooter
wondered where he would be when he turned 14. If they even made it that
long.

It took only a couple of hours to find a planet. They were amazed. It was
close to Earth orbit, and close to Earth size. But when they got close,
they could see it wasn't like Earth at all. It was a desert planet like
Mars, and like all the planets that had been settled so far.

"There you have it," Robert Charles gloated. "Nothing. Just like I said.
You want to land there? I don't think so."

Scooter and Jim were down in the little observatory checking out the
planet. They buzzed Alex on the intercom. Alex had just finished hitting
the reverse thrusters on the rockets to stop the "Moonduster" close to the
planet. He didn't want to even begin to try putting it into orbit.

"Alex, get Douglas and Robert Charles. We're coming up. We found something
interesting," Jim said.

The five of them met in the galley.

"We have the readings on the atmosphere," Jim said.

"What are they?" Robert Charles asked.

"About 85% nitrogen, and 8% oxygen, with carbon dioxide and other gasses
making up the rest," Jim said.

"See, I told you we couldn't land there," Robert Charles said. "The
atmosphere is poison."

"I don't know where you went to school," Douglas said, "but that's just
about exactly the mix of Earth's atmosphere. We can breathe it."

The five boys looked at each other. Now the only question was, should they
land there? That was for the whole group to decide. This time Robert
Charles let it go to a vote right away. It was looking more and more like
he wasn't running the show like he wanted to.

The vote was unanimous - land. They were all sick of being cooped up. Even
a desert planet had to be better than being locked in space in the small
shuttle. They had food, water and the locator. And maybe there was
something hidden that they couldn't see. Water somewhere. Whatever, they
wanted to be on a planet again, on land.

Alex was afraid of that in a way. He looked at the simulator scores.
Robert Charles had tried ten landings. A landing had to be just right. Go
in too steep, the ship burns to a crisp. Go in too shallow and it bounces
off the atmosphere and gets flung into space. Robert Charles had landed
safely only once. Alex looked at his own scores. He had tried 35
landings. Twelve were successful, including his last five. Fifteen he had
come in too steep and burned up. Fifteen were too shallow. Of those fifteen
his simulator shuttle had broken apart because the stress was too much in
four of them. It survived the other eleven and could be flown around to try
again. If he made a mistake, it would have to be coming in too
shallow. They had plenty of fuel of making extra tries. As long as he
didn't pull up too fast, they could circle around and try again.

He looked down at the gauges. He would need Robert Charles as a copilot
again. How he wished somebody else had raised their hand. Then something
caught his eye. He called Robert Charles in.

"Look at the fuel gauge," Alex said.

"Shit. It's only at a half. We hardly used any fuel getting here. There is
a leak someplace."

"That meteor must have hit the fuel tank or a fuel line. It was close to
full before we reached this planet's orbit. We're going to have to land
quickly if we're going to do it before the fuel leaks out." Alex tried
going through the manual to see if he could shut the fuel supply off. He
couldn't find anything. His hands were shaking.

"We have space suits. We could go out and fix the leak."

"Get real, RC. Nobody here knows how to use one and fix it. We don't even
know where to look. We have to land now."

"You're right" He could see the gauge dropping down below the half mark.

"Tell everybody to buckle in," Alex said. "I'm going to land this sucker."
He looked at the falling gauge. Now it was going to be different. He
couldn't go in shallow and do it again. The leak was a major one. He could
see that he had only one chance to land, and it had better be just right.

Next: Chapter 21 A Long Way Down.

Constructive comments are welcome. E-mail me at TheHakaanen@Hotmail.com.
Douglas DD

 

 

 

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