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.


by Douglas DD

The "Survivor" sat at the end of the runway. Enghar had his head buried in
his dad's chest. He knew that any second now he would hear the roar of the
rockets and his love and Meshanna would be gone forever.

The crowd waited for the shuttle to take off, but it just sat there on the
end of the runway. Roobine was watching from the control tower. He knew
Alex and Stevie had finished their checklist and that they should be
revving up the engines and taking off, however nothing was happening.

"Alex, is everything okay?" he asked on the radio.

He got nothing but silence back. He started to worry. "Alex? What's going
on there?"

Again there was just silence. The shuttle started to move. Good, Roobine
thought, they are starting their takeoff. But the "Survivor" was not
accelerating, it was taxiing.

Enghar could hear the engines rev up and he buried his head deeper into his
dad's chest. The doctor turned his son around and showed him what was
happening. The shuttle moved slowly down the runway, turned toward the
terminal, taxied to it, and stopped. Enghar could feel his heart
thumping. He knew this had to do with Mattoo.

He saw the steps rolled up to the shuttle. He wanted to look and he didn't
want to look. Maybe it wasn't about Mattoo at all. Maybe they just forgot
something, or maybe something was broken.

The door opened, and Mike stood in the opening. Enghar felt his heart
stop. They must have forgotten something. He turned back to his dad, who
could see the hurt in his son's face. The doctor looked up at the door
again and saw the big teenager hugging a little boy, then taking his hand
and leading him down the steps. He turned Enghar around and showed him who
was coming down. Enghar's eyes opened up wide and he ran to the steps. The
boy was holding a beat up backpack in one hand and Mike's hand in the
other. He dropped both and ran towards Enghar.

"Mattoooooooooo!!!!" Enghar yelled.

They opened their arms and hugged each other and cried.

"Are you staying?" Enghar asked.

"I'm home. Why should I leave? How can I leave my Meshanna?" He turned to
the doctor who had followed Enghar and hugged him. "Or my family."

He ran back to the steps and gave Mike a huge hug. "I love you, big

"I love you little brother."

Matthew looked up the stairs and saw Douglas standing there. He gave him a
wave. Douglas smiled and waved back. They both thought about what had
happened on the "Survivor" as it sat on the runway ready for takeoff.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Alex was just finishing his
checklist with Stevie and Roobine. Scooter was in the cockpit too, so he
could do the translating. They heard loud voices coming from the cabin.

"What's going on?" Alex asked.

"I don't know," Scooter said. "I'll go back and take a look."

Scooter unbuckled his seat belt and went back. He saw right away what the
problem was. Matthew was yelling, "I don't want to go!" He could see tears
flowing down the boy's cheeks.

Douglas got up out of his seat. "You have to go Matthew. I have to get you
home safely." He looked at Scooter. "Tell Alex we're ready to take off." He
sat in the seat across from Matthew and buckled himself back in. But
Scooter just stood there.

"Scooter, you know he can't stay here!" Douglas said.

`Maybe this is where he belongs', he heard Scooter say in his mind. `Maybe
it's his decision, not yours.'

`Scooter, you have to back me up here. You know I'm right. We've talked
about it.'

`I thought you were right, my love. But now I'm not so sure. I think it has
to be up to him.'

`He's eleven years old. He can't decide this. I have to take him home to
his parents.'

`Listen to yourself, my love. Everything you're saying is about
you. Nothing you're saying is about Matthew. This decision isn't about you,
it's about him, and it's time you started listening.'

`I'm the leader, Scooter. Sometimes I have to decide what's right for
people, even if they don't like it.'

`When do I get to call you RC?' Scooter asked.

Douglas looked at Scooter with a stunned look on his face. He felt like he
had just been slapped. `That's not a fair thing to say and you know it,
Scooter. Matthew has to go because it's the right decision, not because
I'm trying to be his boss. It has to be this way because it's right. He has
to go.'

`Whether he likes it or not.'


Matthew was getting impatient. All he could see was the two boys staring at
each other, intense and almost angry looks on their faces.

Alex broke the silence by opening the door and coming out of the
cockpit. "What's the problem? Why aren't we ready to take off?"

"You said for me to follow my heart, Alex," Matthew said. "Everybody says I
should go back with you guys, but my heart says it wants me to stay. So I'm

Douglas stared at Alex. So Alex was behind this. He felt betrayed by
Matthew, by Scooter, and by Alex. He had promised to get them all back. He
owed it to them and to their parents. He knew how Matthew felt, and he
understood, but there was no way Matthew was staying on Inferno.

"No!" Douglas said. "You have to go, Matthew. This isn't your home. This
isn't where you belong."

"Yes, it is! Enghar is my Meshanna. His parents love him! I do belong here!
Not with people who don't care about me!. Not with people who were mean to
me my whole life!"

"But they're your parents, Matthew, and...

"I don't give a shit!" the boy yelled back. "I hate them. I fucking hate
them!" Now everybody was staring at the crying boy. Little Matthew had
always been quiet, sweet, and even tempered through everything he had gone
through, which was a lot more than some of the rest of them had been
through. He had never screamed, and nobody could remember ever hearing him
cuss. The cabin was quiet. Only the air fans could be heard.

Mike got up and signaled to Douglas to go to the back with him. He
signaled to Scooter and Alex to join him.

The four boys stood at the back of the cabin ready to listen to Mike.

"Douglas, I became Matthew's little brother on the 'Starkeeper' because of
how his parents treated him and because of how Jordan and RC treated him,
he wanted to die. He was eleven years old and didn't want to live any
more. It was that bad. Then he ends up buried alive in the desert, and only
blind luck got him rescued. He is lucky to be sitting here alive right
now. It was Enghar and Enghar's family who brought him totally back to
health, both his mind and his body."

"That's all great," Douglas interrupted. "But he still....."

"Douglas. Just shut up for a minute, will you?" Mike said. "Just listen."

Once again Douglas was stunned. None of his friends had ever talked to him
this way. "Say what you want. Matthew isn't staying here."

"Douglas, he found what he wants in life here, on an alien planet, with
beings different from us. They are a lot like us, too. He should really not
be alive now, but he is. The only reason he agreed to leave Inferno is
because he loves and respects you, Douglas. Because he was willing to do
whatever you wanted, even if it tore him up inside. He has shown his
feelings and love for you. I talked to him and gave him advice to go with
us, because I love and respect you too.

"But I see now that I was wrong and that you are wrong. Matthew's life is
here on Inferno. He should have died here, but instead he found life
here. We have no right to make him go. He belongs here."

Douglas sat in one of the seats. "No. I promised. I promised all of
you. It's like in a way the promise was made to his parents, to all of our
parents. I promised to get you all back. I'm responsible for getting him
home. It's why you made me leader."

Scooter decided it was time for him to talk. "My love, we made you leader
because we wanted to follow you. Anywhere, anytime. We love and trust
you. But you never promised to take us home. You promised to take us to
safety. You did that with Matthew. He is safe and loved here."

"It's my decision. I know what you're saying. It's my decision, and he has
to go."

Scooter sat next to Douglas and tried putting his arm around him. Douglas
pulled away from him. Scooter looked Douglas directly in the eye. "From the
first day we elected you leader, the four of us met to talk over the tough
things we needed to do. You decided but we helped you. And you listened to
us. Listen to us now. Please."

"I never thought you would ever turn on me Scooter. Go ahead. Do whatever
you want. I don't care." He turned and stared out the window.

Scooter started to reach for him, then turned to Mike. "Let's go. I think
Matthew is going to be home faster than the rest of us."

Mike led Scooter up the aisle. Alex looked at Douglas and said, "Douglas,
this isn't like you at all. Not at all. You didn't listen to your heart or
to Matthew's heart. You didn't look to see what was best for the other
person. You looked to see what was best for yourself. That's not what made
you a great leader." He walked up the aisle too, but Douglas wouldn't look
away from the window.

Mike sat down next to Matthew. "Hi, little brother."

Matthew fought off a sniffle. "Well, I've got to go don't I?" He saw Alex
and Scooter go back into the cockpit.

Mike was ready to tell him that Alex was going to taxi him back to the
terminal, that the decision had been made. Mike also realized that if he
did it would almost be an act of mutiny against Douglas. Douglas's
behavior right now was way out of character. He knew the incident with
Robert Charles in the cave was still eating away at Douglas, and perhaps
was clouding his judgement. Whatever was making him behave the way was, he
still was their leader. If they commited an act of mutiny against him, no
matter how the good the reason, no matter how close their friendships were,
then Douglas could never again be the leader he was. Mike knew that only
Douglas could make the final decision.

"Go back and talk to Douglas," Mike said. "He will answer that question
for you."

Still sniffling, Matt got up out of his seat and walked to the back of the
shuttle, where he saw Douglas still staring sullenly out the window.

"Can I go home now, Douglas?"

Douglas turned slowly and faced Matt. He saw Matt's tear stained face and
looked into his sad eyes. He had a sudden vision of the boy on the floor
of the "Moonduster", so full of pain, yet so quiet and uncomplaining. He
remembered the little boy who would bravely whisper, "Green horsey,"
thought the pain, trying to tell his friends what it was he saw, hoping it
would save him. He understood how much Matt loved them, and he understood
how much Matt loved his Hakaanen family. He had been selfish and closed
His friends had been right for standing up to him.

Douglas looked at Matt and smiled. "Alex is going to taxi us back to the
terminal," he said. "I think somebody who loves you very much is waiting
for you."


"Yeah, really." Douglas gave him a big hug and his best smile.

"I love you, Douglas." Matt got up out of the seat and walked back to
where Mike was standing. The tears started streaming down his face again,
a mixture of tears of happiness and tears of sadness.

"I'm going to miss you, big brother. I love you."

"I love you too. But this is where you belong. This is where your family
is now. I'm sorry that I told you differently. I was wrong."

"I love you brother. And I'm happy. I'm doing what Alex said. I'm
following my heart."

"You're doing the right thing, little brother. I'll never forget
you. Ever."

"I won't ever forget you either big brother. You're my hero. You saved me
back then on the ship. I love you," he said one more time.

Mike leaned over and kissed him on the lips. The shuttle started moving
toward the terminal. They kissed deep and hard and long. Mike rubbed
Matthew's head and back and looked at the beautiful boy who he loved so
much. He really would miss him, but he was happy for him.

The shuttle soon came back to the terminal. Mike and Matthew got
up. Matthew walked to the back of the shuttle and stood next to where
Douglas was sitting.

"Thank you, Douglas. I love you."

Douglas got up and gave Matthew a quick kiss on the lips. "I love you, my
dear friend. Thanks for being great. I wish you nothing but happiness in
your new life. You're wonderful, Matthew. Never forget what a beautiful
person you are."

He watched Matthew and Mike leave the shuttle down the stairs. He looked as
Enghar and Matthew ran to each other and kissed and hugged and
cried. Douglas felt tears on his cheek. He remembered the day he left the
buried tents in the desert, knowing little Matthew was dead, that he would
never see him again, and that there was nothing he could do about it, and
how terribly he felt about it. He remembered how he felt when he found out
Matthew was alive and living with an alien family. The happiness in Matthew
was totally obvious.

And Scooter's words hit him. "When do I get to call you RC, then?" And Alex
saying, "You didn't look to see what was best for the other person. You
looked to see what was best for yourself. That's not what made you a great

They were right. He had let it all go to his head thinking he knew what was
right and what was best. Matthew was loved and happy right here. All he was
caring about was making all the adults, like Matthew's parents, happy. It
was his friends who chose him their leader, not the adults. He knew Mike
could have ordered Alex to taxi the suttle back to the terminal. He knew
why Mike sent Matthew back to him instead of giving the order himself.
Mike had given him one more chance to do what was right for Matthew. He
knew this time he had made the right decision, the one that was best for a
friend who loved and trusted him. He held back his tears, stood at the
door and gave Matthew a last wave and a last look.

He stood at the door. Matthew saw him and waved to him. Douglas waved back.

"I love you, Matthew!" Douglas yelled. "Good luck. And I'm sorry!"

Matthew's grin threatened to break his face. "I love you, Douglas! You
don't need to be sorry. Thank you!" He held tightly on to Enghar, like if
he was to let him go he would be sucked back into the shuttle.

Matthew threw him a kiss. Douglas threw one back. Mike walked up the
stairs smiling and happy.

The stairs were pulled away and the door was closed. Mike gave Douglas a
huge hug, squeezing him tight.

Douglas stood in front of the cabin. Alex, Stevie, and Scooter listened in.

"I was wrong guys. I thought I knew what was best for everybody, and that
what was best was what I wanted. I promised to get you guys home, but I
guess what I really meant is the way Scooter put it. It was to get you guys
safe." Douglas paused for a moment. "And it looks like right now, the only
person who has gone to safety is Matthew."

Douglas looked around the shuttle. "If anybody else feels like Inferno is
his home, now is your chance. And there will be no hard feelings from me or

Travis spoke up. "I don't know about everybody else. I like it here. I like
the Hakaanen. I made great friends here. If I had to stay here I wouldn't
be unhappy. But, a lot of you really miss your families. And the Hakaanen
need us to get them help. Douglas and Alex need as much help as they can
get to get us to Hakaan. Matthew found a family and a love here bigger than
what any of the rest of us found. He became somebody's Meshanna. Mattoo,"
he used the little boy's Hakaan name, "belongs here. I could stay and be
happy. But I don't belong here. I'm staying with Douglas."

Mike added one thing. "You were wrong about Matthew, Douglas. But you know
that and admitted it. But as for the rest of us, you were right. We need to
go back. And you need all of us to do that. And I have a feeling if all of
this works out, maybe someday some of us will find our way back. Now, let's
get this crate off the ground!"

Douglas hugged Mike and looked up into his brown eyes. "Thanks, Mike. I
owe you."

"Bullshit. It's us who owe you. I just helped make a payment for us."

They all sat back down and buckled up as Alex taxied back to the end of the
runway. Scooter got up and sat next to Douglas. "They don't need me. They
can take right off. I'll go back up when we're in space," Scooter
said. "You were awesome at the end, my love. Thank you."

"I'm sorry I was such a stubborn mule," Douglas said, calling himself what
his dad liked to call him.

"I'm sorry I said the mean thing I said to you," Scooter replied. `About
RC', he said mentally.

"Wake up call," Douglas said. "I needed it."

The two boys hugged each other.

"Why are we keeping the shuttle in space?" Brett asked Douglas from the
seat across the aisle. "Don't the Hakaan at least need it for parts?"

"We're not keeping it in space," Douglas answered. "It's being connected to
the starship. We're taking it with us. We don't know if they have shuttles
that work any more on Hakaan. So we might need one. We know this one works
and has enough fuel to land. Plus, Alex knows how to fly it."

Brett nodded his head and grabbed Jeremy's hand.

The "Survivor" got to the end of the runway. Alex turned it, revved up the
rockets, and let it shoot down the runway. They all felt the wheels leave
the ground.

Mattoo, Enghar, and all the Hakaanen watched and waved as the shuttle's
wheels left the ground of Inferno for probably the last time ever. Mattoo
looked around and suddenly realized that he was the last round ear left on
the planet.


Constructive comments are welcomed. E-mail me, Douglas DD, at




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