Author’s Note

It has been fun thinking up how Devon’s life will be affected by his newfound status as boyfriend. This chapter came rather quickly, and I hope you find it enjoyable.

The tale so far:

Tension seems to be growing on the ship. In the wake of the riot, a product of the protest started by Steven Caine and his group, Reid has joined Security Force, determined to help find a solution to the growing discontent. His best friend Patrick agrees to help – by going “undercover” as a supporter of Steven’s politics. The boys are now passing info to one another, sometimes through Devon.

Devon has been largely concentrating on his new relationship with Conner, but he is shaken back to reality when he visits the ship bridge at the exact moment a massive fire breaks out on one of the farms. He and Charlie look on in horror as the crew scrambles to action.

Space Ship Boys

Chapter 17 – The Ship Is On Fire (With Passion and Love)

Charlie and I stare at the large view screen at the front of the ship’s bridge, where we watch in shock as images from T3 flash across the screen. T3, one of the larger grain farms on the ship, was currently on fire, wicked looking flames engulfing the plants and rising into the air in spiraling columns.

We can see dozens of figures scurrying about the farm, although it’s uncertain whether they are responsible for the blaze or trying to put it out.

“Where the hell is suppression?” Captain Bianchi asks. His voice is calm and collected, although there is no doubt he’s completely in charge here.

Ensign Muldaur, the blonde crew member who is accessing data on the incident currently taking place, punches several commands into to her terminal before responding. “I-I’m not sure. They appear to be malfunctioning. I’m trying to initiate rain, but it’s not working. And I can’t alter the gravity, either.”

Charlie and I look at one another; he looks really concerned. I know why – Mike sometimes works in T3. I remind him that his boyfriend didn’t have farm duty today, he was working in engineering with Reid. Charlie looks slightly more relieved, but not completely.

“If you can’t get those systems online,” Captain Bianchi barks, “let’s initiate an atmospheric evacuation. Make the announcement, ensign.” He looks over to another crew member. “Matthews, get me Stranton. Right now.” His voice sounds a little cold.

Ensign Muldaur speaks into her headset. “This is a ship-wide alert. We are initiating an emergency atmospheric evacuation in Area T3. Please evacuate the area immediately. This is not a drill. I repeat – Area T3 will experience an atmospheric evacuation in twenty seconds. If you are in the area, please evacuate. If you cannot evacuate, please immediately move to a breathing station.”

All of the terminals in the bridge are now manned. Most of the crew are in uniform, but some have entered wearing their civilian clothes. There is an uneasy buzz about the air; the crew’s demeanor is professional and collected, but it doesn’t mask the fact that something really wrong is happening.

“Atmospheric evacuation?” Charlie asks. “That’s crazy.”

We’d all been drilled on various emergency procedures throughout the ship. Some seemed silly – like what to do if the toilets all backed up – where others were scary, such as the procedure for a total breach of the ship’s hull.

Fire suppression was a common drill. The first course of action was to drench the flames using the sprinkler systems; most farms could easily produce a torrential rainstorm. If this didn’t work, the gravity could be turned off. For most areas of the ship, turning the gravity completely off was only allowed during an emergency, but it was doable. As I’d learned from first hand experience, zero gravity could be used for effective fire suppression. In zero gravity, hot air doesn’t rise because it is no longer lighter than cooler air, so the flame’s exhaust just sits around the fire, reducing its ability to spread. The fire might not go completely out, but it would usually be reduced to a smoldering ball of red flame if it didn’t.

If neither of these worked, a more severe course of action was undertaken – atmospheric evacuation. It was exactly what it sounded like, the air in the room would be removed and replaced with inert gasses, including heptafluoropropane. The benefit was that the fire would go out almost immediately, with the downside that the air wouldn’t be breathable. Fortunately, an atmospheric evacuation was very short, requiring only a few seconds to work. Those in affected areas could access an emergency breathing station or hold their breath. Instances of suffocation were said to be rare. But living on a space ship...well, you really didn’t want unbreathable air, even for a few seconds.

“I’m prepped for atmosphere evacuation,” Ensign Muldaur says, working away at her terminal. “Requesting authorization to run a thirty second cycle in Area T3.”

“Authorization granted, run the cycle,” Captain Bianchi orders.

Charlie and I feel a tremendous tension spread across our bodies. Another crew member is seated near us, speaking into a headset. He’s requesting that anyone trained in medical assistance report to the level the farm is on. I imagine Conner receiving the notice, and then running out of the hospital to go help. The image of him in the middle of this makes me queasy.

“This is a ship-wide alert,” Ensign Muldaur says, speaking into her headset. “Atmospheric evacuation in Area T3 is imminent. Please move immediately to any available breathing station. If you are unable to comply, medical assistance will arrive shortly. Please remain calm. Take a deep breath on my mark – oxygen will be returned to the room after thirty seconds. Atmospheric evacuation in ten...nine...eight...”

On screen, most of the people still in the farm begin running for the exits. Others access the breathing stations, which are spaced along the walls in regular intervals, marked by large signs that are currently flashing blue.

The bridge is now crammed full of crew members. Charlie and I stand completely still, our eyes on the large display before us. My wristcom begins buzzing with incoming messages, but I ignore them, unable to tear my eyes away from the fires.

Ensign Muldaur reaches the end of her countdown and enters the command for the atmosphere evac. Although only the farm will be affected, everyone on the bridge takes a deep breath.

In the farm, the lights dim and then flicker back to full strength. Some of the people stuck in the room are still running around, but most have done as protocol dictates and found an available breathing station.

The fires don’t go out.

“Atmospheric evacuation failed!” Ensign Muldaur reports, fear creeping into her voice.

Charlie and I look back at Captain Bianchi. “What?” he asks in shock. “Get the oxygen out of there, Ensign, and do it now!”

“I-I’m sorry, sir,” Muldaur says. “It’s not working. The system is completely shut down. It could be fire damage...”

“We need to get this thing under control, people!” the Captain barks. “Weaver, Alonso, Studi...any ideas?” he asks.

The crew members he addresses shake their heads. One replies, “No sir. Muldaur is right – nothing is working.”

Another announces, “I have sensors going off along the port wall. We have temperature spikes...the fire is in the wall, sir.”

Captain Bianchi swears under his breath. “Am I right that T4 is on the other side of that wall?” he asks.

When Ensign Muldaur confirms this, and that fire suppression isn’t working there either, Lieutenant Olin quietly says, rather uncharacteristically, “Holy shit.”

“What’s going on?” Charlie asks.

We both know T4 really well – although we call it a farm, it’s really a large forest, the largest on the ship. It’s where Charlie had recently held the scrub campout. Dozens of acres of evergreen trees were packed into the massive space, towering overhead in an arboreal spectacle unlike anything else on the ship.

Olin whispers to us, not wanting to distract any of the crew members, who are all frantically searching for a solution to the problem. “The fire is spreading,” he explains. “It’s in the walls, which means it will work its way to the farm above T3. But worst of all, it might spread to T4. If the trees catch fire...we could be looking at a complete disaster.”

I feel sick to my stomach. One farm burning seemed slightly scary, but a fire hopping from farm to farm, destroying our food and air supply inch by inch, was terrifying. The smoke in T3 was growing so dense that it’s obstructing the cameras, although we can still make out several figures running to and fro. Some seem to be trying to combat the flames with handheld extinguishers, where others are just trying to get out of the way of the fire. One guy looks like he’s passed out, presumably from smoke inhalation. Two of the other people scrambling around the farm seem to notice and run to his assistance, dragging his limp frame toward the exit.

Suddenly I wondered whether LB, the small black cat that roamed the halls down in these farms, was okay. She usually showed up in F117, which was several levels below T3 in a substantially smaller farm. No animals lived in either T3 or T4, which was fortunate.

But there were some in W4.

I thought about the massive tank that housed the whales, along with a fair number of fish. W4 was located on several levels, being as large as it was, but if the layout of the ship in my head was correct, it shared common walls with both T3 and T4. Would a massive fire burn hot enough to affect the tank? Would the whales and fish be boiled alive, or would that require far more energy than a fire, even a massive one, could generate? I wasn’t sure.

“There’s a billion gallons of water in W4,” I whisper to Charlie. “Too bad that doesn’t help.”

Lieutenant Olin gives me a sideways glance, and then his eyes light up. “That’s perfect!” he exclaims.

Leaving us standing off in our corner, he leaps over a railing and gets onto a terminal, pushing the crew member manning it aside. “I think I have a solution,” he says, turning to the Captain. “Yes...these systems are working.” Several crew members stare at him, hopeful. “If I override the system, I can open the vents between W4 and T3. It will flood the farm.”

Flooding the farm sounds like a good idea. Captain Bianchi asks for details, not wanting to make the situation worse. Lieutenant Olin explains his idea. Between W4 and T3 lay a massive secondary tank. Here, a series of underwater tube structures house hundreds of fish farms in independent biospheres. The entire chamber housing the fish farms is itself flooded, and is technically part of W4’s main tank, although a series of vents and filters prevent any large animals from getting into the secondary tank. We often swam or surfed in W4, but I’d never visited the tank on the other side of the wall, although you could go scuba diving there if you so wished. I’d heard it was a little creepy, just a massive dark tank with hundreds of fish-filled tubes floating around.

Lieutenant Olin proposes that he close off W4 and the secondary tank and then open the vents between the smaller tank and T3. The water in the secondary tank will theoretically flood T3 and put the fires out, although no one seems sure exactly how much liquid we were talking about.

“I don’t see that we have many other options,” Captain Bianchi says. “How is the situation in T4?”

An ensign named Weaver responds. “I’m not showing any fires in the farm itself, and I’m looking at the video feed right now. But the fires are definitely in the walls, and that whole area is thick with brush. It’s going to spread there, it’s just a matter of time.”

“Okay,” the Captain says slowly, deep in thought. “Let’s flood the farm. But I want all doors open on that level first, and warn people. the feed. If the water in T3 starts to get too deep I want those vents closed. I don’t want to drown everyone in there.”

I feel another knot bunch up in my tummy. Drown? Is Conner down there?

Ensign Muldaur accesses the intercom. “Attention to those in T3 and the surrounding areas. We are going to try to put out the fires by flooding the farm. Please move to the rear wall or anchor yourselves.” She taps a long finger on her screen and then turns to the Captain. “Sir, there are a lot of people in there. That’s a lot of water...they’ll probably be swept away, we could have injuries.”

“I know,” he replies, “but I don’t see that we have any other choice. If we don’t get this fire under control, everyone in there might die. Olin, get those vents open now.”

Lieutenant Olin acknowledges the order and follows it. Punching commands into his system frantically, he initiates the procedure. Every eye watches the main screen with intense apprehension. Next to me, Charlie looks completely pale, and I’m sure I seem even more so.

At first nothing happens, and we all expect another system failure to be reported. But then five large openings appear in the forward wall. A millisecond later, each erupts with a tremendous jet of water. It’s as if a million fire hoses have been set loose upon the room.

I hold my breath. The tactic seems like it has to work. The wheat beds in front of the vents are immediately deluged, and although there is no sound accompanying the images on screen, I imagine that the fire is hissing and crackling viciously as it dies.

The tank that’s been opened to T3 is massive, and it’s only seconds before the water pouring into the wheat farm is ankle deep. Most everyone remaining in the farm runs toward the entrance, which has been opened so that water pours out into the hallway, although some have stopped to watch the flood. It’s only thirty seconds before the water level is high enough so that it begins to flood all the wheat, which sits up off the ground in raised beds.

“It’s working!” Charlie exclaims. Indeed it seems to be, although the crew members in the room hold off on celebrating.

“What’s going on in T4?” the Captain asks. Ensign Weaver is monitoring the situation there, and reports that the temperature alerts are disappearing one by one. She’s able to open the vents between the farm and the crawl space so that water pours down into there as well, dousing any flames that have made it between the walls.

After a minute, the fire is completely extinguished. The water in T3 reaches about three feet deep before Olin is commanded to close the vents to W4. He does so and the jets on the far side of the room subside, presenting a view of one massive soggy, but fortunately no longer burning, mess. A round of applause rises from the room.

“Okay people, settle down,” Captain Bianchi commands. “Do you have Stanton?” he asks. An ensign named Studi responds affirmatively, and bumps a live feed from the mayor’s office up onto the main screen. Eden Stranton is sitting at his desk, looking slightly worried.

“Captain,” he says, acknowledging that the connection is functional.

“Mayor Stranton,” the Captain says, his tone officious, “as I’m sure you’re aware, we currently have an incident in Area T3.”

Eden nods. “I’m monitoring the situation now,” he says. “I’m told the fires are out. Thank you, captain, to you and everyone responsible for that.” Eden goes on to say that he’s declared a state of emergency, and that security force has been scrambled, asked to report to the farm to provide emergency assistance. He also says he’s in contact with medical. He names the medical officers currently on their way to the farm, and Conner is one of them. I breath a sigh of relief – he hadn’t been there during the fire or the flood.

“I would like to send a military unit down to T3,” the Captain says.

Eden thinks about this for a moment, and then shakes his head. “I’m sorry, Captain, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. If you want to send off duty officers to assist, we’re happy for the help, but I’m inferring that you want to send in an armed force. Correct me if I’m wrong.”

“I’m talking about ten to fifteen troops...yes, armed and capable of providing police support. I believe this is warranted,” the Captain says. It sounds reasonable to me.

“Sorry, I’m going to have to deny that request,” Eden replies.

Captain Bianchi’s reaction is immediate and severe. “Dammit, Stranton! For all we know this could be an act of aggression. The suppression systems were all down...I find that highly suspicious.”

Eden looks cool and collected. “As do I,” he agrees. “But I’m told the ship, crew and passengers are no longer in any immediate danger. Like I said, we’re happy for any non-military assistance you want to provide, but I don’t want armed soldiers coming down here.”

“We’ve been through this before, Stranton...” Captain Bianchi starts, his tone angry. Eden cuts him off.

“Yes we have, Captain, and I respect your concerns. But military operations cannot take place on civilian soil unless consented to by the mayor’s office. And in this case, I see no reason to have armed troops patrolling the halls. We already have enough problems because of the security force...soldiers are only going to rile Caine’s group. Besides, there’s no way your men can patrol the entire ship. Trust me, Captain, this incident will be investigated, and if this is an act of sabotage the culprits will brought to justice. But this will be accomplished by the civilian government...I can’t allow the military down here right now. But I’m happy for any assistance you want to provide. I would also be amenable to an investigative liaison, if you’d like a member of your crew to coordinate investigative efforts with this office.”

Captain Bianchi looked enraged, but cedes to Eden’s apparent authority. “Fine,” he says, anger in his voice. “But get your people under control, Stranton. I won’t allow the ship or my men to be put in peril just to preserve the line between civilian and military.”

“I understand, Captain,” Eden says. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to get to work. Again, I want to thank you and the entire crew for a job well done. We’ll take things from here.” The two leaders end the call, and Eden’s image disappears from the screen.

Once the view of the farm comes back up, we can see that hundreds of people have entered the farm, wading through water that’s fallen to ankle depth. One rescue worker is dressed in a white jacket with a large red cross on the back – I recognize him as Ian Whedon, the nurse. Conner must be there too, but I don’t see him.

From behind us, Captain Bianchi swears and mutters under his breath, presumably upset about Eden’s refusal to allow him to send military personnel down to the farm. He takes a deep breath, looking around the bridge, thirty pairs of eyes fixed on him awaiting his next command.

“Ok people,” he says, “good work with the fire, but there’s a lot more work to be done. I want a level one alert in effect for the base. I want a level three lockdown initiated for the civilian sectors – the mayor may have the authority to run things, but we can put some restrictions in place. And I want every sensor, alarm and emergency system tested – immediately. We don’t know if this was an attack or not, but given the problems with fire suppression we have to assume it was. Turn on the wristcom tracking. If this the first of multiple attacks, I want to know. And I don’t care what Stranton says, I want all available video feed for the last twenty-four hours isolated and archived.”

He looks straight at Charlie and me. I wonder if he’s going to congratulate me on my bright idea to use the whale tank to put out the fires, but then he says, “Olin, get these kids out of here. We’re on alert, I want you to personally escort them to the civilian sector.”

The bridge buzzes with activity, crew members either carrying out the Captain’s orders directly, or passing on commands to crew of lower rank. Lieutenant Olin walks back over to us. “C’mon guys, time to go.” He places a hand on each of our shoulders, pointing us toward the exit.

We leave the bridge, which I no longer find dull. We walk through the military sections of the ship, heading back to the elevators where we’d arrived.

“What the hell was that all about?” I ask, meaning everything – the fire, the problems with the ship’s systems, the argument between Eden and Captain Bianchi.

Lieutenant Olin replies, his voice flat. “Sorry guys, I can’t talk about operations during an alert. I need to get you off base.”

“Oh hey, I forgot my tablet,” Charlie moans. It was true, he’d been carrying around a small tablet with which to make notes. He’d left it sitting on the bridge in all the confusion.

“You left it on the bridge?” Olin asks. Charlie nods. Olin swings his wrist to his lips and speaks into his wristcom. “Deck sergeant,” he says. When his call is answered he continues. “Sergeant, there is a civilian tablet on the bridge. I need to you institute quarantine procedures.”

The sergeant acknowledges the order. “Quarantine procedures?” I ask. “Can’t we just go back and get it?” I turn around to face the direction we’d come. I find an open palm placed firmly and quickly against my sternum.

“Mister Chasen,” Lieutenant Olin says, “please turn around and proceed to the exit.” His command is firm and authoritative, something rare for the normally soft spoken officer.

“I was just...” I protest, but Olin cuts me off.

“I am under orders to escort you away from the base. You left an electronic device on the bridge at a time when we may be under attack. The device will be confiscated and examined, and later returned to you. I know you boys pretty well, and I know you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I didn’t know you personally, you’d both be on your way to an interrogation room. I’m sorry, but I have to follow protocol. I need to have your tablet inspected to make sure it isn’t a weapon, and I need to get you back to the civilian area.”

Charlie looks annoyed. We’d been asked up here, after all, and now it felt like we were being suspected of something. “And if we don’t go?” he asks.

Teenagers are hardwired to question authority. Sometimes this is a good idea, others it isn’t. Lieutenant Olin looks at us both blankly and says, “If you gentlemen would be so kind as to notice the flashing red panels around the room...” We look and see that, indeed, every fifty meters or so there is a white panel set into the wall, a numeric keypad on each. A bright red light flashes over each, lights that had activated when the ship went on alert.

Olin continues, “Each panel contains emergency weapons. I am under orders, gentlemen. Please turn around and begin walking toward the exit. I would not want to shoot either of you, but that is protocol if you refuse to leave.”

Charlie gulps, feeling stupid for having asked. We comply with the order, Lieutenant Olin leading us toward the exit. We walk down several hallways, eventually coming to the large blue arch where we’d entered the base. Eight rather nervous crew members stand on the base side of the arch. They’re dressed in combat gear and carrying rifles.

“I have two civilians leaving,” Olin says. We’re searched, and then allowed to pass under the arch. Again we pass the scan, apparently, since nothing happens.

Charlie and I enter the elevator, expecting Olin to turn and head back to the base. Instead he enters the compartment with us. I groan inwardly. I’m feeling a bit out of sorts from everything, and I’d hoped we’d be rid of all things military once we got off base.

Olin presses the button for the main lobby. When the doors close, he says, “I’m sorry about that. I have to follow orders to the letter when on base. We’re back on civilian soil now.”

“So we can go wherever we like?” I ask.

Olin nods, and then corrects himself. “Well, no. There’s a lockdown in effect. I’d highly suggest you go straight home. But you’re not under my supervision any longer.”

I’m a little pissed at Jonathan, who I felt could have both followed orders and been polite. “So we can tell you that you’re a smarmy plonker?” I ask sarcastically.

Olin looks a little hurt, but unsurprised by my comment. “I suppose,” he says. “But then I can tell you to grow up, Devon.”

I’d insulted the lieutenant, but that didn’t mean I was any less annoyed by his comment. “Oh?” I ask coldly. “How’s that?”

He looks me in the eye. “You live on a space ship that has a very delicate political balance – one that is clearly deteriorating. I’d think you would appreciate this more than anyone. The riots last month were one thing, but what happened today...if those fires were deliberately set, that was an attack on our food and air supply.”

Charlie and I respond with worried looks. Olin sighs deeply. “I’m just saying. Something is going on, and it’s not good. I want you boys to be careful. This isn’t a laughing matter, we all depend on stability for our survival.”

Our trio is silent for the rest of the elevator ride, the impact of Olin’s words settling on our shoulders. When we reach the main lobby Charlie and I get off, but Lieutenant Olin remains in the compartment, punching a command for a different floor. As the doors slide closed, I consider making a quick apology, but I don’t.

Charlie and I follow the Lieutenant’s advice and head straight home.

* * * * *

The two weeks following the incident on the farm are a really weird time on the ship.

In what feels like a miracle, no one had been killed during the fire or the flood. There were several broken bones and some pretty bad burns, and one guy had been slammed into a wall when the deluge was set loose on the room, requiring emergency surgery, but he’d make a full recovery.

The crops had been destroyed, and the farm was a disaster, mud and ash coating everything. At first we all wondered how many shit detail assignments it would take to fix the place up again, but then something odd happened. Two days after the fire, once Eden’s security force had completed their initial investigation, a group of twelve guys showed up and just went to work cleaning up the massive mess. Word of this quickly spread through the ship. Despite still being on lockdown, the cleaning crew quickly grew to thirty, and then a hundred. And then a massive effort was under way, hundreds waiting in lines that stretched through the hallways of the affected level, waiting for the opportunity to spend a three hour shift scraping mud or carting soil. Reid and I get clearance to spend half a day standing around, then the other half helping in the ruined farm. The mood was somber, but there was a certain sense of pride amongst everyone helping.

Elsewhere on the ship, tensions seem to reach a boiling point. It was never clear how the fire started or who was behind it, but it was apparent that it had to do with Steven Caine and his politics. For the first time these had gone from being a general nuisance to a real danger, and when people started considering the implications of having food burned they got angry. Like really angry.

First there was outcry for progress to be made on the investigation. Eden appeared daily on the ship-wide TVs pledging to prosecute the perpetrators of the crime, and each day he offered a progress report, which all seemed to add up to a sum total of nothing.

And then the fear and anger was turned on Eden, and accusations were made that he wasn’t doing enough to investigate the cause of the fires. There were cameras all over the ship, and the question on everyone’s mind was how anyone could procure, prepare and distribute the incendiary devices required to start a fire as big as the one that had destroyed the farm. No one had any easy answers, and since Eden was the top elected official on the ship, it began to be widely believed that this was his fault.

In response, Steven Caine was confined to the brig under suspicion of arson, despite the fact that he could prove he was nowhere near the farm that day. More than a few guys wanted to string him up anyway.

Oddly enough, as much as I hated Steven, I was one of the first people to try and reassure my shipmates that the fire hadn’t done that much damage. We’d lost one crop cycle on the affected farm, and while that wasn’t good, we weren’t even dipping into the reserves to make up for the loss. In fact, we’d solved most of the problem by slaughtering a group of pigs early, making up for the reduced grain yields by eliminating the need to feed the animals. Poor oinkers, like the fire was their fault.

This resulted in more pork on the menu, which in the end worked out better for everyone. Well, everyone except the nine orthodox Jews and fourteen Muslims on the ship, who probably didn’t benefit from the pork surplus, nor did they seem to appreciate my matzoh ball and bacon soup.

Regardless of the fact that food wasn’t going to be in short supply any time soon, the assault on the farm crossed a line. Steven’s politics had gone from the demonstration phase to the activism phase, and that made everyone uncomfortable. After the alerts and lockdowns ended, there were whispers that Captain Bianchi still wanted to start stationing armed troops to the civilian areas, although for now it seemed like Eden remained insistent on using the security force to handle things. To this end, security force personnel were put on twenty-four hour duty in the main lobby and concourses, and Eden added another two hundred to the force.

So it was that mid-November arrived along with a general sense of anger, unease and confusion on the ship. But not so much for a certain blonde-haired blue-banged boy, who, despite being concerned about recent events, wanted life to return to normal.

For me, the novelty of having a new boyfriend hadn’t even remotely begun wearing off, and I spent my days feeling a bit high and thinking about when I’d next see Conner, or when I’d next smell him, or when I’d next slither up next to him naked. I didn’t give a crap about the politics on the ship – Conner more than kept my full attention, so much so that on occasion I found myself making a beeline for the hospital on my lunch breaks, hoping to con my boyfriend into a mid-day quickie.

“Devon, get up from under there,” Conner sighs, trying to sound more annoyed than bemused by the fact that I’ve crawled under his desk to offer him a study break blowjob. “I have fifteen journals to get through this afternoon, and then I have an eight hour shift. As much as I appreciate the gesture...”

I cross my legs, determined to stay down here until I get what I want. “Aw, come on,” I gripe. “How about this – you sit up there and read, and I stay down here and get to work? It’s multi-tasking!”

Conner’s desk sits in the middle of the room, a computerized tabletop atop two file cabinets. I’ve crawled between these in order to offer Conner some Devon-induced pleasure while he works, an idea that I’m sure is at least a little appealing to him. In fact, because he’s wearing his typical hospital kit, a set of navy blue scrubs, I can see that his body is responding to the notion, the thin cotton material not constraining his growing erection very well. I offer him a triumphal grin.

“Don’t you even start smirking at me like that,” he says, scolding me, but scolding me with a smile on his face so that I know I’m in no real trouble. I put a hand on his thigh; his skin is warm through the blue fabric. “And stop that! There’s no way I’m letting you blow me in here, and there’s no way I’m going to get anything done until you get up out of there.”

I try puppy dog-eyes. “Then we’re at an impasse,” I say. “Because I’m not getting up until I get you off.”

Conner leans forward and then there’s an audible thunk against the workspace over my head. I assume he’s banged his head on the desk in frustration. “Devon, you’re incorrigible,” he gripes. “I have no idea what I’m going to do with yo...AH!”

There’s a rule with boyfriends, at least when I’m your boyfriend: don’t let your guard down.

Conner’s pose of exasperation has required that he open his legs, and his gasp is the result of a very rapid and proficient maneuver that I’ve made, pulling his cock out of the fly of his scrubs and plunging it into my mouth. It takes me about a tenth of a second...a new Devon world record.

When Conner speaks he sounds a little angrier than I’d hoped, but it fades as he goes on. “Ok, Devon, dammit – over the line. I really, really need to...get my work done...and I can’ thing about having you come down here all the time...Devon...uh, what was I saying?” While Conner bitches, I do my thing, his cock and I happy to play amongst ourselves while he babbles.

I swirl my tongue here and there, and then lick at all the right spots. Conner’s dick goes immediately hard. He’s been stressing about his job lately, and all the extra studying and work it requires, and I can taste that on him. He’s a little...muskier? Stronger? Tangier? Whatever it is, I’m learning that stress changes his taste, but not in a bad way.

“Um...oh wow...ok, maybe a ten minute break. You’re so bad, Devon...but wow, so good too.” He leans back a little, relenting. I’ve gotten pretty good at giving head, which is why I’m confused when Conner goes rigid, almost as if I’ve hurt him. I pause, not sure what the problem is.

“Hey, sorry to bother you when you’re studying. I was hoping to get Ryan some lunch, but I need orders because of the meds.” The voice doesn’t belong to Conner. Someone has come into the office without knocking, which explains why he tensed up.

“Um...yeah, Ian, let me get you those. I’ll...uh...I’ll message them downstairs in a second,” Conner says, sounding a little nervous. Ah, Ian. That explains things. The nurse has come up here to ask for something. Fortunately, there’s a partition in front of the desk that’s hiding me (and Conner’s lower half) from view, so Ian is ignorant of my presence. Not that I care either way – I don’t mind people knowing that I pleasure my guy whenever I have the chance.

“Yeah, thanks,” the nurse says. “Ryan’ll be happy. He hasn’t eaten all day, and I think he’s a little cranky. But that’ll teach him to try to carry that much weight. Guys our age are strong, not indestructible, huh?”

“Um...yeah,” Conner mumbles, new to the art of carrying on a conversation while your cock is secretly hard and hanging out of your pants.

When Ian replies he sounds a little hurt, like he’s mistaken Conner’s brusqueness as a brushoff. “Ok. Well, I’ll go take care of that. Sorry to bother you when you’re studying.” The room is silent, and I mistakenly assume that he’s left. Then he speaks again. “Hey, are you okay?” he asks. “You look a little flushed.”

“Uh...yeah, I’m good,” Conner says.

“Ok, well, I’ll get back to it, then. I was just...oh.” Ian’s tone changes as he puts two and two together. “Um...yeah. Devon’s under the desk, isn’t he? I thought I saw him come up here. Uh, I’ll let you, yeah.”


Conner is quick to respond. “Ian, that’s ridiculous. Maybe you should go check on Ryan?”

“Yeah, Ian, maybe you should go check on Ryan,” I call from under the desk, trying not to giggle. Conner kicks at me, making me yelp.

I hear Ian leave the room. Once he’s gone, Conner lets out a deep breath, as if he’d been holding it the entire time the nurse was in the room. “Ok, ok, enough,” he says sharply. “Devon, get up out of there. That was totally embarrassing.”

“But we didn’t finish,” I whine.

This argument doesn’t sway Conner, who isn’t truly angry, although he is a little mortified. I promise to go speak with Ian, asking him not to tell anyone about catching us like that. When I tell Conner that I’m pretty sure he’ll agree to keep it between us, he lightens up a little, although he puts his dick away and doesn’t let me near it again. Shortly thereafter I’m booted from his office, under threat of corporal punishment.

On the way out I stop to chat with Ian, who happily agrees not to mention that he’d stumbled on me and Conner engaged in a little afternoon delight. “I didn’t see anything, anyway,” he says.

“Well, the night is still young,” I shrug, prancing off, feeling a little cool about having been caught.

I do feel bad about embarrassing Conner, though. I think about Zane, and how it can sometimes feel to be around someone with no boundaries. I bake Conner a special pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting, hoping he isn’t mad enough to turn down spending the night with me. He doesn’t answer either way when I message him, asking him to stop by to see me after he gets off work, no matter how late it is.

“Join Workers United?” A voice startles me back to reality as I walk around the corner leading from the main lobby into the forward concourse. I’d been off in my own world, thinking about Conner.

“Sorry?” I say, feeling a bit dumb.

The speaker is a tall guy with tan skin and a slight gap between his front teeth. He smiles, and holds up his wristcom in the universal gesture that means he wants to bump me some data. “Workers United,” he explains. “In the wake of the fire, we’re organizing a new political movement, one that will make everyone a lot happier and put an end to fires and riots. Hi, I’m Keef.”

“Uh...hi,” I reply. I hold my wristcom up. Keef taps his to mine lightly, and the devices both beep, acknowledging the transfer. “What do you mean, a new political movement?”

Keef smiles. “Well, as you know, Eden Stranton has been mayor for a while now, and things aren’t going so well. The work still isn’t distributed fairly, and we’re seeing more and more discontent. We’d like to replace Eden...and his Security Force. We’d like to return things to a system of Democracy, and we’d like to make things more peaceful on the ship.”

I look down at the screen on my wristcom, where Keef’s info has popped up. “Sounds like the same garbage Steven Caine keeps spouting,” I mutter, perhaps a little too frankly.

Keef looks taken aback. “Well...he is our president. We think he’s gotten a bad rep, and we’re looking to be more organized. Our message is about preventing the kinds of things...”

I cut Keef off. “Preventing things like riots, you mean. Like the riot that broke my shoulder and put my friends’ lives in danger. No offense, Keef, but Steven Caine is a three day old pile of shit. Keep your fucking garbage to yourself.” I press the trash button on my com, and it makes the crumpling sound that indicates I’ve just send Keef’s brochure into electronic oblivion.

I walk away, angry, leaving Keef looking slightly perturbed.

Life with a doctor boyfriend can be tough, I’m learning. I go to bed around midnight, eventually falling asleep. Conner’s eight hour shift turns into twelve, and it’s the early morning hours when he enters the room. I wake up immediately, sensing him nearby.

“You awake?” he whispers.

“Uh...yeah...still awake,” I grumble. “What time is it?”

“It’s just after three. You don’t sound very awake. Maybe I should head upstairs and see you tomorrow?”

The thought of him sleeping in his regular flat rather than by my side helps me wake up. “Nah, may due ameffen,” I slur sleepily.

Conner laughs, pulling his scrub top off over his head. “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that Devy.”

I sit up, my hair disheveled and sticking in multiple directions. I yawn large and long before smacking my lips, scratching my tummy and saying, “I...uh, I made you a muffin. I mean, like if you’re hungry.” I turn the bedside light on so that Conner can see the treat I’d left out for him.

He picks it up from the table, eyeing the white frosting. “Hey, that was really sweet of you. I forgot to eat dinner. At least, I think I did. Or maybe I ate dinner and then forgot that I ate it.” He laughs a tired laugh and then collapses on the bed next to me. “Oh my god, I am so fried right now.”

I lean over and kiss his cheek, a gesture that still feels bold and exciting. “Eat your muffin, then we’ll get some sleep. I gotta go pee.”

I hop to the bathroom, realizing that I’d had a few too many sodas before bed. I relieve myself, and then run into Charlie on the way out. He’s wearing...very little. Just a tiny black thing, which is covered with a cartoon skull pattern.

He’s startled when he runs into me, and then turns bright red. “ didn’t expect to run into anyone this late,” he says. I laugh. Charlie and Mike had enjoyed the flat to themselves on most nights, at least until I started sleeping here more often. Sean and Dog were known to bunk out in one of the rooms, too. Not that this should prevent Charlie or Mike from prancing around in their tiniest undies – we’d all seen them in far less.

“No worries,” I reply. “Coming or going?” I ask. Charlie looks at me inquisitively. I clarify, “So, are you coming from sex with Mike, or going back in there for some?”

He gets what I’m asking and offers me a big, bashful grin. Walking over to a sink, a little strut in his step, he says, “Well...both I guess. You?”

I step up to the sink next to his and wash my hands a second time, just to have something to do. I explain that Conner worked late, and that we’ll probably just fall asleep right away. He’d looked bushed, and I’m not quite awake. We gossip about our boyfriends a little, Charlie looking buff and awesome in his silly undies. He explains that he’d made them to match an outfit he’d made Mike with a similar pattern. I remember that was cool.

I look at Charlie’s smiling image in the bathroom mirror. “They’re pretty great guys, huh? Mike and Conner?” I say, sleepy but thoughtful.

“Yeah, they really are,” he replies. “We’re lucky.”

“Yeah, we are,” I agree. “And some of us are about to get lucky, or so I heard. You better hop to it.” I reach over and give him a playful slap on the ass. The sound resonates throughout the bathroom, making us both laugh.

“Ok, ok, I’m going!” he says, padding off to his boyfriend’s waiting arms, along with all his other fun parts.

I look at myself in the mirror. Not long ago I would have thought of my reflection as that of New Devon, the bolder, brasher boy I’d become after my accident. Now I just thought of myself as plain old Devon. Not that I wasn’t bold and brash – New Devon was definitely still with me. I just felt like I’d attained a good balance.

I head back to the bedroom, expecting Conner to be either half asleep or totally conked out.

“That took you long enough,” he says when I enter the room. He’s not so much asleep as he is totally naked and waiting for me, lying bare above the covers, his long erection pointing proudly at the ceiling. He’s got his trademark bashful grin displayed at full force, but there’s a mischievous glint in his eye.

“,” I laugh, gawking at my naked boyfriend.

He lets me look, and then says, “It’s cold in here and you took forever in the bathroom. Are you going to come over here and finish what you started this afternoon, or do I have to beg?”

In two paces I’m naked too, at four I’m getting hard, and at six I leap into Conner’s arms. “Whoa, watch it!” he exclaims, laughing at my eagerness. “”I’m usually a little sensitive about guys jumping on my crotch.” I hadn’t kneed him in the balls or anything, but apparently I’d come too close for comfort.


He offers up a sly look. “It’s okay, but maybe you can kiss it better?”

I nestle up against Conner, loving the way his naked skin feels against mine. “I think that can be arranged,” I reply. “Wow, look at you all coy and sexy. When’d you get to be such a perv?”

He runs his fingers through my bangs. “I think it was about the time I shacked up with the hottest boy on the ship...on any ship, for that matter.”

Compliments from Conner always go a long way toward getting him anything he wants from me. “That’s sweet,” I joke. “When I’m done you’ll have to introduce me to him.” I don’t give him a chance to respond, quickly moving down his body and taking his long, erect cock between my lips.

Every day with Conner is a new experience, and every tumble feels new and special. I know this may wear off someday, but for now I relish every moment I get to spend with him. I’m learning more and more about his body – more about its needs and more about all the little things he likes. I employ some of those now. While I suck on him I very lightly stroke his balls, only coming into contact with the soft, warm skin there in light, whispery touches.

It does what I intend – it drives him wild. He gasps and moans, grabbing and clawing at the bedsheets. “Devon, ooh, Devon. Wow...slow down, that’s going to make me go off really fast.”

I stop for a moment to ask, “It’s after three, and I know you have an early shift. I can do this all night, but what’s best for you?”

I circle my thumb over his tip while he thinks about this for a second, and then he says, “You’re right...ah! I really...ah!...should get some sleep. You can go to town, I guess...ah...ah...but then will you fuck me when I’m done?”

I smile, and then giggle, as boys sometimes do when asked to fuck their boyfriends. I go back to work on Conner; he immediately starts moaning and bucking his hips, now not worried about making this one a quickie.

His taste becomes a little saltier – something I’m learning means he’s precumming a lot and getting excited enough to shoot. Some things might not be great to stick in your mouth, but Conner’s cock isn’t one of them. I love the feel of his shaft between my lips, and the way he tastes. I love the little slurping noises I make when sucking and licking him, and I love the way he gets so hard. His smell down here is wonderful, sexy and beautiful.

While I’m thinking about how hot my guy is, he attempts to make conversation. “I’m sorry...ah...about this afternoon. That was hot, just...ah...ah...unexpected. And then...ah...Ian bolting in like man. What’s wrong with me? I should just’re so good at that.”

I let him babble; his words are soaked with an odd mix of lust and exhaustion, and it’s cute. I reach up with my left hand to grab his balls a little firmer. My fingers have gotten a little cold from being out in the open air. Conner give a cute little squeal.

“Ok...ok...ok,” he gasps. “I’m about to...I’m about to...I’m about to...”

When he starts panting heavily, as he’s doing now, and repeating everything three times, I know very well what he’s about to do. He doesn’t need to tell me.

“I’m cumming, Devon! I’m cumming, I’m cumming!” he yelps, his entire body tensing and writhing and flushing with pleasure.

And here’s the deal. Over the past two weeks I’ve learned that Conner’s loads are big. Always. It doesn’t matter if I make him orgasm or if he does it himself. It doesn’t matter if we’ve taken our time getting him there, or gone quick like we have tonight. Every single time, and I mean every single time, he sprays all over the place. I really, really like it.

It’s made me start something new with him, particularly when blowing him. Because he cums so much, I feel like I can have the best of all worlds with his orgasm, and I break them into several stages.

Stage one – tasting. I smile as Conner’s dick grows harder just before he starts spraying. I tongue his slit, loving the way it feels when it starts ejecting his cum into me, which lands on my tongue in gooey spurts. His spunk is sweet and slightly tangy; it reminds me vaguely of agave. I let his first two ejaculations fill my mouth with his essence.

Stage two – feeling. I love feeling Conner’s load in my mouth, but I like it on my skin too, especially my face. The first time had been by accident, when pointing his cock directly at me caused his load to fly right into my eye. It had stung, but it had also been sexy. Now I’m in the habit of pulling off him after a couple of spurts, letting his third and forth shots hit me squarely in the face while keeping my eyes shut. His load is warm against my skin, wonderful in its sticky wetness. I feel some of it land in my hair, which makes me gasp. I like that.

Stage three – watching. I release Conner’s penis. He’s thrashing around, his sensitivity growing as he orgasms. I watch him intently, staring as his final shots spurt out of his tip to land in soggy splats on his flat belly. Conner moans and comes up on his elbows, causing the semen to immediately begin running down his belly.

“Ah! Ah! Ah!” he groans, eyes winced closed in pleasure. A deep sigh follows his final ejaculation; his cock throbs lightly, sticking straight up. It almost seems to be saying, “Look at what I just did!” And I am...looking, feeling, tasting – Conner’s jizz is in my mouth, on my face, all over him, and I’m loving it.

I finish my “Conner is cumming” ritual, swallowing his load and then lowering my face to his tummy, rubbing my nose in the puddle of semen that has accumulated around his navel. I let my cheek brush against the skin of his belly, and groan at the sensation of the stickiness there. It’s making me’s making me harder than hard...I feel a cold, slimy strand of precum land on my thigh, dripping from my completely and utterly engorged penis.

“Enjoying yourself down there?” Conner asks, his voice soaked with sleepy contentment.

“Mmmm...I really am,” I sigh. I reach down and take my cock in my hand, pleasure streaking up my spine. “Uh...uh...this is so hot, lying on you like this, all covered in cum. I’m totally about to blow.” And it’s true, I am.

“Hold it there,” he says in his best silly authoritative voice. “You promised to fuck me after. I’ve been waiting for it all day, and a promise is a promise. So get to it.”

He’s joking about holding me to my promise – sort of. Since we’d gotten together I’d learned that Conner loves getting fucked, and I love doing it. The other way around may be true too, but after my first experience I’d taken a break and had been on top every time. I’m boned...completely boned, and I have no problem fulfilling his request.

I lube up, not that I really need it, precum is virtually gushing out of me. Conner flips over, lying facedown and sticking his ass up in the air a little. I smile – I’d recently had a good time, a really, really, really good time, fucking Conner by penetrating him from above. He offers himself to me in this way now.

I lower my body down onto his, and then locate the right spot. I press into him, breaching his warm hole and sliding deep inside him. Conner sighs deeply. “I love you inside me. I feel you there every time I think of you, and I feel you there for hours after you’ve fucked me. I love you, Devon.”

He flexes his ass, stimulating my turgid cock with his warmth. My response is a little less romantic and eloquent. “Gah! Ergh, wow...erk!” I squeal.

Conner lays his head down on the pillow. “That’s what I like to hear, my boy in heat. Make it feel good.”

And I do. I thrust in and out, slowly at first. I’m still not a practiced sex expert – well, not when it comes to fucking – but I’m getting the hang of it. I’m learning about using my body as leverage, and about how to position my arms and legs so that I can move fluidly and sensually in and out of my boyfriend. And I’m learning why ten million years of evolution left us with such muscular asses – fucking is real work!

I go a little faster, and I think about the skin of my body and the skin of Conner’s body. I think about the parts that are coming into contact now, and how they’re making me feel.

I push a little harder, grunting. I feel my hair grow damp with sweat. I focus on Conner’s butt, the way it moves as I thrust into him. It’s too much to take, the raw sexiness of it.

“Sorry...uh...uh...I’m too turned on. I’m gonna...ah...I’m not gonna last.”

He doesn’t mind. “That’s my boy. Shoot it off, Devy. You feel so good there, let me feel it spray. Do it to’re right there on the spot. Fuck me...fuck me until you shoot.”

“Uh, uh, I want to.”

“Then do it, Devon. Cum in me.”

“I’m...yeah...ok...I think I will...yeah...” I thrust faster, feeling my mind explode with hormones and lust. It feels like Conner is all around me, enveloping my entire body in pleasure.

“Devon...ugh...yeah,” he gasps.

“Oh...Ohhhhh...Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...” I moan in increasing intensity anf volume, feeling my orgasm creeping up on me. And then I’m there. “AAHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I scream, perhaps a little too loudly. I shoot my load into Conner, overcome with intense pleasure. It’s like my body is on fire, and I don’t know what to do to deal with the sensations I’m feeling. I run my fingernails roughly over the skin of his back, leaving eight long, red streaks in his flesh. He moans and encourages me to continue.

When finished, I collapse on top of Conner. I can’t stop panting, and my pulse has increased to a ludicrous pace. “You have a good time back there?” he eventually asks.

“I...can’t speak think you almost killed me,” I sputter, still out of breath.

“You take your time,” he laughs.

When I come down from my high, I roll off Conner. He turns to me and we kiss and nuzzle, licking playfully at one another’s lips. “That was great,” I say, fatigue descending on me like a gently billowing blanket. I yawn, closing my eyes. “What a great way to tire ourselves out.”

Conner’s green eyes sparkle with more than a little pride, then he looks thoughtful. “Yeah, I guess,” he says.

There’s something in his tone that concerns me. I’d worked hard (sort of) to satisfy him, and he didn’t sound satisfied. I let loose with a long stream of questions. “Was it not good? Did I do something wrong? Did I go too fast? Too rough with the fingernails? I kinda came fast...was that bad?”

Conner puts a palm to my mouth to get me to stop speaking. “Hold it, whoa, stop talking” he begs, laughing when I try to keep asking questions despite him clamping my mouth shut. “Wow, jeez Devon. I didn’t mean that at all. You were great. You’re always great. It’s just...” He stops speaking and blushes slightly.


“Well, it’s kind of embarrassing,” he says.

I have to call him on this. “My phallus was just up your ass. I think we’re beyond embarrassing.”

He slaps me on the shoulder. “Pervert. But you’re right, sorry. I was going to were really hitting the spot there at the end. You know...up inside me. It’s late, and I should go to sleep, but, well...”

Conner rolls over to show me that he’s still rock-hard, apparently from the stimulation of my fucking him. I get why he’s shy. We’ve had a couple of conversations about how sometimes you need to jerk off right after sex, especially when it’s really good. But despite everything we’ve done together, the boy is still shy about masturbation. Or at least doing it while I’m around.

“You’re so silly,” I tell him. “I need seconds all the time too. Here, let’s do it together.” I roll onto my back and start stimulating my cock. It’s tired, as am I, but my body is still happy to respond. It flops around a bit, but then I go hard.

Conner waits a moment before joining in, which is cute. But then he does, needing the second orgasm more than I do.

“ I go!” I exclaim, cumming first. My load erupts up onto my body.

“Yeah...yeah...ERGH!” he yells when he shoots, spraying everywhere. His second load of the night might be bigger than my first.

And then I hug him, our bodies flushed and warm. Usually we’d clean up, but we’re both totally exhausted. In a decision that Dog later proclaims as ultimately hot before going red in the face and running off to the bathroom, the two of us snuggle up together, sticky and slimy, content to fall asleep despite the various wet spots on the mattress. “I love you, Conner,” I sigh, glad that he came by tonight.

* * * * *

Life with a boyfriend is a whole new set of life lessons, I discover.

One such lesson is about personal control. Unfortunately for Conner, showing up at my flat and offering me the best sex ever only encouraged me to go after him more. Whether he be sleeping, working or studying, I felt compelled to tell him every time I wanted him, and also compelled to try seducing him.

But there were going to be some challenges to dating a doctor. I started understanding the implications of this one afternoon when I pushed Conner a little over the edge. “Look, Devon, I need to talk to you about something,” he said, frustration seeping into his voice.


I’d been begging him to take the afternoon off. I wanted him to go tanning down in Bottomside with me, which was all Zane’s fault, really. He and I had been goofing off one afternoon and I’d tackled him. He’d told me to get my pale British ass off him, an innocuous enough comment. This had led to a two hour conversation in which I became obsessed with both the color of my butt. While Zane ultimately apologized for hitting a sore spot, he wasn’t wrong – without the San Diego surfing, I was getting a little paler than I liked. I’d promised myself that I’d try to get some color in the tanning booths.

My first visit to the tanning beds had been another life lesson. Turns out, they’re way harsher than the sun, even the San Diego sun. Twenty minutes was a little aggressive for a first trip, something Conner chastised me for when I came home a little pink and smelling faintly cooked.

The second visit had worked out better – a lower setting ensured that. But on that visit I’d begun thinking about how the tanning bed was similar to the medical scanner, and that had made me think about Sneak. Almost needless to say, I’d cleaned up more than my sweat at the end of the tanning session.

This led to a fantasy about making it with Conner in the tanning bed. Which was why I’d been trying to get him to take the afternoon off, asking him nicely, then when that hadn’t worked, begging him. This was probably what got him into “lecture mode.”

“I love that you want me to be with you all the time,” he said, softening his tone. “It’s cute and it makes me all fluttery.”

I smile, about to point out how silly it sounds for a doctor to use the word “fluttery,” but he doesn’t offer an opening for any Devon commentary. “But I need to work, and I need to study,” he says. “I don’t like it, but that’s how it is. I wish I could get off at noon every day, but a lot of people are relying on me. There’s only Doctor Moreno and the four of us.” He was referring to the four junior doctors, who’d been med students before leaving Earth. Providing medical services to over five thousand people was a full time job for all of them.

I feel like a scolded little kid, and I’m sure he picks up on it. “Sorry,” I mumble, kicking my foot into the carpet of his office.

Conner sighs. “No, it’s not something for you to be sorry about.” He sits on the edge of his desk and then motions for me to sit down next to him, which I do. “It’s something I feel like I should be sorry about. You deserve a full time boyfriend, and I have a feeling that’s what you want, especially because this is your first relationship.”

“No, it’s not like that,” I say. “I know you need to focus on your career too, I just get a little excited any time I think we might get to hang out.”

“I do too,” he says. “And trust me, when I get excited to see you it shows, especially in these scrubs.” Conner bends back a little to show me that, indeed, he’s not entirely flaccid. He smiles at me – his green eyes seem to sparkle, and now I’m the fluttery one. “Anyway, it seems like we’re on the same page. We want to be together all the time, but we can’t be. Sometimes I worry that’s going to cause problems down the road.”

I open my mouth to tell him that this will never happen, but then I stop myself. I did get a little upset when his shifts ran long, so I could see how he’d think this might someday evolve into frustration, annoyance, maybe even anger. “So what do we do?” I ask.

He thinks about it for a moment before replying. “How about this? I’m going to figure out a way to set my schedule so that I can block off some Devon-specific hours. Every week, those hours are yours, no matter what. If I try to study or get distracted, you have my permission to climb under my desk, maul me, whatever. You just have to promise that if we have trauma patients you’ll give me a rain check.”

I get a naughty glint in my eye thinking about what I’ll do the first time Conner misses Devon time. This alone makes the deal worth it, and I agree it’s a good idea. “And that’s not to say those will be the only hours you get from me, but they’ll be guaranteed hours,” he says. “Another idea is that you spend some more time with your club.”

I knew he was referring to the wank club. “I spend a lot of time with the guys,” I say.

“Yeah, but horny time, or just hanging out?” he asks.

I thought about it. Since that night I’d gotten together with Conner, I hadn’t been with anyone else. Not for a tumble, or a wank, or even a quick make-out session. “Just hanging out,” I answer. “But I like being with you more than anyone else. And I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Conner smiles shyly; I get a little hard. “I appreciate that,” he says, “but we talked about this. We set rules and everything. Part of that was because I knew this would happen, I knew my schedule might conflict with keeping up with your...teenage needs.”

I sigh. “I know. But I like being with you. I’m okay waiting, and just doing it less often.”

He gives me a dubious look. “Really?” he asks, more than a little sarcastically. “How many times have you come down here so far this week to get me to take some time off so we can have sex?”

“Er...two?” I ask sheepishly, hoping he won’t realize today had been one of those times.

“Seven,” he says, laughing. “And it’s only Thursday. Which is great, but it tells me that I’m not meeting your needs. Not all of them, at least.”

“No, you are,” I protest. “It’s’s so good when we do it. I mean, better than anything ever in my life. Better than any of the guys, or even all the guys put together. Zane is hot, but when I’m with’s like my soul is on fire. Why would I want to fool around with them when I can have you later? My body is screaming for yours every minute of every day, and my mind is too. I just...I’m get me so frenzied, just thinking about you does that to me.”

I’m being totally honest, and it makes Conner blush. “I appreciate that, I really do,” he says. “But part of the reason I wanted you to stay in your club was because I knew my schedule wouldn’t offer us enough intimate time together. You get me going too, and I’d love to spend the rest of my life naked in your bed. I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do, but please consider relieving a little of your stress with your friends if I’m not around, okay?”

I have to laugh. Here’s my perfect boyfriend, telling me to go mess around so that our relationship stays perfect. “Okay, I’ll think about it.”

“Cool.” He pats me on the shoulder, and then hugs me. “Devon, Devon, Devon. I don’t know what I did to deserve you, and I really don’t know what I’m going to do with you.”

“Me, I mean me with you. Or about you. I don’t know what I did for you to do what you did to, er, yeah,” I laugh, purposefully stumbling on my words trying to be cute. Conner gets it and pinches my nose.

“Hey, before I get back to studying, I want to show you something,” he says. We hop off the desk and he leads me down the hall and into an empty exam room.

“I thought all the patient rooms were upstairs,” I say. The second floor was where the clinic was located, and where I’d stayed when I’d been hurt. The first floor, where we were now, was all offices and storage.

Conner shrugs. “They are. This one is for teaching.” He shuts the door behind us.

“Then what are we....mrfrmm?” I don’t finish my sentence because my mouth is suddenly obstructed by Conner’s, my tongue unable to operate owing to the fact that he’s shoved his between my lips. I soften my stance as I go weak at the knees, and hormones race throughout my body.

Conner pulls back, ending the kiss, And then, with one rapid move he spins me around entirely, pressing my body firmly against the wall. It’s cool and smooth against my chest. With one hand he pulls both my arms up over my head, holding them in place, while the other presses into my pants.

“Ergh...ah...whoa,” I moan, somewhat shocked as Conner’s fingers find my rapidly inflating cock.

“Like that?” he asks huskily.

“What...ah...happened to...uh...not having time?” I ask, my speech coming in gasps as Conner runs his fingers over my tip.

He laughs, a panting, horny chuckle that lands in my ear as a warm breath. “I said I didn’t have time to meet all your needs, I never said I wouldn’t take the time to meet some of them,” he explains. “Besides, I owe you. You said I set your soul on fire.”

I nod. “You do, Conner. My soul, my body. Everything.”

My boyfriend respond appropriately, pressing my pants downward so that my rock hard erection springs free. I turn to him, smiling, horny, hard, and it’s only a few seconds later that his pants have joined mine in a pool around our ankles. I smile when I notice that he’s wearing underwear I gave him – a pair of white trunks with blue stripes. I’m wearing – er, had been wearing – a pair of white briefs with a similar pattern. We match today – awesome.

Conner takes my cock into his hand and I reach for his. It’s a quick, frantic event, but it’s awesome. We stroke each other wildly, both of our bodies consumed with lust. Conner takes my shirt off, pulling it roughly over my head. I go to do the same to him, but he pulls us together, kissing me roughly.

Before long, I feel that oh-so-wonderful sensation in my groin. “C-Conner...I’m cumming,” I gasp.

He wraps his free arm around me, pulling me closer. “Me too,” he pants.

“Uh...uh...your’ll get...uh!”

“Fuck it. Cum on me, Devy.” That’s all it takes, the request and his use of my pet name.

“URGHH...Jesus!” I moan. Conner hugs me tighter against his body. Our cocks press together, slippery hands trying to stroke them despite our proximity. I feel my semen surge forth, and I almost fall to the ground groaning and panting. Conner is also gasping, making a cute chirping sound he sometimes uses when he comes. I feel a hot, sticky warmth spread out over my lower tummy where his penis is ejecting his load against my skin.

We let our orgasms subside. I feel glorious, and quite proud of myself. Conner gives me a goofy smile, one that is all at once loving, sexy and sheepish. We kiss deeply before I say, “Yeah, see – you set my soul on fire.”

As I’d feared, Conner’s top has become stained with spunk; sticky splotches have turned the fabric an even darker blue here and there. He pulls it off, cleaning himself off before moving to wipe our semen off my body. “We have a bunch of these, fortunately,” he says, shrugging. “Life with you, Devon...there’s more laundry, that’s all I’m saying.

We get dressed. Well, I dress. Conner pulls up his scrubs. He smiles at me again as he unlocks the door, looking particularly sexy topless, his chest flushed from our activity. I think we’re both feeling a little proud about our naughty rendezvous in the exam room when we walk out into the hall – running right into Ian.

“Er...hi guys,” he says, eyeing the both of us. There’s really no question what we’d been up to. My hair is tousled to hell and Conner is half naked. “You look...relaxed.” He blushes, which is really easy to spot on the pale skin of his cheeks.

I consider making a joke, but Conner goes for the more direct approach. “Dammit, Ian. Do you have some sort of sex radar? Every time, man.”

“I try,” Ian says, his face even. Then he smiles. “In my defense, Devon and you have been doing that a lot in here. I’s not like I’m sneaking into your bedroom to catch you fucking, you know. I do work here.”

“Fair enough,” Conner says. I know he’s not really angry, just embarrassed. “And I did tell you to meet me down here,” he says. Conner tells me that he and Ian need to do some work together, and I take this as my cue to wander off. Looking at my wristcom, I notice that I can make my tanning appointment if I hustle. I tell the boys bye and then pad off toward the exit.

After I’ve rounded the corner, I swear I hear Ian say, “So, is he as good in the sack as he looks like he’d be?”

To which I swear Conner replies, “You have no idea.” I get a funny feeling in my tummy, and feel the last glob of semen drip out of my cock. Yep, Conner does it for me alright.

* * * * *

Although the idea of your boyfriend asking you to sleep around so that you aren’t a constant distraction may seem a little odd, I did take the conversation seriously. I didn’t leap into bed with any of the guys, but I did make an effort to spend more of my free time doing something besides trying to seduce Conner. The last Friday of November arrives with very little fanfare, other than the little trumpet sound I make in the morning when I wake up to a free day.

My first thought, of course, is to figure a way to get Conner to spend it with me. Then I chastise myself, going so far as to slap myself on the ass as punishment. Then I message some of the guys to see what they’re up to, figuring some time with one of them might cure my Conner addiction. Turns out that Sean is free.

“I thought we’d lost you to boyfriend land,” he jokes when he greets me outside the door to the unoccupied flat.

“Who, me?” I ask, feigning ignorance. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, right,” he replies. “It’s been, what? Three weeks since the two of you got together? I think I’ve seen you twice.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I grunt.

Sean punches me in the shoulder. “Not that I blame you, mate. Shacking up with a new boyfriend is one of the great rites of passage. And this is Conner we’re talking about. He’s a total hottie. I’m surprised either of you can walk straight.”

“I am now, not so much at first,” I reply, joking. Then when I realize what I’ve said I turn red. “I mean, you know.”

Sean smiles at my bashfulness. “Yeah, dude, I do. Last one there buys drinks afterward?”

We’d agreed to make this a very special hang-out afternoon. After months of talking about it, Sean and I were going to initiate my friend in the art of surfing. And apparently also making a mad dash to the wet farm. “Deal,” I answer. No sooner are the words out of my mouth than the both of us take off, running down the hall as fast as we can.

Perhaps it’s immature to be running through the ship, and maybe it’s not the safest thing to do. But it’s sure as fuck fun. Halfway down the hall I sideswipe Sean, sending him plowing into a column. I slows him up, and I hear him yell at me from behind. “You’re going to pay for that, Chasen!”

In the end we elect to take slightly different courses to the farm. I win, but then it wasn’t really a fair contest. I’ve been jogging, sneaking and exploring these halls for months. Sean didn’t know about the emergency stairs that bypass several long hallways, and he loses by about thirty seconds.

“You...are such...a cheater,” he says, his breath coming in ragged puffs.

I’m in a similar condition. “’re just...getting old,” I say. We enter the wet farm – Area W4, one of my favorite places on the ship. And it was just released from heightened security the day before, meaning that for the first time in weeks you could come in here even if you weren’t assigned to work the farm. That meant that the pool was once again open – yee-haw!

“Speaking of getting old,” Sean says as we make our way across the long metal grate at the entry to the tank, “isn’t it your birthday next month? Just under three weeks, right?”

I cringe. I knew the guys knew my birthday, and I knew that was both a very good and a very bad thing. AJ had turned nineteen the week before, and although his party had been great, the “after party” in the unoccupied flat had resulted in quite a mess. Sadly I’d missed out on whatever led to that, but as a plus I’d also missed the hours and hours of cleanup that had taken place over the next several days. Man they’d made a mess. I still wasn’t sure...I mean, all that paint?

“Yeah, December fifteenth,” I say, sealing my fate. And then I think of something. “Hey, I wonder if Conner knows it’s my birthday?”

Sean rolls his eyes. “Are you serious? I think he has a whole dossier on you. Dog and I ran into him at lunch the other day, so we sat together. It was like a whole hour of “everything you ever wanted to know about Devon but were afraid to ask.” If there’s a pop quiz later, we’re fully prepared. We know your favorite flower, what you like with your fish tacos, how cute your ass is in silk shorts...”

I interrupt. “He did not say that, did he?”

“Nah, I think that one was Dog. He still has a bit of a crush on you, you know?” Under some circumstances a guy might not like his boyfriend having a crush on me, but this was life in the wank club. Sean seemed turned on by it, actually, feeling secure in Dog’s love for him and my earnest friendship for them both. Plus, I think he was plotting a way to get the two of us to service him.

I access the tank controls. “Hey...this is already set for surfing. That’s odd.”

Sean asks what I mean. I explain that the tank has the capability to simulate waves, much like the waves you once found on Earth. Here it’s used to promote water circulation and a more natural environment, but it also made this an ideal surf spot. Well, the only surf spot. Usually I had to activate the wave generators, but they’re already on. It doesn’t take long to figure out why. Out in the tank, I see that someone else had the same idea. A guy in a black wetsuit is paddling out into the tank.

I shrug, and suggest we suit up. We shuck our clothes down to our board shorts, Sean looking buff and hot in his. I walk over to a storage shed. Eight or nine surfboards were stored here – the farm was growing in popularity as a swimming spot, although the water was a little cold for most.

I select my usual board, and pick one out for Sean. “I think this one will be good for you,” I say. He nods and takes it from me. The agenda for today is a light lesson – just get him used to balancing on the board in the water. If he likes it, we’ll move on to more advanced stuff. Pretty soon I might have a surfing buddy.

We climb down into the tank. There’s a section that’s only five feet deep. This is where we’ll be practicing today. “Oh my god, this water is freezing!” Sean exclaims.

“The whales don’t think so,” I reply.

I get ready to give Sean a basic rundown on surfing when the other guy comes in on a pretty sweet wave. But of course it would be. When you have control over a tank like this, you can make them all great rides. The other surfer slows as he comes into the shallows and then falls into the water with a graceful sidestep known to many a surfer. When he resurfaces, I recognize him immediately as Lukas, the guy who helps run the coffee shop next to Charlie’s store.

“Hey guys,” he says. “Water’s great today. Well, it’s great every day. Didn’t know you surfed, Devon.”

Lukas’s hair, which is normally arranged in inky black spikes, hangs in long dripping locks. “Uh, yeah, I do,” I say. Then I realize Sean might not know Lukas. I’d only met him myself when I’d started going to his cafe on occasion for my morning coffee. “Have you met Lukas?” I ask Sean.

When he shakes his head I introduce the two boys. We chat a bit, me telling Lukas that I’d picked up surfing in San Diego, and him talking a little about surfing all over Australia, particularly his home town of Sydney. I explain that I’m teaching Sean.

“Good for you,” he says when Sean explains he’s always wanted to learn. “Hopefully the new planet has beaches, eh? Maybe someplace like Sydney and San Diego combined? That’d be brilliant.”

We concur that a giant beach planet, possibly pre-dotted with fish taco restaurants, would be an ideal new home.

Lukas leaves us to our lesson, hopping on his board and swimming back out into the tank. I work with Sean for a couple of hours before he declares himself in the initial stages of hypothermia and offers to buy me a coffee. He insinuates that there are other ways I could help him warm up, and I tell him to save it for later that night when, as usual on a Friday, the gang would be congregating in the unoccupied flat for “poker night.” Conner has to work late, and despite feeling a little odd about it, that night I return to the club. We have a pretty fucking good time.

* * * * *

Real life intrudes once more the following Tuesday, when I return to my room in the unoccupied flat exhausted from work and wishing that Conner were around. I plop down on my bed, the telltale crinkle of paper sounding from under my ass. I discover than I’ve sat on a note from Patrick.

I read it. “Devon, meet Reid and me in the library at eight o’clock. We’ll be in our usual place. Please don’t tell anyone you’re coming, and leave your wristcom at home. This last part is very important.”

I sigh. If I’m to make the requested meeting, I have to leave immediately. I don’t want to go, but I feel compelled to. I leave the flat straight away, not even bothering to shower despite the fact that I’m a little ripe.

On the way to the library I ponder what Patrick and Reid could want. I’d seen less and less of them lately, Reid working overtime with security force following the fires and Patrick becoming more entrenched with Steven’s group. I rarely saw either of them, and when I did they were never together. I had a new boyfriend and then the whole wank club, but that didn’t mean I didn’t miss hanging out with them.

I enter the library, which is really more a data storage center and place to hang out. When Patrick says the usual place, I assume he means the isolated study carrels where I’d met Reid a couple of weeks back. This is where I find my friends, sitting opposite one another. They’re whispering to each other in hushed tones, solemn looks on their faces.

“What do you want?” I asked, a little more tersely than I intend. I’d never been on board with the guys’ plan, and this was accentuated by the recent events.

My friends both look surprised by my demeanor. “Wow,” Reid says. “Nice to see you too.”

I apologize, plopping down next to Reid. I explain that I’m sore and tired from a long double shift, first in the kitchens and then in one of the processing plants, where we were currently working to turn a crop of flax into oil.

The guys accept my apology, and then verify that I left my wristcom behind. I say that I had, not sure why this was important. Patrick turns to me and says, “Devon, you know that we trust you completely, right?”

“Um...yeah,” I respond uncertainly.

He goes on. “Cool. Because I don’t want anything we’re about to ask you to seem like we’re questioning you. But something is going on.”

“Uh, okay,” I say.

Reid continues, speaking in a hushed whisper, “Do you remember the data chip you gave me? The one Patrick made?” I nod. “We need to know if that chip was ever out of your possession. Like even for a minute. Patrick gave it to you here, right?”

Again I nod. Patrick had given me a data chip one afternoon here at this very table, asking me to take it to Reid. I think back. I’d slipped the chip into my pocket after he’d given it to me and then returned to the unoccupied flat, where I’d kept it until taking it to Reid a couple of hours later. I tell this to the guys.

“Ok, so it was there in your other flat,” Patrick says, introspectively. “Was it in your sight the whole time? And was anyone else there?”

I tell him that the chip had been in my pocket, which had been unattended in my room while I was taking a shower. Zane and Sean had also been there that afternoon, although I didn’t recall if they’d arrived before or after I showered.

“What do you think?” Reid asks, once I’ve finished my recollection.

Patrick looks worried. “I don’t know. Zane and Sean seem okay. I’ve never seen either of them around Steven’s guys, but that doesn’t mean anything.”

“What do you mean ‘around Steven’s guys?’” I ask. It seems like Patrick is accusing them of something.

Patrick thinks about this for a moment, and then answers. “Okay, let me try to explain. But first, I want to understand a couple of things. The only place the chip was unattended was in that other flat? And this is a place only you and your friends know about?” He mentions a few names, guys I’ve told him are in the wank club.

“Yeah, and we have some new members,” I say, blushing a little. “But other than that, no one knows I go there. At least, I don’t think they do.” I knew Sneak knew, but I don’t say anything about him. And lately I’d begun to suspect that the scrubs might know Charlie was living there. And now Conner came by frequently...I explain to Patrick that the unoccupied flat isn’t exactly a highly guarded secret.

“Well, here’s our problem,” Reid explains, “that chip contained information that should have prevented the attack on the farm, or at least told us who was behind it.”

“W-What?” I stutter. “You guys knew about the attack beforehand? Why the fuck didn’t you tell anyone?”

“Shh, not so loud,” Reid scolds me. “We didn’t know for sure. We suspected that something was going on, but we didn’t know what. What we had was vague information that some of Steven’s underlings were planning something. To be honest, we thought it was going to be another protest.”

“I spent weeks gathering info,” Patrick says. “And everything I found out was encrypted in the MIPs on that chip. I gave it to Reid because Security Force has the authority to investigate leads like that...they immediately began watching everyone on my list, including Steven.”

“And?” I ask.

Reid answers, “And nothing. The data was compromised.”

“Compromised?” I have no idea what he’s talking about.

“What Reid means,” Patrick says, “is that the information was supposed to be useful in preventing another protest, or anything else like that. We suspect that the riot in the commons wasn’t an accident, as Steven’s guys claim. I believe they meant for things to get out of hand, but we never had any evidence of that. Now that I’m in his inner circle, I was able to collect information on the people who might have been planning another incident. I passed this on to Reid, and he passed it on to Security Force. The plan was for Security Force to pay close attention to the people on the list. If they did anything, we’d nab them.”

“We hoped to use the info to put a stop to all this nonsense,” Reid says. “We thought we’d be able to find out if anything bad was going to go down.”

“Like an entire farm burning down, and almost destroying the entire ship?” I ask wryly.

“Exactly,” Patrick says.

“So what went wrong?”

Reid answers, “We monitored the guys, and nothing seemed odd. There were no plans, no chatter, nothing. Then the fire happened, but there was absolutely nothing to connect them to it.”

I offer a dubious look. “So you’re saying that Steven and the douchebags he hangs out with...sorry, Patrick...didn’t have anything to do with the fire?” This was the same conclusion Eden’s investigation had reached, but I found it hard to believe.

“Not at all,” Patrick says. “I think they had everything to do with it, there’s just no proof. But what Reid just told you is very, very important, Devon. There was absolutely nothing to connect them to the fires. There were more than eleven names on my list. Not one of them went anywhere near that floor for an entire week before the fires, and three had to call in sick to avoid doing so. They all had solid alibis, and in every case...just like Steven...they were all in public areas for at least two hours before the fire started, well in view of video surveillance.”

“That sounds a little too convenient,” I whisper, getting what he’s saying.

“Yeah, it really is,” Reid agrees.

I think back to a conversation I’d had earlier. “Does all of this have anything with that whole Workers United crap? I met a guy passing out brochures the other day.”

Patrick fills me in on what he knows about Steven’s new, friendlier political movement. From what Patrick can tell, he wants to form a legitimate political party, one that will adhere to Steven’s ideology in a peaceful manner.

“But that doesn’t make sense,” I say. “If Steven wants to get into government and make a bunch of changes, why would he risk starting the fire?”

Patrick admits that these two things seem contrary. “We’ve talked about this,” Reid says, “and we’re really not sure what he’s thinking. On the one hand, you’re right. If he’s caught setting fire to a farm, he’ll go to jail...for a long time. On the other, if he gets grunts to do it for him...”

I see where he’s going. “...then he can shove the blame off on them if they get caught, but if they don’t they’ve stirred up a bunch of discontent and ideas about Eden being incompetent.”

“Exactly what we were thinking,” Patrick says.

“But where does that leave things?” I ask.

Reid hunches down and replies in an even lower voice. I strain to hear what he’s saying. “Well, for one thing...we have a problem. Catching the guys in the act of planning the fire would have either implicated Steven or implicated a few people in his organization. But somebody knew we’d be watching the guys on Patrick’s list, so clearly it wasn’t kept secret. Somewhere along the line, the information was stolen and leaked back to Caine.

“Only the three of us know Patrick made the list, and he gave it to you. I think we can rule out Zane and Sean having anything to do with this, although it would be wise for all of us to watch them more closely. Still, even if they were in Steven’s camp, how’d they even know the disk existed? They couldn’t, so we can pretty much totally rule them out.

“From there you gave the chip directly to me, and I opened the investigation with Security Force, telling them the chip had been delivered anonymously. The reason Patrick and I asked you down here is because we wanted to verify something we’ve been suspecting.”

“And that is?” I ask apprehensively, wondering if I’m about to be blamed for accidentally leaking the info.

I’m not. “Someone in Security Force is passing info back to Steven,” Patrick says. “They were able to keep us from catching anyone involved, and they helped someone carry out what can only be considered a terrorist act, one that has clearly made the situation on the ship worse.”

I think about what Patrick is saying. He’s right, the situation was getting worse and worse. The fire had led to several new restrictions – a curfew, more frequent lockdowns, patrols. Conner had been forced to move yoga back up to the dorms.

The result of this had been more general unrest. Steven’s group was furious about the restrictions, and furious they’d been accused of the fire. He’d spent a sum total of forty-eight hours under arrest and interrogation, but the way he talked you’d think Steven Caine was the next Nelson Mandela.

The guys and I discuss things in a little more detail. The notion that someone in Security Force is helping Steven stir things up is disquieting. A couple of weeks ago it might have been less so, but the transition of Steven’s efforts from protest to militant activism changes things.

“So what are you going to do?” I ask.

Patrick thinks about this for a moment. “That’s a good question. Now that we’re pretty sure that we have a mole in Security Force, we need to figure out a way to bypass them, getting the info where it needs to go so that we can nail these guys next time they try something.”

“How are you going to do that?” I ask.

Reid answers, “I don’t know, but if we can connect them with the attacks, we can put them in jail. We may even be able to get Steven transferred to another ship...he’s causing a lot of trouble here, they might be willing to force him to move.”

I thought about EV1985, the Orange County ship, which was inching closer to us as we spoke. The idea of sending Steven and his guys there to live was fine by me.

Reid and Patrick don’t want to stay in the library too long, even though Patrick works here. Patrick was pretty sure Steven’s guys accepted him into the group, but that could change if he were seen hanging out with a member of Security Force. Before they leave, I ask how I can help.

Reid looks thoughtful. “To be honest, I don’t really want you mixed up in this, Devon. I mean, if we need you to courier intel, that’s one thing, but for the most part I’d really prefer that you stay as far away from anything to do with Steven Caine as possible.”

His comment annoys me, but his concern is touching. Patrick agrees with Reid. “It’s great that you have a new boyfriend,” he says. “Enjoy that. It kills me that we don’t get to hang out together, or with you and Conner. If we can catch the people responsible for the fire, or catch them planning a new attack, maybe we can link them to Steven, and put everyone in jail. Then I’m hoping things will return to normal. I miss you guys.” There’s a sad glint to Patrick’s eyes that tells me he really means it.

When I go back upstairs, resolving to immediately shower the sweat and stink off of me, I find myself wondering if I shouldn’t have been the first in line to demand Steven’s ass after the fire. Then I try and put the whole horrible situation out of mind.

I accomplish this by getting drunk on red wine, which is all fun and games until I start drunk messaging Conner at work. He’s not angry, but I’m later really embarrassed that I asked him to “whip out his giant cosh and garb his abs down here.” Yeah…I don’t spell so great when typing drunk.

Devon, you’re such a plonker sometimes.

* * * * *

On Thursday I fall in love with Conner a little further.

I’m just cleaning up my station from prepping dinner when I get a text message from him. He asks if I will meet him in the main lobby after work.

At first I decline, telling him that I’m beat. In truth, I’m both beat and a little cranky. My meeting with Reid and Patrick is still weighing on me, and then earlier Zane had left work the moment his shift ended. He’d left me with about ten million onions to peel, and I now reeked, my eyes burning from the stupid vegetables and their awful odor.

Conner replies to my message, pleading with me a little. He suggests that maybe a quick shower will refresh me, and then says he really hopes I’ll meet him. I think back to all the times I’ve tried to pull him away from work. We’ve only been dating a few weeks, but I think these already number in the millions. I sigh, feeling moved that he likes me enough to beg for my company.

“Awesome!” he writes back. “Main lobby at eight?” I reply, promising to be there.

I finish my shift, and discover that a shower, along with curiosity about what Conner wants, does make me feel more social. I throw on a blue hoodie and jeans and go to meet my boyfriend – I love being able to call him that!

I find Conner where he said he’d be, although I have to look for him. He’s not wearing his usual raglan t-shirt and cargo shorts, nor is he dressed in his work scrubs. Rather, I find him standing off to the side of the main elevators, clad in jeans, a checkered button-down shirt and a sleek leather bomber jacket. They must all be new – I’ve never seen any of them on him before, or off of him, for that matter.

“Wow, you look nice,” I greet him.

And he does. His hair is combed neatly, his sandy brown bangs hanging seductively over his eyes. He rarely brushes it, always thinking about his studies or where he put his socks more than he contemplates his appearance, so that on some days his hair sits on his head straight and orderly, and on others it would be left disheveled and slightly wild. For ship events, however, he combs it neatly, and it was then that he starts to look like the doctor he will someday become. I’m learning a lot about Conner's hair, what it says about his mood, and how very sexy it feels slipping between my fingers no matter the style of the day. Today’s style is a new one, and I find myself staring at it curiously.

“Thanks,” he says. “New clothes. I had Charlie make them.”

“Wow, he’s getting so good!” I marvel. His jacket hangs off his lean frame seductively. “I mean, you were cute before, but...fuck.”

Conner smiles at me shyly; I get a boner. “Thanks,” he says.

“So what’s the occasion?” I ask. I feel underdressed.

His eyes seem to sparkle. “I have a surprise for you. Here, follow me.” I do, and he leads me toward the tunnel to the rear observation deck. But then he bypasses this, and takes me to the entrance to the unused restaurant space.

“Do you need a key?” I ask. The space wasn’t currently in use, and so it was kept locked. But I had access, being a senior member of the kitchen staff.

“Nah, I’m covered,” he says. When he tugs on the door, it opens effortlessly. I follow him into the restaurant, curious. The dining room is empty, as expected. “Wait here,” he says, “I’m just going to check something.” He leaves me standing in the entryway and walks back to the kitchen. He reappears moments later, and I’m surprised to see that he has Zane in tow.

“What are you guys up to?” I ask, my tone somewhere between curious, giddy and wary.

“Nuttin’,” Zane says playfully, looking like a guilty little kid. He turns to Conner. “It all looks good to me. Got any questions?”

“Nope, I think we’re set,” Conner answers. “Thanks, Zane. I appreciate it.”

“No probs,” he says, tousling my hair before he walks out the front door, leaving Conner and me alone in the restaurant space. “You guys have fun tonight.”

When the door closes behind him, Conner turns to me and says, “He let me in. Okay, so, I’m getting a little nervous now. Here, follow me.”

I cock my head curiously. Why would Conner ever be nervous around me? His shyness is endearing, but it can catch me off-guard. He makes his way across the dining room floor and I follow. And then he heads up the stairs. I follow; a spiral staircase leads us to the second floor of the restaurant space, which features a second, smaller dining room and outdoor eating space overlooking the main lobby. The last time I was up here, it was a mess, tables and chairs strewn carelessly everywhere.

It isn’t like that anymore.

When we arrive at the top of the stairs, I find that the smaller dining room has been transformed. Everything has been cleaned, and the extra tables and chairs have been stacked neatly against the far wall. Long red velvet drapes are drawn, obscuring the sliding glass doors that lead onto the balcony. Candlelight dances seductively against the warm fabric; the product of light cast from dozens of candles, which have been placed all over the room.

In the center of the space, a single table has been set up, adorned with a white tablecloth and several more candles, along with place settings for two.

“You did this?” I ask, turning to face Conner. He’s followed me up the stairs, and I’m surprised to see that he seems to have produced a bouquet of roses from nowhere.

He nods. “Yeah. These are for you.” He hands me the roses, which are a deep, dark purple. They’re...they’re incredible. I tell him so and he smiles.

“This all looks amazing,” I say, walking through the room as though I’m walking through a dream. “What is it for?”

Conner tilts his head, looking at me curiously. He replies, “’s for you, silly. The past couple of weeks have been frantic, but I didn’t want you to feel neglected. I love you, Devy.”

I’m touched, truly, but I find myself blushing at the attention. “Aww, Conner, I know that,” I reply.

He steps closer to me and looks me right in the eye, a scorching, searing gaze. “No, Devon. Not like that. What I’m saying right now is that I love you.” He takes me into his arms, his eyes burning with passion, and I consider the very big difference that a very small change in emphasis on that one word makes.

“Oh,” I whisper, my mouth suddenly dry.

Conner leans into me, and then kisses my lips, a slow, melting embrace that makes me feel like I’m about to topple over. His bangs brush against my face, tickling my closed eyelids. He lets our lips slowly part, and then takes a step back. “I’ll...uh...let’s put that on pause for a minute, because I don’t want to ruin dinner. Here, have a seat.”

Conner pulls back one of the two chairs at the table and I sit. He pushes me into place and unfolds a napkin, placing it in my lap as he explains how all this came to be. “I wanted to do something really special for you. I didn’t know what, and when I thought about it all I could think of was how awesome our first date was...that meal you made me. I know it wasn’t a date back then, but then it kind of was, right?”

I laugh. “Yeah, I guess it kind of was.” He’s referring to the non-date dinner I’d cooked him, which in the end was sort of responsible for us getting together.

He continues, “So I wanted to make you dinner. I’m sorry, it’s not going to be anything like what you cooked for me. But I got Zane to help. Keep in mind, I cooked everything, he just helped me plan, and came down here this afternoon to instruct me. So I’m afraid to say you’re going to have to deal with my cooking.”

Conner looks a little nervous, so I reassure him. “Whatever you made, I’m sure I’ll love it,” I say.

He laughs. “Don’t be so sure about that, you didn’t see the experimental dinner I made before I resigned myself to asking Zane for help. And you never will.” He says that his test dinner had threatened to eat through the hull before being destroyed. He’s joking...I think.

He runs off to the kitchen, and returns with two plates. “You helped when I made dinner,” I point out. “I can help carry stuff or whatever.” He sets the plates down, revealing a first course of spinach salad with tomato, goat cheese and pecans.

“No, no,” he says. “This is a simpler dinner, and I can handle it. Oh! I almost forgot.” He fetches a square vase from the corner of the room. It’s already been filled with water. Taking my bouquet, he places the purple roses in the vase and sets it on our table. The deep, luscious violet contrasts beautifully with the white of the tablecloth.

The salad is great, and I tell him so. He smiles appreciatively. We eat, our conversation light, although I feel something tingly in my chest. I think I’m falling in love with this guy all over again. When we finish, he again refuses my offer of assistance, taking the empty salad plates with him when he goes. He returns shortly with more food.

The second course is presented on a large white plate, in the center of which he’s placed a small copper pot. I assume it’s right out of the oven; I can feel a faint wafting heat hit my face when he puts the food in front of me. Something smells delicious. “What is it?” I ask, a little giddy.

“I hope it’s okay,” he says. “This is a truffled white cheddar and gruyere macaroni and cheese. I have a really crisp white wine to go with it, which I think will pair really well.”

“What?” I exclaim. “That sounds incredible!” And it is, I soon discover, foolishly sticking a forkful of molten mac and cheese between my lips before it’s even remotely close to an edible temperature. I regret nothing! Besides, the cold wine is more than capable of soothing my burned tongue; I gulp down the entire glass and Conner pours another.

Conner blushes at my complete and utter admiration of his food. If he thinks I’m being at all smarmy, I prove this is not the case by eating the entire serving, scraping out bits of leftover cheesy roux with a piece of sourdough bread he’s served with the pasta.

“I’m glad you liked it,” he says, smiling.

“I really did,” I say. “What’s for dessert?” I’m sort of joking, but sort of not.

“Um,” Conner says, picking up my plate. “Are you already full? Because I did another course before dessert.”

Wow, four courses. “I’m never full,” I assure him. “Bring it on!”

He returns with two dinner plates, both heaped with pasta. “I hope I don’t get negative points for this,” he says. “For the entree, I’ve done a penne pasta with onions, poblanos and serrano chilies, and then it has a feta and crème fraîche sauce.”

The pasta smells delicious, and I stare at it longingly. The alluring smell of the peppers hits my nose and my mouth waters. Still, something about the dish....

“Hey, isn’t this kind of macaroni and cheese?” I ask.

Conner looks pensive. “I know,” he says apologetically. “I thought it might be funny...too much?”

I shake my head. “No way! Oh my god, I totally love you. I mean it, too – I am so in love with you right now.” He smiles, and we dig in. “Wow, it’s got a kick!” I exclaim about the food. The chilies are spicy and bold against my tongue. It’s a beautiful dish, the salty feta and smooth crème fraîche contrasting the heat with creamy deliciousness.

When we finish, Conner eating about half of his pasta and me stuffing my face until it’s all gone, he asks me if he did okay. “Are you kidding?” I reply. “It was totally awesome., thanks. I had a long day, and this was really special.”

We chat for a bit, and then he smiles at me. “Ready for dessert?”

“Do you even have to ask?” I laugh. Conner looks flushed. I wonder whether the heat from the dinner is still burning his tongue, as it is mine.

“Um, I’m a little shy about dessert,” he says. “It’s kind of your thing, you know? I guess I’m just’s okay if I got creative? You won’t laugh?”

I try to put as much sincerity in my big brown eyes as I can. “I totally won’t,” I promise. He apparently believes me, padding back down to the kitchen. I take the opportunity to think about Conner, and about how I’m still discovering new things about him. At first our relationship had been about searing hot boy sex...and it still was, but I was also learning how great the little things were. At the end of a really hard day, here he was, making me feel special and being such a great boyfriend. For about the bazillionth time I kick myself for not noticing his affections earlier.

I jump when he reaches around from behind, placing dessert in front of me. I hadn’t heard him sneak up behind me. Dessert has been baked in a large white ramekin, which he’s placed on top a matching white plate. The contents are still snapping and sizzling, apparently fresh out of the oven. A layer of perfectly browned cake covers what I take to be a fruit filling, the smell of cooked berries filling my nostrils. On top of the cake, a scoop of rapidly melting ice cream is sliding around on the surface of the hot cake. “Blackberry cobbler,” Conner says from behind me, explaining what he’s made.

I’m instantly as excited as a little kid. “Oh wow Conner! That’s awesome. How did you know that I” My words slow to a crawl and then I gulp.

I’ve turned to ask Conner about the dessert, and immediately notice that he’s changed his clothes. Gone are the button down shirt and blue jeans and black leather coat. Instead, he’s now wearing a chef’s apron.

And that’s all he’s wearing.

“I hope you like it,” he says, not clarifying whether he means the dessert or the new outfit, He walks past me to stand next to his seat; I’m treated to a view of his lovely Conner backside, covered only by a single string that ties the apron behind his back. He’s not wearing underwear.

“I’m...uh...sure I will,” I reply. “Where’s yours?” He’s only brought one dessert.

“I’m a little full,” he says. “This one is all for you. Dig in.”

“Um, okay.” I’m a little distracted by my nearly naked boyfriend. But I don’t want to be rude, so I break the crusty surface of the cake with my spoon, scooping up a big bite that includes nearly equal parts blackberry filling, cake and vanilla ice cream. This time I employ some common sense and blow on the food before I stick it into my mouth. But then, when I Wow, it’s great.

“It’s awesome!” I gush, lauding the dish in complete honesty. It’s both sweet and salty, hot and cold, crusty and smooth. The fruit filling just almost scalds my mouth, but is cooled rapidly as the vanilla ice cream melts.

“I’m glad you like it,” Conner says, shaking his bangs out of his eyes in a gesture that I’m finding increasingly erotic.

I’m stuffed from dinner, but that doesn’t stop me from laying into the cobbler. Conner watches me eat for a moment, and then bends down to dip under the table, claiming he’s dropped something. I don’t buy it. “Uh...what are you doing?” I ask as he crawls up between my legs.

“Fulfilling a little fantasy I’ve been developing,” he replies. “One that entails feeding my boy dinner...then giving him two desserts at once.”

“Ha ha, very funny,” I say. “I know the whole desk thing in the hospital annoyed you. I promise not to do that again.”

He’s staring up from under the table, his green eyes looking large and kind and sexy. I hadn’t really noticed before, but his pupils are huge in this light, and it’s really sexy. “This doesn’t have anything to do with that,” he says, reaching up to unfasten the button on my jeans. Then he pulls down the zipper slowly; we look each other in the eyes as he does so.

“Gulp,” I say.

He smiles. “Gulp is right. Eat your dessert, I have some work to do.”

What do you say to that?

I opt to say nothing, letting Conner plunge his head deep into my crotch. He pulls my chair toward him so that the edge of the table presses into my body just under my ribs. Now I can’t see what he’s doing, but I can feel him nuzzling my body with his face. He places his mouth on my jeans just below where my balls sit. With a forceful breath, he pushes hot, humid air into the fabric of my pants; I feel a sensation of warmth spread across my body there.

And then he pulls my cock out of my underwear, taking it immediately into his mouth. A surge of erotic, wet, pulsing pleasure shoots through my body.

“Aah!” I gasp, making sure it’s loud enough that he hears me enjoying his efforts.

I hadn’t been hard, but that changes very, very quickly. Conner sucks on me, and then licks me, and then reaches up to give my balls a squeeze. I writhe, and when he tugs on my pants I lift my ass off the seat a couple of centimeters so that he can pull them down to my thighs, exposing my naked crotch to the cool air. And then he dives back in, offering me the best blowjob he can give.

“I...uh...that’s really nice,” I moan, my eyes glazing over.

He pulls off me for a moment. “Eat your dessert while I do this.” His voice is husky, and I imagine dripping with my taste.

“I...don’t know if I can eat and...uh!...have you doing that at the same time.”

“Then try,” he requests. “I want it.”

He goes back to work on my cock, and I do as he says. I take a small bite of cobbler, and my senses explode. I feel pleasure from where Conner is licking and sucking me, and pleasure from where the sweet, gooey dessert slides across my tongue.

“Oh...Conner...this is so good. I don’t know if I can stand it.”

“Keep eating,” he says.

And I do. I spoon bite after bite of the delicious dessert into my mouth while my boyfriend works away under the table. He’s getting pretty good at oral pleasure.

My body goes into sexual overdrive, and I can’t take it anymore. I pull my shirt off over my head and toss it aside. Conner gets the message and helps me take my shoes and socks off, and then my pants, although he shows adept boy skills by doing this while remaining attached to me at the mouth.

When I’m fully naked, I feel a lot more excited. He slides me back into position and takes me into his mouth anew. I encourage him on. “ do that so good...yeah...I’m freaking loving that...yeah...yeah...” Sex talk always makes me feel a little lame, but it excites Conner a lot.

“Ow!” He gets so into it that he bumps his head on the underside of the table. I ask if he’s okay and he says he is. We laugh, and then he goes back to sucking me.

I’m stuffed, and I don’t think I can hold much more food. But I don’t want to disappoint Conner, so I stick my thumb into the remaining filling and suck on that. It’s like...It’s like a totally new sensation, sucking my own thumb, imagining that the pleasure I’m receiving from Conner swirling his tongue over my helmet is actually coming from eating the dessert. Or maybe the sweetness I’m tasting is coming from his ministrations. Pleasures and sensations combine and dance around in my head in confusing, lusty circles.

I stick two fingers into the jammy filling and lick them off. Conner takes me fully into his mouth, and I feel his wetness all along the length of my shaft. My tip finds its way into the very back of his throat; he’s been practicing this a lot lately.

I go to dip my fingers into the dessert again, but right as I do Conner grabs a hold of my shaft with his fist and starts thrusting his mouth up and down the top half of my dick. My body shudders, and I knock the ramekin on its side. Gooey blackberry filling, still warm from the oven, spills out onto the plate, running over the white porcelain in dark violet streaks.

“Oh...oh...I’m getting close,,” I moan.

He doubles his efforts, and I increase my moaning. Suddenly I’m incapable of controlling myself. I place my palm directly in the blackberry goo that’s spilled, feeling it squish between my fingers. Conner has purposefully made this meal sensual, and my body is drunk on lust, confusing sensations and screaming for more pleasure.

“Go ahead, Devy,” he says. “Whenever you’re ready, go ahead and cum. Give it to me.”

This doesn’t take long. He works my shaft with both his hand and his mouth, tonguing me and letting me fuck his face. I thrash in my seat, and then grab my chest with my dessert-covered hand, somewhat unconsciously. Warm, slick blackberry smears across my skin, leaving a purple handprint on my chest. And it feels so good.

I can’t help myself. I feel the approaching tide. I reach into the dessert dish and scoop a giant glob of the remaining treat out with my bare hand. And then I use both hands to rub it into my chest, and over my tummy. Conner doesn’t notice that I’ve done this, he’s concentrating fully on giving me the best blowjob possible.

I feel a tingling in my balls, and then across my abs. “Ohhhhhh...ohhhhhhh...ohhhhhhhh,” I begin moaning.

“Mmm...mmmm....mmmm,” Conner grunts, acknowledging what is about to happen.



My body flexes and every muscle contracts. “UGH! Conner! Conner! Ugh!” I yell, my voice feeling immediately hoarse from panting and moaning.

My semen surges up and out of my cock with such force that it feels both tremendously wonderful and slightly painful. Conner slides my dick deep into his mouth, drinking my load. I feel his fingertips against my ass on either side of my body, and then all of a sudden he’s pressing his nails into my flesh with all the force he can muster.

“AH! AH! Oh...fuck! Jeez!” I yell. It isn’t a scream of pain. Recently Conner has been experimenting with things to do to me mid-orgasm to prolong the pleasure. This was apparently his newest idea, and it was a good one.

When I come down, I collapse back into my seat, completely sated. My belly is full, and my balls drained. I feel ecstatic, and happy, a tingling warmth flushing through my body.

“And that’s what I wanted for dessert,” Conner says, swallowing the last of my semen, which he’s licked off my now-deflating dick. It makes me squirm and giggle, the sensation too much to handle.

He climbs out from under the table. “I’m glad you liked...holy fuck, you made a mess!”

I blush and offer a playful shrug. My entire torso is coated with sticky blackberry goo, melted ice cream, and bits of cake. I feel a glob roll down my abdomen and come to rest in my pubes. “I think I got a little carried away,” I say, feeling slightly embarrassed.

“That’s okay,” he laughs. “We’ll get you cleaned up.”

Conner locates a dish towel and then dips it into his half-filled glass of ice water. I squeal when the cold, wet towel touches my chest, but I let him wipe the sticky mess off. He gets most of it, finishing by reaching down to feel my dick and balls. I start to go hard again.

“I don’t think I got any down there,” I say slyly.

“Just checking,” he grins.

Being naked in the dining room is odd, and exciting. My body feels somehow younger, sexier, firmer and sleeker standing exposed in the center of the empty space. And Conner, still wearing his apron, looks hotter than should be lawful. He’s aroused, his long cock pressing the short apron into enough of a tent that I can see his balls peeking out underneath.

“Thanks for dinner,” I say, embracing him and taking his lips into mine for a long, sensual kiss. I can taste my flavor on his lips, and I’m sure he can taste the dessert he’d made on mine.

I glance over to the far wall, where all of the furniture for the upstairs dining room has been stacked. In addition to the tables and chairs, there are several leather sofas – long, comfy looking couches the deep, rich color of tobacco. I can almost imagine that they smell faintly of it, or of cloves, or coffee. But right now, how they smell isn’t forefront on my mind.

“I want you to fuck me,” I whisper, looking longingly into Conner’s green eyes. He registers slight surprise, and then lust, before they go back to displaying his regular keen intellect and charm.

“Tonight is all about you,” he says. “Not about me. I just wanted you to have a special night.”

I place a hand on his cheek. He’s so sweet. “I will, and part of that will be you fucking me.”

He sighs. “Devon...don’t get me wrong, it’s a sexy idea. But I wanted tonight to really, really be all about you, and nothing you say is going to change that.”

I step within inches of my boyfriend, feeling the heat of our bodies meeting in the middle. Reaching around his neck, I untie the string holding up the top half of his apron. It falls down around his waist, exposing his muscular chest, which I place a palm against.

Looking him right in the eye, I put on my best gaze of sultry seduction and speak in a firm, husky voice. “Conner, boy that I love, there is only one thing I want right now, and that is for you to pick me up and take me over to that sofa...see, that one right over there. Then you’re going to get hard, and you’re going to slide it into me. I want you inside me, and I want to feel you thrusting in and out of me, and then I’m going to be moaning and gasping because it feels so good. And then I want you to cum so hard that I taste it in my mouth. Do you think we can manage that?”

Conner’s eyes glaze over a bit. “,” he mutters. And then a wide grin spreads over his lips. “Fucking hell I love you,” he says before wrapping his arm around my waist. He scoops his other arm under my legs and picks me up, albeit clumsily and with some effort. He manages the short walk to the couch, where he drops me.

“Oof!” I exclaim, laughing, when I land right in the middle of the sofa. Conner smiles at me lustfully. I’m pretty sure he’s going to comply with my request. “Do we have any lube?” I ask.

He looks over to a table in the corner, where he’s set some of his things, including a grey messenger bag. He fetches it, then sits down next to me on the couch. “I brought some,” he says, opening the bag and then handing it to me. “Will any of these work?”

I laugh when I see that he’s brought eight or nine different kinds, as well as several lotions. “Wow, somebody was looking to get lucky tonight!” I joke.

Conner’s cheeks flush. “Around you...I always need to be prepared. I was planning to ask you to use these fucking me, but it sounds like you have your mind set on the other way around. Why don’t you pick one while I get in the mood?”

It doesn’t take me long to select, and it doesn’t take him long to get in the mood. I choose a small vial of clear lube, a personal favorite that is ultra-concentrated, silky smooth and extremely long lasting.

In all honesty, I truly do want Conner to fuck me, but we haven’t tried this since our first time, and I’m a little nervous. He may sense this. He gently lowers me onto the couch, kissing my cheeks and chest as he does so. He removes his apron and slides up next to me naked. He kisses my ear, and then whispers to me huskily, “Je voudrais te serrer dans mes bras toute ma vie.”

I moan. Conner speaks French, something I’d recently learned about him. He says learning another language helped him develop his memorization skills. I think that the fact that he chose French helped him develop his seduction skills too. “You’re sweet,” I say, “but I have no idea what that meant.”

He replies, “It means ‘I would like to embrace you forever.’ And I would, in French, or any other language.”

“Even Manx?” I ask, unable to resist joking with him. I’d been on this kick about the Isle of Man lately, for no particular reason.

“Dork,” he sighs. “Yes, even in Manx. But I only know French. Je voudrais te manger tout crû, Devon.” The words land against me ears in the lilting, flowing manner of the language. It makes my toes curl to hear Conner speaking it to me.

“That’s sexy. I hope it doesn’t mean ‘where’s the market?’ or something like that.”

Conner nips at my ear and then licks my neck, causing me to sigh. “Mmmmm,” he moans. “It’s hard to translate. Literally it means, ‘I want to eat you raw.’ ” In French it’s a tender means that I want to consume you, have you, make you mine. And I do, Devon, I want you here with me, forever.”

He looks me in the eye, lust and love burning hot in his. “I...agree,” I sigh. “And I want you inside me.”

Conner had begun slowly humping me, his long cock sliding against my tummy. He’s hard and wet and ready, and when I slather a fair amount of cool, slick lube on his shaft he moans and becomes even more so.

I’d like for him to fuck me so that we can look into one another’s eyes, but he suggests that we try something easier and simpler for our second time. I’m agreeable, and at his request I get on all fours. He thinks this will allow him to go easier on me.

I take a deep breath when Conner pulls my body into his, gently holding my hips. He guides his erection to the correct spot, and slowly penetrates me. I expect the sharp, painful sensation I’d experience the first time, but it doesn’t come. “You okay?” he asks.

“Yeah! I really am. That didn’t hurt at all.”

“Good, tell me if it starts to. You feel a lot more relaxed than last time.”

“I think four glasses of wine and the blowjob helped. Ah!” I gasp sharply at the end of the sentence. Conner has pushed all the way into me.

“Did that hurt?”

I feel really full, and then something feels really nice, but there’s no pain. “No, not at all. I...yeah, this is new, but I like it.”

“Cool,” he says lustfully.

He makes a couple more slow thrusts, and when I assure him that all is well, he goes faster. I arch my back and rest my elbows on the arm of the couch, and something happens – something great. “Oh! Wow, do that some more. Something feels...something feels really good!”

Conner moans and complies. I gasp as my breathing increases. I exaggerate this a little for Conner’s benefit, but it’s not an act. By relaxing and just going with it, what he’s doing to me feels really nice.

“’re so tight. Fuck, it’s like my whole body is inside you...I’m not going to last is so intense!”

I feel my balls slapping around under me, and then I notice something – I’ve gone totally hard. This didn’t happen before. “Uh...uh...yeah,” I pant, “This is really turning me on. I’m didn’t think that would happen.”

Conner reaches around me and grabs my cock, continuing his thrusting the best he can while doing so. I gasp and lift my chest, coming up on my knees while he’s still penetrating me. It takes some effort, but I’m careful.

I use my hands to move Conner’s palms into place on my chest and stomach, which feels like it will help me balance. Then I assist with his thrusting, sliding my ass up and down his dick. It slides effortlessly in and out, occasionally pulling too far out so that we have to pause and put it back into position. I don’t care, though...this is about love and lust and him being inside me, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

When my knees get tired I lower myself back into doggy position. Conner penetrates me and humps my hole as fast as he can. I feel a drop of his sweat land on my back, and notice that I’m also perspiring.

“Ah...ah...Devon...ah...ah...” he grunts. I smile at his inability to form a coherent sentence.

I help him out. “That’s it, baby. Feels so good...fuck me just like that. Ah! You’re so hard and hot inside me...I’m loving this...really. Are you about ready?” Our bodies are making a wet slapping sound each time he rams into me, something I find tremendously erotic.

“Ummmm-hrmmmm,” he moans, which I think means “yes,” although it escapes his lips in a goofy little noise.

“Come in me, Conner. I want to feel it. Do it to me...come in me...oh gah, fuck!...I think I’m going to spray too!”

He’s hit something deep inside me, some secret spot that has flipped a switch in my brain. I feel my balls tingling and pulling up into my body. I’m really going to do it – Conner fucking me is going to make me come! I might be able to delay the orgasm, but Conner makes it inevitable by reaching around to grab me again.

“Oh, Devon, OH, HERE I COME!” he yells loudly, making me wonder if they can hear him out in the main lobby. He presses as deep into me as possible, and I feel his body spasm and convulse. He grabs me tight, pulling us together like two panting, primal animals.

“Oh, Conner, fuck!” I squeal. He’s let go of my dick, but that doesn’t stop it from going off. Semen sprays out of me, flying onto the leather cushion of the couch. Behind me, Conner is pumping and writhing and gasping, and I wonder if the spunk in my body is being replenished just as fast as I’m ejecting it.

I start laughing, almost involuntarily.

“What?” Conner asks, panting uncontrollably. “What’s so funny?”

“I don’t know,” I giggle, trying to catch my breath. “I really don’t. I’m just...I’m just so happy. Wow, that was amazing! I’m sorry, Conner, I’m not laughing at you, I promise. I’m just really giggly all of a sudden.”

He pulls out of me, wincing at how sensitive his cock is. “I’m glad you’re giggly,” he says, helping me flip over onto my back. “I love giggly. I love you.” And then he kisses me, deep and hard and long.

“I love you more,” I say when he finishes, and then I start giggling again.

We lie there for a few minutes, and then Conner begins massaging my body. He rubs my shoulders and chest, moving down to my legs. I accept this and hand him the lube, which he uses in lieu of massage oil. “You’re so perfect,” he sighs.

When he gets to my thighs he pulls my legs apart slightly. He’s not the most covert guy in the world. My eyes are closed, and I say to him, “You can check there, if you like. I don’t think you hurt me this time.”

Conner, always the doctor, apologizes, but then completes a short examination of boy parts. I’m right, this second time has produced no pain and no blood. He smiles shyly and plays with the hair on the back of his head cutely when he’s done. “Sorry, I had to check. I know that’s a little humiliating.”

I shrug. “Not really. We’re together now...completely. My body belongs to you, and it always will.”

Whatever else may be happening in my life, Conner and I are falling in love more every day, a fact testified to by a dining room covered in blackberry filling and boy spunk, which we clean up thoroughly, laughing at how both seemed to have gotten everywhere. And then we get dressed and head home. That night I tell Conner that I love him one more time before falling asleep in his arms.

* * * * *

Upstairs, in a dimmed back room of the Topside administrative offices, several figures are sitting around a small table, talking. Twenty empty soda cans sit piled between them, along with several half-empty food cartons. The room smells of rice, and asian spices, and men who haven’t showered recently.

A haggard Eden Stranton discusses his next move with some of his closest friends, knowing there’s a growing sentiment that he hadn’t handled the fire situation well, and that things on the ship were getting worse. Workers United was passing around a petition – one that could, with enough signatures, trigger a recall election for the mayor and his staff.

Downstairs, a similar scene is taking place in one of the Bottomside flats. Steven Caine looks over some recent polling data, and sees that for the first time Eden Stranton’s numbers have fallen below a fifty percent approval rating. Several of the chairs in the room are empty. Steven knows that Security Force was watching some of his most trusted lieutenants, and this annoys him. This wasn’t part of the plan, not at all. Someone in his group had implicated several of his friends in the attack, something he had little to do with.

But that didn’t mean things weren’t on track. Steven flips through some data on his tablet. He locates what he’s looking for – the current position of EV1985, the Orange County ship. A countdown reflects an estimate of remaining time until it docks with EV5997. An uneasy feeling settles in the guy’s stomach – it feels too soon.

Across the ship, more people than ever are finding peaceful sleep hard to come by.

To be continued.

Author’s End Notes:

Soundtrack: If you check on the group site, I’ve associated a song with each chapter. Putting them together forms a soundtrack to the story. In fact, I format the files on the group site so that you can play them on an iPod (or whatever) as a playlist, complete with sexy album art and everything. Check it out.

The song for 17 is Love, etc. by Pet Shop Boys. Devon and Conner’s experiences are endearing in this chapter, but also a little slinky sexy. This, and the evolving mystery about the fire made me choose this song, which is really sexy but also a little dark.

The name of the chapter is a silly reference to the song Laid by James.

Keef is named after a character in Invader Zim.

Several pairs of underwear make an appearance, pictures are on the group site.

Some of the recipes for food featured in this chapter are posted on the group site.







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