Why Not Me?
A Boylove Romance
Chapter Three"I can't!" Trav whined, shaking his head. The noodle node rolled from side to side with him, testing the slack on the rigging that Kallen had set up.
Kallen knew Trav was getting frustrated. It was hard, what he was asking the boy to learn, but he knew he could do it. He sat down on the edge of the bed and reached up to caress Trav's cheek. "Look, honey. All I want you to do right now is familiarize yourself with it. This way you can put the node on just with a voice command and "
"Why can't I just use voice for everything? Why do I need the node? It's too hard, Kall. I can't do it right," Trav pouted. Kallen had never seen the boy get this frustrated with anything before. He let his hand slip down, and behind his neck, to knead it and hopefully draw some of the tension out.
"What good is it, anyway. I can't do anything with this that Tommy doesn't do already. I can't "
"You'll be able to do all sorts of things Tommy can't do. Tommy's smart, but he can't think like a human," Kallen answered, as he lifted the node from Trav's scalp. The boy's eyes were glistening, and the man figured that tears were not far off. Perhaps it was time to back off a bit. Let the boy rest. "Look, you can take your time with this. There's still time. And as for mastering all this – you can do anything you set your mind to, Trav. Never say 'I can't.' Say 'I'll try.'" he urged, almost pleading.
"You don't know what it's like," the little boy squeaked it out miserably. He was indeed just on the verge of tears. "I can see what I'm supposed to do, but I keep wanting to move my arms and legs, instead of using the simulator, Kall. And what's the use, anyway? They aren't going to have a noodle node where I'm going."
"Don't talk like that!" Kall barked, trying to fight back his own tears. It was all too true, and dammit, they were only three jumps out now from Olympus. "We don't know what they're going to have there. It might be very high-tech, for all we know," he said, at the same time knowing it was probably not true. "I don't want you just laying in bed all day, when we get there. Doing nothing. We'll get you hooked up with their system, and " Kallen fell silent, compressing his lips together tightly, his jaw rigid. "Look," he continued much more quietly, "it's just going to be for a while. Until the adoption goes through. But while you're there, I don't want you feeling like you're helpless."
"I will be helpless, without you," Trav answered glumly. He wouldn't even look up at Kallen.
They both remained silent for a while. Lost in their mutual dread of being apart. There seemed to be no way out of it, though. Kallen had already applied for the adoption, but there would be in-person interviews, and bureaucratic red-tape to cut through. He also had his shipping schedule to keep, or he'd lose the Ganymede. He was going to have to leave Trav on Olympus. Or kidnap him.
At times the kidnapping seemed the more desirable, but they both knew it just wasn't the right way to go about it.
Kallen sighed. He reached over and smoothed his boy's hair back from his forehead. Trav closed his eyes, wanting the touch, letting it banish his fears.
"Trav, Tommy can do a lot. He can run this ship practically without me. But there's no computer in the known universe that can replicate the workings of a human brain. So you have to help him. Think of this as just a little experiment, for now. And then, when you're back on the ship, after the adoption, you're going to have loads of time to use this. Hey, you'll be piloting the ship before you know it. In the meantime, you have to show Tommy every nuance of your movement, every nervous tic, every gradient, from your body temp to your I don't know to your eyelash movement! You give him the chance, help him out, and he'll know your brain and your body better than you do. Like he does mine, now. Then you just watch. You'll never think helpless then! You'll "
"Alright, Kall! Give it a rest!" Trav tried to sound annoyed, but the little smile turning up the corners of his mouth belied that, and told Kallen all that the man needed to know.
"I can't do it," Kallen said lazily, in between nibbles on Trav's lower lip. Gently he sucked the tender flesh in between his own lips, and tasted the sweet morsel with the tip of his tongue, laving it wetly.
"Hnnh," Trav tried to answer. "Ne'er say cainh jus say 'I try'." Deep from his throat, he giggled at his own little joke. The soft gurgle contrasted with the languid, high voices of Kallen's favorite boychoir, playing so quietly and sweetly in the background.
Kallen pulled back his head, releasing Trav's lip reluctantly. "Very funny. But I told you that for a good reason," he mumbled wryly, trying to look very stern, but certain that he was failing miserably.
Trav just giggled again, his eyelids barely open. He was half asleep from exhaustion, Kallen knew, but also fully aware. And very firmly in control! His features were all sagging down sideways, slack and soft, towards the surface of the bed. It was a miracle either of them had the energy to even talk.
The boy smiled weakly, then said lazily, "Ok, ok, so you were right about the node. I finally got the hang of it. With Tommy's help."
"Now all you got to do is try, too. All you got to do is sleep here tonight, on the bed, instead of in the chair."
"No, Trav, you kno "
"That's all I'm asking. You can do that. Try it, you might like it."
"Oh yeah, I know very well I'll like it! But we've been over this time after time, Trav. I'm liable to roll over and crush you in my sleep, or something, or I don't know kick you out of bed during the night, or "
"Yeah, hardly likely!" Trav laughed even louder. He opened his eyes a bit more. "You kick me out of bed? You're more likely to stab me with that dick of yours!"
"You keep me hard like this, and I will stab you again. You want a fourth time?"
"Yeaaaaahhhh," Trav moaned dreamily, half-closing his eyes again. "I want you in me aaaaallllll the time."
"But it's starting to hurt, Trav," Kallen protested. He stabbed his mid- section forward, causing his dick to slide across Trav's thigh, pressing his rod right in between the boys legs, right below his little ballsac. He brought his free hand up to sift through the curls falling across Trav's brow, then leaned in for another kiss. Even without Trav's little tease, they might lay like this for an hour, just kissing, tasting each other.
"Hmmh! It doesn't hurt feels so good when you're fucking me back there."
"Not you! It's hurting me!. You've kept me hard for what? Six hours now? Come on, it's not fair." He took just the end of Trav's little nose between his teeth and bit down softly.
"Ouch! But what was that that you said ," Trav chuckled softly. "One of your phrases. 'All's fair in love and war!'"
"Or blackmail. That's what you're doing, you and Tommy together! Blackmailing me."
"You should never have given me that access code, huh?"
"Well, I knew you were smart. But I never knew you cut that out! It tickles!" he exclaimed. Trav had formed a point with the end of his tongue and was flicking it along the top edge of Kallen's upper lip. He drew his head back, lowered his eyebrows sternly, and continued. "I never knew you and and Tommy together would form a conspiracy!"
"Yeah, me and Tommy understand each other. He'll keep the feedback laced into the music for as long as I want. He knows exactly which synapses to block. You said he knew your body better than you do yourself, and guess what?"
"Yeah, I know, it's true."
Kallen felt the hardness of his dick resting so heavily in the pool of cum and ooze on Trav's smooth thigh. They lay facing each other, wanting to maintain the closeness, but both laying exhausted from their love- making. Kallen's dick had slid easily from Trav's loosened ring of muscle – spent, but not allowed to soften, after their third fuck of the evening.
Trav was insatiable, and his slender body, his sleek lines, were like an aphrodisiac, giving his man seemingly infinite staying power, but that wasn't the reason Kallen's dick stayed stiff, steel-like, feeling like it might burst from it's own tightened skin. The past six hours was like sweet torture now – Kallen felt every raw nerve ending in his abused penis. The merest scrape of his glans across Trav's silken skin sent sensations shrieking along his reddened, swollen shaft. The pilot had never before felt so completely satiated, yet at the same time his unrelenting erection demanded another release, demanded to feel the suctioning warmth within Trav's bowels, demanded to pump and pump a man's life-giving seed into his boy's body!
"Haha," Trav laughed. There was an edge to his already gravelly chuckle. "Another of your pet phrases – turnabout is fair play! You wanted Tommy to know every molecule of my body. You didn't think I'd figure out what he knows about you too?"
"Hmmh, I guess I should have," Kallen offered a weak smile, remembering that this was the same boy who could calculate the seasons in his mind, based upon the position of Portal's satellites in it's sky. "I should have put up a firewall around the command modules, anyway. Dang. You really need to drop that lockout. If we have an emergency, I'll need full access to Tommy's modules."
"Oh, we thought of that. If we get a situation red, or even a yellow, you'll have command override."
"And until then?"
"Until then," Trav smirked, and raised his brows slyly, "Tommy and me are going to make sure you do as we say. You never should have used such an obvious password, Kall. 'Robbie?' That was the first thing I though of."
Kallen suddenly opened his eyes fully, meeting Trav's triumphant gaze, showing his sudden hurt.
"I'm sorry, Kall," Trav rasped, just above a whisper. "Of course it was an obvious password. I didn't mean it bad, Kall. It was just just I knew you loved love him so much, and "
"Yeah? Well they always say to make passwords something you could never forget, so hey, don't worry about it. Actually, you're right, I shouldn't have used something so obvious. Anyway you two think you have me all bottled up, but I could always get out the tools, dig into Tommy's core, and get everything back that way," Kallen rejoined defiantly.
"Sure, but Tommy figures you're too lazy to do that! Haha. The look on your face tells me he's right. So. You going to spend the night with me, in bed? Resting? Or on that old chair, with a hardon that won't quit!?"
"Ohhhh alright, how about in bed with you. With a hardon that won't quit!" Kallen couldn't help but feel proud of the boy.
They lay silent then for long moments, breathing the same air, tasting each other, for the moment totally happy to be as one, together, in thought and spirit, just as they had joined so many times in the last days physically.
Finally Kallen muttered softly, "You done good, Trav. I knew you would. I figure you can do just about anything you set your mind too. There's noth "
"Yeah," Trav interrupted, his voice laden with sarcasm. "Anything I set my MIND to. It's not like I could use my BODY for anything useful."
Kallen knew there was just a hair's breadth of difference between the sarcasm, and bitterness and despair. He didn't want his boy to go there now. He leaned forward, wrapped his arm around Trav's shoulders, drawing the boy closer. They both closed their eyes as their lips met once again, and opened once again – as their tongues joined in silent explore once again
The glaring, flashing strobe of the red-alert painted splashes of blood across their flesh. It was bad enough to be awakened from deep sleep by the raucous, squawking blare of the alert claxon itself, but to open your eyes to a wash of red was just plain frightening. Kallen saw it in Trav's eyes immediately. If the boy could have done it, he would have rolled bodily into Kallen's arms and held on for dear life. Since he couldn't, Kallen did it for him.
Trav was still immobile, laying upon his side, his upper leg still drawn up, his thigh almost paralleling his tummy – just as he had been when he rested it on Kallen's hip as they fucked deep into the night. During their sleep, Kallen had fallen away, onto his back. He quickly grasped the boy's calf, where it still lingered across his lover's stomach, and pulled, sliding his hand up Trav's leg, past his butt, to brace it behind the small of the boy's back. Roughly he pulled Trav into his embrace. He met the boy's terrified gaze with a steady, wide-open gaze, and said calmly but firmly, "We're going to be ok, Trav. Now I'm going to get up. You lay back, get the noodle node on, and you can follow everything. Trust me, we're going to be ok."
No time to waste. He just as firmly pushed Trav back onto his back, and then leaped off the bed.
"Tommy. What's up?" he said. He didn't even bother to grab for his clothes, but headed straight for the console at his desk.
"Data on screen. Post jump check shows the main port muzzle out of alignment. Realignment has failed."
"Damn. I knew I couldn't trust that new outfit to pack fuel."
"What's the variance on track?"
"Minimal. Still on schedule, with correction. You will have to manually realign the muzzle before the next jump."
"Cut the red alert, Tommy! Damnit. Why did you do that?!" Kallen cursed his computerized counterpart. Muzzle alignments weren't so uncommon that they warranted going red.
"You wouldn't wake up, Kallen. You and Trav made love till late in the morning, and the next jump is due at the next bell. I tried talking, I even tried a yellow alert. But you wouldn't wake up, so I "
"Alright, alright, I get the picture." Kallen mumbled. "I'm awake now. So I go outside. Ok."
He flopped down heavily into his desk chair, and swiveled to face Trav. "Sorry about that, honey. It's no big deal. This isn't the first time I've had to go out and do a manual realign. Just the timing of it and all ok?" he breathed in deeply and loudly, trying to calm his own adrenaline rush, then stood up and walked over to the bed and took Trav's hand in his.
"Look, I'm going to have to rush on this one. We don't want to delay the jump, but that's a possibility. Tommy knew I'd rather go out and rig the muzzle back into place. So, look, just lower the node whenever you want to, and you can watch the whole thing."
"Oh, ok, Kall," Trav said meekly, still a bit stunned, but trying to soak in Kallen's calm, trying to accept his words, against the awful reality of that red glare and the blaring horn.
"Ok, now, I'll see you in a bit." Kallen started edging away from the bed. He could see that his urgency wasn't helping with the shock, now giving way to worry, that was etched in every feature of Trav's face. Uh check me in the airlock chamber. We'll talk while I get ready, ok? I'm serious, Trav. This is nothing out of the ordinary. Me and Tommy have been through this before."
The pilot rushed out of the room, still waving.
Trav took a moment to catch his own breath, then looked up above his head at the noodlenode poised there, just awaiting his command to lower itself and hook the boy into every data path that existed in the gargantuan cargo ship. Somehow even the closeness he had developed with Tommy didn't reassure him.
"If this is nothing out of the ordinary," he grumbled. "why did he have to rush out so fast?"
"The situation is urgent, and requires that Kallen "
Trav interrupted Tommy's antiseptic response rudely, "Just be quiet for a moment, Tommy. I didn't need an answer."
Kallen bound down the corridors to the airlock. He hated lying to Trav, but in fact, he didn't know if it really was a lie. A muzzle out of alignment could be an easy fix. On the other hand, there could be collateral damage from the original blast that the sensors just didn't pick up.
The airlock door slid open smoothly to his touch on the control panel, and he stepped inside. "Hey Trav, are you online yet?"
"Sure am, Kall," came the disembodied but oh so familiar voice of his little lover over the intercom.
"Alright, now I'm going to have to suit up. The helmet comm is bad, so I'll be cut off after that. Just watch me on the vid. I should be back in no time at all. And don't worry. I've been out like this a hundred times. I'll get the muzzle track repaired, or manually crank it back into alignment."
Kallen thought he heard a slight tremulo in Trav's voice. He slammed the pad of his fist against the bulkhead and almost cursed out loud.
"Wh why did you do that, Kall?"
"Ah just nothing, Trav, I ," Kallen wanted to kick himself. Of course Trav could see every move he made. "hey, we were having a good sleep, after some GREAT sex! And now I have to go out on the hull. No biggie."
"Wish there was something I can do. I feel so useless here lying in bed, while you have to go outside and work."
"Well, that's my job, honey. Me pilot, you passenger. Just lay back, relax, and enjoy the show, ok? I'll be back in before you know it."
"Yeah, but if I could walk, I could be there with you, and "
"And what, hand me tools? Yeah, I know you'd be right here by my side. But then, who would watch over Tommy!"
"Kaaauaaall!" Trav said in exasperation.
"I'm sorry. I know you want to help. Look, you're doing just fine. We just have to learn how to deal with your situation ok? Gotta let me do something, ok?"
"Ok," Trav conceded reluctantly.
"Good. Now alright, I'm going to put on the helmet now. Hand signals from now on, ok?
"Sure. Ok. Uh, see ya, Kall," Trav said quietly.
"Love ya, Little Traveler," Kallen held off on closing the visor. Somehow he just felt the need to hear it.
"Love you too, Kall. Always will." Came the boy's raspy little voice.
"Want you!" Kallen called out, then slid the visor down. The rushing hiss of the sealant drowned out any sound from the intercom, even if he could have heard it.
He walked to the control panel, and punched the 'EVAC' button. The pressure gauge started falling immediately. Silently he cursed himself again. He'd grown lazy? No, not lazy inattentive, was the word. Inattentive to his duties on board. This comm unit should have been repaired long ago. And now that he thought of it, this airlock unit – the valve gave false readings sometimes. Dang, he should have fixed that too.
Trav whiled away the long moments going from camera to camera, watching Kallen's egress, his walk down the hull towards the big engines, the way he cranked the huge muzzle back into alignment, and then his slow trudge back towards the airlock.
All the while he kept silent. Morose.
He and Tommy had become good friends well, as good friends as one could be with someone, or something, as literal as a computer. Not a lot of emotion there. Like when he had told Tommy to be quiet just a bit ago. Of course it didn't 'hurt' the computer, but somehow it hurt the little boy.
Oh, he knew very well what was bothering him. It was just being helpless all the time.
That was the word. Useless.
Not even Kall, as much as he tried, could understand how it felt to be totally, utterly useless. Yeah, and helpless. So what! He could use voice commands to lower the noodle node now, and hook up to the ship's systems. He and Tommy could team up and play tricks on Kallen yeah, big deal.
Trav wanted to be with Kallen for always! He wanted that adoption they talked about, so much! But now, watching his lover outside there, working, walking, lifting living! What could he do?
Yeah, yeah, he felt the tears coming on now. Yeah, he was good at that! Crying. Laying here on the bed crying. The rest of the universe was living, but Trevor Seaman was going to spend the rest of his life no, the rest of his existence, laying on a bed. Dangit, he couldn't even wipe his own tears away!!!
If it weren't for Kallen, he'd find a way to
"Kallen! I need you. Come back inside and hold me, Kall!" the boy moaned the words loudly. They seemed to reverberate in his ears, as if he were in a metal chamber. A metal prison.
Through the tears the images blurred, but he kept scanning them. Kallen outside, picking one heavy foot up after another, walking the hull. Stopping here and there, to look at a panel or a jet, fiddling with one or the other, then moving on. The airlock chamber, empty, silent, waiting, barren 'hmmph, a lot like myself,' Trav thought.
Suddenly he shook his head, trying to clear his vision. Something about the airlock chamber something was
He shook his head again, trying to concentrate. Analyze. Usually when he sensed something, saw something, he could trust himself. Ok, that was one good thing about him. He could think.
So, what was it that bugged him abou there it was!
How odd. Oh. So, what's the big deal, that suit hanging on the wall, in the airlock chamber. A loose pocket flap was flapping moving
He shook his head yet again, and blinked his eyes, clearing them. It was more to clear his thinking than his vision, though. His eyes told him quite clearly that he was looking through the camera lens in the airlock, at a quite empty chamber, with one extra egress suit hanging on the wall. It's helmet hanging next to it. Arms, legs dangling. Body caved in unnaturally – no human to swell it, and to bring it to life – to wave those gloves attached to the wrist bands nothing to cause that pocked flap to lift and fall, seemingly at random intervals, maddeningly, purposely nothing but the air, the ventilation fan, the
A cold sweat seeped from his flesh, as he realized what he was seeing.
There was air in the airlock chamber!!!
And he had watched too! Kallen had not hit the pressurize control. The chamber was supposed to be in vacuum!
Kallen had sealed the door. He had then turned and planted his foot for the walk towards the engines. The airlock was supposed to be in vacuum!
"Tommy! Check the airlock. Why is it the gauge says it's -it's-it's
"The airlock gauge reads negative prime, Trav," Tommy's almost toneless voice answered calmly.
"What does that mean?"
"It means the chamber has been evacuated, for egress."
"But it hasn't, Tommy. Look, there's got to be air in there. Look at that spacesuit. The pocket flap! See, it's moving!"
"Pressure log shows that the airlock chamber was evacuated at 0432.23 bells per Kallen's manual control. There's no air in the airlock chamber, Trav."
"Yes there is!"
"No, the pressure gauge clearly shows a negative pri "
"Just check it, Tommy! Please!" Trav glanced at his view of Kallen. The pilot was getting closer to the airlock door every passing.second. It wasn't just the cold sweat that chilled the boy. He sensed impending disaster. Kallen was going to get hurt, if he tried to open that door with pressure behind it!
"All sensor readings are normal, Trav. The gauge shows negative prime. There is no air in the airlock chamber."
"But there is, To look, just ok, do an what do you call it? Do a vacuum, or an evac of the chamber! Now! See what the gauge says then. Come on, Tommy, we don't have any time to waste!" Trav said. Another glance showed that Kallen was just steps away from the airlock hatch.
"That will require a command override, Trav. Please sequence that."
"I Tommy! You know I don't know the password anymore! Not after what we did to Kallen last night! Just do it, Tommy. You have to, or Kallen's going to get hurt out there!"
"Trav, I have done a complete system check while we're talking, and there's nothing to indicate a malfunction in the airlock, the airlock gauge, or any other ship system at the present mom "
"Oh forget it! Alright, the command override. Oh shit, what would he have made it now? Would he have changed it?" Trav asked himself, reasoning outloud.
"The command override password was changed at 0185.42 bells, when you ordered me to cease the feedback in the music, so Kallen could lose his erection. At that point you gave hi .
"Yeah, yeah, I remember. But I didn't realize he had made a new one. Maybe he initiating command override password 'Robbie', Tommy. Now re re-whatever, the airlock, and
"Invalid command override, Trav." Came Tommy's passionless response.
"What would it be, then? Give me a hint, Tommy," Trav pleaded hopelessly, knowing that the computer would have no authority to do that.
"Unauthorized access to "
"Alright, alright," Trav cut his erstwhile digital companion off. He didn't even feel anger. This was just the way things were. Tommy could no more break programming than he himself could get up out of this bed, run to the airlock chamber, and evacuate it himself.
"What would it be?" he wracked his brain. Inside the noodle node, he closed his eyes, concentrating, blocking out the sight of Kallen. The man was already at the door, and if he tried to open it
Of all the ways to die, running out of oxygen, clamped to the outside hull of Ganymede like a frozen Popsicle, was not high on Kallen's list. Yet that was exactly the fate that stared him in the face after he stepped up onto the hatch platform. As he examined the airlock chamber readout, a few simple facts were immediately and painfully apparent: The hatch had pressure behind it, he couldn't do a manual evac, because the goddamned pressure gauge needed to be cycled again, and he couldn't get to Tommy to do the cycle!
For a moment he stood there, his fingers fumbling with the controls, while his thoughts wandered inside, to his cabin, where a little boy lay even now, all alone, probably watching him. He wracked his brain. How could he communicate to Trav and Tommie? Hand signals, he had told Trav. Yeah. What's the hand signal for, 'I'm running out of air, please jump off that bed and fix that pressure gauge!?" How about tapping on the hull? How long would it take for them to figure that out!?
He fought the urge to panic. It just wouldn't do to give in, now, but even while he tried to calm himself, tried to focus on some way around this problem, it was like his alter-ego was dancing along that other path – he couldn't open the hatch, he couldn't communicate with Tommy or Trav, his oxygen supply was running low – if he died, Trav was going to be all alone
The ship would make it to Olympus. Tommy could handle that. But, oh God, what then?! What would become of his little boy?!
Dammit, they had only had 30 days together. What was there in those 30 days that would stay with Trav? Was there anything in that brief time together that would help sustain him? Did he truly understand his own self-worth? Was he convinced, even now, that he could be – WAS – the rightful center of all the universe!?
Kallen let his helmeted head slump forward, till it struck the hard shell of the ship's hull. He had been a teacher to Trav and a friend. A Father and a lover all too briefly. Now, did he have to say a silent goodbye, and watch his boy disappear into an unknown future? Like a teacher, he had tried to impart a few truths, tried to pass on a few tools like a foster father, he had wiped someone else's kid's butt, fed him, clothed him, taught him what it felt like to indeed become the center of one man's universe and now he shared the fate of all teachers and fathers – always wondering, had he done enough?
As a lover, had he taught Trav to believe in himself?
Feeling his own life-force drained, in despair, Kallen did not even have the strength to lift his helmet off the hull. He closed his eyes, trying to imagine his boy – just a few strides through this airlock, then down two corridors, to his own cabin, then just a couple more steps to the bedside, where he could gather that center of his universe into his arms
Trav felt his heart literally rev down into a kind of slow motion, as if the pressure in his own veins were evacuated. All sorts of thoughts flitted through his mind instantly. What was it going to be like onboard this ship, with Kallen gone? He faced the thought, and dismissed it. Unworthy! Find that password! It didn't matter what happened to him, anyway, without Kallen. What would life itself be like? Without Kallen? Just just think! What could that new password be? It seemed as if even his thoughts were in slow motion suddenly. What would Kallen feel, when the airlock hatch burst out, exploding out on it's hinges? Would he have time to think? Would he think about his boy?
The very bottom dropped out of Trav's stomach. Was it possible? Was he important enough to Kallen?
'Some men love boys. Did you know that?' he broke the silence right on cue, just when Kallen was ripping off his diaper.
"Uh yeah, kid, I'm listening.
"My Dad is a boylover. I don't think he ever loved me, though."
"You're his son, kid. Of course he loves you,"
So why NOT ME!?
"Tell me, Kall," Trav whispered.
"Tell you what dearest?"
"Tell me what you see here that's beautiful "
"Before the very majesty of the heavens, Little Traveler, I tell you that in my eyes, you are the most beautiful wonder in this universe! I pray that you will always see yourself as I see you."
Now, as the door hit him, would Kall think of his boy? Had he cared enough for THIS boy, to
Please Kallen, this is for everything. Please let it be true.
"Tommy, command override password Trav!" the little boy felt his heart flutter, resuming it's beat, even as he uttered the words. Then just as suddenly the void again "Invalid command override."
"Command override password Traveler!"
"Invalid command ove "
"Command override password Little Traveler!" Trav gulped, gasping for air, trying to keep from fainting . The fear, the hurt, deep in his chest – he was having trouble even breathing.
"Invalid com "
"NO!" he screamed into the suffocating hood of the noodle node, shaking his head violently, tears starting to stream down his cheeks. 'No of course not, he could never love me like he did Robbie, anyway – how stupid of me to think that he would use my name like he used Robbie's '
My name. The unwanted one. The useless, ugly one! Trav. Little Traveler. Trevor. Trevor Seaman.
"Tommy!" he called out, begging now, his always rasping voice now breaking in anguish, knowing that if this failed, not only would he be unable to save Kallen, but he would know with absolute finality what his place in the man's heart was. "Command override password Trevor!"
"Hahaha, Little Traveler! Bet that took you a while! Did you think I was going to make it easy on you this time, after what you and Tommy di "
Even as he heard Kallen's recorded voice, smug and content with his little joke – even as his heart started beating, thumping, again – even as he breathed in the air again, feeling life and hope return to his being once again – even as he realized, with final and complete certainty that he was truly Kallen's boy – Trav opened his eyes, saw Kallen punching on the keys of the control panel next to the airlock hatch, and so very calmly intoned, "Tommy! Emergency evacuation of the airlock chamber! Now! And and lock that hatch! Now! Until you get the airlock clear. Then unlock it again."
And then, even as he watched, the suit hanging in the airlock chamber suddenly went even more limp, the pocket flap lay still
and he knew that He, the useless, hopeless, helpless vegetable laying motionless on his man's bed, had saved HIS man's life.
Just those few strides into the airlock Kallen engaged the primer, and in the same fluid motion reached for his helmet hatch secure, a rush of air, green on the gauge – RECYCLE, DAMMIT! – yes! Still green the pilot quickly stripped the helmet off "Trav! I I'm " The words wouldn't come out, not before the tears, anyway. "Kallen!" His boy's voice, so high, and broken too, coarse with the moment that they had both been through he ripped open the suit and stepped out of it "the door Tommy open for entry" running down the corridor, leveraging himself against the corner, leaping into the next passageway, a moan of desperate longing welling in his throat "Trav I'm " choking again, impossible to get the words out running right up to his own cabin door, and falling against it, spread-eagled, arms and legs outstretched, bracing himself, gathering strength, drawing a deep breath so he CAN get the words out
Just a couple more steps to the bedside, where he could gather that center of his universe into his arms
"Tommy. Prepare for calibration. I'll be ther we'll be there in a minute," Kallen spoke, head canted down, staring at the door as if he could see through it. "Start the checklist."
"Yes, Kallen," Tommy answered, his little boy's voice just as calm and steady as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Yes, the computer's personality lacked that human quality of emotion, but then at times like this, sometimes real humans should be grateful for that. "And Tommy. Thanks for saving my life, out there." Kallen knew it was unnecessary to offer his long-time digital companion any thanks, not the least because the computer wouldn't have a clue how to appreciate it – just another of those things that a human had to do, to set things right.
"I'm sorry, Kallen, but I cannot accept your thanks. It was Trav who discovered the false reading on the airlock pressure gauge. I am running failsafes right now on all systems, to complete the incident report."
"Trav who you mean, you're not the one who purged the lock?"
"Trav provided a command override, then ordered the purge to negative prime, Kallen."
The pilot gripped the door frame and shook his head in astonishment, standing wide-eyed. He slapped the door panel then, and waited there in stunned amazement, as the door slid open, and his eyes found Trav's immediately.
"Trav!" he called out, sounding like a wounded animal, feeling a desperation to grasp and hold his boy, feeling a need to feel his own personal little life-giver's body melding with his own.
"I guess this teaches you a lesson, huh," Kallen said, as he turned back to face Trav, and leaned against the wall panel. He took a deep breath and let his shoulders slump. Everything checked out perfectly, the calibration was done, and they were ready for the next jump. Finally he could lean back and rest. Finally he could give in to this overwhelming sense of amazement Trav had actually saved his life! Saved both their lives, perhaps. Slowly he let himself slide down the wall, feeling the cold of the plexi paneling against his bare flesh, till he felt his butt hit the floor.
"What lesson?" Trav responded. He looked so tiny and cute there in the captain's chair, backlit by a sweeping panorama of the heavens – dark, cold, distant, and infinitely vast, by contrast. His blanket had fallen away, revealing the seeming fragility of his slender body. Fragile, tender, delicate – from the auburn ringlets that crowned his head, to the narrow shoulders and sunken chest, that Kallen would only touch with the gentlest of caresses, to his little boy's penis, laying limp upon the velveteen cussion of his pearl-like testicles, to his slender, long legs that seemed to go on forever, to his little feet that were now as soft as the skin of his bottom. Yes fragile, tender, delicate yet capable of a herculean feat.
Kallen had rushed to bring Trav to the cockpit, swiveling the chair as he deposited Trav there rather unceremonially, so he could watch Kallen go through the calibration checklist with Tommy. His butt had slipped forward in the much too large chair, his arms dangling at his sides awkwardly, his legs almost touching the floor. One more inch or two, and he'd slide right off the chair onto the hard floor.
"What we were talking about earlier, that you can do most anything you set your mind to," Kallen said, as he leaned forward onto his bare knees and crawled quickly to Trav's side. He placed his broad palms on Trav's hips, and lifted and pushed him back, more upright, into the seat.
Trav templed his brow, and raised the right corner of his lips in that self- deprecating, quirky way of his. Then he just smiled, finally willing to accept the compliment. "Yeah, I guess Well, I guess I got lucky I finally thought of that password!" He tried to look angry and stern, but he just couldn't wipe the smile from his lips.
"Haha, well, I couldn't make it easy on you, after what you and Tommy did to me." Kallen sat back on his haunches, his hands resting palms-down upon his thighs, and had to look up a bit, to meet Trav's gaze.. He shook his head slowly from side to side, his eyes still wide with the wonder of what his boy had done. "All I can say is well thanks, Trav."
They remained like that for a moment, exchanging silent tribute and acceptance. Kallen could see in his little boy's eyes just how truly proud he was of himself. How truly happy he was, at this moment. Trav drew in a deep breath, through his nostrils, and then let out a huge sigh of contentment and satisfaction.
The pilot reached out and tweaked the toes of Trav's dangling feet. "Now that password shouldn't have been all that hard to figure out. Who or what else would I choose?"
"Yeah, well I didn't know, and ," Trav lowered his eyes shyly, and blushed. He hurried on, to mask it, like he had always done, "well, Tommy wasn't much help, for a change. I was just surprised that he was so rigid, in his thinking."
"That's just the trouble. Never has been a computer that really thinks, and maybe there never will be. They can only do what humans can program and build into them, and I don't know if there is any human anywhere who fully understands how we think."
"So I had to do his thinking for him. He just wouldn't accept the evidence right before our eyes, that the airlock still had air in it."
"Right before YOUR eyes. Remember Tommy has to rely on readouts. Even if he could scan the video, could he interpret it like a human?"
"It feels good, Kall, deep inside me, knowing what I did. But it still hurts, you know, that I'll never be able to do it all. Things you can do, that any other human can do."
"Like what, Little Traveler?" the man asked, all the while knowing that the answer was obvious.
The boy looked up, over Kallen's head, staring at nothing in particular. Finally, he turned his head, so that he could look out into the starlit darkness of space. From just as far away, Kallen barely heard, in Trav's weakest voice, "Oh like to hold you. To just put my arms around you to just to touch you, Kall."
Of all the things Kallen had expected, that was the last. To do a spacewalk, to pilot the ship, to cook supper anything but something as simple as touching! "But what do you call what we've been doing, honey? We kiss, we make love you practically wore me out last night!"
"Its you, doing everything to me, Kall, can't you see that?" Trav implored, turning his head back, almost beseeching, his eyes piercing, almost probing Kallen's, his brows knit into furrows. "Sometimes I want to be able to reach out I I want to make love TO you, not just with you."
"Trav, Trav!" Kallen almost groaned it in response, as he got upright on his knees beside the boy's chair. He brushed the little boy's brow, with the three middle fingers of his hand, and lifted the straggling curls away, looking into those hazel brown eyes. "I didn't know you felt ," he stopped, not knowing how to continue.
For a moment he felt lost. He pressed his lips together, in chagrin, and sat back on his heels again, letting his hands slide down Trav's body, gliding over the contours of his shoulders, down along his arms, till each of his fingers made contact with Trav's. Gently, he slipped his thumbs beneath Trav's fingers, and pressed into the pads of the boy's fingers, holding onto him, not wanting to lose contact. He wanted so much to convince the boy that the two of them together made a team now, that the two of them were better, stronger, MORE, than either of them alone. That acting together, they could do anything. He thought the incident with the airlock would have convinced the boy. Obviously it just wasn't enough.
They just sat there then, Trav looking down at him, his lips resting flat, in an expressionless straight line, so unlike his eyes, which seemed to say, 'I'm resigned to this fate. There's nothing that can be done.' Kallen returned his gaze, wanting to infuse into the little boy some measure of his own determination and belief.
"Trav, believe me, I honestly do understand, at least a little bit, how you must feel. You can't move your arms or your legs, your fingers or toes, you can't turn or twist or bend, or but I can do those things, honey. We have to start thinking like kinda like we're no longer two different people, Trav. More like we're one person or whatever kind of creature you want to call us. Joined at the hip, they used to say, but you and me, we're joined Trav! Trav!" Kallen suddenly interjected, excitedly. "Did you ever hear of a guide dog?"
"Yeah, sure, for blind people," Trav answered disinterestedly. "What abou "
"Exactly! What I hear is that a a person with a guide dog well, that person is still human and everything yeah, and the dog is still just a dog, but it's like they develop a bond between them, Trav. They start to depend on each other, to live for each other, to BE a part of the other. You see what I mean?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"Let me be your guide dog, Trav! Your guide arm, or guide leg No! That's not it. I don't want to be your eyes – you have eyes. I don't want to be your touch – you have touch. Or your arms, or legs – you have those. I want to be the silent, perpetual motion motor within you, Trav! To be directed where you will, when you will. You provide the spirit, the will, the direction. Together we'll we'll either travel the stars, or bring them to us!"
"You know I want that too, Kall," Trav shook his head slowly, "but I don't think you can really understand sometimes it's not the stars I want!"
"What more can I give, sweet? Just tell me, and if I can do it, it's yours."
"What if I just want to touch you? Feel you? Of my own free will!"
Kallen straightened again, to his full height on his knees, bringing his body up to match the height of Trav in his chair. He inched forward, till he felt Trav's bony little knees pressing into his own thighs. Looking deep into the boy's eyes, challenging him, pleading with him, he lifted those little hands in his, and brought Trav's fingertips to his manly chest, letting his thumbs slide out from underneath them, so that he could cup Trav's fingers against flesh of his chest. "Touch me, dearest one," he pleaded softly, almost whispering. "Feel me."
Slowly he moved Trav's fingers against his chest, letting the boy feel the firmness of his pectorals, letting his finger tips glide over and around the soft, wiry hair, letting them slide to the sides, to stroke the softer, pliant flesh of his aureole. He slowly, gently placed his index fingers behind Trav's thumbs, then placed his own thumbs behind Trav's first fingers, and made him pinch his already standing nipples, feeling them harden even more. The touch sent bolts into the man's chest, and down, deep down, all the way to his groin. He felt himself growing hard, and looked down at his penis, already taking shape, stretching the fabric of his white shorts. He looked up again, signaling Trav with a nod of his head, and a lowering of his eyes, to look down also.
"Do you see what your touch does to me, Little Traveler? Do you think I could do that with my own fingers? Ohhh!" he gasped out, and jerked his head back, as he pressed Trav's thumb and finger together, to pinch his nipples even harder, and then to pull on them.
He struggled to breath in, and then lowered his gaze back to Trav's. "You're breathing hard too, Trav. And I can see what you feel in your eyes. Not my hands but yours! Not my spirit, but yours! Do you do you want to touch me in other places?"
"Yesss!" Trav whispered his sibilant answer. Kallen watched as the boy's eyes roamed all over his man's body. Seeking the lines of his burgeoning, hardening penis, his dick head flattened against the nearly transparent fabric of the undies – then up to his nipples, where his own little boy fingers still molded to the man's erect nipples, then up again, till their eyes met again in affirmation.
"Yes, I do want to feel you, Kall. I want to make love TO you."
"And so you shall, dearest. Here?"
"And so it will be."
Trav's eyes roamed over Kallen's body hungrily again, finally stopping at the sight of the man's shaft, stretching out so tightly underneath the white fabric imprisoning it. There was a wet stain there already, where Kallen's glans was smashed flat underneath the fabric, the reddish slit at the tip just barely visible through the now translucent garment. Not even raising his head, Trav commanded, "Stand up, Kall."
The pilot, master of his own inter-stellar ship, captain of his own little universe, rose at the command, feeling the honor of it to the very core of his being. He gently lowered Trav's hands back down onto the chair, then slowly straightened up to his full height, bringing his hands to his hips, with his mighty tool thrust out just at Trav's eye-level. He felt as hard as he had ever been, and knew that the boy could see the long outline of his rod molding the cloth of the underwear, with the bulge of his sperm-filled testicles below. As he straightened, the half-covered head of his dick pushed out the elastic band of the undies, and poked up, glistening and red, where the band pulled his foreskin down.
"Pull your undies down, Kall."
Kallen started to insert his thumbs inside the elastic immediately, but Trav stopped him, loudly, "No! I want to do it! Would you hel help me to pull them down?"
The man sucked in his breath in surprise, overjoyed that Trav was joining with him, that he did understand, that they could indeed act as one!
Again he bent to take Trav's hands in his. He slipped his bigger hands beneath Trav's, like gloves, sliding forward, so that his fingertips were beneath Trav's wrists. Then he lifted them, almost ceremonially, as if he were holding something infinitely precious.
He brought the boys hands to his own hips, cupping the little palms and fingers against the elastic fabric of his shorts. Trav's arms were outstretched, bending of their own dead weight at the elbows, but he showed no sign of discomfort. Carefully, not wanting the weight of those dangling arms to pull upon the boys fragile wrists, Kallen kept his fingers extended, to support them. Just as gently, he used his thumbs to press Trav's thumbs down, inside the elastic.
"You tell me how, and when," he said.
"I want to pull them down slowly, and watch your dick fall out, Kall. It's so huge!" Trav's eyes were big, and he stared straight at the man's dickhead, where it peeked up above the waistline of the undies. As Kallen watched, he saw Trav extend his tongue, and unconsciously wet his lips. He wondered if that was in anticipation.
"Pull I mean, let's pull them down now, Kall." The little boy leaned his head forward. If only he could have, he would have leaned his whole body into the man's. He seemed transfixed on the lines of Kallen's erection.
Kallen did as he was told, and guided Trav's hands down, down, slowly revealing the curls of his own golden-covered pubic mound, behind the shaft of his penis. His dick levered down and down, along with the shorts, lowering, it's slitted head falling to point more and more directly right at Trav. The man pressed the little boy's hands into the fabric of his shorts, letting him feel the slide downwards against the flesh of his hips and thighs. They both stopped, with the undies lodged halfway down the man's thighs. His manhood, his swaying balls, looked massive before the little figure of the boy.
"I smell it you Kall. It smells so oh, I can't describe it! You know, hot, and like it's a private smell, just special for me, and you, to smell!"
"Yes! It's the same way you smell down there, Trav. I love it. I sometimes wish I could drink that smell, and let it wash over me like a liquid, and drown in it."
"I have another private smell, Trav. The same, but still different, somehow. So do you. When we fuck. Do you "
"What is it, Kall?" Trav asked, letting his eyes flit upwards for just a second, to meet Kallen's downward gaze. "Oh! There! Yeah Kall?"
"I want to touch you there too, and then smell that too, on my hands. Then I want to draw you in to me, Kall, and I want you to wash that smell all over my face, and into my mouth, and I want to suck you, Kall ," Trav's voice became guttural, ending in a near whisper, giving in to his desires, daring now to direct his man, his co-spirit, to bend to his will.
Kallen shifted forward a bit, stepping into the boy, separating his towering legs, so that he could actually step over Trav's knees, and straddle him. The movement brought his jutting dick just inches away from Trav's lips. A drop of his precum dangled, then fell, to wet Trav's chest.
"Oh my god!" Trav said, his eyes almost crossing as he focussed on the bulging, reddened dick head. "I want to draw the skin back on your dick too! And jack you off, Kall! And swallow your cum, and "
"Your will is my command, Little Traveler!" Kallen smiled.
He pulled both of Trav's hands back along the curve of his buttocks, flattening the boys hands even more, so he could feel the smoothness of his man's bottom. As if Trav were pulling him even farther forward, he pushed his pelvis forward, letting the head of his dick brush along Trav's right cheek, smearing his precum there."
"Unnnnhhh," he moaned, at the same instant that Trav leaned his head into the hot flesh of the dick. The shaft slid along his cheek, just grazing the corners of his lips. Trav turned his head slightly, and kissed the shaft, tasting it, wetting it in turn.
Kallen swiveled his hands upon Trav's, and with his fingers pushed Trav's into his butt crack, then grasped them, and started sliding them up and down the crack slowly, deeper, ever lower, till he felt the boy's fingers just graze his most private spot.
"I never touched you there, Kall " Trav whispered in amazement.
"No, but now you can, Trav. From now on, you'll be able to touch whatever you want. Do whatever you want. We'll do that, together."
"Now take me as part of you, Trav. Let my body become yours ," Kallen intoned, as he brought the boy's hands back out from behind him, cupping them in his own big hands again, and lifted Trav's finger tips to the little boys nose. His jutting dick lodged right there, held between Trav's two hands, while the boy breathed in willingly, and deeply, sucking in the air, drawing it deep into his lungs.
Trav closed his eyes, looking like the waves of Kallen's scent were making him faint. A small smile formed on his lips, a smile of pure enchantment. The smooth lines of his brow showed that he was accepting the waves of man-scent gladly, willingly, wanting them as much as Kallen wanted to reveal them.
"Heaven. Pure heaven, Kall " Trav said dreamily. His head lolled back, then in a circle, as if he were dizzy with the euphoria of their joining.
Seeing his boy's reaction forced adrenaline through Kallen's body – he felt mighty! Powerful! Capable of any feat in the universe, if he could so capture the love of this little boy! His dick was ramrod stiff, straining, feeling like it's swelling hardness would burst the soft skin covering it. Again he surged forward, letting his dick hit Trav's lips, forcing them apart, smearing his seminal fluid on the little boy's two front teeth, those rabbit teeth, that were now so dear to the man.
"Ahh .. wan na hol ih!" Trav moaned, meeting the thrust of Kallen's tool, pushing against it, wrapping his lips around the fiery red glans, but keeping his teeth closed.
Kallen quickly lowered Trav's left hand, to let it rest again on the cushion of the pilot's seat, and then grasped the boy's right arm just below the elbow with his own right hand, and took Trav's fingers into his own much larger ones. Firmly he wrapped them around the shaft of his cock, just below the glans, and helped the boy slide along it, pulling the foreskin down, baring his dick. His bulbous, flared glans looked inflamed, yet moist with the protective fluids from the now retracted foreskin. It looked wounded, sore – as if the merest touch would send excruciating pain through his body.
Trav leaned forward, and licked it. The heat, the roughened surface of his tongue, was like torture to the man – but a glorious torture, with millions of nerve endings screaming at the touch, begging for more.
Kallen screamed out! "Ahhhoooohhhhhh!" His head flung back, serving only to force his groin even further forward, smashing his glans harder into Trav's tongue. In instinctive counter-reaction, he pulled his mid-section back, forcing Trav's hand to slip the soft foreskin back over the head of the 8 inch [20 cm] penis. The pressure on Trav's fingers, was like he squeezed as his hand wrapped around the glans, and Kallen just as instinctively pulled back again, groaning to the pull of the foreskin back, to the stretching of the skin of his dick, tugging his glans back. Trav leaned in again, just at that instant and licked. He licked hungrily, wanting to taste more of his man's penis.
Kallen regained his senses, instinct giving way to desire, and started intentionally sliding Trav's hand back, then forward, then back again, squeezing, encasing, torturing his now super-sensitive dick.
Trav took over, and sucked the head into his mouth, forcing Kallen to restrict the motion of their hands lower down on the shaft, imprisoning the bare glans inside his hot mouth.
He sucked and laved wildly, in counterpoint to the rhythmic pumping of his hand on Kallen's long shaft, randomly stabbing the tip of his tongue into the slit of the man's glans, testing, feeling for the hardened, engorged tumescence beneath the infinitely soft and yielding flesh of the glans.
Trav's mouth was awash with the fleshy, earthy taste of his man's dick. His own saliva mixed with the precum still spilling from the tip of Kallen's tool, letting his tongue slide at will under and over and around the invading meat filling his mouth.
He slurped along Kallen's frenulum, where the foreskin joined the glans, and heard Kallen scream out again. Lower along the shaft, exploring with his tongue, tracing the bulge of Kallen's urethra, feeling how it had swollen, sensing that it was about to fill with his man's seed.
Trav wanted that seed. Wanted to taste it, swallow it, and feel it dripping from his lips. He listened as Kallen continued to groan out his pleasure, thrilling to the fact that it was his hands, his lips, his tongue and his mouth that were going to push his man over the edge. And soon!
He would make it happen, with his own hand, sliding up and down on his man's cock, stroking and pumping, glorying in the glide of the thin, soft skin over the hardness beneath. He could hear the force of his hand – what HE was doing to his man – as Kallen groaned louder and louder with each stroke
"Urrhhhhnnn uhhhhmmm ohhhhhhh Trav don't stop! Pump me Trav ooooohhhhhhhh suck me!," Kallen kept time to his little boy's grasping hand. He had lost all sense that it was his own hand guiding the jacking strokes up and down his penis. All he felt were those little boy fingers gripping his manhood, milking it, squeezing and sliding his flesh toward orgasm. The heat enveloping his dick came from Trav's hand and from Trav's mouth, the soft but constricting ring of flesh just below his bared glans was made of Trav's sweet lips, the tortuous scrape across the ridge of his glans was from Trav's teeth – the wetness, the depth, the suctioning, pistoning slickness was Trav's mouth!
He loved fucking Trav, feeling his dick pumping in and out of his boy's bottom, taking his boy, sending spasms of orgasmic pleasure through his boy's body, feeling his jets of sperm spurting deep into Trav's body, but now!! Now, he knew what he had been missing. When they fucked, Trav was his to take. Trav lay submissive. This time their union was if anything even more complete, because in some sense Trav was in control. Trav's will directed their every motion towards the edge. When his sperm came jetting along his shaft, into Trav's mouth, it would be completely at his little boy's beckoning.
And he felt it coming now. Rising deep within his balls, feeling that moment coming when he would lose all conscious control of his own body. Even while Trav continued to stroke him, he felt his body starting to sway, starting to lunge. He tried to stop it but it was impossible. He felt the tip of his dick head sliding deeper and deeper into Trav's mouth, and felt Trav sucking harder and harder right along with each lunge.
The massive explosion of sensations started right there where he felt his glans flattening against the back of Trav's mouth. He screamed out with the blast. He felt Trav's tongue on his urethra, knew that his boy could feel the cum spurting along it's inevitable path to release, and knew that it was Trav's choice to impale himself on his man's cock and drink his seed.
His cock slammed into Trav's mouth, and then he pulled out again involuntarily. Trav's hand gripped him still! Trav lurched forward with his head, not wanting to lose the spewing dick, but the head slipped out beyond the boy's lips just as another jet of cum drew a wet, splattering line from Trav's mouth up along his left cheek.
Only now did Kallen retake control, as he started to direct his cum across Trav's face and lips. One spurt, then another, and another till it was but a trickle, dangling from his cockhead, and Trav's face was covered in the white cum. He pushed forward one last time,and smeard the dribble of cum across Trav's lips, then suddenly felt his knees grow weak, and let himself sag down. He released Trav's grip on his enraged dick and lowered it, still cupped in his own hand, down onto the chair.
Kallen collapsed onto his knees, feeling his dick scrape down across Trav's knees. "Arrrghhhhhh!" he screamed out one last time, and closed his eyes in exhaustion, falling face forward into his boy's lap. He grasped Trav's thighs and hugged him, pressing his face into the trough of the boys legs, whimpering. "Oh dear boy! I can never thank you for that "
"You loved it, didn't you, Kall?" he heard Trav say, through the ringing in his ears.
"Oh god yes!" he returned, as he struggled to lift his head and look up at his boy.
Trav was smiling down at him smugly, happily, with cum dripping from his cheeks, his eyebrows, his nose. He flicked his tongue to lick a bit of the goo into his mouth, then raised his brow suggestively. "I liked it too, Kall! When can you and ME do that again!?"
"Haha, seems we may have opened the good ship Ganymede's own little Pandora's Box!"
"What's that?" Trav twisted his head to the side like a little puppy dog, bemused.
"Oh just no telling WHAT you'll want to do now! But don't worry, I'm up for it."
"Yeahhhhhh me too!"
Special Note: Thanks to Ty for the essential idea that made this chapter work. Thanks to Michael for all his suggestions.
"Node down!" Trav ordered, even as he watched the door to his room slide shut.
The nurse who usually attended him hadn't been by all morning, and suddenly some guy in a white orderly outfit had just taken all of Trav's stuff out on a cart. And the guy wouldn't talk. What was that about?
His eyes darted around, as the noodle node that Kallen had wrangled for him here in his clinic room slowly lowered itself. He positioned his head, so that it could settle in and let the node slip forward. He was online in an instant.
Before his first day was out on Olympus, he had cracked the clinic access codes, and installed Tommy from node memory – well, just part of Tommy. Enough to help him navigate, cross system boundaries, and manage the node database. So he already knew where his file was.
"Tommy, bring up the daily log," he said.
He jumped quickly to the bottom of the file, to see the latest entries.
Thirty Day Review staffing completed. Patient dismissed to permanent residency ward. File Closed.
:What the ," he mused. The doctors had done some tests on him a couple of days ago. Kallen said that CPS was going to get the best doctors in here to do an operation or something, and Trav had thought but now, the file said he was being dismissed
"But Kallen said he told me Tommy, we gotta mail Kallen, and figure out what's going on he "
Trav suddenly felt like he wanted to jump up out of this bed, and just like he had felt that first day, when they had to say goodbye, and he saw Kallen standing there, in the other room, straining for just one last glance, as the door shut and the orderlies just babbling on about something that had happened that day about something totally stupid and he was seeing Kall for the last time, and he just wanted to scream, and jump up out of the wheelchair, and but then the door had shut, and
"Oh Kallen, I don't know what they're going to ," the little boy felt himself about to cry. He was struggling to keep his lips from trembling, even though no one was there to see it. He just didn't want to panic, but "Tom Tommy, let's send off a mail to Ka "
"Rise and shine, buddy!" a loud voice – and the banging of the door against the wall, as it was forcibly thrown open – the sound of squeaking wheels
Silently, Trav signaled with a motion of his head that Tommy was to retract the node. He looked out from underneath the hood, as it started to slip off, and saw that another orderly had invaded his room now – the first one following along, pushing the a bed through the door.
The loud guy looked so fake as he clapped his hands together, acting so cheerful. Trav had seen it all before, back on Portal. The false pretenses, overly cheerful nurses, no one ever telling him the truth.
"You get to see a little more of this place than this one little room ah Trevor," the man blared it out, taking a quick glance at the status monitor at the foot of Trav's bed.
"I I d-do? Where am I ?" Trav started to stutter out the question, and lost his breath, his chin shuddering involuntarily.
"Yeah, we're just going to line this rollaway up with your bed, and we'll be off for the races in no time. Ok?" the man continued, not even listening to Trav, as he pulled the bed on in parallel with Trav's.
"But I need to mail Ka "
"You'll have plenty of time for that later, kid. It's almost lunchtime, and I want to get you over to the ward. Let's go."
"But but I need my n-node, and "
"I don't know anything about your node, kid," the man was sounding less and less cheerful all the time. "We just got orders to roll you over to the residency hall, so guess what? That's what we're going to do. Josen, on the count of one, "
Kallen slammed the noodlenode down onto the floor and kicked it viciously across the floor. A strangled moan welled up from his throat. He balled his fist and raised it, looking around wildly, wanting to strike out at something. Anything! The rigging he had set up, to lower the noodle node down onto Trav's head caught his eye, and he stood transfixed for half a second, eyes narrowing in anger. Suddenly he lashed out with both hands, pulling at the harness, jerking plugs from the wall, ripping away this reminder of his futile attempt to make a home for
HIS BOY! Dammit!
Tears streamed down his cheeks, and he wailed out, lashing the node harness down upon his bed over and over and over.
He froze, his arm raised to slice down again, his other fist clutching the sheet and mattress together, his fingers prizing them up as if he would rip them apart too. They couldn't do this! He screamed it to himself, silently. His eyes narrowed even more, reflecting the suddenly steel- hard determination that was growing within him.
Trav WAS his boy. HE was Trav's man. They would not be apart any longer. No one and nothing, in all the known universe would keep them apart ANY LONGER!
He lowered the node lashings down onto the bed, and dispassionately, coldly observed to himself, 'hunhh, how stupid of me. Trav's going to need this again, just as soon as he's back onboa
A thought stillborn. Because as soon as it entered his consciousness, even before fully thought out, he knew with absolute certainty that it couldn't, wouldn't happen that way. He couldn't go back to Olympus in Ganymede. For that matter, he wasn't willing to wait the ten days it would take to slow and turn the point-to-point cargo ship from it's course. Ganymede could jump with the best of them, but maneuver it could not.
At any rate, he didn't want anyone to know about a course change.
Calmly now, letting all the possibilities start to rummage around inside his brain Sifting. Winnowing. Till the obvious finally became apparent – Trav would never come onboard this ship again. He might need a node harness again, but not this one. He dropped the harness, and strode over to his control panel.
The CPS letter was still onscreen. He read it again, almost absently, still thinking over the possibilities.
adoption application denied upon the following grounds:
1. Adoptee Trevor Seaman (654-44-545 Portal) requires intensive round-the-clock care. Applicant is employed full- time as an itinerant pilot and incapable of providing the kind of attention to adoptee that CPS deems necessary for the child's welfare.
2. Review of applicant's financial statement indicates heavy debt and incapacity to meet the high costs of care for the adoptee, given adoptee's permanent disability (see addendum, Thirty Day Review).
3. Applicant's right to appeal voided per Disability Rights statute
"What do those bastards know about the shipping business!? Of course there's heavy debt. Or the appearance of it. On the other hand, look at the assets!" Kallen grumbled out loud, staring at the screen, his eyes wide open and scanning the words over and over.
"' requires intensive round-the-clock care ,' yeah, well I showed them that I understood that, dammit."
"' employed full-time as an itinerant pi ," I own my own ship, idiots!"
"' adoptee's permanent disability Thirty Day Review ," so what, we know all about his condition, and we can deal with it. They said medical treatment was possible, anyw "
Kallen's hand stabbed at the screen, pointing at that addendum, and it painted onscreen. He leaned in, eyes narrowing immediately as he read the words.
"I can't believe th ," he muttered, then continued reading, his mouth open in astonishment.
"The bastards have given up on him
'corrective procedures, deemed to have less than 60% chance of success upon review by the in-staff medical board, do not meet the criteria set forth in statute subject not a candidate for referral to surgical review board deemed unsuitable for the Paceta Transform subject's permanency plan will be amended to level 6 residency, assigned to non-rehabilitative reduced care '
Subject does not Subject is not Subject cannot !
Trembling, feeling a white hot fury building with him, Kallen pushed himself back from the desk slowly, his hands gripping the edge as if he wanted to rip a chunk from it. For a moment, he didn't know if he was more angry at the bureacrats or himself. He sat there in his chair, staring sightlessly at the screen still, his face pinched, eyes narrowed to mere slits, mouth pressed tightly, breathing in deep, loud draughts through his nose, feeling himself growing dizzy with outrage.
So they had transported Trav across space, only to have a group of incompetent government hacks decide that he was untreatable! Then they relegated him to some ward where he'd be checked on once a day, to see if he were still breathing?!
'And I left him there ' Kallen closed his eyes, trying to calm himself. He loosened his grip upon the edge of the desk, but kept his arms stiff, leaning in now just to support himself. He felt lightheaded, helpless hopeless and at the very moment he needed to think most clearly.
They had assured him over and over that Trav was going to get the best of care, that while the review process was underway, and the evaluation of the adoption application, Trav was going to be examined by specialists. He would have full access to all the online resources of the facility. Kallen was even allowed to set up the noodle node and harness, so Trav could lower it whenever he wanted.
With a flash, he opened his eyes again, and searched back on screen to the first page of the letter. Damn! Dated four days ago Trav oh my god, where the hell had they put him! It was exactly four days since the last letter the boy had sent. And none of Kallen's letters had been opened.
"No telling what day it is, now," Trav mumbled outloud, looking up into the soft white, sourceless light of the ceiling. No day. No night.
"No windows," he said out loud again.
Like the randomness of the thoughts that had started to flit through his brain, he realized that he had started thinking out loud at times, carrying on a sometimes voiceless, yet sometimes spoken talk with himself.
He hoped it wasn't a sign of going nuts, or something.
It was something to think about though. Something. Anything anything, to keep from panicking, to keep from thinking about being left here like this, to avoid thinking about
No calm down now. "No use thinking like that." This was just temporary, surely. They stopped by every once in a while, to check on him. To check on all the patients. They – well, that one guy, the orderly.
Why did it stink so bad in here? Some of those other patients looked like they hadn't been bathed in months
NO! Not months. Probably just a slack time.
And the voices those others, on the other beds, some of them talking to themselves
"Now what can I think about?" he opened his eyes wide, and looked sheepishly from side to side at the occupants of the beds on either side of him, embarrassed that they might be listening but no, they weren't they were sleeping? One with straps on his arms
"Oh God!" he jerked his gaze back, and stared back up at the ceiling.
"Now now, where does that light come from? It's all over the "
He took a deep breath then, letting it out slow, to calm himself, knowing this wasn't going to work. No matter what he tried, he couldn't keep his mind off the facts!
They had moved him here days ago maybe four, five he didn't know – he had eaten several times – tasteless gruel from a tube water from a tube too he'd slept off and on sometimes they dimmed the lights there didn't seem to be any pattern to it. Oh god, he wished he could have slept more! Just laying here, looking at the ceiling, or the other beds, or listening to the other voices, or
Stop that now! No panicking.
Trouble was, if he stopped trying to think, he started feeling the the stuff on his bottom. They only washed him twice, since bringing him here, and it was starting to hurt a bit, itching, stinking and oh god, he couldn't move!
Kallen!! Please! Kallen, come get me, please! Take me out of here
He could do one thing he could let himself cry
The tears came now their wet trails finding the same paths down his cheeks that his tears of just a while ago had but at least he had slept after that after crying he had slept and he didn't have to think
Trav awoke to the sounds of the orderly, the next bed over, feeding that other patient.
"This time I won't say anything!" Trav cautioned himself. I won't even open my eyes no I better open my eyes, or he might go on by me again.
Of all things, he would never make the mistake of complaining again. The food the paste was sick. But it was better than nothing. And he wanted water.
"Just don't make him mad again. Just be quiet this time. Eat it, drink, and be quiet. Don't even don't even ask to be cleaned. Maybe he will this time anyway, but if he doesn't
Fifteen. No, sixteen. It was fifteen last time. The time he got mad, and said I could go without. Sixteen times he's been by. I think he comes once a day. Oh god, I'm hungry. I've never been so hungry. Maybe he comes by twice a day? So that would be 8 days?
I wonder if I could just ask if he'd roll me over. Onto my side, like Kall used to do. The sores are starting to hurt a bit
Trav felt like his mind was suddenly detached from his body. Floating
He could hear his own crying. How long had he been crying – seemed like days – but the pain was just too much! He couldn't even turn his head anymore. The pain would hit him like a knife stabbing into his neck. The tears looked like that had etched his cheeks raw. Red splotches, all wet, and crusted with little white ridges. Snot running from his nose. Red there too. And sore. And his throat hurt so bad, he could hardly swallow. Or breathe!
At least his body was numb. He didn't even feel it, last time the orderly changed his diaper.
He wanted his mind to float away, to separate from his body. This was no kind of existence for anybody.
His body was scrubbed clean. Even the bed sores. His sores, and his throat painted with some kind of stinging antiseptic. The pain was gone there. They had hooked him up to an intravenous drip for a while, then removed that.
Just the 30 day review, the nurse had said. They would swing through the ward every thirty days. Make sure he was getting his meals properly. Make sure he was getting a bath as scheduled. Treat any of those unavoidable conditions that invalids are susceptible too. Tighten up his chart.
Yeah, that's what she had said. Sounding so satisfied with herself. They would tighten up his chart.
The orderly was there too. Saying 'yes ma'am, no ma'am,' to whatever the nurse said. He looked dull as ever.
Trav had decided that the man wasn't cruel, just incredibly, utterly dumb.
He was refreshed. All the patients were refreshed. Cleaned. Sheets all cleaned. They even fixed the TV, hanging up there where everyone could just barely see it
Ready for another thirty days or whatever the allotted span was for a boy all alone
He could make it another thirty days. He just knew he could, till
There she was again, walking so fast, like she was leaving!
"Ma'am!" Trav called out. Surprised how high, and screechy his voice sounded.
She stopped, and glanced at his terminal. "Yes Trevor, what is it?"
"Wh when do I find out about the adoption?" he managed to squeak out, his voice unused to calling out so loud. But she had to hear him. He had to know something!
"What adoption?" she said, sharply, looking down the ward. Looking like she was in a hurry to get out of here.
Trav held back his panic, again. Of course she might not know. She was just a nurse. "The man who brought me here. He wants to adopt me, and "
"Uh Trevor I don't know anything about that, but look here," she said impatiently, ramming her index finger at the monitor at the foot of Trav's bed. "Your file well, I can't get to your other records, but your chart clearly says you're in permanent residence. I uh I tell you what, I'll make a note to check on that, and uh I'll get word to you tomorrow. Now be a good boy."
And with that, she was gone.
Trav watched as she walked hurriedly off down the mid-aisle of the ward, until she was beyond his arc of vision.
Just one day, and he'd find out something. Not thirty days. One day.
Oh please, Kallen. I need to know.
On the tenth day, Trav cried. Not for the sores. Not because of the food, or the silence, or the sheer excruciating pain of just laying there second after second, minute after minute, knowing that if he could count that far, he would just have to count some more and some more
No. This time he cried because he knew the nurse wasn't coming back. He knew the orderly couldn't tell him anything, because the orderly didn't know anything.
He cried, because for the first time, he let himself think about what it was going to be like if Kallen never came back.
He cried, because for the first time, he allowed himself to think about what Kallen's life was going to be like, without his Little Traveler.
He cried because for the first time, he wondered, what would it be like, if he just refused to eat that gruel that the orderly kept bringing by for him
>From the void of hyperspace jump to the void of deep space, there was little to judge the difference. Distant pin-point flicks, where stars added their infinitesimal glow to real space – or the ethereal glow of ion trails, seemingly also distant, in hyper-space. Little to show the difference, until Kallen nosed the lander to port, and suddenly the white, cloud shrouded orb of Olympus swung into view.
Just as quickly, he felt the buffeting start. His hyper jump was perfect, bringing the ship to the very verge of the Olympian exosphere. The ship plunged downward at a meteoric rate – again, exactly what he wanted. It wouldn't do to be tracked.
The trick was to pull up, skip, then plunge again – at least that was what Merced had taught him when Kallen made the final payment for the old military lander. It was the only way to elude planetary tracking for long. Skip, explode, then plunge. Skip into the stratosphere like a wayward meteorite, explode into a fiery cataclysm, then plunge under power straight at the CPS compound.
It was all programmed. Kallen had little to do but ride it out. Leave it up to Tommy, and ride it out.
Now was the time they would all discover if the price of Ganymede had bought Little Traveler's future. Huge, lumbering, life-supporting Ganymede, for this relatively tiny assault craft
Olympian Defense would figure it out, soon enough. So there was no time to lose, on the ground. He had to find Trav, get him out to the lander, strap him in, and head straight out. All before the authorities closed in.
He just prayed that Tommy was still online down there. Which was if- fy. No word from Trav in forty-six days, which either meant he had lost his noodlenode. Or that security had discovered the Trojan. Kallen figured that the worst case had happened, and Trav had been cut off totally, physically, from Tommy. Not that Tommy had been discovered. His module was just too small.
Searing sprays of flame streaked continuously by Kallen's viewport. He steeled himself, gripping the cushioned arm rests, and pushing his head back forcefully into the enveloping landing shell. Every jolt from the ship's fiery passage was muffled, but he felt each one nevertheless. And felt like his ship was out of control.
Then the explosion! All show, that was, but not the immediate banking turn, and the g-strain! Leaving all the pyrotechnics behind as the ship braked, still plummeting, but falling below that scorching, hurtling speed that had literally flaked chunks off the nose cone.
He felt the skin and flesh of his face settling back. With a tentative test of his own strength, he lifted a finger. Then a hand.
He waited, watching out his port, as the darkened surface of the planet grew closer and closer. Lights beckoned everywhere, but he ignored them. It was all programmed. This ship was the finest piece of military hardware available on the market today – designed for just this kind of operation. Kallen had every reason to believe that it would settle him down with inches of the targeted location.
He felt the brakes again, heavier this time, more forceful. The ship was slowing perceptibly, the ground was looming. Suddenly – the final hammer blow back into his seat, as the ship righted itself, leveling off for the landing.
He lifted his hand again. The very force of gravity yielded to his will easily, this time and he knew it was indeed the time.
Time to get Little Traveler.
He pressed the release button beneath his right index finger, and the restraints burst free. He lunged out of the chair, and bounded forward through the empty cargo hold, where a whole platoon of marines would have been waiting to jump out of the ship on a different kind of operation. This time, it was just him. And Tommy.
He flung open the cabinet next to the exit hatch, and pulled out Tommy. Just enough of Tommy in the little portable to handshake with the Trojan in the CPS network. Enough of Tommy to map out a route to Trav.
The ship settled down onto the ground with a slight jolt, and the light over the exit hatch went green. Kallen slapped the door panel, and the hatched swept up smoothly and silently.
Just like the landing engines. This ship ran silent within a 1000 meters of the surface. It was like the hatch opened to the dead of night – no sound beyond the quiet hiss of the down-revving engines.
Kallen stepped down and out, bending his knees to cushion the always awkward transition to terra firma. He looked around, and confirmed the accuracy of the landing. There on the left, was the compound wall, hiding the grounds from the outside world. A few trees, the wide lawn – Kallen felt his throat constricting, wondering if Trav had been wheeled across this very lawn just that day. Straight ahead, the side entrance to the residency wards. Trav was in there somewhere!
Fighting back the rising surge of emotion, Kallen bit down hard upon his lower lip and narrowed his eyes, trying to hold back the tears. He didn't know how they had been treating the little guy, but it was obvious Trav had not been allowed to contact anyone for the longest time now. Every day, Kallen had worried over how Trav must feel. Isolated? Abandoned? One thing for sure – he knew his boy hadn't forgotten. Trav was waiting for his man in there. Waiting right now.
Adrenaline poured into Kallen's system. He started running, not even bothering to look back to check his craft. It would seal up for him, awaiting his return. Awaiting THEIR return!
The universal data coupler wasn't called universal for nothing. It was installed just where it should be, to the right of the door. He already had Tommy's plug out, and ready to connect, by the time he stopped within reach.
With the socket latched, he opened the portable. "Tommy. Protocol."
"Searching." The word appeared on the screen even as Tommy said it.
"Module found. Upload complete." Kallen didn't even have enough time to feel nervous about it. The Tommy Trojan was alive and well!
"Tommy! Map a route from this door to Trav."
Left side, eighth bed down the row. One. Two. The beds all looked the same in the night-vision glow. Kallen took the aisleway in huge strides, but still trying to cushion his footfall. Nevertheless, more than one pair of eyes looked up at him. Glaring eyes, wide with fear? Wonder
Five. Six. Seven
Kallen took it all in in an instant. Trav's long, almost empty bed. His small – his oh so small form! Occupying such a small part of the bed! Laying motionless on his back. Not even a sheet to cover his spindly little legs. His head back flat upon the mattress. A pillow drawn or pushed to the side, poised to fall off onto the floor. Eyes closed.. Sunken eyes. Arms resting by his side, legs outstretched. Stains on the sheet. Reddish, brownish-red spots, just beneath his boy's form
Kallen felt suddenly weak. He grasped the railing at the foot of the bed next closest to Trav's, and stopped, desperately trying to gasp in enough air to keep from fainting.
What had they done to his boy!? What had HE done to his boy!?
Those stains he knew too well. Bed sores. And the brown filth seeped, and dried – spilt from the boy's diaper.
Flesh that looked blue and cold through the night-vision visor. Legs that had not felt a loving, warming caress in how many days!?
Something here about the other patients .
It was but an instant, in which Kallen stood there, gathering his strength, yet it was a lifetime's resolve. 'Till death do us part, Little Traveler,' the man promised. 'Never, ever, ever again '
Kallen flipped up the visor and stepped quickly up to Trav's bedside. No time to think now. No time for regrets OR resolves! Just get Trav out of here!
He jerked the sheet from the foot of the mattress, then reached up to do the same for the head corners. Hastily he flung the flimsy fabric over Trav's legs and his body – small substitute for what he wanted to do – he needed to stretch his own body next to his boy's, and let his own warmth bring back life to the little Trav's frame – but no time!
He dared to take just an instant to look at his boy's visage – still the same unkempt, uncombed curls. Still those too large ears, the pixie nose, the two front teeth that protruded, parting his lips, still the still the timeless beauty that no artist could ever hope to match, on any palate. Still the boy he loved.
Kallen lowered his right cheek to Trav's, and felt the coldness of the boy's flesh, and then the heat of his breath!! He was sleeping, or just resting his eyes or again Kallen struggled to breathe, himself, fearing to even think the possibility.
"Trav " he whispered, placing his lips right up against the boy's ear. "Little Traveler! Please wake for me, Dearest One " Kallen lifted his head a bit, to look into his boy's eyes, praying to see those delicate lids flutter, then open.
No movement. Only the slow breathing. Life, yes! But
"Trav! Sweety!" Kallen lowered his lips to the boy's ear again, whispering louder, trying not to let his own heart leap up into his throat.
"Oh god Trav, I'm here now. I'm we're please, honey, wake up fo "
Forcing back his tears, Kallen rose, still peering into Trav's face, daring to hope for some sign that the boy was conscious, that he hadn't fallen into some kind of coma.
But he knew he couldn't stand here like this, for his own desire, just to see Trav open those eyes, to see his smile as joined again he had to go or they would not be able to be together at all! Quickly, he lowered his lips to Trav's face and kissed his cheeks, his nose, his eyes, forehead, lips. "My darling boy! Whether you can hear me or not, I'm here. I'm going to take you away from here. And we're never going to be apart again!"
He slid his left arm underneath Trav's head and shoulder, and then crossed his right over the boy's body, and underneath his bottom, and lifted his feather-light form and clasped it to his own. Reaching up, straining with the fingers of his left hand, he lowered his visor again, and turned to retrace their steps.
He heard voices behind him, but didn't bother to turn. Whether the other patients, or someone come to stop them, it didn't matter. Tommy would block the doors and darken the passageways. If they got too close, he would pull out his gun. He had his boy, and no one or nothing in the universe was going to stop them now.
Trav didn't want to open his eyes. For once – for the first time in a long, long time – he felt good.
'Don't let it all in,' he thought lazily, dreamily. 'Just for a moment, let me feel good before NO! Don't think about it just try to remember the dream. Kallen kissed me. I felt his lips and his cheek, against mine. He said something I know he did, but I can never remember my dreams – just let me go on remembering this one forever '
He was laying on his side.
Now he knew it was all a dream – the orderly never rolled him over, even if he begged. The sores on his back and bottom and all down his legs felt so different, like the way Kallen used to do – he'd wash them gently, then put some lotion on, so they could heal. 'Then he'd roll me over on my side, so they could air out. That's what he used to say. He wanted them to air out'
Trav felt himself smiling. What a wonderful dream he had had was having! Wasn't this all a dre oh! Don't tell me it's already been thirty days! Obviously. The nurse came by, cleaned my sores, and turned me on my side
So how long then? Sixty days? Sixty long, excruciating days of agony. But that meant he had been out of it for – how many days? 'Probably I should be glad that I slept that long if this isn't a dream '
Something was laying on him. On his legs! He felt the pressure of – like a strap, pulling his legs down onto the and another, around his waist holding him down tight. What were they going to do to him? He started to feel a panicky bile rise into his throat, and he wanted to scream out and just as suddenly, he felt like laughing, hysterically – the idiots! Why did he need straps! He couldn't even move! Was the orderly so utterly stupid that he didn't know that!? What were they thinking of doin "
'Calm down, dummy. This is just a dream. You're still in a dream. Just calm down and try to remember Kallen, the way he touched me, and he said something
No. There was a real voice
Someone talking loudly, someone quiet! Listen!
" pointed out to you earlier, Mr. Hunter-Green, I'm quite a wealthy man. On occasion I take on a case like this for well, because I find sssssssstsstssssit "
A stream of static suddenly drowned the voice out, then it resumed.
" way you broke in to our database is quite intriguing. I actually admire you in that. You tell my people how you planted the boy's record there – and why you would go through that kind of subterfuge. Bring your ah son on down here, and I will examine him immediately."
There was a pause. Then another voice, sounding very subdued, or emotional "I I can't thank you enough ever Doctor "
Trav felt himself going dizzy. His head spinning. He wanted to open his eyes now, but somehow couldn't! The voice was Kallen's! It was as if the days and months were somehow forgotten, sloughed away, and he felt like if he could just strain hard enough – fling his arms wide and hard enough – he could break these straps, break out of the paralysis, and jump out of this bed and run to
Kallen! He tried to scream it out, tried to force his lips to part. To force his jaw to open. To force his tongue to cooperate! Kall!
He wanted to scream it!! But nothing would come! 'Oh my god, it is a dream!!! A terrible, cruel, ugly dream!'
It was like he was suddenly watching himself, observing his own agony, listening for the tiniest peep of a sound from his own throat. He wanted to call out his man's name!
"Kaaaaa-a-a-a!" he heard a rattle. A weak, rasping, sandpapery noise. He felt air from his lungs, trying to push up through his larynx, trying to make it work!
"Kaaaaallllll!" Louder! Clearer! The rattle turning to a screech, taking on some semblance of human sound. Not the mindless mewling of an invalid. Not the agonized moan of what was once a boy, laying for day after day after mind-numbing day in loneliness and despair. Force it out! 'Oh Kallen. This can't be a dream! Please, don't let this be a dream!'
"Kaaaallennnnnn!" Trav yelled it out, screaming it, crying it. Even if only the orderly heard it, or the other mind-numbed patients in their beds, just for once he wanted to call out to "
"Trav!" he heard Kallen's voice answer! And a shifting chair, and heavy steps upon the floor!
It wasn't a dream! It couldn't be a dream! Dare he open his eyes!? Or would that be the final crushing blow of his confinement, to know that even his dreamtime had become a part of the insanity of his existence?! That he was once a boy, who had the universe to dream about, but that now he was a vegetable doomed to rot in a forgotten corner of a darkened hospital ward, with nothing but cruel nightmares to haunt his every
Trav flung his eyelids open, feeling the tears already streaming, seeing unusual looming shapes and lights through the misty film. He blinked, and saw one shape fast approaching, rising up above him.
Then their voices merged.
"Kallen!?" The little boy's rusty-hinged plea
"Trav!" the man's desperate answer
Kallen reached out, his hand shaking, to touch Trav's cheek, to smooth away the tears that were falling there, even as he knelt down beside the little boy's bed, bringing their eyes level.
Again their voices joined.
"It's you?! The little boy's plea
"It's me!" the man's firm reply.
"You came for me!"
"Yes, I did."
"Take me away from here!"
"It's done, sweetie. We're long gone from that place."
Kallen leaned in so that both his boy and himself could feel the reality of the moment. He stroked Trav's cheek, and gazed into his glistening, still tear-filled eyes.
"I'm so sorry, honey, for what you went through. I'll never let it happen again. Now let me get you out of that bed and into my arms! I want to hold you forever! We have so much to talk about!"
After sitting for hours beside Trav's bed, in the recovery room, Kallen answered the summons to come to Dr. Puceta's office, not knowing how to feel. He had watched desperately for even a twitch – any sign at all that Trav would be able to move now.
Waiting. Hoping. Wondering. His sole function, since landing the ship within the doctor's own private compound. Trav had immediately become Puceta's boy, in a sense. What could an erstwhile transport pilot offer, when decisions had to be made about Trav's treatment, his operation, his chances – his very life. Not even consent.
No, consent had to come from Trav himself. Trav wanted the operation. He practically demanded it. And so it had been done. Everyone knowing the odds.
Now this morning, the call: "Doctor Puceta requests that you come to his office immediately."
The doctor was sitting at his desk. A big man. Fat. And happy. Brilliant. And rich. Very, very wealthy, his compound more like a resort – replete with his own harem of beautiful women – adjacent to his own private research hospital. Renowned throughout Known Space.
Puceta looked up from his desk, and raised one brow, as if questioning something. "Ah, yes. Mr. Hunter-Green. Please be seated," he waved to a chair before his desk, his oddly quite delicate looking hand and fingers looking so out of sorts with his bulk.
"Is there is there a problem with "
"Oh no! Your son is well on his way to recovery," Puceta said expansively. Not bothering to give Kallen time to absorb that news, the doctor continued, "I've called you here because of a complication of a different sort. No. Your boy is going to do just fine. He'll be up and walking in no time at all. Unfortunately we will be unable to oversee his recuperation and therapy."
'Your boy is going to do just fine.' The words echoed in Kallen's mind. He strained to listen, to hear – but those words! What else could matter, but those words? The doctor said them so passionlessly! As if it were a matter of course, that the operation should be successful.
But there were complications what was that about the recuperation? Kallen gripped hard on the arm rests of his chair, and tried to focus. "You won't there's a problem with ?"
"I have just received this inquiry from ," the doctor held up a printed sheet, and glanced at it. "Apparently from the planet Olympus. The uh Planetary " He waved the sheet dismissively, and handed it across his desk to Kallen. "Well, you may read it yourself."
Kallen bent to scan the document, while Doctor Puceta kept talking.
"Seems the authorities have finally tracked you here. I'm surprised it took them so long, given Trevor's condition. Be that as it may, we have a problem."
Kallen looked up into the big man's eyes, wondering what the doctor's problem could be. He certainly understood his own, and Trav's. Furiously he churned the possibilities over in his mind – was Trav well enough to travel? Would the doctor attempt to
"WE have a problem, Mr. Hunter-Green. I say 'we', because well, because young Trevor and I have had some talks, and I of course have examined him quite thoroughly, I might add." He eyed Kallen meaningfully.
The pilot just sat silent, wondering, feeling his blood start to run cold. How much had Trav told the man? Was it still obvious, from an examination, that they had been having sex? Would the doctor have seen that?
"I can't see the attraction that a grown man would have for a little boy's body, sir," Puceta said, his eyebrows raised.
Oh no, Kallen thought. The possiblities were narrowing, perhaps. He looked straight into the doctor's eyes, wondering if he were going to have to forcibly remove Trav from the clinic. If he had to, he would. Or die trying.
"Be that as it may, I can very much see the attraction for this little boy! He has the mind of a scientist, sir! His potential is unbounded. I could take him under my wing, an no, no, calm down now and listen to me," the doctor boomed out, as Kallen started to rise from his chair, an alarmed scowl on his face.
"I said I had talked with Trevor. I know all about what you mean to him, sir. I also know what he means to you. I do not intend to see the two of you separated. Thus our problem!"
Kallen slowly sat back into his chair, stunned, but suddenly realizing that with this man's help, they might just be able to pull it off, somehow. "Ahh, Doctor. Is Trevor able to for me to take him back on board so "
"Able, yes. Under the proper conditions. Which cannot be met on that well, you know something, Mr. Hunter-Green?"
"What is that, Doctor?"
"I've always wanted to own a yacht. Now, in your professional opinion, could a fleet lander, such as the one you have parked on my lawn out there, be converted to serve me ah, in the style I am accustomed to?
"Yes, I'm sure it could," Kallen answered impatiently, unsure where this conversation was going? Puceta was beating around the bush. "It has both deep-space and landing capabilities. Everything you would need for a yacht, minus the luxuries."
"I can have it refurbished."
"I have no time for that. I if you're going to help me get Trav out of here before they come for us, I need to get him on board NOW. And out of here."
"As I said, that would be quite impossible on that ship of yours, sir. The clinic does however have at it's disposal, a hospital scow. Also capable of deep-space travel and planetary landings. What I am proposing is an exchange, or sorts You and that dear boy get transport off of this planet, to whatever destination you require. I get my new interplanetary yacht!" Puceta literally clapped his hands together, like a little boy with a new toy in sight. To him, all this was just a game. Saving a boy's life – apparently routine! Thwarting the authorities – doable, without like consequences.
Kallen sat stone-faced, trying to digest the doctor's proposal. On the one hand, it bought them more time. Time they would need for Trav to recover, and time to disappear for good. On the other hand, that surplus lander was the sole asset left to them, after selling Ganymede. He knew he had to accept the deal, and oddly enough he didn't even feel upset that the doctor was making a financial killing. When it came right down to it, he had offered to do the operation on Trav for nothing. So now he got paid. And after all, what price wasn't justifiable for Trav's life?
"Done, with one very important request, Doctor." Kallen said.
"And what is that?" Puceta looked somewhat taken aback.
"You saw Trav's well, you saw his back. His legs. The sores. How thin he was. There are other patients there in that same institution. I saved Trav, but there are others still there. You have influence. You can "
"Say no more. It will be done.
And Kallen knew it would be. Simple as that. "Thank you," he said solemnly, then he stood quickly, signaling how surely he was aware of the time constraints. "Now sir, if you'll be so kind as to "
"Not so quickly now, Mr. Hun Kallen." Puceta said, as he levered his own huge bulk up out of his chair reluctantly. He looked straight at the pilot, as he shifted slowly around the end of his desk, and reached out to grasp Kallen's arm. "We're going to need to discuss that little boy's care, during this voyage of yours, and then there is the question of his future. Boylover, huh?" He laughed, sounding very pleased with some private joke of his own making. "Yes. Yes. I suspect you'll take quite good care of how do you call him? The Little Traveler? Well, I do know just the proper destination for the likes of you two. And we're going to have to arrange a way to transfer the purchase price for my new yacht to "
Kallen felt himself being guided from the office by the older man. Listening, hearing believing stunned, but believing that THEY were going to be alright now. Everything was going to be alright now.
Trav squeezed Kallen's hand, then released it and scampered off towards the ebbing waves. He flailed his arms about, and danced just behind the retreating whitecaps, prancing about on tiptoe. Then as the ocean poised, gathering strength to come rushing back onshore, Trav challenged it, naked and bared to all the elements, and stood bravely, arms akimbo, chin out defiantly.
Kallen's eyes swept greedily up and down his boy's sun-drenched figure – such perfect lines, subtle and fluid, smooth and sleek across his narrow back, curving swiftly around his delicate shoulders, falling, falling, swelling ever so slightly at the boy's waist, then gloriously full now, where Trav's buttocks swelled – clenched, hiding that treasure within. If he parted his slender legs if Kallen knelt there
Kallen looked down at the Trav's footprints, so perfectly formed in the fine white sand, examining them, marveling at the motion captured there. Each was like the a stamp of confirmation, that this boy was animated by his own volition now.
He remembered that moment, when Trav awoke from the operation. The little imp was smiling. Instantly. A sweet little smile, pulling his lips up at their corners, as if to say that he would happily accept any fate, so long as he could awake to see his man by his side. And he giggled, and said, 'Scratch my nose, Kall. It tickles."
"Scratch it yourself, sleepy-head. Do you think I ," Kallen had wanted to joke about it, he tried to keep his smile too, but knew he was going to cry instead. His lips already trembling, fighting back the tears, he choked out, "you think I'm 'm going to serve you hand and foot from now on?"
"You mean ?" Trav breathed in, in a gasp, and without even consciously directing it, his hand lifted from Kallen's. He stared at it, blankly at first, wide-eyed. Then he turned it palm up, and flexed his little fingers out straight, examining them like he had never seen them before.
They had both cried then. But no more!
No longer did Kallen have to guide Trav's hands, no longer would he have to place the boy's feet, and push them forward to mark each step. Now, wheresoever the Little Traveler decided to implant his footprint, the universe would bend and shape to HIS will!
And where would that will direct him?
Kallen looked up again, at his boy. He saw that the ocean was surging, was rushing back in, rolling, threatening. Trav held his little body stalwart, as if daring Nature herself, to test his newfound powers. At the very last moment, before he would be drowned in the breaker, he laughed joyously, bounced backwards with a twirl and a hop, and skipped off ahead of the inrushing, white-flecked tongues of warm water.
Kallen was aroused already, his penis lifting, lengthening – magically swelling and hardening – his manhood awakened by the boy now running back to him. Answering his question. For it was Trav's will to run to his man's arms.
The pilot's eyes centered on Trav's own penis. It was cold-hard, spray- flecked from his race with the waves, sticking out stiffly, it's bluish- tinted helmet pointing his way, bobbing merrily with each bound and leap.
Trav ran right up to Kallen, and smashed his lithe form into the man's, wrapping his arms around Kallen's waist, and laying his head directly against the man's stomach. Kallen had just enough time to ruffle the curls upon Trav's head, before the boy pushed himself back and looked down at the eight-inch [20 cm] tool now resting it's hooded head against his own stomach.
"Hmmh, you're ready for something!" Trav said, smirking, as he pulled his eyes away from the man's penis and looked up into Kallen's eyes mischievously. Then he furtively looked down the beach each way, then gazed back up at Kallen with raised brow, and asked simply, "Here?"
Kallen pursed his lips, in surprise, and raised his own brows. "Uh yeaaaahhhh ," he answered, taking his own glance up and down the beach.
The nearest couple was too far away to even distinguish their faces. Another man, and his boy. Besides, they appeared to be pretty much wrapped up in themselves too. Everyone here came for the same reason, anyway – not to be seen or watched, but to just be to be themselves, alone, with their lovers. Free! In a place where no one would question, where everyone would understand.
"Yes, Trav. Here ," Kallen managed to say, coarsely, feeling his desire for the boy rising within him.
"I should still be slick in there. From this morning," Trav suggested tentatively, his voice also subdued now. His exuberance giving way to the tenseness of expectation that he always felt, when he knew Kallen was going to take him. That he would soon feel Kallen inside him. Stretching him, filling him! He looked up now with doe-like eyes, questioning, beseeching.
Kallen leaned over his boy, and gently grasped him, his right hand seeking beneath Trav's bottom, the left arm around his shoulders. He lifted Trav. The boy raised his legs, so he could straddle Kallen's waist, opening himself wide, baring himself completely to Kallen's searching fingers. He wrapped his arms around Kallen's neck.
Kallen slid his fingers down Trav's butt crack, feeling the wetness, the ooze – no product of the ocean spray, this time, but a remembrance of their union just this morning. Kallen's seed, seeping from within Trav's bowels – now ready to help them join again.
He inserted his middle finger, pressing in and up, testing the anal opening. Trav moaned, and Kallen leaned in again to cover his boy's lips with his own. The moan went on, entering the man's lungs as they kissed.
Trav drew back, his eyes now closed, then forward again to press his cheek against Kallen's. "Now," he whispered into the man's ear. Then he waited, tensely. Waiting. It was ever like this – Trav unconsiously holding his breath. Wanting to feel Kallen's entry, yet somehow at the same time almost dreading it.
Kallen slid his left hand all the way down Trav's back, till he could cup the boy's bottom, freeing his right to reach for his own penis, and guide it up and into his boy. He lodged his glans right up into the waiting, barely opened funnel leading up into Trav's body, and pressed upwards with his pelvis, just slightly.
"Oohhuuunnnnhhh," Trav moaned. Kallen felt all resistance weakening, as the boy consciously relaxed. They were practiced in this now. Each knew what the other wanted, and how and when to make it happen. Trav was already loosened, so it was much easier than this morning.
Kallen plunged up again. Trav felt all the signals – the sudden tightness of the man's stomach, the fingers gripping beneath his buttocks. He willed himself to open, to loosen, and almost shrieked out his joy as he felt the bulbous head of Kallen's dick slipping fully up inside him, stretching his anal ring far beyond what he could do himself, "You're in me Kall!"
"Yes dearest," Kallen panted. "I'm in YOU ," he grunted, as he pushed even harder and felt his shaft sliding relentlessly deeper and deeper.
"Ohhhhhhhhhhh " Trav almost wailed, following the slide of Kallen's penis up into his body. "uhhhhhhhhhh fuck me!" he sighed, settling his body down forcibly onto his man's burgeoning tool.
"Oh Trav! You're so incredibly hot inside and beautiful!" Kallen spoke tenderly into Trav's ear, then nuzzled down, kissing along his neck and to his shoulder. "I love you!" he said, in time with his first stroke out, then back in, working his pelvis. Then out again, and in, sliding his cock along the cum-slickened canal of Trav's rectum, feeling his dick head lunging into the softly resisting flesh within his boy's body.
Crazed with the feelings that were shooting into his own body, from within Trav's, he started to circle around in the sand, working to keep pumping his manhood in and out of Trav's bottom, trying hard to stroke the boy's prostate.
The breakers ebbed, and came crashing back in time and again, at first just washing up around Kallen's feet. Still the man fucked up into his boy. The waves reached higher and higher, even as Trav begged Kallen to push in higher, and harder.
"I gotta lay down, honey ," Kallen finally pleaded into Trav's ear, pausing, letting his cock rest still for a moment, fully encased within Trav. He felt exhausted, and now giddy with the sensations, feeling the boy's wanton constrictions, still massaging his man's dick lasciviously. The next breaker smashed into Kallen's calves, and he staggered up the beach, holding Trav tight to him, keeping his penis fully lodged inside his lover's very bowels.
"I gotta lay down if we're going to "
"Ok, Kall. I want to ride you now! I want to fuck you this time!"
"Sure, Trav," Kallen laughed, though he was a bit surprised. "But are you sure you have the strength now?" he let himself fall to his knees and carefully lay back, pulling Trav over with him, keeping him impaled.
"Yeah, Kall, I think I can do it now. If I can do this, then I can do anything, can't I?"
"I think you can, sweetie."
"Kall, do you think I could be a pilot someday? Or a maybe a surgeon?"
The incongruity of the question, coming while they were in the very throes of making love, make Kallen laugh even louder.
"Yeah-h-h-h-h, Little Trav. You of all people, with what you've been through, what you've done? If not you, who? Of all the people who would endure any hardship, and who are smart enough to do anything they set their mind to, why not you?
Trav straddled his man, slowly circling his bottom unconsciously upon Kallen upthrust dick, lost now in thought, in dreams – feeling his own power growing within himself.
"Yeah, Kall," he answered wonderingly. He propped himself with his palms upon Kallen's chest, and then looked straight into his lover's eyes. With a little twist of his head, eyes wide with sudden understanding, he proclaimed, "I think you're right. Why not me!?"
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