tagSci-Fi & FantasyDulling the Pain Ch. 04

Dulling the Pain Ch. 04


The first sex scene of the story, and it's gay. If you're not interested, skip the italicized section. (And if you just want to fap, skip ahead to the next chapter.)

"Making any progress?" Maria asked, and Isaac shook his head.

"Not as such," he replied. He'd spent the past ten minutes sitting in front of the ship's computer, staring at satellite input. "There's clearly a pattern at work here, but I think my initial suspicions were unfounded."

Maria tried to hide her curiosity under levity. "What were your 'initial suspicions?' Did you think little green men made the mounds?"

"Perhaps. Every metal that's been found to interfere with FTL devices can be found in at least one of the mounds. I suspect that the other mounded metals cause interference to a lesser degree--not that we'd know it, given how little experimentation has been allowed on the technology we've scavenged from alien ruins. The catch is, there's no other sign of intelligent life on this planet, and certainly no signs of technology. Nor is there any other pattern as to the metals that have mounded--most of them are highly electroconductive, but titanium is less conductive than lead, so why is there titanium but no lead in the mounds? I do have a few hypotheses left . . ."

"You're losing me."

Isaac sighed. "I've lost a lot of people. I keep thinking that the Procne team could have figured this out." That Robert could have figured this out, he thought but did not say, and he felt a familiar pang at the memory of a suntanned face.

Maria got as far as "I'm--" before he interrupted. "No need to say you're sorry. I'm the one who brought it up." He tried to lighten the mood. "Speaking of losing people, do you have any idea where Davison ran off to?"

"He left camp last night," Maria replied. "I was planning to check on him soon."

"I'll go with you. I'm starting to worry about him."

"There's no need," Maria said, a little too quickly, and that was when Isaac finally grew suspicious.

-- -- -- --

"How's he doing?" Maria called out into thin air, sitting on the edge of the cliff.

I cannot understand him at all, Flora replied. Perhaps it's because he only thinks in one language, while the rest of you switch between two.

"That's not all, is it?" Maria asked.

Maria was learning to detect the tones of Flora's thoughts, and this one was tinged with something very much like sorrow. He destroys and destroys, shredding my creations, and still he is not satisfied. I have never encountered another mind so full of suffering.

"I'm just glad he no longer cares about the mission. It would be really, really bad if he decided to set off the alert beacon. Speaking of which, I'm working on Isaac--I still haven't figured out how to get him to trust us."

Flora was confused. If you don't trust him, why did you let him follow you?

Before Maria could respond to that in words, Flora had already realized her error. A short ways down the slope, a dozen flowers grew high into the air, tangling and hoisting a very panicked geologist.

"Let me go!" Isaac screamed. "I've got to get back--" And then he shuddered, overcome by a sudden vision.

-- -- -- --

"Wake up, buddy."

Isaac opened his eyes and looked around. He was lying in a patch of flowers, naked--more than naked, because his cross was gone. He could see clearly in a small area around him, but the darkness beyond was absolute, and no sun or stars shone overhead. At the edge of the circle . . .


"I'd say 'in the flesh,' but that would be a bit misleading."

"You're dead. I saw it. The zombies ripped your head open." Isaac tried to pinch himself, but there was no pain. The ground under him didn't feel quite solid.

"Think of me as an echo. Our souls were very close, and a bit of me was left in you when I died. The mind here can't bring me back, but she can give you one last chance to talk to me." So patient, just like he'd always been. "You always said there was a life after this one. The real me's probably looking down on us now. This is your chance to tell him what you never got to say before. So start talking."

"This is a trick, isn't it?" Isaac asked. "I remember something like this, when I caught the Procne virus. Not many of us survived it--even Manuel was lucky enough not to get infected. I heard the voices, whispering in my head, day after day . . ."

Suddenly, Robert was kneeling beside him, kissing his cheek. His beard scratched against Isaac's face. "This isn't a trick," he whispered into Isaac's ear. "Yeah, it was the only way to knock you out--that metal eye of yours protects you against a lot of things--but this is your greatest wish, and I'm here to grant it. If anything, it's a peace offering." He ran his fingers through Isaac's hair. "So, now that you've got me here, what are you going to do with me?"

"I'll never be able to explain this in confession, will I?"

"You always talked like that. 'We mustn't, Robert--it's a sin.' Because of that, all we did was kiss. And then I died, and you would have given anything to have me back. Don't waste this."

He brought his tongue lower to lick Isaac's nipples, and Isaac shuddered despite himself. He wasn't quite sure how Robert wound up on top of him, but the feeling was far more real than anything else in the dream, and given the situation, he had no choice but to enjoy it--the grasping hands, the probing tongue, the warm firmness poking up against him . . .

At last, Robert rolled off him--but not for long. "Roll over, and we'll make this even more fun."

"I--I've never done it like this--"

"This is a dream, remember? There's no pain here, and no fear."

Isaac turned facedown, and let Robert mount him. The feeling of a shaft spreading his hole was alien to him, but it wasn't some stranger atop him, it was Robert, and it was Robert whispering gently into his ear as he worked his way in.

Robert came first, but the feeling was enough for Isaac to follow, and when it was over, they lay quietly together, warming each other in the cold darkness. And then Robert made his mistake. "Do you still want revenge?" he asked.

"Robert wouldn't have asked me that," Isaac replied. "He'd have known that this isn't about revenge. You're the virus, aren't you? I don't know if you're a disease or a demon, but there's nothing of Robert in you."

The voice that responded took on an echoing quality, all ruses dropped. "I don't know what I am, but I'm nothing like the Procne virus. All I want to do is survive, and end the pain if I can. You're a good man, Isaac. As strange as it may sound, I liked doing this with you. Promise me that you won't activate the alert beacon. Promise me that you'll let me live."

Isaac struck out wildly, but he hit only empty air, and suddenly, there was no longer a body atop him. Yet a voice echoed in the darkness. "Promise me. Please! Promise that you won't kill me!" Isaac kicked and screamed, sinking down into the darkness, and the voice only grew louder and louder . . .

-- -- -- --

An awakening into sudden pain. Eyes closed, but ears uncovered. Sound--and thought--pouring in.

"What happened?"

Your crewmate's heart gave out. Fighting and fighting . . . Such a grudge against my kind. However, I was able to remove the metal eye, and then I could heal the body and clear the mind.

Two eyes opened--why the feeling that only one should have?--and gazed into a brown-skinned face that in turn stared back in shock. "Flora, what did you do?"

The body remembers, even when the mind doesn't. The pain wouldn't leave unless the memories did, so I had to change the body somehow--and this will play into my plans for recruiting Manuel.

There was a note of quiet terror in the brown-skinned girl's voice. "Flora, this isn't right."

It's not as bad as you think. I took away her memories, and I gave her a new body, but her curiosity and her cleverness are the same as they always were. Maria, this is Ida. Ida, say hi to Maria.

Another name almost sprang to Ida's lips--something beginning with an R--but it was gone before she could focus on it. For a moment, she felt that she had lost something important, but she put the thought aside for a later time. "Hello, Maria," she said, and so her new life began.

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