The zine contains four stories which follow on from one another.
They may be summarised very roughly as follows:
Vila sat on the flight-deck couch, reading aloud from the sheets of paper he clutched in his hand.
<for web purposes, I've deleted this bit. It's an extremely explicit heterosexual scene involving barbarians raping a girl>
Vila glanced up at his audience to see how they were taking it. Blake was listening with rapt attention and somewhat glazed eyes, while Avon looked even more bored than usual. He must practice that expression in front of the mirror: it was so perfect it couldn't be natural. Vila returned his attention to his story. He decided he wasn't at all sure how someone would "open" a tunic to release his penis: normally people who wore tunics just pulled them off over their heads. Next time he rewrote the story, the barbarian would have to wear trousers. How did barbarian trousers fasten? He couldn't imagine a barbarian having much patience with buttons, and zippers would be enough of an anchron...anacko...achrono...out-of-place thing that they would probably make his audience laugh. Slacks untied at the waist and pushed down? But then you'd lose that nice "boing!" jack-in-the-box effect as the man's dick sprang out. Oh well, he'd think of something. He sighed. The life of a creative artist was as hard as...a barbarian warrior's cock, perhaps? He sighed again. Sometimes he felt he had never quite mastered similes.
"Go on, Vila," Blake demanded. "Don't stop."
Oh well. Art or not, at least he was reaching his listeners. Or at least one of them. Avon was putting him off a bit, actually - he did like to feel that his writing turned his audience on, at least a bit. He could actually imagine Avon having sex with that bored expression pinned to his face. What an off-putting thought. He looked at Blake quickly, and continued:
<for web purposes, a bit more of the rape story is deleted here>
"That's it," Vila said, rising from the couch and crackling the sheets together. It was going quite well, although he must try inserting commas in the next chunk: he was getting quite out-of-breath.
"Where's the rest?" asked Blake plaintively. "You can't stop there."
"It's coming," Vila said. "Creativity doesn't just happen, you know, need a bit more oil to grease the wheels of inspiration..." He winked, taking the package Blake handed to him, shook it so it sloshed back and forth (yes, he could get extremely well-oiled on that, if it was what he thought it was), and then left, stuffing it under his tunic. "I'll have the rest tomorrow."
In the corridor, Vila made sure his copy of the fantasy Cally and Jenna had specified was well tucked away at the back of the pile: it would never do to mix those up! Hmm. Maybe there were a few changes he should make to that, following this other one. To save himself work, Vila had made the two quite similar:
<scene of Gan and Blake raping Avon - Vila has problems with all of characters being 'he'>
Damn pronouns, Vila thought. Really, the straight one was so much easier to write.
Vila crossed out the last word, sighed, and put "the other man's".
<and even more sex>
Vila sighed again. Damned if he could see the point. Two gorgeous birds like that, and they wanted to watch a couple of men screwing. When they'd asked, rather nervously, if he'd mind writing them a sort of... homosexual story, he'd had all sorts of exciting visions of the two of them at it together until they'd explained. Oh well, he'd enjoyed reading it out to them: they looked all pink and pretty and panting when they were listening. Yes, it was worth pandering to a couple of girl pervs if you got a view like that out of it.
He wandered off down the corridor, bemused but cheerful.
<There then follows an absolutely hilarious, but completely unrepeatable scene as Avon and Blake start writing their own story and introduce more and more way out things happening to each other. It isn't long before they get from fantasy to equally entertaining sex.>
He wasn't particularly expecting his fellow-insomniac to be Gan, either. Although that was marginally more likely than Vila (drunk, presumably) or Avon (fucked into a quivering heap, definitely). Damn. Now he'd have to intercept a good deal of well-meant concern - yes, there it was. After a distinctly athletic evening engaged in what might, without too much stretching of the truth, be described as all-in wrestling, Blake felt just about all-in himself. He needed the calories, though. Anybody who wanted to keep on top of such a (he was much too tired to think of an epithet) as Avon needed feeding up. God knew how Avon managed his particular brand of stamina on a diet of coffee, malice and ice-cream, but lesser mortals needed the odd fry-up. Well, "fry-up" was stretching it a bit; the food machine could manage a fair shot at beans and ham, but instead of fried eggs you got the sort of dry scrambled eggs beloved of mass caterers everywhere, which were vaguely reminiscent of some sort of insulating material. Still, it did the job. Avon had walked all over Blake's plans for the evening, including dinner, and when he'd had what he wanted he left. Blake had spent some time too tired to get up, but finally decided that lying there starving hungry listening to his insides gurgling wasn't going to help him get to sleep. He'd been hoping for fifteen minutes' quick refuelling without another soul in sight, followed by sleep.
With his mouth full, he waved at Gan in a manner intended to suggest that he was quietly companionable but eating too hard to talk, and that there was nothing wrong. But Gan got a drink of something and sat down. It wasn't going to work. Gan was the quiet type, but this crew had developed the habit of asking questions if anything odd was happening. Gan liked Blake (well, Blake liked Gan, as well, although the last thing he felt like right now was a conversation with him), and Blake could see the worries creeping into his expression: Insomnia? Nightmares? Depression? Incipient mania? Well, he supposed he couldn't blame Gan for that. Since leaving the Federation's hospitality, he'd been subject to occasional attacks of what he referred to as slight sleeping disturbances (and the rest of the crew called the screaming abdabs) every so often. Oddly enough, since Avon had been keeping him rather athletically busy the tendency towards night problems had receded. He suspected that, what with terrorist raids in the daytime followed by a few hours with someone who screwed like a stoat on speed, he was simply too tired to be mentally ill...
He swallowed, sighed, and looked up. "No, Gan, it's not insomnia, and the nightmares haven't come back. Bit surprised to see you here as well, though. I'd never have put you down as someone who had trouble sleeping." Attack was the best form of defence, and he was surprised to see Gan up and about at this time of night. Gan was well in line for winning any imaginary competition on this ship for Kindest and Most Well-Adjusted Crewmember. He worked hard and didn't seem to be cursed with introspection, so why wasn't he asleep?
"No, well, I don't. I was just a bit thirsty. But don't dodge the question, Blake, why are you up at this time of night?"
Blake knew he was looking uncomfortable at that. "I was with someone. I'd better tell you it wasn't Jenna, or you might let something slip." Not out of nastiness, at all. Gan would probably be honestly happy that Jenna had finally got what she wanted, and he wouldn't feel any particular need to keep things secret. However, considering she hadn't, any reference to her affair with Blake would probably make things a lot worse.
Gan looked inquiring. "Who is it, then?"
"You don't want to know. It's one of those Alpha things." No need to disturb people from other grades unnecessarily, after all.
"Well, I know you're all raving poufs if that's what you mean..."
"Bisexuals," Blake corrected icily. "We're not an endangered species, after all."
"All right, I'm not as prejudiced as I was brought up to be, you know. After prison, you don't curl up and scream at the sight of a man kissing another man. Matter of fact, I'm sleeping with a bloke at the moment. I know it's not really what I'm used to, but the poor chap's so desperate sometimes. It's nice to feel wanted."
"You're really having an affair with a man?" In deference to his companion, Blake didn't quite howl with laughter, but it was a near thing.
"Well, I wouldn't call it an affair, exactly..." Blake felt a twinge of fellow-feeling at the doubtfulness of Gan's tone, "but yes, that's who I'm seeing now."
"Well, no, actually. I'm sleeping with Avon, off and on."
Abruptly, Blake felt less than amused at the situation. "What an interesting coincidence," he said coldly.
Gan got up hurriedly. "Blake, I didn't know I was getting between anyone."
Blake sighed, smiled and said. "No, it's not like that. It's just...the way he behaves with me, I could have sworn I was enough for his sexual needs, at least. Come on, sit down and we can compare notes. I do feel a bit curious about what he was looking for."
Gan looked at him searchingly, and, apparently reassured that Blake's relationship with Avon wasn't precisely romantic in nature, sat down.
"Go on, Gan. How did he start up with you? Can't really imagine it: he's never got a civil word for you in the daytime. Not that he's exactly civil with anyone, but you know what I mean."
Gan blushed. Blake gave him one of his best wryly amused looks, and he seemed to take courage. "It's a bit embarrassing really." Gan twisted his hands together and looked down. "I think it's my body he goes for more than anything, he doesn't seem all that interested in conversation."
Avon stretched in his sleep. The pain woke him up. Why the hell hadn't he washed afterwards, as usual? Why the hell hadn't he insisted on going back to his own bed? He elbowed the other two in the ribs, because he was in pain and didn't see why they should sleep through it. They muttered, but woke up.
"What's the matter?" one said, turning the light on.
"What do you think?" Avon snapped, because that really was a stupid question. They'd overdone it, it was definitely their fault, and once he'd stopped enjoying it it hurt like blazes. Talking hurt. Moving hurt. He should clean himself up and see if he'd been damaged in any way, but he couldn't face getting up.
"He looks a bit white around the lips," Blake said.
_Full marks for observation,_ Avon thought, acidly. _One might have thought you would have realised it would cause me discomfort later, considering the hammering you put me through._
"Do you think we should get him to the bathroom?"
Avon could think of several snappy retorts to that, along the lines of "he thinks you should stop trying to be helpless and do something useful", but talking wasn't worth the effort. They tried to lift him gently. He complained. They tried again. This could take a very long time.
"Idiots," Avon said. "Bring me a damp cloth." He couldn't believe that they were so dim as not to realise that bringing selected parts of the bathroom to him would be far less effort. And there was skin cream already there in case he needed ointment: probably wouldn't be as good as an antiseptic cream if he'd been slightly torn, but he was in no fit state to go to the medical unit.
"Of course: sorry! I think I've got a bucket somewhere..." Blake rummaged, then went into the bathroom with the bucket. There was the sound of swearing as the bucket bumped against the basin. Liberator basins were fairly small, and it probably didn't fit well under the taps. They heard the loud drumming of water, as from somebody stupid enough to try to fill a bucket from the shower. More cursing. Didn't Blake have the sense to know water would go all over the place if he tried to do that?
"There are concealed bath taps in the bath, just ask for them!" Gan bawled, helpfully.
Avon nearly smiled. Blake, being the busy type, had used the shower to get clean and obviously hadn't explored the possibilities of a nice long soak (Avon would like one right now to take the ache out, but he couldn't face moving). Liberator's excellent technology was well up to the problem of providing retractable bath taps so that they could do their job and not get in the way. Gan, of course, knew about the bath taps since he and Avon had tried a little experiment about whether they could both fit in the bath together (they hadn't, but it had been quite fun trying).
Blake asked, politely, for the bath taps.
Good. Now they were getting somewhere.
Blake brought soap, water and a flannel, and he and Gan started inspecting Avon's bottom carefully. Avon felt at a distinct disadvantage. He didn't usually find attention to his backside this embarrassing or this painful, but without certain contributory factors there was nothing to look forward to. Not that either of them were nasty enough to delight in his misery, but he would prefer to lick his wounds in private (he assured his body that that was a metaphor, but his back still twinged at the thought). He wished he was able to cope with the problem on his own, but he'd need several spare joints, a flexible spine, and a periscope.
Instead, he had to rely on these two. Big but not bright. He ought to have known better than to pick men whose cocks were bigger than their brains, that was the cause of the entire problem. Of course, if they'd been otherwise, he'd have spent the entire night arguing with them. It wouldn't have been nearly so much fun, but at least he wouldn't be so sore.
But he was brighter than these two were, and he really should have realised cleaning up would be so much easier straight afterwards. It was, he supposed, his own fault. He kept a packet of soft medicated cleaning-cloths by his bed in case he'd made a night of it, and usually cleaned up when he was half-asleep, almost without noticing. But he'd been greedy: he'd kept at it and kept at it until the only possible option for everyone in the bed had been instant sleep.
He tensed a bit, because the soap stung on one particular place. Gan said "Are you...all right?" and his fingers trembled as if he was wincing in sympathy, which did not help. Avon gritted his teeth. He was glad, he supposed, that Gan did not want to hurt him, but this determined attempt to suffer with him wasn't doing anyone any good. Blake said, "Look, I'm really trying my best not to hurt you," as if he thought that Avon was doing this to be annoying. If they had to do this, and it was probably unavoidable, it would be a lot better if they didn't take his reactions personally.
After a few minutes, they also started noticing that the situation wasn't ideal, mostly because they kept bumping into each other. Blake said, "No, _I'm_ doing that bit!" and Gan said "Sorry!" Blake said, "Wouldn't this be a bit easier if you held him down and I washed him?"
Gan obediently moved so that part of his weight was on Avon and his hands held Avon open. He started kissing Avon's back gently and not in the least erotically. Avon felt so wretched by now that the offered comfort was very welcome. If he had to endure this horrible experience, this was probably the best way to do it. Gan's weight meant he couldn't flinch even if he tried.
After a while, there was a splash as Blake tossed the flannel back, and trotted off to the bathroom after a towel. The one he brought was very soft, but even that hurt a bit. Blake patted him dry rather than rubbed him. The towel in its turn was tossed aside, and Avon felt like cheering. The ordeal was over.
"I'm not sure, but I think you may be a bit torn, Avon," Blake said, worriedly.
"We think you should go to the medical unit." Gan backed him up.
"I can't walk." At least he didn't smell like a brothel without the perfume, now he'd been washed, but he was in no condition to walk down the corridor.
"We'll help you."
"No, no (ow!). Don't!" Tears of pain came to Avon's eyes at the wrench of being lifted, but he couldn't prevent them wrapping him in a blanket and helping him. The short journey down to the medical unit was agony, even though he didn't have to put his weight on his feet, and even though he was lucky enough not to happen to meet anyone.
When they lowered him gently onto the couch at journey's end, he admitted to himself that this was probably another unfortunate necessity. When Blake started clattering about looking for some form of medical equipment, his misgivings started to rise to the surface again. This was not ideal. Cally seemed to have taken over medical treatment, confidently and competently. Perhaps for this reason, nobody else on board had the faintest and foggiest clue about how to use any of the superb equipment. It was ridiculous. Why had he never realised? What if Cally got killed on a raid? What if she got injured? He would get her to instigate training sessions as soon as he was on his feet again.
Blake seemed to be sure that the pointed thing he'd got hold of was a diagnostic scanner, but had he got it the right way up? Of course, Avon would only get back on his feet again within a reasonable time if Blake didn't make things worse. Was it worth asking Gan to try the com and wake Cally?
Gan parted Avon's buttocks so that Blake could use the pointed thing on him. Avon shut his eyes and considered praying, but decided, in the depths of his cynical soul, that if there was a god, It was probably laughing at him.
Avon had been playing up all day. Gan could well imagine his childhood. Actually, not that well - his own Mum and Dad had brought him up plain and proper, and his size had protected him from any real danger, and he'd always thought Alphas were very polite, until he'd met Avon. Avon was a deal less respectable than any three Deltas Gan had ever met, and although he liked sniping at Vila for what he called "typical lower-grade paucity of vocabulary," this seemed to mean, far as Gan could make out, that Avon knew a lot of very long, very rude words.
It was just that all day, as Avon made a great show of innocently bending down when Blake happened to be looking, "accidentally" brushing Blake's groin with the side of his hand as he passed rather too close in front of him, and generally making a nuisance of himself. Gan wasn't jealous, because Avon was behaving in the same way to him, but he kept getting this persistent vision of the sternest and sourest of nannies saying, darkly, "That child wants smacking."
What little Kerr would have been up to, Gan wasn't too sure (biting? Kicking? Jury-rigging the computer to give him better test results - no, he'd scorn to do that; not morals but pride), but it certainly wasn't in question what big Kerr wanted. The only question was why the hell he was doing this in front of _Blake_? He knew it was (finally) Gan's turn, and he hadn't given any hints at all that he objected, and he'd never gone in for teasing either of them with what they couldn't have (usually more like "here it is, come and get it!"). Gan thought and thought, but he couldn't get a clue which of them this...well, mating ritual, was aimed at.
Even when Avon finally turned to him as he left, and said, "My room, half an hour," Gan wasn't entirely sure. Which was why he was outside Avon's cabin, trying very hard not to make a sound. He wanted nothing better than to go in there and fuck Avon: he'd certainly missed it, and since Blake had explained it wasn't going to turn him queer there was no reason not to. But he was going to feel horribly embarrassed and disappointed if he marched straight in and discovered Blake had got in first. He blushed.
He could hear perfectly clearly through the slightly-open door. Avon was speaking in his softest, randiest voice. Gan knew he should go now, but he was rooted to the spot with angry disappointment. He'd thought better of Avon than this.
"Come on, Blake."
"It's Gan's turn." Good old Blake. Turned on as hell, but he knew the difference between right and wrong, and he was sticking to it. Not that the issue was infidelity, of course, just fairness. It was definitely Gan's turn, and choosing Blake instead wasn't on, not behind his back like this.
"Come on, Blake. Look at me, all ready for you." By the sound of it, he was wriggling about showing his bum off.
"What the hell are you playing at, Avon? Gan'll be along in a bit, with plenty of nice stiff cock..." Avon made a noise, not suggestive of indifference, "...all ready to give you what you've been begging for all day. So wait for it, and wait for me until it's my turn."
"Oh, I think I've just about got time to fit you in, Blake." A leering tone of voice.
"Much as I like fitting myself in there, Avon, it's not fair on Gan. You know he prefers fucking, and you know he won't let you get fucked twice on the same night, so I'm not going to... Stop undoing my trousers when I'm talking to you, Avon!"
"He doesn't have to know, Blake."
"I think you'd better tell me _exactly_ what you're playing at, Avon, Blake said, menacingly. "I'm sure if you decided you preferred me he'd accept the situation, but he deserves to be told, not just walk in on us."
_Hear, hear, thought Gan. I knew I could trust him to be fair, good old Blake, won't let a friend down however randy he gets!_
"I have no intention of letting Gan down," Avon said, rather sharply. "But why does he have to know? We've got time for a fast fuck before he appears, as long as you're quick about it, and then you can just do up your trousers and look innocent."
"Do you have some sort of kink about being caught out, Avon?"
Gan could hear the shudder in Avon's voice as he replied, "Strangely enough, Blake, no: after the last few weeks I am fairly sure I don't want that." There was a pause. Gan could hear somebody undoing something, and hoped it wasn't Blake's principles.
"Take your hand out of my trousers, Avon."
_Ah. Good old Blake, still sticking to his decision._
"Shan't!" Definitely in "spoilt brat" mode.
"Trouble with you, Kerr, is nobody spanked you enough when you were a boy." Gan waited in shocked horror. Blake was definitely going to catch it for that. While many people might have _thought_ that of Avon, damn few would have said it to his face. Gan could hear scuffling. It really had to have made Avon very angry indeed, he almost never resorted to physical violence. Then he heard two loud ringing slaps, as of the impact of a large hand on a bare bottom. Had Blake completely lost his mind? Avon was a very private, dignified, reserved...
"_Stop_ it, you maniac!" Avon's voice, nearly incoherent with laughter and panting.
Gan blushed even harder. Obviously, despite his late education in Alpha goings-on, he still had a lot to learn.
"Stop it, Kerr?" Blake said, sounding puzzled, and rather breathless. "But you need correction badly by now, I can _feel_ you needing it."
Posted on 27th of May 1999
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