His hands shook as he injected the nanites. In school, they’d lectured about the things. Potential complications of overuse. Damage to organs from repeatedly forcing them to heal quickly. Malfunctioning nanites cannibalizing parts of one system to repair another. Taking two doses in quick succession resulting in the nanites tearing the body apart as they fought each other.
Julian watched the burns Frank had left on his body start to heal and vanish. He hadn’t been ‘lively’ enough a ride, so Frank had pressed the glowing end of the decontamination device to him to get him to buck and jerk beneath the other man. He’d heard his skin sizzle, smelled the burned flesh. It made his stomach roll.
By the time the nanites finished, there were only faint red marks to show where he’d been tortured. Those too, would fade. Within an hour there’d be no physical signs left to show what he’d endured. At least, no visible signs. He looked down at the cuff, the clinical part of his mind noting the vital signs. Blood pressure and pulse higher than they had been before his capture, but still within normal ranges.
Without better diagnostic equipment, he had no way to tell if the repeated injections were shortening his life. It was a bit disconcerting to realize he wasn’t sure he cared. The possibility wasn’t enough to make him risk enduring the doctor’s punishment if he refused to use them.
And they made the pain stop. He clenched his fists. At least, until the next time the door opened.
The crewman gestured, and Julian went obediently to his knees. The man’s hands rested on either side of Julian’s head as he guided his cock into Julian’s mouth. He bent his neck slightly, letting his mind drift.
No sooner had he finished than a second man took the place of the first. The second man’s organ was larger, more difficult to get down. He concentrated on suppressing the urge to gag as the man thrust deeply, hitting the back of his throat. At least Stelin always came quickly.
He managed to get to the mess hall without having to service any of the other crew. Kyle glanced at him, and handed him a coffee mug. “You’re bleeding.”
Julian touched the side of his mouth, and his finger came away with a dot of red. He sighed, and dabbed at the reopened split with a napkin. “Thanks.” He took a grateful sip from the coffee, keeping an eye on the door to make sure no one saw him with the cup. Kyle didn’t interfere when the other crewmen used him. That had likely been too much to hope, but Kyle had been ensuring he got food other than spit in crew leftovers. That alone made the beating he’d taken worthwhile.
“Tonight’s game, Marvels vs the Catapults, we’re in range.”
“That’s not a game.” Julian shook his head. “That’s an execution.”
Kyle hesitated, then smiled. “I’ve got a screen in my quarters. Come by and watch. You never really get to see the game in the rec room.”
Because someone inevitably bent him over a console. Ah well. He was going to get fucked anyway, might as well get to watch the game beforehand. “I shall take you up on that.”
“It’s a date then.” Kyle smiled as he turned to put his dishes into the cleaning unit.
“It’s a date.” Julian finished the drink, hiding his smile behind the cup.
Kyle draped his arm over Julian’s shoulder, cuddling him close as they lay under the blanket, watching the game. It had been over before it even really began. The Marvels had their third stringers out and were treating the arena like a practice field. Unless the Marvels decided to just go home and leave their towel boys behind to play, the Catapults were lost. Still, it was nice, sitting on the bunk and talking quietly. Julian listened to him, his beautiful blue eyes attentive on Kyle’s face whenever Kyle spoke.
“We hit two of the Xinar waystations and —”
He blinked, surprised at Julian’s quiet interruption. “What?”
“Why hit the Xinar waystations?” Julian looked up at him.
“The captain said we should focus on psychological targets, and hitting Xinar will demoralize the populace.”
“They are medical storehouses.” Julian looked away from him, turning his attention back to the game. “Emergency supplies in cause of outbreaks.”
“Yeah, I mean that’s why…” He shrugged. “Denying resources to enemy —”
“They are civilian.” Julian’s voice was quiet. “Supplies for treating plague and disaster, not combat wounds. Relief efforts, not transplant or cybernetic care.”
“I…” Kyle swallowed. “That’s not…” He shook his head. “Are you sure?”
“I am a doctor, Kyle.” Julian looked back at him then. “I did my immunization training at a Xinar waystation.”
“Oh.” Kyle sat back a little. “I uh…” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I thought you were a…” He shrugged a little. “I didn’t know you were a…” He trailed off, shifting awkwardly. “So the Xinar waystations are…” He stood, leaving Julian on the bunk, and went to the computer unit. It took him only a few minutes to verify what Julian had told him. “They’re Sapphire. Pacifists.” His eyes went to the next article in the search, and he read it twice. Then he read it a third time aloud. “Four Xinar medics were arrested for crossing into the quarantine zones in direct violation of Alliance safety regulations. Protests immediately sprang up among Sapphire activists, including the Prime Minister’s grandson and namesake. When reached for comment, Julian Vendral stated…”
“A doctor’s duty is to treat the sick and wounded to the best of his ability, regardless of creed or political view. That our government would seek to prevent them from carrying out that duty is nothing short of an abomination.” Julian said from where he sat on the bunk.
“Wow.” Kyle let out a small laugh. Then he went still as a cold feeling crept into his gut. He swallowed as he shut off the screen, but he didn’t turn around right away. “Captain took you off that liner two days after you said that.”
“Think that’s why, uh…” He knew a bounty had been placed, but the reason the captain had taken the kid had been to provoke a rescue effort that would allow Palindor to respond. A rescue effort that had never taken place. He turned, and then sat back down on the bunk next to where Julian had gone still and quiet. “Hey, I…” He put his arm around Julian, pulling the younger man back to him. “Your grandfather is an asshole.”
“I am aware of this fact.” Julian gave him a small smile, then tilted his head. “Why are you not a soldier, Kyle?”
“I am. Or, I was. But uh…” Kyle shook his head. “I can’t be one anymore, cause…” He shrugged. “At least here I can do some good.”
“You fight for what you believe in.” Julian brushed his hand down Kyle’s cheek. “That is admirable.”
The captain left him shackled when she exited his quarters. Being spread eagled, unable to move on the bed was an insidious torture. Sometimes she’d come back, and sometimes she’d just leave him there the entire night. Every sound made him tense, wondering if she was going to come back with the nerve stim.
Cold metal pressed against his skin, hanging heavily against wrists and ankles. It was impossible to pretend they weren’t present. Julian shivered, unable to draw the blanket around him or even huddle against himself for warmth. If not for the restraints, he could float away in the dark and ignore the cold. They held him fast to reality.
He thought of stories he’d heard from the frontier planets. Animals that chewed off their limbs to escape traps. He’d always found such stories fanciful, ridiculous. They’d made no sense. Here, in the dark, he understood, and found himself wishing for sharper teeth.
Kyle set the plate down on the desk, then playfully took one of the meat rolls from it and held it up to Julian. Julian smiled, biting at the roll as Kyle danced it in front of him. He only toyed with the other man for a moment before letting him have the morsel. Feeding Julian had quickly become one of his favorite delights. He felt his cock get hard when Julian licked a bit of sauce from his fingers.
By the time the last bite was done, taking Julian slowly was no longer an option. He pounced, laughing as he pinned Julian to the bunk. Julian arched against him before relaxing again, looking up at Kyle with those mesmerizing blue eyes. He leaned in, tasting the flake of crust still stuck to Julian’s upper lip.
He came inside Julian, muffling the grunt by burying his face in Julian’s neck. Then, because he was already there, he nibbled just to make the other man squirm. With a sigh, he rolled off Julian, then put his arm around him. “You squealed.”
“I shall endeavor to refrain from making a repeat utterance.”
“Nah, I liked it.” Kyle grinned. “Trying to think up ways to make you do it again.”
After so long, he no longer had to pretend to enjoy Kyle’s touch. The other man had made a study of his body. His low moan was genuine, as Kyle caressed him with hands and lips. Kyle sat, pulling Julian into his lap. He ran his fingers lightly over Julian’s shaft, distracting from the tiny initial pain when he entered Julian. He continued the caress with one hand, moving his other hand up to lightly move across Julian’s chest as he kissed the back of Julian’s neck.
Julian shuddered as Kyle’s hand moved up and down his shaft as Kyle thrust into him from behind. He rocked his own hips in time with the motion. They came within seconds of each other. He started to rise, and Kyle pulled him back down to the cot, twisting so that Kyle lay atop him. He kissed Julian, tongue dancing across his lips before he drew back and smiled. “Oh, I am not anywhere near done with you, yet.” He kissed the side of Julian’s neck. He moved a hand down, caressing Julian’s inner thigh lightly enough to tickle, eliciting a small gasp.
By the time Kyle actually let Julian out of the bed, his legs would barely hold him up. Kyle wore a very self-satisfied expression as he watched Julian stumble towards the refresher. “Stay the night?” Kyle sat up.
“I…” Julian glanced at the clock. “The doctor told me to be available in the morning.”
“Oh.” Kyle looked uncomfortable. “And…”
“Tomorrow is Wednesday.”
“Captain’s downtime.” Kyle swallowed, and looked away. “Well, I called dibs on Friday already. Spectres versus Firecats, my quarters.”
“I shall be there.” Julian smiled. He leaned in, kissing Kyle tenderly. Kyle caught his neck, kissing him back and pulling him in, trailing the kiss from Julian’s mouth down the side of his neck. It was a few minutes before the larger man released him again. Julian rubbed his neck. “I am going to have a beard burn.”
Kyle brushed a thumb over Julian’s lips. “Sleep well.”
He watched Julian head down the hall. The younger man had nearly made it to the first turn in the corridor when Thad came around the corner. Immediately, Julian was shoved to his knees. Kyle narrowed his eyes when he saw Thad grab Julian by the hair, roughly fucking the little doctor’s throat. It took him a moment to realize his fists were clenched.
Kyle went back into his quarters. He stared at his reflection in the mirror for a moment. When he’d been a soldier, his hair had always been trimmed. He’d been clean shaven, uniform pressed. The man looking back at him had a ragged mop of hair and several days’ worth of beard. There was a stain on the front of his shirt, and it took him a moment to realize he’d worn the same shirt yesterday.
When had…? Kyle shook his head, then opened his foot locker. It took him almost five minutes to find the razor.