The black market men bristled with weaponry. The airtruck hovered; BlaqJaq had felt the craft come to a pause. Nickerson stood. Twelve of the other passengers had retreated into a huddle at the aft of the cargo pit. The woman with the red tattoo flash-lacquered to her left cheek stayed in an unconscious heap on the floor. BlaqJaq, standing over her and betraying no fear, watched the marketeers approach.
None of the rugged-looking lot appeared wealthy or even particularly well fed.
“She cost me money.”
The armed trio seemed to regard the pit’s occupants as payload, unworthy of acknowledgment. One slotted a key, and the metaplastic deck’s bay doors retracted. A dizzying view opened up, wisps of cloud and the impossibly broad spread of land below. BlaqJaq had lived his life in the undercity. He’d stolen up to the surface a few times, out of curiosity, but he could never have made it in the overcity without a palmchip. His birth outside the system made him just another discarded person living in the underground. But there he had survived, even thrived, using his natural physical talents to work as a streetmuscle, oftentimes to settle scores for people who couldn’t do it for themselves.
He had given up the only life he’d known to stay with Nickerson. He didn’t regret the decision, not at all. Not even now.
One of the men prodded the female whom BlaqJaq had fought toward the open doors. He pushed with his boot, his features showing only annoyance. The woman flopped over then over again, never stirring; then she tumbled out of the ship. BlaqJaq watched her dwindle as she fell. What an amazing way to die, he thought, awed. He had never gone up in an air transport before. Would she wake up before she hit the ground?
His heart still sped from the combat, but he could fight again. He meant to do just that if any of these rat-eaters tried to push him out as well. At the very least, he’d take one of them with him on the long fall.
“This one made me money,” said one of the market men, eyeing BlaqJaq.
“Only because you skipped this boat all over the sky,” another said contemptuously.
BlaqJaq kept Nickerson in the corner of his eye. The older catjob male, he knew, still had that bag full of deadly tech tricks. Between them, they might be able to take out this trio. But no doubt this ’truck had other marketeers on board.
“Don’t be a bad sport. Put us down
,” this last the armed marketeer seemed to say to nobody present in the cargo hold. Almost immediately, though, the ship started to drop. BlaqJaq had to look away from the view of the landscape now rushing up at them; it made him feel like the one falling from this incredible height.
A moment later, the craft settled on struts. Greenish, wavy fronds blanketed the ground that now lay only a meter or so below the open bay doors. That was grass, BlaqJaq realized. They’d traveled to somewhere far away from the city -- from any
One of the men jabbed him with the maw of a weapon. BlaqJaq understood the implication, but he stood frozen. Recent events had already been fantastically disorienting. He’d never had experiences like these before in his young life. But he just couldn’t conceive of stepping off this ship into the natural wilds of this world.
Nickerson, treading softly, crossed the cargo pit to stand by BlaqJaq’s side.
“That one thinks he’s going with this one,” a marketeer observed.
“Who said he could?”
“You saw when we were watching earlier. They’re mates.”
“It would be generous of us to let them stay together.”
Taunting talk. BlaqJaq had dealt with types in the undercity who imagined themselves unbeatable. More often than not, he’d convinced them otherwise.
“Finish up back there. We’re not scheduled for this.” The disembodied voice that had spoken earlier sounded impatient now.
Nickerson met BlaqJaq’s eyes, the look reassuring. BlaqJaq gave his lover a nod, and the two of them hopped down through the opening, landing on the soft, grassy ground. Nickerson gave his arm a tug. “Hurry.” Stooping, they scurried quickly out from under the airtruck, as if Nickerson worried that one of the men might impulsively use a weapon on them at the last second.
The ship, pitted and old, rose while they still retreated. BlaqJaq narrowed his eyes against the hot roar. The struts withdrew, and the craft soared up and away into a crisply blue sky, an amazing sight.
But, as he grew truly aware of his surroundings, he decided that this nearby scenery appeared even more fantastic. Vegetation -- he knew that word, vegetation
-- massed everywhere around them. Not just grass underfoot, but bigger clumps of the greenery. It crawled and wound; it was wild and independent. It seemed to breathe on all sides, incredibly alive. No other people appeared anywhere in sight, no hint of anything made by humans.
“Where is this?” he heard himself ask, not really expecting an answer, not guessing there could be an adequate one. His whole life, spent in rotting ’plastic and concrete tunnels…
“Half a continent from where we started,” Nickerson said.
BlaqJaq didn’t know what sort of distance that meant. He gazed all around in the warm daytime, mesmerized by the sights, by a sky that wasn’t awash in fumes. He couldn’t believe the richness of the smells. The organic odor almost stung his nose, different from something rotting, more like the scent of fresh food, which BlaqJaq had experienced from time to time in his life.
Before he fell hopelessly under the spell of the place, though, he turned to Nickerson and said very solemnly, “I’m sorry I got us thrown off that ride. It was me fighting with that bruiser that did it.”
Nickerson shrugged. “It’s probably for the best.”
The older male still had his bag. He inventoried its contents. Offhandedly he said, “When I still lived on this planet -- when I was your age -- transports like that one were called shanghai-taxis.”
Nickerson had a wealth of outdated terminology stored in his memory. BlaqJaq usually found the expressions funny. “What for?”
“Because half the time the transporters would deliver their passengers into some form of slavery or other. Traveling without a chip is a very risky gamble.” Nickerson offered a smile. “So you likely did us a favor.” His cat eyes flashed away, surveying their environment.
BlaqJaq smiled back. Despite the strangeness of these circumstances, he felt a kind of glee. “What now?”
Nickerson’s nose crinkled. He pointed. “There’s running water just past that line of trees.”
Unable to contain himself, BlaqJaq went scampering. A soft breeze moved the warm, free air over him, so different from the stale reek of the undercity. He passed through the trees -- trees
, Nickerson had said -- and found the water beyond. It was indeed running, tumbling along in a long, natural ditch, sparkling and gurgling, just there, with nobody watching over it.
He felt suddenly clammy and grimy in his bodystocking. He missed his streetmuscle’s leathers, but those clothes would’ve drawn too much attention. A grin cutting his handsome features, he hopped from the mossy bank right into the flowing water. Waist deep, he sent up a foamy splash. Though he’d never before seen enough water in one place to even dunk his head, he submerged himself completely before coming back up with a happy roar.
Nickerson, looking amused, stood on the bank. BlaqJaq grinned up at him then hunkered once more into the water. When he came up this time, he had his bodystocking bunched in one fist. The garment made a heavy slap when he tossed it onto a rock bordering the stream. His bare, broad chest gleamed wetly. Dark hair clung to his neck. Standing in the water, his pubic curls just visible, the rest of him remained enticingly hidden below the gushing surface. The current tugged, but his footing stayed sure.
The two men locked gazes. The grin cooled on BlaqJaq’s face as his heart quickened and his skin started to tingle.
Nickerson set down his bag and shed his clothes. He stepped down into the water, his body trim and muscled. BlaqJaq had never seen a better catjob physique, so sleek, so beautiful. Nickerson approached, and they embraced, flesh cool and slippery. The water’s clean scent refreshed.
Lips brushed lips. Mouths parted. Tongues touched. BlaqJaq’s arms tightened around the older man’s taut torso. His hands roved the firm back, finding the stalk of the spine, sliding over slick skin. Nickerson moaned into BlaqJaq’s open mouth, breath hot and familiar.
Nickerson pressed his sinewy body against BlaqJaq’s brawnier one. Nipples, hardened by temperature and excitement, rubbed together as the grinding kiss prolonged, broke, renewed. Nickerson’s tongue slavered over BlaqJaq’s. Urgency shivered through BlaqJaq’s body. His cock, swelling below the water, met Nickerson’s organ, also rising.
BlaqJaq grunted deep in his throat. Nickerson clutched at a taut hemisphere of his ass now, the fingers active, busy. They probed the tempting valley between, finding the body heat that the water couldn’t cool, grazing the sensitive ring of flesh waiting there, grazing it again, tenderly.
Pleasure seethed through BlaqJaq from the contact. He shifted his hips, ground his ass brazenly onto those fingers. Nickerson settled one fingertip firmly on his hole. Pressure was applied. The stream’s insistent current seemed to increase the sensation. BlaqJaq felt the slow penetration, the fantastic stimulation that went with it. He broke their kiss, put back his head, and made a mewl of pleasure.
He reached between them, beneath the flowing level of the water, and grabbed Nickerson’s rampant cock, as hard as metaplastic and as alive as anything could be. BlaqJaq felt his lover’s pulse there, the force of blood and life in him. Nickerson’s fingertip probed deeper, BlaqJaq’s ring now grasping his knuckle.
Sharp chirping sounds rode on the soft winds. Eyes drifting open and shut and open again, BlaqJaq caught glimpses of small, fast shapes above the treetops. Birds
. He didn’t know where he’d heard the word before. He let his head drop back down and looked deep into Nickerson’s eyes; those vertical pupils dilated with excitement.
“I want you,” BlaqJaq said, “to fuck me.” The cock in his eager fist surged.
Smoothly, as if all this had been neatly planned out ahead of time, Nickerson slid BlaqJaq’s body around in his embrace. Wet stones shifted under their naked soles as they planted their stances. Nickerson kept an arm hooked across BlaqJaq’s middle, body tight behind, trimly muscled thighs against the backs of BlaqJaq’s thick legs. Sharp nipples brushed his shoulder blades. He felt breath on his nape. Then came the positioning, the adjusting; finally, the cock intruded.
The sweet invasion flamed sensation through BlaqJaq, a bright excitement that sought out every part of his being. Nickerson’s cock penetrated deeper and deeper. Again BlaqJaq ground himself back onto the pressure, needing this intrusion, needing this part of his lover inside himself.
Finally came the conquest of the last centimeters. BlaqJaq’s ass flattened against Nickerson’s pelvis, completing the filling. They held the pose a moment. Then the thrusts started.
Such a wonder. BlaqJaq had had lovers. Things happened fast in the undercity. Violence could flare just about any time. Sex moved at the same speed. You got what you could, when you could. He had usually enjoyed those encounters with other males. But he’d never had the physical fun have such emotion to go with it. Never had he had a feeling like this, so perfectly matched with this older man.
Never had there been… Well, love
. This felt like love, didn’t it? Yes. “I…I…” BlaqJaq started to say I love you
. But the words never left his mouth. He couldn’t just come out and say something like that, words he’d never said to anyone before. Could he?
Eric Del Carlo