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It! The Terror From Beyond Space

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Title: The One Who Got the Bullet Was Lucky 

Author/pseudonym: Tinnean 

Fandom: It! The Terror From Beyond Space 

Pairing: Anderson/Van Heusen, Anderson/Carruthers 

Rating: NC-17 

Email address: 

Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were, Ann would have been Andy from the start! They belong to Vogue Pictures, United Artists and Jerome Bixby, who wrote the screenplay. 

Status: new 

Date: 3/01 

Series/Sequel: Oh, God! No!

Summary: The first manned flight to Mars goes horribly wrong. (Sound familiar?) Something has boarded the rescue ship, and it’s hungry!  

Warnings: m/m, language, and maybe a little gratuitous violence 

Notes: For those of you who aren’t aware, this is the movie that Alien was based on. The special effects were cheesy, the acting mediocre, but the premise of man being stalked in an enclosed environment is as frightening then as it proved to be some 21 years later. In space, no one can hear you scream.

Note #2: This movie was made in 1958, and I’m using the technology that was current at that time. Of course we wouldn’t toss around hand grenades in a space ship today, but hey, they did things like that in the 50’s!

Note #3: In the movie the spaceships are the Challenger 141 and 142. Out of respect for the shuttle disaster, I have taken it upon myself to change their names. 

This is for Gail, for all the beta-ing and formatting she does. Without her, my lines would be all over the place. Thanks, Gail.

And for Silk, as always, who, way back when, said of course I could do m/m. And then first person. And then f/f. Thanks sis!


The One Who Got the Bullet Was Lucky

Part 1


I looked up from my computer monitor. “Yes?” 

“You lucky dog! You got chosen!” 

My eyes lit up. “I’m going to the Moon, Frosty?” 

“No, better than that!” 

“Man, there’s nothing better than the Moon!” 

“Oh no? How about Mars, hotshot?” 

“The Mars missions have been scrubbed. When the Defiance crashed on Mars, the Advisory Committee issued a directive to that effect.” 

“Well, it’s been rescinded! A message just got through from Mars!” 

“*From Mars*? They’re alive?” My breath caught and I was on my feet, grabbing the black officer who shared my quarters in a bear hug. “And they want me on the rescue crew? Fan-fucking-tastic!” 

I let go of Frosty and turned to discreetly hide my state of arousal. My cock was hard in my trousers, from both the knowledge that I was going off planet, as well as the fact that Colonel Edward Carruthers, the first man in space, the man I admired above all others, was not dead. 

My bunkmate’s face clouded. “Colonel Carruthers sent the SOS. He’s the only one who survived.” 

Nine good men were lost, fifty million miles from home. That was sobering. We observed a moment of silence for them. 

“Who’s skippering?” 

“The skuttlebutt is that Van Heusen will skipper the Defender. You better watch your ass Andy. I understand he’s got a thing for tasty young geologists.” He gave me a mock leer. 

I looked at him blankly. “What’s your point, Frosty?” 

“Christ, Andy, you don’t have a clue, do you? You just don’t know what the sight of your delectable rump does to our senior officers!” Frost ran a hand over the curves of my ass and I jumped. He laughed, but I saw his eyes before he could shield them. There was a tinge of longing in them. 

“Hey, buddy, I’m not worried! You’ll be there to guard my gorgeous ass!” 

He shook his head. “Not this trip, Andy. Something’s cooking in the Swiss Alps and I’m part of the taskforce that’s being sent over there to check it out.” 

“Oh? What’s in Switzerland, other than cheese?”

His smile was crooked. “There’s a mass of unseasonal fog, and mountain climbers are being discovered without their heads!” 

“Shit, man, that sounds like a nasty assignment.” 

“Tell me about it!” He seemed to gather himself before he plunged on. “Listen, Andy. If something happens to me…” 

“Christ, Frosty, nothing’s going to happen to you! It’s fucking Switzerland, for Chrissake! The land of neutrality!” 

“Just the same, I want you to have my… comic book collection.” 

I started to laugh uncomfortably. That collection meant more than anything to the man who had been my best friend since we started in the Academy together. “Ah, Frosty…” 

“Seriously, man. My family cut me off a long time ago. Say you’ll take it. Please?” 

I couldn’t speak for the lump in my throat, so I nodded and hugged him one last time. 

Studiously ignoring the erection that nudged my hip. 


Colonel Van Heusen was…breathtaking. I had never seen a man who so looked like the epitome of military elegance. Tall, good-looking, with a smile to die for. 

He wore his uniform with casual elan. His dark hair was brushed casually off his forehead and his blue eyes gleamed. The contrast was striking. His glance was thorough as he examined my compact frame. “Anderson? Welcome aboard.” 

“Thank you, sir.” I accepted his out-stretched hand, only just managing to keep my expression politely interested. The feel of his hand engulfing mine was electric. 

“Please, call me Van. It’s going to be a long flight, and we may as well become… friendly. So, Tinker, let me introduce you to the rest of the crew.” 

“Please sir, call me Andy.” 

He looked at me inquiringly. “But your name is Tinker Anderson, isn’t it?” 

“My friends call me Andy, from my last name.” 

“Well, I do want to be your friend.” 

And then the other members of the crew were greeting me, and I shook hands with each of them, turning back to the Colonel in time to catch his perusal of my ass. 

For the first time in my life, I was drawn to another man. In spite of his reputation, I wanted Van Heusen. 


“C’mon, Chicken!” Van Heusen murmured as he stroked a finger along the curve of my neck. He had been attempting to get me into bed since I set foot on his ship a little more than a month before, but coyly, I had played hard to get. 

Until now. He had finally succeeded. “Relax, baby.” 

I was lying on my side, cradled by the long frame of the colonel. 

He leaned in and ran his lips along the same path his fingers had followed. I purred and stretched into the caress. 


His hands skimmed my waist and hips and settled around the fullness of my arousal, while his teeth nibbled at the spot where my pulse throbbed heavily in my throat. The slickness of his cock pressed against my puckered opening, and the tight muscle relaxed enough to admit the broad head, which was beaded with precome. 

He held himself motionless and I was overwhelmed by the feeling of fullness inside me, suddenly not sure if I wanted to go through with this. I gasped as he started to rock forward and slid another inch into me. And then another. My breath began to whine as I tried to get away from what felt like a tree trunk up my ass. 

“Oh no, Chicken, you’re not going anywhere!” he growled in my ear. “You made me wait too long for this, and I’m going to teach you what happens when you play with fire and tease the commander of your ship!” 

He rolled me onto my stomach and forced my hips high, following me up and pounding into me in earnest now. His heavy balls slapped rhythmically against my buttocks and his cock was plunging deeply into me, causing me more and more discomfort. “Please, sir!” 

“That’s right,” he said, totally misunderstanding me. “Beg me for it!” His grip on my cock was almost painful, and every time anything like pleasure shimmered near, he would alter his strokes and like a mirage, it would be gone. 

Exhausted, my shoulders drooping low and my ass, impaled on his cock, kept high, my lungs worked like bellows to supply me with enough oxygen to keep me conscious. He continued to plunge into me, and I had no choice but to let him. Sore, battered, I only wanted him to be finished with me. 

Finally, with a hoarse shout, Van came, and I felt the heat of his semen flooding my channel. I shuddered as he withdrew and with a careless slap to my buttocks got to his feet and padded into the refresher. 

“That was great, Andy!” he called as he cleaned himself up. “We’re going to do this again tonight!” 

My ass felt as if it was on fire, and I gingerly sat up. Semen oozed from my abused hole and I grimaced in distaste. 

“I don’t think I can do that again so soon, Colonel.” 

“Oh, Chicken, did I make you too sore?” He was pleased as punch; I could hear it in his voice. “All right, I’ll give you some time to recover. And then we’ll do it again!” 

Not if I could help it! Macho schmuck. I dragged on my clothes and staggered as I got to my feet. “If you don’t mind, Colonel, I think I’ll take my dinner in my cabin.” 

He came to me and ruffled my hair. I wanted to bite his hand off at the wrist. “Okay, Andy. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” 

I hobbled stiffly down the companionway to the broom closet that served as my cabin. Fortunately, no one saw my retreat from the Colonel’s quarters. Once safely behind my own door, I shed my clothes and stuffed them in the disposal, then made it to the head in time to spew the contents of my stomach into the lavatory. 

I had wanted that, I kept reminding myself. I wanted to experience what Bob and Gino, two other members of the crew, so obviously had. The colonel had seemed perfect. I should have paid closer attention to the rumors floating around about him. 

I rested my head against the wall of the shower and let the hot water wash away my aches and self-loathing. 

No, it wasn’t likely that I would try something like that ever again.


Note: Van Leuen was head of the Company in Aliens. 

Part 2


“C’mon, Chicken!” Van Heusen murmured, as he stood close behind me on the command deck, his breath warm in my ear. He ran his fingers up my arm to cup my shoulder. 

I shrugged his hand off irritably. “Knock it off, Van! I’m still too sore!” Outwardly I was cool. Inside I was afraid he would push too far. 

This was the first time since that experience in his bed a couple of days before that we were totally alone; usually I was able to have the buffer of some other crew member when I had to be in the Colonel’s presence. 

I shuddered whenever I thought of what had transpired between us in his bed, and I did not want to be there again. I would shoot myself before I allowed that to happen. Or better yet, I’d shoot him. 

“Don’t be like that, baby.” His lips caressed my neck above my uniform collar. “Let me show you how much I can do for you!” 

“Do you take me for a military whore? You think I’ll trade my body for some stripes on my sleeve?” I curled my lip at him and stepped away so he was no longer invading my personal space. 

“I didn’t mean it that way, baby. I can make you feel so good,” he said wistfully. “You know I can!” 

I stared at him in disbelief, positive that he was putting me on. To my amazement, he was totally serious. He had no idea what a selfish lover he was! “Van, all I know is that after one time with you, I’m still so sore I can’t sit comfortably!” 

“But it was worth it, wasn’t it, Chicken?” He reached down to cup my buttocks, kneading them, stroking the crevice between, searching for my opening. I winced. 

“For Chrissake Van, stop calling me that idiotic name! Do you think I’m Ann?” 


Ann had been the geologist on his last trip out, and Bob Finelli, the physicist who had taken the Osmore Fellowship in low temperature physics, had enjoyed informing me of the Colonel’s relationship with the lovely brunette. 

He had called her ‘Chicken’ too. 

And had managed to take her to bed. I wondered if she had gotten any pleasure out of it, or was it only men who got the short end of Van Heusen’s stick? 

Throughout the long flight to the Moon, and the equally long return flight, they had gone at it hot and heavy according to Bob. But things changed, once the Defender touched down at Cape Canaveral. 

Ann walked away, without a backwards glance. 

Van Heusen continued pestering her, unwilling to accept their affair as merely a shipboard romance that ended once they were back on Earth. He only stopped harassing her when her earthside boyfriend proved to be less than accommodating: he threatened to tear off the Colonel’s head and piss down his neck if he ever came near his woman again. 

But Van Heusen had his revenge in the end. Ann no longer had clearance to travel the space lanes. 

And I was determined that would not happen to me. 


Before he could respond to my sniping remark, Mary Royce, the ship’s doctor, strode into the control room and I managed to stand away from him. Colonel Heusen allowed his hands to drop and scowled at her, not pleased that his attempt to resume our relationship had been interrupted. 

“Do you have a reason for being up here, Mary?” 

She looked at our commanding officer with cool eyes. “Jimmy said to tell you we will make planet fall in about a quarter of an hour. He wants us all to strap down.” 

“Lieutenant Calder couldn’t have passed on this news via the intercom?” the Colonel demanded shortly. 

Dr. Royce ignored his peevish tone and turned toward me. “You’d better return to your cabin, Andy. This promises to be a rough landing.” She had a tendency to mother the crew, and me most of all. 

I cocked an inquiring eyebrow at her. 

“Eric is reporting signs of what appear to be high velocity winds,” she said, referring to her husband, who was science officer. “We’re in for a rocky ride.” 

“Mars has a really thin atmosphere. It should show us some pretty interesting weather.” 

“That’s about the only thing of interest we’ll find down there,” Van sneered. “Except for maybe a mass murderer.” 

“Colonel Carruthers hasn’t been court-martialed yet, Van!” For some reason I felt compelled to defend a man I had never met. 

Edward Carruthers, commander of the first exploratory flight to Mars, was facing the threat of a firing squad when we got him back to Earth. Of the ten men on the Defiance, he was the sole survivor. His frantic SOS had reached Earth four months after his ship had crash-landed on the red planet, and now we were about to ‘rescue’ him, only to deliver him into the hands of the Science Advisory Committee of Interplanetary Exploration. 

Somehow the media had gotten wind of the debacle of that ill-fated trip, and they were howling for blood. Nine men didn’t just disappear. Not unless they had a little help. And since Carruthers was the only one left, he was the most likely candidate for the label Van Leuen, head of the SACIE, had hung on him. 

Colonel Heusen’s eyes grew hot as they raked over my body. “I can convince you he’s guilty, Andy,” he said seductively. “By the time we get to Earth, I’ll have his signed confession!” 

“I thought a man was innocent until proven guilty,” I protested. 

Van smiled and suddenly my skin felt as if it was too tight for my body. I backed away, unwilling to stay within his reach. 

Major Perdue was just coming up the gangway, and I stepped aside hastily to give him room on the deck. “We’re good to go, Van. Better start that security check.” 

For a beat the colonel held my eyes, then turned to his second in command. “What is the likelihood of anything being alive on Mars, John?” 

“You mean aside from the good colonel? I’d say it was nil, Van.” 

Heusen nodded in satisfaction. “My thoughts precisely!” He dismissed my presence. “All right, Major, let’s get this baby on the ground!” 

I hurried down the gangway ladder that led through the dispensary, down past the galley and on into crew territory. I climbed into my bunk and fastened the webbing that would cushion me as the Defender struggled to ease her way through the turbulence of the upper atmosphere of Mars. 

The intercom crackled and Van Heusen’s voice began to call out the security check. 

Eric Royce. Mary Royce. John Perdue. Lieutenant Calder. Heinholz. Bob Finelli. Gino. 

And me. 

We were all secured and waiting for the Defender to set us down safely. Her thin plated walls were all that stood between us and whatever was waiting on Mars. 

Dangerous, treacherous Mars. Planet of desolate wind storms, of rocks carved by the blowing sands. 

Mars, which did prove to be alive with something other than Colonel Carruthers. 

Something the Committee wanted, badly enough that nineteen men and women were considered expendable.


"My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are..." Rebecca ‘Newt’ Jordan, Aliens 

Part 3


The high-pitched scream of the Martian winds whipped through canyons of umber rock, piercing a man’s eardrums, slicing into his nerves like an ice pick, playing havoc with his senses. Fragments of stone were pounded to dust, reducing visibility to zero. 

The Defender sat for three days, waiting for a respite from those awful squalls. Her stabilizers fought to keep her steady, and while her soundproofed walls protected us from the unremitting wail, vibrations traveled up from her tail fins through the decks, through flesh and bone. 

Making everyone edgy, irritable. Tense. 

Until, eventually, there was a temporary lull in the rampaging winds, and we were able to step out onto the soil of the red planet. The lighter Martian gravity made it easy to travel in the heavyweight protective gear we needed to wear in case the weather kicked up again. Our helmets contained oxygen breathers to assist us in dealing with Mars’ atmosphere. 

The gantry lowered and four of us walked down it to stand in the bowl of the canyon that held the Defender’s sister ship. 

Across the broad expanse of red dust and slag were the shattered remains of the Defiance, her back clearly broken. Next to the upper portion, which housed the command level, stood Colonel Carruthers, his figure dwarfed by the bulk of his ship. 

Defeat and despair were in every line of his body. I could see that even from where I stood in the shadow of the Defender’s sleek tail fins. 

Colonel Heusen spoke into the mic at his collar. “Jimmy, dump the trash, will you. I want C compartment cleaned out before our return trip. Van Leuen wants samples and we’ll need the room to store them. We won’t want anything extraneous holding us back.” 

“Aye, aye, Skipper!” There was a harsh grating of metal, and then the hatch above our heads slid open, and mementos of our two-month trip came flying out. 

“Watch it, Calder!” Bob Finelli yelled up at the lieutenant. “You nearly beaned me with that soup can!” 

Calder’s laughter floated down on the thin, chill Martian air. Or whatever it was. 

“Let’s get going!” Van Heusen ordered, almost bouncing with satisfaction. “I want that miserable piece of shit in custody immediately. Then we’ll make a quick pass of the area and see if we can come up with any bodies. I want off of this godforsaken place as soon as possible!” 

He led the way across the rocky ground, his attention fastened on the man who waited for us. 

Finelli and Major Perdue were hard on his heels, with me bringing up the rear. 

I thought I heard something behind us, and turned, but it was only Calder, throwing out more garbage. I shook my head in disillusion. The Ugly Americans, that was us, always leaving junk behind to mark our passage. I sighed. Well at least no one would be writing ‘Kilroy Was Here’ on a convenient wall. 

I was about to turn back and follow the other men when out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw movement. My head whipped around and my breath snagged high in my throat. I scanned the rocks and gullies that bordered the spot where the Colonel had set our ship down. 

No. Nothing. 

I laughed at my nerves, which were making me see the boogey man when there was really nothing there, and I hurried to catch up with the others. 


Once we were back in the ship, we stood around in silence as colonel confronted colonel. 

“I promise you, I did not kill my men! Why would I do such a stupid thing?” 

Van Heusen looked over the older man and sneered at him. “Come on, Colonel. Do you take me for a fool? With your ship so badly damaged, you knew you’d never be able to lift off this chunk of spatial real estate. And you couldn’t be sure of rescue. You had no way to contact Earth, and while you had food and supplies enough to last a year, if your men were taken out of the equation, they would last you ten years!” 

Colonel Carruthers slumped tiredly in a console chair. “Alone? Colonel, believe me, I don’t enjoy my own company that much!” 

Major Perdue appeared in the hatchway, signaling Van that he had found something. “Watch him, Andy. He’s a sly one! Don’t let him out of your sight!” 

“One moment, Colonel Van Heusen.” Carruthers straightened. “I need to know…do you plan to keep me in chains?” 

“It’s no more than a murdering bastard like yourself deserves, Colonel, but no, no chains. This ship will be your prison. Someone will be by your side 24/7. You won’t even be able to take a piss without someone being there to hold your dick for you!” 

Carruthers watched as Van followed Perdue down the ladder to the next level. “He does have a way with words, doesn’t he?” 

I thought it best not to respond to that. Van Heusen still was my commanding officer. “Can I get you something, Colonel?” I asked. This was the first time I had ever been alone with such a renowned man, and to my surprise, I felt my own dick hardening. How could I possibly want a man after what had happened? I reined in my libido. “Um, a cup of coffee, perhaps?” 

His smile contained a touch of exhaustion. “That would be nice,” he said politely. “Thank you.” 

He watched as I filled a mug from the thermos my colonel always kept within easy reach. Van was a real caffeine junky. 

“Colonel.” I offered him the coffee. “I’m sorry, it’s black. I know you take it regular but…” 

“That’s quite all right, Mr. …” he peered at my name on my uniform shirt. “Mr. Anderson. I’ve had six months of dreaming about coffee. I’ll take it any way I can get it! I appreciate your kindness.” He began to weave on his feet. “I didn’t kill my men,” he repeated, and started to fold in on himself. Coffee spilled all over the two of us. I dropped the thermos and caught him before he could hit the steel deck. 

He was a fair-sized man, and almost dead weight. He took me down with him, but I was able to save him from smashing his face on the cold metal. 

I sat on that deck, the most decorated man in the Air Force in my arms, and gazed down at his pale face. The lines of strain were smoothed out, making him look much younger than he actually was. His lips were slightly parted, and suddenly I wanted to discover how they would feel against mine. 

“Well, well. Isn’t this a cozy scene?” 

I refused to show my discomfort. “Colonel, I think it might be best to get Colonel Carruthers to sick bay. Van Leuen will not be pleased if he dies before the Committee can have him shot.” 

Van scowled at me, but conceded that I had a point. He nodded toward Heinholz who had followed him up the ladder. “Help Lieutenant Anderson, Heinholz. Get this…” he toed Carruthers’ side fastidiously with his boot, “..out of my sight! Oh and Andy, change your trousers. You’ve got stains all over them!” 

“Of course, sir,” I said through stiff lips. He made it sound as if I had been involved in something shameful and had come all over my pants. “Where do you want us to take him?” 

“Anywhere but sick bay. He’s not sick, and I won’t let him weasel out of this charge on a Section 8!” 

“No sir!” Heinholz was grinning like a baboon. He had a reputation for sly cruelties, and I moved to grab Carruthers’ shoulders. I wanted the cargo chief nowhere near the colonel’s head. 

We maneuvered Colonel Carruthers down the ladders until we got to crew territory. “Want him in your cabin, flyboy?” Heinholz asked snidely as I considered where to stow the Colonel. “I bet you wouldn’t mind sharing your bunk with him.” 

“Y’know something, Heinholz? I always wondered why you looked so familiar to me, and now I realize why! I’ve seen pictures of your family in National Geographic!” 

He dropped the Colonel’s feet to the deck where they landed with a thud and came at me. “Are you saying I look like an ape?” 

The Colonel began making sounds of returning to consciousness. I set his upper body down gently and looked up at Heinholz. His face was flushed an unattractive shade of red. My lips twisted in a grin, but my eyes remained cold. 

“Didn’t sound like it to me, soldier!” Colonel Carruthers stated, struggling to sit up. 

Heinholz glared from the Colonel to me and back again, then turned on his heel and stomped to the ladder that would take him to the cargo level, muttering under his breath. 

“Help me to my feet, will you, Lieutenant? I apologize for that display of weakness.” 

“Not at all, sir. If I had been alone on a planet, with no chance of rescue, I’d do something a hell of a lot worse than pass out!” I leaned down and extended my hand to grasp his, pulling him up and steadying him. His palm was calloused and rough, and felt amazingly good in my grip. 

“So. Where are you taking me, Lieutenant?” 

Where was I taking him? I decided the best thing was for Mary Royce to check him over. She could decide the best place for the Colonel to stay. I led him to the galley, where I knew she’d be that time of day. Although she and her husband weren’t English, they observed 1600 hours as teatime. 

And I knew everyone else would either be searching for what might be left of the Defiance’s crew, or preparing the Defender for departure as soon as the winds let up again. Colonel Carruthers didn’t need an audience while the ship’s doctor met with him. 

“I’d appreciate it if you’d call me Andy, sir.” I gestured for him to follow me. 


“For Anderson, Colonel Carruthers.” 

His smile was warm. “Andy. My friends call me Carr.”


Part 4


“Anderson, report to the cargo bay! On the double!” 

The disembodied voice of my colonel floated through the galley. Mary Royce pulled a face and waved me off. “I’ll take care of Colonel Carruthers, Andy, until Jimmy gets here. Go see what our lord and master wants. Oh and Andy? Watch your…back.” 

I glanced over my shoulder, but she was busy checking the palm unit that was recording the Colonel’s vital signs. His eyes met mine, a silent question in them, and I knew he had caught the hesitation in Mary’s warning. She was too much of a lady to mention my ass in front of a ranking officer, but I knew what she meant. 

And so, apparently, did Colonel Carruthers. 


It felt as if we had been tramping Martian soil for days, instead of only a couple of hours. The wind was beginning to kick up again, making travel over the smallest distances difficult. 

I had taken samples of rock and dust and dirt and bits of lichen that somehow managed to survive, while the others searched for bodies. Major Perdue had come up with something earlier, but no one else was able to find anything. Colonel Van Heusen’s stride became more and more jerky as his temper got the better of him. 

“God damn it! There has to be remains around here somewhere! What did he do, lug them off for the vultures to dispose of?” 

“Um, Van…?” 

“Oh for chrissake, I know there aren’t any vultures on Mars! Let’s get back to the Defender. This place is giving me the heebie jeebies!” He turned too fast and went spinning out of control in the lighter gravity of the red planet. 

I bit my lip to prevent laughter from spilling out, although with my suit transmitter turned off he wouldn’t have heard it. 

With exaggerated movements, the rest of us carefully made our way back to the ship. 


“Where did you leave him, Andy?” 

I jumped. I was in the process of stripping off my gear and didn’t hear him come up behind me. His hand was warm on my neck, and he squeezed. There was enough controlled power in his grip to make me aware of how he could hurt me if he so chose. 

As if I needed to be reminded. 

“Colonel Carruthers was in the galley with Doctor Royce, Van. She said Jimmy would be coming down to keep an eye on him. Following your orders.” 

“Good. Very good. We’re going to be too busy getting the Defender back into space again for the trip home Andy, but afterwards…” 

“Afterwards, Van?” I got a churning feeling in my gut. 

His lips parted in a shark’s grin, and I reminded myself that I had wanted to sample those lips at one time. “Afterwards…I’m going to wring a confession from that murdering, cocksucking son-of-a-bitch!” He took the ladder to the command level with a jaunty step. “Bring Carruthers up to control, Andy!” he called over his shoulder. 

I stared after him, unable to believe that for once I wasn’t the sole thing on his mind. I know that sounds conceited, but for the entire two months of our outbound trip, he had made it plain to everyone that I was the one he wanted. Didn’t he want me anymore? 

Wait a minute, what was wrong with me? Was I out of my fucking mind? If something, some*one* took Van’s attention from me, I should be down on my knees. Kissing… the ground he walked on! 

A nagging headache was building up across the top of my skull, and I dug my fingers into my eyes. If I could get some rest before we took off, maybe I’d start feeling a little better. 

I dragged myself up to the galley level, exhaustion weighing my feet. I could understand the Colonel passing out from the stressors he had experienced. I had only spent a few hours in the violent weather that passed for spring on Mars, while he had spent months, in a ship whose shell integrity had been seriously compromised. And with only the ghosts of his companions for company. 

Mary Royce fussed over me when I entered the galley, trying to press a mug of liquid carbs into my hand. Even Colonel Carruthers looked concerned. 

“Are you all right, Andy?” he asked. 

I gulped down the warm drink, nearly gagging on its cloying sweetness, and started to feel marginally human. “I’ll be all right once we get back to Earth!” Then I bit my lip, realizing that for him, that spelled his execution. “Sorry, sir.” 

His hand came up to rub my shoulder, and I felt comforted. And…interested. I glanced down to make sure my arousal was not obvious. 

“You taking the watch, Andy?” Jim Calder demanded. “I’ve got to clear the cargo bays before we lift off.” 

“You mean Heinholz is actually going to let you do anything?” 

“Hey, I’m a first lieuie! I can do anything I fuc…” He gulped as he caught Mary giving him the fisheye. “Um, I can do what ever I please!” 

“Sure you can, Calder!” I clapped him on the back, knocking him off balance. “Go tell it to the Marines, while you’re at it!” 

He was laughing as he left, and I wondered why I had never been drawn physically to him. Good looking, friendly, with the makings of a solid officer, I enjoyed his friendship, but never once looked at him as anything else. I put that thought aside and turned to the older man. 

“Colonel Van Heusen wants to see you on the command deck, sir.” 

“Oh, Andy, I don’t think that’s a good idea just now!” Mary exclaimed. 

“I’m sorry, Dr. Royce. Orders. You’ve been married to the military long enough to know the routine,” I said apologetically. 

Her lips were folded in a thin line. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it! Oh go ahead, get out of here! I need to make sure all my supplies are battened down for lift off.” 

“Tell me something, Andy. Were you able to salvage anything from the Defiance?” Colonel Carruthers asked softly as we began the climb to the topmost deck. 

“Sorry, sir. Colonel Heusen wouldn’t allow us more than a cursory inspection. When it became obvious that you had no bodies hidden in any of the compartments, he ordered us out of there. Spit and chewing gum looks like all that’s holding the Defiance together now.” 

“Did he take the log?” 

“No, sir.” We emerged up the last ladder into the command level. “Colonel Van Heusen.” 

Van was busy feeding information into the computer, and he turned at my voice. “Ready to confess, Carruthers?” 

“I’ve done nothing, Van.” 

Van? They knew each other? Why hadn’t I picked up on that before? 

“Nine people are dead.” 

“Not by my hand! Those people were killed by something! Not me!” 

“Let me show you another something, Ed!” Van stood and picked up an object wrapped in protective cloth. Meticulously he undid the numerous folds and revealed a weather-beaten skull. “We found this a few meters from your ship.” Shattering the back of it was what could only be a bullet hole. “We brought your crew’s dental records with us. This is all that’s left of Frank Kenner.” 

“Frank…?” Colonel Carruthers’ face seemed to crumble, and then he got himself under control once more. 

Van relaxed against the edge of the console. “Last time I looked, man was the only monster that used bullets!” 

“And knowing me, considering what we once had together, you still think I’d kill my own people?” 

“You want to know why I’m so sure you did this, Ed?” Van leaned close to the older man’s face, and Colonel Carruthers jerked back, then stilled. I’m sure they forgot for the moment that I was even in the same room with them. Van’s voice dropped to a whisper, and I had to strain to hear him. 

“You left me, Ed. You knew how much I needed you, and you left me!”


Note: Colonel Carruthers’ POV

Part 5


Sometimes, an organization, even one as powerful as the military can make mistakes. In the case of Van Heusen, it made a big one. 

He had been someone’s fair-haired boy, and his rise through the ranks had been nothing short of phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good officer. He gave orders with panache, and he obeyed them with alacrity. The upper echelons were grooming him to be the youngest brigadier since General Custer. 

Van just had this one odd kick to his gait: he had an obstinate, unswerving, unquestioning obedience to his duty. He saw everything in black and white, with no possibility of there being shades of gray. Because Van Leuen ordered him to take me back to Earth as his prisoner, Van Heusen would accept my guilt without a single doubt, looking no further into the deaths of my people. 

The cause would go unexplored, their loss unexplained, their destruction unavenged. 

I had known Van when he was just a young captain. His good looks had women falling all over themselves to get into his bed, and the result was that he never had to woo them. And since they slept with him for his access to power as well as his looks, he never needed to take the time to learn what pleased them. 

I don’t know why he thought he had to experience sex with another man. And I don’t know why he chose me to be that man. 

The military’s policy toward gays was in high gear. No one asked, and I certainly didn’t tell. My affairs had been discreet in the extreme, carried on far from the base, and only when I was on leave. 

We were at a bar off base when Van approached me. I knew him by sight. And by reputation. I never dreamed someone like him might want someone like me. “I like the way you wear that uniform, Ed,” he remarked casually. “I’d like it even more if you weren’t wearing it!” 

I could see how a come on like that might excite a younger man, but I was almost on the down side of thirty-five at that point, and a major to boot. “Excuse me, Captain?” I said, trying to remind my cock it could get us both in big trouble. 

He smiled at me, a cocky grin that made him look so boyish. And my heart twisted. I should have known better. At my age, I should have…There was no excuse for what I did. 

I took him home to my bed. 

I leaned back against the door to my quarters and watched him as he shed his clothes, making no effort to remove my own uniform. 

“C’mon, Chicken, get naked! I want to see what you’ve got under those threads!” 

“You’re taking a very big risk, are you aware of that?” 

“*Big risk* is my middle name!” he teased. “Along with his!” He gestured down to his cock, which was standing proudly at attention. 

I sucked in my breath and pushed away from the door, moving to stand close enough to him so that each breath he took caused the insignia on my breast pockets to brush across his nipples, bringing them to pebble-hardness. 

“Ohhhh! I like that!” he breathed. 

“Do you want more, Van?” I began shoving him toward my bedroom. “You’re going to have to tell me. I won’t touch you, unless you do.” 

His face flushed. Van licked his lips. “I want it all, Ed. Everything. I want you to kiss me senseless. I want your cock in my mouth and then in my ass. I’ve been reading about this; I found some pictures, and it looks so hot!” 

“It’s going to hurt the first time, Van. I’ll take it as easy as I can with you, and I’ll take my time. I promise…” The rest of what I would have told him was cut off by his mouth as he slammed it against mine. His hands reached for the buttons on my shirt and began undoing them. 

I would have stood there and let him explore my body, marking the contrasts between a male lover and a female one, but he was becoming frantic, rubbing his cock against my groin. 

“*Fuck* taking your time, Ed. I want you in me now!” 

I turned him and pushed him gently down onto my bed. “On your knees, Van!” Then I got out of the rest of my uniform, tracing the muscular curves of his ass with my eyes as I reached for the tube of lubricant. It was a rather battered tube. I could never bring a date home with me, so I often resorted to pleasuring myself. 

I knew what made me feel good, and I promised myself I would make the younger man go wild his first time. Perhaps there would be other times for us. 

The cool gel pooled in my palm, and I let it warm before I scooped up a fingerful and stroked it over his exposed hole. His cheek rested on the bedspread, and his ass was high in the air. He shuddered as I dipped my finger past the guardian muscle. 

It was killing me, but I took my time, letting him get used to the feel of my fingers in his ass, finding and probing his prostate, which set him to bucking. I wanted to make sure he would be mindless when I finally entered him. 

“Easy, baby. Easy. I’m going to put my cock into you now. Just relax.” 

He was trembling and moaning as the head of my cock slid past his well-lubed opening. 

“C’mon, Eddie! Don’t baby me! I can take it!” he gasped. And then he bore down with his inner muscles, and I lost control. I surged into him, rocking him forward on the bed. 

He reared back against me, going up on his knees, and I reached for his cock. It was covered with precome and my hand slid off. My palm was slick with the clear fluid, and I started jerking him off in time to my thrusts. He wound an arm around my neck and pulled my head closer to his so he could kiss me. 

It was good. It was better than good, it was great. Maybe it was the forbidden aspect of it that made me come so hard. 

And then pain ripped through my mouth, and I jerked back, trying to get away from it. I felt something trickle down my chin, and thought, at first, Van’s saliva must have dribbled out of my mouth. I touched my lip and drew my hand away, shocked to find it covered with blood. 

I yanked out of him, and stumbled off the bed. “Get out!” 

“Ed, what’s wrong?” He seemed honestly not to know, and I struggled to regain some composure. 

Blood was still dripping from my torn lip. “I don’t go in for blood sports, Van. Get your clothes on and get out of my quarters!” 

His face a blank, he gathered up his uniform and retired to the bathroom to dress. I found a handkerchief and held it to my mouth as I sank down on the edge of my bed. With a snarl of distaste, I bounced up, realizing I had sat in Van’s wet spot. 

Of course he had come. I always saw to my partner’s pleasure. 

He stood at the bathroom door, the expression on his face making him seem too young to be an Air Force officer. “I’d really like to do this again, Ed. Maybe tomorrow night?” 

“I’ve got maneuvers until the end of next week, Van.” 

“I’ll call you. Okay?” 

I didn’t reply. He hesitated a moment, then came over and kissed my cheek. I had to fight not to flinch. He walked through the living room and out the door. Uncontrolled anger swept through me and I tore the sheets off the bed, leaving them piled in the corner. 

The next day I put in for a transfer.


Part 6


I felt cold. 

Colonel Carruthers and Colonel Van Heusen had once had some kind of relationship. 

Van was looking at the older man as if he wanted to gobble him down in one bite. I didn’t like that look, and not because it was no longer directed at me. 

“The Colonel can use my quarters during lift off, Van. If you have no problem with that?” 

“Oh, but I do, Chicken!” 

I’d swear I saw a tremor run through Colonel Carruthers. “Where do you want me, Van?” 

Van’s eyes turned hot and ravenous. And then Mary Royce walked in. “Will we be lifting off anytime soon, Van? You know how jumpy Eric gets just before takeoff.” 

Our Colonel seemed to snap out of his sexual preoccupation. “We’ll start the security check immediately. Andy, return to your cabin. Ed, you’ll sit it out here with me on the command deck. I want to keep an eye on you! Strap in.” 

He turned back to the console and his fingers flew over the controls. “What the…?” He flipped on his intercom. “Calder, what’s the skinny on that open hatch?” 

“Huh? Shit! I didn’t even see that, Skipper!” came floating over the open mic. “The emergency airlock in C compartment didn’t shut! Hang on!” We could hear him hollering at the unfortunate cargo chief. “Heinie, you stupid fuck! Get that airlock sealed!” 

We felt the vibration through the ship as the final compartment was secured. Van nodded in satisfaction and returned to the screen before him. I’ll say this for him: he was a crackerjack pilot. We were dismissed from his attention as if we had never been there. 

I gazed over at Colonel Carruthers, for some reason reluctant to leave him, but he nodded reassuringly toward the ladder, and I had no choice but to follow the ship’s doctor down to crew territory. 

She paused as we got to the bottom of the ladder, her hand warm around my wrist. “Are you all right, Andy?” 

I returned her look blankly. 

“I wanted to give you a couple of days, to see how you did on your own. I know you requested some salve from the dispensary. And I know Van’s reputation. Do you need to be examined by me?” 

I shook my head dumbly, not about to confirm anything. Don’t ask, don’t tell. 

She smiled kindly at my expression of dismay. “I’m a shrink also, Andy. Remember that if you want to talk.” Mary paused as she further considered her words. “This ship is just a microcosm of society, Andy. Did you really expect no one to discover you had been in Van’s bed?” 

“Well, I had kind of hoped…” I could feel my cheeks heat in an embarrassed flush at what I had inadvertently admitted. 

The doctor squeezed my arm and started past me to get to the quarters she shared with her husband. “You know where to find me if you change your mind. I like you Andy. So does the rest of the crew. Well, maybe not Heinholz, but he’s such a putz!” 


As soon as the Defender was released from the flimsy hold of Martian gravity and safely locked into her flight pattern back to Earth, we were all free to leave our cabins. 

I had some work to do on the samples I had collected, so I made my way to the science lab, which was on the same deck as sickbay. Observing all the standard precautions, I donned protective eye gear and a facemask. My hands would be safeguarded by superfine latex gloves as I worked with the soil and lichen I had stored in airtight containers. 

“Fascinating!” I murmured to myself as I studied a specimen under the high-resolution microscope. It seemed to have lapsed into a state of dormancy. I selected a scalpel and began to separate the fibers of the plantlike organism. 

Time got away from me, as it had a tendency to do when I was working. Under my startled gaze, the lichen appeared to be multiplying, thriving in the oxygen rich atmosphere of the Defender. 

And then something jolted me out of my concentration. I listened carefully, but couldn’t determine what had disturbed me. 

I wanted to shrug it aside as the normal sounds a ship makes settling into her flight routine, but I was uneasy. 

I scooped up the samples and carefully inserted them back into the container, and made sure to seal it tight. It would never do to have our oxygen supply contaminated by a alien airborne organism. 

And then I thought I heard something on the level below. I paused, my head raised, my hand hovering over the switch for the intercom. I decided to follow my instincts. “Calder? What’s up?” 

“The lieutenant isn’t here, Andy. He’s up in command,” Heinholz answered. “Did you hear something?” 

“Yeah. I think so.” 

“Me too.” For the first time since I had known him, the cargo chief didn’t take the opportunity to rag me about hearing things on my first trip into space. “I’m going to check it out. Uh, Lieutenant would you mind keeping this line open. Just in case I need a little back-up?” 

My mouth went dry with nerves. “Sure thing, Heinholz.” 

“My God! You really are a sucker, aren’t you, Lieutenant Andy?” he mocked me. “What on God’s green earth could be on this ship except us?” His laugh was nasty, and chopped off in the middle as he shut his intercom. 

I licked my lips, still tense in spite of the fact that it was just a poor joke that Heinholz had played on me. 

And then I heard the scream. 

There were no weapons in the science lab, and there was no time for me to reach my quarters for my side arm. I grabbed up the scalpel and ran for the ladder that would take me down to C compartment. 

I stared in horror at the hatch that closed off the lower deck from the level I was on. It looked as if it had had hell beat out of it. I swallowed heavily and got a firm grip on the lever. 

It swung up, and what would normally have been a brightly lit compartment was filled with darkness. “Heinholz?” I called. “If this is another fucking trick, I’m going to slice off your balls and make you eat them raw!” 

There was no sound from below. 

I got a firmer grip on my makeshift weapon and took a step down the ladder. I could hear something being dragged across the deck below me, and went down the rest of the way as quietly as I could. The light switch was just at the bottom of the ladder, and my hand slapped against it. 

The sudden brightness was blinding after the stygian dark, and I had to blink constantly until my pupils retracted enough for comfort. I cast a quick glance around the storage compartment, to find it empty. Except… 

On the deck near a blower vent was a standard issue flashlight. I bent to retrieve it. 

The force of air displaced above me told me that if I hadn’t stooped down at that moment, my head would have been bouncing on the deck. I threw myself forward and rolled under a rack of supplies, curling my legs out of harm’s way. Reflexively, my arm flung out and the scalpel bit into something. 

There was a howl that deafened my ears, and then boots were pounding on the ladders leading to the lower decks. C compartment went dark and a muffled shuffling retreated into the corners where my sight couldn’t penetrate. 

“Heinie? Heinholz? Joe! Goddammit, answer me!” Jim Calder paused at the bottom of the ladder. He began to cross the deck cautiously, and then he stepped into something that caused his feet to shoot out from under him. His arms pin wheeled as he tried desperately to regain his equilibrium. 

He landed hard, his head whipping back and connecting with the deck with a sickening crack. There was a single moan and then silence. 

I scrambled out from under the rack and searched for a pulse in his throat. It was rapid and thready, but he was still alive.  I was still clutching the flashlight and I switched it on. I held it up to examine Jimmy. 

A small puddle of blood seemed to elongate to mingle with the ichor that he had stepped in. It appeared to be wicking, drawing back along the trickle that dripped from the unconscious man’s head. 

I had never seen anything like that before, and it scared me. Jimmy shouldn’t have been moved, he could have brain stem trauma, he could have spinal injuries but I couldn’t leave him lying there with that fluid seeking him, almost as if it was sentient. 

I looped my hands under his armpits and raised his head and shoulders up off the deck, then dragged him around the pool and toward the ladder. 

And whatever it was that had attacked me was still around somewhere. 

Jimmy seemed to weigh about a thousand pounds. His heels caught on every other rung of the ladder, and I was almost whimpering with dread by the time I got him to the top. I got him out of the way and slammed my hand on the hatch control. It took forever to seal shut, although in reality it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. 

I staggered over to the comm unit and flipped it on. “Van, I need help. I’ve got Jimmy by the science lab. He’s been hurt. Heinholz is gone. And we’ve got company.”


Part 7


“What do you mean, we’ve got company?” Van demanded as the entire crew showed up at sickbay. 

“Just what I said. There’s something down there, and it isn’t human!” 

Before Van could snap that I was out of my fucking mind, Mary Royce reached the bottom of the ladder and hurried to where Jim Calder was just starting to regain consciousness. 

“Mary! There’re five of you Doc!” he stated with a confused look on his face. 

“Oh, God! He’s concussed! Wonderful! Eric, give me a hand here. Major, if you could assist my husband?” 

The two men got a firm grip on the lieutenant and carried him into sickbay. Mary started to follow them in, tsking at the blood that dripped from the injured man’s scalp. 

Van touched her arm. “He’ll be okay?” 

“I’m not a miracle worker, Van, but it looks like a fairly simple concussion. I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve completed my examination.” 

We watched as the door to sick bay slid shut. 

“All right, Andy, tell me what happened.” 

I explained as best I could. “And when I bent over to pick up the flashlight, something took a swing at me. I cut it with the scalpel.” I looked down at my hand where I was still clutching the surgical instrument. 

As I watched in horror, green liquid was drawing back from the sharpened edge to the grip. I opened my fingers and let it fall to the floor, where droplets spattered around my feet. And they seemed to roll toward my boots reaching out for me. 

I backed away, so scared I thought I would piss my pants. And then the wall was at my back, and I could move no further. I looked to the two men who watched me in disbelief. Van ran into the science lab. “Carr!” My voice was a hoarse whisper. 

“Don’t move, Andy. Don’t even fucking breathe!” Van was back with an acetylene torch. He flicked the starter and a narrow stream of flame shot out to glow an incandescent blue. The fluid was almost at the toe of my boots. It seemed as if it was coiling in on itself, preparing to fling itself on my feet. Then Van crouched down and fanned the flame over the viscous liquid. 

The flame touched the green stuff, seared it, and it hissed as it evaporated in the intense heat. The odor it gave off was nauseating, and I swallowed convulsively to keep from vomiting. 

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! What was that?” 

I couldn’t answer; I just kept swallowing. He spun to the rest of the men. “We’ve got to find Heinholz. Bob, Gino, break out the flamethrowers and check down in C compartment. And watch your asses!” 

“Van, no, you can’t let them go down there!” I was shaking so hard I thought I would break apart. 

“This is what I get paid the big bucks for, Andy. It’s crunch time, and I get to make the decisions! Ed, get him up to the galley and make sure he drinks something hot and sweet!” 


He ran his fingers through my hair, then turned and followed the two men down to the next deck. 

Carr put an arm around my shoulder and gave me a gentle shake. “Come on, Andy. That was a direct order.” He pushed me toward the ladder that led to the upper level. I stumbled up and into the galley and managed to sit down before I fell down. 

“Colonel Carruthers, what happened to you and your people on Mars?” 

“I should have made him listen to me. I should have made him…” He handed me a mug of coffee that he had loaded with sugar. “This should help a little, Andy.” He turned his back and poured himself some coffee. 

“It’s a long story, but I’ll try to be brief. We were exploring the southern tip of Syrtis Major when a sudden sandstorm sprang up. We couldn’t see the soldier next to us, the dust was so thick. All of a sudden there was a cry from Cartwright. Almost…affronted. There was a shape, the color of the dust around us, but darker. 

“We were sitting ducks. We couldn’t see anything, or hear anything except this really weird sound. And the screaming, oh the screaming!” He scrubbed his face with his hands as if he could erase the memory of that sound if he just rubbed hard enough. “We started shooting.” 

“Is that how Kenner wound up with the bullet hole in his head?” Seeing how a confrontation with whatever we now had on board affected the Colonel, I felt less of a coward. 

He looked at me, hell staring back out of his eyes. “I figure the one who got the bullet was the lucky one.” 


The intercomm crackled to life. “All hands down to C compartment, on the double. And make sure you’re heavily armed!” Van’s voice was sharp. In the background, I heard Bob shouting. 

“Gino! Gino! Goddammit! Colonel!” 

We headed for the ladder, grabbing the railing and swinging down, taking the steps in huge leaps. 

Major Perdue was already in C compartment when we got there, cradling Van. Blood spurted from the wound on his arm. 

Bob’s legs were disappearing through a blower vent as he went in search of his partner. 

Next to the emergency airlock, crumpled beneath a storage locker was Heinholz. 

I approached him gingerly and reached out to him. His bones crunched under my touch and his face looked shriveled, as if every ounce of moisture had been leached from his system. 

Major Perdue had made a makeshift tourniquet and he and the Colonel were getting Van up the ladder to sickbay. 

That left me to go after Bob. 

My mouth was so dry I couldn’t swallow. I bit my lip so hard it started to bleed. 

And I went into the vent, wriggling forward on my belly, keeping the rifle I had scooped up in front of me. The visibility in there was minimal, and the sounds were magnified. 

I needed to pee in the worst way. 

I heard Bob, a few feet ahead of me. “It’s okay, Gino, I promise you! It’s okay. I’ll get you out of here, baby!” 

I crawled until I could tap his boot, letting him know I was there. 

“’S too late for me!” The words were strangled, barely audible. “Get out. Now!” 

And then there was the weirdest sound, and Bob was yanked forward, his legs kicking out in protest, catching me high on the cheekbone. I threw myself forward and wrapped my arms around his legs. Flinging us both back, I managed to break the hold of whatever had seized the physicist. I scrambled backward until we were both free of the vent. 

Colonel Carruthers was back, and he helped me haul up the cover and twist the toggle bolts into place, sealing it once again. 

“We’ve got to get him! He’s still alive! We can’t leave him in there!” 

“Bob!” I held him tightly. “There’s nothing we could have done for him. He was finished; he knew that! He wouldn’t have wanted you to die with him!” 

The older man broke down in my arms. “That’s what we planned! We were going to go out together in a blaze of glory, when the time came! It wasn’t supposed to end like this! It wasn’t…” The sound of his sobs filled the compartment. 

“Let’s get him up to sick bay, Andy. Dr. Royce will give him something to calm him down.” 

“Don’t talk as if I’m not fucking here!” Finelli snarled. “I don’t want anything. I don’t need anything! Just Gino!” He buried his head in his hands. 

Sounds were coming from the other side of the vent. I looked at it, and then looked at Carr. 

“Well, I want to get out of here. And I need that thing dead!”


Part 8


The science officer poked his head into the ladder well. “Trouble, gentlemen?” 

My mouth dropped open. What kind of dumbass question was that? Hadn’t he heard the shouts, the weaponry fire? What ship had he been on? 

Colonel Carruthers ignored the other man and shepherded us up the steps. Eric Royce backed away, giving us room to step onto the next level. “We’ve got to find a way to destroy that thing!” the Colonel said without any heat, steering Bob Finelli into sickbay. 

You can’t do that!” 

Carr ignored him and began talking softly with Mary. 

The other Dr. Royce grabbed my arm, squeezing the muscle. “Andy, you can’t destroy it!” 

“You don’t think so?” I snarled. “Just watch me!” I didn’t like being frightened like that, and I wanted a little payback. 

I stood watching the Colonel as he listened to the ship’s doctor. Concern was wiped out by alarm. He examined the bottles of plasma that were feeding into the arms of Jim Calder and my colonel. 

Before I could approach and discover why it was necessary for someone with just a lacerated scalp to need a blood transfusion, Eric flung my arm away in disgust. He spun around on his heel and stalked to the science lab, hostility written in every line of his body. His lips were pressed so tightly together they appeared to be one and he glared at me, before letting the door slide shut behind him. 

Eric Royce was different from most people. He lived and breathed science. At the best of times it was hard to puzzle him out, but now he was acting even stranger than was normal for him! 

I stared after him. If looks could kill…! 

But then Carr distracted me and I forgot all about the little science officer. 


I turned to face the Colonel. “Yes, sir?” 


“Aside from what’s in the basement?” I shrugged. “You’ve had more experience with it, six months worth, I’d say. You tell me.” 

“I wish I could, Andy. After the first few days of searching unsuccessfully for my crew, I had no choice but to lock myself in what was left of the Defiance and spend the dark of winter there. I hope I never have to spend so much time alone again.” He paused and licked his lips. “I have to tell you something.” 

I braced myself, sure I was about to get reamed out by a superior officer for conduct unbecoming. “Very well, sir.” My arms folded behind my back, my fingers locked and I about twisted them off. 

“I was very impressed with your actions in C compartment. I’d give you a commendation, for what it’s worth, but I don’t think Van Leuen cares very much right now for what I might think.” 

I was stunned. “You’re…*impressed* with me? But I was so scared down there!” 

He nodded. “That may be true, but you still went into that ventilator shaft after Bob. I don’t know that I could have done something like that!” 

I knew I was blushing. “Thank you, sir. That means a great deal, coming from someone like you. I mean, you were the first man in space! If anything called for courage, I’d swear that did!” 

He took a step closer to me, and I would have sworn he was about to kiss me. His eyes were fastened on my lips, and when my tongue slid out to moisten them, I heard him suck in a shaky breath. 

“If I could interrupt this mutual admiration society for one moment, gentlemen?” 

The ship’s doctor brought us back to the real world with a resounding thud. “Sorry, Mary. We were just discussing… Um… Will you be able to tell us what caused Heinholz’ death?” 

“I should be able to give you the answer to that, I think, once I’ve had the opportunity to autopsy his body,” Dr. Royce remarked. She brushed her hair out of her eyes, exhaustion written starkly in that simple movement. 

I gulped hard. That meant going back down to C compartment, with it banging away in the air vent. I shuddered, and turned to get the nasty job done. 

Major Perdue was just coming down from the command level, his arms filled with grenades. He saw the direction I was headed in and  stopped me. 

“Take a handful of these pineapples, Andy. Fasten them to the vent covers. I’ll do the others. We’re going to blow that son of a bitch to kingdom come!” He bared his teeth in what might have been a grin, but fell far short. 

I touched his arm. “If this doesn’t work John, what then?” 

He looked at me grimly. “Just pray that it does!” 


Of course it didn’t, and we were damned lucky it didn’t blow out a hole in the side of the ship. 

We sealed the hatch to C compartment and waited as it finally forced a vent open and the pins from the grenades were pulled out. We listened in dismay as it roared it’s pain and frustration and it’s …hunger. 

Still alive. 

We turned away from the hatch and brought Heinholz’s body into sickbay. Dr. Royce gestured to a table at the far end of the room. “Put him there and I’ll get to him in just a minute.” 

She had been counting Bob Finelli’s pulse. He was on a cot, sedated, tear stains still visible on his cheeks. Mary looked up at us, her eyes old, then glanced back at the two injured men under her care. Next to each of them were numerous empty plasma bottles. 

I stared at them in disbelief. “Mary, that’s almost our entire supply of blood!” 

She nodded tiredly. “Something is attacking their immune systems. Their white cell count is off the charts. It’s almost as if they’ve somehow developed a leukemia-like disease!” 

“What can we do to help, Dr. Royce?” Colonel Carruthers asked. 

“Other than take turns giving blood? Not much, I’m afraid.” 

“How, Mary?” 

She knew what I meant. She shrugged. “My best guess, and it’s only a guess: their blood was contaminated by our friend below deck. Jimmy and Van both had open wounds, and when I was cleaning them up, I found some green gunk around them.” 

Gunk, Doctor?” 

Mary smiled at the Colonel. “That’s the latest in technological terms, I’ll have you know, Carr!” 

Some of the tension seeped out of the room. And then it began pounding on the hatch again, reminding us we were not alone. 

“What do we do now?” 

“Gas bombs!” 

“Huh?” We turned to find Bob groggy, but awake. 

“Gino was working on some gas bombs!” A sob caught in his throat, but he swallowed it and continued. “He said they’re powerful enough to knock over a dinosaur! It was a running gag between us. He swore we’d find BEMs when we got to Mars.” 

“BEMs?” Colonel Carruthers asked. 

“Bug Eyed Monsters,” I clarified. 

“More like UAMs,” Mary snorted, and we laughed, both to hear that from the dignified woman, and at the confused look on the Colonel’s face. 

“Sorry, now I’m really lost.” 

I couldn’t resist touching his arm. “What we have with us is an Ugly Ass Monster!”


Part 9


Things were quiet in C compartment. We took that time to regroup, while Mary performed the autopsy on Heinholz’s body and Jim and Van got another unit of plasma. 

It never dawned on us that ‘it’ could be roaming throughout the ship, using the air ducts to go from one level to another, looking for our weakest points. 

How stupid was that, assuming that just because the creature was uglier than sin ‘it’ had no intelligence? What difference did it make that ‘it’ had three digits on ‘its’ hands and feet instead of five and fangs a foot long? 

Well, all right, I’m exaggerating about the length of ‘its’ teeth, but as Colonel Carruthers later pointed out, ‘it’ had managed to get ‘itself’ onboard our ship, and had killed two of our crew and left another two incapacitated. That took something other than brute force. 

“My, my!” 

We looked up from where we were stacking the gas bombs, giving Mary our complete attention. “Something?” 

She pushed back a lock of hair with her forearm and peeled off the gloves that protected her hands. “I’d say. You know that seventy per cent of the human body is water? Well, there isn’t an ounce of moisture in Heinholz’s body.” 

Van leaned up on his elbow, his face flushed from the fever he was running. “Then the fact that every bone in his body was pulverized had nothing to do with his death?” 

“No, Van. It would have, but he was already dead when that thing shoved him up the air shaft.” 

“How, Mary? How did ‘it’ siphon even the most microscopic particle of fluid from him?” 

She shrugged. “I’ve found no puncture wounds large enough to do the job. My guess is that it was done through osmosis.” 


“Just by touch alone, Van. That’s the only way I can think of. After eons of evolution on such a dry planet, those creatures would have developed the most efficient way to absorb what they need.” 

“Then, as far as ‘it’s’ concerned, we’re just another food source!” 

The doctor nodded tiredly. “It looks like it. And we’re taking ‘it’ to a place where ‘it’ will have an unlimited supply!” She tossed the gloves into a disposal unit. “There’s more, and it’s worse.” She touched a control and the table Heinholz’s body was on began to slide into the wall. 

“Mary! What are you doing? You can’t do that!” 

“I have no choice, Van. Joe’s body needs to be cremated, at once.” 

“A burial at space…” I had never seen my colonel so distressed. 

“We don’t have the luxury of time, Van.” We could hear the mechanism that would send the body of our crewmate into the ship’s reactor. “That thing deposited something in Joe’s esophagus. An egg? An embryo? Whatever it was, it would have hatched out of his chest and we would have been dealing with another one of those things!” 

My mouth went dry. “But…Oh shit!” I looked around to make sure Bob wasn’t within hearing distance. “Gino’s still down there! The odds of him incubating that…” 

“I’d say they were better than even. Carr, did you have any idea ‘it’ would do this?” 

“God, no Mary! When that sandstorm finally let up I went out searching for my people, but I never found a sign of them! I didn’t even know…” 

I touched his arm to give him a measure of comfort. I glanced toward the two injured men, to find Van watching me soberly. He tried to smile, but he had heard Mary’s prognosis of our situation. His eyes were bleak. 

“Better go get the gas masks, Chicken. The sooner we get rid of our guest, the sooner we can all breathe easier.” He tried to shove himself into an upright position, but the doctor put her hand on his chest and pushed gently. Van resisted for a moment, then collapsed onto the bed bonelessly. “Carr…” 

“Go on, Andy,” Colonel Carruthers said softly, and turned to see what the other man had to say. 

I was watching them over my shoulder as I left, when I bumped into someone. “Sorry.” 

It was the other Dr. Royce, who had finally emerged from the science lab. Eric pulled me further into the corridor. His grip on my arm bordered on painful, and I tried to jerk free, but he only tightened his hold. 

“Listen to me, Andy! You have to help me! We can’t harm that creature!” 

“Want to tell me why, when ‘it’ has no problem harming us?” 

He hesitated, chewing his lip. “We are under orders to bring that creature back to Earth, no matter what the cost!” 

That brought me up short. Under orders by whom? “’It’s’ already cost us the lives of two men on this ship! And nine men on Colonel Carruthers’!” 

He waved aside those deaths as if they were inconsequential. “Van Leuen wants this creature. It’s my job to see we get ‘it’ to him!” 

“He wants ‘it’? What for? To find a new way to die? Do you have any idea what ‘it’s’ using Gino for, down there?” 

“Andy, this will be a shot in the arm for science! Do you realize how efficient this thing is? ‘It’ has survived in Mars’ thin atmosphere for centuries, millennia! We can study ‘it’, learn how ‘it’ managed to do that!” 

“Do you realize that I don’t fucking care?” 

His face froze into a mask of disapproval. “It doesn’t matter what you feel, Lieutenant Anderson. This creature will be delivered to the Committee, alive and unharmed!” He turned on his heel, about to stalk back into the science lab. 

My fingers dug into his arm as I yanked him to a halt. “That creature is incubating little monsters just like ‘it’, down in that air shaft, in Gino! And when they hatch, they’re going to be hungry!” 

“Then it will be our responsibility to make sure they all, no matter how many of them there are, arrive safely on Earth!” 

“Even if that means our deaths?” 

He nodded. “We owe it to mankind, to die here if we must!” 

Are you fucking crazy?” 

His eyes gleamed; he didn’t seem to hear me. “We’ll go down in history! New corridors of space exploration will be opened! We’ll reach the far end of the universe in our lifetime!” He removed his arm from my nerveless grasp and left me standing alone in the corridor. 

“Something wrong, Andy?” Major Perdue came over from the chemical closet and handed me a gas mask before he went into sickbay to see the others were safeguarded. 

There would be no glory for man. That creature had destroyed all of Carr’s crew in less than an hour. If ‘it’ arrived on an unprepared Earth, I wondered how long man would be the dominant species. 

An unprepared Earth… I pounded up the ladder to the command level and flipped the switch to activate the communicator. “This is the Defender calling Terra One. Come in Terra One.” I waited for my transmission to travel the millions of miles between us and them. 

And then I noticed the green light indicating power was not glowing. I toggled the switch with increasing panic. Still nothing. 

I was forced to accept the fact that our one link with home had been disabled, possibly destroyed.

My one question was: who had done it? That thing below decks? Or …Eric Royce? 

I went back down to sickbay. Major Perdue and Colonel Carruthers stood beside Bob, waiting for me. I picked up my mask and slipped it over my head, making sure it settled securely around my face. 

There had been some muffled sounds over the intercomm. Jack Perdue pressed the switch that raised the hatch to C compartment. Smoothly and quietly it opened. One after another, we pulled the pin, waited a beat, and then tossed a gas bomb down to our guest. 

Howls of pain rose to beat at us, and we continued throwing the bombs until there were none left. Jack hit the switch and we stepped back, watching the hatch close. 

We held our collective breaths. From below came the sounds of destruction as the creature vented ‘its’ rage on whatever was handy. Gradually the sounds became more and more faint. We looked from one to another. Had Bob’s plan succeeded? 

One of us would have to go down and check. 

Bob rolled his shoulders and touched the switch. “Hand me that pea shooter, will you Andy?” 

I gave him the rifle and took one for myself. He looked at me through the visor of his mask, grim satisfaction in his eyes. “Let’s go ditch this sucker!” 

“Andy.” I turned to Carr, who was holding a communicator between his fingers. He fastened it to my collar. “Be careful!” 

The haze created by the exploding canisters hovered throughout the compartment. Cautiously we stepped down into it and separated, Bob going to the left, I going to the right. We could see nothing. 

I kicked on the mic at my collar. “We can’t see anything! It’s like London down here!” 

“We’ll turn on the blowers and clean that up.” 

Whose voice was that? It wasn’t the Colonel’s or the Major’s. 

It suddenly came to me. “Royce! No! Don’t…” 

The blowers went on and the gas was slowly sucked out of the compartment. Visibility was restored. 

“Bob! Get over here! Now!” 

The physicist stumbled to where I stood at the bottom of the ladder and started to ascend backwards, watching the corner he had come from. 

I stepped onto the first rung, keeping my eyes on that same area. Step by step we made our way up, rifles at the ready. 

Bob was almost in the clear. I was three steps from safety. 

And then there ‘it’ was, big as life and twice as ugly. ‘Its’ three-clawed hand swung up at me and tangled in the laces of my boot. 

I fired my weapon point blank as ‘it’ began pulling me back down the ladder. Under my breath I was praying feverishly, unaware until Carr told me much later what I was saying. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” 

And then a long arm reached over me and a gleaming knife descended, slicing through the laces, freeing me. Two pairs of hands dragged me up and out of harm’s way. I was gasping into my mask, fogging up the faceplate. I heard the hatch seal shut once more, and then the furious pounding from the other side. 

Colonel Carruthers was holding tight to me, absorbing the shudders that ran through my body. “It’s okay, baby,” he whispered so softly I was sure I was the only one to hear him. He looked to where Major Perdue had the science officer, his hand fisted in the little man’s collar, nearly strangling him. “We’d better fall back, Major.” 

Perdue hesitated, then nodded and threw Royce away from him. “Help me get Jim and Van up to the next level. Bob, see if you can find me some wire.” 

“You’ve got a plan Major?” 

“Yes. I dunno. Maybe. This baby has enough electrical power to light up New York City on New Year’s Eve. Let’s see if it’s enough to send this son of a bitch to hell!”


Warning: implied m/f

  Part 10


While Colonel Carruthers and I eased Jim and Van up the steps as gently as we could, the Major and Bob worked on wiring the ten foot stretch of ladder from the level that contained sickbay to the next level that housed the galley. Mary hauled up as much plasma as she could carry, and then returned down for more. She bullied her husband into helping, and although he grumbled, a sharp look from Jack shut him up and he followed her orders. 

Not wanting to take any chances, she set up the command level as the new sickbay, and we settled the two injured men into the console chairs. 

“Damn!” Jimmy groused. “I’d rather die down there! At least I’d be laying down!” 

Mary popped a very large capsule into his mouth and shut him up. She disappeared down the stairs once more. “I’m making coffee,” her voice floated back. “Any takers?” 

I looked at Carr, and he nodded. Eric sneered at me. “Just two, Mary,” I called down to her. 


The muscles between my shoulders tightened. I walked to where my colonel lay back in his chair, shivering uncontrollably. I tucked a blanket high around his shoulders. “What can I do for you, Van?” 

His hand reached up and involuntarily I flinched. He dropped in back onto his lap. “I’ve lost you, haven’t I, Chicken?” 

“You never had me, Van.” 

“No, I know I had you. But it was for such a short time. Just that one night, when we made love.” 

“Not even then, Van. What we did had nothing to do with love.” I didn’t want to go into greater detail, not with Colonel Carruthers so close, and the science officer listening avidly. 

It must have been a measure of how ill he felt; he eyes welled up with moisture. “Ask Mary if I can have some coffee, all right, Chicken?” 

I nodded and turned away, relieved to drop the conversation. I nearly tripped over my loosened boot as I started down the steps, and I paused to toe them both off. I went down the rest of the way in my sock feet. 

That’s why they didn’t hear me. In the galley, Mary Royce and Major Perdue were locked in a torrid embrace. “I’m so frightened, Jack. Hold me tight and don’t let go!” 

“Never, Mary. As soon as we get back, we’ll tell Eric that you’re leaving him.” 

As soon as we get back? Don’t you mean if we get back?” 

The Major groaned and took her mouth in a ravenous kiss. 

I backed out quietly and scrambled half way up the ladder. Then I started down again, making enough noise to alert them to my presence. “Mary,” I called. “Van wants to know if he can have coffee too,” 

When I got in the galley this time, Jack was sitting at the far end, staring broodingly into his cup. Mary was pouring out cups of coffee. I made sure to keep my eyes off her swollen mouth. 

Her fingers ran through her hair, and I realized she did that every time she was stressed. “He may as well,” she shrugged. “It certainly won’t do any more damage!” 

“Mary, I have to know, what are his odds?” 

She shook her head. “The infection that’s eating his bone marrow is an alien one. I’ve got nothing that can combat it. I’ll try to keep him as comfortable as possible, but I don’t think he’s going to last the four months it will take us to get back to Earth. I’m sorry, Andy.” 

“Yeah. Me too.” 


We waited on the command level while Jack and Bob connected the wire to a transformer. There would be no time to test it out. 

“Okay.” Bob blew out a breath. “There’ll be enough electrical power feeding through this line to fry thirty humans!” He sealed the hatch to this level. 

“Too bad that thing isn’t human.” Colonel Carruthers looked around, spotted whom he was searching for. “Someone keep an eye on Dr. Royce. We can’t afford to have this fucked up.” 

The little science officer puffed up like a bantam rooster, but Major Perdue crowded him back away from the relays. He said something very softly into the other man’s ear, and Eric turned a sickly shade of green. He seemed to fold in on himself and began tearing at his cuticles, his eyes darting from one to another of us. 

He didn’t find any sympathy. We held him responsible for ‘its’ surviving our last attempt. 

Bob licked his lips nervously and waited for the signal from Major Perdue. Jack nodded and Bob touched the master switch, opening the hatch to sickbay. The intercomm was on, but we heard nothing. 

Why wasn’t it trying to reach us? 

Long minutes stretched past. Sweat began to pool under my arms, and rolled down my back, darkening the stripe that ran along our uniforms. I didn’t know who to look to. 

“*Shit*!” Bob swore with amazing eloquence. When he was finished, he sighed. “Is ‘it’ so stupid it doesn’t know enough to come after us?” 

I didn’t voice the opinion that maybe it was smart enough not to come looking. “I’ll go down and see if I can entice ‘it’ into coming up and seeing us sometime.” 

Carr stifled a burst of laughter. “If it was me, I’d definitely be enticed!” he said softly, and I jumped. I hadn’t realized he was so close behind me. His eyes were hot as they swept over my body. 

Bob was shaking his head. “*I’ll* go.” 

Major Perdue rose stiffly. “No. This was my idea. It’s my responsibility.” 

“Jack!” Mary reached for him, wanting to keep him safe. She reined in her emotions. “Be careful.” 

“Famous last words,” Van muttered, severely in the throes of the fever now. 

“I’m going with you, Jack.” 

“Carr!” I protested. He cupped the curve of my jaw. 

“It’ll be all right, Andy. I survived six months with this thing out there. I won’t let it get me now!” 

The two ranking officers glanced at each other and a silent message seemed to pass between them. “Okay, let’s do it!” 

The hatch opened and they began the cautious, silent descent to the lower levels, their side arms drawn and at the ready. I waited at the top of the ladder with a rifle in my hands. Every once in a while, I would glance over to make sure Eric Royce had not stirred. 

And then roars emerged from down below, and the staccato sound of small arms’ fire, and feet pounding up the ladder. I went down halfway, ready to shoot to protect the two men. 

Mary suddenly gave a cry of protest and a muffled thud echoed in the ladder will. “Andy! Eric’s…” The rest of her warming was cut off as the hatch slammed shut above me. 

I threw myself against the metal barrier, but all I succeeded in doing was bruising my shoulder. I beat against it with my fists until they were torn and bloody, the breath sobbing out of my lungs. 

“Andy. Andy!” Strong arms came around my chest, forcing my arms down to my side. Carr held me and whispered soft words until I stopped trying to fight loose and sagged in his embrace. 

Bob looked up at us from the base of the ladder. “We can’t stay here! That thing is on ‘it’s’ way up! This is not a good place to be, trust me!”  

Carr released me once he saw I was under some kind of control. It seemed to me that he was reluctant to let me go, although I could have been reading what I wanted into that simple action. I picked up the rifle from where I had dropped it on the steps and followed him down to the galley level. 

Bob gestured for us to follow him into the darkened galley. We would have to make do with hand signals now, because the creature was too near to risk speaking, even in a whisper. 

Cautiously we made out way back to the pantry area. There was a cold storage locker there. It wasn’t very large, because most of our provisions were either freeze-dried or powdered and needed to be reconstituted with water. 

But it was big enough to hold three men. If they sucked in their guts and didn’t mind getting too familiar with each other. 

Somehow I got sandwiched in the middle. Bob was behind me and Carr was snug against my chest. 

I was distracted by the hard erection that was nudging my groin. Startled, I gazed up into the Colonel’s navy eyes, which were alight with passion. 

Bob laughed softly behind us. “I am decidedly in the way! I’m going to see if our little friend has passed us by yet.”

“Bob, be careful!” Carr’s whisper was a puff of air in my ear, and I shivered. 

“Ain’t I always?” The physicist cracked the panel and pressed an eye to it. “Seems safe. If I’m not back in five, send out the Marines!” And then he was gone. 

And Carr and I were alone in the locker. I stepped back to give him some room, but he wound his arms around me and pulled me into a snug embrace. 

And for the first time, I was kissed by another man. But I remembered too well how I had first felt with Van, and I didn’t trust the sensations that shimmered through my body. I was not going to be caught in that trap again. 

Carr traced the seam of my lips with his tongue. “Open for me, baby,” he pleaded, and I wanted to, oh how I wanted to. Tentatively, I parted my lips and touched his tongue with the tip of my own. He held himself still and let me explore at my own rate. 

“Carr? What’s this?” I had felt a line of what had to be scar tissue on his lower lip. 

“Souvenir of a selfish lover.” 

I shuddered, knowing too well what a selfish lover could do to you. “Van?” I asked. “I heard him call you Chicken.” 

Carr rocked his lower body against mine, and I spread my legs, allowing his cock to fit into the vee between my thighs. His actions caressed my balls through the material of my trousers and my arousal was imprisoned by the cotton of my briefs. 

“I need to know something, Andy,” he said quietly, drawing me closer to the heat that came off his body in waves. “How badly did he hurt you?” 

“I’m okay. I was sore for a couple of days, and I was positive I’d never want to do this again…” 

“But now?” 

“I like how you taste Carr. I want to see how you taste…all over.” 

“Andy!” His hands went to my belt. 

And then the screaming started.


Note: Special thanks to Silk for making sure I broke the right bone and then set it correctly!

  Part 11


I was halfway out the locker door when Carr stopped me with his hand on my wrist. “Hold it, Andy. These guns don’t seem to do much good against that thing.” 

“We can’t stay here debating that! Bob needs us!” 

His eyes swept the darkened galley, pausing at the niche that held the fire extinguisher. “Let’s see if this will do any good.” 

I waited impatiently while he retrieved it, edging closer and closer to the corridor. It was quiet out there again, and I dreaded what I might see. 

Or what I might not see. 

Carr joined me, pulling the pin and upending the canister. 

“Is that CO2 or foam?” 

“It’s too dark to tell. Does it matter?” 

I shrugged. “I don’t know.” 

But we’d soon find out. 

We stepped out cautiously. On the deck at the top of the ladder leading down to sickbay was a tiny pool of blood that was rapidly being absorbed by something green. Carr squirted it with the extinguisher. 

The amoeba-like mass seemed to grow and swell, trying to reach Carr on the stream of carbon dioxide that exploded from the fire extinguisher. With a cry of disgust he flung it away from him. It bounced against the deck and then rolled toward the edge of the steps, teetering for a long moment before toppling down to bang against each one until it hit bottom. 

“That wasn’t one of the smartest ideas I’ve ever had,” he castigated himself. 

“Shit happens, Colonel,” I shrugged, trying to conceal my shudder at how close he had come to having that stuff on him. “We don’t have time to play pin the tail on who’s to blame. Let’s see if we can get back up to command.” 

He stopped me before I could take the first step up. “What’s wrong, baby?” 

I closed my eyes, unable to keep contact with his somber gaze. “What makes you think something’s wrong, Colonel?” 

“Aside from you calling me Colonel, instead of Carr? Talk to me Andy!” 

“Colonel. Carr,” I corrected myself. “We were screwing around in that locker, while Bob was out here facing that thing.” 

He began crowding me back toward the galley, toward the locker. His hand smoothed over the front of my trousers, and I was ashamed that he could feel how hard I was. How hard I still was! I backed away from his touch, until I was back in the locker and could go no further, and his fingers traced the outline of my cock. 

Carr my hand and pressed it to his groin. He was hot. And he was fully aroused. I trembled with the need to have him in me; in my ass, in my mouth, his choice, his call. I just knew I wanted him, had to have him. I was going up in flames. 

His fingers were sure on my belt. With competent moves, he had it undone and my fly unzipped. Between one breath and another, a warm hand reached into my shorts and drew me out, and the coolness of the air contrasted with the heat of my flesh. I tipped my head back against the wall and closed my eyes, my whole being concentrated on what he was doing to me. 

Carr’s thumb brushed across the tip of my cock, gathering the drops of precome and rubbing them over the broad head, making it slick, making it weep more. Driving me up the mountain. The fingers of his other hand nimbly teased my shaft, and I grew harder, if that was possible. His breath was warm in my ear, and his tongue did a quick reconnaissance. 

“In situations like this, where we never know when death will find us, the urge to mate and reproduce is extremely powerful!” 

“We can’t reproduce!” I gasped. 

He let my cock go and took my chin in his grasp, forcing me to look into his eyes. “No,” he agreed, as he licked at my lips. “But we can mate. And, in case you have any doubts about this, Andy, you are my mate! You’re mine! When this is all over, you’ll be coming home with me! And the world can go fuck itself!” 

Before I could process what he was saying, what he was declaring, he was sliding down to his knees and tugging my trousers down and out of the way, leaving my cock to spring back and slap my belly. His tongue replaced his thumb on the tip, dipping in, licking me as if I was a lollipop. 

And then I was enveloped in the wet heat of his mouth, and I was shuddering on the brink. He let me loose and I moaned. “Oh, no, baby. I want to make this good for you, and you’re much too hot!” He squeezed the base of my cock and I jerked, and found myself able to breathe once again. 

But not for long. His mouth took me again, and his teeth grazed my length and his tongue lapped at me, and my brain was fogged by clouds of lust. I wound my fingers in his thick hair and urged him on, needing to feel more, needing to fuck his mouth. 

My movements became jerky, and this time he didn’t pull me back. A questing finger stroked across my puckered opening and sent me spinning, freefalling out into space. 

And because he was there to catch me, I wasn’t afraid. 


He was back on his feet and I sagged in his arms, trying to catch my breath. I could feel him smile against my mouth. “Carr,” I sensed his satisfaction that I was back to calling him by name, “you didn’t come. Let me…” 

He shook his head and pressed my hand to the front of his trousers, which were damp. “Making you come did it for me, baby.” He took my lip between his teeth and tugged gently, then sucked it into his mouth. 

I hummed with sated pleasure, not a thought in my mind. 

A muffled sound from below deck, like a bucket of ice water, brought us both back to reality. 

Carr pushed himself away from me and helped me get myself in order. “I guess we’d better see if we can get back to command,” he sighed. 

“I guess we’d better.” 

The corridor was empty and we silently made our way up the ladder. The hatch was still closed, and I tapped a message in Morse code. For a long, agonizing moment, nothing happened, and then it swung up and open. I had my rifle at the ready, not sure what would greet us, but prepared for any event. 

What appeared was Mary’s white, stricken face, tense with concern. 

“Oh, my God, Andy! Are you all right?” 

I climbed up and waited for Carr to reach me before pressing the switch that would shut the hatch. Mary observed the two of us, and her lips tightened. She didn’t need to be told that if Bob wasn’t with us it was because he was dead. 

“What happened up here?” 

She nodded toward her husband, who was lying on the deck, unconscious. “Eric decided he’d rather we died than ‘it’. He broke Jack’s leg with a rifle, and closed the hatch before I could stop him. He was going to shoot Jack; that was a bonus for him: he went mad with jealously.” 

No shots had been fired, yet obviously the science officer had been stopped. “Van shouted at him. Told him as his commanding officer he was ordering him to stand down. Eric just laughed. ‘How can you hope to command me, when you can’t command your own lover!’ he demanded.” 

“What did you do, Mary?” Carr asked gently. 

She cast him a startled look. “How did you know I did anything?” 

“You’re not a weak woman, Mary,” he told her. 

“Eric always made the mistake of treating me like a…” 

“Like a woman? You’re right. He did.” 

She did that thing with her hair again. “I beaned him with Van’s thermos. It was the only thing I could find to use as a weapon. He would have killed Jack,” she explained. “He would have seen us all dead!” She was holding on to her composure only by her fingernails. 

Carr looked at me and nodded toward the Major. He held Mary, giving her what comfort he could. 

Major Perdue was leaning back against the command console. His face was pale and beads of sweat dotted his forehead. Lines of pain etched his mouth. I could see where his tibia had broken through the skin, tearing through his pants. He opened his eyes and regarded me miserably. “I’m so sorry, Andy. I didn’t even see it coming!” 

I crouched down beside him. “Don’t worry about that now, Jack. Carr, he’s got an open fracture. This has to be reduced immediately. Mary, are you up for it?” 

She pulled herself together. “Of course.” She took a bottle of anti-microbial scrub from the supplies and poured some on her hands. “Cut away his pant leg, will you Andy?” 

I took out a pocketknife and sliced Jack’s pants along the seam. “Andy, where’s Bob?” Jack clutched at my arm. 

I eased the material away from the bone. “He didn’t make it, Jack. Not your fault. Carr and I were down there with him, and we couldn’t do anything! Now shut up, begging the Major’s pardon, and let Mary get this set.” 

“Carr.” She handed him the bottle. “I’ll need you to apply traction. Andy, you’ll hold onto his thigh.” 

Carr tossed the bottle to me and I scrubbed my hands with it. Eric started to groan. I picked up the thermos that was beside him and whacked his head. “Sorry, Mary.” 

The look she cast at her comatose spouse was lethal. “Not at all, Andy.” 

“Will Jack need an anesthetic?” 

“No. I’ve been feeding him whiskey. He should be feeling no pain, right about now. Ready, gentlemen? All right them, Carr, I want it smooth and steady until I tell you to stop.” 

From far away we heard pounding, but we ignored it and continued working on Jack’s leg. He stood it until the jagged ends of bone grated together and the fracture was reduced. Then he passed out. Mary finished the procedure and set about splinting the break. 

The lights in command flickered and dimmed. The instruments stuttered. We looked around to find Van with his hands on the electrical switch. 

“You were too busy to notice we were about to have company. That thing should be on ‘its’ way to hell right about now!” He tried to smile, but staggered and then began to collapse. I managed to catch him before he hit the deck. I was about to shut off the power. “No, let ‘it’ burn!” 

I let it continue running, while I got Van back into his chair and covered him with more blankets. He shivered, from his fever, from nerves, from triumph. Then I shut down the grid and we waited for tense minutes. 

“Andy, I’m going to open the hatch. Get the rifle and back me up.” 

“No problem Carr.” I went to do as my lover ordered and stood off to the side as he pressed the switch that would raise the hatch. 

And there ‘it’ was, waiting, ‘its’ eyes wild with pain and fury.


Part 12


It’ took the rifle blast point blank, right between the eyes. 

All that did was make ‘it’ mad. 


It’s funny, what goes through your mind at times like that. 

My mother died when I was really little, so it was left to my Pop to raise me alone. Pop’s a good person, and worked really hard to do the best for me. We didn’t have as much as some, but then again, we had more than many. 

When I married at twenty-one, right after graduation, Pop looked sad, but didn’t say it was a bad idea. 

When I divorced at twenty-two, Pop looked sad, but didn’t say, “I told you so.” 

As a kid, I was baseball mad. I joined first the PeeWee League, then graduated to Little League, and finally went into the Senior League. And Pop saw to it that I made all the practices, that I got to all the games on time. I know it cost Pop, in business as well as privately. But Pop did it for me, and Pop never missed a game. 

I could have gotten a baseball scholarship to any of the Ivy League schools, but that wasn’t where I wanted to go. I got into the Academy because of my senator’s letter of recommendation; and it didn’t hurt that they desperately wanted a winning baseball team. West Point and Annapolis had left them in the dust. 

 The scouts came sniffing around, and if I hadn’t wanted Space more than anything in the world, they’d have snapped me up in a New York City minute. 


But I went to Space, and now I was facing something from out of mankind’s worst nightmare. 

And Carr was between us and all that rage. 

I switched my grip on the rifle, holding the barrel as if it was a Louisville Slugger. Like that greatest of southpaws, Lou Gehrig, I took my stance. I could feel the shades of the Iron Horse, Babe Ruth and Joltin’ Joe looking over my shoulder. And my Pop. “Keep your eye on the ball, Tinker!” 

Time seemed to slow to a crawl as I started my swing. 

And then, just like that, it speeded up. With an explosion of sound, the stock of the rifle connected with ‘its’ head, and ‘it’ tumbled back down the ladder. Carr slammed his hand on the control and the hatch swung shut. 

The stock was broken. I tossed the rifle aside and stood there, shudders almost breaking my body apart, and listened to the roars coming up from below. “What do we do now?” 

It’ had to kill us or starve. 

We had to kill ‘it’ or die. 

Jimmy propped himself up on an elbow. “There’s only one thing left to do!” He glanced from one to the other of us. “Put your head between your legs and kiss your ass good-bye!” 

“I’ve got an idea!” Van's temperature had come down a bit, and he was able to think more coherently. “If we can get around behind ‘it’, and lure ‘it’ into the reactor, that should finish it!” 

“Who’s going to bell the cat?” I asked, knowing it wouldn’t be Jim Calder, who hadn’t recovered from his concussion, and knowing it couldn’t be the Major. Mary was needed too desperately for her skills as a doctor. 


“Someone’s going to have to go down there,” Carr concurred. “How did you plan that, Van?” 

“You go out the emergency airlock here in command, Ed. Go down the hull to the airlock on the motor level. That’s one level below what ‘its’ staked out as ‘its’ territory.” Van explained it as if it was a matter of utmost simplicity. 

“Sure, we go take a walk out into space. Piece of cake! What do we do then, jump out at it and yell, ‘Booga, booga?’ You gonna wish us luck, in case we don’t come back?” 

“We? Chicken…” 

“Van, if Carr goes, I go with him! You’re my commanding officer, but I have to ask you, what makes you think ‘it’ can’t withstand all that radiation? ‘It’s’ withstood enough voltage to kill thirty people! Don’t you get it? ‘It’s’ fucking not human!” 

“Baby,” Carr said softly in my ear as he stroked my shoulders, trying to calm me down. 

I huffed in disgust. “Come on, Carr. Let’s get suited up!” I pulled open the locker that stored the suits that would have been used if repairs were necessary to the skin of the Defender. 

There was a scream of outrage and we whirled to see Mary grappling with her husband, the hatch standing open. He was trying to disable the mechanism that would keep us out of the clutches of our visitor. Carr leaped toward the struggling couple and landed a solid blow to the science officer’s chin. Eric Royce tumbled backwards, disappearing down the ladder to the galley deck. 

Mary almost broke her hand hitting the switch that shut the hatch behind him. 

We all held our breaths, waiting to see if we would hear anything signaling the small man’s fate. Nothing greeted us but the sound of Eric going deeper into the ship’s bowels. 

And then Mary realized what she had condemned her husband to, and doubled over from the agony of her recriminations. 

I looked helplessly to Carr. He cupped the back of my head and curled his fingers through the hair that grew there. Suddenly, I was hard, and I wanted more of what we had started in the cold storage locker. I licked my lips and he looked as if for a minute he was going to lick them himself. He gave me a tender shake and went to the doctor. 

“Mary, he made his choice. It was his decision to put that thing above us. Here, stay by Jack. He needs you now, and so do Jim and Van.” Carr eased her down to the deck beside her lover. As he straightened, he staggered and nearly went to his knees. 

“Carr! What’s wrong?” I was at his side and had my arms around him. 

“I…don’t know. I suddenly felt…I don’t know!” 

I looked over at the gauges that covered one wall of command. “Mary, has someone, Eric, maybe, been fooling with these gauges?” 

“No, Andy. Why? What is it? Why am I feeling so tired all of a sudden?” 

“Look at this! The carbon dioxide levels have risen forty per cent over all previous maximum levels!” 

“Oh course! That makes sense! Mars is ninety-five percent CO2! That creature has developed lungs that breathe it. And it’s going to need more than we do! If the ship continues to accommodate the increased demand for CO2, we’re all going to die!” 

“And that’s why the goop that was slurping up Bob’s blood reacted so strongly to your fire extinguisher, Carr!” 

“Yes!” Carr gave a spurt of laughter. “I love how conversant you are with scientific terms, baby!” He turned the dials to raise the level of oxygen. 

I shrugged, but secretly I was tickled that I had given him a moment of amusement. “Can we kill ‘it’, poison ‘it’ with oxygen?” 

“There’s only one way to tell.” 


Howls of rage, human rage, filtered through the intercomm. “You’ve killed ‘it’. Goddamn you, you killed ‘it’!” Sobs echoed throughout the ship. 

“Now what?” 

Carr looked relieved. “Now we get that thing off the ship.” 

I nodded and headed toward the hatch. “There’s some protective clothing in the science lab, we can suit up in there.” 

“Good idea.” 


But when we got down to C compartment, we found Eric Royce spraying the creature with layer upon layer of carbon dioxide from the last of the CO2 fire extinguishers. “They thought I wouldn’t figure it out? They thought I was so stupid that I didn’t know ‘it’ had to breathe carbon dioxide?” He was muttering to himself. 

He looked up sharply when he heard us approach. “It’s too late! You’re too late!” His eyes glittered with madness. 

And then ‘it’ was starting to move. I grabbed the science officer by his collar and dragged him away from ‘it’, back to the lab. We just didn’t have time to make it all the way to the command level with him struggling to free himself. 

And as much as I wanted to kick the shit out of the little man, I wouldn’t leave him to become a meal for that thing. Or worse, a nursery. 

We sealed ourselves into the lab, safe for the moment. Carr ran a hand through his hair. I threw Eric into a corner and turned my back on him. 

I began poking around in the lockers, trying to find something to use as a weapon. “Well, well!” 

“What, baby?” Carr asked. 

I held up a space suit that should have been replaced with the others up on the command level. I remembered Bob had been the one to use it last, on the trip out to Mars. He needed to make a minor repair, and had competently completed the job. 

But Bob had a tendency to leave things wherever he left them. Gino had come by, and physicist had stretched a long arm to snatch him into the science lab, where they had whiled away a brief quarter-hour. 

I had come upon them. Their clothing was disheveled, their hair mussed, and their eyes had a sated look to them. That was when I decided I wanted that look in my eyes. I placed the suit in an empty locker and forgot all about it. I went looking for Van, and made the biggest mistake of my life. 

“Do you have a plan?” 

“Yeah, I do.” I began climbing into the suit. I latched on the helmet and kicked on the interior mic. “I’m going to throw out the trash!” 

I hoped the suit would prevent that thing from sucking me dry, but if my plan didn’t work as I hoped, then I’d go out with ‘it’. 

It’ was still groggy from the overdose of pure O2, and I was lucky enough to slip past ‘it’ without attracting ‘its’ attention. I managed to get myself into position in the cargo bay. I fastened the straps of the chief’s chair, which I hoped would keep me in the ship when everything else was flying out. The chair contained all the controls for C compartment, and I began tapping out the sequence that would open the emergency air lock. 

 “You… are my… lucky star,” I wasn’t even aware I was singing that old song. I could feel sweat trickling down along my cheekbone. “Lucky, lucky, lucky.” I pressed the last key and the lock began to slide open. 

Everything that wasn’t bolted down sailed out into the black void. As the oxygen screamed past to surrender to the desolation of space, I held on and prayed the straps wouldn’t freeze from the cold and snap, sending me to float in the darkness until finally my air ran out and I suffocated in a suit filled with carbon dioxide. 

And then that thing went whipping by me, shrieking in rage, as helpless as any of us would have been to resist the pull of the inevitable. 

I managed to reach the control and reversed the sequence that brought us freedom. 

And waited as the compartment filled once again with oxygen.


Part 13


The airlock was sealed. The oxygen level had been restored. And that thing was somewhere out in the vacuum of space, pissing blood and popping eyeballs. 

I unfastened the straps that had held me safe in Heinholz’s chair, and staggered in reaction to the events of the past hours. My gloved hands fumbled with the latches that secured my helmet and tipped it off, breathing air that didn’t stink of sweat and fear. 

All I wanted now was to get to Carr and collapse in his arms. I peeled off the gauntlets and started undoing the toggles that kept the suit airtight. 

The distance from C compartment to the next deck was only ten feet, but it looked as high as Everest. I leaned against the railing and peeled off the suit, leaving it where it fell. 

Adrenalin was slowly washing out of my system, and exhaustion was taking its place. I dragged myself up the ladder and stumbled down the corridor to the science lab. 

I triggered the opening mechanism and the door slid back with a quiet shhht. I was in the lab before my brain registered what my eyes were seeing. In the corner, trussed like a Thanksgiving turkey, Carr lay on his side, a gag in his mouth. He was frantically shaking his head, his eyes trying to telegraph a message to me. 

But before I could decipher it, something cracked across the back of my head and pinwheels of pain exploded in my brain. I was aware of the deck rushing up to smack me in the face, and then there was nothing. 


The trickle of blood had dried, so I knew I must have been unconscious for a while. I was on my side in the identical position as Carr. Restraints on my ankles were fastened by thick cords behind my back to restraints on my wrist. My body was uncomfortably bowed, and I felt a creeping agony in my shoulders. 

I had no idea where I was. 

Two boots appeared in front of me. “It’s about time you woke up, Lieutenant! I’ve got things to do, and I don’t have time to wait around for a sissy boy like you! Oh, you didn’t think I knew what was going on between you and the Colonel? I knew, and I intended to inform Van Leuen as soon as we return to Earth. But I’ve got better plans for you now!” 

“We couldn’t have let that thing loose on Earth! You’ve got to see that! Listen, Eric, you’re confused; we’ll get you some help!” 

He struck me across the mouth with Carr’s side arm. “I’m Dr. Royce to you, you …” He seemed at a loss. 

I swallowed the blood from my cut lip. “Yes, I know, sissy boy. What are you going to do, if you aren’t going to tell Van Leuen?” 

“You thought you spoiled my plans when you sent that creature out into space! But I’m not stupid! I have a back-up plan!” 

The pain in my head was pounding out a rhumba beat, and I felt nauseous. “All right, Eric. Dr. Royce,” I corrected hastily when I saw him about to swing the weapon at me again. “I’ll bite. What’s your plan?” 

“You forgot about Gino, didn’t you? He hatched the prettiest little baby out of his chest!” 

I closed my eyes and whispered a prayer for the hapless cook. 

“’It’ seems to have adjusted to the ship’s atmosphere amazingly well. I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘it’ must have this latent ability to adapt to whatever environment ‘it’ is born into. And ‘it’s’ grown! Oh, my, Andy. You would not believe how the little fellow has grown! ‘It’ already is the size of ‘its’ papa!” 

He thrust his face against mine, his sour breath almost making me gag. “And ‘it’s’ ready to mate, Andy. Guess who’s going to be a momma?” 

I stared at him, horrified. “Eric! Dr. Royce! You can’t do this! You’ve said yourself that ‘it’ is unusually adaptive! You’ll be condemning every last soul on Earth to extinction!” 

He frowned at me. “Of course not! Oh, you will die, and it will be rather messy I’m afraid. But then, giving birth always is a messy process. But Van Leuen will use these creatures to further man’s quest for knowledge!” 

“And you believe that?” 

Eric Royce didn’t even hear me. He was lost in his dreams of glory. “And he will make me the man in charge of leading the way into a new era of advancement! Now, you just lie still and rest. You’re going to need your rest, Lieutenant. I’ll go and fetch your mate!” 

He was gone, and I was left alone in that dark compartment. The knowledge of what he planned for me became too much. I was barely able to turn my head to the side before I vomited the meager contents of my stomach. And then dry heaves wracked me and I felt as if I was trying to vomit up a lung. 

All I could wonder was how that thing was going to impregnate me. 


Quiet footfalls alerted me to the fact that I was no longer alone. I tried to dry my damp cheeks as best I could against my shoulder. “Eric. Dr. Royce, please. You can’t do this!” 

“Shhh. It’s alright Chicken!” 

“Van? What are you doing here? How did you find me?” 

He was slicing through the ropes that bound my wrists to my ankles. “Ed was able to alert us over the intercomm that you were in trouble. Mary had a fit when I told her I was leaving command. So I put her in charge.” Van smiled and nuzzled the hair at my temple. “Jimmy and I found him. They’re searching the other compartments.” He took my chin in his fingers and tipped it up so that I had to look at him. “Chicken, did you doubt that I’d find you? I may be sick, but I’m not dead yet! This is my ship. I know every inch of her!” 

Van deftly twisted the combination on my ankle restraints and got me lose. Then he kissed me. It was the last thing I expected. “No, please, Van! My mouth must taste like…” 

He stroked my hair. “It doesn’t matter, Andy.” He put his arms around me and held on. “I’m dying, Chicken. And I realize that I love you. We could talk about this later, but there isn’t going to be a later. Not for us. I don’t know what I did to make you turn away from me, but whatever it was, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. Which won’t be too long!” 

“Van, I’m sorry!” An errant tear fell from my lashes. 

“If…if I had more time, would we have been able to make it work, Andy?” 

I shook my head. “I’m sorry, Van,” I repeated. “I guess the problem was that I was just too grass green for you. I didn’t know what to expect and…” 

He pulled away and stared at me. “Are you trying to tell me that I got your cherry?” 

“Van, you always were the most insensitive clot on the face of God’s earth!” Carr was leaning casually against the door. I wondered uncomfortably how much he had heard. “Andy’s got blood all over his collar, probably from when Royce hit him with that fire extinguisher. I want Mary to take a look at him and make sure he doesn’t have a skull fracture.” 

“Dr. Royce! The other Dr. Royce! He was going to …” I couldn’t tell them what he had planned for me. “He said there’s another one of those things running around lose.” 

“*Shit*! How did that happen?” 

“Gino. He was incubating ‘it’. Dr. Royce said ‘it’s’ already big.” 

“*How* big?” 

“Bigger than the first one?” 

Van didn’t waste his energy swearing, although I could see he would have liked to. “Ed, get Andy up to command. Jimmy and I will see if we can find Eric. And if we can get rid of this other thing.” 

“Van, please be careful!” 

“Why, Chicken! You still care!”


Note: Colonel Carruthers’ POV 

Part 14


It was my fault. 

I had been so worried about Andy going out to face that thing, that I wasn’t as alert as I should have been. 

That little shit Royce got the drop on me. And when I regained consciousness, I was bound and gagged. He took great relish in describing, in loving, explicit detail, what he had planned for my young lover. And he gloated while I struggled frantically to free myself. 

And when Andy stumbled in, looking so exhausted, and so precious, there was nothing I could do to warn him. I had to watch, wild-eyed, as Royce struck him with a fire extinguisher and sneered at me. Then he dragged my beautiful boy out to be fodder for that thing he treasured more than his own species. 

I’ll say one thing about Eric Royce: he was no Boy Scout! As I worked the gag out of my mouth with teeth and tongue, I managed to get my hands loose. “Ahoy, command!” I called softly. I freed myself of the rest of my bonds, telling Van what had happened. “And now Royce has Andy somewhere in the ship!”

“Carruthers, this is your fault!” Van snarled. “I don’t know how you managed to get my Chicken in trouble, but I know it’s all your fault! Mary, throw the master switch on the intercomm. I want to know if you hear anything unusual. Jimmy, I don’t care if you are still seeing double, you’re coming with me!” 

I could hear Mary protesting, to no avail. And then I tuned that all out. Royce had the pistol with which I had been armed, but there were some scalpels that Andy used in examining the organic specimens he had brought up from Mars’ surface. 

One thing for that type of weapon: you had to get up close and personal to use it. Not many people had the guts to face down a man with a knife. I didn’t think Eric Royce was one of them. And I was looking forward to ripping out his black heart and carving my initials in it. 

Van and Jimmy caught up with me as I got to C compartment. Before I could suggest continuing the search on the next level down, Van ordered the lieutenant and me to check out the rest of the cargo level, while he explored the deck below. He disappeared into the dimness of the motor level. 

Calder turned to me, confusion on his face. “I must still be suffering from that concussion! I would have sworn they were somewhere down below us!” 

Well. Wasn’t that interesting! 

Van seemed just a trifle too anxious to have us elsewhere. He wanted to be alone when he found Andy. Why? 

It didn’t take me long to find them. They were having a low voiced conversation, Andy’s fingers twisted in Van’s shirtfront, trying to make his point. 

I had to get Andy out of there. It looked like he was holding on to his composure by teeth and toenails. 

Van, being the commander, insisted on trying to track down Royce and his little playmate. “Be careful, Van!” Andy pleaded with him. 

“Why, Chicken! You still care!” 

And Van gave me a triumphant look over his shoulder, before he disappeared into one of the other compartments on the motor level, Jimmy reluctantly following him. 

I urged Andy up the ladder, mulling over what I had heard. 


“Please, Carr. May we stop by my quarters?” His words came out achingly formal. “I need to get out of these clothes!” 

“Shouldn’t you see Mary immediately?” My tone was sharper than I intended, and I saw him flinch away from me. 

“No, Colonel. I’m not that badly hurt: just a few scrapes and bumps.” Andy was back to calling me Colonel; not a good sign. He was standing right beside me, but he might as well have been on Earth. It seemed as if he was encased in ice. 

And then I thought I knew what was causing the problem. It was through my negligence that he had fallen into the clutches of a madman. How could he trust a man who was bad luck to any soldier who followed him? I had lost nine members of my own crew, and had come so close to losing him as well! 

“You might have a concussion.” Was he distancing himself emotionally because of a physical problem? “You did have an episode of vomiting.” Or was it something more ominous: could Van have convinced him of his willingness to change, to become a more considerate lover? 

“Something else triggered that off.” Andy looked as if he preferred saying nothing further, and I didn’t press him. 

I couldn’t let him know that Eric Royce had boasted of what he had in store for him. 


Andy turned and swayed as if the deck was rolling beneath his feet. I reached out to steady him, but he never saw, and I dropped my hand. He caught himself and made it back to his quarters without further incident. 

I trailed along behind him, not about to leave him alone. There was barely enough room in his quarters for the two of us. 

He took out a clean uniform and laid it on his bunk. “I’m going to take a shower. I’m …I can’t stand the way I feel, and I can’t bear the thought of putting on clean clothes without washing his touch off me!” Andy walked into his tiny bathroom and closed the door firmly behind him. 

I imagined him stripping out of his soiled uniform and turning the water on as hot as he could stand it. I couldn’t leave him to face whatever demons Eric Royce had loosed; I opened the door and stepped quietly into the tiny cubicle. 

My heart broke at what I saw. 

The water poured down on him, and he was braced against the wall of the shower stall. Shudders rippled through him, and his shoulders shook. Andy wept silently, although the sound of the shower would have drowned out his sobs. 

And then he curled into the corner of the stall, his cheek against the tile, one arm wrapped around his middle, as if to hold himself together, while the fingers of his other hand clawed at the wall. The floodgates had opened, and all the fear and horror and hopelessness came pouring out in gasps of desolation. 

I could feel moisture gathering in the corners of my own eyes. I wasn’t about to let him grieve alone. I shed my clothes and stepped into the shower. 

I enveloped him in a snug embrace and pulled him back against my chest. Andy started and he tried to jerk free. When he realized I had no intention of letting him go, he tried to avert his face so I wouldn’t see him like that, with his eyes red, and his nose running, crying as I’m sure he never cried in his life. 

But I wasn’t going to let him go. And then he turned, burrowing into my arms, holding onto me, his tears hotter than the hot water. He sought a haven, an island of safety. 

And I? I would give him whatever he wanted, no matter what the cost. 


I took the bar of soap and began rolling it between my hands. “Let’s get you cleaned up, baby. Then I want Mary to take a look at you.” 

“I’m sorry, Carr. I’m not handling this well.” He tipped his head back and let the water wash his face clean of tears. 

I stroked the soap over his neck and shoulders, drawing my hands down his torso to his narrow hips. My nails threaded through the wiry hair at his groin, and to my surprise, I suddenly found myself with a handful of hot cock, and a mouthful of hot tongue. 

“Make me forget, Carr. Oh, please, God! Make me forget!” he moaned as he nuzzled my mouth. 

My soap-slicked fingers traced past his balls to the sensitive skin behind them. For the first time I dipped past the tight ring that guarded his almost virgin passage. I wanted to go easy, afraid I would hurt him. I wanted to go slow, afraid I would frighten him, even more than the events of the past few hours. 

And then he was climbing up my body, his thighs clutching my waist, his hole at a perfect angle for penetration. 

“Fuck me, Carr!” he whispered, his breath hot in my ear. 

“Not with soap to ease the way. Not for our first time!” I rinsed him off and shut the water, which was now decidedly tepid. Herding him out of the stall, I grabbed a towel and started drying him off, rubbing briskly to warm him. 

I wanted to keep his level of excitement high, and I teased gently at his mouth, careful of the bruising and swelling I could see. 

His eyes were fever-bright, and Andy backed out of the bath, luring me after him. He rummaged through the small set of draws built into the wall and came up with the tube of salve he had needed. With a quick kiss, he pressed it into my hand and climbed on his bunk, shoving aside the clothes he had laid out. 

On his hands and knees, he presented me with that most perfect tableau of masculinity waiting to be ravished. My arousal became painful. I ran a finger over the tip which was leaking precome and wiped it over the rosebud that was offered to me. Then I warmed the salve and began stroking it into him. 

In spite of himself, he was tense, and I petted his back and thighs to relax him. I fondled his cock back to hardness as I eased a second finger into his snug passage. It was no trick to find his prostate and give him a taste of the pleasure that was in store for him. 

He was moaning and thrusting back onto my fingers. I scattered kisses over his spine and up to his shoulders as I positioned the broad head of my cock at his entrance. Distracting him with nimble, teasing caresses along the length of his cock, I entered him slower than I would have liked, but I wanted to make this perfect for him. 

I might never have another chance, and no matter what, I didn’t want him to regret us

I was deep inside him before he realized it, and setting up a steady rhythm that brought me into constant contact with that spot inside him that left him moaning and trembling. I wanted to make it last for him, to make it so good. 

But I wanted him too much. I had been alone too long. And it had been forever since I had had a male lover. I know I left bruises on his hips trying to keep from pounding mercilessly into him. 

I shuddered as I poured myself into his channel. I’ve had better orgasms, but none as fulfilling. This was Andy who let me ravish his ass. 

I knew he hadn’t come. But that wasn’t a problem. I eased out of him and rolled him onto his back. Frustration was written clearly on his face, and he swore tonelessly. 

“You know what’s wrong with you, baby?” 

He turned his face away from mine, and I gently brought my fingers to his cheek and forced him to look into my eyes. Misery looked back at me. 

“Nothing, Andy! Absolutely nothing!” I started making my way down his body. 

Call me a bastard for taking advantage of a young officer who had just been through a terrifying experience. Call me a son of a bitch for being naked in the shower with him. Call me a cocksucker for…


Note: Just to clarify, Route 66 was a buddy TV drama, from the 60s. Come to think of it, what did they do beside travel across country?

Note #2: ‘To shoot’ in this context, is a method kids used to use to choose up sides.

Note #3: Carr’s prayer is from the Twenty-Third Psalm. Song lyrics, Take My Hand, Precious Lord.

Part 15


I lay sprawled on my bunk, boneless, so sated that if that creature had come looking for me at that moment, I would have been hard pressed to do more than peel open an eyelid. Carr lay with his head on my abdomen, absently stroking my hip and thigh. 

“There used to be this blond who lived near the base,” I sighed contentedly. “She drove a ’66 ‘vette, like that one on ‘Route 66’? And it had this license plate frame that said, ‘If you beat me, you can eat me!’ Oh that feels nice!” 

Carr had dipped his tongue into my navel. I would have purred if I had the right vocal equipment for it. “You were telling me about some blond bimbo?” I could feel his smile against my skin. 

“What? Oh, yes. In the cherry red corvette! Mmmm! I was thinking, that if I knew you were the one who would drag race with me, I’d put that on my car and let you win every time!” 

He licked a drop of precome from the tip of my cock, then blew across it and chuckled as it quivered in his hand. “Are you saying you like when I eat you?” The head of my cock was in his mouth now. 

I moaned and thrust up just a little. “Yes. Oh, yes! But I’d really like…” 

Carr let me slip out of his mouth and began pressing openmouthed kisses over my abdomen. When he reached my diaphragm, where my ribs curved in to my breastbone, I felt the scrape of his teeth. “What would you really like, baby?” 

“I’d really like to come the same time you do. When you’re inside me.” 

“Oh, baby. I’d like that too. We’ll just have to keep on practicing until we get it right.” 

We? Then you don’t think…something’s wrong with me?” 

He leaned up and kissed me, letting me taste the saltiness of my skin on his lips. “Andy, if you were any more right, you just might kill me!” He went back to exploring my torso, dragging his tongue across a nipple to see what my response might be. I shuddered. He bit down gently. I moaned. He suckled. 

I drew his mouth up to mine and fitted them together. But I had forgotten that Eric Royce had hit me in the mouth with a pistol, and I winced. 

Carr pulled away immediately, and touched a finger to my swollen lips.  “Let’s not rush it, okay baby? We’ve got all the time in the world.” 

But we really didn’t have much time at all. 


The intercomm in my quarters hissed with static, and then Mary Royce’s voice came over. “Ohshitohshitohshit! Carr, wherever you are, I need you in command on the double! Oh shit! Oh shit!” 

We looked at each other. And rolled off the bunk and dressed rapidly. I was still knotting my tie as we pounded up the ladder to command. 

“Mary, what’s wrong?” Carr’s eyes searched the deck. Jack was settled with his leg stretched before him, looking grim. 

Jimmy was hunched over next to Mary, his face a pasty white. She had an arm around him, supporting him, helping hold a mug of coffee. His entire body shook. As I got closer, I could smell the whiskey in the coffee. 

“Jimmy, what happened?” 

He tried to speak, but the dark brew spewed out and he choked. “Van…” He swallowed and tried to get himself under control. “Oh that stupid son of a bitch!” 

“Take it easy, Calder,” Carr said. “Take your time, and tell us what you can.” 

Jimmy nodded and swallowed hard. “Van’s dead.” 

I couldn’t prevent the shocked cry. “What? How?” I knew he was dying; there was nothing Mary could do to slow the alien virus’ attack on his system. But I thought…time. There was just never enough time. 

Carr took me in his arms and rocked me. “I’m sorry, baby. I know how much he meant to you.” 

“Carr,” I whispered in his ear, panicking. “I don’t feel anything! He took my…I should feel…But I don’t!” 

“We’ll talk about it later, baby,” he said softly. “Calder, what happened?” he demanded in a normal voice. 

Jimmy was shaking his head. “I don’t know. I don’t know! He was up ahead of me and I heard him yell back that he had found Royce. I went running into the motor control room and Eric was against the wall. His clothes were all torn and his mouth was bleeding. He was moaning, saying something about his momma, I think. 

“Van was in the reactor room, I could see that through the shielded porthole in the door. He had the reactor open and ‘it’ was in there with him. ‘It’ looked almost…human! And oh God, Andy wasn’t kidding when he said ‘it’ was bigger than the first one!” Jimmy’s shoulders heaved as he battled nausea, and it took him a long moment to get under control again. 

Carr rubbed his back, trying to give him some comfort. His eyes met mine over the lieutenant’s head. “What did the Colonel do, Jim?” 

“He kept forcing ‘it’ to back up toward the reactor. He was jabbing at ‘it’ with his rifle, but that thing wasn’t stupid; ‘it’ wasn’t about to let ‘itself’ get fried. ‘It’ was starting to ease away from the reactor. Van let out a scream of rage and charged ‘it’. The force of his attack knocked that thing backwards, but ‘it’ had Van. They went into the reactor together.” 

“Then ‘it’s’ dead?” 

Jimmy sagged against Carr. “They’re both dead! I’m sorry,” he mumbled as he lost his struggle with his stomach. He leaned over and vomited. 

“Carr, what do we do now?” Mary took Jimmy and got him settled in the other console chair. 

“You’re in command, Mary. Van saw to that before he went out to play hero.” 

“I don’t need this bullshit, Colonel. And you’re goddamned right, I’m in command. But, Jesus, I need some help here! I’m a doctor, not a fucking soldier!” 

Carr swallowed a smile. “Are we still on course for Earth?” 

Mary nodded, looking abashed at her uncharacteristic outburst. 

“Andy and I will see if we can find Bob’s body. It’ll need to be cremated as soon as possible. We’ll want to have Gino with him. Jack, will you give Mary whatever help she might need?” 

Jack looked as shell-shocked as the rest of us, but he nodded and even managed to give her a lascivious wink. 


We found Gino in an airshaft in B compartment. His chest had been exploded from the inside out. The flesh was in tatters and jagged bone gleamed whitely, with indentations that indicated that the ribs had been gnawed on. 

I bit my sore lip and the additional pain kept me from following Jimmy’s example and throwing up all over my shoes. 

Nothing else was going to be birthed by him, so we left him and went searching for Bob. 


Bob would have been happy. In the end, as in life, he wasn’t too far from his lover. 

We found him around the first bend in the airshaft. His chest was still whole, but we couldn’t be certain for how long. The entire situation was too fluid for my liking. 

We got Bob up to sickbay and onto a table that could be programmed to empty its contents into the reactor. I wanted to bring back Gino while Carr sat with Bob, but my lover refused to allow it. 

I had no intention of complying, and would have been tried for insubordination by any other senior officer. Carr smiled sweetly and said, “I’ll shoot you for it.” 

He shook out his right hand and held in waist high. I did the same, only with my left hand. 

“Ready? Okay. Once, twice, three: shoot!” He had two fingers out to my one. “Mine.” 

We repeated the process. This time we both had one finger out. Tied. 

It took six tries, and I’m still convinced that somehow he cheated. But I lost and had to stay and make sure Bob didn’t give birth while Carr went down and retrieve Gino. He wanted to send the two lovers to Valhalla together, but if there wasn’t time, they’d just have to go one at a time. 

I knew they would have understood. 

I did. Carr didn’t want me to have to deal with the remains of what had been my shipmate. 

He must have run both ways, although he was barely winded. But he was back just as the little critter in Bob’s chest started chewing his way out. He placed Gino in Bob’s arms and slapped the control that would send the table into the wall and empty its contents into the reactor. 

We could hear the quiet roar of the reactor as the bodies were consigned to it. Carr said a prayer for them. 

“…Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…” The solemn words rolled out in his quiet voice, and a tear trickled from the corner of my eye. 

He bowed his head, and I raised mine and began to sing. 

“Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand 

“I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. 

“Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. 

“Take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home.” 

And then he took me in his arms and just held me.


Note: The alien James Frost went up against is from The Crawling Eye, also made in the 50s.

Part 16


Carr stood looking out the viewport, watching as the Earth grew ever so slowly larger. An orb of green and blue, banded with the white lace of cloud cover, our home planet swung silently in the deep velvet of space. My lover’s eyes were sheened with emotion. It had been a long time since he had last walked Earth’s soil. 

I stood behind him, my chin on his shoulder, my hands in his trouser pockets, idly stroking the line of his cock. I let my eyes drift shut and took in a deep breath, relishing the scent that was uniquely him. 

But he wasn’t getting hard. Reluctantly, I pressed a quick kiss to the side of his throat. “I love you, blue eyes,” I whispered softly, not meaning him to hear, and stepped back from him. 

He grabbed my arms and settled them around his waist, pulling me back against him. He turned his head a fraction and managed to capture my lips. I wasn’t prepared for such an open demonstration of passion, and my lips parted in surprise. Carr slid his tongue past and lapped lightly at mine, then withdrew. 

“I love you too, baby.” 

I jerked in his hold, but he refused to let me go. “Did you think I didn’t? That I just wanted to get in your pants?” 

“I…You’re a colonel! You’re a hero! I’m just…” 

“As far as I’m concerned, you’re the hero. And I just happen to think you’re the sexiest thing since sliced bread!” He sighed as he felt my cock press against the crease of his ass, and nestled against me. 

“You sweet-talker, you!” 

He smiled, but then it vanished, and the pensive look returned to his face. “We won’t have much time, I’m afraid. Van Leuen isn’t fond of me; he would have liked nothing more than for me to never have survived that crash landing. Or better yet, to be the one who died in that reactor!” 

“Why did he send the Defiance to Mars, Carr? I thought originally the Space Program was to concentrate on the Moon, on perhaps terraforming it.” 

His voice was so soft, I had to strain to hear his words. “Photos came back, revealing…something. Van Leuen got a bug up his ass about exploring Mars and pushed the Science Advisory Committee to approve the mission.” 

“Dr. Royce, the other Dr. Royce, said something about Van Leuen wanting to use that thing for research, to learn from it. The only thing I think it can teach us is a lousy way to die!” 

“You’re right. I think the real reason he wanted it was for the biological warfare division of the SAC.” 

I shivered and tightened my hold on him. 

And we watched as the Earth drew imperceptively closer. 


We fell back into the normal routine of space flight. 

Mary discovered a combination of drugs that seemed to be successfully battling Jim Calder’s illness. 

Carr and I were sharing a cabin, as were the ship’s doctor and Major Perdue. I was sure they made love, although I wasn’t sure of the logistics because of his broken leg. And I didn’t really want to know. Mary Royce was old enough to be my …well, I’ll be a gentleman and say my older sister. I couldn’t deal with the image of her and the Major naked, the doctor seated astride him, riding him like a stallion. 

I know that’s provincial. But…it’s like I know my mother and father made love. Well, they had to in order to have me! 

I just don’t want to think about it. 

Occasionally we’d catch sight of Eric Royce. His clothing became more and more disheveled and filthy and he would scuttle away from us, finding increasingly remote places of concealment. And then we didn’t see him any longer. 

But we were busy preparing the Defender for her landing on Earth. 

And we didn’t even notice. 


Van Leuen had insisted on the court martial of a high-ranking, highly decorated member of the armed forces. The Air Force was not happy that the Security Advisory Committee had taken it upon itself to hold a witch-hunt against one of its own. Especially one so well liked, and renowned. 

However, they didn’t have much choice in the matter. Not if they wanted funding for the next generation of space ships. 

But if word got out to the Press that his superiors were apparently abandoning the first man in space, well, to say there would be hell to pay would be a mild understatement! 

I wasn’t there at that point; I had been given a three-day pass. And not informed that Colonel Carruthers was going to face the most feared man in the government. 

I strolled into the BOQ, the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters, to find my friend James Frost with his feet up on my bunk. He smiled at me, his teeth startlingly white in his dark face, and poured me a drink. 

Frosty began regaling me with his adventures in Switzerland. If I hadn’t gone toe to toe with my own particular horror, I would have been sure he was pulling my leg with tales of a creature that looked like an enormous, bloodshot eye. 

And then he brought me up-to-date with the base news, which included the fact that Colonel Edward Carruthers was being brought up on charges relating to the loss of his ship and his crew, not to mention the deaths of four others from the Defender. 

I gathered up a small book and ran. 

I slipped into the back of the room, noticed only by the M.P.s who were guarding the door. The big one on the left was an old baseball buddy of mine, and I whispered urgently in his ear. He nodded toward the General who sat off to the side and let me by. I hurried to my commanding officer and spoke quietly to him. 

General Cameron kept his piercing grey eyes on the man who sat at the center of the semicircular table. Van Leuen was a bulky man of average height. He was glowering at the group who stood in front of him, but mostly at the man who had ruined his plans to gain unlimited power for himself. 

Mary Royce and Major Perdue stood to one side, Jack balancing his weight on a cane. 

Lieutenant James Calder, looking better than he had in months, after completing a course of chemotherapy, waited at ease. 

Carr was in the center, as alone as if it was just him and Van Leuen in the room. 

Van Leuen had read their debrief; the pages were on the table before him. He dismissed their statements and their presence: they weren’t the ones he wanted destroyed. They took their seats, relieved to no longer have to face his barely contained rage. 

“Andy!” Mary’s voice was very quiet and she looked surprised to see me. “Where have you been? Carr’s been worried sick! He thought you were cutting him loose to face the wolves alone!” 

“I’m here now, and that’s what’s important!” 

The head of the Science Advisory Committee frowned mightily in an attempt to silence our whispers. “Colonel Carruthers, you seem to have made a strong impression on these people. However, this is immaterial and does not preclude the fact that you lost nine members of your crew. You are responsible for the destruction of an Interplanetary Exploration ship, notably, the Defiance. What say you to that?” 

Carr looked tired. “My people where killed by that thing we found on Mars. Under your orders! As for the ship… ah, hell, Van Leuen, you can bill me for it!” 

Smothered laughter rippled through the conference room. 

“*Silence*!” he roared. Control was slipping away, and a niggling sense of panic started to crawl up his spine. “You also interfered with the agenda entrusted to the science officer of the Defender, who has still not reported to me! I strongly suspect that you had a hand in his disappearance.” 

Van Leuen bared his teeth in a feral grin, feeling secure once again. “Your ass is mine, Colonel!” 

“No, actually, it’s mine, sir.” I spoke up for the first time, with the General’s permission. 

Carr’s head whipped around, and the look on his face warmed me, confused me. Relief and joy, and… despair? What was wrong? 

“Ah! The inexplicably unavailable Lieutenant Anderson! I’ve been looking forward to meeting you, young man!” 

I kept my face blank. “Indeed, sir? Why would such a powerful man as yourself want to meet with an unimportant Air Force lieutenant?” 

He leaned forward, his eyes hot as they ran over my body. I could feel my skin crawl. And then Carr was stepping between us, shielding me from that lecherous gaze. 

“Lieutenant Anderson has nothing to do with this inquest against me,” he said tightly. 

“Actually, I do.” I glanced at my lover apologetically. “I’d like to present the log of the Defender into evidence.” 

Van Leuen’s face turned an unhealthy shade of puce. “I was informed that the log had been destroyed!” he snapped. 

“You were misinformed.” I handed him a neatly bound notebook, and his eyes burned with triumph. 

“This is not an official ship’s log! Anyone could have concocted something like this!” 

“Of course it’s not the official log. I’ve given that into the custody of General Cameron.” My general grinned wolfishly at the head of the Science Advisory Committee and held up the black, leather-bound book for the entire room to see. A wave of whispers ebbed from the observers and flowed back to silent, avid interest. 

For too long the military had been at the mercy of the man at the front of the room. Now it appeared the tide was about to turn. 

For an instant, Van Leuen’s eyes were panicked. And then all emotion was wiped from them. “Colonel Carruthers, I thought you told me that the log was lost.” 

“I was under that impression, sir.” 

“Perhaps Lieutenant Anderson wouldn’t mind explaining how this missing log turned up in his possession?” 

I shrugged. “I found it when we were searching the Defiance for the remains of her crew. Colonel Carruthers asked if Colonel Van Heusen had it. I replied in the negative. I would have assured him that the log was in my quarters, but that thing you wanted for the biological warfare division distracted me.” 

“That accusation is preposterous!” Van Leuen sputtered. “I had no idea…” 

“Didn’t you?” General Cameron rose to his feet, his face tight with anger. “This log states otherwise. Lieutenant Anderson has also provided me with this microchip, with your voiceprint, giving precise instructions to Eric Royce, science officer of the Defender, to use any and all means necessary to secure that creature. You sacrificed the lives of thirteen good men and women for your own goals!” 

Van Leuen’s face was now paper white. He got jerkily to his feet and faced the ocean of spectators who grimly watched the beginning of his downfall. “I will not stand here and allow these base accusations! You will all be hearing from my attorneys!” 

His grand exit was spoiled by the M.P.s, who, grinning, refused him egress. “Sergeant!” General Cameron barked. “You will escort Mr. Van Leuen to his rooms here on the base. He is not to leave them, under any circumstances!” 

The big guy gently opened the door and nodded for Van Leuen to go precede him. The head of the Science Advisory Committee impotently clenched and unclenched his fists, then abruptly left, the M.P. a respectful distance behind him. 

General Cameron glared at the remainder of the occupants in the conference room. “What are you all lollygagging about for? Dismissed!” 

Only what was left of the crew of the Defender lingered. The General sank back into his seat and began thumbing through the ship’s log. His face grew darker as he read of the sealed orders Colonel Carruthers had been obliged to open after the unexpected crash landing of the Defiance. 

Van Leuen had thought that being the first man in space would not be enough for the Colonel. He thought being offered second in command to the man who controlled the fate of the planet would be enough to lure Carr into betraying the men and women under him. 

And when Edward Carruthers radioed him back that he’d see the other man in hell before he allowed him to jeopardize the entire population of Earth, Van Leuen changed his plans. 

He convinced Eric Royce that together they would lead the human race in the dawn of a bright new era. 

With a snap, the General shut the log and slammed it down on the table. “Anderson!” 

Carr and I had been doing an unusual dance. I’d approach, he’d back off. I sidled right, he sidled right. I went forward, he went back. Away, always away from me. But I had finally cornered him. My forearms were braced by his head and I angled my body to make sure he felt every inch…every aroused inch! 

At the General’s growl, I glanced lazily over my shoulder. “Sir?” 

“Oh shit, Andy!” Carr whispered in my ear, and I shivered from the warmth of his breath. “You’re in deep shit now. And me along with you!” 

“For chrissake, Andy! Save it for later, will you? We’ve got problems!”


Part 17


“Permission to be dismissed, sir?” 

General Cameron looked at the surviving crew of the Defender. This inquest, on top of their hellish journey back from Mars, had left them all tightly wired. “I want the three of you to report to my office tomorrow. I’m granting you indefinite leave to recuperate from these events. Dismissed.” 

He tossed them a negligent salute. “Andy, I need you and Colonel Carruthers to stay a little longer, if you have no objection.” 

“Begging the General’s pardon, but the last time I looked, you still out-rank us.” 

He laughed and ruffled my hair, and then remembered that we were not alone. “Sorry, Andy. I hope I didn’t embarrass you. I sometimes forget that he’s not the young cadet my son brought home for Thanksgiving that first year, Colonel.” 

“As you say, sir.” Obviously, Carr had no idea how far back my history went with General Cameron and his son, who was in my class at the academy. And I fell more deeply in love with him than ever. My cock stirred and I shifted unobtrusively, hoping the General would not notice my condition. 

Of course he did, but he pretended not to. He was like a second father to me, allowing me to stay with his family those times when I couldn’t afford to go home to Pop. 

“Business, gentlemen. What do you think has become of Eric Royce?” 

Carr and I exchanged glances. “Sir, I think by now he’s dead.” 

The General started. “Explain yourself, Lieutenant.” 

I ran a hand through my hair. “Lieutenant Calder informed us that at the time of Colonel Van Heusen’s death, he had seen Dr. Royce in the corridor outside the reactor room. His mouth was bloody.” 

“Yes, I read the Lieutenant’s report. I assumed he meant that Colonel Van Heusen struck the science officer to get him out of his way.” 

I shook my head and the General’s eyes widened as he realized where I was taking this story. “Van can be a bastard in bed,” I bit my lip, hating to reveal what a fool I had been, but needing to make the General understand. “But he’d never raise a hand to a fellow crew member, no matter what the provocation.” 


I nodded. “We never saw the other men immediately after they were impregnated. There’s no way we can know, but it’s my belief that the creature Dr. Royce meant for me, took him instead.” 

“And no one had seen him since…when?” 

“I know definitely before we landed. Before that, we saw him so seldom, and he always ran…I’m sorry General. I don’t know how long he’s been dead, but I’m certain he is.” 

“And if he is,” Carr added, “then as sure as God made little green apples, we have one of those creatures loose in that ship!” 

“Oh, hell! And maintenance is scheduled to go over it at any time now!” The General picked up a phone and punched in a series of numbers. “Vince? It’s Flynn. Oh, Trudy’s fine, thanks. How’s Edie? Good, good. Listen, Vince. Major problems on this end. I need you to call back your maintenance crew. The one that was scheduled to clean up the Defender. What? What? Oh sweet Jesus! Get your men the fuck out of there, immediately!” 

My mouth went dry and I began to shake. If one of those men had been infected… 

General Cameron slammed down the phone and then made another call. “I want everyone to clear off launch pad 7. Seal up the Defender! Yes I know she’s just come back from space. We’re sending her back up again. Do you have a problem with that, Airman? All right, I didn’t think so! I’ll be right down there! No one is to enter that ship, or leave it, do I make myself plain?” 

He looked at us. “Van Leuen shook his escort and got into the Defender. The maintenance crew entered shortly thereafter and found Dr. Royce. Or what was left of him. They left to get help, but when they returned, they found the ship buttoned tight. Apparently Van Leuen has some half-assed idea of raising her and threatening the White House.” 

“Oh, my God!” Carr was stunned. 

“I need to be at Ground Control!” The General was on his way out the door. 

“We’re with you, sir!” We jogged after him. “If Van Leuen ever makes it out of this alive, he’s a dead man!” 

“He already is, Carr. Don’t you realize what’s in the ship with him? Van Leuen is about to have a close encounter of the most personal kind!” 


Ground Control was chaos. The Defender’s mic was live, and we could hear Van Leuen cursing and swearing as he tried to decipher the complex controls of the ship. 

We heard everything. 

“What…what’s that? Who’s there? Don’t come any closer! I have a gun! Oh dear God! *What are you*?” 

Horrible screams were even more horribly cut off. Carr and I knew what was happening on that ship. I sagged and he got his arms around me and kept me from collapsing. 

“Fire the engines!” General Cameron ordered. 

With more haste than would normally have been safe, the Defender was prepared for lift off. 

“Sir, she hasn’t been refueled!” 

The General looked grim. “How much fuel does she have?” 

“Enough, perhaps to get her out of the stratosphere. But not enough to keep her going. She’ll fall back into the atmosphere, maybe burn on re-entry.” 

“Will that destroy whatever is on that ship?” General Cameron demanded. 

“Andy sent one out into space; we assume that one’s dead. Van shoved one into the reactor; we assume the radiation got that one. But truthfully, General? We just don’t know!” 

“Fuck it! There’s only one-way to be sure! Nuke it from space! Andy, get one of those little fighters up. Pace the Defender. As soon as she’s out of our atmosphere, blow her up! 

“What about Van Leuen, sir?” 

“If he’s not already dead, I’m betting he wishes he were! Hop to it, Lieutenant!” 

“Aye-firmative, General!” 


While I was gearing up, the Defender was being prepared for her final voyage. She deserved better than what she was getting, but there was no time to mourn her. 

My fighter was hovering in the vicinity of the space ship, almost like an annoying insect. And then the gantries fell away and that beautiful ship left Earth for the last time. I eased back the throttle and followed her up into space. 

The power of her engines was enough to fling her past the grasp of Earth’s gravity. I saw the moment she ran out of fuel. She hung in that backdrop of deepest night, and then began the slow, graceful glide that would return her to her home. 

Which I could not allow. My fingers tightened on the switch and the first of my payloads was launched. While it was speeding toward the Defender, I triggered the second, and waited to see how good my aim was. 

There was a brilliant flash of light, as the atomic torpedo struck the motor level, and the engines exploded. The top of the ship took the second hit and came apart, spilling whatever was in there into the cold embrace of space. 


I climbed out of the little fighter’s cockpit and removed my helmet. Air never smelled so good. I jumped to the ground and was seized by a pair of strong arms that held me tight. 

“You’re okay. You’re all right!” Carr whispered over and over, uncaring of who might be observing us, rubbing his face over my hair, breathing deeply, scenting me. 

“Carr,” I whispered urgently. “I really need you to fuck me. Take me away from this!” 

There was a loud clearing of a high-ranking throat. “I’d suggest you stand down, Colonel. We’re about to be bombarded by the gentlemen of the fourth estate!” 

Carr let me go, but so reluctantly. I wanted to burrow into his arms again. However, I was an officer too. I drew back my shoulders and stood at attention. 

“No, Andy, I don’t want you facing them tonight. The military has gotten together and will put our own spin on this. Colonel Carruthers, I suggest you get him a hot meal and then make sure he goes to bed.” 

“Yes, sir. Thank you sir.” The man looked absurdly grateful. I wanted to drop to my knees in front of him and swallow him whole. Carr glanced my way and must have seen that in my eyes. He flushed and licked his lips, and grabbed my sleeve. “If you’ll excuse us, sir?” 

“Colonel Carruthers, it’s been an honor to meet you. I’m just sorry it had to be under such miserable circumstances. You take good care of Andy now, you hear?” 

Carr tossed him a snappy salute and barely gave me time to salute as well. 

“Yes, Colonel,” I heard the General murmur. “You see to that!” The General smiled.  “Take good care of our boy!


Note: The French phrases are actually from Rogers and Hammerstein:
Ditez-moi, pourquoi, la vie est belle
Ditez-moi, pourquoi, la vie est gai
Ditez-moi, pourquoi, chere mademoiselle
Est-ce que, parce que vous m’aimez.

Or something like that. I translated the best I could to make sense in the context of the story.

Part 18


Our actions that day put the military in a very good light. They had saved the world from a madman who would have brought about the destruction of the entire population of the Earth. 

The people of a grateful nation, and a grateful planet, showered the armed forces with accolades. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force: their funding was increased, their every wish would be granted. And General Cameron was overjoyed! 

He arranged for us to have air transport to anywhere in the United States. 

I just wanted to go home. 

Carr got us on the plane, and before it had even taken off, I was asleep with my head on his shoulder. 


The house was on a quiet, tree-lined street. A white picket fence bordered the lush green lawn. Azaleas bloomed riotously along the walk, and rhododendrons framed the wide porch. Two oaks, sturdy enough to support a swing and a tree house, graced the front yard. 

It was the epitome of small-town America. 

And being Sunday, it was empty. Pop most likely was at church. 

I pulled out my dog tags and whipped them over my head. Hanging next to the two pieces of metal that held name, rank, and serial number, along with my blood type, was my house key. Pop had had it made up in sterling silver when I graduated from the Academy. And I never left home without it. 

I inserted it into our front door and pushed it open. “Enter freely, and of your own will!” I intoned, and Carr cocked an eyebrow at me and chuckled. 

He took the chain from me, examining the inscription engraved into the key. ‘Always remember I love you. And the road leading home.’ 

“I’ll have to get you something just as appropriate. Nice,” he observed as he followed me into the entrance hall, which led to the parlor on the left and the dining room on the right. 

For a second I couldn’t catch my breath. When I finally could, all I could utter were inanities. “Thanks. We like it. Um, come on up, I’ll show you where you can put your things.” I bounded up the stairs, and flung open the door. “This is the front bedroom.” 

Carr entered and glanced casually around the large room. It contained a double bed and a bureau and nightstand. One door opened into a walk-in closet, another into a shared bath. 

“Is this all right, Carr?” 

“This’ll be fine, Andy, thanks. I’ll just unpack and join you in a little bit, okay?” 

“Well…Just let me show you one thing, and then I’ll leave you to get settled in, if that’s what you want to do.” I walked into the bathroom and opened the adjoining door. Carr looked over my shoulder, his curiosity suddenly aroused. Among other things. 

He walked into the other bedroom, looking around with interest. It was obviously my room. 

The late morning sun glinted off a diploma that was framed on the wall. Citations and commendations were scattered around it, and there were trophies in a specially built cabinet. “Pop keeps the major ones in the parlor.” 

Next to it was the case that contained my collection of mementos of Colonel Edward Carruthers’ illustrious career, from the time he earned a field commission flying e-vac helicopters in Nam, to the newspaper headline that proclaimed the loss of his ship on Mars. I blushed as he went over to examine them more closely. 

 “Your room.” 

I nodded, my throat suddenly dry. 

He gestured toward the front of the house. “My room.” 

I nodded again. 

“And we’ll be sharing this bathroom?” He began strolling toward me. “Am I wrong in assuming you will not be locking your side of the door?” He laced his fingers with mine and tucked my hands behind my back, forcing my lower body into contact with his. 

He was hard. His eyes were sultry and I moaned and leaned into him to take his lips. He turned his head aside, teasing me. I strained to bring my mouth onto his. 

All that did was rub our cocks together, and I shuddered and grew harder. “Carr! Please!” 

He put my hands on his collar. “Undress me!” he ordered. 

My fingers became all thumbs as I struggled to undo his shirt, but finally I was able to spread it aside. He wore an A-type undershirt, without sleeves. I plucked at his nipples through the material, and he hummed with pleasure. Then I dipped my head to take one in my mouth, sucking it through the ribbed cotton. 

My palms itched with the need to stroke over his chest. I ran them up to his shoulders, and pushed the shirt off him. His eyelids drooped, and his navy eyes watched me through his lashes. “On your knees, baby!” 

A soft sound whimpered past my lips, and I sank down before him, unfastening his belt and drawing down his zipper. His cock was straining against his shorts, and I mouthed him through the material, which was already damp with pre come. I slid my fingers up his thighs to his hips, dragging my fingertips through the wiry hair at his groin, lightly touching the flesh that was hard, yet velvet soft. 

“Take me in your mouth, Andy!” 

I groaned and stripped his shorts out of the way. His cock sprang free proudly, the tip dusky with passion. I lapped at the slit, gathering the drops that beaded there, tasting him for the first time. 

“Suck on me, Andy. I need to know it’s me you want!” 

Helplessly, I obeyed his order, taking as much of his length as I could into my mouth, sliding my tongue over it, scraping the large vein with my teeth. I rolled his balls in one hand, while with the other I stroked the curves of his ass, pulling him closer to me. His scent was musky, masculine, Carr. 

His hands were combing through my hair, massaging my scalp. His hips rocked forward and I moaned around the cock in my mouth. He shuddered at the vibration. 

Gently he withdrew from the wet heat of my mouth and urged me back to my feet. “Get your trousers off, Andy.” 

I was shaking so hard I could barely work the button at the top of my pants out of the buttonhole. I skinned them down my legs and kicked them off with my shoes. Carr took my weeping cock in his hand and squeezed. “Get on the bed, baby; I can’t wait any longer to have you!” 

This was the bed I slept in whenever I was home. This was the bed I had jerked off in. Only now did I accept that my most intense orgasms had been the ones I had experienced when I fantasized about the man before me. 

I scrambled onto the bed and laid my head on my folded arms. My ass was high and my legs were spread, and I was pleading mindlessly under my breath. “Please, Carr. Fuck me. Fuck me now! Please!” 

His slicked fingers pressed into my opening, easing past the tight muscle, preparing me. His other hand stroked my back, trying to keep me relaxed. But I didn’t want his fingers, and I didn’t want relaxed. I wanted his cock in me, deep and fast and hard. 

And then he was giving me what I wanted, and more. The broad head of his arousal breached me, nudging past my prostate and I took his entire length. He picked up the rhythm and his balls slapped against me. One hand toyed with my nipples while the other teased my cock. 

Harder and harder he pounded into me, making me burn, setting me on fire. Sweat dripped from my temple to my cheek to my chin, and I whined with the effort to breathe, and at the same time get more, and more and more!” 

He tugged on my cock one last time and I began to spill into his waiting hand. My inner muscles clamped down, and triggered his orgasm. He groaned and filled my channel with his hot semen. 

I could feel him pulsing within me. “I love you, Carr! Through heaven and hell and beyond!” 

He growled and bit the side of my throat. “You do have a way with words, baby.” He eased me over onto my side, losing the battle to stay inside me. His flaccid cock slipped out. He tipped my head back and kissed me, rubbing his lips over mine. “I love you too, Andy. But…how will your Pop feel about us?” 

I smiled at him. “Pop already knows. That three-day pass? I came home to tell Pop all about us. Pop thinks I’ve made the right choice this time.” 

He rolled me onto my back and nudged my legs apart, settling himself comfortably on top of me. His cock was aligned with mine. “I think so too.” 

I nuzzled the space beneath his ear and murmured some phrases in French. 

“In English, baby! I haven’t had French since high school!” 

“’Tell me why life is beautiful, tell me why the world is all aglow, 

“’Tell me, my very dear one, that it is because you have made it so!’” 

He drew in a sharp breath and then began to ravage my mouth.


Disclaimer: The Creature from the Black Lagoon belongs to Universal Studios. I just wanted to borrow him for a bit. War of the Worlds belongs to H.G. Wells, but I’m using Orson Welles’ version.

Part 19/End


We had time to shower and shave before Pop got home from church. I sat on the counter top in the bathroom and carefully stroked the razor up over Carr’s neck and jaw. 

And I couldn’t resist following the path I made with my lips. 

And then a warm contralto voice called up the stairs, “Andy, is that you?” 

Carr gave me an amused look. “Your Pop’s lady friend?” he inquired. 

I snatched a soapy kiss and hopped off the vanity. “Nope. That’s my Pop!” 


I had to laugh at Carr’s stunned expression. “My biological father left before I was born, and Pop stepped in to help out, just for a short time. But it wound up for much longer. And then my Mom got sick and died. And Pop was there for me.” 

And had been ever since. 

Carr followed me down the stairs and into the kitchen, where Pop was putting the finishing touches on a meal fit for the prodigal’s return. 

I played least in sight while she and Carr got better acquainted. Things needed to be arranged just so on the dining room table. I carried platters into the room and stopped short. 

The table was set with the good china and silverware. A lacy antique white tablecloth, used only on special occasions like Christmas or birthdays, graced the small round table. The centerpiece was a bouquet of lush white carnations, their delicate fragrance scenting the room. 


She came to stand beside me, and reached up to kiss my cheek. “Only the best for your ‘fella’, sweetie. Shall we be seated, gentlemen?” 


Carr was enchanted. 

Pop loved him. 

And I was relieved. 

I remembered the fiasco when I had brought my bride home. The wedding night had been less than spectacular. And her palpable shock and disapproval of Pop had left me hurt and questioning my judgment in choosing her for a life partner. 

Which is why I hadn’t informed Carr that my Pop was a woman. 

So I just sat there, and watched them charm the pants off each other, and basked in the knowledge that the two people I loved best were united in their love for me. 


I insisted on clearing off the table while they got comfortable in the parlor, sipping the coffee I brought them. Out of habit, Pop turned on the TV. Whenever I was home, we would always watch Movies for a Sunday Afternoon, which invariably showed black and white films from the 50s. The last time it had been Target Earth. 

Today it was The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I glanced at my lover. “Do you mind, Carr?” 

“Whatever you want to watch is fine with me, baby.” He ran his hand over my hair. 

Pop sighed happily and settled herself at her end of the couch, leaving room for me to stretch out. I really wanted to show a little class, with the Colonel sitting there beside me, but old routines are hard to break, and eventually I wound up sprawled on my side with my head on Carr’s thighs. 

As I watched the gillman lusting after the girl, I felt my eyes grow heavier and heavier… 


Eyes shielded by bony ridges, the Gillman watched as the object of his desire swam through the murky water of the Amazon. A creature of the depths, he was able to see as clearly in the shadows as man could see in daylight. 

His lips parted and warm water flowed in to wash past his gills. It was time for mating, but he was the last of his species. For too long he had satisfied the imperative of his sex drive within the scaly grip of his palms. Even the reptiles that inhabited the river were too wary of him to be caught in his lustful grasp. 

Now, finally, here was a creature that would take every inch of his quivering penis into its body, and bring him long delayed satisfaction. 

The unsuspecting creature far above the lurking Gillman floated gracefully on its back, arms reaching out to slice gently through the water, letting the warmth of the sun caress its face. And when it finally rolled over to begin the lazy glide that would take it back to the safety of its companions, the Gillman got a shock. 

From between this creature’s thighs, a thick, erect cock jutted up toward its belly. The being above him was aroused, and he could scent the fluid that was weeping from its penis. 

A soft growl emerged from the Gillman’s lips, and he felt his cock become harder, the need to penetrate almost overwhelming him. With an easy thrust of his strong, webbed feet, the Gillman started his rise to the surface, and the tempting creature that swam there unawares. 

David Reed, scientist, was taking out his frustrations in the warm waters of the Amazon. He had swum for quite some distance, until weary, he turned onto his back and floated on the gently wafting current. Being naked, feeling the eddies flowing over his heated skin, he was amazingly stimulated, and he found his cock growing hard. 

He flipped back over onto his belly and the contrast of the water on his flushed skin caused pre ejaculate to ooze from the slit at the tip of his erection. David was about to take himself in hand, when he sensed something approaching from behind. 

Before he could strike out for the shore or make any move to evade the being stalking him, strong, scale-covered arms encircled him. A large body seemed to cover him, and legs also covered in scales, but warm as human flesh, nudged his thighs apart. 

Something was pressing at his exposed anus, and he froze in terror, certain he was about to be ripped apart. Instead, he was invaded by a warm, slender, well-lubricated penis that shocked him with the sense of fullness, and the pleasure it gave. 

Whatever it was that had possession of him made sure his head stayed above water. But David was so lost in the rapture of being fucked by this creature that he would have happily drowned, and thought the world well lost. He spread his legs further apart and tried to thrust back onto the male appendage that was teasing him to heights of excitement that he had never reached with a human woman. 

Moans spilled from his throat, as the Gillman ravaged his ass, and then David came, his semen a cloudy trail in the haze of the water. 

The creature riding him stilled, and David expected to feel its sperm filling his entrails. Instead, the Gillman’s penis began to swell until David was writhing, the sensation reaching to border on pain, and the creature produced a knot, much as a male dog does during copulation. The Gillman’s knot effectively plugged David’s ass, and only then did the creature come. 

Impaled on the Gillman’s penis, David would have breathed water and never realized. He grew hard once more, and the copious amount of semen the Gillman pumped into David left him feeling even more exposed and at his mercy. It was voluptuous, this feeling of helplessness. The creature reached around and took David’s erection in the scaly palm of his hand, and began to stroke his mate to completion. 

After what seemed like a pleasurable eternity, David felt the knot within him begin to shrink. The creature pulled out of him, trails of ropey come spilling into the water. 

He demonstrated to David that he wanted him to take a deep breath, filling his lungs with life-sustaining oxygen, and when David followed his example, the Gillman sank down to the bottom of the Amazon with David in his arms and brought his mate to his lair. 

David was placed on the rocky ledge, come oozing from his cock and from his ass, dazed at the events that had swept him along powerless to do anything but enjoy them. The creature gestured for him to roll onto him stomach. David watched in stunned surprise, as the Gillman’s penis emerged once more, hard and glistening with its own natural lubricant. 

But he was too slow to turn over, and the creature was too desperate, needing to have him again. He positioned David’s legs over his shoulders and parted the man’s buttocks. With one quick thrust, David once again found his ass filled with Gillman cock. 

The creature set up a driving rhythm and… 


“Baby? Andy? Come on, Tinker! Wake up!” 

“Huh?” I wiped my mouth, embarrassed that I had drooled all over my lover’s thigh. 

“The movie’s finished. Your Pop got a phone call a while ago and had to go out, which was a damned good thing! What were you dreaming about? I thought you were going to come right here on the couch!” 

My cock was still hard from the visions that had colored my dream. “Wow! That’s what I get for falling asleep on a full stomach!” I ran my heated gaze over his body, lingering at his groin, and his cock swelled and tented his trousers. “Want to play monster and the scientist?” 

He licked his lips. “Shall we take this upstairs, Lieutenant?”

“Oh, you bet!” I was about to get to my feet when the phone rang. “Hold that thought!” I blew a kiss at my lover and went to answer the phone. “Anderson residence.” 

I know the color must have drained from my cheeks.  “Hell, General, when did this happen?” I swore under my breath. “Okay, we’ll be down at the airfield in fifteen minutes!” 

Carr was looking tense. I scrambled around, trying to find a paper and pen to leave a note for my Pop. 

“What’s going on, baby?” 

I finished the note and said grimly, “Something, they think it might be a meteor, has landed near Princeton, New Jersey. So far, fifteen hundred people are dead. And it doesn’t look good! General Cameron says some kind of atmospheric activity was observed on Mars!” 


I nodded. 

“Oh, hell! Here we go again!”



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