Disclaimer: This is fanfiction based on the characters and universe of Gundam Wing.

Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
Chapter 85

He'd collected the dogs, had lunch at Romeo's with Relena and Adin, went to his old apartment to prepare his computer there for the particular networking he planned, played a pick-up game across the street, had tea with Yanagi at Gekka's, and had a few drinks with Karen and Tobey at the Lonely Hearts. Heero had wanted to see Midii, but he had learned that she was going to V08744 about the time Heero was leaving that Colony.

After going to the park to walk the dogs for a while, Heero took them to the spaceport, where The Zero waited. In the port's food court, he had coffee and some so-called french toast, which Heero had learned, was not invented in France, but was widely served in the southern parts of the States and, in the Colonies, usually made using thin sandwich bread.

After breakfast, Heero went to the counter to apply for a launch. He said that he did not need preferential clearance, as his deal with the port would usually allow, and was given a window later in the morning, and notified that some cargo was in holding.

Heero went first to the port's cargo bay, where commercial cargo awaiting loading onto spacecraft or recently unloaded and awaiting transfer to an address within the Colony was held. He signed for the boxes delivered by employees Tobey had sent from the electronic shop and carried these to his shuttle. Once inside, Heero put out food for the dogs, stowed the cartons full of computer components Tobey had acquired for him and started checking his craft for the later launch and flight. He had time after completing his check and before he needed to begin pre-flight warm up, so Heero sat with his mobile. He had, between visits to friends configured his machines so that he did not have to dial in to his desktop to retrieve files, but was permanently connected over an encrypted wireless network, powered by voodoo, which meant high speed connection and minimal lag between Earth and the Colonies. He had the components to build a new desktop for the house on Earth, and he had left specific instructions with Tobey, Midii, Adin and Karen on bringing other machines into the network. Of course, Heero had the highest level of administrative access.

A new message alert came up. The message was addressed to Lowe Security via the publicly advertised addy. The subject indicated a client query, and though Heero did not recognize the sender, in fact it seemed strangely anonymous for a client, his security programs detected no attachments, known viruses or unusual file size, so he opened it.

The mail's date and timestamp indicated it had been sent a few hours before. Heero recognized the mail server as a widely used Eurasian system, and it was consistent with the domain displayed in the sender's addy.

From: user523@syscomtech.net
To: contact@lowesec.com
Subject: Client Query

It has come to our attention that Heero Yuy, the former Gundam pilot, is associated with Lowe Security. We represent an in-house security department of an interplanetary corporation and we wish to contract Lowe Security to test the security of a particular project, which our corporation is currently undertaking, with the condition that Heero Yuy perform the tests.

We look forward to your reply.

"You mean, Zodiac Tech?" Heero asked aloud, then laughed. "You want me to tell you if the Sagittarius is secure?"

There was no one to answer him, but Heero highly suspected he was correct. There were not that many interplanetary corporations, and Zodiac Tech was thicker with ex-OZ soldiers than Preventers was, so Heero expected them to be the sort to not fail to mention their organization was interplanetary. And besides, who else would even imagine they would be successful in challenging him in such a manner, except other Gundam pilots? He was fairly certain none of them would use the seemingly royal plural in email to him. And none of them represented the security department of a corporation.

Heero decided to hold off a reply or investigation of the mail until he was home. He went back to secure the dogs for flight. This meant administering a light tranquilizer to Nu. The Husky was younger and inexperienced with space flight and Heero felt it safer for the animal to prepare him this way. The dog would be conscious, but unlikely to panic himself into an unhealthy state of stress. Koi already had experience with space flight and even had some training with zero-g maneuvering, so Heero felt confident putting Koi into his carrier for launch would be enough to keep him safe; he planned to let Koi out for the portion of the flight the shuttle would fall toward Earth, without apparent pull of gravity.

Heero returned to the cockpit to start up The Zero for its flight, thinking that he would like to go to go with Duo to one of those Lunar dance clubs again, especially now Duo's leg was healed. Heero went though the well-practiced flipping of switches and striking of keys without thought, and so his thoughts continued to wander somewhat. It had been nearly three months since then. In less than two weeks it would be the third month anniversary of the attack. It had been over four months since Heero had moved to the Colonies from his house on Sakhalin, and met with Duo again. He had first seen him in the hall outside Une's office. And…on Saturday, when Heero had been with Duo, that had been the 12th of August…that meant on that day, they had been boyfriends for three months. A quarter of a year already. If Heero counted the trial, then on this coming Tuesday they would have been together for four months.

Four months. A third of a year. It was not an exceptionally long period of time, but then, when you really believed you might find some violent end to your life at a young age, or just become a target because of who you were and what you had done, then it was a considerably long length of time to be committed to anything. He seemed OK with it.

Yes, Heero thought to himself, when he thought about it, he felt good about knowing that a significant and measurable length of time had passed and that even though there had been some difficult parts, he still wanted to go to lunar dance clubs and he wanted to live in the same house with Duo.

Heero pushed the thoughts from mind during the launch, but then later, watching the Earth scroll into view, with Koi temporarily strapped in the seat beside him, Heero wondered: Had Duo believed that Heero had come to see him because it was the 12th, or had he thought it unplanned, or had he not even noticed the date as significant, as Heero. Heero wondered if there was a word alike to `anniversary' that indicated months, rather than years, had gone by.

Did these dates, the 7th and 15th of April, and the 12th of May, have any significance for Duo? Heero was certain that some people did place great importance of celebrating the reoccurrence of a date on which something meaningful happened. Should the day they met, or began dating or promised to be monogamous be celebrated any more or less than the day they counted having survived one more year, or the date they observed that another year had passed without something being dropped on the Earth?

Might he just ask Duo? Should he simply be certain that on the next twelfth he also wore a costume, and try to determine if Duo noticed a pattern? And Tuesday, should he do something special? Did it matter that it had been four months? When it came to be November 12th and they would have been official together half a year, should Heero do something particularly special for Duo? Would they be together?

They would have to be together. Heero had long since promised the commitment until the end of this year, and then, he had extended his commitment indefinitely. They would be together, unless one of them felt some need to break their promises.

If they never broke their promises, then Heero would be with Duo forever…or until one of them died. He might really find out what it would feel like to grow old with Duo, to grow old beside this man.

It might really happen.

The idea made Heero feel a little strange. He shivered. He might really live with Duo and pay bills with Duo and help Duo in raising his son and…that all seemed like things married people did.

He was still eighteen. Since Adin and Vasili were both dead, he had become responsible for many businesses and so many employees. He had a mortgage. His lover was expecting a child. They had two dogs!

"But I am not like a normal 18-year-old," Heero said to himself. There was a reason 17 was the legal age of consent throughout the Sphere. Seventeen-year-olds were mature people in this day and age. It was not only the wars that were the cause; society had evolved to this point. Considering his unconventional and Colonial upbringing and all he had experienced in the war, Heero was likely, in some ways at least, mature beyond being 18.

He shook his head, thinking that even so, he did not feel right about proposing marriage. He still felt that he needed to have some stronger…something in order to make those kind of vows. Marriage was not only a physical bond, like sex, or an emotional bond, like love. It was considered by many cultures a spiritual bond, but it was something more than that. It was a legal bond.

Heero felt OK being Duo's sex partner, lover and soul mate. He believed Duo was these things to him and that they would remain so for some time. He was even OK with announcing their relationship to the public. The idea of needing legal witnesses to their bond or a third party's approval and various legal forms to ever dissolve their union made him uncomfortable.

It was true Heero was a serious person and could not contemplate making such vows unless he was certain he never would have need to dissolve such a union, but maybe he was uncomfortable with the very concept of marriage.

He had avoided the subject as much as possible and never really given it thought, beyond deciding he was not prepared for it. It had just seemed that there were others steps he must take first. Perhaps, he could become more OK with the subject if he made a study of the institution. He was not truly aware of all the current legal ramifications of becoming married.

Still, there were the other steps to continue to work on. Even two years was a short time to go from not making decisions for himself to choosing a lover and a home. He had not even been anyone's lover for a year yet. He had not really tested whether he and Duo could be happy living in the same house. There were still other things to learn and do before he decided to marry anyone.

For one, if he was married, he likely would be obligated to remember the anniversary, and he had not done very well in keeping track of important days in his relationship with Duo. That was something Heero would have to work on, starting now. Duo had not mentioned these dates in such a way that Heero felt he would be upset if he forgot them, but he was reasonably certain that if he showed Duo he remembered, Duo would be happy.

With subtle trials and hints, he might determine by November what would seem acceptable for a man to do for a man who had been his lover for six months, even if the answer was nothing out of the ordinary.

Heero, two dogs and miscellaneous luggage and cargo arrived at Free Rocks, in a taxi, Monday night local time. A weeks worth of construction had been accomplished and this meant, upon arriving, Heero was greeted by a chain and wood fence and its gate across the drive. There were no locks or sensors at the gate, but it was Heero's job to place those, and he had been busy enough earlier in the week.

Inside the gate, the view of Heero's shared estate was not very pretty. Trailers, dumpsters, stacks of building materials and construction machinery blocked most of the garage and house from view. Approximately two-thirds of the house's roof was gone and replaced now by plastic sheeting.

The first thing Heero did was loose the dogs into the yard. The second thing he did was carry the luggage inside. The third thing was moving all the computers, parts, peripherals and uninstalled components of the security system into the room that would be the office. Fourth and fifth were getting the dogs inside and filling their bowls. The Sixth thing Heero did after returning to Earth was build and configure a new desktop; he counted the processes involved as one task with many individual subtasks, as moving gear to the office had included many individual steps, in both the physical and the virtual sense. The Seventh thing Heero did was research Zodiac Tech.

He was still doing this when the teams of construction workers arrived in the morning.

Heero stopped.

He left the office, took some time to check on the dogs, and then went through taking care of his own person. He cleaned the bathroom that some workers had apparently made use of in his absence; he used the toilet, sink and shower to refresh himself. He went to the rear room of the house to collect fresh clothing, and dressed. Heero then went into the kitchen looked into the refrigerator, drawers, cupboards and in-floor food cellar, mentally calculated all the things he could make with given ingredients and then made himself a large serving of rice and stir fried vegetables, with the thinking that he could reserve some until later in the day and not have to take time to cook again.

After Heero had eaten, he checked the time, and deciding it was appropriate, called his Neighbor Marcus to let him know that he was at the house again. As Marcus asked, Heero told him that the dogs were both well, that Nu had been sedated during travel to and from the Colonies and that the shots had been, as Heero had assured Marcus they would be, no problem to administer.

Heero then went outside and found the foreman and told him that he recalled their agreement that those who worked on the house could use the bathroom outside if it was absolutely necessary but that appropriate use did not include flushing of cigarette butts or the leaving of unflushable items within the bowl of the toilet and that the rooms had to be left very clean. If Heero found signs of misuse again, he was going to forbid use of the room, or maybe even sue. He did not want to be litigious, as all the contracted and subcontracted work teams had come recommended and with good reputations and so far Heero was very pleased with the way his house had been demolished, but he would if they disturbed the peace of his house any more than was necessary. Heero reminded the foreman that he was not just staying in the house because he had any lack of trust in him, or had no where else to go. He also had tasks to accomplish in preparing the house for permanent residency and required a certain amount of clean, relatively dust-free workspace and that the bathroom he was sharing was hygienically maintained.

The foreman, identified as Rob, took a drag from his dwindling cigarette, gulped some coffee from his Duct Tape Pro mug and said he would handle it.

Heero was not very convinced and was even a little bit wary and fearful that Rob would make certain more space was misused because he disliked Heero's threats.

Heero grimaced and then said, "Did I make it clear how I think the demolition and salvage efforts were accomplished in an efficient and timely manner? Can I do anything to make your work easier, apart from changing your contracted task list and payment?"

"I need that list from you, about where you're gonna be working and if we have to hold up any construction so you can add in security features."

Heero supposed Rob had received his memos and instructions about installation of security features and thought the matter in some way strange or inconvenient. Heero wanted to say it was not really `holding up' if the next step was done at the time the previous step was complete and before the following step was allowed to be started, as it was a scheduled step, but he thought saying so would not convince Rob to be extra cooperative, or any more cooperative. "No problem! I will go print it right now!" Heero said sharply, as if giving a reply to a commanding officer.

Heero thought he might call Duo later and ask him how he would have spoken to this man, but then he remembered that today they had started their trial four months ago, during an extended date involving a lot of oral sex. If he was to call Duo today, the subject should not be disagreeable construction foremen.

Heero went inside, looked at the notes he had already made regarding the security system and separate stages of installation, then quickly typed up a list of those tasks with clear notes on which phases of construction may be completed before and after each. He printed one copy, then got up from the floor, where he and the computers were, and returned to Rob.

Heero then went to the office again. He used his mobile to look up online office furniture retailers, while he transferred work related files saved to hard drives on his mobile computer to the new desktop sans desk. When Heero found some furnishings that both appealed to him and seemed they would look well in the house, he ordered a chair, desk, worktable and wall-mounting shelves, selecting the fastest available delivery option.

The matter of the home office settled, Heero called up his mental To Do list. He needed to give thought to storage solutions for printed photos, love notes and mementos, reply to the recent query he suspected to be from Zodiac Tech, return to his tasks involving installation of the security system for Free Rocks, and perhaps do something special for Duo.

It was not yet morning where Duo was, and Heero expected he had worked late and would be very tired or sleeping now. He could wait to call Duo.

Heero had some interesting data on Zodiac now and a few leads to getting more, but he thought he would address that matter when he had gotten other work out of the way, as there would be less chance of distraction once he set himself to work.

Heero decided to address the storage matter. He went to the other room for his copies of Homo. He had also one plastic folder containing hardcopies of contracts, mail and memos he had received in dealing with the magazine and a disc containing photos Cerise had taken. Heero brought these back to the office. He could hear the sounds of boots and tools striking the framing overhead.

Heero sat again on the floor, thinking that he really wanted to at least partially furnish some of these rooms, as he was doing more than eating and sleeping in the house now and it would be two-and-a- half to three weeks before Duo moved in. He flipped through the July issue, lingering briefly on the pictures of young men in swimwear, including sarongs, before focusing his attention on the various advice and editorial columns.

Heero found these columns informative. Homo happened to have separate columns for many different types of advice. `Dr. Dave' was for questions about the mechanics of sex, matters of drug usage and other health issues. There was `Out of the Closet' for advice on fashion trends. There were several others, including `Ask Andy' for relationship advice and `Pride Colors Don't Look Fab on Every Single Wall!' for décor questions. Colors wrote in a rather flamboyant and pretentious tone, but write-iners were always saying how they loved the column and the advice.

Heero could not decide if his query was more relationship or décor oriented, so he addressed the mail to

From: heero@lstreet.com
To: andy@homo-mag.com, colors@homo-mag.com
Subject: storing mementos

[I am not certain whether this question is more relationship or décor oriented, please direct to whichever column you feel appropriate.]

I have been in a serious, monogamous relationship, for three months, with a really hot, intelligent and witty guy, who I have known for several years; we recently closed on a Craftsman-Japanese hybrid house together and will soon be living together, once renovations are complete. I am at somewhat of a loss trying to decide what to do with the explicit printed photos, erotic, hand-written love notes and mementos I have received from him. How can I appropriately honor his gifts while keeping them out of sight from visitors and also maintain design aesthetics in our likely to be Asian-Gothic- Industrial Salvage style decor?


Heero read the letter over in a final spelling and grammar check. Everything seemed in order, so he put the mail to his outbox. Heero composed one other message, to Duo.

From: ycher@maxtech.com
To: dmaxwell@maxtech.com
CC: dm-2234-61@v08744.col, shinigami@gotham-freak.net Subject: want to talk

If you are not tied up at work, would you like to call me? If you call during a late lunch break there (or, just after you wake up, depending on your present schedule), the work teams should be gone for the day here.

You know which number, just call.

Heero put the message to the outbox.

That left further installation of security devices and investigating the Zodiac Tech leads on the To Do list.

Heero decided he had enough information gathered that he could reply to the email; it seemed best to send a reply before doing further research. If they made him a decent offer, then he could clock additional hours spent investigating Zodiac and get paid for them.

Heero composed the message:

From: heero@lowesec.com
To: security@zodiactech.com
Subject: RE: client inquiry

I have received your message. Terms are negotiable.

Heero Yuy

The message was put to the outbox and then all the contents were sent.

Heero then gathered his gear and went outside to work on the fenceline. He thought he would not finish in one day, as there was a lot of fence to cover with sensors and cameras.

Heero had made a scaled graphic of the property, calculated the perception field of the various fixed and movable motion detectors, IR sensors, mics and lenses available to him, and then selected placements of the devices to give maximum coverage of the property. Many devices were to be placed on the fence, or on the ground near it, some others would be placed in trees, there would be a few on the house and garage to complete the necessary coverage of the exterior. All of those devices made up a single zone of Heero's planned security network. If that zone failed or was disabled, there would be further devices on the buildings to cover approaches and then there would be interior zones. There would be an entire zone within the network for tracking activity beneath the house.

Heero worked on the installation for four hours and then went inside to eat and check on the dogs. Heero could detect a lot of moving, calling of orders and measurements and cutting sounds, but from the rooms or ground below he could not see that any progress was being made on the house.

He checked for messages in the office, but nothing interesting had come in.

Heero went outside again, taking the dogs with him this time, and continued his work.

Heero was at the rear of the double lot when he noticed it was time to quit for a while. The other workers would be leaving and today Heero needed to be at the house in case Duo called. Another day he might have continued to work, and even brought out lights when it got dark. Heero estimated the exterior work would take two more days, working at least one shift at night.

Heero entered the house through the back door. He called the dogs in after him and closed the door behind them. After he had stowed his gear and washed his hands, Heero refilled the food and water bowls in the rather bare dining room. Heero thought about making some food, but he was starting to feel the effects of not sleeping in so long, so he took a bottle of water from one of the kitchen cabinets, paused to feel that his phone was still clipped at his waist, and then went into the rear room to rest.

Heero had been lying in bed for twenty minutes when the phone rang. Only a few people had the number that dialed his mobile phone directly, and he was not currently forwarding calls from his other line to it, so he was reasonably certain it would be Duo. Looking at the display confirmed that it was. Heero fit the phone to his ear and answered, even as he was flipping the tiny monitor into place before his right eye.

"Hey, Lover," Heero said.


"I just want you to know that I am in love with you and I am working very hard to make the house safe for us. I really want to try living together, or rather, I just want to live together. Screw `try'."

Duo laughed quietly. "Baby, what's up? You're not about to off yourself?"

"No. Duo-chan. I am more tired than I planned to be. I did not really keep track consciously, but now I think on it, it's been a few days since I slept. I just wanted to talk to you today and say I appreciate all the time we have had together so far. How are you feeling? If you feel willing, I think I would like to hear a story."

"If that's what you want, you could just tell me to do it…"

"If you were here, I would just be able to tell your mood and know if making a demand on you now would be fair or cruel. I suspect you really need someone to be strict with you from time to time, but you do not have any need for cruelty."

"If I were there, I would be lying beside you, and you would feel that I am warm, smell that my hair was recently washed, hear how content to be with you I am in my voice, see the totally sappy way I look back at you, I think you would even taste me. Heero, you would know that I am so yours, and I don't care if you're more in a mood to have rough sex, or hear a bed time story. I am just happy to be with you, not because I am some person who is weak and has no will of my own, but because I just like you that much, and I want to see you happy. I know that you feel pretty much the same. You do so many things just because you know they will make me feel better. My morale is doing all right, so just tell me what you want."

For a moment Heero could not make himself speak. Duo was a truly romantic person! His words and voice just put Heero at ease. "Bedtime story, please, Duo-chan", Heero said finally, "When you are here," he continued, "I will see that you are made happy, whether I have to fix dinner, help you with homework or fuck you in every room of the house to do it."

Duo laughed his sexy laugh. Heero felt more tired than aroused, but the laugh did make him warm. Duo started to speak just as Heero began to speak again and they only heard each other about to cut them off and stopped.

"You may speak."

"No", Duo said casually, "What was it?"

"I was just thinking about what I said and whether it might not be you fucking me in some rooms…"

Duo cut in, "That's what I was going to say!"

"And then I remembered something I wanted to talk to you about."


I thought at first it would be good to keep it a surprise, but now I think, because we share the house and our relationship is made of both of us, regardless of which one of us is giving the other lessons, this is something I should be certain to ask you about."

"Uh huh."

"Well, I know some people actually have dungeons in their home, and I am not suggesting an entire dungeon be constructed, because I honestly do not think I want that, but I thought there should be some special place or fixture that we would know we used in consentual restraint and bondage, but which might not be noticed as such by others. You know, rather like that bed you noticed in Quatre's corporate apartment."

"Heero, I like your idea! You think you can trust me to look for something? I'll be sure to show you before it would be installed. I think I'd like to look, and I should be able to ask around, talk to some people in salvage and find something that you would appreciate. I think we could spice up the bedroom and not be obvious, except in the design sense."

"I do trust you. I am happy you like the idea."

"I am the reason you began those games, so I am pretty pleased myself."

"That is largely true, but, Duo-chan, I want you to be aware that certain aspects of our games please me in a general sense and not solely because they make you feel better."

"That's just what's really good about us! I wouldn't really have thought of it a year ago even…four months ago…" Duo paused. "Heero, I really appreciate all this time we've had together. Sincerely, it's like I got back the best friend I wasn't sure I had and gained a lover as well. A guy can really use a best friend and a lover!"

Heero knew that Duo knew today was like an anniversary that counted months. He smiled.

"Ya know, I was going to tell you about Pinocchio, but I think I'll tell you about Sleeping Beauty."

"I know that one already."

"Ah, but did you really understand Little Red Riding Hood before you saw the Company of Wolves?"

"No." Heero smiled some more. He had enjoyed that movie. It had been interesting as well as informative and beautifully made. Red was one of his favorite faerietale characters. He was saving that costume for a very special time.

"So, there's this young man in suspended animation within a drifting spacecraft, like some early manned outer planet research project or Mars Mission that went wrong, and he's been drifting for years, so that everyone he's known or loved is dead…"

"No faeries and curses?"

"OK, OK, this is more like what happens to Sleeping Beauty after she's claimed with a kiss, and it's roughly modern day, but just listen. You'll like this story, I promise."

"Go on", Heero said, a little sleepily, but eager to listen.

"So, this ship and its passenger have been drifting for so long that when he's found, even the society and culture he knows are changed… and the drifting spacecraft is detected by the Prince of the Space Pirate Clan. His Mother is the Queen of Space Pirates and…"

"You watch too much anime."

"There's no such thing! Anime is an artform, not a genre, and just listen."

"I was listening. I like Science Fiction stories. I will try not to interrupt again."

Duo continued, explaining that this rather attractive and dashing Prince of the Space Pirate Clan came upon this sleeping cosmonaut and saw through the hibernation pod that he was beautiful to look at in a strange intense sort of way and found himself fascinated by the antique device that encase this beauty in a state of complete bondage and sensory deprivation. The Prince was already finding his pressure-sim suit a bit uncomfortable just examining this hiber-pod and ancient spaceman.

The Prince activated the waking cycle of the pod and the acrylic pane opened, revealing the intensely attractive cosmonaut…

"Now, before you interrupt, let me say that I know that in reality there would probably be some hospital like odor or musky aroma surrounding the sleeper and he would have grown in a beard, but you will just have to suspend disbelief and accept that he's so interesting and beautiful that the prince would be inspired to climb into the pod and…"

"Maybe he is just a sicko."

"He's not a sicko."

"Maybe he's engineered."


"The `cosmonaut' as you call him. Why is he not an astronaut?"

"He just is."

Heero smiled.

"Um, why would the cosmonaut be engineered?"

"Maybe there is an explanation for his intense beauty and lack of body hair, which the Prince apparently would have not found attractive in reality. Maybe…the cosmonaut is only barely seventeen. Maybe it was a kind of seed ship and he was a child or infant before going adrift."

"OK, OK, for some reason yet unrevealed to the Prince, the cosmonaut seems fresh and young and smooth when the pod is open, but he is very cold and disoriented and naturally the Prince, entranced by his more-than-human beauty and being already aroused by the hiber-pod technology, feels compelled to lay with the seemingly young cosmonaut and to embrace him and to remove his own suit so as to share body warmth. There is some breathable atmosphere in the derelict."

Heero listened as Duo continued the story by relating the particular manner in which the Prince felt compelled to penetrate this beautiful and to the best of anyone's knowledge, virginal, cosmonaut, who became fully conscious with the climax of sex. The recently deflowered cosmonaut reacted with mutual attraction and gratitude toward the Prince and revealed his name to be Yuri, which Duo and the Prince seemed to find amusing.

"Please continue", Heero said quietly as Duo laughed.

The Prince suited up and found that Yuri had a suit upon the ship and so got him into it for the short trip via airlocks and grappling lines to his own ship, the Whiplash Smile. Upon the Prince's pirate vessel Yuri soon realized his sexy rescuer was not the only very strange thing measured by his antiquated worldview. The interior of the ship seemed suspiciously technologically advanced and Yuri wondered what nation had designed and built it. The crew of the Whiplash smile and their manner shocked Yuri, but most shocking were the Prince's words when he greeted the crew. "The ship's ancient, I want the funny coffin brought onboard, strip anything else you want and we'll tow the rest into port to sell as scrap. I've already claimed what I want from the ship; I think he'll be my new favorite, once he's trained up a bit."

The little blond in skin-tight brown leather did not seem very happy, but he and two others followed their Prince as he led Yuri to his private cabin aboard the Whiplash Smile.

It was soon explained in brief emotionless terms that he had been sleeping for many years and things were not as he knew and that he was now the property of the Prince. The Prince already had three fairly attractive and youthful male slaves. The Prince introduced Yuri to them and said to Yuri that they might be examples of how to serve. Two of them had been powerful among their own clans, and the third was a Pirate, like the Prince. They were considered slaves, yes, but each was a proven warrior with skills of his own, and they enjoyed the Princes attentions and his protection, as Yuri should. The other three also had some power and responsibility among the crew, so long as the Prince was pleased enough to grant it to them.

The Pirate Code was law through most of the system and those captured by pirates served for a time, and might eventually be granted freedom. In fact, it was usual that `slavery' was considered a temporary and fairly honorable consequence of failing to go uncaptured, among the society of this time, which was strange to Yuri.

"Are you listening, Heero?"


"I just thought you sounded like you were asleep."

"I did not say anything."

"Yeah, and you breathed deeply."

"I am in a state of rest, but listening."

"I could let you rest and save further episodes for future nights." Heero was now certain Duo was making this story up as he went and that the characters definitely had been inspired by people known to him, but he also found Duo's telling interesting and wanted to hear more, mainly because it told him something about the way Duo thought, but also because it seemed an intriguing type of story. "Perhaps just a little more, before I go to sleep. I would not mind hearing more about these characters some other time."

Duo made a pleased sound. It was not a word. "Where was I…?"

"The five were within the Prince's cabin on his ship and beginning Yuri's instruction."

"Right, so then, after they explain to him about what year it is and about the laws and stuff the Prince says, `Ah, but I cannot get ahead of myself. My new slave is rather unkempt.' This Prince had a little bit of a fey manner when he spoke. And, of course it was not true that his new slave was unclean, because the designers of his hiber-pod had obviously included devices to keep him wonderously fresh and clean, but the Prince was not the sort who was at all opposed to telling these sorts of lies; he thought nothing of telling little lies."

As Duo's story continued the Prince addressed his other slaves to give them orders relating to the newest slave's indoctrination. One was to go find clothing that would be suitable for a new slave, though the Prince told Yuri that he may very ell be stripped of clothing when in the private cabin, and that he should consider this a kindness because new slaves always became accustomed to their station and tasks more quickly if made to be naked. The Prince went on, saying he would have his slaves naked all of the time, but he just did not want to bother with too much sharing or jealousy.

The blond one, his name was Kat, said that the Prince was a little possessive and the Prince said to him quickly, "I will punish you for that later."

For now, the Prince was saying, he needed Kat to help him with the new slave. The other, who had not been sent to fetch clothing was named Fei, and he was instructed to bring their meal to the cabin and that for the new slave's – the Prince kept calling Yuri `slave' at this point rather than using his name and this was another kindness he believed – portion he should bring something that was worthy of his new station but also which was suitable for the sick, as this new slave was recovering from a long period alike to coma or harsh imprisonment and it was not really safe to treat him exactly like other slaves they had captured, although the Prince would be sure this one knew his place all the same.

When the other two had gone on their missions the Prince said to Yuri, "Kat is my favorite. I am going to have him undress you, examine your body and wash you, and I will watch you both. Kat is very good at disciplining those I tell him he should and he will punish you if you make things difficult for him. He will punish even the smallest infraction and find a mode of punishment that suits you with frightening accuracy, but he does not enjoy being domineering, so I make sure he gets what he needs when his work is done."

Yuri had been rather stunned thus far, and understandably so, but now he began to feel a sense of trepidation, sharply enough that it cut through the numbness of his shock at being thrust into this strange period and he resisted. "You have no right! I want no part of these disgusting games! Return me to my vessel at once!"

"He has such an adorable accent!" Kat said.

The Prince was not pleased with his too-cocky slave and in an instant his hand moved and his fingers nimbly grasped hold of the shorter man's scrotum, through his leather pants. Kat hissed a breath, bit his lip and then went silent and still.

"'scrotum', where did you read that?" Heero asked. It did not sound like something Duo would say.

"Ahem, so as the Prince was clutching Kat's balls Yuri yelled some more."

"My vessel will be returned to me and you will tow it to the nearest port, surely you people cannot have done away with the international laws…"

"You do not seem to understand. There are no nations. There are no laws to prevent my actions, in fact such courts as we have would support all the claims I have made regarding you and your ship. Do not mislead yourself; I play no `games'. You are my property, and so is your ship."

Yuri desperately scanned the cabin for a weapon he might use. The Prince released Kat, his slave and quickly grasped Yuri's wrists in his hands and crowded him against a wall. "Release me," Yuri said.

"You are mine. You did not seem to mind before. You seemed to enjoy the attention."

Yuri did feel desperate and lost, he wished to resist, but he no longer felt physically or mentally capable of it. He averted his gaze from the Prince and whispered his reply. "I do not deny that your actions caused sharply pleasurable sensations, or that in my newly-wakened disorientation I showed only gratitude, but when I come from, coming upon a stranger in such a manner as they slumbered is equivalent to rape!"

"But you met once upon a dream," Kat sang from a nearby doorway, naked then.

The Prince ignored the jest and took one hand from Yuri's arm to hold his jaw, and he forced Yuri's head to move so that he looked at him. The Prince fixed his gaze on his newest save then and smiled in a way that seemed dark and cruel. "It is entirely within my right to rape and pillage all through this system. I do not have to allow you to feel pleasure at all."

Yuri struggled to shake his head, but could not and he trembled and shouted. "That is real slavery! That is wrong! You cannot!"

"I can," The Prince said, "I do. Preying on others when they are weak is only natural. I have no regrets. You are mine. I expect to enjoy your service, but you will find there are many things I find entertaining that do not include you feeling comfortable or pleasured."


"If you say one more word I will have Kat gag you. I give you one chance to hold your own tongue. You listen. We have peace through slavery. History taught us that in a time of mechanized battle, push- button warfare and suicide bombers death became something thought of as quick and relatively painless. Declaring war seemed to have little risk, and so we had wars all the time, but we learned that those who would welcome such seemingly quick and honorable death abhorred and deeply feared the possibility of living as captives or suffering long periods of torture. Those who were strong enough to take more prisoners than lives and brave enough to treat their prisoners like the subjugated enemies they were became feared and then respected and then imitated. And now, my Clan and our Law rules. All other Clans are either our willing allies or soon to be subjugated. There is no war and smaller conflicts and battles often end without real contest, as the weaker surrender to the stronger. This is not your world anymore, and if you want to live, you will do your very best to please me, and if you do, maybe in the future I will free you and you will find yourself surprisingly well-equipped to survive without my protection. For now, even if you do not realize it, you need me desperately."

"It is Tyranny!" Yuri said as clearly as he could with the Prince clutching his jaw.

"Kat, gag this slave and then restrain him in the washroom, he clearly needs a very thorough examination and cleansing."

Duo continued his story, detailing the sufferings of Yuri through his examination and cleansing. It all seemed to the recently awakened cosmonaut invasive and cold and sometimes even dangerous. He was absolutely humiliated to have fluid pumped into his bowels and to be made to expel the fluid and waste while naked and chained to the floor and ceiling of the tiny metal-lined room by his wrists and ankles. Yuri began to hate Kat, and the Prince for ordering Kat to do these things. There seemed no end to the invasive and clinical procedures Kat performed. The gag was removed only so he might swab Yuri's throat and the inside of his mouth to collect test samples. Then Yuri's teeth were scraped with sharp implements and polished with tiny motorized instruments. Blood was drawn to fill several small tubes. The other slave's gloved fingers probed and poked and prodded Yuri's body. Yuri was made to ejaculate by those gloved hands, and though he did not want to comply and allow the sample to be taken, his body eventually responded to Kat's expert, if clinical, touch.

To Yuri the entire examination seemed like a nightmare, like a tale of alien abduction that had been told in so many parts of the world in his time. He just wanted to wake up…

But he did not even have his `own bed' to wake up in. Once he had felt there was a safe resting place, in the building where he was trained and tested for his space mission by the scientists, but though he had passed the rigorous psychological tests demanded of one who would embark on a deep space mission, he had never felt entirely safe and comfortable in the hiber-pod. It had seemed only a necessary step in completing the mission. Evidently, something had gone wrong. He had not even woken from his first sleep to perform the test. He wondered if he had even been headed back toward the Earth, or away from it.

Yuri could not bear the thought that he still slumbered, helpless and out of control, and he could not bear the thought that this was really happening to him and that he could not wake from it. He blacked out.

"When Yuri woke he felt warm, rested, comfortable and clean. He could feel another body near him…"

"Thank you."

"More later, then?" Duo asked.


"Have a good sleep. Call me some time."

"Mm. bye bye."

The last thing Heero heard before he fell asleep was Duo's soft laughter.

on to chapter 86

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