Harry F. Rey © 2019
All Rights Reserved
I woke with a stretch, trying to catch the fraying edges of a hot, summery dream about my lost home-world, Teva. Then the straining sensation of my cock pushing against its citanium cage kicked in, a daily reminder of my submission to Turo, and to the Union for which he stands. Swapping my freedom to save the frozen world of Jansen had made me an accomplice to Turo’s attempts to bend the galaxy’s Outer Verge to his green-eyed will.
The cage has some give; it flexes when I’m soft and relaxed, so much so that I can barely even feel it when walking around. But in the mornings, when the curse of male biology hits, I’m reminded of its presence. Turo might be on the other side of the Outer Verge, or the other side of the galaxy for all I know, but part of him is always with me. Reminding me, he’s in control.
Even when I’m not caged, I act as if I am; not touching the area, not sleeping on my front; imagining my own relief coming only from subservience to others. Admiral Turo constantly reminds me I’m nothing but a receptacle. A hole for his pleasure, a slave to his desires. Although when I’m not chained up in his private quarters on the ship, like today, I’m Commander Ales of the Union, tasked with difficult negotiations on the heterosapien world of Nelu. We need their minerals for our STAR drive, but their planet is still stubbornly aligned with the Trades Council. Simply being here could get me killed. Get us killed, as my security guard Yovnan kept reminding me.
“Commander, are you ready?” Came the sound of Captain Yovnan’s voice accompanied by a knock on the wooden door.
“One minute,” I called back; although it was hardly a door, he could probably see right over it if he stood on his tiptoes. See me lying here naked on the soft rugs piled on the wooden floor, a silvery metal cage around my cock, in contrast to my night-black skin, a still unusual sight in the cold worlds of the Verge. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if Yovnan saw me; in fact, I’d rather hoped to turn that stiff, professional, former-corporation-turned-Union officer into one of the small but growing number of men in Union-blue uniforms who were happy to use me. Although the time I had to turn him was quickly running out.
I reached over to the pile of clothes on the floor and grabbed my wrist-tech. The thin silvery metal melded to my wrist, coming alive with a flurry of updates and messages.
I checked the news bursts. Turo’s upcoming negotiations hadn’t even made the top story headlines.
Memorial service for Premier Forden planned on Matraenus Majora
Vexta Corporation considering abandoning moon base due to ongoing economic crisis
Trades Council and Union to open fresh round of talks aimed at resolving crisis
I tapped the third one.
The bitter dispute between the Trades Council and upstart Union that has crippled the Vergian economy is to be the focus of high-level discussions in the coming days. The Union of the Outer Verge, which previously provided security services for the Trades Council, seized control of the Jansen system a year ago. Since then, nearly half the systems in the Outer Verge have fallen under its orbit, precipitating the most serious political and economic crisis for the Outer Verge in living memory.
I closed the story, about all the Standard Galactic I could read at once. More messages from Franx:
Ales, he’s not come home in 2 days. What’s going on?
Ales, I’m worried. Can you answer me already? Why are you ignoring me???
I swiped the messages away, pushing the problems on Targuline to the back of my mind. I eyed my black trousers and thin white T-shirt, more than enough for the sweltering Neluian heat. They were the clothes I used to wear, all that time ago before putting on the blue tunic. On this mission, though, we were incognito. Trades Council spies could be anywhere, and although the Vexans were allegedly interested in switching sides, the presence of two brazen Union officials on Nelu would shatter the uneasy truce between the Union and the Trades Council and most likely plunge the Outer Verge into all-out war.
In the soft light floating through the cracks of the wooden walls, I stood and slipped my legs into my trousers, pulling them over the round of my bare ass before lifting my caged cock inside with care. Below me, I saw the thing I’d been afraid to remember: a gap in the floor where the tangy green of the jungle hundreds of meters below rushed up to my terrified eyes. Falling asleep in a wooden box suspended from a branch of a great chalkwood tree had required my last shot of lactarian malt, although I would have preferred Yovnan shoot me with a stun gun. A rustle of wind swept through leaves, and I braced myself, legs spread and arms out, as this guest room, allegedly built for homosapien use, swayed far more than I felt comfortable with.
“Commander, it’s okay. I checked the riggings last night.” Yovnan’s handsome face appeared at the top of the wooden door. I could sense a hidden grin behind those strict eyes and smooth-shaven face. My cock gave another push against the cage, now at least safely hidden away in my trousers lest I be betrayed by the thought of him grabbing me by the neck and pounding me right here. I wouldn’t care how much it swayed then. I wouldn’t even care if we plummeted to the jungle. It’s funny how a month in a cock cage makes one realize what’s important in life. I’d happily trade the chance of death for a good fuck.
“Yeah? Well, the Vexans have wings.” I said, slipping on my T-shirt over my abs. “I can’t say I trust flying bugs to accurately measure the physics of a homosapien sleeping inside one of these things. And what if I’d had company? What if there’d been three of us in here?”
Yovnan opened the door up with a guilty grin on his face and beckoned me over. I slipped on my boots and hopped across the room, giving the box a real swing. He held out a hand and helped me as I tried not to look down, instead glancing at the sidearm he’d attached, not under his white T-shirt, but over it. We might be here ostensibly as traders, but things were fraught in the Outer Verge, and I was glad for his ostentatious show of protection.
“Only things that fly would think it’s nice to live up here,” I complained again as we headed down the narrow wooden walkway built on top of a thick branch. The width meant Yovnan had to walk behind me, but at least they’d constructed a small barrier on either edge. Although it came up to a little worryingly less than human-waist height, just enough to leave me worried about tumbling over the edge. We were still deep in the foliage of the tree, bright-green leaves the size of a torso and as thick as an arm covered the walkway in a dazzling green menagerie. The leaf cover was so thick no direct light from the planet’s double suns actually made it through to us; each leaf seemed to glow.
“I think we’ll make more progress if we can show we’re interested in long-term investment,” Yovnan said, already diving straight into our negotiation strategy. “They’re fearful of losing the only source of external income they’ve got. Perhaps if we can offer some kind of transition period, where they continue to supply corvascent on the regulated market and give us an increasing amount in secret, they’ll be more satisfied.”
The walkway began to slope down toward the central trunk of the chalkwood tree, as the foliage became thinner. Shafts of direct sunlight now slashed across our vision. “If I wanted only a couple of tons, then the Union could buy it from any dealer.” I turned around to look at him. “Perhaps if you’d still been at your old job you could’ve given us a discount.” I winked and we kept on walking toward the center of the tree. “No, I need a secure, uninterrupted supply. And I need it all.”
I moved one large leaf out of my way, and suddenly the entire world came into view. An unending green carpet below rushed toward the far horizon. One burning sun hung low in the east, the other rose in the west, bathing this side of Nelu in its perpetual sunlight. We stopped for a moment and looked out over the vista, clinging to the wooden edge of the walkway. I tried not to let the thought of tumbling over the side occupy my mind. Every few kilometers another chalkwood tree soared up from the dense jungle below, its wide trunk bleached white by the dual suns. They dotted the horizon, perfectly straight white wood hundreds of meters high, leading to a vast green mushroom head of branches and leaves. Every chalkwood tree doubled as a Vexan town. They made their nests in the trees, raised their families, and conducted their business from the safety of the sky.
“They said even if you did fall,” Yovnan explained, bravely peering down, “you’d have a soft landing because the leaves are so thick down there.”
I kept my eyes locked straight ahead. In the distance, through the haze of the heat, came the shimmering blue of the great sea, and beyond that the corvascent quarries. It felt funny to me that we were negotiating with the Vexans high up in the treetops, while the Musstine, an entirely different heterosapien species also native to Nelu, risked life and limb to mine the mineral. I wondered, for a long moment, what set of circumstances had caused the Vexan species—barely half the size of a human and three times as light, lived in trees and ate flowers—to exercise such complete dominance over the Musstine. I’d seen one of them once, on a Shard construction site on Targuline. It had lifted an entire plank of steel right above its head with one arm, while happily scratching itself with the other.
The Musstine stood at least twenty meters tall with two arms that reached almost to the ground. Their bodies were covered in thick, black leathery skin to protect them from the dual Neluian suns, although the one I’d seen had worn overalls. Their heads almost laughably small. Although the Verge classed them as a sentient species, which should have entitled them to certain rights, it seemed to me they lived in a state of slavery on their own home-world.
Yes, we needed all the corvascent we could get our hands on for the STAR drives, and Nelu was the only world in the Verge that contained it. Much like the galinium in the Jansen system, the Neluian system had also benefited from extragalactic pollination of minerals during its formation. I remembered how close the Union had come to bombarding that world from space just to get its hands on a secure supply of galinium. Despite the sweltering heat, I shuddered at the image of a missile coming down from the sky and lighting the jungle on fire.
I almost jumped as Yovnan’s hand touched my shoulder. He looked at me as if wanting to ask what was going through my mind. His hand lingered. Another sign, more confusing than the last. It had been like this since we’d set off from the Loukas II, the Union command vessel, on our convoluted journey to Nelu.
“Ales.” He said kindly, his beautiful brown eyes breaking into a soft smile. The suns lit up his face, so alert to the world around him. My gaze was drawn down to his plain white shirt, loose enough to give a sense of the understated yet sculpted pecs on a smooth, hairless chest. “It’s time to go.”