How You Played the Game
Ares had had it all explained to him once. A cute little blond astro-physicist with wire-rimmed glasses and a pierced right nipple had gone through the whole process in great detail, which should have ended the mystery. Ares was much more interested in the fun the two of them were having rolling around in the dorm-room bed, so he couldn't remember any of the details. Something to do with atoms breaking apart, flowing in a stream faster than light, and then reconnecting. Of course, the physicist was describing the process used to beam people into space ships, and not the movements of gods.
The only difference with gods, and he had so carefully neglected identify himself to his little friend as one, was that they could also do it through time. Gods could move through actual time; not the "light year" time of the slipstream which was really distance. Sometimes he wished he had listened more closely. . . no he didn't; he got more satisfaction the acts they performed than he ever would from complete understanding.
When he had been younger, in his prime and a true worshiped god, there had been rules to keep him in line. Those rules were gone now, but then again so was a great deal of his power. It seemed ironic that the use of the same time/space travel that could have been used to save Xena now allowed him return to Earth to buy the proto-drugs of the 1960's, to drink fine wines at their maturity, or even engage in safe-unprotected sex. He could now use for personal pleasure, the very thing had he had been forbidden to use to prevent personal pain.
Of course he had safe, known, pleasurable fallbacks, like where he was today.
He stood invisibly behind a pillar in the hall of the palace and bit his lip with anticipation of his appearance. He pictured the hair first; he always had a fascination with hair, that long, wavy, copper-bronze mane that surrounded the wonderfully soft, expressive face. He pictured the muscular body clad not in leather, or even royal velvet, but naked under him. It was just a matter of time until King Iphicles would come walking down the hall, expecting nothing, and find his god standing there. All the powers of a king would evaporate, as he would fall on his knees and worship the god-of-war in his own personal way.
He waited. Even when they had been invented and time was relevant, he had rarely worn a watch. Sure time passed, but he could wait. He was immortal. So he waited. He watched the floor grow scuffed and unpolished. He watched the marble pillars oxidize until they looked like limestone. He watched the roof begin to leak and then fall into the hallway. He realized that the time that he had spent waiting was more than a few minutes or even days, and he realized that the man he was waiting for was not going to come.
He waited and eventually the pillars crumbled, but with their decay came teams of archeologists on their hands and knees digging in the sand. He watched, knowing that shortly groups of students and tourists would descend upon the site. People who would never read a history book would travel halfway around the world to visit ruins. It was as if they could, by walking the decaying halls, touch and communicate with those who had been there in the past and possibly share their souls. Little did they know.
He could change his clothes, become that tourist in gabardine and suede, and find some attractive blond with long hair and short shorts -- male or female it didn't matter much -- who would heap upon him the attention he deserved. It was all so simple, so predictable, and so unsatisfying.
A trail of photons. . protons… proteins… something like that still existed and allowed him to return to the place he had then called "now". If you really thought about it, it made no sense; he had come here, waited a couple of thousand years, and could go back to the same place and time he had left. Was he really going back to "now", or was he going to the place and time he left possibly 2000 years before? His head throbbed liked it had when he had ingested far too much wine during the short periods in his long life he had lived as a mortal. It was all too confusing, too depressing and absolutely no fun.
Even as a stream of disengaged sub-atomic particles, he was haunted by thoughts. If Iphicles wasn't there, where was he? Was he "here" somewhere, in the future? Because he had always been able to return to the past they had had together, he had never looked for him in the present. Once in a while he would catch a quick glance out of the corner of his eye of hair that color, or lips that soft, but most of the time it was too preoccupied with the present and the person he was with to follow up. Suddenly, he found it troublesome.
Libra X, two weeks after Ares return to the present.
"What do YOU want?" Evan Hopewell looked up from the huge leather bound book he had been carefully going through page by thin-yellowed page. He relished the printed word, even when what it contained was only a collection of mistruths. Unless you understood those who wrote such things, and learned how to deal with them, someone might try to use those lies on you or your loved ones and you wouldn't recognize them. Sometimes he had to laugh at the pictures of the devils and demons, but he knew people other laughed at the pictures of gods.
"Is that any way to greet an old friend?" His visitor had left his dark leather in the closet and was dressed in a generic khaki uniform that could have belonged to a soldier from any of three hundred different worlds. His hair was short and he was clean shaved. This was a new look for Ares.
"Is that what you call yourself now, a friend? I never thought. . ."
"How did you want me to identify myself? An old enemy or maybe a casual fuck? Didn't think your brethren would be too fond of that description, especially on this celibate planet."
"If that is what you want, you might as well leave now. I'm not going to have sex with you, not here, not ever. . .again. Whatever we had to settle, we settled that night." A period of silence followed while Evan thought about what more he could say "I guess we might call ourselves friends, now. Time changes a lot doesn't it?"
"I guess we did, you can't say you didn't enjoy our negotiations. What is it again, Edward?"
"That's right I remember now."
"Surprise you remember anything after I fucked your loving brains out."
"Now, now. You were good, I have to admit it. But now I am here to ask you a favor."
"A favor of me?"
"Maybe just a question. . .or two. . .and if the answer to the first one is 'no' just one."
"Are there more like us?"
Tarn Vedra, four hundred years earlier.
The small plastic card in his pocket once contained the equivalent of the gross national product of a small-industrialized nation and it was his to buy books. Evan had been sent to this planet, the ruling center of the commonwealth, to purchase books for the collection of Libra X. He had spent the last two weeks buying the best of rare book collections from seven different libraries. Most were excited about exchanging the dusty, withering, yellow tomes for cold hard cash. Evan was a welcomed buyer. He consulted the database contained in the small hand held device he carried with him and concluded that he had enough money remaining to go on his own to search for undiscovered treasure in bookstores.
It was hard for him to believe that such stores still existed on Tarn Vedra, but then there were also candle stores, ice cream shops and even apothecaries. Right now the bookstore was calling out to him to come and find . . .he wasn't sure what, but it certainly was a strange feeling.
One look at the tall woman working the front counter brought a rumbling to his loins. Even though, as always, he had had sex every night since leaving Libra X, the thought of spending time with a woman who actually knew and loved books was extremely exciting.
"Hello, I am Evan Hopewell from Libra X."
"The library planet, I've always wanted to go there. I cannot believe that it is an all male planet."
"I know, you'd think they were still living in Medieval Europe. But I just live and work there, don't make the rules. I am here on Tarn Vedra to buy books. I am looking in a variety of categories: history, religion, economics, folklore, home arts, fine art, photography. . ."
"What, no porn?" She laughed at him with her light brown eyes behind her huge, dark-framed glasses.
"Oh, that too. I forgot." He let out a little giggle and his blue eyes lit up.
"Up the stairs, first door on the right."
As he slowly climbed the stairs, he looked back at the woman and thought of how a slight overpayment on a found book would probably result in her willingness to discuss it over dinner and later in his bed. The second floor was a warren of little rooms that were accessed both from the hall and through connecting doors. A person could get lost in here. A librarian from Libra X could spend the rest of his life, except for food and calls of nature, just moving from room to room trying to locate books not already in the permanent on-site collection. Bypassing the recent collections from a variety of different planets --, sex between insects and/or cephalopods had no interest to him -- Evan headed directly to the collection brought to Tarn Vedra by the first settlers from Earth. His prime area of expertise was private, hand-printed books from just after the invention of the printing press, especially those involving the more sensual aspects of the human spirit. Shit, he liked old porn.
There was no reason to suspect that he was not alone. It was early in the day, the store was expensive, and rare books were not an impulse purchase item. It was a shock to round a corner and see someone else in the stacks. It was even more of a shock to see what he was doing. The man had propped a book open at his eye level and was masturbating while he looked at the engravings.
"Do you have any idea how expensive that book is?" Evan realized it was a stupid thing to say.
"I was gonna buy it." His eyes relayed a mock seriousness and looked vaguely familiar.
"This isn't the place. . ."
Both men were shocked at the recognition that passed between them. They knew each other. Not from back rooms of bookstores, not from library planets, not from bars or bathhouses, but for a long, long. .
"Are you really. . .?" The question appeared on both their lips at exactly the same time and for both there was no point in lying because they already knew the other's true identity.
"Yes. I call myself Evan Hopewell. I am a librarian on Libra X."
"I can't fucking believe it. Larry Liszt."
"Well, if you tuck it back in your pants, Larry, I'll buy you a cup of coffee and we can discuss how out of all the backwater places in this universe, the two of us are here." All thoughts of a pleasant night with the book lady suddenly left Evan's head.
"Did you ever think there would come a time when an old enemy would be as welcome as a new friend?" Evan asked as he looked into the dark eyes of Mr. Liszt.
"Never did, but then I didn't give it much thought."
"Never much for thinking were you, Larry?"
"Actually I think a lot more now. Just not about that. Thinking is about all that is left for me to do. The only powers I seem to have left I use to get everything I always wanted, including sex, but I even have to think about that."
"Sounds pleasant, but if you can get anything you want, then why were you jerking off in a bookstore?"
"Let's say I have these compelling memories. I have some other commitments tonight, and didn't want to flash myself back to that whore house pictured in the book, a place I visited often. . ."
"You can really do that? Go back and forth in time?"
"Just back. Can't go into the future, as far as I know, and I always come back to the spot from which I left, no matter how long I stay in the past. Crazy isn't it? But I want to know about you. How did you get to be so damn. . .how should I put it, immortal?"
"Not a clue, Larry. Nada. Pretty damn ironic for someone who was the charter member of the death-of-the-month club. Maybe the paperwork got lost one of those deaths, don't know. All I know is I have been bouncing around the universe for about as long as you, except I don't get to flash from place to place and don't get to go back. Except through books."
"Probably takes a lot of the fun out of it."
"A little. Easier now, with longer life spans, good health, slipstream travel and all that. I really got tired of having to move every ten-fifteen years because I wasn't aging. Got really old after a couple of millenniums. But I've been in the same place for the last hundred years and probably am not going to leave. Libra X. Those librarian guys are so hung up with their books that they don't notice a thing. It's great."
"So it's guys now. Always thought. . ." Harry commented with a smile and what appeared to be a wink.
"You know me, Larry, draw the line at sheep . . .and rare books. But Libra X is a celibate planet . So I store it up for trips like this."
"So you're pretty -- shall we say stored up." Evan recognized the look on his coffee companion's face.
"Been here a couple of weeks, so let's say that I've had enough merry making so that I don't jerk-off in bookstores."
"You know, Evan, " Larry seemed to have a rather contemplative look on his face. "Remember that commitment I said I had this evening. I lied."
"Would I err if I took that as a dinner invitation."
"No, or if you took it as a proposition."
Evan smiled a wide smile, it had been over two-thousand years since he had fucked a god.
When they returned to Larry's apartment, both men quickly undressed. Ares was a little disappointed that decades on a dark library planet had faded the golden glow he remembered on Evan's skin, but when he closed his eyes it was returned in his memory. The curly blond hair was still there, both on his head and encircling his uncut cock. It was amazing that such a small man could have such a large penis. It was almost as big as his; but on a man so much smaller, it looked enormous. They exchanged a few perfunctory kisses and caresses and he pushed the blond head toward his already erect organ.
"No, you have to do it to me first." Evan had a look of defiance in his blue eyes.
"First, you are going to have to suck me off, not here on the bed, but by the window, with me looking passively out at the street while you will do your damnest to make me cum. Then I get to fuck you . . hard and un-lubricated with you standing up against the wall. You're lucky I don't make you go outside. I'm sure you'll remember it by then. It was probably the best blow-job you ever bought."
"This is a game, right? You're playing some sort of fuck game. I usually don't play games. " Ares seemed a little concerned.
"If that's what you want to call it, go ahead; but don't, please don't, tell me you don't play games. Everything's a fucking game to you, Ares. Always was, always will be, nothing you like better than a good game."
"Standing up, looking out at the street. It sounds like it could be interesting. Is that something the librarians do?"
"Not librarians, you're going to have to go further back to find the source of this game. But my guess is that if you were jerking off in a bookstore, you're so fucking horny, you're not thinking about much at all, except sex."
"Yup. That's what happens when there are no wars." The look might have been called sheepish, but as Evan drew the line at sheep, he thought of Ares's look as puppy-dog.
Ares was good, there was no denying that. He played the role of hungry street urchin with great skill. He must have sometimes watched the moves of the young men he purchased more carefully than Evan had suspected. At least he had the good fortune to get to kneel on the soft carpet and not the rough cobbles of a city street. His knees would not bleed the next day, nor probably would his asshole. But then, he wouldn't have five denars to spend on trinkets, drinks and cute girls.
"You're not really going to make me lean against the wall while you fuck me, are you, Iolaus?" Ares asked, calling him by his real name, after he had swallowed the small man's cum and cleaned his cock with his tongue.
"Nah, Ares, you done good. I bet you remember that night now. I was a little angry you didn't remember it back in Greece."
When he thought about it now, Ares remembered that night, when the man he knew then as Iolaus had come pleading to him to help his friend Hercules who had been suffering from horrible dreams and fits of madness. The god tried to explain that he could not erase memories selectively, the best he could do was to cast a pall over Hercules's mind so that the memories would be softer, gentler, and seem ancient. The memories would still be there; they would just be less threatening. Iolaus was willing to accept the conditions, and repaid him with a night of mind numbing sex. He had not remembered that night when they had met earlier that day, but it returned to him in detail now as he sucked the little man's cock; and he also remembered another night, when Iolaus was just a boy, purchased on the dark streets of Thebes.
"I'm supposed to remember everyone I fuck. I was supposed to connect some dirty, long-haired street-waif who earned his living by stealing and selling his body, with the heroic, golden hunter that had been cheerfully accompanying with my half-brother on his legendary journeys for twenty years. I'm sorry. I'm not the god on mnemonics"
"So you finally remember, good for you Ares. You should really take your sex more seriously."
"This from you. I don't need a lecture on sexual gamesmanship."
"You don't need to listen, but it wouldn't hurt. I read about it all the time."
"And you fuck a different person every night when you are on vacation from your celibate planet. Tell me how you are different, and don't for gods sake say, skill level."
"Probably not, except that I realize what I am doing. Someday you are going to meet someone with whom sex is going to be more than a game. It was like that with me and Hercules. You're going to need to…a forget it Ares, I'm just wasting my precious breath. Now what do you want to do next?"
"How about you fucking me, on the bed."
"Let's say it is a continuing partial repayment for past wrongs."
"If I didn't know better I'd say we have a kinder and gentler Ares."
"Not quite, just hornier, and I have always liked your style."
"But you realize, that first I am going to have to make you beg for it."
"I realize that, Iolaus, let the games begin."
The first step in getting a god to beg is skilled use of fingers and tongue. Iolaus knew and explored spots that few lovers had ever had the patience or inclination to find: running his tongue along the outlines of Ares's cut muscles, placing probing fingers at the base of Ares's cock and behind his balls, and softly licking a strip of sensitive flesh on the inside of his thigh. He not only tweaked his dusky nipples, but sucked them until they were hard with blood and then ran his tongue softly along the bottom of the bud. A gentle prod and Ares was on his stomach and the self same tongue was rimming the most sensitive areas of his ass.
"Please, fuck me Iolaus."
"That's not a beg."
"What's a beg?"
"A real beg goes something like this. . . Please, o'please golden warrior from ancient Greece, consort of gods and goddesses, demi-gods, men and women. . . Hailed throughout ancient times for your gigantic pulsating love muscle and for your adroit use of the same… please o'please…impart upon my aching rosebud some of the fresh soothing ambrosia that…"
"Shut the fuck up and shove it up my ass!"
"That, my dear god, is a proper beg."
"Why are you asking me this now, when you didn't when we first met?" Evan asked.
"As I said, I've been thinking a lot more." Ares was somewhat contemplative.
"My guess is you went back to visit your favorite all time fuck and he wasn't there. Right?"
"How did you know?"
"Cause I know where he is."
"You do? How? Where?"
"Everything is here in the libraries. Just happened to be going through some current stuff and saw his picture. Couldn't believe it. Thought it was one of those one in a hundred-billion genetic things, then I saw his name. King Iphicles. He's a king even."
"Some planet orbiting a star on the halo of the Milky Way. BD+17 3248 was its designation on Earth. Don't know what the star is called, but the planet is Seolfor V."
"Were you listening at all or just thinking about your precious little fuck toy. I wouldn't salivate too much, because from what I read he has six wives, and over 50 children, living on a planet of silver."
"Just kidding. About the wife and kids anyway. I like to make you squirm."
"Well if you are serious about that, it can be arranged."
"Not here, it can't."
"You really are serious about those celibacy rules aren't you."
"Keeps me young."
"The youth you didn't mind losing, if I remember correctly, the last time I saw you."
"That night I had a three thousand year old debt to have repaid, and I have to say, thanks, for doing that with interest. I just know this time it wouldn't be me you'd be concentrating on, you'd be too busy thinking of your favorite king, and I don't enjoy being a surrogate fuck. Maybe another time."
"That is why you, Iolaus, have always been one of my favorites. Keep up the good work."
"I hope you find him, and I hope he's what you want."
Twenty years later, Starship Andromeda Ascendant
"Beka," Dylan Hunt addressed his first officer, "Tyr and I have been invited, as former co-regents of King Erik, to go with him when he meets with another king who might be interesting in joining the Commonwealth. I was wondering if you would like to accompany us?"
"Isn't my job usually to fly the Andromeda in your absence? And you know how I hate planets."
"Actually, I am going to leave Harper and Rommie in charge of the ship. I don't think Rommie and Tyr are getting along all that well right now."
"Noticed that, there is something about him that makes her nervous, and something about her that makes you seem a little nervous, too." She gave her captain a sly wink. "So where are we going, Dylan? Where is this king?"
"A planet called Seolfor V. Ever been there?"
"Don't think so. But then, I've been most everywhere. I can't differentiate all the places I have been. Does it matter?"
"Not if you don't remember. It is in the system of BD+17 3248 a sun has been known to contain precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum for several thousand years. It was only upon actual visitation to the planets, that it was discovered that these metals had been used by inhabitants much in the same way we use iron, aluminum and titanium. Except of course for the weight differences. These differences manifest themselves in both the architecture and the technology. Most famous of the architectural features being the Balcony of the Silver Stars, a walkway…" It was the usual Dylan drone, containing much more information than Beka could possibly want or need.
"Actually Dylan, I was more concerned about things like atmospheres, climate, population make-up. The other details can come later."
"Earthlike, slightly more oxygen, temperate and humanoid. Does that satisfy you, Captain Valentine?"
"Very nicely, Captain Hunt, glad to see you can be succinct when you need to be."
"I can be lots of things, when I need to be, Captain Valentine. We leave in three hours, be ready, and wear a uniform but . . . bring a nice dress."
She smiled back at him as she made her way down the hall to her room to begin packing. It was obvious that Dylan had not told her everything she needed to know about this visit, and she wondered if he had told Tyr. Something told her he had shared even less with the Nietzschean.
Dylan looked down at the printed message he had received announcing the meeting and read it through again slowly. The invitation was clearly issued to him, Tyr and any other accompanying party, and most of it contained the usual diplomatic boilerplate. However, it was the signature line that had caught his eye, and caused him to worry; it was signed King Iphicles, VI. Perhaps it was just another of those silly "ancient memories", but this one seemed particularly problematic.
Present, Seolfor V.
"Oh, god, oh god, oh god, god. . . . " Creamy streaks ran down the back of the platinum royal throne, King Iphicles had cum for what seemed the ninth time that evening.
"I usually don't stop fucking you until you tell me you've had enough, but if you don't say stop now, there isn't going to be much of a meeting tomorrow with the king unable to walk and the throne. . ."
"Shut up, you bastard. You may have to lick my cum off the throne if that's what I tell you."
"Just a little dominant tonight are we, Iphy?"
"I am a king, and I demand some respect. You just can't drop into my life and expect me to act like YOUR sex toy. I would have thought you got the idea when I fucked YOU tonight?"
"I came when you called, and I assumed that it really was a "matter of great importance" AND that you wanted to get fucked. I'm not sure who the TOY is in that situation."
An observer of this sexual encounter, of which of course there were none, might have speculated an incestuous relationship between identical twins. Naked the two men were virtually indistinguishable, except for the hair color. The other differences that existed were more in body language and demeanor but even those were slight, after all one man was a king, but the other was a god. They were related, but only through a common half-brother, a man who today went by the name of Dylan Hunt.
"Where have you been the past year and a half?" The king asked.
"You know me and time. It just slipped away."
"And I am supposed to believe that? Tell me what you have been doing."
"I could tell you, but my guess is, you don't want to know. My guess is you'd just want me to fuck you again."
"There is nothing about your fucking style that precludes you talking to me, and I bet you have a lot to tell me."
"As I said, it's none of your damn business. What you don't know won't hurt you."
"Who says I don't want to be hurt."
"I'm not talking about that, you fucking masochist. After this meeting is over, there will be plenty of time for me to tie you up and play those little hurt games you love so much. Sometimes. . "
"You really aren't going to tell me are you?"
"No, I'm not. It's a private matter."
"Between you and whom? I assume it has something to do with our brother. As soon as I discovered he was alive in this time, I invited him here. It will be an interesting meeting for all of us."
"And as I told you earlier, I have had contact with him. He's relatively harmless. Still working for good, restoring the Commonwealth and all that, but he has no idea that he is anything other than a High Guard officer who has been caught in a black hole for three hundred years.
"Looks a little different, shorter hair, leaner, seems a little tougher. Not so always right and always good. While he realized that I am Ares, there seems to be very little other connection. I'm not sure that he recognizes your name ."
"Is he hot?"
"Of course, he's HOT. He always was hot, just reserved, prudish even."
"Remember that night we both fucked him?"
"Yea." Ares remembered, but not fondly.
"What ever happened to that little blond lover of his?"
"Don't know. I assume he died, and finally stayed dead. God, Iphy don't tell me you fucked him, too."
"Once in a while. He was so HOT and he had the biggest dick."
"They're all hot to you."
"I was the king, I fucked them all at one time or another, all your lovers, except for the bitches. What about the others in the party? King Erik?"
"Too young. Don't you dare touch him."
"Why, Ares, you sound possessive."
"Not, He's not my type. Way too young."
"And the other man, Tyr Anasazi?"
"He's a Nietzschean, that's all I know. They don't play sex games. Something in their genes." Ares pulled out his cock and shot his hot semen down the back of his partner. 'You are losing your ability to lie,' he thought, 'that doesn't wear well for a god.'
Dylan Hunt awoke from a vivid nightmare. It made such little sense. He had felt tired, worn, unsteady of body and mind, possibly suffering from some mental illness that clouded his world. He was on the floor, on his knees, his body slumped over a dais, while a laughing King watched him from the throne. Worse yet he was being fucked, hard and painfully, challenging even his ability to give consent, by a second man. He would not let those two men take his strength, his mind, his soul, he had to fight hard. The dream ended with something soft enveloping him and the words of his mother being whispered in his ear.
He tried to remember other things his mother had whispered to him so very long ago in a childhood that had always seemed somewhat dreamlike.. She had tried to warn him that he was different. She told he had memories that came from a long ago past and that he shouldn't let those memories bother him or control his life. Up until he was caught in the black hole, he had not recognized the depth of these memories. Perhaps he had been too busy with the real life of a high-guard officer? Perhaps?
Such visions or memories had recently become more frequent in their occurrence, and usually involved people. Evan Hopewell, had somehow unleashed memories of a companion from the past who he had loved maybe more than he had loved himself. He was thankful the visiting librarian had been so understanding and forgiving. Another man might have called it rape, but it was almost as if Hopewell had shared the same memories. Since Tyr's involvement with Harry Wagner, the memories had become something with which he had to deal with on a regular basis.
As a high-guard officer Dylan had been trained to use his mind to solve problems even when they could not be readily defined. Despite a strong engrained sense of right and wrong, he sometimes had to bend and stretch to accommodate the situation to his moral code. Sometimes he was more successful than others. Sometimes he just had to play it by an internal compass which pointed to a spot he was not really sure was to the north of anything.
King Erik had been one of his success stories. The young man had been able, in less than a year, to put in place a constitutional monarchy with the king serving as more than just a figurehead. He became the chief executive supervising the implementation of the parliament. Dylan's actions necessary to keep the young king from being killed before his coronation were a perfect example of the manipulations necessary to achieve a desired goal.
It had worked with Erik, and he hoped it would work with Tyr. He was even more worried than he had been a few hours before. In the ancient memories that had filled his head, it had become apparent that the man on the throne was none other than King Iphicles and the man who was fucking him was Tyr's friend Harry. He had known since first meeting him that Harry was Ares, god of war from ancient Greece; and he had this horrible suspicion that King Iphicles VI of Seolfor V might be King Iphicles of Corinth. He also felt that that both men were closely connected to him. It did not portend well for this visit.
Tyr felt uncomfortable in a high-guard uniform. Over a great deal of protest, Dylan had insisted that both Tyr and Beka arrive on the planet wearing uniforms, but without weapons. Tyr wasn't too worried; both he and Captain Hunt were skilled at hand-to-hand fighting and he had his natural bone spurs. He just worried a bit that King Ipp --whatever his name was -- might have a little something in store for them.
The planet's use of gold and silver as a common building material resulted in a feeling of Baroque excess. Craftsmen where not content to cover interior walls with gold leaf, but actually covered exterior walls with overlapping 20 cm disks of gold, probably held in place by platinum nails. They also took advantage of the metal's malleability and embossed, engraved or cast every flat surface with designs which ranged from detailed schematics of atoms to ancient cult symbols. Tyr was inwardly surprised that none of these decorations had shown up in Ares's apartments.
The cadre was lead down halls of highly polished silver which must have created a never ending maintenance task considering the elevated oxygen content on the planet. The king sat on his platinum throne and looked down on the group. Iphicles VI was a big man, with copper colored hair and he was wearing a purple robe with a lot of sliver colored, but probably platinum, ornamentation. Still Tyr was puzzled by how much the king looked like Ares. His first thought was that this was some sort of joke his friend was playing on Dylan or King Erik.
The king spoke in a language that Tyr could basically understand, but he missed some of the nuances of his verb choices. It was obviously a ghost-written speech that the King was reciting without emotion or probably understanding. However, just as he was about to finish, Tyr caught a drift about preservation of natural resources, external threats, and preparation for war. Dylan seemed to be following it, but both Erik and Beka seemed to be totally lost.
Tyr was surprised when the king changed to a language the entire group could understand and said something about his war minister, indicating that a Mr. Daryl Dvorak would be joining them later.
"The relationship I have shared with Mr. Dvorak is one of continuing trust and intimacy, and not just in matters of war. His gamesmanship is second nothing except for possibly his joy in victory." It suddenly dawned on Tyr that the joke Ares might be playing could possibly not be on Dylan, but on him. It made him feel uncomfortable. "I hope you all will get a chance to meet with him and share in our mutual good fortune to have this man at our service. Just remember that first and foremost, that the good fortune belongs to me, and he is at MY service. Understand?"
The king rose and quickly left the room.
"And what was that about Tyr?" Dylan asked.
"I was just about to ask you the same question. Interesting isn't it?" Tyr retreated into his genetically engineered Nietzschean shell.
As group was escorted to its quarters, Dylan had carefully watched his weapon's officer who still showed no emotion. The suite had four bedrooms with private baths sharing a large well furnished and well stocked common room. It was the size of a small house, but part of a huge palace complex. It was easy for Dylan to ascertain that the Tyr had been totally blindsided both by the king's appearance and his intimations.
"I have been thinking about it, Captain Hunt. The regent does look somewhat familiar, and I was wondering if this was some kind of joke."
"On whom? If, it is, I can assure you that I am not part of it," the Captain replied. "And what about his involvement of this Mr. Dvorak, what is his role in all of this?"
"It sounded to me like Dvorak was the king's lover. Certainly didn't seem like he was hiding that; more realistically, he was flaunting it. As if any of us would care!" Beka commented. "I'll be wasting a perfectly good dress on a gay King."
"I agree, there is absolutely no reason we should be interested in the king's personal affairs, but he did invite us here," King Erik commented. "He seems to have something he wants to share with us. I will be counting on you, Dylan, and Tyr, to assist me with negotiations, and I hope that you will not be affected by the king's announced life style."
"I agree entirely with you King Erik." Tyr told the younger man, "But I feel that there is more to this than meets the eye, and I strongly suspect that Captain Hunt knows something he is not revealing. Right?"
"Guess you got me there, Tyr, but I think we should discuss this privately, between ourselves." Dylan turned to Beka and King Erik and continued. "Tyr and I are going to talk a little walk along the Balcony of the Silver Stars, and I promise that when we get back, we will be prepared to discuss this matter with you. Now just take advantage of the wonderful things our hosts have stocked in this room, and we'll be ready to go in the morning. And Beka, on you, a dress is never wasted."
"Thank you, Captain."
Tyr was already at the door, he pulled on his leather coat over the high-guard uniform and was ready to go.
"My assumption, Tyr, is that every inch of public space on this planet is bugged, and that there is no private space."
"Except maybe the King's bedroom."
"And I assume, since you appeared as puzzled is I did, that the King is not your friend Harry with a bad dye job, correct?"
"Not that I know, Captain Hunt. He does look a lot like Harry though. And what about this other man, Mr. Dvorak?"
"Tyr think about it Harry Wagner, Daryl Dvorak. Do you see a connection? An obvious connection."
"Both men share surnames with classical composers from Earth. It could be a co-incidence."
"And it could just be that our friend the God of War likes cheesy aliases."
"But King Iphicles just about told us that Mr. Dvorak was his lover."
"And???" Dylan watched as Tyr's face turned pale. It wasn't often he noticed something the Nietzschean hadn't suspected. "I know I shouldn't be asking, but are you and Ares having, shall we say, problems?"
"Quite the contrary, Captain Hunt, and you are right, you shouldn't be asking, but I am willing to give you the answer, because I feel that there is more even relating to this situation than you are telling me."
"Right. And since I have reason to believe that someone on this planet will be interested in both of our activities, I suggest we walk rather quickly and not linger in any one space on the balcony…unless of course we stop to share a shall we say intimate moment."
"What are you saying, Captain Hunt? It appears the openly permissive sexuality of this planet has had an effect on you."
"No, I am saying that conclusions could be drawn from our leaving the obviously bugged suites and trying to catch a few moments of privacy in a public place. Why else would we be walking in the Balcony of the Silver Stars?"
"Perhaps, but this is slightly more convincing."
"So you are going to explain it to me, correct, Dylan?"
Dylan leaned over and kissed him softly on the lips. It was obviously part of the cover, as the kiss was closed and unemotional, totally Dylanesque. As they continued to walk, Dylan insisted that they drape their arms over each other's shoulders so they could confine their conversation to the distance of intimacy and continue the illusion of a lover's stroll.
The so called Balcony of the Silver Stars extended for almost two kilometers along the edge of the city. Because of the height of the walkway and the small size of the planet, the horizon dropped away quickly giving the impression that you were overlooking the entire visible universe and not just a salty-mineral sea.
"Tyr, this is difficult. First, because I believe Ares should have told you all of this; and, second, because although I know parts of the story, they do not all fit together smoothly."
"I don't need them to fit together smoothly, sometimes the fit is harsh and rough, Captain Hunt." They walked silently along the length of the balcony several times. Dylan had stopped and kissed him twice, each time seeming more unsure and nervous. Tyr had come here to find out the truth, not to be badly groped by his commanding officer.
"I've been looking for a spot. We don't have a lot of choices."
"In order to tell you what I have to tell you we have to create a distraction, make it look to those who are watching us, like we are…you know."
"I know what? No, I don't know. You tell me, Captain Hunt."
"I believe the best shield for what I am going to tell you, would be if I told it to you while we were…having sex."
"I've been trying to find a spot that would give us a little privacy just in case someone who didn't really want to see what we were doing passes by, but not one of the convenient and thus obviously heavily bugged alcoves."
"You lost me on the sex part, Captain Hunt. Do you really expect…?"
"Yes, I do. I expect that you want to know what I have to tell you enough that you are willing to do most anything, even let me fuck you, if it comes to that."
"Jesus Christ, what sort of idiot do you think I am?"
"I don't think you are an idiot at all. I am just not underestimating the people we are dealing with, now if you can think of a better cover, let me know. If not, I suggest we stand behind that statue over there, and you can start by giving me a blow-job. You can use your coat to partially hide..."
Even in the dark Tyr could see that Dylan had one of those thin-lipped, no- gleam in his eyes, "I'm-a-lot-more-treacherous-than-you-can-even-imagine" looks on his face. Dylan unzipped his the pants on his high guard uniform and extracted a long, thick, nicely shaped cock. The captain was not faking it. Tyr dropped to his knees, pulled the coat over his head and looked up at Dylan.
"If you start to whistle, I am going to bite it off," he said noting Dylan's pursed lips and far away gaze.
"Well, Tyr, it is like this." Dylan tried to adopt a mater-of-fact tone despite the fact that the Nietzschean was face-to-face with his erect penis. " As I said, I've known your Mr. Wagner was Ares from the very beginning. I also had a strong feeling, when I saw the name, King Iphicles VI would be sexually involved with Ares."
"And why is that, Captain Hunt?"
"As you probably also noticed, I never liked or trusted Ares very much. Sure he is the most attractive of men, if you like them big and brutish…not really my type…but he is also perfidious. I've never trusted him. However, I have to say that you seem to have brought out a side of him that I didn't expect to see. I sort of remember mostly his playing with his generals, kings, emperors and his red-headed boy-toy, Iphicles."
Tyr had begun to notice that despite Dylan's indication that this was a simulated blow-job, and his lack of interest in big, brutish men, his cock had grown even harder and was being moved with short thrusts toward Tyr's lips.
"So far you have told me very, very little that I didn't know. I quite honestly don't care about the fact that you have never trusted Ares, or that you seem to think I have been a good effect on him. Understand. What, and how, do you know about King Iphicles?"
"OK, I'll tell you what I know, but some of it is a little sketchy. Some of it seems to be based on what I call 'ancient memories' which I have never been able to quite figure out."
"Like from before the black hole."
"No, much before that. You know how people always talk about memories of their childhood that seem really clear, things you did with friends, even your first fuck. Well I don't have those. My first really clear memories were at the high-guard academy. It was like before that Dylan Hunt didn't exist and I was…I was…someone else."
"Go on, Captain Hunt, this is getting mildly interesting."
"I could do with some "mild interest" on your part, Tyr. Some indication that you are willing to oblige me in exchange for what I am going to tell you."
"Oblige you how? You cannot be serious?"
"Oh, I am serious, Tyr. You can begin by talking me into your mouth, and in exchange, I will continue talking."
"Normally, I would only consider that action only if it would be effective as a way to shut you up, but since you seem to have me in a bind… I will start, please continue and avoid the digressions." He took Dylan's cock in his mouth and began a regimen of soft licking which he hoped would produce spoken results.
"Ok, we both accept the fact that your friend Ares is a god…a immortal..right? You don't need to nod your head, it was a rhetorical question. Well I have wondered if I might have been immortal, too, which does a better job of explaining what happened to me that that black hole thing. Except my ancient memories are somewhat cloudy. I can remember my mother whispering things to me, to Dylan, but that I didn't feel that I was Dylan, yet. It was like I was in a coma, but my medical files show no indication of serious problems as a youth, so I am not really sure.
"Anyway, this is where it gets a little shaky. I feel as if I have been connected with Ares for a long time. Like I was one of his co-gods, really close. Of course, I could never tell that to anyone. I really don't know why I am telling you now, except for that thing you are doing with your tongue on the bottom… anyway he was always messing with my life. My women. Have that feeling about other women, even Sarah. Still wonder if he might not have been the man the she hooked up with after she thought I was dead, the man who fathered her children." A little nip on the end of his cock told him that Tyr was not at all interested in hearing about Sarah.
"When I saw the name King Iphicles on the invitation I realized I associated that name with Ares. I think Ares was fucking a king named Iphicles back when we were Gods together in Greece, which means that the king is either a god or an immortal. Where do you, Tyr Anasazi, fit in a relationship between two immortals? I would say not very comfortably.
"There was a part of me that wanted to keep you from finding out." It was too much for Dylan to take, he fucked Tyr's mouth with hard strokes. No amount of perceived truth and ancient memories could keep him from shooting his hot cum into the mouth of the Nietzschean. He held Tyr's trembling body to his legs until he gathered the strength to rise.
"I trust you enjoyed that, Captain Hunt. I feel that I have misjudged you. I had always considered you somewhat sexually repressed, but after that performance I feel that you are just as subtle about your sexual needs as you are for your need for power. You have managed to extract a great deal of sexual excitement and self-gratification from me in exchange for a somewhat paltry combination of repeated statements and half-truths. I feel I am entitled to more than that in exchange for me allowing you to cum in my mouth."
"I had to establish a reasonable cover, Tyr. I am still hoping that Ares will fill you in on some of the missing facts, which with all honestly, I cannot remember to a great detail. I am sorry about that, but you are pretty damn talented."
"Talented enough to be rewarded with more information. But let me assure you that the talent you have enjoyed and commented on is purely reflexive and has absolutely nothing to do with you. I am still debating the option of my insisting that you repay me in kind, which I assure you would be quite uncomfortable, as well as making it very difficult for you to talk. You'd best continue explaining, Captain Hunt."
Tyr walked away slowly. He was more unsure than ever about the motivations of Captain Hunt. He stopped, looked back, and when Dylan got closer he kissed him with a full cum-flavored kiss. "I said, please, continue."
"I have always felt, since I met Ares, a kind of deep-seated sibling rivalry. I believe Ares is my brother, and. . ."
"And. . ."
"For some reason I believe King Iphicles is my brother, also."
"That is incestuous and sick. The man I am involved would not . . .he couldn't look me in the eye…we have discussed Nietzschean philosophy… Why would he have his brother for a lover?"
"Maybe they're not brothers. Maybe I am half-brother to both of them."
"They look enough alike to be twins, except of course for the hair."
"Maybe it's another of those genetic flukes?"
"Why are you suddenly taking his side? Making excuses."
"I am thinking about you. I really don't want to hurt you any more than he has already."
"Why, Captain Hunt, for a moment there you almost convinced me that that I was dealing with someone who gave a damn about me. The part about 'not wanting to hurt me' is an ever so sweet added touch; but I certainly don't need you to keep me from getting hurt."
There were no words, no looks that Dylan could find that could convey the Tyr that he actually cared. Perhaps the sharing of indifference would suffice.
INSIDE THE PALACE
"Well, what did I tell you? I was right wasn't I? He is the guy you've been fucking." Iphicles had watched Ares shudder as he watched the two men on the balcony. It was obvious that Ares cared about one of the two men, most certainly his new sexual partner who had been keeping him occupied and away from his planet.
"Why would I get involved with your little brother, Ipfy, when I have the big-bad real you?"
"I'm not talking about Dylan, I'm talking about that walking hunk of testosterone that was down on his knees blowing him. I didn't think Nietzscheans engaged in such activities."
"What makes you think I would have any interest in a member of a species that uses sex only for procreation? I gave up the kid thing centuries ago."
"I doubt if he would be stupid enough to think he could get you pregnant. I watched you. Your eyes betrayed you. Your ears betrayed you. I saw the way you strained to hear what they were saying."
"That is because your microphone system sucks, and Dylan likes to talk a lot while he is having sex. Don't tell me you weren't interested what he was saying?"
"Your black, long haired lover sucks, Ares. Big time. Granted he is beautiful, but he is a whore. Doesn't seem to care much whose cock is in his mouth if he will do it to. . . Shit, I can't get used to calling him Dylan. Tyr is just another whore. Like all those women that you shared with Hercules in the past. Xena, Nemesis, even dear sweet Serena. All those beautiful women who preferred his goodness to your dark mystery. Stupid cunts. He's going to die like they did, and leave you broken hearted again."
"He's not like that, but yes, he IS MY lover. Perhaps I was wrong not to tell you. But those words you said, about "trust and intimacy" and "gamesmanship and victory." He's given them a new meaning. "
"You are dreaming. The same little romantic dreams you had about Xena becoming your goddess queen and ruling from Olympus. Scratch Ares's hard surface and there is an incurable, and stupid, romantic underneath."
"I'll show you fucking romantic." Ares ripped of the kings clothes and threw him over the back of the throne. Unlubricated, he thrust his cock into the king's ass and pushed deeper than he had ever done before. He dug his fingers into Iphicles's back until he drew blood and grabbed shackles he found on the floor and cuffed him in place. During the next few hours he stuffed an assortment items far more uncomfortable than his penis into the king's rectum. Sobs, pain, blood, sperm, shit blended together. Sometimes he wasn't sure that he didn't want to kill the man, and other times he wasn't sure if the king was not enjoying it.
Ares awoke in a room spattered with blood. He had fucked men who had been so seriously wounded in war that they had died during the course of the night, and the room had never looked this bad. He softly placed a finger on Iphicles's neck and felt a pulse below the skin. The king was still alive.
He had never before used his god's powers to flash into Tyr's world, but he needed to be with him immediately. Inwardly he hoped the Nietzschean would be asleep and they could just be silently together while he calmed himself and composed the necessary words to tell him what was happening; but he knew Tyr rarely slept soundly and anticipated that he was pacing the floor in his room with a growing sense of deserved rage directed at his actions. Ares decided to flash into the common room and knock on Tyr's door; he would give Tyr a chance to refuse to talk, if that is what he needed.
"I am sorry, Tyr. I acted with a degree of stupidity that I didn't even know I could slump to. Please let come in, so we can talk in private."
Tyr allowed him to enter and they sat in the hard silver chairs in the room.
"Am I incorrect that this room is bugged, and that your lover will hear everything we are about to discuss?"
"No, you're correct about the bugs, but I can assure you that the King will not be listening. Not in the state I left him."
"I believe I have been in that state a couple of times."
"Not like this you haven't, Tyr, and be thankful for it." Ares searched for any kind of look of hate, love, understanding, sympathy, concern, whatever, on the Nietzschean's face. There was none. He was not about to share.
Ares talked quickly and filled Tyr in on details of relationships, both blood and sexual. They were complicated, twisted, and full of emotions about which he now felt ashamed. He insisted that he had had nothing to do with Iphicles's planning the meeting with King Erik and his former co-regents, and that he too had been blindsided when the King insisted that he deal with the visiting dignitaries as his war minister.
"What I did do, Tyr, is pretty simple. About a year and a half ago, I was becoming bored with Iphicles. I went to this bar for a few drinks and a bit of god worship. Instead I met a man, a member of a species I had never given the time of day, who brought excitement to a life that had grown mundane and unsatisfying. When passion reappeared in my life and I felt like a god again, I should have gone to Iphicles and told him it was over. I didn't, I just stayed away and tried to hide in the vastness of the universe. An action, a mistake, for which I'm sorry.
"Then he called me for a meeting. Honestly, I just thought he wanted to fuck, and I figured I would do him, tell him, and leave; until I heard his agenda. I guess I underestimated my former lover. Misread the degree of cruelty he would exhibit to get me back. It didn't work. It almost got him killed, except he is fucking immortal."
"And perhaps, you both underestimated your current lover. The degree of treachery he would be willing to go through to keep you. Do you know if King Iphicles knows about Nietzschean sperm?"
"You are not thinking about giving the king, shall we a say a 'taste of his own medicine'."
"It would be so simple wouldn't it. You could propose a threesome, he would be so excited he wouldn't know what hit him, until immortal or not, he would be living in a world so painful he would wish he was dead. . But.. " Ares was having difficulty in reading whether Tyr was serious. It sounded like the kind of plan a Nietzschean could successfully complete.
"I wouldn't do it. I've killed a lot of men. I kill men who I think are about to kill me, usually without much of a question, and as Dylan would point out far too quickly. I'd kill to protect my friends, my crewmembers, my family, my children. I don't, however, kill for sport and certainly I don't kill for sex. Sex is a game, a power game, but it's not worth killing over."
"He'll try to kill you, you know, and you are not immortal."
"Let him, then I might consider taking action."
"A wise man once told me that I should take my sexual games more seriously. I never knew what he meant until tonight. Tyr, I think tomorrow, we should both go to talk to King Iphicles, together."
"And Dylan, together."
"But tonight, you are going to spend the rest of the night with me. You are going to lie beside me in bed, hold me tightly, kiss me gently, and fuck me until I fall asleep. And tell me Ares, why are you going to do this?"
"Because, I, Ares, God of War, love you Tyr Anasazi."
"Actually, I was expecting you to tell me you were through with playing sex games, but that'll do."