Part One: Trouble In Paradise
Notes: See the below post for why this is here, but its the start of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. Don’t read it if you don’t want to, people. If you do want to and you like it, throw me a comment, make me eager to continue :)
It was a special evening. An important evening. The inauguration of the first governor of the newly-inducted, ironically-named Federation planet Paradise was the sort of event that attention-starved socialites and wealthy provincials longed for. Any distraction from day to day life on a rock that consisted mostly of empty desert, especially from those aspects concerning the reconstruction after the war, was pathetically welcome. Every dignitary, notable and local politician who could wrangle an invitation did, and the brand-new Governor’s Mansion was packed with people wanting to see, be seen and to work out their place in the new social pecking order.
Naturally most of this sucking up was directed at the new governor, but there was plenty to go around for his family members. General Miles Caractacus didn’t have much family, just a new young wife and a son from his first marriage. Claudia, the wife, was attached to her husband’s side, a vision in a shining pearl-white dress, sleek, beautiful and attentive. Garrett, the son, was just as beautiful as his new stepmother, but unlike her he was nowhere to be seen at the moment. He had slipped outside to the veranda, and was staring out across the capitol city of Rapture at bunker-like government buildings glowing under two orange moons. He was alone, and currently wondering why.
Garrett could only assume that it was because he wanted it that way, and that was what was fucking with him. He never wanted to be alone. He was the quintessential social butterfly, an intrinsically gregarious creature who had to be the center of attention. He gloried in it; he craved it. Tonight was an evening he was made for. But for some reason he wasn’t comfortable working the crowd right now. It didn’t thrill him like it should. People flocked to him at any time: he was gorgeous, successful and known for being generous with his company (others might call him a man-whore, but they were usually the bitter ones he didn’t want to sleep with). This sort of event should have been his playground.
Mood swings weren’t unusual for Garrett. He was as attuned to his blood chemistry as any doctor could be, but this time around was different. This felt like it had been building for a while. Weeks, maybe months. He was getting tired of playing. It was…bizarre. Probably the result of all the unwholesomely vanilla influences in his life lately. His father getting married to a pretty, adoring woman that Garrett actually liked. His ex and his ex’s lover turning into his closest friends, which was more than a little screwy considering they never let him play with them. Not even when he asked nicely. Garrett sighed.
Think of the devil…Garrett glanced over his shoulder. “Wyl. Don’t you have a big, strong marine you should be dancing with?”
“Please,” Wyl scoffed, moving up to stand beside Garrett at the railing. “Robbie has two left feet. He doesn’t dance if it’s not barefoot in the kitchen.”
“He’d do anything for you.”
“I can’t dance either.” Wyl passed him a glass filled with a white, milky liquid. “Drink up, it’s on your dad.”
Garrett stared into the glass. “What is this?”
“Not what you’d like best,” Wyl replied with a crooked smile. He was an inch or so shorter than Garrett, with jet black hair tied into a short ponytail and a sharp, attractive face. He was a ship mechanic from a working-class background, and the only thing he and Garrett had in common on the surface was their interest in Robbie. “But it’s still creamy and delicious.” Inside they had a similar filthy sense of humor, though.
“So thoughtful.” Garrett took one sip, then another more appreciatively. “Nice. He imported all sorts of good stuff for this.”
“Your dad wants to get off on the right foot.”
“The politically correct and very pricey foot,” Garrett corrected. “No state funds used, the party’s coming from his personal accounts. He might as well get us all drunk and happy tonight, because tomorrow the work really gets going. Governing a recently divided, even more recently united planet with no profitable infrastructure in place apart from smuggling and a thousand different parasites waiting to descend and sink their claws into the planning is no one’s idea of a good time.”
“Your dad isn’t the type to let himself get pushed into anything. He’ll do fine.”
“I know. He’s got a good staff, he’s got Claudia. You and Robbie, and Jane. He can handle anything that comes up.”
“He’s got you, too.” Wyl grinned at him. “You might be mostly eye candy but you’ve got some skills, plus you’re his only son.”
“There isn’t much call for terraforming here; the big companies have given Paradise up as a lost cause. Apart from the greenhouses needed for food security there won’t be much to design.”
“Well there must be something else for a biochemical climawhatthefuckever to do here. People, if nothing else.”
Garrett had to force a smile, which was another weird thing. He usually reveled in his sexual freedoms, but he hadn’t slept with anyone for nearly two weeks now, and he wasn’t really interested in starting anything up with anyone. “Yes, I suppose I can always fall back on personal entertainment.”
Wyl frowned. “When’s the last time you went on a date, anyway? A real date, not a booty call?”
“Oh, sometime around that semi-suicidal mission of Robbie’s. He really has healed up fine, hasn’t he? I never know if he’s telling the truth about personal injury.”
“He’s fine now, the new leg works great, but Gare—that was six months ago.” Wyl clearly was not willing to be distracted. “You went out almost every night the first year I was here. You had boyfriends, boy toys…what’s up?”
“Nothing.” Which was technically true, his social calendar was dead except for big, unavoidable group events like this.
“Your heart rate says you’re lying.”
“Oh, fuck you and your super senses,” Garrett groused.
“Wyl, if I knew what to tell you, I would,” he said. That was true enough too. Garrett believed in being honest, especially with people he cared about. The problem was that he didn’t know what was going on with him.
“Will you tell me once you do know? Or Robbie, or your dad, or someone?”
Garrett smiled, more naturally now. It was nice to have someone worry about him. “Of course.”
“Good.” Wyl pointed at the drink. “Finish it before it gets warm, they’re gross that way.”
“Thanks, that’s incentive.” Garrett spun the glass in his fingertips, then put it down on the railing. “I’ll get a fresh one inside. I need to go back in anyway.”
“Nah, stay. The music sucks.”
Garrett rolled his eyes. “It’s a waltz. What’s not to like about a waltz?”
“Apart from the fact that listening to it makes me want to fall asleep?”
“Sounds like a fascinating conversation,” a new voice commented from the door. They both turned to look at Robbie, who came over and slipped an arm around Wyl’s waist. Garrett barely even felt a pang any more when that happened, for which he was pretty proud of himself. Robbie Sinclair was a modern day white knight, tall, good looking, the kind of guy that made going gray at the temples look sexy instead of distinguished. Garrett had long ago resigned himself to the fact that Robbie was a thing of his past, at least carnally, but that didn’t mean he had to keep his hands completely to himself.
“It was,” he said breezily, twining one of his arms with Robbie’s free one. “We were discussing who was going to get to dance with you next, and since Wyl is fighting off a bout of narcolepsy, it looks like I win.”
“I don’t dance,” Robbie said instantly, his blue eyes going a little desperate at the idea of it.
“Perfect time to learn,” Garrett coaxed, putting his cute face on. “Waltzes are easy.”
“You think global climate modeling is easy too.”
“You have the hand-eye coordination to be a sharpshooter in the Marines and yet you don’t have the foot-eye coordination to learn to waltz?” Garrett was tempted to keep up the banter, it was kind of standard operating procedure for the three of them, but he just didn’t have the energy. “Whatever. Stay out, enjoy the night air. It’s the coolest it gets on this damn planet anyway.” He turned and walked back inside, leaving his warm drink behind. He thought he heard Wyl mutter something to Robbie, but it was lost in the sudden flood of sound as the door slid open for him. Garrett squared his shoulders, dredged another smile up from somewhere and proceeded to work the room.