Part Twelve: Know Thyself
Notes: This is the next part of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (titled Bonded, as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. This part’s shorter, but I’m laying groundwork here. Enjoy!
Garrett didn’t try to find out Jonah’s last name. He wasn’t the type to pine over a hookup, and if Jonah had woken up that morning and decided to get out while the getting was good, then that was his prerogative. If it stung more than a little bit, well, that came with the territory too. It had been nice. Great. Fantastic even, and that was all Garrett could rightfully ask.
He didn’t even scan peoples’ faces over the next few days, just to check for him. There was no way a drifter like Jonah was going to Pandora. Whatever the man’s business with the expedition had been, it was likely over and done with now, and he was on his way back to his huge, lumbering, hodgepodge of a ship, with more nooks and crawlspaces than most cities. That was how drifter clans lived, and that was how they liked it.
The launch of the Neptune itself Garrett missed, which he was fine with. It was an overblown event anyway, and why certain governments still found it amusing to waste perfectly good champagne on the sides of ships was just beyond him. Garrett spent the morning in his apartment instead, loading a picture of the Aurora nebula into the photorealistic cloth covering his walls and ignoring the faint shudders of the colony ship as it clawed free of Olympus’ atmosphere. He modified the picture to gently spin, then sat back on his still horribly beige couch and watched it for a while. There were worse ways to get over a sudden onset of melancholy, he figured.
After a while, he reached over and grabbed the journal off the counter. As soon as he touched the disc, the floppy-eared cartoon operator appeared. It wiggled its pink nose alluringly and said, “Ready to record?”
Garrett smiled at the buffo quality of the critter’s deep voice. “Why not? Go on.”
“Journal record two, beginning.”
“I’m hoping to start a trend with this,” Garrett said languidly, stretching his legs out on the couch. “Not a generalized ‘grown adults confessing to using children’s toys’ trend, but a personal trend. I had the best sex I’ve had in possibly years last night after the shame of pouring my heart out to an inanimate object forced me off my ass. If the same thing happens today, then you can bet I’m going to be journaling on a very regular basis. Several times a day, if I can work it. On the other hand, if last night was a fluke and I’m looking forward to another stretch of reluctant celibacy, then I want to make sure I have this to listen to later, to prove to my poor ossifying penis that I did actually have sex with this man.
“His name was Jonah, and he was the most delicious, commanding supplicant I can remember being with. It’s kind of hard to convey the feel of someone who’s both desperately appreciative and sensually demanding, but Jonah completely owned that line. He was one of my favorite types, long and lean everywhere, except his dick; that was thicker than my wrist. I’ll be feeling that inside me for several days, and I already wish the feeling would last longer. I really wish he had stayed for coffee. I wish I hadn’t met him the day before this show gets on the road, because I really would have enjoyed fucking him more regularly. I wish…”
Garrett shut the journal. The operator winked out, and he tossed the thing onto his coffee table. “Wishing, right, that’s a logical response. There’s the scientific course of action to take, you moron.” He frowned. His mood was low. Really low. Post-orgasmic letdown, or a true chemical problem? Garrett decided to visit the infirmary and find out. What the hell, it was his day off and he hadn’t been since the day he first came aboard.
The Pandora expedition was extremely well staffed medically. Because the autodocs would only work on people who could use regenerative medicine, there were doctors on board the Neptune that specialized in everything from pregnancy to the elderly, sniffles to cancer. Many of them were naturals themselves, which explained why they’d chosen to dedicate themselves to obscure branches of care. Garrett could have gone to an actual person in the infirmary, there were always several professionals staffing it, but when the nurse checking him in asked if he had a preference, he asked for a private autodoc booth.
“Are all your medical records uploaded into our system?” the nurse asked.
“Yes.” Garrett handed over his ID and let the nurse scan it. The man frowned.
“Our records show you were in here less than a month ago. You shouldn’t need a shot of Regen for another three months. May I ask why you feel you need to see a doctor?”
“Blood chemistry,” Garrett said shortly. Could this man not read?
“Oh.” The nurse scanned a little further. “Oh! Volatile metabolizer, huh? Better safe than sorry, then. Booth Two is free.”
“Thanks.” Garrett took his badge back and walked into the infirmary, rolling his eyes at having to explain his presence in a goddamn infirmary. Maybe naturals had to be more fulsome about their every ache and pain, but most of the people Garrett had ever interacted with on a medical level had been more than happy to shove him towards the nearest autodoc and let it take care of things.
Garrett stepped into the booth and was greeted by his second hologram of the day. This one was an white-clothed androgynous figure with a soothing voice. “Good morning, Doctor Caractacus. Please place your hand into the gauntlet.” He slid his hand into the oversized glove, felt the tiny, painless pricks of different probes taking readings, and then all of it was loaded into the central computer. The hologram appeared to glance down at a clipboard.
“Your serotonin levels are very high. Do you have a headache?”
“A slight one.”
“Some of your other neurotransmitter levels are either above or below your normal thresholds. Have you been stressed at work lately?”
“Hmm. I’m going to regulate your levels now, and I recommend you come in and see me again in one week to verify that you’re back on track.” Garrett heard the faint pneumatic hiss of a medgun and felt a brief spot of coolness in the back of his hand. “Is this acceptable to you?”
“Good. I’ll have the system send you a reminder. Thank you for coming in today, Doctor Caractacus.” The hologram disappeared, and the green light above the gauntlet meant that Garrett could remove his hand safely. He did so, checking the skin for redness out of habit before leaving the booth. He headed straight for the exit.
Meaning…what, him? Garrett was the only other person around, so the nurse had to mean him. He turned back towards the man. “Yes?”
“Have you signed up yet for your first aid class?”
Garrett blinked. “Excuse me?”
“The mandatory first aid classes. You know, first aid for naturals? It was one of the standard clauses in the medical section of your contract. It’s just that we have an opening in our class tomorrow if you’d like to sign up now.”
He wondered if the nurse could hear his teeth grinding from across the room. First aid classes. Right, because when a natural stubbed a toe you couldn’t just stick them in the nearest autodoc, you had to kiss it better too. That was sure to be exhilarating. God damn fucking contract. “I have work tomorrow. I’ll check my schedule, though.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Garrett left the infirmary and headed for the gym. He needed to work off his pissy mood somehow, and in lieu of sparring with Robbie or yoga with Wyl, he’d gone back to running for exercise. It wasn’t difficult for him, he could do alone and on a ship this size, he could practically log it as having a practical application for his work. There was a silver lining to every cloud. See? His mood was improving already.