|Disclaimer: This story is purely fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals is purely coincidental and unintentional. Some characters may be gay and underage, and at times engage in homosexual acts. Obviously anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of story where they live. The implication that Malaysia may execute homosexuals at some time in the future is based on current events in Uganda and is not meant in any way to be a slight against the current citizens of Malaysia. The author retains full copyright and permission must be obtained prior to duplication of the story in any form.|
|About this Story: Great care has been taken to portray only that which is theoretically possible. Loran is a fictitious planet with a year that is 161.6 Earth days in length, or 44% as long as an Earth Year. A Martian year is 687 Earth days long, or 88% longer than an Earth year, and 4.25 times longer than a Loran year. A day on Loran is 23 hours, 47 minutes and thirteen seconds long, and on Mars it is 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds in length. Gravity on Loran is 67% of that on Earth and on Mars it is 38% that on Earth, which is 57% of that on Loran. Atmospheric pressure on Loran is 36% that of Earth, but the oxygen concentration is nearly three times greater, yielding a nearly identical partial pressure of oxygen. On Mars the atmospheric pressure is just 1% that on Earth, which is 2.8% of that on Loran, and the Martian atmosphere is virtually devoid of oxygen.|
"One thing I'm curious about," Steve asked one evening as we prepared our tent. "Why send manned spacecraft to meet the Cereneans? Why not send a fleet of drones instead? I mean, those fifty thousand pilots prolly aren't coming back, are they?"
"No," I admitted, "it's likely a suicide mission. The decision to ask the ultimate sacrifice of so many in the defense of Earth was not taken lightly. We would have much rather sent drones, but the Loran state-of-the-art in military artificial intelligence was nonexistent when I left and, surprisingly, the Cereneans' was not much better. To them life is cheap, so why waste resources developing AI. Your development of military AI is eons ahead of ours and, coupled with our computer technology, we might be able to develop some very sophisticated drones. There just wasn't time.
"One thing that has been kept top-secret, however, is that the weapons on board each spacecraft are a hybrid of Cerenean and human technology. We adapted your 'smart bomb' technology, so the pilots will be able to guide the weapons directly to their targets.
"Rather than accelerating and then decelerating to engage the Cereneans, the Earth fleet will accelerate all the way there. The missiles launched by each spaceship will be able to decelerate very rapidly and at G-forces no human could ever tolerate, maneuvering and targeting enemy spacecraft that will be trying to evade and destroy them. In the meantime, those of our spacecraft that survive will overshoot the Cerenean invasion fleet. It will take them three times as long to decelerate, turn around and travel back to earth as it took them to reach the invasion fleet in the first place. By then, the battle for Earth may well be over, one way or the other."
"We'll never allow the Cereneans to take Earth," Steve said matter-of-factly. "If it comes down to it, we'll fight them hand-to-hand in the streets."
"That's one advantage humans may have over Lorans . . . you're used to violence and willing to die to protect your freedom. Lorans hadn't had a war in hundreds of years. We just didn't know how to fight.
"Hopefully it won't come to that," I tried to reassure Steve, "but even if it does, it won't take long for the Cereneans to start getting sick."
"What do you mean?" Steve asked. "I thought Lorans and Cereneans couldn't catch human diseases."
"Uh-oh," I practically gasped. "This is really, really top-secret and I wasn't going to tell you about it, but we've engineered a biological weapon . . . a Cerenean virus. I'd never heard of biological weapons until the Russian President mentioned the idea, but it was very easy to manufacture a virus that attacks the Cereneans. Humans and Lorans are naturally immune to it. We designed it to spread rapidly, but with a long period of dormancy so they won't realize they've been infected.
"We've actually designed the weapons on the spaceships that are being sent to engage the Cereneans to secretly disperse the virus into the Cerenean invasion fleet in advance of their arrival on Earth. Once they get here, we'll disperse a spore form of the virus into the atmosphere. Unless they somehow catch on and take precautions, they won't know what hit them."
As a comfortable silence descended upon us, I realized that Steve seemed to be lost in thought. Finally he asked, "You said that your mission was to establish a remote Loran outpost and then transmit the coordinates to the resistance back home. If you were to transmit the formula for the virus back to the resistance, would they have the ability to manufacturer it?"
Steve's question was a true epiphany. I'd always assumed the only way to dislodge the Cereneans from Loran would involve a mammoth invasion fleet and would take centuries. Transmitting the know-how for a biological weapon wouldn't require any resources to speak of, and the transmission would reach Loran in only twenty-five years. But . . .
"There are two problems I see with the plan," I replied. "For one thing, there are thousands of Cereneans that make up a 'fifth column' on Loran. When they saw what life was like on Loran before the invasion, they realized how fucked-up Cerenean society was. They've been secretly aiding the resistance movement since the beginning. The virus would kill indiscriminately, killing the good Cereneans as well as the bad. Secondly, transports are constantly en-route between Loran and Cerenea. Unless the Cereneans recognize what is happening quickly and implement a quarantine of all vessels, chances are unacceptably high that the virus will reach Cerenea and wipe out the entire population. As much as we hate the Cereneans, we are not about to commit genocide."
"Why don't you engineer the virus so that there's an antidote . . . a simple drug that can cure it," Steve suggested. Then you could provide the antidote to the fifth column, and use the formula for the antidote to negotiate an unconditional surrender by the Cerenean home world."
"That . . . might . . . work . . ." I realized, "and if we get started on it now, we might even be able to transmit the formulae for the virus and the antidote to the resistance in advance of word getting back to them about the defeat of the invasion force. Yes, I like your plan, sweetheart. I just hope the encryption codes I have are still valid, and that they haven't been compromised by the Cereneans. We were given specific codes for our mission that were supposed to never be used for anything else."
Getting out the satellite phone, I called Albert and discussed Steve's idea with him. To say he was elated would have been an understatement. We agreed to discuss the specifics in the coming days, once he'd had a chance to vet the idea up the chain of command.
Turning to my boyfriend, I said, "Steve, you're a genius. You're pretty damn smart for a human."
"What do you mean by, 'for a human'?" He asked with a menacing voice, and then he pounced on me, knocking me to the ground. It didn't take him long to pin me, since I'm so much heavier in Earth's gravity than what I was used to back on Loran, and even more so back on Mars.
"All right! I give!" I protested. "Humans are much smarter than Lorans . . . stronger too."
"That's better," he said as he got up off of me.
Brushing the sand off of my body that had stuck to my sweaty skin, I mentioned, "We need to be careful of poisonous snakes and lizards that inhabit the desert. We probably shouldn't go rolling around on the ground, particularly in the evening and at night."
"Yikes, I hadn't thought of that," Steve admitted.
"Let's set up our tent and sleeping bags, and then we can 'wrestle' to our hearts' content," I said suggestively.
"Oh baby, I like that plan," Steve replied.
It only took about fifteen minutes to set up the tent, and then zip our sleeping bags together inside. Slipping out of our meager clothing, we slipped into the tent and started snuggling and making out on top of the sleeping bags. Our kissing progressed to sucking, licking and nibbling at our most sensitive spots. Soon, Steve was driving me crazy by sucking on my forniculus and licking my perinaculum, while I sucked his penis, licked his scrotum and 'rimmed' his anal orifice. I had to admit that at first, the idea of licking that part of Steve kind of grossed me out, but when I found how pleasantly aromatic the area really is and how much pleasure Steve derives from it, I was hooked.
After nearly an hour of driving each other crazy with our foreplay, I found myself buried deep inside of Steve. There was something incredibly sensual about being inside Steve's most personal anatomy. For one thing, it was much tighter than any perinaculum ever could be, and the sensations his anal contractions instilled in me were simply indescribable. For Steve's part, the sensation of my forniculus hitting his prostate was something he said couldn't even be described in the English language. To top it off, the lips of my perinaculum would latch onto Steve's scrotum and penis, intensifying his pleasure a thousand fold as he liked to say.
Once we'd satisfied ourselves, we got into the sleeping bags and snuggled up with each other in the nude. It wasn't long before sleep overtook us.
It was two days later that our defensive attack force left Earth orbit. The sight was spectacular as tens of thousands of propulsion plumes flared. The entire sky was filled with scintillating streaks of light. A great deal of hope was riding with those spaceships. If they failed in their mission and more than half the Cerenean fleet got through, there was no way the defensive weapons positioned in far Earth orbit nor the ones in hardened silos underground could counter the Cerenean threat.
It was nearly a week later when Albert finally got back to me regarding what was being codenamed 'Operation Cerenecide'. The good news was that the virologists who'd worked with me in developing the original Cerenean virus already had a tentative plan for an antidote. By adding a segment of DNA that coded for human m-RNA, it would be possible to block viral replication using a simple amino acid that was common on Earth but that both Cereneans and Lorans lacked. Because they even lacked a mechanism to digest and absorb the amino acid, the antidote could only be given by injection and it would need to be administered in small quantities on a daily basis.
After making sure that everything would be done to insure the safety of the virus, I gave Albert the codes necessary to unlock the most secretive portions of the database on my ship. From there he could extract the necessary encryption algorithms to use in contacting the Loran resistance.
Finally, the time for engagement was upon us. Our defensive fleet was in position and racing toward the Cereneans at a speed of roughly 3% that of light. They would meet the Cereneans at a distance of about two billion miles from Earth, just inside the orbit of neptune. The battle would be brief and, hopefully, decisive. Steve and I were glued to CNN as they reported what little was known about the battle.
It was several hours later before we knew the full outcome of the battle. Operation Locust had been a success. 38% of the Cerenean invasion fleet had been destroyed outright, and another 19% had been disabled to the extent that they would be unable to slow down without zipping harmlessly past Earth. That still left 43% of the fleet intact, however, which would be more than enough to mount a successful invasion of Earth. In all likelihood, the Cereneans would succeed in capturing portions of the Earth before the virus took effect. Not reported in the news media was the fact that our fleet reported successful inoculation of nearly every remaining ship in the Cerenean fleet. It was now a matter of when and not if the Cereneans would be repelled.
Miraculously, we lost only 28% of our ships. The remaining 72% had survived and would be returning back to Earth in just over three weeks. The Cerenean fleet would arrive in just over one week. The virus would hopefully become active within days of their arrival.
Having done everything that I could have done for the humans, it was now just a matter of time. Over the next several days Steve and I explored Escalante canyon, enjoying its natural beauty and doing our best to keep out of harm's way. We did little more than forage, eat, drink, explore, and make love. Wow, did we make love - sometimes several times a day. Steve's sexual appetite was every bit as powerful as mine. It was more than sex, however - much more. We loved each other so much, it was almost as if we were a single entity.
The weather grew uncomfortably hot as we waited for the arrival of the Cereneans. Keeping clean was a challenge, as the Escalante River was down to a mere trickle of icy water - enough to drink, but not enough to bathe in. The one saving grace was that we each found the other's smell to be delightfully erotic, even though I thought I smelled really rank. In spite of the heat, we continued to make frequent love to one another. We could never get enough.
The arrival of the Cereneans was heralded by streaks of missile plumes in the sky as our space-based defense systems kicked into high gear. Whereas the Cereneans relied largely on high energy and particle beam weapons, we were employing simple kinetic missiles, some of which were tipped with antimatter warheads. Even if the Cereneans managed to destroy an oncoming missile, the resulting fragments could still do considerable damage and the remnants of an antimatter core could still penetrate the hull of a Cerenean ship. A swarm of missiles could also tie up the Cereneans' beam-based weapons, keeping them from using them offensively. Most importantly, we had the resources to launch far more missiles than to generate the energy needed to operate just a handful of beam-type weapons.
When I saw our ground-based weapons being launched, I knew that at least some of the Cerenean ships had broken through our space-based defenses. Each rocket carried a cluster of antimatter warheads, any one of which could destroy a Cerenean ship, but the Cereneans' particle-beam weapons could ignite a warhead before it got close enough to be a threat.
When I saw streaks of light heading across the sky toward Earth, I knew we were in trouble. "They're using offensive missiles," I commented to Steve. "I've never known the Cereneans to do that. Usually, they use high-energy beams to take out the military installations and neutron particle beams to 'sterilize' areas of resistance without destroying the cities' infrastructure. They then follow that up with massive drop ships laden with ground troops.
"The only reason to use offensive missiles would be to wreak massive destruction," I theorized. "A single antimatter warhead can, literally, wipe a city off the map."
Just then, a brilliant flash of light lit up the horizon to the north. Soon, a mushroom cloud could be seen extending into the sky.
"That was Salt Lake City," I noted with sadness in my voice. "Salt Lake-Provo is a major tech corridor. The Cereneans I knew would have preferred to spare the infrastructure so they could make use of it. I think that perhaps by wiping out so much of their fleet, we made them desperate. That, and perhaps they're trying to send us a message . . . they're punishing us for our attempt at defense."
"What can we do about the Cerenean attack?" Steve asked.
"There really isn't anything we can do for the moment. We can only hope that we eliminated enough of their ships to keep them from mounting a successful invasion, but if they take out enough of our cities, we'll be sitting ducks when the reinforcements arrive."
"Fuck!" Steve exclaimed.
"Yeah, fuck," I agreed.
Fortunately, we never did see any more mushroom clouds in spite of our relative proximity to Las Vegas to the southwest and Phoenix to the south. Hopefully that meant the Cereneans' resources were limited, forcing them to target only strategically important cities. That probably meant that in America, New York, Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles were gone. If they bothered to take out Salt Lake City, then the San Francisco Bay Area would have been one of their prime targets. Seattle, Denver and Boston, too. Hell, Livermore would have been one of their first targets. We didn't speak about it, but I think instinctively Steve knew that just as I did.
It was about a week later that we saw the first drop ships entering the atmosphere. That meant that the last of our defensive weaponry had been exhausted or failed. The Cereneans could now strike at us with impunity. The virus was our only hope.
Steve and I took to hiding during the day and moving our campsite each and every night. It was doubtful that we would see any Cereneans in our remote corner of the planet, but we weren't taking any chances.
It was just over a week later when Steve asked, "What's that horrible smell?"
"I don't smell anything," I replied.
"I can't believe you don't smell it," Steve continued. "It's very pungent . . . like rotting flesh. It's horrible."
Just then, there was a wind gust and I smelled what Steve was talking about. It was a smell I was all-to-familiar with from my early childhood - a smell that was pervasive on Loran.
"It doesn't smell that strong to Lorans," I commented, "but that is the smell of the Cereneans." Then I said, "Come, we need to hide."
We found a small cave, just barely large enough to accommodate the two of us, and drew our guns and waited. It didn't take long. We soon found ourselves face-to-face with about a dozen Cerenean soldiers. One of them was holding some sort of hand-held tracking device and when he spotted us, he said in Cerenean, "Here he is."
Before we could even take aim, there were a dozen high-energy beam weapons trained on us. Much as I would have liked to have at least taken one or two of the Cereneans out, attempting to do so would have only gotten us vaporized.
They took Steve and me to a drop ship to our south, where we were separated. I was loaded onto a shuttlecraft and transported to one of their mother ships in Earth orbit. I had no idea if Steve was even dead or alive. I was devastated.
Locked in a holding cell, it was two days before anyone even came to get me. I feared that the virus would take effect in the meantime, leaving me locked in my cell to starve to death. Fortunately for me, but not for the humans, the virus was taking a bit longer than expected to work.
Finally, I was brought before a Cerenean commander. Strapped down tightly into a chair and with bright lights shining into my face, he told me in Cerenean, "Lansley, I take it, is your name. Your DNA matches that of a child who escaped from Loran more than thirty Earth years ago.
"The humans used weapons against us that they should not have had. They put up an impressive show of force, but it was still not enough to prevent our inevitable victory. However, for the crime of transferring advanced technology to the humans, you will face trial and be publicly executed. The trial will begin in three Earth weeks. Until then, you will remain in the brig on this ship."
The commander had me returned to my cell, where I remained for the time.
It was three days later that I noticed the guard outside my cell was sweating profusely and was lethargic. I called him over to me and said, "If you help me escape back to Earth, I will see to it that you are cured. If you do not help me, you will die within two days. If you tell anyone we had this conversation, I will not help you and you will die in extreme pain."
"You . . . you know what this illness is? Everyone's sick. You really think you can cure me?" the guard asked.
"I know I can. It is unfortunate that in all likelihood, your people killed most if not all of the scientists who designed the virus during the opening volley in the battle for Earth. Still, I know enough about the virus that I can cure you of it, but I can only do so using facilities on the planet's surface.
"Do not even think of turning me in," I continued. "I would rather die a painful death than do anything to help the Cereneans escape the pandemic. Everyone is going to die no matter what. You might as well at least save yourself."
"How do I know you will keep your word?" he asked.
"Because I'm a Loran. Loran's do not deceive."
Nodding his head, the guard punched in a code on his console and moments later, my cell door opened. "Come, we must go quickly," he said.
As we descended into Earth's atmosphere, I listed some cities and asked which ones had been spared. Surprisingly, Atlanta was one of them and so I told him to take us there. Not surprisingly, the city was in lock-down when we arrived. Bluffing our way through the city and pretending to look like he knew where we were going, the guard transported me to the Centers for Disease Control.
Amazingly, the virologists with whom I'd worked were still at their jobs. It turned out that the Cerenean forces had been so decimated that they were having a hard time controlling the population, let alone overseeing humans in important positions. Since the CDC was not a military installation, it was permitted to remain open - at least for the time being. The Cereneans obviously were not expecting a biological weapon.
Turning to the guard, the lead scientist said, "We do have a cure for the virus, but we fear you will tell your people about us and then we will be taken into custody, or perhaps our families will be taken from us to force us to cure everyone. Therefore, we are willing to cure you only if you agree to allow us to lock you up until the rest of the members of the Cerenean invasion force are dead and if you will cooperate fully with us afterwards. The cure takes a few weeks to become effective and if you do not cooperate, we will allow the virus to kill you."
After I translated this into Cerenean, the guard replied, "That seems reasonable, however I must caution that I do not have a high enough security clearance to access the most sensitive information . . . the information that will be the most useful to you, but I can get you into the network. From there the rest will be up to you. Just please, please cure me." I then translated this into English.
"Your help will be appreciated," the scientist replied and I translated, "but you are not the only one to whom we've made this offer." I was surprised to say the least. "We already have access to the most sensitive areas of the Cerenean network, but we will need all the help we can get to prepare for the next attempted invasion. So long as you cooperate, you and the others will be allowed to remain here on Earth. If you ever stop cooperating with us, we will see to it that you're returned to your own people for them to do with you as they see fit."
After I finished translating this into Cerenean, the guard answered, "After witnessing first-hand the courage of your people and the brutality of mine, I have no reservations about helping you."
"Excellent, then," the scientist replied. "We will proceed."
In less than a week, the only Cereneans left alive on Earth were those who had cooperated with us and a handful of Cereneans that seemed to be immune. All but seventy-nine Cereneans out of an invasion force of one hundred thousand were dead. Unfortunately as we'd feared, we quickly learned there was an occupation force already on the way. We would have less than three years to prepare for its arrival, and that was in the face of the loss of close to fifty of the Earth's largest cities, more than a half-billion people and the onset of a mild 'nuclear' winter. Our initial defense force returned to a planet that was vastly different than the one they'd left less than a month before.
In the face of the chaos that ensued after the collapse of the Cerenean invasion, finding Steve proved to be exceptionally difficult. He meant everything to me, however, and I would not rest until I found him or had proof that he was dead.
The Cerenean heroes, as we came to call them, were very eager to help me find my 'friend'. By tapping into the Cerenean prisoner database, which was extensive and thorough, we found that Steve had been taken to a prison in Malaysia, of all places. Needless to say, I hopped on the first transport I could find and headed to Malaysia.
When I got there, I found that the prison Steve was taken to had been 'liberated', but that Steve was taken to another prison, a Malaysian prison, when someone noted that the Cerenean prison roster listed him as a homosexual. How the fuck did the Cereneans find out he was gay? Why would the Cereneans care? What the fuck did his sexuality have to do with anything? As it turned out, it had a lot to do with everything.
Malaysia is a Muslim country and homosexuality is considered a grave sin in their religion. Actually, the same is true of Judaism and Christianity, but the Malaysians actually enforced religious law. Once again I was forced to face the differences between Loran and Human concepts of life and how they differed to the point where religion on Earth sometimes became an enemy to life itself. After searching from one Malaysian prison to the next, a process that took months, the trail ended - with his execution two days before my arrival in Malaysia. The love of my life was dead.
From that time forward, I hated humanity. True, Steve was a human and there were many wonderful humans with whom I'd worked for the past year, but how could humans allow such injustices to continue? Perhaps Earth really did need to survive its own internal wars to emerge as a just, peaceful and unified society.
The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of David of Hope in editing this story this story and Alastair in proofreading it, as well as the support of Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Nifty for hosting it. This story was written as part of the 2010 Gay Authors Summer Anthology.