A Bathys Serial
by Nial Thorne
As I said before, I'm planning to do a variety of things here. This is the start of a serial, or maybe a soap opera, that is, a story with an unknown number of episodes, going it's not quite clear where. There are lots of serials on Nifty, but I've never tried to write one before, so watch out. As is the rule for serials, there will be several story lines; partly they'll bump into each other, and partly they won't. Please let me know if you think it's not working. Or if you think it is.
For people who don't like serials: don't worry, there will be other kinds of stories here soon.
Usual warnings. Reading further constitutes an unambiguous gesture of assent to the statement: I am not a minor person, nor in the company of a minor person. The story and the Bathys scenario are copyright © 2002 Nial Thorne. You may copy this for your own private use; all other rights reserved.
Comments very welcome at Nial_Thorne@hotmail.com
Year 1 BE. We start on the day after the party at the end of "Roots"...
The huge mound of embers was still glowing when the eastern sky began to show red, and the stars faded into the indigo of the dawning sky.
The stage, now empty, stood with its bunting torn; the chairs and tables, tipped and damp with dew, dishes and glasses, clothes, food, littered the beach, and it was silent, silent apart from the endless lapping of the lake waters, grey in the cold twilight. And now, silent too, the robots appeared, dozens of them, gliding over the sand, carrying away, piling up, sorting.
Alone by the edge of the water he stood, close to the remains of the fire, keeping himself warm; red hair combed back, shirt open, tight black trousers and boots, a man in his early forties, gazing out across the water, arms folded; thinking, a slight smile, considering.
The robot, extinguisher at the ready, paused by the fire.
"What is the time, Bathys?"
"Five thirty-three, my Lord."
He seemed to wait, to wait for half an hour or more, as the sky grew brighter. Then, suddenly, he put his fists on his hips, bent back and laughed, laughed upwards into the dome two miles above. And he strode off; and a few minutes later there was the sound of his flitter, chattering its way into the east.
The fire erupted into steam as the robot did its work. And far, far away to the north, cries could be heard, high, breathless, melancholy, and a watcher could have seen, at the limit of vision, tiny shapes wheeling and dipping across the waters, with the mist-wreathed impossible face of the mountains behind.
I woke early that morning, October 2, the second day of Year 1 of the Bathys Era.
Paul was sleeping quietly beside me, curved on his side, his curly hair spread out round his head and one fist beside it on the pillow. It was warm in my bedroom and we had slept under just a single sheet, and it outlined his body, lean and rangey, the rounds of his arse, the slim muscles of the thighs and calves. He looked young, younger than his fourteen years; his pale eyelashes were curled and babyish, his mouth slender, the nose absurdly small. My son, the Prince of Bathys.
I slipped gently out of bed, not wanting to disturb him. We had got to bed late the night before after the wild celebration on the beach, and had gone to sleep at once. We had both been exhausted.
Glass doors gave from the bedroom onto the lawn. Quietly I opened them, and a slight breeze stirred the white linen curtains. I crept, naked, out into the garden and found a bench under an apple tree, its yellowing leaves fanned out on the grass around me. Autumn was upon us, and although the sun was still warm, soon it would start to grow cold. I noticed a wren scuttling through the nearby hedge.
"Bathys, my dear, please fetch me a cup of coffee."
"Yes, your grace."
It was pure laziness to get the computer to do this, but I did not care. This was the time for it. Paul and I, we both needed a holiday; he in particular. I was concerned at how he had worn himself out during the Gathering, and I had not forgotten that mad, tremendous week when more than 1200 boys had been brought into Bathys, and I had been obliged to order him to rest. He had been forced to take too much responsibility. It was time for him to be a boy again.
King of Bathys! King of 12,000 people, King of nearly 2000 square miles of my underground Realm. What an amazing turn my life had taken! It was almost too much to comprehend. For five years we had worked, the Lords and I, and later, the Knights and Ladies too, for this moment. For five years we had dreamed and built, and risked everything we had and were; and now, now it was complete. There was nothing more to do.
A robot brought me the coffee, and I inhaled it gratefully. I felt at a loss, strangely useless and purposeless. My son had asked me only a couple of days before: what were my plans? I had none. For those five years, I had not even considered what I would do once the great project was finished; it had consumed my consciousness and my every thought. A powerful man such as I had been rarely found himself in a situation like this. He was powerful, yes, but his power was exercised in response to the problems he faced, problems which had to be handled if he was not to be destroyed. I was not stupid enough to suppose that such a man was a slave to his circumstances, but there were certainly ways in which he was not entirely free. But now - now, within the bounds of Bathys, I was free. And like many a slave newly freed, I was finding that freedom brought its own problems.
There was Paul, of course. In a way, Bathys had been created for him, as a place where we could be together. Together! And we were together, and it was all I could possibly have hoped for, and more. The tags on his collar showed that, the tags that announced to the world that we were more than father and son: that we were lovers, too; those tags, which to start with he had found so terrifying, and which were now his pride. Yes! We were together, and now there was nothing we could not do with each other, if we both wished. Paul was the only remaining project in my life, and I would work on him with all the care and energy that I had used in the building of Bathys herself.
"Yes, son, here I am."
I stepped into the room and sat down on the bed, stroking his hair.
"Hello, Prince," I said quietly.
"Hello, your grace."
We smiled at each other, as if a secret joke lay betweeen us. He rolled onto his back and held out his arms, like a toddler.
I leant over and kissed him gently, and his arms folded round my head. His mouth opened and he pressed me to himself, running his tongue across my teeth, and little moans came from him.
I flung back the sheet, and he was naked, naked and hard, and yellow bars of sunlight fell across the cage of his chest, his taut stomach. I bit his nipple firmly, enjoying the writhing of his body and his tight groans, and then took his teenaged dick in my mouth, and it was hard, morning hard, harder than it had ever been in my mouth; and as is sometimes the case at that hour, it took a long while to bring him to the point, and I savoured him, communed with him, as his body twisted beneath me, his hands running through my hair. And then he stiffened, his body arched off the bed and I felt him pulse, tasted him in my mouth, and he was copious now, no longer a child, flooding me; and he collapsed, writhing and screaming.
I slid up to his face and kissed him again, softly, my mouth still tasting of him, and he quietened.
"No," I said. "Not now. I'd rather stay horny just now."
"You feel that sometimes? I do too, sometimes..."
I held him loosely, thinking many things, and knowing that if we wanted, they would come true.
"Why should I fetch the fucking breakfast?"
Jack had this way of flinging himself into anger whenever he was crossed. He annoyed the pants off me, to be honest, but I didn't let it show. I turned away from him and looked out of the window. Our Flat was a good fifty feet up, and the view across the Downs to the Lake beyond was breathtaking.
"I got it yesterday," I said.
"I don't see why I should do it every day."
"Cos you're a teacher's arse-licking dweeb, that's why!" he yelled.
"It's your turn!"
"Oh, for the love of Mike!" said Liam, emerging from his room in a rumpled white tunic. "Get Bathys to bring it if you can't be bothered! Waking us all up!"
"So? And how do we do that?" said Jack.
"Bathys? Bring us breakfast for six," said Liam. "And please, please don't wake me up in the mornings, okay? Especially when I've got company."
"Company?" said Jack. "Who - who the fuck's that?"
A kid I'd never seen before appeared from Liam's room, yawning.
"This is Janek," said Liam.
"Hello," said the boy, sleepily. He was about fourteen, a year younger than the rest of us, brown-haired and thin, and completely naked.
"What the fuck? What's he doing here?"
"What do think?" said Liam.
Liam just laughed, and Jack lost it.
"Okay, you be a fucking poof, then! Just, you try anything with me and I'll fucking kill you! That applies to him too." He turned away. "Makes me sick. Jesus! If it isn't bad enough with the sodding grownups, and then there's that creep David, going after Darnley, fucking cocksucker..."
"Lay off David," I said. "He's had enough to deal with. You know it, Jack. You saw, the last time they birched him..."
"But he still goes creeping after Darnley! It's sick!"
"What's all the noise?" said a tiny voice.
"Nothing, Rhys," said Liam. "Just Jack being an arsehole."
Rhys was only eight, and I think even Jack felt protective towards him. He had on a white tunic, too, but his was back-to-front.
"I'm not angry with you, kid," he grunted. "Just these faggots."
"What's a faggot?"
"A boy who sucks people's dicks."
"Oh. I suppose I'm a faggot, then," said Rhys.
"You suck people's dicks?"
"My dad made me. They paid him twenty bucks for me to suck their dicks and fifty to fuck me. When's breakfast? I'm hungry."
The casual way he said this in his lilting Welsh voice froze my marrow.
"Didn't you mind?" said Jack, staring at him in horror.
For a moment Rhys was silent.
"I minded," he said. "I think I minded - more than anything I've ever minded. But now I'm here and it'll never happen again."
"Don't you listen, kid?" said Jack. "The whole lot of them, they're all after boys. Every fucking one of them. They'll all..."
"No they won't," said Rhys. "Not if I don't want them to. That's what the Prince said to me."
At that moment two robots brought our breakfast, and we all dug in. Maybe the smell woke David, because a moment later he appeared, wearing the blue tunic he had on the night before.
"Here's the other faggot," said Jack nastily. "Creepy creepy Mr Arselicker Faggot himself."
"I think you are a very rude person," said Janek carefully.
"Yeah, right. Why shouldn't I be? Look at him! Bet his fucking arsehole hurts this morning..."
"He didn't touch me."
"I don't believe you, slimeball."
"I don't care whether you believe me or not." Jack made a being-sick noise. "You listen to me, Jack. I know all about being fucked, pal. That's what happened to me back home in Croatia. Five bloody great soldiers, that's what it was the first time, then they killed my folks and took me away, and it was that every day after that, till the peacekeepers got me. So I know what I'm talking about."
"You never said," Jack whispered, appalled.
"No. I didn't want people like you to call me a poof and beat me up."
"I - I wouldn't..."
"Well, I thought you would," said David drily. "I wonder why."
"Still no reason for you to creep after Darnley to do the same thing."
"When they were - they were birching me at the home, and keeping me in solitary, and giving me no food, who was the only person who helped me? Mr Darnley, that's who. Not you, not anyone else, just him. That's why I love him, and I think you're an arsehole."
"You are a faggot."
"Sure I am. You know what? No one here gives a damn, except you. I think I'll live."
Jack turned away in disgust, his red hair falling over his eyes. But Janek immediately started to talk to David in what I supposed was Croatian, and in a moment they were nattering away, and soon shouting and laughing together.
"Oh fuck it," said Jack. "Where's that place with the boats? I want to go there. Get out on the water, away from everyone."
"That sounds just great," said Liam. "The sooner the better. And it's Lakeport. Ask Bathys to direct you, and, er, don't hurry back."
"I want to see dinosaurs," said Rhys. "Take me, David? Liam? Don?"
"Can't," said Liam. "I'm meeting some guys to play a few games and have a swim."
"I'm meeting Sir Will," said David.
I really didn't want to. I just wanted to stay in the Flat. You know how sometimes you'd rather be miserable than anything else? You'd rather everyone just fucked off and let you be miserable in peace? That was me just then. Out of all the people I'd met in Bathys so far, I was the only one I knew who really and truly, really seriously, hated being there. Of course I didn't want to go back to the home, anything was better than that. That wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to be with my parents, my parents who had always loved me and been good to me, just the three of us, like it had been before.
"Twins," I said, as the party on the beach started to wind down, "I'm off. I'm dead beat. Would you - do you want to come and see me soon?"
The party had been simply glorious for me. After all the work of the building of Bathys, after the stress and toil of leading the Welcome Team, it was a release, a wild and wonderful release, and all the while these two beautiful and outrageous boys had been with me, never more than a yard away, laughing and shouting and dancing. I had had a wonderful time, and that was strange, because I had never been a party person.
"E wants to sneak off wivvout us," said Kev.
I could tell them apart, now. In fact, I couldn't see how anyone could confuse them, they were so distinct in my mind.
"Yeah," said Jess, "Leave us all alone wiv all these pervs around."
"No chance!" they chorused.
So we went back to my house in Southwall together, and that they should want to was the best thing of all. I'd had several drinks and I noticed that each of them had had a couple of beers and a joint as well, so I had the presence of mind to leave the flitters and summon a transport. I told Bathys to pilot it for us. We slid to the ground outside my house; I let us in, and we collapsed in the sitting room, laughing.
"Didya see Sir Martin?" said Jess. "E was as pissed as a fart, honest to God. I saw him say to Amit, you know, he was standing there all in white, cool as ever, and Martin was sort of slobberin over him and e says, C'mon, Amit, no ard feelins, eh? Ow about we go round beyind the stage an I'll suck you like you've never been sucked before..."
"What?" I shouted. "What did Amit say?"
"E says, all polite like always, Sir Martin, if I thought you was sober enough to tell me dick from me elbow, e says, I might think it was worth sayin no. An I could see that Martin ad no idea what Amit meant, so e just sorta shambled off."
"Might think it was worth sayin no!" shrieked Kev. "Sober enough to tell me dick from me elbow!"
"You like Amit, don't you?"
"Yeah," said Kev. "Actually e's the first Indian guy we've ever known cos our Dad was a right racist, but Amit's great. An even though e's an educated guy, ain't e? and we're just thickos, e always listens to us an never puts us down."
"But e's deep," said Jess. "You can't work im out, can you?"
We chatted for a while, but the silences grew longer and longer, and in the end I could see they had fallen asleep. So I covered each with a blanket and went to bed myself. I don't know what time it was, but I was awoken by movement on my bed, and then they both slid in, one on either side. I decided to pretend to be asleep, and they cuddled up against me, making little happy noises, and I felt so privileged and humbled that I almost started to cry. And after a while I drifted back to sleep, feeling happier than I could ever remember.
It was light when I was awoken again. I was lying on my back, and one on either side they were facing me. Gradually I became aware that two hands were on me, one gently moving up and down my dick, and the other cupping my balls, rolling them carefully.
"Oh, that's so nice," I mumbled. "Let me..."
"No, my Lord," said Jess, "You just lie there. We owe you."
They continued to work me, gently and carefully, while they took turns to kiss me, and it was heaven. And I could see that they knew just what to do, just exactly how to make it good, and that made me love them and care for them so deeply that I can't describe it. And when finally I came, I gathered them both to me, an arm round each, and we were all covered in my juices.
"And now..." I said.
"Now you just watch."
And in a moment they were in 69 position, lying on their sides, a jumble of lean limbs and bodies, their dark hair hanging over each other, their identical long slender dicks plunging into each others' identical mouths, and I stroked their backs and arses as they worked. It didn't take long; they were both keyed up, and they came simultaneously, swallowing each other with glee. And then we were all lying together again.
"Our Dad used to make us do that so people could watch," said Kev.
I began to weep as I realised the weight of the gift they had given me.
"Oh boys, you're so good to me..."
"You don't get it. Anything we do wiv you - it's like it doesn't matter any more that we did it wiv im," said Jess.
"Yeah," said Kev. "It's getting better every time, now."
I hugged them, weeping.
I walked from Dad's house into the middle of Southwall town. In fact, I'd never passed this way before. When Dad was upstairs during the Gathering, there hadn't been much to take me into the town, and in any case it was mostly just work and sleep for those months. Now there was time, and I thought this would be a good place to start getting to know Bathys a bit. My Dad stayed at home to make some calls, he said, although I thought he was probably going to go back to sleep. I was a bit worried about how much the Gathering had taken out of him.
It was still warm, even though it was October. There's always a flock of parrots in the trees in Southwall, squawking and chattering to each other, and it was fun to stop and watch them. Wherever I went people knew me, as usual. To start with, this had bothered me, in the same way being called 'Prince' had done; I didn't see what I had done to deserve it. But over the last few months I'd grown used to it and even enjoyed it in a way. Like the day before at the party, with my Dad, during the speeches.
The middle of Southwall is a network of little streets. It's not very big, but close and tight, with houses of different sizes and types. The people who live there must really feel they're on top of each other, I thought. But still, if they didn't like it, they could always move somewhere else. There were quite a few people in the streets, grownups and boys, and shops, bars and restaurants. Before I came to Bathys, I could never do this, wander around by myself, and I enjoyed the bustle, people just going about their lives, and the feeling of being a part of it.
I came to a little square, no more than twenty yards across, and on one side there was a cafe, its tables sprawled outside in the autumn sunshine. People were just sitting, drinking, chatting, reading and I thought I had never seen anything so nice. I took a seat at a little table, and a friendly-looking man in his mid-thirties came to greet me.
"Prince! How nice that you came here! Welcome to Paco's!"
"Thanks," I said, and grinned at him. "I'm sorry, I don't know..."
"I'm Paco, of course. What would you like?"
I dredged around in my memory.
"A capuccino, please, Sir Paco."
"Oh, please, forget the 'Sir'."
"Only if you call me 'Paul'."
"It's a deal." He laughed. "You like it here?"
"It's nice. But why do you work here, Paco? I mean, you don't get paid, do you? So..."
"I enjoy it. The robots do all the hard work, I just make sure everything's the way I like." A robot brought my capuccino. "If I want to take an hour off, or a day and go fishing, that's what I like, or even a week, it's okay, no one minds. It's fun! When they explained to me, I just said 'yes, you bet, I'm coming'. Now all I want..."
"All I want is a nice boy to keep me company. A nice lively one, about your age, with red hair, that's what I want."
"I'll watch out for one."
He leant down and kissed my head.
He bustled off, and I sat for a while, sipping my coffee and watching the world go by, and thinking how wild that conversation would have seemed to me only a few months ago. A little flock of sparrows were pecking crumbs off the ground round my feet. Suddenly someone caught my eye.
I yelled across the square, and he turned towards me, smiling. He was wearing a simple white tunic with sandals, as he usually did.
"Hello, Prince. Okay today?"
"Oh, yes. C'mon, sit down. Are you doing anything?"
"Just keeping away from Lord Michael."
"Why? You haven't had another row, have you?"
"Oh no. Not at all. I just like to keep him guessing."
"You're cruel to him!"
"No, no, I am not. He likes it. He enjoys trying to puzzle me out..."
"Hello," said Paco, bustling up. "My cafe is full of beautiful boys today! What would you like, Amit?"
"How do you know my name, Sir?"
"Call me Paco. Of course I know you. You're famous! Everyone knows about you."
"What do they know?"
"Watch out for Amit! He's trouble!" he whispered dramatically. "That's what they say!"
Amit blushed and I hooted with laughter.
"I'll have a coffee, Sir Paco," said Amit coolly, "The same as the Prince's, if you please. And a doughnut. No, two doughnuts."
Paco ruffled his hair.
"So lovely," he said, and disappeared.
Amit drew a deep breath.
"If they only knew."
"What you know," he said. "And Lord Michael. That Amit isn't much like that... Lord Michael knows this well. I have to do something - my friend, sometimes I'm frightened."
"Sometimes I feel as if I'm going to be swallowed up by him. I'm - well, you see me, and you know a bit about my history." He picked at the tablecloth, and his eyes darted wildly. "I have to preserve myself. I feel as if I could crumble to pieces..."
"When he strapped me..." I started.
"Yes! That's it. Oh, Paul, I realised after that. I could so easily..."
My friend was really in pain, and it troubled me. And yet, he wasn't telling me anything I hadn't suspected. In a sense it was reassuring; it was just this that might make his partnership with Michael something that could work.
"Michael is good, you know that?" I said. "Are you sure - you can't let go a bit with him? He'd never hold you up in front of other people, I'm sure he wouldn't..."
"I know you're right. But - I can't help it. I'm frightened..."
I just held his hand.