Blue Lotus

note: If you are offended by homosexual, eunuchs, genetically engineered hermaphrodites, intercourse between forementioned parties, and strange plot twists, please skip the following selections.

10. Eden

Needle spires protruded from the dome shaped head of the drifting city, blanketed on all sides by shimmering star fields. Neo Eden, I pressed my nose against the cruiser window, it was as beautiful as I remembered it. Like a giant silver jellyfish it pulsed and flashed in the ocean of space, turning in slow circles and lazily flickering mile long tentacles as it allowed itself to be carried along by New Terra's gravitational pull. Ships darted from the bulbous crown, dancing like spores as they caught the glint of the crescent sun obscured by the blue sphere. My heart leaped out to the place where I once sought to run away from, Neo Eden, how I've missed you.

"Welcome home." Deus Mercury said softly behind me. I started, "Oh!" There were tears in my eyes. I wiped them away with a trembling hand. "Thank you. It's... splendid!" I sat down in the plush liquid filled seat, still unable to lift my eyes from the scene outside the window. He sat across from me, sipping nectar from a tall legged glass. Self-consciously I ran my fingers through my hair, trying to tame the mess. My plate was untouched, I pushed substance around with my fork. He watched my every move.

"So, uhm, I never got to thank you, Deus Mercury." I faltered in the silence, "For doing this. I mean, it's very kind of you. Certainly, very kind. That is... I'm trying to say... And breakfast, too! For inviting me... "

"Are you upset with me still, Neuro?" He interrupted, whirling the golden liquid around in the glass. It glittered, sultry and sparkling. He was dressed casually, blue-white hair pulled back. Cool, elegant, and so very alien.

I laughed nervously. "Upset? Why wold I be upset..."

"Because I fucked him." He said so adroitly I choked on my drink. "You needn't worry about me taking him away from you, it is not him I am interested in. He is very fine, and will make a most interesting addition to our species. But I have no intention of furthering our intimate contact."

"How very generous of you." I said, and winced at the sarcasm of my statement. Mercury smiled knowingly. I found it hard to look at him. It hurts, he was too pretty. Clearing my throat, I said: "So how is Shanti? Have they began to the process?"

"Yes. I believe they have him all mapped out and ready to go. Only the best sequences are being imported, of course, I spared no expense."

Why aren't you sparing them? I wanted to ask, but was afraid of the answer. He was hinting at something I rather not breach. The cruiser changed course and started back for Neo Eden. I was glad for an excuse to look elsewhere. We docked near Trinity, where Shanti was. It was mainly a medic sector, stacked with research laboratories and reconstruction clinics. The octagonal habitats were an odd metallic white, so sterile my eyes burned just looking at them.

"I thought you might like to see how he's doing." Mercury said as an empty Tran delivered us into the belly of Trinity. "They've began a tissue culture."

I nodded, the colorless walls slid past me silently. I wouldn't know that we were moving at all if not for the flicker of lights as we raced past them. The hallways we walked through where cylindrical, illuminated by a strip of harsh lights overhead. The soft rubber floor swallowed the echo of our footsteps. A few white coats passed us, nodding politely at the Deus and hardly giving me a glance. Just as well, I thought, medics always freaked me out.

He brought me to a room shaped like a large, squashed sphere. The light was reddish and dim, I could hardly make anything out at first. Large clear tubes with circumference like a round table jutted from floor to ceiling. They looked like they were made out of glass, which is how that particular pre-Synthetic specie got their name. The tubes were filled with oxidized liquid nutrients. Tissues, bones, and organs in various stages of development were suspended inside. Mercury rapped his knuckles against one that held an unidentifiable mass of semi-transparent... stuff. "Say hello, Shanti."

I swallowed, the sight made me slightly queasy. I was like that once, I told myself, first generation Synthetics were all born from the glass womb. "Where's his old body?" I asked, turning away before I got nauseous.

He looked asleep in the frozen room. My breathing became ragged as soon as we stepped in, tiny puffs of white clouds formed in front of my face. There were other bodies, all waiting to be put into deep freeze. "You're in luck, they decided to keep an original sample of him." Mercury said. "Usually the body is incinerated." Shanti looked pale and unyielding with rigor mortis. His eyes were closed, his lips almost looked as if they were curled up in a smile. I gulped, it's not so easy standing next to a corpse. "How long before that... stuff is conscious?" I asked, reaching out with a shaking finger to brush a curl of hair from Shanti's neck.

"Not long, a couple of days." Mercury pulled the plastic sheet off, Shanti lied naked under it. "Ten at a max, that is, if they have trouble configuring his thought circuit. Memories, you know, they're hard to deal with, especially for New Bloods. Some boys can't get used to the extra opening down there..." He pointed between my legs, I blushed. "And most people aren't too fond of the plug for the Collective. He might experience others psychosomatic problems also, because he's, uh, missing some parts."

"Poor thing." I muttered. Shanti's arms and legs were spread slightly, the same position he was in when they injected him with the lethal dose. One of his fists were clenched tightly, the other open, fingers slightly curled and palms outward. Curiously I turned the closed one over, almost dropping it when the frigid stiffness of death seemed to bore right through my skin. Something clanked against the metal table, sliding out of his grasp.

It was my ring. I shivered violently, the strange ore was cold in my hand. It glowed dully, flat and gray.

11. Anamnesis

"Lucky dog!" Trevor said over the satlink. I could see through his head and shoulders to the garden beyond. Bizarre plants strung with carnival lights stretched as far as the eye could see. The green heart of Neo Eden throbbed between pristine towers. Trevor's floating image bobbed slightly with my changing field of vision. "How's your cute little boy friend doing?" His voice was laced with static, atmospheric interference from a meteor shower.

"He's still just a pile of primordial goo." I said. Sounds of mirth reached my ears from afar, pairs of lovers darted between the lush green foliage. "How's work? Can't function without me, huh?"

"Yeah, yeah, same old dead languages, same old frustrations." He peered around my shoulders, "It's Day of the First Dark, isn't it? Gee, I really wish I was back there, eating some of those yummy sweets they always make for the festivals. You know? The ones that look like skulls?"

I grinned, "I'll make sure to send you some, then." After a moment of hesitation I asked, "How's Veya? Is he around, by any chance?"

Trevor gave me a concerned look, "You sure you haven't caught something on the way?"

"No, I'm serious. I've got to talk to him."

"Since you mentioned it," Trevor drawled, "I haven't seen that bastard around for a couple days now, not since that reception. I figured he got laid good and ran off with some sweet thing to Malaysia or some place like that. You know how he is, his dick speaks louder than his mouth."

"Oh." I said, disappointed. "Give him my number if he gets back, alright? I really have to talk to him about something."

"Sure thing." Trevor leered, "Missing those spankings he's given ya?"

I blushed furiously and disconnected. A toy bot zipped by my ear, chased by a boy wearing the black and red Academy uniform. He leapt up in the air and caught the buzzing creature deftly, tucking it under his arm and thus trapping it. Catching me staring at him, he gave me a wink and touched himself rather suggestively. "Fancy that!" He said, "Crazy bots, always zipping around and the like. What rank you in?"

"Ugh..." I was at a lost for words.

"Bit too high for you, chick. He's old enough to be your great grand father." He appeared so suddenly, materializing out of the green. My heart skipped a few steps.

"Deus Mercury!" The boy said brightly, not a bit put off by the revelation. "You're back! Are you going to be in the games tonight?"

"Maybe." He shrugged, his shoulders rolling fluidly. It was entrancing to watch him move, there was liquid in every gesture. Mercury was dressed casual again. Perhaps so as not to embarrass me, I thought guiltily. I wasn't very good with clothes, and we seemed to be walking together often these days.

"You should. It'll be a fierce battle." The boy promised, "Gladiator is fighting that thing they sent from Kalxor, you know, the big red-scaled monster that was tearing up the local games? They say it's too strong to be beaten, but if you jump in the ring I'm sure they'll all eat their words! It's going to be the most bloody event this quarter!"

Mercury smiled faintly. The captured toy bot buzzed impatiently and the boy ran off to rejoin his friends. "Do you enjoy the games, Neuro?"

"I don't approve of blood shed." I said. "I think they are nonsense."

"Perhaps." He looked distant. We walked in silence for a while. The leaves rustled with climate control, hidden sprinklers sprayed us with dew. Laughter mingled with muted shouts came from neighboring streets, where celebrations have been going on since noon tide. It was kind of him to invite me to accompany him during festival, and I was afraid that I had offended him with my comment about the tournaments. He had been rather well known in the game circuit, a blemish free record of winnings. Mercury was a physical module, created mostly for flexibility of body than that of mind. Though I doubt he was lacking in the latter area.

"We are a cruel and violent race." He said suddenly, the smell of candies and roasting was thick in the air. "The War is proof enough."

"We don't have to be." I said. He looked at me oddly, I drew myself up, he was a full head taller than me. It made my heart pound to stand next to him, he was a Deus, after all. Neither of us said a word for a long time, then he turned to resume his promenade, I followed him.

"So, um, what brought you to Calcutta?" I tried to break the ice. "You didn't stay long enough to see the sights."

"I went on business." He replied, "I was suppose to find some one."

"Who?" I blurted out, then caught myself. "Oh, how rude of me! I don't mean to pry... I mean, were you successful in your venture?"

"Yes." He said, stopping so suddenly I almost ran into him. He steadied me with his hands, I gasped under the strength of their grip. There were a million questions I wanted to ask him, like what was he really doing in Calcutta, and why is he taking the time out to make my acquaintance? But only one plagued me incessantly: Why is he doing this for Shanti? A quick screw didn't warrant such rewards. The fight for the privilege to become a New Blood is fierce, and there were others far more qualified than he to win the battle.

"I came to find you, Neuro." Mercury murmured, my lips trembled under his thumb. I jerked out of my contemplation with a shock, he was cupping my chin with his hands. "Mmmph!" I cried out as he pried my mouth open and kissed me. He tasted just like the sea, as I imagined it to be. "What are you doing! No!" I wailed, wrenching myself from him and pushing him away. He took some steps back docilely, peering at me with his exquisite eyes, seemingly puzzled.

"You did it because of me?" I was incredulous. "You promised to make him a New Blood to get me to come here?"

"It was the only way you would leave Calcutta." Mercury said, unperturbed by my outburst.

"You bastard! You used him!"

"He got what he wanted." The Deus said, "Don't be angry. I told you I won't take him away from you, I mean it. You could live happily here, together in Neo Eden. That's what you want, isn't it?"

"Then why were you trying to... why were you... just a second ago..."

He smiled, "You looked irresistible. I had to take advantage of you."

I went mute for a few seconds, gaping at the insanity of it all. A Deus? Wanting me? How completely absurd! No, there must be some other reason. "Why did you come for me in the first place? Why was I to be removed from Calcutta? Did I do something wrong? A simple transfer notice would have gotten me out of there, you know. You didn't have to hatch this elaborate scheme to lure me back here!"

"It's not that simple." Mercury sighed, "You would have stayed, Neuro. You are too attached... Caught in the middle of things... I can't explain it, so please, just forget about it. Happier days await before you."

"But I want to know why!"

"No! You don't!" He took me roughly by the shoulders and shook me. "You don't want to know, Neuro. You don't!"

I gasped sharply, "Deus Mercury... you're hurting me!" I felt sick, the world was slipping away. "Please!" My mouth formed the words but my mind was buzzing angrily, "Please..." I wasn't looking at him anymore, I was looking into the heart of a void. It came so unexpectedly... I... "...don't know!" It unfurled itself before me, devouring everything in its path. I couldn't tear my eyes from it. Something was wrong, something was terribly wrong...

The whoosh of a floater coming into hover exclaimed loudly next to my ear. He picked me up bodily and threw me into it, I didn't resist him. I was so confused, the darkness would not release me. For a second I forgot where I was and what was happening, all I knew is that... is that...

I shook my head furiously, trying to shake it off. What does it matter what I knew? I didn't know anything! "Relax, Neuro, I'm not going to hurt you." Mercury held me, I was shivering. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do that. I got a little carried away. Are you... what's wrong?"

"I didn't!" I gasped. I was out of control, and hated myself for it. The past few days have been too much for me to handle. Shanti, Kalkin, Veya, the lotus, Mercury! I couldn't deal with it, the emotions were too sharp, the chaos too viscous. I was falling into the deep, endless night. "I didn't do it! No! Get your fucking hands off of me! I don't know! I didn't..."

"Neuro! Stop!" He was holding me down in the seat, I was bucking and thrashing, cursing him. "Stop it! What's happening to you?"

"But I do know!" I was crying. Large, wet streaks ran down my face. "I remember it! No, don't touch me! I did... I did..." I screamed shrilly, howling out my agony as the pain in my head became almost unbearable. What was happening to me? I... I was never like this. I was always calm, collect, sane, for crying out loud - and I was certainly doing a lot of that! My cries were animal, frenzied, making the floater bounce unsteadily as it tried to make out a voice command pattern, how could that be me? But I couldn't hold it down, it bubbled from my throat in poisonous currents. Black and oily, rusty with age.

"Neuro!" Mercury's palm pressed against my forehead. I tried to turn my head away but his other hand held me, grasping my jaw firmly and squeezing my cheeks. I felt a stinging burn between my brows as the biofiber connectors darted from his wrist into my skull, it made my eyes run like a faucet. The wires were slim, transparent, much thinner than the jumbo package they had for the Collective Conscious. It was a one-on-one hookup, after all, didn't need all that extra bandwidth. I got a thick dose of pheromones, some tranqs, and a few scattered thoughts - my thoughts, not his. I wasn't equipped for an uplink, the flow was one way. I trembled as he scrambled my circuits, cutting off half formed musings before they could make finish. I was getting sleepier by the minute, and a bit horny as the pheromones made their rounds. Sleepier... sleepier... asleep. My body went slack, and I drifted.

It was an untroubled sleep, aided by the anesthetics he injected into me. I drifted in the nothingness, comfortably numb. When I woke it was already dusk, the sun slanted through milky, transparent walls, washing everything in copper splendor. The bed I laid on was soft and yielding, I moaned, burying my face into the sheets. They smelled like the surf at dawn.

"Neuro? Are you awake?" Mercury appeared at the far end of the room, bare footed on the waxed wooden floor. He was so beautiful, glowing almost as he approached the bed, graceful and feline in his movements. His face was boyish and angelic, sweet with perfection. His bluish hair brushed at his shoulders, they were slightly disheveled. He was wearing his casual trousers, they hugged his long, trim legs most effectively. Embarrassed, I put a hand over my erection and pulled more sheets over myself.

"Oh!" Mercury said, looking down at the tent under the covers. "Sorry about that! Put too much of myself into the knockout, didn't I?"

"Uh, it's ok." I said, my face was as red as a tomato. "What... what happened?"

"I think you caught the nasty end of a flashback, that's all. Most Synthetics who's experienced physical death gets it sometimes in their life. All that re-wiring of the brain, you know, some memories get tucked away deep and don't resurface for hundreds of years afterwards. Sort of like amnesia. They can be a pain when they come back, especially when you're not ready for them."

"Is that what happened with me?" I asked, "But it was so... Those things I remembered, they were so... were so... horrible! I can't even think about them, it hurts!"

"Shhh, Neuro." He touched my face tenderly. "Don't think about it. That's all in the past, and you have the future to look forward to."

"Yes." I said, melting a little at his fingers, they were so hot it scalded. "The future." He smiled at me tenderly. I felt guilty, I've been so rude to him, and he's done so much for me. "Deus Mercury!" I pressed the back of his hand to my mouth, "I'm so sorry for doubting your intentions! I understand now... There are things I'm better off not knowing. Things in the past that are better left alone."

"Yes, Neuro." Gently he stroked my hair, so gently I moaned helplessly under his fingers. "Forget them. You don't have to remember." I moaned again as his lips brushed against my neck, they were scalding, sliding down to my adam's apple, to the ridge of my breast bone, and down some more. I shook uncontrollably. His pheromones were concentrated so thickly I imagined I could see them floating like a blue aura around him. I always thought him cold, but I was wrong. He burned like wild fire, pure and strong. For a flicker of a second another part of me protested, he must have done something to me! I wasn't like this, I wouldn't do such a thing under normal circumstances! The solution he injected me with - that must be it! There must be something in it that made me comply to everything he suggested. Because I wouldn't... I wouldn't...

"Kiss me." Said Mercury. I couldn't hold back, I was kissing him, passionately. I took fistfuls of his hair into my hands, pulling him even closer. The after taste of nectar was sharp and sweet on his tongue, I growled, suckling it, licking it, tasting it. I bit his lips, pulling them between my own. A Deus! My libido screamed ecstatically, what are the chances of that? I salivated, panting into his mouth, not wanting to stop. He was so slick, so warm, so wet inside.

"Enough." He said, smiling, pulling me off of him. I drooled, lusting after his touch but afraid to make a move. How could you do this! My put-away part lamented, How could you do this to Shanti? Shut up! My sex replied, backed by his pheromones and whatever he shot into me. Mercury reached his hand between my legs and stroked me through the sheet. I rose to the occasion, mourning a little when I couldn't force myself to touch him. Something inside me still had control, however limited its power, it was keeping my hands off of him when he didn't demand it.

"Do you like to be tied up, Neuro?"

"Yes!" My weakness sobbed gratefully, "Yes! Tie me up!" I threw off the sheet and knelt down before him. He took my wrists and brushed them with his lips before he fastened them together before me. I was overflowing with desire, my stiffness pointed skyward and leaked profusely. He pushed me backwards so I was lying down again, raising my arms over my head and securing them to the headboard. Mercury moved between my legs and unzipped his pants, peeling them slowly from his skin, teasing me with glimpses of his flesh. I couldn't take my eyes off his crotch, he was wearing blue bikini bottoms, snug triangles of fabric that hugged his bulge most becomingly. He hooked his thumbs around the waistband and tugged, they clung desperately to his hipbones. I groaned as it was eased down slowly, painfully slow. He was smooth down there, shaved, bare as a babe. Even semi-erect he was long, though not too terrible in width. The circumcised head of his penis was pink and rosy, slowly turning a darker shade of purple as it began to gorge with blood. The piss slit winked at me, oozing precum.

His shirt came off next, revealing his chest. He was so thin I could make out his rib cage beneath the pale skin. His navel dipped sensuously, guiding my eyes once again to his risen member, then reluctantly up again. He had perfectly round nipples, perked to attention. They were pierced, the marks of a high ranking soldier. The rings were shaped like serpents biting their own tail, symbolizing the endless cycle of death and rebirth, masochism and a total disregard for pain. He flicked one with his fingers, winking at me. I spread my legs wide for him.

"Neuro, you are mine." He said as he ran his hands over the inside of my thighs, I couldn't agree more. Mercury licked me, from the underside of my foreskin straight down to my asshole. The pleasure crashed like waves through my body, a churning ocean of molten lust. His tongue jabbed at me, I squirmed deliciously, twisting around on it. He makes me wet with his spit, I bucked, rubbing my crotch and crack in his face. Grabbing my ankles, he lifted my legs up until I was completely exposed. I shivered at the cold air on my saliva-dampened privates, he studied me like I was a frog pinned on the dissection tablet. "Beg me to fuck you."

"Oh!" I gasped, "Deus, please, don't make me do that! You can do what ever you want with me, please! Just don't make me say it!"

Mercury touched my lips, "Say it. Say, 'Fuck me, Mercury, I'm all yours. Pretty please.'"

"Please!" I was ready to cry, but I wanted him so badly. Both my body and my mind betrayed me, throwing themselves wantonly at him. "Fuck me, please fuck me! Please, please..."

"Close enough." He mounted me, I yelled out my indulgence in the act of his penetration. His penis entered me inch by inch, the swollen head stretching my anus walls painfully. I didn't dare to breathe, it felt so good and so bad at the same time. He went deep, so deep my butt tingled with numbness from the slow and deliberate journey. My belly felt like it was full of hardness, throbbing and burning. When all of him was inside me he peered at me with concern, I gave him a weak smile of encouragement.

"You're tight, Neuro." He squeezed my buttocks, spreading them impossibly wide. "It's lovely in here." I whimpered as he began to pump his hips, pistoning his tool in and out of my rectum. I closed my eyes and groaned, lost in the building sensations in my bottom. Mercury wrapped his fingers around my dick and began to move it up and down. I tossed on the bed, held back by the state of my bondage and his shaft lodged inside me. It was heaven, the way his strokes within matched the pace of the wank he was giving me. I spurted in no time, strands of cum running from the tip of my head between his fingers, scattering themselves all over my stomach. Mercury bent down and lapped up some of it, rolling it around in his mouth. I couldn't believe it - a Deus eating my sperm! Veya would have a heart attack.

"You taste like the monsoon." He said, giving me a sample of myself as he leaned over to kiss me. I moaned and panted under him, arching my body so our chests came within contact. He pressed on the small of my back, bringing us closer together and nudging his penis even deeper. I was still hard, despite the ejaculation. The pressure on my prostate was unrelenting. With one hand he unhitched me from the bed, though he didn't undo the knot that held my hands together. Without taking himself out of me, he turned me over gently so I was on my knees and he was sitting between my legs. It was exquisite, the feeling of his penis twisting inside me. Strange and immensely sexual.

His hands clenched the side of my hips, bringing me down on him in a squatting position. I whimpered as his hard cock rode up inside my intestines, I was sitting on it, helplessly impaled. As I got used to our new arrangement, I began to bounce up and down in his lap. Moist, sucking sounds and my cries of joy were loud in my ears as his penis pulled at my pulsing asshole. He was near his climax, I could feel it, his muscles were so tense I could have been pressed against solid rock. Roughly he pushed my head down, bending me so my butt was up in the air and more accessible. Grasping my thighs and bracing himself against them, he began to pound into me with force. I squealed as his dick squirmed inside me, jumping in orgasm. I came again, urged on by his rapture, shooting into the sheets. Mercury didn't make a sound as he peaked, though his spunk filled me again and again, the hot torrents pervaded my bowels and ran down my thighs. After we got our breaths back I felt his hands caressing my back, his semi-hard prick remained inside of me, making me feel fulfilled, utterly.

"Was it good?" He asked.

"Oh, god, yes! It was good." I smiled shyly, stretched out on the bed in afterglow. "No one's made love to me like that in a long time." Immediately I regretted saying such a thing, and cleared my throat most awkwardly, thinking of Shanti, who had never been able to make love to me like that...

"Of course." He said. "Neither have I..." He left his sentence unfinished, looking out the window at the descending darkness. Small flames from the First Dark festival bobbed in the sinewy rivers wounding through Neo Eden, little wax paper boxes carrying bits of candles, each representing a sacrifice made in the first days of the War. The First Dark - famine, it had wrecked old earth thoroughly and caused enough grievances to spark the initial flame of conflict. Synthetics against Glass against Sapiens, even though the latter was a mere obstruction more often than not knocked aside impatiently between scuffles of the immortals. The water trickles, silvery and laughing. The shouts of the eternal children as they chased the flames were distant, haunting. I remembered running along the glittering sand banks myself once, it seemed so long ago...

12. Kaliyuga

"Mustard? No Mustard?" Mercury asked, tilting his head questioningly like a normal boy would and holding out two wax-paper wrapped pastries. It was strange to think of him as anything else after the last night we spent together. We did it three more times, the memory of it brought heat to my face. Whatever it was that bothered me about him drained away in the last climax, before we fell into exhausted sleep.

"No, thanks." I accepted the treat without garnish, it was so hot I had to juggle it between both hands. He watched me, amused. The streets were full of revelers of the Second Dark, volunteers manned food and game stalls in colorful traditional costumes. Banners in red and black floated like birds overhead in the luminous belly of the space-born city, showering the ground below with colors of the War. We strolled slowly through the festival, not quite touching but not quite apart, either. I tried to focus on the richness of the smells and tastes around me, the sensual pleasures of every component of Neo Eden. Briefly, the turbulence inside my body and mind was subdued, I looked at him and smiled.

"I like it when you do that." Mercury said, poking at my dimples. "It's sweet."

"Oh!" I blushed and felt foolish. We were rounding a corner onto Horizon, the atmosphere was less festive here, being a residential sector and all, though ribbons did trim a few balconies. "Can we go see Shanti now?"

"The Medics are out partying like everybody else." He laughed, "Unless you want to go through the hassle with a couple of 'droids. Missing a few hours of skin grafts won't kill you, would it?"

I muttered something incoherently. The block looked familiar, I stopped and swiveled my head back and forth. It was near the temp where I had been stationed since coming aboard. "Mind if I go home then? I need a shower, and some fresh clothes." After a pause I added shyly, "You could come... if you want."

"Ok!" He looked delighted, just like a little boy. I felt faint just looking at him, completely under his spell. "But let's go watch the fireworks in the Garden, later."

"Later." I promised, wanting to run from him and throw myself at him all at once. He was no longer cold and aloof like he was before, and his ordinary act put me at ease. So much ease I wasn't sure it was I who was feeling it. We made our way to the temp, it wasn't half bad for being what it was, though I think Mercury had had some influence in the matter of it being so designated. The rooms were spacious hexagons, the walls painted pale blue and the floor looked like rippling water. The furniture was soft, white, and overstuffed. They floated about like bloated clouds, drifting and colliding to the direction of the ventilation rents. It was a sure contrast to his place, which was rather traditional in its solid furnishings and gravity bound bed.

Before I knew what I was doing I was kneeling at his feet as the door puffed closed behind us. Mercury smiled down at me, one hand gently stroking my hair and then not so gently yanking me to his crotch. I unzipped him obediently, with my teeth. The scent of him was potent, like waves breaking over ruby colored corals. I don't know why they made soldier modules with pheromones, though Veya had once laughingly said that it was so they can seduce their victims within killing range.

I guided his erection out with my hands, stroking it gently, weighing his balls in my palms. Nuzzling him a little to make him harder, I took him into my mouth when he was at his fullest. His cock head filled my oral cavity, I moaned slightly around it. His precum was salty, so much so they left a saccharine aftertaste. I licked at his piss slit, scraping the tip of my tongue against it and making his fingers dig harder onto my scalp. I bobbed my head experimentally, getting used to the feeling of the rigid staff rubbing against my lips. Then I began to suck, my cheeks collapsing inward on the down stroke. Mercury got head in the most accomplished fashion I've ever seen, he didn't even open his eyes to look at me. He didn't cry out, either, like most would have done. He took his pleasures quietly, and his pains as well, I guessed.

It didn't take long for him to cum. The first glob landed squarely on my tongue, I swallowed, of course. The next few spurts hit my face. I blinked in surprise as the wetness landed, hot and sticky, dribbling down my chin. Mercury let out a long breath, grinning in the passing of his orgasm. He petted my head, "Now you really need to wash."

I went into the bathroom in a daze. Splashing hot water on my face, I peered into the mirror and my own reflection stared back, bleached by the cold light. I died my first death when I was fifteen, and my body had been grounded in that framework ever since. My body was slender, pale, and hairless, caught between childhood and adulthood. I stared until the condensation from the running water began to cloud the glass, then I ducked my head under the faucet and tried to rinse the taste of him from my mouth.

The shower was soothing, I put a hand against the wall and masturbated myself, trying to think of no one except the good feelings my experienced fingers were producing. Their faces danced before my closed eyelids: Mercury, Shanti, Kalkin, Veya... I wrenched my focus to my dick, running my fingers over the exposed pink bulb and putting gentle pressure on the glands. I squirted onto the tiles, a weak climax ricocheting through my body like the peals of water battering against my back. The milky white fluid was swept down the drain, I stood numbly for a long time, watching it run.

When I finally stepped out, wrapped in a large towel, Mercury was poised in front of my vid. He looked strangely occupied, squeaks of voices came from the thin plastic monitor board. The message light was flashing red, I could see it through the transparent backing of the vid.

"What are you doing? Was there a call for me while I was out?" I wanted to be outraged at this intrusion on my privacy, but couldn't muster enough energy for it. I felt timid, uncertain of my role and his. I stepped behind him, wanting to know what it was that intrigued him so, and...

" meeeeee!" Kalkin squealed over the static. His little brown head barely sticking into the peripheral frame of the image eye. He looked disheveled, there were dirt smudges on his cheeks and a gash running from the shoulder of his garment. "Oh, Neuro! Come on, you have to be there! Please! Pick up! Pick up! I'm in trouble, Neuro! They want to kill me, they're after me! Oh shit, Neuro where are you? Why did you leave me? Please, Neuro! You said you'll protect me! You're the only one who can save me! Please, please! Pick up the damn signal! Neuro... I'm scared... They want to do bad things to me..." He was sobbing by the end, tears like silver gems sliding from the corners of his eyes.

"How do you know where I am?" I asked the vid screen as if it wasn't a play back, "How..."

"The message was simulcast over a dozen channels in Eden." Mercury answered my question. His voice made me shudder, it was his alien voice, the one he spoke with at the reception. My eyes darted to him and bounced back to the monitor, where the last still of Kalkin's wet cheeks lingered.

"I have to go back to Calcutta." I babbled, "I have to... He's in trouble, don't you see? I have to help him, I have to..."

Mercury slapped me, hard, backhanded. I fell backwards and over onto the floor. Gasping, stunned and unable to get myself together into anything resembling working order. I just sat there on my ass, my back hurting from the contact it made with the hard floor, my cheeks aflame with the print of his palm, and starring in horror up at him. He looked so furious I cringed, nearly weeping with confusion. Slowly, very slowly, he unclenched his fists, and opened them to me. Meekly I took his hand, wincing at the pain in my leg as I stood up.

"I'm sorry." He said. But he didn't look sorry at all. As I tried to catch my breath between shudders his expression gradually softened, coming back to the Mercury I was at ease with. He ushered me to a couch and stretched me out on it, pressing crushed ice to my cheekbone. I let him tend to me, struggling to collect the whirlwind of thoughts that bombarded my mind.

"What... was that about?" I said in a weak, hesitant voice after a while. He looked so sad as he knelt beside my head, but not sorry. No, not that.

"He put you in a trance. Don't you see it? The way he said your name, it was a deliberate rhythm and pitch, a trigger to a post hypnotic suggestion. He's making you think and do these things, Neuro, he's making you go back to him."

I swallowed, trying to digest what he was saying. It didn't sound so far fetched, Kalkin has had an almost supernatural hold on me. But it wasn't mere hypnosis that bounds us, it was something more, much more. The bit he said about Dharma, I've been getting around to thinking that it just might be true, some how. Nothing can make me feel the way I do about him. I wanted to protect him, yes, I wanted to do it. Not because he's making me, but because it was my duty to do so. I've known that the first time I heard his cries, back in Valigha. I didn't know that I've known, but I do now. It seemed all so clear, everything was transparent and unimportant, except to protect Kalkin. I felt myself stirring, trying to get off the couch. Mercury shoved me roughly back down.

"Damnit, Neuro!" He pinned down my flailing limbs, "You don't want to go! You have me, and soon you will have Shanti. Think of Shanti, Neuro. You love him, don't you?"

"...Kalkin!" I cried out. "It's my sacred duty! I have to go to him! I have to go back to Calcutta!"

"That's what he wants you to think! He's constructing ties between you and him that does not exist!"

"Isn't that the same thing you're doing to me?" I shouted back, kicking and thrashing. "You've been keeping me under your control since I got here! Do you think I'm stupid enough not to notice all the shit you've been slipping me? Oh the sex was a nice touch! That really takes the cake, now! Keep me like a submissive little bitch and I won't run away from you, would I, Deus fucking whore! Ugh!" His nails bit into my skin, drawing blood.

"I'm trying to help you." He hissed.

"Oh yes, thanks a lot! You're a big help!" I laughed hysterically, "Thank you for fucking Shanti, thank you for fucking me, thank you for fucking up my fucking life!"

"That was already fucked." He said, suddenly calm. I glared at him balefully, trying to catch my breath. "You've been fucked since you were born, Neuro. Believe me, we tried to keep you as apart from it as possible, tried to let you lead a normal existence, but he's not letting us."

"Who's he? What are you talking about? Who's thiswe?"

His eyes closed and his anemic lashes fluttered briefly, the cat was out of the bag, and we both knew it. No more denials, no more better-off-not-knowing, no more madness... Or perhaps I'm just being overly optimistic.

"The boy... the one who called you. Who do you think he is?"

My throat tightened. "What do you mean? He's... just a boy. And he's in trouble. I..."

"No." Mercury said softly, "You know who he is, you don't have to say it, I know that you know. It's true, accept it."

"You're mad!" I was weeping openly now, the tears gliding hotly down to splatter on the couch. "What are you saying?"

"Listen, Neuro, what ever it is that he wants you to do, don't do it! You owe your loyalty to another. You, me, all Synthetics, we were made by the Dark One in the wake of the Epoch's End. It is She whom we serve, not him, no, never him."

I was wide eyed with horror, "No... no... what are you talking about? We weren't made by anyone in particular! We... we were born from the glass womb! Decades of research in the name of science, not... gods!"

"She developed the first glass womb, recombined the first extrapolated genetic sequences, gave the first breath to the Awakening of our race, of the last age, the Kaliyuga." He paused for the words to sink in. They sounded like gibberish to me, but I couldn't deny the truth of them, just like I couldn't deny Kalkin. "They've quarreled often then, in the old days, before we came to be. They were always quarreling, it seems. He liked everything as it was, but She wanted to move on, to begin the next cycle, the New Kingdom. She began to populate the earth with her ageless children, we were to replace the Sapiens as masters over the fate of the world. He protested, conjured up the Resistance, stirred up the first few Glass wars. She sent forth the three Darkness: Famine, War, and the Plague. We know them well, these are the triumphs of our people. The old world died in our hands, and He lost. But He would not admit his defeat even in light of the new Utopia, here at Eden. To him, the Kaliyuga is far from over. He fights still, against us, against Her, against the changing tide, the inevitable end. And He wants you, Neuro, to fight by his side. Because it would be the utmost humiliation for her, to see one of her own by her enemy's side."

"I can't fight!" I argued, "I'm an information module!"

"You were a soldier once, before you died." Mercury looked pained, "No, you were more than a soldier. You were a Guardian, one of thirteen. You..."

I clenched my guts, chills ran up and down my spine like taps from frozen fingers. "I don't want to hear it!" I shouted, the familiar darkness winked at me, merely a slit of an eye hovering not so far away. "Don't say anymore! That's not what I am! You're lying! Why are you doing this to me? I... I just want to... I want... I want you all to leave me alone!"

"That's what I'm trying to do!" He tried to take my hand and I jerked away, suddenly loathing to be touched by him. "You were reinstated as an information module because you could not handle the power and obligations that came with being a Guardian. You wanted to be ordinary, Neuro, and we gave you that. It is He who threatens to take it all away from you, to remake you into what you once were, to meddle with your choice of paths. Neuro..." His voice trailed off. He looked at me pleadingly, his eyes like chips of blue ice melting slowly in the sun.

"Leave me alone." I said, unconvincingly

Thanks for reading parts 10-12 of Blue Lotus! Your comments are always appreciated! Let me know if I'm getting incoherent, I've been rather occupied for the past week. Keep letting me know what you think of the story at Thanks!