The story is a work of fiction and has no basis in reality.
Don't read this story if you don't want to read about gay people in love.
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The secrets of the Benoit's travel methods were never divulged, even to Peter and crew. They were going undercover and the less they knew the better. So the three were blindfolded and transported to the awaiting spacecraft that was hidden on Delvar II.
"Degardo 7, you are cleared for departure." The voice erupted from the communicator's speaker on the transport.
"Degardo 7 acknowledges. Cleared for departure." Vic answered.
Vic proceeded to punch buttons on the transport's vidcomp and the ship immediately responded. He could feel the vibration of the engines as they came to life. Power pulsing throughout the small craft. All three of Degardo 7's passengers heard the landing gear retract as they lifted off of the surface of Devar II. The ship swung around, pointed away from the second moon of Delvar and almost instantly disappeared as it kicked into hyper drive.
"So boys, how are you feeling?" Vic asked as the three sat in the small galley.
"I'm doing ok. A little nervous but ok." Josh replied.
"What about you Peter?" Vic asked.
"I don't know Vic. I am excited about seeing Thad again but at the same time, I'm really scared!"
"What are you afraid of?" Josh asked.
"I don't know Josh. There is something that scares me but I can't figure out what it is. It is like an itch you can't reach. You know it is there but you just can't get to it. Do you know what I mean?" Peter looked at Josh, a pleading expression on his face.
"Yeah, I understand. I'm sure you'll figure it out soon."
"I hope so Josh, I really hope so."
"Well Peter, you only have three days to figure it out."
"WHAT?" Both boys shouted together.
"We will be on Capistiro in three days according to the vidcomp."
"That soon? How can that be?" Peter asked.
"Peter, the Degardo family has had the fastest hyper drive engines in the galaxy for several years now." Vic answered. "Just think of it as a high performance flutter. We have an engine that is twice the normal size for a ship like this and even at that, it has three times the power of those of the same size. Quite elementary dear boy."
"Ahh, come on Vic. You know I am twice as smart as you." Peter joked.
"That's what you think!" Vic said seriously.
"Oh! Is this a challenge?"
"You bet it is. My challenge, your choice."
"Hmmm, let me think, something easy so you don't look quite so foolish." Peter said as he stared up at the ceiling.
"Give it your best shot kid."
"Give me the basics of Controlling Electron-Nuclear Dynamics." Peter asked.
"The interaction of intense laser pulses with atoms and molecules results in highly nonlinear, nonperturbative phenomena, such as above-threshold ionization (ATI), above-threshold dissociation (ATD), high-order harmonic generation and Coulomb explosion (this last phenomenon allows the imaging of quantum molecular structures. This methodology currently involves solving the linear time-dependent Schroedinger equation for H2+ (a parabolic partial differential, with 2-D Laplacian and a time derivative) using split-operator, spectral, numerical methods which have been developed to treat such highly nonperturbative multidimensional problems." Vic looked at Peter with a smirk on his face. "Is that enough or shall I continue?"
"That's enough, that's enough. Hmmmm, maybe I was too easy on you."
"Peter, give it up! You are outclassed." Joked Josh.
Peter quickly shot Josh a look of anger.
"Hey love, I was only kidding." He pleaded.
"Ok, you're right Josh. I'm sorry." He looked back at Vic. "And here I thought you were just a dumb jock."
All three of them crack up at that remark. They spent the next few hours talking about nothing in particular until they decided they were exhausted.
"Ok, where do we sleep in this bucket of bolts?" Peter sleepily asked.
"Look up Peter." Replied Vic.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and soon the trio found themselves requesting permission for landing on Capistrio.
"Degardo 7, you are cleared for decent to Calipistown spaceport, pad 42. Prepare to receive landing telemetry."
"Capistrio control, ready to receive." Vic responded.
There was a moments hesitation while the landing coordinates were uploaded to the ship's comp. The thrusters fired automatically and the small transport started it's decent. The ride down was a little bumpy due to the local weather and Peter wasn't handling it too well. By the time they sat down on the pad, Peter's face was green, he quickly un-strapped his harness, jumped out of his seat and ran for the fresher.
"I guess I should have given him a motion sickness pill before we landed but I didn't have any idea he would react that way." Vic said as he shook his head.
"He's still green." Josh replied.
"Yes, he did look awful green to me."
Josh and Vic secured the transport and waited for the immigration officials to arrive. Meanwhile Peter had lost his lunch and regained his composure, he gingerly joined the two in the control room.
"Feeling better?" Josh asked Peter.
"Yeah, now that we are on solid ground again." He replied with a slight grin.
"IMMIGRATION INSPECTION REQUEST. PLEASE RELEASE YOUR FORWARD HATCH FOR ENTRY." The ships speakers announced. Vic punched the hatch release button and watched the monitor as three armed officials stomped up the stairway.
"Good evening gentlemen, your ID chips please." Said the tallest of the three officials.
Vic handed him three small credit card looking ID chips and waited while the official processed each one. On the third one, his eyes suddenly grew large as he looked between Josh and his portacomp display.
"Ahhh, Mr. Degardo, welcome to Capistrio and Calipistown sir. How may I be of service?"
Josh just stood there staring at the three officials. The two to the rear of the speaker were shifting nervously between one foot and the other. He liked this power. He could make people squirm by just staring at them. He decided to have a little fun.
"First of all, you were a little slow in getting out here to clear me. Second, I have never seen a more sloppily dressed bunch of idiots in my life. Just look at you. You are a disgrace to your uniforms." Josh walked up to the senior official, looking him right in the eyes. "The next time I land here, I will expect immediate response from you and I will expect to see a little more care taken with your appearance."
"Yes Sir." All three shouted at once.
"Order us some ground transport and see if you can hurry it up." Josh ordered.
"Yes sir, right away sir." The senior official responded and quickly started punching buttons on his portacomp. "Your transport will be here in 10 minutes sir."
"Very well, you are dismissed." Josh ordered once again barely keeping his face straight.
The three officials saluted Josh and turned on their heels and disembarked the transport. Just as they reached the bottom of the stairway, Josh, Peter and Vic couldn't hold it in any longer. They were laughing so hard that they fell to the floor in pain. As soon as the three recovered enough to function, they gathered up their belongings and made their way to the waiting ground transport. The driver snapped a sharp salute as they approached the waiting flutter. Josh just waved his hand and the drive quickly opened the door for them.
"Where to sir?" The driver asked as he settled into the flutter.
Josh quickly looked over at Vic.
"Calipistown Manor, driver." Vic answered.
"Yes sir, right away."
The three made small talk on the ride to the Hotel. Mostly about the scenery and the how the people looked and acted. They could tell from the way the people walked that they were not happy. They looked as if they were slaves with no hope, no dreams and no future. As they approached the Calipistown Manor they notice armed military patrols were more prevalent and the downtrodden populace fewer. At the entrance to the Hotel there was a bevy of security personnel milling about, all of them heavily armed. The flutter was stopped at the gate by a security guard. The driver was arguing with him, Vic becoming impatient bolted from the flutter and confronted the guard.
"Look here mister. Do you have any idea who is in this vehicle?" Vic shouted.
The guard just stood there with an air of superiority, not saying a thing.
"You will call your superior and you will do it now!" Vic yelled.
The guard smirked and reached for his communicator and called his commander. It wasn't moments later when a squad of security personnel arrived with a Captain leading.
"What the hell is going on here?" The Captain yelled.
Vic just handed the Captain his ID chip. The Captain glared at him as he ran it though a portacomp. As the information scrolled across the screen the Captain's demeanor suddenly changed. He turned to the arrogant guard that Vic had confronted and started yelling at him.
"You stupid jerk. You will be walking midnight patrol for the next year. Get your ass up to the barracks because you start tonight. Dismissed."
The stunned guard hastily complied. He didn't have that contemptuous smirk on his face now.
"Now Mr. Rawlings, how may I be of service?"
"Mr. Degardo and company would like a room at this facility." Vic answered.
"Mr. Degardo?" The Captain asked.
"Yes Captain, Mr. Joshua Degardo, Senior Degardo family security officer."
"Uh, Uh, yes sir. We will accommodate you right away." The Captain replied as he barked orders into his communicator.
They were quickly escorted to the best suite in the hotel. Three adjoining rooms with a sitting room and a den.
"Like we will need three rooms." Josh said.
"We will need three rooms. We have to keep up appearances while we are here Josh. Peter is your subordinate now. Not your lover."
"Now wait a minute Vic. Who the hell is the head honcho around here?" Josh stubbornly responded.
"Josh, you are but remember you are suppose to take advice from us and that is exactly what I am giving. I'm sorry if it sounded like an order." Vic apologized.
"Ok Vic but if you think that I am going to sleep alone you have another thing coming. Peter will be with me and there is no arguing that point. What we can do is mess up the extra bed every night and no one will be the wiser."
Just as Vic was going to object the room comp chimed notifying them of an awaiting message. Pete went over to the comp and retrieved the message.
I was floored by your message. I am very happy for you and I want to personally congratulate the love of your life for catching the most wonderful person in the universe. Don't worry about me, I have someone special in my life too and I am deliriously happy.
I am excited that you are able to come here. Please let me know as soon as you arrive so we can meet and renew our friendship.
With all of my love,
Peter read the message over and over again. This did not sound like the Thad that he knew. Something was wrong.
Copyright S. John Holder 2001
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