Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any people, real or fictional, is entirely a coincidence. In addition this story involves homosexual thoughts, feelings and actions. If this is not what you want to read, please visit another website. In addition if reading this story is illegal in your area you need to go to another website now. If you want to contact me my e-mail address is below.

Love From the Printing Press

By David Cross

Chapter 6

Derek woke up feeling like an aircar had been dropped on him from a kilometer up. He groggily noticed the lights were still on and the holographic projector for his computer was displaying some kind of message. He said, "Display time." Voice controls are indeed marvellous, thought Derek. The computer obligingly projected over top of the message, in brilliant numerals, 04:30. It would be another two hours before anybody even woke up, much less went to the communal bathrooms to get ready for the day. He said, "Remove time display."

Once the computer removed the time, Derek gave a second look at the text of the message holographically projected into the air above his desk. He sat down in his chair, and began reading, blinking a couple of times to try and bring his eyes into focus. Once he was done, he tapped the command sequence to cancel the display and send the message to oblivion.

Who does that snot think he is, anyway? Memories flooded back as Derek remembered how Randy had shown up unannounced, and how he'd insolently spoken to the guy. After that, things got fuzzy, but considering that he had been lying on the bed, still clothed, and Randy's message was waiting, it was logical to conclude he'd fainted. Derek's stomach clenched again as he thought about what Randy could do to him if he was so inclined.

What have I gotten myself into? thought Derek despondently. His only hope was that Randy would be human enough to not report this incident to the headmaster. At this point, Derek knew he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep, so he pulled up his assignments for the day and went over them once again.

Randy had had trouble sleeping that same night. He knew he had every right in the world to go to the headmaster and demand that Derek be expelled in disgrace, and nobody would say him nay. But he just couldn't bring himself to do it, because every time he thought about that, his mind conjured up the image of Derek fainting after his verbal broadside. He wondered, Is that what those scholarship kids have to live with every day? Randy had no idea how he would bear up under the strain of knowing a wrong word, a wrong phrase, could consign him forever to a life of oblivion, living as a cipher the rest of his life.

It was amazing how fast Randy was beginning to discover the existence of people he'd barely even acknowledged for all the years of his life. He was just upper crust and that was all there was to it, and those who weren't fortunate to be in his position were incidental to his concern, if at all. What troubled him was that it had all started because he felt some sort of strange attraction that he couldn't easily identify, that day when his father had come down to do that press conference.

Randy was no stranger to females, and had dated a few, although at his age the relationships were not intended to be long-term. When he had gone out with them, he'd been careful to behave properly, the way his father had always insisted. You didn't push them to kiss or make out; you waited for the right signals. Truthfully, Randy had indeed kissed and made out with the two girls he'd gone out with, but they had never gone further, although he knew the mechanics of it from his human biology class. The first relationship had lasted three months, and the second, also about three months. In both cases the break-up had been reasonably angst-free; the girls liked him, but not as much as they liked other guys that had caught their eye, and he, for his part, had felt something missing when he'd gone out with them, but had carefully concealed that, choosing instead to claim that yes, he'd also started to feel that other girls might be more suited for him.

Randy wasn't sure what that "something missing" was, but he had a vague and troubling notion it had something to do with Derek. He'd remembered enjoying "messing around" with one of his buddies from school, Duncan Rustiger. His father owned a large industrial works complex which turned out polymers and steel-impregnated glass mostly for the military. It had to have been a year or so before, when there had been no classes on the planetary public holiday. It had to have been Settlement Day, now that he thought about it a bit more. Anyway, Duncan, who was the black-haired guy wowing at Randy's announcement, had been in Randy's room, and the two had been talking about Duncan's recently-gained girlfriend. She was in some of the same classes so Randy knew who Duncan had been talking about. The conversation had somehow evolved from what Duncan wanted to do with her to the inevitable tenting of the pants that accompanied a discussion like that, and Duncan had suggested "solving the problem." They'd had a mutual masturbation session that day, and their friendship wasn't affected. It just never occurred to either to bring up or to attempt to repeat the experience.

Now that Randy was examining old events in a new light, he realized he'd enjoyed feeling another guy's "equipment" as it was euphemistically termed, and that the thought still excited him. He realized he'd been keepng himself from getting to sleep by thinking for so long, and called for the time. The computer's helpful hologram showed that it was now 25:33. He sighed disgustedly at his lack of ability to sleep and plopped his head back onto the pillow.

The wake-up alarm at 06:30 left Randy groggy and unfocussed. He continued to feel oddly off kilter through an excellent breakfast, followed by his morning classes. Of course, it would have to be the day his physics teacher announced a surprise quiz.

The teacher, Mr. Flannery, had said, "Everyone, shut off any personal computers and set your displays at your desks to the liquid-crystals at your terminal. No holograms." That always spelled Q-U-I-Z. The practice of using restricted-vision terminal displays was a familiar one to Randy, having taken examinations like this of one form or another for years. The liquid crystal displays prevented cheating since you had to practically be on top of one to be able to view it.

Mr. Flannery had then said, "Everyone, solve the Schroedinger Wave Equation with the harmonic oscillator potential and yield the first three eigenvalues for that physical situation. You will also have to graph the eigenstates. You have ten minutes!"

Aw, man. Randy brought up the quantum mechanics portion of his allowed computer programs, and further instructions were provided. He was to scribe out the wave equation, explicitly insert the harmonic oscillator, and then apply the differential equation solver properly. If he did so, he knew he would get out the eigenvalues he needed. The eigenstates would be the wavefunctions for each energy level.

Ten minutes later, Randy knew he'd blown the quiz. He couldn't seem to concentrate properly on the wave equation, and as a result the eigenvalues looked all wrong. He knew the ground state energy wasn't a really big number, yet his had been kind of large, and the eigenstate drawings looked like high-energy values with lots of oscillations, rather than what he knew they looked like at low energy, which had few oscillations.

Randy hit the button to send the quiz results to the teacher's computer, and tried to focus on the remainder of the class. Luckily, it went by without incident and the rest of the day passed without any more surprise quizzes.

Derek, for his part, realized only that day that he actually shared some classes with Randy. He'd traditionally sat in almost the exact middle of the classrooms, safely ensconced in relative obscurity. The physics quiz had been more or less a piece of cake, but the groans that went around the room suggested that a fair number of students hadn't been too diligent about their studying of quantum mechanics. Randy's presence didn't make Derek so much afraid as cautious.

Derek felt as though he were trying to navigate a cave system inside an asteroid with only the stars to provide any feeble light to guide him. His nervousness only gradually dissolved over the day, as no headmaster or minion strode up to bodily eject him from the school grounds, and no teacher forbade him entry into a classroom. The one surprise he did get was that at dinnertime, he had walked to his assigned spot in one of the long rows, and to do so he'd had to pass the people who were sitting near one end of the table since their last names were earlier in the alphabet. He'd briefly caught Randy's eye, and groaned internally as the guy wouldn't look away. So Derek deliberately did so, but as he turned his head resolutely forward, he wondered. Had that been a look of regret on Randy's face?

You can e-mail me at this e-mail address. Also, if you're curious, you can look at this website if you want to know what the physics teacher was talking about. :-)