Disclaimer: the following story is completely fictional. It describes sexual acts between young boys so if you don't like that sort of thing, don't read it! However if you do, I appreciate feedback.
Tarski had never been to the spaceport before. It was only an hour away by train but he missed the class trip two years ago when he had broken his ankle. On Skidmess though there really wasn't much. It was a still developing colony planet that barely had the required population to be a member of the Galactic Confederacy.
The roughly 30,000,000 population would lose three members today and probably a few more. A few of the other passengers had to be emigrants too, Tarski reflected as he walked down the street slightly behind his parents. Just to get to his new home it was going to take three weeks. A journey back would be as long. Because of the length of travel and the dangers inherent in space travel most people stayed on the planet they were born on. A journey on a spacecraft was not a trip to the beach.
Overall he had been underwhelmed by everything. He had six months to say his goodbyes to his friends and while he really would miss them, those feelings weren't sharp anymore. It was like the changing of the seasons. A little regret, but inevitable. The train ride had been like other train rides. The capital was a little different than another city. The spacer quarter, was actually pretty quiet. Skidmess only received a ship one to every two weeks. There were a few restaurants that probably got most their business from the locals and offices and hotels.
As they passed one of those small restaurants there was an eruption of shouts that drew his attention. Around some sort of game were three teenagers that looked to be about his age range. They were dressed differently than he was in dark blue jumpsuits, but that wasn't what kept Tarski staring at them. One of the boys was bald and green. The site was enough to stop Tarski in his tracks. A Greenne? Here?
"This thing is rigged!" The teen with the green skin shouted to no one in particular. "You owe 100 credits."
"Carl you only bet 50," the tallest of three said leaning against the machine.
The teenager spun on his friend. "I'm counting my winnings. I got the answer in dammit!"
Tarski could see it was a challenge machine now. You bet credits then you consult a problem before time ran out. You were supposed to be 16 to play them but in the spacer quarter not all local laws applied.
The Greenne noticed Tarski staring at him then. "Don't play here it's rigged!"
The third member of the group who had been smiling at that moment grabbed the Greenne's arm. "Come on you don't need another strike against you."
His mother's sharp tone immediately drew his attention. His parents had continued walking and he hurried to catch up.
As they waited to board the shuttle, he couldn't get is mind off of what he had seen. He had learned about Greenne in school. They were one of the subcultures of humanity. They had come about 300 years ago as a genetic attempt to merge mankind with nature. Their skin was capable of photosynthesis which was supposed to dramatically reduce the amount of food they had to eat. They were supposed to be gentle and kind. He had seen them on different television shows and they were always angelic. Seeing one shouting and gambling was hard to comprehend.
The shuttle was waiting for them. Tarski had read up on shuttles and saw this one was mostly meant for carrying cargo. There were only ten seats divided evenly into pairs. His parents took one side of the shuttle and he sat by the window on the other side.
They were sitting for about 10 minutes when there was a lot of noise as someone was coming up the stairs and then the three teenagers he had seen earlier ran down the aisle. They took seats in the back and a man almost immediately appeared in the doorway.
"All right, will be lifting off shortly. I need you to buckle up and stay that way until we dock. If you feel like you're going to be sick put on your mask."
Tarski glanced at the mask. It was right in front of him but he had avoided thinking about it. It was black in color and had a tube attached to it. He didn't think he would be sick but the idea of vomit floating around the cabin almost made him so.
"To our three passengers," the man continued. "Do you have your pins on you? I need to see them before we can liftoff. "
Tarski shifted a little so the thumbnail sized pin could be seen on his right shoulder. As it had been explained to him the pin was a locating beacon. You were supposed to wear them at all times. If something happened like a breach in the hull the ship would be sealed. If you were in a section that was cut off for whatever reason they would come to rescue you or retrieve your body depending on the circumstances.
The man nodded when he saw his pin and checked his parents. He did not check the other three. Instead he just turned around and a few minutes later Tarski could feel them moving. It was a strange sensation. Tarski couldn't hear the engines but as he looked out the window he saw them climbing into the air. There was no gradual incline like on an airplane. Instead there was a feeling of a lurch and they were climbing into the sky.
He watched as building shrunk in size and he could see more of the sprawling city. Then he could see beyond the city. Then he could see everything. He could see city and roads and trees all becoming smaller and smaller. Then he couldn't see the smaller things anymore. He could see a forest but not a tree. They rose higher and higher. They passed a cloud piercing it like a knife through butter.
Tarski briefly remembered that clouds actually could weigh a lot but because of all the hydrogen they floated in this atmosphere. It was a strange realization. They were passing through tons of water. Then even the clouds became small. He could see the curvature of the planet. The great desert in the West was a golden color. It contrasted beautifully with the black of space.
Then there was a lurch and Tarski felt his back and butt leave the seat. The harness caught him immediately, but for a second his stomach felt like it was going to keep floating forward. Curiously his arms felt different but not that different. The constant normal sense of being pulled down just wasn't there. Then a moment later he heard the sound of retching and looked over to see his mother with her mask on. Luckily they had taken some advice and had not eaten 24 hours before boarding the shuttle.
Tarski wanted to float around the cabin, but knew he would get in trouble. So he just stared out the window. Lost in his thoughts he barely felt something brush up against his hair. He moved his hand and felt it hit something. Twisting around he was just in time to see the object float away. It was a little piece of candy. He would've dismissed it as some junk but as he watched another piece of candy seem to fly through the air, hitting the ceiling it rebound right for him. It was going slow enough that he was able to catch it. A moment later there was a third piece and it was only then he realized somebody was throwing them at him. This time he swatted at it and missed. The air he displaced changed its vector and he heard muffled laughing.
It had to be one or all three of those riding in the back. Resting his hands on the arm rest he pushed himself up pushing himself against the harness. Turning to look he saw the Greenne was obviously not buckled. He was floating above his seat and even as Tarski watched the Greenne shot another piece of candy at him. This time Tarski caught it and in an uncharacteristically moment of anger he fired it back. He was way off. He missed his target by a good 2 feet.
"Tarski sit down," his father snapped.
For a moment he thought of telling his father what was happening. Then he decided to let it go and settled back into his seat. No more candy was shot at him. After a few minutes of waiting for the next attack he glanced out the window and saw the ship they would be on.
There were two types of spaceships. Ones that were designed to land on planets and the ones that weren't. The Martin would never touch a planet's surface and probably never had. It was a cylinder with engines on both sides. They took up about a third of the ship. It looked polished like stainless steel. He couldn't see any protrusions from this distance but Tarski knew what it would look like on the inside. It had an artificial gravity system but instead of having decks like a sea ship the decks were concentric circles gradually decreasing in size. The largest ring was given over to cargo. There was no gravity there. The next level which was considerably smaller was where they would be. There were 20 cabins, two different rec rooms, a cafeteria and gymnasium. The next level was hydroponics. Part of it was meant to be a park. The level below that was for the crew and would be off-limits to him. The very bottom part had been blacked out but labeled as command control.
The ship was close to 5 miles long but Tarski didn't really appreciate the size until he watched it grow larger and larger. Soon it grew too big to be seen all at once. Then he heard a voice of the intercom. "We will be docking in two minutes."
Docking was anti-climactic. Outside they passed a metal hull and there was a little clank of metal hitting against metal. There was the sound of the engine and glancing out the window Tarski could see they were going up a shaft. Gravity slowly returned as they climbed into the ship. Then they came to a stop. There was an announcement that passengers should disembark first. Tarski removed his harness quickly, but his parent took longer. His mother was still looking a bit sick. Before disembarking he spared a glance back but the other passengers were hidden behind the seats.
In a young woman was waiting there for them. She wore a similar jumpsuit Tarski had seen on the three teenagers. That gave him a second confusion. They were too young to be working on a ship.
"Welcome to the Martin," the woman said in a cheery tone. Why don't I show you to your cabin right away? It looks like you need to lie down. Your baggage will be delivered."
"Thank you," Tarski's mother said. "I didn't think not having gravity would affect you much."
The woman smiled over her shoulder she started to lead them down the hallway. "Some people take to it right away and other could never get used to it. To be perfectly honest I don't much like it myself. You can get used to it time."
"I think one space journey is enough for me," Tarski's mother said.
Tarski followed behind quietly. It was strange walking. The corridor felt flat to his feet, but his eyes were telling him he should be going uphill. Now that he thought about it nothing on a planet was really flat. It was just so big you didn't notice the curve.
Each door they passed had a number on it and there had been some effort to make them look like wood but they were obviously metal. In between each door was a large screen. On the left side there was a large pieces of artwork and displayed on the right there were recorded images playing like you were looking out a window. The weird thing was they were all different. There was no logic to the artwork. There were obviously detailed landscapes followed by more extract pieces. The other side was equally as baffling. Sometimes you'd be looking across what seemed like a busy street and the very next window would have a waterfall. It was strange.
They finally arrived at the cabin number 18. The woman opened it up with a card but then pointed to her own pin. "Your door will open automatically for you when you approach it. All areas of ship you have access to will open automatically when you stand in front of the door for more than a few seconds. If the door is not open you're not authorized. From the inside of your apartment, I mean cabin, you can allow anyone in you wish. If you have any further questions feel free to quiz the computer or call housekeeping. Have a nice day."
She waved and started to walk away as Tarski and his family filed into the room. The door shut behind them and the lights turned on. The room they were in was a common room with one large curving couch and a large screen on the wall with a small kitchen and eating area right where you walked in. There were two real doors on either side of the room. One had his parents’ luggage in front of it and the other had his.
"Tarski, were going to lie down. Why don't you settle in," his father called out as a started towards the room.
"I will, sir."
Tarski started towards his bags. They had sold most of their stuff before leaving the planet. A few family heirlooms and stuff they would not need on the journey had been packed away in storage container and was somewhere on board. Still he had brought several changes of clothing and a small game system. He would've brought his data tablet but the ship once they were away from the planet wouldn't have real-time access to Skidmess's Internet. The ship had its own system databases that functioned like an Internet or so he had been told. The ship's tablet he was allowed to use had been placed on wall, but Tarski didn't try it out until he finished unpacking.
The bedroom he had was small enough that he could sit on the bed and put his feet up on the wall. Tarski and didn't do that though. Instead he sat on the bed and played with the tablet. It was a different brand than the model was used to but the operating system was the same. He had just started to play around with it to get used to it when an announcement came over the speakers.
"We will be breaking orbit in ten minutes. This is just an announcement. You need not take any action."
The announcement repeated twice more and Tarski turned his attention back to the tablet. Deciding to test how good the Martin's database system was he did a search for his favorite show. The first three responses were familiar to him. He knew the ship could be receiving an update from the planet and they were up-to-date including an episode summary for the last episode. He glanced at the fourth entry and that was his first real surprise of the journey.
He knew what fan fiction was. He had a friend who was into it. However this particular entry seemed to have an adult warning next to it. Curious he clicked on it expecting to be blocked but instead just a warning came up. It warned him that the material contained within would contain explicit descriptions of sex. Still expecting to be blocked he clicked okay and found himself right in the middle the database.
Instantly he closed out and turned off the tablet. His parents had always blocked those features. His parents had such good software that even the existence of such things had been hidden from him. This tablet though had none of those parental protections. Then again maybe they just haven't been activated yet. He sat there for a few minutes tempted to see what else he could see and at the same time worrying that his parents were maybe testing him. He knew he wasn't supposed to view such material so were his parents monitoring him to see if he would disobey them at the first opportunity or was it an oversight? Should he bring it to their attention or simply by bringing it to their attention would they be disappointed in him? It is a problem he had never faced before and the possibilities swirled around in his head. In the end he needed to lay down himself.
The first two days of Tarski's journey were uneventful. He ate with his family either in the cafeteria or the cabin. He did his schoolwork on his tablet and used it for nothing else. He spent most of his free time watching one program or another for on his game system.
It was his mother who finally broke his routine coming into his room and yanking his headsets off. "Tarski, you're spending too much time in our cabin. I want you to go to the park. It's like being outside you'll enjoy it."
"Yes ma'am," Tarski responded automatically. The truth was he was avoiding doing much of anything. The tablet had thrown him for a loop and he was unsure what his parents were expecting from him. Now that he had been told do something he felt oddly more secure. That was one thing he was really missing about being on Skidmess. He knew what was expected of him there.
Leaving the cabin by himself for the first time he started down the hallway. He had to pass through the cafeteria through a pair of doors to reach the hydroponic section. It was not what he was expecting. First he had to step down a half of the step onto a brick path. There was grass to either side of it. That was surprising. Grass besides producing oxygen serves no function except for adding more mass. The trees which had been expecting in neat rows to maximize the available space were spread out. In fact there seemed to be no organization whatsoever. The only thing that separated them from the woods back at home was that they were all fruit trees. In a glance he could see apple and pear trees. The bushes were heavy with berries too.
He glanced up at the ceiling. The light seemed to be brighter than the ones in the cabin or cafeteria. When he looked up he didn't see the expected ceiling. In fact he couldn't really tell where the light was coming from all. The ceiling seemed to be covered in one large curving screen which had projections of clouds floating lazily by. He stood there for a moment just taking it all in before he felt a breeze.
This was nice. He started to walk down the path. It was nice being outside again or at least it good approximation. He had always liked the woods back at home. He noticed as he walked that the trees and bushes seem to form little areas. In one area he walked past a family that was having a picnic and another one or someone was quietly reading. It was just thinking that maybe he should try that when he came across another group that stopped him in his tracks.
There were three teenagers spread across the grass. It was the trio that had rolled up with him on shuttle. The Greenne was stripped down to only his underwear. Tarski's eyes unwillingly wandered over the exposed skin. His skin was dark green and almost completely uniform over his body. The only spot that was different was where his nipples were. They were slightly darker than the surrounding skin. His underwear was tight and seemed to reflect some of the light. It did nothing to hide the erection he was sporting.
"Hey, you came up on the shuttle with us."
Tarski pulled his eyes away from the Greenne's body. His eyes darted over to the one who had spoken. He had dark brown hair that was cropped close to his head. Tarski swallowed and nodded before remembering that was rude. "Yes, I think I did."
"No, you did." The other one spoke. His skin was pale and had reddish brown hair. "You didn't blow us when we were using you as target practice. Thanks for that."
Tarski didn't know he should be thanked. He just thought it would be more trouble at the time. "It was nothing." Part of him wanted to walk away but his eyes were drawn back to the Greenne's body. "What are you doing?" he blurted out.
The Greenne had only opened one eye. "I'm eating. It's simulated sunlight but it works me being part plant and all." He smiled and thrust his hips up. "Would you like see my root?"
Tarski blushed and felt himself taking a step back. The Greenne laughed but the redhead poked him in the stomach. "Forgive Carl, he can be an ass. My name is Max." He tilted his head to indicate the redhead. "He's Nathan. What's your name?"
For a moment he was unsure what to do before remembering his manners. "My name is Tarski."
"And what brings you on board our ship?" Nathan asked.
"My family and I are moving to Planks Landing."
"So you'll be getting off the next stop. Enjoying your trip?"
Tarski really didn't know how to answer that. The truth was he was having a miserable time. He felt out of place. "I guess it's okay."
Carl wiggled his toes bringing Tarski attention fully back to him. "Well, why don't you sit and join us." Carl grinned showing off very white teeth.
"Is that okay?" Tarski asked.
"No rule against it," Max said repositioning himself.
The three of them had moved from a slight triangle to more of a circle and hesitantly Tarski completed it by kneeling on the grass. Carl rolled over and let his feet swing in the air. Tarski eyes slid down Carl's legs until they reached the tight black underwear that shifted slightly with each motion. Tarski had to consciously look over at Max. "So, do you work here? I mean wearing the same uniforms as the crew."
"Yes and no. Strictly speaking were apprentices. Our parents are crew," Max answered.
Tarski thought for a second before venturing a question. "Isn't that against Confederacy labor laws?" The Confederacy allowed planets mostly to govern themselves with the exception of certain human rights such as a minimum working age.
"It's not like that," Nathan answered. "You're on a private ship." Tarski didn't understand and it must've shown on his face because Nathan continued. "There are two types of spaceships. Corporate ships and private ships. Corporate ships are owned by companies. Individual workers are contracted. Private ships are owned by the crew usually. That means my parents and Max's parents both own shares in the ship. It's our home. We take regular classes like you do and we also take classes that specialize in space. When we get older will either have to sign on a corporate ship, settle on a planet or buy into a ship."
"So you've never lived on a planet?" Tarski asked try to figure out how a Greenne would get into such a situation.
"Well I was born on ship," Max said jumping in. "I've been on twelve different planets. That's more than most people will be on."
"Yeah, we get to see a lot. Most people live and die on the same planet. They're going to change our route again so we'll get to see more," Nathan added.
"Change your route?" Tarski asked getting too much information at one time.
"Yeah, corporate ships tend to stick to the same route. Crews can change but the ships go back and forth. Some planets even have ships that just jump back and forth between one or two other systems because there's so much traffic. Where we are heading it's a bit of a mid-level planet. That means a lot of ships from developed systems will compete with smaller ships like ours that also come in from smaller planets. That way all that way all the planets the Confederacy are linked together."
Tarski knew that but you never really thought about it before. "So what's your route now?"
"Skidmess, Planks Landing, Babylon, New Australia, Shaconne, and Retention," Nathan rattled off. "Some say we should drop Shaconne and Retention from our route." He shrugged. "I don't have any shares so nobody cares what I think."
Retention, Tarski recognize that as one of the home planets for the Greenne.
"And that's good you don't have any thoughts," Max quipped.
Nathan's sprung at Max knocking him onto his back and for a moment the two rolled around on the ground. Tarski was about to jump up and run for help when the two broke up smiling. He slowly lowered himself back to the ground as the two rejoined the circle.
"Anyways, they keep saying they're going to put to a vote soon but nobody really knows," Nathan said as if nothing happened.
"So where are you moving to Planks Landing?" Carl asked.
Tarski explained about his father's job and the topic changed to what Planks Landing was like. Tarski had read and write about his new home planet but they had actually been there. As it turned out it was one of their longer runs. It usually took them a month to get from one planet to another but when it came to Planks Landing they always shuttled some supplies to one of the outer stations. Just from their descriptions the planet didn't sound too different than what he was used to just a bit more crowded with close to 500 million people. That was a huge increase but Tarski knew there were planets that had billions.
The three eventually had to excuse themselves saying they had classes, but they mentioned they would be here tomorrow. Tarski took that as an invitation to stop by again. For the next week it became part of his routine. If he came early enough he could have lunch with them. He met a few more of their friends and Nathan's sibling, but Max, Nathan and Carl were the only ones who came every day. They even invited him to the rec room first to the passengers’ rec room and then the crew's rec room which was usually off limits to someone like him.
His parents were very happy he was getting out and learning about a different culture. That was one thing Tarski never really understood. He knew moving to Planks Landing would be different; however he had failed to appreciate how different it could be. On the outside the culture of the ship was similar to what he was familiar with. Tarski was starting to understand there was more to it though. There were various factions just like back on his home planet and he guessed like everywhere else. Unity at a distance fractured up close.
Overall though, Tarski was enjoying their company and it wasn't for one thing he would consider it great. It was Carl. He was strange. Tarski knew his mother would not approve of Carl as his friend. He swore and just acted inappropriately. He could tell it wasn't just a cultural difference; Max and Nathan were nice enough. Still, that wasn't all. Tarski found himself thinking more and more about Carl. Not just about him but his body. The thought would pop at the weirdest time. Like last night when he was eating dinner. The lettuce was the same hew as Carl’s skin. That had triggered a memory of Carl lying on the grass in his underwear. That gave him a raging erection, at the dinner table!
It wasn't that Tarski was unaware of sex. In a broad sense but it was something for your 20s and 30s and not something a teacher should deal with in your teens. Their teen years were for education and experiences. It was getting to the point where he was considering telling his parents about it. That's what you were supposed to do. There were pills he could take until they could find a technician that could tweak his nanomachines to suppress it on their own. That's what he should do. So why wasn't he?
After particularly restless me he was eating lunch with his friends playing a card game that taught them. Carl was on his stomach swinging his legs slowly. Tarski was trying not to stare Carl's butt when something Carl drew his complete attention.
"Do you want to fuck me or not?"
"Carl! What did we tell you?" Nathan said as he punched Carl in his shoulder.
"What?" Carl said pushing himself up so he was on his knees. "I have been patient." He said to Nathan before turning his attention back to Tarski. "Come on Tarski. Do you want to fuck me or not? I mean I know you've been eyeing me, we get along. What's your problem? I'm up for it."
Tarski felt like breaking out in a cold sweat. He didn't remember standing up but he remembered started to run. Too different. It was one thing to overlook swearing, but sex that was a different level. It was too far out.
Tarski had just reached the doors when he heard someone calling his name. He slowed and then stopped. Running away like that was rude but what else could he have done. His head was spinning and he felt like he needed to sit down. Reaching out for the wall to steady himself he leaned up against it and slid down as Nathan came to stand in front of him.
"I'm sorry about Carl. He’s still adjusting."
"He needs to have his nanomachines adjusted." Tarski knew how rude that sounded but sometimes things just had to be said.
Nathan let out a sigh. "Tarski can you and I talked for a few minutes. Let's go over there." He pointed to a little further down the wall.
Tarski didn't see a path there but at the moment his head hurt too much to object at the moment. "All right."
The two of them walked out a little until they found two nice trees to lean against. Tarski took one big and took the other. They stared at each other in silence until Tarski started to feel uncomfortable. The initial shock and panic Tarski it felt was wearing off and he was starting to feel embarrassed about how he had behaved. Still there was the finger in there. Anger towards Carl for ruining a nice day.
"I'm sorry for the way, Carl behaved. Please don't tell your parents. He'll be in big trouble if you report it."
Tarski wasn't sure what to say about that. Overlooking small things was one thing but Carl had really been out of line. Would he be a real friend if he didn't try to fix his bad behavior? "He was really out of line."
"Yeah, from your point of view I can see that. If he was ship borne then I wouldn't be so bad but he's not Tarski. Please even if you don't want to hang out with us anymore don't tell on Carl."
"He needs help." Tarski said.
Nathan's lips pursed together and he looked around as if try to find help somewhere. "Tarski, sit down we need to talk. Please, if you think of any of us as friends just give me a few minutes."
It was a simple enough request and he did want to help Carl. So Tarski slowly lowered himself to the ground. "All right."
Nathan followed suit sitting cross-legged and leaning forward. "Okay here it is. We don't have any other Greenne on board. Their culture doesn't really encourage space travel. They'll use it but they don't encourage it."
Tarski frowned trying to figure it out. He realized she probably should've read more about Greenne culture but Carl had been so different. He had just been putting it off he guessed. "What about his parents?"
Nathan scratched the back of his head. "I really shouldn't be telling you about this. It's rude but in order to convince you, you need more information I think. Carl is kind of special. He doesn't have any parents on board. Strictly speaking he's awarded of the Captain with a single share in the ship." Nathan stopped obviously considering what he should say. "Okay never mind that now. What do you know about different planets? How different can they be?"
The question sounded like an odd one to Tarski. Each planet had a similar educational system and entertainment media was universal. Still occasionally he saw something that was different. He always just thought it was creative writing. "Mostly the same I guess."
Nathan nodded. Then he got up and walked over to a nearby bush and broke off a little dead branch at the bottom. Tarski watched as he broke a few pieces off and put the longest down in the grass. "Okay, Tarski please look at this." Tarski lean forward a bit.
"All right, imagine the stack is the equivalent of the cultural norm across Confederacy. Most planets are like this like you say." Nathan then took one of the parts of the broken stick and placed it above the line but just by a little. "This is your planet. It's just a little different than the cultural norm."
"What do you mean?" Tarski demanded.
Nathan smiled. Tarski knew him well enough by now that was his expression of a plan coming together. It usually meant Tarski was about to lose again. "Skidmess believes in suppressing. That's not unusual. A blocked of individuals on planets do it but for Skidmess it's ingrained. It's not a different option to you, it's natural."
"What are you talking about?"
"He needs to have his nanomachines adjusted." Nathan said with a smile.
"He does." Tarski said not understanding Nathan's point.
"No, from a cultural point of view he does. You think he needs to have his sex drive suppressed like yours has been. From your point of view there isn't even a different option. That's not true throughout space though."
Tarski's head started to hurt. "I haven't."
"Haven't what?" Nathan said taking off guard.
"I should, but I haven't." Tarski said feeling embarrassed his cheeks warm.
Nathan seemed generally surprised and then smiled. "Well good. Suppression is something a lot of people do. Usually it's the parents forcing it on their kids. Concentrate on your studies now and sex later. So your parents aren't telling you to do it?"
"I should," Tarski said feeling a bit ashamed.
"That's the cultural institution you are grown up in speaking. Everyone around you was doing it conform to the norm. That's how we humans are. At least most of us." Nathan touched the little stick again. "This is the cultural norm in the Confederacy, this is your planet just a little different and this is the ship your on." He placed the stack on the opposite side of the one where Tarski's planet was on and a bit further away.
"What does that mean?" Tarski had thought his new friends were a bit different but not that different. Well outside of Carl.
"Let me put it to you this way. If you had been born on ship, raised in our culture and you are friends with Carl. Ever wonder why you were sleeping together. You like each other, are physically attracted to each other and are not involved with anyone else. Why should having a little fun? From our point of view it would be weird not too."
"What!" Tarski was genuinely shocked.
"Yeah, that's pretty much what we would be thinking." Nathan said grinning.
"But what?" Nathan interrupted. "As far as I know Skidmess doesn't have any prohibitions against same-sex relationships either religious or cultural. Who should care if you and Carl have a little fun? There's nothing your nanomachines could take care of so there's no danger. It's not actual sex you're objecting to it’s the timing."
Tarski had generally never thought about it that way. Even now the idea just seemed weird and wrong. His head hurt. He felt like the ground he had been standing on was being chipped away. Then I thought occurred to him. "So why would Carl be in trouble, then? If this is so normal."
Nathan's grin faltered. "Yeah, well look at this." He tapped the stick that represented cultural norm in the Confederacy according to him. Breaking off a little piece he placed it further away. " Greenne culture is a lot different than the usual. A lot of people view it as higher. Considering they've all been genetically engineered the way they live is natural to them. Their selfless, believe in harmony and commit themselves to long-term goals. A lot of people think they're all we should all strive towards." Nathan was silent for a moment. "What people don't realize is Greenne can be as cool as anyone else. Their society works because they all think the same way. In one way there worse than everyone else up. When someone doesn't fit in their society can be as cruel as any other. From their point of view Carl has always been selfish, misbehaving and greedy."
Tarski generally saw the misbehaving part but the other two accusations didn't fit the Carl he seemed to know. "I don't think he's greedy and selfish."
"Well, there's a pretty good chance that Greenne would think you are greedy and selfish. I mean one of the underlying tenets of suppressing culture is that sex is a distraction during key formative years. That would be fine with Greenne, they believe it themselves. The trouble is you go for the opposite of things they want. Your father is moving to a different planet take a promotion that's ambition of a personal nature. To a Greenne that's the height of selfishness. Abandoning your society for self-aggrandizement? No, chances, if you see a Greenne off planet there on a mission."
"So how did Carl get here then?"
Nathan shrugged. "Carl didn't fit in on the planet he was born on. That doesn't mean his parents didn't love them. They tried to fix him and I don't want to talk about that. In the end though they did what they thought was best and let him go. He fits in here."
Nathan pointed to the ground or the deck as Tarski had to remind himself. They were on a spaceship hurtling through space. Very far away from any. The problem suddenly felt too big for him to deal with. His mind slipped away from it concentrating on something he could grasp. "So what would happen if I told my parents about this?"
"About the way Carl talks to you? I'm not sure. There is a rule on board the ship that we’re all brought up with. You're always crew and crew don't make the ship look bad. Carl's a ward of the Captain, but the decision to take him on was taken by the Council. He 14 so still a minor. If the Council things he could endanger the ship's reputation they might try to transfer him to another or just send him back home." Nathan was silent for a moment and then added. "Carl is my friend. This is Carl's home. If you're his friend, don't put that in jeopardy."
Tarski nodded. It was too big right now for him to accept everything. One thing he was certain that was he didn't want to hurt Carl. If telling on him could be that much of a problem he wouldn't.
Nathan stood and brushed off his pants. "Listen, I'm already late. I know Carl didn't mean to upset you. He does like you. He still getting used dealing with different cultures though. Talk to you later hopefully."
Tarski was left with a lot to think about. The thing was he didn't know enough to figure all this stuff out. For the rest of the day he retreated into his room and read. He had never really been particularly interested in history or other cultures. Things were the way they were. He never considered there would be controversy about such things like suppression. Try to remember his friend had never talked on but like Nathan had suggested, it was just normal. Most of his friends had been 14 or 15 so some of them had to already be on it. It was private.
It was strange to read about planets where it was not assumed but debated and argued about. He thought back on Nathan's explanation in his little stick. Some of the planets he read about would be a lot further away than his or the ship or even the Greenne.
In the end he turned it off and rolled onto his back. He thought about Carl. Just Carl. He liked him. Did he like him in a romantic way? That Tarski wasn't sure. Those thoughts were so alien. So what about sex? Get the feelings were annoying, distracting. What if he gave into them? He had been trying to avoid thinking about it. Maybe those thoughts were supposed to be for when you are older. He was going on with what you been raised with but was that right? He had never thought there had been a debate but now he wasn't sure.
The next day he woke, ate his breakfast and blew through his studies as quickly as he could. When lunch time came around he went to the park hoping his friends would be there. He found them just settling in to their normal spot. Carl's usual grin was absent. Knowing that was his fault sent pain of regret through Tarski.
"Can I join you?" he ventured.
"Don't see why not." Max said glancing over Carl.
Tarski sat down but before opening his lunch he asked. "So have all of you had sex?" He didn't want to use the F word. He may be questioning his opinion on sex but swearing was still uncouth.
"Yep," Nathan answered or all of them.
He took one last deep breath. "I want to try it."
"What changed your mind?" Max asked.
"I didn't change my mind." Tarski said. "I'm unsure and when you're unsure you need more information to make an informed decision."
"You're going to," Max started to say the F word but caught himself. "Have sex as an experiment?"
"With me?" Carl spoke up for the first time.
"If that's okay," Tarski said.
Carl laughed. "Yeah, I'm up for it." He laughed. "I get to be someone's first. Didn't think that was going to happen."
Tarski felt his face turn red. "So how do we do it?"
"Not here," Nathan said.
"Why not I'm up for that," Carl answered immediately.
"We can set something up for you tonight," Max answered. "Will meet in the rec room like usual."
One horrifying second Tarski had an image of all four of them doing something and I was simply too much. It was immature how the logistics of that would work out. "Wait, I only met Carl!"
All three of them laughed but it was Nathan who answered. "It'll just be you and Carl. Max and I are just going to help out a little. Relax all you have to do is show up."
Tarski sat in the rec room playing a game of Go against the computer. He was losing badly. Hitting reset he deleted the digital humiliation and started the next game.
Tarski jumped in turn to see Carl sending right next to him. His friend print and slid into the chair across from him. Before Tarski could say, "Hay."
Silence descended like a smothering blanket. Tarski was too afraid to speak and Carl was staring at his hands. After what felt like an eternity Carl spoke, "I really am sorry."
"What?" Tarski asked.
Carl shoulder slumped and he seemed to shrink down into his chair. "About the way I said things. I'm still adjusting. It's harder than you think it is. It's," he paused and looked around. "I really don't want to talk about it. Do you want to hang out for a while or just go?"
Tarski just stared at Carl. His mind was having trouble keeping up. This was a new side to Carl and at the moment it was just too much. Too much new. Tarski just stared at Carl having no idea what to do. Carl caught on and slid out of his chair. Taking Tarski's hand he started to pull him along.
Tarski was halfway across the rec room before he could even think to ask. "Where are we going?"
"Not too far," Carl said with a backward glance.
Tarski realized he was retracing his steps. The corridor was empty but he could easily run into his parents. What would he say if he saw them now? He felt a growing terror as they approached his cabin and only a slight sense of relief once they passed it. Carl stopped at one of the doors and pulled out a key card.
"Where did you get that?" Tarski asked.
Carl glanced over his shoulder and pulled Tarski into the room. "Not all the cabins are occupied. It's really not that hard to get access to the cards. We clean all the cabins each time we dock anyways. It not like we're making more work for someone. Besides where not going to use everything."
"You've done this before?" Tarski said glancing around the room. It was a carbon copy of the one he was staying in which just felt weird.
"You mean borrow an unoccupied cabin or have sex? Well yes to both anyways." Carl grinned releasing Tarski's hand.
Tarski felt his face flush. "With Max or Nathan?" he ventured trying to sound confident.
"Yeah," Carl said his smile dropping off of his face. "Listen, Tarski I was a bit like a public toilet okay? Everybody used me. That was then and this is now. Can we not talk about that. I want both of us to enjoy this."
For the first time Tarski really start to wonder how much he knew about Carl. He had thought he had known him pretty well. He tried to push that thought aside and nodded. "I'm really not sure what to do."
This time when Carl smiled it seemed gentler. "Well, it is simple." Carl reached out and grabbed both of Tarski's forearms and slowly started walking backwards. Carl led them over to the couch and gave Tarski a little push onto it. Taking a few steps back he started to unzip his jumpsuit. "Just sit there."
Tarski by now had seen Carl take off his clothing many times. He stripped every day for lunch. Now here in a private room it felt different. His actions were slower, unzipping to expose his chest, link his jumpsuit little to show a shoulder and then the other. Carl pushed his jumpsuit down past his hips exposing his thighs, his knees and feet. Carl was stripped down to the black shiny underwear. He slowly rolled his hips showing off that he had an erection. Tarski was transfixed by that. Never had the little thin fabric seem so prominent to Tarski. Then Carl turned around showing off his butt, leaning forward touching the ground making the fabric stretched over his rear showing off the crevice between his cheeks. Carl arched his back down raised his butt further.
In the back of Tarski's mind, he realized Carl was trying to attract him and he was succeeding. Tarski could feel he was aroused and with that he was frustrated. He wanted to do something with it, but fear kept into his thoughts, he was uncertain what to do. Then Carl stood and lowered his underwear exposing his butt cheeks. Tarski felt his face flush. He had never seen any boy's or anyone's butt in person before. Then Carl turned around and Tarski saw an erect penis that wasn't his own.
Carl's balls swung below his body and his erection pointed straight upwards. To thoughts managed to make it through Tarski's mind. The first was that he really couldn't create an idea of what his own looked like in his mind. He had seen his own but it had been a source of embarrassment. The embarrassment was still there, stronger than ever as he stared at the naked Carl, but mixed with the thought was another unfamiliar feeling. The desire to touch and kiss and hold. Then the more analytical part of his mind produced another thought.
"Have you started puberty? You don't have any hair."
Carl smirked and reached for his privates slowly scratching his balls which caused his erection to waiver like a flagpole in the wind. "Greenne don't grow hair anywhere, it would just interfere with our photosynthesis, not that we go around naked at least where I'm from. Genetics. Let's see what genetics gave you."
Tarski froze. He'd known he would have to strip naked. Now the time was here, he was scared. His erection which was starting to hurt at this point started to soften.
Maybe Carl noticed his hesitancy as he slowly approached. Carl was short then Tarski, but from a seated position Carl stood over him. His friend coming closer and closer. He trained his neck back is Carl stepped so close that he stood between Tarski's knees. Then Carl started to lean down and Tarski's mind couldn't figure out why. The thought of kissing didn't even occur to Tarski until their lips for touching.
Slowly Tarski felt himself being pushed back his back touching the couch. He felt Carl's weight on top of him. A hand pressed against his chest and then Tarski felt Carl pulling on his shirt. It took several attempts and Carl had to use both hands but with a little help from Tarski, Tarski's shirt was pulled off his body and tossed to the floor. Carl kissed him again before sliding down his chest and onto the floor. Then in a daze he watched as Carl pulled off his shoes and socks. It almost felt like it was happening to someone else. Tarski felt like he was watching a video. That was until he felt Carl's hands start pulled down his pants.
"Wait!" Tarski shouted shattering the silence.
Carl looked up startled. "What?"
Tarski stared into Carl's eyes. Too many thoughts and feelings were running through him at the moment. "I don't know what to do."
Carl smiled leaned down and kissed the side of Tarski's cheek. He leaned a little further and said, "Trust me and just do what I do."
Tarski nodded somehow finding a way to relax on hearing that. Carl pulled away and started to work on Tarski's pants again. He raised his hips a little helping Carl pull his pants and underwear down. Tarski felt his erection free from the construction of his clothing. It was strangely thrilling to have his pants pulled down by someone else. Carl stood continuing to pull Tarski's pants until they were pulled free.
Tarski looked down at his own body, his own erection. It was strange to look at himself naked and erect. He didn't really have time to think of it before Carl jumped back on to him and they were kissing again. He felt Carl's erection brush up against stomach. That felt nice almost as nice as their legs intermingling. He felt Carl's hands all over him touching his body and he summoned the courage to wrap his arms around Carl's body. He pulled him close their chests touching, skin against skin. Carl's body felt hard but his skin so soft.
Then Carl broke the kiss and slowly began to slide down Tarski's body. He wanted to feel skin against skin, Carl's lips on his own. As Carl slid down Tarski could feel his erection squeezed against them. Then his erection was free as Carl came to rest on the floor. Carl looked up at him and smiled before reaching his hand up and taking Tarski's erection in his hand. The feeling of fingers around his erection was incredible. He felt a strange twinge throughout as a clear liquid appearing out the tip. Without hesitation or care for the clear liquid Carl's mouth enveloped it.
Tarski heard himself makes some unintelligent sound, but he didn't care as Carl's tongue swirled around his erection. He felt Carl's hand slide down pulling back his foreskin and then the tip of his tongue looking across the underside of his glance. The sensation was amazing, intense and over all too soon. For the first time in his life Tarski felt an orgasm. Warm liquid shot up his length and fired into Carl's mouth without warning. He saw Carl's had pulled back a little but it didn't leave his erection until Tarski's eyes rolled back into his head and he went limp.
The post orgasmic haze Tarski found something was strange and pleasurable. He felt like he was bathing in warm water and it took an incredible amount of effort to look back at Carl who was grinning and slowly climbing to his feet. Tarski could see Carl was still erect and at that moment it seemed so wrong. Carl had given him this wonderful feeling and what had Tarski done in return? At that moment the only thought Tarski could really concentrate on was he wanted Carl in his mouth.
Tarski slid off the couch dropping to his knees and for once not thinking or analyzing placed his hands on Carl's hips and opened his mouth. His analytical mind came back before Carl's own climax. He realized he didn't really know what he was doing and just try to copy what Carl had done. Maybe he just wasn't as good or maybe Carl could just hold out longer.
Tarski had more than enough time to appreciate what he was doing. The warm erection in his mouth, the liquid that slowly came out. The texture of Carl's skin. The taste, the smell and finally the strange pleasure he felt as Carl climaxed. The taste of his cum was hard to describe. It was warm and thick, somehow not unpleasant.
The absolute strangeness of it didn't fully hit Tarski until he was getting dressed. "We had sex," he stated.
Carl who was already dressed laughed. "Well, oral sex. You seem to have enjoyed it."
Tarski felt his cheeks warming up, but that was thankfully hidden by his post orgasmic flush. "I guess I did."
"So what's your conclusion for your experiment?" Carl asked in a flat tone.
Tarski considered. The lead up to it had been scary, but the actual act had been thrilling. Now though he was starting to feel a bit guilty for some reason. "I don't know. Maybe I need more data points."
Carl smiled. "Well, I hope you'll allow me to continue to assist you in your experiment then."
Tarski found himself smiling. "I think I would like that."