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  2. quokka

    Oce Chapter 4

    All other former homes are in the process of being renovated, of which some will be made into cafés and shops, while essential buildings like the police station and detention complex, the island health centre, and the general store, are almost completed having major extensions made to each of the buildings. Everyone was very happy with their new modern homes, although some complained about having to travel so far, just to get to Adamson, even if it is only a few kilometres. Instead of having two more villages for residents and guests, it was decided to have one group of five cottages at the back of Adamstown for guests, and just one more village for the community, which is to be located in hollow flatland near the centre of the island, and will have 8 bungalows in the village. Over the following six months, work steadily progressed, with the airport taking the longest time to get built because of its difficult location, and the need to be extra careful with not affecting the nearby island and the surrounding reef system. By the end of the twelve months of the project, the island now has a total of 11 kilometres of sealed roads, 23 kilometres of raised pedestrian boardwalks, providing safe access to all the best locations to view of the island, all of the islands permanent residents and all the visiting government staff from New Zealand, are now housed in large and modern bungalows, in six villages around the island, and all of the poorly made homes had been dismantled and removed from the island. The sewerage treatment plant, desalination plant and the wind turbine power station were now providing an efficient essential services system, that was making a huge difference to the island in the way of better for the environment and financially also, plus the improved police station, government administration, shopping precinct, health centre and also a much larger school. Of the 72 former residents of the island, who had left for a better life in Australia and New Zealand, on learning of the huge changes to the island, they had decided to return to their homeland, increasing the population from 50 up to 83, with there were enough new homes to accommodate them all. The Island Council was now bigger and busier, as they were now responsible for the operations of not just the essential services, but also the newly formed CQS Force - Customs, Quarantine and Security Force, the now operational Airport and a Pitcairn Tourism Centre. The island now has two full-time police officers, who are responsible for law and order on the island, while CQS is responsible for all business relating to immigration. There is also an increase in medical staff, with an additional doctor and two more nurses on the island, and the With the contracted supply ship now retired, the island now has weekly supplies flown in from New Zealand, on board the island’s second Gulfstream 600, which has been fitted out for just cargo, with its maximum cargo weight of 2,500 kgs. With plenty of tourism promotion happening in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific region and the UK, as of 3 months ago, the island has been getting on average 132 visitors to the island each month, with twice-weekly passenger flights, departing from Auckland, New Zealand, also tourists come from visiting cruise ships, which has increased from 6 to 14 ships annually, bringing an additional 500 to 2000 day tourists to the island. The island now has every adult resident employed in some way, as a result of the huge increase in tourism, which of which all is during the Summer and six weeks on either side of it. The 6-month peak tourist season start in mid-October and ends in mid-April, a lot longer than areas in the Northern Hemisphere. There is now a total of three cafés, four gift and souvenir shops, and three tour shops, that keep everyone very busy. The tour shops provide kayak tours, walking tours, scuba and snorkelling tours and long boat tours, which are all in high demand. The island council now allows workers from New Zealand, Australia and the UK to come to the island, on a four-month working visa, to assist with the high demand on Tourism, and a hostel was built at the back of Adamstown, to accommodate the Visa workers and any backpacker tourists, and more recently, the government administration, has relocated from Auckland to Pitcairn Island. When all the improvements were done, and the island now has a very bright future, the time had come for the Aquaria and Oceania to leave. It is now mid-June, so it is the quiet time of the year, with just one flight a week, onto the island, and when Jonah and I announced to the council, that we would be departing, the island decided to hold a big celebration feast as a farewell gift. Taking nearly a week to organise, with extra supplies needed to be flown in from New Zealand, a Hangi feast and celebration of music and dance was held down at the now much enlarged main harbour, which now has a 220-metre-long sea wall along the rocky shoreline, creating 30 metres in the width of more space. There is also a 180-metre floating pontoon, secured to the ocean floor, with large concrete bollards, 120 metres out from the harbour, which stops large waves from crashing into the harbour for a safer landing at the jetty. After an afternoon and late-night celebration party, with all but a small security team, rotated at 4 hours intervals, remaining on board the two vessels, all the crews were on the island attending the celebrations, and everyone had a great time. As ordered by Jonah as the senior ranking officer, all crew had to be back on the Aquaria or Oceania by 2 am at the latest, as we would be setting sail at 11 am, that same morning. Once all crew were onboard, both vessels submerged, and sat on the ocean floor, for the rest of the night and the morning. Shortly before 1 is, Jonah made a radio call to the police station, which our vessel tuned into, “Aquaria, Pitcairn Island Police, over” we hear him say. “Pitcairn Police, Sergeant Langston speaking over”, came a response shortly after. “Sergeant, we are setting sail now, thank you for your patience during these past twelve months, on behalf of Lloyd Family Corp, we wish all the Pitcairn people, the very best for the future, and we look forward to visiting you when one or both vessels are in the area, over,” Jonah said. “Captain, this is Administrator Kauri speaking, on behalf of the government and the people of Pitcairn Island, we wish you both a safe journey and the thanks of a grateful small nation, for all that the Corporation has done save our islands from extinction. It was discussed at an emergency council meeting this morning, that the crews and staff of Lloyd Family Corporation have been granted honorary citizens of the Pitcairn Islands, and that you are welcome at any time, good luck and may the sea provide you with a safe and rewarding journey, no matter where you go,” an unexpected voice said. “Thank you, Administrator, see you in the near future, this is Oceania and the Aquaria signing off, over and out,” Jonah said to end the call. I had already given the order to set sail, during the radio call, and our heading was north-west for 8,425 kilometres to home base on Wake Island, an eight-day sail, where Dad would be waiting for us. Jonah and I had been informed that there had been some large changes in the past twelve months since we have been away, with the only clue being that a lot of construction projects had happened and that the Corporation had also purchased Johnston Atoll, Howell, Baker and Jarvis Islands from the US government. We were informed that they too had been cleaned up, with some basic facilities built on Johnston, while the other three islands have had a flora restoration project in progress for the past six months. I was curious about this and because Oceania was a lot faster, I decided to take a little peek at what has been happening on the three small islands, since they were not far off from direction that we are heading, and it is about the halfway mark back to Wake Island. Arriving just over three and a half days later, in the late afternoon, the humidity was quite high, which surprised me a little, I learnt from a bit of research during the journey, that Jarvis Island is 4.5 square kilometres in area, with the highest point being seven metres above sea level, and is just 40 kilometres south of the Equator, which explained why it was so humid. What I had not expected to see, from the deck one airlock, and a pair of binoculars, is to see a lagoon in the centre of the island, a small jetty on the north-west side, and two buildings, that look like they have been made from shipping containers, and finally, the majority of the island was green. The green on the island was not grass, but trees and shrubs, of various sizes and types, but most of them are no more than one metre high. The reflection coming off the top of the buildings was a big clue that there was solar power on the island, as well as the obvious Satellite dish, and that there are a number of large poly pipes running from the lagoon to one of the buildings. Interested to know more, I organised a landing party to go and investigate, and I was too curious not to go, as I ordered for the vessel to come to a stop on the western side of the island not far from the jetty. As we approached the jetty, a big clear signed stared right at us, “Jarvis Island Wildlife Reserve. Property of Lloyd Corporation, Keep off. This island has Satellite Video Surveillance, you have been warned”. I smiled when I saw this, and ordered for us to land at the jetty, where I spotted the first video security camera, and I looked directly at it, smiled and waved. Moments later I received a radio call from Oceania, informing me there is a call for me from the Corporation Chairman at Wake Island, and I asked for the call to be redirected to my radio, and moments later we were connected. “Dad, how are things going on Wake Island,” I asked casually, “Not bad thanks son, now what are you doing on Jarvis Island?” my father responded, and I chuckled at this comment, “So you really do have a direct feed from the video cameras?” I asked. “Yes, I am looking at you standing on the jetty of the island,” Dad said to me. “Well I became curious when you told me that the Corporation now owns three other islands, and I thought I might as well as take a look since it isn’t that much of a diversion” I commented. “I see, and what are your views on what you have seen so far?” Dad asked me. “Well what I saw from the bridge, and from the jetty, it looks quite impressive. What are the two buildings?” I responded. “One contains the desalination plant and water reticulation pump, with underwater freshwater tanks located nearby, and the other is the Solar power plant, with power storage batteries, to keep everything going, plus there is a Video Surveillance system, with a direct feed to the Satellite dish” Dad responded.
  3. drpaladin

    Chapter 5

    As I thought before, Neredos is asexual. But he is in love with Alazyn. They distrust the military and they should. We already know Neredos discoveries will be misused despite their intention to keep a close watch.
  4. chris191070

    Chapter 27

    Poor Desmond, If he gain 5 powers.
  5. Teens dont call their parents "rents'. I'm around kids all the time and I've even asked them about it. It doesn't happen. Nice story though with several points of view.
  6. Happy Birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday!

  8. Today
  9. coffee.jpg.a41dda41e924fcb3986f144f4902c84a.jpg

    1. mollyhousemouse

      mollyhousemouse

      good advice, especially number three.  rough morning Sir?

    2. Dodger

      Dodger

      Maybe too much coffee

    3. Kitt

      Kitt

      Are you absolutely positive about #4?

  10. It's so good to see Jon & Steven from the Piano Guys back creating music; there creations are divine.

     

  11. Geemeedee

    Chapter 27

    Looks like we’re nearing the end of Raven and Julian’s tale. I’m excited to see where you take us next! In the meantime, I’ll have fun trying to guess Desmond’s other powers. Levitation? Ooh, flight? Teleportation. Something to do with poisons? I bet hearing all his students’ thoughts drove Desmond mad. He might have to take a leave until he can master blocking others’’ thoughts.
  12. dughlas

    Chapter 14

    Really Kes? You stood outside and listened to a private conversation? You know Spencer isn't going to do anything to hurt Powers while learning you eavesdropped certainly might. I think Spencer was sort of teasing but at the same time think he would be willing to cuddle and maybe a bit more with Powers.
  13. Cynus

    Chapter 5

    Ghayle and Prism returned to the circle of stones to find that Telzath and Dogo had completed their walk. Dogo avoided looking at Veil at all, while Telzath gave an apologetic smile to anyone who would look his way. Prism appreciated his presence. It would be much more difficult to keep the peace without the Elrok there. "Are we ready to resume?" Ghayle asked, moving to the center of the circle. "I trust the two of you are ready to stop fighting so that we can get on with this." Her eyes moved slowly from Veil to Dogo, lingering on both long enough to make them drop their gazes. "We are ready," Neredos said. "Though I cannot be certain we have solved the issue." "The issue?" Veil hissed. "That's what you call his incessant—" "That will be quite enough of that, Veil," Prism said. "We have to work together. The only way we'll be able to protect the world is by learning to embrace our diversity. I understand your anger, though even you must admit that Dogo's ire is justified. Regardless of your motives, you caused great harm to his family, and that is not something anyone can forgive easily." "Or ever," Dogo offered dryly. "But Telzath made a very good point to me. I do not have to like her . . . no, I can even despise her . . . for us to defeat a common foe. Whenever this Chosen business is over, she'll become my mark." "You're going to hunt her in the afterlife?" Neredos asked incredulously. Dogo turned hard eyes on Neredos. "Would you like me to hunt you too?" "How do you know that this Chosen business will ever be over?" Prism asked. Dogo chuckled without mirth. "All things end, Prism. All things die. Change, it's as certain as a thing can be in the world. One day this world will die, and whether we're the guardians of it or not, we'll end up going with it. Something might take our place, or we could just leave a barren rock behind." "I thought Grim was supposed to be the cynic," Prism muttered. Dogo grinned wide as he met Prism's gaze. "Where do you think I learned that from?" ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Neredos hated the look of the structure in front of him. It was far too stark, lacking any creative design at all. Of course, most government facilities he had been to in the past few months were quite similar. He had expected nothing else, especially not from a place guarded by the Oligan military. This was his seventh such facility since he graduated from Thalom University. Several prominent figures in the government had read his thesis. He had shifted it from his original plan, from way back when he had first wanted to go to the sciences. At the time, he simply wanted to create something beneficial for society. He had studied engines and propulsion, ways to make travel easier. But Alazyn had changed all of that. She had taught him magic, and continued to teach him magic, though she had said that she was running out of things to teach him. Memorizing runes had been easy. Finding enough willpower to make those runes work was a different matter altogether. He'd learned how to transfer heat on that moonlit winter night, but it had taken him weeks to re-create the effect without the fuel of desperation. Now he could do things that impressed even Alazyn. He was particularly proud of the work he had done in the University's workshop while preparing for his thesis. He had made engines more efficient than anything the government or private sector currently produced. He had reasoned out how to make metal lighter, and suspend it with complex energy fields, allowing it to float in the air. The scientific community had once said that such a thing would be impossible. Alazyn had said that accomplishing such a thing would take more magical capability than she had ever witnessed. She'd even sworn that it might take the power of Ghayle herself, which was a phrase she did not use lightly around Neredos. Religion remained a slightly touchy subject between them, and he had put his faith in other pursuits. His varied pursuits, however, had accomplished the feat everyone else considered a miracle. Blending magic and science had made perfect sense in Neredos' mind from the moment he learned how to use the former. Both were tools to accomplish similar effects. All he had needed to do was merge those tools together. And now everyone wanted in. The government most of all. "Can I see your ID please?" The emotionless question came from a uniformed guard leaning out from the small shack next to the large, metal gate. Neredos felt eyes on him from every direction, and he resisted the urge to glance at the different guard positions surrounding the gate. The soldiers didn't like any suspicious action. These ones were likely trained to kill for a misplaced glance. Neredos held out his hand bearing the ring with his identification sigil. He set it under the scanner and waited for the yellow light to turn blue. The guard checked the screen inside of his shack, reading through the information retrieved by the scanner. Identification sigils. That was one of the many new technologies that had sprung up over the last decade. It was just another way to control the populace, though almost no one saw that way. "You're good to drive through," the guard said without emotion. The gate in front of Neredos opened, and Neredos quickly gave his vehicle more power. He had designed the engine himself, and the four-wheeled vehicle rolled smoothly through the gate. If anything, the scrutiny directed at Neredos only increased. He could feel the eyes of the soldiers from the watchtowers and also from the windows of the facility. All of them wanted to know why he was here. All of them wanted to know how long he would be staying, and what secrets he would be taking with him when he left. After parking his vehicle, he approached the door that his contact, General Pashtre, had directed him to use. It had another sigil scanner next to it for him to gain access, and with his focus on this, he failed to notice the trio approaching him from farther down the lot. By the time he reached the door, however, they were nearly on top of him. He turned toward them with surprise, noticing that General Pashtre was the man on the left. The man at the center of the trio was tall and graying, his hair and beard neatly trimmed beneath an admiral's cap. Considering his rank, he had a surprising lack of honors depicted on his uniform. If it weren't for the pips over his left breast, his age, and the hat, it could be assumed he was a fresh recruit. "Dr. Neredos," the admiral said, his voice drawling. That indicated he was from Western Oligan, though his darker complexion implied a Lodani ancestry. "I am Admiral Jasho. You are already familiar with General Pashtre, but please allow me to introduce you to Dr. Nevor." He gestured at the people in question. General Pashtre nodded in acknowledgment, and the woman to the other side of the admiral stepped forward and extended her hand. "Well met, Dr. Neredos," Dr. Nevor said as Neredos took her hand. "I don't know if you've been informed yet, but we will be working together on the project." Neredos' eyes widened in surprise. "I wasn't aware that the project had been approved. I thought we were still in discussions about that." "Yes," Admiral Jasho said, his eyes narrowing at Dr. Nevor. "That was supposed to be announced inside. But, since we've released the news early, you might as well know that preliminary assembly has already begun. None of the rune work, of course, since that will be up to you, but we have begun building the pieces according to your proposed designs." Neredos smiled, barely able to contain his excitement. "But, isn't this a military facility? As I understood it, this would be a civilian operation if it were to take place." General Pashtre answered this question, first looking to the admiral for confirmation that he should proceed. "It will be, Neredos, don't you worry. As I said when we met earlier, the President wants this to be for the betterment of our society. This is why you and Dr. Nevor will be heading the project. You will have the aid of some military scientists and engineers, however, because they are the most qualified personnel we can find. There also seemed little reason to build a new facility when we have the space here." "In order to build here, you'll have to remove the entire airfield and still extend the perimeter," Neredos said with awe. "Are we truly converting an entire military base?" "Dr. Neredos," Admiral Jasho said, "I was an engineer myself when I first joined the forces, and I've seen your schematics. Your technology could change the entire world, and I think the world could use a little change, don't you?" Neredos nodded emphatically. "I do indeed. And what about the other half of my proposal, about the workforce?" "Provided they are willing to submit to extensive background checks, we have been authorized to allow a small Gor workforce into the facility," Admiral Jasho replied. "Provided that goes well, we may be able to hire even more." Neredos couldn't believe his ears, but he was too excited to give much weight to his doubts. His dream was about to become a reality, and he would change the world. He couldn't wait to tell Alazyn. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Alazyn was waiting for him when he arrived home. Normally she would be out during the evening, exploring the city of Yathin, which they'd only recently moved to. They had a house now, not just a rented room above an old shop as they'd shared in Thalom. They'd only been there a couple of months, but already Alazyn had the garden blooming. He loved the way coming home felt like entering a different world. The flowers and blossoming trees made him feel like he was walking into one of the stories Alazyn sometimes told about Ghayle. It seemed impossible that such beauty could exist in the world, without magic, but Alazyn claimed that the garden bloomed on account of her natural affinity for plants and nothing more. He stepped inside the small, grey brick building and found Alazyn in the sitting room. She sipped from a glass of wine, and set it down carefully before rising to meet him. He approached, and they embraced in greeting. "How have you spent your morning?" he asked. "You really want to talk about my day instead of yours?" Alazyn asked with a chuckle. "Are you sure you're not in love with me?" "I am in more ways than I've ever been in love with anyone else," Neredos replied smoothly. "But you're right, today is different. Today, I have the best news I've had since the war ended." "They're moving forward with the project?" Alazyn asked. Neredos nodded. "And they approved the vetting process for allowing Gor to work with us. You can come help me with my work, and we can build something beautiful together. All you have to do is apply, have them look over your past, and put up with my driving." "Where do I begin?" Alazyn said, sitting back on the long couch and reaching for her wine again. She took a sip then patted the spot next to her. "Come on, sit down, enjoy yourself a while." Neredos readily agreed, slipping out of the thin jacket he'd worn against the Spring temperatures. He discarded the jacket without care, over one of the adjacent armchairs, then plopped down on the couch. Swinging his legs up over the arm, he laid his head in Alazyn's lap so he could look up at her while they spoke. "I'll take you with me tomorrow. I can introduce you to General Pashtre, Admiral Jasho, and Dr. Nevor. At the very least, we'll be able to get the process started then," Neredos said hopefully. "I suppose I should give renewed focus to speaking with the tribes about hiring out workers," Alazyn said, stroking Neredos' cheek as she took another sip of wine. "I have found a few who are interested, and as long as this arrangement works out, I'm sure more will follow. The Western tribes along the border with Oligan are suspicious about intention, but there hasn't been a border conflict in a long time. They will listen to the call for peace and mutual prosperity. I have no doubt of this." "Are you sure that you're open to it?" Neredos asked. Alazyn sighed. "Why do you keep asking me that?" Neredos hesitated, closing his eyes as he listened to Alazyn breathe. He loved the subtle ways her body moved. To him, she was like an incarnation of life itself, and every little thing that made her more alive only drew him in deeper. He loved the nights that he fell asleep against her chest, bathed in the scent of her and the rhythm of her. "I suppose it's because this is the first time the project has truly felt real. Every time I asked you before, I doubted myself, so now that it's finally going to be in motion . . ." He paused, lifted his head from her lap, and swung around to face her directly. As comfortable as he was, this was a conversation that needed to happen face-to-face. "Ever since I met you, you've been an anchor for me. Not a rigid one, of course; not the kind that refuses to let go. You've been a source of flexible strength, like the roots of a tree. Through all the negativity, you've sheltered me beneath your branches and given me a home." "I gave you a home?" Alazyn replied incredulously. "Says the man who let me stay with him hours after meeting me. I could've been a murderer." "I knew within minutes," Neredos said with a chuckle. "But yes, you gave me a home, because for the first time I live somewhere that I care about. Being with you has been . . . It's been like nothing I've ever experienced. You make me feel warm when it's cold, and you even taught me how to do that for myself." "So why do you keep asking me?" Alazyn replied quizzically. Neredos dropped his eyes for a moment, grinning with embarrassment before he looked up again. "I suppose because it keeps me from asking the question I'm too scared to ask you." Alazyn threw back her head and laughed, disrupting the seriousness of the conversation for a moment. When she returned her gaze to his, she was smiling as warmly as ever. She took his hand and interlocked their fingers. "You know that you can ask me anything. Anything at all, Neredos." Neredos nodded. "Of course I can ask you anything, but that doesn't guarantee the answer I want, which I'm scared of just as much is the answer I don't want." "Are you going to keep me in the dark forever?" "How could you ever be in the darkness?" Neredos said softly. "You, who are forever bright?" Alazyn grinned. "Flattery will get you somewhere, but it won't get you the answers you're looking for. Only asking the question will do that." Her words hung in the air for three long seconds, all while they maintained each other's gaze. Then, with a slight nod to himself, Neredos said, "Alazyn, would you be my wife?" Despite everything leading up to it, Alazyn's eyes widened in surprise at the question. "Why?" She asked. Neredos chuckled nervously. "Of all the potential answers, that one never crossed my mind somehow. Why not?" Alazyn bit her lip as she considered the question. "We've lived together for two years now, nearly two and a half. Over that time we've grown close; we sit like this and we tell each other everything. We love each other, but not once have we ever had sex. You've never had any interest. The only reason I can think of that you would want me to become your wife, is because something has changed in that arrangement for you. Maybe you want to start a family, or you've been holding out on me that you're actually a traditionalist, and believe we have to be married before we can take the next step. That's why I want to know why." "As I said a long time ago, I do not mistake sex for love," Neredos replied. "And I do not want either of these things, not unless a family is something you desire. In which case . . ." He sighed and looked away for just a moment. "That's just it, Alazyn. I don't think I can love more deeply than this. When I think of physical expressions of love, I think of holding your hand, of being next to your body but not inside of it. But if you wanted children, I would give them to you. I may not have interest, but I do have willingness. I suppose, when I think about marrying you, it's simply that I want the whole world to recognize the depth of our connection." "Yes," Alazyn said. "In that case, yes. Absolutely, and without question. You know I've never pressed you for more, because even though I want it, I have always respected that you do not. But . . ." "Please," Neredos said, placing his open hand against her cheek. Her eyes were glistening with unshed tears, and as soon as he touched her skin, a single one fell and he wiped it away with his thumb. "Please, there's no need to hold anything back. Tell me what you desire, and I will give it to you." "Sex is an important physical expression of love for me, Neredos, as long as the love is there. I have never loved anyone as deeply as I love you, and I have craved you this entire time," Alazyn said gently. Neredos kissed her. He had done that a few times over the years, when it seemed that she needed it. He put as much of himself into it as he could, hoping it would be enough to communicate the complicated emotions he felt. Then he stood, drawing Alazyn upward with their interlocked hands. She regarded him with a question in her eyes but did not speak. "You will have to lead me, for I've never put any thought into it," Neredos said. "We've been on the brink of it, but I've never felt the urge to open that door and see what's inside. But if you open it for me, and invite me to step through with you, I will go to wherever you take me." "Are you sure that you're open to it?" Alazyn asked. "There's no need to keep asking the question," Neredos replied with a grin. "There's no need to fear the answers. Yes, my wife, I'm open to it." ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Neredos still wasn't sure he understood the full appeal of sex. His body had responded to the stimulus, it had felt 'good', as he'd heard it described before, but he still felt no particular urge to do it again. He had, however, enjoyed the pleasure he had seen and heard in Alazyn. She had led him the entire way, guiding his hands to parts of her body he'd never thought about touching before. Some of them were wet, others soft, and some twitched in odd ways that were curious, though he still didn't know what to make of them. But Alazyn was happy, and that had made the entire experience worthwhile. She lay against his back, her arms wrapped around his chest, her leg snaked between his. She was practically purring with her face buried in his neck. Beautiful as always, she meant more to him now than he would've thought possible, but it was only because he had been able to give her what she wanted. It was because she was now content, and content with him. "Do you trust your military, Neredos?" Alazyn asked sleepily. "That seems an odd thing to say at this time," Neredos replied, but he couldn't help but smile. No matter how odd it seemed to speak of business after sharing such an intimate moment, it told of the depth of their relationship. They had always been able to talk about anything at any time, and perhaps that, above all else, was why he loved her. "But, no . . . not really. But as long as I'm at the head of the project, then I can prevent them from tampering with it very much." "I'm not sure that's going to work, and that's why it's good I'll be there to have your back," Alazyn said. Neredos closed his eyes and relished the proximity of their bodies. The sensuality was amazing, no matter how weird sex was to him. "I like that you have my back. It makes me feel more alive than anything else." "You enjoyed what we did then?" Alazyn asked. Neredos' eyes fluttered open again, and he felt his body tense at the unexpected question. Alazyn tensed in turn, sensing his shifting mood. A part of him wanted to lie, but he knew better than to try that. He would not easily forgive himself for the lie, either. Alazyn deserved his honesty, as she always had. "It's not that I didn't enjoy it, it's that it didn't fulfil me," Neredos said slowly. "I enjoyed how it made you feel and would do it again whenever you asked. But to me, it's no more intimate than a conversation with you. Actually, it's less." "I see," Alazyn replied. "So you really don't care about sex . . . I'd thought that maybe you were just scared, and if you tried it . . ." she chuckled gently, and her body relaxed again. "Well, that explains why you were so . . ." "Terrible at it?" Neredos suggested. "Reticent was going to be the word I used," Alazyn replied. "I thought you were holding back because you didn't know what you were doing." "I didn't." "Yes, I understand that now. I mean . . . I've never met anyone like you, and that's a good thing. While I wish this was more your thing, I'm grateful you gave me the experience. You are precious to me, as precious as anyone has ever been," Alazyn said. "And I'm going to make sure no one harms your beautiful work. I'll be keeping an eye on the military engineers working with us, and make sure they don't add anything that you wouldn't want." "I appreciate that," Neredos replied. "There's no one I'd rather have with me." "I know that too," Alazyn said. "And you're teaching me new ways to love every day. I wouldn't have thought . . . not in any age." "Wouldn't have thought what?" "That I would fall for a human," Alazyn said after a moment. "I never thought I'd fall for anyone at all," Neredos replied. "No one caught my eye before you, but it was when you capture my soul that I discovered new sides to myself." "You're too sweet." Neredos gently lifted Alazyn's hand and started to turn. She withdrew her arms to allow him to rotate and face her. He stared into her eyes for a moment, studying the depth he saw there, wishing he could drown in them. "My aim isn't sweetness, but truth. Until you, I only loved science, but then . . . not only did I fall for a woman, but she introduced me to magic. She taught me the other half of the world, and I understand so much more now about myself and life in general. I don't know where I would be without you, but it would not be here. I wouldn't be pursuing this dream, I wouldn't be happy, at least not as much as I am now." "You can't prove that, you know," Alazyn said. "The way I see you, I think you'd be successful no matter what you put your mind to. Sometimes I think I'm just a distraction." "Have I made you feel that way?" Neredos asked with alarm. Alazyn shook her head slightly, and she smiled in that gentle way that struck straight to Neredos' heart and made him wonder if all the good things in the world came from her. "No, not at all. It's only that I see the work you do, and I wonder how much more you could accomplish if I wasn't here." "If you weren't here, I'd accomplish a lot less," Neredos replied firmly. "I'm positive of that. You amplify my motivation for a better world the way fuel works in an engine. Without you I'd simply splutter and die, but with you I want to change everything." "I have no doubt you will," Alazyn said, moving her hand to his face and pushing back the hair covering his cheek. She leaned forward and kissed him, a soft peck on the lips before pulling away. "You will be one of the most well-remembered people in history, without fail." Neredos chuckled. "I don't know about that. I don't care about recognition, I just want things to be different. I want a world where love is our common tongue, where we stop killing people over insignificant reasons, where we stop inventing new ways of destroying each other and focus on saving each other." "That's why I love you," Alazyn said. "All that idealism, and the will the make it happen." "That's why I love you. The firm belief in me, that my ideas are worthwhile. You open doors . . ." Neredos said. "And you walk through them," Alazyn replied. "This next one we get to walk through together," Neredos said. Alazyn kissed him again, but this time she did not pull back. Over the next few hours, she showed him the things she'd forgotten to teach him about sex in his first lesson.
  14. Awesome story. Thanks for writing it. Q
  15. Cynus

    Chapter 4

    I wasn't specifically trying to conceal it, but I did want there to be some question of it for awhile.
  16. Wesley8890

    Dyami

    For just a second I thought we were dealing with Nazis!
  17. Great story Geoff - hope your family stuff gets sorted okay. Matty & Eddie are going to have so much fun! I'm looking forward to where this story goes from here.
  18. quokka

    Sunset

    Just a quick question... have you been to Bali, and if so, was it recently?
  19. drpaladin

    Chapter 27

    Granny Dearest seriously soured Desmond on powers. Now he may get as many as five. The world is yours Desmond. Seize the day.
  20. Katya Dee

    Chapter 27

    - XXVII - It was Sunday night, and Desmond was trying to read. He was trying to do that for the last hour or so; he was failing miserably. “Oh, for the love of God,” he finally sighed with frustration and shut the book. “Shackles, Rayhe,” he said with annoyance. “The word you looking for is shackles.” Gabriel lowered his crossword puzzle and stared at him with a frown. “Stay the hell out of my head,” he said, and Desmond grimaced. “I can’t!” he said with frustration. “I’ve been trying to do that for the last hour! You are thinking too damn loud... Plus, come on...! ‘A metal band on the prisoner, eight letters’... Stop thinking about those damn handcuffs already!” Gabriel grumbled something under his breath and shoved the crossword puzzle away. “Why didn’t you talk to Tess yet?” he demanded. “Because she is out of town,” Desmond sighed. “It’s April break, Rayhe... I will talk to her tomorrow. Right now, I am going to bed.” “It’s not even ten in the evening,” Gabriel blinked. “Yeah, well, beats sitting here listening to your mind struggles,” Desmond grumbled and walked away. ...“Holy... hell...” Gabriel breathed several hours later. “Oh my God... You know, this ability is not really that bad... God, that was unreal...” “Yeah, well,” Desmond’s breathing was pretty much as fast as Gabriel’s right now. “Enjoy it while it lasts... I am getting rid of it first thing tomorrow...” Gabriel didn’t say anything to that; he just wrapped his arm around Desmond’s waist and buried his face in his black hair. “Just because Salamander doesn’t know how to undo it, doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” Desmond said through his clenched teeth, and Gabriel sighed. They lay silently for half an hour or so, and then Desmond muttered: “Get your own damn water, I am not moving a muscle...” Gabriel sighed yet again and got out of bed, reaching for his pants. “Rayhe, what are you doing?” Desmond blinked. Gabriel looked at him with a frown, and then looked at his pants. “Right...” he muttered when he realized that there was nobody in the house. “Get me some water as well,” Desmond yawned. “You are up anyway,” he shrugged when he saw Gabriel’s expression. He grinned when the other man left the bedroom, and closed his eyes. “Yes, Rayhe...!” he yelled a minute later. “I can hear you from the kitchen...!” “Good God,” Gabriel said when he came back. “Was it the same or muted?” he handed Desmond a bottle of water. “Loud and clear,” Desmond said darkly. He drank some water and set the bottle on the floor next to the bed. “Well, I am going to... Are you kidding me?” “Nope,” Gabriel said, and he sounded content. “You said it yourself; enjoy it while it lasts. That’s exactly what I am going to do, and I couldn't care less if we don’t get any sleep whatsoever, you’ll survive...!” “Rayhe,” Desmond said dangerously. “I will...” “Yeah, yeah,” Gabriel muttered and shut him up with his mouth. “I am going to make you scream this time,” he thought and grinned into Desmond’s mouth when the other man said: “Mmmm...” **** “...therefore, yes,” Desmond nodded energetically. “Undo it!” A surprisingly petite woman with strikingly red hair looked at him without saying a single word. Finally, she cleared her throat. “Leave it to you to get hit by something like this...” she muttered, avoiding looking at him. He frowned with a great deal of suspicion. “Tess,” he said slowly. “I have no idea what you are thinking... Thank you, by the way... But undo it, okay?” “Ugh,” the redhead sighed with frustration and looked at him. “Desmond, Julian was right, okay? Nobody can undo this particular spell, I am sorry...! By the way,” she added when Desmond just stared at her. “What else can you do?” Desmond kept staring at her without saying anything. Tess sighed and rearranged several books on her desk. “Look,” she said. “It’s not that bad, okay? It’s an advantage, actually! I know that it is mildly inconvenient right now, but...” “Mildly inconvenient...?” Desmond repeated quietly. “Tess, seeing Salamander on my doorstep was mildly inconvenient... This is... Goddammit!” he exploded suddenly. “I am stuck with this for the rest of my life?! Goddammit!” “Calm down,” she rolled her eyes. “Look, stop by my office after your classes, I’ll give you a couple of tips on how to control it better, okay? Yes, it will take some time, but not as much as you think. And I know you,” she nodded. “You are one of the most stubborn pains in the ass I have ever met; therefore, you will get it rather sooner than later because you won’t give up until you get it... Once you figure out how to tune everything out, I’ll teach you how to concentrate on a particular mind. After that, we’ll try playing around with it and see if you can advance it somehow...” “Why the hell would I want to advance it?” Desmond asked tiredly. “Oh, Rae,” she sighed. “Believe me, you will...! I know that right now, it’s beyond annoying because you hear everyone; could drive anyone crazy. However, as I said, it won’t be a problem anymore soon. Desmond, this is a very nifty ability, okay? Stop bitching about it and go teach,” she glanced at the clock. “You don’t want to be late.” “Fine,” he grumbled and got up. “I will see you tonight then.” “Hmm,” she said thoughtfully right before he left. “What?” he asked, his fingers on the doorknob. “I am just wondering what else you can do,” she grinned. “This is intriguing! I guess I’ll find out sooner or later.” “I don’t think I can do anything else,” he said darkly. “Thank God for that!” “Sometimes, powers stay dormant for a while,” Tess shrugged, and Desmond gritted his teeth. “I will see you tonight,” he said evenly and left her office. **** Raven dropped his head on the back of the car seat. “Did you find a new butler yet?” he asked, and Julian sighed. “No,” he said. “Not yet.” “Just get your old butler back,” Raven shrugged, and the blond shot him a quick look. “I mean, you know for sure that the guy won’t do anything but be a watchdog... He’s been with you for ten years, and apparently, you were satisfied with his services, weren’t you?” “I was,” Julian said evenly. “Just get him back,” Raven shrugged again. “I mean, I know it’s been what... five months or so since you kicked him out, and he probably found a different employer, but something tells me it won’t be a problem for you,” he nodded slightly. The blond was silent for several minutes. “We’ll see,” he said finally, and Raven grinned. “So how many powers did Desmond get, do you know?” Raven was genuinely curious. “I don’t know,” Julian answered honestly. “From what I was able to find about that particular spell, it is definite that it grants more than one. However, the amount varies; sometimes, it’s just a couple, and sometimes, up to five.” “Five?” Raven repeated, and then he started to laugh. “Oh my God...” he said in a shaky voice. “He looked like he was about to tear the entire hospital apart just because of one ability... Imagine if he gets five...!” “I would love to see his face when one of those days he gets pissed off and throws a lightning bolt,” Julian said in a low voice, and Raven laughed even harder. “No,” the brunet said finally. “He was very pissed off back there, and he didn’t produce any lightning.” “Some powers stay dormant for a while,” Julian shrugged. “I am just glad this entire ordeal is finally over... If anyone contacts you about a job ever again, I am running a very thorough research on the client and on the object first,” he threw a quick glance at Raven. “Believe me,” he nodded. “I am not taking any chances.” “Nah,” Raven said lazily. “I am not accepting job offers anymore... If I want to feel that particular rush again, I’ll just do a random pull...” “That would be even worse,” Julian rolled his eyes. “You could get into something nasty without any clue...! Just...” “I’ll figure something out,” Raven shrugged. “If I am in a dire need to feed that rush, I’ll let you know, how’s that?” “That works,” the blond relaxed somewhat. “Are you up for the upcoming Friday?” “Do you even have to ask?” Raven gave him a small smile. “I missed that...” “I did too,” Julian nodded. “Didn’t have time for anything ever since you were gone...” he glanced at Raven again when he felt brunet’s hand on top of his. Raven entwined their fingers together on top of the gear stick. “Drive faster,” he sighed. “I want to get home already...” Julian smiled and did just that.
  21. Marty

    Chapter 3

    Another great chapter, @Jdonley75! So Tyler is now out to Troy and Andy. That went well and, of course, they basically knew beforehand, but their acceptance must have been great for boosting Tyler's self confidence and feeling of self worth. I get the feeling that Jacob may not yet be ready to move back into the dating scene. I don't know what happened to him in his past, but his problems with alcohol may be part of it; either the cause, or a way of trying to cope with whatever was happening at the time. At least he seems to be on the road to recovery now, which is a good thing. And his willingness to share that part of his life with Tyler was good to see. Whatever happens in the future between them, I get the impression they are going to be important in each other's life. I'm not sure what I think about Drake yet. On the surface he comes across as likeable enough. I'm just not convinced that he is totally genuine, or just someone looking for a quick conquest... But I'm sure all will be revealed as the story progresses.
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