Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Useful Things #14

Welcome back to Wednesday Briefs, in which writers post a 1000 word flash story—or episode, in my case—based on the weekly prompts. I’ve opted to continue my science fiction M/M story, “Useful Things.” As you may recall, alien Majak has just made a most ominous statement to his human pet, Rasvim. Why? For this chapter, I went with the prompt: “May I ask what you think…”

You’ll find links to the other Wednesday Briefs bloggers at the end of this post. Enjoy!

[I just added links to the end of each post that will take you to the next chapter. So if you're new to the story and want to start from the beginning, just click here to start with Chapter 1 of Useful Things.]


Useful Things #14

Rasvim flicked another look at Majak as the bi-pad landed. They had left behind the razed city and its bones, and were safely within the perimeter of an Aeth base protected by sub-orbital gunships and shimmering particle shields. Surrounded again by his race’s architecture and technology, Majak’s alien features appeared stronger and more predatory. Or maybe it was just tension because he must soon assume his role of command. Majak had not explained the comment he had made as they stood above the field of skulls.

He wanted Rasvim to ask him. Rasvim had noticed Majak kept making statements that simply dropped between them like precious stones, or weapons. He was waiting for Rasvim to pick one up and use it. Rasvim fretted over what to do. Majak’s opportunities for questions could be peace offerings, or bait for a trap.

The oval cockpit covers broke seal and lifted. Majak smoothly activated the force field on his personal armor before leaving the aircraft, lightly jumping down onto the landing surface. Rasvim moved quickly to join him after tapping the control on his own shield and detecting the faint distortion. That Majak had outfitted him with armor was the greatest approval he had received thus far.

Several Aeth wearing military skins advanced to greet them. The two who stepped nearest were male and female.

“Ver Majak,” the female said. “I am Sab Ninmu Alm Tibira, Primary of the outpost. Your visit honors us. We have prepared accommodation suitable for your needs.”

“My needs are few. I wish to occupy a shield hut.” Majak squinted past the squat buildings. “Place it to the north. Darkness is falling and I want the blast wall to block out the compound’s lights.”

Ninmu stiffened. Aeth did that when they were confused. “You wish to stay in the field? It’s too unprotected!”

“Then protect it. We will spend the night beneath the stars.”

Rasvim froze as the gazes of not just Ninmu but the other Aeth fell upon him. The word ‘we’ as used by Majak—intimate—pointed to inclusion of his companion.

“Ver Majak, forgive me if I presume, but may I ask what you think…”

“No, Sab Alm, you may not ask.” Majak’s response quietly confirmed their respective ranks. “My answer would not serve any purpose. I would, however, appreciate a briefing on your operations here.”

Ninmu’s upper lip tensed. Rasvim fought an urge to drop to his knees at the signal of Aeth displeasure. His instinct was to defuse her—all of them—show himself harmless. Submissive. But Majak had told him to display submission to none but him and Rasvim remained standing. Only his gaze dropped to the surface of the landing pad to study the pattern there.

“With the human present?”


* * * *

The tone of the closure sealing on the shield hut prompted Rasvim to relax. Tension drained from his shoulders and spine. He had been hyper-vigilant every moment of the briefing, though he had found refuge by kneeling submissively on the floor beside Majak’s couch, a posture the other Aeth had found acceptable. Majak's hand petting him from time to time had made him feel safe. Rasvim now wondered if Majak would have asked it of him. If he had not lifted his gaze so beseechingly to his master, begging to be removed from scrutiny, would Majak have told him to assume that posture?

He waited until Majak claimed one of the two bunks, reclining upon it, before taking a seat on the other. Majak had stated, several times now, that Rasvim was to share his lodging. The shield hut’s wall struts crisscrossed to form a dome that was transparent to every side. Outside their shelter, Aeth gunships in stationary orbit shone like small moons.

“Remove your shoes.” Majak’s order was neither stern nor indifferent. Rasvim looked up into an intense purple gaze. “You have been concealing your discomfort.”

Moved by relief, Rasvim lifted one leg and tugged the alien shoe off his foot. He winced as the material glided over his blisters.

“Why did you not say something?” Majak asked.

Rasvim shot him another glance. “Show no weakness.” It was an answer, a true one, though he said it softly.

“‘Show weakness to neither enemy nor friend.’” Was that anger behind Majak’s words, or regret? Rasvim couldn’t tell. He worked at removing the other shoe. “Did Osvith teach you that?”

Osvith had. So had his every encounter with the Aeth. Rasvim nodded. He looked at the reddened sores on his toes and was surprised when Majak left the bed to kneel on the floor before him. The alien took Rasvim’s right foot in his hand and examined it closely. Afraid to move, Rasvim tried not to quiver. Hoof pads of thin, sensitive skin traced the wounds, the shape of his foot and arch. The touch thrilled him. It was gentle, tender. Possessive.

Majak frowned. “I will order new footwear made for you. Tonight. Walking beside me should not require you to be in pain.” Both hands now caressed Rasvim’s foot, exploring the shape, apologizing for the damage.

“Majak—” A question had formed on his lips before he even realized what he was doing. What looked back at him, though alien, was patient and wanted him to continue, so he did. “What you said… about destroying humans”— he forced the rest —“is that why you don’t want to use me?”

He had not looked away from Majak’s penetrating eyes and watched in wonder the way heat turned them bright with an answer he had not expected. “You are mistaken, Rasvim. I do want to use you. I want to use you for my pleasure in ways you may not want, and which I will not attempt while I am uncertain about whether my uses will harm you.”

Harm him? Being used had never harmed him. Hurt him on occasion. But he was unharmed because he had been useful…and used.

Majak had never been more confusing.

(Continue to next chapter...)


Thanks for reading! I really appreciate the comments and feedback I’ve been getting on this story. Also, please take a few minutes to visit each of the other Wednesday Briefers below and sample their wonderful stories.

Victoria Adams
Chris T. Kat   m/m
Lily Sawyer      m/m 
MA Church    m/m
Nephylim     m/m
Cia Nordwell     m/m
Julie Hayes m/m
MC Houle     m/m


  1. This is on of my favorite ongoing stories right now, and thanks for another great chapter(:

  2. Damn you 1000 words! It is never long enough. Ah for next week....

    1. On the plus side, this week I wrote twice the 1000 so I already have next week written. :D

  3. I especially liked the second part of this chapter even though I can't pinpoint exactly why. I'm looking forward to next week's installment. :)

  4. the foot thing was so, so sweet. I wonder what Majak is thinking of. Cross breeding maybe? Oooh this is getting more and more interesting

  5. Oh, very intimate. I like that Rasvim showed much less fear. Progress of sorts. His very survival depended on assimilating lessons on who he was expected to be; now he has to overcome that and be who he is, all without being told that is what is expected of him. That would be distressingly confusing in any situation, but one where you could be eaten for a single misstep infinitely so. Oh, and I truly doubt they were talking about the same kind of use. At least not fully. Great update.

  6. Ahhhh, please more! You are so so so good.