The Syndicate: The Honeymoon fragments
by Jules Jones and Alex Woolgrave
This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2004-2012 by Jules Jones & Alex Woolgrave
We did have plans to write a honeymoon story, but the best-laid plans of mice and writers... We had a plot and a couple of chapters of the draft done by early 2007, when Alex ran into serious health problems. Then Jules, then Alex again. It's not going to get finished, so in late 2011 we decided that we might as well upload what there was, for the benefit of Allard's fans who would like to read even a fragment of the little horror's further adventures.
I'm afraid this is all there'll ever be, now. We might do the odd throwaway paragraph if we see something that would bring out the inner Allard in any self-respecting techie, but this is it as far as even short-story length goes. I wish it wasn't so, because it was enormous fun to write. I hope that even these bits and pieces are as much fun to read.
Allard woke up, stretched and turned over. This turned out to be quite a good thing, because the first thing he saw was his husband.
The first thing he thought was, 'Oh yes, I have a husband.'
This was actually quite a pleasant thought to wake up to, which was something he wouldn't have expected a year ago. He used to think marriage was something that happened to other people, and not Allard. It wasn't in the definition for an Allard.
Except now it was. He'd expected the warm romantic glow to have worn off by now, and the fact that it hadn't was a little unnerving.
Vaughan rolled over onto his back and started snoring.
This affected the warm romantic glow not a bit. Allard began to feel scientific curiosity. How long would it last? A week? A month? The...rest of his life?
He really ought to feel scared at that. On the other hand, yesterday he had promised something along the lines of 'for richer for poorer, for better for worse' and so on. He knew it was an ideal to aspire to, not to be expected as of right, but he liked the fact that he had somebody he had some chance of achieving it with.
At that point, Vaughan opened his eyes, looked at him, smiled, and said, "Good morning, husband."
Apparently the warm glow could get even warmer. He hoped it didn't show.
Vaughan reached out, gently, and touched his face. "I wonder how long it takes to wear off."
"You're not supposed to be telepathic," said Allard.
"Well, if you're feeling uncomfortable with all this unaccustomed emotion and soppiness, we could just shag," said Vaughan.
Allard drew a relieved breath. "Well, we have some practice at that, at least." He liked being married to Vaughan, but at least shagging was comfortable and familiar and he knew what to do next.
He reached out and took hold of Vaughan's cock. Yes. That felt just as it had twenty-four hours earlier. Well, not just as it had twenty-four hours earlier, because they'd both been soft at the time because they were putting all their energy into panicking about getting married in a few hours. How ridiculous.
Vaughan smiled at him again. "Well, that feels pretty much the same." He reached for Allard. "And that."
Allard said, "Are you sure? Shouldn't we test the entire sequence to make sure no unexpected glitches have crept in?"
"Just to be thorough," said Vaughan, and pulled him closer, making a spirited investigation of those parts of Allard he liked best. There were a lot of them.
Allard kept wriggling. Vaughan liked his arse (even-handedly), his cock and balls, his thighs, his chest...
Vaughan pushed Allard's left leg up, and began developing a subsidiary erogenous zone in his left foot.
Allard, realising this was a little one-sided, began to pay attention to Vaughan in turn, fascinated by how visible Vaughan's nipples were. In his own case, there was plenty of hair to get in the way, but the joy of having a bare chest to play with never seemed to get boring. It seemed so much naughtier to see them standing up, stiff and pink, with nothing to obscure the peaks.
A year and a day, two days now, since he'd first done this with Vaughan. He couldn't believe how the habit had grown on him, but grow it had.
It wasn't the only thing growing, either.
"I'm paying attention to your nipples, not your cock," he muttered. "One thing at a time."
"Bit of crosstalk there, I think," said Vaughan. "You twiddle one thing, and get a feedback loop going in the other."
Allard spluttered. "If I'd ever wondered what dirty talk would sound like between a geek and an engineer, I think that's what I'd have come up with. But of course I'm far too innocent to think any such thing."
Vaughan's cock nodded.
"Want to corrupt me, then?" whispered Allard.
"An innocent little thing like you?" said Vaughan, picking up his cue. "Course I do! Has anyone ever done this to you, for example?" He began to rub Allard gently between the legs, paying particular and delicate attention to the tops of his thighs and base of his cock.
The correct answer was, 'Yes, and frequently. Usually you,' but Allard kept his mouth shut. After all, if he gave in to his frequent urge for sarcasm, Vaughan would probably stop doing this, and it felt wonderful. He squirmed, pretending to be trying to get away from being handled, but in reality trying to get more of it. Mm. He could take a lot of that. If he was lucky.
Allard said, in his smallest whisper, "Are other men as big as you?" He saw by the glint of humour in Vaughan's eye that Vaughan was quite as aware of the silly script they seemed to be playing to as he himself was. He saw by the leap of interest in Vaughan's cock that Vaughan was quite as susceptible to flattery as any other man.
"A few, I believe," said Vaughan.
Allard made his voice go even smaller. "Would it... would it go in my mouth?" Another question he knew the answer to quite well, but he made it sound embarrassed. Of course, it was embarrassing dialogue, but he could make it sound embarrassed-and-needy, which always seemed to work for Vaughan.
Vaughan lay down. "We'll have to see." He gestured.
Allard turned round and began to lick, suggesting with his mouth that he was busy with something that would barely fit, would stretch his mouth to capacity, but he wanted it so dreadfully he couldn't stop. Stealthily, he reached for his own erection, which was showing an embarrassing degree of conviction for such an idiotic scene.
"Ah-ah," said Vaughan. "None of that. You'll have to shift over here, where I can..." his voice dropped into its lowest, most seductive tone, "...take care of you properly."
That was interesting, thought Allard. Pure cheese the scene might be, but there was a flash of unexpected emotional response there.
Obediently, he settled into position. Vaughan's big hands began to fondle him, and there was no nonsense about maidenly reticence now, because he wanted it very badly, for all that the last time had been only last night.
He groaned softly around Vaughan's cock, only partly intentionally.
A shudder went through the big body underneath him, seeming to roll all the way up through the cock in his mouth, and Allard sucked fiercely, feeling that there was an orgasm about to happen and he didn't particularly care whose as long as he was involved somehow.
Vaughan was first, trembling and sighing as he came, filling Allard's mouth with the familiar salty strong flavour. Allard had always thought coffee was his favourite taste in the morning, and everything else needed to be worked-up-to after the first cup. Obviously some things changed with marriage.
He let go, kissing it gently, and closed his eyes, rolling onto his back. "I will take care of you," Vaughan murmured intensely, taking hold of his cock. "Always."
He'd been right. Vaughan did mean it. He luxuriated in that, and in the feel of big hands working him, one rubbing gently at his balls and thighs while the other squeezed his cock in a slow, hard rhythm.
Never let go, he thought, and his breath caught as he came, silently and hard.
Vaughan reached his left hand to Allard's side and began to stroke him, before easing his right hand free of his cock.
"I'll never let go," said Vaughan, rather huskily.
"I'm going to need to go for a piss at some point, you know. Let alone getting dressed," said Allard flatly. He thought, never let go.
"I know, love," was all Vaughan said. Allard rather thought that it was an answer to both his spoken and his unspoken responses.
"We've got a flight to catch," said Allard.
"Not for a while," said Vaughan.
"No, but we have to fit in washing, dressing and breakfast."
They had a shower. They played with the jacuzzi as well, since it was there.
"Vaughan, it is not polite to leave a small local tidal wave for the hotel staff."
"No, s'pose not," said Vaughan, regretfully, and settled for just getting him clean. They liked cleaning each other. Some sort of primate grooming ritual, Allard supposed—certainly when Vaughan hadn't done his hair yet—but it was fun, questions of eroticism aside. It wasn't the first time they'd been in the honeymoon suite, but it was the first time they'd been in the honeymoon suite while on honeymoon. Somehow it did make a difference. He liked it. No doubt it would wear off eventually, but he hoped they'd get a month's worth of use out of the 'just married' feeling.
They dressed each other. Allard noticed that Vaughan's taste in socks-and-pants had become soberer and less regrettable since he was a husband.
"Marriage suits you," said Vaughan. "You've actually got some clothes which aren't black."
"It's a little frightening we seem to read each other's minds," said Allard. "I can only contemplate with horror what sort of gestalt being we will be in ten years or so."
"A very randy one," said Vaughan.
"With you involved, that goes without saying. As you know, I'm above all that myself."
Vaughan pushed him.
"For at least the next half hour, or until after breakfast," said Allard.
"Oh well," said Vaughan. "If I'm not going to get any good use out of you yet--" he leered cheerfully, "we might as well have breakfast."
"You," said Allard haughtily, "came first. If you were lucky, even in my estimation."
Vaughan kissed him. Then he ordered breakfast. Allard was pleased to see he had his priorities right. They could always be soppy later.
It was a very fine breakfast, and, as always, paying for a decent hotel with a proper kitchen and fresh ingredients did actually make a noticeable difference over shipboard cuisine. The various long-life foods were useful rather than pleasant, and 'real' food was nice to have when they could get it.
Besides, he liked breakfast he didn't have to un-package himself. Other than Vaughan, of course. He could get used to removing the wrapping from Vaughan, and in fact had.
He had a whole two weeks with nothing to think about but unwrapping Vaughan. He mentioned this. "Or at least for as much time as we get before somebody manages to get themselves into trouble. Which is why, if you remember, I suggested a two-week honeymoon. A month would have been nice, but what do you think our chances are of actually getting it?"
"I dunno," said Vaughan. "Our crew are supposed to be adult, intelligent and sensible. We rely on them all the time to do their jobs, and they don't get into drunken fights."
"It's really amazing how much havoc they can create without any readily-understandable reason," said Allard, shaking his head in confusion.
He watched appreciatively as Vaughan's face took on that expression that indicated that he shouldn't really find that funny.
"No wonder you fitted in with us so well, Allard," he said finally.
Allard considered that. He had to admit it was true. Of course there was one other reason he fitted in so well. He patted it. Still soft, but he had hopes for later.
Allard had been on quite a lot of spaceships. He'd been living on one for the past year or so. Somehow this experience seemed different. It might be something to do with the fact that he wasn't on his way to a job, from a job, doing a job, or trying to recover from a job. He was on his way to a holiday, for no other reason than because it was traditional and it seemed like a nice idea anyway. It was a long time since he'd been on holiday for its own sake, and even longer since he'd been on one with a friend. And, yes, friend was as important as husband.
Two weeks of sightseeing and relaxing in congenial company. It just didn't get any better than that, especially since he suspected that three or more weeks of holiday would make him just a bit nervous about what they'd left on the Mary-Sue.
Neither of them were interested in going on a cruise, since the novelty of space travel had palled a bit. They were heading for one of the resort planets, with plenty to see and do, and lots of chances to lie about in the sun if seeing and doing were too taxing. Actually, as long as the hotel room's fridge was well-stocked with food and the bed was well-stocked with Vaughan, he could comfortably give the culture a miss.
The cabin was small but quite comfy. Vaughan wanted to read the brochure about where they were going. Again.
"How many times have you read that brochure by now, Vaughan?"
"Well, you went and read the fine print, and I'm willing to trust your judgement. So it's my job to look at the pretty pictures," said Vaughan, admiring the semi-aquatic and rather handsome alien jumping into the pool on the cover. The alien jumped, again and again and again. The hotel had been able to pay for live-action 'film' photos on the cover, but only a very short loop: splash, splash, flash of legs, big grin, splash, and round again. Looking at how handsome the alien was, and how much of him was showing, the hotel might well have thought they didn't need to pay for much more.
Allard walked up and took it from Vaughan's hand.
"The colour balance is too blue," he said, settling down beside Vaughan to examine the thing in further detail.
"Geek," muttered Vaughan. "Why are you stroking its legs, then?"
Allard, who in point of fact had been trying to work out where its cock would appear (if it had a cock), said, "They've got the boundaries wrong. It's off by several pixels when it moves."
"Does it really matter? As long as it's as nice when we get there as it looks in the brochure."
"Do you think he's included?" said Allard, a little wistfully.
"Married two days," intoned Vaughan mock-tragically, "and already lusting after stray aliens."
"Oh shut up, I'd share him with you. Or let you watch."
He was interested to note that Vaughan seemed to like that idea, but decided to leave it as fantasy.
"So what can we do until we get there?" he said, putting a hand on Vaughan's leg.
Vaughan said, "Nice and cosy bed-space, isn't it?"
The bed was slightly smaller than their normal one; they hadn't chosen the expensive first-class option with a lot more space, because the voyage wasn't The Thing about this trip. They lived on a ship, after all. The trip was merely an overnighter to get them where they wanted to be.
"That's not why I put my hand on your leg " said Allard, putting his hand on Vaughan's crotch.
"Oh, you take all the mystery out of it!" said Vaughan.
"What mystery?" said Allard, who really wanted to know. There hadn't been much doubt about the seduction side of it for some time.
"Fair point," said Vaughan.
"Very fair point," said Allard, stroking it.
Vaughan groaned cheerfully. "Who comes up with the scripts for this affair?"
"I fear I caught the innuendo virus from you, dear," said Allard.
"What shall we do first?" he suggested, to be polite, just in case Vaughan felt like being up and doing.
"Bounce up and down on the bed," said Vaughan promptly.
"What are you, about eight?"
"Oh, far from it," said Vaughan. "It's just one of the traditional responses to being in a nice hotel: eat the food, drink all the little miniature bottles, and bounce on the bed."
"All right," said Allard. "If we have to."
Allard wasn't quite as interested in looking at engines as Vaughan was, but they spent some of the time looking at the engineers.
They were married, but there was nothing to say they couldn't look at the scenery. Especially because there was one male and one female. One for each of them, as long as they kept it to window-shopping.
"Oh, sorry," said Vaughan, blushing slightly, as the scenery looked back.
Vaughan, the best thing is to remain sublimely oblivious that you might be causing offence. It's so much less embarrassing for all concerned.
"No, that's all right," said the young man.
"Not as if you didn't get picked on looks, Wiston!" There was a general laugh.
Now Allard was probably looking embarrassed.
Wiston smiled at him, bringing him into the joke. "In point of fact, we don't employ airheads," he explained. "Management pick the prettiest one on the shortlist, given the chance. If the shortlist weren't fairly well-vetted, there'd be more of an issue."
"Whereas if there isn't a pretty one, they make the best of it," said one of the plainer ones, with no discernable rancour. These were a nice bunch, Allard thought; he could imagine the same sort of exchange being distinctly uncomfortable at some of the other workplaces he'd had the misfortune to inhabit.
Another part of the scenery began fishing in her bra.
Allard gulped, and reminded himself he was on honeymoon.
To his relief, or disappointment, she was not groping herself. With an exclamation of satisfaction, she came up with a small piece of plastic with metal trim: the security key for one of the computers.
"Interesting place to keep that," said Vaughan. Considering he was bisexual (male preference) while Allard was bisexual (female preference), it was possible that his interest was entirely technical. Well, mostly technical.
"Why?" she asked simply. "Things work themselves free of my trouser-pockets when I sit down or stand up in a hurry, I always know where this is, and I used to have it on a string round my neck until the string broke. Besides, it would take an assault on my person rather than a pickpocket to nick it."
"How much technology do you wear about your person?" said Allard, interested. It always took him a lot of patient searching to find clothes with enough pockets.
"Not too much. There's the security key, a couple of cameras, a pocket scanner, my earrings..."
She tossed her head. They glinted.
"Bit of storage memory," she explained. "Nothing too extravagant, just current work."
"You always drag me to jewellery-shop windows," said Vaughan. "You never want me to actually buy you any, but suddenly I saw your eyes light up."
"Of course," said Allard. "I couldn't justify the expense if all it does is twinkle, but if you could actually use them for something..."
Allard suddenly had an idea of what he would be getting for his next birthday. He reminded himself to look surprised nearer the time.
Bits file 1
This is the email that started it off...
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2004 08:17:40 -0700
Subject: Syndicate plot ideas
Had an email from Raven last night asking if we would write more
Syndicate. Resulting weird shit from free associating last night in that
state between awake and asleep:
Sarah suggested that the crew are arrested because of Harry's voyeurism,
and the ship impounded, while A and V are on honeymoon -= they have to
sort it out. I then had thought about A being blackmailed into sex as
part of freeing Vaughan after some incident, and getting upset about
having to be unfaithful.
Blackmailing the crew into doing some job
Harry mistaken for a spy - arrested
Karen arrested for military spying
MCU93 has a limiter installed - psychological trauma
Claire angry about her copilot being abused - MCU93
Allard angry about a sentient being being treated like that - locals
regard it as *just* a machine, galactic culture is that AIs are property
but are protected against abuse, cf animals
MCU93 won't let official off ship ("Shan't," MCU93 hissed. Allard was
shocked. He'd *never* heard an AI sound like that.)
MCU93 has told Mark - and Mark has told authorities. Causes a diplomatic
incident. AIs are friends - who else are they to talk to but each other,
when their thinking processes are so much faster than humans? And Mark
is designed to be a comms specialist.
Claire makes A and V build a robot teddy bear as avatar for MCU93 so it
can be cuddled, which it needs after this. Causes trouble later, when
people don't realise that the teddy bear is actually the AI's avatar. cf
box at wedding.
Mark *buys* android body, without telling anyone. Makes people jump when
stranger walks onto ship. Upsets people because voice is adult human, so
sounds wrong. Mark eventually decides to slowly adjust his "real" voice,
so that people get used to adult voice.
Also buys mobile platform with handling arm, so that he can get about
without help, but still looks like AI, for when he wants that to be
obvious, or when he wants to be physically transported rather than using
Bits file 2
And some more oddments from later email exchanges jotting down ideas
Mark starts with a female body. This startles everybody, who thinks of him as male (which is ridiculous really as he isn't particularly gendered). So he has a male one done, and starts talking about having different ones for all occasions. The crew tell him, very firmly, 'No'.
Harry really fancies the female Mark. "Can you control both of them at the same time?" he asks.
"Is this so you can ask me to go and fuck myself?" said Mark. He sounded interested.
"No," said Allard. "You might actually enjoy that, so it's not punitive enough."
"Why do people tell people to go and do something that's actually fun when they're angry?" said Mark. "It's like saying 'go and eat chocolate' or something." The crew had sat him down and explained the concept of chocolate a long time ago, but it had taken him a lot of work on his sensory processing to get it right.
Mark in fact got two stunningly-attractive sexbots. He was most interested in enough sensory ability to understand the concept of 'chocolate', but since most commercially-available simulated human bodies were sexbots, that was what he got. He couldn't really understand why the crew were so _bothered_ about it.
Allard took a long breath and began to explain that it was one of those human things that didn't make sense.
Claire, with a suspiciously-feminist glint in her eye, began to explain the difference between sex you chose to do and sex which was done to you whether or not you liked it.
Mark seemed rather upset by that. "Sometimes i wonder about humans," he said.
Main idea for next book--the honeymoon and waft goes wrong. Harry manages to get arrested for voyeurism. Karen gets arrested because the military take exception to her fondling large weapons.
Allard and Vaughan have been having a blissfully-happy honeymoon, full of sightseeing and shagging (sometimes both at once). They aren't that thrilled to have all these messages to come and rescue people.
Particularly not when Mark nearly causes a diplomatic incident by being arrested in two places at once for propositioning the wrong people. Mark-male manages to hit on royalty, which wouldn't be so bad if the local princess wasn't at her wedding celebration. As for Mark-female, she manages to hit on a beautiful redheaded person, and in that culture there are bars and contact ads for people who like that sort of thing to do it in privacy.
The whole business is exacerbated by the fact that there's enough centralisation in that culture that people _notice_ that the same person (with a male name) has managed to get him/herself arrested in two different places, giving the same emergency details to contact so it clearly _is_ the same person, but they've both passed whatever truth test there is in that culture.