Rating: over all NC17 for violence and war time situations and sexual situations (m/m, m/f, NC)
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV program "Space: Above and Beyond" are the creations of Glen Morgan and James Wong, Fox Broadcasting and Hard Eight Productions, and have been used with much love and respect, but without permission. No copyright infringements are intended.
That's What Friends are for
The bar was as dingy as any. He entered the door, noting the smell of stale alcohol and other intoxicants--some legal, some not. On the ledge under the window lay the carcasses of the flies that had come in through the door that did not quite close. Neon advertising on the walls illuminated the joint dimly. Walking to the far end of the bar, he felt the slight stickiness of a floor never too carefully mopped. The other patrons glanced up as he passed, the stench of hopelessness clingng to them. They lost interest in him and returned to their drinks. When he reached the end of the bar, he sat down, straddling the bar stool. This was not the first bar of this sort he'd been in, but it was the first in a while.
"What'll it be?" The bartender passed a cloth over the dirty bar, smearing the stains.
"Beer." He looked around while the bartender drew the foaming brew, placing it in front of him, and waiting for the coin or credit. In the world he'd just left, the bartenders would have carried his tab to the end of the evening, but in this one, he knew, they would want proof of solvency before extending any credit. He handed the bartender the currency, pocketed the change, and stared up into the mirror behind the bar. Like everything else here, it was grimy with dust. He barely recognized the face that stared back at him. The silvered hair and deep blue eyes were familiar enough, but he'd lost weight during his stint as a POW, more during the hospital stay. The hollowed cheeks fit well with the despair he felt. The mission that sent him this bar brought home the self doubt and self loathing that he'd been fighting these past two months.
A stir in the corner of the room caught his attention as a young woman pleaded with the man that sat before her.
"No, Mr. Hill. Not here, not now."
The man smiled, a gold tooth glinting in his mouth. Hair black as night was slicked back, gathered in a small queue at the back of his neck. From his flashy dress and entourage, the man at the end of the bar assumed this 'Mr Hill' to be a pimp. Both and the woman seemed slightly out of place. He, because he was clearly natural born, she because she seemed too high class a whore to be here. Her skin had the luminescent quality of a recently decanted IV, only now subjected to the environment. He hair was long and hung in mahogany curls down her back, like some pre-Raphaelite painting.
"Yes, Stephanie....here and now." He slid his buttocks forward on the pseudo-leather seat, spreading his legs. Her reluctance clear in the rigidity of her posture as she knelt between his knees, unwilling fingers clumsily fumbling with the fastenings of his trousers. The stranger did not have to see the flesh to know what was happening. Here, in this bar, the young woman was sucking and licking, showing utter obedience to the whim of this man. Mr. Hill's head fell back against the back of the seat. He reached forward and grabbed the woman's head, forcing her to take his rigid cock further into her throat. "Come on, bitch. Do it right. I paid good money for your indentures." His pelvis began to thrust.
The stranger turned away, unwilling to watch the spectacle of her debasement. He wasn't surprised that the other patrons ignored it as well. This was "tank town". Here the InVitros who did the dirty work in the city's foundries lived, serving out the indentures that they all owed at birth. His own indentures had been served out on a mining colony, many light years from Earth. In the mines he had learned to serve the whims of natural borns, both as a miner, and for more "personal services". Now he was his own man, a member of an elite force of an elite service. But here he was in a grungy bar in a dirty section of a dirty city to buy the drugs that uncaring physicians had allowed him to become addicted to, listening to a young woman allowing herself to be used. He wondered who was the whore here, just how far had he come, would he ever go. Taking another pull from the beer, he signaled the bartender.
"Where can a man find some action?"
The bartender continued to wipe the glass he had in his hand, and looked over the newcomer.
"You a 'forcer?"
The stranger turned his neck to show the bartender the indented navel on the back of his neck, marking him as an IV, a "nipple neck". The bartender nodded. Like almost everyone in this bar, he was an IV himself. The chances of running into an IV law forcer were practically nil. "What kind of action you looking for?"
"The green kind."
"Green meanies?" At the stranger's nod, the bartender gestured to the man in the corner, now zipping his pants and pushing the prostitute away. "He's your man."
Grimacing with distaste, the stranger stood, "He natural born?"
The stranger walked over to the corner table and pulled out one of the chairs, straddling it.
"I hear you got something I want." The other man smiled again, showing that gold tooth "I'm Mr Hill, and I got something everybody wants. What's your pleasure?" He gestured widely, including the room and the hooker, still kneeling in front of him.
"Not that. Phyllophthetamines. That's all."
Mr. Hill continued to smile, "What you got to give me in return, my man?" He reached out a hand and started to touch the stranger's face. Like lightening, Mr. Hill found his hand held fast.
"I am not 'your man'. I'm not your indentured, or anyone else's. I'm my own man and I've got money. Now...we can have a mutually profitable relationship, or I can go someplace else." He released Hill's hand.
The natural born shook it experimentally a couple of times.
"Em, fast as well as pretty." He leered at the stranger, "Three for one. That's the deal."
The stranger reached in his pocket and pulled out a wad of credits. "Here's a hundred for 40. That's the deal."
The drug dealer nodded, "We can do that." He
reached down beside him, and pulled an aluminum case onto the table. The stranger tensed,
his hand moving toward his back, under his jacket. "Don't get hasty, no
weapons." The dealer reassured him, opening the case and pulling bags out containing
the green pearls that the stranger had come for. "Ten to a bag, here's your
four." he matched action to words and pushed four of the cellophane bags across the
table. The stranger regarded the bags with a look normally reserved for noxious insects,
then picked them up and stuffed them in his pocket. The dealer smiled one more time.
"This could be the beginning of a very fulfilling relationship." He spoke to the
other's back, as he strode from the bar, cruel laughter in his voice, "See you in a
couple of weeks."
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