"You idiot," I grumbled to myself. I wasn't too concerned; I'd done this several times before, and the apartment manager always just gave me the master key so I could let myself back in. I went down to the mail boxes and extracted the thick wad of bills, magazines, and product literature which clogged my box. Another normal day's mail. I got caught up in flipping through the stack, and forgot all about forgetting my keys. I went back up the stairs to my door before remembering.
I dropped my mail on the floor and went back downstairs.
There was a note on the manager's door saying he'd be back in about half an hour. Didn't say half an hour from when, though. Well, I wasn't going to give up. I'd left the patio door open. True, I lived on the third floor, but it looked like an easier climb than some of the rocks I'd been on.
I went outside, and around back to where the patio decks were stacked up. Surveying the wall of the building as though it was a cliff, I selected a route and began my ascent.
I would have made it, too, if it hadn't been for a weak bit of trim on the second floor. It began to make alarming cracking sounds, and I grabbed for the adjacent patio railing just as it gave way. I swung for a moment before letting go, falling to the ground below.
I rolled as I hit, and came to rest in a sitting position, looking up at the building. My downstairs neighbor was leaning against the railing from which I'd just fallen. He was looking at me with a mixture of curiosity, concern and amusement on his face.
I admit, I'd been looking for an excuse to introduce myself.
He was a second-generation recom, one of the sons and daughters of the brave military pilots who'd saved civilization during the Last War. I suppose we all idolized them for their strength, speed, and intelligence. I remember reading about the War all through school. The books said that recoms had been created to fly the turn-of- the-century jets when they got too hot for human pilots. The fact that recoms had originally been slaves, pressed into service against their will, just reinforced the civics-class lessons on how corrupt the old regime had been.
It also made it all the more remarkable that those same recoms had fought so fiercely in defense of this country. They'd earned their freedom, and their children grew up proud and independent.
Somehow I'd hoped for a more dignified way to meet him.
"Ah, hi," I essayed, waving at the broken trim strip. "Just checking for termites."
"I forgot to check."
He laughed, giving me a look at his sharp white teeth. "Looks okay to me," he replied, after making a show of studying the broken section.
"Great," I said. "Sorry about that. I locked myself out, and I didn't want to wait for the manager to get back."
"Come on up, then, I'll let you in," he chirruped. Without waiting for a response, he leaped up onto his railing, then spun around and jumped up and backwards, away from the building. He jackknifed on the way up, reaching forward to grab the railing on my patio, and vaulted over to land out of sight.
I was impressed, no less so because he was a recom. Reading about them in a book was one thing, but seeing is believing. I got to my feet quickly, and ran up the stairs. My door was already open. I picked up my mail, and went inside. He was looking at the bookshelves in the living room.
I stuck out my hand and introduced myself. "Thanks. My name is Mac... Mac Gentry."
"Call me Tell," he replied. His grip was warm and firm, and I held on just a little longer than necessary, but I didn't think he noticed.
I went over to drop the mail on the small desk in the corner by the kitchen door. "Can I get you a drink?" I asked.
"Got any beer?"
"Sure do," I said, moving into the kitchen. I came back out with two bottles. He was looking over my library again. I handed him his beer, and sat on the back of the couch.
"Porto Alegre?" he asked, reading the label.
"Yeah, it's Brazilian. I got it a couple weeks ago when I was down there."
"Business trip? You're an engineer, right?"
"Uh-huh. Rio Supercomputers. I work for Rio N.A. in Long Beach."
"I could tell from your books here. What do you work on?"
"Product acceptance, compatibility, that sort of thing. Mostly on the F/X series."
He looked kind of thoughtful, then ran a long fingernail along the line of books dealing with optical computers and communications. "Have you worked with that Devtech fiber optic network?"
My pained expression was all the answer he needed. As he laughed, I shook my head sorrowfully. "Please don't remind me. That's all I've worked on for two years, trying to fix Devnet. Devtech has no idea what they're doing, and it seems like I spend half my time telling my management that we're wasting our time helping them. Every time I give a presentation to the networking group in Japan or the corporate people in Brazil, they tell me to just keep trying." I sighed. "At least it pays well."
"I hope you like to travel."
"Sure, but with all the money they've spent on semi-ballistic tickets on the LA-Rio and LA-Tokyo runs, they could have bought me one of the darn rockets by now."
He'd been nodding. "You're right about Devtech. The guys working on that really don't have a clue. We've been hearing about all the problems."
I raised an eyebrow. "What's this 'we' stuff?"
"I'm a systems engineer at Devtech," he said, with a smile. I grimaced again. "Uh, sorry, no offense."
"Hey, no fur off my nose. I work with NCT 'frames. Devnet handles those okay. It's just those F/X monsters which are too fast for it. I worked with Rio Series F machines in school, they're good units."
"Too good for Devnet, that's for sure. I just wish I could get Devtech to face facts. Rio isn't going to develop any new hardware. All we have now is XNA, which isn't very efficient, but it works okay. Devnet would be a big improvement, if Devtech would develop a new interface, but they don't want to admit they can't handle the speed with the stuff they use everywhere else."
"That's the problem, all right." He turned back to the shelves again, studying titles. It gave me a chance to look at him. I couldn't figure the genetic mix, but then, you never really could. They were all different. Some looked more like felines, or canines, or whatever, but most of them were pretty generic. His fur was a glossy dark brown, lighter in front, maybe a little shorter than usual. He was about my height, but his legs were longer than mine. His tail dropped almost all the way to the floor, and swept back and forth hypnotically. He wasn't wearing much, just a pair of jogging shorts like some I had, except his had a cutout in the back for his tail, closed at the top with a magnetic clasp. He filled them well; I could see muscles flexing through the sheer fabric.
All in all, he was very attractive. I was afraid that my feelings would start to show if I just sat there looking, so I picked a new subject.
"Tell's an unusual name. What's it from?"
He looked at me, flashing another quick smile. "It's short for Teller, from Edward Teller, the physicist. My parents say I was conceived in Teller GEO. That's one of the command and control stations for the UN's space-based interceptor platforms."
"What were your parents doing? Besides the obvious," I added, blushing.
"They were UNSF military pilots. Still are."
That made them the best of the best; of the three thousand recoms in the old US Navy and Air Force, only about two hundred were asked to stay on with the United Nations peacekeeping forces. "Neat. What do they fly?"
"Nothing. They're teleoperators on Enforcer RPV's. Mom's the pilot, Dad's the weapons officer. It's not as romantic as flying in the platform, but there aren't any windows in the new ones anyway."
"And you can't get shot down. Right."
He drank the last of his beer, and handed the bottle back to me. "Thanks for the beer, Mac. I have to get back to my place, I'm expecting a call."
"Uh, okay. Thanks again for the help."
"No problem. And if I see any termites, I'll let you know."
"Great," I laughed.
I held the door for him, and waved as he went down the stairs. Closing the door, I went over and sat down on the couch. I took a drink from my beer. It was still full. I thought about him for a while. I hadn't responded that strongly to another male in a long time, not that there were many women in my life either. I really wasn't sure whether to feel honored that he'd been friendly with me, or just plain surprised. I felt a little strange about it, too. Everyone liked recoms, but never sexually; that was the subject of bad jokes by bad stand-up comics, not real life. I thought about him, off and on, for the rest of the day.
About 9 pm, I heard a knock on the door. It was Tell. He was carrying a Devtech documentation binder.
"Hi. I had a couple ideas about that problem with Devnet and the F/X machines. Do you have a minute?"
"Sure, come in," I said, maybe a little too enthusiastically.
He walked over to the dinner table, looking for a place to set the book down.
"Oh, sorry, are you still eating dinner?"
"No, I just finished." Actually, I'd finished an hour earlier, but I just hadn't cleaned up yet. "Let's go into the office. There's more room in there anyway."
I led him into the spare bedroom, where I had my computer stuff. The center of the room was dominated by a massive adjustable drafting table which must have been older than both of us combined. It was built like a precision machine tool, and worked as well as when it was new. I didn't use it for drafting, of course. I had it set low and flat; it made a great table. He set the book down on one end, and sat in the spare executive chair, curling his tail over his lap. I took the other chair, and he started.
"Okay. The major problem with the F/X is that the Devnet board doesn't acknowledge transfers fast enough, right? The interface chips are too slow. But they're too highly integrated with the network architecture to replace, and Devtech won't redesign them."
"So far so bad."
"Or, Rio could slow down the I/O channel, but it's so closely coupled with the CPU that overall performance would suffer. I bet you've tried that."
I nodded. "That's the price we pay for wafer scale integration, I guess."
"But all of this assumes that the network has to operate synchronously. What if we decouple the network interface from the I/O channel?"
"Elementary, my dear Watson. Add a first-in first-out buffer to the network interface, some more code in the kernel to support the sliding window, and it'll work great. First thing I thought about. But RIO doesn't care enough to assign the design engineers, and Devtech thinks they can get it to work by tweaking the timing."
"So they won't do it. So what?" He leaned towards me. "We could." He continued before I could respond. "Look, the problem here is that we need a software fix on the Rio side, and more hardware on the Devtech side. I'm a programmer, you're an engineer."
"I'm not a design engineer! We're not in any position to redesign all that custom silicon on the Devnet boards."
"It's not that much work if we start from Devtech's design files. You know what needs to be added, don't you?"
"Well, yes, but..."
"And I'm not an F/X expert, but I know what code it'll take."
True, there were no real technical obstacles. It was mostly an image thing, two companies that couldn't agree they had a problem. I'd just never thought about fixing it myself. I did see a few complications, though. "We'd have to do the intermediate logic in gallium arsenide, you know, and there's none of that on the existing wafer. We'd need the speed. That's tricky stuff to work with."
"That's what service bureaus are for. Let them sweat the details, we can give them the basic design. Integrating the new code into the network kernel will be the real tricky part."
"Hey, I'm not going to pay some service bureau to do my design work for me," I exclaimed in mock indignation. "I'll do it, and save the fee."
"So it's a deal, then?" He looked at me expectantly.
My grin faded as I began to take it seriously. "Umm... hold on. We still have some problems here. Money. License fees for kernel sources and Devnet specs. Devtech might not even want us doing this."
He shook his head. "I'm sure we can raise the money. The rest is just politics. Devtech will go along as long as they don't have to admit they ever had a problem."
"I suppose so. We'd better have a solid plan before we hand in our notices, though."
"Oh, I agree." Slyly, he asked, "Say, you wouldn't happen to have those F/X kernel sources around here, would you?" He looked significantly over my shoulder at the workstation screen hanging on the wall behind the desk.
I drummed my fingers on the binder he'd brought along. "I don't know... but maybe you'd know where I could find a copy of the specs on the F/X series Devnet boards, huh?" We laughed together, and got to work. It really did look easy, and I think it was the feeling that we could get the whole problem solved right then and there which kept us going for over six hours. Fortunately, it was Saturday, and we didn't have to go to work the next morning.
I actually didn't think about him too much as we worked. There were moments when he'd lean over my shoulder to point out something in the documentation, or when I'd sit next to him to explain something on the screen, when I was acutely aware of his presence, his subtly different scent. Mostly, though, I just concentrated on the job.
Some time after 3 am, I heard him push back his chair. I was running out of ideas and energy, and it seemed like a good time to stop.
"That's enough for tonight," I said to him.
"Yeah. So what do you think? Looks good to me."
"Looks good to me, too." I rubbed my right shoulder; my arm was stiff from making notes. He reached over from where he was sitting, and pushed my hand away. He took over, smoothing the tension away.
"Not used to writing so much, huh? I guess I monopolized the keyboard."
I rolled my head around. "Oh, that's nice. No, that's okay, I've been meaning to get a second workstation in here anyway." He came and stood behind me, massaging my neck expertly. It felt great. As his hands moved down my back, I leaned forward, resting my forehead on folded arms.
I suppose I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I remember is being shaken gently.
"Come on, sleepy, time to go to bed." I lifted my head, blinking, then got up. He led me into the bedroom, and sat me down on the edge of the bed without turning the light on.
"Thanks," I mumbled sleepily. "Come by tomorrow, we'll work up a presentation."
He yawned conspicuously. "Well, I'm pretty tired. Mind if I sleep here?"
I thought about it for a moment, then started to get up. "You mean, on the couch? Um, okay... let me get you some sheets." He pushed me back down, and sat beside me. "No, I mean right here."
He was sitting close enough that I could smell him... and suddenly I understood. If I could smell him, then he could smell me a hundred times as well. He turned me on, and he knew it. Did he really feel the same way about me?
I looked at him, and in his eyes, I saw what I was looking for. Happily, I fell backwards, pulling him down on top of me.
"Okay," I said, huskily. I hugged him tightly, and he squeezed back.
He seemed to be shivering, but his fur was warm and dry. I stroked his back gently.
"Hey, what's the matter?"
"Nothing, really. I'm just so happy..."
"Me too, Tell." I continued to stroke him, and he calmed down. I moved my hand to his side, where our bodies met, and he rolled slightly to let my hand move between us. I began to rub at the fabric of his jogging shorts. I admit, I was curious. I'd never seen a nude recom of either sex. I had no idea what was under there.
"Mmm..." he sighed. "I thought you were tired?"
"I'm never that tired," I said, as I released the tab over his tail, and slipped his shorts down off his hips. His penis was sheathed, covered in soft fur, like his scrotum. Once freed, his erection grew quickly. He wasn't very large, which struck me as unfair; presumably the designers could have given recoms just about any size penis, but I guess they had other things to consider. Large genitals would just get in the way of a G-suit. I grasped him, fingers sliding on his moist shaft, and he began to moan, moving his hips back and forth. His eyes were closed, his mouth was open, and his tail was thrashing from side to side. He was breathing rapidly, and it looked like he was already ready to come.
"Tell, are you...?"
"Yes," he said, urgently.
I rolled him over on his back, and leaned over, taking him into my mouth. He gasped, and suddenly my mouth was filled with his semen. He pressed gently on the back of my head, and I moved my hand to his balls, squeezing lightly. His cock slid deeper into my mouth, and he cried out. His body shook for a few seconds, and then he subsided.
His penis slid back into its sheath quickly. I stroked his sheath, smoothing the ruffled fur, kissed it gently, and then straightened up, lying alongside him, resting a hand on his chest, my other arm under his neck. We snuggled close, looking deep into each other's eyes.
"Thank you," he said softly. "I've never done this before. With anyone," he added, even more quietly.
I was taken aback. He'd been so, well, forward... but what could I say? "Tell, I wouldn't have asked for this. At least, not so soon." I grinned. "But I'm glad I didn't have to. I think things are going to work out fine."
"I'm sure they are," he replied. "But there's something we need to get straight."
"Uh, what?" I asked, afraid of some misunderstanding.
In response, he dropped his hand to my crotch, and squeezed. "This," he said, mouth open in a silent laugh.
I gave a startled "yip!" — just in the spirit of things, you know — and grabbed him right back. We wrestled around on the bed for a few minutes, my clothes just sort of falling off my body. Soon our movements became more rhythmic, more deliberate. He was inexperienced, sure, but he wanted to please me, and he seemed to know what to do.
He made me hard with his hands, and wet with his tongue. Then he rolled away from me, onto his stomach, and moved his tail to the side. He looked back over his shoulder. "Mount me," he said, almost moaning.
"Yes..." I answered, so full of love for him I could hardly speak. I moved over him, wet his anus with my saliva, and pressed the tip of my penis against him. "Relax," I crooned, stroking the fur on his back, squeezing him around the base of his tail. He opened himself to me, and I slid inside slowly. His ass was tight and hot, and we both made little whimpering sounds as we began to move together.
"You okay?" I asked.
"Oh, yes, Mac," he breathed. "Don't hold back."
He was so strong. I could see the muscles moving under his fur, and feel them under my hands. He was clutching the bedspread as tightly as I clutched his hips. Although we strained against each other, there was something light and effortless to our coupling, a sense of perfect freedom and mutual joy.
As I watched him, I thought about how lucky we were to have each other, and that familiar and pleasant pressure began to rise within my crotch. He matched the increasing tempo of my thrusts, lifting his head, making the most marvelous purring sound. I wondered if it was deliberate.
As my climax approached, I leaned forward, nuzzling the back of his neck, resting against him. My arms went around his chest, and I hugged him as I came.
"Ohhh," I cried, and I held the full length of my penis inside him. He pushed back against me until I was done, then together we toppled over onto our sides, my arms still wrapped around him.
"I love you, Tell," I said.
"I love you too, Mac... oh!" My hand, moving slowly down his belly, had encountered the tip of his penis, again erect.
"Gently, Tell... don't rush it, make it last," I whispered into his ear. I brushed the tips of my fingers down his shaft, hot and slick, and he quivered with every touch.
"Mac... it's all right... we — ah! — it's the way we are..."
He grasped my hand and pressed it against his cock. I took hold of him, and quickly, he came, curling up around his spurting organ, his semen splashing against my other hand, where I held his chest.
We lay there together for a while, relaxing, and soon I felt him fall asleep. I extracted myself gingerly, and made my way to the bathroom. Returning with a washcloth, I cleaned him as best I could without waking him. I went out to turn off the lights in the office and hallway, and then got back into bed.
He stirred as I stretched out beside him, throwing an arm and a leg and about a yard of tail across me. I rolled slightly towards him, and pulled him against me, feeling the dampness on his chest. With a contented sigh, I sank quickly into a deep sleep.
I woke as he was getting out of bed. "Hmm?"
He leaned over me and gave me a quick kiss. "Go back to sleep, lover, it's still early."
"Okay," I said, feeling warm and happy, and I did.
The sun was brighter on the windowshade the next time I woke up. Tell was getting back into bed. He sat up, leaning back against the headboard, and I slid over and hugged him.
"Good morning, Tell."
"Good morning, Mac."
"What'cha wanna do?" I asked, tickling his balls with a fingertip.
"Oh, Mac..." he sighed. "You know."
It was somewhat later when we returned to the subject of our project. We spent the rest of the day — well, most of it — going over each other's work from the previous night, and developing a presentation for our respective managements.
Even in the light of the new day, it looked good. We knew how to market the idea; it was just a matter of offering to assume responsibility for the development in exchange for access to the proprietary information we needed... access Tell and I had already, of course. Rio and Devtech had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
The other aspect was financing. We figured we'd need about 35 kilocredits to complete the detailed design and produce the first run of prototypes. It turned out that Tell had almost 20K in the bank. I had about five. Between us, we had enough bank credit to borrow another ten.
We had lunch down in Tell's apartment. I learned that recoms had rather unusual metabolisms and required different food than the kind of stuff I usually kept around my place. There were a few restaurants in the city which catered to the recom trade, but most recoms prepared their own food. I wasn't very enthusiastic about trying his diet, although he tried to persuade me. "It tastes better than it looks." I ended up nibbling on some of the things I could recognize, and left the rest of it for him.
Tell had a pretty impressive collection of nature artwork... paintings of wolves, big cats, and other animals. He also had a pair of huge wall-sized posters covered with 6-point type, millions of seemingly random letters and numbers defining the structure of his parents' genetic code, from the DARPA lab where they'd been designed. I'd always wondered if recoms were sensitive about their heritage, but he was obviously proud of it. I started laughing while he was explaining something about the size of the actual database, to which these posters were really just indexes. He asked me what was so funny.
"It tastes better than it looks," I said. He hit me.
His computer equipment was more video-oriented than mine, so we stayed downstairs that afternoon, preparing two presentations. One was aimed at his management, the other one at mine. He had a flair for that sort of thing, which was good, since I didn't. By about 8, we decided there was nothing left to do, so we stored the results on a couple of cards, and had dinner.
After dinner, we took fresh bottles of beer into his living room, and snuggled down into his couch. Tell put some music on, the volume down low, and we talked for a while. In a way, it wasn't as much like finding out about each other as like catching up on things with an old friend. We really didn't have much in common besides computers, but that didn't seem to matter. What really surprised me was how young he was, only 18 years old. He'd graduated from college three years before, which was routine for recoms. I was only 26 myself, four years out of school, but for a moment I felt much older. Well, I wasn't going to get paternal. Just from talking, I could tell he'd lived as much as I had. Maybe it was true, what people said about recoms just living faster. It wasn't something you could really compare, of course.
Eventually, I started yawning, and he started yawning, and when we noticed each other yawning at the same time, we both laughed.
"Gee, you don't want to go to bed already, do you?" I asked innocently.
"My place or yours?" he replied, eyes twinkling.
"Let's mess up your sheets tonight."
"You say the most romantic things."
Tell had sheets, all right. He kept them in the closet, in case of cold weather. His bed was nothing more than a padded, upholstered platform, with several pillows. It didn't look very comfortable, but sharing it with Tell made it just perfect. We weren't as tired as the night before, and the sexual tension had mostly dissipated, so everything was much more casual. We learned a lot about each other, and had a wonderful time in the process.
At one point, Tell got kind of silly, and started trying to find all the places where I was ticklish. In self-defense, I turned over onto my belly, and pulled my arms down along my sides. He rolled on top of me, trying to dig his fingers around to my stomach, laughing and carrying on.
I felt something odd, and it took me a moment to figure out what it was, an out-of-place wet sensation on my thigh. Then the character of Tell's movements began to change, becoming more rhythmic. He was hard, pressing himself between my legs, making a growling sound... and then I felt his teeth on the back of my neck.
"Ooh, Tell, is this how recoms do it?" I asked, half-joking. He didn't answer; he just growled louder, but I could tell somehow that he wasn't being entirely serious. With an exaggerated roughness, he grabbed my hips and lifted me into the air. I moaned loudly for effect, and then again, softly, as I felt his penis sliding up towards my ass. Then he paused.
"Come on," I urged.
"Uh, be right with you," he said, and leaned back to see what he was doing. Maybe it distracted him not to have a tail to aim for; I don't know.
He got himself positioned, and leaned forward again, his chest warm and soft against my back. Smoothly, he pushed his glans into me. He gasped, gripped me tightly, and thrust firmly, entering me completely.
Without pausing, he began thrusting himself against me, very quickly, very hard. After maybe a dozen strokes, he cried out, bit my neck again, and came.
I reached back between my legs to squeeze his balls, and he made a high-pitched little sound and collapsed against me. I don't know if he passed out, or what, but it was a few minutes before he moved again. I just lay there quietly, enjoying the feel of him inside of me and on top of me, until his penis withdrew and resheathed itself.
Finally he stirred, moving to rest beside me. I turned to look at him.
"That was nice."
"Mmm-hmm," he agreed. "Thanks."
"Anytime, lover. Better yet, all the time."
He smiled, and we held each other until we fell asleep.
It's a good thing Tell set his alarm clock, because I'd totally forgotten about going to work in the morning. As it was, I had to hurry to be on time. We kissed quickly, and I ran upstairs to get dressed.
I did remember the card with the presentation, though, and after the regular Monday morning staff meeting, I took the group manager aside and told him our idea. He was very receptive, I suppose because the Devnet problem was as much his problem as mine. He got me an appointment with the Director of Product I had some appointments and phone calls to return to people in our US networking department and at Devtech, but I put those on hold, and took an informal poll among my coworkers as to the prospects for the kind of solution we were planning to offer. All of them had worked on the problem at one time or another, and after two years, most of them were willing to listen to anything. The technical comments were in line with my own observations, which was reassuring, and nobody brought up any new objections.
The afternoon meeting went very well. The director liked the video, and told me to send it down to his boss, the Senior Director of R&D, in Rio. Brazil had already gone home, but Japan was just about to arrive on Tuesday morning, so I stayed late to talk with Dr. Nagura, the Director of Networking Systems out there. I'd been out to see him just a few weeks before. We had a good professional relationship, but that was about all. He was a very quiet man, and he commanded a great deal of respect, probably more than company policy required. While he never got excited about anything, he did pay close attention to the presentation, He brought up one subject which I hadn't given enough thought to.
"And, what if your design is a success?"
"What will you do then?"
"Well... I just assumed that Rio would buy it, and I'd come back to work. Or maybe it would be better if Devtech built it into their equipment."
"No. You build it. Don't sell the design. Sell a product."
I started to object, but the look on his face made me stop and think. Yes, it would make more sense. If we could buy Devtech's hardware, at the wafer level or as finished boards, we could build it into a plug-and-play system for the F/X.
He continued. "And when you speak with Cruz, tell him you want to use the company's engineering facilities in Brazil. Ask him to set a fair price, but do not give him any control over your new company."
That was another good idea. "Yes, sir. I will do that." I paused. "I think you are helping me more than you need to."
"No, Mr. Gentry. We needed someone to do this. And there may be more opportunities for you in the future."
"Thank you. I will think about this." We cleared, and I sat there thinking about it for a while. Whenever I talked with him, I ended up talking like him. It was pretty strange.
All in all, it was a very busy day and a very promising start. When I got home, I went straight up to Tell's apartment. Rather than knocking, I tried the door; it was open, and I went right in. He was standing in the kitchen, cooking something. I tossed my mail on his coffee table, sat down on the couch, and kicked my feet up.
"Hi, dear. I'm home," I called.
He ran over and sat down on my lap, put his arms around my neck, and gave me a big kiss. "Hi," he said. "You could make a habit of that. If you want," he added, shyly.
"I want," I sighed. We held each other for a while. My curiosity eventually overcame my reluctance to disturb the moment. "Tell? How'd it go today?"
He slid off my lap onto the couch beside me. "Pretty good. My boss doesn't want me to quit, but he did go with me to see the Vice President of Engineering. The VP wasn't exactly thrilled to lose me, either, but he seems to like the idea of having the problem solved for him. Like I figured, he'll give us access to the wafer design library for nothing. How'd it go with you?" "Okay here. I ought to have a response from Brazil tomorrow. Got some interesting advice from Japan." I explained what Nagura had suggested, and Tell nodded, thoughtfully.
"So what's left at your end? As far as I can tell, Devtech is ready to sign the papers anytime. How many more layers do you have to go through?"
"Well, if Cruz goes along with everything, I'll probably have to go down to Brazil to present the idea to the partners."
"Maybe this week, I don't know. Rio is a pretty well-run company."
"I need to spend a few days clearing my desk, but apart from that, I'm ready."
I surpressed a laugh. "Tell, you're always ready."
"I'm ready to eat! How about you?"
I thought about making another joke, but I was kind of hungry. Something smelled good. "Yeah, I guess so. What's for dinner?"
"Ask me after we're done eating it."
I was dubious, but agreed. It tasted okay, but I'd rather not think about what it turned out to be. As much as I loved the guy, I resolved to select my own menus in the future. We were too keyed up over the project to sit around watching TV, so we picked a new movie, and went out. It was an interesting experience. Tell attracted a lot of attention. I know it was rare to see recoms, even though there were hundreds of them in the city, but did people always gawk like that? Maybe it was the strange feeling that they were staring at me, too. We went into the ice-cream place next to the theater after the movie. Tell made a spectacle of himself, turning the simple task of eating an ice-cream cone into some kind of erotic exhibition. It was done for my benefit, of course, but he didn't seem to mind that several other patrons were enjoying the show. I was blushing scarlet by the time I got him out of there.
"You're terrible!" I protested.
"You loved it," he said, smiling.
"Well, yeah, but..." I responded, weakly.
He took my arm and led me back towards the metro station. "Let's go home."
"Oh, boy," I said. "Last one on the train is a rotten egg!" I took off running.
He breezed past me effortlessly, and then obviously slowed down so he could cheer me on. I'm not slow, but I'd guess he was going thirty percent faster than I was when he passed me. He stayed exactly two paces ahead of me all the way to the station. We waved our passes at the gate, and went in. I didn't catch my breath until we were back home.
"My place tonight," I said. "My turn."
"Okay," he agreed. "I'll be up in a few minutes. Got to get something to eat."
Well, I can't resist more than one joke in a day. "It'll be waiting."
He just shook his head and went on into his apartment. I went upstairs, and realized I hadn't been in there in a day and a half, except for a few minutes that morning. I went into the bedroom and whipped the sheets off the bed. They were rather fragrant. I stuck them in the laundry basket in the bathroom, and got out another set.
I was still putting them on when Tell snuck up behind me and tackled me onto the bed. I think we may have set a speed record for ruining a set of sheets.
Not that that bothered us any. In fact, we were still going at it shortly before 1 am, when the phone rang. I grabbed the handset, and motioned to Tell to be quiet.
"Mac Gentry? This is Francis Cruz, in Brazil."
"Hello, Francis. Good to hear from you."
"I know it's very late, but I wanted to ask you if you could fly down here today. The managing partners will be leaving for a conference in Europe on Thursday, so tomorrow is the only day we can meet with them before next week."
"Of course, no problem."
"I also wanted to ask you if your partner, Mr. Teller, could come with you."
Tell was nodding, but I waved him off. "I don't know, but I'll ask."
"It would be a good thing if he could. I understand he is a recombinant?"
"Yes, that's right."
"That will work to your advantage, I believe."
Ahh... right. Recoms were uncommon in the US, but almost never seen elsewhere. Tell himself could be a selling point. "I'm fairly sure he'll be able to make it."
"Excellent. If you'll check, I believe your travel arrangements are in your phone now."
I looked at the screen, which was otherwise blank, and indeed there was a new file. I touched the icon, and brought up the itinerary. There were confirmed tickets for both of us on the next semi-ballistic flight to Rio.
"Right. We'll see you Wednesday morning, then."
I signed off, and looked at Tell. "Want to visit Brazil?"
"Sure," he said.
"Well, we better get some sleep, then, 'cause we have to leave for the airport in about seven hours."
"Okay." He flipped over and started snoring.
I moved over behind him, and snuggled up against his back. Sticking a hand down past his tail and between his legs, I started rubbing the downy fur under his balls.
"Not so fast," I said, softly.
My alarm clock went off at the normal time, and we got up so we could leave messages at our offices. Tell had to go get packed; I just threw a couple of shirts in my travel bag. I did this a lot, so it was all ready to go. We made it to the airport in plenty of time.
The small crowd waiting for the SB was predominantly Brazilian, and they were obviously interested in Tell. I began to have new respect for the husbands and wives of famous people. I'm sure Tell enjoyed the attention, but it made me slightly uncomfortable. I also began to wonder how he'd made it to 18 without losing his virginity. Surely it wasn't for lack of opportunity; some of the looks he got from the women (and from some of the men) were about as explicit as you can get without a written contract.
He told me later that he just didn't know. Go figure. As usual, Rio had reserved first-class tickets for me on the Brazilian national airline. When they started boarding, we went on into the plane, and took our seats. Since first-class seats had windows — expensive on a trans-atmospheric vehicle — my preference was for the third-row left window seat; this was the first row with paired seating, and usually I wanted the adjacent seat so I could set down my Dynabook without having to drop the tray table. Now, of course, I had something much nicer to put there. The stewardess came forward and took our drink orders. They had Porto Alegre beer, of course, and we each got a glass of that. We sat together, talking, while the coach-class passengers boarded through the mid-cabin hatch. Presently, they finished boarding, and I realized we were still alone in the first-class cabin. As we started taxiing out, the screen on the forward bulkhead began showing the standard wildly optimistic emergency procedures briefing, and the stewardess came forward to get our glasses. "Will you be needing anything else before we land?" she asked.
"No, thank you," I answered.
She checked to see that our seatbelts were buckled, then went aft, and closed the door.
I turned towards Tell, and raised the armrest between us. We each put an arm around the other, and leaned together. I licked at his ear as I unbuckled our belts.
"You know, she won't be back in here until we get there."
"No, she won't, will she?" he said, wriggling in anticipation.
I released the clasp on his pants, and started unbuttoning his shirt. "Do you suppose we can amuse ourselves?"
He was already breathing hard. "Yes."
As we reached the end of the runway, the PA asked us to prepare for acceleration. By the time we started rolling, Tell was fully erect, pink and glistening. I bent down and took him in my mouth, cupping his testicles in one hand, the other against the small of his back. He came just as we lifted off, his cries of pleasure drowned out by the howling of the powerful scramjets. I straightened up with some effort, against the gradually increasing acceleration which pushed me down and backwards. The forward screen displayed a G-meter in a corner of the view from the forward camera. It read 1.5G, and it was definitely going up. I knew from experience that it would peak at about 2.5G about ten minutes into the flight.
Tell leaned against me, eyes half-closed, smiling. I put an arm around him and held him for a while, stroking his belly with my other hand as his tail flicked back and forth across my legs. Eventually, the acceleration made it uncomfortable to be turned sideways like that, so I released Tell and sat back in my seat. I figured he'd do the same... but instead, I felt his hands at my waist, releasing my own penis, which was already swollen and throbbing.
I watched with some disbelief as he levered himself up out of his seat, and turned to kneel before me. The G-meter was at 1.9 and still climbing. Against that force, Tell slowly leaned forward to lick me, his rough tongue making me twitch.
I couldn't even bend my head down to watch him without straining, so I just relaxed, and let my head go back against the seat. Tell's mouth enveloped me, and he began to move his head up and down slowly, pressing with his hands against the seat behind me. It felt just incredible. I gripped his shoulders, and started making thrusting motions with my hips, but as the meter approached 2.5G, I couldn't move much.
My pleasure peaked with the pressure of acceleration, and as the engines spooled down to about half a G, I cried out and shot my load into his throat. The rapid loss of weight brought me forward in my seat. I curled over Tell's head, crossing my arms over his shoulders.
After a long moment, I shuddered and leaned back. Breathing hard, trying to catch my breath, I welcomed Tell into my arms as he sat back down.
"Oh, wow," I said, panting. "That was more than I expected."
"Did you enjoy it?" he asked.
"Of course! Wasn't it obvious?" I grinned.
He smiled back, smacking his lips loudly. "Yeah, but I wanted to hear you say it."
"I loved it, Tell. I love you."
"Same here, Mac."
Some of the longer flights — New York to Perth, or the occasional flight from L.A. to Madagascar — remained at low gee long enough for the stewardesses to hand out quick drink orders, but this one basically just went up and right back down again. The stewardesses were around to handle minor emergencies, but I knew we wouldn't be bothered unless we called for help.
It took us a few minutes to get our pants on, and we had a couple more minutes to enjoy the views through the forward camera, as displayed on the screen, and the windows in the cabin. We were up high enough to see stars and the curvature of the Earth, and we could see bits of Central and South America.
The acceleration warning sounded again, and we had to sit down and prepare for the descent. The forces this time were more down and forward, so we both fastened our belts and just enjoyed the ride.
We ended up making some wide sweeping turns as we approached the runway at Rio, probably to avoid some weather. It gave us a better look at the northwest part of Brazil, which was nice. The landing was perfect, and as we taxiied in to the gate, our stewardess opened the door and stuck her head inside.
"How was the flight?"
"Very nice, thanks," Tell replied, smiling politely.
Although it was mid-morning when we left L.A., it was already evening in Rio de Janeiro. Rio SC maintained a bloc of apartments near their headquarters and engineering facility in Soleri II, and some of the apartments were set up like hotel rooms for visitors. We got our keys from the security guard downstairs, and we went on up. The company had arranged for two apartments, but I don't think it ever occurred to us to use them both.
I got the same unit almost every time I was in Brazil, so it was practically like a home away from home. I showed Tell where everything was. There was a note on the phone from Francis Cruz; he offered to take us out to dinner at ten. It wasn't quite eight yet, so we decided to go walk around for a while.
Soleri II is the smallest arcology in Brazil, but even so, it's plenty big enough to get lost in. 70 levels, each about 500 meters in diameter: over 10 million square meters of floor space. Fifty thousand spacious apartments and hundreds of businesses, all within a few minutes walking or elevator-riding distance of each other.
Tell had never been inside an arcology; there weren't many of them in the United States, and he hadn't been abroad much. It was fun to play tour guide.
The neatest part of the building was the mall, a half- kilometer of three levels of shops, restaurants, and open park- like spaces. We started north from the south end, and began picking up hangers-on almost immediately. By the time we reached the central plaza, there must have been twenty people following us. Well, following Tell, anyway.
"I love a parade," I said, sarcastically.
"Aww, it's okay," he said. "They're just curious."
As we walked, I noticed he was holding his tail higher than usual, and swinging his ass back and forth with each step.
"Giving them a show, huh?"
"What do you mean?" he asked, innocently.
"If you shake any harder, you're going to bring this building down."
He looked contrite, but he kept walking the same way. I couldn't help laughing.
"You're terrible!" I turned a little and bumped his shoulder with mine. He bumped me back, and our hands found each other. We walked for a moment like that, hand in hand, until someone behind us started clapping. Soon everyone was laughing and cheering.
We were passing a bank of elevators. I decided it was time to bail out. One of them was open already, so I pulled Tell into it, and punched the highest button on the panel. The doors closed to cut off the crowd noise, and we fell against each other, giggling like fools.
The doors opened on the 24th floor, and fortunately nobody was around.
"Where to?" Tell asked.
"How about we go on up to the roof?"
The 24th floor was a major interchange for the elevator system; there was a bank of express express elevators running from the 24th floor up to the top 20 floors. We took one of these all the way up. It was a nice evening; we'd gone from a warm summer in L.A. to a mild winter in Rio, and it was a little cool, but comfortable enough for both of us.
We spent the next hour walking the circumference of the roof, admiring the sparkling city around and below us. Soleri III, over three kilometers away, seemed to loom over us, another 200 levels higher and much wider.
Soon it was time to go back to our apartment and get ready for dinner. Cruz had invited us to the best the arcology had to offer, an expensive establishment on the roofline near the company offices. We'd both brought suitable formalwear,
We arrived right on time. Cruz was already waiting.
"Hello, Mac. Good to see you again."
"Francis," I nodded, shaking his hand. "This is Tell, my new partner."
Cruz and Tell said hello, and shook hands. Cruz motioned towards the dining room.
"Shall we go in?"
Cruz led us in to a table for four, where his wife was waiting. This suited me fine; I was thinking he might have brought the managing partners along, and I wasn't really prepared to do any kind of presentation then and there.
It turned out to be a nice social dinner. The food was always excellent there, and even Tell was completely satisfied with what they had to offer him. We did talk about the project for a few minutes here and there, but mostly it was just idle chit-chat. Over dessert, Senora Cruz, an utterly charming woman, asked how long we'd known each other. Tell added it up quicker.
"Three days," he said, while I was still checking my math. Our hosts looked surprised, and I'm sure we did too. "Seems like longer," I offered.
"And you developed this idea that quickly?" Cruz asked.
"It was mostly Tell's idea."
"It's Mac's project, really," Tell said.
I laughed. "Well, we worked on it a lot over the weekend."
"Ah," said Francis, looking back and forth at the two of us. He looked at his wife for a long moment, and I got the feeling they were having a silent conversation.
Then, to Tell, he said, "My wife and I were going to ask you back to our home tonight." He turned to me, "but I think I should ask you both... except that I suspect you have other plans." Somewhat to my surprise, it was good old exhibitionistic Tell who declined.
"I'm flattered, Senor Cruz, but perhaps another time."
Cruz smiled pleasantly. "As you wish."
We finished dessert, and Cruz ordered brandies all around. The drinks were just the ticket; I began to feel tired, and knew it would be a good idea to go to sleep as soon as possible.
"When should we get together tomorrow, Francis?"
"Ten? Yes, ten, that would be fine. In the board room."
"Very good," I replied, standing. "Thank you for everything."
Tell and I went back to the apartment, got undressed, and went to bed.
"You are such a tease," I teased.
"It's okay, I love you for it. C'mere," I said, pulling him on top of me. We made love gently, and I fell asleep in his arms.
I managed to sleep for about six hours, and I figured that would be enough. Tell was up and around when I got out of bed, fixing himself some kind of breakfast out of what was in the apartment's kitchen.
"Is there enough stuff here for you?"
"You might go check in the apartment they arranged for you. I bet they have the right kind of stuff over there."
"Hmm... good idea."
He went and put on some shorts, and left. He was back in a few minutes, carrying an armful of stuff.
"You were right. Thoughtful people."
"It's a good company."
"Mac? We are kind of rushing into this. Are you really sure you want to leave Rio?"
"Well... yes, I think I am. It's something worth doing. I can always go back, if it doesn't work out."
I didn't want to make a joke out of that. "I'm glad. I couldn't do it without you, love."
He came over and hugged me, wordlessly. I listened to him breathing. What a wonderful thing it is, to have someone that close.
Holding him was inevitably arousing, and he noticed, and we went back into the bedroom for a while, then showered together — an adventure in itself, let me tell you — and got ready to go over to the Rio offices.
One of the nice things about living and working in the same building, even if it's a large building, is that there's almost no commute time. We left the apartment at five to ten and we were still a minute early.
Francis Cruz introduced us to the managing partners and a few other people who didn't really need to be there. They were probably just there to see Tell, but who could blame them? There was fresh coffee on a side table, and everyone stood around talking for a while before moving to the huge mahogany table. Tell and I had one side of the table to ourselves, near the wall with the video screens.
We made some introductory remarks, then ran the computer presentation. Afterwards, I filled in some of the details about financing, and suggested that it would be best if Rio allowed Tell and I to do the hardware work there in the Rio design studios. The only hard question came from Francis Cruz.
"When can you deliver a finished product?"
"Thirteen weeks." I said it firmly. Tell and I had talked it over, and we were sure we could do it in eight weeks. I put in a fudge factor on general principles. Either they'd buy it, or they wouldn't — but with two years of almost no progress, I was sure three months would be acceptable. Evidently it was, since nobody voiced any objections.
After the question and answer period, the managing partners and the others excused themselves, and left. That's another thing I liked about Rio's management style; they were leaving the decision up to Francis Cruz, since it was his department. He decided quickly. "I think it looks like something we can support," Cruz said. "When do you want to get started?"
I answered for both of us. "Two weeks should be enough. Tell is going to arrange to get the technical specs from Devtech. We also need to clear things up at our current jobs, and take care of the paperwork for the new business."
"I'll have the legal department in the Los Angeles office take care of that for you, if you'd prefer."
"Oh, absolutely. I don't know much about it."
"Fortunately, it should be simple enough. The United States is part of the American Common Market, so there won't be any import/export problems."
"Good. Should we say two weeks from next Monday?"
We all stood and shook hands, and it was done. Although the business side of the visit was over, there was still some technical work to do. I spent the rest of the day with people from the design engineering department, scheduling access to their design support systems and production equipment. Tell went off with the company's programming gurus to get the kernel interface design rules and talk about the code he'd be adding. These were just design overviews, and by the end of the day, there wasn't much more for us to do. Tell came over to engineering just as I was finishing up, and we left.
Since we didn't need to stay another day, I'd picked up tickets for the late SB flight that evening, but I didn't want to leave Brazil without celebrating a little.
On an earlier visit, one of the network engineers had taken me to a small but excellent specialty restaurant in a suburban area near the city. I'd asked him if it was still open. He said it was, and gave me the phone number and directions for the metro. It was the sort of place where I knew Tell and I could both enjoy the food. We got there early, since we had to get back to the arcology and pack before our flight.
A waitress took our drink orders — Porto Alegre, of course — and I told Tell I'd already ordered dinner.
"What're we getting?"
"They have great steaks here, so that's what."
"Oh, okay," he said, without much enthusiasm. "Anything else?"
"Just the normal stuff. You can grab something back at the apartment if you need to."
The food arrived promptly, and I watched as Tell took his first bite. He started chewing, then stopped, and started again. His eyes widened, and he had to swallow before he could speak. "Hey! This is steak!"
"Right. It's a steak house. I ordered steak."
"It's _real_ steak!"
"Now do you think you'll still be hungry later?" I asked, grinning.
"No! I didn't know they had this here," he said, as he started eating again. I wasn't sure if he'd keep using his knife and fork; it looked like he could save time if he just used his hands and teeth.
"Well, they never did outlaw meat sales here, you know, just cattle ranching. The ranchers just started growing beef without leather around it, that's all."
"Mmm-hmm," he mumbled.
I wasn't wild about real steak myself; it was terribly expensive, and I thought the synthesized stuff was basically just as good. Tell certainly liked it, though.
He finished the first steak in almost no time, and called the waitress over to order another. They had it waiting already, since I'd told them who my guest would be.
That one lasted a little longer, but still he wanted another. The waitress said they'd have to cook it, and could he wait ten minutes? He said he could, but I wasn't sure.
I ended up feeding him bits of mine while he waited, since I just couldn't resist the way he looked at it. I used my fingers, and I was glad we had a semi-private booth; he sucked the meat and juices off my fingers in a way which was purely sexual.
By my count, he had about three pounds of steak in him when we left.
"Better than bugs and worms and stuff, huh?" I asked, as we rode back to the hotel on the metro.
"You bet!" he exclaimed, licking his lips. "It's still not my favorite form of protein, though."
"You letch," I chided, patting his leg. "You'll have to wait for that, we've got to get to the airport."
"I hope we're alone in first class again."
And we were.
I have a copyright and an address for this; but it also says "All rights pissed away." In the interest of confidentiality I'm posting it without the address, and if anyone tries to sell it for a profit, I'll just wreak my own vicious revenge so the author doesn't have to.All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to persons living or dead or events past or future is purely coincidental.