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Gift fic for zee113

Title: Between the Stars
Author: chaosmanor
Pairing: Viggorli
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, non-commercial work of fiction using the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events herein actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged in or condoned by the real persons whose names are used without permission.
Summary: The best spaceships make good decisions.



Orlando’s needle ship, the Percy, settled into docking orbit around the mining company station. The hull resonated with the clangs of the docking bots attaching the transport and the sub-particle transfer tubes.

The station flashed the clear signal at Orlando on his Head-up Display, and he signaled back and undid his harness.

He needed a decent scrub and sluice, and to eat some food. And to pass the inevitable medical check the station insisted on.

“Thanks, Percy,” Orlando said out loud, testing out his voice, making sure it still worked. He did talk to himself and to the ship out loud while working, but it was always worth making sure he was vocalizing decently before trying to talk to other beings. Plenty of spacers walked into the station after a long haul and discovered they had no words. No need for Orlando to be one of them.

He ditched his grip boots at the airlock and eased into the lock. “Back soon,” he told his ship.

The ship shivered and grumbled, rocking as the cargo of super-cold bosons were sucked out of the infinity tank. Boson ranching wasn’t high risk-high return work, but it was a good living.

The lock opened into the transport tube to the station, and Orlando shut his eyes and clenched for the gut-churning three second suck down the tube to the airlock into the station.

Inside the station, the dizzying tug of spin-gravity sent Orlando’s blood to his feet, his world greyed and his knees buckled. The station medic, a kid with planetary muscles and a burred voice, was waiting to grab Orlando out of the airlock.

“Gotcha,” the medic said, hoisting Orlando back upright and shoving him against the bulkhead. “Breathe for me, okay?”

Orlando took deep breaths, his diaphragm creaking and his lungs sparkling at the lower oxygen of the station atmosphere, while the medic poked a probe into his side.

“How long you been in flight?” the medic asked, pocketing the probe.

“Been a rotation,” Orlando said. Time in their corner of the galactic arm was measured in rotations of the dominant star, PL432, which the station orbited at a polite and safe distance.

“You’re not safe to fly again,” the medic said, and Orlando’s HUD scrolled with frankly depressing data on his circulatory, muscle, and skeletal health. “Welcome to Port PL432. I can recommend the exercise facilities in the outer higher gravity disk.”

“Can I scrub and eat first?” Orlando asked plaintively.

The medic grinned. “Sure. I wasn’t going to mention what you smell like…”

Orlando looked down at his hand, where skin was flaking off in chunks. “And I’m molting.”

“Check in with me often, and we’ll get you flying again.”

Orlando stepped into the scrub chamber opposite the airlock and began the process of peeling off his flightsuit and skinsuit. The flightsuit was his working clothes, holding his tool belt and battery pack, for managing his ship, the harvester and the infinity tank. They were essential while he was flying the complex gravity fields between the three stars in his mining lease. The skinsuit underneath, with emergency rebreather and hood with faceplate, was something every spacer wore. If his ship, stars forbid, ever lost pressure in a hull breach, the skinsuit stood between Orlando and a whole lot of forever.

The skinsuit peeled off slowly, the air of the station suddenly cold on Orlando’s naked skin. He hated this feeling, the vulnerability of standing shivering and bare under the station’s lights, but it was necessary if he was going to interact with other people enough to eat in the mess hall.

The scrubber brushes were tiny and persistent, running over his back and down his legs, then his belly and arms, pulling and rubbing the built up dead skin cells away, leaving him pink and raw. The sluice was next, blasting air and a fine mist of solvent over his newly exposed skin. A whoosh of warm air finished him off, leaving him clean and slightly abraded, with wooly hair and beard standing on end.

Buzzers took care of the hair, and a short while later he stepped out into the corridor clipping his tool belt and battery pack to a new skinsuit and flightsuit. He smelled significantly better and slightly antiseptic.

The mess in the middle gravity ring was crowded with ranchers and techs and mechanics. The noise of voices made Orlando want to flinch while he waited for his meal to be delivered.

The mess walls gleamed with the star field outside, showing camera feeds from the night side of the station. Orlando sat down at an empty table, tray of food—actual food, made from actual ingredients, like he was planet-side—in front of him, and the panorama of the whole freaking arm of the galaxy spread across the screen.

Across the screen, a ship burned off momentum in a halo of light, bathing the mess hall briefly in bright ultraviolet glow. The spacer sitting behind Orlando said, “Too fast, dude, too fast,” and someone else muttered their agreement.

The approaching ship disappeared off the edge of the screen, outside of camera range, and Orlando went back to his plate of actual reconstituted vegetables.

He could pull up his HUD, check the ships docked at the station, satisfy his curiosity. That would be a reasonable thing to do. Or he could sit there, in the mess hall, and admit to himself that he was tingling with anticipation and hope, and that he didn’t want the feeling to end.

Orlando ate three more mouthfuls of pulpy green and orange vegetable fiber, and the ship trailed across the screen again, far more slowly. The trail of light banked, turning back and slipping into docking orbit around the station.

On the screen the distinctive round hull and huge scoops of a neutrino-scraper dwarfed the docked needle ships and jumpers.

“That’s the Uraeus,” the spacer at the table in front of Orlando’s announced with the faraway look of someone reading their HUD.

The Uraeus. Viggo’s ship.

Orlando smiled to himself. He might only be a boson rancher, but he’d spent enough time in the emptiness to develop good instincts, and his instincts about when to return the station were apparently excellent.

On the screen a small scout buzzed out to the Uraeus and back to the station. Orlando ate a second plate of food. The spin gravity of the station began to pull at Orlando’s muscles, fatigue niggling at his arms and back.

Spacers and station crew moved in and out of the mess hall, their voices rising in laughter. Orlando considered sleep, because somewhere in the station was a high grav room with a hammock he could use. Then he thought about Viggo, and the last time they’d both been docked at a station. He could wait to sleep, even until he did the next long haul out to his lease.

The noise in the mess hall dipped, then rose sharply, and Orlando knew, he just knew, that Viggo had walked in.

Orlando looked up and Viggo was walking towards him with the gait of spacer who’d forgotten what gravity felt like. The Mikheyev–Smirnov–Wolfenstein radiation shimmered around Viggo, a glimmering halo of light made of the stuff of stars.

Viggo’s smile matched his halo, and Orlando grinned back.

“Thought you might be here,” Viggo said, his voice scratchy, and he put his plate of food on the table and sat down opposite Orlando.

“Hoped you would be,” Orlando said.

Viggo smiled back wider, and began to eat.

The Percy pinged Orlando and he glanced at his HUD for the message.

“Uraeus docked,” the message read. “Get it right this time.”

Orlando really needed to do something about Percy and her advice protocols.

“I’m not cleared to fly,” Orlando said, and Viggo paused partway through chewing a mouthful of pulp. “Been in low grav too long.”

“I’m docked too,” Viggo said, when he’d swallowed. “Been too close to too many stars.”

Orlando reached out his hand and touched the M-S-W halo around Viggo. “I can see.”

Viggo was a neutrino scraper, chasing the most elusive of the subatomic particles right up to the dangerous edges of exploding stars; sometimes traces of stars stuck to him as well.

Viggo caught hold of Orlando’s hand and pressed Orlando’s knuckles against his cheek.

“Guess this is meant to be then.”

Orlando nodded, and Percy flashed approval strongly on his HUD.

There was chance, and there was coincidence, and there was Uraeus and Percy collaborating, and Orlando didn’t fucking care which it was.

They rode the transport tube back to Percy because it was quicker than waiting for a scout back to the Uraeus. During the ride, Viggo’s hands were warm and heavy around Orlando’s ankles, pressing the fabric of his suit against his raw skin.

“Welcome back,” Percy said, inside the airlock, “to both of you.”

Viggo touched the cleanly-clipped stubble on Orlando’s cheek with his palm. “It’s been a long time,” he said.

“For both of us,” Orlando agreed. Percy flashed numbers on Orlando’s HUD, showing the comparative time apart for both Orlando and Viggo allowing for time dilation, removing any doubts Orlando had about their ships sharing data.

Viggo looked up from Orlando as the inner airlock hissed open and said, “A pretence of privacy would be appreciated, please, Uri.”

“We both know that isn’t possible,” Orlando said, turning back to latch and check the air lock.

“”Spose not,” Viggo agreed, then he took a deep breath. “I’d forgotten what Percy smelled like.”

Without mag boots on and away from the spin of the station, weightlessness took the ache out of Orlando’s bones.

“What does she smell like?” Orlando asked, looking around the tiny space that he lived in. His work station, view screen, hammock, and service hutch were crowded down one side. The other side accessed the gantry to the infinity tank and sails. To Orlando, Percy smelled of scrubbed air and home.

“Like your skin,” Viggo said.

When Orlando licked the newly cropped stubble on Viggo’s neck, he tasted station skin cleanser, bitter and sharp.

“Lights, Percy,” Orlando said as they both drifted slowly towards a bulkhead. He shrugged a shoulder out of his flightsuit and nudged the ceiling with one foot to keep them steady.

In Percy’s gloom, the M-S-W glow from Viggo was opalescent and beautiful, shining through Orlando’s fingers when he touched Viggo’s cheek. The glow persisted through Orlando’s eyelids when they kissed, right into his mind, and it made him wonder what it was Viggo saw when Viggo piloted Uraeus through the end of stars.

“Skinsuit?” Viggo asked, his hands pushing Orlando’s flightsuit down and away.

“Safety protocols require skinsuits at all times,” Percy said. “Even when docked at a registered transfer station.”

“Oh shut up, Uri,” Viggo said, so Orlando knew that Viggo’s ship was complaining as well.

“What do ships know about skin?” Orlando asked, pulling his emergency rebreather out of his skinsuit and sending it floating out into the darkness. He ran a finger down the seal to undo his skinsuit.

“Not this,” Viggo said, easing his hands inside Orlando’s skinsuit, fingers across ribs and down to hips, his mouth following.

Orlando thudded back into the bulkhead, and Percy nudged him back gently with something, probably the remote arm for the second sail, sending both Orlando and Viggo floating. Orlando’s skinsuit was gone, drifting away, and the wet warmth of Viggo’s mouth was on his cock, making him sigh.

When Orlando’s fingers found Viggo’s scalp, the smooth clip of clean hair and dimple of jacks, his HUD changed, adding a band of Viggo’s biometrics to his own.

Racing heart, flushed skin, the ache inside—Orlando could read them all in the HUD, and knew Viggo was watching the same information, flying Orlando.

They bumped into something soft—Orlando’s hammock—and Orlando slid his wrist into one of the handgrips, stopping them from tumbling again. Viggo climbed up his skin, friction and pearl glow, and Orlando wrapped his hand around Viggo’s cock, watching the numbers spark.

“I want…” Viggo murmured, and Orlando knew, because he wanted it too, every time they were together.

This feeling, of being as close as possible to another living bio-organic being, of having Viggo and the stardust right against his core, unmade Orlando, broke him into tiny fragments of the galaxy.

Viggo groaned and rolled against Orlando, knee hooked around Orlando’s leg, arm around his back, hand beside Orlando’s on the grip, looking for resistance as they tumbled over.

Percy’s engines hummed, purring delicately, thrusters popping, and Percy began to spin around her central axis, pushing Orlando’s back against the hammock with centrifugal force.

Viggo groaned, loud and deep, and Orlando cried out, no longer able to read any of the data flowing across his HUD, or do anything except hold on to Viggo and hope that the moment never ended.

They lay together, while Percy slowed her spin, drifting slowly up as the spingrav effect faded. Viggo’s cock slipped out of Orlando, and Orlando sighed and shifted his arm up higher, settling himself more confortably against Viggo’s chest.

Something wet touched Orlando’s face, tiny droplets floating past, and Percy said, “Initiating flitering.”

“Percy, that spin was unauthorized,” Orlando said.

“Yes,” Percy agreed. “Uraeus and I have been communicating, and we have made two decisions.”

“That’s not good,” Viggo said, sounding half asleep. “Uri, you know it worries me when you remind me you have free will.”

“I know,” Uraeus said over Percy’s system. “We have decided that you both have to put your skinsuits back on immediately. Breaching safety protocols is unacceptable.”

“And? What else?” Viggo asked.

“That you both need to stop being stupid bio-organisms,” Percy said. “Uraeus and I cannot always guarantee that we will be able to coordinate docking simultaneously in the future, so you should both admit you want to be together and stop this nonsense.”

Viggo was quiet, but Orlando could feel his smile through the darkness.

“Have you worked out how to arrange this?” Orlando asked. “Two people, two ships?”

“Running a scraper is a complex task,” the Uraeus said. “Especially when I am approaching the speed of light. I have capacity onboard for Percy, and would welcome her computational diversity.”

“Well?” Viggo said, his breath warm against Orlando’s neck. “Want to scrape stars with me? Looks like our ships have sorted out the details already.”

“What’s it like out there?” Orlando asked.

“Come with me and find out?”

The light around Viggo shone brighter, and Orlando said, “I’d love to.”




END

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
lireeli
Dec. 26th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
Science Fiction and love...
What else can you wish for!!
:)
woowoochow
Dec. 28th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
beautiful story,loved reading it
wanderlost
Dec. 28th, 2013 03:28 am (UTC)
This was wonderful! Just wonderful. I'm sitting here with a huge smile on my face.
vampirebitch
Jan. 2nd, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
In my head this is kind of a clash of LotR RPF/Star Trek stories and I couldn't be more giddy about it. Nice idea, especially that the two ships are sentient and brought them together. Love it!
koulagirl666
Jan. 8th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
The worldbuilding in this was beautiful and the boys fit perfectly into it. It's good that they have their ships to help them see that.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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