The Wild Black Yonder
The Wild Black Yonder is a story written and illustrated by Iron Eater. It ran in Issue 56 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/317621.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/the-wild-black-yonder/.
Having retired from the Navy, a career mechanic manages the ins and outs of civilian life while wrangling his hotshot pilot boyfriend and a very special delivery.
Broadcast range was still a long way away. There was a lot of work and more quiet nights until then, plus checking on the special cargo, plus whatever other bullshit came up. Logan didn't want to think about things like all the different ways long-haul spaceflight could go wrong, even on a routine delivery like this one had every sign of being. Staying behind on the ground was harder than it looked.
"Bajram? One final request for you."
"Sure, boss, what is it?"
Logan took a deep breath. Damned if he was going to be the kind of man who assumed everyone could read his fucking mind all the time. "Take care of yourself, you little shit.""Can do, boss. G'night."
This story explores some sadomasochistic themes as well as significantly more involved aspects of dominance and submission, with an emphasis on informed consent. There is some mention made of a war (now over) and a character's combat record. As retired sailors are involved, there are also swears everywhere. There is also significant mention of a character's cybernetic enhancements.
From http://fairyninjas.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/ssbb-56-out-of-this-world/: "A mechanic who stays on station, and the cybernetically-enhanced pilot who calls him “Boss.”"
From http://harmless-one.livejournal.com/39472.html: " The story does have a flushed out, hard sci-fi world with pilots who have to be hooked in to their planes and deep space exploration and everything. It also has some of that kink I mentioned with bdsm being a main component of the plot. A longer, world-buildy story with smut to satisfy."
The Wild Black Yonder is a sequel to The Golden Rivet, which first introduced the main characters. It answers some questions brought up in the previous story and promptly brings up new ones which go unanswered, but familiarity with the prequel is not required to understand the plot.
This story has no related links.
I didn't write the first story with the intent of following it up later, but having read the theme list for 2015 I realized this was a perfect opportunity to bring back Logan and Bajram; as they're some of my biggest crowd-pleasers it wasn't a difficult decision to make! Their banter is a lot of fun to have bounce off each other. While I intentionally left the ending of The Golden Rivet open to interpretation, I always assumed that they'd end up together more or less for keeps, and this story was a chance to show how that's working out.
I should note that there are differences between short-term and long-term flights. Anything that's a day or less, such as the vast majority of the missions Bajram went on while in the service, doesn't involve the severe physical issues brought up here, save for pilots talking very quickly by nature; most long-haul space teamsters also have to stop every two or three days for full rest. Bajram is only able to handle his absurd schedule due to misuse of military hardware, and the reduced downtime is one reason why the Talay Premium Shipping Company is able to boast swift transport times. More reasonable flying times involve far less muscle strain and smelliness.
Post-flight physical therapy is partially to deal with muscular deterioration from zero-G environs and also to make sure circulation, respiration, et.al. are all behaving as expected. Constantly punching through atmospheric envelopes isn't gentle on one's system.
The words "boss" and "kid" are used extensively because I wanted something with an obvious inherent power dynamic while still being short and punchy (and, ideally, something you could say in public without weirding out everyone there). They're also more or less accurate: Logan is technically Bajram's boss, being the majority owner of the company they co-founded, while their nearly ten-year age gap makes Bajram very much the kid in the relationship. "You little shit" is also used as a term of endearment here as Bajram is not unlike a man-shaped cat with the temperament to match.
A plugsuit looks more or less like the kind from Evangelion, being form-fitting and brightly-colored. Bajram's is primarily green with a red chest because he has a serious thing about Huitzils. While pilots don't wear the little receptor things shown in the aforementioned series, actually being able to plug into the ship itself is a fitting compromise. Bajram would probably find an excuse to wear the headgear anyway.
The "Turkish" Bajram quotes is actually Old English, and is the opening lines of Beowulf. The "over the bowls of memory" line is an intentional mangling of a passage from Finnegans Wake, and his claim about the author is based on said book's intentionally dense prose.
While it doesn't come up in the story, the asteroid belt that houses the hangar is not the one in Earth's solar system and goes by the Shipanga Belt, after Hulda Shipanga of Namibia. Where exactly they are galaxy-wise is intentionally undefined.
Logan's features are a mystery to me beyond his goatee, glasses, and skin tone, but Bajram probably doesn't look too far off from Engin Akyürek.
I am probably a little too pleased at my justification for why people are using transforming mechas instead of more normal vessels (which still exist; most larger vehicles and personal-use vessels are piloted "by hand"), especially since I was able to verify that there are K-ships (as instroduced in M. John Harrison's Light) in this universe. How wonderfully ghastly!