The Golden Rivet

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The Golden Rivet is a story written and illustrated by Iron Eater. It ran in Issue 50 at, and is mirrored at


A career Navy mechanic must deal with some unwanted attention that might not be so unwanted after all.

So this was how it was going to be: the world's most frustrating human being was actually pulling rank to get Logan to agree to sit at the same lunch table. This was some serious middle school shit. Fraternization regulations had been evolving along with everything else, so it wasn't like he could hide behind the old standard of not getting involved with too-friendly officers. Social progress could be such a pain in the ass sometimes.

Logan sighed. Enduring a dinner's worth of the lieutenant's needling would be worth the peace it'd buy him afterwards, and his stomach reminded him how he'd already missed his usual late-shift meal. If someone had a problem with him eating at odd hours they could take it up with the uniformed jackass dragging him out in the first place. Logan found it suddenly very important to keep his tool pouch in front of the boner that had no business being there.

"Fine. Twenty-one-thirty. I'll change into something clean."

"I knew you'd come around, sailor. Don't be late!" Bajram clicked his tongue, winked, and pointed two finger-guns at Logan, then turned on his heel and vanished into the depths of the hangar. Logan was left wondering how anyone could be so painfully ridiculous without exploding.

This story has some light sadomasochism/dominance themes, but nothing too earth-shattering. It mentions an ongoing war at certain points but doesn't show any actual combat. It could probably also use a wetnap at some point.


The Golden Rivet is based very vaguely on military fighting-robot shows, but not on any one series in particular. With a few key exceptions (such as that "relaxed fraternization protocol") it is meant to very strongly reference the current United States Navy, including much ado over insignia, rank versus rate, and slang. It is the precursor to The Wild Black Yonder.

Related Links[edit]

This story has no related links.

Author's Notes[edit]

First things first: for readers wondering what exactly a "fighter" is, it's basically a VF-1 Valkyrie with the serial numbers filed off. The fact that nobody's terribly impressed by being around mechas all day is intentional; the alternative would be much like people who work with computers for a living marveling over their mouse. Exactly why a perfectly serviceable jet needs to sprout legs is not a question that is going to be answered any time soon.

The story's namesake exists in a few different versions: sometimes it's a prank played on the new guys, in that they're sent to go find the lucky golden rivet on the ship (which, naturally, doesn't exist), and other times it has a much more sexual connotation. Like most legends of its kind it's more fun to giggle about the dirty version. For being the source of the title ever since the first few draft notes were thrown together in OpenOffice it went for a surprisingly long time during the writing process without being mentioned at all.

Bajram is very, very Turkish. Logan's ethnicity is a lot less clear, especially since his grandmother on his father's side is an artificial human, but in a future world where humanity has spread across the stars this isn't as much of a hindrance as it might be. I debated whether or not Bajram having a definite ancestry (which his family can almost certainly trace back for centuries, both on and off of Earth) would be a social advantage, but ultimately decided not to toy with it too much due to all the potentially nasty racial connotations it could bring up. His pedigree is important to other Ridiculously Wealthy people and either kind of interesting or irrelevant to everyone else. Artificial humans, on the other hand, are legally considered people and genetically identical to other Homo sapiens but tend to get the stink-eye a lot due to the misplaced belief that they're "unfairly" designed to be better at certain tasks than natural-bred humans. They're more likely to show up in places where it's easier to grow future workers than to transport or recruit them.

Logan's personality changed a great deal over the course of writing this story. He was originally a bit of an unassuming guy who was nervous around pilots simply because it was a chain-of-command thing and he didn't want to upset anyone over the quality of his work; as the story advanced this just wasn't very interesting, so making him a surly cuss propelled him from being passive in the face of a power bottom (which Bajram most definitely is if not kept in check) to someone who'd attract a certain kind of attention in the first place. His interest in nice clothes (especially, but not limited to, dress uniforms) popped up naturally after that, as did his history of being a troublemaker, his rate (he was originally an E-4 but it felt right making him older and more experienced than Bajram, which required a promotion to fit with time-in-rate regulations), his habit of singing while working, and his kinky tendencies. There was originally a bit about him having the nickname "Porno" because his name is Logan St. Claire, of all things, but it felt out of place and was thusly axed. Golden insignia for good behavior is an Actual US Navy Thing, and it requires more than a little long-term effort to acquire, so

The original attempt at an ending had to be scrapped since it felt far too gloomy for an otherwise cheery piece; the end scenario was the same (screwing in a cockpit not intended for two occupants), but it came about because Bajram was being sent to a hot zone the next day and he wanted one last hurrah in case he didn't come back. This was pretty out of place in a cute little story primarily about keeping things running behind the scenes, and while it took a bit more effort to figure out how to end the story beyond "the sex has stopped, you can all go home now" this version is a lot more satisfying. The bit about the surprise photo had been there for a while, though it wasn't until the lighter second pass through things that Logan's case of Bitchy Resting Face came to light.

A Mobile Fighting Unit Mechanic, First Class is clearly not a real position in today's Navy, but its MFM1 designation is meant to carry on the fine tradition of military alphabet soup.

The pilots' callsigns are all weather phenomena.

Mobile unit frames are named after different types of birds. Huitzil mobile fighting units are named for the Nahuatl word for "hummingbird" due to their speed and the cultural connotations with death hummingbirds have. A Redtail is a smaller, weaponless civilian model that's the transforming spacefaring robot equivalent of a moped. It's a bad idea to try to have sex in either of them.

Chinook and Pogonip identify as First Nations folks. I couldn't tell you their tribal affiliation if I tried, unfortunately.

"Geedunk" is a wonderful word that refers to vending machine trash food, supposedly named for the sound it makes when something is vended.

The United Sectors is basically the USA in space, for better or for worse, and their navy presumably has the same wonky government funding situations going on where their robot space jets are in top condition but the food is on the level of "mostly-colloidal grits." Who all they're at war with was never defined but it's definitely not aliens.

The use of the term "toasterfucker" for a cybernetics/robotics fetishist was not intended to be a Battlestar Galactica reference, but the reader is welcome to think so if they wish.

This story ended up being a lot longer than expected (it's somewhere in the 17,000-word range), a lot of which happened over the course of two frantic days before the deadline, which is a very bad habit to get into (this is similar to how Dinner at Dido's came to be). Not bad for just starting out with a goal of getting above the minimum count! I have it on good authority that it's a very breezy read for its length, which is a fine compliment if there ever was one.

I think that's enough author's notes, how about you?

External Reviews[edit]

  • "Long enough to split into two parts, about a starship mechanic, and his lieutenant. Some dom/sub stuff, and not how you might suspect. It’s a good, solid tale, with a pretty nice burn."