Intercosmic - Chapter 21 - Dinner and a Drama

“Unlike the Draconian Empire or Revrell Republic the Galactic Federation doesn’t have any political power. We’re not here to control people, we’re here to push for exploration, humanitarian solutions and scientific advancement through collaboration. We don’t have a military. Our Sentinels and Excursionists are given their roles by their species official governments. Their service with us is purely altruistic,” a representative from the Galactic Federation expertly dances through questions about their status in the constant power struggle.

“I can’t believe you’re watching that when you could have been watching me,” Renan calls from the bathroom.

“I’ve already seen you shower before, even showered with you,” I respond.

Enceladus has its charms; Renan is the best one. A night of lust has turned into almost a month with him. For the most part, he’s constantly flirty and ready for everything with minimum prodding. One downside is his constant need for attention, he can get a little grumpy when I don’t constantly look at him, but nothing I can’t handle. Today was the first time I thought about my past, only because the news was discussing current events. He’s good to have around, keeps me company, keeps me from my own thoughts and worries.

“You don’t think you’re a little overdressed,” I ask as Renan comes from the bathroom.

“I think you’re underdressed, as always,” he shoots back.

“Want to see me get undressed?"

“I’ve already seen you get undressed before, even got undressed with you,” he smiles sarcastically as he grabs his jacket.

We’re going to see a cabaret tonight in one of the casino lounges. It isn’t a formal event or anything like that, but Renan saw fit to wear slacks, an ornately decorated vest over an insanely expensive shirt, and maybe the dressiest dress shoes I’ve ever seen. I chose a clean pair of sneakers, nice jeans and a simple sweater. Most people wouldn’t assume we’re going to the same place, especially not together, yet here we are, together.

I ordered the Enceladus crab legs, again not what I expected. Traveling with the military all these years had me thinking most food was similar to standard human food with the occasional local flair, but I’ve been proven wrong over and over again since I’ve been out on my own. Enceladus crab legs are nearly as big as my arm and covered in quills that need to be removed before you can crack the shell around the actual meat. The taste is much sweeter than any actual crab legs I’ve had before, and they practically melt in my mouth. The work required to get to the actual meat still isn’t worth it.

“You’re like a big kid,” Renan laughs as I fight my way into the second leg.

“Why don’t you lend me a hand?”

“I would love to, but the show is about to start and I need to do anything but that.”

“Yeah, okay. I see how it is.”

If I had an exosuit, or even my rifle with me, I could just smash through these things in an instant. How do they even kill something like this? I finally get the crab legs open as the show begins. Everyone’s attention is drawn to the small stage as The Traumatic Erik and Dramatic Christine take the stage. They begin with a song and dance, another language I don’t know. Renan seems to be enjoying himself, so I don’t bother trying to translate it.

“Glad to see you all here tonight,” Erik speaks from behind a mask made to look like some monster.

“Personally, I’d rather pull my eyes out than be here,” Christine responds receiving big laughs.

I don’t really get the show, it’s a high society type of humor I don’t really understand. Renan seems to be enjoying himself despite coming from a poorer background, but his line of work takes him to places like this. A brief intermission and the second act marches onto the stage loudly. It’s a drama about two teenage boys who join a gang. One is shot by a policeman and has a comedic and over the top death. The crowd cheers for the officer.

The whole thing brings back memories for me. Memories of the kid I shot and how I got promoted for it. The masses always need and love a hero, even if the hero doesn’t view themselves as one. We’re driven for this need of heroes by the idea of our parents being heroes. We’re looking for some hope in this world that never really comes. Our hope is always at the expense of someone else’s.

“Hey,” I feel Renan’s hand over my own fist. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Sure,” I don’t hesitate to follow him outside.

Somehow the cold night air is more comfortable than inside the lounge. Breathing is easier, and I hadn’t realized I was sweating until I came outside, but now I’m fine. I just follow Renan unsure of where we’re going, just glad to be outside.

“You feeling better,” he asks as we stop near a liquid helium monument.

“Yeah, I’m feeling fine.”

“What happened back there? You started sweating and shaking.”

“Bad memories, I didn’t really expect that some little trash play would do that to me.”

“Do you want to talk about it,” the sincerity in Renan voice gives me pause.

“Not really, maybe one day. I just don’t want you to think of me differently.”

“You can tell me anything and everything about you.”

“Give me some time to think about how to say it.”

“Take all the time you need.”

Renan wraps him arm around my own before tucking his in his own pocket, linking us together. He rests his head on my shoulder as if he isn’t the one leading this walk. I recognize that we’re heading back to the hotel we’ve been living in, but I let him keep leading. I’m just wondering how much I should tell him. His face makes me want to tell him everything. He’s so smug, loves teasing, but when he’s being genuine and sincere, I can’t win against him. He puts on an act, but underneath it all, he’s so caring.

“Renan, I’ve killed people, and I don’t think they all deserved it,” I wait on his response.

“You kill people for a living, I sleep with people for a living. Neither are exactly great careers and both put us in some terrible situations. I think they might have more in common than you think. We can swap stories in the room.”

“Over booze?”

“I think we’re both going to need some.”

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