Hope in a Bottle (Guest Story by Binary Prophet)
A short story set in the world of “Dreams of Distant Spheres.” (Guest story by Binary Prophet.) Warning: for mature readers only.
Gideon sat out on the pleasantly modern veranda as he waited for his friend. The view before him was more what he would expect from the ornate personal lawn of someone with wealth and an aristocratic bent, not the campus of a federal facility. The grass was rich and green. Flowerbeds exploded with color, and swayed, hypnotic, in the breeze. By a fountain, under the unblinking gaze of a statue of a giant man in a toga, a group of younger Alphas tossed a ball back and forth, shirtless, fit, and healthy — again more like students at university than elite researchers on their lunch break.
To Gideon, it was idyllic perfection. Painfully so.
The dapper, handsome blond would have fit in well among the pages of a fashion catalog in his sharp attire on those immaculately manicured grounds, if not for his too brooding expression. More and more he found his mind plagued by the idea that the Alpha faced extinction. That one day too soon, never again would an Alpha like him sit there, and watch those young, beautiful men play free and gay, like the kings they were. That the world might be left to lesser forms of humanity — it was a thought Gideon found too tough to even ponder.
The senator gazed as the young men plied their sport for several counts of the breeze. Though he was only older by a bit, there was a real weight, as if he had decades on the youths.
The crisp clacking of his friend’s dress shoes behind him shook him from his rumination. Gideon swiftly reworked his features to appear relaxed and amiable. He adjusted himself in his seat, half turning so he could take in the approaching Alpha. “Ah, Frederick,” he called.
“So sorry for the wait,” the soft-spoken man replied as he glided into the room. He was dressed in a suit and tie like Gideon, though in white with a red tie, as opposed to Gideon’s muted gray and blue.
If there was one other man in the world Gideon might envy, it would be Frederick. And not so much for who he was — charming though he was — but for what the man did: he acted as overseer for all of the breeding operations across the Americas, and as chief globally. As much as Gideon couldn’t stand breeding and the business of women in general, the curiosities that Frederick exposed Gideon to left the senator jealous. His gut whispered that this meeting would be no different.
Frederick nestled a cool glass into his grasp. “Why thank you,” Gideon said with barely suppressed anticipation, impatient for what might happen next.
Frederick sat down in his usual serene fashion and settled into his seat so slowly that it made Gideon fidget — rare for the poised young man. The two clinked drinks and took respective sips; Gideon mmm’d appreciatively and licked at his lips, and at the pulp that had washed onto them and become stuck.
“Lovely,” Gideon proclaimed, admiring the fizzy orange taste on his tongue. The pulp tingled pleasurably, as if the particles squirmed.
“Yes, it’s something of a favorite around here right now. An entirely new beverage. Quite unique.”
Gideon sucked at the last little specks in his mouth and swallowed. He glanced around with a furtive hope that a servant or two might come out with a cage full of oddities for him to inspect. He remembered that Frederick had a chef’s cart rolled out once, topped with dishes prepared with women deemed rejects in the facility. Usually they’d be tested on, but when you’re as powerful as Frederick, you can have the best culinary minds in the world experiment with them instead. Oh, how Gideon savored the memory of that long, special evening, and its delightful gastronomical horrors.
With a little sigh Gideon decided to humor his friend, who was tall and thin as a string bean, and never seemed to age past what little gray had crept into his sideburns and beard. The big surprise must be on the way. “A special drink you say?”
“Quite. Take a look at it, why don’t you?”
Curious, Gideon brought the glass up toward his face and peered into the liquid it contained. The translucent orange beverage sloshed around, sparkling in the light like waves at sunset. In it were alluring globs of flesh from an orange; fresh pulp. There were little slivers, too — shavings from the peel, perhaps. No, Gideon saw, they couldn’t be. His blond lashes narrowed around his stormy blue eyes; then, they widened.
“There it is,” Frederick murmured, and Gideon saw the other man leaning in through the curved glass of the cup he held before himself. “Eureka!”
The slivers weren’t shavings at all: they were tiny women. The smallest Gideon had ever seen. The Alpha let out a pleased gasp; a delighted laugh. He slowly turned the glass in his hand, watching with interest how the submerged women all seemed to writhe at the sound of his voice — at his very presence.
“It’s a genuine marvel,” Gideon finally said. He thought about the sip he had already taken — and the women consigned to his depths without any acknowledgement of their existence. “How is this even possible?”
“Oh, abnormalities, as usual. Typically, when a woman or null is born at this size, they’re discarded immediately. But lately we’ve been collecting them, instead, and getting a little more creative. There are a few hundred women in that glass you’re holding.”
“Hundreds! Then you must have a stock of thousands. And they’re simply abnormalities, you say?”
Frederick cocked an eyebrow and a corner of his mouth tugged up into the beginning of a grin.
“You’re engineering them.”
Trapped, Frederick let out a chuckle. “Not precisely, no. But you’re close. Of course, we do do that. But in this instance, it’s not engineering, but encouragement. Even then, we question what level of control we can have over what is a confounding natural process. But, as you can see, there’s been quite a promising harvest.” Frederick leaned in, his voice lowering; his face changed from amiable to knowing. “And in that harvest, my friend, is hope for the future.”
Gideon sneered a little, hearing this. “How can the science of women possibly benefit our kind?”
“My dear,” the older man said softly. “What is an Alpha, but a singular, beautiful anomaly in nature? We can’t simply engineer the Alpha, we know — but, perhaps, we can encourage the Alpha.”
Gideon brought his refreshment closer to one eye and tried to take in the speck-like beings with as much detail as he could muster. He noticed then that the skin of each was gold and twinkled like glaze; their lower halves were tails, like fish, but functional only in the most cartoonish way. The tails were made from something like caramelized sugar — Gideon guessed it was, at least, from the taste. The insignificant women were done up to be mermaids, beautiful and absurd at the same time.
Gideon couldn’t help but smile at his glass. He literally held hundreds of women in his hand. Anything felt possible once more.
“Oh, I needed this Frederick. How delightful. What a sight!”
The mer-women didn’t swim very well, however. Most of them were battered around at the mercy of the fizzing bubbles. Others, he saw, didn’t swim at all: floating toward the top like dead fish. There they joined dozens of other lifeless maidens, bobbing in the foam.
“We really went a little far, you might say. But we just couldn’t resist. The presentation is quite fetching, wouldn’t you agree?”
“It’s art,” Gideon said. And he was nearly too breathless to say even just that.
“And fleeting, I should add. It’s best enjoyed fresh, and here I am yammering on.” The overseer’s tone dipped down into a sardonic baritone. “I’m afraid the women don’t last long, once they’re mixed into the drink.”
The senator was already taking another sip. This time, Gideon savored it. He held the cool, crisp, frothing liquid in his mouth and rolled his tongue through it, feeling the bits of pulp, and the even smaller women. They thrashed and squirmed against his tongue, sugary sweet, and he pressed them to the roof of his maw until they were still, dead. Then Gideon chuckled and swallowed them all.
As he listened to Frederick talk about the going-ons at the facility since his last visit, Gideon took another sip.
In his mind’s eye, he pictured the dozens of minuscule women trapped in his mouth. The giant had a rare spike of pleasure, considering that: a rush of power flooded his mind. Typically, a dozen women might expire by the end of a particularly cruel night, or a rage-induced spree.
Now, he sent that many or more to their doom with just a swallow. And he would swallow hundreds more.
With his next sip — his hand crawling ever so slowly toward his open mouth — he imagined what it must be like for the smaller-than-pulp women in his cocktail. To see his face so massive, and to gaze with the fear of death into his cavernous, seemingly endless maw. To see slick muscles the size of houses move, and his mammoth tongue: he concentrated on how it might feel for them to slide over what, to him, were the tiny bumps all over his tongue. It would be like falling into a living cave, moist and humid, before being whisked away just as fast into a nightmarish tunnel of muscle. He pictured the women screaming as they fell into the vast confines of his stomach. His rational mind suggested that they might simply suffocate or drown after too long, but he liked to imagine a particularly cruel acid death, with a lot of shrieking. His alcohol-fueled mind turned the image around and continually reshaped it as he tried to conjure the vision with as much detail as he could.
Gideon gazed down into his drink. His cock throbbed beneath the thin material in his pants, and visibly angled the fabric. It was as if he held an entire aquarium in his hand, in a world where women were pitifully small sea creatures instead — it almost made more sense, to think that women might be an entirely other species.
The man’s lips pulled into a smug grin as he brought the glass up once more. Gideon leaned his head back and downed the rest of his drink with a few deep, gulping swallows. Liquid poured down his throat, and his muscles worked at any clumps of women, breaking them apart with crushing squeezes. And then he felt almost nothing at all as the sloshing brew worked through his body. He let out a self-indulgent “ah!” right in the middle of whatever Frederick was saying.
The overseer didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he looked as pleased as a peacock as he watched the senator’s reaction to the cocktail his team had invented. “I’ll have your glass refilled at once.”
“I could drink it all day, I fear.”
Frederick chuckled at this. “Why, you could if you want.”
“Trust me,” Gideon looked at his friend in a serious way, but it was clear by his jovial tone that he wasn’t serious at all: “Your staff couldn’t make enough.”
“Let us know when you’re free some night soon. I’ll send over a bottle. Or a crate.”
“I would love that. Well, the crate!”
The men laughed together.
Gideon held up his emptied glass and peered at the last sip of liquid that remained. There were dead little women floating in it, although some had managed to climb up onto the islands of pulp. Gideon smiled that same smug, winsome grin and brought the glass to his lips, watching that last little bit slide down the cup’s inclined surface until he couldn’t see it any longer. He thought about all the tiny women that were trapped inside of him. How, for them, there would be no escape from the depths of his colossal form. The women who were still alive were no doubt envious of the many around them who were dead.
The senator chuckled richly as the electric tang of orange sizzled on the tip of his tongue.