A man with matted hair and beat up clothes approached the door of a rather well to do house that sat in a posh looking housing estate. Lifting his hand up he appeared to try and clean his yellow stained teeth with a finger before brushing himself down and ringing the doorbell.
Through the frosted glass he could see movement and cleared his throat before the door opened revealing a short woman of slim build.
"Yes, can I help you?" the woman asked, looking the grubby man up and down, before looking over his shoulder at the houses that lay in view opposite.
"Uh, sorry to bother you mam, but I, uh… I was wondering if you were Adam's mother?"
The woman, swallowing hard appeared to look up and down her road before focusing back on the man in front of her. "Who wants to know?" she asked, her voice posh sounding.
"Uh, my name is Tony and I know Adam… we sort of lived near each other, and-"
"I haven't seen my son in over a year, now if you'll excuse me I have things to do."
The woman went to close the door in his face but Tony put his foot in stopping her. "Would you mind removing your dirty footwear from my threshold and get off my property?"
"Mam, I'm sorry, I just wanted to know if you knew where he was."
"Like I said, I haven't seen Adam for a long time and as far as I'm concerned he made his choices so…"
"Well if he's not here then I'm worried he's missing."
"I can't help you… and how did you get my address?"
"Uh, Adam told me the road you lived in and said you had two palm trees in your garden mam. He said he used to climb them as a little kid. I um… I just guessed this was the place as there are no palm trees anywhere else as far as I can see."
"Touching story he told you, yes he was an innocent child once, before he started his depraved lifestyle." She remarked, looking at the swaying trees to the edge of her front lawn.
"You mean when he found out he was gay?"
"Disgusting isn't it!" She hissed. "His father was a broken man for ages after seeing what he did… I gather he told you what he'd been doing with one of his friends did he, seeing as you know so much about him?"
"Mam, I just used to help him out with food because he was so young when he came to Heidgate. I never knew much abou-"
"Heidgate? He's been staying at Heidgate? That god forsaken place is full of drugs, disease and criminals," she cut him off.
"Forgive me mam, but I don't think he had much of a choice as far as I could tell."
"Tony isn't it?"
"Tony, we gave our son a loving home and allowed him the freedoms to do what he wanted but his eventual demise was of his own doing. We didn't bring him up to engage in disgusting activities, nor did we ever raise him to be gay! Now really, you need to leave, god knows what my neighbours will think seeing a vagabond like you standing at my door."
"I understand… I apologise for disturbing you." Tony moved off the step and began walking slowly away from the house as the woman followed him with her eyes. She took one last sweep of the road making sure nobody could have been watching, before closing the door.
Meanwhile, light years away from earth Adam and Sage were being shown the choices of where they could eventually live.
"Could I just back this up a bit," Sage interrupted the man who was showing them pictures. "Why are you talking as if we are going to have a place each, I mean, we are planning to live together, right?"
The man seemed confused by Sage's question and looked at Adam. "I have been advised you will be living separately Adam, under the supervision of Lords Kelshen and Relshek."
"I uh… I hadn't really thought about it. Has this already been discussed?"
"Well I had instructions to-"
"Just show the places for both of us, we're living together, I don't care what that Relshek guy has said… and the other one." Sage said, irritation showing. The man once again looked at Adam.
"Wait Sage, maybe I better ask, I mean we don't wanna go through all this and then have to change it all if we ARE supposed to be in our own places."
Sage shook his head. "So you're just gonna let them rule you… say WHERE you can live and WHO you can live with? What are you, their puppet?"
"Will you calm down, why do you think everything they do is suspicious?"
"Says HE who thought the whole thing was a lie because a computer said so."
Adam ignored him and asked the man if there was a way to contact Relshek. Within moments Optimus had patched a link through and Relshek was asking if everything was ok.
"Christian, the guy here says you have asked for separate places for me and Sage, is that right?"
"That is correct Adam."
"Why are we not allowed to live together?" Sage shouted sulkily, causing Adam to slap his leg.
"Adam will need to have his own living section, Sage as we are going to be working with him closely."
"So what?" Sage mouthed silently to Adam.
"Uh Christian, is it really important that I have my own place as I don't want Sage to get lonely." There was silence on the line for a moment until Relshek spoke again.
"It is important Adam, I will meet you both outside in just under an hour, please assist the man with your choices." The line went dead and Adam couldn't help notice that once again Christian sounded almost irritated.
"That is just bullshit."
"Look Sage, we are guests on their planet I'm sure living separately is not gonna be the end of the world, we can still visit each other right?"
"Whatever, I don't even know what I'm doing here to be honest!" Sage got up and started heading towards the door. Adam jumped up and grabbed his arm.
"What the fuck are you doing? Sulk by all means but you still need a place to live, idiot!"
"No I don't because I'm going back home… somehow."
"Can you hear yourself? How are you gonna do that… it's not like a local bus is gonna get you home."
"Adam, it's clear that I am just a burden, everything is about you and I can tell that Christian guy… or whatever the fuck his name is don't like me."
"Sage, they were prepared for me because they had been planning this for years, don't forget that. You are not a burden at all but don't forget you were sort of unplanned until recently… give them time to get used to you. And anyway, they are about to give you a fucking fully kitted out home, how can you say they don't want you?"
"Boys of earth, can we please get the proceedings underway, we have limited time." said the man who seemed to be getting impatient.
"Sorry, go ahead, show us the options." Adam replied, pulling Sage back towards their seats.
"I will show the tier one properties available for you Sage of Earth. Having listened to what you said I can place you close to Adam if you so wish."
"See?" Adam remarked, tapping Sage's hand. Sage just rolled his eyes.
"On Purity our homes are available in three colour schemes; please select which of these you would like." The man went on to superimpose the three choices onto the interior of a property and waited for Sage to respond
"That one, I like the blue," declared Sage.
"Ok good. Now I have four properties for your tier which are ready for you Sage, would you prefer one or two floors?"
"Well two really, more space."
"Incorrect Sage, a tier one home is all one size. If you chose two floors the space will be the same, it is just constructed upwards instead of outwards."
"I get ya… well lets be lazy then and say one floor."
"Very well. Now would you like a vegetation area or water feature to the rear. We can provide different species of plants and flowers should you choose vegetation or we can provide you with a small pond area or waterfall feature to your design."
"What can I put in the pond?"
"Various indigenous aquatic creatures can be purchased using your tokens. These are purchased in the next room."
"I would like a pond then."
"As you wish. Now Sage, please go through that door over there where another person will help you spend your tokens for furnishings and other items." The man said, pointing to a large door at the rear of the room. Sage got up and sheepishly wandered over to it, looking back at Adam, who smiled.
Adam watched until he went through and turned his attention back to the man. "So, I like the look of what he had, to save you time I'm happy to have all of the same."
"Wait, Master Adam, Lord Relshek has upgraded you to tier two status due to your-"
"Really, I don't want any special treatment," Adam cut in. "Just give me whatever he has, I really don't want to have him feeling anymore insecure than he already is."
"Understood, please follow your fellow human to the next room then and be aware that you have the option to take advantage of the tier two status any time you wish."
"Thank you… and sorry about my friend there, I just think he's a little overwhelmed," Adam chuckled as if a little embarrassed. The man just bowed and Adam left the room.
"Relshek what is it, you look troubled, and I wasn't expecting you until later." Kelshen asked, after opening the door to his apartment.
"May I come in?"
Lord Kelshen slowly led Relshek through to the living area of the large house like structure and gestured him to take a seat.
"It's the Sage boy… my Lord, I was not aware there were any feelings between the young earthlings but it appears there may be."
"Hmm, I see, and to what do you base your evidence?"
"The way they interact… Sir, I believe I may have made a mistake, we should have gone ahead and had the boy terminated."
Kelshen ran his hand over his mask. "A little late now… do you see him as a big problem?"
"He is confrontational for a start and I feel he leads Adam which is not good for his development."
"What do you suggest?" Kelshen asked, leaning back in his chair.
"We need to get Adam down to the birth chamber as soon as possible; I want him to find a mate quickly. Someone to take his eye off the other boy."
"Do you believe there is some residual love there?"
"From Adam to Sage? Yes my Lord, I think there is. Adam told me they were once companions and I see he is still drawn to Sage because of this."
"You have made choices my son on the Sage boy. My only advice would be that it must not interfere with the last stage of the program."
"Then can I assume I have my fourteen days to settle him?"
"You have, on my authority. I will speak with High Command as soon as I can."
"Thank you." Relshek got up ready to leave again.
"But Relshek, remember, we cannot directly interfere, it is violation of code seven of our procedures regarding alien life. If the human Adam feels he is still connected to Sage and wishes to pursue that, then we cannot involve ourselves, am I clear on this?"
Relshek nodded before walking quickly out of Kelshen's home needing to get back to Adam and Sage.
Adam and Sage were escorted out into the main foyer having spent all their allotted tokens on furniture and creature comforts. Adam seemed really excited about a pet he had purchased apparently called a Lecadon. It was a highly affectionate dog like creature that had huge pointy ears, a 6 feet long tail and didn't appear to have fur as far as Adam could tell in the picture.
"Reminds me of a fucked up Manx cat that thing you're getting!" Sage remarked, as they walked towards the main door.
"Aww, I thought he was cute… so what's the thing you are most looking forward to?"
"Hmm, I think it has to be my sonic shower! Get this, right… it has a head like a normal shower above, and then six on each side of the cubicle, plus one more that jets up out of the floor… it looks fucking awesome!"
"Well, I'm glad something has made you smile, I was starting to think I was with a manic depressant."
"Uh… well, you know what I mean."
"You don't actually think we're a couple do you?"
"Well, I kinda thought…"
"No way, I don't do boyfriends, Adam, you must remember that."
"Guess I must have forgot!" Adam said, quickening his pace and passing through the door to the outside heat.
"Hey, wait up, there's no need to go off on one, I was just being straight with you."
"Fine Sage, whatever, just drop it!"
As the boys stood outside, various Puritans passed them. Some gave them curious looks as they went by. What was hard for both Adam and Sage was they could not tell if the next one that approached was going to be Relshek.
The heat from the sun was beating down on them which was starting to make Sage irritable, not to mention sweat.
"Dunno if I can fucking stand this much longer, where is he anyway?"
"You can wait inside if you want, you don't have to stand out here. I am because… well just because ok?"
"Oh Adam, stop sulking will you, we've just arrived on an alien planet and one of the first things you are concerned about is whether we are together… or not as the case is."
"Yeah, thanks Sage for being so delicate with the situation. I already feel like a fool thanks!"
"So you'd rather me lead you on, tell you that the little romance fantasy you had going on in your head is true? I say it how it is Adam, always have."
"Yeah well, just remember, I saved your ass, they were gonna put you down like an animal."
"Oh, very mature answer, so what, you're just gonna throw that in my face every time I do or say something you don't like?"
"No, it was merely a comment to make you realise the difference between you and me that's all."
"What, you're God and I'm Satan?"
"Now who's being childish?"
Before Adam could answer a man stopped right by them and they both read the name on the jacket he was wearing, relieved to see it was Relshek.
"Hello boys, I trust you are done and have everything you need?"
"Do you guys ever wear anything else?" Sage asked, looking Relshek up and down.
"Discipline, Sage, and uniformity, creates stability. With stability comes strength and prosperity. One uniform, one race, one goal."
"To better ourselves and the people we encounter. Something tells me with you, we may have hit a problem somewhere."
"Ya hear that Adam, your friend here even does sarcasm as well as jokes."
"Guys, I can feel an uneasy atmosphere developing here, I'd rather it didn't." Adam said, standing between Relshek and Sage.
"I just wish he'd just come out with the fact he hates me so we can move on."
"Christian, just tell him you hate him, I'm getting bored with this now." Adam said, rolling his eyes.
"I, nor any of my people are capable of hate. We simply point out the factual. However, I am very curious Sage of Earth why you continually… hmm what's a word you humans use… antagonise every situation you encounter."
"Let's cut the crap here for a moment Relish, or whatever you real name is. I can see what you are doing even if Adam can't. You want him away from me don't you, admit it. I know because of the things you say and the things you do. You think I didn't hear your little request to the housing guy in there?" Sage pointed back towards the black counter inside the building. "Yeah I heard you upgrade Adam to tier two… now I dunno what the deal is with you two or your world but you need to understand that Adam needs to be around people of his own kind and not some bunch of freaks who have to wear masks!"
"SAGE!!" Adam bellowed. "Don't fucking talk about the people like that, we're guests here remember!"
"Yeah and I never chose to come here, you remember that!"
"The alternative was death Sage, so make your choice!" Adam shouted back.
"NO! The alternative was to just let me go considering these people were guests on MY PLANET!! I mean, who the fuck gave you permission to come to my world and tell ME if I can live or die, HUH?" Sage screamed pointing his finger into Relshek's chest."
Adam was just about to answer back but he was struck by the valid point Sage had just made and chose instead to look at Relshek. "Christian, I admit, Sage is an asshole sometimes, but he does have a point on that part, it was not up to you or your men to do what you were about to, to him.
"Adam, we have a strict policy on life forms that reveal us, it can have serious consequences for world governments if their people ever knew the truth. In respect of Earth, we have had eleven near misses where we have almost been identified. As a precaution sixty seven humans have had to be terminated by us to ensure secrecy. It is a human trait that you are hard wired to panic when confronted with something you don't understand. High Command takes a view that our species must not directly cause instability on another planet however that may arise."
"You murdered sixty seven people?" Sage spat, his eyes wide.
"They were terminated not murdered, and terminated in the most respectful way. I assure you they would not have felt anything."
Sage slapped his forehead and turned away. "Jesus fuck, I've heard it all now! So that's ok then. It's like telling the dead man walking in a Virginia state prison that, hey, its ok we're just gonna stick a needle in you rather than fry you in a chair… its all the fucking same, you're still killing them!"
"Christian, how could you… who were these people?" Adam asked, almost as shocked.
"Eighty per cent were rural farmers who detected our craft, the other twenty either high profile or what you humans would call UFO hunters I believe."
"You're so calm when you say that… how you can be so calm when your killed all those people?"
"I see no reason to exhibit emotion, Sage for I cannot change their destiny as much as they cannot change their own. It is what it is… now, shall we get you to your living spaces, we have much to do."
"Unfuckingbelievable!" Sage hissed as Relshek started walking away. "You see Adam, cracks are already starting to appear in that bullshit peaceful exterior he tries to maintain. They're a planet of human killers and you just came to live with them, well done!"
"Honey, I'm home, hmm, dinner smells good."
"Oh Terry, take your shoes off at the door I've cleaned the floors today."
The middle aged man did as she requested and placed them carefully by the front door before removing his overcoat and hat.
"Oh, before I forget, I had a rather strange visit today." She called to him from the kitchen of the large detached house.
"Oh," he replied, looking at the mail that was on a small table.
"He looked ghastly, and his hair… oh his hair Terry, you should have seen him."
"Yeah yeah, so what did he want?"
"Oh, right… well he was telling me Adam has gone missing from where he was staying… Heidgate apparently."
"Adam who," Terry replied, turning away from her.
"Oh Terry darling, don't be so immature. Anyway, I stood and listened to what he said… I just hope the neighbours didn't get a fright if they saw him in our area."
"Heidgate eh? Figures! That bastard boy would fit quite well in a place like that, with the scum and disease that lives there."
"Sorry," he said, kissing her on the forehead.
"Well don't you think we ought to do something? I mean we do have a reputation to keep up and I wouldn't want that kind of thing in the paper if something had happened."
"What kind of thing?"
"You know darling, what if he turns up here injured or ill."
"Shelly, it's been over a year, and he knows he's not welcome here, I made that quite clear the last time he tried to come back. He's a sinner… a bad one. There is no place in God's heart for people of his kind."
"The smell on that tramp, my goodness," she chuckled, as if remembering the visit.
Shelly pulled a joint of beef from the oven and set it down on the table just as a young man came padding into the kitchen."
"Go wash up sweetie, dinner is almost ready."
The man rolled his eyes. "Mum, I'm nineteen years old, do you really have to call me sweetie?"
"I was just telling your father about that visit today I had while you were both at work, rather odd thing he was."
"Yeah, you said mum, and for the record, I really think we should go looking for Adam, he could be injured."
"Now honey, we know you love your brother but he has chosen his way, and that way is not our way, its… it's not normal."
"He's gay mum, not Satan! I know you two like to-"
"Watch your tongue when addressing us boy… you still live under our roof, remember that!"
"I'm sorry Sir, I just don't think it's morally right that he is treated as an outcast."
"Morels… MORELS? Brandon, that boy knows no morels; if he did I wouldn't have caught him fornicating with that devil child from number sixty one."
"If I may father, that boy from sixty one is still living happily with his parents despite you and mum telling them what happened… even Stuart admitted it and his family still loves him."
"Darling, the Bensons are hardly good role models for parenting," Shelly said before cackling. "Have you seen her white washing?"
"What's that got to do with her parenting?" Brandon asked.
"One thing you learn quickly Brandon is that a women's white washing says a lot about the woman who washes it, and Mrs Benson's white sheets are… off white."
"God knows what she lets her son get up to… well actually we do now don't we!" Terry remarked.
"Terry darling, don't take the lords name in vain."
Brandon decided not to press on the subject he knew he would lose. He knew it because he had had the same conversations time and time again and his parents always found an excuse to justify what they did to his brother.
As the family began eating the food that had been laid out by Mrs Smith, Brandon had an idea.
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