Try-It Tuesday: POTION CRAFT Alchemist Simulator

POTION CRAFT: ALCHEMIST SIMULATOR is available in early access on Steam today for only $13.49, 10% off its list price of $14.99.

If you love alchemy in Skyrim, you might like this. I tried a free demo back in July (that’s the video embedded above) and I had a good time. I didn’t understand the haggling at first but eventually figured it out.

In POTION CRAFT, you physically interact with your tools and ingredients to brew potions, experiment with ingredients to create new concoctions, design the labels and bottles for your products, meet various villagers and navigate their needs, from rat poison for farmers (and possibly some other more nefarious plans) to weapon-boosting brews for adventurers.

It is similar to Mystic Inn in that the gameplay revolves around brewing and selling potions, but it’s not one of those timed games where you have to hurry. Play at your own pace.

Not only did I enjoy the gameplay, which is a combination of puzzle game and RPG, but I loved the medieval style music and artwork, which inspired me to make a charm bracelet and necklace featuring some of the POTION CRAFT ingredients.

POTION CRAFT is developed by niceplay games, a team of five people in Russia, and is published by tinyBuild.

Right now, it’s only available on PC. Find out more at, Twitter or Discord.

UPDATE OCT 24, 2021: I’m halfway through the chapters of the early access game and much less enchanted with POTION CRAFT than when I played the demo. I could write a long, detailed list of issues but it boils down to the game feeling unbalanced and still needing a lot of work.

According to the developers, there are several features and game mechanics still in the works, so I’m going to try again after a few more updates.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Mixtape #10 – 1996 “The Ocean, the Stone & Samhain”

I found a box of tapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is labeled “The Ocean, the Stone & Samhain.” In 1996, my divorce was final and I’d moved to Twentynine Palms, California, a Mojave Desert town of 14,000 people near the Joshua Tree National Park and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, aka “mick-ag-see” (MCAGCC) to the locals.

Click here for more mixtapes 

It was a year of soul searching, whirlwind romances and the intense demands of my job as a reporter, photographer and columnist at a low-paying, understaffed, high-pressure newspaper. I covered crime, business, education, outhouse races, experimental military technology, school board, city meetings, art galleries, and more.

As stressful as it was, and as blazing goddamn hot as it would get with summer temperatures in the 120s, I loved the people I worked with and I loved the town. It was the first, and possibly last, time I felt like I really belonged somewhere and was doing something meaningful. I saw it as a sacred duty to record and share the joys and sorrows of the community.

I made several wonderful friends who gave me the incredible gift of encouraging me to be myself, as funny, smart, geeky, sassy, foul-mouthed, horny, creative, witchy, wild and off-the-wall as I could be, but when I was sad or overwhelmed by life, when I wasn’t strong, when I made mistakes, they were there for me then, too. Only now, twenty-five years later, do I know how very rare a gift that is.

This mixtape embraces the music of its time. I abandoned the songs that repeated over and over in past tapes while I lived fully in the present. Even the older songs here were new to me in the ’90s.

Life in 1996 was a series of small adventures. I spent the first day of the year in Tijuana, Mexico, with friends. We had a pool in my housing complex and I swam frequently. I went to drive-in movies, to a friend’s softball games, and off-roading in pickup trucks. I worked as a nude model and my backside hung on the wall of a local art gallery. I covered my fence in pinwheels.

Almost every night after work, we’d eat jalapeno poppers at a roadside diner, or grab chocolate-dipped ice cream cones at a walk-up shake shack, and laugh until the sun went down over the sagebrush. I gave tarot readings in the local comic book shop and learned to play Magic the Gathering. I drove my editor’s red Mazda Miata covered in Christmas lights down Adobe Road in the holiday parade.

Merlin in 2009 with kitten Zoe

I adopted a cat from a neighbor who didn’t want him. His meow sounded oddly like “murrrr-in!” so I named him Merlin. I had him for fifteen years and he was the sweetest most wonderful cat in the world.

I also met Rob, a rivet head with a birthday on Halloween. He looked and sounded like a young Captain Picard, with the suave street-smarts of Hancock from Fallout 4, and the intelligence and wisdom of both. They called him “the golden voice of MCAGCC” because he would emcee many of the base’s formal events.

We moved in together the following year.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Mixtape #9 – 1995 “The Blue Year”

I found a box of tapes I made in the 80s and 90s. I made this one in 1995 and labeled it “The Blue Year.” Because I didn’t just have a Blue Christmas, I had a whole damn blue year.

Click here for more mixtapes 

Most of this mixtape is about Lance and how our marriage didn’t last. We loved the Camelot stories and liked to think of ourselves as “Lancelot and Guinevere” (since we were Lance and Jennifer) but they were a tragic couple, and our relationship never went that well, either.

By the fall of 1995, I was sleeping in the other bedroom and preparing to file for divorce. We had nothing and I wanted nothing from him, so no lawyers got involved. I just had to scrape together the money to move out and file papers at the local courthouse.

In a last ditch effort to win me back, I guess, Lance surprised me with tickets to see David Wilcox, one of my favorite musicians. Problem was, he didn’t tell me what was going on when he picked me up “to talk” and when he suddenly started driving out of town, I legit thought he was going to murder me. I panicked so bad, I almost jumped from the moving car and he had to tell me what was up. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic how little I trusted him, at that point.

But, hey, I got to see David Wilcox. I even went backstage and met him, too.

The rest of the mixtape is about a character named Kelzy who I met at a barn dance. I wasn’t looking for anything but there he was, a tall, beautiful, red-headed Texas cowboy with a rodeo belt buckle and a crease ironed into his starched jeans, asking me to dance. If he were an NPC in a video game, you’d exhaust all his dialog prompts and hope for a romance option, believe me.

In California, I’d accepted the fact that only underfed, fashionable women were considered “hot.” When Kelzy approached me, I wasn’t wearing makeup, my hair was in a simple braid, and I was wearing baggy jeans and a t-shirt. I’d put on a little weight  and at 5′ 9″ I was 145 pounds instead of the 125 I’d weighed in college. Oh, the horror.

But he would look at me and smile and say, “You’re… motivating,” as if I’d taken his breath away. It felt good.

We spent a lovely few months together. Like any proper cowboy, he played guitar. We saw Toy Story (1995) together. I took him to Disneyland, where he danced with me under the fairy lights of Main Street. I took him to my friend’s horse ranch, where he kissed me.

Kelzy was absolutely darling, but I had the Dustin problem (see Mixtape #4). I thought he was too good for me. After leaving Lance, I’d started drinking, and one night when Kelzy showed up to take me to dinner, I was drunk and acted stupid all night.

He stopped seeing me after that and I don’t blame him. But I blamed myself for fucking up something really good, and I quit drinking. Still don’t drink, to this day.

“The Dance” is on there for a lot of reasons. There’s a romantic memory of us dancing to this song, and him singing along softly in my ear, but the lyrics also tell the story of our brief time together.

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

And, ultimately, isn’t this true of life? We don’t know where it will take us or what tomorrow will bring. Anytime we take a chance at great happiness, we risk terrible sorrow.

I ran into Kelzy at a used bookstore in 1997. We were both dating other people. He was polite. I was polite. I watched him get into his car and drive away. The shop owner, a scruffy old hippy-looking dude, said I had a look on my face that made him want to know what was going on.

I don’t remember what I told him. Probably, “I used to date that guy.” And that was probably all I needed to say. The wistful sorrow on my face said the rest. There’s a sharp kind of pain in being rejected by someone who is not only someone you love, but someone who makes the world brighter just by being in it.

If I’d heard the song “Creep” (1993) at the time, it would have been on this mixtape, too. Instead, I ended the tape with these:

~ J.L. Hilton

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Mixtape #8 – 1994

I found a box of tapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is from 1994, the year I finished my bachelor’s degree and married Lance (remember him from Mixtape #3?). I left Los Angeles and moved back to the Mojave Desert.

For this mixtape, I collected songs from our past (we’d known each other since high school and dated off and on over the years), and songs about being apart, for side A. The songs on side B were from our new life together.

Many of these were played at our wedding celebration. We were married in a courthouse, by a woman judge, while wearing jeans (not blue, though, we weren’t quite THAT casual… his were brown and mine were beige), and we immediately went to Disneyland for our honeymoon. But we held a party a few weeks later. I designed our wedding cake, which looked like a castle, and my mom made it because she was a professional cake decorator.

There’s a lot more country in this part of my life. Lance was a firefighter, so “The Fireman” was a favorite of ours. He was a great dancer, whether it was a slow love song, a twangy two-step or a fast-paced ten-step. We spent some fun evenings dancing under the stars at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. We also spent a lot of time hiking and working at a Renaissance Faire on weekends.

Side A – “Then”

Side B – “Now”

Man, Collin Raye was doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to romantic country songs in the 1990s.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Mixtape #7 – 1993

I found a box of tapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is labeled “Mike’s tape” and it marks the point my life where I’d broken up with Ron and started dating a guy named Mike. In 1993, I was still living in Los Angeles and working my way through college.

Looking back, I think Ron only dated me to piss off his mother. He didn’t seem to like me, thought psychology was a stupid major, told me I dressed trashy, and even refused to kiss me. He didn’t like me giving food to homeless people and he talked me out of joining the college newspaper. I’d already written for a few magazines by 1993 and after college I ended up working as a newspaper reporter, photographer and editor from 1995-2000, anyway.

Once, when we were out in public together, an older woman overheard him talking to me and told me I should dump him because he was abusive. I didn’t think he was as bad as my dad, but I didn’t really know what a healthy relationship was supposed to be like.

I met Mike in a strange, kismet kind of way. I saw him at the mall while doing some holiday shopping and thought he was really handsome. Then, the next day, he showed up at the photo lab where I worked and dropped off some film to be developed. We struck up a conversation, he returned to pick up his photos and we started going out.

Mike was 30 and I was 21. He was a wonderful photographer troubled by an unhappy engineering career he felt pressured into by his parents, intelligent, well-traveled, and unlike Ron he wanted to kiss me. I was smitten.

Disney’s Aladdin came out in 1992 and offered a new song perfect for this mixtape. “I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid…” 

Click here for more mixtapes 

Side A

I’ve got to stop and talk a minute about David Wilcox. Most folks haven’t heard of him. He’s a folk musician who writes beautiful, meaningful songs about the human condition, and I highly recommend checking out more of his music on YouTube. He’s still out there doing his thing.

“Language of the Heart” was my first exposure to his music, performed at the Jolly Roger bar by that band Flyer I mentioned back on Mixtape #6.

The lyrics perfectly described my relationship with Mike. I was “smitten,” as I said, but he was not. He was not Aladdin and his magic carpet adventure didn’t include me.

We made our warm bed out of blankets in the meadow way up high
You took off your dress in the moonlight, to sleep beneath the sky
Your touch was a warm summer ocean
Your kiss made the whole mountain fly
And you looked deep with in me and smiled
At the tears in my eyes

(Chorus) You can say that you always were honest 
And your words were clear from the start 
But its more than just words that got spoken 
There was language of the heart 

I won’t keep on calling your number if you never have the time 
I don’t want to claim you or blame you, but you’re always on my mind 
You had no idea I would love you, it comes as a total surprise 
And you shake your head slowly and smile at the tears in my eyes 


Your eyes like an ocean of clear sunlit green 
My eyes with the salt water 
Wash me clean….again 

And just imagine you whispered a secret that could take away my blues 
And you let me believe it to please me, though it just wasn’t true 
You just meant to share with me pleasure 
And you’re gifted at what you do 
But you’re speaking an unspoken language 
I thought that you knew 
It’s one that we all learn by heart 
And our hearts think its true 


Side B

Country music entered my life right about here. With the popularity of crossover country artists like Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire and others, my friends and I started hanging out in country-western and biker bars, line dancing, two-stepping and ten-stepping on Friday and Saturday nights.

~ J.L. Hilton

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Mixtape #6 – 1992

I found a box of tapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is from 1992, when I attended California State University, Long Beach, working on a degree in psychology. Bill Clinton was elected president that year. It was the first presidential election in which I was able to vote. I was still dating Ron, though our relationship wasn’t great.

I wanted someone to love me the way Billy Joel did in “She’s Got a Way.” This song came out the year I was born and I don’t remember what brought it into my life 1n the ’90s. Probably heard it while hanging out with friends at a small bar in the Jolly Roger restaurant, at the Long Beach marina, where we’d go to see the cover band Flyer.

Overall there’s a very dark tone to this mixtape. The music is sad, moody and melancholy. The lyrics repeat themes of loneliness and hopelessness over and over… Is there anybody out there… Hey you… Wish you were here…

But now the sun shines cold
And all the sky is grey
The stars are dimmed by clouds and tears
And all I wish
Is gone away

– To Wish Impossible Things, The Cure (1992)

I was dealing with a lot at the time, struggling to come to terms with my abusive childhood, putting myself through school, working full time while also a full time student, living in a large, dangerous city. The Los Angeles riots happened in 1992.

Some songs show up again from previous tapes but now we start getting The Cure, Pink Floyd, baroque music, and Beauty and the Beast, which came out in 1991. I’ve had a brass Beast on my keychain to this day.

I have no idea why I included “Tara” by Roxy Music. The song was 10 years old at the time I made this tape, and I wasn’t a fan of the band or anything. But another eight years later, in 2000, I named my first child Tara.

Side one

Side two

~ J.L. Hilton

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Mixtape #5 – 1991

I found a box of tapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is straight from 1991, the year I moved back to Los Angeles and dated a guy named Ron while I went to university. The year of the Gulf War, Clarence Thomas, dissolution of the Soviet Union, Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Most of the music is sampled in bits and pieces, as so many full-length songs wouldn’t fit on one tape otherwise.

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Who Wants to Live Forever (Queen, 1986)
Princes of the Universe (Queen, 1986)
It’s a Kind of Magic (Queen, 1986)
Englishman in New York (Sting, 1987)
Children’s Crusade (Sting, 1985)
Hotel California (Eagles, 1977)
Bring Him Home (Les Mis, 1985)
Red & Black (Les Mis, 1985)
In My Life (Les Mis, 1985)
One Day More (Les Mis, 1985)
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (Les Mis, 1985)
Castle on a Cloud (Les Mis, 1985)
Blowing in the Wind (PP&M, 1963)
If You Leave (OMD, 1986)
Remember the Feeling (Chicago, 1984)
The Search is Over (Survivor, 1985)
Evening Falls (Enya)
Turn, Turn, Turn (The Byrds, 1965)
I Dreamed a Dream (Les Mis, 1985)
Somebody (Depeche Mode, 1984)
Guinevere (Camelot, 1967)
If I’d Ever Leave You (Camelot, 1967)
I Loved You Once In Silence (Camelot, 1967)
Sailing Ships (Whitesnake, 1989)
Take My Breath Away (Berlin, 1986)
Part of Your World (Little Mermaid, 1989)
Cuts Both Ways (Gloria Estafan, 1989)
If You Want (Depeche Mode, 1984)
In Time (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Robbie Robb, 1989)
Scarborough Fair (Simon & Garfunkel, 1966)
Take On Me (A-ha, 1984)
My Love I’ll Always Show (Stryper, 1986)
Twilight (ELO, 1981)
All for Love (Nancy Wilson, 1989)

Ron’s Songs:
The Ghost in You (The Psychedelic Furs, 1984)
Little Wing (Sting, 1987)
America (Simon & Garfunkel, 1968)
Scandalous (Prince, 1989)
Julia (John Lennon, 1968)
Twin Peaks theme (Angelo Badalamenti, 1990)
Falling (Julee Cruise, 1990)
One of my Turns (Pink Floyd, 1979)

~ J.L. Hilton

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Mixtape #4 – “North Meets South Enchanted Mix 1990″

I found a box of mixtapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is labeled “North Meets South Enchanted Mix 1990” and was made for my friend Dustin Woods after he moved away to Northern California. I lived in Southern California at the time.

Dustin was a deep, heartfelt, romantic and intelligent person who had a passion for vampires, swords, Dungeons & Dragons, Sting, history, mythology and classical music. He was handsome, like a young Nathan Fillion.

He and I both made cloaks like kids today might use for cosplay or larping, but back then there were very few people – far as we knew – who were doing that kind of stuff. When he still lived in the Mojave Desert, he would come over to my house in the evenings, usually around 10pm, we’d put on our cloaks and go for long walks in the dark, talking about everything under the stars. It was an odd thing, but we were comfortable being odd together.

Once, for shits and giggles, he drove me an hour away to Palm Springs, to cruise the strip at night, blasting Toccata and Fugue in D Minor the way other people blasted rock or rap music.

We were goth before we knew what goth was.

For a brief time, during the summer of 1988, we worked together at Baskin Robbins. At night, when we were closing, he would wheel out the mop bucket, beeping and whistling like a robot, and say, “Come along, R2.”

Though I had feelings for him, I never acted on them. I never thought I was good enough for him. He didn’t make me feel that way on purpose, he wasn’t arrogant or anything, totally the opposite. He just seemed like such a knight in shining armor, with a lovely family, while I was a messed up girl with an abusive family. We were both perpetually caught up in bad relationships with other people, for one reason or another, and then when he moved so far away it just wasn’t an option.

We eventually fell out of touch but he is fondly remembered.

Click here for more mixtapes 

Side One

  • Opens with something I called the “Vampire Mix,” which features the beginning of  Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, then jumps through various excerpts from “There’s a Moon Over Bourbon Street” and “They Dance Alone” by Sting, and “If I Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne
  • Love Bites” – Def Leppard (1986) full song
  • Then we skip around a bit through lyrics from “Heart of Stone” (Cher, 1989), “Fortress Around Your Heart” and “Englishman in New York” by Sting
  • The opening lines from “Jenny Wore Black” by Men Without Hats: “Jenny wore black, Jenny wore white, and Jenny was real, but almost not quite…”
  • It Cuts Both Ways” – Gloria Estefan, 1989
  • Unchained Melody” – instrumental version from the 1990 movie Ghost
  • Somebody” – Depeche Mode, 1984. Dustin and I used to talk a lot about our relationships and what we wanted out of life. This song reflects some of the things we talked about.
  • Drive” – The Cars, 1984
  • Part of Your World” – Little Mermaid, 1989. I think I was being a bit obvious here that I had a huge crush on him, but I also really loved this movie and the song itself. It had come out the year before and as an 18-year-old just entering the adult world, I related to Ariel’s longing.
  • Watermark” – Enya, 1988. This song is on the tape because Dustin gave me this album for my birthday. “Watermark” was the first song on the album of the same title and it brought me to tears the first time I heard it.

Side Two

  • Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers, 1965
  • An excerpt from “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, 1986: “Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart; When I want to run away, I drive off in my car…” 
  • Who Wants to Live Forever” – Queen, 1986
  • Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin, 1988. A sort of palate cleanser after so much sad music, and a hope for my melancholy friend.
  • The First Time I Loved Forever” was the theme song for the live-action Beauty and the Beast TV show that ran from 1987 to 1990, starring Ron Perlman as Vincent (the Beast) and Linda Hamilton as Catherine (the Beauty). Some episodes were written by George R.R. Martin.

~ J.L. Hilton

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I doodled this back in 1995 with pen & colored pencils. I still feel this way when “every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake…”

~ J.L. Hilton

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The Outer Worlds fanfiction

The game didn’t allow me to romance anyone, but that didn’t stop me from having headcanon. Enjoy the smut, you dirty little cystypigs.

In part one, Felix concocts an awkward plan to seduce the captain but Vicar Max intervenes. This is a little slice of life aboard the Unreliable, with appearances by Parvarti, Nyoka and Ellie, as well. Features: Romantic tension, foul language, sexual references.

In part two, Max reveals his darker desires to the captain when the nature of their relationship changes. This is much more steamy, with explicit sex, language, alcohol use and a touch of BDSM. ADULTS ONLY

My thoughts about the game can be read here and highlights from my playthrough can be seen in THE OUTER WORLDS playlist on my YouTube channel.

You can also read these stories and more on AO3.

Total word count: 2,100 words

Part one:
“Hey, boss, I found some Stimu-Lotion” 

Felix entered the Unreliable’s common room, waving a tube of ointment.

“Hey, boss, I found some Stimu-Lotion. You want a foot rub?”

Ellie rolled her eyes. “Wow. What a master of seduction. So romantic.”

Parvati wrinkled her nose. “I wouldn’t want to touch anybody’s feet. I don’t even like touching my own feet. Feet are gross.”

Felix grinned his big, guileless grin and began filling a bucket with water from the sink. “I’ll wash them first.”

“Settle down, sparky, I haven’t agreed to anything yet.” I threw my last dart and lights danced around the edge of the dartboard.

“You should try washing your own feet,” Ellie told him. “The sock stench from your room is so bad, SAM can’t even get rid of the smell.”

Nyoka retrieved the darts and returned to the toe line. “Maybe you picked up a fungal infection on Monarch. You should try soaking them in vodka.”

“Or seeing a doctor,” said Ellie, who was a doctor.

“Can we stop talking about fungus, please? Thank you.” Felix banged the cupboards open and shut. “Didn’t we find a bunch of those little Rose-ish soaps in an abandoned house in Cascadia? Or was it outside Stellar Bay? Or was it Edgewater?”

Behind Felix’s back, Nyoka shot me a look that said, Are you really going to let him wash your feet?

My gaze roved all over the best parts of that boy’s jumpsuit as he dug around the bottom shelves. I shrugged, Maybe.

She shook her head in a “well, I guess it’s your life” sort of way and took her turn.

Felix turned off the water in the steamy sink and a lock of unruly hair fell across his forehead. He tried several times to blow it away before giving up and combing it back with his hand. Not for the first time, I imagined wrapping my arms around the broad-shouldered anarchist and humping like primals.

The vicar intruded on my unholy thoughts.

“Captain, may we talk?” He closed his book and lowered his cup of tea.

“Right this minute, preacherman?”

“Yes, definitely this minute.” The words dripped with his usual air of self-righteous authority. He beckoned and I followed him down the corridor, away from the others.

“What’s so important?”

“My duty to intervene when I think you’re about to make a mistake.”

Truth be told, I grew tired of his sermons, so I tried to rile him a little. “You jealous, vicar? All those arguments between you and Felix about tossball and philosophy, are they chock full of sexual tension?”

“They are not.”

“I suppose you never noticed his thick, wavy hair and full, kiss-able lips?”


“Felix has the sort of energy and optimism that jaded assholes like us haven’t had in years. It’s hard to resist.”

“Which is precisely the problem. Do you think it wise to play with the young man’s feelings?”

Sure, I was about eight years and a hibernation older than Felix, but he was still a grown-ass man, not a child. “He isn’t exactly innocent nor fragile. Have you seen him dropkick a raptidon?”

“He admires you and would do anything to please you. It is beneath you to take advantage of your position as his superior and – not to be melodramatic but I believe the word applies here – hero.”

Deep down, I knew the vicar was right. That’s why I hadn’t dragged Felix into my bunk already.

I raised my hands in mock surrender. “Alright, I confess, I do have impure thoughts. But I’ve been on ice for seventy years, can you blame me for wanting a little companionship?”

A look of intense passion flared in his eyes, hot and turbulent as the Emerald Vale volcano. Gave me a shiver at the back of my neck and a few other places. Then he was his usual stony self and I wondered if I’d seen what I thought I saw.

“It is unwise to shit where you eat, Captain.”

“Not your usual sort of platitude but point taken. You learn that one in vicar school?”

“No, I learned it on Tartarus, but the wisdom of the Plan is found everywhere, even in prison.”

“I promise, vicar, I will resist the temptation to ravage my crew. But if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be ravaging myself in my room for a few minutes.”

He didn’t look happy about that, either, but I turned on my heel and left him to stew in his tight-assed disapproval.

* * *

Part two takes place after completing Vicar Max’s companion questline, as seen in my videos:

* * *

Part two:
“I am in desperate need of correction” 

Having the toilet on the ass-end of the ship made sense, I guess, but meant I had to stumble through the full length of the Unreliable to piss in the middle of the night. Of course, it was always night in space, but ADA cycled the ship’s lights up and down to help us sleep. I cursed the lack of a captain’s private bathroom for the umpteenth time while I finished my business and washed my hands.

On the way back to bed, I found Max in the kitchen corner of the common room. His unfamiliar outline startled me for a moment, wearing some old worker gear from Edgewater and not his usual vestments.

“Is SAM cleaning your frock?”

He poured himself a drink. “I won’t be wearing it any longer, so I borrowed these clothes from the storage locker. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Looks good on you.” His hair was damp and he smelled faintly of Mock-apple and Synthamon. Must’ve showered recently. “You’re handsome when your head’s not up your ass.”

He chuckled without mirth. “Even in my youth, mine was not a face granted the Architect’s perfect symmetry or the beauty of the Golden Ratio.”

“Screw the Architect and the Golden Ratio. You’re easy on the eyes. My eyes, anyway, and I don’t think they were damaged in stasis. I’m a crack shot.”

I could see the bitter smile on his shadowy face. “You do so like to fuck with me, captain. I can’t blame you.”

“I’m not fucking with you. I’m as serious as a Mantiqueen.”

“I thought I annoyed you.”

“You do. I said you were easy on the eyes, not easy to live with.”

“I know. I’ve had to live with myself for years.”

He took a drink. I had my suspicions.

“Is that your usual tea with a splash of Lemon Slapp or are you defiling the sacramental wine?”

“Iceberg Aged Whiskey, actually. Care to join me?”

“Sure.” I stepped closer and his arm brushed mine as he grabbed another glass, set it beside his own and filled both with an aggressive slosh that also splashed the countertop.

I took a sip and felt the bitter warmth burn the back of my tongue. Something about the drink and the dark and his personal demons made me feel truthy.

“I took a shine to you that day in Fallbrook, when I discovered you weren’t the pure and noble vicar you pretended to be.”

“You liked me because I lied to you?”

“Well, no. And don’t fucking lie to me ever again.” I jabbed my finger into his arm for emphasis.

“Aye, aye, captain.”

“I liked you for being a rogue like the rest of us.”

“Yet arrogant enough to think I could tell everyone else how to live their lives when I had no idea how to live my own. I clung to the certainty of the Plan and now I am adrift. I don’t know what to do or where to go from here.”

“Do whatever you want. What makes you happy?”

He sighed. “I wish I knew.”

“When you’re not solving the eternal Equation or marveling at the Fibonacci spiral, what do you want? You. Maximillian DeSoto. Here. On the Unreliable. Right now.”

“I want whiskey.” He emptied his glass and poured himself another.

I laughed. “That’s a start. Anything else?”

His voice murmured low, almost lost in the rumble of the ship’s engine. “I want you.”

The words were like a lens that brought everything into focus. I wanted him, too. Every righteous, annoying, intellectual, confused, computer-hacking, ass-kicking inch of him.

I set down my glass, took his face in my hands and kissed him. He reached under my nightshirt and grabbed my ass. We groped each other awhile, until I dragged him to my room and closed the door behind us.

Max had that seething, volcanic look in his eyes that I’d glimpsed before, but now it was all over his face. He peeled off his shirt and mine while I got on my knees, unzipped his pants and sucked his half-hard dick into my mouth. He hardened to full length, gagging me as I slid my lips from tip to base.

“Use your teeth. I like it rough.” I squeezed his balls in my hand and grazed the taut skin of his shaft with my teeth. He gripped my hair in his fists and groaned with each thrust, until he shoved me away with a harsh, “Stop.”

Sweeping his arm across my desk, he sent game pieces, cups, bottles and ammo clattering to the floor and lifted me onto the desktop. Kissing my neck and my tits, he inserted one finger in me, then two. When his hand grazed my clit, every nerve in my body screamed. I dug my nails into his back and begged him to fuck me.

With a deft flick of his fingers, I came fast and hard with an orgasm that seemed to last ages. Just as it began to fade, he rolled me over and pinned me between him and the cold, hard surface. One hand grasped my neck and the other the curve of my hip.

“Do it.” I spread my legs in anticipation.

But he didn’t move, just held me there. We were both breathing hard. I could feel his chest rising and falling against my back, his breath on my shoulder, and the hard length of his dick against my ass.

Suddenly, he let go and backed away.

I stood up and my legs felt a bit like rubber. “Is something wrong?”

He pulled up his pants and wouldn’t look at me. “No, you’re… marvelous, I… I just don’t want to hurt you.”

“I never asked you for undying love and devotion.”

“Still you have them, all the same, and I am happy to go with you to the ends of Halcyon and beyond. That is not what I meant. I don’t want to… physically… hurt you. I should go before I do something I will deeply regret.”

My heart pounded at both the tenderness of his affection and the allure of his forbidden desires. I said, “I don’t want you to go.”

“But you did finish, yes?”

“I had an orgasm. But you’re not done.” I wrapped my arms around him.

Where moments ago he’d raged with passion, he was now tense and withdrawn. “It doesn’t matter.”

“It matters to me.”

“You are very generous.”

“Help me understand, Max.”

“I… I’m sorry, this isn’t easy for me to talk about…”

I laced my fingers around the back of his neck. “Take your time.”

“I want to do things, things that I shouldn’t want to do. Urges that are not the stuff of serial romances.”

“Things like pinning me down and pulling my hair?”

“Yes.” He closed his eyes and visibly swallowed. I couldn’t tell if he was savoring or regretting the images in his mind. Maybe a little of both.

Placing my cheek against his, I spoke softly into his ear. “But what if I want you to bend me over the desk, spank my ass and fuck me hard because I am a wild, rebellious, unrepentant slut?”

His arms clenched me tight, crushing my tits against his chest. “You do conspire with wanted criminals, vandalize corporate property and blaspheme against the sacred Plan.”

So did he, but that wasn’t the point.

I ground against the bulge in his pants. “I am in desperate need of correction.”

“May I twist your arm behind your back?”

“Yes. Do you want me to cry out?”

“Not so loud that it wakes the crew, but that would be… perfect.”

He held me at arm’s length and fixed me with a piercing look. “How will I know if I’ve gone too far? If I let myself go, I… I don’t know what will happen.”

“If I want you to stop, I’ll say ‘vodka.’”


“It’s like a code word. You can do whatever you want to me, unless you hear that word. Does that make you more comfortable?”

He nodded. “It does.”


He pressed his forehead to mine. “Thank you for accepting my darker side. No one ever has.”

“Not even you, I suspect.”

“No, not even me.”

* * *

~ J.L. Hilton

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