Title: Just a Moment.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from '2001: A Space Oddysey. I am just borrowing them for the moment.
Warning: This contains Sexual Themes. As in Masturbation, hints of Male/Female sex, as well as suggested Male/sort-of-Male attraction.
Two months into the Mission and Dave was getting frustrated.
For how empty it was, there was no privacy aboard the Discovery-One. It was just him, Frank Poole, and his three frozen teammates. The ship was huge, and it should have been easy to catch a few moments away from his only other awake co-worker and be able to relax for a bit. They were in space, for crying out loud! It was impossible to be any more isolated than in Space.
But despite the silence, and the lonely whir of the machinery and hum of the computers and the limited human contact, Dave had never felt so… watched before. He felt like he was on display in a zoo, being followed by eyes constantly, wherever he went, observing each and everything he did. When he ate, he was being watched. When he slept, read a book, or took a piss, those eyes were on him at all times. He was getting increasingly unnerved.
It was all because of Hal-9000.
Frank said he considered Hal to be just another part of the team. He was frequently chatting with the computer, about anything and everything. He didn't seem at all concerned with the red lense always watching him, observing his every single motion. Frank said that there was no one more un-judgmental than a Program. And perhaps that was even true, to a point. Normally, the thought of a screen watching him wouldn't be so disquieting. It was a program, nothing more.
But Hal seemed so… lifelike sometimes. It wasn't his tone of voice. That was monotone. It was always calm, and never betrayed any hint of emotion. It wasn't even what he said. Words could be programmed into the computer. It was the way he observed them all. Computers shouldn't look so interested in what he did.
In every room, that Lense followed him, never giving him a moment's peace. Sleeping was difficult enough as it was, without being examined. Even in high school, surrounded by other nude bodies of his peers, he hadn't ever felt this self-conscious when he was taking a shower. Why was it that every task seemed so much more awkward when one was being watched? He felt like everything he did was some sort of goddamn test.
Like an animal in a cage, he found himself pacing more and more, going from one end of the ship to the other. Back and forth, over and over again. He exercised more vigorously, pushing himself to the point of physical exhaustion, just so he would be able to sleep at night without thinking of that Lense on him.
For the first month, it worked well enough. After a while, though, boredom had begun to set in. He took up new hobbies: Drawing for instance. He even tried his hand at novel writing, but that was quickly scrapped when it became apparent he wasn't all that great with words. Keeping in contact with his family helped, but the transmissions were few and far between.
Talking with Frank was enjoyable, but they exhausted the conversations quickly. There were only so many topics they could discuss without eventually repeating themselves. They were friends, to a point. More like forced-roommates, really, than pals. He enjoyed bullshitting with Frank just for something to pass the time. He had never thought he would come to miss the sound of another human voice so much until he was no longer surrounded by them.
Hal was the only other one to talk to, and while he wasn't human, he was far more interesting than Frank. In a disturbing way, Dave felt closer to the computer than his fellow co-worker. Hal never minded talking with him, never minded repeated conversations or even just some random 'What if' Scenarios. Dave, though always feeling stifled with the red gaze, rather liked Hal. It wasn't the computers fault that he had to watch everything, after all. The computer was even teaching him to play chess, and Dave found him a very patient, understanding teacher. He still lost no matter what, but it was taking longer and longer for him to do so.
His affection for Hal-9000 was at constant war with his irritation.
Dave would have never thought he could be this alone and this crowded at the same time.
There wasn't one place in the ship where he could go for some alone time. His stress levels were slowly rising to the point where he was starting to jump down Frank's throat unintentionally. He felt like he was being wound up, like a taught rubber band, and that any moment, he would snap. Every second of every day, he felt that red gaze on him, and it made him even more furious.
Something had to be done about this. Dave knew what it was he had to do, but the problem was finding a place to do it. If he had a hard time showering without blushing bright red, he couldn't even imagine taking the problem 'in hand' and performing under such close observation. He didn't want to, either. Doing these things with his wife was one thing, doing it under the logical, controlled gaze of Hal? That made him feel slightly nauseous.
Dave wondered if Frank ever had this sort of problem. Not that he would ask. Not that he could ask. With Hal 'breathing' down his back every second, there was no chance he could bring that up to his co-worker. Besides, there were some things you just didn't talk about, and that was one of them.
Really, most men wouldn't have gone as long as he had. He lasted two months without breaking, but he felt he had finally reached his limit. One quick, rough few moments and he would probably be okay for another few weeks, at least. The only problem was finding the right time for it.
That moment came one day when he was sitting down at the dining table, resting after a particularly strenuous workout. His breaths were coming in hard pants and his entire body was flushed, shiny with sweat.
"That looked to be a very difficult session." The calm, monotone voice of his digital friend said, sounding friendly without ever having any inflection to the tone at all. "You may want to take it slow for the next few days."
"Yeah…" Dave mumbled, laying his head on his arm, feeling exhausted from the vigorous pushups and cardio. "I think I'll do that…"
His body felt tired, drowsy. His eyes close on their own accord, and he lay there in silence for a few moments. His mind was alert as ever and he focused on the dull humming of the machines around him, thinking of everything and nothing. He felt the curious weight of Hal's gaze on him.
He thought of his beautiful wife, Betty, who he loved with his entire heart. He wondered what she was doing right now. It was probably night time on Earth. Was she just lying in bed, her hand on the empty space next to her, wishing that he could be curled up beside her? Was she already asleep? Was she as frustrated as he was?
Had she, perhaps, been touching herself every night, trying to pretend it was his hands on her? Did she run her pale, delicate fingers all along her creamy skin, rubbing and tracing patterns into her breasts and stomach, toes curling with pleasure? Did his face flash in her mind when she peaked? Did she call out his name?
The thought of that sent delightful tingles down his spine, straight to his groin, which began to harden slowly. He almost reacted to that by fidgeting, but he didn't want to call attention to the likely obvious bulge in his workout shorts. They were now rather tight and he found himself trying to fight the flush he knew was probably making itself known in his neck.
Still, though he tried to think of other things, his mind kept coming back to his beautiful wife. He could just see her in his mind's eye, sprawled across the bed with her lilac nightgown pulled up about her waist, stroking herself.
"D-Dave…" she would be saying. "P-please… faster… Dave…"
"Do you… ah!... l-like that, love?" He would pant to her in return, pumping his hips into hers.
"D-Dave… please! Dave! DAVE!"
"Dave? Are you asleep?"
It took every bit of his strength not to react to that, to keep his eyes closed and not jerk his head up. Hal. He had forgotten about Hal, and that son of a bitch was staring at him. He wanted to kick himself for getting so lost in the fantasy that he forgot that he was under surveillance. Still… it was better to pretend he was taking a small nap and wait for his prominent erection to wilt before he got up. He didn't want Hal to see it. Honestly, he was embarrassed enough as it was without his dick tenting out his shorts.
Thankfully, his member was concealed beneath the table and there was no way that Hal would have seen it.
Huh. And why hadn't he ever thought of that before. He was here, his groin concealed, and he had the perfect excuse. If he was 'asleep', he could simply act like nothing had ever happened when he eventually 'woke up'. Hal wouldn't know any better. He shifted in his sleep all the time, tossing and turning. This would be no different, and if anything, the Supercomputer would simply think he was dreaming.
Dave wondered if he could really go through with this, actually jack off while under such close scrutiny. But he was so hard right now, it hurt. And the chance might not come again. Frank was fast asleep, and Hal already thought that he was…
For the next few moments, he focused on evening his breathing, making it the same, deep breaths as he did when he slept. He could feel the heavy, focused weight of the red eye on him the entire time, and he wished that Hal would look somewhere else. It couldn't be that interesting to watch someone sit there and breathe. But that gaze never shifted, never moved.
After a bit, he purposely shifted position, burying his face in his arm further to conceal his face and letting the other hand drop limply into his lap. He moved it slightly inching towards his groin ever so slowly so as not to make it obvious what he was doing. It was thrilling, actually, this subterfuge. It felt dangerous almost, even though logically, he knew there was no consequences to doing this except his own embarrassment if he were caught in the act. Hal would probably not even say anything, but Dave didn't think he could bear it if Hal knew. He would have trouble ever facing him again…
Gathering his courage, he moved his hand the last inch.
The moment his fingers hit the hard, stiff tent in his shorts, he thought he would come right then and there. The sensation was overwhelming, and it took all his self-control not to arch his bag and moan. His erection was more sensitive than he would have ever thought possible, and it hardened against his hand more. It was painful, how aroused he was. There was no backing down now. He didn't think he could remove his hand even if he wanted to. Location be dammed. Hal be dammed too.
Moving only his fingers and hand, and not his arm or shoulder, he carefully slipped his hand beneath the waistband of his pants, grasping the firm length of his erection. His own hand had never felt so wonderful before. It had been far, far too long since he had done this, and his body had been suffering for it. This felt like a breath of air to a drowning man. More wonderful than he could ever imagine.
It had been some time since he had done this without his wife, but his hand moved on its own accord, as if it had and mind and will of its own. And strangely, that thought was arousing. His thumb swiped over the receptive head of his erection, and he bit his lip to hide the gasp that escaped him. He hoped that Hal thought it was just a sigh. As his thumb circled the head, his other hand began to stroke the shaft, running firmly down from tip to base. He could feel him break out into sweat at the sensation it was causing.
He pumped his fist slightly, and this time, he could prevent the groan of pleasure at that. It was louder than he would have wished, but it was too late to restrain it. His mind began to go to that pleasantly dark place where he could just exist without being watched or being judged. Where he could just be Dave and ignore the responsibilities that came with that name…
His hips bucked into his hand, his body responding against his will. The attempt at minimizing his movements had somehow heightened his arousal. It was almost hot, really, how thrilling this was. It felt like some dangerous game he was playing and winning, but only barely. His body wanted to betray him so badly.
He gasped again, breathing hitching in his throat, and he could feel the sweat beading at his forehead.
"Dave? Wake up. You are in the middle of a nightmare."
That calm, restrained voice interrupted him, and his erection twitched in his hand. He was breathing heavily now and there was no hiding the bright flush that was traveling up his neck. His was forced to go slow, to prevent movement of his shoulder. That would give him away instantly. It was terrible trying to go so softly.
His erection released a slight amount of precome and it slicked his hand up, causing the most delightful tingle to travel through his crotch. Oh god, he was close now. He could feel it was near.
"Dave? Dave? You are having a nightmare. Wake up."
It was wrong, oh god, it was wrong, but that voice suddenly seemed hot. Or perhaps not even hot, more like, the fact that it was so clueless as to what was happening not six feet from it was. He would never think of Hal as a sexual thing, but that voice suddenly became the focus point of his excitement.
Dave hissed out, groaning slightly. His head jerked to the side from the frustration at the unbearably slow pace he had to move his hand. This was lasting far, far long than it should have and his previous irritation was slowly returning. Goddamn it, Hal. Say something. The thrill of doing this unnoticed made up for the lack of friction.
"Dave? You need to wake up now. Dave?"
Goddamn, that voice. It was nothing short of perfect. Calm, collected, cool, and completely oblivious to the typical human act of self-pleasure in front of it. That was one of the hottest things he could think of right now, and he grasped onto it to try to peak. The slow pace of his hand wasn't going to do it, and he thought he would end up going mad if he didn't orgasm soon.
"Dave? Wake up, Dave."
Hal… good god, Hal…
Dave wanted to scream, arch his back and buck freely against his hand, which was jerking and pumping as roughly as he could manage it without moving his arm much. His wrist would hurt later on, but damn, this was worth it. His thumb gathered some of the precome and swiped over the head. He panted, feeling a tightening in his groin. It was like all the muscles in his body were tensing, his stomach especially. There was this horrible, wonderful pressure in his abdomen and it felt like there was electricity in it…
"Dave, you are having a nightmare. You need to wake up now. Dave?"
"Ha-nnn…" He bit his lip tightly to stifle the words that were begging to slip out.
There was one last buildup of pressure in him, and then his orgasm burst free, causing his eyes to clench tightly, and his throat to release little grunts. He noticed his body was jerking and twitching violently, shuddering as the peaking raced through each of his limbs and down his back. His hand was coated in warm, slick fluid and continued to pump, softer now. It felt brilliant as if something had been released inside of him that wasn't just physical.
"Dave? Wake up."
The feeling faded slightly, but left him feeling boneless and delightfully less tense than he had been earlier. His mind was blank, filled with a sort of peaceful fog that swirled around. His erection began to soften, and he finally released himself, wiping his hand against his shorts. He withdrew from the waist band, but he kept that hand in his lap. His body began to feel chilly, the sweat cooling in the air. He felt hot though, still.
His breath was still coming in harsh gasps, but it was slowing down, a sleepy feeling washing over him like a soothing wave filled with satisfaction and calm.
Remembering his audience, Dave sucked in a breath and tilted his head to look up at the control panels, staring into the innocent red lense of Hal. His eyes were drooping with weariness. The past few weeks, he hadn't gotten any sleep and it seemed to be catching up to him all of a sudden. His hair stuck to his face, which he knew was still flushed and shiny with sweat.
"Dave? Are you awake now?" The soft voice said, no inflection in the tone.
He blinked twice, glancing around as if disoriented.
"Ye-" He cleared his throat slightly, frowning at the hoarseness of it. "Yeah... fell asleep, I guess… didn't even realize…"
The lense seemed to stare at him for a long moment.
"You seemed to be having a Nightmare. Are you alright?"
Inside, Dave smirked, but on the outside, he screwed his face up into one of concentration. Hal didn't know, and he would never know. The Supercomputer than knew all his files, his history, his routine, his entire body, and everything about him…. Didn't know this. It was exhilarating, being able to keep a secret from the computer for the first time since the ship had left dock.
"A nightmare..?" He asked distantly, as if he were trying to remember. "I don't remember. Maybe that work out took more outta me that I thought…"
The lense was silent a second again.
"May I suggest you get some sleep, and wait a few days before you work out again?"
Dave nodded agreeably. The work out was intense, and though it wasn't the reason for why he appeared so exhausted, it would be wise to take Hal's advice. Oh, but he couldn't… he needed to get into a shower. The evidence of his arousal was becoming uncomfortable against his skin.
"I was thinking about hopping into a shower, actually. Might help sooth… my… muscles…" His voice trailed off, a weary feeling hitting him like a train all of a sudden. All he wanted to do was go to sleep. His body was so relaxed and comfortable, and he was loath to get up right now. His head unwillingly tilted towards the table and landed on his arm.
How long had it been since he had gotten a proper night's sleep? Two weeks? Three? Damn, he couldn't even remember…
Dave felt his eyes dropping more. The computer seemed to pick up on this.
"Goodnight Dave. I wish you pleasant dreams…"
Dave nodded into his arm and felt his eyes slip shut. The whir of the machines seemed to grow distant as his mind was filled with that quiet fog. All his senses began to blur together, and sleep overcame him quickly. He didn't dream, not that he would remember, but they gave him a peaceful feeling.
The red light of Hal never wavered, never changed, and still stared at the slumbering figure of David Bowman. There was no indication of it, but if Hal were capable of the action, he would have smirked.