Fleeing from a troubled past that left him feeling tarnished and used, Sean finds work as a medic aboard the deep sea mining ship Ariel, on a distant planet.
Under the leader ship of the infuriating, yet charismatic, Captain Joel Riley, Sean settles into his simple, but dangerous, new life. It’s a life he soon comes to love; albeit one in which he conceals his sexuality and avoids intimacy.
But Sean’s new world is turned on its head when an old face threatens to expose him for the man he used to be.
With Joel’s help, will Sean learn to come to terms with his past and become a man he can be proud of?
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THE HARDEST THING about working on Ariel was the absence of day and night. That deep in the ocean the hours passed in meaningless numbers as the ship floated in the endless depths of Titan, a rich oceanic moon orbiting Jupiter. Sean’s body clock had never adjusted. Three seasons underwater and he still found himself falling asleep during his shift in the infirmary or staring up at his bedroom ceiling, wide awake.
His head dropped sharply, the suddenness of it waking him up. He looked about, checking that no one had been in and caught him napping. Any of the five other crew members onboard were capable of tormenting him when his guard was down. During his first season the pranks were unbearable, but Sean had been a different man back then. He didn’t understand how to fit in and be part the crew. He took their games to heart for a long time.
It was better now. He was better. They still played their pranks, and sometimes he still got annoyed, but he appreciated them. The crew were family, and he cared for them all deeply. He never thought a man from his walk of life, with all his wealth and all his privilege, would happily settle on a rusty old mining ship with a group of feral deep-sea laborers. He expected the rest of the crew thought the same.
Sean stretched and yawned. His body had changed dramatically since he’d taken his first dive, too. You had to be strong and maintain good physical health working this deep. His body was toned and lithe and bigger than it had been when he first showed up on Titan looking for a job.
“You’re a bit young and scrawny to be a doctor, aren’t you?” the captain had said to him that day in the docking station, seeing a man barely scraping twenty-three and not fit for more than standing around and looking pretty.
Sean had given him some pompous reply that still made him cringe when he thought back to it. Sometimes he suspected the captain only took him on to try to break him. Captain Riley could be a sadistic bastard when he wanted to be.
A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.
A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralbates