Camp Sherwood

Jethro Mason, a thoroughbred city boy and fledgling journalist who’s looking to make a name for himself by following the instincts that have served him so well throughout much of his life is following a lead. His investigation takes him to an officially male-only community in rural Minnesota out by Lake Itasca.

He’s sure there’s something nefarious going on, and knows in his gut that Hierarch Industries is behind it. He’ll certainly find that things aren’t quite what they seem, but whether he cracks open the secrets of Project Ophiuchus is another matter entirely.

"Order for… Jet?" The barista’s voice carried across the bustling store, startling a young man sitting by one of the front windows, staring listlessly at the city street outside. "Is there a Jet here?" the barista called out, a second time. "Your drink is ready, sir."

Jet nearly tripped over his own feet getting out of his chair. He wove his way through the line to the counter and gratefully retrieved his drink from the barista, Cheryl, who looked less than amused. "Thank you," he muttered. She smiled at him, but he’d done enough time in customer service to know that it wasn’t an invitation to say anything else.

Not that Jet had any time to stand by and chat, anyway. He hurried back to his seat and flipped his laptop open. Onscreen was the rough draft of a story that he technically needed to get done by the end of the workday, but hadn’t quite started yet.

The caffeine in the piping hot paper cup was an infusion of energy and a wake-up that Jet sorely needed. He’d spent so much time chasing after leads on several outlandish-sounding stories that had only the barest shreds of credibility.

It was thankless, tiring work. It reflected in the bags under Jet’s eyes and his editor’s increasing terseness with him. Frankly, he didn’t get it. He kept to his deadlines. He served up impeccable articles when he was asked to. But apparently, he was wasting his potential by looking into stories that no one in their right mind would even consider.

But those stories were the ones that were worth looking at, insofar as Jet was concerned. He was seeking the kind of story that he could build a prestigious career around, and he wasn’t going to find that sniffing about the usual sources like everyone else.

Jet needed something big. He needed a story that would dominate the news cycle not just for a day, but for weeks on end. He needed a story that had the power to shake the very foundations of civilized society.

In university, Jet had learned about the Boston Globe, about "Spotlight" and the story that they had published about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, its tacit acceptance, and the grand cover-up that had been orchestrated by the upper echelons of the clergy. That was the kind of story that he needed to find. The kind of story that would make him a household name overnight.

Jet’s instincts had never failed him. He trusted his gut, even if there was no reason to. Right now, his instincts were telling him that he was on the verge of uncovering exactly the kind of secret that would gain him the prestige he desired. He just had to put his nose to the grindstone for it. Truth was, Jet was ready to do just about anything in the pursuit of his ambitions.

Unfortunately, other people weren’t quite as reliable as Jet’s instincts. His source was running late to their meeting and it was more than a little bit annoying. He genuinely liked the guy, but it had taken more than a month of late nights and gentle persuasion to convince Derek to meet him for the first time two weeks ago. It had been worth it.

In his time chasing down these unlikely stories, Jet had encountered more than his fair share of crackpot conspiracy theorists. From 9-11 truthers, to flat-earthers, to anti-vaxxers, to climate change and moon landing deniers, Jet had seen them all. All of them had had the same manic look in their eyes, along with an air of haughty superiority for having "figured out" the "truth."

Derek had been different. It had come across in Jet’s text chats with Derek online. He was polite, well-spoken, and concise. He was straight to the point, never slipping into a tangent like the others.

When Derek had finally agreed to meet Jet, Jet had expected a well-dressed, prim and proper young man to walk in through the coffee shop doors. At the risk of sounding somewhat prejudiced, he was much surprised when a strapping young fellow who looked like he was fresh out of the gym sat down at his table and introduced himself as "Derek."

Jet had swallowed his initial disbelief and immediately set about trying to get his source as comfortable to speak as possible. He even offered to pay for anything that Derek wanted from the shop, an offer that was graciously denied.

After a few minutes of small talk, Jet finally got Derek to open up about his story. Much of the initial details were just rehashed from their online conversations, but Jet got a lot more context out of Derek’s body language that he’d been missing from the pure text of their previous exchanges. Face to face, Derek also talked about parts of the story that he had never mentioned in the chatroom.

Jet looked out the window, searching the steady stream of people passing by the front of the coffee shop for Derek’s face as he reminisced about his and Derek’s conversation.

From what Jet understood, Derek had been a recent biochem graduate looking for a summer internship before starting his Masters’ program when he first came across Hierarch Industries. That Derek had "come across" Hierarch Industries somewhat dated the whole thing because Hierarch Industries exploded into the public sphere some three years past.

Derek had accepted the offer and started work immediately. Derek had expected to be assigned certain menial tasks and essentially serve as a secretary when he first went into work for Hierarch Industries, as movies had taught him to expect from internships, but had been pleasantly surprised at being treated like a professional.

According to Derek, even at the time, Hierarch Industries had had a very large and well-funded biochem division in its R&D department. Derek had been too excited about the opportunity to learn directly from experts in his field to have too many misgivings about the strange company culture that he saw in his time at Hierarch Industries.

Jet scanned the people passing outside yet again. There was still no sign of Derek. He refused to entertain the thought that anything untoward had happened to the guy. It wasn’t unthinkable that a company as big as Hierarch Industries had "fixers," but he’d been so careful.

With a glance at his watch, Jet pulled up the encrypted file that held his notes from the first conversation. He provided his password and typed in the key, a passage from one of his favorite books.

Though he only faintly recalled it, Jet’s notes relayed that despite being just an intern, Derek had been called in to work on a few major projects at Hierarch Industries. Most were drugs and products in the early stages of development that were supposed to improve male quality of life, but there was one in particular, toward the end of Derek’s time at Hierarch Industries, that had always bugged Derek.

Frankly, after Derek explained what he’d been researching for that project, it had started bugging Jet, too. It seemed innocuous enough on the surface: a method of efficiently dispersing a substance through a natural water supply like a river, a spring, or a lake, in such a manner that it would end up in the majority of homes connected to that water supply with minimal environmental impact.

Derek had been told that the research was for a government contract to find a way to better distribute fluorine and chlorine without disrupting local ecosystems, but that explanation had never sat well with him. Nor did it sit well with Jet. Now Hierarch Industries had its fingers in a lot of pies, the government’s included, but years ago was suspicious.

"Hey," said a voice, from over Jet’s left shoulder. He nearly jumped out of his seat as he looked at the person who had interrupted him. It was Derek.

"Oh, thank god it’s just you," said Jet, letting out a nervous laugh as Derek sat down opposite him. "What took you so long?" he said.

"Sorry," said Derek, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. Something was different about him, but Jet couldn’t quite put a finger on it. "I got up early and thought I’d sneak a workout in before meeting you. I ended up losing track of time."

Jet chuckled. "It’s okay," he said, shutting the lid of his laptop. He dug around in his bag and pulled out a pen and paper. He always hand-wrote his notes before transcribing them. "Did you bring the stuff?"

"You bet," said Derek, reaching into his gym bag to retrieve a large manila envelope that he handed across the table to Jet. "These are copies of everything I have on Camp Sherwood…"

"Copies?" said Jet, tapping his fingers on the envelope. It was densely packed. There had to be a lot inside. He wasn’t sure what information, if anything, he could use, but he didn’t dare open it in such a public place.

"Of course," said Derek. He seemed almost apologetic. "I can’t just go around handing the originals to everyone. I need them to prove my credibility once this goes to the press. I hope you can understand."

Jet shrugged. He would have loved to get his hands on the originals, but Derek had a point. As it was he was just looking to get the information for now, anyway. He could see about getting access to the originals at some other time. "Was there anything else that you wanted to tell me about your story?" said Jet.

Derek folded his arms over his chest and pursed his lips. As he was deep in thought, Jet took a good long look at his source. He could have sworn that Derek was smaller the last time they met. He certainly didn’t have biceps that bulged so much.

"Not really," said Derek. He shook his head. "I think I told you pretty much everything already. I wish I had more, but as you can probably imagine, it’s been getting harder and harder to find any information on this stuff. Hierarch Industries was never the most transparent company in the first place. Sorry."

"That’s fine. I understand completely. I was just checking, you know?" said Jet. He held up his hands to show that he meant nothing by it. "Journalists can never be too sure. Even the smallest details could prove critical to a story."

"Fair point," Derek relented. "How about… if I remember anything else, I’ll make sure to send you a message? Does that work?"

"That would be great," said Jet. He tucked the manila envelope away in his bag and stowed his pen and paper as well. When he looked back up, Derek was getting up out of his seat. "Oh, are you going already?" he said.

"Sorry," said Derek, clapping a hand on Jet’s shoulder as he walked past. "I have an interview for work later today. Should pay a lot better than the job I’m at right now. You know where to find me if you need anything else, though!"

"Oh, no problem," said Jet. He patted the back of Derek’s hand before the other man let go of his shoulder. "Thanks again for the information. I’ll try and get some of my contacts on this story. And good luck at your interview!"

Jet watched Derek’s retreating back as Derek waved goodbye over his shoulder. It was probably about time for him to leave, too. He didn’t want to spend longer in the coffee shop than he had to. He wanted to get somewhere private as soon as possible to read the contents of the envelope that Derek had just handed him.

As he slung his laptop bag over his shoulder, it occurred to Jet that he had never asked Derek what company he was interviewing for. Not that it mattered, but he was genuinely curious. In any case, it seemed as though Derek had picked up a lot more confidence compared to the last time they met. Jet was sure Derek would nail the interview.

"Thanks again for agreeing to put me up for a little bit," said Jet, as he nursed the cup of coffee in front of him. It had been served black, not quite the way that he liked it, but he didn’t want to appear ungrateful.

Jet looked out the kitchen window of the little log cabin. It was dark out, already, and the night sky was beautiful. It was far and away more inspiring than he could have ever imagined, having lived in a city all his life. "I honestly don’t know what I would have done if you guys hadn’t showed up to help with the jeep," he said. "I hope I’m not imposing…"

"No, not at all," said Greg. "We’re only too happy to help." Greg was a handsome man, with sharp blue eyes, a broad, muscular body, and a well-trimmed beard. He was Jet’s host for however long it took to get the wheels of his jeep replaced, which Jet imagined should be enough time to dig around the place.

"We don’t really get many visitors up here," said Greg. Jet wasn’t surprised, there. He imagined only lost tourists — like he was pretending to be — and people who knew about the true purpose of Camp Sherwood ever happened upon the little hamlet in the mountains. "We like to think that we’re a hospitable bunch up here, though. There’s no way we can honesty say that if we just ignore people in need."

Jet smiled. Even though he was here on a mission, he definitely appreciated the hospitality. He expected a little bit more outright hostility, if he was being honest, given the amount of secrecy that surrounded Camp Sherwood. "What is this place, anyway?" he said. "We’re still in the park, aren’t we?"

"Yes, sir," said Greg, with a grin. He leaned back to drape an arm over the back of his chair. "You’re probably wondering if we’re even legal. Long story short is technically not but we have an agreement with the local government that as long as we take care of our trash and don’t bother anyone, we’re okay."

"Ah, I see," said Jet. Mentally, he was already noting that the local government appeared to be complicit in whatever Hierarch Industries was up to. It wasn’t too much of a stretch. He had already suspected it. An operation of this size wasn’t possible without government turning a blind eye, and he was more than familiar with the ways that government could be compromised.

Jet picked up the coffee cup and took a sip. It was more bitter and astringent than he was used to. It made his tongue tingle, but he swallowed it down, not wanting to appear rude in front of his host. "Aren’t you afraid they might change their mind and force you out, one day?" he said.

"It’s a concern." said Greg. He had a thoughtful look on his face as he pursed his lips. "But meh… Living off the grid is hard enough already. Us guys can’t really spend too much time worrying about a hypothetical eviction when there’s no reason to believe that the government would just suddenly change their mind."

Jet lowered his cup to the table. "I suppose you’re right," he said. Greg looked at him. The night was quiet save for the rustle of leaves outside.

Greg looked out the window. The light from the gas lights that lit the little hamlet’s streets didn’t reach all the way to the trees, but even Jet could see the shine of an occasional pair of eyes glancing toward the cabins. "None of us guys would rat out the others, you know?" said Greg.

Greg turned to Jet, wearing an inscrutable expression. "So there’s no danger there. We’ve got a good relationship with the rangers, too. It’s other people we’re not so sure about."

That was more like what Jet expected. Suspicion. Distrust of outsiders. But even then, Greg wasn’t being hostile, just wary. "It might be a bit idealistic," Greg mused, a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips, "but I would like to think that people we help will be honorable enough to not betray us in exchange for our hospitality."

The message wasn’t lost on Jet. It wasn’t a threat, but it was certainly manipulative. "Oh, I don’t think you have to worry about that, at all," said Jet. "I’m sure the people you help will be grateful. I sure am," he lied.

The hospitality was a sham to begin with. It was true that the jeep’s wheels had been stolen while Jet was on a hike, but the crime was premeditated. The wheels were safe with one of Jet’s friends. The entire thing had been a set-up to see if Jet could get into the village without arousing suspicion.

"Good to know you think so, Mr. Mason," said Greg, reaching across the table with his hand.

Jet smiled and clasped Greg’s hand. "Please," he said. "Call me Jet."

Greg chuckled. "Alright, then, Jet. Make yourself at home. If you want to explore, feel free. Just don’t go out into the woods without company. I’m going to go see what I can scrounge up to sleep on. You’re taking the bed."

"Oh, but I can’t—" Jet started.

"Nonsense," said Greg. "I’m not going to have a guest sleep on the floor. It’s just a few days, Jet. I’ve been through worse. Take the bed. I insist."

"Alright," said Jet, relenting as Greg left the kitchen. It wasn’t like he was in a place to argue. Not only was he supposed to be in the debt of the men of Camp Sherwood, he also didn’t think he could take Greg in a fight if he ended up antagonizing the big man.

In fact, Jet was pretty sure that any of the men who lived at Camp Sherwood could pick him up off his feet and crack him in half like a glowstick without much effort.

Jet glanced outside again. It was tempting to go exploring at this late hour, but he didn’t want to push his luck. It would have to wait.

Jet woke up the next morning in a cold sweat. He was in an unfamiliar room, his lungs filled with air much cleaner than he was accustomed to. It took a moment, but his situation came back to him pretty quickly. Evidence of the vivid, erotic dreams that had dominated his sleep made the blanket sticky around his crotch.

Things could have been worse, Jet mused. He could have been dragged off screaming in the dead of night to be tortured or executed. It had been one of his fears, coming up to the secretive little village, but meeting the men of Sherwood had quickly soothed his nerves.

Although it was certainly too early to tell for sure, Jet didn’t think that Camp Sherwood was a cult. Still, there was time for a darker underbelly, if there actually was one, to show itself. Today, Jet hoped he could get to the bottom of what was going on.

For now, though, the sound and smell of sizzling bacon was enough to make Jet’s stomach rumble. He’d had a wonderful time and a great meal last night, when Greg took him to a small cafeteria in the middle of town. From what Jet could gather, the place also served as a communal dining hall, for a community meal held once a week.

The food last night had been far from gourmet, but it had been great. As large a dinner as Jet had had last night, though, he somehow still felt famished. His stomach rumbling a second time was enough of an excuse to get him up and out of bed.

Jet stepped out of his boxer briefs. He didn’t exactly want to sit at the breakfast table with a sticky wet spot in his underwear. Unfortunately it seemed that he’d forgotten his bags in the jeep, so for the moment he would have to go commando. He didn’t think Greg would mind, though.

Come to think of it, Jet didn’t remember going to bed in his briefs last night. Much of what happened after dinner was a bit fuzzy in his head.

Jet remembered the conversation with Greg. He also remembered that it had been over coffee. At a late hour. It didn’t make much sense, but he couldn’t remember why he’d agreed to the coffee in the first place. He did recall that it didn’t keep him up. He distinctly remembered passing out almost as soon as his body hit the bed.

As he made his way down the stairs, Jet picked up on the faintly bitter aroma of coffee. He shivered, his entire body perking up from the hit of alertness that the mere scent gave him.

"Morning, Jet," said Greg, as Jet walked into the kitchen.

Jet’s eyes nearly popped out of his head at the sight of his host. Greg was wearing nothing but an apron and a crimson red jockstrap that framed his muscular ass. "I hope you don’t mind," said Greg. "I don’t usually get dressed until it’s time to go out for the day. It’s just more comfortable like this."

Jet swallowed the lump in his throat. He unsteadily made his way to the table, his stiffening in his pants. He couldn’t help but stare at Greg’s meaty cheeks, his bulging thighs, and the corded, muscular back.

Greg’s muscles seemed to ripple with every movement and Jet’s little soldier certainly appreciated the sight. "Oh, no," said Jet. "I wouldn’t dream of making you uncomfortable in your own home. Please don’t stop on my account." Not that Jet would have wanted Greg to stop being practically naked on anyone’s account.

"Alright, then," said Greg, half-turning toward Jet. As he did, Jet caught a glimpse of the print on Greg’s apron: an adorable cartoon bear with the words "Daddy" and "Bear" printed at the top and at the bottom respectively. "Why don’t you go get yourself some coffee. It should be about ready, and I’m almost done with the bacon, too."

Jet chuckled to himself. He wouldn’t exactly call Greg a bear. He didn’t think Greg was quite hairy enough. Not that he minded. He did prefer his men smooth. A little peach fuzz never hurt anyone, but anything more than that just wasn’t too appealing.

Jet got up from his seat and walked over to join Greg by the stovetop. He reached up to the cabinets above the counter, faintly recalling where Greg had fetched mugs from last night. He set a mug beside Greg and took another aside for himself.

The coffee percolator was a bit hot to the touch when Jet reached over for it, but it wasn’t too bad. He pulled it off the heat and set it down on the counter for a moment before pouring Greg a nice mug of hot coffee. "Thanks," said Greg, letting go of the handle of his frying pan to take a swig of the coffee.

"No problem," said Jet, pouring himself another mug of coffee. Having it black was starting to grow on him, but the astringency was a bit hard to get over.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jet noticed that Greg had four large chicken eggs in a bowl set aside. "Are you going to cook those in bacon grease?" he said, not quite sure how to feel about the whole idea.

Greg grinned. "Of course," he said. "Bacon’s a special treat for us guys up here in the mountains. Gotta make the best use of it. But if you’d rather I cooked yours separately, that’s fine, too. I know how you city boys like to keep healthy these days."

Jet’s face flushed pink. He took a sip of coffee, hoping the steam would hide the redness of his cheeks. It was true that for his diet’s sake he would have preferred eggs without the bacon fat, but if he was being honest, it just sounded and smelled so good that he couldn’t resist. "God, it feels like such a sin, but you know what? Go for it. Indulging a little here won’t kill me."

Greg laughed. It was a loud, boisterous sound that brought a smile to Jet’s face. "That’s the spirit!" said Greg. Just like that, less than five minutes later, breakfast was served.

"You look hungry," said Greg, with a chuckle, after Jet wolfed down the bacon and scrambled eggs he’d been apportioned in record time. "Here, have the rest of mine. I’ll just make some more," said Greg.

Jet looked at Greg and blinked. He shouldn’t. He would be a bad guest if he did. But he was hungrier than he was embarrassed. "Are you sure?" he said, hoping that would be enough to satisfy the little disapproving voice in the back of his head.

"I don’t mind," said Greg, with a shrug. "Just means I get to eat more. And besides, bacon fried in bacon grease is just better."

"Okay. If you say so," said Jet, taking the plate that was offered. He tipped the contents into his own and handed the empty plate back to Greg. "Thanks," he said, sheepishly.

"You’re very welcome," said Greg, taking his plate back up to the stove.

As Jet dug in to the new portion, he could hear Greg opening and closing a few things. As he was polishing off the last bits of scrambled egg, he heard the sizzle of bacon hitting a hot pan.

Jet was still hungry, but this time he had had enough food that shame was enough to keep him from asking for more. He looked out the window and sipped on his coffee. It was peaceful, very unlike the hectic urban life. He could appreciate the serene quiet, but only for so long. "What do you guys do all day here?" he said. "No offense, but it didn’t look there was a lot to work on."

"None taken," said Greg. "I guess it’s hard for city boys to imagine, but there’s actually a lot to do when you’re homesteading. We’re not too far from civilization, so if an emergency comes up we’re probably okay. But we want to be as self-sufficient as possible."

Jet glanced at Greg. Greg was in the process of flipping over the strips of bacon. "A couple of the guys head out every day to forage for herbs, berries, and things we could use for medicine," said Greg. "A few go down to the lake and fish. We have a big garden and a couple of animals so those also take up quite a bit of time."

"Me and a few other guys in the village have some background in the trades," said Greg. "So we usually go around making sure that nothing’s broken. When I have nothing else to do, I go help out one of the other teams. It’s tough living, but it’s more than worth it."

"Actually, now that I think about it, we’re supposed to start construction on a few cabins. A couple of friends have decided they’ll be joining us," said Greg.

Jet nodded. Now that Greg spelled it out for him, it made sense. There was actually a strange allure to the simplicity of the lifestyle. It was tempting, but Jet figured that it was just the clean mountain air getting to his head. He didn’t think he’d survive for very long without the internet, or his creature comforts.

Truth was, Jet was hoping that Greg would let something slip about what was really going on in Sherwood. He was disappointed that he got nothing, but he’d expected as much.

Jet didn’t want to fall for the idea that the men of Sherwood were just innocent homesteaders. Derek’s documents had been pretty clear. Project Ophiuchus revolved around Lake Itasca. And he very much doubted that Camp Sherwood would have been financially backed by Hierarch Industries if the small community had nothing to do with the project.

"What do you guys usually do for washing up?" said Jet. He was honestly feeling a little bit gross. He’d gone for a hike yesterday, and hadn’t showered before sleep. That plus the sweat and the cum from his wet dreams meant that he really wanted to wash up. But he had other motives, as well.

"Well, every cabin has an outdoor shower for use in a pinch," said Greg. "But usually around this time of year, the weather’s nice enough that we just go down to the lake and bathe there."

Jet tried to temper his excitement. That was exactly what he’d been hoping for. He wanted to see the lake, though he was a bit suspicious that Greg had proposed going there so casually. "That’s okay. As long as it’s safe," said Jet. Greg nodded. "Then I don’t mind taking a bath in the lake. just feel really sticky and gross right now."

Jet was only a little disappointed when Greg said, "you know what, I think I could use a bath to start off the day, myself. I’m going to go get some soap while you finish up, and then I’ll take you down to the lake." He’d been hoping to get a chance to poke around on his own, but he supposed he should have expected Greg to keep an eye on him.

After all, despite the graciousness and the hospitality, Jet strongly suspected that the men of Camp Sherwood had something to hide. If it had anything to do with the lake, it only made sense that they wouldn’t want him to wander.

"Alright," said Jet. He gulped down the last of his coffee while Greg was out of the room. He had to figure out a way to get down to the lake alone without arousing suspicion. That probably meant that he’d have to earn Greg’s trust, first, though.

Greg returned no more dressed than he had been when Jet first entered the kitchen. In fact, he was even less dressed, because he’d hung up the apron before leaving and had returned with a pair of towels over his shoulder.

"Aren’t you going to get dressed?" said Jet. Not that he was complaining. He very much enjoyed the sight of Greg’s smooth, muscular torso. He was very broad, and in just the right way to make it hot as sin.

"No," said Greg. "It’s just men here. Everyone’s an adult. Besides, we’re going to go take a bath. We’re going to take our clothes off, anyway. Why leave them lying around and risk something getting into them?"

Jet had to admit that there was a whole lot of sense in that argument. "I guess that’s fair," he said. He wasn’t particularly keen on getting naked right then and there, though. He was a city boy, after all, and public nudity wasn’t very acceptable.

"Just leave the plates there," said Greg. "We can take care of them when we get back."

Jet got up from the table and followed Greg out of the door. Now that the sun was out, he got to get a good look at Camp Sherwood. It was actually quite a nice place. It was homey. Comfortable. The men were gorgeous, too, a major distraction that, frankly, Jet didn’t need.

One thing that Jet did notice now that more of the men were up and about compared to last night was that there were more than a few couples walking about. "It’s like a gay man’s paradise up here," he said, absentmindedly, as he watched a guy that could qualify for a bodybuilding competition walk past arm in arm with a cute jockboy type.

"All the guys are gay," said Greg nonchalantly as he walked ahead. "Some of us already had partners when we started out in Camp Sherwood. Some of us found partners when new people joined us. I’m not one of the fortunate ones."

"I’m sure you’ll find your dream man one of these days," said Jet. Hierarch Industries had left out that Camp Sherwood was basically a gay commune, but Jet had suspected as much. Hierarch Industries was notorious for having the highest proportion of homosexual male employees in any industry.

Still, it was nice to have confirmed. And it did provide another way for Jet to gain Greg’s trust. If he couldn’t earn it by being friends with Greg, then maybe he could seduce the big guy. After all, it was probably lonely up here in the mountains without a partner. IF he could get in Greg’s pants, maybe he could get a little bit more freedom to look around.

"Oh, I’m sure I will," said Greg. "It’s not like I’m desperate to be with someone or anything… I’m happy to wait for the right guy to come along. Who knows, maybe he’ll drop out of the sky one of these days?"

Jet chuckled. As they walked the rest of the way down to the lake, he asked Greg a couple of questions about life out in the wild. He was particularly curious about what they did for winters because while he’d seen electrical outlets and lightbulbs, most of the buildings didn’t look like they had power.

In return, Jet told stories about life in the city, and in the outside world in general. From what he understood the men of Camp Sherwood didn’t get much news, which made sense. He talked about the current state of politics, which earned a smug comment from Greg about how much better it was to live out in the wild without having to worry about some corporate fogey trying to take away his rights.

Greg got him there, Jet had to admit. There were nights he spent awake just thinking of how bad things were getting.

Eventually, after a few minutes, the two of them emerged from the trees into the lakeside. It seemed that there were also a few other guys from Sherwood that were bathing but they didn’t bother Greg and Jet.

Greg walked Jet down to the shore. He set down the towels on a big boulder before stripping off his jockstrap and setting it on top of one of the towels. "Come on in," Greg motioned, as he walked into the water.

The words took a moment to register as Jet’s mind had briefly short-circuited at the sight of Greg’s meaty cock swinging free of the jockstrap. It was big. While flaccid, too. He could only imagine how much more massive it would look when fully erect.

Jet felt a little bit envious of Greg’s endowment. He’d always wanted a cock like that. Sure, he had a sizable package of his own, but just seeing Greg’s cock was enough to make him feel a little inadequate.

Swallowing his pride, Jet followed Greg’s example. He stripped off his shirt and set it on the boulder. As he was stepping out of his pants, he saw out of the corner of his eye, a pretty twink with the biggest bubble butt he’d ever seen, take a running jump into the water with a shrill scream of glee.

The twink landed in the arms of a man that Jet would definitely describe as a bear, and the two promptly started making out, half-submerged in the lake water.

Jet’s cock twitched, chubbing up halfway to a full erection before he could get his pants off and on the boulder. Trying his best not to pop a full boner in front of Greg, Jet stepped up to the water’s edge and dipped his toes in. It was cold. Colder than he expected.

But Jet figured it would help him with his erection so he gritted his teeth and walked out into the water toward Greg. He didn’t quite make it there because he was shorter than Greg, and the water was already up to his chin.

The cold water didn’t do as much as Jet had hoped. It was refreshing, sure, but his cock just got harder and harder. Jet dunked his head in the water, hoping that the shock of cold would help, but it didn’t.

When he resurfaced, Jet could feel the skin on his face tingling, particularly around his cheeks, which were hot. And probably red. "When you’re living without judgment from other people after having to put up with that crap for years, you tend to make the most of it," said Greg, as he approached.

Jet followed Greg’s gaze out to the side and watched as the kissing session between the twink and his bear got even hotter. Jet was surprised that the water around them wasn’t steaming.

"They’re not going to…" Jet started, but almost as soon as he spoke the words, the twink squealed in pleasure. The moan sent a flush to Jet’s face. He felt like his cheeks were burning as his cock throbbed and probably leaked pre-cum into the water. Even more so when the twink started moving up and down in the water, clearly getting bounced on the bear’s cock.

Near the twink and the bear, another pair of men had started making out. They slowly approached the shore until one of them was lying on his back, with his feet in the air. The top, a lean, muscular jock-type, plunged his fat cock into the bottom’s eager hole, eliciting yet another moan that made Jet’s blood rush to his face and his cock.

Looking over to his side, Jet noticed that Greg’s arm was moving in a very distinctive way. Just under the surface of the lake, he could see the distorted image of Greg’s hand moving up and down the length of his enormous cock. "A-Are you?!" said Jet, scandalized.

"Jerking off? Yeah. It’s hot," said Greg, with a grin. "It’s just natural. Just us guys out here. No one will judge you. Do it if you want to. Or if you need to, even."

Aw. What the hell, Jet told himself. He had gone down to the lake to investigate, but Greg was right. The scene unfolding in front of him was too hot. He was too horny. With only half-hearted reluctance, Jet grabbed his cock and started stroking.

The cold water made things interesting for sure. Before long, Jet was thrusting his cock into the ring of his fingers, stroking and squeezing down his length at the same time. Beside him, Greg threw his head back and grunted. With a brief glance down, Jet watched the thick ropes of cum shoot out of the tip of Greg’s fat pole.

It was too hot. Jet’s entire body went rigid as he hit the edge and went right over it. He moaned, his eyes nearly rolling back into his head as his cock pulsed and throbbed, shooting a copious amount of cum into the water.

Jet wiped the sweat from his brow. It was around three in the afternoon, according to Dominic. Jet had started to learn some of the other Sherwood guys’ names, particularly the ones that were tending to the garden, where he’d volunteered his time.

After his orgasm earlier down by the lake, Greg had offered to wash Jet’s back. He’d accepted. And he’d returned the favor, washing Greg’s corded, firm, muscular back. It had left him in such a state of arousal that he didn’t want to embarrass himself by asking to follow Greg around as he went from cabin to cabin, checking on things.

Dominic, Luke, and Ian, the guys tending the sweet potato crop, decided to take Jet under their wing. He’d been helping them ever since. It wasn’t particularly complex work, but it was hard work. Least of all because Dominic, Luke, and Ian were all very attractive guys.

In the hours since starting, the four of them had managed to plant about five rows of sweet potato that, from what Jet understood, would help feed the commune for a decent while. As much work as there was left to do, though, Jet felt like he had already hit his limit.

Luke had left a little while ago to get some refreshments. Jet could really use some of those right now. Just when he thought he could take no more, Jet spotted Luke coming down the path to the garden, a couple of metal cups and a pitcher of ice water in hand.

Any semblance of decorum or dignity went right out the window as Jet gulped down the water that Luke poured for him. Ice-cold liquid trickled from the corners of his mouth, down his chest, soaking into his shirt.

The water tingled on the way down Jet’s throat, but he didn’t mind so much. If anything, it just made the drink all the more refreshing. He finished the last drop with a gasp and took a deep breath, the air flooding into his lungs cooled by the water he’d just drunk.

Jet tugged at the collar of his shirt. Almost the entire damn thing was soaked through with sweat. Glugging down the water hadn’t helped the situation. "You don’t look very comfortable in that," said Ian. "Why don’t you join us and take it off? Just us guys out here. No one will judge you."

Ian had a point. No one would judge. And besides, clinging to city-boy modesty wouldn’t endear Jet to the Sherwood men. He reached up for the collar of his shirt. He hesitated. Something struck him as odd about what Ian had just said, but he couldn’t put a finger on it.

"Go on," said Dominic.

"Right," said Jet. He set the thought aside. He could think about it later. He grabbed the collar of his shirt and in one smooth motion slid it off. Peeled it off was probably a more apt way to describe it as the sweat and water adhered the fibres to his skin.

Luke whistled. "Manual labor looks good on you, Jet," Luke said, as Jet let the shirt fall to the ground beside him.

"What do you mean?" said Jet, moving his hands down the front of his body to wipe the sweat off his torso. In so doing, his fingers brushed against his nipples, sending a shiver of pleasure up his spine.

Jet bit back the moan that threatened to slip out. He wasn’t supposed to be this sensitive. His nipples had never been particularly erogenous zones for him. But he figured the wet shirt rubbing up against them must have had some effect.

The wet shirt hypothesis, however, failed to explain the increased definition of Jet’s chest and stomach. It was subtle, but for someone that had worked hard to get where he was, the difference was very visible. "Wow…" he breathed. "There must be something in the… water…"

Jet trailed off. He had come to Sherwood to investigate something to do with the water. With the lake, in particular. He was sure that he had just come to an important realization but for whatever reason he couldn’t figure out why it was important.

"Are you okay?" said Dominic. "Do you maybe want to get out of the sun for a bit, Jet? There’s a little bit more work to do, but the three of us could probably handle it if you need to go rest. You’re a guest. You shouldn’t be pushing yourself."

Jet shook his head. Something was up. His "spidey-senses" were tingling. The problem was that he couldn’t figure it out. It was on the tip of his tongue but he just couldn’t quite get there. "No, it’s okay. You guys are helping me out. It’s the least I can do," he said, bending down to pick up the trowel that he’d set down when Luke had arrived with the drinks.

After working a few more hours with the sun bearing down on his back, Jet was grateful when the boys called it quits for the day. They’d bonded somewhat while they plugged away at the garden, planting crops and tending to the ones that were already there.

Jet, along with Luke and Ian, spent a half hour after work at Dominic’s cabin. It was the closest one to the garden and therefore the most convenient place to take a breather. They mostly just talked about the differences between people out here in the wilderness and people in the city.

By the end of the conversation, Jet was feeling rather dour. It was pleasant to know how cooperative and gracious people were out here in Sherwood, but it cast a rather unfavorable, even if honest, light on the people that Jet spent most of his time around.

Once he’d caught his breath, Jet excused himself from the premises. He made his way down to the town mechanic. He at least remembered how to get there. "How is she doing?" he said. The wheels hadn’t been replaced yet, and the front of the jeep was propped up on a pair of jacks.

"He’s doing fine, all things considered," said the mechanic, patting the chassis of the vehicle. "Unfortunately none of the wheels we have in stock fit quite right. So I sent my apprentice to town to see if they have any."

"What do you mean all things considered?" said Jet. He was sure that the only problem with the jeep was the fact that the front wheels were missing, but he wasn’t an expert on motor vehicles.

"I decided to give him a look over once I figured out that none of the tires would work," said the mechanic. "There’s a few things that aren’t too bad but are bound to cause trouble if they don’t get fixed… I’ll leave it to you, but would you want him all fixed up before you go? It would mean staying a few more days."

"Actually, that would be great," said Jet. "I wouldn’t want to risk breaking down before getting back to civilization," he added. It was also quite convenient. He had come to Sherwood to investigate, after all. A few more days would be useful.

"Alright. I’ll get to that tomorrow, then," said the mechanic, dusting off his hands. "I was just finishing up for the day."

"Oh," said Jet. "I hope I’m not keeping you. I just wanted to see if I could get some more of my things out of the jeep."

"Go ahead," said the mechanic. "I’m not in any particular hurry to go anywhere."

"Thanks," said Jet. He walked up to the passenger’s side of the jeep. He opened the door and reached under the seat. He fumbled blindly for the latch of the secret compartment and popped it open.

Jet needed to take a look at the documents that Derek had given him. He knew that something was wrong, that something had happened to him, but he couldn’t figure out what. He figured that the information in the manila envelope would provide at least a useful hint. The only problem was that the envelope was gone.

Jet bit back the curse on his tongue. "Are you looking for something?" said the mechanic. Jet almost jumped, startled.

"Yeah…" said Jet. He figured that telling part of the truth would be better than outright lying. The mechanic was right behind him and had probably already seen the secret compartment. "I had a bunch of important documents stored here and they’re gone."

The mechanic patted Jet on the back. At least he seemed sympathetic. "That sucks," he said. "Maybe the person who took the wheels grabbed the documents out of your jeep, too."

"Yeah…" said Jet, his heart sinking. "That’s probably what happened…"

Jet tossed and turned in bed. His mind was awhirl. Something was happening, something that wasn’t quite right, but he couldn’t figure out what it was. He should have been able to, but it was like there was an invisible wall, keeping him away from the conclusions that he needed to make.

For an hour now, Jet had been awake despite being exhausted from the day’s work. He’d settled into bed ready to pass out, but he just couldn’t fall asleep. He was sweating buckets. He’d already flung the windows into the room wide open, but even the draft from outside didn’t help the heat.

Jet’s shirt was plastered to his chest with sweat, and his pyjamas were starting to do the same, to say nothing of his underwear. He tried to ignore it, but it felt like he was lying in a swamp of his own making.

With a grunt, Jet pulled his shirt off and tossed it halfway across the room. The pyjamas followed. With most of his clothes gone, the heat was a lot more bearable, but now the problem was his underwear, soaked through with sweat.

The thought of going to sleep naked in a stranger’s house mortified Jet’s city-boy sensibilities, but he needed to sleep. If today was anything to go by, he needed every bit of his energy to keep up with the Sherwood men. Especially if he wanted to finally start investigating whatever it was that he was supposed to be investigating — he couldn’t quite remember.

Reluctantly, Jet peeled off his underwear. It was almost instantaneous relief. The cool air wafting between his legs, caressing his cock and balls, sent a shiver of relief down his spine. It didn’t take long after that for him to fall asleep. Finally.

The smell of pancakes lured Jet out of bed the next morning. Something was different about him, but not in a bad way. He felt stronger. Denser. Moving was easier than he remembered. Everything around him was also a tad smaller than he remembered it being. He nearly hit his head on the door jamb when he left the room.

Following his nose, Jet descended the stairs and made his way to the kitchen. Greg was standing by the stove, again wearing just a jockstrap and that apron of his. The jockstrap was a nice blue color today, though. "Glad to see that you’re getting more comfortable in your own skin," said Greg.

Jet sleepily walked over to the stove and pulled two mugs out of Greg’s cabinet. He pulled the percolator off the heat and yawned before pouring himself and Greg their morning drinks. "What do you mean?" he said, after taking a sip of the bitter, tangy, acrid coffee. It was really starting to grow on him despite how aggressive it tasted.

Greg laughed. "Nothing," he said. "I heard from the boys that you took your shirt off while you were working the gardens with them. Looks like you’ve taken that a step further today."

Jet blinked. He didn’t really get it. At least, he didn’t get it until he looked down and saw his naked torso. He stepped back in shock, nearly spilling his mug of coffee. Thankfully he didn’t splash himself with the scalding-hot drink.

"What the fu—" Jet blushed as he backed away from the counter. He set his mug down on the kitchen table and cupped his cock and balls with his hand. "Sorry. I don’t… I didn’t…" Jet felt like his face was going to burst into flame.

"Don’t worry about it," said Greg. "I get it. It feels comfortable to walk around without clothes. It’s natural. You’re discovering that. Isn’t so bad living out in the wilderness, is it?"

Jet let his hand drop away from his crotch. He supposed Greg had a point. It was more comfortable. Besides, it was still quite hot. He was still sweating profusely. Maybe it was better to go without clothes, at least for now.

"Besides," said Greg. "Just us guys out here. No one will judge you." That was another point in favor of going buff. There wouldn’t be any side-eyes or judgmental people around to make Jet feel bad. He could live with it.

"I guess you’re right," said Jet. "You know, honestly, I envy you guys a little bit. I get that life out here can be exhausting, but honestly, it’s not too bad. It’s actually a bit fulfilling."

Despite himself, Jet had felt a true sense of pride and accomplishment looking at the rows of sweet potatoes that he and the guys had planted at the end of yesterday’s work. He’d never really felt anything like that, even when he published articles that got a lot of attention. The satisfaction was just a lot more visceral.

"Yeah, see?" said Greg. "Just relax. Just us guys out here. No one will judge. Feel free to be yourself." Jet sighed. Yeah. He could definitely loosen up a bit. He was here to investigate something, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy himself in the rural lifestyle.

Greg came up behind Jet and set down a plate heaped high with pancakes in front of him. As Greg’s thick forearm placed the plate on the table, Jet sniffed the air. "That smells…" it was a faint zesty, lemony scent. It made his spine tingle. "That smells good… What did you put in these?"

"Trade secret," said Greg, smiling as he took the seat opposite Jet’s. "People will stop coming over for breakfast if I tell you how to make my pancakes and the secret gets out," he added, as he poured syrup over his stack of pancakes.

Jet patiently waited for Greg to pass the syrup, but the pancakes were making his mouth water and his stomach rumble. When the bottle of syrup made a pathetic squeak and spluttered a few last drops over the square of butter on top of Greg’s stack, Jet felt his heart drop.

"Ah, crap," said Greg, tapping the bottom of the bottle. Not much more came out, though. "Give me a second. There’s a special sauce here that I’ve been saving for a special occasion, but I guess the fact that the uptight city-boy has decided to go buff today is reason enough for celebration."

Greg walked over to the pantry and came out with what appeared to be a bottle of milky white sauce. Greg tossed it at Jet, who caught the bottle, much to his own surprise. Jet would have asked what the sauce was, but he was starving.

Jet popped the cap off the bottle and drizzled his pancakes with a generous serving of the thick white sauce. It smelled quite earthy and when he took his first bite of the pancakes, the sauce tasted somewhat salty-sweet. It didn’t quite go nicely with the pancakes, but the taste quickly grew on him.

Jet was also acutely aware of the sauce as it made its way down his throat and into his stomach. It tingled, filling him with a pleasant heat that made his cock chub up against his thigh. His cock actually felt somewhat different. It felt heftier. Meatier. Food, however, was the foremost concern in his mind.

Not even his initial hesitation at the taste of the sauce slowed Jet down. He managed to devour the stack of pancakes in record time. When he was done, he leaned back in his chair, stomach bulging ever so slightly, but still famished.

"Wow, you city-boys sure starve yourselves, don’t you?" said Greg, with a grin, as he retrieved another stack of pancakes from by the stove. "Luckily, I was prepared today."

Jet was at least able to moderate his pace with the second stack of pancakes. "So… What brought you up here these ways, anyway?" said Greg. "I mean, I figure you’re on vacation, but why Itasca?"

Jet chewed his pancake longer than he probably should have. But he used to think of a plausible excuse. To be fair, he didn’t really remember the answer, either, so he couldn’t tell Greg even if he wanted to. "I dunno," he said, "I guess I was looking for something."

"Looking for what?" said Greg.

"I dunno," said Jet, in between mouthfuls of pancake. "I don’t really remember."

"Ah, well, that’s unfortunate," said Greg, reaching across the table to pat Jet on the shoulder. Again, Jet picked up that faint lemony scent. It smelled so good. "I’m sure it will come to you soon enough."

"Ready to go?" said Greg, clasping a hand on Jet’s shoulder. The faint lemony scent filled Jet’s lungs. It was intoxicating. Heavenly. Before he knew it blood was rushing down between his legs. "Looks like he’s definitely ready," said Greg.

"Oh, fuck. Shit. Sorry," said Jet, though he didn’t make much of an effort to hide his erection. Looking down at his cock, it was definitely bigger. In fact, a lot of him seemed to be bigger.

Jet couldn’t quite believe that this was the first time he noticed, but he actually had pecs, now. And his abs were fucking chiseled. His arms and legs were also thicker, stronger. But perhaps the most wonderful change was the big piece of meat hanging between his legs and the pair of balls just under it.

"It’s no big deal," said Greg. He grabbed Jet’s hand and pulled it onto his crotch. "You see a hot guy, you get hard. That’s just natural. Nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just us guys up here. No one will judge."

Jet supposed that was true. These guys had probably seen erect cocks a lot. What was another one? Even if it did belong to a city boy. "You’re right. Sorry. I’m letting my city-boy hangups get to me," he said. "I’m ready. Let’s go."

For a moment after he and Greg stepped out of the cabin, Jet had a flash of self-consciousness. What was he doing going out naked? The doubt quickly went away, though. Jet remembered. It was just them guys up in Sherwood. No one was going to judge him. Besides, he was here to have a little bit of fun before the jeep got fixed and he had to go back to the humdrum city life.

Jet and Greg were standing at the water’s edge, jerking their cocks while they watched a couple going at it by the shore, when Greg turned to Jet and asked, "So, once the jeep gets fixed, what’s your plan? Are you going back to the city?"

A quiet moan slipped out of Jet. It took a moment for Greg’s words to register. The lemony scent had gotten stronger, and it was so easy to lose himself in it. "Uh… I guess," said Jet.

"Do you want to?" said Greg.

"It’s you…" whispered Jet. He sniffed the air. It was Greg. Greg smelled so good. "Um… It’s just us guys out here, right?" said Jet. Greg nodded. Of course, that was a given. "And no one will judge me?"

"Of course not," said Greg.

Jet let go of his cock and grabbed the sides of Greg’s face. He smashed their lips together and moaned, his cock pulsing, throbbing, and leaking as it rubbed against Greg’s. After a few seconds, he pulled away. He looked Greg in the eyes. "God, no," he whispered.

Greg reached up and stroked the side of Jet’s face. "Good," he said. "You’re one of us now. This is where you belong. With us. With me. With your Alpha."

Jet gasped as he felt Greg’s palms cup his ass. "Is that what you are?" he breathed, leaning in, drinking deep of Greg’s intoxicating scent. "My Alpha?"

"Now and forever," whispered Greg, nibbling on the lobe of Jet’s ear. "Tell me, city-boy, where do you belong?"

Jet shivered. "Here, Alpha," he said. "With you."

Greg smiled. He grabbed Jet’s wrist and led him to the water. "Come city-boy," he said. "Get that fat dick in Alpha’s ass."

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