Sergeant Wilkes and Murphy are stationed together on an alien planet. They have been stationed there for years longer than originally planned fighting an endless war. With limited supplies that diminish each day, they continue on, waiting to be called back from the unbearable heat of their isolated outpost.
Sarge is a life long military man. He takes charge, gets the job done, and has no time for emotions to get in the way. When Sarge is injured in battle, he sees Murphy in a whole new light. Murphy, who is a big guy, 6’8”, and all muscle. Murphy, who because he’s quiet and not good with words, people think he’s not that bright. They’re wrong. Murphy, whose size makes people think he is sexually dominant. Wrong again. The men embark on the beginnings of a D/s relationship that fulfills Sarge’s physical needs, but Murphy is loyal, special, and may just have gotten to Sarge a bit more than Sarge wants to realize.
This story opens with Murphy having a surreal moment. While attending to Sarge’s injuries in the middle of battle, Sarge is really taking notice of him. The idea of Sarge hitting on him in any scenario is incredible to Murphy. The two embark on a relationship that at first is about physical release within the confines of Murphy perfectly submitting to Sarge.
While in a futuristic setting complete with a visual of the world they are in, there is an almost equal balance of character development interwoven throughout the story where one would not work without the other. Deckard weaves a theme through his books of the men who long to be told they are good boys, and their counterpoints, the men who want to love them back even when they can’t or won’t admit it to themselves. The author is able to subtlety expose and peel back the intimate layers of these men. This elevates the book from a simple story to a uniquely crafted character exploration, even when all of their secrets are not offered.
Deckard is then able to take a primal sexual encounter between tough men and add a touch of poetic quality to it. He takes us to a place where words are not needed to express Sarge and Murphy’s feelings because touch is available. The addition of futuristic relays that can intimately connect the men and expose their emotions in full living color adds a unique flair to the entire encounter. As I was reading this story, I was thinking that a writer has so many words to choose from and Deckard picks the exact, precise word, each time, every time, chapter after chapter, book after book. It’s quite remarkable.
Sarge is a shorter sci-fi story and is not trying to be a full length novel. We do not get all the details of the war, what year it is, how the men came to be on another planet, or much about the alien enemy. We get just enough of Sarge and Murphy coming together, just enough of the conditions they are up against, just enough of the enhancements available to them, and just enough to have us anticipating the next installment. Of course the author said it best when he described the story overall, “When you get down to it, it’s a sweet love story.”