Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13 , 14 & 15
It was only a few minutes after 6.00 a.m. when the three brothers and Vidal stepped on board the Montrose. She was a sleek modern ten-berth vessel, built for the comfort of passengers and a far cry from any other boat that Vidal had been on since he had arrived here in the Islands.
As they were picking up such a small party, Jason and Vidal were told to commandeer whichever empty cabins they liked for the duration of the trip. Jason immediately went to lie down and try to catch up on the beauty sleep that he had missed out on the night before, and Vidal sat down on a lounger on the main deck, facing the Sun.
He had offered his help to the two brothers, but they had refused, insisting that they would ask him, should his assistance be required.
The five passengers were waiting at the quayside on the mainland, when the Montrose docked an hour or so later.
The three men were carrying a large amount of baggage that Vidal guessed were mainly cameras and other equipment ancillary to their profession. The Devere brothers introduced both themselves and Vidal, before all the guests disappeared in the direction of their cabins.
The two youngest men Tom and Andy were the first to come back up on deck, setting up various pieces of apparatus at the rear of the boat, and the Sime could only guess at the function of some of it. Both men had donated recently, but from the fields that swirled around them, it was obvious that they were very close. At first Vidal had wondered if they were brothers or cousins, but as he studied their body language, it was clear that they were a couple.
A whispered argument drew his attention, and the other male who had been introduced as Oscar, stepped out into the bright Sunlight followed by Dorothy a brunette, who was his wife. She had giggled inanely, as she had invited Vidal to call her Dot. They were both well over thirty, and continued to argue as they approached the two younger men. The Sime guessed that they had donated perhaps a fortnight ago. All four were general class donors, and should pose no problem as far as his own comfort was concerned.
The fifth member of the group, a honey blonde female in her mid to late twenties who went under the name of Shay, was still down in her cabin, and seemed in no great hurry to join the rest of her party. Vidal sighed out loud, one look at the shapely blonde had warned him that she was trouble, at least as far as his partner was concerned. He knew his Gen well enough by now to know his partner’s taste in women.
Unfortunately, if he had read Shay’s field correctly, and he had no reason to doubt that he had not. The moment she had set eyes on Vidal, startlement and sexual interest, had immediately burst forth in her nager. He was perhaps equally surprised to realise, that under other circumstances, he might very well have reciprocated her feelings. Shen it, this they could both do without!
Without any effort on his part, Vidal easily zlinned her approach as she left her cabin. Her field, although it would be completely overwhelmed by Jason’s of course, was surprisingly strong for a general class donor, he had felt it, as soon as they met. He had also guessed that she would have to donate again within the next week.
When Shay appeared on deck, they were all surprised to see that she had changed into a figure hugging white swimsuit that went well with both her long blonde hair, and her honey coloured tan.
‘I thought we were here to work Sha’,’ the brunette called across. ‘I didn’t realise we were combining business with pleasure.’
‘Shay, if you don’t mind Dot. Unlike you I hate to have my name shortened, you know that. And I fully intend to do my share of the work as you very well know, but I can see no reason not to be comfortable whilst doing it. Besides, it’s a warm day - isn’t it?’ She smiled at Vidal out of sapphire blue eye as she moved to face him, standing with her back pressed against the side of the boat, and holding on to the handrail with both hands. A stance that pushed her breasts forward invitingly. A more blatant invitation the Channel had yet to receive.
‘Hello everyone, sorry I wasn’t here to meet you, I’ve been catching up on my beauty sleep.’ Jason’s voice carried to them all, and even Vidal was surprised at his partner’s sudden appearance on deck. He had been so engrossed in studying Shay, that he had genuinely not zlinned his partner’s approach. Such a thing had never happened to him before, and in some ways, it was a very frightening experience. Because Jason, although they had only had transfer the day before they had traveled to Dunedin, was always fairly high field, especially when compared with general class donors.
Introductions over, Jason moved to sit down beside his partner. ‘Are you impressed?’
‘Pardon?’ Vidal stared at him in confusion. Was he referring to Shay?
‘I was practising that new exercise you taught me - trying to mask my field completely for a short while. From the look on your face I think I was successful. Am I correct?’
‘Yes, most definitely, and I am indeed - impressed.’
‘Good.’ Jason grinned at his friend, and then changed the conversation completely. ‘Now tell me. I know Oscar and Dorothy are together, but is Shay with Tom or Andy over there?’
‘To be honest, I doubt either of them have any sexual interest in her at all. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, that if they weren’t more than interested in each other, then they’d be more than interested in you or I.’ The Sime informed him with a brief smile.
‘You think so? Well, the Gods are certainly smiling down on me today. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I saw that vision standing there.’ Jason replied, without taking his eyes off the object of their conversation. ‘Thank God you prefer your women to be Sime rather than Gen.’
The Channel did not reply as he watched James wheel a trolley full of drinks onto the deck, and left them all to help themselves, winking at his brother and Vidal as he disappeared once more below deck.
Jason moved to dispense the drinks, and having done so, placed himself next to Shay. To Vidal’s chagrin she appeared to be just as interested in his partner, as she was in himself. Had he perhaps misread the signals she had been sending out? It was quite possible, but somehow he doubted it.
Of course the problem was, that Vidal had never had to put himself out over a woman in his life. In fact, they usually made all the moves towards him! Therefore he had never had to compete, and would have laughed if anyone were to suggest that he should.
In all honesty, he didn’t feel that he was being arrogant in making this assertion. It was just the way that things had always been - as simple and uncomplicated as that. However, now that he was suddenly interested in one particular female, and was not even sure if she reciprocated his feelings - well, it was a little disconcerting to say the least.
Vidal had been born into one of the most socially acceptable Sime families on Earth. A family whose wealth came from old money and was immense, and whose influence was global. They had at least a dozen family homes scattered around the world, one of which was situated along Ice Bay, an area that boasted some of the most exclusive waterfront properties in the whole of Capital City.
He had been educated in the best schools, rubbed shoulders with the elite, and had grown into the handsome sophisticated man that he was today. And during the whole of his undoubtedly privileged life, he had never had to do more than raise a tentacle to get anything that he chose, up to and including, women.
If asked, he would deny unequivocally that he had been spoilt by his upbringing, but the facts indisputably spoke for themselves. However, unlike his father, he was not a snob in any sense of the word, but he was one of those truly lucky people who could feel totally at ease in whatever company he might find himself, and had the ability to make most people feel at ease with him.
Vidal of course was well aware that Jason had no real idea at all of his background, or how vast was his own personal fortune, not even counting his family’s wealth. He had always kept his personal life private, ever since he had come to understand during his formative years and early twenties, that both position and money were a powerful aphrodisiac to some men… and women. Many of whom, like Controller Putting, would try to use him to further their own aspirations.
One day he would take Jason to meet his family, but before that, he would have to tell his partner everything there was to know about his background.
Vidal sighed and sipped at the ice cold fruit drink Jason had handed to him, and watched his companion flirting openly with Shay.
‘Ladies and Gentlemen.’ Niall’s voice drew their attention. ‘The land coming up on the port side of the boat is Tay Island. We shall be staying on Tay tonight, and we will, if you wish, circumnavigate the island tomorrow.
‘Therefore we’re taking you around Rockall, known locally as Spooky Island, today. If you look towards starboard you will see it coming up on the horizon now. As you are probably aware there is an isolation clinic on the island, which means that we are not allowed to go too near. In actual fact there is an exclusion zone around the island, and the red buoys you can see in the water at regular intervals mark the boundary. There is not a great deal to see because of the high privacy wall that is built around the perimeter of the island. But if you look at the rocks jutting out of the waves at the far side as we go around, you will see a large colony of sea lions. These creatures, over the years, have apparently found a safe route underneath the level 10 exclusion field, that the authorities have set up.’
‘A level 10 exclusion field did you say? Isn’t that going over the top, for a remote place like this?’ Oscar called out.
Niall grinned, ‘couldn’t agree more. Most of the folks who live on the other islands reckon the authorities have got far more to hide than a few people with pimples or colds.’
‘Indeed? Does anyone know what exactly?’
Niall shook his head. ‘Sorry Oscar, I haven’t got a clue. Everything has been suggested of course, you can take your pick from vampires zombies and ghosts to a place to store secret weapons or detain alien prisoners. Some people have even suggested that it’s really used for black magic ceremonies or orgies!’ They all laughed, and began making ridiculous suggestions of their own.
‘Then again, I suppose it could be used as a Pen.’ Shay said musingly, and glanced at the Channel. ‘Sorry, I don’t mean anything personal by that, but I saw a programme a short while back about secret Sime Pens.’
Jason laughed out loud. ‘Everyone appears to have seen that documentary, except Vidal and I!’
‘A Pen did you say? Now that’s not been suggested before.’ Niall replied, as all the passengers crowded against the side of the boat to stare at the object of their discussion, and Oscar leveled a powerful telescope at the island.
Vidal stared at the blonde, trying to sort her nager out from amongst all the others, to enable him to read her field. But with all five of them standing together, including Jason and Niall. He gave up, for they were now discussing something else. Was it simply a coincidence that she had chosen to suggest that Rockall might be used as a Pen, or was there something more sinister behind the remark? He really didn’t know.
Perhaps if he talked to her in private, he might find out more. Jason of course would not like it if he monopolised her time, but if he deemed it necessary to do so, simply as a means to an end, Jason would have to accept…and who the shen did he think he was fooling? It seemed he was prepared to grab at any excuse to spend time with this woman. Had he really got it that bad?
Vidal knew it was not an "imprintation" or anything like that, thank the Gods! No, it was just simple infatuation, together with a touch of old-fashioned lust! Nothing more and nothing less, but for all that, just as difficult to live with.
Standing up Vidal moved further down the deck to stare at the small land mass now clearly visible to the human eye. It looked barren, and not very awe-inspiring. The high walls gave it more the look of a prison than anything else. Which of course, in a way, it was.
His eyes moved upward to the Tecton medical flag that flew over the top of the facility. For a brief moment it had reminded the Channel of what a few centuries ago, the pennants fluttering outside the Pens must have meant to humanity. To the Sime it was salvation - life! Whilst to the Gen - Lasciate Ogni Speranza Voi Ch’entrate! Abandon all hope, you who enter! Said to be the inscription at the entrance to Hell itself! He closed his eyes momentarily to try and push the unpalatable thought to one side. Surely the world had moved on beyond such things? Sadly, for some it seemed, it had not.
‘You don’t look very happy Vidal. If it was my crass remark about Pens? Then I’m sorry.’ Shay’s husky voice broke into his reverie, even the sound giving him goose bumps.
He turned slowly and smiled into her lovely sapphire eyes as he shook his head. ‘No, it’s nothing like that I assure you.’ He rejected the suggestion at once, and was relieved that there was no other Sime on board, who could read the lie in his field.
Glancing over her shoulder towards the other passengers, he noticed that the three other men in Shay’s group were all pointing various pieces of equipment towards Rockall. He also noticed that Jason had been trapped into conversation by Dot, and he could feel his partner’s frustration from here.
‘What are they doing?’ He asked, as one eyebrow lifted in query.
Shay turned to follow his gaze. ‘Oh, I thought you knew. We’re here to do some ground work for a holoplay our company is working on. We hope to start filming next spring. We shall be looking at all the islands.’
‘It seems a little superfluous to bother with Rockall, since you’ll never get permission to go there to film.’ He pointed out logically.
She chuckled softly. ‘It’s obvious you’re not in the business Vidal. Spooky island - Rockall - is just the type of place we’re looking for. It’s atmospheric! However, we don’t need to go there, although it would be fantastic if we could. Since we can’t, we can still use it for the long distance views of the island, and then either find a suitable location on another nearby island for the other internal shots, or perhaps even build what we require.’
‘It sounds an expensive option. I take it you’ve already got your backers?’
‘Of course. Ah I see we’re eating al fresco today,’ and she pointed towards the trolleys loaded with food that James had wheeled out onto the upper deck. ‘Shall we join the others. I don’t know about you, but I’m starving, I had no time to eat breakfast.’
Vidal heard the anchor being lowered, and the engines soon fell silent, save for the occasional swish as a wave broke against the smooth sides of the vessel.
Shay touched his hand as they walked side by side down towards the steps that lead to the upper deck. Vidal knew at once that the touch had not been accidental, and it took all his will power to stop himself from reaching out with his tentacles to caress her soft skin.
Stopping at the foot of the gangway he waited at the bottom as she climbed up the steps, using the time to bring his errant libido into line. Shendi, this could quite easily get out of his control altogether if he didn’t take more care. The woman was undoubtedly a witch - if such a creature existed - but what man could possibly object to being under her spell? Shen it to hell, even to his own ears he was beginning to sound like a love sick cow! Thankfully, he had never had to go through the spotty teenager phase, but he guessed that this must be exactly how it felt to do so!
Vidal stood, plate in hand, staring down at the piles of food laid out for his delectation, and fancied none of it.
‘A lot of help you are!’ Jason’s voice hissed in his ear, and forced him to drag his errant attention back to the here and now. ‘You could have helped me to escape from that she dragon! I thought I’d never get away. She does nothing but giggle after every word. I think she’d go into hysterical laughter if the boat caught fire and went down!’
Vidal watched his partner piling the food ever higher, and wondered how long it could possibly defy gravity, before sliding off the plate to hit the deck. ‘You do realise that you can always return to the buffet for more?’ He said gently.
‘I intend to. Remember, I haven’t eaten since last night.’
Vidal wanted to point out that it was no one’s fault but his own, that he had been unable to eat breakfast this morning. However, for the sake of harmony, he managed to keep his mouth closed, but it was a hard won battle.
To forestall any further dispute with his partner, Vidal placed a small square of cheese and half a dozen grapes on his plate, and followed Jason across to where a couple of deck chairs had been strategically placed.
The other three male passengers were sitting on chairs talking, and the two women were sitting side by side on cushions on the deck eating contentedly.
‘What did you and Shay find to talk about?’ Jason asked between bites.
‘This and that, the islands mainly, and the holographic novel they intend to produce.’
‘I think I’d have found something a little more interesting to discuss. I only hope Potty Dotty doesn’t try to grab hold of me again this afternoon. I might even toss her overboard if she does.’ Jason glanced across at the Sime. ‘She’s more your sort than mine you know.’
‘Who? Shay?’ The Channel asked in surprise.
‘No! Potty Dotty!’
‘Stop calling her that Jason. You might just forget yourself, and the last thing we need is to fall out with her husband and the rest of the passengers.’
‘Why not fall out with them? At least Oscar might start showing her some attention then and give me a break.’
‘You seem to have forgotten that the group also includes Shay, and to fall out with any of them, must of necessity include her.’ Vidal stated quietly.
‘That’s right! It does doesn’t it? I never thought of that. Good old Vidal, what would I do without you?’
‘I shudder to think.’ His friend murmured the words under his breath, as he watched Jason make his way towards the food mountain once more, having demolished his last plate full.
The Channel’s dark gaze moved again towards the two women, and settled on Shay. Gently his dark eyes caressed her, travelling down the softly rounded body to the long graceful legs. Did the island of Tay have beaches similar to Dunedin, he wondered abstractedly, and could he get her alone on one of them? If so, they could dispense with their clothes and he could settle his eager body between those shapely thighs and.
‘Wake up Vidal! I’ve got a couple of glasses of fruit punch for us, and I can hardly manage them with this plate of food as well. Just take them and put them down there for me will you?’
What the shen was the Gen talking about now? In a daze the Sime took the two glasses that were being waved precariously under his nose, and placed them on the deck between their chairs. Glaring up at his companion as he did so. He had been enjoying his slightly erotic daydream, until the human "waste disposal unit" had disturbed him. His dark eyes settled on the Gen’s second plate of food, before he glanced down at his own half-eaten cube of cheese and grapes, and he sighed. By no stretch of the imagination could his companion be called fat, but he must put it all somewhere.
‘So come on, are you going to do it for me or not?’
Vidal turned to look at his partner in confusion. ‘I’m sorry, but I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.’ He confessed.
‘Typical! You take about as much notice of me as...as Oscar does of Dotty Potty..’
‘Potty Dotty.’ Vidal corrected automatically.
‘Whatever. You and I might just as well be married!’
Silence fell once more between the two men, save for the occasional cry of a seagull, and the scrape of Jason’s fork on his plate as he continued to eat.
Vidal surreptitiously, from under his lashes, allowed his eyes to wander back towards Shay. She was now sitting up with her back propped against the side of the boat, rubbing a creamy lotion into her long sleek legs. The Channel sighed, he could almost feel those lovely limbs clasped around his waist, her breasts pressed hard against his chest.
Feeling hot he moved slightly in his chair to ease his discomfort, his eyes still firmly fixed on her. Suddenly she stood up and leaned over the side of the boat, to stare down into the clear waters below, presenting her shapely derriere to him. A slight grin touched his handsome face. Oh Shay, he whispered to himself, do you know what an invitation that is?
Yet again this delightful fantasy was interrupted as James crossed his field of vision to remove the debris of their meal, and Dot’s strident voice broke the calm of the pleasant afternoon, as she suggested they all go for a swim off the side of the boat.
Oscar immediately said it was too cold, and he had no intention of freezing to death, but if she wanted to do so. He left the words hanging in the air, as they all began to return to the lower deck.
‘I think Oscar’s living in hope, that if she doesn’t freeze to death, there might be a friendly shark in the vicinity.’ Jason whispered, ‘can’t say I blame him. ’
Vidal felt it was incumbent upon him to warn all the Gens that it was not wise to swim so soon after eating, and had half opened his mouth to do so, when Jason touched his arm and shook his head. ‘Don’t say it Vidal. I’ve gone into the water after eating lots of times. Believe me, it won't hurt anyone. But if it sets your mind at rest I’ll keep an eye on everyone. Now are you coming in this time or not?’
‘I think not.’ The last thing he wanted at this moment in time was to look like the beginner he undoubtedly was in the water, especially in front of Shay. Why he wondered, should he let such a thing bother him now? It never had before.
Oscar stood beside him against the side of the boat, as the rest of the party dived into the sea, and began racing each other around the outside of the vessel. Jason was by far the faster and more powerful swimmer winning easily each time, and without really trying. Then Andy suggested a game of tag, with Tom to go first. Andy and the two women took off in pursuit of their quarry, but Jason merely dived under the boat and caught him on the other side.
‘He’s good isn’t he?’
Vidal glanced across at the older Gen. ‘Yes he is. But then he was brought up in the islands, it would be strange if he wasn’t.’
‘True.’ Oscar paused and then went on. ‘I was listening to what that young fellow Niall, the Captain, was saying. He reckons the seals have found a way to swim underneath that exclusion field. If they can do that, so can a man - right?’
Now why, wondered Vidal, should this Gen be interested in finding a way onto Rockall? Unless...?
‘It has obviously taken the seals many years, and who knows how many were killed initially, before they found a safe passage.’ The Sime replied quietly. ‘What you suggest would be very dangerous indeed, and for what purpose? The island is designated as a quarantine area. Only a complete fool would consider putting their life in such danger. First they would have to get to the island, and then when he or she arrived there, they would be exposing themselves to any number of diseases, and would probably end up being quarantined themselves.’
‘Yes, you’re right of course. Forget I spoke. I was just thinking out loud. I’m a producer, so my job is mainly to do with solving problems. In a way getting onto that island, is a problem - so I try to solve it.’ He laughed harshly. ‘It’s okay, my wife thinks I’m crazy too, perhaps she’s right. ’ Oscar stretched and yawned. ‘I think I’ll go and lie down for a while, tell Dot where I am will you? Not that she’ll be worried. But watching all that activity down there has worn me out.’
The Channel zlinned him as he walked away. There had been more to his questions than idle curiosity, he was certain about that. But for an ordinary Gen he was trying very hard indeed to keep his feelings from showing in his field. So he obviously had some knowledge of Sime abilities. But why should he even attempt to do that? And perhaps even more to the point, why should he want to?
Read Part 1 or Part 2 or Part 3--Comment to the Author and then READ Chapter 4 NOW.
Companion in Zeor is Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Sime~Gen Inc.
A New Beginning is copyright © 2000, 2001 by Sime~Gen Inc.
The Sime~Gen universe was created by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and is owned by Sime~Gen Inc. This story and its setting may not be reused without explicit permission of the Corporation. Email: email@example.com
This Page Was Last Updated by JL 01/19/01 10:21 AM EST (USA)
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