Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13 , 14 & 15
The five passengers were all staying the night at The Lodge on Tay. It was a new building having only been built in the last few years, and catered both to climbers and ramblers as well as people like themselves who arrived by sea. Jason had heard of the place, but of course had never seen it before.
He and his two brothers, together with Vidal, would be staying on board the Montrose. But they had all been invited by their passengers to go to the Lodge that evening for dinner as their guests. Both James and Niall had been there on many occasions, and informed them that the Lodge whilst luxurious, was nevertheless informal, and the meals were usually buffet/smorgasbord type affairs.
During the course of the evening, which once they had finished eating, they spent in one of the many themed bars. Jason had allowed himself to be coerced into taking part in an arm wrestling contest, with a large number of the men present, including Tay islanders and his two brothers. He had once been quite good at the activity, which was still popular amongst most of the islanders. Afterwards he had admitted to himself that he had done so simply because Shay was standing close by, and he had thought to impress her. Why did men allow themselves to become performing clowns around women? Anyone would think he was nineteen again - not twenty-nine!
Vidal of course had declined the activity, much to the relief of many of the other contestants. For a majority of the Gens present, who socialised little with Simes, and were also well aware that they themselves would use the Sime’s ability to augment if they were able to do so. Found it difficult to accept even a Channel’s word, that he would not augment, in this situation!
To Jason’s chagrin, soon after the contest started Shay disappeared, and although he looked around for Vidal, to ask him to go and see where she had gone, he too was not in sight. He then began to hope that he would get eliminated quickly so that he could go in search of her. Unfortunately this did not happen, and he finally finished fairly high up the score board, but well behind several of the local fishermen which did not really surprise him, and his brother Niall, which most definitely did!
After one last celebratory drink with all the other contestants, he finally made his escape. Searching the various bars he found Dot, who was full of admiration for him and his two brothers, and insisted with a fit of the giggles on feeling their biceps. Which amused Niall, but made James blush furiously.
‘Damn it Dot when are you going to grow up and be your age?’ Oscar’s disgusted voice yelled from the far side of the bar, and a short exchange of "pleasantries" ensued between husband and wife, before Jason finally managed to question her. Only to be told that Shay had complained of a headache, and had apparently gone to bed early.
Shen! It was just his luck. Now where the hell was Vidal? Knowing his partner, he too had probably decided to retire early and had gone back to the Montrose. What a waste of time this had turned out to be. His plan to get to know Shay a little bit better had not come to fruition. With a sigh he turned his attention to his brothers, and they all settled down for an evening of drinking and reminiscing.
It was after midnight when the three Devere brothers decided to head back to their boat. Once on board Jason, knowing that the Channel needed very little sleep tapped on the door of his cabin and then opened the door to look inside. He had fully expected to find him reading. But he wasn’t there. Now why should he be surprised? When they were at home Vidal, like a lot of other Simes, often worked or went to meetings during the night time hours, when Gens were sleeping. Neither was it unknown for him to leave their apartment and go for a long walk. He was probably doing just that right now. Closing the door behind him Jason returned to his cabin, yawning loudly.
The noise of activity on deck finally woke him the next morning, to find the Sun streaming through the porthole of his cabin, and a quick glance at his chronometer showed it to be 09.00 a.m. Listening to the various sounds he guessed that both his brothers were up and about, and were obviously preparing for the return of their passengers, who would be breakfasting at the Lodge. He headed for the shower.
Twenty minutes later Jason left his cabin deciding to forego breakfast.
Arriving on deck, he watched as James ordered a robot cleaner, who had just swabbed the deck, to return to its alcove. Whilst Niall supervised another as it set out the loungers.
‘ Morning! You both do that a lot better than me. I never feel at ease with machines that look so damn human.’ Jason confessed.
James grinned, ‘we’d never manage a boat this size without them. In fact, they’re so efficient that when we have a full complement of passengers, we only need one extra crewman.’
‘Do you want any help now?’
‘No thanks,’ Niall interrupted his older brother. ‘You’ve timed it right as usual, we’ve just finished.’
‘Sorry.’ Jason collapsed on to the nearest lounger. ‘Vidal not up yet?’
‘I haven’t seen him,’ Niall retorted and glanced at James, who also shook his head. ‘That’s not to say he isn’t up of course. He could have left before we came up on deck.’
The sound of the passengers approaching the gangway stopped further conversation. As they all came on board, Oscar came straight across to Jason. ‘Vidal left a message for you with the receptionist at the Lodge. Check your "bulletins-in". That’s all he said.’ He shrugged and walked over to join his wife.
‘Now why would Vidal want him to do that? Jason never bothered to check them whilst they were on vacation.’ Pressing the small button on his wrist chronometer, he listened to the message in surprise. "Jason - I have received a request to go to the Sime Centre on the mainland. Jordan Farris wishes to see me. They are sending transportation to take me there. I’ll catch up with you later. Take care."
He read it through a second time. Now what’s all that about? Was that why he wasn’t in his cabin last night, and if so, he must have got the message whilst he was at the Lodge. If so, why hadn’t he simply come to the bar to tell him about it before leaving?
‘Problems?’ Shay asked with a smile.
‘No, unfortunately it’s work raising its ugly head. Vidal’s had to return to the mainland, and we’re supposed to be on vacation.’
For a moment she looked as though she intended to say something, but then changed her mind as she smiled again, and headed for her cabin.
Later that afternoon Jason was pleased that Vidal was not on board, as the three male passengers decided they wanted to try their hands at fishing, and the boat dropped anchor midway between Tay and Rockall, whilst they cast their lines overboard.
Dot, to Jason’s relief, had apparently turned her attention towards Niall and James and was giggling away on the upper deck, whilst Shay came and sat down beside him.
‘I looked for you last night.’ Jason stated as he looked at her through emerald green eyes, narrowed against the glare of the Sun. ‘Dot said you had a headache.’
‘So I did.’
‘I’ve been told I have healing hands.’
‘Does that include headaches I wonder?’ She turned her head to look across at him through her long lashes.
‘Perhaps. I’d have been more than willing to try.’ His hands moved to reach across and cup her chin, before moving up the petal soft cheek to stroke her temples. ‘Are you sure the Sun isn’t a little too fierce for you? We wouldn’t want you to have another headache, would we?’
Jason’s eyes dropped to her mouth, as her tongue peeped out to moisten her rose pink lips. The action simply reeked of sensuality and he felt his loins tighten in anticipation. Mesmerised, he moved closer to her and his mouth finally captured hers.
A short while later they broke apart, and Jason glanced around the deck, pleased to see that no one appeared to have observed them. Then by silent consent, they both stood up and fingers entwined, made their way down below. As the door of her cabin closed behind them, Shay immediately crossed to the bed and lay down to look up at him in open contemplation.
Jason of course knew that apart from being Gen, he was different than his partner in many ways. His lightly bronzed skin was stretched over taut muscles, yet for all his undeniable strength; he was a gentle man. He was also a man who could be driven to great passion not only in the sexual sense, but also by anger.
Having completed her own silent appraisal, Shay held out her hand to him in open invitation. ‘Tell me Jason, how did two such different men as you and Vidal, ever come to be so close?’ She asked softly.
‘He’s a Channel, and I’m his Companion.’
‘And that’s it?’
He smiled, ‘that’s it. There’s no great mystery. Now much as I like my friend, let’s forget him for a wee while shall we? At this moment I’m far more interested in you.’
An almost feline smile suddenly crossed her beautiful face as she grasped his hand and pulled him down onto the bed beside her. ‘Good, that’s how I feel too.’ She murmured, and Jason surrendered, his arms drawing her close as his lips touched hers gently.
Even as he deepened the kiss, Shay opened her mouth and bit his bottom lip, causing a yelp of pain to escape from Jason’ throat. Straight away her tongue moved to lick the small hurt, before she began to explore his mouth, a moan of sexual pleasure coming from deep in her throat.
Jason had expected the foreplay to be softer and slower than this, and it took a moment for him to change gear quickly and catch her up. Her ardour kindling his own passion, and raising it to near fever pitch. To quick! To fast! However, as his mind thought the words, his body began to betray him, even as her fingers tipped by miniature red swords raked his back, this time actually drawing blood.
‘Hey, stop that you little witch! What are you, a vampire?’
‘Perhaps I am, but I want more from you than mere blood Jason.’ Even as her words registered in his mind, they were both pulling and tearing at each other, and seconds later their clothes lay in a heap on the floor. Immediately Jason’s hands moved to caress her, as his mouth bit the soft skin of her neck before moving to find her lips once more. Suddenly he swore softly, as he felt her hands on his thighs. ‘Sweetheart if you keep doing that, I wont be able to wait,’ he warned gently.
‘So who wants to wait?’ She demanded, as her hands touched him firmly and she looked into his eyes. Her sapphire blue orbs suddenly seemed to be touched with amber fire. He had not noticed that before. Cats eyes! That’s what she had, Jason decided, as he returned her gaze. Unaware that his own slightly slanted and exotic green eyes, were equally hot with desire.
Quickly his hands once more began to stroke the soft satiny skin of her body. Then with a deep throaty growl she slid her hands and arms around his waist pulling his powerful male body against the silken length of hers.
‘Patience Shay. You’re driving me crazy do you know that?’ Even as he spoke, the excitement he already felt was growing by the second. ‘ Easy easy,’ he whispered. ‘Oh hell, I wanted this to last sweetheart, but I don’t know if I can wait.’
In answer, her hand settled on him intimately. With a sigh Jason’s knee nudged her thighs apart, and he settled between them as she lifted her long legs to wrap them around his waist, as she encouraged the joining of their bodies.
Many hours later and Jason was beginning to wonder how much longer he could keep this up. She was more insatiable than any other woman he had known.
‘Shay sweetheart. I don’t know about you but I have to take a break, and apart from that I’m starving.’ He confessed, as he gave her a final kiss and rolled to his feet.
‘If you insist.’ She murmured, as she raised herself up on her elbow and looked up at him through her long lashes.
‘You sound disappointed?’ Jason stopped on his way to the shower, and turned to look at her questioningly. ‘The spirit’s willing Shay, but the flesh?’ He smiled wryly. ‘I’m only human.’
An almost devilish smile touched her face. ‘I suppose I expected too much,’ she said as though talking to herself. ‘I’ve often wondered whether Sime or Gen males had the most stamina. Now I know,’ and a low husky laugh escaped her full lips.
For a moment Jason was not quite sure that he had really heard what she said. Then knew that he had. And it hit him like a blast of ice cold air. So that was where Vidal had been last night! Rage welled up inside him, if the Channel had been here now, he knew what he would do. How could Vidal do that to him, and at least, not tell him first?
The accusation Shay had thrown at him had hurt his ego, and like any red blooded human male Jason had a lot of pride, but at that moment his anger was turned even more against Vidal than it was against her. Shay was not close to him; he did not really know her, so perhaps it was unfair to expect too much. But his partner? Shen it to hell, he felt totally betrayed.
Taking a deep breath, he brushed the unsavoury thoughts to one side, as in silence he walked into the shower, then wrapped a towel around his hips and returned to pick up his clothes from the floor.
Shay laughed softly as she watched him walk to the door and open it.
For a moment Jason stood in the doorway undecided, he had intended to simply leave, but she had laughed at him, not in a droll way, but in the nasty hurtful way that only a certain type of woman could.
Slowly he turned and looked straight at her, his green eyes full of contempt. ‘I’m sorry I haven’t got any credits with me Sweetheart. Not that your performance was worth very much, it wasn’t. Still, every whore deserves payment for services rendered doesn’t she? Remind me later wont you?’ And he winked at her and blew her a kiss.
‘Bastard!’ The word carried to him as the door closed behind him, and he smiled bitterly, but without triumph. He hurt far too much for that.
Vidal looked down at the island of Rockall far below, at least what he could make out of it in the darkness, which was not very much. The white surf of the waves in the pale Moonlight, as they beat against the rocky shoreline, gave a brief glimpse of the size of the island, but little else.
The Shuttle too was cloaked in darkness. The coded signal to lift the force field, and allow them to approach the island and land there had already been sent.
When he had been picked up from Tay to be taken to the mainland, where he had fully expected to find Jordan waiting for him. He had been surprised to discover that the shuttle was not going anywhere near the mainland. Instead he now found himself still here on board, on the point of landing on this bleak and desolate outpost. That in all honesty he would rather not have known existed, let alone visit. Yet here, for better or worse, he was. He shivered, and not from the cold, as he stepped onto the island and turned to acknowledge the Sime who had come to meet him.
A short while later he was shown into Jordan’s office. It was a large comfortable room, furnished with all the equipment and machines that helped the Tecton and householdings like Zeor to function in the modern world.
As he stepped across the threshold, his friend jumped up and came to meet him. He looked much the same as Vidal remembered him. Tall and slim and dark eyed, with the cowslip of black hair falling across the high forehead. A typical Farris, and as the two men appraised each other, they both acknowledged silently that to an outsider, they could easily be mistaken for brothers.
‘I’m glad you could come Vidal.’ He zlinned his friend carefully as they touched tentacles. ‘I hear you have a new Companion, I look forward to meeting him. In the meantime I’m sorry to drag you away from your vacation like this. It is necessary I assure you.’
They both simultaneously zlinned the approach of a Gen before a tap on the door announced his arrival. ‘Come in Tony. This is my friend Hajene Vidal Trent - Vidal - my Companion, Tony Ambrov Zeor. I asked him to join us.’ The two men nodded to each other, as the Gen moved to sit down beside his Sectuib.
‘Controller Betjeman told you about the Gen reporters who are nosing into our affairs?’ Jordan said without preamble.
Vidal nodded his dark head, and made no attempt to hide his distaste.
‘Still the idealist I see. It’s a pity we can’t all indulge ourselves my friend, but some of us have to live in the real world. It might not be the one we would like, but unfortunately, it is all we have got.’
So, they were daggers drawn already. ‘I disagree.’
‘Of course. I know that, but there really are no alternatives my friend.’ Jordan said with a sigh.
‘You know my views. I have never seen any reason to change them - I believe - there are always alternatives.’
‘Perhaps.’ Jordan rubbed his eyes with his tentacles, and Vidal for a moment sensed the utter weariness and frustration that his friend was endeavouring to hide from him.
‘I tend to forget how good you are at hiding your emotions.’ He said softly, as he offered his support nagerically.
‘I sometimes feel I am living like a Sectuib of old - under siege from all sides.’
‘Maybe that’s the trouble. You aren’t living in the modern world at all. Things have changed, times change, but the householdings, part of the Tecton, this place...even you - none of you are moving with the times.’
‘The old arguments Vidal. I see you haven’t grown beyond them.’ He glanced at his Companion who nodded, and moved to make them a glass of trin, as the Sectuib went on. ‘So what is your answer now to the dilemma that still faces us?’
‘The same as before. Find a way to let the juncts die peacefully, and without pain. What justification is there for you to sacrifice so many human beings simply to enable another human being, who is of no use to society and never will be, to continue living?’
‘None. If you apply the standards of today.’ The Sectuib conceded honestly.
‘Exactly!’ Vidal said triumphantly, ‘and we are living today Jordan, not two or three centuries ago. Wake up for shen’s sake before it’s too late, and the Gens discover everything.’
They both thanked Tony as he placed the steaming glasses of trin in front of them, and offered biscuits. Both men refused, but the Gen helped himself to a handful before he returned to his seat. Which reminded Vidal of his own Companion’s robust appetite.
‘Sam Betjeman tells me, that he’s told you about our proposed move to Phobos?’ Vidal nodded silently. ‘I thought you might like to hear about another decision that we have made.’
‘Jordan, if it’s anything to do with this place, or the others, or what goes on here. I really don’t want to know.’ Vidal confessed bluntly.
‘Nevertheless, you are not an Ostrich, and trying to hide from the facts will get you no where at all.’ His friend snapped back, as his tentacles emerged to emphasise his words. Two pairs of black eyes clashed for a moment and Vidal’s fell first. ‘The move to Phobos is being moved forward, to the end of this month. The installation is not quite ready, but we will have to manage.’
‘If that’s the big decision, then I don’t think.’
‘No, you don’t think at all sometimes Vidal. That’s your main trouble. You like to give the impression that you’re a logical man, but at heart you’re an idealist.’
‘If being an idealist means I consider all life sacred and of equal value, whether it’s Sime or Gen, then yes, I plead guilty.’ Vidal retorted coldly.
‘You talk about living in the real world, and you consider all life of equal value. Well so do I, but sometimes - in the real world - people like me have to make decisions, and yes, I do mean decisions about life and death. Believe me I don’t want to play God, but someone has to. And I alone have to sign the form that decides whether another Gen dies, and which one it will be. Have you any idea what that is like Vidal? Have you any conception at all?’ Jordan got up and walked to the window and looked out into the black night. ‘Someone has to accept responsibility, and in the real world that means someone like me. Because people like you are too busy with their bleeding hearts.’
His Companion moved quickly to stand beside him offering silent support. ‘It’s all right Tony, I’m fine.’ He looked over at Vidal. ‘My apologies. I should never have started this conversation at this time.’ He dropped his personal show field suddenly, and a great ravenous need filled the room taking Vidal unawares.
‘Shedoni Jordan. I didn’t realise.’ How could any Sime even a Channel keep a need like that from bleeding into the ambient? He knew the answer even as he asked the question. No ordinary Channel could, unless he were Farris and Sectuib in Zeor.
The need went as quickly as it had appeared. Vidal could only guess at the discipline that was being brought to bear to achieve this.
‘Jordan, can’t this wait for a few hours?’ The Gen asked him softly.
One tentacle reached out to touch his Companion’s hand. ‘I must finish this now Tony. One hour I promise, no longer.’ The Gen nodded his unwilling agreement, and went to sit down again, still offering his support.
Vidal zlinned the Companion as he wondered how he felt, just sitting there, listening to this almost clinical discussion about killing Gens, people who were basically no different than himself? But try as he might, he could not sense any emotion in the Gen’s nager. Oh, he was good, very good indeed. He had little doubt that if Jason were placed in a similar situation, his partner’s nager would ensure that neither he nor Jordan, and quite possibly the whole island too, were left in little doubt as to his feelings in the matter. Vidal smiled wryly to himself.
Jordan continued as if he had not stopped talking to him. ‘My cousin Bren is working on a new drug. We are putting it into a full clinic trial as soon as we are established on Phobos.’
Vidal leaned forward, his eyebrows raised in query. ‘Another drug for use on the Gens?’ And try as he might, he could not keep the note of cynicism out of his voice.
His friend ignored it. ‘Not this time. It has been tried on a limited number of junct Simes over the past eighteen months, and appears promising. It dampens down the need for a kill in the junct Sime, enabling the body to accept Channels transfer indefinitely.’ He paused momentarily and then went on. ‘It is not as good as it sounds. The body does rebel in other ways, and it also seems to affect the mental processes causing in one case at least, a certain amount of memory loss. But these problems are being worked on, and if we can do away with the kill altogether. Perhaps it’s a price worth paying.’
‘I agree.’ Vidal said at once, thrilled at what he had heard.
‘I thought you would.’ Jordan smiled briefly. ‘I have considered it carefully, and with all its drawbacks, it seems to be the way forward.’ He unsheathed his tentacles, and Vidal could see they were already smeared with ronaplin. Noticing that his friend was staring at him, he sheathed them again quickly. ‘I admit I did have reservations, I’m not a sadist after all.’
‘And neither am I. But you must admit it’s better for juncts to have a little discomfort, than to murder Gens indefinitely, or don’t you agree?’
‘The juncts I come into contact with are alive and alert. The Gens on the other hand are not. I’m afraid we will never see eye to eye on this subject my friend. Perhaps it’s better if we agree to disagree?
‘Perhaps it is. After all, the Gens are in that condition through no fault of their own, are they? Think Jordan, if you heard of a situation say, on another planet, where one group of people were kept drugged from the cradle to the grave, simply to satisfy the craving of a second group of people. You would be the first to condemn it, wouldn’t you?’ He demanded.
Jordan gave a snort of laughter. ‘You always had to have the last word Vidal. I’m afraid I must go and take transfer now, I can delay no longer. I have arranged for you to be given quarters near to mine. Rest or feel free to look around the facility. Do not leave I beg you - we have to talk.’ He stood up looking for a moment as if he were twenty years older than Vidal, instead of just twenty weeks.
His Companion jumped up and hurried to the door and they both left without a backward glance. Seconds later Vidal turned to look at the renSime who now entered the room. ‘If you will come this way Hajene, I will show you to your quarters.’
Having looked around his designated rooms, and finding nothing to complain about, indeed they were the last word in luxury. Vidal decided to make his way to the dining room, not that he was particularly hungry, but it would be the best place to see most of the staff who worked here.
Sitting beside an island of indoor plants he zlinned the room, and then raked the occupants with his eyes. Five Gens and eleven Simes. They were all dressed casually, and none wore any kind of uniform, although they did wear name badges.
Vidal helped himself from the buffet to a high protein biscuit favoured by Simes, together with a glass of fruit juice.
He wondered how his Companion was getting on. Then a smile suddenly touched his sensuous lips as he thought about Shay. She was quite a woman. Beautiful, intelligent and…dangerous. Yes, that was the word he had been seeking, she was undeniably… dangerous. Now why had he come to that conclusion? Perhaps because she was so self contained, and displayed none of the usual female traits. She was also surprisingly cold.
The uncompromising word described her admirably. For even in the very throws of passion, she allowed no deeper emotion than mere gratification to register in her nager. Yes, a very hard lady indeed and, whilst he could accept what she offered, and not for a moment regret the encounter, he knew that his companion could not. His Gen was a very passionate man, as his quick bursts of temper showed, and therefore easily hurt, and Vidal was suddenly very glad that Shay had finally turned her attention towards him, and not Jason.
‘Hajene, may I join you?’ Vidal looked up at Jordan’s Companion, and took in his depleted state, as he indicated his agreement with one tentacle.
The Gen was young, much younger than Jason. His light blonde hair was cut short, and his grey eyes were studying him closely as he placed his tray down on the table, and sat down opposite him.
‘He’s fine. He always leaves transfer till the last moment. This time it was unavoidable of course. With the move to Phobos beginning at the end of the month, the work it entails is horrendous.’ His firm white teeth bit into the lightly cooked vegetables, which he chewed slowly, and then swallowed before he went on. ‘At least I managed to persuade him to spend a few hours with Sabrina, his wife.’
‘I didn’t even know he’d got married.’ Vidal murmured in surprise.
‘They were childhood sweethearts, so it was no great surprise. Jordan’s father died a few weeks before the wedding, and Vidal had to take up the reins. It placed a great burden on his shoulders. But the publicity about his father’s death and the handing over ceremony, knocked the lighter news about Jordan’s marriage off the headlines.’
‘Yes, that probably explains it, but I did read about the death. Like everyone else, I was shocked at how quickly it happened. I sent my condolences of course. Unfortunately I was off-World at the time, on an assignment, so could not attend the inaugural ceremony. I did receive an invitation to the private ceremony from Jordan, which surprised me. I know the first ceremony is open to the public, reporters, everyone. But I always understood the private one was restricted to members of the house, and the heads of other houses.’
‘It is. However, I believe Jordan has always entertained the hope that one day you will accept his invitation to join Zeor.’ The silvery grey eyes
met the dark ones challengingly.
‘Yes, I know. He first mentioned it when we shared rooms together.’ Vidal was non-committal, and quickly changed the conversation. ‘Is he going to run everything on Phobos do you know?’
‘No. The idea is for Bren and his wife to run the facility. Which is the most sensible course to take, since he’s going to be running the trials anyway. Besides, Jordan has been running this place for far longer than the usual seven years. He deserves a change. But don’t tell him I said that, he’d never forgive me.’
‘Don’t worry, I know what he’s like. What does he intend to do when he leaves this place? I can’t imagine him retiring and just running Zeor.’ And they both laughed at the ludicrous suggestion.
‘No, far from it. He has several projects lined up, but I’m not at liberty to talk about them yet.’ The Gen pushed away his empty plate, and pulled a dish of fruit and ice cream towards him.
‘Can you spare an hour or so when you’ve finished your meal?’ Vidal asked, and at the Gen’s look of enquiry went on. ‘Jordan told me I could go anywhere I chose on the island. I wondered if you’d care to show me around?’
‘Of course. Do you want to see everything, or are you selective?’
‘Oh you can give me the full tour. I might as well get my monies worth while I’m here. Places like this, hopefully, will be consigned to the dustbin of history before too long. With luck, I may never get another chance.’
The working part of the facility was the same as any other Sime Centre, and both it and the living quarters for the staff - who were all householders - were bright and comfortable.
The part that housed the juncts, and also had a hospital unit attached, was just as pleasant and agreeable. Indoor plants and fountains, together with tropical fish tanks were everywhere, giving an outdoor feel to the place. Together with a library, gyms, saunas and games rooms, and an indoor swimming pool.
‘How many juncts are housed here at the moment?’ Vidal asked, surprised at the sheer size of the place. But then it did cover the entire island, which from a quick glance at a map in the Sime Centre, before he came here, gave the dimensions of Rockall as three miles long, by one mile wide. A sizeable place indeed.
‘Seventy, although we are expecting two more in the next twenty-four hours. We have housed as many as two hundred.’ Tony glanced across at him, and then shrugged. ‘There are also about two hundred and sixty Gens at any given time, but that number does fluctuate.’
‘I just bet it does. Can I see them?’
‘Of course, if you wish.’ The Gen stopped in his tracks and turned to look at him. ‘Are you sure you want to?’
‘Tony you know how I feel, so I wont lie to you. I hate the thought of looking at them, knowing they are all sentenced to death, without even the benefit of a trial. But I’m not a coward either, and as it’s through my kind that they are here at all, the least I can do is visit them. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t think I could ever explain exactly how I feel, not in a hundred years.’
‘This way.’ Vidal followed as Tony moved across to a huge hermetically sealed door that had two Sime guards standing at either side. ‘Hello Gordon, I’ve got a visitor wants to go inside.’ The Gen moved to key in a set of numbers, the guard nodded as the door opened and Vidal followed Tony inside.
‘Is such stringent security necessary? If they’re so heavily drugged, they’re not likely to go very far are they?’ Vidal asked as he looked around.
‘It’s to stop the juncts getting in to them, not the other way round.’ Tony replied, and lead the way down a short corridor, standing back to allow Vidal to straight arm the lock that could not be opened by a Gen, before they entered.
The main corridor ran straight down with smaller corridors running off it. Each room although small was comfortable, clean and cheerful, and housed just one Gen, some male some female. They all lay or sat on their beds and stared into space, each was well dressed, apparently well fed, and clean. Soft gentle music filled the air throughout the complex. The entire place gave the impression of a nursing or rest home, rather than what it actually was.
‘They have a shower every day, and as you can see each room has its own en suite facility which includes a lavatory, it makes life easier for the attendants. Their hair is kept short for hygienic reasons. They are fed three times a day, the food is both nourishing and varied.’ The Gen seemed to be reciting the details as if by rote.
‘It sounds like its run exactly the same as any other good kennel.’ Vidal murmured.
Tony ignored the sarcastic comment. ‘They’re exercised at least once a day, sometimes they are even taken outside the wall if it’s not raining.’
‘That reminds me. You’d better tell the attendants to be careful about going outside the perimeter wall with their charges. They’ve been seen.’
‘What! Are you joking?’
‘Far from it. I know of one boy who has seen them from a fishing vessel through a telescope. There may well be others.’
‘I’ll pass that on. Do you want to see the nursery?’
‘Tell me about it first.’ Vidal ordered.
‘We use A.I.D. of course. Artificial Insemination by Donor. It’s by far the best method. As you’re no doubt aware, at one time the males serviced them in the normal manner, but this entailed administering a whole cocktail of drugs. Some to reverse the effects of those they are given in their food every day, and others to make them sexually active. In that state they can be dangerous both to the females and the attendants and not least themselves. The method we now use is much better and safer. Do you wish to pay a visit? If so I will get one of the female attendants to accompany us so that she can explain the procedure.’
‘No. I don’t think I’ll bother, thanks.’ He glanced at the Gen as they turned to retrace their footsteps. ‘How do you feel about this place Tony? The truth now. I’ll know if you’re trying to pull the wool over my eyes.’ He gave a harsh laugh to accompany the warning, because he wasn’t too sure that what he said was correct, at least not in this particular Gen’s case.
Jason was a natural, and could perhaps be best compared to an uncut diamond, a stone of raw and simple beauty. Whilst Jordan’s companion was also a diamond, but he was the cut and polished variety. Glistening with a pure clarity that was almost transparent. For a moment Vidal studied Tony, and it was obvious to him, as it would be to any other Channel of his ability, that every skilful proficiency that Jordan’s Companion displayed, had been honed to perfection with years of training.
Would he want that much perfection, even if it were possible, and Jason was willing to undertake that the amount of training necessary? Tony’s abilities of course were essential for Jordan’s well being. Indeed, he had little doubt that the Sectuib in Zeor would find it difficult, if not impossible to live without someone like Tony.
Yet with all his uncertainties and mixed emotions Jason was exactly what he Vidal, needed. As he acknowledged the fact, though only to himself, a peaceful calm settled on him, and he vowed not to blame Jason for what he could never become, but simply be grateful for what he was.
Meanwhile Jordan’s Companion stopped and stared into one of the small rooms, standing in silence for a minute or so before he answered the question Vidal had posed. ‘I am ambrov Zeor as well as Companion to Jordan. He is a good man, so if he tells me that this, is the only, and the best way to handle the problem, at least for the time being. Then I do not question him. He is my Sectuib, and I am sworn, "Unto Zeor for Ever".’ His grey eyes turned to look beseechingly into the Channel’s black ones. ‘Do you understand Hajene?’
Vidal looked back at the Companion in silent contemplation, and then slowly nodded his head. For he knew that if Tony ever began to doubt Jordan, he would have no alternative but to leave Zeor and his Sectuib forever. ‘Yes Sosu,’ he said softly, ‘of course I understand.’
Read Part 1 or Part 2 or Part 3--Comment to the Author and then READ Chapter 5 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 10:22 AM EST (USA)
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