Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13 , 14 & 15
'Well, we appear to have exhausted all possibilities up here.' Tony said, putting into words what Vidal had not really wanted to voice.
'It would appear so.' He admitted grudgingly, trying to hide his disappointment.
'Has Tute already checked every other likely place on Earth?'
'Yes. They've all been searched thoroughly - without success.'
'Do you wish us to go and - double check?' The Gen asked softly.
'There seems little point. But he's got to be somewhere, they both have. Two people can't just disappear into thin air without a trace, can they?' Vidal suddenly realised that his tentacles had emerged from his sheaths of their own volition, and were lashing around in the air with frustration. Quickly he withdrew them with a quick word of apology to the Gen.
'Vidal, don't you think it's more than time you took transfer?' He asked gently. 'You are more than a day overdue.'
'Yes, you're right of course I should, and without your help, I'd be half crazy by now!' He walked across to the opaque windows that kept out the Sun's harmful rays. Then he tapped the reinforced plastiglass with his long fingers in sudden agitation, before turning and walking back to stand in front of the Gen. 'The truth is Tony, I don't want to take transfer with anyone else, but Jason. Shen, what a time to go and get a dependency! It's something I've avoided like the plague. Especially since we're matchmates.'
'I can understand how you feel, although I've never been in the situation myself. You know, I hate to state the obvious Vidal, but you have to take transfer, and soon. If not, it will start to cloud your judgement. And anyway you'll soon have no choice in the matter.'
'Don't you think I know that you stupid lorsh!?' He stopped and threw himself down into a chair. 'I'm sorry.' One hand rose into the air and fell back in defeat.
'Hajene, when need takes over, apologies are not necessary.' Tony reminded him, and then moved to sit on the edge of the table beside the Channel, one leg hooked over the corner. 'We could try drugs, there is a new one on the market, I'm sure I could arrange for a dose to be.'
'I don't want any drugs!' Vidal interrupted him angrily.
'Very well.' The Gen didn't even try to argue. He simply leaned closer and placed one hand carefully over the swollen ronaplin glands clearly visible on the Sime's arm. 'If you will trust me Vidal, and place yourself completely in my hands. I can get you through this.'
'But where the shen is he Tony? Why isn't he here? Maybe he's doing this to punish me!'
'That's just need talking Vidal, you know why he's not here. It's out of his hands, and yours. Listen to me Hajene. My Sectuib has told me on many occasions how well balanced you are, and how he wished he had your strength. Are you intending to prove him wrong?'
'Yes! Damn Jordan and his whole shenning House.' A moan of despair escaped the mobile lips. 'I didn't mean. I've never felt like this before Tony! Shen and Shid!'
Moments later strong Gen arms encircled and held him. He could see and feel the selyn like a shimmering golden nimbus surrounding both of them.
Gently the Gen's fingers moved carefully but deliberately up his lateral sheaths, applying feather like pressure to the orifices. Vidal felt the ronaplin begin to flow faster, and almost surrendered to the undeniable seduction of the senses, the Gen was having on him. But the dependency fought back, denying him the warmth that he so desperately needed... to fill the coldness that was his very soul. Soundlessly his mind was screaming again and again that this was not the one! Whilst at the same time his body was begging him to accept the sparkling energy of life that was being so temptingly offered to him.
Suddenly he found that his need was attacking him on two fronts now. Almost as though his body was being torn into two distinct halves. While his mind only wanted, and would accept just one Gen - Jason - why wasn't he here? Why? His body was crying out equally as loud begging for the selyn that would sustain his life for one more month. Just one more month of life - was it really too much to ask?
The Gen held on silently offering again and again, refusing to be pushed away, and slowly but surely Vidal's intil-factor was beginning to rise, even though he was fighting it every step of the way, trying to deny his ravenous need. Trying to convince himself that he could wait, that Jason was on his way. Even though he knew deep down inside himself, that it was a lie, that if he did not accept, he would soon be looking attrition in the face, and that was a battle he could never win.
Slowly, almost without realising it, Vidal was lowering his defences. Shen but this Gen was so good. Then without awareness, his tentacles were developing a will of their own, as his laterals settled in position on the warm moist Gen flesh. It was Tony who made the final contact by pressing his lips firmly against the Channel's mouth.
Nothing was happening! Fear as Vidal had never known in his life before, rippled through him. He couldn't draw now even if his life depended on it, and it did! A strange acceptance of the inevitable filled him, was this then attrition? Was this truly how it felt to surrender, to give up and die?
Suddenly without any effort on his part, Selyn was pouring into every cell in his body as the Gen forced the life giving energy into him. Faster and faster it came, an endless stream of molten gold. Vaguely somewhere in the very back of his mind he knew it was dangerous to let a strange Gen, or indeed any Gen, control the transfer like this. That was how Gens died, and Channels became junct! But shen, it was just too good to resist, and the truth was, he didn't want to resist.
As the transfer reached its peak, Vidal found he was again in control, a control that was given to him by the Gen, and one he knew he could not have taken away easily, if at all, without a struggle. Then slowly, so very slowly, or so it seemed to him, the flow finally stopped. For a brief second the two humans remained in the position that now united humanity, and would through all the aeons to come. Seconds later Tony broke lip contact and waited patiently as Vidal retracted his tentacles.
'Thank you Naztehr.' The words seemed totally inadequate for an experience that few were privileged to know.
The Gen smiled. 'You're welcome Hajene.'
'I think a transfer like that deserves a glass of trin.'
'I'll get it Hajene.' He paused. 'I was uncertain how you would react to my taking control like that, without your prior consent, but I really had no choice. I thought you were going to throw an abort and shen me!'
'I thought so too.' Vidal smiled ruefully, as he admitted the truth of the Companion's assertion. 'And yes, when you took control, it was certainly unexpected. I have never experienced - that before.'
Tony's eyes opened in genuine surprise. 'You haven't? Yet Jason is your matchmate.'
'I know. Jason was not brought up as you were. I suppose deep down, I have always felt that it was not necessary for me to relinquish control to him. Perhaps at some very basic level I have never truly trusted him. A dreadful confession for a Channel to make about his Companion don't you think? But, having tasted today what it is like, I may well have to reconsider my decision.' And then Vidal added silently to himself, if I have that amount of courage! Then he smiled at the Gen. 'At the very least, I can discuss the matter with Gregory.'
'As you are matchmates, it seems strange that Jason has never tried to force the issue? I myself attempted to take control, after I had given transfer to Jordan less than a dozen times. Jordan of course would not let me. Later, he had no choice.' He grinned across at the Channel.
'Knowing Jordan, I suppose he was a little put out by it?'
'More than a little! At first he was furious. In Zeor, it has always been that the Gen only takes control, when it is necessary for therapeutic reasons, and never without a monitor present. I also think that he was more than a little frightened of the consequences.'
'A dependency you mean?' Vidal asked, as he accepted the glass of trin Tony handed to him.
'No. A decade or so ago, a Channel who was Ambrov Keon, allowed his transfer partner who was also his wife, to take control. She was killed. Neither of them were Zeor, but Jordan knew them both.' He paused. 'Of course I have no idea if it happened on the first occasion, or if they had done it before, or what exactly went wrong.'
'Yes, I remember hearing about that now you mention it. It would certainly explain Jordan's reticence. And now?'
'Now I do take control on a fairly regular basis. But we always discuss and agree it first. That way I don't take him unawares.' He paused. 'On one occasion, when I took control away from him, he wasn't expecting it, and fought to get it back. It wasn't pleasant. We're both so well matched you see, that neither of us got much satisfaction from the exercise.'
Vidal sighed, he knew both he and Tony were most definitely post, but because of the situation they found themselves in, neither could do anything at all about it!
So for the next hour the two men sat drinking trin and talking quietly together. Then Vidal looked towards the door zlinning. A moment later a brief knock heralded Tute, his father's Security Chief.
'I'm sorry to interrupt you Hajene.'
'It's okay. Any news?'
'Yes. There's a message from Sam Betjeman of the TIB. He informs us that apart from Bancroft's new space station, there is another that didn't show up on our computer list. I understand it was omitted because it's one of three that are due for refurbishment. The other two belong to different companies, but all three are now empty.'
Vidal jumped to his feet full of energy once more. 'Thank you Sam! So what are we waiting for? Let's go and have a look. Tony, I've been dragging you around all over the place. You must be tired out by now. If you'd rather stay behind and get some rest?'
'No thanks. I've gone this far, I'll go the last hurdle with you.'
'Do you think it really is the last hurdle this time?'
'It's got to be.'
'I hope you're right.'
As the pilot lined the Trent shuttle craft up for docking, Vidal looked at the name emblazoned on the side of the space station - Stephen Bancroft SUN Inc. 447.
'Have you any idea where Bancroft himself is at the present time?'
Tute nodded his head. 'He's attending a business conference on Mars. He was interviewed on the evening newscast.'
'Which means billions probably saw him! I should have guessed, what a perfect alibi.'
'We'd never be able to prove that he had anything to do with this affair anyway.' Tute stated. 'Apart from anything else, he probably pays his people far too well. We'd never get anyone to testify against him.'
'And I suppose that means, that whatever happens, Bancroft carries on regardless.' Tony observed, with a shake of his head. 'What a pity.'
'Yes.' Vidal said the short word softly; his eyes moving to meet with Tute's pale blue ones. Both Simes knew that if the legal system could not punish Bancroft, then Maxwell Trent most certainly would. He after all, like his partner, was a law unto himself.
Indeed, Vidal would not have placed a bet on how much time would pass before Stephen Bancroft; found himself both bankrupt, and ruined. However, both men knew better than to say as much in front of Tony ambrov Zeor or anyone else who was outside the immediate family.
Their shuttle was not challenged by anyone, and docked with the Space Station without any difficulty.
Alighting from the small craft Vidal watched as Tute ordered his men to search the various different levels for any signs of recent occupation. While he and Tony made for the administrative section at the top of the Station.
Stepping out of the elevator Vidal zlinned the entire area. While Tony walked towards the observation window, and stood looking down at the blue and white marble that was mother Earth.
'Are you zlinning anything at all?' The Gen asked, without taking his eyes off the spectacular sight.
'No.' Vidal replied as Tute stepped out of another elevator. 'Well?'
'They've definitely been here.'
'But they've gone now?' Tony asked, his nager telling both Simes, that he was as disappointed as they were.
'I'm afraid so.'
'So, what did you find?' Vidal demanded, masking his own frustration, to avoid overwhelming the Security Chief.
'We found the room where they were held. We also found that the grill above the door had been forcibly removed, as had the one in the room next to it as well. I assume Sosu Jason must have made an attempt to get the two of them away, but whether they actually succeeded?' Tute shrugged his shoulders expressively.
'Knowing my Companion as well as I do. If he didn't, he'll keep on trying. He doesn't give up. But of course his greatest handicap will be having my young nephew to contend with. He's not the easiest child even under the best of circumstances - and thanks to my father and my brother - his prejudices are already well formed. He won't take orders easily. Especially from Jason who he considers to be an inferior.'
'Have you any idea how many we're up against?' Tony asked Tute.
'From the evidence they've left behind, we think three, possibly four on the Station here. I've also had some information from Zeor. They seem to be quite sure that we are dealing with an all Gen gang.'
'No Simes? I wonder how they've found that out?' Vidal mused, glancing across at Tony.
'Zeor have their fingers and tentacles into literally thousands of pies Vidal, far more than I'd care to count. And if they say that there aren't any Simes involved in this, you can be sure that they're right.'
'I don't doubt it. But I am wondering, just where we go from here?'
Tony had his back to the room, and was looking out of the observation window again. 'Didn't you say that there were three empty Stations up here?' He glanced around and saw Tute nodding his head in agreement. 'That's what I thought. Well I don't suppose it means anything, but the one next to us was in total darkness when we passed by it, apart from the safety navigation lights of course. It's just lit up like a comet! Come and see for yourselves.'
The two Simes moved to stand beside him as he pointed through the window. 'The third one is some distance away. It's just about visible behind that one, but is still in darkness. Can you see it?'
Vidal shrugged. 'Yes, I expect there's a maintenance team been sent on board for some reason. Nothing unusual, we're just clutching at straws gentlemen.' Tute nodded his agreement with the Channel's assessment.
Then the two Simes turned to zlin as the elevator doors opened and one of Tute's men emerged.
'You've found something?' Tute demanded at once.
'We're not sure N'Vet, but we think so. We've discovered that an escape pod is missing. We've looked through the computer log for the time the station was finally decommissioned. According to the Inventory posted with it, all six pods are listed as being locked in position, now there are only five.'
Tute glanced at Vidal. 'It looks as though your assessment of your companion was correct Hajene. He and your nephew might well have attempted an escape. But whether it was successful or not?'
'I think, as the pod is gone, that we can safely assume that they at least got away from the Station. The question now is where, assuming they were not recaptured, would they have headed?'
'An escape pod is meant for just that - escape from the Station, in case of emergency. So they must have gone down to Earth - where else would they go?' Tute demanded logically.
'I tend to agree with you.' Vidal stated as he ran his tentacles through his black hair. 'I just wonder where they are now?'
'Excuse me Hajene.' The Sime, who had told them about the pod, suddenly interrupted Vidal and his superior. 'Navigation on board escape pods is only minimal. However, the pods do have quite powerful homing beacons on board. Assuming they're in working order of course and don't malfunction.'
'In other words, if they went down to Earth, we'd already know about it, unless something went drastically wrong?' Tute stated.
Tute walked over to one of the workstations. 'Hajene?' Vidal went to look over his shoulder.
'According to the automatic computer log for the last 48 hours, the pod was ejected at,' he pointed to the time displayed. 'At least we know that they both probably got away from here. But if they didn't go down, where the shen did they go?''
'They must have gone down, what other alternative would he have had? If not the Earth - where?' Tony called across. 'The Moon?'
'If the escape pod has such limited navigation and manoeuvrability. I'd say the Moon is well out of the picture. They'd never make it!' Tute stated unequivocally.
'But would Jason know that?' Tony demanded.
'He's a trained pilot - he'd know.' Vidal replied at once.
'Well in that case it doesn't leave many possibilities does it?' Tony pointed out. 'He either went down to Earth, in which case why haven't we heard from him? The Moon is too far away - so where else would he go?' His eyes shifted back to look out of the window again, before he ordered. 'Come here, both of you.'
Vidal and Tute obeyed, followed by Tute's man. 'What is it?'
'It's the lights on that deserted Station next to us. They keep going on and off - see - there they go again!'
'I guess the maintenance men are testing them.' Tute suggested as he watched.
'A possibility.' Vidal murmured, his mind still grappling with the problem, of where exactly his Companion and nephew might have gone, assuming they had indeed escaped from the Station.
'Sorry N'Vet you're wrong - it's too regular, it's got to be Morse!' The Sime agent said at once.
'Morse? Morse what?' Tute zlinned his man as he spoke.
'Of course you're right, it is Morse code isn't it?' Tony almost shouted with excitement. 'I've heard of it. It was used centuries ago by the military. But I have no idea how to read it, do you?' Three pairs of eyes turned to look at the Sime agent who had first made the connection.
'I think so. I learned it for a school history project when I was a youngster. But it appears to be just a repetition of two letters, again and again, see - dot dot dot - dash dash dash - and again - dot dot dot - dash dash dash!'
'Yes, but what the shen does it mean?' Tute demanded.
'SOSOSO - SOS - quite literally it stood for "save our souls" - it was a distress call in those days. A cry for help!'
'Do you think it might be Jason?' Tony asked, looking across at Vidal.
'Who else? Come on let's go.' Vidal began to augment towards the elevator even as he spoke. Then as he stepped inside, he looked across at the young Sime, and smiled briefly. 'Thanks for your help, I won't forget.'
'Yes good man. I'll speak to you later.' Tute agreed, as he and Tony followed the Channel.
To Vidal's surprise, he had great difficulty in getting the robot, who had presumably been left in charge of the Station, to permit them to dock at all, let alone leave the docking area. Indeed he had to bring every bit of logical argument into play to over rule the robot's standing orders. Finally however he won out, and they were allowed - if not exactly welcomed - on board.
'Whew, I didn't think we were going to win that argument.' Tony confessed with a grin in Vidal's direction.
'I agree. From what I could gather, his orders have already been overruled once, which was why it was such hard going this time.'
'I'd be surprised if it was him. Jason isn't at all good where robots are concerned, and I doubt very much that he would have much of an idea, how to go about changing it's standing orders. It's not a simple task.'
'Young Master Tomar would know how to do it Hajene.'
'You're right Tute! My father would have taught him, as he taught me.' Vidal agreed at once. 'Come on, let's go and see what we can find.' For, although he had managed to gain access to the station for them. The robot had steadfastly refused to tell them whether there were any other humans or aliens, already on board. It had also insisted that Tute surrender his blaster before they were allowed to go further into the Station itself.
Tute ordered the pilot to remain with their craft and to stay alert, before the three of them entered the elevator.
As they stepped out of the lift, it was to find the Control Room in semi darkness, in contrast to the rest of the station. The two Simes zlinned the room quickly, but it was apparently empty. Tute however, immediately signalled for Vidal and Tony to stay behind him, as he edged his way along the wall, using the dark shadow as cover, in case someone was hiding behind an insulating panel.
'DROP YOUR WEAPONS AND RAISE YOUR ARMS IN THE AIR.' The booming voice giving the order seemed to echo all around them, and the three humans realised at once that the sound was coming from a make shift loud speaker system.
Tute began to crouch down but his action was stayed, as Vidal said quickly. 'Both of you, do as he says, raise your arms.'
'No buts Tute. Whoever it is, if they had wanted us dead, we would be dead. They've had plenty of time to accomplish it.'
'VIDAL IS THAT YOU?' The voice boomed out once more.
'IT'S UNCLE VIDAL AND TUTE!' Tomar's voice joined in, amplified by the sound system.
'Jason? It's me, Vidal. I've got Tute and Tony Ambrov Zeor with me.'
The lights came on, flooding the room with brightness.
'Where are you?' Vidal demanded zlinning the room, as his eyes grew accustomed to the sudden light.
'WAIT THERE, WE'RE ON OUR WAY, I THOUGHT IT WAS CONOR AND GENO.'
'Conor and Geno?' Tony mouthed at the two Simes, who both shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads, as they denied all knowledge of either name.
Seconds later a large metal door at the far side of the room slid open, and Tomar came flying through to throw himself into his Uncle's arms. Followed almost as quickly by Jason, who studied the Channel as he crossed the room.
By rights Vidal should have been climbing the walls by now, but he wasn't. Green eyes met dark, a question mark in them. 'I had to take transfer from Tony.'
'How come?' Jason demanded at once, his nager filling the room, even though he was trying to suppress it. 'Isn't he Companion to your pal Jordan?'
It's a long story Jason - we'll talk later.' Vidal was working the fields as he spoke, endeavouring to shield Tute from his partner's robust nager.
'Yes, we certainly will.'
The next few hours flew by quickly, as they were all delivered back to Maxwell Trent's house. Both Jason and Tomar giving their own accounts of what had happened to them, and answering a myriad of questions.
Tute also found out that a Shuttle had been seen, and had been monitored leaving the Bancroft Space Station shortly before the Trent Shuttle had arrived there. It had been tracked heading out into the Solar System before they finally lost it. And as Tute had pointed out, although they could never prove that the kidnappers had been on board, it was a safe bet that they were.
Read Chapter 8
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Companion in Zeor is Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Sime~Gen Inc.
A New Beginning is copyright (c) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Page Was Last Updated by Karen 04/17/03 10:58 PM EST (USA)
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