Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13, 14, 15 & 16
An hour later having flatly refused to spend the rest of the day in bed, when all he had sustained were a few bruises and sore knees, Jason joined his partner together with Jordan and Tony in the Sectuib's office.
All conversation stopped as Jason entered the room, both Simes zlinning him carefully. Heavens above, one Sime clucking around him was bad enough, but two? He glanced at Tony, who raised his eyes in open commiseration with his Gen colleague.
'Okay everyone, panic over - I'm fine, you can stop fussing. What were you discussing just before I arrived?'
Jason stared across at Jordan's Companion. 'Did you say bombs?'
'Yes he did or - if you prefer - explosive devices.' Vidal stated, 'Two today and one yesterday to be exact.'
'Did you say one yesterday?' Jason looked around at the three humans in confusion. 'Look, you'd better start at the beginning, and tell me what all this is about.'
Ten minutes later, Jason still felt stunned by what he had just been told.
'So let me get this straight. You think that the Organisation blew up this Felicity Parker outside Zeor's building in Hamilton, because she had come to negotiate with you regarding the Distect? I suppose that's logical, but if the Organisation was behind today's blast too, who or what were they trying to get this time?' Jason demanded. 'I mean, they were more than a couple of hundred metres off, if they were aiming for this Zeor building or even the Sime Centre come to that, weren't they?' He glanced at the three other men as he awaited their comments.
'I believe it's more or less certain that the unfortunate Felicity Parker was the intended victim of the first detonation. But I'm not so certain about today's one.' Jordan admitted slowly. 'It could be that the two incidents are not connected.' Vidal suggested.
'I'm sorry, but I don't agree with either of you.' Jason turned to stare at Tony ambrov Zeor in surprise, while the two Simes simultaneously zlinned him, for the young Gen had rarely contributed much to any discussion in the past.
'As a matter of fact I've been giving it some thought.' Tony stated. 'For starters, I don't think Felicity Parker was a victim of the Organisation. But I do believe she was sent by the Organisation, and her intended victim was you Jordan, and anyone else who got caught in the blast would just have been a bonus.'
'Now hold it right there. How do you come to that conclusion, when she was the one who ended up dead?'
Tony looked across at his Sectuib. 'That was my fault, although I suppose you could say it was a very lucky mistake, as things turned out.'
'Oh come on now Tony, it's not like you to go on a guilt trip. We're all sorry the woman got blown up, but it certainly wasn't anyone's fault, least of all yours!' The Sectuib said emphatically.
'Look. Both the Zeor and Tecton security forces are still examining the scene where the shuttle was blown up, aren't they?' Jordan nodded his agreement. 'I think they will find that the seat of the explosion was located on the front passenger side, and the device used was a thin metal tube - roughly the size and shape of a scribe.' Tony hesitated momentarily and then went on. 'As you may recall, I was the last one to leave the meeting. I noticed that she had left her bag under the table - and you remember the electronic pad she was fiddling with throughout the meeting?' Jordan nodded again. 'Well the scribe she used to write on it, was still lying on the table where she'd placed it. I picked them both up, the bag and the scribe, and took them down to her shuttle. Neither of you were there when I arrived.'
'No, Hajene Whitt had asked to meet her, so we stopped off on the way down, but only for a few minutes, because she was in a hurry. Another appointment apparently, and she was late already.'
'I thought it might be something like that. I couldn't wait for you, so I put the bag at the back of her seat, and dropped the scribe onto the front passenger seat.'
'Yes, as I was escorting her to the shuttle, the receptionist informed us that you had found her bag and had returned it to the Shuttle. But what makes you think the device was in the scribe, and not in the bag?' Jordan asked with interest.
'Because I think leaving the bag was a genuine oversight on her part. And even if she'd remembered it on the way down, she had no time to go back for it, or even to wait while someone else did. She had to get out of there as quickly as she could. That's why she was so nervous. I guess like me, all the other Gens at the meeting simply assumed she was over awed at meeting the Sectuib in Zeor.'
Jordan snorted with derision at his Companion's last remark.
Tony smiled. 'Yes I agree, events appear to show that we were wrong about that. But when I told the receptionist to mention the bag to her, I didn't think to mention the scribe. I simply dropped it on the passenger seat for her to find later.'
'I still don't see Felicity Parker in the role of either saboteur or assassin.'
'Why ever not? Think Jordan! It explains such a lot. She was agitated and nervous because she had to plant that scribe, and what better place than the Conference Room? If it had gone off there, it would have destroyed most of the building. But as I said before, I believe leaving her bag behind was a genuine mistake, and a lucky break for us. If she hadn't left the bag - I would never have noticed the scribe lying on the table, when I bent down to pick it up.'
The Sectuib nodded. 'Yes, I did think she was slightly apprehensive, I'll grant you that. The way she was fidgeting and messing around with that electronic pad couldn't really be put down to anything else. But then again it was to be expected. After all, she was a young woman on a very important mission. Anyone would have been apprehensive.' Jordan paused, a slight frown forming between his eyes. 'You say she was agitated and nervous? Definitely not. She didn't zlin like that to me. In fact she was a shadow. Her selyn had been stripped almost to danger level, which enabled her to keep her nager completely neutral all the time she was with us. To be honest I thought it was weird - for want of a better word - but nothing more.'
'And there lies your problem Jordan. You don't look for anything that you can't zlin.'
'I agree with you there Tony. Vidal's just the same - all Simes are.' Jason said at once.
'Exactly! I bet if you asked the other Gens who were there in the room with us, they would all agree with me. She was a bag of nerves, in fact she was frightened stiff - it was written on her face, if you cared to look for it, and in her body language too! As I said before, I thought at the time that perhaps she was over awed at meeting you, or like you just said, she was worried about the responsibility that was resting on her shoulders. You know what I mean, arranging the first meeting between the Distect and us - it's pretty heady stuff after all - history in the making. But then I certainly had no idea that she was planting an explosive device, and probably only had minutes to get clear herself!' Tony smiled grimly at the three other men as he demanded. 'Now don't you think that that really would have given her a reason to be both nervous and terrified?'
'Scared shitless if you ask me,' Jason murmured grimly. 'I know I would have been.'
Jordan was non-committal as he considered what his Companion had said. 'We'll know for sure when I get the Report later today. I think I'll reserve judgement till then.'
Tony nodded. 'Okay. However, I haven't quite finished Sectuib. I also believe the two devices that went off just outside here today, were targeted at Hajene Trent and Sosu Devere.'
'What!?' 'Why!?' Both men spoke at once, while Jordan's eyebrows rose in surprise at his Companion's assertion.
'Look, for the sake of argument, let's assume that my hypothesis regarding the first device is correct, and the Organisation was out to get Jordan. Then doesn't it follow that you two would be their next target? Well, doesn't it?' The Gen said calmly his eyes moving from Vidal to Jason before coming to rest on his Sectuib.
'Yes I suppose it does. But your theory rests solely on the assumption that the Organisation is aware not only of our mission, but also the nature of the proposition we intend to put to the Distect!' The Sectuib's dark eyes met his Companion's challengingly.
'I know, and they do, and I don't think the leak came from the TIB either.'
'Am I to take it by that remark that you're suggesting that someone in Zeor is in the pay of the Organisation?' The Sectuib's voice was full of scepticism now.
'You're still living in the past I'm afraid Jordan, if you honestly believe that such a thing isn't possible.' Vidal said flatly before Tony could reply. 'Unfortunately this is the real world we're dealing with now. You have to accept that fine words and vows don't mean much to some people any more. And it's quite feasible a member of Zeor might very well have sworn - unto Zeor forever - and not meant one single word of it! Sad, but true my friend.'
Vidal sighed as he saw his friend's expression. 'Don't feel bad about it Jordan. It's not your fault; none of us are infallible after all. Just remember, if someone set out with the sole intention of deceiving Zeor, then it's perfectly possible that they would succeed. The TIB teaches some Channels who have a certain level of ability how to mislead other Simes, including Channels by hiding their real emotions and projecting other feelings into the ambient.'
'You or I and perhaps a handful of other Channels might not be fooled, but only if we were expecting it to happen, and were actually looking for it; or were expecting someone to try and mislead us.'
Jason nodded and said thoughtfully: 'I heard during my time with the TIS, that they were trying to do much the same thing with some of their Gen agents - I understand it was pretty much a failure, but they had one or two successes.'
Jordan sank back in his chair and closed his eyes as he considered Vidal's words. 'I hate to admit it, but I suppose you could be right.'
'I'm sorry Jordan.' Over the years Vidal had come to accept these rather unpalatable truths, but he knew that the very idea that Simes or Gens who were sworn "unto Zeor," might actually have lied when they took their vows, was anathema to the Sectuib.
'Like I said before, it's not your fault that they got through the net Jordan. Remember, you wouldn't be expecting them to be telling you a pack of lies, so you aren't going to delve too deeply are you? Not like in the old days, when people would often try to infiltrate spies into both Zeor and the other households. These days you just don't expect that sort of thing to happen, so ergo you don't look for it.'
Jordan sighed as he met Vidal's dark eyes. 'You're right of course. You know it's strange, but I was saying to Tony only a short while back how lax things have got in recent years in all the households. And I don't even count the Tecton in that, for they're looking more like a business enterprise, rather than a "service to the people," with each day that passes.'
'Look I hate to break this up, but don't you think you should have this philosophical discussion at some other time? We've got more than enough to worry about with this new turn of events, without getting side-tracked, no matter how important all this might be to Zeor.' Jason stated firmly. 'We have to get our priorities right gentlemen!'
'No, he's correct Vidal. Now is not the time for this discussion.' The Sectuib said quickly. 'I have to admit I expected the Organisation to become aware of our plans at some time in the future, possibly from members of the Distect itself. But I didn't consider the possibility that they would know about it before we'd even mentioned it to the Distect. It's a rather sobering thought that someone, perhaps here in this building, is not only aware of our plans but is actually passing them on to our enemies.'
'I suppose you've both been discussing all this pretty openly between yourselves in and around Zeor?' Vidal asked quietly.
Tony nodded. 'Yes of course, in the dining room the corridors and elevators,' he admitted with a shrug.
'I simply never thought about spies in Zeor itself.' Jordan admitted sadly. 'I've been extremely naïve.'
'It's pointless blaming yourself. We're simply not used to all this cloak and dagger stuff.' His Companion assured him softly. 'Now that we know, we'll have to be more careful in future.'
'It's too shenning late for that!' Jason muttered angrily.
'Jason, please! I'm sorry, Jordan.'
The Sectuib waved two graceful tentacles towards his friend signalling that he accepted the apology, and it didn't matter. Then both Simes looked towards the door zlinning. Almost immediately there was a brief buzz before the door opened. Seconds later Jordan was perusing the message that the renSime had handed to him.
'It seems you were correct Tony. The centre of the explosion was indeed the front passenger seat, and the device was almost certainly inside a thin metal tube, fragments of which were found by the investigators; they also found that the explosive itself was coated in Llhandros, which explains why no one zlinned its presence.'
'What's Llhandros?' Jason demanded at once.
'It's one of the few materials we've found so far that Simes can't zlin through,' Jordan explained. 'It's from off-world of course, and our experts are still arguing as to whether it's a wholly natural material or man,' the Channel grinned before he went on, 'or alien made. It is also....'
'Stop! Hold it right there Jordan. I don't want its life history. The first sentence would have been enough.' Jason stated, 'but in view of that, it looks like we could well have been today's target, doesn't it?' And he glanced around for confirmation of his assertion.
'Well the investigators also say, that if the device had gone off in the Conference Room, which is located more or less half way up the main Zeor building in Hamilton, it was powerful enough to have done a great deal of damage.' Jordan locked eyes with his Companion. 'So Zeor has you to thank, that we did not have any casualties yesterday.'
'Pure luck, I had no more idea than anyone else, what she really intended.' Tony confessed honestly.
'Nevertheless, both I and the whole of Zeor are grateful.' The Sectuib stated, and then looked across at Vidal and Jason. 'I am also informed that the two devices near here this morning were set off by remote control.'
'You mean someone in the street was actually watching us?'
'Yes, it certainly looks that way Vidal, and it seems that Tony was correct in all his assertions.' The Channel conceded with a sigh.
'More importantly, it means that we've probably been under observation ourselves for quite some time,' Jason stated.
'What brings you to that conclusion?'
'If you recall, we were supposed to transmute straight here to Zeor HQ. It was only the last minute cancellation because of the arrival of the overseas delegation that made us decide to use the public transmuter.' Jason reminded his partner.
'Just a minute,' Jordan broke into their conversation. 'We've had no new arrivals from overseas today. If we had, I would most certainly have known about it.'
'Well that's it then, isn't it!? The Organisation already knows exactly who we are, what our plans are, and even our movements.' Jason said angrily, putting all their thoughts into words. 'Bloody marvellous!'
Tony looked at the other three men. 'So what do we do now?'
'Make some new plans as quickly as we can!' Jason snapped, and this time try keeping your damn mouths shut! But with an effort, he managed to keep the final words to himself.
Jordan nodded, 'The optimism of Gens never fails to amaze me,' he said to the room at large.
'I agree. But that's still the first sensible thing Jason has said today.' Vidal replied, almost glaring across at his partner.
Jason didn't bother to argue with him, he simply made a very good attempt at a very rude tentacle gesture, using two fingers on one hand and one on the other!
Jordan and Tony both burst out laughing - while Vidal merely stared at his Companion, and then slowly shook his head.
Tony and Jason sat in the dining room. They had left the two Channels in Jordan's office to talk, having extracted a promise from both of them that they would definitely eat a light supper later in the evening.
'Are the quarters we assigned to you and Vidal adequate?' Tony asked as he perused the Dessert Menu.
'They're fine. In fact, once I've finished here I think I'll turn in and have an early night. I didn't sleep too well last night.'
'All that trouble this morning couldn't have helped either.' Tony observed quietly, and smiled as he finally chose a double slice of chocolate fudge cake with toffee sauce and fresh cream. 'I'd never hear the last of it if Jordan saw me eating this. The trouble with Simes, they see food as merely a necessity of life, and not one of its pleasures. So the only time I can really indulge myself is when he's too busy to come with me.'
'Yes I know the feeling, nag, nag, nag, but I have to admit I tend to eat what I want anyway, whether Vidal's there or not.' Jason said honestly, and picked out his own dessert. 'You know Tony, about this morning. I keep wondering if those explosions really were meant for Vidal and me. It all seems a little unreal now that I stop and think about it.'
'I'm sorry, but I don't see how there can be any doubt. You said yourself, we're dealing with some very dangerous people.'
'We are.' He sighed and ran one hand through his chestnut curls. 'By the way can you recommend anyone to cut this? It's getting much too long again - even for me.'
'Yes of course. As a matter of fact, we have a couple of in-house hairdressers.' Tony said at once. 'I'll tell you what. Meet me outside your quarters at 7.00 a.m. tomorrow, and we'll go and get it cut before breakfast.'
'Did I notice a gym on the way up here?'
'Yes, it's open 24 hours a day, why?'
'In that case, I'll be in the gym about 6.00 a.m. tomorrow, so you can meet me outside there at 7.00 instead, unless you'd care to join me in the gym first?'
Tony looked shocked. 'You've got to be joking!'
'No, I meant it actually.' Jason frowned slightly before he asked. 'How are you on unarmed combat and self defence Tony?'
'Unarmed? I wouldn't know how! Gens are not encouraged to fight in Zeor, or any other householding as far as I know. Unless it's Dar of course, and they work to a completely different set of rules than anyone else.' Tony chuckled as he spooned up the last of the toffee sauce. 'If you tried to start a fight with me right now, we'd be stopped before we'd even got up from the table.'
'I wonder if Vidal realises that?' Jason said softly.
'Why, is there a problem?'
'No, of course not, I'm sure things will work out.' Jason said with more confidence than he actually felt. After all, Tony must realise that they would find themselves facing Gens and Simes who would not have the nice manners towards Gens that most householders did.
Indeed, Jason knew to his cost what members of the Organisation were like, they gave absolutely no quarter, and Tony could end up being a burden on everyone, especially if he couldn't even defend himself!
'You think I should be able to fight?' The other Gen said intuitively.
'Look Tony, don't worry about it. I'll tell Vidal and let him have a word with Jordan. I'm sure they can work something out.'
Later, as they were crossing the reception area deep in conversation, the middle-aged renSime at the reception desk called across to them.
They both walked over. 'You wanted one of us?'
'Sosu Jason Devere?'
'I have a message for you Sosu. We received it a few minutes ago, I was about to contact you in your quarters.' The man reached behind him, and handed Jason a computer printout.
'Thanks.' Walking back to the elevator Jason read it quickly. To his surprise the message was from Avon. Now what was the TIS Instructor doing here, and what did he want with him? The last time he had seen the man had been by the order of Helma Vestii, just before he had left for Regis 9, and that was quite some time ago now.
'Problems?' Tony asked quietly, studying the other Gen's expression.
'I hope not.'
Jason glanced at his new chronometer. Vidal had given it to him as a gift, to replace the one that Lockwood had tossed through the window of the car, when he and young Tomar had been kidnapped. It was just gone ten in the evening, and the note said that Avon would wait for him in the Gen Lounge on the first floor of the Sime Centre until midnight. True, it was a strange place for the TIS to use as a rendezvous, but it was convenient.
Knowing Vidal, he would probably be talking with Jordan till the wee small hours, so there was little point in bothering him, and anyway he would be back well before the Channel returned to their quarters. Apart from that, it would only take him ten minutes or so to walk up the road to the Sime Centre, and he was certainly curious enough to want to go. After all, it could be that the TIS had got some information on who the bombers were. Helma Vestii as he well knew always kept a close eye on terrorist activity, whether it was aimed at TIS personnel or not.
Having made up his mind, Jason told Tony that he had been asked to meet a former work colleague at the Sime Centre, which was of course the truth.
'As a matter of fact I promised I'd call and see Judith, a friend of mine, before I leave Capital City. If you don't mind the company, I'll walk along there with you. I intended to go tomorrow, but knowing Jordan I could just as well be on my way to Mars by this time tomorrow.' Tony acknowledged ruefully.
'I know the feeling, and I'd be glad of the company. I just hope it's stopped raining.'
They both walked out of the automatic doors and on to the sidewalk outside. Thankfully it was a clear dry night, but a little colder than Jason had expected. Still they did not have all that far to go, and the whole area was well lit both by streetlights, and the flashing neons in the various shop windows and clubs. Most of which he knew would be open for business all night long.
When he came to the stretch of walkway where the devices had exploded earlier in the day, he found that they had to cross over to the other side of the road for it was cordoned off by a low level force field.
Suddenly Tony asked almost diffidently, interrupting his train of thought. 'Do you think you could teach me to fight?'
Jason turned his head to study the young Gen as best he could in the diffused light. 'Teach you to fight? Tony, it really isn't that easy. I mean, I've been mixing it up with other kids since my earliest school days. I've always been able to throw a punch or two, and do a little roughhousing, including some judo. So when I started taking lessons from a Dar Instructor, I wasn't a complete novice or beginner.' He grinned ruefully. 'Although to be honest, he made me feel like one. Thankfully, I'm quite good now though.'
'And I'm useless.' The Gen sighed out loud. 'I have no wish to be a burden on this mission, and believe me I would step down if there was someone better qualified than I who could go with the Sectuib. But there really isn't. I mean. There are plenty of Gens in Zeor who would go, but they would be no better than me when it comes to self-defence, and they'd be a lot worse than me when it comes to giving him transfer. So what do I do?'
'I don't know. Look, stop worrying about it. Like I said I'll have a word with Vidal, we'll work something out. Perhaps give you a crash course or something.'
They both fell silent, each with their own thoughts. Until they saw a couple of Gens arguing noisily outside one of the clubs, another man had stopped just in front of them apparently to watch what was happening, or perhaps to wait for someone. Jason could not tell from the angle the man was standing whether he was Gen or Sime. So just in case he drew in his nager to enable him to pass by - hopefully - unnoticed. He also knew he did not have to warn the Gen at his side to do the same, for he would have done so automatically.
Jason looked around in the hope of seeing some of the Sime police who usually patrolled the City at night, but without success. They could not cross over the road again, because the sidewalk over that side was still cordoned off, and they could not walk in the road itself because of the flitters constantly moving up and down, full of late night revellers.
Stifling a sigh he moved to the very edge of the sidewalk, trying to give the two protagonists as wide a berth as he could, knowing that Tony was right behind him.
Then suddenly that strange feeling that he had felt before hit him. It was almost like a sixth sense or premonition. He knew that the two Gens were not drunk, but they were trouble - bad trouble.
'Tony listen, and don't argue with me. I want you to turn around and get back to Zeor as quickly as possible. Tell Vidal to come here straight away. If he can't, send some Simes. Now, go!' He pushed him hard, and not waiting to see if he was obeyed, turned to face the two men. Almost at once a hand and tentacles landed on his shoulder and he was dragged unceremoniously into a dark alley between the two buildings.
'Hey what do you think you're...' He got no further as he was tossed against the wall with enough force to cause him to land awkwardly on his knees on the floor. Shen it, this he could do without!
He had scraped the skin off his knees in the explosion earlier on today and Vidal had fixed it. Now he could tell that the new skin had broken open again and blood was seeping out, and he knew instinctively that his knees were a lot worse now, than before.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the Sime who had dragged him in here, leaning almost nonchalantly against wall at the entrance to the alleyway again watching up and down the street. While the assailants he now faced were the two Gens he had seen supposedly arguing together before.
Gathering himself together Jason staggered to his feet, and while still bent over butted the nearest Gen in the stomach with his head, hearing his grunt of pain with a feeling of intense satisfaction, as the air whooshed out of him. Quickly he followed this up with at least three well-aimed punches to the man's face and chest followed by a short uppercut, and had the satisfaction of seeing him measure his length on the floor.
Thankfully there was not enough room in the narrow alley for the two men to attack him simultaneously. However, the second Gen had now drawn a lethal looking blade from a sheath on his belt, and they began to circle each other, Jason's eyes not leaving the weapon in the man's hand.
Again and again the knife slashed towards his chest, and each time Jason danced away from it using the limited space available; all the time watching for an opening, and a way to disarm the man.
'Okay that's enough now Alun, you've had your fun. Finish him off, we have to go!' The words made little sense to Jason, but he knew it was the Sime who had spoken. 'Shen it Alun I said finish it - someone's coming.'
Jason was peripherally aware that the Sime was bending down to throw the other Gen who was still unconscious, over his shoulder. Then without warning a shower of stars cascaded before Jason's eyes as the one called Alun, suddenly backhanded him hard across the face with his free hand, knocking him to the ground. Now that would teach him to let his attention wander, Jason thought, annoyed with himself.
Even as he landed flat on his back, still furious at what was happening to him, Jason saw the Gen bend forward and slash the knife down towards his chest. Shen it to hell, as if being blown up wasn't enough for one day, he thought angrily. As the sudden rush of adrenalin catapulted him back on to his feet, and he chopped his hand down hard on the Gen's wrist. Giving a grunt of satisfaction as the knife fell to the ground.
Before he could congratulate himself on his success however, the Sime hit him hard and he both felt and heard the loud crack as his head smacked against the wall. Sinking to his knees once more he saw that Alun had found and picked up his knife, and before he could move out of the way, Jason felt the sharp slim blade slide between his ribs. Almost in slow motion he pitched forward onto his face, and saw the Sime grab hold of his assailant with fingers and tentacles dragging him along behind him, as they took off down the alley, the other Gen still hanging unconscious over his shoulder.
Jason tried to stagger to his feet, but found that he could not do so. Then thankfully he heard running feet coming towards him and seconds later both Vidal and Jordan skidded to a halt and were kneeling one on either side of him.
'About time! You're never shenning well here when you're wanted!' He whispered through sore lips, his eyes on his partner's face, which seemed to be a long way away down a very deep tunnel. Then with a shuddering sigh he closed his eyes, and sank into blessed oblivion.
Jason regained consciousness to the sound of Tony's voice, and to find himself back at Zeor HQ.
'I should never have left him there on his own.'
'You did the right thing Tony. Don't go blaming yourself. If you had remained with him, we'd have ended up with both of you hurt maybe dead, and how would that have helped matters?' Jordan demanded, as he looked down at his Companion's lowered head.
'Besides I can take care of myself.' Jason muttered through bruised lips joining the conversation for the first time.
Vidal snorted with derision, as Tony admitted softly, 'and I cannot. All I could do was run for help.'
'You'll just have to carry a weapon in future Tony.' Vidal said bluntly.
'I wouldn't know how to use it.'
'You'll learn! I had to.' Jason tried to grin, but gave up because it hurt too much.
'How do you expect us to heal you if you will not keep still?' Jordan said with a sigh, and Vidal grunted his agreement.
Jason shifted his body to a more comfortable position. 'Who was it this time I wonder? There were two Gens and a Sime. He called one of the Gens - the one with the knife - Alun.'
'It could simply have been a robbery, nothing at all to do with this other business.' Vidal replied without much conviction, and then asked. 'Where were you going anyway?'
'To the Sime Centre, I got a message from Avon. If you remember I told you about him some time ago? He was an instructor with the TIS. He asked me to meet him there before midnight. Look can someone call him and explain why I couldn't make it?'
'I'll do that.' Tony hurried away.
'You know my Granny used to say that all things happen in threes.'
Vidal frowned as he stared down at his Companion. 'What are you talking about now Jason?' He looked across at the Sectuib. 'Did he just say something about trees? Do you think he's delirious Jordan?'
'I said threes! One, two three! - not trees. What time is it anyway?'
'Half past eleven! Why?'
'Because so far today, I've been blown up, beaten up and stabbed - and the day's not over yet! So what's going to happen next?'
'Do you really want to know?' Vidal demanded his quiet tone ominous. 'It'll be me, losing my temper with you and breaking your stupid neck. When will you learn to follow the rules?'
'What rules are you blathering on about now?' Jason managed to mumble through sore lips.
'The rules that say when we're on an assignment neither of us goes off on our own without telling the other where we are going to first! Tony didn't know that, but you did!'
'We're not on an assignment yet, not officially.' Jason snapped back, immediately on the defensive.
'Oh yes we are! We were from the moment we stepped into the transmuter to come to Capital City this morning!' Vidal said, ice cold fury in his voice, his tentacles emerging to lash aimlessly in the air.
'Calm down Vidal, he's paid dearly for his mistake, don't you think?' Jordan asked quietly, and Vidal fell silent, his lips drawn into a thin bloodless line.
Tony who had just returned to the room to hear the tail end of the argument, merely looked upset.
'Did you get through to him?' Jason asked looking across at the young Gen.
'No. He wasn't there. And according to the reception clerk they have not checked anyone in of that name, not today or for the past week.'
'Well I don't think there's much doubt as to who sent the false message to lure you out onto the street, is there?' Jordan said bluntly, and stood up, stretching his hands and tentacles before he sheathed them again. 'You should be fine in the morning Jason, apart from a little soreness. Now, I suggest we all get a good night's rest. I'm sure things will look a whole lot better tomorrow.'
'I won't argue with that.' Jason murmured as he yawned and settled down his eyes already half closed. He felt exhausted and his body ached. Besides which he'd never seen his partner in quite such a rage before. He watched as the three men left the room together, and moments later fell into a deep almost drugged sleep.
Read Chapter 3
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