Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13, 14, 15 & 16
Jason entered the Sectuib's office to find both him and Tony and Vidal sitting there, together with a strange Sime that he hadn't met before.
'There you see, it's happening now Xander.' Jordan said quickly in Simelan. The Sime he was addressing nodded his head, as he eagerly zlinned the young Gen who was entering the room.
Jordan switched back to English. 'Come in Jason,' He waved him to a vacant chair. 'This is Xander ambrov Imil, soon to be ambrov Zeor. And this is the young man we've been discussing Xander, Jason Devere, Vidal's Companion.' The two men nodded at each other, although Jason was aware that he had been zlinned by all the Simes from the moment he'd entered the room.
'You've been discussing me?' He did not like the idea of being talked about behind his back.
'I'd rather have a coffee, if you don't mind.'
Tony reached for a pottery mug, 'Cream with three spoonfuls of honey - right?'
Jordan waited patiently while the two Gens discussed the important question of what to drink, before he went on. 'I'll get right to the point Jason. Do you remember when we had transfer, I told you I believed you were a drifter?' He paused as Jason nodded his head in confirmation and then continued. 'I spoke to Vidal about it at the time. He tells me this morning that unfortunately both of you have been far too busy with your last assignment and other matters, to do very much about it.'
'That would be about right.'
'Which is the reason I asked Xander to meet with us today; he was lecturing at the Auckland Institute, but has managed to take a leave of absence for the next few days.'
'The Auckland Institute? That's more than half a world away.' Jason observed looking more closely at the Sime they were discussing. He was about Vidal's height, his head was covered in short blonde curls and for a male, he wasn't just handsome, he was positively pretty.
Jason knew that if he had looked like that he'd be out trying to get himself a broken nose, or possibly grow a beard! Anything that would make him look a little more masculine. Although then again, he did know quite a few women who would just love to go out with someone who looked like Xander. No accounting for taste, he thought wryly.
'I told him about our problem, and he has dropped everything to see if he can help us.' Jordan stated.
'Help in what way?'
Jordan explained the discussion he had had with Tony the previous night, and with Vidal this morning.
'You really feel it's that much of a problem?'
The Sectuib nodded. 'Unfortunately, yes I do. As you know, the relationship between Sime and Gen is in some ways parasitic. In as much as we cannot live without the selyn your body produces, although the average Gen, in most cases, could exist quite happily without us.
'However, with the higher order Channels, like Vidal and I, the connection between us becomes even more intense and important to us, and to a lesser extent, even to you.' He paused as Tony handed Jason his coffee.
'The most basic instinct of any Sime, has to be his need for selyn. Nowadays the Tecton provides for the need of the ordinary renSime. As far as the Seconds and Thirds and most Firsts are concerned, they are catered for by Gens trained on the Hayashi machines. Some are like Tony and I while just a few, like Vidal, are lucky enough to be in a locked dependency. You can imagine how such a Channel might react if he thought for one moment that another Sime was coming between him and his Gen.'
Jason blew on the hot coffee as he raised his green eyes to study the Sectuib's face over the rim of his mug, silently acknowledging what he was saying.
'Now normally, we higher order Channels do not usually suffer any great problems, simply because we do have our own Companions,' he indicated Tony with a tentacle. 'Then along comes a Gen who has the ability to drift towards and mesh with the field of the highest order Channel in his immediate vicinity. He doesn't do this in a malicious way. In fact he's totally unaware of what he's doing. In certain circumstances this can and sometimes does cause tension between both Sime and Gen; a tension that could quite easily lead to Sime aggression in its most base form.'
Jason placed the mug on the edge of Jordan's desk before he replied slowly. 'You're referring to me, right?'
'Yes. Both Vidal and I are of the opinion that it could be one of the things that has been causing so much stress between both of you lately.'
'It sounds logical.' Jason glanced across at his silent partner. 'I was only saying last night that we haven't argued like this for months, and that I'd come to the conclusion that Householders, like you Jordan - no offence - are not a good influence on our relationship. Vidal of course said I was wrong.'
'It seems you were correct,' Vidal said softly. 'And, I'm sorry.'
Jason threw him a brief smile. 'Accepted; more important perhaps is not what is causing it, but how do we stop it? Or should I say, how do I stop it?'
'Exactly,' Jordan sat forward his hands clasped together on the desk in front of him, his tentacles tightly sheathed, 'Which is why Xander is here.'
'As I explained to the Sectuib, I am not an expert in this field. Unfortunately there is no one, since my Uncle Connor ambrov Imil died more than a decade ago now, who can claim to have any real experience or expertise in this area, not that he had much. But I am prepared to do my best to help alleviate matters, if I can. I have already read my Uncle's notes.'
'Fine. But let's get this straight shall we?' Jason said as he looked levelly across at the blonde Channel. 'We've got less than three days left before we go off world, and apparently I have to learn how not to let my field wander all over the place - right? So let's not waste time discussing why it's happening. Just tell me what do I do to stop it, and more importantly how do I do it?'
Xander smiled across at him, and his face changed from being merely pretty, to downright beautiful. 'Straight to the point, I have to admit I like that.'
'We will all try and assist you Jason, but unfortunately we can't do it for you.' His partner said softly.
'I realise that Vidal. Don't worry, I'll do my best once Xander here explains it to me. It'll be worth it if I can stop you snapping at me all the time.'
A short time later Jordan, Tony and Vidal all trooped out of the room, leaving Xander and Jason alone. During the remainder of the morning Xander worked tirelessly with Jason. Doing his best to make the Gen aware of his field, and how it would drift away from him, unless of course Vidal happened to be the highest order Channel in his vicinity.
Xander tried to demonstrate this by using his own field first, after which he would then call various Channels into the room. Some of whom were of higher order than himself, in which case Jason's field would immediately orientate towards them, and some who weren't.
In the afternoon Xander called two other Channels into the room who were both of similar order to himself. He positioned them equidistant from Jason, forming a rough triangle, and Jason's nager swirled around in the middle as it tried to decide which Channel to move towards. This was fascinating of course for the Channels who could watch and study the phenomena, but was no help at all to Jason.
Finally Xander had called Vidal and Jordan back into the room and it was only then that they had started to make any real progress.
Night was already starting to close in when Xander decided to finish the marathon session, at least for today. Jason for his part now understood what the Sime had been trying to convey, and in a subliminal way, was vaguely aware of what he was doing.
In the beginning Jason had wondered whether the exercises he had been doing, which helped him to make his field invisible to other Simes, at least for a short time, might well help him now. Unfortunately this proved not to be the case.
However, knowing what was expected of him was a relatively simple concept. Achieving it, now that was a very different ball game indeed.
By the end of two days, Jason felt emotionally drained and very stressed, which was far worse than being merely physically exhausted. His three colleagues understood how he felt and sympathised with him, but could do little to help.
'Do you think you're starting to get the hang of it now?' Tony asked as they all sat down to eat in Jordan's quarters.
'In the beginning, it felt rather like the blind leading the blind for most of the time,' Jason admitted with a wry grin around the table.
'That's not a bad analogy,' Jordan agreed, 'Xander said that once he is aware of a problem he can easily convey his ideas to another Channel or even a renSime with little difficulty, but unfortunately, he is not an expert in conveying that same knowledge to a Gen. At this present moment in time, no one is.'
'Agreed. But how am I doing?' Jason demanded, and again looked from Vidal on his left to Jordan sitting on his right. Tony was facing him. 'I'm concentrating on Vidal.' He informed them blithely.
Jordan smiled. 'Yes you are, but it's not a fair test. Tony is acting as interference for you. Now if he were not here.'
'Do you want me to go out of the room?' Tony asked, looking down at the hot meal in front of him with a sigh.
'Would you mind Tony, just for a couple of minutes?'
The Gen obligingly left the room, and the two Channels looked at each other as Jason's nager which was now settled firmly on his partner, stayed steady for about half a minute, until suddenly it started to drift towards the right, then stopped, then moved back again. Both Channels duly praised him for what he had achieved, and moments later Tony came back in.
'How did he do?' He demanded of Jordan as he sat down.
'He wavered for a while,' Vidal reminded him.
'True. But at least he now understands what's happening, and is working at it, that's got to be a vast improvement.'
'Did you find this sort of discipline very hard to learn?' Jason asked looking across at the other Gen.
'I didn't have to. I'm not a drifter.'
'Of course you're not. I keep forgetting that I'm the only misfit here.'
Vidal reassuringly laid a tentacle on his partner's arm. 'Don't say that again Jason, whatever else I may call you, I will never call you a misfit. You're my Companion, and I'm grateful for every single one of your abilities whatever they are. Never forget that. We'll work it out.'
'Thanks Vidal, I appreciate that,' Jason said softly, and then grinned wickedly at the Channel. 'I'll remind you of those rash words next time you try to pick a quarrel with me.'
Vidal opened his mouth to say he had never picked a quarrel in this life, but then thought better of it, and closed it again.
Forty-eight hours later found them all arriving on the dark side of the Moon, ready to embark on the freighter that was already waiting to pick them up.
Once they had all settled into their quarters, Jason immediately took himself off to one of the holds, to familiarise himself with the shuttle that had been placed at their disposal.
He was thankful that although a totally new design, most of the instrumentation layout inside the small craft was familiar to him. He was also grateful to find that a full engineering specification had been left in the shuttle for him to read at his leisure.
Vidal's face suddenly appeared in the hatch opening. 'Everything all right Jason?'
'Looks like it. As far as I can see there's no problem so far. What about you?'
'I've been speaking to the Astrogator, she's going to give us an hour's warning before each jump into hyperspace; plenty of time to prepare ourselves.'
'Good. Did she ask why you wanted to know?'
'No. The Captain has given orders that everyone is to help us, and not ask any questions.'
Jason sighed with relief. 'I'm just pleased we found out about what was causing my problem before it got completely out of hand.'
Vidal nodded. 'But I really can't understand why you don't want to tell anyone about it.'
'I told you why Vidal. Humour me okay? You haven't said anything to the others have you?'
'No, I haven't even mentioned it to Jordan. The first jump is at 16.00 hours. I suggest we meet in our cabin ten minutes before that time.'
Jason nodded his agreement, and indicated the specification. 'I'll probably be there well before then, I want to make a start on reading all this.'
Two days later Jason decided to make use of the freighter's crew facilities. The internal lights in the corridors and main areas of the vessel were all lowered, as it was still ship's night, and he was deep in thought as he strode along the lower deck, for he knew where the small but well equipped gym was located. As he had hoped the gym was deserted at this hour of the night. Opening the bag he had brought with him, and working quickly, he set up the target.
The carrying of any type of knife on Earth and on her colonies by civilians whether Gen or Sime was banned. As too was the carrying of firearms, except by law enforcement officers.
The Distect however, like most other planets in the Galaxy, did not have any such ban. This was the reason why Vidal had insisted right at the beginning, that Jason learn how to both fight with, and defend himself against, most of the weapons he would undoubtedly at some time in the future come up against.
For the next hour he practised throwing the knives. Pleased that he managed to hit the target every time, and the inner ring nine times out of ten.
Even he had been surprised, when the night before they were due to leave Earth, Jordan had called them all together, and had shown them the array of weapons normally carried by adult members of the Distect in their own society. They consisted of at least one disruptor or blaster, and in some instances even a particle weapon. Nothing it appeared was ruled out. Next came two throwing blades, a fighting knife, and a six-inch switch knife with safety catch.
'Are all these weapons really necessary?' Tony had demanded looking at his Sectuib with wide eyes.
It was Vidal who replied. 'Without them we would all look underdressed. Remember we are all from the moment we land on the planet, and for the duration of our stay, members of the Distect.'
Tony shook his head looking bemused. 'Are you saying that Simes carry these knives as well?'
'Afraid so,' Jordan laughed harshly. 'Don't worry Tony, you can rely on your disruptor, but you must at least look the part.'
'How do I carry all of them?' Tony asked, touching them and looking completely lost.
Jason grinned across at him. 'As I told you before, there're several ways. I'll show you later, and you can decide which is best and most comfortable for you.'
Jason pushed his thoughts to one side, and nodded with quiet satisfaction as he packed the target and knives away, and placed the box on the shelf to take back to his quarters later.
Then walking across to the bench, he adjusted the weights and began to pump iron. It was not an exercise he indulged in very often. He had always considered that muscles developed in this way, were more for show than for actual use. But at the moment his choice was restricted.
Several days later, the four men met in the cargo bay prior to boarding the shuttle that they would use to take them down to Aryanous.
They were all dressed in similar fashion, only the colour of each individual outfit being a matter of choice. Each set of clothes consisted of skin hugging trousers tucked into soft boots that reached midway between ankle and knee, and a tunic top that had either a V or square neckline. The only other difference appeared to be, that whilst the Sime outfit was sleeveless, Gens had sleeves that reached no lower than the elbow. The waist was cinched in with a wide belt, used to support and to carry various weapons. The only proviso they had to adhere to was that on Distect planets all weapons had to be visible at all times.
The two Simes had both picked shades of blue. Vidal in midnight blue and Jordan in navy blue, whilst Tony was dressed from top to toe in nut brown. Jason had chosen plain black, totally unaware of how well the colour complimented his chestnut hair, which even though it had been cut in the last fortnight, was still long enough to tie back with a thong. Jason also wore one gold earring, which appeared to be the only fashion accessory that most members of the Distect wore. None of the others bothered to do so, each for a different reason.
They were all armed, but it was Jason who fairly bristled with weapons. A disruptor rested low on his right thigh, balanced by a fighting knife with hilt on his left hip.
Unlike the others in the group, who each had only one throwing knife in a sheath on one shoulder blade. Jason had two, one on each side. He also had a stiletto in a sheath under on his left forearm, whilst nestled in his right boot he had a four-inch flick knife with safety catch, which he had made sure was secure. He had seen the result when someone had carried such a weapon without the safety being on. It was not something he wanted to see repeated, especially if he himself was involved.
The two Simes both raised their eyebrows as they surveyed the Gen, but neither said a word, and it was left to Tony to whistle softly as he stared at Jason. 'My, you look,' he shook his head slowly, 'Frightening - threatening even - totally aggressive!'
Jason grinned. 'That's the idea Tony. Most people will back down if they think you look serious enough. I've found in the past that it can save a lot of hassle.'
'And what happens if they don't back down?'
'Then I fight. Is everyone ready?'
As he took the shuttle down through the atmosphere, Jason had to rely on instrumentation only, for the planet had no natural or manmade satellite, and it was therefore both dark and featureless. The only light coming from the myriad stars; twinkling brightly against the black velvet sky. No one lived on the surface of Aryanous, for the Distect lived underground, so there were no city lights to guide them either.
However, with the help of the Captain of the freighter, Jason had already worked out the co-ordinates for the clearing in the jungle where they intended to both land, and hide the shuttle, before making their way to Sector VII.
Their immediate cover story was simple in the extreme. They had trekked here from Sector IV in the Northern Hemisphere. Jason and Tony were visiting friends inside the settlement; whilst Jordan and Vidal were looking for work.
Roy and Wil had told them before they left Earth that the Distect had no system that resembled the Tecton in any way. Simes and Gens did form units, sometimes within a loose but extended family structure. Once formed, most of their fellow citizens did tend to leave them alone, rarely trying to break into a close-knit group.
Roy had therefore agreed that it would probably be accepted quite readily that the four men were transfer partners. In their case however, Wil had stressed, that as no women were involved, and there was no sexual content to their relationship, they must not be surprised if someone tried to muscle in on them.'
'But surely,' Tony had asked at once, 'Most of the Simes will realise that they couldn't possibly satisfy either Jason or me in transfer?'
It was Jordan who had answered him, 'From what we have been able to find out about the Distect in recent times. It appears that there are still a much higher proportion of both Gens and Simes who are Firsts, and many who are even 4+.'
'And why's that?'
The Sectuib had shrugged eloquently. 'We can only presume that it has something to do with their lifestyle. Remember, they certainly don't use the Hayashi method, and the vast majority take transfer during their lifetime from many different partners. It's got to make a difference to their selyn capacity hasn't it?'
Vidal agreed. 'We don't push our Gens or Simes to increase their capacity now, not like we did in the past. In fact we actively encourage everyone, once they have reached maturity, to remain as stable as possible; and always to stay well within the range of their capacity. This simply doesn't happen in the Distect.'
'I have to admit to a certain curiosity in that respect.' Jordan had said wryly.
Vidal had smiled across at him almost conspiratorially. 'Me too.'
It was dawn before they had finished covering the shuttle with undergrowth. The two Gens had chronometers that they wore on their wrists, but their only function was to accurately tell the time. Roy had warned them that any other built-in function might well cause the Distect to consider them as spies.
They had also decided to use their own names for the duration of the assignment, except Jordan and Tony who could not use the name Farris or Zeor, and had chosen instead to call themselves Winter, telling anyone who asked, that they were brothers.
As Wil had told them it was very easy to enter the underground Sector. The entrance was divided into two. One said "Residents" and was unguarded. The other read "Visitors - Permanent/Temporary", and only one Gen Guard manned this. At the moment he was leaning across his desk, flirting with a young female Sime.
They could only see one exit tunnel, and this too appeared to be unguarded.
The four men strolled up to the guard and waited patiently for his attention to turn to them.
'Permanent or temporary?' he demanded without taking his eyes off the girl.
'Temporary.' Vidal replied for them all.
The Gen pulled the computer screen towards him. Then began to fire a number of questions at them, name, age, and occupation? They answered these easily enough. He then asked where they had come from, and how long they intended staying in the area? Once these had all been answered to the Gen's satisfaction, he handed them a local tax slip.
'Five hundred credits for three months.' He began to print out receipts as he waited for payment.
'Each?' Tony asked.
The guard nodded.
'Do we get anything back if we leave before the three months are up?' Tony demanded. The guard merely looked at him, and did not bother to answer what he obviously considered a ridiculous question. 'I take it that's a no,' Tony murmured.
'Good try,' Jason whispered as Jordan accepted the receipt for all four of them.
'Don't lose that receipt friend. Remember, you have to produce it if asked. No receipt and you pay again!'
'We shalln't forget,' Jordan stated, and slid the receipt into his pocket.
Leaving the guard behind, they all entered a steel lined tunnel that had a moving floor which carried them forward and down at quite a steep angle. It also enabled them to stand together and talk. A hundred or so metres inside, they all felt the full force of the air conditioning units.
'We were all scanned as we came through the guard post back there,' Jordan observed softly. 'A good thing none of us have anything hidden on us, like communicators.'
Jason nodded his agreement. 'Roy also said that that's how they can afford not to man the Residents Entrance or the Exit. If we had tried to come through either of them when we arrived here without registering first, all shen would have broken lose. Now we've been scanned and registered, we can leave and enter at will.' He informed them, his eyes taking in the fact that the walls of the tunnel were covered in advertisements. Most were similar to the ones he had seen on Earth, but some were not.
'The Pleasure Dome - a shiltpron feast - an experience not to be missed!' Tony read the advert out loud.
'There's another one, Devil's Paradise - shiltpron and sex - take your choice.' Jason chuckled, his eyes sparkling like emeralds. 'Welcome to the Distect gentlemen!'
Read Chapter 6
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Companion in Zeor is Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Sime~Gen Inc.
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