Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13, 14, 15 & 16
Neil was lucky enough to meet up with a Sime acquaintance at the first Club he went to. The man still worked at The Complex and was only to eager to tell Neil everything that he knew about the escape from the Complex earlier that evening. Especially the part where the gang had rescued one Gen, only to leave a different Gen in his place. Neil reluctantly joined in the laughter, and then bit back a sigh of relief as he learned that Jason had only been stunned by the disruptor, and was therefore as far as his informant was aware, still very much alive.
Neil left the Club as soon as he reasonably could and returned to the house, to find the others still discussing how they could attempt another rescue from The Complex, but no one had any idea at all as to how this might be achieved.
Archer and Jordan grinned with delight at Neil's news and Vidal gave a sigh of relief when he learned that his Companion was still alive; and it was in the middle of this that Tammy had unexpectedly arrived to the surprise of everyone, including her brother.
She immediately explained that upon her unforeseen return to Rior, Warren had sent her to see if she could help them in the rescue. Archer quickly explained what had happened, and that Tony was safe, and that they now had the task of trying to get Jason out instead.
Tammy bit back a smile as she listened to the tale of woe, and then offered to "lift" Jason out of there. She then turned to her brother and said, 'Warren is aware of what happened to Jason at the Complex.' She raised a tentacle for silence as her brother opened his mouth to question her assertion. 'Not now Arch, I'll explain it all later. However, Warren suggested it might be wise if you take Tony to Rior.'
Both Channels agreed to the suggestion straight away because as they explained, Jason knew this address, and although he would not willingly divulge the information to the Organisation; no one could withstand the drugs that they would finally use to extract the information from him.
Archer meanwhile expected to go with his sister, but much to his chagrin she turned him down.
'I'm quite capable of getting him out on my own Archer. They'll want your help to get Tony safely to Rior, after all you know all the back ways through the woods.' The Sectuib opened his mouth to refute the necessity, when Tammy caught his eye and he closed it again as he realised that for some reason she did not wish her brother to accompany her back to The Complex.
'What if he's been tortured,' Archer asked.
'Let's hope that he hasn't.' Vidal said at once.
'Well so do I, but we've got to face facts. If he has been tortured he may not be able to walk unaided, in which case you'll have to carry him and…'
'I'm aware of that Archer, and I'm quite capable of carrying a wounded Gen. Your assistance won't be required.' Tammy bit her lip suddenly annoyed with herself, shen it, she hadn't meant to sound quite so harsh.
'No it never is.' Her brother replied bitterly. 'All right I'll be a good boy and go back to Rior.'
'Are you sure you can manage on your own Tammy?' Vidal pressed.
'Of course! It's not the fist time I've spirited someone away from that place,' she assured him with a brief smile, 'and to be honest with you, I've found in the past that it's best if I work alone. The less people there are stumbling around the place the better; and I know the best routes to take, and the places to hide, I'll be fine.'
'Of course you will. You wouldn't want a clumsy Gen stumbling around would you?' Archer muttered under his breath. His sister blushed, and everyone else pretended not to have heard.
'Right then, that's settled.' Jordan said and turned to Neil. 'If it's all the same with you, I'd like to go with you.
'It's fine by me,' Neil said at once.
Tammy listened to the conversation as she looked from one Sime to the other. 'What's going on Archer?' She asked, a multitude of questions obviously hovering on her lips. 'Is it something to do with Jay Lynn?'
Her brother sighed, 'not now Tam. I'll explain everything later.'
'You'd better,' she warned.
'I promised didn't I? You calling me a liar now?'
'Archer please.' She looked at her brother beseechingly, but he just shrugged and looked away.
Neil glanced across at Jordan who nodded his head in silent agreement, and shortly after they headed for the door. They were both glad to get away from the unpleasant atmosphere that had suddenly descended on the room, following the confrontation between the two siblings.
They found the group of Gens standing huddled together against the cold night air, about a block away from the landing strip. Both Simes had zlinned them from a considerable distance away.
'You should have told them not to stay so close together,' Jordan chided. 'It's lucky there aren't any Sime Guards in the vicinity or they'd have been spotted long ago.'
'You're right, it just never occurred to me.' Neil chuckled softly as he observed, 'they're rather like a homing beacon aren't they?'
Jordan silently agreed, and the two Simes were almost within tentacle distance of the nearest Gen before they were noticed by any of the group.
'Everyone here who should be here?' Neil asked, and there was a general murmur of assent. 'Good, then we'd better get underway, follow me.'
The Channel bit back a smile as the young Sime lead the way, leaving him to bring up the rear. It was all rather reminiscent of a school party with one teacher in front and another bringing up the rear, while all the Gens walked in twos rather like a crocodile.
The small craft that Neil had procured was waiting for them. Jordan noticed that the pilot was slightly agitated, and immediately put it down to the fact that they were running a few minutes late.
Neil caught his eye as he whispered wryly. 'If the pilot was Gen, he wouldn't know if we were late or not.'
The Sectuib grinned his agreement.
As soon as they arrived the pilot began his final checks, and the two Simes ushered all the Gens on board. Then Neil stayed with them as Jordan went forward to speak to the pilot.
As the Channel approached the front cabin he suddenly zlinned a line of Guards approaching the craft. They were hidden in the deep shadows, and a question flashed into his mind. Why hadn't he noticed them before? The answer was obvious, they must have been inside one of the many insulated warehouses, and if he or Neil had sensed anything, they would automatically have assumed that they were just ordinary workers.
Jordan yelled out to warn Neil and then noticed the pilot jumping out of the shuttle. Desperately he lunged forward and tried to grab hold of him his tentacles extended, but he was just a fraction too late, and had no recourse but to let him go.
'What's the matter? - oh Shen! What are we going to do?' Neil demanded as he zlinned the Guards approaching and the pilot running away. 'The bastard must have turned us in.'
'You think so?' Jordan said sarcastically.
But before Neil could answer Sylvie appeared in the doorway.
'We were wondering what the delay was?' She demanded. Neil merely pointed with a tentacle. 'Oh shen!'
Neil nodded, 'my words precisely.'
'Jay, Brin everyone get out here now!' Sylvie shouted at the top of her voice.
'What's she doing?' Jordan demanded.
'How do I know?' Neil asked, and then fell silent as his words dried up and he stared at the Gens who were quite literally leaping out of the small craft, except that this time they were no longer fully human. Many had already changed into their animal shapes, whilst others who were bringing up the rear were still in the process of change.
Within seconds the sound of snapping and snarling filled the air as the Guards and the wereGens began to fight. The two Simes meanwhile watched in shocked surprise as the Guards both Sime and Gen were despatched with ruthless efficiency. One guard who attempted to grab hold of one the shape-shifters by the neck with his tentacles, was himself grabbed from behind by a female wereGen and was quite literally tossed up into the air; then while still holding on to him she smashed his head down on the hard surface. He did not get up.
'I don't somehow think they require our help.' Jordan finally stated.
'It seems not.'
'You do realise that we haven't got a pilot now?' Jordan observed without taking his eyes from the affray. 'We can't even make orbit.'
'Don't worry, I can do it.'
'You can?' The Channel looked at the young Sime in surprise.
'I took a course when I first arrived here.'
In a surprisingly short period of time the Gens were once more clambering back on board, some were totally nude whilst others had the remnants of clothes still hanging on them, although all were in tatters. Most were human once more, whilst one or two were only half way there.
Immediately Neil started the engines and the vessel began to rise up into the dark sky, leaving the scene of carnage behind them.
A short while later he observed. 'We've attained orbit.'
'Good. How long will it take for us to get to Peridot?' Jordan asked as he looked down at the planet far beneath them.
'Several hours using space normal speed.'
'Why's that? Don't the authorities allow hyper-speed between the inner planets?' Jordan demanded to know.
Neil gave a brief bark of laugher. 'Oh they allow it. I just don't know how to engage it.'
'What do you mean you don't know? You took a course, didn't you?'
'I did, but I didn't say that I completed it. Stop worrying Jordan, it'll take us a bit longer to get to Peridot, but we will get there.'
'I hope you're right.'
'I am, trust me.'
'It seems I've got to, since I have no other choice.' The Channel admitted, and then fell silent.
The journey to Peridot was finally completed without further mishap and their passengers disembarked more or less on schedule.
'Have you any idea where we can put down when we get back to the planet?' Jordan demanded as he watched the acid green planet that was Peridot grow smaller in the rear view screen.
'Why, do you think they'll still be waiting for us at the landing strip?'
'Neil, we left a large number of bodies lying on the ground! What do you think they'll do? Personally I can't see them either ignoring us or welcoming us back with open arms, can you?'
Neil frowned slightly, 'but we didn't do any of the actual fighting did we?' He paused and then went on. 'I suppose you're right, we'll have to find somewhere else to put down, just to be on the safe side.'
Jordan snorted derisively, 'I'm glad you agree.'
'You know I wouldn't have thought that human beings could change like that, if I hadn't seen them do it with my own eyes.' He paused, 'I'm still not sure I do believe it.'
'It was fantastic wasn't it? And after seeing them in action, well you can see what the Organisation would do if they had Gens like that in their control.'
'Yes. Although I was even more surprised at the way they managed to despatch the Simes that were among the Guards.'
'The wereGens appear to have all the abilities of the creature they actually become, and when deployed in such large numbers, even a Sime would have little chance of getting the better of them.' Jordan stated, 'especially when you couple sheer strength, with the wiliness and viciousness of a wild animal.'
The two men fell silent as Neil concentrated on piloting the craft and Jordan pored over a map of Damus Two in an endeavour to find a suitable place where they could descend, without drawing too much attention to themselves.
Eventually he found a place on which they both agreed, and Neil put the craft down on a large field not too far from the town.
At first although Jason felt nothing but relief at being plucked out of his cell, he had no time to think about how lucky he was, because he found that he had to concentrate all his effort on trying to keep a dozen or so steps behind the young Sime female who had saved him.
Unfortunately it also meant that he had no time to even look at his surroundings, and when he did manage a quick glance around, he found that he was in a part of the town that was totally unfamiliar to him.
'Hey! Tammy!' He gasped out the words only to have the wind carry them away so that he had to try again as he yelled. 'Tammy! Where are we?'
She glanced back over her shoulder. 'Pardon?'
'I said WHERE ARE WE? I've never been here before.'
'The far side of Section III on the East side.'
Jason sighed, ask a silly question. He was still none the wiser. 'So where are we going?'
He managed to put on a slight spurt and drew alongside her panting even more, as he asked. 'Why Rior?'
She glanced across at him as she replied, 'because there are many natural caves and underground passages under Rior that we have over the years made habitable. You can hide there.'
'What about the others, where are they?'
'Don't worry about them, everything is taken care of,' she replied, and immediately began to pick up speed again; leaving Jason once more trying to keep up with her.
In fact he was almost certain that she was on the verge of augmenting. Shen it! Even a female Sime was still able to make him feel totally inadequate he thought disparagingly; and then fell silent as he concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other as quickly as he could, which left him little time to think of anything else.
Within a short space of time they entered the dense woodland that covered a great deal of the landscape surrounding the city, and Tammy slowed her pace somewhat, glancing back at the Gen.
'I think its safe enough to slow down a little now. I'm sorry I had to rush you like that, but while we were so close to the Complex there was always the likelihood that we would be caught. Now we're in the woods we should be all right.'
Jason accepted her words without argument as he asked. 'Have you any idea how Tony is doing?'
'The last time I saw him he had not regained consciousness, but Jordan and Vidal both believe he will recover completely, given sufficient time.'
'That's good to hear,' Jason admitted, 'so, I take it they are all waiting at Rior for us?'
Tammy shook her head. 'No. Vidal and Archer have taken Tony to Rior, but Neil and Jordan have gone off somewhere else, don't ask me where, because neither my brother nor anyone else chose to tell me!'
Jason grinned at the mutinous expression on her pretty face. 'I think I know where they've gone, but I'd rather leave Archer to tell you since his friend is involved.'
'It's Jay Lynn isn't it? I thought so.'
Jason decided it was best to change the topic of conversation as he asked, 'didn't I understand that Warren had sent you somewhere, and you wouldn't be back for several days? Not that I'm complaining of course, because to be honest you got back just in time; at least as far as I'm concerned. But how did you manage that?'
She smiled across at him. 'I was sent to carry out a task that quite simply fell through. So I returned to Rior early, and Warren told me what had happened to you when you got Tony out, and immediately despatched me to the house to see what I could do.'
'So how did Warren know that our initial rescue attempt had gone so disastrously wrong?' Jason asked curiously.
Tammy frowned slightly, 'well that's the strange thing, just prior to my return Warren received a communication on one of our secret link ups, telling him what had happened during the initial rescue, and suggesting that I might be of help as time was of the essence. Now how this person knew that I had been away and was on my way back to Rior we don't know, it's still a mystery, but he did know: which is why when I got back Warren told me to find Archer and the others and offer to help.'
'And you've absolutely no idea who sent the message?'
'Well I'm not sure about that. Because as soon as the message arrived Warren had Stefan our Security Chief look into it, and as far as I understand it he managed to trace it back and found the source.'
'And?' Jason pressed.
'And the point of origin was inside the Organisation.'
'Inside!? Are you saying that someone actually working for the Organisation sent the message? It doesn't seem very likely does it?'
'I agree it doesn't, but that would still seem to be the case. We know it wasn't one of our own people because there was no code sign.' She paused, 'in fact Stefan believe's he's pin pointed from where it was sent. The office belongs to David Marston, and he's pretty high up in the hierarchy.'
'Of course it might not have been him,' Jason pointed out, 'anyone could have been using his terminal.'
Tammy nodded her head, 'exactly, which is why the Administrator is getting Stefan to look into it further.'
'Well to be honest, however it came about, I'm grateful,' Jason admitted wryly.
'Vidal will be pleased to see you are safe and sound. I understand that he's been worried about you.'
'He worries too much, he always has.'
She turned to study him as she observed. 'But of course he does. Archer tells me that you're his Companion. What do you expect?'
'I don't know. Sometimes he can be just a little too intense. I wish he'd lighten up a bit.'
'That won't happen.' Tammy said with authority. 'He's Sime and you're Gen.'
Jason laughed out loud, 'and that's the trouble.'
'Of course it is. But don't knock it too hard my friend. I envy you both.'
Jason's eyebrows rose in surprise. 'You do?'
'Of course I do. Why even today in Rior and occasionally even among the Distect - although they don't like to admit it - what you and Vidal have is what we all seek, and few of us achieve, the ideal.'
'You know I can't tell you the number of times I've had those words said to me in one way or another. I suppose to be honest I'm too much of an individualist, and I simply find it hard to give so much of my independence away.' He hesitated and then said. 'If what you say about Rior and the Distect looking on our relationship as being "the ideal" is true, then I have to admit, I'm surprised.'
'I guess because I've always understood that you gave up the old ways and the ideals that went with them a long, long time ago.'
It was Tammy's turn to laugh. 'I suppose what it really comes down to is the fact that you know as little about us as we do about you. We aren't born with prejudices you know. They're handed down to us first by our parents then our teachers and friends. They indoctrinate us, and we accept their teaching as gospel. As we grow older we're far too busy to question our beliefs and find out the true facts for ourselves. Then when we have children of our own, the whole miserable cycle starts over.'
Jason nodded his head slowly. 'I agree, but there's not much we can do about it is there?'
Tammy's hand moved to touch his as her tentacles wrapped themselves around his upper arm and she drew him to a halt. 'Now isn't that exactly what I've just been saying? We all say the same thing, "what can we do about it?" When what we're really doing is simply abrogating our responsibilities, and letting the true bigots get away scot free.'
'You're right of course.' Jason said feeling a little shamefaced. 'We're all guilty by default, and I'm as guilty as anyone, and discounting the Organisation of course, because I think we both believe they really are evil. I've always believed that both the Distect and Rior are evil and bad, and the Tecton are all good.'
'Exactly, but it's only when enough of us are prepared to stand up and say so, that we'll ever stand a chance of changing things.'
'You know you ought to be speaking to Vidal and Jordan about all this; they're far more into all this philosophical stuff than I am.'
She smiled up at him, 'I just may do that.'
Jordan and Neil arrived at Rior, and the Sectuib immediately turned to Vidal. 'Where's Tony?'
'He's fine. We decided not to keep him down here in case the Organisation make a spot search. Warren arranged for a shuttle to return him to the freighter. He was awake and talking when he left here.' Vidal assured him.
Jordan sighed and ran his tentacles through his thick hair. 'That's the best news I've heard in a long time.'
'I agree. Now would you care to tell me how the two of you got on?' Vidal asked.
Neil grinned and began to tell Vidal how eventful their trip to Peridot had been; when the door opened and Tammy ushered Jason into the room.
Zlinning Jason deeply Vidal strode across the room to grasp him by the shoulders a broad smile on his face. 'Thank goodness you're safe. When I saw them fire that disruptor at you, it was like I was living in a nightmare. I can't tell you how worried I've been.'
'Well you can stop worrying. I'm here now, safe and sound.'
'Are you sure you're all right?' Vidal persisted as he studied the bruises on the Gen's face.
'I had a run in with your friend Gregory Carleton, and having seen him, I'll never believe again that gorillas are extinct.' He grinned broadly.
'He interrogated you? What happened?'
'It's okay you don't have to panic. Luckily for me he was only just getting into his stride when Tammy pulled me out of there.'
Vidal sighed with relief. Jason smiled and held up his hands as though in surrender. 'No more questions for the time being okay?'
'Then I'd better sort out those bruises.' The Channel said at once.
Jason glanced across at Tammy, but she kept a bland face as he said, 'later Vidal, I'm feeling just fine now, honest.'
For a moment the Channel looked as though he might argue, but then he capitulated gracefully, 'all right, but don't assume you won't have to tell me every detail later.' He threatened grimly.
The next morning Warren stood looking out of his office window when his cousin entered the room.
'You wanted to see me?'
'Yes. Come in and sit down.' The Administrator moved across to sit behind his desk. 'Tammy tells me you're leaving us.'
'She had no right to say anything.'
'She had every right Archer. I'm only sorry that you weren't going to tell me yourself.'
The young Gen moved uncomfortably in his chair as he replied. 'Only because I knew you wouldn't understand.' He glanced across at his cousin, 'and you'd only try and talk me out of it.'
'A few days ago yes, I might have done just that. But now I don't think I'll bother.'
Archer turned to face him, surprise written large on his face. 'You don't think you'll bother?' He repeated slowly.
'That's what I said.' Warren said at once. 'Lots of things have changed.'
'In what way?' Archer studied the Administrator's face before he asked intuitively, 'has it something to do with our visitors from Earth?'
'Yes. I've been thinking about the suggestions they've made regarding a home world of our own: a planet that wouldn't be under the influence of the Organisation; including free trade between our-selves and Earth.'
'You're really thinking of backing the idea aren't you?'
'It's very tempting.'
'I agree. I think the very fact that we would no longer be living under siege conditions all the time would sway most people in favour of it,' Archer said quietly.
'Yes, there's that too. And remember, things have been getting steadily worse between the Organisation and ourselves, not even counting the ordinary Distect for years now.' He hesitated momentarily and then gave a deep sigh. 'However, it's not something we can just rush into.'
Archer watched the Administrator walk across the floor to sit behind his desk before he asked, 'why?'
Warren laughed abruptly. 'Why? Because if I know anything at all about the way the Civil Service and the Tecton on Earth operate; then the diplomatic negotiations alone will probably drag on for years.'
'Years!? Are you serious?'
'Very. But I think it just might be worth all the effort in the end.'
'So what has any of this to do with me?' Archer asked.
Warren leaned back in his chair and studied his cousin's open face. 'Tammy informs me that it's your intention to make your way to Earth when you leave here. Is that correct?'
'Is there anything she didn't blab about?'
'I am the Administrator Archer, and your sister is nothing if not loyal to Rior,' Warren reminded him.
'This has nothing at all to do with how I feel about Rior, it's purely personal between Tammy and me.' Archer sighed and then went on, 'Don't tell me, she told you about my reasons for going too, didn't she?'
'Yes. But let's put all that to one side for the moment shall we? I have a proposition to put to you. Instead of entering Earth using false papers; would you consider going there officially, as a member of one of the diplomatic negotiating teams representing Rior?'
'You're joking, right?'
'It's far too serious for me to play games Archer. This is a genuine offer and I want your answer, and I want it now. Are you interested or not?'
Archer gave a nervous laugh. 'If you think I can do it, then of course, I'm interested. What do you think?'
'Good. Then we'll talk about it later when I've settled more of the details.'
'Does that mean I'll have to wait until Rior and the Distect have decided to accept the offer before I can go?' Archer demanded suspiciously.
'Hardly,' Warren smiled. 'A decision to begin official negotiations - with so many factions and interests involved - could take months. In the meantime there will be hundreds of minor points that will have to be ironed out before each stage of the agreement, if there is an agreement, can be finalised. We can at least start working on that straight away, and that'll be your job.'
'My job, do you mean that literally?'
Warren grinned. 'You'll have a team of people to help and back you up of course. That goes without saying; but I want to put you in overall charge. After all you're my cousin and I know I can rely on you.' His eyebrows rose. 'Still interested or is it too much for you?'
'What do you think?' Archer moved to stand up in front of his cousin's desk as he promised sincerely. 'I won't let you or Rior down Warren.'
The Administrator smiled briefly, 'I never doubted it.'
'The insulation down here is excellent,' Jordan murmured as they all gathered together in the main room.
Vidal nodded with satisfaction as he agreed. 'We must be at least thirty metres underground. I can zlin hardly anything above us.'
'Which means we're safe, right?'
Neil glanced across at Jason as he handed him a glass of trin. 'Yes I suppose you could say that we're as safe as it's possible to be.'
'Unless someone from Rior betrays our hiding place to the Organisation,' Vidal murmured.
'Thanks but I didn't really want to hear that.' Jason stated, as he moved to sit down with his trin. 'By the way I haven't had a chance to ask before, but does anyone know if Tony's going to make a full recovery from all this?'
'If you mean physically? Then yes he should.' Jordan said softly, 'but I doubt he will be able to accompany me on any future missions. When he gets back to Zeor he will have to go into several months of therapy. An attack of that nature can have a catastrophic mental effect on a Gen.'
'Even a Gen with Tony's ability and training?' Jason asked in surprise.
'Perhaps more so in his case, because of who he is,' Jordan said. 'I'm only basing this on old cases that I read about years ago. I've no real experience. I've never dealt with such a case before. And neither has anyone else to my knowledge, at least not in Zeor anyway.'
'That seems odd, surely there must have been some cases, if not on Earth then on one of the colonies?' Jason pressed.
Jordan rubbed his eyes with his tentacles before he said, 'yes of course there have - but none of them lived through it!'
'You mean they were all dead when they were found?' Jordan nodded.
'Have you anyone in mind to do the therapy Jordan? Or will you do it yourself?' Vidal asked.
'Even if he wanted to, is he qualified?'
'Of course he is Jason! He's Sectuib in Zeor!' Vidal snapped back.
'Okay keep your hair on Vidal. I'm not a householder, so I don't know everything he's capable of do I?' Jason retorted at once.
Jordan ignored them both as he said, 'I haven't made my mind up yet. I shall consult with Marlin first, if he's available. If not, then perhaps Bim.'
'Personally if it were Jason, I'd favour Bim. I've read some of his papers, he's young and has a lot of new ideas.' Vidal said.
'Well whoever you finally choose Jordan, I guess it means you'll have to find another Donor to travel with you off World, unless you decide to stay at back home at Zeor.' Jason observed.
'As I said before, I've not yet made up my mind. I'll wait and see what the therapist suggests before I make a final decision.'
Jason drained the last of the trin from his glass and stood up rubbing his eyes. 'Well if I'm not wanted anymore I'm off to bed.'
Both Channels zlinned him closely as he walked to the door and a chorus of good nights followed as the door shut behind him.
Neil glanced at the two Channels. 'Would you like me to leave too?' He asked quietly, sensing that they might wish to talk privately together.
'No, on the contrary, I believe Jordan may wish to ask you something.' Vidal said before he turned back to the Sectuib and observed quietly.
'It looks as though you have a lot to decide my friend.'
Jordan who had been studying his tentacles for several moments looked up. 'I know, and to be honest I'm not looking forward to it. More than anything else I don't wish to hurt Tony's feelings. He's been through enough already.'
'I agree. But don't under estimate him. I have a feeling that he will understand your decision, whatever you finally decide.'
'I hope so.'
Both men lapsed into silence as they each considered all the ramifications of the situation; that only Channels of their calibre could understand.
It was Neil who broke the silence as he asked. 'I take it you'll all be leaving here soon?'
'Yes. However Warren has suggested that we take a team from Rior back with us to begin the initial talks.' Vidal replied.
Neil grinned wryly. 'And I take it you want me to wait for Jay Lynn and the others to come back from Peridot. It's not going to be easy, keeping them out of the Organisation's hands you know.'
'I agree. However Vidal and I have been talking about that very thing. The whole group trusts you, and when they return, you may be able to talk them into accepting the proposition of sanctuary that I put to Jay Lynn. The offer includes all of them, and can either be on Earth or on one of her colonies. The decision is entirely theirs.' Jordan said.
'And where do I come in the grand scheme of things? What do I get out of all this?' Neil asked bluntly looking from one Sime to the other.
'Correct me if I'm wrong Neil, but didn't you say that you came to Damus Two because you wanted to live as normal a life as possible? With the Organisation in charge of things here life can't be all that easy for you. You're already flying close to the wind just to exist. Sooner or later you're going to get drawn into their web, and we all know what that means.'
The young Sime shrugged. 'You're probably right, but there's not much I can do about that is there?'
Jordan leaned forward to stare into the renSime's eyes as he said earnestly. 'Yes there is. First, consider how different things will be if Rior and the Distect take up the Tecton's offer of sanctuary and set up their own colony free from the influence of the Organisation on a planet under Terran protection?
'I have no doubt at all that Warren will be only to glad to find employment for someone of your undeniable abilities.' Jordan hesitated momentarily and then went on.
'Second, if we can take the wereGens out of the equation by getting them to accept asylum from us, then it will be one less thing for Warren and Rior to worry about. At the moment a lot of their resources are used up hiding and protecting both the wereGens and their own PA's.
'Take away the first factor, the wereGens, and the Organisation will turn their attention to Earth and not Rior or the Distect and we are far better placed than Rior to both hide and protect them.
'And last, as far as the PA's are concerned; once settled on their own planet I'm equally sure that Rior will be able to take care of them. If not, then Zeor will stand ready to help in any way they can. After all it's in our interest too that they don't fall into the Organisation's hands. '
'You make it sound so easy.' Neil murmured softly.
'Easy? Far from it!' Jordan said with a brief laugh. 'To to be honest with you I don't think any of us are under any illusions about the task ahead of us. But we have to believe that it's possible to achieve, or we might just as well throw in the towel and give up now.'
'Okay, I guess it's the best offer I'm going to get today.' Neil admitted quietly, and then went on. 'I'll do my best to convince Jay Lynn. He's the biggest sceptic amongst them, and I think if he buys the proposition, they might all go for it.'
'Let's hope you're right.' Vidal murmured.
'You know Neil, I'm only sorry that I can't suggest you return to Earth with us. But if you did, you know what it would mean.'
The Sime smiled sadly as he glanced across at the Sectuib. 'Yes. I'd rather be dead than return to confinement for the rest of my life. No matter how comfortable the accommodation might be, it's still a prison.'
Jordan nodded. 'I suppose so; and at least with Rior you'll have more of a life than you'll ever have here on Damus Two.'
'I won't argue with that,' Neil said, and then looked across at the two Channels. 'However, until all this actually comes about, will you do me a favour?
It was the Sectuib who answered, 'if we can.'
The young renSime shuffled uncomfortably on his chair as he said quietly, 'If either of you want a hand with anything in the future...?' His voice trailed away.
Both men zlinned the young Sime's sincerity before Vidal finally met his blue eyes, and said softly. 'You know, we may just take you up on that.'
Comment to the Author
Companion in Zeor is Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Sime~Gen Inc.
A New Beginning is copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 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
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