A New Beginning 
Part 7
FRIENDS AND ENEMIES

by
D. DaBinett 

Published as a part of A Companion In Zeor #13, 14, 15 & 16

 

CHAPTER THREE

Jason woke from a sound sleep to find the two Simes still talking quietly.

At what time the previous night he had actually fallen asleep he had no idea, but he glanced across at Jordan's bed to see that it was rumpled as if someone had lain down on it. He could only hope that the two men had managed at least a couple of hours sleep at some time during the long hours of darkness.

He knew that Simes did not require much sleep, but they were not supermen much as they might like to think they were and did require some rest! However in the last few days he had quickly learned that the Sectuib was just as bad as Vidal in that respect.

Jason rubbed his eyes as he turned his head to stare out at the pale blue sky through the small dirty window as he stifled a yawn, and then began to scratch his legs.

'Good, you're awake.' Jordan's voice broke into his thoughts before he had a chance to sit up.

'And good morning to you too! Did either of you get any sleep?'

'Sufficient.'

'Sufficient? Well I guess I know what that means. Hi Neil, you still here?'

'So it would seem.' The blonde grinned across at him.

'We felt it would be unsafe for him to return to his own apartment, since his address is known.' Jordan explained.

'Couldn't agree more, I don't suppose you've ordered a breakfast tray by any chance?'

'No, I'm afraid it didn't occur.' Jordan began only to be interrupted.

'Never mind I'll get it myself what's the time?' He asked the question as he found himself scratching both his arm and then his neck.

'Seven.' Neil informed him at once.

'For goodness sake Jason do you have to keep scratching, what's the matter with you?' Jordan suddenly demanded to know.

Jason moved to look in the one small mirror that the room possessed. 'I'm covered in hives!'

'Let me see,' Jordan moved across and stared down at the string of red lumps that festooned the Gen's neck and upper arm. 'They're bites!' He said calmly, 'Didn't I say that the room was infested when we first got here? We could have moved then, but no you wanted to stay and...'

'Okay so they're bites. There's no need to sound so damn smug about it.'

'I am not being smug. I am merely saying that I was correct and....'

'You're starting to sound just like old Vidal, do you know that? Oh hell there's one on my back too and I can't reach it!' Hurrying across the room he began to try and relief the itch by rubbing his back on the side of the doorframe, looking for all the world like an animal against a fence post or tree.

Jordan picked up his bag and placed it on the bed and then took out a small tube. 'Try this, put it on after you've showered, it should relieve the irritation.' He tossed it across to the Gen who looked down at the label.

'Okay, thanks, I'll try it. But if you think I'm going to sleep on that bed again tonight.' His voice trailed away as he left the room.

By the time he'd finished in the bathroom his breakfast had arrived. Unfortunately none of the food on the plate looked familiar, and neither did it look appetising. Hungry as he was, he pushed it all to one side and concentrated on just the fruit and bread, the only items he could recognise.

Unfortunately the bread had a strange greenish hue to it that reminded him somewhat of mould, and almost put him off eating it. He found however that once he had forced himself to ignore the colour, it proved to be quite tasty.

'So tell me, what have you both cooked up while I was asleep?' He asked as he bit hungrily into yet another thick slice of melon type fruit.

'Neil informs me that he believes, assuming that the Organisation did indeed bring Vidal to this planet, that he'll be held at their main Complex.'

'I know, I heard him say that last night.' Jason murmured between bites.

'It's a huge place,' Neil interrupted, 'and if he is there, it won't be easy to find him, not unless he's in Sector C.'

'Does this Complex have another name?' Jason asked the Sime.

Neil grinned broadly as he answered, 'would you believe the Hall of Unity!'

'You're joking of course.'

'Why do you think everyone simply calls it the Complex?' Neil's face suddenly became sober as he went on. 'If they are holding your Vidal there, I don't much fancy his chances, not if he's in Sector C, which seems more than likely in the circumstances.'

'What's so special about Sector C?'

Neil frowned slightly as he met the Gen's green eyes, 'let's just say that it's synonymous with interrogation and torture.'

'Thanks, you've just made me lose my appetite.'

'Sorry about that.'

Jordan sighed. 'No need to apologise Neil, he had to know sooner or later.'

'Have either of you eaten this morning?' Jason asked, as much to change the conversation as for any other reason.

'We had some fruit earlier.' Jordan informed him dismissively. 'Neil you said there was a way that we can get into this Complex didn't you?'

'It's heavily guarded, and it's not the sort of place you can just visit. You'd need a damn good reason for going there. If you don't have one, then you won't even get past the door, and if you do, you'll probably find yourself in the next cell to your friend in Sector C.' Neil said uncompromisingly.

'That's not going to help Vidal,' Jason murmured unhappily.

'There is one other way, but I don't know what you'll think about it.'

'And that is?' Jason demanded at once.

'Like I told Jordan last night, they're always advertising for general workers to operate and maintain the automated cleaners and kitchen equipment. I think he said that you're fairly conversant with computers.' He glanced across at the Gen for confirmation.

Jason nodded. 'I get by.'

The Channel snorted derisively at the Gen's words, as Neil went on, 'I know from Rockall that you're fairly au fait too Jordan. I'm sure you'll both be able to do the simple repairs necessary for maintaining the equipment they've got there.' He looked from one man to the other. 'What do you think? Do you want to give it a try?'

'Try for a job there?' Jason asked, 'why not?'

Jordan nodded his head, 'I agree.'

'I imagine we'll have more chance to search the place if we can get work with the cleaning department, rather than the kitchens.' Jason murmured.

Neil agreed with him but warned. 'Unfortunately you can't pick and choose, you'll just have to take whatever's on offer. If you're too particular it'll only draw attention to yourselves.'

***

Archer sighed out loud as he realised he had now checked practically every room in Sector C without any sign of Rick Leeman. Where the shen were they holding him? Time was getting short. There was only one room left, it was at the very end of the corridor and had a blue light above the double doors.

Approaching the doors he placed his hands on the metal panels and closed his eyes as he concentrated. Nothing! No, he was wrong, there was something. He could sense a warmth, but it was not enough to be a person and certainly not a Sime - but - could it be a small child? He had to find out.

Seconds later he was inside the room, and one glance told him he would not find what he was seeking here. It was quite obviously being used as a temporary morgue. There were no refrigeration units in the room, so the bodies were not expected to stay here for long. At the moment two bodies lay on gurneys covered by sheets. One of them was cold, whilst the other had obviously died within the last few hours, for the body was still emitting a slight warmth, which explained why he had thought it might be a child.

He started to prepare himself to leave, and then for some reason his curiosity was touched and he decided to see who lay under the two sheets; after all it could well be someone he knew, and Warren might find the information useful.

Moving to stand between the two bodies, he carefully raised the sheet on one and stared down at the Gen's pale face. Archer breathed a sigh of relief for he was a complete stranger. But a blaster mark just about his heart showed how he had died.

With equal care he raised the second sheet and froze. Rick Leeman's familiar face stared up at him. Stare was indeed the right word; for his eyes were wide open the veil of death covering them both. Immediately tears began to run unheeded down his face as he quickly pulled the sheet off the still body. He knew that his friend would have been tortured, even though as far as he could tell, no outer signs were visible.

'The bastards!' The whispered words echoed in the silent room as he slowly raised a hand and forced the Sime's eyes to close. The body was fresh for it still emitted a small amount of warmth.

How long he just stood there motionless he had no idea, until at last he pulled himself back to the present and said softly, 'I have to go Rick. I'm sorry. But I swear if I can find out who did this to you, I will. They won't get away with it.' Carefully he draped the body once more in its sheet then turned sadly away.

Moments later and he was once more in the long silent corridor.

Forcing himself not to think he began to hurry back along the way he had come; knowing only that he had to get away from this place. It was not the first time he had been inside the Complex, and in all probability it would not be the last, but for the moment he just had to leave.

All along he had been expecting to give transfer to Rick, but now the selyn he carried in his body was nothing more than a heavy burden; something to be got rid of, as quickly as possible.

He was almost at the outer wall of the Complex when he stopped and the germ of an idea entered his mind. Closing his eyes he tried to push the thought to one side, but could not, for it was not in his nature to do so. With a deep sigh he turned around and began to make his way back the way he had come.

He did not dare to stop again till he found himself standing outside the cell that held the Sime prisoner, the one whom he had thought initially, might possibly be Rick. The man was in dire need, he knew that, and if he could not serve his friend, then why not this stranger?

Unfortunately, unlike his sister Tammy he could not teleport the Sime from his cell, but at least if he gave him the spare selyn he now had in his body, it might give the man a chance of life. After all, he thought bitterly, what use was it to him now? The argument won, as he knew all along that it would be, and his mind made up, he prepared himself to enter the room.

Since the Gen had left him so abruptly, Vidal had been trying to meditate but without success, for he was now too far into need, worsened he knew by the sudden presence and then disappearance of the unknown Gen.

Vidal also knew that his tentacles were always a clear sign of his condition, to anyone who cared to look at them; and even now they were glistening with ronaplin as they lashed uncontrollably in the warm air surrounding him.

And time ticked silently on.

When he actually became aware that he was no longer alone Vidal did not know. He only knew that his eyes were closed, and at first he thought he must be hallucinating again, yet it could only have been a second or so before his eyes opened of their own volition as the promise of selyn lit up his cell like a glowing living beacon of hope.

Drawing on every bit of his waning control he whispered, 'so you're back. Didn't you find who you were looking for?'

'Yes. But he's dead.' The words were spoken without any apparent emotion.

Yet Vidal, even through his own desperate need could feel the sorrow emanating from the unknown Gen, a sorrow that he was obviously trying very hard though unsuccessfully to hide. 'I'm sorry.'

'Are you? Are you really sorry?' Archer demanded almost angrily. 'Or are you thinking that his loss is your gain?'

Vidal tried to concentrate on what the Gen was saying, although his mind kept wandering, since all he could sense was the throbbing selyn that was so close and yet so very far away from him. 'I'm sorry but I don't understand. What do you want me to say?' he finally managed to ask.

'Oh forget it. You're in need and we both know at a time like this you'll say just about anything to get at my selyn - right?'

Vidal simply stared at the Gen, because the words he spoke could well be a foreign language, and made no sense to him at all.

Archer moved towards the small control panel located near the door. 'I'm going to switch off the force field.' He paused and then went on. 'Tell me, are you going to jump me? It doesn't bother me, but I would like to know,' he said calmly.

'I shall endeavour not to - jump you,' Vidal replied softly and tried to smile, but it was more like a grimace of pain. 'May I know the name of my benefactor?'

'No, it's best if you don't know who I am. When they come back they're going to know you've had transfer, and they'll want to know who it was.'

'I would never give you away.' Vidal said at once.

'Perhaps you wouldn't mean to, but they have ways of getting information out of you.' Then he held out a hand as though reading the field that surrounded the Sime, which indeed he was. 'You're a Channel aren't you?' He said finally.

'Yes I am. But I won't hurt you I promise. I'm still able to control myself.' He put as much conviction into his voice as he could, though whether he was actually trying to convince the young Gen or himself, he really did not know.

'I'm not worried about you burning me, it wouldn't be the first time,' Archer said frankly and then grinned wryly, 'but if you can avoid killing me I'd be obliged.'

'I've never killed anyone in my life,' Vidal said at once, shocked that anyone would even think that he might, 'I assure you I have no intention of starting now.'

'Okay forget I spoke. It doesn't really matter whether I believe you or not does it?' Even as the words left his lips Archer switched off the force field and stepped closer to the Sime. He was not frightened; merely curious as he waited for the strange Channel to attack him, for as deep into need as he quite obviously was the Gen fully expected him to do so, no matter what fine words he might just have spoken to the contrary.

Vidal however, by an act of sheer willpower, sheathed his tentacles as he approached the Gen zlinning him deeply; and knew it was the hardest thing he had done for a long time. Yet at the same time he thanked the Gods that like so many Distect Gens, this one just might match him in capacity if not in speed. But even if the speed was not there, he could still control, and he would.

A deep sigh escaped his lips, for now that he was so close to the selyn he craved. he was able to regain a modicum of the self-control he thought he had lost. Silently he thanked his training, his teachers, indeed everyone he could think of who had helped to make him the man he was; as he stood and waited as patiently as he could for the young man to approach him.

Vidal noticed that the Gen's field was edged slightly with curiosity, but apart from that he displayed no fear or hesitation as he held out his hands invitingly. Behind the façade that the young Gen was maintaining Vidal could sense that there was some deeper emotion that the Gen was hiding from him, he had no idea what it was, but his need at the moment was such, that in all honesty he really did not care.

Quickly Vidal closed his dark eyes as he fought for even more control as he tried to hide his own eagerness as his tentacles lashed out and grasped the slim arms and he moved closer to his prey. Yet the Gen lifted his face with a surprising eagerness, and moments later their lips met.

Vidal kept his attention firmly centred on the Gen as he drew selyn smoothly like a man who had been dying of thirst in the desert would drink a refreshing draught of water. It had been a long, long time - years before Gavin - since Vidal had had a strange Gen in transfer, and never one that he did not know in some way, if only from his Tecton record.

Of course he experienced none of the near euphoria that he had come to expect from Jason, and in truth he had not really expected to, but nevertheless a warm sweet satisfaction swept through every cell in his body as the selyn he needed so desperately filled him. Until finally, and far too soon from his point of view, he carefully brought the transfer to an end. It was just short of what he really needed, but it would give him another month of life, and what more could any Sime ask of a Gen? Their lips were the last thing to slowly draw apart.

Archer waited patiently as Vidal removed his tentacles from the Gen's warm moist flesh and resheathed them before he murmured, 'thank you.'

'You're welcome.' The Gen ran his fingers through his mousy hair as he studied the Sime carefully. 'I'm impressed. In your state of need I fully expected to be burned.' Even as the Gen spoke a wave of great sorrow swept through Vidal, and he knew that the feeling came from Archer and not from him.

'The man who died - he was a very close friend?' Vidal asked tentatively.

'You could say that. I'm sorry I can't get you out of here, but I have to go.'

Archer stood up getting ready to teleport himself out of the cell.

'Can you leave the force field down?' Vidal asked quickly.

'Yes. But it won't do you much good. Even if you can get out of this room you won't get far before they capture you. You certainly stand little or no change of getting out of the Complex itself. Belief me I do know what I'm talking about.'

'Yet you are able to come and go.' Vidal said quietly, and when the Gen did not reply he went on. 'Do you use some sort of device to move through the walls?'

Archer smiled briefly. 'No.' He paused and then went on. 'Look, I really can't tell you anything more - for your own safety, and mine. If the Organisation thought you had any information about me.' He shook his head, 'you really don't want to know what they would do to get it from you.'

'I've already been tortured.'

The Gen laughed without humour, 'perhaps, but you can still walk and talk, and you are still aware. Trust me on this; I do know what I'm talking about. You don't want to give them any reason to hurt you anymore - believe me.'

'All right, I accept what you say. But can you at least show me the way to one of the exits? I can't just sit here doing nothing, not if there's any chance at all of escape. And I'm guessing they have more than one exit out of here, am I correct?' His dark eyes searched the Gen's rather ordinary face as he waited for an answer.

'Yes they do, but I don't use any of them. However all right, but if you're coming we'll have to hurry. I've already been in here far too long, they don't usually leave prisoners unattended, not for very long.' Archer moved to look at the lock on the door. 'Wait here I'm going outside into the corridor it should be much easier to open the door from the outside, after all these places are meant to keep people in, not out.'

Vidal nodded. 'Thank you,' only to find that he was speaking to the empty room, as the young Gen had silently disappeared. Although now that he knew what to look for he noticed a slight swirl in the air, as though he was momentarily looking through a smeared window that just as quickly became crystal clear again. This was accompanied by a faint sucking sound as if air was rushing in to fill a vacuum. Seconds later the door opened and his rescuer stood looking in at him.

'Come.' Vidal wasted no time in obeying the order, closing the door behind him as he followed the Gen down the deserted corridor. A sudden low hum caught his attention, and both he and Archer automatically pressed themselves close to the wall as a cleaning unit trundled towards them.

Immediately the Gen stopped the unit, and opening one of many lids on top he rummaged inside before he pulled out a grey all-in-one jump suit. 'Here put this on; all the general workers in the Complex wear them. At least you won't stand out, and you can throw it away if you get out of here.' He sent the unit on its way as Vidal quickly donned the outfit without argument.

Archer went on. 'There are five exits out of here, but the one I'm taking you to has the least number of guards. Although that isn't to say that it'll be easy getting passed them,' he warned, 'because it won't!'

'Understood.'

An hour later Vidal who was now projecting renSime, was on his hands and knees in a corridor. He had removed a wall panel and was pretending to fiddle with the wiring inside the conduit as he considered what might be his best course of action. To be honest, it did not look promising. However, kneeling here in full view of the exit as the young Gen had suggested that he should, was far safer than trying to hide somewhere.

The Gen had then left him abruptly after a brief "good bye - good luck."

Vidal would dearly have loved to ask him any number of questions about exactly who he was, where he came from, and what he was capable of doing? He had little doubt that he was one of the "gifted" people that he and Jordan had talked about back on Earth. But there had not been time to do so, even if the Gen had been willing to talk to him, which he quite obviously was not.

To be truthful Vidal could not blame him. If the Organisation was after him, he would have tried to keep everything about himself and any others he might know about, totally secret. However, at least he now knew that these people did indeed exist and were not just a myth. Then suddenly his thoughts were shattered as a loud voice boomed out:

"Attention! Escape in progress. The Sime prisoner who was in Room 447 Sector C has escaped. All personnel are ordered to leave whatever work they are doing while a complete search is made of the Complex. The only exception to this order is if the task you are working on must be completed without delay. If workers are unsure about this they are to consult their supervisors. Attention!" Again and again the announcement boomed out till Vidal felt he could repeat it by heart.

He sighed as he wondered if this would make things harder or easier for him to get out of here. People, both Sime and Gen, male and female, were now rushing up and down the corridor where he worked, but no one challenged him. From his perspective as an outsider it looked rather like what his Companion would disparagingly have called - organised chaos! Whether it was or not, he had no real way of telling. Perhaps they did indeed know what they were doing - but then again, perhaps they did not; and therein might lie his chance of salvation.

Either way it appeared that this was indeed the chance he had been waiting for, he might not get another one.

Quickly he stood up and replaced the cover on the panel as he stared down the corridor towards the exit. Several workers both Sime and Gen attired in much the same way as himself had approached the doorway at a run, and as far as he could see they had been simply waved through without let or hindrance.

The sound of running feet came from up the hallway behind him, and he turned to watch as another group of workers approached him. Quickly he pressed himself against the wall allowing them to pass freely and as the last one passed by, he joined the group. Drawing level with the guard who was still on duty at the exit, he averted his eyes and avoided looking to left or right as he followed the Sime in front of him step for step.

A blast of cold fresh air hit his face and he knew that he was on the outside. The Simes he had been following were making for another entrance further along, which he guessed must be a short cut to another part of the Complex. Without breaking step Vidal turned to the left and augmenting furiously left them well behind, only stopping as he reached the deep shadows cast by one of the other buildings.

He knew the darkness would not hide him from Sime senses, but at least he was invisible to the large number of Gens who were still running around looking for all the world like headless chickens. In another time or place he might have found the whole episode amusing, but right now it was anything but.

With each step that he took he fully expected to be stopped, or to hear the Guard calling out from behind him. But thankfully the man was apparently more interested in what was happening inside the Complex, than outside.

***

'Don't move!' Vidal froze as the half expected words came from right behind him and seemed to issue from the very wall itself, for he had zlinned nothing. Then the voice went on uncompromisingly. 'Put your hands against the wall and spread your legs. I've got a disruptor pointing straight at you.'

In silence Vidal obeyed.

'Good, now tell me - what's your name and work number?'

Vidal guessed the Gen had probably seen him from a window inside the building and had simply stepped out behind him through the door. He also knew that if he did not make good his escape now, he never would. So without hesitation he turned and with augmented speed threw himself at the tall muscular Gen who was standing there barring his way.

Without hesitation his tentacles grasped the disruptor the man was holding and wrenched it from his grasp as his other hand slammed into the man's soft stomach, and he watched dispassionately as the Gen doubled over as a whoosh of air rushed out of him.

Almost simultaneously Vidal hit him in the face using the disruptor as a weapon. But before he could hit the ground the Channel caught him and dragged him deeper into the darkness cast by the building.

Zlinning him quickly he saw that the Gen was only unconscious and not badly hurt. Vidal was relieved, for after all the man was only doing his job. In all probability he had no idea at all what went on in Sector C and even if he did know, what could he do about it?

Standing up Vidal tucked the disruptor into the pocket of the coveralls he was wearing and made his way to the far corner of the building.

As he moved silently forward Vidal offered thanks that his assailant quite obviously did not work out in a gym, for although a very big man he was made up mainly of soft fat and not hard muscle. Vidal had therefore not jarred his tentacles when hitting him in his soft stomach, for he remembered quite vividly that he had once done just that, and had lived to regret it; almost passing out himself when the jolt had raced through his body rather like an electric shock through his nervous system.

However, as he was the first to concede, he had had no alternative tonight and had therefore not hesitated when he saw the opportunity to turn the tables on the Gen. Indeed no matter what the consequences might have been to himself, anything was better than being caught and returned to his cell.

Recapture would have meant torture and then death; jarred tentacles would have been a very small price to pay to escape that! He smiled in the darkness. Jason would no doubt that been very proud of him.

The thought of his Companion reminded him of Tony, Jordan's Companion. From the state he was in when they had left him behind in the warehouse, Vidal had no doubt at all that he must be dead. A deep sigh ran through him as he ruthlessly pushed the unpleasant fact to one side to be faced later, as he tried desperately to concentrate on getting as far away from this place as he could, in the shortest time possible.

Vidal however only knew one thing for certain. He was on Damus Two. He knew this only because he had over heard his captors discussing their destination en route. Unfortunately however he had no idea where he was on the planet, and neither did he know anyone who lived or worked here.

It also meant that he did not have the address of any safe dwelling where he might seek refuge or help. On top of all this he had no credits, and neither Jordan nor Jason knew if he was alive or dead, let alone where he was being held.

Finally, and possibly far worse than anything else, he was on a Distect planet that was dominated by the Organisation. Shen it to hell - what more could possibly be worse than that? Because whichever way one looked at it, it was already a catalogue of disasters.

He stopped as another thought entered his mind. There was one way he could obtain some of the local credits; but he knew that if he allowed himself to dwell on how it could be done, he would doubtless find it so distasteful that he might even talk himself out of it!

Turning around quickly, before his conscience could begin to worry him, he began to quickly retrace his steps. He knew he was taking a chance on being discovered by the people who were still searching for him, but he really had no other choice.

He found the unconscious body of the man who had attacked him lying where he had left it. Falling to his knees on the hard ground he searched the man's pockets quickly, nodding in silent satisfaction as he found what he had been seeking - a small bundle of credits. At least now he could purchase food and perhaps a room where he could stay while he decided on his next move. It would also give his body time to recover from the physical abuse he had sustained at the hands of his erstwhile captors.

Still feeling like a thief, he stepped back into the surrounding darkness before he began to run as quickly as he could, in an endeavour to put as much distance between himself and his still unconscious assailant in as short a time as possible.

***

It was well after midnight when he saw the board outside the seedy looking way house. He would have missed it entirely if it had not been for the neon light that flickered on and off above the doorway. The writing on the board was almost illegible, but he could make out the words food and rooms, and that was enough. Removing the grey coverall, he disposed of it under a bush.

Then moments later he pushed open the door and stepped into the dim interior, still projecting renSime. Quickly he zlinned the room before making his way to the long narrow bar that stretched down one side of the room.

Two Simes and a Gen were playing a card game at a table in the corner. He knew that the two Simes had zlinned him before they again turned their attention back to the game. The lone Gen did not even bother to look up, obviously relying on his associates to make sure that all was well with the stranger who entered.

Another Gen sat behind the bar on a tall stool his head resting on his chest his eyes closed but Vidal zlinned that he was not deeply asleep.

'Hey Wilbur! Customer!' The nearest Sime suddenly yelled the words, causing the Gen behind the bar to almost fall off his stool as he opened his eyes and stared around in obvious confusion.

Vidal forced a smile, trying to look as harmless as he could both to the Gens and the other occupants of the room.

'What d'you want?' The Gen moved towards him rubbing the sleep from his eyes with dirty fingers as he did so.

'Porstan, and one of those oat bars.'

The Gen placed the items he had requested in front of him, and accepted the credits he was offered.

Vidal did not feel in the least bit hungry, but he had not eaten any food at all for several days. Not because it had not been provided, it had, but as his need had become more and more intense he could not force anything except water down his throat. Now, having just taken transfer he still had to force himself to eat, when what he really wanted was to get as far away from the building where he had been held prisoner as possible.

Yet he also knew that it would not be safe for him to be moving around the streets for the next few hours, when they would be searching for him; far better if he were to wait here and rest, before deciding on his next move.

Eating the last crumb of the small oat bar he raised a tentacle beckoning the Gen across to him to before making his request. 'I've been travelling most of the night. Have you got a room I can use for a few hours?'

'The rooms are all occupied, might be a vacancy in the morning.'

Vidal was trying to hide his frustration, when the Gen who was sitting with the two Simes suddenly called out. 'If you want to pay my fee for last night, you can have my cabin, I won't be using it now.'

'I can't do that Ray. The cabins are only for Gens. You know that.' Wilbur called back.

'Well there ain't no Gens wanting it at the moment, are there?' One of the two Simes yelled belligerently, 'Ray's money is as good as anyone else's ain't it? Besides, he wants the room money to clear his debts - right Ray?'

The Gen nodded his head without taking his eyes off the cards in his hand.

'Look I'm more than willing to pay for the cabin,' Vidal stated at once.

Wilbur looked at the credits Vidal was now holding out to him. 'Okay, but don't any of you tell Mavis when she comes down. You know she likes to keep the Gens separate since we had that trouble last year.'

'As far as I understood it that trouble was caused by a Sime bringing a Gen woman here for the night.' The Gen called Ray informed the room at large as he began to deal.

'Yeah that's right,' One of the Simes agreed with him, nodding his head sagely as he stated, 'and when her man turned up there was a fight; nothing to do with Sime and Gen, just male and female.'

Wilbur stared across at him. 'I agree, but the Gen man ended up dead. Mavis had a lot of trouble over that. He worked for the Organisation. They nearly closed us down. That's why she's worried.'

'She worries to damn much if you ask me.' The other Sime stated.

The Gen bartender snorted, 'maybe, but she's the boss, so what she says goes.'

The three men at the card table all nodded silently as they again concentrated on their game.

Wilbur slammed a door card down on the counter in front of Vidal who handed over the credits he asked for. 'Number 3. Turn left as you go out the back door. You can just leave the card on the table when you leave. If you do bring it back here, make sure you give it to me and not Mavis, okay?'

'Of course.' Vidal picked it up, 'I'm grateful.' The Gen merely nodded and sitting down immediately closed his eyes again, as Vidal made his way to the rear exit.

Outside Vidal found there were five cabins in a row backing onto woodland.

He had no difficulty in finding number 3, and quickly skimmed the card through the lock mechanism and stepped inside.

The cabin was much as he had expected it to be; consisting of only one room, which included a double bed, a table and chairs and a cupboard together with the usual facilities. It was a pod module moulded entirely out of plastic similar to many others he had seen on various other planets, and suited him admirably. Because at least out here he might stand some chance of escape if he was tracked down, whereas inside the main building it was doubtful that he would have stood any chance at all.

He took a quick and very welcome shower and then lay down fully dressed on the bed to rest, but primarily to plan his next move.

 

 

 Read Chapter 4

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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: simegen@simegen.com 







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