by D DaBinett





Vidal turned to his partner and smiled briefly as he said with obvious satisfaction, ‘They’re both on their way. They’ll arrive in time for lunch.’ He paused and then went on. ‘Jordan told me before that he had transfer a few hours ago, which means we’re all still more or less in phase.’

‘Well that’s not a bad thing considering what happened last time we worked together,’ Jason observed and then went on, ‘Apropos of that, isn’t it about time we took our transfer? Get it out of the way before they arrive.’

‘Yes I suppose so.’

‘Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Are you still worried?’

‘I trust you implicitly. Jason you know that, but…’

‘But you find it hard to entertain the idea of me controlling this transfer! For shen’s sake why? I thought we’d gone through all this ad nauseam. You agreed we’d do it this time, you know you did.’

‘Jason, please try to understand. What you propose is how Gens get Killed and Simes go junct.’

‘Maybe. Jordan took the chance and it worked out fine,’ he hesitated and then said softly, ‘It was the best ever for me.’

‘Thank you.’ The Channel could not hide his hurt.

‘I’m sorry Vidal. I know how that must sound, but I won’t lie to you about it. Besides, we could both experience what I felt then. I promise – if it doesn’t live up to expectations then I won’t ever ask you to try it again.’ He walked across to where Vidal was sitting and crouched down before him to look him straight in the eyes, ‘Deal?’

‘I am a fool to myself,’ Vidal murmured as he sighed deeply. ‘Very well, against my better judgment we will try it. However, just in case something should go wrong, I’ll show you the signals that a Channel in a Household would normally give to a Gen should he decide, for whatever reason, to retake control. Agreed?’

‘Anything you say.’ The Gen sprang to his feet and punched the air enthusiastically, ‘It’s going to be the best ever Vidal. I swear it is.’


‘You did that on purpose didn’t you?’ The words came out more like an accusation than a question.

‘Jason, I’m so sorry,’ the Channel murmured for perhaps the fifth time in as many minutes.

‘I don’t want your shenning apologies, Vidal.’ Jason said as he walked across and threw himself down onto a chair. They had just taken transfer. In the beginning it had been very smooth with Jason in control, then just before the midpoint, Vidal had suddenly snatched control back.

Jason was unsure if Vidal had signalled him as to what he intended to do and cared less. From then on things had just gone from bad to worse, as they had each fought to retain control of the transfer.

Thankfully, both men were equally matched, so in the final analysis nothing that either did to the other could hurt them. Nevertheless Vidal was far more experienced than Jason, and had almost ruthlessly taken complete command as the transfer had drawn to an end, with neither man achieving true satisfaction.

‘You just have to be dominant don’t you? You’re a shenning control freak do you know that?’ Jason jumped to his feet in agitation.

The Channel’s tentacles waved in the air as he begged for understanding, ‘I am truly sorry Jason. I really don’t know what else I can say except…I was frightened.’

‘Frightened? Who of? Me?’ The Gen was incredulous.

‘No, not you, not exactly...’

‘Look, I know I’m stupid at times, but I have no idea what you’re trying to get at.’ The Gen confessed in obvious confusion.

Vidal sighed and then tried to explain. ‘When I am in control I am of course alert at all times to anything that might go wrong between us. I have done this for so many years that it has now become second nature to me. I don’t even have to think about it.’

‘And that can’t be good for you, not if you’re monitoring me like that the whole damn time. I read some of the books in Zeor’s library, they say that if a Channel and a Companion are equally matched then it’s better for both if the Gen is sometimes in control, and…’

‘We have not been Householder trained as Channel and Companion, Jason. We have been Tecton trained, and they say that the Channel must retain control at all times. You know that. The only exception is for therapeutic reasons when someone else must be present to monitor it.’ He ran his tentacles through his hair before he went on, ‘Do you think handing over control to you is not a great temptation to me – as it is to all Channels? Believe me it is…but… I just can’t.’ The words were almost wrenched from his suddenly dry mouth as he made the confession.

‘Well, I suppose that says it all doesn’t it? You don’t trust me!’ Vidal opened his lips to respond but Jason stopped him. ‘No, let me finish please. I’ve just had a crazy sort of idea. Look, we know that Jordan, for whatever reason, doesn’t really want to be paired with Laurence; which might well jeopardise our mission, correct? Well, how about we swop over, just for this one assignment? I’ll take Jordan and you have Laurence. After all you don’t bear him any ill-will do you, not like Jordan apparently does.’

‘I can’t believe I’m hearing this!’

Jason looked at his partner and saw the shock and anguish written large on his face at his thoughtless words. ‘Oh, shen! Look, I guess it’s my turn to say I’m sorry.’ He said quietly. ‘Forget it, I take it all back.’

‘But you meant it didn’t you?’ The Sime whispered.

‘Yes. No. Not really. Shen it. Vidal, you’re my partner. I don’t want anyone else, least of all, Jordan. He can be pretty sanctimonious at times and I don’t always see eye to eye with him over any number of things as you well know but…look, will you just speak to Jordan about all this at sometime in the future? See if he can suggest something to help you get over this…this fear of "Killing me".’ He grinned weakly at his partner as he made the feeble joke.

‘Jordan and I did discuss some things relating to you and I, but certainly not that.’ Vidal admitted, and then went on, ‘However, as I said before, I’m not frightened of you. Not in the true meaning of that word, nor am I worried about Killing anyone.’ He smiled briefly, and then closed his dark eyes only to open them again as he said, ‘All right, I’ll talk again to the Sectuib if that’s what you really want,’ and he reached out to wind one tentacle around his partner’s fingers as he pulled him down beside him on the couch. ‘Have patience with me. We will work this through somehow,’ he promised. Then Vidal stopped speaking as he zlinned the approach of a renSime.

Jason smiled whimsically, ‘I hope so, but…’ A brief chime at the door interrupted him.

The Sime entered the room and stated, ‘Sectuib Farris and Sosu Knight have arrived, and have been shown to guest quarters, Hajene.’

Vidal thanked him and then turned to Jason, ‘Let’s go and greet our visitors and take them to lunch.’

Jason nodded as he said, ‘I’m looking forward to seeing Jordan again, and to meeting this Laurence Knight character. I’d love to know what’s really gone on between them in the past, wouldn’t you? ’

‘No. Since we have enough worries of our own I shall be satisfied if they can at least work together amicably for the duration of this mission. Apart from that, it’s really none of our business.’ Vidal said honestly, and led the way out into the corridor as they both tried to push their own problems, for the time being at least, squarely behind them.


Jordan stood at the entrance to the suite that he was to share with Laurence Knight and wondered what he was doing here, and if he had gone completely crazy.

The suite itself consisted of two double bedrooms with a connecting door. Each had its own en suite bathroom, and a sitting room that was shared between them. Like all Tecton owned buildings, it was fully insulated, and had every possible convenience.

‘Well are you going in or not?’ The Gen asked irritably, and Jordan realised he had been blocking the way for several seconds.

‘My apologies,’ he murmured and entered the room to walk across the length of the room to the first bedroom. Opening the door he stepped inside and placed his hand luggage on the floor beside the bed, aware that his partner had entered the other bedroom. Then, as his eyes scanned the room he noticed that the connecting door was unlocked, and without a moment’s hesitation he crossed the room and locked it.

Having placed his travel bag on the bed to be unpacked later, he returned to the lounge area. Moments later, even through all the heavy insulation Jordan was aware that someone was outside the main door, and he had his hand on the lock before the chime sounded.

Vidal and Jason stood in the corridor looking at him, ‘Everything all right?’ Vidal asked as they both stepped past him and into the room.

Jordan nodded his dark head as he smiled at them.

‘We thought we’d come and take you both out to lunch,’ Jason said with a grin, as his eyes scanned the room looking for the other Gen. Then noticing that the second bedroom door was closed Jason walked across and knocked rapidly on it with his knuckles. It opened before he had a chance to step back, and he found himself face to face with a blonde haired, blue eyed, good looking Gen.

‘Hi. You must be Laurence Knight. I’m Jason Devere. Vidal and I thought you might be hungry.’ He grinned. ‘I understand you and Vidal have already met.’

The handsome Gen grinned back as he nodded his head and stuck out his hand, ‘Call me Laurie, I prefer it.’

Minutes later the four men stepped out into the corridor and made their way to the elevator.

Lunch was a strange affair since both Jordan and Laurie studiously ignored each other, and it ended up with the two Gens and the two Channels talking, but only to each other.

Towards the end of the meal, Vidal glanced around the table as he said quietly, ‘Sam isn’t available for the next few days, so he’s left it up to me to do the briefing. I’ve booked room 124 for three o’clock today. I’m assured that it’s fully secure so we shouldn’t have any problems.’

He hesitated momentarily, and then went on. ‘I would make one observation, however. I know there are personal problems between the two of you. Truthfully, I don’t really care what they are because that’s your business and not mine. This just isn’t going to work, gentlemen, if you don’t at least talk to each other.’

‘I assure you Vidal, I shall talk to Sosu Knight when and if it is necessary, at least as far as our mission is concerned. However, beyond that, I see no necessity to indulge in idle chitchat.’ Jordan stated honestly.

‘Couldn’t agree more,’ Laurence nodded his head as he stood up. ‘Now if no one objects I have a few things to take care of before our next meeting,’ Three pairs of eyes watched as he exited the dining room.

Jason immediately tried to catch his partner’s eyes, but Vidal was looking at the other Channel, his eyebrows raised in query as he asked, ‘Are you absolutely sure this is going to work, Jordan?’

‘I see no reason why not,’ the Sectuib said brusquely, as he, too, stood up from the table, ‘I’ll see you both at three.’ He smiled tightly at both of them, and left.

‘Whew!’ Jason shook his head as he grinned across at his friend. ‘I can see quite a few storms ahead, whatever the Sectuib might say to the contrary.’

‘I trust you’re wrong,’ the Sime said quietly, and then smiled wryly as he asked, ‘We’ve got just over an hour to spare. Is there anything you want to take care of, or shall we go for a walk outside?’

‘I shall probably remember a dozen things I should have done later, but what the hell; a breath of fresh air sounds good to me. Let’s go.’

The back entrance of the Tecton Building led them out into the vast grounds where the hum of the city could hardly be heard at all. The various high buildings surrounding the complex, were hidden by strategically planted trees on the periphery. Vidal turned left and the two set off on a circuit of the gardens, keeping, for the most part strictly, to the path.

It was one of the last days of a long, hot, summer. There was just a touch of autumn in the air. Jason felt himself beginning to relax as they both walked under the tall trees. He simply hadn’t realised just how tense he had become.

‘Feeling better?’

Jason glanced across at his partner. ‘How do you know what I’m feeling?’

Vidal gave a brief bark of laughter, ‘I may not be a practicing Channel, but I would be a poor Sime indeed, if I couldn’t tell when my partner was feeling stressed. Allowing, of course, for the fact that you always get this way just before a mission.’

Jason smiled across at him, ‘Yes I suppose I do. Mind you it seems to be far worse this time. Don’t ask me why.’

‘It’s probably due, in part, to Jordan and Laurence.’

‘Could be I suppose,’ Jason admitted as he watched the antics of a couple of small birds as they squabbled over a fat worm they had found.

‘By the way how come you didn’t tell me that Sam had already briefed you on this mission?’ He asked.

‘Because, I also have to brief Jordan and Laurence. I didn’t want to have to go through the whole thing twice.’


Vidal grinned as he demanded, ‘Are you seriously trying to tell me, that if you had known that I knew all about this mission – you wouldn’t have nagged me till I told you all about it?’

‘I wouldn’t…’ the Gen began, and then said sheepishly, ‘You’re right of course; so come on tell me. What’s it all about?’

Vidal merely raised his eyebrows.

Leaving the path they both walked across the grass towards a wooden gazebo situated beside a formal pond. Sitting down the two men enjoyed the smell of the late flowering climbing rose that scrambled like a scarlet and green lace cover across the top of the structure.

In front of them, the clear blue autumn sky was reflected in the pond. Picking up a small pebble, the Gen tossed it idly into the water and watched as the ripples ran quickly to the sides before they finally dissipated.

For several minutes they sat in companionable silence till Jason glanced across at his friend. ‘I suppose we’d better head back. I don’t want to, but something tells me that if we leave those two alone for very long they’ll be at each other’s throats.’ He paused and then said softly, ‘You okay, Vidal?’

‘No.’ Turning towards him with Sime swiftness the Channel wrapped his tentacles around the Gen’s arms and rested his head on his shoulder.’

‘Entran?’ He asked in surprise, for it was the only thing he could think it might be, at that moment in time.


Then to Jason’s consternation Vidal began shaking almost imperceptibly from head to foot as though he was freezing cold.

‘What is it? Are you ill or...?’

‘I’m fine now,’ the Sime smiled as he released the Gen and sat up straight as he said, ‘Thank you, you always manage to do the right thing.’

‘You’re welcome. I just wish I knew what it is that I do.’ Jason confessed.

‘Natural talent, Jason. That’s what you do, and I am very lucky. Now, as you said, we have just twelve minutes to get back. Come on, let’s go.’

The Channel set off at a brisk pace with Jason almost running to keep up with him as he yelled. ‘Hey, stop augmenting. Slow down.’

‘I am not augmenting,’ Vidal threw over his shoulder.

‘You could’ve fooled me.’

‘My legs are longer than yours, nothing more. Besides, the exercise will do you good.’

‘Thanks, but I don’t require the exercise. I work out in the Gym almost every morning, remember. And I rarely see you there!’ He called back as he followed his partner into the building.

Once inside Vidal made straight for the stairs and Jason headed for the elevator. They both arrived outside Room 124 simultaneously.

‘Have they arrived?’ Jason asked as he leaned against the wall and watched as Vidal keyed a set of numbers into the pad beside the door.

‘Is that what I think it’s for?’

‘Yes. They are both inside. And yes, this will set the security protocols so that our conversation will not be overheard,’ the Sime replied as the door opened and he ushered the Gen inside.

Jordan and Laurence were sitting as far away from each other as it was possible to be in the small room. Jason with a wry grin on his face moved to sit down between them and Vidal sat down facing all three of them.

‘Right. I’ll get right down to business. As you’ve all probably guessed by now this mission is primarily to do with the discussions that are underway between Rior, the mainstream Distect, and Earth; and yes they are going extremely well.’ Vidal turned to look across at the blonde Gen as he said, ‘I believe Sam has already filled you in on the background to all this?’

‘Yes, he gave me your Mission Report to read.’

‘Good, that saves time. Well, to cut a long story short, Archer gave Sam a message that he had received from Warren, the Administrator of Rior. Apparently the Organisation has either sent, or are about to send, a group of their top operatives to Earth. Their prime task is to disrupt the talks and, if possible, assassinate at least some of the main players.’

‘How did Warren get hold of this information?’ Jordan asked.

‘Would you believe from someone working inside the Organisation.’ Vidal replied with a wry smile.

Jason nodded as he interrupted quickly, ‘I know Warren got a message from someone working for the Organisation about my imprisonment. He had no idea who it was. His Security Chief came up with the name of David Marston, who’s pretty high up in their hierarchy. Perhaps he was right and it was him, and he helped again this time. Did Warren say anything about that?’

‘Not a thing, but it could be a possibility.’

‘If this David Marston was the source, then it’s hardly likely that Warren would tell us,’ Jordan stated.

‘Why not?’

The Sectuib glanced across at Jason as he said, ‘because it’s fairly obvious that Marston doesn’t want his identity or his position in the Organisation compromised. Which means that if Rior wants to get any more unsolicited information from this man, then Warren, if he has any sense at all, will keep very quiet about him.’

‘Yes I suppose you’re right but...’

‘But nothing, Jason. If you’ve finished asking questions, can we please get on?’ Vidal interrupted his partner who nodded his head. ‘Thank you. Now as I was saying, Sam wants us to find out who this Group are, where they are operating from, and if at all possible, stop them.’

Jason laughed out loud as he said sarcastically. ‘Are you sure that’s ALL we have to do? And why send four of us? Surely that’s too many. Perhaps two will do, or maybe one?’

Laurence joined in his fellow Gen’s derisive laughter.

Both the Channels ignored them as Jordan went on, ‘I assume Sam has given us some idea of how we can go about finding these people?’

‘Yes he has. On top of that we know that the Organisation and some of the other Distect who work alongside them, have various cells established on both Earth and her colonies. Some of these cells are active, but most are sleeping.

‘Some are also known to the TIB, though unfortunately not many.’ Vidal went on quietly. ‘Which means that the Group will not be arriving on Earth ‘cold’; nor will they have to set up a base for operations before they can even begin to function.’ He sighed. ‘I’m afraid it’s also fairly clear that they’ll be heading for one or more of these active cells as soon as they arrive here, to gain both shelter, and any other help they might require in carrying out their mission.’

‘Agreed,’ Jordan’s tentacles waved elegantly in the air to emphasise the word as he asked. ‘Did you ask Betjeman for a list of all known Cells in the area Vidal?’

‘Yes. I already have it.’

‘So what’s our cover story?’ Jason asked. ‘I take it we are going in undercover?’

‘Yes. Unfortunately we don’t have much choice in the matter.’

Vidal admitted. ‘Luckily it won’t affect either you or Laurence that much, but…’

‘Laurie, I prefer Laurie if you don’t mind,’ the Gen said quickly.

Vidal acknowledged his request with a graceful tentacle. ‘Yes of course, Laurie, my apologies. However, as I was saying, Jordan will be more physically affected by this assignment than any of us.’

‘Why’s that?’ Laurie demanded to know.

‘Because they both look Farris,’ his fellow Gen informed him. ‘Most people recognise a Farris.’

Laurence stared at both Vidal and then Jordan for several seconds before he said, ‘Yes, now you mention it they do look very similar don’t they? But you’re not related to the Sectuib, are you Vidal?’

The Channel shook his dark head emphatically. ‘No.’

‘Then why should Jordan be physically affected and not you?’ The Gen asked, ‘You still look Farris, even if you aren’t.’

Before he answered the question Vidal turned to study the other Channel. ‘For a start it might be a good idea if we dye your hair say light brown and change the style slightly. We can change the colour of your eyes with lenses. You’ll have to project RenSime, of course, and...’

‘Hold on a minute, Vidal. Answer his question. Why do I have to change my appearance, and not you?’ The Sectuib demanded to know.

Vidal drew a deep breath in through his mouth and out again through his nostrils before he said, ‘Sam informed me that he is certain that the Runzi and several other like minded organisations have been infiltrated by some Distect Simes.

‘Now I happen to know quite a lot about the Runzi because they are one of the groups that my Father helps to finance. I’ve therefore kept an eye on them. There’s only one thing that the Runzi dislike more than the Gens who live here on Earth, and that’s the Gens and Simes who make up both the Distect off world, and now of course Rior itself.

‘However, as far as we know the Runzi were as unaware of Rior’s existence on Damos Two as we were, at least until recently, when Earth started negotiations with them. The only way that the Runzi could have gained knowledge of Rior’s existence, is if someone told them.’

‘It would have to be the Distect,’ Jason said.

Vidal nodded. ‘I agree. However, I would imagine that the Runzi would be unaware that their informants were from the Distect. After all, they hate them almost as much as they do Rior itself.’

‘On top of all that, of course, we have no idea what other false ideas the Distect have already planted firmly into the minds of the Runzi, especially about what concessions Earth intends to give to Rior. But whatever it is, you can bet the Runzi will be fired up enough to help the Distect create whatever trouble they decide to carry out.

‘And as I said before, we just don’t know how deep into the Runzi hierarchy the Distect have already penetrated. We’re going to have to find that out for ourselves.’

Vidal smiled broadly before he went on, ‘Which is why I don’t have to change my appearance. For once my Father has inadvertently done me a good turn. I can go to meetings with the Runzi using my own name. As my Father’s son, I have no doubt but that I will be welcomed by them with open arms.’

‘It’s dangerous too, Vidal. What if your Father finds out and tells them that you are opposed to their views? ’ Jason asked, ‘I don’t mean he would intend to put you in danger, but…’

‘Yes that is a possibility. It’s a chance I have to take.’

‘Maybe you do, but I don’t have to like it.’

‘Noted. Now, to continue. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last couple of days speaking to my cousin Shelly.’

‘You didn’t tell me you’d been speaking to Shelly,’ Jason stated, ‘How are Vicky and the baby doing now?’

‘All three of them are fine and send their regards. Now, if I may continue?’

‘Yes, of course. Sorry.’

‘Thank you. It seems that while I have been off World, Shelly has been monitoring my Father’s relationship with the Runzi, and several other sister groups that have been set up. He tells me that whenever my Father has visited the Runzi he has always taken Tute, his Security Chief, along with him; which means I can take Jordan with me, and pass him off as my bodyguard.’

A brief smile crossed the Sectuib’s face as he said, ‘I’ll have to ask some of Zeor’s guards to give me a few tips.’

‘So, what do Laurie and I do?’ Jason asked suspiciously, ‘Play with our fingers?’

‘No. As a matter of fact Gens First was set up some years ago as a counter to the Runzi. Just recently, it seems to have become a lot more active. We can only assume that some of the Distect Gens have joined them to divide and conquer. Although, we could be wrong about that. Indeed, as far as Sam can ascertain it still has only a couple of hundred members.’ Vidal stated. ‘I suggest Laurie becomes a member if he can.’

‘And me?’

‘Well, we must have some one to act as liaison between all of us. The last group the TIB managed to infiltrate, simply disappeared.’ He said quietly.

‘So we’re not the first to try this?’ Jason said.

‘No we’re not. Sam reckons they got caught because they didn’t have liaison, and had to contact the TIB direct. We won’t make that same mistake.’

‘Sounds good so far,’ Jason conceded, ‘But how about I join Gens First and Laurie acts as liaison? After all I do have more experience in the field than he does.’

The other Gen smiled across at Jason as he leaned forward and said softly, ‘Sorry pal, but you don’t. I’ve worked for Sam for well over ten years. On top of that I actually joined Gens First when they first got started, about three years ago. Long before the Distect got interested in them, of course. At the time Sam wanted to know what their agenda was. Once I found out that they weren’t a threat to world security, I left; telling them I was going off world for a time. More importantly, I never resigned, which means I'm still on their list of members.’

Jason sighed in defeat. ‘All right. So I get to play nursemaid.’

‘It won’t be that easy,’ Vidal assured him quickly. ‘Remember, they appear to be one step ahead of us, which means they could have all of us under observation right now. Your job is to pick up messages from all three of us to pass on to Sam, and in turn to keep us apprised of any new information that turns up at his end.’

Jason nodded his acceptance, and Vidal looked relieved as he turned to the other Channel. ‘Sam told me where the negotiations between Earth and the others are taking place. He also told me Zeor had arranged it all. The venue for the meetings, and the delegates themselves of course are all under heavy guard. Unfortunately no one can anticipate what the actions of a group of renegades, bent on disruption and assassination are likely to be.’

‘I agree. It’s not going to be easy trying to stop them.’ Jordan said softly, and then went on. ‘We gave the negotiators a Zeor building that has stood empty for some years. Luckily it’s situated well away from any populated areas.’

‘I understand you have a large delegation of Zeor members taking part in the talks, too.’ Laurie suddenly stated.

‘Yes we do. How did you know that?’ Jordan asked suspiciously.

‘As I said before, I’ve worked for the TIB for over a decade.’

Jordan opened his mouth to speak, thought better of it, and closed it again.

‘I take it I’m the only one who has no idea at all where these negotiations are taking place?’ Jason asked.

‘Better that you don’t know,’ Vidal replied.

‘And why’s that?’ Jason demanded.

‘Because you at least will be unable to tell anyone, even under pain of torture,’ Laurence said quietly. ‘Be grateful Jason, and believe me when I tell you, I’d rather not know the answer to that particular question.’

‘So,’ Jason said to Vidal in the growing silence, ‘We know we’re going somewhere on Earth. All you have to do is tell us where.’

‘Star City, next to the spaceport,’ Vidal’s tentacles danced between his fingers as he went on, ‘I’ve taken a short Lease on a luxury penthouse near to the Runzi HQ for Jordan and I. Being my father’s son they won’t expect me to rough it.’

‘Lucky you,’ Laurence said with a chuckle, ‘I’ll have to go and find myself a room near to where Gens First operate. I might try the same building I lived in last time. If I’m lucky, and I do use that word loosely, they may have a vacancy.’

‘Good idea, but don’t forget to give us your address,’ Vidal reminded him as he looked across at Jason, ‘And you’ll have to find a small apartment midway between all of us.’

Jason gave him a salute, by raising two fingers to his forehead.

‘When do we go?’ Laurence asked looking across at Vidal.

‘It’s going to take a day or so to get Jordan sorted out what with the physical changes and everything, but in the meantime there’s no reason why both you and Jason shouldn’t go and get yourselves established in the field.’

‘So we can both leave tomorrow?’ Jason asked.

‘Why not?’ Vidal said as he glanced around the table and then asked, ‘anyone else got any questions? No? Good. Then I’ll see you first thing in the morning, Jordan.’

Jason and Vidal headed back to their own quarters. As the door closed behind them Jason observed, ‘That went a lot better than I expected.’

‘I take it you’re referring to Jordan and Laurence? I agree. I was expecting a far more hostile atmosphere. They didn’t actually talk to each other, but after the first few minutes they both settled down. It’s good to work with professionals.’

Jason glanced across at him as he spoke but kept a discreet silence. He still felt there was trouble brewing between the two men. Of course he was relying solely on their body language, and not like Vidal on the ambience in the room. He could only hope that in this instance at least, Vidal was right, and he, himself, was totally wrong. Only time would tell.

The next morning at about 09.00 a.m. after he had packed everything that he felt was necessary, had breakfast, and listened to the usual list of dos and don’ts and be careful of this and that from Vidal. Jason went to Jordan and Laurence’s room to find out when he intended to transmute to Star City, only to find that the Gen had left an hour earlier, having arranged to go last night.

Later, when he was booking his own place on the transmuter, Jason decided that perhaps it was for the best that they arrive separately. Not that he expected anyone to be watching for them yet of course. Then again one never knew, and sometimes discretion was far more important than mere expediency.

 Read Chapter 3

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