aka Den Tatoverede Børnebibliotekar
Left for Fort William w/ Rob. I’m ambiguous about Fort William – too civilised and not enough for my likes. Hear they seek xenobiologist. Admit to be a bit worn out with the medical profession after the incidents in New Georgetown. There is only so much patching up on stupid cowboys in me – I so need a break. Meeting Rob was delightful – I’ve been depressed for so long I’d forgotten how to smile, let alone laugh. I’m glad he decided to come along to Fort William. Suspect that the prank played on the magistrate in New Georgetown was his doing, so probably wise to do so.
Arrival Fort William. Boisterous place. All noise and colours in crammed space. Got hired as xenobiologist without any fuss at all – didn’t even check my references. Rob got hired for the job too, as Mech. We’re six in the group – a rather motley crew if you ask me, but they seem capable and resourceful. I’ll get back to the introductions.
Imperial Transport is working on a star gate at the Monterac Canyon. In the Zapatac system they’ve come across a bit of difficulty; the 3rd planet in the system, a gas planet (helium 3), seems to be claimed by a biped insectoid race that has proved somewhat hostile – they seem to inhabit the moon above the planet, as well as some non hostile creatures so far called ‘larvae-whales’. The gas planet is a gas station in it’s own worth and in the skies above the moon there is some sort of dust essential to the building of star gates. Apparently the larvae-whales are full of the stuff, so the miners hunt them. This has made the insectoids rather aggressive – unsurprisingly… This has caused loss of life to humans (Gods forbid), and slows down the progression of building of star gates. I truly don’t know whose side I’m on here, but I’m leaning towards the xenos, as they seem to behave perfectly sensible: the larvae-whales that hold some meaning to them are attacked, and so they retaliate. People are so stupid. The task is to make contact with the xenoes, and enter into diplomatic discussions with them. I honestly hate the task, but I’m dying to meet true aliens, intelligent beings of a foreign species. This is different than the charming and rather cute Bilangoes on Magraix. I can’t wait to get there!
It pays 100 Pi a week including food and lodging. Not much, but beggars can’t be choosers.
We were given free hands in their depot, and we went quite berserk. I emptied their medical supplies – I’m betting I have more use for it that they do. Jimmy dug his hand in for a bit too. Rob packed gear like he was planning to build a spaceship of his own. The muscle packed weapons, and even I got myself a firearm, though I don’t plan on using it. A small ladylike thing that might dent somebody’s skin, if I managed to hit. We were like hungry children at a cakebuffet – we took all we could carry.
Oh, introductions, almost forgot: Besides me and Rob, there are: Jimmy (called Two-a-day for some reason that I’m sure we will discover soon), a rather dodgy and shady type that seem quite resourceful and able to get things up under his nails. He’s of Asian descent, rather small and with the non destinct features that becomes any thief and spy marvellously. I shall look out for my things when he is around. Got a sense that mere locks won’t keep him out.
Li is the other Mech – I think she’s a pilot too. Eurasian and very pretty. She’s got grace, and I’m sure she’s of good linage. Would chance a guess that her past is similar to mine.
Otto Maximilliam Höfke aka ‘October’: an ex-military man, seems very disciplined. Handsome in a pretty way. He’s got a dog, Zivilian, a German shepherd bitch. She’s quite charming. He scares me a little, though he seems friendly. Look a little bit too much like the soldiers I came across on Macraix. Well…
Last is Pete (or PT). He’s as Arian as they come; tall, blond, blue-eyed. A bit of a mess. He’s been tampered with, I can feel it, but haven’t quite figured out how yet. I’m guessing adrenaline, because he never sits still. He jumps and flitters and is in constant motion. Amazing metabolism.
Afterwards we went out for dinner – found a Chinese stall and got some take out. We sat by the oxygenpools – quite lovely. Then some of the others went shopping and we met back up at the transporter. Off we went to the advanced building station. 3:45 hours journey. Almost uneventful. Rob teased some first time travellers, and PT went nuts with inactivity, so I spent most of the journey calming people.
Met up with general Reiker, ex military (well, not all that ‘ex’ since he still uses his title. But rank makes people bow, so why skip it). He provided lodging (a 3 x 3 standard shelter) – which I bet Rob will set up with bunk if given a few minutes, so we’ll actually fit in there. Our stuff fills the place completely as it is. Lodging my ass, they’re getting us cheap. But, well, the space station hasn’t got much room to begin with, and this is what they could spare. Reiker offered we could lodge in the hotel, but that would be at our own expense. I for one will not throw good money after hotel rooms. Drugs costs too much these days, and I need every Pi I can save up.
Reiker told us this about the situation: Several miners had been killed in incidents with the Zapatecs, as he calls the xenoes, after they had killed one of the larvae-whales. The Zapatecs can teletransport it seems: while they seem to have spaceships, they can as easily move themselves into the miners stations and out again without any trouble at all. Interesting! I wonder if they telecommunicate as well. It would seem logical if they did. When asked about communication with the Zapatecs, Reiker directed us towards a Mech girl names Vita Santos, presently working at the theatre, but formerly working on the miningcrew. She had had an experience that we might benefit from. We’ll go see her presently.
Spacedate 12152403 later
The theatre is a rundown place, a shadow of the real thing. The owner was a sleazy, unpleasant sort of fellow. Fortunately Mr. October dealt with him, while I talked with Vida Santos. She had seen the Zapatecs ‘zap’ on board their vessel, and a large bluish female had spoken in her head (confirms telecommunication). They wanted the miners to stop killing the larvae-whales. Apparently the miner boss, Cowley or somesuch, is quite the aggressive fellow and he wants all the xenoes dead and gone if that eases his job. Very human of him, but not very smart, and certainly not diplomatic. That was about all Vida could tell us. I think my initial feeling is right; the enemy here is not the xenoes, but the average stupid human. I tire so!
On the return the most awesome thing happened: While venturing through the bulk of the spaceship – where the leisure and common living quarters are (also the brothels, the bars, the cutpurses and bullies), we came across a game of alley ball. We had come across the game on our way out also. I’ve seen this came in action before, and getting through such a game is lifethreatening. It wasn’t the game that threatened us, but rather Crowley and some of his men. They were provoking Mr. October and the others, and though I tried calming them, it was clear that they wanted to fight. Amongst the cronies there was a man in Roote rebel outfit, and I could see Mr. October thinking thoughts about that. No one survived the Roote rebellion, so either this man was exceptionally tough (and had survived) or had stolen the uniform. It was a statement to wear it for sure. Mr. October had fought in the Roote rebellion, on imperial side under General Reiker, I was told. Well, just as general fighting was about to break out, three Zapatecs teleported into the station. Crowley and his men (and there was quite a few of them) was all for killing the Zapatecs right then and there. I tried to get them out of there, before all Hell broke loose, but they merely looked at me in a friendly way, said ‘Meet us here’ or something like it in my head (quite the extraordinary experience to have a foreign species speak in ones head!) and gave me some sort of puzzle ball. I expect we’ll have to figure out the puzzle to find them. Well, they teleported out of there before they could get into serious trouble. Meanwhile my guys were in trouble, guns were fired and the big Roote fellow threw around with PT a bit. The situation calmed down though, and the Roote fellow gave PT a hand up – not all that hostile after all. Not like Crowley and his other boys, who are all the trouble one can imagine.
A curious thing: PT got wounded in the leg, I first-aided him, but back in the bulkhead his wounds where almost healed. I was right about the adrenaline. I’ll keep an eye one him; if it appears to trouble him or be a nuisance to him to be under constant adrenaline flux, I’ll offer to operate. Don’t I know exactly how it is to overload on adrenaline! Fortunately I’m not constantly influenced. I can’t imagine the stress level one must have!
We studied the Zapatec disc for hours yesterday and didn’t solve the puzzle. I didn’t sleep much, but meditated a few hours. That must do for now. Got up early and went for a dry bath (Boy, do I miss water ad libitum!) and something in the vicinity of breakfast along with Li. We talked awhile and I got a few suspicions confirmed. Didn’t get the entire story, but in time I think I will.
Twoaday returned having had a proper bath. I should stick closer to that guy – he is extraordinarily well connected and resourceful. If only to get a decent aqua bath every once in a while…
We figured it out during the day. Oktober was the one to see the light. The disc is a map of this star system, with the Zapatec as the prime planet. The place is pinpointed to their home planet in a week’s time. That should give us enough time to get a vessel ready plus the journey there. We went to see Reiker and he supplied us with transportation: ‘The Henrietta’. It’s a borrow, and we get to fly it ourselves. We also managed to get our hands on a shuttle. Or actually we got ourselves a couple of puzzle shuttles – it was all bits and pieces, but it seems like the mechs can make one decent vehicle out of it. Oktober and Twoaday went scavenger hunting. I ask no questions, and ignore how they get stuff up under their nails. I’m merely amazed.
Late in the afternoon Twoaday approached me concerning a medical emergency: Angelique, the star sensation of the theatre. He wouldn’t tell me what it was and took a guess it was pregnancy-related. It wasn’t. Her glands were giving out. Of all the enhancement glands I detest the Y&B (Youth & Beauty) the most: it endows the subject with extended youth, but they usually break down for good at age 40-45. A butterfly life – short, but beautiful. Angelique is almost a decade my senior, but looks about 20 years old. I found her feverish and in spasms. I gave her something to take the edge of the attack, and offered to operate. She insisted on going on stage that night, despite my urgings against it. I hope that she will adhere my advice to stay off the stage at least two weeks after the operation. But off course, I know how these things go. Her life and success depends on going on stage, and if it kills her sooner, well, that’s a chance she will take. I pity her and her life. Is youth and beauty really worth that? I must say I then prefer being plain and aging. We agreed I’d return after her last performance and operate then. Li offered to assist me, and I accepted. I’ve learned to cope alone, but I like having a helper on the side. As extraordinary my imperial arm is, it can’t hold two clamps and wipe blood away at the same time. It did perform magnificently, though. I wouldn’t have been able to fix the tiny mechanics of glands without the instruments in my fingertips. Angelique’s gland was a mess. Unmaintained, as I suspected, clogged up and infected. I cleaned it, disinfected it, but there is only so much one can do. It’ll hold a few more years, 5 tops, then she’ll have to go through the procedure again. I told her as much, and she was grateful enough. She offered to pay, but I don’t do life prolonging for money. Let some rich hag with sagging eyelids pay for the more important operations. The vanity of some pays for the life of others – a fair trade. Yes, a fair trade in deed…
Let me introduce you to the Henrietta: She’s a piece of junk, apparently previously inhabited by monkeys. It has 8 living compartments – one of them is actually so dirty that we gave it to Zivilian to use as toilet – but I think even she finds the place rather disgusting. I picked myself a less dirty room with posters of the palm gardens in the Imperial City. Reminds me of home – but in a good way. There is a kitchen area with a fridge that is absolutely hazardous to the general health, and a recreational area with a basketball hoop and an ancient video recorder. Somebody found some old newsreel tapes which bored us out of our skulls – but beggars can’t be choosers: there were no other tapes to be found. Li and Rob had checked the whole ship over, rewired a lot of stuff and fixed and so forth, until we are now, woohoo, ready to take off.
Gods, how I hate it! My adrenalin gland went haywire yesterday, and it didn’t take a lot to kick-start it. I merely spared martial arts with Li, and she must have gotten some nasty hits in, since my body felt it necessary to kick into bounce mode. It rather spooked Mr. Oktober, who immediately demanded to know if anyone else had any secrets that a security officer needed to know about. Everyone seemed reluctant to answer to that, other than as far at we kept out of anyplace likely to check up on criminal records, we would be quite safe. Mr. Oktober himself declared that he really didn’t enjoy killing people, which I guess is a bad thing for a soldier, but a good thing in my book for any decent person. I took advantage of the adrenalin kick and started cleaning this dump up. I bet the living quarters, kitchen and recreational areas have never been so clean – ever! In the night, as far as there is night in space, Mr. Oktober, Twoaday and I played a bit of anti-gravity basket, which was a hoot. And yes, we did strap everything and everyone down beforehand. That is except for Li, whom I thought Twoaday had strapped down, while he thought that I had done it. She appeared in the middle of the game, understandably rather annoyed with our endeavours. She has no sense of basketball, anti-gravity or not. Early morning – or some such – I found myself alone and alert on the bridge, when the radar started beeping. Something rather big was floating towards us. I woke everyone up and we checked it out. It was a hive, or something like it, a Zapatec spaceship, and then again not. Mr. Oktober geared up and went over to get a closer look. He reported back that it indeed was very similar to a hive: lots of cells with pupae and lots and lots of dead deep-frozen Zapatecs. The ‘ship’ seemed to be built by a silicone based secretion. The whole place was ripped to pieces as if shot at with very big guns. The internal atmosphere of the hive had been destroyed and the temperature over there was 200 degrees Celsius below zero. They were all quite dead. Who had done such a thing? It was a massacre! I really though I had seen enough of those. Mr. Oktober brought back one of the bodies for me to dissect. At that time I was running out of fuel so to speak, and placed the Zapatec body in my doctor’s quarters to defrost, while I slept myself out. I woke up 12 hours later, ravenous and depressed. I am now functioning on some of Rob’s make-believe food and lot of drugs. Such a lovely way to function just before a major diplomatic encounter with a foreign intelligent race…
We’re in orbit and going in within half an hour. We had radio contact with the mining station about a day ago. We will probably swing by on the way back, if we are not in any hurry. They seemed glad at the prospect of seeing some new faces. I dissected the zapatec body after I woke up the other day. It’s all in a separate report, which I don’t care to repeat in my journal. I’ll keep a copy for myself and give the one to Reiker. It was rather interesting, I’ll say that!
What a disaster! What a complete and utter disaster! Those frigging idiots! Everything is ruined now! Everything! We should be lucky to ever get away from this alive! It was a bad day all around: first we crash landed, and Rob and Li had to spend some hours fixing the damage. I hit my head rather hard in the process, and hours I would have liked to spend preparing for our task was spend sleeping, so I could function at a bare minimal level (helped by lovely drugs). PT finally came to after his long sleep (I thought he had gone into hibernation), but Mr. Oktober was hurt in the crash (not badly, but bad enough) and was elected guardian of the ship along with Zivilian, while the rest of us went to the rendezvous point. On the way we came across some human leftovers; first something like a transport system, then a sort of village made of imperial living quarter bubbles (the sort settlers use). It seemed abandoned. At last we found a completely stripped spaceship, which just might have been the lost imperial cruiser that disappeared without a trace about a hundred years ago - just guesswork here, naturally.
The planet was awesome! The sky is a deep blue and the rocky dirt is reddish from the orange sun. Right next to the sun the gas planet moon is visible. Rather lovely. Everywhere there are some strange pupae-like blue flowers full of pollen – as PT discovered, while in the attempt of finding out whether is was edible, he touched one and it sort of exploded in his face, covering him in blue sticky pollen.
Finally we reached our destination a little before scheduled. It was a large flat valley with a 30 m tall tower made of secretion in the middle of it. We saw a human body on the towers, made a part of it, set fast to it by secretion. We didn’t really know what to make of it. It could be a warning, but it could also be some sort of honourable attention given to a human friend. I don’t know. After a short wait 5 zapatecs approached us: a beautiful tall blue female, a princess or young queen as it turned out, and 4 guards, very obviously male (their genital areas were quite visible). She was a sight! Jewels were set on her arms, and apparently stuck there by themselves. She looked soft, no exoskeleton, like those of her companions. The guards had long tubes from their heads and down the back. They carried staffs of some sort of bone. They looked more ceremonial than anything else.
I spoke with her – it was amazing! It must have looked rather confusing to the others, as it was all in our minds. Telepathic communication is beyond anything I’ve ever done or experienced. Her name was Xico, and she was a queen or princess at least. She seemed very willing to negotiate, wondering why my people was hurting hers, and anxious to find a solution, before the warriors would be set on us. Apparently the other queens were less like to believe in conciliation with the human race that she was. But whatever I felt about meeting her, whatever good intentions she had towards peace, they were soon destroyed. Right in the middle of our negotiations one of her companions was shot down from behind – with a riffle shot! Soon the air around us exploded in riffle fire. Xico was hit, and though I ran to her, and attempted to help her, there was not much hope… If she was anything like the worker zapatec I had autopsied, she was hit through the lungs and was rendered immediately unconscious and soon after died. What a tragedy! I felt like I had lost a friend, and that right there our cause had died too – right between my hands. None of my own companions were hit, but Xico’s companions were soon all dead. Her last companion had stared into my face and hissed (if one can hiss telepathically – I felt hate and contempt for sure) something in the order of: ‘We will kill you for this, and we will start with the Mining station!”, then he was killed too. The firing ended, and everyone ran in different directions. I ran, Rob on my tail, to where I had seen muzzle fire, and found one of the shooters. He was quite dead, terribly mauled by some wicked creature it looked like. I was later told, by Rob? Or Twoaday? that it was PT who had done it… Scary!
Before returning to the hovercraft, Rob and I laid out Xico and her companions like we would have left our own companions, had we not been able to take them with us or burn them, as it should be done. I was very grieved. At that hovercraft we discovered PT and Twoaday gone. Li said that Twoaday had gone off after PT, who in an unnatural hurry had disappeared into the wilderness. The hovercraft had been vandalised by a single gunshot into the dashboard, probably by one of the snipers. Apparently they hadn’t tried to kill us directly, merely to make our mission impossible. Off course the zapatecs very well might have killed us all, but for some reason, the terrorists didn’t want our blood on their hands. Considerate in a way that makes me sick to my stomach.
Rob and Li fixed the hovercraft and we found Twoaday and PT quite a way off, fighting some zapatec race we had not yet encountered; some malevolent fighter creature. They ended up killing it, and we hurried as fast as we could to the ‘Henrietta’. She was undamaged, and we took off as soon as we could. We could see the exit of the terrorist vessel of the atmosphere, and Li got a pretty good look at its makeup, quite unique it was, and should be easy to identify. Then followed a heated discussion of what to do now. I felt there was no reason to go to the mining station, since the zapatecs would probably already be there. PT wanted to go and help and rescue people, which was quite the noble gesture, but equally quite impossible. We would only manage to get ourselves killed, and we could hold only a precious few more passengers without exhausting our life support. We could try to send them a warning of course, but one I felt would be redundant. I feared it would already be too late. PT was rather rude to me during the discussion, and I would dearly have liked Mr. Oktober to have called him to place. I am not used to plebs speaking to me harshly on subjects on which I am the expert. Oh, well, I guess I was a fool to expect respect from a grunt. As I see it our best course of action at this point is to head straight to Reikers station (warning the mining station on the way, if we must), and telling him about this terrible sabotage of our peaceful diplomatic negotiations. The culprits must be caught and punished! Oh, I don’t know if this terrible situation can in any way be salvaged, but one thing is for certain: A totally different course of action is necessary if we must get out of this alive, and certainly if the IT wants to continue working in this system!
I so hate to be right: we have just received a distress-signal from the miners’ station… The war is on. Better write that mission report to Reiker.
We are going to the working station… Mr. Oktober talked me into it. I was all against it. While I off course would do anything to help people in distress, I believed that everyone aboard the station would already be dead. Our mission, as I saw it, was to hurry as fast as we could to Reiker and prevent further bloodshed. Mr. Oktober did not see it my way. Ironically the doctor (me) wanted to follow through with the mission, while the solder (Mr. Oktober) wanted to save people… Well, I came around when he threatened to part way with me, if we did not go to the station. For some reason I couldn’t face that just yet. I guess I’ve gotten used to the thought that there is someone protecting my back, and well, he’s just very likable, and I would hate to get on his bad side. So we’re going… We haven’t heard any news. Only the distress signal.
We’re here. It looks like lifesupport is up in the station, so we can move in in numbers (as opposed to the one person we can send in suited up). A large… hive? is stuck to the side of the station, so obviously: The zapatecs are here. Still no signs of life – human or alien. Mr. Oktober wants me, Li and Rob to come with him to the station. PT is out cold after his recent energy rush, and Twoaday was elected the most suitable to stay behind and guard the ship. The others are arming up with fighting power en masse. I won’t even bring my Deringer, the size of it is a laugh, and it wouldn’t do me any good against Zapatec fighters. I’ve gathered up my medic kit, and is prepared for almost anything.
Later: I don’t care to write down the details of the battle: it was horrendous! The stuff that nightmares are made of. To make a long story short; we did find survivors; 6 people were holding out in the far end of the working station. 4 of them survived our hazardous journey back to the ship, including the engineer Anderson, a girl named Katie, and a huge guy call Bob Little, and guy called Rhett. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Oktober were badly hurt, and are now lying in sickbay after my attendance (a 1 hr operation on Mr. Oktober and ½ hr operation on Mr. Anderson). I put them both in artificial coma, though Mr. Oktober didn’t much care for the idea of being out of the loop for a while. But he sorely needs the rest to mend and I won’t take any chances with him. We need him too much. I was slightly wounded myself, but it’s almost gone by now. The rest are sleeping, except Rob, who is at the helm.
An interesting discovery was this: the Zapatec warriors cannot zap themselves, but their blue leader can. I should write a report on what I know of the Zapatecs so far. It might prove useful.
PT has woken up and is practically bouncing off the walls. I suggested to Rob, Li and Katie that we construct some kind of contraption to tap some of that energy. If PT’s bouncing can keep lights on the ship i.e. it wouldn’t all go to waste. I’m exhausted just looking at him.
We’re sending out a signal to Reiker’s station every hour on the hour. Once they respond, we’ll send Mr. Oktober’s encrypted message to him.
Later: Response back: CQD. Station under siege, zapatecs, sabotage within. Not surprising one bit. We hurry on. I sent the Zapatec report ahead – it may be to some use to them.
Even later: We’ve got 3 bleeps on the radar; one mighty big one, swarming with life forms, and two smaller ones slowly heading towards the station. We’re in so much trouble! We’ll attempt going around them, preferably unnoticed. Wait… Not unnoticed as it turns out: I think we’ve just been invaded.
This day will never end! We were invaded by three of the warrior Zapatacs, but that’s not the oddest thing that’s happened today! Mr. Oktober and PT went first into the cargo bay, where the baddies were expected to be. It was dark, and I couldn’t see much, but could hear the fighting clearly. PT went completely berserk, I mean more than usual. Soon enough the fighting was over and I ran to help them out. I found PT standing over one of the dead Zapatecs, panting, and with blades about a foot long each coming out of his hands! He looked like something out of one of Martin’s ancient comic books. I went to look at it, absolutely astonished, and he attacked me! To my more than good luck he slipped in the blood on the floor and knocked himself out a moment. The knives receded back into his fists and when he woke up, he couldn’t remember anything. It was quickly decided something must be done: to have a living weapon walking around is one thing, but one who might attack anybody? That’s just not going to happen! Since I’ve had some luck using hypnosis as painkiller, we decided I will hypnotise him and find out what exactly he is.
Oh… my! Oh my goodness!
Ok, that sentence made no sense, I’ll give you that. Oh, my world just turned upside down! But but, first things first: I hypnotised PT. Not only has he been tampered with; he’s 100% engineered. He’s about 2-3 years old, is tank grown, apparently a designed assassin. PT? It stands for Proto Type… I gave him a throughout physical beforehand; he has two hearts, about double lung capacity, he has wires going into his brains, more glands than I could count (several of which are adrenalin glands), and yes; folding knives in his fists – lovely! He told me (under hypnosis) of his early memories of tanks full of water, bright lights and men in white coats. He could not remember his mission (but he must have one), only that he had been sent out and that his spaceship had crashed. Max (that is Mr. Oktober…) confirmed that he had indeed found PT in a crashed spaceship, and that PT at that time had no recollection of his past. We had decided to put a mental stop word into PT (approved by PT himself), one that would stop him, when he went berserk and beyond reasoning. Max was present under the entire hypnosis session, just in case PT went berserk again. But the session was very successful – of course we won’t know how successful the stop word is before PT looses control again. What I can say, however, is that it worked very well on Max… After PT had left, I mentioned the stop word to Max, and he fell asleep! Such blunder! Such lovely blunder… Well, I had to get the stop word out of him. It would be rather inconvenient if Max fall asleep every time we try to calm PT. So I tried to make him relax, but I couldn’t. He was way too tense. I tried massage, but that had a rather unexpected effect… Suddenly I found myself in his arms, and … well, I just melted away… I haven’t been intimate with anyone since I broke up the engagement to Martin three years ago. The opportunities have presented themselves on several occasions, but it just never felt right. This felt right! Max is a good man! He is kind and compassionate, his heart is true and his morale impeccable. I didn’t realize that I had fallen, before I was there, being held, being kissed, being made love to, making love myself. I was a little ashamed at first. Thought that my administrations had pushed him beyond his will (was that was I intended? Oh, surely not consciously!), but the look on his face… He had not been coerced. He may have been just as surprised as I was that we had this in us, but it was not unwillingly done.
Afterwards there were some awkwardness though; PT’s enhanced sense of smell had picked up on the pheromones that not only Max and I, but also it seems Li and Katie (I’ll get back to that!) had sent out. He came to me with the problem (well, actually Rob, the scoundrel, had sent him) – this erection he had – was that normal? As a doctor I get all sorts of questions, and I would have been more at ease had he not been a child in a man’s body (at least what sex is concerned). I explained to him the technicalities of sex and reproduction, stressing the element of fun (obviously Li and Katie did not have sex to reproduce, and neither had Max and I) in the whole matter. He was rather confused about the whole thing, as might be expected. I left it to Max to talk to him about things that a man could explain to him better that I could. I’m sure I could tell him the theories about the sensation of ejaculation etc. but it was probably better to leave it up to someone with more, ah, personal experience in the matter.
Speaking of reproduction: I wonder what happened to my eggs, when I left Prime. Did they destroy them? They harvested about a dozen when I was 18 before I was sterilised, and could engage in a physical relationship with Martin without the risk of surprise pregnancies. The people Martin and I were then would never have considered having children not genetically tampered with. And now when I might consider a natural child I cannot have one. Just as well, I suppose.
Back to Li and Katie! Well, colour me surprised! I hadn’t realized Li was a homosexual. I admit I rather expected that that gene was removed automatically in our generation. I’ve known several homosexuals at court and honestly never figured out what the fuzz was all about. Obviously they could not carry on the gene to future generations, and beside their sexual preference for same sex sex, they were exactly like every one else. Well, one of the men I’ve know was rather feministic in his manners, but he was considered something of a curiosity more than an abomination. In my genetic class however the teacher was very outspoken about the supposed atrocity of homosexuality, amongst other genetic minorities. I always thought he was being rather crude about it all and honestly never liked him much. But he was very proud of the fact that he himself had made the list of abominate genes that must be removed (homosexuality amongst them) that the Senate had approved some 30 years ago. Incidentally I’m sure that he possessed several of the abominate genes on his own list (a lisp, crossing eyes when he got exited, a whiney voice). I’m not sure if there is a gene for obnoxiousness, but he sure had it.
Reiker’s station is within view. We’ll dock presently. There are no Zapatec ships within view, but it seems every drop of fuel on the station is now floating around in frozen stasis around the space station. Not a good sign!
Later: Only bad news, I’m afraid, well, almost only bad news. Yes, the station had been sabotaged. By someone with high rank by the looks of it, as only a handful of people had access to the fuel outlet. We reported to Reiker, who in turn told us of mass disobedience on the station, that Lloyd was the one to arrange the Henrietta for us (and apparently had her bugged – gods, I can’t believe we didn’t think of that!), and that he and three of his hunters are unaccounted for. Most likely they were the terrorists on Zapatec. A ship matching our description of the terrorist ship shot past the station some 30 hours ago. Drat!
PT suggested that we gathered the people who could have been responsible for the fuel leak – his keen nose might smell the fear of the guilty party. It turned out that they were all scared to some degree, and honestly I would be too, if a guy like PT started sniffing around me with that look on his face. After we had sent them all out again, disaster struck again. Reiker made one of his usual ‘well, then’ comments, and PT went absolutely wild on him, knives unsheathed and everything! The only good news is: the stop word worked – this time at least. Suddenly there were drawn guns all over the place: Reiker pointed at a dazed PT, Li pointed at Reiker and a lot of yelling and aggressiveness filled the room. It took my best persuasion skills to get every body to calm down, and eventually the guns were put away. But Reiker was furious, understandably. He gave me 24 hours to figure PT out and extract the mission (which might very well be to kill Reiker) from his genetic make up, or he would be exterminated. Exterminated… like some thing or bug, when all he is is an engineered child. All right an engineered child with a ticking bomb in his hands, but still… I feel responsible for him, and will fight for his right to live. Yes, he is a human weapon, but one with a heart and I believe: a conscience. We are the ones who must teach him right from wrong.
Besides that, Reiker wants us to leave the station with some of the civilians (apparently the theatre people are leaving by their own means – I suspect foul play and will figure it out. Henderson, the sweaty chief engineer is known to have a soft spot for Angelique, which might have been used against him). Well, we are to contact Magnus Stevenson of the IT back in Fort William and get him to send fuel cells, weapons and supplies to the station on the next train out.
This is all such a mess!
Later: We contacted Angelique to see if we could hitch a ride with them to Fort William on ‘The Tempest’. Etienne was being obnoxious and didn’t want us to come along, but Angelique was more compliant. I hate calling in favours like that. I really did do her surgery free of charge, but the situation called for it. We’re leaving as soon as the ship is ready, in about 4 hrs from now. PT stayed to help Vida pack all the stuff the theatre deemed essential to bring (including the chandelier and huge amounts of sets and props – yes, life-essentials in deed!). Apparently Henderson and Anderson and his crew are coming along too. I don’t really feel comfortable with Henderson on board – if my suspicions are correct, his infatuation with Angelique is being used against him. We’ll see. I may be all wrong.
Reiker gave us orders to hold on to the theatre folk, so they wouldn’t go blab to the military about the situation out here. Apparently the general in Fort William, a Clarence C. Pitts, is eagerly looking forward to get blood on his hands since he missed out on the Roote war. We so do not want him involved in this!
About PT: I hypnotized him again to suggest that Reiker is his new best friend, and when he says ‘right, then’ PT was merely to smile. I also made a batch of heavy duty tranquilizers (should be able to take him out even when he’s way up high on adrenalin), just in case. The best thing really would be to alter his genetic profile to override his initial orders of killing Reiker, but I just don’t have the proper equipment here. Maybe in Fort William.
Early morning: Seems I was right again… Rob is in medic bay with a bad wound in the back. He’ll make it, but it was a close call. OK, back to beginnings; Rob woke up Max and me (I was sleeping in the nook of his armpit), because he had overheard a rather suspiciously sounding conversation, between a nervous sounding man and a woman (whom we now know to be Henderson and Angelique) about some plan that must not go wrong. We crept over to the place, where he had heard them, but they were gone. I sent Rob to Henderson to see if he was awake, and to lure him out, while Max and I went to see if anyone else were up that were not supposed to be. Suddenly we heard gun shots from the cargo bay. PT had just run into us by then, having heard all the sneaking about. He and Max went to the cargo bay while I woke up Li. In the cargo bay we found Henderson bent over Rob, who was shot in the back, and he was about to shoot him in the head, when we attacked him. That is; Max, PT and Li attacked him, while I ran to get my medic bag. On the way I decided to throw the bench next to Angelique’s door in front of it to block it, but she opened it just then. I told her to stay in her compartment, that things were under control, but seconds later there I was with a gun (one of the little ladylike things) against my forehead. True, those little things can’t hurt much from a distance, but put right against a head, they can do a pretty amount of damage. Luckily I had some of those tranquilizers for PT in my pocket, and I managed to get one out and into her, before she could shoot. She did shoot, but by then she was already dizzy and I managed to hold her gun away from me. And then she passed out. It’s a wonder my adrenalin didn’t go through the roof right there, but somehow it behaved right well. I ran to get my things and returned to Rob in the cargo bay. I met PT and Li on the way and asked them to look after Angelique.
Rob was in a bad state. He had lost so much blood. He is stabilized now and is sleeping. Henderson is dead. Apparently Max, Li and PT in combination were quite too much for him. The rest of the crew was up and about after all that commotion, but Max calmed them down. Anderson and Katie stayed around though, and we filled them in on events. They are checking out the ship along with Li, as I write this, to see if they can find any irregularities. Lo! PT’s calling.
Later: Life just gets more interesting all the time! PT called because he could smell that Angelique was closing down her inner organs! I’ve heard it can be done, and she was doing it. I quickly performed an operation to remove the gland that made her able to do so, but too much damage has already been done. I cannot get her kidneys and liver to start working again. She has mere days yet to live, and then she will die. Painfully and messily if I cannot prevent it. Since Henderson is dead we need her to tell her what is going on, but I really hate keeping her in this state. It’s … unworthy. She whispered something before the operation. Something in the line of that there is no freedom, merely the fulfilment of purpose, following one’s destiny. Yes, she would be designed to think that, as all bioengineered people are, me also for that matter. I have broken out of that destiny; I have fought it, as has Rob, and Li and PT (though he needs help with it). But she seems content in doing so. So sad.
Entry on frolicking:
I know no better word for what we are doing. This handgrasping, breathcatching, giggling search for private places to make out – in a very teenagey way. While worlds are tumbling down around us, disasters are pending and death is lurking around every corner, we kiss and caress and whisper nonsenses into eachother’s ears. This careless manner in a world of chaos is so much opposite everything I have ever done, felt or thought. It belongs to a child in me that was never allowed this freedom of falling in love with someone not chosen by my parents and the society as a perfect match of genes. I enjoy this freedom that has never been mine before. I juggle it with a curious sense of turning my blind eye to all sorts of disruptions that might disturb my concentration. I must fall eventually. It cannot last. It is against all reason.
Early evening: And weirdness continues: Li, Anderson and Katie found nothing out of the ordinary on board. The plan might very well include messing with the starport and send us somewhere other than Fort William. Henderson certainly had the capability to. A search of their rooms didn’t come up with much useful either. The stargate we just passed was abandoned. Anderson set us up for further travel.
And now for it… what I hate thinking about, but must be dealt with: Angelique started bleeding from all cavities. I could bare it no longer to keep her alive. She would not talk, content with her destiny being fulfilled. I apologized deeply to her and gave her a shot that killed her. Sadness and depression flushed over me, and in that moment PT attacked me! I called out the stopword, and that combined with his own strong will stopped him. I will never forget the look on his face and the sound of his voice, when he said: ‘I think you are a mark!’ A mark! He is sent out to kill me! Why ever for? Somebody wants me dead – I can’t believe it… I must really try to get a laboratory in Fort William. I think Ambrosius once mentioned a man, who makes top notch pharmaceuticals, illegally off course, in Fort William. He’s supposed to have a state of the art laboratory. I will look him up, as soon as we dock.
I made 50 ampoules – enough for a year – to suppress the genetic orders in PT. It cost me a week’s pay, but I think my life (and Reiker’s) is worth it. Maybe I can even get IT to cover it, since it is in their interest. PT remembers his orders now:
1. Sabotage IT
2. Kill Reiker
3. Kill Chloe
Isn’t it lovely? The most obvious connection I can see between Reiker and myself is this mission, but PT was programmed way before I was ever hired for it. The only other connection is that we have both broken off our allegiance with the Empire. But could that really be why they want us dead? I just don’t understand it.
PT is very much aware that he is opposing his purpose. He was designed for a simple purpose, and now he will not, can not perform it. It leaves a strange hollowness in one. I know the feeling only too well. I would never dream of using drugs on Prime. Only since I left and turned my back on the empire has this empty place in me appeared. They are very clever, those genetic designers… They breed wonderful abilities into us along with a loyalty that it takes extreme measures and a fierce will to oppose. I hate them for it, and that hate is what makes me able to stand against the desperate need in me to return and fall into line. And now they want to kill me? They make my will stronger all the time!
We were given 10 hrs in Fort William, before we return. Once back we have 3½ day tops to solve the entire Zapatec problem, before General Pitts will come thundering in with his cavalry. Anderson and his crew (including Katie and Little Bob) have volunteered to come back with us. The train is being loaded right now with supplies, fuel, a limited amount of weapons, paychecks and 50 men/women, who haven’t a clue about what they are getting into.
Max was lovely. He invited me to a hotel room – luxurious by Fort William standards. Complete with a spa with real aqua, and room service! I don’t know if he can save me, though. I’m battling chemicals that make my mind a whirlstorm. Angelique’s death has hit me hard. Not only did I kill her, I prolonged her suffering before doing so. Even if I have turned my back on my predesigned destiny, I cannot turn my back on my Hippocratic oath: I must not kill, I must not harm. And I did both. Not will my good will, and not in mean will, but still cruelly, because I did not… not. I should have let her die, though that would be breaking the oath as well: to save life when possible. It makes me ashamed. And to add to that shame: Even though Max is everything I could ever wish for, right now all I want is to float away on a chemical wave, to shoot up – if I must put it crudely – tie up that arm, fill up that syringe and inject oblivion into my body. I want to be somewhere else.
The first day of a new space year… We had a bit of trouble on the way back to Reiker’s station. We’ll dock within the next hour, so I don’t have a lot of time to jot down the details. To make a long story short: Lloyd and his pirate crew waited for us at the first star gate. We fought a terrible battle with them in the gate station. They had taken some Zapatec larvae from the destroyed Zapatec ship we had found, and now used them as weapons against us. Apparently larvae who are not told what to become, goes insane and becomes everything all at once: warrior, worker, drone. They killed and ate everything they came near. Lloyd’s men controlled them from the control room on the star gate by opening and closing gates leading them towards us, and away from their own men.
I honestly can’t tell much from the fight, as I was quite busy tending to the flow of wounded coming my way. Anderson got killed as the first – a great loss, especially to Katie, who went completely berserk after that. Little Bob got wounded in the thigh, but is healing nicely for a true human. PT got wounded, but healed himself within a short while. I’ll have to open him up later and take out all the bullets that got closed up within the wounds. Rob and Li did some pretty fancy flying with Lloyd’s ship, which they stole from the hangar. Rob dented the window in the control room with the ship so that the men in the room had to abandon it and thus loose control of the Zapatec creatures. That turned the battle to our favour. We captured Lloyd along with most of his men. I have 25 men and women in the temporary sickbay, 7 of which are hostile. We lost 3 of our guys, while Lloyd lost 14-15 men.
Lloyd is a mess. Really! He is delirious and much more messed up on various drugs than anyone I’ve ever seen, including myself. He was build for something else than this, I know not what, but he is taking a lot of different drugs to keep himself from burning down. What he did tell us was this: The Shenzerai Cooperation is involved in all this – it’s daughter company Red Bird in particular. Red Bird is one of the heavy companies in the weapon industry; they have a huge research and development facility. PT is a Red Bird product incidentally… Lloyd is willing to tell all, if we arrange for him to make a deal with Reiker. We are not very keen on letting him go, but we are so in need of information. We are still completely in the dark as to who is behind this, though Red Bird seems an extremely good guess.
We are coming upon the station now. It looks intact, but is completely surrounded by large hive ships. Small pods are coming towards us now.
Later: We are on board the station. The small pods attacked us, but one of the miner ships saved us (Kävli in fact, not previously ours dearest friend, but apparently a good man, deep down). Rob did good with the impounded pirate vessel. He was boarded by Zapatec warriors, but closed down all life support except in the cabin and killed them all that way. Clever man, my friend. There are no Zapatecs on board the ship though there easily could have been. They are waiting for something, trying to wait us out perhaps? We brought Lloyd to Reiker, and they made a deal. This is what he told Reiker: Lorraine Shenzerai, the director of Red Bird, is working on a major takeover of committee seats in the Transportation Committee. My father is on that committee, and is apparently involved in all this. I find it hard to believe, as my father is a good and honest man, generally. They must have forced him somehow… with me? Perhaps? By threatening to kill me, which they already have set in motion, by programming PT… I so do not like the prospect of that! The good news is that we have options: in a month’s time they will all meet up on the cruise ship Poseidon. We will go there off course and expose them or something.
I have fixed PT up as well as I could. 26 bullets and 43 pieces of bullets I pulled out of him. I shall call him Ironman from now on. My med kit (except for my mini kit and my personal stash) is still on the train, but Reiker’s station is well provided for this sort of operation. It’s was a common patch up job. I really long for a few moments alone. I’ve been on my feet for what feels like days now.
How do I even begin to describe the last few days? Right after my last entry all hell broke loose. The Zapatec ships disappeared. In their stead were a couple of imperial fighters – never far from their mother ship – spewing battle machine soldiers on board. They attempted to arrest us, but we resisted off course. Max tried to play the hero, and covered our back while we fled. I would have kept on running had not the loving fool called out: ‘move out now, so my sacrifice will not be in vain!’ Huh! Well, I had no intentions of letting him sacrifice himself on my behalf, so I turned back (ok, militarily not the smartest decision, but I love the man, and hell is frozen over before I let him die on my shift!). One of the battle machine solders had cornered Li and Katie on a level below me, so I jumped upon him. Shows what I know of the things: there may be men inside the battle suits, but they are damn hard to get at. He trapped me, rather tightly. I felt like a raggedy doll in the hands of a violent child – I could do nothing. My kicking and screaming did me absolutely no good. Meanwhile Rob, who had had adventures of his own, returned from the docking area with a jammer of a sort that froze the electric circuits in the battle armour. My violent child stopped dead, his eyes frantic with anger and fear as he suddenly could not move an inch. Max jumped him from behind and tipped him over, pulling me along. I broke several ribs, and it hurt like hell, but made me able to get out of the tight grip of the armoured hand. We fled to the Henrietta, Max with me in tow. I was rather pitiful I’m afraid. We fled the station, an imperial fighter right on our tail. Apparently Little Bob and Rob had arranged for the imperial fighter to get hooked up to one of the cranes; when it sped out of the hanger, it suddenly stopped short and swung right back onto the station. It was quite a sight, I tell you.
Now for what comes next the above seemed like the good part of the day. Max patched me up, and when I though I could finally find some peace and shoot up, pure hell hit me: my stuff was tampered with. What I really injected was a lethal and slowly working poison that will eventually turn my inner organs into strawberry porridge. I cramped up, lost all my senses, started bleeding from all over and almost burned up with fever. The others were quite at a loss as to what to do. This stuff should never happen to the doctor! Though I would never wish it on another human being either.
Yes, yes, I’m conscious now and the pain is bearable for now, but at the time they thought for a while that I would die. I will off course, it will just take a little longer. PT came to then (after the operation I had put him in the sickbay of the Henrietta, since we were taking her to negotiate with the hives anyway). He could smell what the poison was, and has given me a couple of months, maybe years to live in, provided I take certain drugs every 8 hrs to keep the decay at bay. There is no known antidote. I actually woke up in the middle of it and only just managed to tell them what to give me, and after that first shot, I came to. I can function, but not well. I’m in pain, and the situation is precarious. Oh, enough about me, the exiting part of the story is this: while unconscious I could hear the Hive. I spoke with someone – the queen? And we were bidden to enter. That was when I woke up and the life preserving drug was injected.
There was one hive ship left behind – the rest was out of sight. We entered by flying at the membrane which opened and closed behind us, until we were deep inside the hive. I will write a more thorough report at some time. It was a vastly exiting experience. There was atmosphere here deep inside the hive, but no gravity. We left the ship, and from every hole and cranny in the walls warrior Zapatecs immerged. They did not come near us, but the message was clear: we would have no chance in a fight whatsoever. We were led into a tunnel, small enough for us to push ourselves forward by the walls. We passed membranes pulsing with golden light in which larvae lay. It was truly fascinating, and I shall truly regret it if I never get back within a hive ship again to study all this. There were surprisingly few Zapatecs actually, and none of the blue ones that zap. They moved with great elegance and I quite forgot my own perils whilst in the hive ship. A beautiful princess received us outside of a large chamber and led us into the Drone Counsel. The Drones here were all older ones, apparently stuck to the walls and fed by smaller Zapatecs. The air sang with the buzzing of their thoughts. But the oddest thing there was a human man – a former preacher that had come to the Rim to build the New Jerusalem, he said, though he could no longer remember his name – but now a member of this counsel. He was not quite sane anymore, I think, but a great help in the negotiations, since he could explain the things that one side or another could not understand. We tried to convince them that we did not desire war. War could only lead to the death of thousands, maybe millions of men and Zapatec alike, and much likely the end of the Zapatecs all together. The Empire would keep coming, until they were all dead. So in our hearts and minds war was absolutely the last thing we wanted. They doubted this as the Imperial army, as we spoke, gathered and seemed ready to fight only a day’s flight from here. We asked them to stand down, to release hostages, to appear peaceful, so that Pitt would have no reason at all to attack. They would think upon it and we were sent back to the Henrietta. Once back PT thought of something that I had quite forgotten about: that I was actually empowered with a mandate to negotiate on behalf of IT. If we could draw up a contract between IT and the Zapatec Nations, then Pitt could not attack. We went back into the counsel room, and laid out our terms: if IT left their sacred planet and holy whales alone, then they could build the star gate and travel in peace through the Zapatec territory unharmed. There was more to it than that off course, but that was the basics. The Drone Counsel accepted it, but only on their own nation’s behalf (the Zapotilian Nation). The other queens would have to make the decisions on their own. But one nation was good enough to put a stop to Pitt. We did not have to tell him, that there were more nations than the one we had dealt with. So far, so good. We were asked to leave after that, and we did – along with all the hostages the Zapatec had held.
Only a few hours later were we approached by an imperial fighter, asking us to stand by. All peaceful like we did. They escorted us to the Dauntless, Pitt’s frigate. I was arrested on sight as we arrived, Max as well, as far as I heard before I was led away. I was graciously hanging on to one of the imperial guard’s arms, as I could hardly stand on my own. As we had presented ourselves as diplomats they could hardly treat us badly, and halfway to the prison cells, Li came running along after me with one of their guards, and we were led to the infirmary in stead. The doctor there looked me over, prodded and poked, took blood tests and whatnot, and declared that I was dying, he would give me a month, if I did not have a full blood exchange and organ transplants. Very comforting and soothing fellow, him. After that we were all gathered together in a room in which the General Pitt himself wandered here and hither, ready to turn what we said into a good reason to go to war. We could not oblige him. We presented our contracts with IT that we had diplomatic status. We presented our contract of peace with the Zapotilian Nation. We even explained to him that what ever had happened out here it was nothing that could not be dealt with without military aid. The hostages were free, the peace was secured. He seethed and foamed around the mouth, he yelled and stomped, but alas, his war had slipped through his fingers like beach sand. I would have pitied him had he not been such a hateful and spiteful sort of man. He left us to go and seethe somewhere else, and a major came by and asked if he could get us anything… For the next hour we ate, and ate and ate some more. Apples, duck a la orange, more apples, chocolate ice cream, real greens and water! It was heaven, and I quite forgot for a bit that I am dying and that my entire body just ached relentlessly. After that we were told we had outstayed our welcome and we unceremoniously left the Dauntless and set course towards Reiker’s station. Reiker was still kept under arrest (for holding back vital information from the army – an accusation that surely must soon drop, since the matter was no longer military).
Now we are making plans. I will go back to Prime in a cryo coffin escorted by Max, who will not leave my side even now. I will send my father an encrypted message describing my medical situation and ask him to arrange for the operation. A better person than me might think of this as coming crawling back to Daddy, but I just want to live and I can think of no one who could help me better than my father. He will have forgiven me. Rob, Li, Katie and PT will proceed to where the Poseidon will dock in a month’s time and prepare for hacking into the ships security, so we can move about freely on board. I’m a little unclear about what we will do once there. Katie and PT are all set for killing whoever is behind this once they are identified. Li and I want to see them brung to justice. PT has an unclear picture of the three people responsible for his making, and thus in the ordering of my and Reiker’s assassination. He feels he only has to see them to know them. Our primary mission must therefore be to get PT on board to look people over. If the head of Red Bird is on the Poseidon there is a good reason to believe that others involved will be too. Lorraine Shenzerai may actually very well be one of the three. PT believes that if anyone may be able to concoct an antidote for me it will be those who made the poison. So it is imperial for me to find the people behind all this and somehow convince them to make or hand over the antidote.
On PT’s request I have performed plastic surgery on him. The changes are subtle, but effectful.
Little Bob has promised to look after Civilian a little longer. Prime would never let her in.
But for now: into the freezer with me. The two weeks in cryo stasis should keep my condition stable, and with a little luck the operation will save my life.
The surgery is over. 8 hrs straight. I now have a mechanical heart, liver and lungs – lovely, isn’t it? My blood has been changed, but my system is still infected with the poison. It will still kill me, if I do not get the antidote. They have begun growing new organs for me, so within a month or two – if I am still alive at the time – I can have proper organs again. I’m told I should keep still for a while. I’ll try. Max was worried about the mechanical heart, but I have discovered that love has nothing to do with the heart after all. I still love him – more for each day I spend with him. He has been amazing in caring for me. Lesser men would have run at the prospect of their heart’s desire being mortally ill and slowly falling apart. But even when my face is stained with bloody tears does he not turn away, but keep looking at me lovingly and wipes the blood away with gentle hands. I can’t believe this man has ever been a soldier of war.
The odd thing is: my father is not here. He never got my communiqué. It was intercepted by imperial officers, and the surgery was arranged on order of the Holy Emperor himself. I never thought I would get anything good out of playing with that spoiled brat as a kid, but he must remember me fondly or he would not have arranged it. His Hand and Arm assured us that we could leave again without problems, but that I must stay away from Prime now. I was considered dead, and they could not have dead people running about here. Nevertheless he had quite the farewell gift for us: two first class tickets to the Poseidon – where my father is, unknowingly of my being alive and sort of well – haute couture clothes, including a dress and a tux in bullet proof fabric, two plasma guns (nasty things those!), a stun stick, and several electrical and mechanical gadgets which Li and Rob will be happy to get their hands on. Also com units and recording equipment, should we be as lucky as to get some of the bad guys to give a speech telling all.
Hand and Arm is always a bit of a stiff, but he did turn a little pink when I hugged him in thanks and asked him to pass it on to His Holiness (holiness, in deed, I’ve seen him puke from eating too many frosted cakes and then eat one more).
Poseidon should dock tomorrow. Interesting things are coming into the light this day. PT turns out to be the one who poisoned my drugs. I’m not really surprised, since it is in his DNA to kill me. He says he is more at ease now, and that he gave me a slow working poison to give me a chance to find a cure. That’s something, I suppose. I can’t be angry with him. It’s not really his fault – I completely blame those who designed him. He remembers now why I was a target: I am witness to the massacre of Macraix. So Red Bird is to blame for Macraix as well. Things are falling into place nicely.
Katie has told me in confidence that she is pregnant by PT. She is very angry with him for being the one who has killed me… She cannot make the image of a death machine fit her idolized picture of the innocent and cuddly PT that she fell for. I’m afraid I berated her. PT – again – is not to blame for my death. And if she had gotten pregnant, they must not have protected themselves (she admitted that they hadn’t), and thus she must face the consequences. I offered to abort the embryo, if she was set against it. Not much help, I.
Li made an astonishing revelation herself: Her real name is Jade Summer Shenzerai, daughter of Lorraine Shenzerai, thus making things just a little more interesting and complicated. Li is no friend of her mother’s and actually fled her home 9 years ago, when she discovered what kind of company Red Bird really was. She hopes to be able to contact her mother, get her to talk, and maybe even get me some antidote. I myself hope to be able to contact Father, and assure him that he should not let himself be pressured into horrible deeds on my account. He must detach himself from Red Bird. And now is not a minute too soon.
Li and I will board as first class passengers. PT and Max will pose as our bodyguards. Rob and Katie will enter as 3rd class passengers, leaving them free to hack their way into the security system.
The Poseidon is huge! Li and I walk through the splendour as if this is everyday occurrences to us. We are detached and bored. We eat real food as if we’ve never heard of tofu. We leave leftovers… I can hardly remember ever having lived this. It seems so long ago, and must seem even longer to Li. It’s a world easily fallen into, but I could never feel at home here anymore. The duplicity of it all, the coolness and aloofness, the egocentricity that I fled from when I moved to Macraix, when everyone, including my father, thought I should apply to one of the Prime clinics or hospitals. I love breathing free (even with mechanical lungs), making my own choices, choosing to help those who really need it, choosing a mundane man to love. Even when my entire DNA set-up screams NO! I will always want choice.
We’ve been part of the charade today. Playing at being rich. Strolling the galleys. Laying on the indoor beach (with Li’s mother three deckchairs over), Had breakfast and lunch and dinner. We’ve changed into our fineries. Li is having her hair set into an intricate doo, while I write these words. Rob and Katie are on the com and Max is checking out my behind in my red dragonsilk dress with appreciation. I have taken my medication. It would not do to start having a nose- and eyebleed in the middle of a game of black jack. It’s casino night tonight, and we will make contact and deal with our enemies. We’re set to go.
I seem a mite optimistic in the above. Now everything has changed in numerous ways, but I’ve not given up yet. Best describe the day, I suppose.
Lord Takae was playing cards at the casino. Li and I strolled around on the balcony overlooking the casino with Max as bodyguard. Rob and PT had dressed up as servants, and Katie kept contact from the cabin in 3rd class. We were all hooked up to the com link and could keep in touch. Lorraine Shenzerai joined Lord Kakae at his gaming table, which they soon had to themselves and their two bodyguards each. PT overheard their conversation (with his enhanced hearing) and heard them say something in the line of the meeting going down tonight, and that ‘the old fool Wasabe’ was expendable thereafter. Now I might think at times that my father is an old fool, but he is MY old fool, and no one else should call him so. And he certainly isn’t expendable! Just then I spotted my father at the Ocean bar, and went straight for him. He too had two bodyguards, which turned out to be more like mere guards. They were certainly more devoted to keeping him secure than safe. He stood by the bar with his back to me, and I ordered his favourite drink in an audible voice and he turned to face me with horror written all over his face.
Then many things happened at once, much of which I was not a witness to myself. I can only recount that which I’ve been told. When my father turned towards me, one of his guards drew a gun and fired upon Max. A veritable gunfight broke out between Max and the two guards. In the heat of the battle one of the guards shot at Max, who ran for cover, while the shots sang into the 7000 litre aquarium complete with fish and sharks and broke the glass to it. A cascade of water tore everyone in its way, including my father and myself who had reached him by then, with it through the balcony and 20 metres down to the casino floor. My father was injured, and I’m sure I must have been too, but I was just too wrapped up in his injuries to care.
On the casino floor everything was chaos, but not just because of us. An assassin very much like PT had attacked him, and PT was dying while I noticed nothing. Truly I do not know if I could have done anything at all for him. My gut says no, but I sure wish I could have. Before all of this went down, Katie had told him over the intercom that she was pregnant by him, and I hope that that knowledge might have brought him some joy, before his life was torn away. Shenzevai had fled the table, but had been shot (by Max?) in the back, and was sprawled, but not dead some way away. Bodyguards were gun fighting with Li and Max, both on the balcony still, though Max was on his move towards the staircase. Rob must have been involved too, for I later found him badly wounded, unconscious but alive on one of the gaming tables. I have never seen him seem so small. Almost childlike. At some time one of the wounded bodyguards grabbed me and held a gun to my head. Max yelled something at me from the balcony while coming down the stairs. I threw the bodyguard away from me, trying to grapple his gun, when I was hit in the chest by a plasma gun. I had seen what the plasma guns did to those it hit: green light and body parts exploding and I caught it straight in the chest. Everything went black then, and the rest of this tale is from the account of Max and Li.
Max stabilized me. He was horrified that he had hit me, but had no choice but to fight on. He and Li were fighting the bodyguards, and Lord Takae joined the fight. He was killed, by Max I think, I’m not sure. Shenzevai tried to get away, and Li tried to stop her, but understandably could not kill her own mother. Max tried to stop her too, but was wounded badly by her in left arm and leg. Li has not wanted to talk much about what happened next, but the short story is that she let her mother get away. I’m glad she did. Li is no killer. She does not have her mother’s murderous heart, and thank gods for that. Li was the only one standing after that.
Father has brought us all to a private medical facility. Rob will take some healing yet, but is getting better. Max is healing, but is bitter about the disastrous outcome of the whole thing. Li is silent and I grieve for her. Katie is restless, crying and desperate, and I grieve even more for her. PT is dead, and I hate that thought. He will be my killer yet, but I’m so very sorry for his death.
I have been repaired yet again. My condition is stable, but not optimal. Li told me that her mother told her that there is no antidote for me. It doesn’t exist, it isn’t made – maybe it cannot be made. Father wants to prepare me for a new organ transplant as soon as they’ve been grown, and it might make me better. I’d like to live a little longer. I have things yet to do. Lorraine Shenzevai got away from the Poseidon, but I will not let her away with the massacre of Macraix, the creation and murder of PT or the warmongering against the Zapatec. PT told me she wanted me dead because of what I had witnessed on Macraix. If so she must fear what I might tell. So I will tell it. I just need to get a little better first.
A lucky date. I’ve made the newsreel to blow up Red Bird and it is now sent to the 82 biggest news Medias. It’s the whole story of Macraix and Red Bird. My father backs my story up. Now all we have to do is wait.
The news has been very exiting to follow this past week. My revelation hit the Medias like an nuclear bomb. I have given numerous interviews already, and some reporter wants to make the whole story into a book. Somehow the secret communiqués I wrote and sent to the imperial government, while I suspected foul play at Macraix, has leaked into the press and back my story up. Yesterday a proper inquest of all of Red Birds affairs began. I see them falling now. About time. I should have done this a long time ago. What misery I could have prevented.
The organ transplant went well. I’ve yet again a proper beating heart, breathing lung and cleansing liver in my body. It has been a hard couple of months, and Max has been hard at work tending me. I’ve had good days that were almost normal and bad days where everything I touched became bloody and everything I saw was red, and the pain turned me into a mindless being. Father has set us up in the Wasabe summer residence, while we waited for the organs to grow and for me to be stable enough to go through with the operation. And now we stay while I recuperate. Civilian was brought here by a rather shy Little Bob. She was ecstatic seeing Max again, and Max was too to be truthful. I love it here. It’s peaceful and green and has a private stretch of beach, where I sit and watch the ocean and the sky. I’m not so sure Max likes it all that much. He’s a little uncomfortable with all this luxury. I’ve told him he has engaged himself to a spoiled child, but that I don’t expect more from him other than his love.
The kidneys went out too, and are now part of the package that needs changing every now and then.
Father has been retired. He is here all the time anyway.
I received a letter from Li the other day. She and Rob have set up shop on the Rim along with a quite pregnant Katie. Little Bob has joined them too. They are well and business is well. I would like to invite them here, but I don’t think they’d come. Too close to Prime I guess.
My organs are failing again, and a new operation date has been set for the entire change. I’ve had 12 minor surgeries to improve my condition, but nothing really works in the long run. It was some powerful poison Red Bird thought up. Father is devastated about it. He is here all the time he can spare. He and Max don’t get along very well, but for me they are civil at least to each other. They have a secret I’ve yet to discover. They had an argument some weeks ago that left Max furious and my father devastated. They won’t tell me what it’s all about and I hate that.
I’ve been up all day. We went for a long walk and it was wonderful. Just two people in love taking in the scenery with a puppy-like happy dog running around us yapping with delight. Rob was talking about children, since I’ve been so well for so long. I almost couldn’t bear telling him that they removed my uterus entirely in the last organ transplant. The poison had destroyed it completely. And uteri are not the kind of organs they transplant. I said I still had cryo eggs we might get a child from, but he wants it to be a natural child. It just aches me so that I cannot give him a child. But I might not be around all that long, and it’s a big responsibility to be alone with a child.
But since I’ve been so well lately at least maybe we can leave here soon. I’d really like to visit Li and Rob and the others, and see their thriving business.
just after midnight
I can’t tell him… I woke up with a bloody pillow again. It’s starting over. The last few weeks I’ve hidden the pains, though he knows off course. I can literally feel things falling apart inside me. But I just can’t face yet another operation. To have every vital organ changed every other month and all the little operations to adjust and prolong. I just can’t do it again. I feel like I’m stretching myself. My DNA tells me to keep fighting it, but I’m just too tired. I want to make this choice. I will have no more surgery, no more recuperating. It’s not fair to Max to keep him trapped here any longer to tend to me. I will die. We can keep it at bay, but at what cost? We can prolong my life, but for how long? I will always return to this stage where I weep blood, I shit blood, I spit blood, while I can feel my innards turn to mush and my nerves screaming in pain that cannot be relieved without further damaging my already dying liver. This is not a life any more.
They are in uproar. They will nt accept my surrendr. They say keep fighting we’ll find a way. Daddy told me the poison is his creation. Isn’t that funny? Im his creation too, but the other one is stronger – and it will kill me. That is what max had been so angry about – that the poison was made by father, back when they threatned to kill me. How cruel of shenzevai to use it against me. Very cruel. He has spnd these past months cooking up antidotes – to no avail.
Red bird is not more did you know? The empire has poked and pulld apart and dissected evry little piece, and found so many irregularities and offences against the emperor that they were dstroyd. Completely. They will be the death of me but I killd them first.
So tired I
Lettr frm Li. Katie gave birth to a boy three weeks early, but healthy and well. I guess he was in as much hurry as his father. I miss pt is that strange? I knew him shortly and he brought all ths upon me, but I miss some of his candour. I cannot bide thse long faces. Every time I sit stil max or father says my name with dread thinking now im dead. But I waited for this. I wanted to hear about katies baby.
His name is peter.
Paradise, really. I sit in the shade all bungled up in blanket, like a child or an old person. I am comftble and happy. I watch max and civilan play on the beach and my heart soars with their laughter up into the blue sky. It’s a perfect day. Perfect.
I can feel them fail individually. One by one they set out almost like Angelique (oh how long ago) made her own organs do – until I kild her. I weep blood. I wish I didn’t. I want him to return and find a perfect, blemish less and peaceful body. Maybe even smiling. I wish