Chapter Twenty Three; Leaving NewFrance

Leaving New France

Priam went into the kitchen
to cook, I went to the com;

"Get Rid of Him. He
came here to kill us,"
my father had written.

I sent the message back, deleted it.,

Holding myself together, forcing calmness, if put on a bathing suit, went out, dove into the pool. How could I be so stupid?

Priam never asked my name.
He knew who I was.
He knew my parents the ones who captured his father.
Perhaps he would of killed me if I hadn't given the right answers, hadn't been
his guide to my parents.

There was no time to reflect, I had to get Priam off the planet.

I came from the pool, dressed, to the com, took a job.

There are always jobs.
Always Bounties to Collect.

Pretending calm, I entered the kitchen, for one long golden moment I savoured
his shirtless torso, then; "Priam, I've a big job, on Smudge, we have to go now."

"Can we eat first?" he asks with that ineffable innocence.

"Yes, we can eat first."

I ate the meal, relishing it. When it was over, he went to his room, I to the flyer.
I had a few seconds of scare, maybe he'd kill me, take this car, go back to my
parent's house....I deleted the program, the past trip log.

Deleted everything.


Flying Away

When Priam swung into the car, I drove fast, focused on getting him off Newfrance.
We reached the pier where one of my better yachts were berthed.

I babbled about how I'd turned the yacht we'd flown from Smudge over to the Insurance Company for a fee and how my robots had moved personal effects into this one.

I babbled to keep a link with him.

I took out the yacht the nanosecond we were cleared, and speaking to him as if he were my partner, described our quarry. I couldn't stop talking but they were just words. Words running from my mouth; I was dead inside.

He had never asked my name.
Never taken money.
Been with me day in and day out.
Maybe he would have killed my father as we entered, if there hadn't been the diversion. If my father hadn't sent his avatar, if I hadn't diverted Priam with the lie of a breach of etiquette, adding that we could return.

If I were going to assassinate someone who never left his world, I would have to get on that world. But it's not easy to get onto a world like Newfrance.

Maybe Priam had tried to land legally.
Maybe he'd been turned down.
So he would go for the next best.
He would get me to take him.
How would he get me?
A job.
He would steal something from the Dalmar,they would hire me.
How did he know...how could he be sure I wouldn't turn him in?

That's the bump.
How could he know for a fact I wouldn't turn him in?

I'm missing something, something that could kill me. Still, how many weeks had I enjoyed with Priam? I can't count. But they were intense. If he didn't kill me, I'd get another week.

Could I stay alive for another week?
Why not?
I never killed his father.
My mother hadn't.
My father had been the one to capture him.
Priam thought I would bring him back to my father.
He had to keep me alive.
Unless he thought he could, alone, arrive on Newfrance.

"What is occupying your thoughts?" he asks.

"I'm sorry, I'm puzzling over this case.
I have a feeling it won't be at Pier
One. I have a feeling I should dock
on the other side of the island...
on Smudge I mean. You know?"

And I brought up a map of Smudge.

It was a planet about the size of Earth, but the placement of continents was different.
The only habitable place was an island in the middle of the ocean.

Pier One was on one side of the island, the other piers in jungley areas which were
very hot with very few 'amenities', pretending there were amenities on Smudge.

"We usually land here..." I pointed to Pier One, "but there are other Ports.
And I have a feeling Port Four would be a wiser starting point."

His beautiful face was fixed on the map. I doubt he knew what I was indicating.
Or why.

Some believed the jungle villages were 'safer' in that the trees cleaned the air,
the water was underground.

These areas were torrid and every so often a dust storm would travel how
many kilometers from one of the polluted continents.

No one lived on Smudge except refuse. Merchants came and went, spending
'We're Closed' on their yachts, in space.

"I admit, I do not know much of Smudge," he said in that enticing soft voice, a
voice that pulls you out, that gets answers, that gets compassion and desire.

"Well, not much to know," I say, becoming the historian.

I describe the exploitation of resources, the rampant disregard of the environment
on the continents, the very early days of black markets.

I explain how a planet could simply cease to exist in decent conversations, but be
a Universe's redlight district.

When I finished, Priam was back in the galley. I think, out of every twenty four
hours, he slept nine, divided the remainder into five hours exercise, five hours
grooming, five hours cooking and eating.

I couldn't look at him without feeling I would burst into tears, so busied myself
with work. Pretending to work. I felt my heart had turned into a stone and was
lying on my liver which was bleeding.

I told myself, I will get as many weeks of your love as I can.
I will get it and hold it, and remember it all my life.

Soon I will be somewhere else, doing something else, and I will not think of
you. I will push you deep into my subconscious so that when I go to bed,
I will meet you.

It was another wonderful meal which ended with a wonderful sexual escapade.
I held him in my arms while he slept, and my body so loved his, so clung to his,
it was as if we were one person.

So innocently he slept in my arms. Perhaps he was innocent in his way.
Perhaps there was no anger or evil intent.
Perhaps it just was a setting of balance.

The tears started then, I turned my head so they wouldn't fall on his perfect body,
so he wouldn't know that I knew.

I wanted to return to the first moments when he offered himself to me.
When I thought myself the great saviour, and he, impressed.

I remembered thinking, oh, how wonderful is Annie Firebird, to impress a Superboy...!

Stop it!
I tell myself.
And return to the jingle,
"One week of a Superboy is worth it,"
And how many will Firebird get!

But I loved him. I loved him so much it hurt. But did I love him or the facet he'd shown me?
This facet....?

Maybe I was over reacting. Maybe he had wanted to see my mother because she
had shown his father compassion...maybe he had wanted to thank her.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. Maybe I should go to sleep.

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