Passed Perfect (Chapt.6)

Douglas K. Hooker

The 'Super' Me excited my wives. I kept up the physical activity, modified oil baths, not the peel, so hair returned to my arms and legs and pubic region and chest and face, but softer, sparser, 'ginger hair'.

My routine of exercise and grooming drove my wives loopy, but they did like the sparkling me better than the craggy one.

Having three wives meant I got to go through the same excitement three times. Got to see my wife's face when suddenly this fabulous beautiful man is walking into her living room, and gasp! It's her husband Doug!

Then the kids become be noisy and tedious, the wife gets whiny, and the wall paper
makes me want to puke.

So I kiss wife good bye, onto my Spuck, take the long ride back to Earth. Back to the University, back to the Museum, to pinch more artifacts no one would miss, and back
to Smudge.

It always seems to come back to Smudge.

No matter how many times I berth here, the crumminess startles. As expected, at sundown, Ahmet invited himself to drink my wine. When I saw him sitting there, two things happened.
I remembered I had a question to ask him but also how much I hated him.

Being a snake, he had that foremost in his rat brain, so had shoved himself into my
flat to investigate the parameters of my hatred.

That's when I asked him about the Key.

The Key

Archly Ahmet asks; "You think it is their DNA in that vial?"

"Yeah," I gave.

"A cheek swab would be sufficient", he dismissed with a fling of his rat hand, "No, it is the DNA of their ancestors."

I sipped my wine.

"Eugenics carry Keys as a badge. As proof of their perfection."

"Hmmm," I hummed.

"There are Superboys wearing original keys, second generation keys...it's not his DNA in that vial, it is one of his ancestors, and depending on how old that key, well, you can understand why stealing a key is so monumental when it is one of those."

"When they run out of keys?" I poked.

He rolled his eyes.

"They can't run out of keys, Doug. If it's not a heirloom it's their grandfathers or great grandfathers, or their father's DNA. It's just not their own."

"You know a lot." I jibe.

"I buy information as well as items, Doug," he gave ingenuously.

Speaking of buying, I had a ship of artifacts to sell. The haggling took less than twenty mintues, then he asked; "You still angry with me?"

If I thought of what he'd done to me I'd tear out his throat, so dully replied "No."

He kept staring at me with his rat eyes, and I kept sitting there gazing into my wine as if oblivious. Finally, when he's fairly certain I'm not going to tear out his throat;

"You are quite crafty, Doug." Ahmet mentions now.

"Why do you say that?" I tease.

"When you played Gennie, you considered the probability a Steel female would have
sex with you, didn't you?"

I looked into the red of my wine, made a shrug.

"Which is why you had two keys."

Actually, I had three keys. One for the fem to steal, one for me to return to Ahmet,
and the real one for me to keep, just in case I might need a Gennie key.

Some place in his rat brain he must have realised I'd figured he would send a Steel fem
to seduce me to get the key, so got up, babbling about having to go and leaving.

The stink of him lingered, I hit a shithouse in the rain moodie to mask.

So let me do the balance sheet here;

He got paid by the 'Ristos for finding a Norm who could pass as a Gennie.
He got paid by a Steel fem for alerting her Krim from Molde was going to be on
Tellur (prob. sending her a vid of me marching around the ship in my kevlar) and
prob. paid by her again, when she gave him the key to hold.

I was angry he didn't warn me; but then, did he have to?
I'd figured it.
My major hurdle was getting the right suspension fluid to give my DNA a float.
The Key vials sold on every other corner on Smudge.

There was no reason for anger, I'd be an idiot to rely on Ahmet.

If you visit Smudge as often as I do, you learn not to trust anyone, anything,
sometimes, not even yourself.

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