Writer’s Note: So, this almost turned into a recap episode. Or maybe it IS the equivalent of a recap episode. I don’t know. I had to happen, I guess. Anyone looking forward to sexy time scenes will be disappointed. Sorry. Maybe I’ll feel more adventurous at the next pass over this material. Or not. Who knows. Anywho… I think otherwise I did an okay job of connecting some dots that have been waiting very patiently to get connected. Once I go back through all of this at once (and not one page at a time) it may turn out that less recap is needed. Again, we’ll see.
Cael lay, drowsily entangled between Senka and Udo. Their bodies pushed softly against him with each breath as they slept in the glow of the lamplight. He assumed the line of credit Sieffre had created for him was enough hold the room for the night, as well as his new companions. Cael sighed. After four years of abstinence and boredom, the last hour had been a very welcome, no… needed, relief. While he did feel more relaxed, the activity had sobered him up a bit, and his mind refused to drift off to sleep. He knew that if he wanted, he could always wake the two up for an encore, and again and again until his credit ran out; but for now, he wanted to think. A vague anxiety kept worrying at the edges of his thoughts and he supposed he should use the quiet moment to finally stop ignoring it.
Was it Mari? He still wasn’t sure how much faith he should put in anything Sieffre told him. He knew he was most likely being manipulated by the both of them. It was possible that Mari truly was sick, though, and Sieffre was reaching out in the limited way he knew how. However, having her little helper around was already proving to be very beneficial.
Alberich’s split personality was turning out to be more annoying than menacing. Cael thought of the snoring mess in the lobby, half his face still scratched up and the rest of him reeking of old sweat and curry. Yet, that mess of a person had convince a ship of men to murder a third of themselves. There was mystery there that he still needed to suss out. If only his kampdator hadn’t smashed to bits before he could take a look at those therapy sessions.
Cael cursed the moment at the moon’s port when he and Alberich had flown off Ilya’s motor bike. Or was it earlier when he drove the motor bike into Alberich and Lukas? He grimaced at how much he’d already damaged the man he’d promised to help. It had to have been somewhere around that time, however, that Alberich had lost his grip of both his kampdator and his suitcase. Why the authorities had brought in his broken kampdator and not the suitcase was beyond him, but Cael tried not to dwell on it. Was that what was bothering him?
No. There was this… absurd emptiness left behind by a missing suitcase, but it was definitely a separate feeling from the anxiety he was trying to place.
Was it Ilya? The pressure he felt to keep her safe and get her home was there, but that was straight forward enough.
Cael delicately extracted an arm from underneath Senka, and flexed the blood back into his hand. As soon as he dropped his arm again, Senka snuggled under it. He looked down at his bare torso, and appreciated in the warm light of the faux antique lamps the contrast of his pale skin with the olive and chocolate tones of his companions. He was suddenly struck again by the memory of Alberich on the cattle transport ship. The half naked men, shivering and purple in the cold black-light of the rigged lamps. The infected glowing an impossibly bright yellow where the dead cell bodies of the Legion took the place of skin, or excreted as waste from sweat glands or tears. Lying in the yellow lamplight, Cael could just make out the scar remnants of each bite on his chest and stomach from the Legion-mutated roaches. He remembered examining himself in secret and discovering his own skin, dimly glowing around each bite; and the anxiety he had been experiencing suddenly focused.
How exactly did the Legion pass from body to body? He caught it from the roaches, so bites? Fluids? Cael thought of his two companions and a cold sinking feeling tugged at his stomach. Why had he not thought of it before? What had he done? They were surely immunized against most diseases one was at risk for in their business, but there was no protection from this. At least, he didn’t think there was.
Cael must have tensed up because both Senka and Udo stirred at the same time.
Udo propped himself up on one elbow.
“Are you alright?”
“Um… yes. I’m fine.”
Senka didn’t sit up, but smoothed out her hair as she spoke.
“Would you like us to draw you a bath? You seem very stressed.”
“No, no.. thank you. I was just… thinking.”
“Perhaps you would like another distraction from your thoughts?” Udo smiled.
“Ahhmm….” Cael was still reeling from his disturbing revelation and couldn’t think of what to say.
“It is late. Maybe we should leave you to sleep.” Senka suggested tactfully.
She slid off the bed and began to gracefully drape her dress around her. Udo followed her lead.
“At anytime during your stay here on Kennet, we are here for you.”
“Yes,” Cael nodded awkwardly from the bed as they both stood beside it, looking down at him. “Thank you, really.”
Senka leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I am going to start a bath for you before we go.”
Cael allowed himself to be coaxed into the hot bubbling water that was only a step away from the bed. The heat caused him to sigh heavily, despite the horrible churning in his stomach.
“Good, now we will leave you.”
Senka let the plastic curtain fall, closing him in the glowing closet. He splashed some water over his face and rubbed at it hard. What had he done? He thought back to the four years spent in close quarters with Ilya.
What had he done?