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Later we lay in the bed, exhausted but happy. She pushed me,


"Better get up Spider."


"Good God not again."


"No, I meant get out of bed."


"Oh right, sorry."


"Unless...?"
I was sorely tempted, but knew we hadn't time.

We were dressed by the time a Goska escort entered the room. Knowing they wouldn't want to admit they had been listening, or trying to at any rate gave us an advantage. Goska guard rumbled,


"Chang wants you, now."


"Oh goody, tea and scones." I said brightly, he scowled,


"Might be, might not." clearly indicating that he had a poor grasp of sarcasm and English cuisine. Pushing us along the corridor appeared to give him a lot of enjoyment but it was beginning to annoy the bejesus out of me. I turned and snarled,


"What d'you do in your leisure time, learn how to be charming and civilised?"


"Why?"


"Because you ain't bloody making it!" He pushed the barrel into my ribs, well that was the last straw. The trip to the end of my temper was never long. I grabbed the barrel, twisted it to the side as he pulled the trigger and a laser discharge flashed harmlessly by. Rammed the stock into his chest and knocked him to the ground. Kari stepped in and flattened him with a kick as he tried to stand again.
I pulled out the weapon's power pack, stamped on it then turned back and stomped off in the direction our guard had been shoving us. Kari asked,


"Spider, I realise this seems like a deft question but where are you going?"


"To see Chang of course. But without Mr Courteous in tow."


"You don't think he's responsible for these temporal disturbances then?"


"Nope."


"But you do think he might be able to help us to get to the top of this mystery?"


"Bottom. It's bottom Kari."


"Sorry Spider."


"Hey, don't keep apologising," I stopped and grabbed her shoulders, "you speak excellent English Kari. I bet I couldn't speak Trenchan anywhere near as well."


"Well I taught you a few words during the last half-hour, my lerath." 'Lerath' just meant beloved, the rest of the words Kari used are best left untranslated
I kissed her lightly, then the kiss got a bit heavier, then I pulled back and gasped,


"Need to move Kari, no - not like that! I mean this isn't a good time for more setallen."


"Okay Spider, sorr....oh, let's see Chang hmm?"



I agreed, albeit a bit reluctantly, and we proceeded until a large metal door with a view screen blocked our way. I hammered on it and Chang junior's face appeared on the screen,


"Where's Kreek?" he demanded,


"He pushed once too often." I said shortly,


"So we kicked his butter." Kari finished.
The door sighed open, then clanged shut behind us. Chang the elder was sat in the same stone chair. He said,


"You could've escaped - why didn't you?"


"Separately, we might sort this out but together we stand a better chance. Pool our resources as it were."


Chang sat in silence, eyes flicking from me to Kari, rested on her longer than myself - hardly surprising really but it still made me jealous. Finally he said,


"Okay - I may live to regret this but the sooner I can get rid of that bugger the better."
He stabbed a finger at his younger version. As we were escorted to more comfortable quarters I wondered what would happen when the mystery was solved. The Goska never took prisoners - for long.

We decided not to make love again until we were certain of no voyeurs. Therefore the sight of two single beds caused me no end of relief. We swapped life stories to pass the time and Kari's was well, pornographic to say the least. Since she came of age, Kari began to seduce her way into the profession of her choice. Actually this made sense, the fact that she had the intelligence and the skills to extract information made her a valuable asset to her planet's exo-intelligence service. I had a thought,


"Kari - are you sure a finger on the lips is a pass?"


"Actually it isn't but it seemed as good an opening as any."


"So you were that interested in me? It seems awfully quick considering your profession."


"Spider - you're not suggesting that I was using you?"


"I don't know."



Kari jumped to her feet furiously, faced me, hands planted on hips and snapped,


"Okay then, what information did I get from you?"


"Well, erm, I don't remember telling you anything..."


"Exactly, isn't it possible that I might find you attractive - you bustard?"


"After what you've told me, how can I be sure that you're not just being devious?"


"Well I'm not. You can trust me or not - whatever, I don't blooding care."
She turned, stalked over to her bed, lay down with one arm flung across her face. This particular conversation was evidently finished. I was worried though. Kari's unusual ability to produce a high pitched squeal might not be the only gift she possessed. I did not recall telling her anything but what if she could read minds. No, didn't make sense, why bother seducing me then? Maybe she was being honest. But I was in the intelligence business as well and knew that honesty was sometimes a luxury one could not afford. How else then? Drugs maybe, hypnosis was unlikely since it needed the consent of the subject as well. All this 'look into my eyes wooo' was a crock. At least it was a crock for humans, Kari was alien after all and we didn't know that much about Trenchans. What if she could put me under against my will? I lay down, but the thoughts churning around my mind made it impossible to sleep.



------
In five hundred years time, most of us will be forgotten dust. But Hitler will still be remembered, God loves irony.


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