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   Chapter 16 No.16

Loderunner By Christina Engela Characters: 5352

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"No." Said Jones curtly without making eye contact, reaching for another slice of white bread for his stew. Well, all-righty then. At least his answer wasn't 'Mister.'

"And you?" Asked Jones in a surprising reversal of interest. Or was that lack of interest?

"Deire." Deire answered. "Jonn Deire."

Jones laughed expressionlessly. It seemed almost scornful. His scalp didn't split and neither did the elastic come off.

"What? You mean like a tractor?"

Silence fell as Tim noticed Deire visibly restraining himself.

"No, not like the tractor. Muh name's spelt D-E-I-R-E. Deire."

"Ohh." Said Jones, filling his mouth with food. "Still sounds like the tractor."

Undeterred, Deire turned to the younger.

"And you, boy?"

"Smith." Said Smith reluctantly.

"Where d'you come from?"

"Merangis II." Said the boy, getting an instant look of disapproval from Jones. He noted it and seemed suddenly a little fearful of his companion. None of this was lost on Tim, who was now quietly sipping at his mug of coffee and saying nothing.

"You got a first name, son?" Deire asked. The boy nodded.

"Jamie." He replied, instantly cringing as he got another disapproving scowl from um, Jones. He rose stiffly.

"I think it's time we retired." He announced. "Come on, boy."

'Yessir." Said Jamie quietly, getting up to follow Jones. The two left the room in silence, leaving the rest staring thoughtfully after them.

"Awful controling, ain't he?" Said Deire. "Say, you don't think they're –"

"A couple?" Tim asked, temporarily on the same wavelength.

"Yeah, a couple. He's a

hat was it. Off they went, for all intents and purposes flapping and scooting off the walls as they made their way to engineering. Jones and Smith showed no sign of life. Their door was still closed. They were probably still sleeping, though they might wake up somewhere other than where they fell asleep. This thought brought a smile to Tim's face.

"Triple-J!" Deire roared outside the entrance to the engineering complex. "Hey, Jimmy-Jo!"

"Help!" Came a plaintive claustrophobic cry from inside. It was Triple-J. "Somebody get me outta here!"

Once inside, they could see why the engineer was so distressed. It looked like he'd been working on a distribution cabinet and got stuck inside. The maintenance panel was open and the nest of wires inside was exposed. It was a real mess, tangled and twisted and knotted. And in the middle of it all, in the center – was Triple-J, looking like a pretzel the way he was trapped in the web of fiber-optics and other cables. Some assorted tools were floating around, bumping off the walls. Deire scooted over to him.

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