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   Chapter 18 No.18

Loderunner By Christina Engela Characters: 5231

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"Lucky I've been to the Astroplex." He elaborated, "So I knew what to do. You know the Astroplex?"

"Yes. It's a theme park on Earth. All about space travel and the colonies. My uncle took me there when I was a kid." He remembered the visit.

He was there with uncle Jeremy, his mom's favorite brother. Most of the important colonies were represented there. The simulations were very accurate. The representation of Deanna showed everything from crabby-grass to strato-penguins and featured a simulation of one of Dings' many visits to the surface. He enjoyed that one because Uncle Jeremy kept diving under holographic bushes for cover. Rough spell in the Marines, Uncle Jeremy. Thinking back, Deanna seemed strange to him then – although the reality was a lot stranger. But not as strange as trying to explain his uncle to the tour guides.

"Your parents take you there?" Tim asked. The boy smiled and nodded. "Where are they now?"

Jamie hesitated. "On Mars." He answered, looking over his shoulder. "They live on Mars."

Interesting, not Merangis II.

"Where does your friend Jones fit in to all this?"

That tore it. Frightened, the boy rose, glanced round and looked him in the eyes before saying "I've got to go." Then he dashed up the stairs.

"Jamie." Tim called. The boy paused to look back down at him. "If you're in some kind of trouble, you can tell me and we can work something out. I can help you."

"Nobody can help me." Said Jamie before he disappeared.

Timaset Skooch sat there pondering the situation, puzzled. Clearly there was

im smiled back coolly. "None of my business in the end, is it?"

"I'm so very glad we understand each other." Said Jones rising. "See you around, Captain."

He didn't bother to correct Jones this time. He had more serious matters to think about.

As Jones walked up the stairs, Tim sat some more and pondered the mess he was in. Tim had been a cop. Obviously he had joined originally for the right reasons – that is, to protect and serve, yadda, yadda, yadda. Naturally that line of work brought a certain professional curiosity with it. He would have to stem his curiosity, for all their sakes. They still had three days to go on this troublesome little journey. Yes, he had been paid – by the mob as it turned out. Although he wasn't even a cop anymore, it made him feel like a dirty one. A dirty rat. The phrase 'to make a deal with the Devil' struck a chord somewhere. That was pretty much the sum of it. Jones, of course, being the Devil – and this could only spell trouble for all of them. Just call me Faust, he quipped mentally.

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