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   Chapter 35 No.35

Loderunner By Christina Engela Characters: 5690

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

A few short hours later, Celeste closed in on Saturn's moon and made a landing at the space port. It was smaller than the one on Mars and even the one on Deanna – and just half as full. There they picked up passengers – four soldiers on a rec-pass who had been sampling the carnal pleasures of the mining towns. They were on their way back to the base on Pluto, which wasn't terribly far out of their way (not that they actually had a way). He also loaded a cargo of used Jeepo's also bound for Pluto Colony. The fee for that was a thousand, so he was generous and only charged the soldier-boys three hundred each, pocketing two thousand. Come dividend time, there would at least be something to put on the table.

The soldiers were rather amusing fellows. They introduced themselves as Mike, Jo, Vinny and Chong. All of them were in worn jeans and t-shirts, unshaven and looking very relaxed. They came aboard singing 'Three German Officers', carrying Chong between them, under a small pile of kit bags. Some of them bragged with bruised knuckles and spoke about an interesting bar-fight in a Stokerville pub that morning. It was called the 'Queen's Ar s', but that was just because the 'm' had fallen off. It took three squads of MP's to restore order and they spent the night in the local jail. Apparently they had a very good time.

Young Jaymie encountered them in the lounge and found their interest flattering, but made herself scarce because they weren't quite sober yet, but also for more obvious reasons. Smiling coyly, she retreated to the safety of the cargo bay, where Vic was blasting the last of the detritus left behind by the cattle down the ramp with a high pressure steam cleaner. She

e I could ever be myself." She said. "Ever."

He finally turned and looked at her. "Your folks really don't accept you, do they?"

"Not like this." Her features were soft and pleasant, even when she was being serious. "Never like this."

The importance of that to her made an impression on him. He imagined a life where he was trapped in a mold which he felt didn't suit him and never had. Or tried to. It was hard for him. Dory told him those who weren't that way could never truly understand. It wasn't a choice how you felt, you just were. No operations or treatments or 'cures' could change that, no matter how nice – or how terrible. The body and the mind didn't match up and regardless of the cause or explanation, the only way forward was to make the body fit the mind. The opposite was impossibility, a dream 'cure' for rigid intolerant society – and those like Dory who longed to lead a normal life, sometimes longer for an 'easy way out' to just be like everybody else. But there was no easy way out, was there? Who would put themselves through such turmoil if they had a choice? If it was that simple, just to choose?

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