Purity

by Westcliff Writer

Chapter 24

Adam watched from the observation room as a small podling hovered into the hanger bay after the Tomleek had successfully blown off the main doors using its plasma rail. He had had to shield his ears as the terrifying noise and spectacle of storage tubs, ship inventory and computer equipment was blasted out into space. Not to mention how odd it looked when 2 one hundred and fifty ton doors whizzed off into the abyss like they were made of paper. It seemed like they had either forgotten the bay needed to be depressurised or there was not the option, Adam mused.

As the craft came to a halt it powered down its engines and moments later the rear hatch opened revealing 4 waiting Puritans who walked off in heavy space suits. One Adam noted, was carrying a spare which he presumed was for him.

The Tomleek officers walked into the airlock and closed the door before unlocking the inner entrance greeting Adam. His relief was palpable, the Puritans being the first sign of real life he had seen since waking from his operation.

"Adam of earth, what is your condition?" One of the Puritans asked, looking at the blood stained bandage wrapped around his midsection.

Adam looked down at his covered wound. "There was a pipe in there. I pulled it out. It hurts a little but I feel sort of ok."

Another officer carrying a small case stopped by Adam and took out a small flexipad. "Your incision is clean but you require medical attention to close the wound. We will commence this back on the Tomleek. Will you please take this protection suit and conceal yourself in it?"

The man carrying the suit stepped forward and passed it to Adam who untied his robe and dropped it to the floor. "It's kind of heavy," he remarked, before trying to find the zip. It was soon clear that he needed assistance so the officer who examined him helped open up the suit for him while 2 others started to leave the room.

Adam twisted his neck and followed them with his eyes. "I don't think there is anyone alive. I haven't seen anyone." The 2 men nodded but said nothing.

"They will be collecting the equipment used for your operation Adam," said the Puritan, who up until this point had not spoken.

"My friend, Lord Relshek, when will he be collected?"

"The Commander will be sending a small team of engineers to make sure there is not any danger to the ship in the medium term, only then can we extract our dead."

"What will happen to this ship?"

"It depends on the final damage report young Adam. She will either be sent back to dock for repairs or scrapped."

Adam looked horrified. "If you scrap this ship then the Silga have won. My friend died on this ship… so many brave people died on this ship, you need to save it in memory of those people."

"Earthling, we admire your opinion but the decision will be down to Space Operations, not the men who fought the fight. Now come, we need to get you back to the Tomleek for assessment.


On the Tomleek Commander Moorabak smiled as Adam made his way on to the hanger bay surface. He followed him with his eyes until he had come through the air lock with the four other crew and stood before him, tightly concealed in his space suit.

"Adam my child, what you did out there on your own is nothing short of amazing!"

"Thank you Lord Moorabak. All I kept thinking about is getting off that ship, but now…" Adam trailed off.

"Are you ok?"

"Yes, I just feel a little sad. Part of me feels like now I have left that ship, Relshek is all alone."

"My son, Lord Relshek is with the Leshta now, he is at peace, and his work here is done."

"The Leshta?"

"The Leshta is thought to be an ancient spirit who sits at the centre of our star and gives heat and light to our people. When our sun started to expand through age many Puritans believed that Leshta was with child through conception and a new dawn would be upon us on Purity."

"So what happened?"

"It depends what you believe Adam. Through necessity Puritans have become a heavily scientific race and the room for such fantastic beliefs has faded over the years."

"But you believe in Leshta?" Adam asked, confused.

"I draw comfort from the legend Adam. Science tells us that our star is larger now than in the past because it is ageing rapidly due to its mass. However it is a little more comforting to think that Leshta is holding all those we have lost over the doons in the centre of our star as spirits, right?"

"I guess."

"Anyway, enough of legends, we must fix you and then we will talk in private."

"Private?"

"Yes Adam, there is much to discuss."

Again, Adam was left confused and just nodded politely while being led out of the Tomleek's port side observation lounge and down a corridor to the medical bay.


On Earth, Brandon walked along a busy street in the middle of a lunchtime rush. Walking as briskly as he could without bumping into anyone, he came to a stop outside a nondescript building and headed for the glass door. Inside contained a dull grey reception area dominated by a double staircase which he proceeded to climb. At the top on a landing were two brown doors. Stopping briefly to scratch his face he tried to remember which one he needed before sighing and knocking on the left one.

He could hear heavy footsteps from behind the door and then a click before it opened. Inside revealed a frowning woman, around 20 years old, in a loose flowery dress. Her hair was tied tightly back and she wore large cheap looking gold hoop earrings.

"Hi Debbie," Brandon said timidly.

"Brandon?"

"In the flesh!"

Debbie Landers poked her head out and looked both ways before focusing her gaze back on Brandon. "It's been a while," she stated, looking confused as to what he was doing here.

"Eight months, two weeks and an odd number of days. Are you going to invite me in?"

"I keep expecting your lovely parents to pop out from the shadows, what's going on, you're making me nervous just turning up here."

"Actually, I know this is going to sound really bad, but I actually need a favour."

Debbie's face turned to one of scorn. "Hang on; tell me I just heard you right. After what's happened, you want ME to do YOU a favour?"

"I promise it won't be boring." He replied, forming a nervous smile.

"Oh my god, you are actually serious aren't you," she said before starting to close the door. Brandon stuck his foot in the quickly closing gap.

"Wait… please."

"Get your foot out of my door and fuck off, you have a nerve d'you know that?"

"Look, how many times do I have to say I'm sorry, you know I had no choice."

"Brandon, I don't even want to talk about it anymore, itsit's in the past and I want it and you to stay that way."

"Debbie, I get you're still angry and probably always will be but-"

"You bet I am!"

"But I need you to hear me out with this."

Debbie opened the door slowly and softened her expression. "Since you are being so persistent then I guess it won't hurt to listen, but after what's happened this had better be good!"

"Can we uh… can we not do this in the corridor?"

"You want me to invite you in to my apartment as well?"

"Debbie, I appreciate you want me to work hard for your time and I appreciate how angry you still are but I don't have anyone else to ask and-"

"Just come in, and if you want a drink you can make it yourself!"

The woman stepped to the side and Brandon walked in. She closed the door and followed him through to a lounge Brandon seemed familiar with.

"I see you still have the throw I got you?"

"Quit the small talk and get on with it Bran, I have things to do and 2 clients to meet in a couple of hours."

"Look before I do I just want to say-"

"I don't want to hear it Brandon, I've heard it all before, from you, from your parents and quite frankly I am bored of it now!"

"Bored maybe but not over it, right?"

"Over it… fucking over it? Of course not. Your fucking parents made me abort my child."

"OUR child!"

"Well you didn't have much to say about it at the time when I had to sit in that clinic with a fucking vacuum pipe up my vagina, ON MY OWN I might add."

"Debs, I was scared. That night, I… I was drunk and-"

"Oh so that's ok then, silly little Brandon has too much to drink and can't keep his dick locked up so he gets his friend pregnant and then hides behind mummy and daddy when it turns out that this was a real person you helped create and were too chicken shit to accept the responsibility."

"I've grown up since then!"

"Have you? Those fucking parents of yours still… STILL claimed you were the innocent party even after I told them how irresponsible you had been. Telling me the fucking condom broke when you weren't even wearing one. I mean fucking hell Brandon!"

"Are you finished?"

"Well, how do you want me to react."

"I lost a child too that day you know!"

"Oh this is priceless! Brandon the victim, Brandon the poor boy. There there, mummy protect you, Daddy console you. While I was getting that abortion all I was to you and your parents was a dirty little secret and you know why? Because I was just the fat girl with no rich family and no future."

"Debbie please!"

"Five hundred pound they offered me, do you know that?"

"Who?"

"Your fucking parents, that's who! Five hundred pounds to keep my mouth shut and get rid of my child. Things will be very difficult for you they said. You'll get no support from us they said. Brandon doesn't need this responsibility so young they said."

"I'm sorry, I didn't know about all this. I thought… I hoped you would be…"

"Over it? Past it? No Brandon, something like this, and the treatment I got from your folks as a bonus, no, that stays with you."

"Can you forgive me?"

Debbie sighed. "You know, I think deep down I did that a long time ago. I knew you were stupid. I know you were young. Christ, I mean I was surprised you could even ejaculate let alone know how to have sex."

"You were my first,"

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

"No, I just don't know what to say."

"You know I always wondered if you would ever come and see me again. I always had this plan of what I would say to you. Yes, I think I have forgiven you but all what I have said today you had to hear it because I have suffered Brandon and you haven't."

"Do you want me to suffer?"

"I did, once."

"And now?"

Debbie shook her head and sighed. "No of course not! I just wish you had had the balls to stand up to your mother and father and tell them to butt out!"

"I know, I was weak… I was all those things you said I was then and am now, and I'm so sorry for what happened. Not just from me but what my folks did and said."

"Yeah well, it's done now, and I've tried to move on."

"Did you ever tell anyone?" Brandon asked, softly.

"About us?"

"About the abortion."

"Are you kidding, I was too ashamed."

"Jesus I've been a dick haven't I!"

"You said it. Anyway, I feel better now I have said my peace. And you're right, it looks like you have grown up a little since we last spoke."

"I have, and I am even allowed out after dark now!" Brandon announced trying to be comedic but Debbie was not impressed.

"So, are you just going to stand there looking like a lost sheep or do you want to make us a cup of tea and tell me why I am giving you the time of day?"

"Oh, sure, I can do that. I think I still remember where everything is."


Adam hopped off the medical bed and inspected the area on his body where he had pulled the tube from. A medical Puritan officer had closed the wound using a laser tool before coating the area in what looked like candle wax.

"Your body and the substance I have applied will help heal you in a few moons, Adam."

"Wow, thanks, and the pain has gone."

"This is not what you wanted?"

"Of course, I was just surprised that's all."

The Puritan walked over to an intercom and informed Commander Moorabak Adam was ready to leave before directing him out of the medical bay.

"Follow the corridor down to the elevator and select deck five. The commander will be waiting for you."

"Sure," Adam replied heading out towards the lift. As he walked a stretcher came past with an injured officer on it bringing Adam back to the reality that the war with the Silga had not long been over. He did however note that the damage to the Tomleek was much less severe than that of the Selsha.

Adam arrived at the elevator and stepped in, pressing as instructed, deck five. Moments later he felt it stop and the doors opened.

"Adam," Commander Moorabak greeted him with a bow. "Will you join me in my quarters?"

"Sure, is everything ok?" He asked the commander, wondering what was to be discussed.

"Everything is as well as to be expected Earth child."

"Is Castro Ok, my partner?"

"He is well yes. Adam please do not be concerned, there are just topics I need to talk to you about that are of a certain secrecy and my quarters are the safest place."

"Ok, I'm sorry, I just…"

"You feel apprehensive, I understand. You have been through a huge ordeal Adam and it will take time for life to settle for you."

They arrived outside the Commanders living quarters and Moorabak opened the doors. Adam walked in seeing that there were items and personal effects all over the floor, some smashed.

"Please excuse the untidiness Adam, you understand that the clean-up was not high on my priority list."

"Kinda looks like my room used to when I was a young kid on earth."

"I think I understand… you are saying you were an untidy child on your planet?"

"Something like that."

Moorabak went over to a table and collected some parcels before bringing them back over to Adam. "It is not much and may be not to your liking but I have prepared some simple Puritan food for you to eat. I thought you may be hungry as I am informed Homo sapiens eat regularly."

Adam smiled at the Commander's thoughtfulness. "I am a little, but I can eat later. Thank you though, it was kind of you and your crew to think of me."

The Commander bowed. "Would you like to take a seat?"

"Sure."

Moorabak sat down in a comfortable seat opposite Adam and then shocked him by removing his mask. "There, a little less formal, wouldn't you agree?"

"You're different," Adam remarked, shaking his head and smiling.

"In what sense?"

"I dunno, I cant put my finger on it, you just seem less… uptight?"

"Am to assume you are talking about the ways of our people?"

"Yeah I guess."

Moorabak chucked. "My fathers were philosophers, they took great interest in the ways of other cultures throughout the galaxy. When they were around Purity was in the first stages of space travel and we were being visited by other races and planets. It was a wonderful time I heard. One of the things that were passed onto me was the act of trying to take the strengths of all races we meet and try to be the best individual as you can. Some years ago one of our science ships visited earth. Although they did not land on the planet we monitored your species and I took a keen interest in your kind. I like to think I have adapted myself to many cultures who I perceive to have good ideas about the way they act and present themselves. Purity is very disciplined and it's hard for our people to have fun like I have seen some other species have."

"Wow, you sound like you have had quite the life."

"I have young Adam, but the most surprising thing you people on earth might be wrong on, is how similar we all are in the universe. Granted, some will look different, talk different and perhaps act differently, but we all have to eat, build homes, work, travel , communicate. So this notion that finding life will automatically mean it will be on the other end of the spectrum to your own species is in fact false, and as I said… that is what surprises me each time we meet a new species."

"I could listen to you for kestons and kestons!"

Moorabak smiled warmly. "So how do you feel?"

"Pretty good considering."

The Commander adjusted his body into a more relaxed pose and took a deep breath. "Now, about what I wanted to discuss with you."

"Yes?"

"Adam there are things I am going to reveal to you that must not be shared with anyone else, and for the time being that even means your life partner Castro. Do we understand each other so far?"

Adam nodded. "Yeah sure but-"

"There are also things I am going to reveal to you which you may find shocking at the least and unbelievable in the extreme. However as I sit here in front of you now I want you to know that as a true Puritan I speak only the truth."

"Ok, now I'm getting worried."

"This is an acceptable response and there are some things that will leave you worried still after, since I will not be able to justify why you shouldn't be."

"Ok hit me with it,"

"Oh Adam, there is more than just an IT"

Adam bit his bottom lip and frowned as he looked at the Commander. He was trying to gauge the expression on his face. It looked to be somewhat a mixture of fear and apprehension but with almost a hint of subtle joy.

"So?"

"Adam part of my role as a flagship Commander is to help space operations recruit. I get to travel all over our world and I see and hear many things."

"Right ok."

"Adam Purity wants change. Many people see Grand Master Telstrek as past his time. However due to the laws and culture of our planet few have the courage to speak out as the punishment for decent against the High Council is termination. What my travels have recently revealed is that quietly the movement for change is gathering pace."

"Are you going to tell me there will be an internal war?"

Moorabak chuckled. "Oh no Adam, our planet is much too disciplined to fight amongst itself."

"So what then?"

Moorabak sighed. "Remember when you came onto my ship and I told you about Leshta, the spirit at the centre of our star?"

"Yeah."

"Well, what you have not seen since you came is here is the rural south of the planet. Much like your planet we have different areas of sub species. Over time these sub species have moved around the planet and mixed, hence the masks we have to wear because of the hormonal drive that leads us to want to procreate regardless of species. Anyway I am drifting. What I am trying to say is that the south of the planet is inhabited by… shall we say more simple Puritans who lead a more simple life. Much like your continent of Africa if I am correct?"

"Yeah I get you."

"Right, well the Southern people, because of their customs and ways, still very much believe in Leshta, much like Africa on earth is still very much religious, more so than perhaps a more established areas would be... Especially those areas deemed advanced in science."

"Right."

"The fact is Adam, because of what you have done for the planet, and the very nature of the story explaining how and why you got here, these southern Puritans see you as a higher being."

"A higher being… you mean like a God?"

"A God? I do not understand this term."

"A God on earth is our version of a higher being depending on what you believe."

"I see, ok then so yes, they see you as a God if you wish to use an earth term."

"Well that's pretty cool." Adam said, looking immediately proud of himself.

"Another fact is that the southern population make up sixty seven per cent of the planet's population which can have significant implications when the planet goes to a world vote."

"A world vote?"

"Yes Adam, Puritans are required to engage in a world vote when a new Grand Master is chosen. It is the only time when the planet's people have power over the destiny of their lives so everyone is encouraged to take part."

"But how does a whole planet choose a single person to lead?"

"There will be more than one candidate Adam, and we have what are called Kanatoths.* These Puritans go around trying convince large swaths of Puritans in their area to vote for their candidate by giving them a explanation as to why they should be voted for. Soon after there is a huge feast and on the first moon after the world vote begins."

Adam sat there looking bewildered. "Sorry, but Lord Moorabak, why are you telling me all this?"

"Because Adam, I believe with almost certainty that Southern Purity is going to vote you in as their Grand Master candidate." The Commander announced straight to the point he'd been obviously building to.

Adam almost choked his tongue loose. "ME?!"

"They see you as our savour Adam, our God as you described it."

"Well get people… these Kanatoths, to tell them I'm not a God, tell them I'm just a boy from earth that did a good deed and in exchange got well again for the trouble… I can't be fucking voted in that's…"

"Unbelievable?"

"Yeah!"

"I did warn you."

"Well I can turn it down, that will prove I am not a God."

Commander Moorabak reeled back, his posture suggesting he was shocked. "The Puritan scrolls of the Elders state that a chosen one has never refused the position Adam, it is just not part of the Puritan way. Another urgent thing I need to reveal is that if the people win the courage to move against Grand Master Telstrek then you could find yourself taking his place one moon after his removal."

Adam got up and paced the room, now sweating. "I'm sorry; I can't take this all in. I mean, I'm from earth, I'm not even one of your kind…I'm not a Puritan, that must count against me, and I'm hoping it bloody does!"

"There is nothing in the scrolls as far as I am aware that says an outside race cannot lead Purity. After all it is the will of the people, and Adam, the whole of Purity love you. They talk about you, they wish to know more about who you are… aren't you just the least bit excited by this?"

"No, right now I want to soil myself. And please don't tell me YOU are excited by this?"

"I am worried for you Adam as I know the weight on you will be great, however you are a strong, kind and intelligent soul and I think you may be just the radical change this planet needs."

"Lord Moorabak, I am sixteen years old… on my planet people don't lead other people until they are in their fifties."

"This is old age on earth yes?"

"Well not old but not that young either… look the point is I know nothing about running my apartment down on the planet let alone the whole of Purity!"

"Adam, if you do get chosen you will have the high council to advise you, that is their job. Even the Grand Master currently in power is not expected to know everything."

"Yes but I fucking bet he knows more than me… my God I think I am going to freak out!"

"Would you like a sedative, Adam?"

"It might be an idea!"

"Adam listen, Purity needs a good story right now. A story of hope after the declining years of our planet. We are militarily weak, a fact our enemies are aware of. We have a disease that is currently turning Puritans off procreation and we have ancient laws that are conflicting with our need to push further with our science. We need to build more, invest in more, be proud again, be strong again and most of all have a purpose again and we need a young, optimistic, caring, strong and forward thinking person like you to take us there. Puritan or not!"

Adam got up and paced a little, his mind fizzing. "If I was in power the first thing I would do is get rid of those damn masks," he said, half-jokingly to make himself feel somewhat calmer for a moment.

"Then make that happen, you'll have that power, the power to decide research."

"Why don't you lead? You seem to know what the planet wants."

"Because apart from Commanding a Ship, Adam, I am an unknown on a planetary level. But you Adam, everyone knows you, and to become a Grand Master people need to know you or your voice just gets buried in amongst all the others."

"So much to think about," Adam mumbled.

Commander Moorabak smiled. "Ahh, we are moving off now, back to dock, look."

Adam stopped pacing and looked out of a small porthole in the Commander's quarters, keeping his eye on the totalled Selsha close by.

"How will they move that big ship?" Adam asked, pointing to his last location.

"She will probably be towed back."

"I hate the Silga, I hate them with all my heart." Adam hissed, his face contorted.

Moorabak dove to his feet and grabbed hold of Adam passionately. "Then DO something about it!"

"Me?"

He let go and turned away. "Adam there is more to discuss, please, come and sit down."

"You drop all this on me and still there's more?"

"I will admit, I was rather hoping this next part would fall to Relshek but I gave him my word that if anything happened to him I would be honest with you."

Adam looked confused and frightened once more, wondering what had been discussed between the two of them. "You know the more I think about it, the more I can't help feeling he knew he was going to die somehow."

"You might say Adam, that Lord Relshek faced an impossible satisfactory outcome. He had to make a choice… keep you down on the planet where you would have likely been apprehended and handed over to the Silga, or bring you up to one of the strongest ships we had and face the Silga head on. I think if you look at the choice he made it was the right one. More importantly, Relshek always told me that if ever the day came he died in space he wanted to die doing something worthwhile. The operation performed on you to help save the planet he loved from a horrible affliction would have been a worthy candidate for something Lord Relshek thought was worthwhile."

"That's true, I'm only hoping it worked, I still don't know as all the guys I remember being with Christian… err, Relshek, are dead."

"I will receive a report soon, I am sure."

"So tell me what Relshek wanted me to know."

"Yes, it appears we have digressed a little. Lord Relshek told me that he took you down to the birthing chambers to find a mate."

"That's right, that's where I got Castro."

"Yes, Castro, and what a charming Puritan he is."

"So what about the birthing chambers."

"You will remember he was quite eager for you to go he told me."

"That's right, he did get pretty insistent."

"The reason for that Adam is because there was always one pre-designed Puritan he had in mind for you. This was because firstly, the individual he wanted you to create was soon due to be terminated due to his age because he had not been claimed."

Moorabak finished his sentence and became quiet, almost nervous in stance.

"You look uncomfortable, what was the other reason?"

"And secondly because Castro is Lord Relshek's child."

Adam's body went numb, the room lost almost all of its sound and the background seemed to fall away from him as he repeated Moorabak's admission over and over at speed in his mind.

"Relshek has a pre-designed child locked away in a birthing chamber?"

"Yes Adam, and he knew with his career he would never be able to devote the time to bringing him up or being with him as much as…"

"As much as I would," Adam finished dreamily, looking off into space thinking. "That's why he got Castro off the ship!"

"I'm sorry Adam?"

"It all makes sense now."

"What does?" Moorabak asked, frowning.

"When I woke up from my operation I asked Optimus if Castro was on the ship and I was told no. I was angry, angry because I thought he had left me but it's clear isn't it? Relshek must have forced him to get off the ship because he didn't want to lose his own son should the Silga destroy the Selsha."

"I think something like that would make more sense than your life partner abandoning you."

"Of course, and all this time I have been thinking bad thoughts about Castro and maybe it wasn't his choice. Anyway, that's beside the point, I still can't believe Castro is Relshek's son! Who is his other father?"

"That was never revealed to me."

"Oh shit! And does Castro know?"

"No, he does not."

"I'm not sure whether to be relieved or angry. So Lord Relshek had a mate?"

"Yes, they had a relationship a long time ago. The Unknown left on a long space mission soon after their Sperms had been infused, promising that when he returned that they would both raise the child together, but once he returned he was asked to go on another three doon mission and Lord Relshek was busy with his own career and so they left the child pre-designed until the day you chose to create him."

"And did Lord Relshek ever see this Puritan again?"

"Again, he did not reveal this information to me." But as you can imagine, with the link you now know Castro shares with Lord Relshek you could probably understand the reason Castro was not on the ship when you awoke. I, however was not aware that he had been sent down."

Adam cupped his forehead with his hand and shook his head. "I just can't take all this in. I mean it's still hard to accept that I am light years away from earth but then to have to digest the fact I might been seen as the next Grand Master and then that Relshek was the father of my boyfriend, I mean who writes this stuff?"

"I don't understand that question, Adam."

"It doesn't matter, so what happens now?"

"The Tomleek will dock for repairs and the ship will be evacuated. I will arrange for you to stay aboard the Conasta. It is a Science ship due back to the Puritas system in a few days. You will be safe there with Commander Zeka, I understand you know each other?"

"Zeka, hmm… yes, he was the Commander who brought me to Purity, I remember him."

"He is not yet aware of the situation regarding yourself and the Silga, however we are due to meet for a briefing on his return. I am sure he will take you in until the political situation is a little clearer on the home world."

"What will happen if Master Telstrek stays in power?"

"It is unlikely that will happen Adam. After the near defeat against the Silga, The Grand Master's position will be untenable. However, should in the unlikely event that this not be the case you will should still be able to return to the planet as Telstrek does not have an enemy to now hand you over to does he."

"Jeez, what a mess. Won't I be in trouble though? You know, for going missing?"

"Like I said, Adam, people love you. If the Grand Master makes a move against you to enact punishment it would be a hugely unpopular decision and the Grand Master's advisors would have made him very aware of that fact."

"Well I guess I am damned if he does go and damned if he doesn't really, looking at the alternative."

"Get some rest Adam, I will let you know when we have docked. You may stay here if you wish?"

"Thank you, I do still feel very weak."

"Try not to think too deeply and stress your body. You have the support and love of millions. What more could a boy from earth, as you put it, ask for?"

Commander Moorabak got up from his seat and requested the lights be dimmed. Optimus carried out the request and Adam lay down, tucking his hands under his face. As much as his mind raced, exhaustion soon took over and minutes later he was asleep.


The atmosphere inside Debbie Lander's apartment had somewhat thawed as Brandon came out of the small kitchen and handed her a cup of tea.

"So tell me, what's my compensation for letting you screw up my day?"

Brandon sat down, pacing his cup on a small coffee table to the side. He looked up at her. "I met this boy… around sixteen, and-"

"A little young for you Brandon, I didn't know you were a cradle snatcher?"

"Be serious, Debbie!"

"Hey, I call the shots in my own place, you get that demand for free!"

"So yeah, I met this kid in Heidgate, and-"

"Heidgate? Who the hell lives in Heidgate for a choice?"

"Debbie, if you keep talking you will never find out!"

She waved a hand at him before taking a sip of tea. "Go on, get on with it."

"Ok so here it is in a nutshell. Adam is missing, has been for months apparently. This kid… Sage his name is, well they're friends, and this Sage is trying to find Adam too, as well as me."

"Adam's missing, right… carry on."

"Yeah so this homeless kid from Heidgate has these memory issues and I think he HAS issues in general."

Debbie sighed. "Well Brandon, if you were looking for top prize on how to confuse a girl then you just won it hands down."

Brandon puffed air through his lips. "Look, there has been so much going on I just can't think straight."

"Well you could start by telling me what your fucked up story has to do with me."

"He's got this eye thing going one, its purple. At the University where my friend Sam goes we have found this… this artefact thing, which will mean nothing to you but two of the professors at the Uni think it came from out of outer space, and this kid Sage right?"

"Yeah."

"Well he seems to know what it is, but doesn't know why. THEN there was two occasions where he saw a vision in his head, or an image, or… ahh I dunno, some shit like that. Then there was old man Fred who-"

"Wait, back up, who is 'Old Man Fred'?"

"Just some old geezer who lives in Heidgate, he thinks that Adam has been taken by these Aliens and he was the one with the artefact, until I stole it."

"You know what Brandon, you keep some fucked up company you know that? I guess next you're gonna tell me Sam is from Mars on a visit."

"Look Debs, I know this all sounds-"

"Alien?"

"Don't make fun, I really need your help!" Brandon hissed.

"You haven't told me HOW so far, all I have heard is aliens aliens aliens, and not a lot else. Just get to the point!"

"Ok, ok! I want you to hypnotise this kid because me and Sam… or rather just me, think he might have some locked up memories that might be a HUGE piece of a puzzle I am trying to solve."

"Which is?"

"Which IS where my brother has gone!"

Debbie seemed to take on an unimpressed expression, before folding her arms. "Brandon, is this some kind of fucking joke, because if it is I'm not buying it!"

"Joke? No of course not. Look I need your help, will you do it?"

"Brandon it's not as simple as that, you can't just hypnotise someone and they start spilling stuff, PLUS there is only a twenty per cent chance people can reveal suppressed memories. I get the impression you seem to think it's easy"

"Debbie, I'll be honest, I don't know jack about how you do what you do, but I read it can be done, now will you do it?"

"Sure I'll do it."

"Great!"

"At the going rate!"

Brandon dropped his head and spoke softly. "Which is?"

"Ninety pound an hour."

"You fucking robbing bast-"

"What, you expected it for free you snake! I should be charging you triple, either that or telling you to do one!"

"FINE! Ninety pound!"

"Pleasure doing business, just tell me when and where."

"Well, uh, you see I need to speak to him first."

"You mean he doesn't know?"

"Well I wouldn't say he doesn't know, I just mean…"

"He doesn't know. Brandon you will never change, do first, think later in all aspects of your life. That's you all over!"

"I'll get back to you, ok?"

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