11 – Pick Up

I woke slowly, as if the different parts of my body were being fitted individually to the different parts of my brain. Eventually I became whole again. I took a tentative breath. My mouth was dry. I tried to swallow and broke into a cough. I put my hand to my mouth and coughed again, then realised that I was no longer in my suit.
I froze, half sitting up, my hand still to my mouth.
Somebody put their arm around my shoulders and whispered, “Ssh, it’s all right now, Celia.”
It was Jazz. I reached up and warped my arms around her neck. “Oh, Jazz. You are safe!” The memory of Jazz tumbling through a cloud of red sparks hovered in my mind.
“Hay, that’s my line,” Jazz chuckled and hugged me back.
We held each other for a few, long seconds.
I straightened up to look at her. “I thought you were dead.”
“Hun.” She looked puzzled, “Why?”
“Well the last time I saw you was on E.S. 1, just after you had been shot.” I paused recalling the full memory. “At least I think you were shot.” My voice broke and I started to cough again.
“Hay,” Jazz untangled herself from me. “You need something to drink.” She sailed along the room to a machine at the far end, punched a few buttons and came back with a plastic blob in her hand. Coming to a halt beside me she unraveled a short tube from the blob and snapped the end from it.
“Here,” she put the blob in my hand. “Put the tube in your mouth and squeeze the bulb.”
I put the end of the tube in my mouth and squeezed.
It was fantastic. It was the sweetest water I have had ever tasted. It seemed to melt into my mouth, absorbing straight into my tissues without having to be swallowed.
“Here, take it easy,” Jazz put her hand on mine.
And when it did move down my throat it seemed to flow into me. Not stopping at my stomach, it seemed to continue down through my body and along my legs to my feet and even into my toes.
“Boy, you’re thirsty.”
It flowed out and up as well, through my body, up across my breasts and shoulders. And down into my arms, my hands, my fingers. Almost forming an endless loop, almost eternal delight.
But it ended.
I slowly opened my eyes to see Jazz’s half smiling face.
“Girl, you are weird.” Her smile widened, “Very weird.”
I smiled back. Then yawned.
“Hey, don’t tell me your still tired,” Jazz put her hand on my shoulder and gently squeezed.
“No, I am not tired,” I looked up at her. “But I could do with some food.”
“That’s easily fixed,” she kicked off the wall and sailed across the room to a bank of machines. “Beef, with vegetables and noodles all right?” She opened a cabinet and took out a handful of packages.
“That sounds great, Jazz,” my stomach rumbled.
She smiled. “It’ll take two minutes in the microwave,” she unwrapped the packages. “Do you think you can wait that long?”
“Yes,” I smiled back.
She opened an hatch and let the wrappings be sucked away, opened another and put the food inside, tapped a keypad and floated back over to me.
“So,” she reached out and stopped herself. “I suppose you are wondering where you are.”
“Umm, yes,” I gestured around us. “Is this another station?”
“No,” she shuck her head slightly. “We are on a tug heading for Luna orbit.”
“Oh,” I thought for a moment. “So what are we going to do on Luna?”
“We?” she half smiled. “Well I’m going to contact some people I know, get some information, do some deals and get some money.” She paused, “So, what do you want to do on Luna?”
“Oh, I do not really know,” I shrugged my shoulders. “See the sights, experience the ambiance and maybe meet some of the locals.”
“Do you have any money, Celia?”
I stopped dead suddenly remembering, “My bag, my clothes, all my possessions.” I looked up at Jazz, “They were all left on E.S.1 when I was snatched.”
She nodded, “I thought as much.”
“Did you get them?”
“No,” She shuck her head.
“But I had a bearer card with eighty thousand on it,” I stopped dead, feeling I should not have said that.
Jazz looked very interested, “Just where did you get a bearer card with eighty thousand on it from?”
“Well, err,” I looked down, not sure what to say.
“You stole it from Mr. Brown, didn’t you?”
I looked up at her. I was sure I had not told her who I had been living with.
The bell from the microwave chimed, but she continued to look at me.
“Well, yes. Maybe I did,” she did not seam to mind and it occurred to me that I shouldn’t tell Jazz too much about myself. At least until I knew more, about myself as well as Jazz.

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