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Joseph Smith…36 (final chapter)

The dogs were curled around her feet.  Jade looked at them and touched their faces.

“They really are your dogs,” said Smith.

“I hear their heartbeat, it’s the same as mine.”

“What will you call them?”

“Love and Freedom.”

Smith smiled.

“I don’t want to go to earth,” said Jade.  “I want to stay here and make Wen a good place to be.  I don’t think we should keep killing, once the Arcs have been eradicated.  We need to find out what the crew knows about them.  Seven, scan them and see if they’re lying.  We also need to figure out a way to get the ship to come back to pick up Lee and drop off goods and whatever.  I want to start an alliance with earth that allows Wen representatives to visit and earthlings can come here, as long as their people have clearance.  Lee can be our contact on earth, maybe Mr. Paul as well.”

“Jade,” said Smith.  “What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” she said.  “The dogs are teaching me about peace and connection.  About real freedom in my heart and they know what love is.  They have no secrets.  They are open, understanding and unconditional.  I trust them because they can be trusted.  They don’t know how to lie.  I don’t want things to be the same.  I want things to be different, better, kinder.”

“Kinder?”

“The dogs said that’s how they want to be treated, with kindness.  I want to be that way for them.  I understand them and they can teach me.  They try to teach everyone but most people don’t listen because it’s too noisy in their heads.”  She took out four of her knives and placed them on the table.  “I won’t be needing these any longer.  I’m keeping the last three because they’re friends.”

Seven turned and said, “People are gathering in front of the building.”

Jade, the dogs, Smith and Seven went out in front. People stood in silence.  Lil moved forward.  What’s happening?”

“What do you mean?” asked Smith.

“We feel it.  A clearing, not just from the drugs, but in the air around us.”

“That’s peace,” said Jade.  “And, these are dogs.  This is Love and this is Freedom.”

Everyone stared at the dogs.  Some backed up.  “They won’t hurt you.  They are here to teach us.  If you can hear them, listen to what they have to say.  Trust them.  At first, I said they were mine,” she said, grinning, touching the dogs.    “But they belong to all of us.   I don’t have to hold them to me. I was being selfish.  Selfish means not sharing, thinking there’s not enough, so you have to keep things for yourself.  I would like to see that change.  I can’t do it without your cooperation.  We have been lied to, drugged and used.  The Holy Arcs manipulated us and turned us against each other.  We have to listen to the dogs and find a way to trust and share, to be…equal…no one better than anyone else.  No one more deserving than another because everyone is deserving of the best life we can all have.”  She went on to explain her idea about having a small relationship with earth.  She asked for volunteers who wanted to represent Wen.  She outlined her ideas, plans and hopes.  “The dogs have made me different.  They made me  feel closeness and…I don’t know the right word…comfort, comfortableness, that comes from trust and friendship.  No, not friendship, not those things, it’s being together without question. Without wanting anything from the other person but being together.  Do you understand?”

A few people nodded, others shook their heads.

“I don’t think it will take long for you to know what I’m trying to say.  It’s hard to describe a feeling. The dogs will walk among you.  Pet them.  Run your hands down their backs.  Listen to what they have to say.”  Jade touched the dogs and they walked into the crowd, tails wagging, tongue’s out.  They brushed against those who needed touching, and snuffled at those who were too afraid to move.  They accepted pets and words and basically, worked the audience.  When they were finished they sat down next to Jade.  “We have time.  More dogs will come.  Welcome them into your hearts and homes.  Let’s make Wen the best place to live in the universe.”

There was a smattering of applause and then hands went up.  Questions were asked and answered.  People milled around, until one woman came forward and said, in a very loud voice, “What about children?  I heard the stories, seen the babies on the Big Screen.  Can we have our own?”

Seven stepped to Jade’s side.  “The drugs are completely out of your systems and there’s a good chance that those of you who have not been sterilized will be able to have children.”

There was dead silence.  “I’m afraid that when you were under the control of the Arcs they surgically made sure that some of you could not reproduce.  Wait, listen,” he said, hushing the crowd.  “It’s possible that some of the things that were done to you can be reversed.  Lee and I can examine you and a doctor can be brought from earth to surgically undo  what was done.  We don’t know how many will be affected, we don’t known how many procedures will be permanent.  There’s no need need to be concerned.  Eventually, with the children you do produce, society will grow and flourish.”

“And more animals, trees, plants and other things will be brought to us as well.  Lee has agreed, given her word, that she will bring what we need to have a beautiful home.  This is our first day on a path to a new beginning.  For those who do not wish to participate, please speak with one of us and we can arrange for you to go to earth, leave the community or discuss your concerns.  The Arcs are dead.  They can’t hurt you any longer.

“Are you taking their place?” growled a man.

“Not likely.  I’m just here for the moment. But I understand your concerns.  No one will replace the Arcs.  This is a free society and all voices will be heard, for now at least.  What happens in the future, will depend upon you.”

And that’s how the Holy Arcs and their Followers were defeated.  Two dogs changed the lives of an entire city and in a short time, dogs were everywhere.  Lee became the intermediary between both planets and true to her word, she sent everything she thought they would need, or like.  She also visited now and then to see how things were going.  Jade and smith lived in his old hotel room because he still loved the worn, wooden, floors and glass in the windows.  Babies were being born and trees were growing.  Mr. Paul met and fell in love with K and now lives on Wen. He flies out on an earth run now and then but they are expecting their first child soon, so he may just stay home for good.

Daylight is a bit longer than earth’s and the flowers are enjoyed by all.  For a long time people stood around watching birds fly back and forth but eventually, then they got used to seeing them and were able to go about their business.

Wen’s problems weren’t just magically solved overnight, but they had a good start and sometimes that’s all anyone needs.  One good start and an end to those who have power over others.

 

 

Joseph Smith…35

Lee, Seven, Jade and Smith were at the landing site, watching the ship land.  The cargo bays opened and two dogs sat there staring out at them, their tails wagging.

“Those are the dogs,” said Lee.

“I got that,” said jade, softly, staring at them  “They look…”

“Beautiful?” asked Lee.

“Different,” said Jade.

The crew started unloading crates and boxes, when a young man led the dogs over to Lee.  “Ms,” he said politely.  “Her are the dogs you requested.  Once the cargo hold is empty, we will refuel and take off.”

“We would like you to stay the night,” said Lee.

“Excuse me?” he said.

“Stay.  We want your crew to stay and help us with something.  “You can do that. can’t you?”

“I, uh, I don’t know.” he stammered, looking at Jade.

“This is Jade, this is Smith and this is Seven,” said Lee.

“Ms. Sirs,” said the man, nodding at them.

“This is Roger Paul,” said Lee.  “Paul, go and tell the Captain that I expect you to stay.  I’ll take you to your quarters when you are finished unloading.”

“If we stay, we’ll stay on the ship, Ms.”

“No, Paul, you’ll stay in the place we have prepared for you.”

“Yes, Ms.  I’ll tell him.  Here are the dogs,” he said, handing the leashes to her.  Then he bent down and roughed the neck of each dog.  “Be good,” he said, running his hands down their backs.  Then he rose and went back to help the others.

Jade sat on the ground in front of the dogs.  They stared at each other but the dogs couldn’t hold it for long.  They walked around her, sniffing and nosing her hair and hands, then they laid down next to her, touching her with their entire bodies. “Mine,” she said, and the dogs put their heads on her legs.

“Her’s,” said Lee.  “She’s right.”

The Captain and Lee had quite the animated discussion and finally she stopped talking and just stood there looking at him, her arms crossed in front of her chest and her lips held tightly closed.  The man finally looked down and nodded.

Lee came over to them and said, that they were leaving a few men on board but four others were coming to the building.

“I think we should tell them the truth,” said Jade.

“No,” said Lee.  “They’ll leave and we don’t know if any of them are involved.”

“I’m tired of lies.”

“She’s right,” said Smith.  “Seven can scan them and he’ll know if they’re Arcs.”

“I can do that,” said Seven.

“Well,” said Lee, “it’s your party.”

Jade stared at her.  “What does that mean?”

“I means it’s your set up, so do it your way.  I think the three of you should go on ahead. I’ll bring the others when they are ready to leave.  They won’t be much longer and I’ll make sure there’s food for the dogs.”

The minute Jade got up and started walking, the dogs followed her.  They stayed so close to her she almost tripped, but she didn’t say anything.  Every time she put her arms down wet noses snuffled in her hands.  Smith was watching her and smiling.  He had never seen her so happy.  Seven was just wondering what was going to happen next.

 

 

Joseph Smith…34

Jade walked into Lil’s, smiled at the new guy behind the bar, and went into the back.  She knocked and opened the door.  Lil was at her desk, smoking and looking through the books.

“I’m barely breaking even,” she said, leaning back in her chair.   “I heard Smith got shot.   I hope nothing important was damaged,” she snickered. “How is he doing?”

“Better.  And everything seems to be in working order, although he hasn’t been tested yet.   One of the women was slowly killing him.  She was the Arc behind everyone and everything.  She’s dead.  I came her to talk to you about him.”

“Go ahead,” said Lil, pouring Jade a drink.

“I know you two have a thing going and you know that I’ve been having him as well.”

“Yes.”

“You and I go back a long way.”

“We do,” said Lil, toasting her with her glass, held in the air.

“I have feelings for him.  Feelings I’m not used to having.  It’s more than just sharing bodies.”

“I understand.  What do you want from me?”

“I want you to be okay with us being together.”

“I am.  Smith and I were just passing by.  He loves you.  He always has, he just didn’t know it.  How could any of us know anything, with our minds clouded and our memories erased, by the Arcs.”

“So we’re good?  Friends.  We fight together?”

“Always,” said Lil, coming around her desk, putting her arms around Jade and kissing her on the mouth.  Friends.”

Jade stared at her and started laughing.

“I love you too,” said Lil.

“What’s going on with the people you found?”

“They’re doing great.  In fact, the person behind the bar was one of them.  I’m calling him Blue, since he only had a number.  He learns quickly and he’s devoted to me.”

“I think you’ve got a good thing going.”

“Hmmm,” sighed Lil.  “You have no idea.  Young, strong, and grateful.”

Jade laughed out loud.  “I’ll tell Smith you said hello.”

“You do that and Jade.”

“Yes?”

“Watch your back.”

“I will.  Thank you,” she said, and walked out of the office.

It was light outside and people were everywhere.  They came up to her, asked about Smith and thanked her for all that she did.  They they told her to pass their thanks on to Smith and Seven.  They were amazed at what the bot could do.  Then they told her stories and touched her hands and arms, passing energy from their hearts to hers.  She told them about the dogs, the strange food the earth women ate and she told them about Carol.  She was open and honest and they knew they could trust her.

“No more secrets,” they said.

“No more secrets,” Jade agreed.

A man came forward holding a food syringe in his hand.  He held it out to her. “We have been trying to make new things to eat.  This is very good and no drugs, just food.”

Jade took the syringe and put the tip into her mouth. She pressed on the plunger a bit and her eyes lit up.  Everyone started clapping.  She pushed the plunger down a little more and then pushed all the way.  “That was delicious,” she said, excitedly.  “What did you do?”

“When we raided the Arc’s larders and stockpiles we found spices.  Some are like dust, but all have a different taste.  We just added things, one at a time, until we came up with something good.”

“We need to start making more of this,” she said.  “Thank you for everything you are doing to make Wen a better home for all of us.”

When Jade got back to the building, no one was around.  She went to Smith’s room to check on him and he was in bed.  He held up half of the sheet and grinned.  Jade sighed.  “Feeling better, I see.”

“Much,” he whispered.

 

Joseph Smith…33

“So, Carol.  Tell me.  Who are you?” asked Jade, staring at her across the table.

Carol grinned.

“Tell me.”

“I’m a nurse, here to care for the babies.”

“Tell me.”

“I just did,” she said, snickering.

The knife slide into Carols shoulder and she screamed.

“Tell me.”

Carol snarled.

The knife went into her thigh and she screamed again.

“Tell me,” said Jade, a larger knife in her hand.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she spat. “Lowly Wenling.  Stupid…”

The knife blade sliced down the side her face and blood poured down her front.

“Tell me.”

“I’m the HOLIEST OF ARCS.  I’m the brains behind all of it.  You killed my Holy Followers and Smith will DIE because of that and so will YOU!”

Those were Carol’s last words.

“You should have asked her what she meant,” said Seven.  “Are more of her Followers coming from earth on the next ship?  What were her future plans?  Why are earthlings interested in us?”

Lee walked in, saw Carol, and threw up.

“How’s Smith?” asked Jade.

“Better,” said Seven.

Jade looked at Carol.  “She wasn’t a nice person.”

“No,” said Seven, she wasn’t but she didn’t think you were nice either.

“The difference being that I didn’t want to enslave her.”

“Yes, that was the important difference.”

“Hey, Lee,” said Jade.  “How long have you known Carol?”

“I just met her as part of the team.”

“What’s going on?” asked Smith from the doorway.

“Just a little clean up,” said Jade.  “You look better.”

He smiled.  “I feel better and you owe me a kiss.”

“I do, but then I’m off to see Lil.”

She walked over to him and threw her arms around his neck, almost knocking him over.  “Still a little weak, I see.”  Then she kissed him, ran her hands down his sides, and walked away.  “I hope you’ll be in better shape by the time I get back,” she mumbled.

“Count on it,” he shouted after her.

“I’ll just clean this up,” said Seven, dragging Carol’s body out of the room by her arm.

 

Joseph Smith…32

“What happened to her?” asked Lee.  “I’ve never seen anyone take that much damage and survive.  How long did it take her to recover?”

“She was captured and tortured for many moons,” said Seven.  “They were looking for Smith and she wouldn’t tell them where he was.  Smith found her and killed the Holy Followers who hurt her.   Then he took her to his place.  She was down for fourteen moons.”

“Two weeks?”  said Lee.  “That’s impossible.  It should have taken two hundred moons for her to even walk, let alone use her arms.”

“She had things to do.  She doesn’t believe in letting anyting stop her from doing what she wants to do.”

“But a person can’t just decide not to be injured.  You can’t just ignore that kind of damage.”

“Let it go,” said Seven.  “She never shows anyone what she looks like.  She was making a point not opening a discussion.”

Lee nodded.  “I don’t know how she can be alive, let alone in great shape.”

“Rage and revenge.”

Smith and Jade walked into the room.  “He’s fine,” said Jade, smiling.

“He’s absolutely gray and he’s going to pass out,” said Lee, getting out of her chair.

“I SAID, he’s FINE,” snarled Jade.  “Aren’t you Smith?”

“I’m fine,” he whispered, leaning against her. “Really.  I am.”

“He needs to sit down,” said Seven.

“He needs to get better faster,” snapped Jade.  “Something’s wrong.”

Seven sat up.  “I agree.”  His eyes flicked and everyone stared at him.  “Someone has tampered with his medication.”

“What?” said Lee and Jade, at the same time.

“Who would do that?” asked Lee.

“Who had access to to his drugs?” asked Jade.

“Just us,” said Lee.

Seven checked the feel good in his pocket.  “It’s diluted with water to the point where it’s useless.”  He rose and went to the tiny lab. He came back with a loaded syringe and shot it directly into the spot between Smith’s neck and shoulder. Smith jerked, then passed out.

“Your not supposed to shoot it there,” said Jade.

“He needed it fast.  He’s fading. Someone doesn’t want him to live.”

Jade and Seven looked at Lee.

“It’s wasn’t me,” she said, holding up her hands.  “Here, Seven, you’ll know if I’m telling the truth.”

He took her hands, asked her a series of questions. Then let her go.  “She’s clean.”

A little color was coming into Smith’s face.  He smiled, turned to Jade and said, “I’ve been dreaming about you.”  Then he closed his eyes and flew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Smith…31

“The ship will be here in a day or two,” said Lee.

“What is this?”  asked Jade, staring at the thing in front of her.

“It’s a classic sandwich.  It’s peanut butter and jelly.”

“You actually eat this?”

“We love it.”

“Uh.  No thanks.”

“You’re loss,” said Lee, picking up half and taking a bite.

“I don’t think so.”

“How much do you remember?”

“How could I possibly know?”

“Good point.”

“Are the dogs on board?”

“Yes, a black lab and a golden retriever.  Here, I’ll show you,” said Lee, going to the book shelf.  “They are about this tall, at their back, she said holding up her hand, and they are sweet dogs.”

“What do you mean, sweet?”

“They’re nice.”

Jade looked confused.

“They like people and they don’t attack or bite. They aren’t very aggressive dogs.”

“Oh.  I’ll see when they get here, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“When can Smith have sex?”

Lee stared at her.  “He can barely breath by himself.”

“When?”

“Let me put it to you this way. If he doesn’t DIE, maybe in a few weeks.”

“Weeks?  How many moons is that?”

“I’d say thirty.”

“Too long.  I’ll talk to him about that.  He usually heals faster than this.”

“He was shot twice.”

“I know. I was there.  What’s your point?”

“He’s had serious injuries.”

Jade stood up, stripped off her catsuit and said. “These are serious injuries.”

Lee took one look at Jade’s body and started crying.  “What happened to you?”

“He should get up.  That’s all I’m saying.”

 

 

 

Joseph Smith…30

“How can you just LAY there?” shouted Jade.  “WAKE UP SMITH.  DO SOMETHING!”

“His body is trying to survive,” said Seven calmly.

“I’m tired of WAITING.  DO YOU HEAR ME SMITH?  GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR AND STOP FOOLING AROUND!”

“You aren’t helping,” Seven said, standing in front of her.

“How do you know?”

“I’m monitoring him and you just make his heart beat…”

“Faster?”

“Yes.”

“Is that a BAD thing?”

Seven stared at her.  “I’m not sure.”

“It means that THE LAZY MORON CAN HEAR ME!” she shouted at Smith.

“What is wrong with you?”

“With me?” she asked, startled.  “Nothing, why?”

“You’re so…”

“So…what?  I’m so, what?”

“Angry.”

“And?”

“Why?”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously.”

“Make him wake up.”

“He’s not in an induced coma.  Not exactly.  I don’t think waking up will benefit him in anyway at all.”

“You are a stubborn bot, you know that, don’t you?”

“You have brought that to my attention once or twice.”

She started pacing around Smith’s bed.  “I’m not good at this.”

“I never would have guessed.”

Suddenly Jade started laughing.  “That was really funny,” she gasped.

“Why?”

She waved her hand at him and doubled over.  Then she took a deep breath and wiped her eyes.  “Because it’s a lie within a truth and that’s just…funny.”

“Can you keep it down, I’m trying to sleep,” whispered Smith.

Jade jumped on top of him.  “What TOOK YOU SO LONG?”

Seven grabbed her and lifted her off of Smith.  “Stop that.  You’ll start the bleeding again.”

“You males are all alike.  Weak and…and…I don’t know…maley.”

feel good,” muttered Smith.  “Now.”

“Seven picked up a suringe and stuck the needle into Smith’s thigh.”

“Wow, addict it is.”

“It will help him heal,” said Seven.

“Hey,” she said, poking Smith.  “When are you planning on getting off your back and onto your feet.  We have things to do, you know. A little bullet next to your heart and you’d think something bad happened.  One to the lung?  Big deal.  I’ve had worse just cleaning my knives.”

He smiled at her.  “I heard what you said.”

“When?”

“You remembered and you want to do it again.”

That’s what you remember?  Out of all the things I said to you…THAT’S what stuck in your head?”

He nodded.

She turned to Seven.  “I haven’t killed anyone in two days,” she said. “I’m a little tense.  If there’s no one left to destroy, what will I do?”

“You can work with Lee and the others.”

“No, really.  What will I DO?”

“I have a few ideas,” chuckled Smith, who then fell into oblivion, once again.

Joseph Smith…29

“Defib,” yelled Lee. “Fatline.”

Seven put his hands on Smith’s chest and shot a charge of electricity through his heart.

“Again,” said Lee, urgently.

There was a blip on the machine.  “He’s back,” said Seven, “but thready.”

Jade, frozen to the spot, watched what they were doing to Smith.  When Seven stepped away she closed her eyes, shook herself, and walked over to Smith.

“This is my fault,” she whispered into his ear.  “I let my guard down.  I’m responsible. The man who did this to you is dead.  I killed him.  I may have allowed him to kill you, as well.  I can’t ask for forgiveness.  I don’t deserve to be forgiven.  I’m leaving for a short time.  Seven will be here.  I promise, I won’t be gone long.”  Then she leaned over him and kissed him.  “I’ll kiss you again, when you wake up  I’ll do other things to you as well…when you’re awake, so don’t take long, I’m impatient, remember?  And don’t think getting shot will be an excuse to rest, it won’t be.”

Seven watched her walk out of the room.  He knew where she was going.  He wanted to go with her but he needed to stay with Smith.  Besides, she didn’t need his help.

***

True to her word, Jade wasn’t gone long.  When she walked in, she heard a gasp and said, “The blood’s not mine.”

She went over to Smith and said, “They’re all dead.  Every last one of them.  I made sure.  They were very helpful, since not a single one of them wanted done to themselves, what I was doing to a couple of the others.”  She smiled.  “They couldn’t wait to give me information.  They probably thought that if they told me what I wanted to know, I would let them live. There were three groups left.  None of them were well armed, no one had any magic.  I went to all three dens. I don’t know what they thought they were going to do, but the Holy Followers are dead.   And I think Joey is still a good name for the dog but we can always call it something different.  Maybe the dog will tell us it’s name.  Maybe Seven can talk to dogs, even if we can’t.  Besides, we have to find out if it’s male or female, right?”

“He’s doing better,” said Seven, standing next to her. “Not exactly stable, but better.  And it’s my fault as much as yours.”

“I was right there,” she muttered.  “I should have been paying attention.”

“The only person who is to blame, is the shooter.  You need to rest.  You’re tired.  You’re low on blood and you’ve been fighting.”

“I’ll just take a quick sleep,” she said, sinking to the floor.  “Right here.”

Seven covered her up.

“She’s exhausted,” said Lee, staring at Jade’s sleeping form.  “She’s been fighting for hours, in an already weakened condition.  What was she thinking?”

“She was thinking that she needed to take out those who shot Smith.  Wouldn’t you do the same thing?”

“No.  We don’t do that on earth, at least not that much.  We do actually do that, we just call it something else.  War, I guess.  I mean we hunt people down and kill all of them but not on a personal level but you are in a war, so yes.  I get it and we do it too.  All the time.  We kill whole families. We kill those who simply annoy us.  If we want what another country has, we kill the people who live there.  Jade’s right. I can learn a lot by staying here.  We’re exactly the same but we pretend to be different. I think maybe…we’re worse.”

Seven nodded.  “I like you,” he said.  “You tell the truth.”

“I like you too,” said Lee.  “Sometimes no one knows what the truth is.  Then when you finally see it, you wonder why you didn’t recognize it before.”

“He’ll be okay.”

“I’m not so sure.  It won’t take much to push him over the edge.”

“He has to be okay.  For Jade.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Smith…28

“Jade.  We need to talk,” said smith, running his hand through his hair.

“About?”

“About us?”

“I remember.  We’ve done it all before. I remember us, last time in your safe room and all the times before.  How could they design a drug to make me for get that? How could they target specific memories?”

“They did it so that people didn’t bond or work together.  They killed the feelings of all the times any of us got close to others.”

“Well, let’s get close again.  How about right now?” she snickered, urging him forward with her finger.  “Come on, don’t get all shy on me.”

They heard the shot but only Jade saw Smith’s eyes widen, as a red stain blossomed across the front of his t-shirt.  By the time he fell to the ground, two of Jade’s knives  had found their marks.  Seven ran to the shooter, made sure he was dead, then he went to Smith.  Jade was picking him up but Seven said, “Let me do it.”  He carried him into the building and the women flew into action.  Smith was unconscious and loosing a lot of blood.  Jade pulled up her sleeve and said, “We’re the same, take whatever you need.”  One of the women got a kit and did just that.  Seven was standing over Smith.

“You’re in the way.  Move,” said Lee, bumping him with her hip.

“I can help him,” said Seven, reaching for Smith.  “His pulse is weak.”

“Tell us something we don’t know,” she snapped.  “I’m sorry.  Really.  Forgive me.”

“Forgiven,” he said.

“Do whatever you can.”

They eventually stopped the bleeding, removed the bullet and injected him with everything Seven handed to them.  They had Jade’s blood. Then they waited.

“Take a walk, Jade,” said Seven, staring at her.

She nodded.  When she got to the body, she rolled it over and striped it.  She took what she found, then kicked him until she was satisfied.  Lee had given her something orange to drink after the transfusion and she could still taste it.  Human food was strong and strange, she though, kicking the man one more time, for luck. Then she started walking back to Smith, looking through the things she had found.  “I remember, so you better not die,” she said, to no one in particular.

 

Joseph Smith…27

“You know,” said Lee, shoving a bowl of soup in front of Jade, “you’re much more cat like, than dog like.  But then women are cat like.  Smith is definitely like a dog.  Solid, grounded, eager to please you.”

“Please me?” asked Jade, surprised.

“He loves you, so yes.  He’ll do anything for you.  You, on the other hand, are sleek and agile, light on your feet and sensuous, like a cat.  You’re more detached as well.”

“Okay,” said Jade. “Will a cat do the same things dogs do?”

Lee started laughing.  “No, they won’t.  Not ever.  Cats are far too independent to follow anyone around, unless they feel like it.  They only time they do anything, is when they feel like it.”

“That does sound a lot like me.”

“I know.  Don’t you like the soup?  It’s vegetarian vegetable.”

“Uh.”

“You don’t have to eat it.”

“What will you do with the babies when you get back to earth?”

“Find homes for them.”

“Will you come back after that?”

“No.  They’ll shut down the entire program,” she said, twirling her spoon in her soup.  “I’d like to return.  I’d like to see how all of you are doing but I don’t think that’s going to be possible.”

“You can just stay here.  You can help us start over.”

“My life’s on earth,” said Lee.  “My family’s there, and my work, and…”

“You can make a new life and new family here. A and there’s certainly work to be done. Perhaps the crew would be willing to stay for a few moons.”

“They won’t stay,” she said quickly.

“Something could go wrong with their ship, once they get here.”

“You wouldn’t,” smiled Lee.  “That would be…wrong.”

“I would and no, it wouldn’t be wrong.  I would simply be delaying them and they would learn a lot while they were here, so it would be good for everyone.”

“Convoluted but…”

“We need help.”

“I’ll talk to the others,” said Lee.  “What are you going to do about Smith?”

“Do about him?”

“Yes.  He wants to be with you all the time.  He wants to be with you, period.”

‘I am with him all the time,” said Jade.  “I hadn’t seen him in so many moons, and then I broke into his safe place because he had won first prize, and that means death. So he had to fight back. I knew he couldn’t do it alone.  He’s good but he’s not as good as I am.  We have different…skills. I can’t use magic the way he does though.”

“You don’t get it, do you,” sighed Lee.  “About Smith, I mean.”

“I don’t?”

“No.  You don’t.”

“Life’s like that sometimes, don’t you agree?” asked Jade.

“I do,” she chuckled.  “But things can still work out for you two.  Seven is amazing.”

“He’s one of a kind.  The other bots weren’t given the same programing.  They don’t have the capacity to be like him.  They’re worker bots.  Seven is knowledge.”

“He has emotions.  At least it seems as if he does.  He certainly cares about you and Smith.”

“We’re partners.”

“Aside from that.”

“There is no aside from that.  Partners are responsible for each other in every way possible.  Partners die for each other.  The three of us are a team.  I don’t think you understand what that means.”

“I think you’re right.”

“If you stay.  Maybe you’ll learn.”

 

 

 

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