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A Berth on the London

By Judith Proctor
"This is the limit of your world from now on," Raiker said. "It has mess facilities, sleeping bays, a recreation area. Sort out amongst yourselves how you use it. There are other rules, but you'll find out what they are when you break them. That's all. Clear your harnesses; you're at liberty to move."

      Jenna unfastened herself cautiously and stretched her arms. There seemed little point in hurrying: others were closer to the door than herself. If there were any bunks in good positions, they would be gone by the time she got there. Besides, it would be one thing obtaining a good bunk, quite another holding onto it. The men here were the real dregs of Federation society - thieves, murderers, gun runners, child molesters. She put a brief mental reservation against the last category. Blake had seemed very determined where his innocence was concerned. Perhaps more to the point, his advocate had seemed to believe it. Advocates were a tough nosed group as a rule - hers certainly hadn't been much help.

      Jenna put that thought to one side. It was no use thinking of the past. Only the future was relevant now. She walked through the door into the next section. It was about as she had expected it to be, cramped and completely lacking in privacy.

      "Hey, Jenna!" It was Vila. "I've saved you a bunk. You can have the one under mine."

      It wouldn't have been her own choice, but it would do for the time being. She fingered the thin blanket, and noted with some relief that they had at least been provided with night clothes. The prisoners hadn't been allowed to bring any personal possessions at all, apart from what they were actually wearing. And their clothes had been carefully checked to make sure there were no concealed weapons of any kind.

      Vila smoothed out his own blanket and turned round to face her. "Do you think this is a good time for me to tell them I suffer from flight sickness?" he asked with a nervous attempt at humour.

      "I don't think they'll be very sympathetic," said Nova beside him.

      Jenna didn't feel in the mood for sympathy. She had problems enough of her own. She was aware of Raiker entering the room behind her, and tried to ignore him.

      "I expect they'll find a cure for it, though," she said to Vila. "A permanent one probably."

      "They amputate your head," Vila replied dryly.

      Raiker placed a hand on Jenna's shoulder. "Come with me."

      Jenna looked at Vila. He knew what was coming, so did she. "Here goes," she commented.

      Gan watched everything from where he was lying down on his bunk. It was important to know what Jenna wanted before he made any suggestions himself. After all, he was only a gamma grade construction worker. Jenna might be on speaking terms with Vila, but then Vila imposed his company on everyone, be they alpha or gamma. Jenna might put up with Vila, but she didn't seem to like him. Raiker was an alpha like herself. He could make life easy for Jenna if that was what she desired.

      No - judging from Jenna's confident reaction to the officer's proposition and her willingness to spark his anger, she still had her pride. She would risk Raiker's wrath rather than play the whore. That pleased Gan. Jenna would not lie down and spread her legs merely because a Federation officer wanted her to. Marie had given in, but then Marie had had no choice. If only he'd understood that better at the time.

      Jenna was talking to some of the others now. Fragments of conversation drifted over. Blake really ought to be a little more careful of what he was saying. Still, no one in the crew was going to take much notice even if they did plot rebellion. In a few days, Blake would lose all interest. Everyone would lose interest - everyone except himself.

      Gan could never quite pin down when he'd first realised that he was different from everyone else. Not when he was a boy. Things hadn't been so bad then. Perhaps after the food riots of '46? He'd been younger then, just married, and deeply in love. Marie had been a bright, independent woman, a perfect balance for his own slower, more reasoned approach to life. Then there was a botanic plague on one of the Inner Worlds. At least, that was what the authorities had claimed. A critical loss of grain production, and reduced rations for everyone. There had been fighting as people tried to get the limited supplies of food concentrate for themselves. Gan had been in the thick of it, using his weight and strength to gain an advantage. One day it had been like that, and then - three days later - everything had gone quiet. The fighting had quelled of its own accord; everyone formed orderly queues with no shoving; everyone was calm and peaceful. Everyone except Gan.

      He hadn't known the cause then, but he'd had sense enough to blend in with the crowd. To be different was dangerous. Gan used his size to gain an edge where he could, never being too obvious about it. He had to get food for Marie, that was the only thing that really mattered. Yet Marie herself had changed. She was still beautiful in her own dark-haired way, she still loved him, but something had gone from their life. There was no passion in her any more. When they made love, it was quiet and sedate. Gan was never sure if Marie enjoyed it, even though she always said she did. Marie never argued now, never lost her temper. Gan loved her still, while mourning the woman she had been.

      Things improved a little when the food supplies returned to normal, but they were never quite the same as before. Over time, the world around Gan turned into zombies, until he wondered if all that had gone before was simply his imagination.

      Jenna had finished talking now. It was time to have a word with her. Gan swung himself down from his bunk and made his way over to where she was sitting.

      "Jenna?" he said, to gain her attention.

      She tuned around, obviously not recognising him. Well, the transit cell had been pretty crowded.

      "Olag Gan," he said by way of introduction. "I saved you a bunk."

      Vila interrupted, "She's already got one."

      Gan paid him no attention. "I saved you a top bunk - third tier."

      Jenna looked at him more closely. "A top bunk," she said thoughtfully.

      Gan nodded. "Out of reach."

      "Out of reach of anyone except you," Jenna clarified.

      Gan didn't allow that to ruffle him. "That's right," he agreed. "But anyone else will have to climb over my bunk to get to yours." He folded his arms across his chest, somehow emphasising his strength without boasting about it.

      "Sorry, Vila," Jenna said cheerfully. "I'm just changing bunk."

      "Hey," Vila protested. "What did I do wrong? What's he got that I haven't?"

      Jenna eyed him thoughtfully. "Shouldn't that question be the other way around?" she asked with the faintest touch of sarcasm.

      Vila didn't give up without a last riposte. "And what makes you think King Kong won't be climbing up in the middle of the night to pay you a visit?" he demanded.

      Jenna smiled sweetly at him. "Intuition," she replied.

      

      

Gan didn't sleep that first night. He rested, perhaps even closed his eyes for a while, but he was instantly alert when he felt his bed move slightly. He sat upright and gave a friendly smile to the man scaling the end of the bunk. "I think you've got the wrong bunk."

      They sized each other up in the dim night cycle lighting. Gan could identify the other man now. Pasco, a man deported for poisoning his boss. At least, so he claimed.

      "I know where I am," Pasco said belligerently. "She invited me up here."

      Gan's smile never wavered. "It's a long way down from up there," he said reflectively. "A man could break his neck falling from that height." He tossed the blanket off his legs, freeing them to launch an effective kick if he chose to do so.

      Pasco considered that, then lowered himself to the floor. He stood and looked Gan in the face. "You don't really think she's going to prefer a great oaf like you, do you?"

      Pasco was obviously looking for a fight. It was fortunate, Gan reflected, that there was no alcohol on board the prison transport. Even when the dome population was at its most subdued, drunken individuals were still capable of starting a brawl. As it was, Pasco was stone cold sober, and hopefully open to reason.

      "I don't think she prefers anyone," Gan said reasonably. "So why not let her sleep in peace?"

      "You've got it all set up, haven't you," Pasco yelled. "Keep her to yourself; don't let anyone else near her. Well you aren't going to have it as easy as that. I've got friends."

      "Shut up!" shouted a voice from a bunk on the other side of the room. "Some of us want to sleep."

      "All right, all right," Pasco muttered, and backed away, narrowly missing banging into one of the tables.

      Gan waited. It was dark, but not too dark to see Pasco talking quietly to someone in another bunk. "Jenna?" he said softly.

      "I hear you," she answered. "Don't worry, I'll be ready."

      For a few minutes everything was quiet, apart from Pasco working his way around the bunks. Whatever his proposals, he didn't appear to be getting much support. Gan debated whether to try and muster some back up of his own, but that would mean leaving Jenna undefended. The whole manoeuvre could simply be designed to decoy him away. He waited.

      When the move came, it was from several angles at once: four men, approaching from different directions. Gan swung down to the floor to meet them. A few moments later, Jenna joined him, her boots sounding loud upon the floor. The sight of boots worn with ill-fitting pajamas would have looked ludicrous on anyone else - Jenna managed to carry it off with complete self-confidence. "Will you be all right?" Gan asked her.

      Jenna gave him a scathing look. "Did you think you were the only one interested in defending my virtue? I'm a Free Trader. I fight."

      The opposition split into two groups without consultation. Gan eyed his opponents without moving. Then, as they came within reach, he lunged suddenly with a speed that seemed impossible for one his size. Ignoring the blows that hit him, he grabbed the two men by the head and rammed their skulls together. They collapsed glassy-eyed to the floor. He turned to Jenna, only to see that one of her men was down, clutching his genitals and moaning - the reason why she had put her boots on was instantly apparent. The remaining attacker, Pasco, had other problems. A curly haired man had attacked him from behind, and the two were now engaged in a hand to hand struggle. Gan clamped a hand on Pasco's shoulder as Blake hit him with a satisfying thump on the jaw.

      Pasco staggered, clutching his jaw, then held his hands out wide in surrender. "Okay, okay, I won't touch her. I won't even come near her again."

      Gan changed his grip to hold Pasco's right arm. "Jenna," he queried, "I could give him something to help his memory. A broken arm would heal before he got to Cygnus Alpha."

      "I don't think that's necessary," Blake interrupted.

      Gan waited for Jenna's response.

      She looked at Pasco. His face had gone pale, and he seemed unable to speak.

      "Not this time, Gan," Jenna said finally. "But if he ever comes back again - you hold him, and I'll break the arm."

      Gan nodded, seeing no need for further words. He bent down and made a stirrup of his hands. Jenna's face broke into a smile at the gesture. "Good night, both of you. And thanks," she said. Then she placed her boot into Gan's hands and allowed him to boost her back up to her top bunk.

      Gan hauled himself back into bed and lay back to think. He was dimly aware of his two victims regaining consciousness and making their way back to their own bunks as unobtrusively as possible. Most of his thoughts though were centered on the bunk above. Jenna was quite a woman. He tried to imagine the background she had come from, and failed. Dome born and bred, the world outside was largely a mystery beyond what was shown on the vid. There had been a time when he believed what was shown on the vid. There had been a time when he had believed everything. Before Marie died.

      

The big crane had failed, and without it they couldn't lift the heavy roof supports into place. Reconstruction work in the lower levels of the dome was rare, but corrosion had been eating at some of the supports and they needed replacing. Massive jacks supported the levels above. The crane, which had been brought in and assembled in situ, was essential for taking the weight of the new supports while they were manoeuvred into position. Bringing in another crane would take several days - the dome was not designed for easy movement of heavy equipment. So, the workers were given the afternoon off, after it had been made clear to them that they weren't to expect any pay for the time they weren't working.

      Gan made his way home. The almost empty corridors and walkways seemed odd. Normally when he came home, they were crowded with all the workers leaving the same shift. He'd been trying to get a shift change for the last three months, ever since Marie had been assigned to an earlier one. They saw so little of each other these days; it would be a real bonus to have an extra afternoon with her.

      He paused outside his door, fishing in a pocket for the magno-key. Their apartment was large by gamma standards: two decent sized rooms. Gan was proud of the fact that he'd done so well. Construction work was risky, men died every year, but it was well paid. He slipped the key into the lock and entered. Marie wasn't in the lounge. That was normally where he found her when he came home - she liked to watch the soaps on the vid. Gan watched them himself out of courtesy to Marie, but he found them shallow and uninvolving. He preferred to have friends around, either to talk or to play games. That was another thing that was different now. Gan was a slow and cautious player when it came to card games, it always took him a while to work out the odds. In days gone by, he'd enjoyed the games, but never won heavily. Now, it was as though everyone still knew the right answers, but hadn't the strength of will to back it up. If Gan played confidently, he nearly always won. It didn't matter what the game was either. Trading games, gambling games, strategy games; if he put up a bold front, the opposition simply caved in.

      He walked over to the food processor, and punched in the code for coffee. Then, he heard a sound from the bedroom - Marie must have been having a nap. Coffee in hand, Gan opened the bedroom door. Then froze in shock. The man and the woman on the bed flung themselves apart. Gan took in the scene as though it was being played out in slow motion: the black uniform flung carelessly on the floor, the paragun on a chair beside the bed; Marie's clothes neatly folded on top of her bedside table; the aggression of the man; the lost expression on Marie's face.

      The trance was shattered as the man laughed. "You aren't going to tell anyone about this," he said authoritatively.

      "Like hell!" Gan retorted furiously.

      The trooper reached out of the bed and grabbed his gun. "You aren't going to tell anyone," he repeated.

      Marie held the sheet up to her chin, hiding her body from both of the men. "Olag," she said timidly, " we should do as he says."

      "Why?" Gan demanded of her. "Why did you do this to me?"

      Marie's face seemed blank, almost puzzled. "He wanted me to."

      "Didn't you know it would hurt me? Didn't you care?" The hurt went deep. Deeper than he had believed possible. It wasn't just what she had done, but the fact that she didn't seem to care.

      Something seemed to struggle in her face then, something that reminded him of the woman he had once known. Her eyes pleaded with him. "I didn't want to, Gan," she said softly.

      Gan found that hard to believe. He turned to the man in fury. "Did you force her, or did she just fall over for you?"

      The gun pointed clearly at Gan. The man smiled. "Let's say she didn't put up much resistance." He looked confident behind his weapon. "You're different, though. Pity for you. If you'd been a sheep like all the rest, I'd have let you live." The gun fired with no warning, flinging Gan back across the floor. Calmly and deliberately, the trooper turned to fire on Marie. "Sorry," he said, without much regret in his voice, "I can't stand an investigation. I guess you were both killed by burglars."

      The shot wasn't loud, and Marie made no sound, other than a faint choking noise, as she fell back on the bed. Nevertheless, Gan heard it from within his black depths of pain, and responded. He reached for reserves of strength he hadn't known he possessed. With a roar that built deep in his chest and erupted from his mouth he flung himself at his enemy. Three seconds later, the still naked man lay dead by Gan's feet, his neck cleanly broken.

      Gan stared down at him. He'd seen a man killed once before in an accident with a malfunctioning cargo loader, but this was different. He wasn't a killer, he tried to tell himself that, but the evidence lay incontrovertibly on the floor before him. Shaking slightly, he passed a hand over his face, and forced himself to look at Marie. Apart from a small brown mark between her breasts, there was nothing to show of violence. She looked almost peaceful.

      Without any warning, Gan was sick. He threw up on the floor and started coughing. There was pain in his chest and throughout his body. He felt sick and dizzy. But before he passed out, there was something he had to do. Something. Gan forced his way over to the comm unit, leaning on the wall for support. It was a basic model, speech only, but that was all he needed. Concentrating carefully, he dialled the number for emergencies before passing out. Even at that stage, Gan still believed in the system.

      

      

Jenna looked at the limited menu entries on the food dispenser with a marked lack of enthusiasm. The selections sounded interesting enough, unless you took a close look at what other people actually had on their plates. Economy was obviously the order of the day. Everything was was plainly powdered concentrate simply reconstituted with water. There hadn't even been any attempt to make it into an interesting shape. And she'd thought the food in the holding cell was bad.

      "I think I've just lost my appetite," Vila moaned beside her, as he looked at the red pulp on his plate that was supposed to be bacon.

      Jenna grinned. "Look on the bright side, Vila. At this stage of the journey, the water hasn't been recycled yet."

      "What do you mean?" he asked suspiciously.

      "She means," a sardonic voice pointed out from a nearby table, "that all water on these ships is reused. It has to be. Tomorrow, you'll be drinking your own excrement."

      "Thanks a million," Vila muttered.

      Avon smiled briefly. "My pleasure."

      "Jenna." She turned at the sound of Gan's voice. "Would you like a game of chess?" he asked.

      "What, now?" she queried in surprise. "I haven't had breakfast yet."

      Gan nodded. He looked slightly worried. Perhaps he wanted to talk about something.

      "All right," Jenna replied. She looked at Vila's meal in mock disgust. "I wasn't that hungry anyway."

      Gan led the way to the table next to their bunks. Jenna had noticed a supply of gaming pieces set there yesterday. Not many people had shown an interest then, but with the lack of entertainment facilities on board, presumably people would end up using them. Gan tipped the pieces out of their box and started to line them up on the board. The pawns looked ridiculously small in his large hands. "Jenna," he said tentatively.

      Jenna waited patiently. She'd already realised that Gan wasn't a man for long speeches.

      Gan hesitated. He wanted to warn her about the food; but was there any easy way to tell a lively, independent woman that she was going to degenerate into an apathetic shadow of herself? He wanted to know more about Jenna while she was still herself. Jenna must have seen things that he had only dreamed of. "What's it like in space?" he asked, hating himself for his cowardice.

      He knew instantly that he'd hit on her favourite topic. "Beautiful," Jenna replied succinctly. "You can't see anything from here, they haven't even given us a view screen." Her hands sketched pictures in the air, as Gan listened, fascinated, while she described the whirlpools of distant galaxies, the glories of planetary rings, the myriad colours of the stars, of interplanetary dust clouds. It wasn't just the beauty of what Jenna described, it was the animation in her face as she spoke. It was so long since he had met anyone who was truly interested in anything. With a few occasional words of encouragement from Gan, she carried on, telling of long journeys running guns to rebel groups; smuggling highly taxed items between planets; having to navigate by triangulating stars when the navigation computer broke down; other worlds and other peoples. She stopped suddenly in the middle of her narration, pausing for thought.

      "Has it ever occurred to you, Gan," she asked, "that there must be more to life than we see?"

      "What do you mean?" he replied.

      "Well," she gestured at the chess board, "everything obeys some kind of rules. Not just games, but the universe as a whole. Could it all really have really come about through blind chance?"

      Gan thought about that. It was what he had been taught, but he didn't accept everything he had been taught any more. "I don't know," he said slowly. "I've never really thought about it before. Are you saying that you believe in a god of some kind?"

      Jenna laughed deprecatingly. "No, I don't," she replied lightly. "I guess I'm too much of a rationalist, but it is something I've considered. Take the Amagons for example."

      "They're pirates aren't they?" Gan asked. The Amagons were a popular villain of the vid shows, attacking defenceless Federation ships which then had to be rescued by the space force.

      "Some of them are without doubt," Jenna replied. "But there's more to them than that. I've worked with them occasionally - sometimes a trade deal comes up that has too much cargo for a single ship to handle. I had to hide out with one once while we were evading a large group of customs officers. We got to talking to pass the time." She watched Gan to see if he was losing interest, but he appeared totally absorbed in what she was saying. Jenna couldn't help but feel sorry for him. People who lived all their lives in the sterile environment of the domes simply never knew what they were missing out on. How many of the people on this transport would manage to survive on the bleak alien world of Cygnus Alpha? Had any of them any idea as to what life would be like outside a temperature controlled environment where everything was provided by machines? Would Gan be a survivor? She thought he would be - not just because of his physical strength, but because he was willing to consider new ideas. Although he didn't say much, Jenna had the distinct impression that he would remember everything she was saying to him.

      She continued. "Tarvin - he was the Amagon - told me that his people were originally religious exiles. They left Earth at the start of the New Calendar, rather than give up their faith."

      Gan gave her a questioning look.

      "They have a god they call Allah. Many of the Amagons still worship him. They have a book of all the teachings of his prophet, and they take it quite seriously. Even Tarvin, although he claimed he wasn't very religious, still had a lot of attitudes that you don't find outside the Amagons. We were trapped in a dead end cave in the mountains at one point - if the customs officers searched right to the back we'd have had it. Tarvin was quite relaxed about it. He simply said: Inshallah. It means 'as God wills it'. That's the Amagon way of looking at things. If we were going to be caught, we were going to be caught. It was simply the will of God, and there was no point fighting it. If they didn't catch us, then that too would be the will of God. Why waste effort fighting the inevitable?"

      Gan frowned. "I don't think I could do that," he said. Now he had that started to question things around him, he wasn't going to stop. Never again would he blindly accept what he was told. If he did anything in the future, it would be because he had considered it and determined that it was the right thing for him to do. Be it the will of the Federation, or the will of anyone else. And that also meant that Jenna had a right to her own full will, to her own knowledge, no matter how much Gan wanted to shield her from it...

      He twisted the white queen between his fingers. "You shouldn't eat anything today," he said finally.

      "Why ever not?" Jenna asked in surprise.

      Gan replied, "There's something in the food that makes people go to sleep."

      "That's right." Blake spoke from behind Jenna. "I expect it's loaded with suppressents."

      "How would you know?" Jenna queried.

      "They do it all the time on Earth," Blake replied. "The results are so subtle, you don't even notice when you're affected, but the rebels are well aware of it."

      "Then how do you know we're not affected now?"

      "You're not," Gan interrupted positively. "You stood up to Raiker - you couldn't have done that if you were drugged."

      Blake scratched the back of his neck reflectively. "I wondered about that," he said. "We all seem to be thinking clearly at the moment. I suspect it may be due to the justice system."

      "What do you mean?" Jenna asked curiously.

      Blake shrugged. "I imagine it's in case of appeals. Any advocate worth his salt could easily demand a retrial if his client was drugged and unable to plead his case properly in court."

      "Well, that may be fine in the transit cell," Jenna pointed out, "but it doesn't help us here. Is there any way at all of avoiding the effects of these drugs?"

      Blake grimaced. "There isn't, but being aware of the problem is at least half of the solution. If nothing else, you can refrain from eating until everyone else is affected. We'll have to arrange particular days to go without food if we want to be able to make any plans for escape. We'll need to be clear-headed then." He turned his attention to Gan. "You and I may need to eat and drink in alternating periods, perhaps with somebody else to help. We need to keep an eye on Raiker if nothing else."

      Gan knew what that meant. He'd seen sub-commander Raiker as the principal danger from the start. All he had to do was to wait until Jenna was under the influence of the drugs, and then she would be his for the asking.

      "I can do it on my own," he said simply.

      "Gan," Blake protested, "you have to eat sometime."

      Gan looked down at the table, staring at the crudely moulded form of the white queen. "I can eat whenever I want to," he said quietly. "I'm an immune."

      He could still remember the first time he'd heard that word.

      He had passed out after phoning the authorities. When he came round, he was in a hospital bed and there were men around him. A man in the white coat of a doctor stood beside him, syringe in hand. "He's awake now. Don't overdo it."

      They had plied him with questions. What had happened? Who had been there? How had the trooper died? It never occurred to Gan to lie, besides, it probably wouldn't have made any difference. There was a small, sharp man with blue eyes who seemed to be mesmerised by the fact that Gan had killed. "Fascinating. Fascinating," he murmured to himself. "An immune. I never thought I'd encounter one myself." He turned to the doctor. "I shall need him for tests as soon as he is recovered."

      Tests there had been too: long and exhaustive. They had put him in stressful situations; given him numerous drugs; taken endless blood samples; and overall, treated him like some kind of experimental animal. It was something the blue eyed man said about Marie that finally made Gan's temper snap. He surged from his seat, only to be held back by the restraints he had been fastened with. For a moment, he saw real fear on the scientist's face as if he thought Gan could actually escape. Then the man smiled, and pointed to a set of dials. "There you are," he said to a technician beside him. "Conclusive proof. The man is immune to all the standard suppressent drugs. He'll have to be adapted."

      Gan didn't bother to question what was meant. He'd already learnt that anything he said was simply ignored. They were only interested in him as a subject, not as a human being.

      "A limiter, I think," the man continued. "As long as he is unable to kill, he should not present any great danger to society. It should be interesting to see how effective it is. He may even be able to lead a normal life once more."

      "You do realise," the assistant pointed out, "that they'll have to find him guilty of murder in order to justify the implant."

      A prophecy that had proved to be only too accurate. Gan had sat in stunned disbelief when the court announced that he had murdered a soldier and then shot his own wife when he found them in bed together. Then the hate had begun to build in him, and with the hate, a pain in his head that threatened to blot everything else out. With sickening fear, Gan knew that his life and his mind were no longer under his own control. Wherever he went, to Cygnus Alpha or beyond, there would never again be any true freedom for him.

      Gan needed friends. As long as no one was aware he had the limiter implant, he was relatively safe. But if ever the other convicts on he London discovered it, how much use would his strength be to him if they knew he could not push a fight to the limit? That worried Gan, as much for Jenna's sake as for his own. She would need his protection even more on Cygnus Alpha. There would be no suppressents there. For every woman transported, there were fifty men. Cygnus Alpha might have been colonised for several centuries, but the odds were that there was still a serious shortage of woman.

      There was Blake of course. As the days wore on, Gan became increasingly aware of Blake. Blake would protect Jenna on Cygnus Alpha, of that he was certain. Blake would have protected Jenna even if she hadn't been falling in love with him. That hurt Gan. There was nothing overt - Blake and Jenna hadn't so much as held hands. On the days when they were under the influence of the suppressents, there was nothing to see at all; but on the days when Jenna was awake, Gan could see the look in her eyes when she was watching Blake.

      It had to be Blake. If it had been any other man on board the London, Gan would have challenged him. But he respected Blake, liked him, believed in what Blake believed in. Time only increased his respect for the man. Sometimes Gan tried to tell himself that Jenna preferred Blake because he was the alpha and Gan the gamma. The only snag was that he didn't believe it himself. Jenna had lived most of her life away from Earth, class distinctions would mean as little to her as they did to Blake. One of the reasons Gan liked Blake was the fact that Blake made no distinctions based on rank. If he was rude to a delta and polite to an alpha one day, he could help the delta and insult the alpha on the next.

      Gan lay back on his bunk and sighed. He could talk to Jenna, tell her how he felt about her - but what would be the point? Her beauty and her independence of spirit were lost to him already.

      Jenna had made her choice. Perhaps the Amagons were right after all. Sometimes one could only submit to the will of God.

      Inshallah.

      


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