Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 7: Nobody Home
This is Episode 7 of a Light Reading original science fiction story. Need to catch up? Start here:
Or find all the episodes here: Faster-Than-Light Reading.
With his boot toe, Markus flicked the last smoldering remnant of an anonymizing drone relay out of my parents' dwarf Eremurus. He scraped the goo off on a flagstone. "Sorry about the mess."
"So, uh, actually, I'm pretty scared."
Markus nodded. "Remember you're standing next to your bodyguard."
"I'm used to threats involving code and people typing at me." And quiet days sitting with my cats and watching old movies or working in my garden, I thought, uselessly. "You're the specialist in actual violence. What do you advise?"
"Usually hunkering down. But since it looks like they're trying to keep you out of contact with your sister, we should get you into contact with her. They've shut you off electronically, so it'll have to be physically. We should go to Prague."
"My cats --"
"I have a bonded, secure pet sitter, and Louise and Stefvan are cat people too. Louise can pack your two bags and meet us at the airport; she'll set up a sleeper charter. If we do an in-air change of flight plan, maybe that'll muddy our track, too, though I doubt it."
Three hours later we took off from Eugene-Arcata, ostensibly to Las Vegas to meet a London flight to connect to Prague. As soon as we were off the ground, Markus authorized a flight plan change, and we headed for Montreal, where there was a direct flight to Prague. "Here's hoping that the opposition isn't monitoring changes of itinerary, and isn't tracking the plane. The purchase will pop up on the net, of course, and they'll probably know what flight we're on before we land, but at least we've bought some safe resting and thinking time between now and our arrival," Markus explained. "Have you flown a charter sleeper before?"
"Nope. I only travel to visit Yazzy and Dusan, every couple years. Or now and then I go see the kind of old born-in-the-twentieth clients who don't believe I'm real till they stand close enough to smell me. I'd rather never have to go out of my garden."
"Hunh, well, we'll have to see if you can find a way to like travel better."
"I liked seeing Prague. And Yazzy."
"I've been meaning to ask; so you're Yip because of your initials? But I saw you both around in high school after my family moved here, and she was already Yazzy before she married a guy named Zalodny. How'd that happen?"
"At age seven, she thought my nickname was the coolest thing ever, when I got it. She wanted one just like it. Then she realized she'd be Yap, which is not a good nickname if you like to talk a lot. So since her middle name is Azalea, she bent the rules a little. I don't think she picked Dusan solely for his last initial. Not solely."
I was hoping we were off the travel subject, but then Markus asked, "So it's not the travel itself you didn't like?"
"It was more all the hassle of getting there." I was only slightly lying by not mentioning how I hated being away from my familiar things, right?
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