Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 6: Patient but Rough
This is Episode 6 of a Light Reading original science fiction story. Need to catch up? Start here:
Or find all the episodes here: Faster-Than-Light Reading
"Our most secure link is at Mama and Táta's house," I explained. Markus and I were belting into an apparent minivan with much more armor, speed, and maneuverability (and possibly firepower) than most soccer moms needed. "I'm sure that Yazzy isn't working for the opposition, but she needs to know, privately, ASAP, that they set me up to find that. We won't be disturbing my folks -- since they retired they tend to go to bed very late. Unfortunately, since you're guarding me, you'll have to come along."
"Unfortunately, Markus, you are a very attractive single man, and I'm going to have to introduce you to my mother."
I liked the way he smiled but didn't laugh: plausible deniability that didn't squish any hopes. The reinforced doors opened in front of us; it felt like Markus's weaponized minivan was departing the Batcave.
My parents' house is a scatter of cabins down a hillside, "all independent, resilient structures working together to form a home. On a tilted slab of Jurassic limestone, solid as anything you can find around here, and if it moves, it'll all move together --" Táta was already rolling on his standard spiel as he led Markus down the main path for the moonlight tour.
"He seems like a very nice young man, Ingy." Mama was pulling iced beers, wiping them, and setting them on a tray. "We'll have these at the patio table and then I'll drag your father out of your way so you can use the secure link without interruption." Mama was the only person who called me "Ingy"; to everyone else I'd been Yip since I could write my own initials on my finger-paintings. "Is he just a very pleasant colleague, or am I completely misreading all the signs?"
"Mama, I'd rather not --"
"Of course you'd rather not." Mama had that expression. If you have a mother, there's one expression of hers that you and she both know is that expression. This was that expression in its purest form. She shrugged. "And maybe you are right. You have cats to feed, us to fuss over, your sister to work for, and no reason to shake up your existence. Except, Ingy, you act like you like Markus, so I think I'll go right on being encouraging. Is Markus just possibly overdoing it by pretending interest in your father's architectural engineering lecture?"
"It's worse than that. Markus has a professional interest in building resilience. If Táta finds out, Markus may never escape."
Mama and I carried the iced beers and chilled mugs out to the patio table. We all sat chatting till Táta said, "Well, Yip and her friend probably just came over here to use the secure link to Yazzy, rather than to entertain the old poops."
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