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Chapter 09

      Jeremy looked around the room. Everything as finally in it's place. He needed to find a way to keep the place clean, instead of going on a cleaning binge every few month. The only thing left to clean out was his closet, which he hadn't done since arriving to the station all those years ago.

      He opened it, looked at the boxes and uniforms piled in it, half hazardly, and sighed. He'd have to be careful, cleaning the closet could easily end up messing up his room again. He took out the uniforms, and put the pile on his bed, then the boxes, one at a time, and placed them in a line on the floor.

      When he came to the last one, he stopped. It wasn't a box, it as a carrying case, one he didn't remember bringing. He sat in front of it, and opened it. Out spilled drawing materials, pencils and charcoals, blank papers, and papers with drawings on them.

      He vaguely remembered drawing in his youth, but now, other than schematics, the most he did was doodles on his datapad, when bored. Still, he couldn't remember packing these, or bringing them with him.

      He looked through the drawings, one of his mother, smiling, of his father with his ever present frown, one with a rare smile. Drawings of his brothers and sister, of people he didn't remember, neighbors maybe? He was surprised at how well drawn they were.

      Then, drawings of kelsirians, a good numbers of them. He had vague memories of drawing his family, and other people, but when had he drawn kelsirians? He couldn't remember ever seeing any, until he'd been introduced to Querik and Growler. He had drawn crowds of them, and some solitary portraits.

      He looked at the next drawing and covered it up immediately. He slowly uncovered it, telling himself he couldn't have seen what he had, but no, he'd drawn a naked male kelsirian. More than one he saw as he flipped through the next half dozen drawing. The next one made his stomach twist.

      He closed his eyes, opened the box and shoved his anxiety in it. He looked at it again, the drawing depicted him, there was no mistaking his younger looks, having sex with a male kelsirian, the next four were of them, in varying positions.

      He stood, trying to breath. Could he really have drawn these? When he was a teenager? He wasn't a homo, he couldn't be. He'd read that the condition existed among some of the alien races, but it didn't among humans.

      And why couldn't he remember drawing them?

      He put the drawings back in the case, picked it up and headed to the door to talk to . . .. Who could he talk to about this? He couldn't talk to the people he knew. He couldn't burden them with this, and what would they say. The same things he already knew, he couldn't have drawn them, and if he had, then he was sick. Could he talk with Omar about this? What if he reached the conclusion he was a homo? What would they do to him? Damn it, there wasn't anyone he knew he could talk with.

      He stopped his pacing.

      That wasn't true, he realized. He did know someone. He didn't know if kelsirians had homos among them, but ambassador Querik had helped him once, surly he would again. Maybe talking with him would help him make sense of things.

      * * * * *

      The door to the ambassador's quarter opened as Jeremy reached for the buzzer.

      "Hello Jeremy," he said, standing in the doorway.

      "I'm sorry to disturb you ambassador, could I talk with you?"

      Querik smiled. "You are not disturbing me at all, please come in."

      "Weren't you on your way out? You opened the door before I got here."

      "No, no. I wasn't going anywhere. I was waiting for you."

      Jeremy eyed him. "Why?" he stayed in the doorway.

      "I'll explain in a moment. Why don't you come in, and and tell me what is troubling you." Querik indicated the seats in the living room.

      Jeremy hesitated a moment, then entered. He sat, opened the case and handed the drawings to the ambassadors.

      "Those are quite good," Querik said, looking at the ones on top. "You are talented."

      Jeremy shrugged. "Keep going."

      Querik tilted an ear back and looked at him for a moment, but went back to looking through the drawings. He looked up at him again when he came to the kelsirians. He looked at all of them, before saying anything. "You drew these." It was a statement.

      "I think so. I mean I can sort of remember drawing the ones you looked at before, those of my family, and these are in the same style, but I don't remember drawing them, and I couldn't have. I wouldn't have."

      "Why do you say that?"

      Jeremy took a deep breath. "Do you have homos, in your society?"

      "Homos?" Querik asked, and Jeremy pointed to the drawings. "You mean males who have sex with males?" Jeremy nodded. "Yes, we do."

      Jeremy stood and started pacing. "Well, we don't. So I couldn't have drawn that. There's no way I would have drawn myself having sex with another male."

      "Why do you say that humans don't have them?"

      "Because it's well known. It's an alien condition. We've never had any homos in our society, ever."

      Querik watched him pace for a moment. "Why did you come to see me?"

      "Because I needed to talk to someone, and I can't talk to anyone I know here." Jeremy stopped. "How did you know I was coming?"

      "Please sit."

      Jeremy sat.

      "I knew you were coming, because I expected something of this sort to happen. Before I continue, I want you to understand that what I say, I don't say to offend you, or to corrupt you, or to make you into something you are not. I am hoping to provide answers to why you fell the way you do, why you have been having anxiety attacks, as well as your stomach trouble, and maybe explain why you drew those drawings."

      Jeremy frowned at him, but nodded.

      "You say that males who have sex with males, homos, as you call them, don't exist in your society. That is false."

      "How can you say that?" Jeremy exclaimed. "How would you even know that? Have you read our history? Have you hidden on earth, to see those things?"

      "No, I haven't. I know, because I heard the subliminal programing, when you gave me the tour."

      "What do you mean, I didn't hear anything special."

      "Kelsirian hearing reaches a higher range than human. So I can hear what is just at the edge of your range, things you don't quite realize you are hearing. Those things went on at length about how homos are wrong, sick, not right."

      "That can't be right. There aren't any Homos among humans."

      "There is something else. I am a mentalist. I can hear your mind," Querik added at Jeremy's confusion. "When I helped you with your anxiety, I saw something in your mind that . . ."

      "You were in my mind?" Jeremy shot up. "Did you do this to me?"

      "No, Jeremy, I didn't. It's against the mentalist's code, and even if I had wanted to, I'm not strong enough to make the changes needed needed to alter a personality so drastically."

      Jeremy glared at him. "I trusted you."

      "I haven't betrayed your trust. All I did reinforce what you were focusing on, reinforcing the box, making it more solid, more real in your mind. I did nothing more, but I saw something. I don't know what it is, but it resonated with the subliminal broadcasted across the station. The cube I gave you, was to block them, the subliminals in your room were stronger."

      Jeremy looked at him. "Is that's why I've been sleeping better since then? You said it was just to help me relax."

      Querik offered a reassuring smile. "I didn't think you would use it, if I'd told you the truth."

      Jeremy nodded, thinking. "The thing you saw in my mind, do you know what caused it?"

      "No, but I think that, if you will let me, I can help you explore your memories, the answer may be there."



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