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Chapter 08

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      Tristan studied the comings and goings of the Luminex employees from the shadowed alley on the other side of the company building. They were mostly humans, with enough spattering of aliens he would be able to walk around the building, provided he could make his way around their security.

      To get inside the building he would need a pass key and access to their system to insert himself within their employee list. Keys were only issued by the security department, from within the company building. He could infiltrate theircomputer system and add his current identity to their employee list, and then claim he'd lost his key, but he didn't want to risk it. They were aware he was after them and they would be watching for any intrusion. What he needed what to get access to someone, who had access to the company.

      That was why his Tolera was currently doing a search through the company's employees, looking for someone he might be able to use. Finding out who worked for them, without hacking the company itself had been simple. The company had to register its employees with multiple agencies for a variety of reasons, ensuring the fair treatment of its workers, processing their pay and managing their health system. None of those companies had security systems that impressed him.

      Once he had that list he created a program to do a search on each of them, looking for specific character traits he could take advantage of. He already had three names and ways he could get them to do what he wanted, but his Tolera wasn't finished yet, Luminex had a lot of workers and he wanted to wait until it had gone through all of them. He wanted to find the perfect victim to help him.

      * * * * *

      Alexander walked in the bar and let the noise wash his worry away. For the last few days security had been increased for no apparent reason, and without warning. He'd gotten in trouble with his supervisor for logging in late that first day. Of course the man hadn't cared it had been due to the delay caused by the security check, so now Alex woke up earlier just to be certain of getting to his desk in time.

      He looked around and smiled at the mixtures of shapes, sizes, and colours he saw in the other patrons. Jolani Six had a fairly large population of aliens compared to other planets, around one hundred thousands the last time he checked, comprised of maybe forty different races. Most of them worked as consultants for companies who did business with their species.

      Alex walked to the counter and waved at the bar 'man'; his skin perfectly smooth, light grey and looked slightly oily; because of that, everyone called him Slick. He didn't have any hair, instead it had two tentacle like appendage draping down from the top of his head to the middle of his back. Most of the time they simply hung like that, but once in a while Slick would use one of them to move something aside if his hands were full. More than once Alex wondered what he might be like in bed.

      "Your usual?" Slick asked.

      "Please," Alex answered finding a space at counter. He was the only human in the place, but no one paid him any attention. The first time he came in, he had gotten stares and cold shoulders. Aliens tended to be treated like second class citizens by most humans they worked with, so they didn't normally socialize outside of work. Even Slick had treated him coldly that time, and the subsequent ones too.

      It took around two weeks of Alex coming to the bar every evening for the barman to finally ask why he bothered. Alex hadn't dare tell the truth, how watching aliens move around sent a sexual shiver down his spine. How all he wanted to do was run his hands down the barman's chest.

      Instead he'd said that he wanted to get to know the other races better. Slick hadn't immediately warmed up to him after that, the barman kept observing him, waiting for him to do something that would give him a reason to throw him out, but Alex was always polite and friendly around the other customers. Over the following weeks they would talk a little each time he was at the counter and slowly they became friends. With Slick being friendly toward him the others started warming up too and it wasn't long after that he was treated like he was one of them.

      Slick place a tall glass with an amber liquid in front of him and Alex paid for it. As he turned to head for a table someone backed into him, making him splash his drink over his shirt. Alex threw a quiet curse as he reach for napkins.

      "I'm sorry," the alien said, "I'm so sorry, I didn't notice you there."

      "It's ok," Alex replied, distracted as he dapped the shirt as dry as he could, "things like this are bound to happen once in a while." He looked up at a deep brown furred alien, with a splattering of lighter coloured stars across his chest. He was a full head taller then him. Alex was slightly over six feet tall and didn't see many aliens taller than he was.

      The alien fidgeted in place, "I really should replace it, I mean, I made you lose your drink and now your shirt's dirty. I'm really sorry." He finished looking down.

      Alex smiled, "tell you what," he said amused at the alien's awkwardness, "I'll let you buy me a new drink and we'll forget about the shirt. My name's Alex by the way." He extended his hand to the alien.

      The alien looked at the hand for a moment and then lit up in recognition of the gesture. He took Alex hand carefully and shook it. "I'm Jack."

      Alex raised an eyebrow, "Jack? Is that short for a longer name?"

      Jack let go if the hand and scratched the back of his head in a universal gesture of embarrassment, his ears laid back against his skull. "No, my father through It'd be better if I had a human name."

      Alex turned back to the bar and signaled Slick over for another drink. "I take it you're new around here," he told Jack over his shoulder as he waited for Slick to finish with a customer.

      "Yes," Jack said as he squeezed next to him against the bar, bringing their body a little close for Alex's self control. "I got here a few days ago."

      Alex gulped as he felt's Jack's leg touch his, fortunately Slick arrived to distract him. "Can I have a replacement?" Alex asked. A few moment later he handed it to him and Jack paid. Slick asked if he wanted something too. Jack took a look at the balance on his cred card and shook his head

      "What brought you here?" Alex asked him as he led him to a table, making sure no one bumped into him.

      "I heard that Glacomel had started doing business with my home world, so I thought I might be able to find work there." Jack replied as he sat.

      Alex thought the name sounded familiar, he'd probably seen the name come across his system at some point, he'd have to look it up in the morning. "How is it going?"

      Jack shrugged and looked at the table, "They told me to check again in a few days."

      "That's not a good sign" Alex commented and Jack agreed, "Where are you staying in the mean time?"

      "I'm staying at this place near the port."

      "That's can't be cheap," Alex said. Jack just shrugged. Alex took a long swallow from his drink as a crazy idea crossed his head. If he did this right he could have an alien staying at his place for a while, for him to admire, get to know and maybe even experience. No, he stop that line of thought, he wasn't going to take advantage of him like that, he wasn't *that* kind of man. He swallowed hard. "You know, if you're getting tight on money you'd be welcome to stay at my place."

      Jack's ears perked up, "you'd do that? Why?"

      Alex finished his drink, "well, I've sort of been there when I was younger, alone in a new place, running low on money," he said, hoping the lie wasn't too obvious, he really wanted him to stay at his place he realized, "I was fortunate, I found work before it ran out, but more then once I found myself wishing someone would help out."

      "Alright, ok, yeah, I'll do it, thanks it's really going to help."

      Alex beamed, "then how about we head there right now, it's about a thirty minute walk from here."

      * * * * *

      Alex let Jack in, "here it is, make yourself at home." He took off his shoes and walked further in to give Jack room to move in the tight hallway. He turned to see him right behind him, and realized that he hadn't been wearing any shoes. He stepped out of the way, "this is the living room." Jack nodded and went to the door further along the wall and looked in. "That's the bedroom, and over there," Alex pointed to the opening opposite the entrance door, "is the kitchen and dining area."

      "There's only one bed," Jack commented.

      "I know," Alex answered, trying very hard to keep himself from imagining the two of them in it, "you can have it, I'll sleep on the couch."

      "You really don't have to, I mean, I can use the couch instead."

      Alex shook his head, "not really, I just barely fit on it, there's no way you could sleep comfortably." He showed the couch in question to him, on the other side of the hallway wall.

      "I really don't want to put you out." Jack insisted.

      Alex found himself looking up at him and smiling. "I know," he said and then tried to hold his composure as he watched his own hand move up and reach for Jack's bicep. He forced himself to pat it instead of running his fingers through the soft fur, "I don't mind." He said, knowing he was lying.

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