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Chapter 12

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      Jack came back to the restaurant to find Alex already sitting at their table. He kept his purchase behind his back as he walked up to him.

      "I was wondering if you'd make it back in time," Alex said with a smile.

      Jack sat and placed the statue under his chair. "No peeking," he told him, "I had trouble finding something special enough for you. I hope you didn't wait too long."

      Alex smiled, "as long as you came back any wait is worth it." Jack looked away in bashfulness. "What did you get me?" he then asked enthusiastically.

      Jack put the statue on the table, "this is a reproduction of a Defender, the real thing is only found in our holiest of Temples, but most of our homes have small ones for protection. I don't know if their powers will extend this far, but this way I know that what ever happens to me, you'll be protected."

      Alex gingerly touched it, "it's beautiful." He looked up at Jack with a bit of sorrow in his eyes, "I'm afraid what I got you doesn't really measure up to this." He went next to him and took out a diamond shaped piece of metal an inch in length. With Jacks permission he parted the fur on his chest and applied it against his skin. After a second it beeped and Alex moved his hand away.

      "It's staying in place with some sort of genetic adhesive that's coded to your DNA now. If you press the top and bottom points at the same time it deactivates it and you can remove it. Touch the center of the diamond and you'll see what it does."

      Jack did as instructed and an image of Alex appeared before him. It was about a foot tall; in it he was wearing his current clothes and was smiling at him. Jack's breath caught in his throat.

      "I wanted you to have a reminder of your time with me. If you get the job you might not be able to stay here, for all I know when you leave I'll never see you again. I'm hoping that with this you'll be able to remember me if you end up far away."

      Jack took Alex's face in his hands and brought it close to kiss it tenderly. "I'll never forget you," he said once he released him, "with the Defender as my witness I swear that no matter how far I am, I'll remember you, and that if I have to leave you, we'll be together again." Alex looked at him, his eyes wet, and wrapped his arms around his neck, kissing him passionately. "How about we go back home?" Jack whispered to him after the kiss.

      * * * * *

      Alex stood in the bathroom wearing a blindfold Jack had bought on their way back, although Alex hadn't seen what it was until he stood there at his lover's request and he took it out of the bag.

      Jack moved behind him and hugged him, "You're sure you're ok with this?" he asked, wanting to make she he wasn't pressuring Alex into it.

      "I trust you," was all Alex gave as a response.

      Jack kissed the nape of his neck as he undid the human's shirt. Once it was removed and hung on the door handle he lightly caressed his skin with his fingers, making him shiver. Jack didn't hurry, he explored every inch of Alex's chest and arms with his finger before moving them down to undo the fastener on his pants. He could smell Alex's arousal as he pulled them down.

      On his knees after sending the pants against the door he caressed Alex's feet, tracing the edge of his toes, his heel and ankles as he slowly moved up. He didn't touch Alex's manhood, no matter how inviting it looked, His fingers moved away from the inside of his thighs as he got close to it, going instead to explore his ass.

      When he stepped away from him Jack could tell Alex was surprised. He stood a few feet away and admired the human's body, his skin was light, a sign that it wasn't exposed to much sun. Unlike his specie's fur, which became lighter the more sun exposure it got, human skin became darker. Alex's muscles weren't very developed, but they were visible.

      Jack got out of his pants, took off the projector Alex gave him and turned on the shower; it only took a second for it to get to the preset temperature. He moved Alex under the jet, making him gasp as the water hit his sensitized skin; it was a little colder than Alex preferred and warmer than Jack liked, but they had agreed they could both manage having it at this temperature.

      He got himself and Alex wet. He turned off the water and then soaped him up with the fragrant soap he found in the same story he'd bought the blindfold. The smell was suppose to make them more sexually excited; that wasn't needed, but the scent reminded him of the wet earth back home, early in the morning.

      Once Alex was covered with soap he gave him the bar and placed the human's hands on his chest so he could dig his fingers through his fur. Alex got the message and lathered Jack. The soap suds quickly turned pink, but Alex couldn't see that, and the soap's scent covered the smell of the blood even to Jack's nose.

      Alex took his time soaping Jack up, moving his hand by touch, and taking full advantage of the excuse blindness gave him. When he was done Jack turned the shower on again, directing the jet at himself to protect Alex from the cold water as it warmed up. Then he pulled him under so they could rinse the soap off.

      When the water at disappearing down the drain was no longer pink he held Alex against him and let the water run over them. "I love you," Jack whispered to the human, before demonstrating it to him.

      * * * * *

      Tristan walked through the booth of the Ilomare Square. Most of them were still open even this late at night, but the traffic was much lighter. Alex was sleeping; after their love session in the shower he had given him a drink laced with a sleeping agent. He wouldn't be waking up until the morning.

      Tristan was carrying a box on a shoulder, it was mostly empty at the moment, but it wasn't going to be for long. He took the long way to the alley so he could make sure no one was following him. At the end of the alley he unsealed the box and took out a one piece jumpsuit which he put on, it was the type that had gloves as part of it. It also had a hood with a clear face protector.

      He pulled his assailant's body from where he'd hidden it and dropped it next to the box. From the box he took a large knife; the edge of the blade was thin enough to slice between the molecules, allowing it to cut virtually anything. He would have preferred using a laser edge since it would cauterize the cuts as he made them, but in the darkened alley the light would attract attention.

      He made quick work of the body, cutting at he joint to make it easier, there was only so much reinforcement ligatures could take before losing the flexibility they needed to function. Cut, the body fit nicely in the three feet cube. Tristan removed the jumpsuit, turning it inside out in the process to ensure none of the splattered blood would get on his fur and threw it in the box. Once the knife was in he sealed it.

      He walked out of the Square and took a lift near the industrial sector. It was simple for him to unlock a door to one of the automated foundry; no one liked to come here, even to do maintenance. The heat hit him like a fist but he forced himself in; without living beings working here there was no need for heavy safeguards. Fortunately he didn't have to go far, the end of the walkway looked down into a large vat of molten metal, maybe one kilometer down.

      He threw the box in and exited, leaning back against the door in the comparatively cool air. That was one problem dealt with. The heat would burn off anything organic and melt what ever he had been reinforced with. At worst the next batch to come out would be impure, but they would have no way to know where it came from.

      Another lift got him to where the supplies he needed were and then he walked to Harry's laboratory. The place was locked, but that barely slowed him down, Juriken Industry locks were better than most, but they weren't a match for him. Harry was someone who was too comfortable in the security the people he knew afforded him.

      The interior didn't have much security, like a lot of criminals Harry didn't like leaving proof of what he did, so he didn't have cameras. Another JI lock tried to stop Tristan from entering the laboratory. Once inside he went directly to the decontamination chamber linking Harry's Gene laboratory to the rest.

      It was a sealed unit, only one of the doors could be opened at a time. The decontamination cycle took twenty seconds; Tristan had found himself calculating it during his two visits. While it was running both doors locked and sealed themselves; and the cycle had to be run in both direction, Harry wouldn't want to bring something from the outside to contaminate his experiments. Like the transparent walls surrounding the Gene Laboratory the chamber was made of a clear alloy able to withstand explosions; it could survive a larger yield than what he was planning on using to kill Harry.

      He opened the lock mechanism and installed a small transmitter on it. It was programmed to transmit ten second after the decontamination cycle was started. He opened the door and lifted the chamber's floor. The grill covered the decontamination equipment and was the only part that wasn't clear. He nestled half the explosive he brought between the components and attached the receiver to it. He placed the floor back and closed door.

      Come morning someone else who had betrayed him would die.

      Tristan reset the locks as he left the building and went back to Alex's bed.

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