The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book VI
Magi at Work

Chapter 12

© The author reserves all rights to this work.


This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.

NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.

Datte: 7 September 2674, Monday

“Hi Charlie,” said Jacques with a grin. He knew Brin never liked to be called that. However, there were many other people around who did not know that Brin was a magus.

“Good morning, Mr. Robinson,” said Brin. His use of the formal address indicated his irritation with Jacques.

“Sorry,” apologised Jacques.

“Please come into my office, Charles and Jacques!” called out Jorg on the intercom.

The two walked into Jorg’s office and joined Heath who was already there.

“I called you in to update you on the Stephanie and Mark situation. There’re some good news and some bad news,” said Jorg as Brin and Jacques took their seats. “The good news is that Mark has managed to hand up his dissertation. He was supposed to finish it and hand it in by the end of October. He seems to have recovered well enough to push himself in his studies. By remaining focused, he was able to finish ahead of time. Initial observations indicate that he will make it through is Masters programme. The bad news is that he has applied for a position on the cruise ship. There’re only two applicants for the job and even without the Masters, he’s definitely the better qualified.”

“Why’s it bad news?” asked Jacques.

“He’s applied for the assistant cruise director’s job.”

“So he’s going to be my assistant? So?”

“First, he’s probably going to be in close contact with you and your family during the maiden cruise. I don’t know if he has an ulterior motive for applying for the job. He has better offers Earth-side, of course, but why did he apply for this job when there’re better offers? Is he using the job as a way to get back together with Stephanie? As far as I know, Stephanie has ignored him or avoided him. With him on the cruise ship with her, it’ll be a perfect opportunity for him to get Stephanie into a corner,” said Jorg.

“Furthermore, isn’t the fact that he’s going to be so close with you going to be a problem for you, Heath?” asked Brin.

“You told him?” Jacques asked Jorg.

“No, I did,” admitted Heath. “I told Brin that he was your first love.” Turning to Brin, he answered, “No. It’s not going to be a big problem. If I do feel jealous or uncomfortable, I’ll tell Jacques. I think we’re both adult enough to talk about our feelings and find a way to handle them. I trust Jacques.”

“Can we trust Mark to be a good assistant?” interjected Jorg. “Personal matters aside, this bears very heavily on the real purpose of the ship.”

“I thought we were going to man the craft with magi?” asked Jacques.

“I wish I could. Concentrating the craft with magi might raise many questions and make things more difficult. The ship’ll definitely be monitored by whoever’s been trying to eavesdrop. Furthermore, the presence of magi is not of the utmost importance. The presence of Frank Robinson on the ship, for the first voyage, is going to be more important,” explained Jorg. “But let’s come back to the problem with Mark Keith. All logic tells me that I should get the company to employ him. Yet part of me wants to make sure that he doesn’t have an ulterior motive.”

“Why don’t we get both people on board the ship?” suggested Heath. “Hear me out first,” he said as he could sense that Jorg was going to object. “Put both under probation. Mark can take the position of assistant cruise director and the other in some other position. If Mark doesn’t cut it after the training tour then we’ll drop him and the other takes up the position. If Mark does come through as being authentic, he can continue.”

Jorg smiled. What Heath had proposed had merit. All they had to do was to make sure that the contract for the probation covered all the possible legal liabilities. “That’s a fantastic idea. We won’t need to waste too much time nor do a double training session. The other applicant will already be trained in the emergency procedures even if Mark doesn’t cut it.”

“Who is the other applicant anyway,” asked Jacques.

“You’ve all met him. It’s Kean, Kean Feehan.”

“Wow, Heath. Another run for your money. Wasn’t he the one who wanted to know how hot Jacques was. Either way, you ought to be concerned,” Brin remarked.

“Well, Dr. Brown,” teased Heath to Brin in an aloof manner, “You do seem to think quite a bit about my welfare. I wonder … is there a reason for this concern over the safety of my relationship? Maybe, we just need to get you a boyfriend. I’m already taken, thank you and I’m sure Kean is also unavailable.”

Jacques noticed Jorg’s face tense just a little when Heath mentioned that Kean was unavailable. He wondered … He knew that if it was his place to know, Heath will tell him eventually.

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 8 September 2674, Tuesday

There was an alert tone on Michael Brown’s communicator. Michael Brown was the identity assumed by Jorg in his dealings with the human world. When Jorg answered, he was pleasantly surprised with the picture of his editor friend, Tom Young. Michael Brown had been a free-lance journalist of Tom’s magazine, the Single Person magazine. Michael had tendered his resignation after two years of work to join Titan Tours.

“Good to see you, Mike,” said Tom.

“Good to see you too, Tom.”

“I’ll get to the point. We have a problem here at the mag and we need your help.”

“What’s the matter?”

“As you know, your articles in the mag had given an increased readership of our magazine. What you probably didn’t know was that most of the other editors used your articles as a reference point for their material. Well, since you left a year ago, there’s been a void.”

“You give me too much credit, Tom,” said Jorg though he knew it was true.

“No, there’s no insincerity here. It took some of the other editors to acknowledge the truth but it’s come to this. If we don’t get you back on our team, the mag may’ve to fold up,” Tom said.

“You know that I’d just taken up this job with Titan Tours. Though it isn’t a writing job, it gives me an opportunity to travel. I don’t think I could leave the job.”

“We’re not asking you to leave the job. We’re asking you to be kinda like our consultant. We’ll pay you for your ideas.”

“That brings me into direct conflict with my contract. I can’t be employed by another company without forfeiting my present job,” explained Jorg.

“Mike, we’re in dire straits here. We’re willing to offer almost anything. Reduced ad rates, et cetra. Just say you’ll think about it,” said Tom in quite a desperate voice.

Jorg noticed Tom’s pallor. It was not as healthy as he was twelve months ago. It would seem that the magazine was really in trouble.

“Okay, Tom. I’ll think about it. I’ll call you in four days time to see what I can do.”

“Thanks very much Mike. The mag owes you.”

“Well, it’s not a done deal yet. Save the thanks for after the goods are delivered.”

“No problem. Bye.”


§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 10 September 2674, Thursday

Heath and Jacques were at the entrance booth of the Robinson’s apartment building. They were making their weekly visit to the Robinson household. Due to the little crisis with Stephanie and Mark, Jacques had not been back for a few weeks.

“Hi Jacques,” greeted Geraldine, Jacques’ mother, with a hug.

Ciao Mama!” Jacques greeted, smiling at his mother.

Geraldine gave Heath a hug too as she greeted him, “Hi Heath, I’m so glad you’re here.”

“Hi there … Mama,” greeted Heath. He was still quite uncomfortable calling Geraldine Mama. Geraldine had insisted that Heath call her Mama too, instead of Mrs. Robinson. “So that,” Geraldine explained after they told her their relationship, “when the both of you decide to get married, you’ll be used to calling me!”

With Jacques in one arm and Heath in the other, Geraldine brought the guys into Frank’s den where the present Head of the Astro-engineering Department of the Uranus University was busy trying to finish some calculations.

Frank looked up and saw his wife with the two men and smiled. “Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?” he teased his wife.

“I am, aren’t I?” she replied. “I wish I could’ve strolled down the steps at the university convocation like that. I could’ve started some tongues wagging and then write a paper on the psychology of idle university professors!” she laughed.

Frank also laughed. Then he went back to his calculations for a brief moment before he looked back up and said, “Sorry. I just have to finish these calculations. If not I’d be distracted all through dinner. Just give me ten minutes at the most and then I’m done.”

*Dad’s always like that,* a thought went from Jacques to Heath.

*I can understand how he feels. Sometimes I find that I’ve to give you a kiss before we get out of bed or else the day becomes very distracting.*

Jacques started to blush. Geraldine noticed the sudden redness coming over Jacques’ face and asked, “What’s the matter?”

Heath started to laugh. He said, “I’m sorry, I signalled to him that his zipper’s undone. He must have found it difficult to get the zipper up with you holding his arm like that.”

When Geraldine had turned back to Jacques, he had already freed himself and was pretending to zip up his jeans.

*I’ll get you for this,* he sent another thought to Heath.

*Had to do something fast to explain your blushing, you know?* Heath replied.

Geraldine left the room with a smile and went to the kitchen to get the food ready. Frank took about another five minutes to get his work done and started small talk with Jacques and Heath. The chatting revolved around the new ship that Jacques and Heath were to be working on.

During dinner, Geraldine sprang some surprising news.

“I received a AV message from Stef this morning.”

“How’s my little girl?” asked Frank.

“She’s not so little anymore,” Jacques said.

“I never call her that when she’s around,” said Frank with a chuckle. “I know how much it annoys her.”

“Well,” said Geraldine, “she wishes everyone, including Jacques and Heath. She’s finishing her basic degree and wants to continue studying here on Uranus instead. She said that she was homesick.”

Jacques and Heath looked at each other, sending mental messages.

*I think she’s trying to avoid seeing Mark,* suggested Heath

*Maybe Mark found out. That’s why he’s coming to work for us,* counter-suggested Jacques.

“… anyway I asked about Mark and she said that they’ve broken up,” said Geraldine matter-of-factly.

“How could she?!” exclaimed Lelia. “Mark loved her dearly.”

“Wait a minute,” Jacques asked his sister, “What makes you think that she broke up with Mark? It could’ve been the other way round. Mark could’ve broken off with her.”

“No,” said Lelia emphatically, “Mark worships the ground she walks on. C’mon Jacques, you know as well as I do, Mark loves her deeply.”

“Why don’t we ask her when she comes home?” asked eleven-year old Chiara.

“Chiara’s right. We should get it from the horse’s mouth,” said Frank.

“No one should ask her,” stated Geraldine firmly. “I don’t think we can just come out and ask her something that is very delicate. If she was the injured party, you’d be opening up her emotional wounds afresh before they were healed. I’m sure she’ll tell us when she’s ready.”

That topic brought about a small pause in the conversation during dinner. Both Heath and Jacques could not say anything regarding the matter at all.

¤ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ¤

Jorg sat at his terminal waiting for Tom Young to answer his communication.

Tom’s face lighted up when he saw Jorg. “Good evening Mike. It’s about time. I was about to give up seeing you again.”

“Well, I talked with management regarding the proposal you had. They decided that I could write an article or two per month and that a discounted ad would be a good idea. They also ask that you acknowledge my position as Captain when you publish the articles.”

“That’s great! It’s even better than what we’ve been expecting!”

“Get your people to contact our people. Titan Management wants to discuss contract terms.”

“Thanks Mike.”

“No thanks needed. The mag was home for me for two years after all,” Jorg said with a smile.

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