Index > Earth
Earth Sweet Home
Copyright © 2001 David E. Rutan
Spencer scanned the numbers on the doors as he walked down the hall of the apartment house. The heat of the hallway made him pull the collar away from his neck. When he found the right door, he paused and tried to stand as straight as possible and pressed the ringer.
After a few moments the door opened to reveal an attractive woman, his own age. "What are you doing here?" she said in a soft voice. She had short brown hair cut just above her shoulders. It accentuated the roundness of her face.
"Megres Kenderra," said Spencer in Kopanset. He tried to look relaxed. She was wearing a white jagged-cut sweatshirt which exposed her midriff. Her legs were covered by black bicycle pants.
"It's Kendra--unless you want me to go back to calling you Spaselopedus."
Spencer winced at hearing his real name after so long. "No it's still Spencer--I guess."
Kenderra patiently stood in the doorway. "Do you want to come in, or did you just forget what I looked like?" Her voice, while quiet, had an authoritative quality to it. Spencer had always found it engaging.
"I guess I could come in--if it's okay."
Kenderra smiled. "Good, I don't want to lose my air conditioning to the hall."
The apartment was large and comfortable. She had decorated it with stylish trappings of the upper class. Kenderra's tastes always were expensive. He took a seat in a straight-backed cane chair with gold-leaf inlays.
"How about something to drink?" she said.
She came from the kitchen and handed him a glass of grape juice. "So what brings you here?"
Spencer sipped from the glass and sat back a bit. "What makes you think I have a purpose in being here?"
She smiled and shook her head. "Well I figure you came to talk because the last time you saw me you had me arrested up on that moonbase."
Spencer bowed his head a moment, then raised it to look at her. "I'll come right to the point," he said, taking another sip. "I want to know how you planned to get off of Earth when you accomplished your mission."
"Mission? What mission?" She smiled. "I'm just a lowly earth-hacker. Remember?"
Spencer sighed and took another sip. He liked grape juice. It was one of the few Earth fruits that reminded him of home.
He continued watching her. Kenderra had a habit of bending over so her shirt would hang down. No doubt she found it useful in getting men to do her bidding in the K.I.T. circles.
"I know you had a plan for getting off Earth when you were done. You were always planning for contingencies, Kendra."
She sipped from her own glass. "Why do you want to know?"
"Just humor me."
Kenderra leaned back in her plush recliner. "I had a small ship--a planet hopper really." She sipped her drink. "It was in orbit, waiting for me to call it down when I needed it."
"What do you mean--was?"
She laughed. "The Earthers found it and brought it down here."
"Do you know where it is?"
She paused a moment. "Why do you want to know?"
Spencer put his empty glass on the round table next to his chair. "I want to protect these people against the incursions from the Koplushian Council. I'm going to unite the separate Earth governments and petition the Eruithairkans to treat it as a sovereign world. I want to keep the K.I.T. out."
Kenderra was brushing at a small grape juice stain on her top. "Sounds pretty ambitious."
"I figure if I show the press a spacecraft beyond Earth's capability, the fear of the unknown will cause them to unite. Then I'll send a signal to the Eruithairkans."
Kenderra chuckled with closed eyes and shook her head slightly. "You're a fool if you think you can succeed."
"Because the K.I.T. will not be stopped by anything if they want to get through--not even an Eruithairkan blockade."
Spencer picked up his glass. He tried to change the subject. "How could you join them? The last I heard you were Observing on one of the corporate worlds in the Nidee sector."
Kenderra frowned for an instant. "First of all I didn't join; I was recruited."
"But surely you see what they're like--it's ruthless."
"You don't understand, Spencer. The K.I.T. does a great service to the Alliance. They protect it from outside influences and keep our civilization on track."
He shook his head. "You're forgetting I got a taste of it's 'great service.' The K.I.T. smothers independent thought and kills Alliance citizens to keep secret the technology of hyperspatial travel."
"Only in extreme cases," said Kenderra. Sometimes it's necessary for the stability of our culture."
Spencer sat forward. "A wise man on Earth once said, 'those who give up freedom for safety deserve neither freedom nor safety.'"
Kenderra rose and took her glass to the kitchen. "I'm not going to try convincing you the K.I.T. is purely altruistic," he heard her say, "but they're not as bad as you think. They care deeply for Koplushia and the Alliance."
Spencer stood up as she entered the room and walked over to her. "Do you see this scar?" He pointed to the spot on his cheek. "I got this from a pair of K.I.T. operatives when I was dumped here. I guess they didn't care so much for me as a Koplushian citizen."
Kenderra's face softened as she touched his left cheek. "You never were much of a fighter. I'm sorry they did that. I'm sure it wasn't intentional."
He looked into her steel-blue eyes. They were as cold as ever, but the touch of her hand was soft and warm. "I'll never understand why they sent you."
Her voice was soft as ever. "It's simple, Spencer. I know you--at least I knew you fifteen years ago. They recruited me after the first agent, Kiprim failed to return."
He realized she was touching his arm and pulled away. "I just need to find your ship and show it to these people."
Kenderra returned to her chair and leaned back in it. How much like a throne it seemed. "I haven't located my ship yet. This government has hidden its location in these primitive computers of theirs. Hacking was always your strong point."
"Judging by your attempt to sabotage Lunacorp's systems, I'd say you were right."
"That wasn't my fault," she said. "I had a virus specifically written for those computers. How was I supposed to know these Earthers change operating systems like undergarments? I had to try and write a new one on the spot. It took me a long time, and then you found me out."
He smiled. "Maybe that's why we did it."
Kenderra pointed a finger at him. "You were behind it, weren't you?"
He nodded. "I've come to recognize the weaknesses in their computers."
"That's good since that's where you'll find out where my ship is. My terminal's in the other room." She tossed her head towards a closed door. "You can use it if you want."
Spencer glanced towards the door she indicated. To him it was a likely location for her bedroom. "No, I'll use the one at my office," he said walking to the door. "I'll let you know when I have something."
* * *
She watched him close the door. Good, she thought. All she needed to do was get him in the ship and take him back to Koplushia.
Kenderra Jesal hated living on Earth among these primitives. only her loyalty to the K.I.T. had kept her from leaving three years ago when she'd arrived. After Agent Kiprim failed to report, the Supervisor decided to send another operative to Earth.
Since Spencer, or Spaselopedus Barinium, had helped the Earthers with their first attempt at hyperspatial travel, it was given as a mission priority to collect him and return him to the Alliance. She activated her dispex implant and called up the file on ex-Observer Spaselopedus Barinium.
It appeared as text visible only to her on the retina of her eye. Most of the information she knew from their association, but sometimes minor details evaded her notice.
They met while in the Observer program, and got along well. Barinium was a name of great esteem on Koplushia, so she felt it was to her advantage to be associated with him. After a few assignments apart, she lost interest and found someone else to pair up with, but Spencer thought they were still together. He didn't take it well when he found out. He eventually faded into the background as their assignments for the Council kept them separated.
He's was a weak man anyway. It was best that she got away from him. But now she needed him. Her strength was in planning, but this job required advanced computer skills. It wasn't unusual for Agents of the K.I.T. to carry operatives for the skills they lacked.