Looking For Loafers
Calling Wufei had been a good idea. He'd been eager to help. Honest desire or guilt, I didn't care. All that mattered was that he told me he'd personally alert port security. There was no doubt in my mind he meant to stay sentinel himself too. He's not the sort that trusts others with work that matters too much to him.
It wasn't as if the job was all that tough. This colony only has one spacedock for people, except in emergency evac times. Of course, there are always the semiautomatic transport hauls from various ports in the colony hull; food, air, water and other raw materials inbound, waste and the occasional manufactured good outbound. Most sane people wouldn't think about being a stowaway, though. That works fine with rail cars and ocean liners, and perhaps you'd even survive in the wheel bay of a jet plane - but space barges are different. Cargo hulls aren't always pressurized or air-flooded. Without at least a suit, it'd be crazy - and even with one, you don't know whether your chosen ship is heading for the next colony or Mars, and you'd like to keep breathing until you arrive.
Of course, I knew Heero had hitched rides like that before. Hell, I'd done it myself. It was really a miracle we were both still alive.
What sucked about calling Wufei was that he'd reminded me of something, much to my regret. What Heero was probably out looking for now, he didn't have to go off-colony to find.
What had surprised me was that Wufei apologized. He didn't say what for, and I didn't ask. It felt strangely nice that he did, even though I'd no idea what he had done. Whatever mistakes he'd done didn't register compared to my own.
If only I hadn't kissed Heero...
...but that would only have delayed my finding out. His poker face leaves a lot to be desired - at least to me.
The real trouble now was helping someone who didn't want help - someone who probably hated my guts for knowing their failure. Someone who loved me.
Or at least had, up to that point.
Either way, finding him would be a good start. Wringing his arm to bring him home was the next step. I feared that would be a lot easier than it ought to be.
Hilde and I had split up, dividing the colony between us. We knew all the best hiding spots, the nicest places to get lost, space out - get plastered. Up to Heero's arrival, we weren't foreign to the idea of a beer or three in good company.
It's only a faint memory now.
For each step I took, I kept hoping my cell phone would ring - that Wufei had grabbed Heero as he boarded a shuttle, that Hilde had met him at the small corner coffee shop on Tuesday and Fourth, that he'd found a payphone and wanted to talk.
Colony night was descending, and I adjusted the collar of my coat. I entered another bar, thoroughly undecided whether I wanted to find him right then and there.
I didn't want to consider worse options.