Jor stood at the window and looked down at the face of Mars. It was coming closer. Closer, closer, closer, until he could see the Lifedomes on it.
He turned away and sat back in his seat. The other passengers stayed there, their noses pressed to the window, excited about seeing Mars in close up for the very first time. Jor was not so excited about the planet as the opportunities to be found there.
A whole new world!
A whole new world that he never knew, to quote that old song he had heard once. A whole new world to introduce his art to.
He smiled at the thought.
A whole new world of decadence, of people to burn, to maim, to kill, to make art of. Oh, it would be beautiful.
Maybe he would even grant someone on the shuttle the gift of being immortalized in his art. Maybe the girl who sat next to him with the nice smile. Yes. He would make art of her.
He smiled at her when she sat down next to him again.
“First time to Mars?”
“Yes” she smiled at him “Its so exciting! How about you?”
He smiled back “Same here”
“Then why weren’t you at the windows for longer?”
“Because I’m thinking about the future. Thinking about what I’m going to do when I get to Mars”
“And whats that?”
“I’m going to start a new life. I want to open a little store and run it. Maybe a bakery. I enjoy baking”
“Really? Thats so nice”
“Yes, I think so too. What are you going to do?”
“I’m going there to perform”
“Yes. I’m Naci Mallar, the singer. You didn’t recognize me?”
“No, I didn’t. I don’t pay much attention to what artists looks like; I figure it is their art that defines them. But I must say, I love your work”
“Thank you. Why do you say that about artists? I don’t disagree, I’m just interested”
“Well, being an artist myself I feel that what we leave behind, our legacy, our art, is what really defines us. That is what people will remember us for, and what they will remember us as. I don’t mean to be harsh, but when you are dead and gone people will not remember your face. They will listen to your music though, and remember the tune, the lyrics, the meaning of the words, the feelings that they evoke in them. The same as myself; when I am dead people will remember me by my art”
“Wow. That’s very deep…”
“Jor Cathen” They shook hands, and Jor smiled at her again. But he would not kill her. Not because she was another artist but because he really did enjoy her work. he did not want to have to stop enjoying it.
Her hand lingered on his for a moment longer than necessary before she let go.
“Its so refreshing to meet someone who doesn’t know who I am. You have no idea. But enough about me; what type of art to you make?”
“A lot of my art is very personal; I make it as a release , to try and free parts of myself. However I also paint. I had to leave my paintings behind for the most part when I came. I left them with what family I have left”
“Thats so sad! Maybe I can give you some money to have them brought over”
“Oh no. I don’t accept money from others. I only take what I earn I don’t want to grow dependent”
“You are a very interesting man Jor Cathen. Maybe we can talk again later? On Mars I mean”
“Of course, if you want to associate with a plebeian like myself”
“To be honest I prefer ‘normal’ people to the rich and high society. Especially someone like you who doesn’t treat me like I am famous. Like I said, its refreshing”
“Its a date then”
The sniper sat up in bed sweating. The sheets were tangled around him and the room was dark.
Harsh lights flashed on, making the car seem washed out and grey. It was still empty except for him, and he lay back down breathing heavily. He was still here. He was not back then. He was not sure if it was a relief or something to be sad about. He lay there, panting for breath.
It had been...years. Years since he had thought about Naci, much less had a vivid dream like he just had.
“Mother of god, it was like I sitting there once again, just, sitting on that goddamned shuttle going down to Mars. What the hell is wrong with me?”
He got up and rubbed his hands through his hair as he walked to the small built in steamer. he turned it up to max and stepped in, letting the warm damp air wash over him, wash off the sweat and dirt.
“Its like I was there again”
The hunt for the artist must have really been getting to him. Just the fact that he was hunting an artist, someone like him, made it harder than any other job he had ever done, even from before the Arcernment had caught him.
“What is happening to me?”
He shook his head, and got out of the steamer. It was earlier than he usually rose, but he had nothing else to do.
He picked up the pieces of his rifle and began to clean them once more before beginning his hunt.
The artist felt a twitching in her leg. She was awake instantly, alert for danger before she remembered where she was.
She had had a deep dreamless sleep, but one full of pain. Her leg reknitting had not been pleasant. But it was mostly done now.
That twinge again. It could just be the final work, or it could be something wrong.
She crawled out of the cubby and tried to stand. Her left leg gave out with another twinge and she fell. She dragged herself back to the wall and tried to massage feeling into it.