Jor crawled out of the end of the tunnel. He stood, stretching, and looked around the outskirts of the town. New Toronto. Funny how the town was essentially called New York.
His survey done he broke into a jog. He could head back to his house and find Naci, but then he put her at risk. Or, he could leave her, forget about her, and flee, take the supplies he had hidden out here.
Or, he could get the supplies and tell her to run. Send her a message, tell her that he had to leave, ask her if she wanted to come with him. But he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t do that to her though. He couldn’t ask her to give up her life to run away with him, much as he wanted to.
Because what could he offer her? A life on the run, a life of crime, and fleeing from the enemy, from the government, from everyone who wanted revenge, or yes, justice, for the crimes of the Butcher of New Folsom. He would bring her only pain. Better to just leave.
But then what about Callion? He had to know about her. He had to know that he had feelings for her, or at least that she would be able to tell Callion where to find him. He would have to risk it. Callion would not assault someone as popular as Naci; many of his subordinates would revolt in doing it. Naci was safe.
He jogged around the outskirts among the stunted plants that new grew. Every now and then he would stop, and check markings on trees, on the ground. He found the first bit beneath one of the terra-trees. His old weapons, complete with knives and pistol.
The next piece, some generic survival gear he dug out from under a condenser outflow pipe. It included a backpack, all weather gear, especially important on Mars, rations, and a mini-condenser. He would be able to drink at least.
The last piece, the untraceable credit account and the travel ticket good for any time in the next three years, he pulled out of a collapsed rabbit warren.
He almost laughed. He had forgotten that he had hid it in a rabbit warren. It was no surprise that rabbits were the first to adapt to life on Mars. No surprise at all.
He stowed these in his backpack and strapped his knives to his arms. His pistol rode at his hip. Thus attired he began to run towards the spaceport. He needed to get there before Callion shutdown travel off-planet.
He had no doubt that Callion could do so, so the race was on. He ran, as fast as his legs could take him, powering along, heart thundering in his ears. He had to slow once or twice to catch his breath but he had kept up his running during the years he had spent with Naci and so was able to keep up a good pace, especially because he had always been good at running.
But he was too late.
He slowed when he saw the lights flickering around the spaceport, the searchlights roving, the utter lack of movement. No spaceport was ever that still. Not unless it was shut down.
He swore softly under his breath and ran back into town. So it would come to stealing a groundcar and making for the next town, hoping that Callion would guess wrong, or not catch him before he got away. Slim odds he knew, and he was betting against the house, but he had to hope.
The town was quiet as he jogged along the streets. Quiet than usual for that time of morning, but people were still getting up, moving about.
He spied a woman walking towards her groundcar, keys taken out. He charged.
He slammed into her, and she went flying. He dove, and caught her before she hit the ground.
“So sorry ma’am” he said as he grabbed her keys “But I have more need of this than you do. Look for a bulletin about abandoned cars from the closest towns” He dropped her and ran back to her car despite her protests. He knew that he would be all over the news before long, and so made the best of his moment of peace.
Five blocks away he pulled into an alley and switched the plates from this car for the ones from the other car in the alley. It wouldn’t hold up against serious investigation, but it would hopefully buy him the time he needed. For now he had the law on his side. But that could all change in a moment.
Jor sighed, and rested his head on the wheel. What was he doing? Running away?
He had had happiness on this planet, in this life. With Naci, with his bakery, with his time here. Was he just going to leave all that behind?
But it was Callion. That demon from his past. That man who had made him kill time and time again. The man who had a criminal empire that spanned the system. How was he going to ever stop him? How could he stand up to him? How could he escape him though?
Jor let out a low moan. No matter where he ran to, Callion could follow. What was the point then? Give up?
No. He sat up straighter, and started the groundcar again. He would escape Callion. He would defeat him if he was caught. He would not live his life forever fearing the spectre of his past. He would become a new man, become who he wanted to be, be who he now was. He would not go back to Callion, would not become the man’s silent killer again, would not become the one who believed that if death was beautiful, if death was made of art that he would be absolved of his sins. He would not be that man again.
“Do you think you have won Callion? Do you think you have me beaten? Think again”
He backed the car out of the alley and drove it down the streets. He could leave the city but would Callion expect that? Callion knew that he favoured the double bluff. Callion himself favoured the double or triple bluff. So it was just a matter of doing what callion least expected.
Callion would expect him to stay in the city and plan for that. Callion would expect him to try and steal a ship and would plan for that. Callion would also likely plan for him trying to get to another city.
So what else was there?
He could go after Callion.
The thought flew through his mind out of nowhere. Could he really do it? Could he go after Callion and win?Well, he may not be able to win, but he could die trying. He would not be a slave to Callion anymore.