Suvan took me deeper into the building until we found a stairway that lead downward. A quick life scan told me that we were not alone an it had simply been Suvan’s turn to scan the person who entered the door. I followed with a little apprehension even though this was another branch of the Institute, the culture of the planet was different from Aurora and so the Institute’s character reflected that culture to a point. When I finally arrived at the leadership of this particular branch of the Institute, I was not really surprised to find that the leadership council was all male.
I really had no authority in the Institute at all, in fact I still was not sure how exactly they had their leadership structured in general. My job today was to just deliver the portable storage device about the rogue psionic and leave. I really did not like the culture of this planet at all and I was anxious to get back to the starport and back on the Sabine Hawker. The men looked at me with eyes that told the story of not liking independent women. I didn’t say a word but put the device on the table in front of the guy in the center. He picked it up and handed it to the guy behind him and told him to look at it and give him the data. He then pulled out small tube which I had seen before that holds rolled up credit notes. I picked it up and looked at it. I smiled behind my mask and then took the tube and slipped it deep into my cleavage while bending over slightly. The shocked look on their faces was worth it. I then turned on my heel and walked out wiggling my ass hard.
Suvan joined back to my side and I could hear her muffled giggling under her mask. I smiled under mine knowing that this little incident with the foreign woman would be the talk of this branch of the Institute for a couple of months if not longer. Those scavenger bastards deserved it. If there is one thing that psionic powers should tell us is that things like our sex and other factors we are simply given at birth should not be cause for us to think more highly of ourselves than others that do not have those features. When we got out of earshot Suvan spoke.
“My lady, you have shown me something I never thought I would see. The men of the Institute with mouths open over the sexuality of a woman. Bravo.”
“Name’s Ayn. Ayn Jones. I must confess Suvan, I hate this planet. I may be a woman but that does not mean I am lesser or greater than a man.”
“I know but the dictator will not have it any other way. It is how he keeps power. The Institute has no cause to love him. Have you ever heard of a planet where the opposite is true?”
“Actually, yes. There is female dominated planet on the other side of the subsector. Just as bad and nasty in my opinion.”
“Interesting. So you believe true equality should be strived for?”
“Absolutely. The great temptation is to think that your sex or race would be the best in being in charge. Sorry, humans whether male or female need each other not only to survive but prosper. We have evolved or are designed or whatever to compliment each other to that end. Besides I never gotten respect by disrespecting others.”
“So you like to travel, have you ever seen this equality of which you speak?”
“A couple of places. Aurora for one, but also a few other smaller systems where true survival is a priority.”
“I would someday like to see these places.”
“How likely is that?”
“Well, I am a widow right now. If I left though I would have to leave secretly and silently and not look back. I am sure my former husband’s brother wants me for his second wife. My time of mourning is almost over.”
“Best do it now or it might never happen. Gather up as much money as you can and get to the starport. Do a low berth in cold sleep if you have to.”
We walked in silence after that as we were approaching the entrance.
“Do not worry Ayn Jones. Five brothers and sisters will follow you back to the starport to make sure you are not followed.”
“Thank you, Suvan.”
She then hugged me which I thought was odd seeing I never had seen a woman on Preston touch anyone in public. I then began the commute home. I felt the others following me and it actually gave me some comfort that I could worry less about being tailed. I arrived at the starport, turned in my head wraps and breathing mask. I then made my way through customs which was actually much easier than getting through to be on planet. I then made my way to the ship and had to wait while some of the supplies had been delivered so I opened the cargo airlock and dropped the gangplank. It took about fifteen minutes for the robots to load the supplies. I then closed things up again and sealed all the airlock. I did a security scan and it was clear. I then did a life detection sweep and I sensed something in the cargo bay. I pulled my body pistol but I went to my stateroom from the bridge and picked up my father’s auto loader and my blade. I then made my way back to the cargo hold.
I glanced around the cargo bay but did not see anything at first. Then I saw one of the crates had been opened. The electronic lock was blinking. I readied myself and hit the open button. The door to the crate slid open and I saw a black figure with two eyes, one brown and the other blue, staring back at me. I lowered my gun.
“Suvan, what are you doing here?”
“You are right, I must leave now. I have no money Ayn Jones, my husband’s brother has it all now. Where ever you are going, I want to go with you.”