Chapter 11

“No Darius!” Alexandria pushed Darius onto his back for the hundredth time. The foursome had found a tumbledown shed on the outskirts of the urban area. Macca's fumes weren't quite as strong here, and the haze over the town was starting to lift of it's own accord.
Bowles had given the foxtrot up as a bad job and was now lying flat on his back, legs akimbo, snoring like a dying bison. Val was sitting propped up against the wall, quietly trying to drift through the effects of the air-born drugs.

“Just give him one and have done with it.” Val laughed, her eyes still closed.

“Isn't he hard work?” Alexandria smiled and poked Darius in the chin. He grinned up at her stupidly. “You would not believe how different he really is, Val. This is a man who gets flustered if he's not wearing socks in his own house and I'm there.”

“I can't help it!” Darius whimpered. “You're gorgeous.”

“Do you know that you have complete memory retention after a trip on cocholi Z?” Alexandria let Darius keep his arm at her waist. “You're going to remember every little bit of this.”

“Pfft! Don't care.” Darius nuzzled into her neck.

“Sleep it off Darius.” Alexandria stroked the back of his head. “Why did you come here? You silly, silly man.” She whispered. “It hasn't changed, has it? I still don't belong anywhere.”

“What you going to do?” Val asked.

“Bugger knows.” Alexandria exhaled noisily. “If this lot get caught smuggling me back, they'll all be for the high jump.”

“Well you can't be considering going back there to all that shite.” Val nodded towards the town. “This lot can think for themselves. No one made them come for you. Ah you'll sort it girl, you always do, and then you can come back for us lot.” Val smiled. “I'm sure Barney would cheer Big Lad here up no end.” Bowles muttered in his sleep, right on cue. “Or he could use the little shit as target practice.”

“What would you do, Val? If you could have any job in the system, what would you do? Darius asked me that when I first met him.” Alexandria smiled and ruffled his hair gently. “I said I wanted a job in the Military canteen because I was starving.”

“I wouldn't want a job on the Major Sector.” Val shrugged. “We have a Sector right here. I know it's a dump but it shouldn't be. If we had backing and help it could be run properly. No, I don't want a paid job, Alexandria. I want a home on Chipper Street. A house to myself, not just a room with ten other people. I want a fine strong man who loves me and looks after me. I'd have the house clean and loads of food ready for him coming in from work and I could have a hot bath, with soap, every day. I'd have a son called Mikey and a daughter called Jodie and a soft pink carpet.” Val smiled and Alexandria was almost in tears. All poor Val wanted was the only thing she'd never had in her life. Love.

“I'm going to get on the Government.” She nodded firmly. “Oh yes I am! I'll start with the Board of Agriculture and make more turbines. The Board of Trade and Commerce! I can swear in seven languages, Val! I'll get on every damned Board I can and I'll order then to legalise this dump. I'll make them take the Minor Sector into their own jurisdiction just like they did with Diatrix when it's economy collapsed. I'll send police and food and councillors and advisers. I'll build a bloody turbine on every corner and I'll write instructions on how to use them. I'll build roads and schools and hospitals and decent houses. I'll convert that big corner one on Chipper Street, Val, and I'll carpet the whole thing in pink for you and your husband and kids.” Alexandria paused for breath. “I can do it, Val. All I need is a chance. A second chance.” She kissed the top of Darius' head.

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