Chapter 37

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"Robin Lang? That's my name?" Captain rolled the words around in his mouth as if tasting the sound of them.

"Yes. Does it sound familiar?" Young couldn't help asking.

Lang shook his head regretfully. Martinez was still staring at him as if he couldn't believe his eyes. Lang decided he really needed to talk to him, here was someone who had evidently known him well, unlike the Colonel.

He realised he had been coasting for the last few days, ever since he woke up in fact. Letting other people make decisions for him. He had a sudden feeling that this was unlike him, that he was used to being decisive, taking control of himself and others under his command.

He decided it was time to assert himself. "Colonel? Would you mind leaving us alone? I think Captain Martinez and I might have a lot to talk about."

Young hesitated for a moment. Leaving it for Lang to remember by himself hadn't worked, maybe it was time to let him hear just what he had been involved in. "Alright, but make sure you see me before you leave!" he ordered Martinez.

Colonel Young went out, leaving both men staring at each other. Robin Lang saw a man maybe ten years younger than himself, a fit, compact body, intelligent brown eyes still wide with wary surprise. Although he didn't recognise either the name or the face, there was something about Martinez that ... hmm.

Juan Martinez felt as if his brain had been fried. He was struggling to come to terms with what he was seeing. He couldn't help himself, he reached out and touched Lang's shoulder, making sure he was really there, alive, and not an illusion. True, his hair was now silver grey instead of a dark blond, but the man in front of him was definitely Robin Lang, not an imposter as had been his second wild thought or a bizarrely animated corpse, which had been his first!

He sank down on the edge of the bed. "I'm sorry, I still can't quite believe this. Last time I saw you I could have sworn you were dead! You weren't breathing, I couldn't find a pulse. I called the medics to take away your body for god's sake!"

Lang leant forward, blue eyes fixed intently on the other man. "Tell me what happened! Please! I've asked Colonel Young and he couldn't, or wouldn't, tell me. I really need to know."

Martinez opened his mouth then flushed suddenly as he realised how incredibly awkward this was. How could he tell him about the blackmail, that he'd been prepared to take his own life rather than face exposure?

That the last time they'd met, Lang had pulled a weapon on him?

However, before he could think where to start, Lang spoke again, his voice softly intense. "Can I ask you something first? Please don't be offended, but were we ... were we lovers?"

The blank look of absolute astonishment on Martinez' face gave him his answer. "So that would be a 'no' then? I'm sorry, there's just something about you that ..."

"What on Earth do you mean? I'm not homosexual!" Martinez exclaimed. He got quickly to his feet, away from the bed, and started pacing up and down, his face bright red. "I didn't even know you were, until a week ago!"

"I'm sorry!" Lang apologised again. "I just thought for a moment ... I could almost remember ... something about your lips-" He stopped abruptly. If Martinez got any redder he might burst. "Sorry, my mistake! Forgive me." He changed the subject hastily. "You were saying?"

Martinez took a few breaths to get himself under control. He made a huge effort not to cover his lips with his hand. "I'm not sure where to start! We certainly didn't have a personal relationship! Other than colleagues, I suppose. You were involved in one of my cases." He paused, "You really don't remember any of this?"

Lang shook his head, looking earnestly at Martinez. The other man swallowed and continued.

"You were, uh, being blackmailed. I came to see you with a copy of the blackmail material and, uh, you took your own life rather than face anyone else knowing about it."

"I what?"

"You shot yourself, in the head, with a stunner. Set on 'kill'."

Lang looked at him in disbelief. "You're not just saying that to pay me back for asking you-?"

"No!" Martinez interrupted firmly. "You committed suicide. Or rather, you attempted to."

Lang shook his head, "I'm sorry, this all seems so surreal." He tried to smile, "So, the blackmail material must have been pretty bad then. What did I do? Was it criminal?"

"No. It was ..." There was no point trying to be tactful. "Well to be honest, it was pornographic, you were having sex with another man."

"Oh," Lang looked relieved. "You scared me there for a moment. That's not so bad, surely? Embarrassing maybe, a breach of privacy, but ... " He looked puzzled. "I don't understand. I'm an om. Why would that make me try to kill myself?"

Martinez looked away for a moment, "It wasn't just having sex, it was sadomasochistic."

"Ah." For the first time Lang felt that maybe losing his memory wasn't entirely a bad thing. He could see that Martinez was incredibly uncomfortable talking to him about this. "Captain? Please don't worry about upsetting or offending me. Honestly, it just doesn't seem real. It all sounds like you're talking about someone else entirely. Please sit down again and tell me the whole story, pretend you're making a report if that makes it any easier."

Captain Martinez ran a hand through his hair. "Alright, I'm just not sure where to start. What has Colonel Young told you?" He sat down again on the edge of the bed.

"Well, I know I am, or was, I suppose, the Police Captain in Huan. The Colonel has given me a lot of information about the specific cases I was working on, trying to help me remember. I know he was hoping I'd be able to help him with evidence to bring down a disreputable business man, Ron Pearce, but it's all a complete blank." He shrugged his shoulders.

Martinez nodded. "That's the case I'm working on at the moment, the one you're involved with. I suspect Pearce was either about to blackmail you or had already done so. What I don't know, is why. I mean, sure as Police Chief you would have been valuable to him but I have a feeling it's more than that. I think there's something specific that has happened or is going to happen in Huan that you would be in a position to influence his way."

Lang found himself nodding in agreement, that sounded plausible. Martinez continued.

"You're the one who actually discovered the connection between Pearce and the blackmail. Apparently Pearce and Rossi knew each other. Rossi is the other man with you in the sex recording," he explained. "They knew each other well enough in any event to collaborate in attempting to rape Max. You discovered that Rossi was involved in that and confronted him, made him tell you about Pearce."

"So what does this man Rossi have to say for himself now?"

Martinez gave him a funny look. "Unfortunately he died, resisting arrest."

"You mean I killed him?" Lang was startled. He wondered why he didn't feel more distressed. He supposed he and Rossi must have been lovers, although he certainly didn't sound like someone he would have even liked! How could he not remember killing his lover?

"Yes, I think you were furious with him for attacking Max and using you at the same time-"

"I'm sorry, but you keep talking about Max," he interrupted apologetically, feeling thoroughly confused. "Who is he, exactly?"

"Your son. Max Lang." Martinez had thought he had already received enough shocks for one day but this one blew him away. He knew Colonel Young had a reputation for being task oriented and oblivious to the personal, but surely the first thing he should have talked to Lang about was his son.

Another thought occurred to him. Did Max Lang even know his father was still alive?

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