Chapter 38

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Lee left the Qatar without seeing Max again. He wondered how long it would take before he noticed he was missing. Would he be sad, or feel relieved that he had gone? Sometimes he thought he was crazy to hope that they would get back together, maybe he should simply shrug his shoulders and start looking for another man.

The shuttle docked at Capella and he went directly to the local patrol office to introduce himself to Lieutenant Garcia. Garcia showed him around, although he wouldn't actually start work there until the following shift. The work would be primarily street patrols alternating with desk duty; it didn't sound very exciting or adventurous, but Garcia laughed and told him there'd be plenty enough for him to do. Lee was just on his way out, to start looking for an apartment to rent for the month, when he ran into Michael Banner on his way in to Headquarters. They both smiled in surprise and gave each other a friendly hug.

"Why don't you stay with me, until you find somewhere?" Banner invited on the spur of the moment. "I've got plenty of room, at least until Alan gets his transfer. Then I'm hoping he'll move in with me."

"Would that be alright?" asked Lee, doubtfully. He had no doubts whatever about his ability to get on with Banner, but he wasn't sure if the Lieutenant would be very happy with the idea.

"It'll be fine," Banner assured blithely, he'd really enjoy some company and he liked Lee. "Last time we spoke, Alan said he was worried about me being on my own. Well, now I won't be!"

"Well, if you're sure ..."

"I'm sure!" Banner said firmly. "After all, I trust him with a whole shipload of men, he can trust me with one!"

Lee suspected it wasn't quite the same thing but the opportunity sounded too good to pass up. In any case, he could always move out if things became awkward, right?

In fact, Max discovered that Lee had gone to Capella the very next day, when he was introduced to Private Okeke, the man who had taken his place. He told himself it was a good thing that Lee had gone, the sudden pang in his chest must be due to something he'd eaten. That was what he wanted, wasn't it? He'd been pushing Lee away for days, he should feel relieved that he'd finally succeeded. It wasn't as if Lee had abandoned him, like his father, not really.

XXX

Captain Martinez spent another hour with Robin Lang, telling him all he knew about his past, including the events that had led up to their current situation.

"I have to find Max and speak to him," declared Lang when Martinez had finished. It would be painful, telling his own son that he didn't remember him, but surely better than allowing him to believe he was dead!

"I'll check with Colonel Young," promised his visitor.

"Why? Am I under arrest?" Suddenly the lack of visitors made troubling sense. If he was in a prison hospital, no wonder no one had been in to see him, apart from the Colonel and the medical staff.

"I'll check with Colonel Young," Martinez repeated.

To be honest, Martinez had no idea what the Colonel was doing, what his strategy was.

Young had been there, standing beside his bed in the hospital, when he awoke after being attacked the night before.

"How are you feeling, Martinez?" he'd asked curtly, as the doctor gave him a quick check over.

"Fine, sir."

"Good. As soon as you're up, I want to take you to see someone." And that had been all he would say.

The second the doctor gave him the all clear, the Colonel had whisked him away to the hospital wing of the prison. He had thought he was going to see one of the men who had attacked him. Instead, he had been brought face to face with Robin Lang.

"I'll go and talk to Colonel Young now," Martinez told Lang.

"Ask him to come and see me would you? I want to know exactly where I stand, what I've been charged with," Lang asked crisply. He was beginning to feel more like himself, like the experienced officer he was. For the last few days he had been happy to coast along, accepting what was happening, doing what he was told, but now he wanted to act and make decisions for himself. To take control of his life again. Get out there, and help find the men who had attacked his son, the men who had brought him to this sorry state.

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