Image (Part 2)
Captain Günter Fahrer raised his voice. ‘You did! Ever since you boarded the Little Sister Ship, you have been harassing me.’
‘But back on Earth, not so long ago, you seemed so…friendly.’ I gazed at the melon bobbing on the water’s surface as it floated down stream. ‘I thought we had something going, sort of.’
‘No.’ Günter grimaced. ‘Never.’
‘But you called me “cabbage”.’
‘I never called you such a…such a thing.’ He stared at the stream. ‘Your behaviour not appropriate for IGSF Officer.’
I examined my suit, the thighs, and legs covered with blue grass stains and crimson scuff marks from the mud. It was as though my whole insides were filled with filth. Guilty as charged. ‘I’m not perfect.’ I assumed at that moment the events in the flying patrol car were reactions in the heat of the moment; better left unsaid. ‘Although, speaking of protocol, you seem to have forgotten that, conveniently, when it comes to Minna.’ I maintained an even tone as I spoke. ‘And, I ask again, why do you keep coming back to this planet?’ Get him talking—and for heaven’s sake, listen, girl.
‘Not for Minna, I thought that was obvious.’ Günter shifted his weight. ‘I was working on the Trans-warp. I thought you worked that out, but I am seeing the more I get you to know, you have trouble figuring even simple things out.’ So he thinks. He’s testing me. Jumping on the bridge. Pushing me away. Something like that.
I’ll ignore the button-pushing and continue to listen.
‘Thanks for the encouragement.’ I bit into an apple-flavoured energy bar and then spoke while chewing. ‘Here’s a dumb question, then. Why do you hide who you really are? Why do you pretend?’
Günter stared at his hands. ‘You wouldn’t understand.’
‘It’s all about image.’
I chomped though half the bar and then said, ‘No, it’s more than that. I can sense it in you—the way you were with Delaney. Why did you have to lie?’ I could have continued interrogating but held my tongue from lashing him with a barrage of questions. What Günter said and his actions did not match up. I sensed he’d revealed more of himself to me, than to anyone else.
‘You, Miss Mueller, are perhaps the only person who sees me as I am, the real Günter Fahrer.’ Günter combed his fingers through his hair. ‘If certain people knew—who I was—I’d be tried for treason, and court martialed. I’d be sentenced to hard labour on the Mining Planet—And our—the IGSF edge over Boris and his forces lost—knowledge of the inside operations of Boris and his army—lost.’
‘Really? So it’s not just about you being the son of the Great August Fahrer?’
He swayed his head but didn’t reply. He was like stone, except for a tear trickling down his cheek. He wiped his face. ‘I’m sorry, I forget myself.’
‘What? What do you mean?’
He shook his head.
‘What’s going on? You can tell me.’
‘It is complicated.’ He rose to his feet and digging hands in pockets, he ambled to the river bank.
‘Why did you say you’re sorry? What do you mean, complicated?’ I was wondering if I needed the translator. I chased after him. ‘Are you sorry you’ve said too much?’
‘Look, stop asking questions? You drive me crazy!’
‘But I’m just trying to understand. You’re making no sense.’
‘I’m not talking about it anymore.’ Günter turned away from me and hugged his waist.
I threw my lunch onto the pebbles. ‘I’m trying to help you! I’m trying to really listen and understand what you are saying. What is wrong with you?’ I began to storm up the hill. Turning around, my parting words were, ‘You, Günter, drive me crazy too! You have such potential to be—I don’t know—a hero. But you know what I see? I see someone who throws it all away to be a grumpy old fake! Why can’t you say what you mean!? Why can’t you be honest with yourself for once?’ I stomped up the slope.
‘Times like these I need a translator!’ I muttered. Hot tears welled up in my eyes and streamed down my face. What I said was true. But the way I said it…I’d stuffed up, big time! I’d lost my cool. ‘Two weeks of this? No translator? God help me!’
The blur cleared from my eyes. Glinting on the plain the other side of the hill was a black rectangular object. Was it a car?
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature Photo: The Furka Pass, Switzerland © L.M. Kling 2014
Itching for some more Sci-fi fantasy and adventure to break the monotony? Some Boris and his cockroaches to amuse you?
Click on the links to my novels below and learn how this war on the alien cockroach Boris began and will continue…