Author : J.R.Blackwell, Staff Writer

Peter ran to the docking station, his small duffel bag slung over his shoulder. He did not walk in the front end where the merchants, pilots and passengers boarded their flights. Instead, the young man slipped behind the security tent and toward the cargo loading docks. Peter was lean and tall with the thick blue-black hair that was typical of most Martians tied back behind his head.

At the entrance to Cargo 3 the Peter saw a hooded man leaning against the wall, hunched into a dark, hooded robe. He felt another rush of adrenalin. Was this a workman or his lover learning against the wall. He crept closer, trying to peek under the robe for any glimpse of Christopher’s silver hair or long nose. After several long minutes the man in the hood looked up and Peter recognized Christopher Tshosvosky, guest conductor of the Martian Symphony and his lover.

“Christopher” whispered Peter. The conductor jumped and let out a breath.

“Peter. You made it.” He held out his arms.

Peter ran to him. “It was difficult getting past the security fence but the cutter you gave me deactivated the electric wire in my section and sliced though the fence easily.”

Christopher took Peters hands in his own. “Lover, I am so proud, so pleased.” Christopher pointed to the pack Peter was carrying. “Your instrument?”

“And a few other things I couldn’t bear to part with.”

Christopher motioned with his fingers. ”Give it to me.”

“I can carry it myself.”

“No, you can’t. If you want it when you wake up, I’ll have to take it. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of your things.”

“When I wake up?”

“Lover, I can’t just add you to the flight roster. Immigration between Earth and Mars is challenging, if I hadn’t been asked to come and guest conduct-“

“I thought you said you could get me on this flight, that I would join you in the Paris orchestra.”

“I can – you can! Just not awake.” Christopher motioned inside the hanger. “I still have some contacts. I faked and ID for a chryo cube. You’ll be Mrs. Fletcher for the trip. Once you’re in the cube, they won’t be able to identify you, then I unfreeze you on Earth and we work it out there, where I have more influence.

Peter backed away. “Connections, right.”

“What’s wrong? I thought you wanted to come with me.” Christopher leaned his face forward for a kiss, but Peter backed away.

“Sometimes Martians disappear, taken away on ships, kidnapped.”

“What are you implying?”

Peter crossed his arms. “Earth has a rich organ market and it’s easy to make people disappear between planets.”

“Peter, I don’t’ want to kill you. I want you to play third viola for me in Paris.” Christopher put an arm around Peter’s shoulder. Peter did not return the gesture of affection, but he did not pull away.

“A batch of organs would make a man rich.”

“Yes, yes it would. I’m not going to deny the realities of the Earth organ market. A batch or organs would make a man very rich, and it would be easy to put someone in freeze and never wake them up. You just have to trust that won’t be me. You have to trust me.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this before?”

“I was afraid that if I told you, you wouldn’t come. I was afraid of going back to Earth without you, of living a life without you. I was afraid that you would say no. Don’t think about it. Trust that I love you.”

Peter looked into those blue-green eyes, as blue and mysterious as the pictures of Earth. Christopher took Peter’s hand and led him to a white cube that was glowing softly.

“Kiss me,” said Peter. “So that if you love me, you will seal me inside and kiss me again on waking. Kiss me, so that if you are untrue, the kiss will be a seal and a curse on you.”

Christopher didn’t hesitate, but pulled Peter toward him and kissed him hard, without finesse, mashing their lips together. Peter stepped into the cube.

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