Her shower was a shower-head with attachment for a large white metal bathtub with cast iron lions feet. Perfect. I was in no shape to stand for longer periods of time so I was happy to simply sit in the tub having hot water rain down on me slowly washing away the stench. I had a bush on a long handle one you'd use to scrub hard to reach parts on your back. I used it simply to reach parts. Moving the brush symbolically, leaving soapy trails on my skin. I watched how the soap tracks dissolve. Life was good. For a while.
I could not stay here forever as nice as it was I, no, we had to keep going.
When I got out of the bathroom Katja Petrova was already waiting for me. She was the picture of a modern adventurer. With a long leather jacket, a tool belt full of gleaming steel and her pet rifle slung over her shoulder.
'So where is that plug-in of yours?'
'I left it in a safe deposit box in a pawn shop near Old Town back in the European sector. And where is my gun?'
She moved her jacket back over her tool belt revealing my gun hanging between a hammer and something that looked like the love child between a lighter and an anteater.
'I kinda need that gun.'
'And I kinda need to trust you first.'
'Fair enough. I guess.'
She turned around walking to the stairs.
'Follow me, we'll take my car.'
'Good I haven't bought mine yet.'
Soon after we were thundering back towards Old Town in her monstrous car. Most cars here were electric cars they were almost silent very powerful and there was a public power socket at every street corner. Electricity being one of the many products that the terraformers produced in almost limitless amounts. But Miss Petrova drove an enormous four seater with a combustion engine that burned alcohol.
'Isn't it expensive to run a car like this?'
'A combustion car? Not really. More expensive than free but I mostly drive for the pleasure. Public transport is everywhere and it is boring. So when I do get out for my free time I like to be either on my own or with the people I wish to travel with. Also just listen to it!' As she said that she floored the accelerator changing the low murmur of the cars engine into a high pitched turbine noise. It also left my inner organs in the boot. I had to fight the urge to undrink my coffee.
'Very impressive but could you go a bit easier. I am still not feeling that well.'
'You are doing pretty well for the state you were in yesterday. That's quite impressive.'
'You were a soldier.' it sounded genuinely surprised which I found genuinely offensive.
'No, I was rich.'
'Really? So how comes that you did end up working on a train?'
'You said you were a conductor.'
She and my dignity were in a street brawl and right now she was bashing its face repeatedly into a brick wall.
'I was a conductor of an orchestra.'
'For one of the big ones?'
'The Addis Abeba Royal Orchestra.'
This did elicited a whistle. A hand was offered to my dignity.
'So how did you fuck that up ended drunk and wet at my doorstep?' and a straight to the chin.
'Can wait. Open the glove box and hand me the bottle with the skull on it.'
'What's that?' it was filled with a clear liquid and sealed with a cork.'
'Fuel for the car. Another plus. I can make it myself. Bit of a hobby. And I'll need it. This is my favourite part.'
She uncorked the bottle with her teeth as we turned a corner. Before us stretched the bridge back to Old Town. She spit the cork into my general direction and took a large swig from the bottle and made a satisfied roaring noise.
'Hold on to your internal organs Kane.'
She floored the accelerator again and then it seemed she pushed it right through the floor as the car just kept accelerating. As I started vanishing into my seat my life had a quick glance out of my eyes to see if it was time to wander up and down before my eyes again but just shrugged and went back inside. The lights of the bridge rushed by so fast that they turned into lines. We past the spot where the triad wagon must have exploded but there was only a bit where there were no lights. A short flash of darkness but nothing else.
Not long after we were standing in front of an open safe deposit box looking at the plug-in.
'What the fuck is that supposed to mean Kane?' Petrova gestured towards the glinting cylinder.
'That's the speech thing I told you about. Why? Is something wrong with it?'
'As far as I can tell it's fine. But where the fuck is its carrying case?'
'Oh that. Well I took it with me and then detonated it.'
'You did what?' her eye brows narrowed and went up a bit creating a small vertical wrinkle on her brow that looked like it could crush stones.
'I made it explode. To get rid of some Triads. I'm pretty sure that they were going to kill me.'
'And how do you suppose are we going to get that thing out to the car let alone to any terraformer.'
'I thought about carrying it.'
'Really. Have you tried lifting it?'
'Go on try it.'
I tried. It did not move. At all. It sat snugly in its safe deposit box, tipping it into it had been easy enough. But now it was the very idea of unmovable. Theologians would have used it on their god asking Him Her or It to move it to prove their divine power.