Here is the first draft of Chapter 1 of the third book in the Chromosome Quest Series. The title is Chromosome Warrior and features the tale told from the viewpoint of Jill, the half-Chinese, half-Irish ancestry MiB who appeared in ‘Chromosome Conspiracy‘. Readers of the previous book remember that Jill, though very private about her personal life, was nonetheless a lesbian partner of the tall, older black PhD Doctor Estelle Rawls, who was a leader of a ‘Sixth Column’ secretive cell. Estelle sadly died when the group was attacked by assassins sent by Gharlane, and Jill herself was seriously wounded and nearly died before help arrived.
Chapter 1 picks up Jill’s narrative as she recounts the events that occurred near the end of Chapter 39 in Conspiracy from her own perspective, and realizes that her own sexual identity is not as clear-cut as she had thought.
No doubt you know I had been seriously wounded and nearly killed last year in Las Vegas when my little group of friends and Sixth Column co-conspirators was attacked by agents of the mysterious ‘Boskone’. Recovery was long and painful, the enforced inactivity chafed my ass. I fumed to get back to work! I needed to find the bastard and avenge my dear Estelle.
I was raised in a modest family environment – Fitz would say ‘prudish’ – where sex was never discussed, I was frankly terrified of the topic. It was easier to pretend it didn’t exist. Fear of sex drove my social life.
Virginity became the easy answer. One can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a ‘good’ girl. I was not vapid or stupid, but I was a ‘good girl’, not from a high ethical standard, but out of fear. There were so many unknowns, I didn’t want to go there.
I grew older, dated, grudgingly accepted a “boyfriend” into my life and in due course allowed him to persuade me. I suppose this was a mistake, that I was not ready. I really just did not ‘get it’, never quite understood why people bothered.
Satisfying the primal urges of a sweaty male did little for me and I disliked the way he would disappear afterward, not even call. Until he wanted another go. If that’s all sex was, I decided I didn’t need it and told him so. I may not have been properly diplomatic about it because we never spoke again.
Years later, I regretted that. I hurt him unfairly. We were doomed by our mutual ignorance. In any other human endeavor, experience and competence are valued. Virginity should not be revered, it should be considered a correctable perversity of no interest.
Frustrated, I concentrated on my career and training, deciding I simply was not a sexual person. For years I considered myself asexual and rebuffed anyone who even looked my way. I suppose I was called unflattering names behind my back. I’m sure I deserved it.
Then I met Estelle.
She showed me another path and with her I finally ‘got it’, and did so in a big way. My appetite became voracious. Even though we were so very different, we fit. She was much older than I, experienced and patient. She opened a new world, new feelings I had not known possible. I discovered I had moved from asexual to lesbian without quite realizing it had happened. It took a long time to accept that word ‘lesbian’.
I grieved for her, and wondered how I could put my life back together.
Estelle introduced me to more than sexuality. She introduced me to fiction. She not only expanded my libido, she expanded my mind. A scientist herself, she especially loved Science Fiction, the trashier and pulpier the better. I was disdainful of the genre at first, but her enthusiasm was infectious.
She introduced me to Fitz’s book. The first couple of chapters were difficult reading. I found it crass and very much ‘male fantasy’ oriented, but Estelle explained to me the value of fantasy and I indulged her. By the time the tale landed on the planet of the fur-people I was hooked. I imagined myself on a planet dominated by a population of cat-like, furry female humans. Fantasies of a lesbian, libidinous society played in my imagination.
When that poor unfortunate appeared in our morgue, I thought of Fitz’s fictional creations and suggested we call him in as a consultant. I had no real plan beyond meeting an author whose work I had come to enjoy.
I told Estelle and she simply had to see for herself. I had no clue at that time about conspiracies, ‘Sixth Column’ operations or anything of that sort.
Had I known Fitz’s mysteries would lead to her death….. Sigh…
Even after seeing the furry corpse I still thought Fitz’s tale fantastic fiction. I didn’t believe otherwise until I met Stapleya and Wisceya in person, heard their tale and fully absorbed that they were in fact extraterrestrial aliens.
Then suddenly we were caught up in the conspiracy and bullets started flying.
After weeks of recovery I found myself on light desk duty, wasting my talents digging through intelligence reports trying to map the enemies activities and in my spare time looking for potential suspicious activities within our operation. Even this limited work schedule frustrated my doctor, who thought I should be on a delicate regimen of rest and therapy for months yet. Searching for my lover’s murderer was better than any therapy. He didn’t appreciate that I’m tougher and stronger than I look. Even so, recovery from a serious wound takes time.
As my health improved, I began wondering anew about the mysterious Sixth Column organization I had been a part of. I must reconnect if I was to engage the enemy.
One day while I was still on limited duty, Fitz and I met for lunch in the cafeteria. I was unsure precisely what his duties were at this point, all I knew is that Alex had recruited him and he had become important to our mission. Fitz had gone from being terrified of Alex to working for him, and I am unsure how that happened.
So much happened after I was sidelined. I only have an incomplete story. Somehow Alex convinced Fitz that he, and the girls, were in more danger from Boskone than from his clandestine governmental organization. Suddenly Fitz is running an immense Computerized Intelligence Organization responsible for coordinating one of the most massive international military operations in the history of the modern world. Teach me to take a break!
I was pleased when Fitz asked if we might speak alone. We grabbed a pair of trays and ducked into an unoccupied office to eat and talk in private. I was anxious to learn more about what was happening since my enforced idling.
I am glad no one else saw us. I embarrassed myself! I am not given to turning all weak and feminine, especially not with a man. Fitz and I had become brothers at arms in a manner of speaking. Plus, he was very fond of Estelle too.
The moment we were alone we embraced, not as lovers, rather as dear friends. That had been my intention, but a tsunami of emotion washed over me and a friendly embrace collapsed into grief and emotion.
I started crying. It disgusted me, I felt almost as if I was standing outside myself, a detached observer with no control over what my body was doing, as though someone else was driving. I was uncharacteristically an emotional basket case.
I sobbed, “It was so horrible, Fitz. They just came in and killed them.” I clung helplessly to his embrace and sobbed, muttering words of grief and bitterness. He simply held me quietly, calmly letting the wave wash over us. Several minutes elapsed before I could collect myself. Finally, composure returned and we sat on the couch, collecting our trays from the low table.
Finally Fitz spoke, “Jill, the ones we have lost will be best honored by eliminating these scum, these animals. We must ensure that justice is served. This upcoming battle will clean out the majority of their criminal co-conspirators but we need to find the masterminds behind this evil and deal directly with them.”
We began eating our lunch and ate in silence for several seconds. I responded thoughtfully, “That’s the real problem. I’m convinced those behind it all are not on Earth and our actions will merely hand them a setback, perhaps not even a serious one. They will regroup and rebuild, return stronger than ever. I hoped I could contact off-world allies, Petchy and his people, the ones you called the ‘four columns‘ in our discussions. Unless we can discover the means to carry the fight to ‘Gharlane’ or whoever is behind this, the upcoming battle will be for nothing.”
Emotions rising again, we sat our trays down and surrendered to another cathartic embrace. I realized I might be sending mixed signals. I hoped not. Fitz knew me better than almost anyone and well knew I was not attracted to men. Yet here I sat, confusing catharsis and lust in my own mind. If I couldn’t sort this out, how could I expect Fitz to understand?
For a moment or two libido surged. Our embrace teetered toward the sexual, I was uncertain what to do, what I wanted. He simply hugged and comforted me, waiting. I shook myself and pulled away, not willing to go there. Estelle was gone, but I felt loyal to the bond we had shared, certain no male could replace her sensual touch. Not even Fitz.
Ignoring the rejection, he picked up our conversation as though there had been no interruption. “Jill, what has become of the Sixth Column organization and do you still hope to travel off-world to enlist the aid of off-world allies?”
I shrugged, “My link to the Sixth Column was severed after the shootings. I was hoping they would reestablish communications, though perhaps the overly secretive nature of the group suggests with Estelle’s death, our cell is thought compromised and abandoned to protect the organization.”
He continued, “I have received some fresh communications from the ‘Four Columns‘ and hope to learn more soon. I’m hopeful that there might be an opportunity as you have sought. Shall I then assume you are ‘in’ for anything that might develop?”
In response to this news, I grabbed him in a mixture of grief, relief, and yes, lust. This time I knew what I wanted.