When she came back, a small backpack trailing in one hand, she had to stop when she saw him. His back was to her; he was pressing a control to make the louvered blinds (no longer call Venetian) open and close. She could see no pattern to it; it seemed manic, crazed. She shouted, “What are you doing?”
“Don’t interrupt me!” The louvers opened and closed three times, and he seemed to be done. He was sweqating, not from exertion but from rage or strain or – she didn’t know. “What are you doing?”
“I’m sending a message to Nonno.”
He looked at her, gave her a sickly smile, crossed the room and put his arms around her. “I’m not banjacks, sweetie. Nonno and I send each other messages this way every day – mostly silly stuff, jokes, crap. We started when e were kids, a sort of alphabet; we could do it with knocks on the table, lights, louvers. This wasn’t silly stuff – I told him to meet us on the roof with his travelbug and headed it ‘crisis,’ which always meant something big – like your mother found out you’d got some girl’s bra off.”
“Important stuff, right. Are you all right? You’re flaming red, Ganesh; you look as if you’re going to have a heart attack.”
“I may do that, but not until I wipe those smarmy bastards off our world.” He was panting, yet he saw her frown and added, “We’re going up to the roof to get picked up; Nonno will fly us to one of the ports on domerim, then we get ourselves to Colloquium Hall.”
“Because a bureau with its own secret intelligence arm isn’t going to stop at trying to seduce us. They’ll come here and they won’t be as nice as the creep on the skene.”
“Ganesh, that’s –”
“Paranoid, I know. But I won’t take a chance on being wrong. Let’s go.”
He put a hand on her elbow and led her out of the apartment, then to a service stairway and up to the roof. As they stepped out, a travelbug – small, skinny, nitrogen-powered – touched down. Ganesh took the third seat, pulled Rita into the second; she was annoyed at being manhandled and said so; it was her view that she was more athletic than her husband and maybe stronger, as well. But Ganesh was looking down as they took off, and as they cleared the building h he stiffened and made a sound; she followed his gaze and saw, eleven stories down, two place people movers pstopped at te bulding, people in black uniforms piling out. She gasped.
He said, “Home Guards?”
“They can’t— The law wouldn’t allow them to do that without a release from the Colloquium tribunes.”
He said, “Explain to Nonno what’s happened.” He was still looking back and down. “One of them is pointing up at us.”
Nonno was a good deal more than an amateur dancer: he was architect, had been an asteroid pilot, a construction crewman, a farmer, and several other things. He knew how to listen, too, never interrupted Rita, said, when she was done, “You two are running away?”
She looked back at Ganesh and said, “I think we’re running toward.”
“Maybe disaster. Ganesh has called an emergency colloquium.”
Nanno seemed to concentrate on his flying: they were inside the tube that stretched from Moonbase to their suburb, of which there were four, the tubes big enough to carry a shuttle monorail (“shuttle” perhaps another word from weaving, although not certain). Nonno kept whistling almost silently for the rest of the journey, said only, where do you want to be let off?”
Ganesh was surprised by her saying, “There’s a service port between two and three. I can get through there because I built it. Okay?” She meant that for Ganesh as well as Nonno. Both men nodded.
There was no more talk until they reac the dome, when she directed Nonno to their right around the tube’s landing port, then on past Port Two and toa smaller port with warning signs, “Official Only” that flashed an orange-red. Nonno took the bug in, touched down with the automatic help of thrusters. And brought sudden quiet to the little craft.
“You’re crazy, but I love you both. Get out of here.”
Rita was down first, showing a badge to a worried guard; she turned to see Ganesh and Nonno embracing, Ganesh then turning and running to her as the travelbug lifted away and was gone like a dragonfly leaving a flower.