The manager of the classiest hotel in downtown paced around the maid’s quarter watching each one check in and receive her assignment. She glanced down at her watch then paced around again. She stomped her foot then stormed out of the swinging doors. “Who knew, Venus would not be spotted today. I swear that girl is just like a comet; sighting her on time is rare, but whenever she is it’s always special.” She glanced down at her watch again then glared up suddenly into Venus’s frantic face. “Well, well...”
“I’m sorry...” Venus apologized bowing very low.
“I know there aren’t any more excuses in the book. Just get in there, and hurry to your post. One of these days I’m going to be in a bad mood.” She nagged, holding the door open for her.
Venus busily cleaned, mopped, and fixed beds through plenty of rooms. She moved so fast, she even went around the maids that had been on time. For her next task she would need to grab clean bed spreads from the dryer and make the beds of several rooms upstairs. She threw the wet linen into the dryer, and read a newspaper until the load had finished. “Hum, hum... hummmm. Hey this is interesting?” She turned the page to the rest of the article. “Mechs gone wild... says local convenience store owner. Some mechangels rioted yesterday, shouting about ‘Robotic Rights’, ‘Rho can Blow’, and mentioning something about a ‘Robotic Revolution’. Hum, interesting.” She glanced down at her watch. “Whoa, how long have those sheets been in?” The clock set to run for two hours, only had a few more seconds left. “Oh please let them still be full size… I hope they didn’t shrink to twin.” She threw the door open and quickly ran upstairs, with the hot mound of cloth consuming her view.
Coming up the hall on the seventh floor, walked Halo half asleep chatting with a client. She continued to glance out the window while she was talking. She would listen long enough to make a comment then drift away again. “Blah, blah, blah...” She yawned.
“Are you even listening, Mayor Halo?” The woman fumbled to organize her notes. “These papers may be a lot more important in busting the hellion operation wide open than you think. They might even have a tie in this ordeal with the mechs.”
“I’m happy you found it, really. I just wish... well, things were more exciting in the past. Now all we have is a bunch of paperwork. Makes me want to take a nap.”
“Me too, if it weren’t for the info we’re digging up.” The client said.
From up the hallway, the elevator door opened and Venus stepped out. “Now which way am I supposed to go?” Venus said unable to see around the bed sheets. Hyperion appeared before her but hid from her view.
“Why don’t you turn right? I’m sure you will get to exactly where you need to be that way.” Hyperion advised.
“Oh thanks!” Venus said then turned right down the hallway heading in the direction of Halo and her client. Hyperion laughed a little then vanished into the air.
“Our business will do much better once they’re eliminated.” The client said. Venus could hear someone talking, but could not see where she was going. Halo walked with her head lowered and the client walked and talked while looking between Halo and the spreadsheets. “We should find enough dirt to blow this scandal sky high!” The client laughed with enthusiasm, just as she collided with a stack of warm bed covers. To the client’s dismay, bed sheets scattered with spreadsheets all over the floor. Venus peered around the covers still in her hand, to watch the damage she caused.
“Oh, I’m sorry miss! Let me help.” Venus said.
“No...” Halo said. Venus stopped in her tracks looking at Halo. Venus noticed the decorative eye patch over her right eye, and thought the woman might be one of those gang leaders she had tried so hard to stay away from. Halo’s exposed eye had a glossy hazel hue; her hair had a light color with only a few streaks of grey. A few tears escaped from her eye as she stared at Venus. “I can’t believe...”
“I’m sorry ma’am I really didn’t mean to!” Venus cringed, afraid to meet with her one eye.
“You! It’s you, isn’t it?” Halo’s face lighted up, sending the wrong message to Venus who was already frightened of her.
“Please, don’t hurt me!” Venus back up, then jetted down the hall, with an elated Halo on her heels.
“Wait, Venus!” Halo called to her.
“How does she know my name?” She punched the elevator button, leaped in then pressed the door close button. Halo banged on the door just as it closed, then headed for the stairwell. Venus clinched her covers in fear of what her manager will say for disturbing a customer. “I’ll lose my job for this!” Venus tripped from the elevator, just in time to see Halo emerging from the stairwell.
“Hold on, kid!”
Venus dashed to the lobby, still carrying the load of sheets. Avoiding all the luggage and people that she could see, she finally made it to the grand stairs at the entrance. Halo stood within grabbing distance, reached out, but Venus jumped forward gliding down the side railing. Halo slid down then fell down after grabbing Venus. Hoping the covers would break their fall, Venus and she became entangled in sheets and neither could move even if she wanted to. Halo managed to sit up, and wrangled with Venus. “Please, I need this job! I can’t keep a dime to my name. I just keep spending it on people or animals in need. I haven’t eaten in... I can’t remember... But I...” Venus went quiet as a knife came up through the sheets and split a hole open. “Oh please don’t cut me! I scar so easily!” Halo laughed pulling herself through the hole in the sheet.
“Sweetheart, it’s alright... it’s me Halo, don’t you remember?” Halo took her arm and put the knife up. Realizing she hadn’t taken a good look at her face, Venus dropped her defenses. She stared long and hard into Halo’s friendly face. Her warm smile triggered a memory inside of Venus.
“Oh, thank goodness.” Venus fainted into the sheets. “A long lost friend!”
Hotel maintenance cleaned the mess they made, and Halo took Venus outside to get a breath of fresh air. Halo seemed the same as she did when she was younger, but the fine lines on her face told her age. “How you been kid?” She asked lighting a cigarette. “Haven’t laid eyes on you since... that day...”
“Don’t you mean eye... singular?” Venus wondered, without realizing what she said. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh,” Halo touched her eye patch. “I wouldn’t worry about it. I think the best way to lose something, is for someone else. Do you understand?” Venus shook her head slowly. “Like I said, don’t worry about it. So what have you been up to lately?”
“I’ve been hustling to try and live on my own these last few months. I missed the city and all my friends. I lived with grandma until she passed away a few years ago. The clan wanted to keep me safe, but I just missed the city.”
“Why didn’t you come to live with me and Uno?” Halo asked.
“The land lady was nice enough to let me stay as long as I did chores around the apartment building. Times got so bad after her husband died that she had to file for bankruptcy and could no longer give me the room for free. I lied and said I had somewhere to go, so I left. That was about three months ago. I’ve been living around ever since.”
“And it’s been long seven years since anyone’s seen you. You poor girl. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You gained his looks as well as his stubbornness.” She took a long drag from her cigarette. “Tell you what… you’re welcome to ask for help, anyone who knows you would be willing to help. If you want you could come stay with me for a while. I don’t like you staying out here; things just aren’t safe out there... Get Down!” She yelled pushing Venus to the ground.
Two men in a car came swerving up the valet parking area. One armed with a gun leaned out the window of the passenger side. “Metal lasts longer than flesh!” He laughed manically, shooting his gun into the building. Venus watched from under Halo’s protection, as a woman crumpled over from a wound. She gritted her teeth, and dashed from underneath Halo.
“No! Damn it!” Halo cried reaching after her. Bullets shattered the glass doors of the hotel and Halo ducked down to avoid being slashed. Venus glided through the glass fragments without a scratch. Venus chased after the car, running so fast her feet seemed to no longer touch the ground. Her hair flashed with light and energy poured from her fingertips. Finally, she caught up to the car, pulling the hit man’s gun before he could shoot it off again. As he struggled for the gun he could see the nozzle beginning to melt under her touch. Still he tugged against her, eventually being pulled from the window. Before he could fall out, he released the gun and fell back into the car.
“Don’t come back again, or I’ll really mess you up!” She waved the gun in the air, realizing it had a shiny metallic arm attached. The hand released the gun, to Venus horror, and trotted after the car. Venus turned back to Halo. Halo stood in awe, gapping at her power. “You were saying?” Venus asked gently.