Battle for the Known Unknown Ch. 18


"Surely it's not that easy?"

"If it weren't for the war, there'd be virtually no need for an Emergency Service on this asteroid at all," Beatrice commented. "On Venus, where there's never been a war, every day is a miracle of survival."

However reticent Beatrice was with Paul privately, she was much more open over the following days when she chatted with the now animated citizens of Hygiea who treated the couple with a respect and admiration that had previously been wholly absent. The couple were feted wherever they went by the citizens of the war-torn Asteroid. This caused huge anxiety to their minders who always stood apart at a discrete distance. Beatrice and, by association, Paul were celebrities and when they ventured outside their room they were immediately mobbed by dozens of well-wishers and admirers.

Paul was embarrassed by this fame almost as much as he was in awe of his wife's heroism, of which he was forever reminded wherever the couple went together. It was curious to be interviewed, always hand-in-hand with the broadly smiling Beatrice, by the various media outlets on Hygiea. It had been a long time since a news story of such popular appeal had appeared on the drab and war-weary Asteroid. It made a welcome relief to the citizens from the normal diet of anti-Parthenope diatribes ladled out by the patriotic media.

Paul relished his second-hand celebrity, but it also made him wonder even more about his wife. Of all the women he could have married in the Solar System, what divine providence had so determined it that his wife would be someone like Beatrice? She must surely be every man's fantasy and she was now the woman with whom he made love every day.

Just what had he done to deserve such a ridiculous privilege?

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