Gregson looked at the geography; there were notes written between the mountains. “Mosquitoes blot out the sun. Poisonous snakes hang from trees. This journey looks uncomfortable. Where is your Mission, Lafayette?”

“Just up the river, a way. We have some comforts for our VIPs, hot tubs and beautiful women.” Lafayette put his cowboy hat on and opened a box of Cools. He put the cigarette between his lips and grinned. It was a smile that knew how to defeat the day. He opened his door and walked down the dock to a ship moored in the river.

Gregson followed the Admiral on unsteady feet, admiring the Marie Delaine.

“This ship looks like she could sail herself,” Gregson said.

“Oh, but you are mistaken. I have a perfectly trained crew; they observe the utmost discipline.” Lieutenants and midshipmen stood like statues; they didn’t blink. There was something strange in their faces. It was like their souls were depleted in some way.

“What’s wrong with your crew?” Gregson asked.

“Wrong? They are perfect,” Lafayette said.

“A little too perfect, don’t you think?”

“No.”

The ship gave Gregson the creeps, and Lafayette continued to beam like a morning star. His vibes positively glowed when he grabbed the controls.

Honnnnk. Honnnk. The horn sounded and the Marie Delaine left the dock.

Who was Lafayette and why did he want to live forever? Gregson was escorted to his cabin and given an itinerary.

1. Freshen Up

2. Pool, Party, Gambling, Women, General Frivolities

3. The Secret to Everything

“I must be dreaming,” Gregson said. “Perhaps I really do have chemo brain.” But his experience was too real for it to be just a dream. He had surrendered to something that wouldn’t let go. He was in the stream, moving beyond.

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