Rudof stepped out of the shower pod into a small anteroom that shot out jets of warm air to dry him. Then he stalked into his bedroom.
Naked, Rudof Dyll barely resembled his public image. Tall and lanky, lean but well-muscled, he carried himself straight, head high, and strode confidently around the room—instead of the strolling, slouching, lazy figure that had just left an impromptu dinner party at the Starview Lounge.
There was a long laser burn stretching across his back, from the top of his right shoulder to his left hip, and thick white lesions encircled his wrists and ankles—manacle scars, and the kind that were not acquired in a day, but took years to develop. His hair, with the dye washed out, was a dark nondescript brown liberally streaked with white. Brown too were the clothes he selected from a concealed closet set behind a high armoire. It looked too heavy to move—and was, unless you knew the secret catch that shifted it forward. He slid into a baggy brown jumpsuit with zippered pouches, much like the ones worn by freighter crewmembers, and slid his feet into battered boots.
Pausing before a mirror, he reached up and popped out his green contacts and peeled off the jewel-tipped lashes; brown eyes stared out of a narrow face.
Rudof Dyll regarded himself in the mirror, a smile on lips no longer a garish red.
"Goodbye, Master Dyll; hello, Malik Blayne." The smile twisted into a snarl.
The former Rudof, now Malik, scrambled in the secret closet and retrieved a battered backpack. He hefted the pack as the armoire returned to its former position, then glanced around the room to make sure everything was secure.
The backpack was almost empty. He'd have to fill up on his way down.
Malik hit the palm-lock on his way out the door, strode down a hallway, took a right turn, a left, and stopped in the middle of a shorter hall. Silence permeated the dome, but Malik hadn't got to his somewhat precarious position by taking chances. He tiptoed to the end of the hall, just to make sure that no one was waiting around the corner.
It was always clear.
But he always checked.