Chapter Four

Othello paced the hallways of the space port. At every turn his reflection in the mirrored ceiling seemed to taunt him. Iago was trotting along beside him, trying to keep up.
"I'm your friend. I wouldn't lie to you." Iago huffed. "Desdemona's been cheating on you, I'm sure of it." He puffed.
Othello wailed, clutched at his head and fainted. A mattress slid out from the base of the wall and caught him. Iago stared at it, perplexed, and wondered how often people suddenly keeled over on that planet. He stopped thinking about it and concentrated on catching his breath. Othello began to stir just as Iago's heart rate had returned to normal. He stooped down to whisper in Othello's ear.
"I hear someone coming. Judging by the unsteadiness, it must be Cassio." He helped Othello up and shoved him behind some hideous looking modern art. "Hide here." Othello nodded dumbly.
"Cassio!" Iago spun around and greeted him cheerfully.
"Iago! What are you doing?" Cassio said dejectedly.
"Just admiring this." Iago gestured at the sculpture, "Whatever it is." He took Cassio by the arm and led him away, out of hearing distance. "Has Desdemona had any luck with persuading Othello to reinstate you?"
"No." Cassio sighed.
"If only it was up to Bianca to persuade him." Iago smiled broadly. "Yeah." Cassio laughed. His laughter was cut short by the sound of footsteps pounding toward them. Bianca rounded a corner, her three eyes magnified and glaring behind her glasses.
"You've given me some other woman's fix-all to copy!" She accused. "I knew it was another woman!" The fix-all's circuits were all exposed. She waved it angrily at him. "There's another woman's facial data imprinted in this circuitry!" She wailed and stomped off. Cassio chased after her. Othello crawled out from behind the sculpture and stood up.
"You see?" Iago pointed in the direction Cassio and Bianca had just run off in. "He laughs when I mention Desdemona. He's taken the fix-all she gave him and given it to a prostitute!"
"What should I do?" Othello wailed. His left head burst into tears.
"I'll take care of Cassio." Iago made shooting motions. "You take care of Desdemona when she goes into her cryo chamber tonight." Othello sniffled and nodded.
All of a sudden a set of speakers burst out of the wall and announced the arrival of ambassadors from Earth. Iago led the distraught Othello to the landing dock to see what was going on. Desdemona was already there, greeting a man who got off the ship. Othello and Iago walked over.
"Hello. I'm Lodovico." He said to Othello. "I've come to tell you that you're wanted back on Earth and that Cassio should take control of the Pleiades for a while."
"I hope this will make Othello and Cassio make up. I love them both." Desdemona murmured. Othello stepped closer to her and slapped her. Tears sprang to her eyes and the side of her face started to go red. She turned and ran off.
"What are you doing, you idiot?" Lodovico yelled. "Call her back!"
"Desdemona!" Othello shouted. She stopped and turned, wiping at her tear stained cheeks. "Cry! Cry all you want and run away!" She burst into tears again and ran. The entire landing dock was silent as Othello stormed off in the opposite direction. The silence stretched on.
"Othello's not the man he used to be." Remarked Iago to the puzzled Lodovico, breaking the silence.

"You've seen them together?" Othello demanded of Emilia.
"Yeah, but just talking as friends." Emilia assured him. Othello began pacing the small room. "I know you think she's been cheating on you, but she's not. Desdemona's not like that. She wouldn't do that!"
"Just go get her." Othello said, shaking his heads. Emilia left without saying another word. Othello continued to pace, muttering, "Sure she's not like that," he snorted, "She's a cunning one." Emilia returned, followed by Desdemona. "Emilia, watch the door. Make sure no-one comes in." He snapped. Emilia hurried to comply.
"Why are you angry at me?" Desdemona looked deep into his eyes, trying to see what he was thinking.
"Because you've been cheating on me!" He roared.
"But I haven't!" She cried.
"You're lying to me! You fucking whore!" He smashed a nearby vase and ran out. Emilia peeked around the door, concern masking her features. Desdemona was crying again, a pathetic sight with her puffy eyes and red face.
"Go and get a service droid to put the wedding sheets on my bed." She sniffled. "Oh, and get Iago for me." Emilia hesitated, wanting to help but not knowing how. Eventually she just left. Desdemona sighed and closed her eyes, trying to figure things out in her mind. Things just kept going round and round and Emilia was back with Iago before she managed to solve anything.
"What's the matter?" Iago inquired.
"Some terrible person has been spreading rumours about Desdemona." Emilia said sympathetically. "No doubt it was the same asshole who spread the rumour that I was cheating on you."
"What should I do?" Desdemona whimpered.
"Relax. Running a whole solar system must be hard. I'm sure Othello didn't mean any of it. He's just stressed." Iago said in his most soothing voice. "Why don't you and Emilia go and have something to eat." He guided them out the door and pointed them in the direction of the food court.
Walking down the hallway, Iago met Roderigo. He was fuming, red faced and swearing to himself as he stomped along.
"Iago!" He roared when he spotted him. "As long as you're free with the Earth dollars." Roderigo impersonated Iago's advice. "I've been giving you money to give to Desdemona for weeks and nothing's happened! I'm just going to go up and tell her that I won't put up with this kind of thing and ask for my money back." Iago's mind flashed briefly to images of himself tucking Roderigo's money into the panties of a stripper.
"No! You can't do that!" He yelled. He continued more calmly, "Look, success is within reach, I'm telling you. She'll fall for you soon. All you have to do is be patient."
Roderigo sighed. "Alright."
"There's something you need to do for me, though. Othello and I were talking in the automatic muscle-toning machine the other day. He mentioned something about taking Desdemona holidaying on the rings of Saturn. You do realise that if she goes away you're chances of getting with Desdemona are going to be close to nil."
"What should we do?" Roderigo looked alarmed.
"If Cassio. met with an unfortunate fatal accident. Othello would be forced to stay here in the Pleiades." Iago suggested.
"Sure thing, yeah." Roderigo said, thinking of how happy he and Desdemona could be as he walked away.
Iago watched him leave, then looked around to make sure no one was within hearing distance. He threw his head back and gave his evil laugh. Sighing in disappointment, he realised that Othello's evil laugh sounded better than his.

Desdemona and Emilia had gone to the Cosmos Bar after dinner to have a drink and unwind. In the smoky atmosphere of the bar they had come across Othello and Lodovico near a digital painting of a supernova.
"Goodnight ladies." Lodovico said, leaving some money on the bar and preparing to leave.
"Desdemona," Othello said, neither tenderly nor coldly, emotionless, "You should go to bed. I'll be with you in a moment." He followed Lodovico out.
Desdemona swirled the remaining liquid around her glass. "Emilia, if I die before you I want my body to be jettisoned into space wrapped in my wedding sheets." She sculled the rest of her drink.
"Why do you talk about dying?" Emilia inquired.
"Oh, never mind." Desdemona sighed. "It was just a silly thought." After a long pause, she asked, "Do you think there are still women who cheat on their husbands? I mean, I've been to the monument to that ancient god people used to worship . what was his name. Jerry Springer, so I know that kind of thing happened way back in the dark ages, but do you think it still happens today?"
Emilia nodded her head. "Sure."
"I would never do something like that." Desdemona said passionately. "I wouldn't do it for the entire galaxy."
"If a woman cheats on her husband it's his fault for not satisfying her. If I was going to get the entire galaxy, then sure I'd cheat on Iago." Emilia said wistfully.
"I don't know how you could do it." Desdemona looked at her, shocked. She slid off the barstool. "I'm going to bed. Goodbye, Emilia."
"Bye." Emilia waved tipsily.