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   Chapter 7 NGC663-VIII

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12947

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


Half an hour before his ride would come in Daniel sat on his small trunk with his things. A bag with extras lay on the ground next to him. Platform Delta 1 was deserted, which suited him fine, although he would have liked to see a few people before leaving.

There were footsteps. Daniel got up and looked, hoping to see Rhonda, or Burt. He was not happy when he saw the shape of the oncoming person.

"Daniela, girl!"

"Crap."

"I knew you would be happy to see me!" Troy held out his arms, as if he expected Daniel to come running. "Ludo, come here and say goodbye to Daniela!"

The man stepped out of the tunnel. "Daniel."

"Glarn!" The voice sounded like whip.

Troy spun around as if he had been stung by something. "Trainer O'Shaughnessy."

Daniel breathed again. "Burt."

"I would sincerely advise you to report to your commanding officer, Troy Glarn." Burt stood next to Ludo, arms crossed over his chest.

Troy looked at Daniel, his eyes full of anger, but with Burt around he did not dare to say more. Witnesses were evil things. Without another word he turned and marched off into the tunnel. "Ludo!"

"Ludo stays here, it is you they are looking for, " Burt calmly said, holding Ludo back.

Troy looked even less pleased, then he walked on. Echoes of cursing came from the tunnel, painting a grin on Burt's face. "He is going to have a really nice surprise, " the trainer said. "And you, Ludo, should stop being his dog. Troy is going off-base, so it is time that you make your own plans."

"Off-base?" Ludo and Daniel asked at the same time.

"Yup. Since it sucks what stunt he pulled on you, I pulled one on him. I made a few calls and arranged for Troy to get his own command."

"You what?!" Daniel could not believe his ears.

"Ever hear of Trados Noxos?" Everyone who had ever been further away from Earth than a light year knew something about Trados Noxos.

"The planet of shit?" Daniel asked, first in disbelief, then with an ever expanding smile. It wasn't exactly a planet of shit, but the smell there made you believe that, according to the reports.

"He's going to be there for a while, " Burt said with a wink.

"Hey, good, you're still here!" That was Rhonda's voice. The Head Medical Officer came sauntering through the tunnel. As she emerged, she hugged Burt and then Daniel. "Troy looked like he was kicked in the balls, " she remarked. "What was that for?"

Daniel told her what had happened. It made her grin.

His friends stayed with him until the shuttle had arrived and he had to leave. Burt shook his hand. So did Ludo. And Rhonda did that also. "Good luck, Daniel. Find a way to stay in touch, okay?"

Daniel nodded. "I have the standard transmitter here. It should work. Even there." He picked up his trunk and bag and walked to the airlock that would lead him into the shuttle. Just before going through it he looked back. The three people stood watching him. Two were waving. He shouldered the door and quickly went through it.

-=-=-

"Sir, we are approaching our destination. I would like to go through the disembarkation procedure with you."

"Eurhm?" Daniel woke up and looked into the face of the man whom he only knew as 'the flight attendant'. After his business on space station Red Eagle, he had come aboard a spacecraft that was hardly worth the name. The few people aboard had assured him it was safe. He would have to take their word for it.

There was rather worn red carpet on the floor everywhere in the craft. He had a room in it. Not a cabin. It was a genuine room. There was a real bed with a cover that felt as if there was something non-synthetic in it. It was heavy. He discovered a real shower. There was a table with a cloth on it in a corner of the room, and flowers, and a few candles. A chair was there too, with its legs ending in what looked like animal paws. On th

him and stepped out on a round platform- no, this was not a platform. This was a circle, paved with cobblestones and sand. He resisted the urge to bend down and touch the floor. He got out of the way after assuring that his now three pieces of luggage were unloaded. The chest with his new clothes surpassed both other items together in size.

The smell of the place filled his nostrils. There was a strange scent in it, something he could not place. He blamed the Bactine implements for it and decided to ignore it as nobody seemed to be bothered by it. If, at all, they noticed it.

A sign told him he was standing on Embarcado Circle. All around the circle, people were walking, not paying attention to the affair with the gondola. Daniel also saw carriages of all kinds and shapes, occupied and empty, move around. They made no sound except for the wheels rattling on the street. Then he looked around for someone who might be able to help him.

Another young man, merely a rather grown up kid, walked up to him, as if waiting for this cue. "Sir? Are you looking for help?" He had a sign on the lapel of his coat, stating that his name was Mr. Benjin and he was an employee of the Airlift Enterprise.

"Yes, I am. I need someone to bring my luggage to this address..." Daniel fumbled a piece of paper from his pocket, checked that it was the right one and handed it to the boy.

"I can arrange that, sir, no problem, sir." Mr. Benjin lifted a small wooden box with a round brass plaque on it. The plaque was severely scratched.

Daniel stared at the box, then at the boy, not making the connection for several long seconds. "Oh, crap, " it escaped from him. Well done, Daniel. Two minutes on the face of this planet and you already kick protocol in the balls, he told himself. He fumbled with the ring he was now wearing, aimed and tapped the ring's green stone against the brass plaque. It would deduct a number of credits from some shady bank account he should have here.

"Thank you sir, " the boy said. "Is there anything else of your wishing?"

Daniel felt uncomfortable with all this sir stuff. He found another paper. "Yes. I need transportation to Seigner Waldo Skinsh ko Talush." He hoped he pronounced the name correctly, which was doubtful given the puzzled expression of Mr. Benjin. "He is the president of the Ship Owner Society?"

The boy's face lit up. "Of course, sir." To Daniel it almost sounded like 'learn to pronounce our language, idiot.' The young man, dressed in a shrunken version of the suits Daniel saw all around, asked him to follow.

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