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   Chapter 8 The mission

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 9454

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


Mr. Benjin guided Daniel over one of the many pathways that were cutting through the meticulously maintained lawn that lay around the Embarcado Circle. At the end of the path was a funny looking building, a mix of a tent and a waiting room. Inside were benches with cushions, tables with refreshments and a friendly young lady who was delighted to assist Daniel.

"Welcome to our planet, Seigner, and to the town of Skarak, " she said. "I see you need some assistance to find your way in our town. Let me help you with this." She led Daniel outside again, after offering him some tea which he gladly accepted.

After drinking his tea, he followed her to one of the carriages that were waiting outside the tent. The young woman, who had introduced herself as Miss Ridding, explained that Daniel only had to sit down in an available carriage ("preferably one that is at the front, for easier departure, sir") and tell the carriage where he wanted to go.

"If you have a hydger, you can simply bring up the location and hold it in front of this copper plate, " Miss Ridding said.

"A what?" Daniel did not remember reading or hearing about something called a hydger.

"You will probably get one soon, sir, do not worry. If you have no hydger, you just touch the copper plate and state the number that makes for the location where you want to go." Miss Ridding pointed at the row of numbers on Daniel's paper, beneath the name of the president of the Ship Owners Society. "Also hold your ring in front of the plate, to identify yourself. If the fare is pre-arranged no credit will be subtracted. Will you be well with this, sir, or would you require someone to escort you?"

"I will give this a try, Miss Ridding. Thank you. Is there a fail-safe system, or an emergency call in this carriage, in case things go wrong?"

Miss Ridding smiled at the ignorance of this tall man and his somewhat crumpled appearance. "What could possibly go wrong, Seigner? If you feel uncomfortable during the voyage, just touch the copper plate and tell the carriage to take you home. It will then bring you back here."

"Thank you. Miss Ridding. You are very kind."

"It is my work to assist people, sir. Have a pleasant stay." Miss Ridding smiled and nodded, then stepped back. She waited until Daniel had climbed into the carriage, touched the plate, recited the numbers and the carriage pulled away.

Daniel watched out the windows left and right as the carriage took him through the streets. Most of what he saw matched the things he had seen in the videos and pictures. He marvelled at the buildings and statues and gardens, grinned about the people who were walking around.

The carriage came to a halt in front of a building that had the shape of a boat. The carriage door opened, as a sign that the tour had ended. Daniel stepped

ouse coordinates to a carriage, which saved the trouble of papers and reading out the numbers. "Does everyone have a hydger?" he asked.

"The people that matter do, sir, " Varning said with a smile. He then showed Daniel how to enter the coordinates to the place where he would be living, and how to summon a carriage, using the hydger.

Daniel thanked him and then was cordially escorted out of the building. Once in the street he took the strange book-shaped contraption, pressed the on-button and waited for the glossy display to light up. He chuckled at the weird technological thing he held in his hand and called for a carriage.

-=-=-

The carriage pulled up at the foot of a tremendously high building. It looked completely wrong here, as all the buildings he had seen so far had not gone higher than three or four floors. This thing was gigantic, he could not see where it ended. It had to be at least thirty storeys high. Still, this was the address, according to the coordinates.

Inside he found elevators, much to what he had expected on this planet. A box with a fence, being hoisted up on what probably were chains of some sort. His hydger did not make the thing move. His ring did.

The ride upwards was not as long as he had expected. The elevator let him out on a floor with a long unadorned corridor. The floor was made of a kind of stone, as were the walls, and the doors left and right were made of sturdy steel for a change. He found his room and to his relief also his gear. The boy at the Embarcado Circle had done well.

The apartment was simple but clean. Just the way Daniel liked it. He took off some of the more unpleasant clothes and then stood in front of the window, taking in the view. He was seriously high up for measures on this planet. Then he started unpacking, wondering if it would be terribly impolite to change into normal clothes.

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