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   Chapter 9 The Pricosine

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12152

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

The next morning Daniel heard a bell ring. He wondered what was going on as it rang again, accompanied by a modest knock on the door. That clarified things.

Outside his apartment stood a man, small even to NGC6637-VIII standards. "Mr. Daniel Zacharias?" he asked, lifting his hat. The man was dressed in a brown suit, a blue tie covering part of his white shirt.

"Indeed. That's me, " Daniel nodded.

"Good. My name is Gaguran Slindris. Seigner Clelem Dandra ko Galem's serving man."

"Oh, right, I've been expecting you. Won't you come in?" Daniel stepped to the side.

"I would prefer it if you could step out, sir. I am here to take you to the harbour and introduce you to the captain of the Pricosine, Mr. Xhylor."

"Oh. Certainly." Daniel fetched his coat, made sure his ring and hydger were where he wanted them to be and followed Gaguran Slindris down the hall after locking the door. In relative silence the elevator brought them to the ground floor, where a carriage was waiting for them. Gaguran asked Daniel to take his hydger and then read out the coordinate address for the harbour. "You will be going there rather frequently, so it would serve you to store these numbers, " he said. Daniel then operated the hydger and the brass plate to make the carriage go.

As they were travelling, Daniel tried to strike up a conversation. Gaguran however seemed to want to keep to himself, so the newly appointed security man satisfied himself by watching the changing scenery outside the coach.

The strange smell Daniel had noticed as he arrived on the planet was slowly getting stronger. He had to ask Gaguran about it.

"What you smell, Mr. Zacharias, is the water. We hardly notice it anymore, but people who are not from here... they do. You will get used to it. The smell is a result of chemicals in the water. Captain Xhylor will tell you all about this, and the ships that sail in it." He adequately cut off any of Daniel's questions that way.

The carriage stopped. They were at the harbour. After leaving their transportation they walked onto the shipyard, using a small gate that was away from the main entrance. The main entrance, Daniel saw, was an extremely crowded place where carts, open carriage and many people carrying things were streaming in and out.

Gaguran kept to the side, where the buildings were. Offices and warehouses lined up the long route they were walking along. Daniel gaped at the multitude of ships and the shapes they came in. It also struck him that they were all sailing ships. Very odd.

"The Pricosine is too large to be moored in this area, " Gaguran announced voluntarily. "About ten more minutes, Mr. Zacharias. I assume you can keep up with me."

Daniel did not want to laugh. He had to slow down his sauntering, otherwise he would be pacing away from the short man within seconds. "I'll be fine, Mr. Slindris, do not worry or slow down on my behalf."

Gaguran unleashed a barely noticeable nod and they continued. After a last turn, they had arrived. Three ships were tied to the quay with monstrous cable.

Daniel stopped and stared. "Holy crap." The ships were not mere ships, they were floating villages. The last ship on the ropes was the Pricosine, its name blinked in the sunlight. It sported eight masts and was high as a mountain.

Gaguran stopped also and nodded approvingly at Daniel's surprise. "Indeed, although I would appreciate if you were to watch your language somewhat, Mr. Zacharias. I am certain the lowly sailor folk would appreciate that expression, but I doubt you want to be counted among their ranks."

They walked up to the gangway o

s everything was in place, the Pricosine was prepared for departure. Daniel was on the bridge with Ulaman and Lidrin Starhouse, who was the ship's navigator and best hand for the steering wheel.

Daniel's hydger rattled, making him jump. It had not done that before.

Ulaman and Lidrin laughed as he grabbed for the book-device, opened it and found the switch to answer what turned out to be an incoming call.

The face of Seigner Clelem Dandra ko Galem appeared on the small screen. "Mr. Zacharias. I take it you are on your way to the Pricosine?"

"Good morning, Seigner Dandra, " said Daniel. "I am already on board, sir."

Clelem's face twisted a bit. Daniel was not sure if that was because of the reception of this device, or if the man took offence to how Daniel had butchered his name. He looked at Ulaman, who was shaking his head. Damn. It was the name-bit.

"Admirable, Mr. Zacharias. I trust that you will be doing well. I hope you understand that you will be out of hydger-range for most of the journey, so if anything happens, the crew and the ship will rely on your ingenuity and resources."

"Thank you for informing me, Seigner Dandra ko Galem, " Daniel tried to make up. "I will do all that is in my powers."

"Very good. I will hear from you again upon return. Safe sailing, Mr. Zacharias."

"Good day, Seig-" The connection was ended before Daniel was done. He looked at Ulaman. "Bad move?"

"Bad move, " the captain confirmed. "He'll live. And so will you. Come here, Daniel, we are about to sail."

Daniel witnessed how the small-sails on the front mast were hoisted, and the large aft-sail was brought up halfway. Slowly, as the expertly-set sails caught wind, the giant ship drifted away from the quay as large unseen machines rolled in the large hawsers that had held the vessel tied to shore.

The few people that manned the boat used something that resembled a primitive bicycle to quickly go from one side of the boat to the other. Daniel was astounded at the speed they developed with the thing.

As if the ship was pestering everyone, it turned only ever so slow before the bow was pointing towards the exit of the harbour.

Ulaman kept yelling commands into a tube, occasionally rang a bell and seemed to enjoy the whole thing tremendously.

After a while, more sails were set. The Pricosine picked up speed, helped by the outgoing tide, and then they were outside.

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