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   Chapter 12 All aboard

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12873

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

With a grin, Daniel tucked the hydger away. It had taken a bit of tinkering, but he had managed to access a local library through it, and downloaded a bunch of information about the planet into it. Too bad that the capacity of the hydger was very limited, but it would give him something to read when out on the Pricosine. There were possibilities to the hydger that nobody had told him about, and he felt proud that he had managed to get this done.

Daniel looked around the room. He had everything he wanted to take, so he put on his coat, checked the shine of his shoes and picked up his gear. The ship was ready to sail again. They would be gone for a while, delivering a silk-like cargo and also a shipment of grain. On the way back they were to collect all people and their belongings who were living on a small island. The island had become a rather dangerous place now, and they had to be relocated to a village not very far from Skarak.

Ulaman had notified him that they would be sailing very early, so it was still dark when Daniel got out on the street. The carriage he had called for arrived soon, which was a good thing. There was a definite chill in the air this morning. As he was on the way to the harbour he wondered if the carriages would just wait somewhere, or return to a kind of rendez-vous point after a specific period of time. The still silent world did not have an answer for him.

Aboard the ship there was a lot of action already, as the crew was busy making preparations for the journey. Daniel greeted them, but did not keep them from their tasks. He quickly made his way to his cabin below deck and started changing into his 'work clothes'. He was about to leave his cabin when the hydger complained with its rattling sound.

The display announced that he was receiving a relayed message. The ID on it was from his old location; the star base. He sat down on his bunk and opened the message. Two seconds later he wished he hadn't.

"What kind of mess did you get yourself in? I heard that you are thrown out?" The message was from his brother. Daniel sighed and located the delete switch. The message was erased and the display was grey again. Daniel however saw red for a while. It took him a big conscious effort to get over this. He did not want this. His life was his own business, and nobody had to judge him over it, nor call him out to justify what had happened.

He slipped the hydger in his pocket and went to the deck, where he picked up one of the strange semi-bikes and paddled it over the length of the ship. The movement and the pressure he lay on himself to do his job made the memory of the message fade.

After making the round he went up to the bridge, to find Ulaman, Xandree and Lidrin going over long lists.

"Hi Daniel, " Xandree said, waving him to a chair.

Daniel sat down; he did not want to disturb them. It looked important, or at least complicated.

A few minutes later, Darigyn came on to the bridge. "Ula, he's here." Then the big man disappeared again.

Daniel frowned as Ulaman set off after Darigyn, charging down the steps. "What's that?" he had to ask.

Xandree shrugged. "It's the mouse again. He always shows up before we leave on longer journeys. Don't forget to talk to the Seigner, Daniel."

"At this time?" Daniel looked out the window and saw the first light of the day paint the waves.

"At any time before we leave. He'll be awake." Xandree sounded very certain.

Daniel called Clelem, in his mind preparing some excuses in case this was not the right time.

"Mr. Zacharias. I am pleased to see you are conscientious about your task, " the Seigner greeted Daniel. "Is everything in order?"

"Yes, sir. I have checked the ship, it is fine. I will make a second round just before we cast off."

"Very good, Mr. Zacharias. I am putting a lot of trust i

ind him said. Xandree grinned. "They will take you for a bragoon one day, you should know that."

Daniel was not sure what a bragoon was, but coming from Xandree it did not mean much good.

"At least you had a good day to head out, " Bilk said. It was indeed a nice and sunny day.

"True. I'll go and make a round on the ship, " Daniel said. It was not necessary here in the harbour, but it would not hurt. As he was reaching the stern of the ship, he saw a lone figure sitting there. He stepped off the walker-bike and sauntered over. To his surprise it was Draiky. She seemed to work on something.

Daniel made sure that he was approaching her loudly, as not to startle her. He saw a sketchpad on her knees as she turned around and looked up at him.

"Hi, " she said, and turned back to her sketchpad.

"Hello. Do you mind if I spy on you?"

She grinned loudly. "There must be more worthwhile things or people for you to watch. But I am not stopping you."

Daniel sat down next to her and looked at the paper. It was a drawing of the nearby ridge of mountains that had a very remarkable shape. And it was an amazing drawing. "You are good, Draiky."

"Is nothing. Just some scratching to pass the time." As if it reminded her, she scratched her forearms. As her sleeves were rolled up, because of the nice weather, Daniel saw large yellow and orange spots on her arms.

"That does not look good, " he remarked, trying to make it sound casual.

She shrugged. "Glandrine rash. Rare and untreatable. But you get it at birth, not otherwise. Everyone's safe from me." She snickered.

"Glandrine? What's that?"

"I don't know the fancy words, Daniel. I just know that everyone who is born on the planet has it. It grows inside us. They say it's from the water. It's in our skin and it stops us from getting sick and stuff."

Daniel nodded. With strange chemical compounds in the water that would dissolve metal, there was bound to be some effect on human bodies too.

"When we die, the doctors take the glandrine layer from our skin and store it somehow. When people get hurt, there is a supply of it so they can fix people."

"I see." It made sense, although the practice sounded a bit odd. But then, if the stuff was so good that it could save lives, why not. Out in space there were far weirder and worse practices. At least here they waited until people were dead before stripping their skin.

Draiky returned to her drawing and fell silent. Daniel quietly got up and left her working on the drawing that was becoming better all the time.

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