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   Chapter 15 A new trip

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 13432

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

The hydger rattled. Daniel picked it up from the table and recognised Ulaman's sign. "Ulaman, good morning."

"Hello, Daniel. The ship is ready for new sailing. There have been some alterations to the rudder and we have a new sail. The Seigner wants us to take the ship out for a long test. We will leave in the afternoon."

"I'll be there, Ulaman."

"I know." Ulaman's face attempted a smile and the screen went grey.

Daniel stretched his legs under the table. He was sitting outside a nice little restaurant, enjoying a brew called sturt which was the local excuse for coffee. He had grown to like it. Tomlin Barker had pointed it out to him some days ago. "It makes a nice change to tea, Daniel, " he had said. His friend had been right.

Daniel had enjoyed the days on shore; they had allowed him to travel around a bit and learn more of the town and the adjacent areas. It was not a bad place to live, but the lack of action (not counting a certain bar fight) was getting to him, so he was glad to go out again. Even if it was just a short trip.

He finished his cup of sturt, paid using his ring and headed back to his apartment. Getting his things was routine by now, so soon he was on his way to the harbour. He grinned as he came up to the immense ship. Seeing it like this was so much better than the view from his window. As he came closer, his grin changed to a frown. There were a few carts at the bottom of the gangway with the names of companies he did not recognise. Men he did not know and who did not look like they belonged on the ship were climbing up and down, taking things.

Daniel walked up to the deck and saw Draiky watching the men. "Hello, Xandree. What's all this?"

The woman shrugged. "I am not sure. Orders from the Seigner, I heard. Ulaman and Xandree are not here, they asked me to keep an eye on these people."

Two men tried to bring aboard a very large, long chest. They were swaying on their feet precariously as they tried to lift the thing up. Daniel dropped his things and quickly gave the men a hand. A fall down, he knew, meant certain death. The quay was hard and the water unforgiving.

"Thank you, sir!" the men said as they came aboard. They picked up the chest and disappeared below deck.

"They are hammering down there, " Draiky informed Daniel. "Lot of noise. I'm happy the galley is far from there."

Daniel nodded. "I'll go put my stuff away and see what's going on."

"Good luck, Daniel." Draiky turned to the next man was bringing a bag of stuff on board, checked a list, and directed him below deck.

Daniel followed the man who moved slowly under his load. It was also obvious he was not used to moving about on a ship. The security man frowned as he saw the man stagger into the cabin opposite his own, where a lot of the hammering and sawing came from. The 'Keep Out' sign on the door made him wonder even more.

He was stowing his belongings when the hydger rattled. It was Gaguran Slindris. "Mr. Zacharias. Good day. I am calling you, on behalf of Seigner Dandra ko Galem, to inform you about work being undertaken aboard the Pricosine."

"I am already aware of that, Mr. Slindris, " Daniel said. "The workers are hammering loud enough not to miss it."

"Very good. They are all selected and found safe to work on board, Mr. Zacharias. There is no need for you to be concerned, or to interrogate them."

"Interrogate? That is a bit drastic, isn't it?" Daniel wondered where that suddenly came from.

"I just want to make sure you understand. The work has to be done before the Pricosine sails. Seigner Dandra ko Galem asks if you can assure that all safety precautions have been taken and checked. And that the rescue vessel is in order, for the eventual case that it is needed."

"Of course, I'll see to that. May I ask what this is all about?"

"You will learn about that soon enough, Mr. Zacharias." It was evident that Gaguran wanted the conversation to end.

"Very well, sir. Thank you for letting me know."

"Good da

y, three carriages were slowly moving towards them. After a few minutes, they came to a halt in front of the gangway where Ulaman, Xandree and Daniel had taken position.

The door of the first carriage swung open and Gaguran Slindris stepped out. Daniel frowned, until the man turned and reached for the hand of the frilly girl, to help her out of the coach.

The young woman was covered in an amazing amount of fabric, most of it yellow and beige. The dress was very nice if the beholder knew to appreciate it. She picked a small umbrella from the seat and turned towards Ulaman. "Good day, captain Xhylor, " she said with a smile. "Mrs. Xhylor, so pleased to meet you too." Then she looked at Daniel. Her eyes sampled his leisurely military outfit. "Oh. It's you." Her attention went back to Ulaman.

As she was chattering and flattering the captain and his wife, Daniel wondered who would step out of the other carriages, but the doors remained closed. Ulaman's voice shook him out of his thoughts. "What?"

"Wake up, Daniel. Can you start taking some of Miss Dandra ko Galem's luggage up?"

Gaguran Slindris frowned at Daniel.

"Luggage? Where is that?" As he asked, a dreadful feeling hit him. The two other carriages. "Oh. Right. Sure." He stepped away and looked at the railing where some of the sailors were waiting and watching.

"Are you sure that this man is a reliable member of your crew, captain?" he heard the woman say in a tiny sweet voice.

Daniel bit away some words that tried to force their way out. He should -not- make things worse than they already were. He waved his arm at some of the sailors and yelled up that they should come down to help.

"He yells so loudly, " the young woman said, her tone definitely disapproving. In a dramatic way she covered her ears, dismay on her face.

Daniel closed his eyes, breathed deeply and opened the first carriage door. Some of the suitcases were so eager to get on board that they fell out. He scrambled to catch them. Of the four he got one. He did not look at the woman who was still talking to Ulaman and Xandree. The short silence that fell was bad enough. He grabbed four suitcases and what looked like, heavens forbid, a box to carry a hat. Loaded like that he made his way to the gangway, but before he reached it, Ulaman called his name.

He turned and looked over the hat-box. "What can I do for you, captain?"

"Please step this way, Mr. Zacharias. Miss Dandra ko Galem has some problems with her footwear."

Daniel wondered what that was to him, but he walked back to the four people.

"I wonder, " said Ulaman, "if you could be so good to carry Miss Dandra ko Galem to deck."

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