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   Chapter 23 Soirée (2)

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12166

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

Daniel felt a stranger in the large house. His suit did not make him stand out, but his size did. Oh, there were several people in the hall who greeted him and entertained some socialising, but there was no real connection. He longed for the company of the people of the Pricosine, or the comfort of his own space in his apartment.

A large buffet, spanning almost a dozen of tables, was opened in an adjoining room. Daniel had not a clue what most of the food was, so he picked from the large plates carefully.

"Lavish, isn't it?" someone asked Daniel, who was studying a plate with curly pink things. It was Warlem, the poet and shame of the family.

"It is, indeed. And I don't know most of it either, " Daniel confessed. He had taken an immediate liking to this young man who was one of the few normal people here, as far as he was concerned.

"Those are safe, " Warlem pointed at the pink curlies. "Avoid the green vegetables if you do not like sour food, and the yellow cubes over there are sweet." He picked one from the bowl. "And delicious." The cube quickly disappeared from view and fingers.

Daniel appreciated the assistance, and approved of the choice of food he carried away from the tables, looking for a place to sit down.

Warlem followed him with a plate of his own. "I was highly entertained by what I heard had happened to my sister, " he said as he sat down next to Daniel. "And please, do enjoy the food. It is prepared by the the cook that was on the boat."

"Ship." It popped out before Daniel knew it.

Warlem laughed. "You are one of them. How quaint."

Daniel failed to see the quaintness but ignored the remark. He was glad to have some company.

"Rayko was highly distressed about your behaviour on board. I assume you know that?"

"There were a few incidents, indeed, but from my view they were not too bad."

"You, sir, need to learn about women and clothing. Tearing her dress has signed your death warrant." Warlem chuckled.

Daniel grinned along with him, recalling the moment. "Luckily she managed to trip all by herself."

"She tripped? Oh dear, and you were there to see it? Sir, you are braver than I had already had given you credit for, by showing yourself here tonight. And you are still standing - well, sitting, after meeting her. She must like you." Pleasure danced over Warlem's face as his eyes searched for his sister. "The poor sod never gives up, " he sighed before taking a bite of his food.

Daniel frowned and scanned the room, seeing Gaguran standing close to Rayko in a rather odd way. The woman ignored him completely, yet he looked as if he was having the time of his life. Daniel grinned.

"Ah, you heard about him, I understand, " Warlem said. "And there he is, feeling completely inconspicuous." The poet shook his head, sending his hair jumping.

"Warlem, I require your seat for a moment." Clelem suddenly stood with them.

Warlem got up and walked away, without a word. It was something that surprised Daniel.

"Mr. Zacharias, I hope my son was not being his indigestible self, " the Seigner said as he sat down. "He has the habit of making himself unwanted in many ways."

Before Daniel could reply, the man continued: "I want to thank you again, personally, for the work you are doing. You saved a ship, a cargo and the lives of many."

"It is what I am supposed to be doing, sir, " said Daniel. "Sometimes an assignment is harder than other times."

"Yet, you have gone beyond tasks, Mr. Zacharias." Clelem nodded and stared into the crowd for a moment. "I assume that you have things under control?"

Daniel wondered about that question

oing on inside you?"

Daniel hesitated for a moment. Then he started telling the senator about his feelings, his thoughts, his worries.

Behind the large plant, unseen and unheard, sat someone, listening to the conversation.

"You see, sir, after being saved from death twice, after changing into someone yet again, it is hard to decide to what people I belong. After the Bactine operation, my own people did not really accept me for who I was. But the other Rebuilts also didn't. Then I got shoved away, to this planet. No offence, sir, it is a nice planet. But it is hard for me to call it home."

The senator nodded. "That must be hard. You struggle and the gratification is not coming. But you are still alive, young man."

"True. But at times I wonder if that is all worth this. I was an Assault Marshall, up for becoming sergeant. Instead of that, I am set up, there's a stain on my name. And now I am here, sailing on a ship fighting pirates and waiting to be chopped up again."

Sygra patted Daniel on the shoulder. "Perhaps you should give it some time. You've undergone some impressive traumas, Mr. Zacharias. Time is the best healer for this. The fact that you are here shows your strength. You could have stayed at home and sulk, sir."

Daniel grinned. "Thank you, senator. I'll give it some more time."

"There's a good man, " the senator said. "I really appreciate your confidence, Mr. Zacharias. Now, if you will excuse me. My old bones need the warmth of the inside again."

"Good evening, Seigner Dirrit ko Asac. Thank you for your ear."

The thin man smiled down at the still sitting Daniel. "I hope we can meet again someday." He slowly walked off, his robe flowing left and right as he moved.

"I doubt it, " Daniel mumbled. He also got up and after a last look around the garden, he went inside, getting ready to leave.

Behind the plant, a shadow waited for a while, then also slipped into the house.

Daniel walked through the see-through tunnel, reached the reception building and one of the ladies who were still there found his coat. The floater was already waiting so he stepped in and waited until the thing had taken him to the platform at the foot of the hill. Once there, he saw a long line of carriages waiting. Both the men who had been there when he arrived were gone, so he walked to the first carriage and made it take him home.

All this trouble for a few hours...

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