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   Chapter 24 A strange call

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12506

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


Once inside his apartment, he changed into something comfortable and lay down on the bed. On the way home he had wondered why nobody here had thought of making one of these floater things a lot larger to create a flying balloon that was big enough to carry loads. That would give the pirates a hard time. He shrugged in the dark. There probably were things he didn't know. He could not imagine that nobody had ever tried it.

As he was wondering about the way he had emptied his heart and soul in front of the senator, a man he didn't know at all, his hydger started rattling.

"Go away whoever you are, I am not in the mood, " he complained.

This was not good enough. The hydger kept at it, as if the person on the other end was not about to give up.

"This had better be good." He picked himself up from the bed and made his way over to the table where the troublemaker was. As he picked it up, the rattle stopped. "I wonder who it was I pissed off so much that I had to go through this day, " he muttered and started back to the bed. Then the hydger started again. This time Daniel did not take chances. He was quick to get the box.

The screen showed a black triangle and no name. "Now what." Curiously, he flipped the switch. "Zacharias here."

There was some strange grunting sound, then a distorted voice said: "You are mister Daniel Zacharias?" There was a strange sound next to the voice, as if a steel brush grated over a bucket.

"Yes. Who is this?"

"My name is not important. I have to speak with you."

Daniel walked to a corner where, in a closet, he kept his special suitcase. With one hand he opened it and searched for something, as he asked what the talk would be about.

"I can not tell you that over this line, " the voice said, as Daniel switched on his scanner.

"Null reading, " it told him. He had to make the other person talk more.

"Listen, whoever you are. I am not in the mood to play games, so either you tell me what this is about, or I will simply hang up on you."

"No, don't. I have something important to discuss with you. You will come to the Maliser Park at the west side of Skarak. There is a group of six trees next to the entrance. Meet me there in an hour."

The black triangle disappeared, and the display then only showed a set of numbers. Coordinates.

"Scrambled voice pattern, " the scanner said.

"Thanks. I had figured that out already, " Daniel muttered, switching the scanner off and tossing it back into the suitcase. Clearly Earth's military stuff was not capable of tracing through local technology.

His finger hovered over the off switch of the hydger. It hesitated. Then, slowly, as if it had a mind of its own, it pressed the store-button. The secretive technology of the box hiccuped and then the display showed 'Maliser Park'.

Half an hour later he arrived at Maliser Park. He wanted to be early, to see where the strange person would come from. The entrance consisted of two thick trees that had suffered from pocks or a similar disease. Around the park were lights, and low bushes of a very needly kind. Entering the park unseen was impossible, he noticed. There were so many lights that even in the dark nothing could move here without being seen. That was a good thing.

Standing close to one of the thick trees, he looked over the area. He counted six trees in a group, just off to the left. Okay. Not okay. Further to the right also was a group of six trees. Tada for keeping things balanced, but this messed up the plan.

He took his chances and opted for the right-hand set of six. Keeping low, he ran over to them, took position and waited.

After more than half an hour, there still was nobody. He waited longer. Still nobody.

"Someone

attention. Unfortunately this is not the first time I have been threatened. There were letters and messages. Anonymous of course, but they all were directed against either my person, my family or my ships. So far they have only been threats without any action being taken to turn them into serious affairs. But this..." Clelem shook his head. "Do you have any idea who this person was?"

"No, sir, I'm sorry. I would not know." Daniel had calmed down as Clelem was taking the time to listen to him, and he had relocated his more politely side again. "The shape of the person would give me reason to think of someone, but as I have no evidence of that, I would not feel safe in mentioning a name."

"Ah... one moment please..." Clelem walked to the door and talked to someone. He returned soon. "I have asked for some tea for you, Mr. Zacharias. You look like you can do with that."

"Thank you, Seigner. Have you mentioned the threats to the police?"

"I did, of course, but they are unable to provide me any services as long as no physical act has been committed. It is a sad truth, Mr. Zacharias, but it is so."

After a knock on the door, a servant came in with a cup of tea and two glasses of local cognac.

"Cheers, Mr. Zacharias."

The two men drank in silence. Then the door flew open.

"Father, Seigner Lastor has just told me-" Rayko stopped dead in her tracks. She stared at her father and Daniel. "I am sorry." Her eyes shot devastation at Daniel. "My apologies." She left the room.

"And mine, Mr. Zacharias. My daughter somehow learnt her manners from one of the sailors, I sometimes think."

Daniel waved it away. "That's fine, really. Miss Dandra ko Galem and I seem to be getting off on the wrong foot continually."

Clelem nodded. "Yes, so I've heard."

Daniel was not sure if there was a hidden chuckle in the man's words.

"Now, let us return to recent events. Mr. Zacharias, I would appreciate it if you were to keep up your efforts to inform me about strange things. Anything at all that attracts any kind of attention. You have my permissions to alert me or Mr. Slindris at any moment of the day or night, if you suspect it necessary."

"Thank you, Seigner. I will keep my eyes open." Daniel drank his tea before it would go cold. "Do you think that there is a chance that pirates have their hand in these threats?"

Clelem looked at him. "I have been thinking about that as well, Mr. Zacharias. At this point, I think, anything is possible..."

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