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   Chapter 31 Action, where are you

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12270

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


A good rest. That was what Daniel decided he'd had when he woke up. The talk with Tomlin and his wife, the evening away, it had done him well. The meal had been so copious that he decided to skip breakfast. Instead, he went outside and set off for a long walk. Tomlin had done what he could, getting people together. Now there was nothing to do that waiting for the mystery man to call again, and that would be through the hydger. As long as he had that thing with him, he would be fine.

With a newspaper under his arm, he had picked that up at a small stall, Daniel strolled along the waterline. He kept his back to the harbour. The sight of it was something he did not want to inflict on himself, there were too many memories there that were just waiting to jump him.

Instead, he looked at the water, and occasionally tried to figure out patterns in the cobblestone path he was walking over. A sudden thought made him grin. How old was this path? Would Flish have walked over it? It surprised him how many of his thoughts were revolving around this character.

Daniel reached a bench where he sat down. He opened the newspaper and looked through it. In the first days after his return to Skarak, there had been reports about the Pricosine being captured, and some articles had gone on a wild goose chase about the destiny of its sailors. Now there was nothing. How quickly people forgot and moved on, he thought. Same thing everywhere.

A smile curled his lips when suddenly he thought of Troy. How would he be doing on the planet of shit? Would he still be there? Or would he have found a way to leave that place already? And sergeant O'Shaughnessy? Burt?

Daniel took the hydger and started to fiddle with it, until he had the relay address for messages to the star base. He then frowned. "Don't tell me..." He could not recall Burt's address to receive messages. "Oh, bloody crap." He did remember the address for Rhonda. Slowly he worked on getting the message into the machine.

'Hello Rhonda. How are you? Things here are definitely strange. Got thrown off a pirate ship. I want to write to Burt. Can you send me his address please, I lost it. I am very sorry that you left so quickly after patching me up, I really need to thank you. Again. Love, Daniel.'

He read the message again. He deleted one of the last two words. Then he sent the message. When it was gone he cursed himself for removing that one word.

Daniel put away the device, folded up the newspaper and continued his walk along the water. He tried to think of alternatives to saving the Pricosine crew, ignoring strongly the fact that they might already be dead. He tried to think of former comrades of the military who might be able to help. Because he had to do something.

He ended up in a restaurant he had not seen before. It was a small place, near the outskirts of Skarak. From where he sat, he had a beautiful view over the water. As the restaurant was small, the staff there ran out of free tables quickly.

"Excuse me, sir, " a waiter asked Daniel, "would you mind sharing your table?"

Daniel saw a charming lady waiting behind the man. "Oh, not at all. I'd be glad to share."

"Thank you, sir. You are truly a gentleman, " the lady said as the waiter sat her down. She wore a simple, light blue dress. Her skin was very pale and a lot of it was visible from her shoulders down. Her dark hair was pinned up except for a few curls that seemed to have escaped the pins.

"I'd feel terrible, knowing that a lady had been kept waiting when there are seats available here, " Daniel said.

The lady, sending the waiter on his way with her order, smiled at Daniel, looking

he should make of the few items in the window. He saw something that looked like half a violin, a few pieces that might have belonged to a trumpet or trombone, and strings. He knew strings. Guitars had strings.

"This is what I play most, " Melia said, an almost loving look on her face.

"Oh. Really." Daniel stared at the items and wondered how that together might make an instrument. Or perhaps they were all separate instruments.

The woman at his side laughed. "Poor Daniel... you were not joking when you said you are a musical barbarian. Come, let me take you inside. You can meet Master Cloris who makes all the beautiful things."

They entered the shop. It took Daniel's eye a while to get used to the dark innards of the place, but Melia seemed to know her way around. Quickly he was taken to the back of the store where a wrinkled man in an amazing outfit was busy working on a large brass cylinder. The man wore brown pinstriped pants and a shirt that had lost all memory of being white. Over that he wore a thick leather apron. He had a large wrench in his hands with which he was tightening a big lump that was meant to keep a metal pipe in place.

Daniel stared at the man's head, though. On his forehead there was the most extraordinary pair of goggles he had ever seen. They were made of copper or brass, had strange metal spikes protruding from it everywhere, and the whole thing was held in place with strips of leather.

"GRAAAAAAHHHHH", the man, who had to be Master Cloris, groaned as he pulled the wrench with all his might. The wrench did not move. Nor did the cylinder. "Gotcha, " the man said. He tried to remove the wrench from the bolt. The wrench again did not move.

"Master Cloris?" Melia spoke gently, as if she was afraid to yank the man from his work.

The man looked. "Oh!! Melia!! How nice to see such a friendly face!" He came over to her and frantically shook her hand. "And who have you brought? Another pupil? Ah, yes, maybe you are interested in this new instrument I am making, wait, let me show you."

The man scurried off without another word. As he was busy somewhere in the bowels of the back room, Melia giggled. "I'm sorry, Daniel, he is often like that."

From unknown places there were sounds of heavy things being moved, light things falling on the ground and some subdued muttering. A loud bang made Melia scream and grab hold of Daniel, who instinctively put an arm around her.

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