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   Chapter 34 Strange Aldrick

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 13203

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

Daniel arrived at his apartment, wet and cold. And also excited, exhilarated. He had been somewhere new again, snooped around in places he should not be. He had heard things he should not have heard. And he had not been caught. The whole thing came down to a giant trip.

It was all completely against everything his military training had taught him; they had spies for things like that. And he couldn't care less. He had done this. He had learnt things about Clelem Dandra ko Galem that apparently not many people knew.

He treated himself to a hot shower and dry clothes. After locating some rations he kept for special occasions, and the lasting rain was one of those, he sat at the table and stared out the window. The painful open spot of the Pricosine stung him.

Daniel had tried to see the shipyard from his room, but that was just out of visual range. Maybe that was just as well.

He flipped open the hydger, wondering if that needed drying out with all the rain, but miraculously that did not show any problems.

No one had tried to call him. The clouds overhead did not show any sign of wanting to leave soon. This was going to be a dreary day, Daniel was rather certain of that.

As his thoughts rolled on, he suddenly found himself composing what could be a letter to someone, in his head. He decided that he might as well make it a real one. Yes, he would write a letter to his sister.

He wrote to her, about how he had been transferred to NGC6637-VIII ('a really very far-away planet') and how he had been stationed here to do security on ships, because of pirates. He did not hide from her the fact that they had been outnumbered, and that his life had almost been forfeit.

'I do at times think of you, Cynthia, ' he wrote. 'I hope you're doing well and I would really like to hear from you.'

Daniel read his letter over a few times. Then he sent it off, through the star base relay address. The white blip on the screen told him it had been delivered, and that was all he could do.

As he was staring through the window again, the hydger rattled. He picked it up. A black triangle was there, and he didn't even frown anymore.

"Hello, mysterious person."

"Mr. Zacharias, " the distorted voice said, through the by now familiar brushing sound. "Have you seen the boat?"

"Yes. I did." Daniel explained about the problem of the size. The stranger on the other end was silent, apparently he had not counted on that. Then Daniel told him about the possible alternative that they were working on.

"You are venturing into options yourself?" No brushing or distortion could take away the surprise in the voice.

"Yes. I want the people from the Pricosine saved. A few people I know want to help."

"When do you know what their option is for saving the crew?"

"They told me they would get back to me in a few days. So that could even be tomorrow, " Daniel said.

Another silence. "I see. Can you send word to me as soon as you know if the option is viable?"

"I can, but I'll need the identification of your hydger for that." Daniel wondered if the mysterious person would do that.

"Very well. I will hear from you. As soon as possible." Beneath the black triangle a set of numbers appeared as the connection was terminated.

Daniel stared at the numbers and could not believe it. He had a way to connect to this person now, whoever it was. Quickly he stored the call sign in the hydger, again wondering how many of those this strange box could hold.

Unfortunately, after that the day held no more excitement for Daniel.

He was appreciative of his umbrella, as the rain was still falling as he went out for dinner.


"Krrrrrkkk... Krrrrkkk..." went the hydger. The display told him that Tomlin tried to talk to him.

"Hey, Tomlin, what's up?"

"Good morning, Daniel. Can you come over to me?" Tomlin sounded all business. "I mean now?"

"Yes. What's the rush?" Daniel asked as he

with these four balloons?"

"Expect? I know it will." Aldrick folded his arms over his chest. "I have flown with this airship, sir. It flies. It sails through the air. And it lands on water just as easily. But that is not a smart thing to do, because when the balloons get wet, they won't fill up anymore." This sounded like experience.

Daniel looked up at the man. "Do you think we could give this a try?"

Aldrick sat down next to Daniel. "Yes. And we alone will fly it, as these two... gentlemen..." he almost spat out the word "...are too squeamish for this."

"Daniel, are you sure about this?" Tomlin asked, still from a safe distance.

"I am sure I want to try this, Tomlin, " Daniel replied. Then he followed Aldrick around the airship as the man secured the lines that held the hot air tubes in place and fired up the steam machine. It did not take long for the engine to build up steam and the floaters were filling up.

"Now look, Mr. Zacharias, " Aldrick said. "This point is important. As soon as the balloons are round, you hold this down." He momentarily pressed down a lever, which made something hissed. "This fills something special into the balloons, " Aldrick said with a smile that would look good in a secretive brotherhood. "This is what gives them the lift."

Daniel saw the balloons fill up quickly with the lever pushed. As soon as they hovered well over the boat, Aldrick let the lever go and throttled the steam engine a bit. Daniel still had his doubts that all this mass would be leaving the ground, when they were suddenly lifting off.

Daniel let out a shout of surprise and happiness, just for the sheer joy of it. Tomlin and Gerolf stood with opens mouths, watching the affair take off. Aldrick attempted to outshine the sun in delight of his success. "Now, Mr. Zacharias, would be a good moment to set a sail."

"A sail?"

"Yes, sir. That is how you steer a small sailing ship, don't you?"

"And what about that?" Daniel pointed at the steering wheel.

"That only works in the water, Mr. Zacharias, " Aldrick said. He added an understanding smile.

Daniel grinned. This had been one stupid remark. He made his way to the mast closest to the cabin, threw his coat on the row of benches and worked the ropes until the lower sail was in the wind. He found that the sail was very easy to manoeuvre. With some clever moves he turned it exactly right. The airship moved forward, pushed on by the wind.

Aldrick was smiling like a dim-wit, but Daniel knew the man was a genius. They were at least thirty feet over the ground already, Tomlin and Gelrof small puppets in the green.

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