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   Chapter 35 Getting ready

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 14433

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

The airship was more stable than Daniel had expected. They had flown it for almost half an hour, and there was nothing he could point at to be wrong, or even slightly failing. Even the turning and sailing up against the wind had gone well, although it had cost a lot of time and effort.

Landing the ship had been simply a matter of releasing the air from the balloons, for which Aldrick had made a lever also. "If the lever fails, then people can pull the red line that holds the balloon, Mr. Zacharias. That will release the air from the balloon directly. Some synchronisation is important then, of course. It is not done to lose passengers."

One uncertainty was of course: how would the airship behave with twenty or more people on board? Would the balloons hold that?

Aldrick was convinced they would. "You just add some more of the special gas, Mr. Zacharias. It will lift. I am convinced of that."

Tomlin and Gelrof praised Daniel and Aldrick for their flight. "It looked amazing. Astounding." Coming from a man who had flown space craft, jet packs and star cruisers, that meant a lot to Daniel.

"We have to make a plan fast, Tomlin. The longer we wait, the less chance we have to find someone alive, " Daniel said.

"Let's do that on the way back, " Tomlin suggested.

Aldrick told them that the airship would be ready for them any day after this one. "You are most welcome to use it, Mr. Zacharias. You are a good pilot and sailor. I have confidence in you."

"You're not coming with us?"

"No, sir. I am an inventor, not a fighter..."

The three men took their leave, went back to the still waiting carriage and made plans on the way back to Tomlin's house.

The next day Daniel went over to Tomlin's house again, to meet the skipper Tomlin had found willing to help with the rescue mission. They bravely called it that. The skipper had brought two more people with him. Not the kind of folks Daniel normally would care to know, but they looked as if they were very able to do some serious damage to pirates, so he welcomed the two to the crew.

The skipper had a set of old maps with him, clearly very often used, and pointed out a number of possible places he thought they should visit first. "If y'ask me, son, it's one of them here spots the pirate's hiding."

Daniel had to take the word of the man for it, he had no clue where to start. The skipper advised him to get supplies for at least a week. "We don't know how long we're going to be gone."

That was true. And it was also something that worried Daniel. He decided that supplies for two weeks might be a better idea. Aldrick had been confident that the airship would be able to carry all that and more. The next worries appeared quickly after that. How was he going to get all the supplies to the backlands where Aldrick lived, and how was he going to pay for them? He still had no idea what he was worth, financially, and Tomlin was not able to give him an idea how to find out.

On the way home, Daniel tried to contact the number of the cloaked person. After a few attempts he gave up, and somehow he wasn't even very surprised that there was no reply. The surprise happened when he had gotten home and was ready to hit the shower: the hydger made its ghastly sound and the black triangle was there.

"Daniel here."

"Mr. Zacharias, " the voice spoke, "I saw you have tried to reach me."

"Yes, several times. I already had the idea that the number was wrong, " Daniel said.

"It is correct. I am not always... accessible. Tell me what you have to say."

Daniel told that they had a way to get around and look for the Pricosine crew, and his worries about the supplies. "The captain we have found is right, we don't know how long we will be gone, so we need quite some food and water."

"I understand. Valid problems to deal with, Mr. Zacharias." The voice was silent for a moment, only the brushing noise remained in the background. " We may have a solution though. Do you have a list of what you need?"

"Yes, I do, in fact." Daniel grabbed it from the table. He read it out, slowly, so the person on the receiving end could write things down. He could have sent it through the hydger as a message, he knew, but on the other side there was nothing like a printing device, so it had to be written down anywa

went around the back, which was no problem at all, he came to a backyard that was open and deserted. He noticed plenty of tracks in the earth in the yard obviously more people came here with carriages to pick up goods.

"Hello, Seigner, " a boy called out to him. Judging from his clothes he worked at Henlicks Cranulum, even if he was young. "Are you looking for something?"

"Not really, " Daniel said. "Not yet, anyway. I am supposed to collect a carriage here later today."

The boy frowned, taking off his hat and scratching his head. "A carriage? We don't sell carriages, Seigner." He asked Daniel's name. "Let me go ask, Seigner."

Before Daniel could say a word, the boy darted off, through a door, into the dark secrets of Henlicks'. He appeared after a few minutes. "It's all arranged, Seigner! The carriage will be loaded and waiting for you here, indeed!" He smiled as if he had arranged it himself.

"That is magnificent, young man, " Daniel grinned and waved at him. With that knowledge secured, Daniel went off for a late breakfast and then went home. He had a specific suitcase there that he would need at the moment they would engage the pirates.

As he had the suitcase on the table, ready for inspection, the hydger made its noise again.

"Well, well, aren't we busy today, " he said to is as he opened the cover. There was a transmission. From the star base relay.

He read the header of the incoming message. It was from his sister, Cynthia. This was worth sitting down for. As he was comfortable, he started reading:

'Dear Daniel, I am glad you found time to write to me. You do that far too little as it is, but then, I am guilty of that also. When I read your message, I was not sure if you had been in a bar and decided to cure your alcoholic state of mind by this wild story, but the words did not seem incoherent. Oh, I believe you are on this terribly far away planet. It sounds exactly like something you would do. (Did you volunteer for it?) But the story about pirates... Daniel, I am still not sure if I have to laugh about it, or worry for your safety. Whatever the situation is that you are in, please promise me that you will be careful.

I have not relayed your message to Malcolm. I suspect you will send him another message. If anything at all. It is truly too bad that you and he don't get along, but it is something between you two.

Daniel, be careful, will you?

Your loving sister, Cynthia'

"Yes, Cynthia, I'll be careful. As much as I can be, " Daniel said to the message in the small screen. He felt good about that message. At least there was one woman in the universe that cared about him. He grinned.

He got to his feet and finished checking the contents of the suitcase. Good thing it was made of a hard plastic. Hopefully that, and the fact they were high over the water, would keep these toys working.

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