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   Chapter 36 Airship

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 13036

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


Daniel changed into what he still owned as a soldier's uniform. It wasn't exactly a proper uniform, but it would be a lot better than the local suits. He slipped the hydger in a pocket and put on a long overcoat. Then, with the suitcase in hand, he left his apartment and headed out to Henlicks Cranulum.

Packed with his strange luggage he attracted more attention than usual. He had already counted on that and ignored the curious looks. Daniel walked into the yard of the shop, where he saw two carriages, but not the boy. "Hello?" he called out.

A wrinkly man with a pipe in his mouth appeared. "Seigner?"

"My name is Zacharias. I believe there should be a carriage waiting for me."

"Oh. Right. Gimme a moment, Seigner..." the man shuffled off.

A moment later the boy came outside. "Seigner Zacharias!" He smiled and pointed at the two carriages. "There they are."

"They? I was supposed to have one carriage..." Daniel stared at the two deals on wheels.

"There was too much ordered, Seigner. We had to put it in two."

"Oh. Ordered... by whom?"

"By you, Seigner. Mr. Daniel Zacharias?" The boy pulled a paper from his pocket and checked it. "Yes, sir, it is here."

Daniel looked at the paper. On it was a long list with items, all in a very neat small handwriting, and at the bottom were indeed his name, and the number of his hydger. Whoever this mystery guest was, he was extremely well connected.

"If you could please sign here, Seigner, for receiving the goods..." The boy held up a pen and the pocket-version of an ink well.

Daniel signed the paper on a hand-made dotted line. "Can you tell me how I can move two carriages at the same time?" He had never done that. He wasn't even sure if it could be done.

"Certainly, Seigner!" The boy first carefully blew the ink dry and tucked away the paper and the ink well. Then he showed Daniel how he could use his hydger to instruct one carriage to follow the other one. "I would advise you, Seigner, to ride in this here carriage. It is not so full, " the boy threw in a free tip.

Daniel stored his suitcase in the least loaded carriage, did the programming and linking trick and then sat down next to his suitcase. "Here goes, " he mumbled, using the hydger to make the carriages rattle off to Tomlin's house. He checked through the window to make sure the other one was following. It did. Then he called Tomlin and informed his friend that he was on his way. "And it might be good to have an extra carriage for you guys. I'm bringing a lot of stuff."

-=-=-

"Holy shit, Daniel, " Tomlin said as they inspected the crammed up carriages. "Are you planning to fly that boat around the planet?"

"No. Just to the pirate's nest and back. But that could be on the other side, " Daniel remarked.

"Yeah. But we're going to get him, " said one of the two rough men, the friends of the skipper. "And we're going to wring his neck." His large hands would certainly have no problem with that. Provided there was a neck to wring.

They loaded up the things the other men had with them. It struck Daniel that Nadinka, Tomlin's wife, did not come outside. Perhaps this was something of the planet. Perhaps they had said goodbye already. This was not the time to ask and wonder about that. Not long after that, the three carriages went on their way. Daniel was riding alone in his carriage, as there was no space for Tomlin to squeeze in. They occasionally talked over their hydgers, until Aldrick's place came in view. There they faced a logistical problem.

"It will take us hours to get all that stuff hauled and stowed on the airship, Daniel."

Tomlin was right. Almost two carriages full of stuff, the gear the others had with them, and that over the path to the house and beyond. Then Daniel grinned. "I have an idea. Just you start unloading the stuff. I'll come back soon. I think." He quickly walked up the

d all sails stricken. As the airship's speed was dropping to nothing, the skipper pointed at the map. "We should see these islands now."

Tomlin looked at the compass and shrugged. He looked out over the water and shrugged again. "All nice and good, but where are they?"

The skipper looked at the man in a devastating way. "I said that we -should- see them now. Navigation at sea is not an exact science, and here in the air it is even more difficult. Sir." It made for an uncomfortable moment.

"I suggest we fly on for a while longer, " Daniel said. "And if we don't find them, we can see about flying in expanding circles."

Tomlin nodded. He knew the routine from back when he was still in active duty. "Works for me."

"We could also fly higher, " Aldrick chipped in, knowing he could be asking for problems.

Daniel looked at the inventor for a moment. Then he looked over the side of the airship, making an educated guess on their current altitude. "That might help. Take us up, Aldrick. Skipper, keep the course. Abnezer! I need you on the sails!"

They climbed. They flew on for an hour. And the islands came in sight.

"Do you think they are hiding out there?" Daniel asked the skipper.

"It is one of the options, Daniel. One of the six I have at hand. They're based on reports of other survivors. Unfortunately, they too can only guess where the pirates really are. But they have to be around here." The skipper dragged his finger around an area on the map that was too large for Daniel's taste.

With some tricky manoeuvring, the crew managed to sail the airship around the islands. From the air, Daniel was certain, they should easily be able to spot ships as large as the Pricosine, and also the smaller merchant ship the pirates had used to raid them. But there were no ships to spot.

"Where to next, skipper?" Daniel asked, disappointment on his face.

A crashing sound made everyone look to Aldrick who stared at his feet. The hilt of his sword had fallen off and dropped on the bottom of the airship, which Daniel had named Flish.

"Is your family heirloom falling apart?" Phorlis asked, who had gotten in shape by then.

The skipper shook his head. "The chemicals of the water. They reach up to here."

Daniel felt unpleasant by that news: they were over three hundred feet over the water's surface.

The skipper told them the new course. Aldrick searched the layer of wind that was most favourable, which took them down to a mere ninety feet high. Abnezer and Daniel rigged the sails, assisted by Tomlin and Phorlis. At speed they left the islands.

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