Monday, September 1, 2014

7: the odd bird

             Captain Rayjay took his eye from the deck mounted telescope, his jaw set in a hard line.  Kurga took a turn with the glass and commented, “what an odd bird.”
            “Indeed, Master trader, odd indeed, if it were a bird,” to Amisbhake he said, “we seem to have picked up a tick.”
            “What kind of tick can fly?” Kurga asked.
            “The kind,” Amisbhake said, “militaries use to track possible targets.  Just scouting us?”
            “Since we haven’t blown up already, I would assume so, yes,” the Captain answered.
            “It could still be coming.”
            “What?” Kurga asked, “what could still be coming?”
            “I don’t think so.  It was only luck we noticed it at all.  They would not trust to luck.  We most likely picked it up at the Caravanserai.  If they only meant to destroy us why let us cruise on so long?”
            “Who would want to destroy us?  What’s coming?”
            Amisbhake scratched his chin, “To make sure no one found us?”
            “We are well off the normal trade routes, who would find us?”
            “What do you mean, “find us?””
            Captain Rayjay put his finger to his mouth.  “Shh, adults are talking.”  To Amis, “Because we are a trading vessel well off the trade routes with a hold full of plague victims, to a military mind we are threat. 
            “They couldn’t possibly have any idea what we are up to.”
            “How could they?  When we don’t even know what we are up to.”  His eyes slid to Ch’loi, only for a moment but Amisbhake hadn’t missed it.  “I tell you, even if it were not illegal to be this far out into the Sea, they have every reason they need to eliminate us precisely because they do not know what we are up to.”
            “And yet, they are just following.”
            “I see where you’re going.”
            “I wish I could say the same,” Rayjay said.
            “So do i!”  Kurga threw his hands up.
            “Captain, would you mind explaining the situation to Mr. Din Allorowro.  We benefit from his cooperation, not his confusion.”
            Captain Rayjay bowed, “Apparently his but not mine.”
            The whole conversation took place on the sterndeck by the wheel.  Ch’loi had remained where she was in the bow with her book.  Amisbhake went to her now.  “Pyanuka*, how long will you keep counsel only within yourself?”
            “Not much longer.  One is almost arrived.”
            “One is not one.  One is among kin.”
            She looked up at him sharply and her eyes, still somewhat unreal despite all the amazing work of the physicians and their uncanny vats where they grew flesh like the dairymen grew cheese, gave him a barely repressed shudder.
            “Kin will not like it.”
            “Fear not.  Trust us.  We will follow you even into death.”  He looked over his shoulder and amended, “I at least will.”
            “This is what one fears.”

(*"Pyanuka": a term of affection used mostly for children)

No comments:

Post a Comment