Friday, August 8, 2008

Two bags, bandages and no answers

“I’m sorry Doctor Chambers, but I simply can’t get any more, everybody wants a dish and with the tournament to be broadcasted on the network, demand is even higher now for the uplink gear. Sorry”

That was the third supplier Tom Chambers had spoken to that day. Now that the Granis was willing to play ball, he could get the Caravan Guild off the ground, but the key element to making it work, the Hermes72 Satellite uplinks, were impossible to find.

He had put the word out directly to a few choice clans about the Granis compromise reached that same day. He put a notice on the BCG portal about the insurance/protection scheme provided to Guild members, but who would know if they couldn’t connect? Few caravans in the Khayr-ad Din Bazaar had the satellite uplink dishes installed, and Tom took that as a sign that he had to take action.

Tom made his way back towards the Core, weaving through the crowds of Khayr-ad Din’s busy bazaar. The network was easy to access. All he needed was the component and the transceiver allowance, or so Prabal explained. The Doc was starting to get his head around what this all meant, but it was all for naught because the Hermes 72 satellite network was WestBase, Vat central, Keffer camp.

Bloody hell’ thought Tom to himself as he stepped into the elevator of the Core Hotel.

He walked past Sam’s room, stopped and knocked before trying the handle. The door was unlocked; Sam was lying on his bed, steel brush in hand, cleaning a magnum revolver. Tom threw him a glance, then moved to the dresser where a semi-permanent first aid station was taking form. Tom selected some clean gauze, scissors and tape. In the mirror of the dresser he saw Sam put away another revolver that he had not noticed when he came in.

Walking over to the bed with his provisions, he silently undid the bandages binding Sam’s gut wound. More skin sealant had pulled and fresh blood caked the gash. “You’re not doing yourself any good you know, I came by last night and you were out again," Tom said tiredly, "I clean your damned wound as often as you clean your guns these days.” Sam moved to facilitate the now familiar procedure; they both knew their part in this tiresome dance.

“What I do with myself is no concern of yours Doc” came Sam’s laid back response.

“Except it is if I have to keep cleaning this crap up day after day, I’m not helping you Sam, I’m facilitating,” The Doctor finished placing the new dressing as he made his reprobation.

“Yeah well I ain’t askinnothin’ from you or anybody else Doc” Sam lay back again and continued cleaning the chambers of the revolver he had never put down.

Tom stood back; Sam was no longer paying him any attention. Someone more sensitive, like Ellen, would have been hurt by the indifference, Tom was just pissed off. A savage verbal litany started forming itself in Tom’s mind, ready to be delivered with vicious rancour, but all Tom said was “So long” as he turned his back on the gunslinger and walked to his own room.

Tom’s anger and bitterness weren’t all Sam’s fault; he knew that. He was tired of being a nursemaid, of being pushed around, and of reacting rather than taking action. He stormed from one end of his suite to the other, violently snatching things from here and there, slamming closets and drawers shut. His mind was racing, ideas and strategies, images of Bill in hospital, half the crew with holes in them, Julie turning her back to him as he left New Baja. He sighed and cleared his mind and found that he had packed two packed duffle bags in the interim.

Tom was momentarily perplexed, not realising that he had been packing in his fit of anxious activity. He stared at the bags, somehow expecting them to answer his silent query. So they did.

“Doctor Chambers, room 1402, checking out.”

“Very well sir, here is the amount to settle, can I do anything else for you today sir?” was the efficient response from the hotel attendant as he nodded and typed some information into the computer. Tom answered with a shake of the head.

“Well everything is in order Doctor, would you like to book a room on your return?” said the attendant.

“No thank you, I won’t be returning.”

Tom bent over and picked up his bags. He stepped out into the street, looked north at the TNTR tower and the gamma Maglev station he knew to be there and started walking.


Charlie Bottoms said...


Only one issue -- can you replace:

“What I do with myself is no concern of yours Doc” came Sam’s laid back response.


"So?" Sam replied distractedly.


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