WELCOME TO PORT CASPER, THE HUB OF CLADESPACE!
Large cities tend to spill outside their borders, and Port Casper, complete with its busy spaceport, was no exception. In thirty kilometers Grace observed the highway widen from two lanes to four, to six. Settlements and businesses began lining the highway as she passed Slater and Chugwater.
- BLOG -
Planar sealed the door. For a few moments, nothing seemed to happen. Anna noticed an alert on her visor. The display showed that her suit had stopped heating operations to conserve power. Then a familiar hiss of atmosphere penetrated their suits and the exit panel glowed green.
Martin brought his right hand to his holster and adjusted it, maneuvering his backup phasewave to a more comfortable position. Martin observed, with satisfaction, that the concierge stared at the weapon, too.
Where once was rolling prairie, now squatted a hodgepodge of plastic sheeting, corrugated metal, and stacked earthen blocks. The structures were imitations of proper buildings, seemingly thrown together with whatever scraps Port Casper discarded.
When Grace inserted the gel, his gel, into ITB’s network, Tim’s first sensation was of the smooth, polished public persona of the Italitech-Bransen company, Tadi Varghese. He stretched deeper into the network and heard echoes of a speech Varghese made last quarter. The accent bothered him. The words sounded like Varghese, but the accent was wrong. Wasn’t it?
“Captain, take us into that geyser."
Raj shook his head, giving up. Tim always turned his appearance into a game. The more Raj fought, the more ludicrous Tim became. The last time they left during the day, Tim went as a dachshund in a wiener costume.
Grace’s heart raced as she looked at the pulse gun. The metarm dove under the skin of her right forearm, presumably anchored to her bones. Another gleaming piece of metal encircled her wrist and provided a pivot for aiming.
Grace floated in darkness. Phantasms of wispy blues and greens moved beyond her reach. If she concentrated hard enough, she saw shapes. She watched a green frog, but it rippled and she realized she was looking at a clam through green water.
Hours later, Grace arrived at the main highway outside Cloister Eleven. She wore a bandage around her head with a widening spot of blood on her left temple. She limped, favoring her knee, lugging her duffel as she crossed to the east side of the road. A sign pointed the way to destinations north.
Grace had walked this road before. The twisted, leafless trees stabbed the dark clouds above with their pale, naked limbs. A gale shrieked agony from the sky.