Monday, October 17, 2016

Star- Sent Knaves -Part 15 (Intermediate-Advanced)

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    * NOTE: There has been some agitation for separate but equal       facilities. Now, honestly, folks; is that in the spirit of Center       No. 23? Males and females will continue to use the same johns as always. No sexual chauvinism will be tolerated.
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    * A Word To The Kiddies!
      No brachiating will be permitted in the Social Center area. After       all, a lot of the Dads sleep up there. There are plenty of other trees!
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    * Daintiness Pays!
      In these more-active-than-ever days, Personal Effluvium can get       away from us almost before we notice. And that hearty scent may not be as satisfying to others as it is to ourselves! So remember, fellas: watch that P. E.! (Lye soap, eau de Cologne, flea powder and other beauty aids available at supply shed!)
Dan tossed the book aside. There were worse things than solitude. It looked like a pretty nice world--and it was all his.
The entire North American continent, all of South America, Europe, Asia, Africa--the works. He could cut down trees, build a hut, furnish it. There'd be hunting--he could make a bow and arrows--and the skins would do to make clothes. He could start a little farming, fish the streams, sun bathe--all the things he'd never had time to do back home. It wouldn't be so bad. And eventually Dzhackoon would arrange for his release. It might be just the kind of vacation--
"Ah Dan, my boy!" a bass voice boomed. Dan jumped and spun around.
Blote's immense face blinked at him from the Portal. There was a large green bruise over one eye. He wagged a finger reproachfully.
"That was a dirty trick, Dan. My former employees were somewhat disgruntled, I'm sorry to say. But we'd best be off now. There's no time to waste."
"How did you get here?" Dan demanded.
"I employed a pocket signaler to recall my carrier--and none too soon." He touched his bruised eye gingerly. "A glance at the instruments showed me that you had visited the park. I followed and observed a TDMS Portal. Being of an adventurous turn and, of course, concerned for your welfare, I stepped through--"
"Why didn't they arrest you? I was picked up for operating the carrier."
"They had some such notion. A whiff of stun gas served to discourage them. Now let's hurry along before the management revives."
"Wait a minute, Blote. I'm not sure I want to be rescued by you—in spite of your concern for my welfare."
"Rubbish, Dan! Come along." Blote looked around. "Frightful place! No population! No commerce! No deals!"
"It has its compensations. I think I'll stay. You run along."
"Abandon a colleague? Never!"
"If you're still expecting me to deliver a time machine, you're out of luck. I don't have one."
"No? Ah, well, in a way I'm relieved. Such a device would upset accepted physical theory. Now, Dan, you mustn't imagine I harbor ulterior motives--but I believe our association will yet prove fruitful."
Dan rubbed a finger across his lower lip thoughtfully. "Look, Blote. You need my help. Maybe you can help me at the same time. If I come along, I want it understood that we work together. I have an idea--"
"But of course, Dan! Now shake a leg!"
Dan sighed and stepped through the portal. The yellow-clad guard lay on the floor, snoring. Blote led the way back into the great hall. TDMS officials were scattered across the floor, slumped over desks, or lying limp in chairs. Blote stopped before one of a row of shimmering portals.
"After you, Dan."
"Are you sure this is the right one?"
Dan stepped through in the now familiar chill and found himself back in the park. A small dog sniffing at the carrier caught sight of Blote, lowered his leg and fled.
"I want to pay Mr. Snithian a visit," Dan said, climbing into a seat.
"My idea exactly," Blote agreed, lowering his bulk into place.
"Don't get the idea I'm going to help you steal anything."
"Dan! A most unkind remark. I merely wish to look into certain matters."
"Just so you don't start looking into the safe."
Blote tsked, moved a lever. The carrier climbed over a row of blue trees and headed west.

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