Monday August 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: all aboard.

We left Comox this morning, after a difficult parting, hoping to catch the 12:15 ferry out of Nanaimo for Vancouver. Barring that, we figured we'd be there in plenty of time to catch the 12:50.

On the highway just outside Nanaimo is an electronic sign with current ferry information on it. When we reached it the 12:15 was already full and the 12:50 was at 66% capacity. The next sailing was at 3:10.

We got into the huge lineup, had to wait for the first ferry to be loaded before we could even get to the booth to purchase our ticket, and hoped for the best. It was a long wait to do with two little boys in the car, but the final result was a relief.

We were the third to last vehicle onto the ship. There may have been a mini celebration in the car the moment we realized we wouldn't have to wait at the terminal for another two hours.

It was a smooth sailing, much less windy than the one that brought us over to the island. We did hit some pretty terrible traffic coming through Vancouver, but we made it back to Kat's aunt's place eventually.

After dinner I went to visit one of my closest high school friends, who did not attend the reunion, and it was really great to catch up with him.

Now all that's left is the final leg of the journey. I'm about ready to be home.


"Is everyone aboard now?"

"Yes, Captain. Though there is trouble brewing on the third deck."

"If it is only brewing then I expect it to be brought under proper control before any damage is done."

"Yes, Captain. It's just that it might be out of our hands already."

"What? How exactly did it go from trouble brewing to we can't do anything about it? I was clear in my instructions to the crew, was I not?"

"Yes, Captain. Unfortunately the lions refused to remain in their cages on the fourth deck and were undeterred by our attempts to prevent them from entering the third deck."

"Remind me: what's on the third deck?"

"The last last known remaining humans in the galaxy, Captain."

"Oh for... what was that noise?"

"It would appear that we've lost another species to extinction, Captain."


Greg said...

Ferry terminals seem to be rather boring places so I can quite see why you'd be celebrating not having to wait an extra two hours. That and keeping two toddlers entertained for two hours when you'd rather not be there yourself wouldn't have been easy either. Well done on getting through it all :)
And sorry for the brief hiatus on posts; between being in Budapest for work (my work day extends to effectively 17-18 hours at that point because I leave the office there with colleagues who want to do out, eat, drink and still talk work on and off) last week and being asked at very short notice to put together a presentation to deliver to the board in two weeks time I'm horribly behind on everything. It may take me a little while to catch up, but I will -- and I take heart in knowing that you're still further behind with comments :-P
Well, I think I prefer lions to humans anyway so I'm quite happy with the outcome of your story, but I did like the weight of the punchline, and the gradual reveal that this is actually a space-going ark rather than a water-going ship. Great delivery!

All aboard
The two gentlemen, both darkly elegant in frockcoats, white shirts with starched collars, and pinstriped trousers, boarded the train unhurriedly. Behind them, a gold-and-blue uniformed station lackey laboured their travelling cases to the luggage van, where she would see that they were carefully tied down in their paid-for berth. The platform master checked his watch, and compared the time with that of the huge, cubical clock that could be seen, suspeneded from the station roof, from all platforms. Five minutes to departure.
Two minutes later, as the platform master was checking his watch again, a woman in long skirts and a veiled hat plunged onto the platform, her run finally halted by the heavy velvet of her clothing catching her foot. The platform master frowned, and two lackeys hurried to pick her up and escort her on to the train. The door closed with 45 seconds to go, and 15 seconds later the platform master blew the whistle that magically locked all the doors and prevented anyone entering or exiting the train. Exactly on time, the Paddington-Edinburgh express train left the station.
"That was Lady Campion" said Ernest Derby. He had removed his jacket and hung it on a peg in their sleeper carriage, and was sitting on the bench with his back to the train's motion. "While I'm sure that must have been embarrassing for her, missing her husband's funeral would surely have been far worse."
David Suture, surgeon and magician-of-the-realm, was kneeling the narrow gap between the benches and sorting carefully through his medical bag. A careful observer -- of which Ernest Derby was surely one -- would have noticed that his hands seemed to go in rather further than the outside dimensions of the bag would allow.
"Should I offer her my services, do you think?" he asked. He pulled a metallic comb the length of his arm from the bag; its teeth were Golomb-spaced and seemed oddly fuzzy as though they were vibrating rapidly. He held it, laid flat across both upturned palms, and said a soft word that Ernest heard but immediately couldn't remember. The light in the carriage deepened to shades of evening violet and a moment later an intricate knotted design appeared in red on the bench no-one was sat on.
"Yes," said Ernest as David put the comb away. "I think that would be wise; she will be expecting me to attend as well, so your appearance won't be surprising to her. And she may have hurt herself."
David took a wand -- a alender length of blued steel -- from his belt and tapped the unoccupied bench in an odd, staccato rhythm.
"I shall go now," he said. "The carriage is now free from magical spying."
"Thank-you", said Ernest with a sincere smile.

morganna said...

Rapidly through the
American countryside
Impeccably full of
Neatly dressed tourists, out to see the sights.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, not a whole lot to do there but wait. With a whole lot of other people who also don't want to be waiting.

Ah, that's what has been keeping you busy. Well, I hope things have settled down a bit now, and know that I am chasing after you in the comments department. Slowly but surely and all that good stuff :P

Ooh, this is fascinating stuff. These two are new, are they not? At least, I can't recall reading about them here before. Regardless, I like them, both individually and as a pair, and this setting is intriguing as well.

So, basically, I hope this gets continued at some point :)

Morganna - another pitch perfect acrostic. Consider yourself warned: I have come to expect nothing less from you :P