Sahara Light: a Novel. Part III. Chapter VIII.

18 Mar

Driving a borrowed kiniton to Gamara at top speed, Hermes sensed the heat and frenzy of passion within him. Echo must have been taken to the battle-scared city by her abductors, he surmised. It was now his urgent mission to rescue her, or else perish attempting to do so.

Dusk fell, darkening the plains of sand and robbing them of their daytime brown and yellow colors. Stars lit the way to the damaged urban tower. To the west, the dimly lighted silhouette of the eight stories was visible. The physical damage of conflict were clearly visible.

Hermes tried to understand the thinking of Nessos Asriom in this instance. Was the kidnapping of Echo a maneuver to hold him in the dictator’s grip? Was she viewed by the Phylax as an expendable hostage? He feared that he was going to be pressured and made to obey the command to produce laboratory results as rapidly as he could.

He resolved to free Echo in any way he was able to find. Otherwise, he would also become a prisoner under the central control of a dictatorial system. They would share the position of captured opponents of tyranny.

But now the unexpected happened. Ahead of his vehicle, a line of lighted battery lanterns stretched across the highway at a low height close to the ground. Traffic was blocked by it in both directions. As he slowed his speed, a wailing siren sound came from behind him. A pursuer was chasing him into the road trap ahead. What was he going to do? Unless he turned and drove into the desert, he had to stop. That was what he was compelled to do.

Hermes waited until several Phylax officers stopped, climbed out of their kiniton, and walked up to him to speak. He opened the side window to hear what they had to say.

“You must return at once to the Light Institute,” said the chief officer. “This is by order of the Prostager himself. You are not to try to leave your place of work again. Much research remains to be completed and cannot be abandoned by you. All your time and energy has to be devoted to your assigned mission and nothing can be allowed to divert you from your duty.

“Come along with us in our phoreion. There is plenty of room for you. We are authorized to confiscate the vehicle you are using. Please, do not waste our time but do as you are told. There is no other way.”

Within a minute or so, Hermes found himself manacled and led away by the Phylax agents assigned to watch over him.

The physicist saw his opportunities and alternatives swiftly disappear.

Atlas, paying his food bill, asked the waiter a question.

“I have considerable experience with the bow and arrow, but would also like to learn the secrets of hunting. Do you suppose that anyone might accept me as an apprentice in that ancient Greek art?”

The oldster looked at him as if astonished by the inquiry. “You have no job to hold you down?” he asked the customer.

Atlas shook his head no.

“Go to the Venatic Casino, across the basin from where we now are. Ask to talk with Endymion Grion. He alone can possibly help you.”

“Why is that? Who is the person you speak of?”

“He is the owner of the casino, but also the head of the hunters’ guild in Arethusa Oasis. No one knows as much as he does about the business of hunting desert fauna. He also happens to be the wealthiest individual in our entire community. I would advise you to talk with him if that is what you wish to find out about.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s