Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Passport, Part 2

Note: One of my early posts is continuing to inspire me. I hope you'll enjoy this continuation of the Lady Alivia's adventures, begun in “Passport”.

Outside the port, I was assailed by the noise and smells of the Colonial planet, but the only thing I saw for two heartbeats was the sky. Real clouds. This required a change in plans. As the porter, a native Royale, hurried to my side, I nodded with decorum and held out my scanner. He bowed as he popped it into his portable dock.

“Destination, Lady? I mean, mode?” He flushed bright yellow and corrected himself, but his indiscretion identified him as a novice. I could justifiably penalize him, but the clouds made me feel generous. I blinked to acknowledge his apology and simply signed, Private chaise.

No need to give him a voice to remember. Though I knew he would not forget me quickly. From the reactions I had received so far, Ladies were not common here, and indeed I had seen no others since my arrival.

He waved in a private chaise, old but well cared for. The human driver was also older but well cared for, I thought, as he leaped out of his front seat and opened the top for me. He politely held out his hand and turned his head toward the window. Experienced, then. He knew better than to look at me directly, but still enjoyed a full view from the reflection.

The porter returned my scanner with a nervous bow. I lifted my head in a slight nod and signaled a generous tip for him through my neural nets. His eyes dilated fully black when he received the notice. “Blessings upon you, Lady!” he stammered before turning to the next customers, a self-aggrandized portly human and his second, no, make that third concubine, a pale Tengal. He was eyeing me speculatively. She was glaring daggers at him. Oh, honey. I suppressed a smile and took my driver’s hand to climb into the chaise and lie down.

Once moving, I told my driver to leave the top open and take the longest route he was allowed to the Hotel Royale. As we pulled away from the primary traffic route, I leaned back into the cushions and gave my body permission to fully relax. It was twenty heartbeats before I could throw up neural nets to block everything else and drink in the open sky. I filed it all away for later. Leaving the top open, I sat up and called for my case file, waiting for access to be released when I was close enough to my target.

My driver pulled aside before we reached the hotel and opened the small interior window to the chaise. He looked at his mirror rather than turning his head. “We are almost there, Lady. I wanted to give you a moment to prepare, if you need it.” Experienced and discreet. Valuable. I blinked appreciation. I am ready for arrival, I signed. He nodded and drifted into the hotel entry. A valet opened the door, and I signed to the driver, still watching me in his mirror. Wait for my return to the port. I will not be long. He nodded, and I directed a large tip to him as well. He had already earned it, and there would be more.

The valet, another native Royale, escorted me into the hotel lobby, formally holding his palm below my fingertips. I resisted the urge to tease him. He was young and trying very hard to be serious. The doors slid open, and he murmured, “Welcome to the Hotel Royale, Lady. Blessings upon you during your stay.”

I couldn’t entirely suppress my smile this time. Blessings only during my stay? Well, perhaps I should tease him a bit after all. I dropped my fingertips against his palm and slid a strong visual into his neural net. He almost stumbled as his eyes dilated black and he blushed a vivid gold. I arched an eyebrow but said nothing as he recovered himself. To his credit, he did not pull his hand away. I rewarded him with another visual and a healthy tip that would allow him to act upon it if he chose.

I lifted my hand away and prepared to enter the Hotel Royale, the most exclusive and highly protected hotel in Colonial space. I had a man to kill.

Dogs in house:

January word count:


  1. So, what do you think of this little interlude?

    Too many aliens? Do they work for you?

    Is the neural net clear enough? You don't have to understand how it works, mind you, just be able to accept that it's there...

    What about the spoiler alert at the end? Good? Or is it better to just jump into the action in the next scene?

    I'll love to hear your thoughts on this!

  2. I see that Blogger moved the original Passport blog to the top when I went in to fix an error I had found. Grr.

    The perils of posting in pieces - I edited the 1st part to use a little scanner - about the size of a lip balm tube - to hold identity info. That's what she's handing to the porter etc. But then she is using the neural net to give them tips.

  3. Hi Margaret, I like the "I had a man to kill" A page turner comment. The aliens are fine. What is the city like? I suppose those descriptions would be fleshed out later. You have some great ideas.

    1. Hi, Chris, thanks for your feedback! I appreciate it.

  4. I love the culture-building you've been doing. Is the blink/gesture system used beyond this planet?

    1. Hi Kate, good question! That's specific to the Poovians, which is why the port "customs" agent is surprised that she knows it - though we see her think about a former Poovian lover. SO yes, beyond this planet, but only w/that species. She'll interact with another one soon, off planet. I already have a couple more scenes in the work for Alivia. I like her! I think this is a short story, with potential for more down the road...