Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Page 1158

Abbas reached the skull again, but he could hear stomping footsteps in the sand now. He extended all the fingers of his right hand and then touched them all together in unison.

The suit did not respond.

He tried the motion again.

Still nothing.

“Sir, can you hear me?!” The footsteps were louder. And the voice was speaking Mohssian, too, Abbas noticed.

He ignored it, though, and tried to run system diagnostics, but the information streaming into his brain was garbled and irritating, so he turned it back off. He would have to work on some kind of durability improvements for that feature, he decided.

Then he saw the dark figure appearing over the rise, kicking up sand as he rushed closer. “Sir, are you--?!” His words cut off as he saw Abbas staring right at him. A young boy, it seemed to be.

But appearances were not reliable. Abbas’ grip on the skull tightened. “Identify yourself,” he said in Mohssian. It had been a while since he’d needed to speak this language.

“Ah--I’m Hector Goffe. I’m--er--I’m a friend of Lord Asad. Are you--? ”

“What are you doing out here?”

“Ah... oh... er, it’s a long story. Do you, er--do you need help standing?”

“Stay where you are,” Abbas said with as much authority as he could muster. “Answer my question.” He could barely even move, at the moment, but this Hector didn’t need to know that yet.

“Ah, well... I was... uh... I was trying to get the Salesman to leave without killing anyone else.”

“...You were what?”

“I was trying to trick him. And it was... sort of working. But, uh, I’m pretty sure he would’ve hunted me down and killed me later. So, ah, th-thank you for showing up when you did. That was incredible.”

This child was tricking the Salesman of Death? Abbas didn’t quite understand.

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