Chronicles of Han Storm, Book 1, Part 3, Chapter 16 (start Part 3)

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Part 3

Progress

*** Sixteen ***

We bounced back up the mountain and started the dreadful trek to the makeshift airfield. There was no chance for communication while trying to stay inside the vehicle.

By the time we reached the airfield, we were all physically exhausted and were extremely relieved to find Ray had a four-seater aircraft available for our return.

The take-off was a near disaster with Ray pulling the plane up at the last possible moment, managing to only clip a few top branches of the surrounding trees.

Everyone spoke Creatan, out of consideration for Panam. We settled comfortably in our seats and all except Ray caught up on lost sleep. For a change, I received some rest too.

We refuelled ourselves and the aircraft at the little sleepy town of Lone Wolf where Peetra, who was also the owner of the Diner and Uncle to Racewater, was brought up to speed with events.

Peetra seemed relieved that I was not in the building that was destroyed in Gancor, Racewater's home village, and wished us Universal Speed when we left.

We landed at New Haven's airport in the early morning hours, refreshed and thankful that we did not have to drive all the way back to my home city.

Captain Truman and Lieutenant Stone met us at the aircraft. Stone took over Racewater's position as the Head of Homicide when I lost my partner, Tucker. Racewater became Tucker's replacement.

The Captain quietly spoke to Racewater while Stone ushered Panam and me into an unmarked vehicle. It was nondescript and just one of many seemingly rundown vehicles.

We waited for Racewater to finish with the Captain before Stone drove us into the slums on the outskirts of New Haven. We eventually turned into an area for mobile homes, neatly parked in rows and marked with numbers. After a few twists and turns towards the middle, we stopped in front of one.

These units were demarcated Government Housing. It was free to everyone who wished to have housing, on condition that they could keep up with the utility bills.

The sun was sprawling over the horizon and the inhabitants were starting to stir. Stone hurried us inside the small home that turned out to be amazingly spacious inside.

Panam busied himself with making refreshments, while Racewater took me by the arm and steered me into a sleeping area, securing the door behind us.

I pulled one of the lower bunks down and sat on it. He did the same with the one across from me.

We eyed each other. This was the first chance we have had to speak privately.

"I know that you are supposed to be on this mission to find a Portal and open it, and all that" Racewater started.

I kept my features relaxed and non-committal.

"Right now, we need to adhere to the policies of the people we work for. We cannot afford to put you in any spotlight. Do you agree?" he wanted to know from me.

I nodded the affirmative.

"For now, we start our new jobs as part of the Planetary Security Forces. We are to report to Prosia in two days. We will do so.

We will continue normally, until we know for sure what else we need to do regarding your mission. Am I still right?"

I gave him another affirmative nod.

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