No matter where I go, part of me will be here.
I then got back in the car and told it to go on to the shuttle center. After a half-hour's wait, I had a forty-minute shuttleride to Tsuki-Yomi.
I, like a lot of people, use "Havlinn" and "Havlinn town" interchangeably...the way some people use to use the "Power of Rome" to mean, "the power of the Roman Empire". It is the city itself, where the Empress lives, which is called "Havlinn", though a lot of people refer to the planet itself as "Havlinn" also. In point of fact, its actual name is Shina-To-Be, after a Japanese wind goddess. Shina-To-Be has no actual moon. Instead it has the largest space station/stardock/astroarchology in human space, virutally an artificial moon, called Tsuki=Yomi, a Japanese moon god.
It is immense not only for the traffic to Shina-To-Be/Havlinn, but also in this star system is the airless planet Kaga-Zuchi, where the Community Commonwealth meets in vast chambers dug underground.
Every person in the Community Cluster with any political ambition sooner or later goes through Tsuki-Yomi. Thousands of people live and work here, permanently.
A Cummunity Corpsman was waiting for me when I disembarked from the shuttle.
He spoke in a clipped Lancelotian accent. "The Cardinal's compliments, Father. This way."
He had my luggage in hand and loaded it into a military slidecart. In minutes we were in the docking bay that held Earth's Memory.
"My pleasure, Father." He hustled my bags aboard. I was beginning to feel like I must look really weak and infirm, the way he wouldn't let me touch a single bag. I was introduced to the Captain, Commander Hawkins. The Captain had red hair and a beard and hailed from the Arthurian asteroid belt, the same star system my Corpsman escort was from.
"Welcome aboard, Father--that is the right way to address you, right? I'm sorry if I slip up sometimes...I'm not a religious man. This is sort of a rough-and-tumble place, so I hope there's nothing here that'll offend your--religious sensibilities."
I grinned back. "Look, I can't even drive a car unassisted by an AI. Much less pilot a starship...if you can get me to Loki, that's all I care about. Don't worry about me and my sensibilities." He laughed back and showed me to my quarters.
I entered my small cubbyhole. There was a bed, a small spherical holographic monitor, and a tiny shower/bathroom that I didn't dare inhale too hard in, or else I'd be crushed. I lay down, collecting my thoughts, when a vision materialized in front of me.
"Hello. I'm the ship's AI. You can call me Lady Godiva."
"And you are perfectly dressed for the part." My voice sounded a little high and squeaky to me. I was trying to sound nonchalant. I wasn't succeeding, AI-holograph or no.
"It'll be eight days before we get to Loki. We're maneuvering at sublight speeds now to get around in the Kami system. Anything you need until then--anything--you just say my name."
She turned around...I wish she hadn't done that...and disappeared.
Eight days. Eight days with a Lady Godiva holographic AI image as my main source of information. I had unkind thoughts of the reinstitution of celibacy for priests. It was going to be a long, hard, eight days.
Then the Captain entered, carrying my supper. "Here's your dinner. Oh! Has the AI introduced herself."
"I hope she didn't offend you. I'm an old traveller, and sometimes it's weeks before I touch ground inbetween ports of call...sometimes it helps to remember..."
"Or imagine," I grinned. "Where did you get that image."
"Found a reproduction of an old image by an ancient artist named Vargas..." He was smiling. "You used to be married, didn't you, Father?"
He continued, subtly needling me. "Well, pleasant dreams, Father."
Pleasant dreams. Sure.
Return to Redwine at Dinner.