by Elegant Butler

Chapter 10:

The crew of the Golden Hinde slept fairly peacefully that night. There didn't seem to be anyone after them at the moment, so they were fairly certain that news of them hadn't reached that particular part of Spain just yet.

Edison knew that it would be a little time before they found out, the coastal towns being more old-fashioned than the inland cities. But they weren't entirely without news or television and the news would reach them within the next few days if not hours.

He wished they could've laid their hands on the generator they needed that day. But trying push one of the vendors into a frowned-upon bit of early commerce would've looked too desperate.

He wondered if he should contact Bryce, find out of the young genius would have an idea of who might be the best shot. Then he remembered that any of Bryce's contact information would be almost thirty years out of date.

Listening to the silence as he lie in his mat, he soon drifted off to sleep.

Waking the next morning, he made his way up to the main deck. The waters of the Spanish port sparkled in some areas, while little clouds cast little shadows on others.

Alice was already on deck, her eyes on the nearest towns which seemed to still be asleep.

"Good morning," she said, cheerfully.

"Any idea what time it might be?"

"Well," Alice said, "if this is east," she said pointing north, "and that's west," she added pointing southeast, "then it is half past biscuit."

"I think I'll go back to bed," Edison joked, "wake me up at quarter of tuna."

"I'm pretty sure that was three hours ago," Alice confided in a serious tone that did not match the humor twinkling in her eyes. "Shall I let you nap until ten minutes 'til Jabberwocky?"

"Ten minutes past Jabberwocky," Edison compromised, going to the railing instead of the bed. Looking at the coast, he saw a far off clock tower. If it were working and not just for show, then the time was about nine-fifteen.

Looking at the postcard view more carefully, he spotted two women in their late teens or early twenties approaching along with a man in his mid forties. There was something about the style of the man's clothes. He seemed important, but not well-to-do. Not middle management, or a company president. But not royalty either. Somewhere in between those two positions. Edison realized that he would be able to ask them man who or what he was soon enough as he was clearly approaching the ship.

"Good morning," the gentleman said, properly. It was then that Edison realized what the man was. It was the colorful appearance of the clothing that had thrown him. In England men such as this were usually dressed more sedately. He was somebody's butler. But why would someone's butler be approaching this outdated ship with its impromptu crew?

"I am Carlos Viteri," the butler told him, "butler to the de la Muerte family."

The butler turned slightly and indicated the two young women with an introductory gesture. "Please permit me to introduce Senorita Constance de la Muerte, youngest daughter of the Senora Regina de la Muerta."

Constance gave a slight curtsey accompanied by a nod.

"And this is her chaperone, my daughter Beatriz," the butler continued, referring to the other young woman, whom Edison noticed for the first time was not dressed in a manner quite as fancy as the first, though she was still ornately dressed compared to the women of his own country.

"And what may we do for you on this fine morning?"

"The ladies request passage on your vessel," the butler told him. "We are willing to pay for..."

"I cannot accept in good conscience," Edison said. "It is doubtful that we will be returning to this port, so I cannot guarantee their safe return."

"They are not without funds, I can assure you, senor," the butler told him. "Should they grow homesick, they will be able to find their own way home."

"And should we become stranded where funds do no good?"

"There aren't many places like that," butler Carlos Viteri pointed out.

"But there are some," Edison replied. "And we are heading to one of those places once we leave here. Our final stop is in Tasmania. Australia. But before then, we mean to stop at the island named Inaccessible."

"We will not be a burden to your crew, senor," Constance told Edison. "If you agree to take us, I will even ask Carlos here," she indicated her butler, "to pick up a few items for the trip. It will at least get you as far as Inaccessible."

"That's blackmail," Edison chided.

"No it's not," Constance laughed, "it's bribery."

"Tell you what," Edison decided, "if you really want to go, then tell me which vendor at the El Mercado has the best generator. I need one that is solar powered."

"Juan Zavala," Beatriz spoke up, immediately covering her mouth in apology.

"It's okay," Constance told her. "You are my friend as well as my chaperone. You may speak openly in my presence."

"Gracias, Senorita." Beatriz replied. With more confidence she turned to Edison and resumed speaking. "Juan Zavala focuses the majority of his work on the various power supplies that will run the technology created by the other vendors. So while he doesn't have much in the way of things that are fun or more directly useful, when it comes to power, he's the man to seek."

"Can you show Alice which booth he can be found at?"

Beatriz turned to Constance who nodded her consent.

"Yes, sir." she told Edison.

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