217463 Chapter 4 - Sky Coyote by Kage Baker a novel of the company Chapter 4 Учебный сайт
.RU

Chapter 4 - Sky Coyote by Kage Baker a novel of the company

Chapter 4


I got a guest suite, and I showered, I shaved, I was brought a fresh clean set of tropical whites and decked myself out in style. I left the long heavy wig on its wooden head; I like fashion as well as the next guy, but you have to be realistic sometimes. And the rest of the getup felt swell after my Jesuit mufti: silk knee breeches, gauzy shirt, frogged coat with cuffs you could conceal a dictionary in, let alone a scented hankie or an assignation letter. The heels on the shoes gave me some height, too. Oh, to be able to parade around Barcelona in this suit. You know what priests really miss? Not sex. Style. I admired myself in the mirror a few minutes before going off to report in like a good little operative.
Guest Services turned out to be located right off the lobby of my pyramid, so I didn't even have to step outside. This was good, because even with the air-conditioning on I was sweating by the time I stepped into the director's outer office.
It was lush with pre-Colombian art treasures and potted orchids. A big revolving ceiling fan moved the damp air around. High vaulted windows looked out on a walled garden where long shadows stretched across a brilliantly green lawn, and a turquoise pool of chlorinated water shimmered. No piranha would have lasted five minutes in there.
There was a receptionist's desk of carved mahogany, but no receptionist. Okay. I looked around and picked up a copy of Immortal Lifestyles Monthly. Its glossy cover stuck to my fingers. Pulling them loose made a creepy tearing noise, and from behind a doorway a polite voice inquired, "Yoohoo?"
"Hello? Is the director anywhere around?" I called in reply. A few seconds later the door was pulled open and an immortal guy peered out. He looked at the vacant desk with a slight frown of annoyance.
"I'm so sorry," he said. "I can't think where she's got to. You'd be—?"
"Facilitator Grade One Joseph, reporting in."
"Ah." He reached out and shook my hand. "Good to see you. Guest Services Director Lewis, at your service. Please come in."
His inner office was a little cooler than the outer one, but I noticed he wasn't bothering with his wig either; it drooped from its wooden head on a corner of his desk, with his tricorne perched rakishly atop it. Next to that was a commissary take-out box containing the remnants of a salad and next to that a jade cup half full of cold coffee, with a film of cream streaking the surface. The rest of the desk was in snappy order, though, neat little stacks of brochures arranged by size and a keen matching inkwell-and-quill-stand set of Ming dynasty porcelain. A desk calendar told me today was November 15, 1699.
"Please have a seat. Would you like something cold?" he suggested, bowing slightly in the direction of his liquor cabinet with its built-in icebox. I nodded, mopping my face with one of my crisp fresh handkerchiefs. It promptly wilted. He brought us a couple of Campari frosties and sat down behind his desk. He was wilted, too. Lewis was one of those fragile-looking little guys who could have understudied for Fredric March or Leslie Howard. Limp fair hair over a high-domed forehead with hollow temples, deep-set tragic eyes the color of a bruised violet. Determined chin, though. We swilled down our Camparis in grateful unison.
"Ah." He set down the glass. "Equatorial or not, we don't usually have such heat at this time of the year. You hiked in on foot, too, didn't you? I daresay you're ready for a bit of rest and rec after that ordeal."
"I sure am, if I have the time," I said indistinctly, crunching ice. "Do I have the time, before this next job?"
"Let's just see, shall we?" He turned, and a terminal screen rose up smoothly out of a groove in the polished surface of his desk. He unfolded a keyboard and tapped in a request. Little green letters ran across the sea-blue screen. "Well! Here's your file. Oh, my goodness, you're one of our more experienced operatives, aren't you? Look at the missions you've been on. So you're the man who preserved the cave paintings at Irun del Mar?"
I thought back twenty thousand years. "Yeah," I admitted. "Long story, actually. They were my father's paintings."
"That's wonderful." Lewis looked, impressed. "That's in the south of France, isn't it? Or is it northern Spain?"
"Neither one, back then. We were the people who became what you'd call Basques."
"Those people." Lewis leaned his chin in his palm. "Gosh, that's fascinating. I was stationed in the south of France myself for a couple of centuries and I always meant to go down there on holiday, but the work just never let up. You know how it is."
I nodded. The irony of being immortal and having all the time in the world is that you never really have any time, because there's so much work to do. Except for the occasional layover at places like this, of course. Lewis turned to the screen again.
"Let's see. Quite a distinguished field record throughout prehistory! Then it says you sailed with the Phoenicians, worked in Babylon, you were a priest in Egypt, a politician in Athens, secretary to a Roman senator, brief period as a legionary, three hundred years in Gaul and Britain ... Why, we came rather close to meeting one another there. That's where I was recruited. I was supposed to have been a Roman."
"Supposed to have been?" I tilted my glass to get the last ice.
"Well, half Roman. By that time, everybody was half Roman and half Gaul or Visigoth or one of those people. There weren't any more Roman Romans." He gave a brief sharp smile. "In any case, my mother abandoned me in the spa at Aquae Sulis. Or so I've been told. Thank heavens a Company agent came along before somebody drowned me like a kitten."
I nodded in sympathy. Lots of us started out that way. He leaned forward and resumed his perusal of my personal history. "And then you served in Byzantium—my, I wish I'd been able to see it then. I was stuck in Ireland, of all places. Did you ever meet the Empress Theodosia?"
"Yes. Evita Peron but with class. Nice lady."
"Really. And then it says you put in some time working with the Idrissid rulers in Morocco, then back to Byzantium for the Crusades, and then to Spain. You've been with the Church, in one capacity or other, ever since. Worked under the Inquisition, did you?" Lewis raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, and you know what? The pay was crappy. Somebody was making money out of all those persecuted heretics, but it wasn't me," I told him.
He shook his head, his turn to look sympathetic. "And here's your recreational data ... say! You're a soccer man? It says here you played on the base team when you were stationed in Andalusia. The Black Legend All-Stars."
"I'm short, but I'm fast." I grinned, setting my glass on his desk.
"Oh, how I wish you were going to be here a little longer," Lewis mourned. "We've been trying to introduce soccer and get our own base team together. We had jai alai matches with our Mayans, but they insisted on killing one another afterward. Nasty business. Well, we do have tennis and croquet, if you enjoy either game."
"I'm a tennis man, too."
"Splendid. We have marvelous outdoor courts. Oh! Oh! Here we are, here's your next posting. Six weeks away. Well, you're in for a grand time. You'll be able to enjoy the annual 'Saturnalia, Christmas, Yule, Whatever' party. There's also the Grand Fin de Siecle Cotillion on New Year's Eve as we swing into yet another new century. You'll just make that one," he told me. "Your transport's scheduled to leave the next day."
"It is, huh?" I looked regretful. "Maybe I'd better miss the dance, then. I hate catching a flight when I've been partying the night before."
"Oh, I wouldn't recommend doing that." Lewis looked at me mildly, but there was a barely perceptible warning in his tone. "It's the Big Event of the year. There'll be no end of hurt feelings if you don't attend. Our present administrator (also known as the Incarnation of Kukulkan Himself) is most particular about complete participation by base staff and guests in his little entertainments."
"Uh-oh. It's like that, is it?" I shifted in my seat.
"Awful. Cheer up: the food's good, and most of us manage to bail out by one a.m. Just stay away from the mescal punch. His own recipe, unfortunately." Lewis shook his head. He leaned forward to look at the screen again. "You're scheduled to meet with the big, excuse me, with Base Administrator Houbert at half past ten tomorrow morning. Formal brunch in his receiving salon. He'll brief you on your mission to Alta California and provide you with all the access codes you'll need. After that your time is largely your own until your transport arrives. Social rituals apart, of course."
"Okay. What kind of social rituals?" I inquired, casting a longing gaze at the icebox. Lewis took the hint promptly and got up to fetch another round.
"Cocktails every four p.m. precisely. The administrative staff are obliged by tradition to observe cocktail hour at the Palenque Poodle, but as a guest you're free to swill where you will." He handed me another cold one. "I can recommend the hotel bar just across the lobby. Great stock of gins, and their wine cellar is really quite decent. Let's see, what else? Sunday brunch is a must, at any one of the four excellent restaurants available for your dining pleasure, and I must say eggs Benedict combines remarkably well with the breathtaking view from the topmost terrace of a pyramid, but one is expected to sort of circulate from table to table chatting with other diners, and that can become tedious after a while. Personally, I never manage to get all the way across the restaurant without at least one sausage rolling off my plate."
"Maybe I'll set a new fashion and eat in my room." I considered.
"Out of the minibar? Lots of luck. You'll be interrupted at least three times by well-meaning Mayans wanting to know if you forgot to make a sedan chair reservation." Lewis sighed and let the screen slide back into its hidden place. He opened a desk drawer and drew out a sheaf of papers.
"Here's your guest information packet with access codes for the base map." He slid it across the desk to me. "Green entries are the different departments, red entries are eating establishments, blue entries are recreation and entertainment areas. We have a first-class cinema that's presently hosting a late-twentieth-century film noir festival, which ought to interest you. You're a Raymond Chandler fan, according to your file."
"Dashiell Hammett, too," I told him.
"You're in luck, then: tomorrow's program features all six versions of The Maltese Falcon. Here's your key card for the gymnasium machines and shower lockers. This is your flyer describing social events for the upcoming month. Your physical measurements have been forwarded to our Wardrobe Department, and a complete set of morning dress, evening wear, sportswear, lounging wear, and personal linen has already been delivered to your dressing room. Your tastes in literature and music as noted in your file have been installed in your suite's entertainment center. A bottle of Sandeman Analog Oloroso has been added to your liquor cabinet. Have I forgotten anything? I don't think I have, but God knows I'll be here if you've any further questions." Lewis drooped back into his chair.
"Long tour of duty?" I asked.
"Seven hundred years," he replied wearily.
4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 31
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
Лекция
© 8712.ru
Образовательные документы для студентов.