Kasa Binda sighed as the train whistle warned of their impending departure. A sudden jolt ran through the cars as the locomotive steamed forward slowly. Kasa glanced out of the window as they pulled out of the train station, and blinked as the glare filled her eyes. The light from the sun was usually subdued by the clouds and fog, but after the storm last night the skies were clearer than usual.
The clear sky made many locals uneasy, but Kasa had not been born in Babbage. She enjoyed her brief glimpses of the sun when she could manage them, but this was too much too soon. The furry nurse lowered the curtain slightly to preserve her eyes, which got her an unhappy stare from her cabin-mate.
She was sitting across from a disgruntled, wet gentle-cat who found it difficult to hide his displeasure at being forced to share the private cabin. Kasa tried to be friendly and make the best of their predicament, but he was too upset to listen to her overtures.
It was not his or her fault that they were in the same cabin. They both purchased private cabins weeks in advance, but several people fleeing the rampage paid for private cabins that morning. When the rooms sold out, at least one injured man was willing to pay three times the price for a ticket. Kasa was the last to arrive and found herself pushed out of the cabin she was supposed to have and into this Moreau’s room, who refused to share his name with her. He had selected instead to bury his head in a book.
The riot, the storm the previous night, almost everything had conspired to prevent the exhausted Kasa from boarding her early morning train. The patients and nurses needed her now more than ever, but she had worked all night and her eyes had lost focus. When she almost gave the same person an extra shot of morphine, enough to risk his life, it was time to go.
She felt guilty leaving on her vacation just as the biggest emergency of the summer erupted, but her trip abroad was hardly a pleasure cruise. Propped carefully next to her was a large urn containing the ashes of Gus Quillman of Wuldram Shores. Her official job on this trip was to deliver them to his next of kin and offer her condolences. Unofficially she wanted to see how things at Aquila IX were progressing and take her vacation time to ask a few questions.
The nurse was unsure of what she could expect, but the trains connecting Aquila VI and IX were operational again. Perhaps she’d witness some of the animals the adventurers had described for herself. Then again, she thought as she remembered some of those harrowing tales, perhaps she did not want to meet them.