Short Story Fiction
The Travelers
Part Four: Package Pick-up and Danger

The manager stepped up to the table with a package wrapped in plain brown paper. It was about one inch thick and about the size of a sheet of copy paper folded in half. The initials DWS were written on one side. Cara placed it in a pocket concealed within the top she was wearing.

Just as she did, two men stepped up to the table. One of them showed a weapon of some sort. “I’ll take that…”

The TravelersPavlofox/Pixabay

The two travelers walked into the restaurant. Cara was familiar with it as she had been there a couple of times before. As they took a seat a waiter approached. “I’d like to speak to the manager,” requested Cara.

The waiter smiled and walked back toward the kitchen.

“How did you know he spoke English?”

“I didn’t but it doesn’t matter. My voice is picked up by my device and translated into whatever language I happen to be immersed in at the time. His voice comes back to me in English.”

The manager came out to the table. “Yuvaan, how have you been?” Asked Cara.

“Cara, so good to see you again. It’s been some time since you were last here. What can I do for you today?”

“My friend and I would like to order a meal and take our dessert to go.”

“Ah yes, I have a very special dessert for you today. I think you’ll enjoy it.”

“I’m sure we will, thank you.”

“I take it dessert to go is our package?” Questioned Seth.

“You’re catching on,” remarked Cara.”

As they sat and ate their meal, Cara and Seth talked about how interesting the future seemed. So many strange and wonderful things surrounded them. They also talked about a few of the other obstacles Seth would need to watch out for.

“Your device is unique to your DNA. No one else can use it. Although there are some rogue hackers who think they can. They will try to get your device. Don’t lose it or let them get their hands on it. If you do, you’re stranded. The only way to save yourself is to either get it back within twelve hours or hitch a ride.”

“Hitch a ride?”

Yes, you’ll need to find another traveler who can take you where you need to go. I’ll introduce you to any we may happen to run into on this assignment. Otherwise you’ll need to somehow make contact on your own. There aren’t that many of us and we’re a tight knit group. I’ve heard of travelers going out on their own looking for a friend who was stranded. Sometimes they get lucky. We try to have at least one meeting per year in order to keep in touch with each other and meet any new travelers. You’ll be notified.”

“Are some countries worse than others?”

“Yes, and India is one of the worst. Not only will hackers try to get your device, they’ll also try to get their hands on your package.”

Seth chuckled at the thought.

“Not that package,” remarked Cara. “Get your mind out of the gutter.”

“So what are these packages we’re moving around?”

“I don’t know. I don’t ask questions. I just do my job. You can make an educated guess. They are always the same size. Some are heavy and rigid like maybe precious metal. Others are light and flimsy like paper documents. And then there’s everything in between. Whatever you do don’t open one. The council will know and they don’t fool around. They’ll call you in and “retire” you. Or worse, they’ll turn off your device and strand you.”

“Well I don’t plan on opening one. One more question for now. How do we get paid?”

Now it was Cara’s turn to chuckle. “Paid? We don’t get paid. At least not by the Council. There are ways to make money. I’ll show you a couple. But remember, you don’t need to make more than you need. The council will know and they frown on travelers getting greedy. The good part is, ‘what you need’ is open ended. Just don’t overdo it and you should be fine. Keep what you get in your international account. If the council gives you their final approval they’ll set it up for you with an initial balance to get you started. You can use it anywhere. I’ll teach you my most used tactic. you just need to be creative. There are a thousand and one ways to make a good living as a traveler.”

Once the two of them had finished dinner it was time to pick up their “desert”. Cara motioned for the waiter. “We’d like our desert to go now. The manager was going to bring it to us personally.”

As the waiter left to get the manager, Cara filled Seth in on another detail. “Once you get the package you’ll want to get out of where you are as fast as possible. Having it in your possession is the most dangerous part. It’s like carrying a hot potato. One that others would love to take from you. I usually head for the restroom and step into a stall. It’s the most inconspicuous place I can think of.

Another great thing about traveling is that we only get called on once per month. Normally I’d spend a few free weeks either here or at my drop off destination. I rarely go to my home base. It may have been fate that you happened to be there when you were. My free time is the best part of this gig as far as I’m concerned.”

The manager stepped up to the table with a package wrapped in plain brown paper. It was about one inch thick and about the size of a sheet of copy paper folded in half. The initials DWS were written on one side. Cara placed it in a pocket concealed within the top she was wearing.

Just as she did, two men stepped up to the table. One of them showed a weapon of some sort. “I’ll take that…”

Before he could finish his sentence Cara had hit her jump button and was gone leaving Seth sitting at the table alone.

“You were suppose to hold on to her,” yelled one of the men.

“You didn’t give me the chance,” replied the other who quickly grabbed Seth by the arm. “Where did she go?” He demanded.

Seth tried to pull away. He didn’t understand a word they were saying.

The one holding Seth by the arm pulled him out of his chair and moved him toward the door. Once outside they began to walk him down the street. It was a crowded market area and as soon as Seth saw his chance, he broke away and bolted into the crowd. The two men gave chase but Seth was more agile than they were. After a couple of blocks the two men stopped. He had lost them.

Seth had a good sense of direction and cautiously worked his way back to the restaurant where he waited across the street keeping an eye out for the two men and for Cara. He knew she wouldn’t leave him stranded. If the two men were anywhere close by, they didn’t show themselves. It was an hour before Seth spotted Cara as she entered the building. He immediately crossed the street and followed her inside. The two men were close by waiting and watching. When they saw Seth enter the restaurant after Cara they were hot on his heels.

Cara was waiting at the door. She grabbed him as he entered. She saw the two men on the sidewalk out front. “Well so much for discretion,” she commented as she activated her device. Just as the men entered the building Cara and Seth lit up the room and were gone leaving the two men empty handed and the other patrons wondering what the hell had just happened.

(Part Five Below)

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

The Travelers Continued

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