In the third installment, Zaable learns about the mastery and is presented with information to help with his future decision. What would you decide?
“Sir, if that is what you desire, I would be honored to join you for a meal before finding housing for the evening. Am I correct in assuming from your manner that there is sufficient housing to ensure I would still be able to find a place after the meal?”
Master M’Elv’s voice boomed as he burst out in laughter.
“Well said Citizen Zaable, well said. Let me assure you, that you are perfectly safe with me and I will indeed provide you with a good meal in return for a chance to speak to you about the mastery.
And if you are not interested, I will ensure you have housing before sunset that is within your budget.
You have my word as a master of the Krial order.”
His oath at the end seemed to shimmer through the air, and Zaable somehow knew that there was no possible way Master M’Elv would break that promise.
With that reassurance, he nodded his agreement and turned to go with the master who had already begun to merge into the mass of humanity moving away from the customs center.
Zaable dodged back and forth to avoid running into people while staying with the remarkably fast master. As they moved, Zaable became more and more aware of his discomfort with the number of people around him. He felt completely out of place and was constantly worried he was breaking social rules or even laws that he did not know about.
Finally, Master M’Elv turned out of the main stream of people and toward an exit where several small transports waited.
“Are you still with me Zaable?”
“Yes, sir. Sorry sir, I am not used to so many people. Is the whole planet like this?”
Again there was rumble of laughter before the response.
“No, the whole planet is not like this, but there are several cities that have main commerce areas which make the starport look small and unused.
I would imagine to a young man on his first trip away from a mining community, even the smaller cities will have places with more people than you are used to being around. I would recommend spending as much time as you can in the commerce centers until you get used to the people. If you join the mastery, you will likely be sent to some of the busiest areas to assist in emergencies. If you don’t you will find that most of the available employment is in these areas.
Ah here we are.”
Master M’Elv handed Zaable his bag and pointed to a transport with the available light on while he went to speak to the driver.
Zaable took the bag and put it and his own in the vehicle’s cargo area then climbed into the seat nearest the cargo section.
Moments later Master M’Elv came and sat next to him while the driver sent several other potential customers to the next transport and got into the driver’s seat.
That was strange, he had sent away other customers and there was plenty of additional space.
Master M’Elv must have noticed the confusion on Zaable’s face because he smiled.
“The driver is a friend of the mastery here, I have had occasion to visit his home and help with a couple of birthing’s that were not going well.
I asked him for some privacy so we could talk and he agreed.”
“Birthings? Are you a doctor then?”
“No, but I do have some skill with healing and both telekinesis and teleportation. All can be quite handy in a tricky birthing situation.”
The words sank in and Zaable began to feel very uncomfortable once more. Master M’Elv indicated he could make things move without touching them, and could make things or people disappear from one place and appear in another. He had read about such things, but did not really believe they could actually be done.
“That surprises you? Did you think telepathy was my only skill?”
“Uh, no sir. I mean, I had no idea what your skills might be. I have never met a master before, sir.
One came to the belt once when we had a column collapse in one of the shafts. But that was when I was very small, and the stories told about that sounded more like tall tales to entertain small children.”
Again the laughter. Then Zaable’s heart nearly jumped out of his chest as his bag suddenly raised up and floated over to him.
“I don’t usually do demonstrations, but a little proof seemed to be in order. This is a pretty rudimentary demonstration, but that is how telekinesis works.”
Zaable reached out and gathered in his bag, and then his heart did another flip. No sooner had he taken the bag into his arms than it disappeared and reappeared in the cargo area. Had he not felt the texture and weight of the bag in his hands, he would have believed the whole thing an illusion.
“And that my friend is teleportation. Again a crude demonstration but it should provide the proof that is needed here.”
Zaable could not believe his eyes. He must have been bemused somehow. Surely that did not just happen. Still, he had felt the weight of his bag as it settled into his arms. And he watched it move across the transport, and now it was back where it started.
“Those of us who have one talent usually have more than one, but which ones a person has vary dramatically. New apprentices are all tested to determine what talents they have, and how strong those talents are.
Based on the strength of your telepathy projection, I would guess that it is your primary skill, but it would be quite interesting to see if you have others that are strong.
And given the way the power colors gather about you, I would say that there is no doubt you have a talent there as well. Are you certain you have had no training?”
“With telepathy? No, I have read books that discussed the mutation, but until you spoke to me earlier, I had never experienced the actual use. Is that the right term? ‘You spoke to me’”
“Well asked. We typically say that I reached out to you because it is kind of like reaching with your mind when you make contact. And you say this is the first time you have reached out to someone? Remarkable. Master H’San will definitely want to meet you.”
“Master H’San? The Master H’San who is rumored to be a close personal friend of High Councilor RinTorl? He would want to meet me?”
The laughter rolled once more as the transport came to a stop in front of a dining establishment with a plexiglass front. Stenciled on the front window in clear universal were the words ‘Eats and Treats… Food for your body and soul.”
They climbed out of the transport gathering their bags as they went and Zaable stood by uncomfortably as Master M’Elv gave an unbelievable stack of credits to the transport driver and spoke to him for a moment before turning his attention back to Zaable.
“Shall we eat? This is a small place but they have good food actually prepared on site not reconstituted from packages.”
Zaable’s stomach responded as well as he breathed in the smells of various delicacies wafting from the building.
As they entered an elderly man working behind a drinks counter looked up and smiled coming out to greet them personally. Zaable saw him steal a glance at the pin on Master M’Elv’s jacket, followed by a quick glance at Zaable’s clothing. He quickly focused on Master M’Elv and spoke.
“Good lunar honored Nar Master. It is a great pleasure to have you join us for your mid-lunar meal. May I show you to a private table in the rear that we reserve for special customers like yourself.”
“That would be fine. Thank you.”
With that the man guided them through the establishment past many open tables to the back of the building where there was a lone table surrounded on three sides by high walls.
“Here we are Nar Master. Please be seated. We have the holo menu available at this table, just waive your hand in front of the projection unit to bring it up and a second time to close it. My daughter Arel will be your server today, please let her know if you have any questions or special needs.
It is an honor to have you grace our establishment. If you are pleased with the service and food, please tell your friends. If not, please tell me.”
“Thank you, we will.”
No sooner had the man walked away than a tall dark skinned beauty with long black hair reaching to her waist and deep brown eyes walked up. Her hair shimmered in the lighting as she turned her attention to them. She did the same quick glance at the two and quickly focused on Master M’Elv as her father had.
“It is a true honor to serve you sir. I have never before met a master who had achieved the Nar Mastery. I have heard Prin Master Amyl speak several times, and I know that she has a couple of Nar Masters beneath her, but I do not believe you are one of those.
Are you here on business or pleasure, sir?”
“Some of both, and you are correct, I am not apprenticed to Master Amyl. My master is Prin Master H’San. How did you come to hear Master Amyl speak several times?”
“I applied for apprenticeship in her school several times, but alas, I apparently do not have strong enough talents to get in. I guess I will have to settle for what can be learned at the University here.
Have you had a chance to look over the menu? We have a wonderful….”
A few minutes later Arel brought them drinks and went off to get their meals prepared.
“She is very pretty, but comes through like a storm stirring up waves and whisking off again. I noticed you barely spoke, did she make you nervous?”
“Yes sir, she is definitely pretty and very pleasant. But she had no interest in me, it was you she wanted to speak to, so I remained silent.”
Master M’Elv laughed quietly.
“You are very quick young Zaable. Yes, she and her father were both very interested in this.”
He pointed to his mastery pin.
“While it is impressive that they know the pin and the level of mastery associated with it, they were not interested in me per se. Rather they were interested in the possibility I might bring credits into the establishment. I suspect young Arel also was hoping to get me to influence Master Amyl or one of her staff to let her into the apprenticeship, but it just doesn’t work that way.”
“Yes, I believe you are correct sir. She clearly wanted you to know she was interested in an apprenticeship. Why would she not be a viable candidate?”
“Did you notice how the power colors got confused when she was here? They were bouncing around constantly. She disturbs them, so there is clearly a small amount of talent there. But as many colors zip away from her as come toward her.
With many years of training she might someday learn to control her small talent and possibly even reach the Jin mastery, but that would be a long shot, and we don’t have enough teachers to accomplish what we need to accomplish now, so tying one up with her would be a misuse of our time. In years to come, the mastery will grow enough to provide opportunities for people like her, but I can clearly see why Master Amyl’s team turned her away.
We are looking for people like you who seem to calm the power colors and draw them to yourself without causing great disturbances because you are easier to train and the potential is much greater. Which is not to say that training anyone in the mastery is easy, we just look for those who we believe have a better chance of succeeding.”