Northampton England, Wednesday August 13th 2262
Simon was in traversoll three with SRK 6-1 heading for Section Gallant for the group’s second lesson with him. A lot had happened in his life since he had seen them just one week previously.
The children chattered noisily amongst themselves whilst the journey proceeded.
Simon had slept remarkably well considering his eventful evening; he could have done without this early lesson though. He had risen earlier than usual; allowing himself plenty of time to get ready for work and to ensure that the swelling and bruising around his eye was covered as best as it could be. He had been alarmed to see that his reflection revealed his eye was slightly puffier than it had before he went to bed, and that the red bruising was no longer hidden completely as it had started to turn a deep purple. It had taken him a good twenty minutes with the bruise blotter, touching up as best as he could, to try and conceal it again. The finished result wasn’t great but he hoped that if he kept a low profile and avoided contact with as many of his colleagues as he could, then he would avoid any potentially awkward questions.
He had this one lesson this morning, and then nothing else until his very first open evening tour at 19:40 hours. He could keep himself busy in his office most of the day and pop home for lunch to check on his appearance and do any further touching up if required.
The traversoll came to an abrupt halt; after a few seconds it lurched forward and continued its journey underground.
Simon had ignored two calls from his mum already this morning; he couldn’t face her questioning him about his love life this early on in the day. He would have to speak to her at some point; but first thing in the morning, when he wasn’t 100% with it, was not a good time. One wrong answer to a question and he could cause himself all sorts of grief that he could do without. He’d sent her a quick upbeat sounding audio message saying that he was fine, but had a hectic morning ahead of him and that he would call her later. She had sent a reply saying that she was now home and Spencer was feeling more himself again. He was someone else he would have to call later; again it would have to be an audio call. Spencer would take one look at him and know he had been hit in the eye.
Simon raised his wrist to check the time on his strap. The leather band promptly separated itself from the body on the weakened side and the dat-com strap fell to the floor of the traversoll. Megumi bent down and picked it up “どうぞ、キングスリーさん。”she said with a smile, handing it back to him. Simon had no clue what she had said without the aid of the strap on his wrist to translate the Japanese. He smiled. “Thank you, Megumi.”
She turned back to her conversation with Atsuko. This was the third time it had fallen off this morning. He would order a new band for it when he got back to his office. When he returned home for lunch he would locate his old dat-com strap, from wherever he had put it during his move, and use the band from that as a temporary measure until the new one arrived. He popped the slightly buckled pin back into the body and placed the strap back on his wrist. He would have to limit his wrist movements and gesticulations if it was going to remain there for any length of time.
The traversoll stopped momentarily again and then started its ascent to ground level. A moment or two later it came to a final stop and the doors opened. “Section Gallant,” the female voice announced.
Simon stepped out into the morning sun; a little dazzled by the glare and uncomfortably hot in his navy suit and green and white tartan tie.
“Follow me children,” he said cheerfully. The children filed out of the traversoll in a higgledy-piggledy fashion and gathered round Simon.
“This children is Gallant Close. The six houses on this road are the original ones that were built in the late twentieth century. The Close is the only surviving one in Northampton that has every house intact on it following the war. Over the next couple of hours we will be taking a look round each of these houses and seeing exactly how our ancestors used to live. We will be interacting with technology from different periods so you can experience for yourselves just what life was like back then.”