Kai stepped off the plane onto the apron. "Some airport" he thought bitterly, as a cold wind stumbled over the low mountains behind him, "Where are the Exat ramps? The hydrox containers? Even a jet?" His pilot stopped the engine and relaxed back into the cockpit seat. Kai tapped on the glasstic. "Where am I supposed to go now?" he asked the pilot a little impatiently.
"Beats me buddy!" replied the pilot cheerily, with a heavy Southern Panamu accent, "I just fly here and back all day long. Maybe you could ask those guys over there, but you'll have to be quick because they're coming with me once we're refueled!" He pointed over the runway to a small hangar building. In front of it stood three men in impecable black pinstriped suits. All of them were tall and slim, not a hair out of place. Kai noticed they did not shiver even though it was an unthinkable two degrees. "Thanks a lot" muttered Kai to the pilot, and stalked off towards the hangar, coat flapping in the wind.
He approached the besuited men. "Hey" he said trying to sound as positive as possible, "My name is Kai Singh, for Artemis on behalf of The United Blogs." He held out his hand in greeting. The man closest to him took it tentatively, shook it and dropped it quickly as though it was venomous. Kai stood, the seconds becoming awkward. When no introduction came, he rummaged in his pockets for a miniTAB, and pulled it out. The blue semi-transparent screen glowed with a hand-scribed name. "I'm looking for a Mr. Callum Moss." he inquired, reading the name from the miniTAB, "He's supposed to meet me here."
"Ah," said the man with whom he had shook hands. It was a strange voice, regal, sonorous, yet with an air of mistrust about it, as though you wanted to believe what it said, but somehow couldn't. "How foolish of me not to recognise your name Mr. Singh. I am Dr. Ivan Solzehnitsyn, CEO of Artemis Incorporated. These" he gestured towards the other implacable men, "are my associates Mr. Bulow and Mr. Cyrill. I'm afraid we cannot stay to talk, we must get back to Berlin by tomorrow to close some key deals. However I am sure Mr. Moss will arrive for you shortly." He reached into his jacket and produced a silver pocket watch. Kai noticed it was a duodecimal clock. "I notice the plane is refueled so we must continue on our way. Good day"
And with that the three figures walked towards the plane, stiff backed, hats pinned to their heads by pale, ungloved hands. Kai was a little taken aback. It was not every day that the world's most famous Blogist was spoken too so abruptly. With little else to do, he watched the plane slowly taxi, splutter into life and then almost lazily take to the skies.
An hour passed, maybe more. Kai's watch said it was 8.89 but the Antarctic Summer sun was still high in the sky.
Eventually, a blue pick up truck pulled up into the tarmac at the side of the runway. The gentle whirr of the electric engine shut off. A figure stepped out. He was somewhat short, and stocky. Glasses perched on his red, round, clean shaven face. He strode towards Kai, his worn blue jeans cracking in the wind, his hooded tartan jacket billowing around him. "Hello!" he shouted in a good-natured voice from across the apron, his voice whipping away in the cold blasts.
Kai raised his hand in greeting. He didn't care much for shouting. The man strided over to him, slightly out of breath, and thrust out a hand. Kai shook it vigorously. "Kai Singh, for Artemis on behalf of The United Blogs." he said, teeth chattering. "Callum Moss" the man replied heartily "Director of Public Relations and Media for Artemis Incorporated. Sorry I'm so late! Our CEO left us for the first time since we've been established this afternoon, and it's been rather hectic trying to sort everything out!"
"I know," said Kai, "I saw him catch his flight. He didn't seem too happy to see me."
Callum chuckled, "I wouldn't worry too much about him. A brilliant man, but perhaps lacking a little in the personal touch. Besides, he might have suspected you were a Chinese or Russian agent from over the mountains. You can never be too careful these days. Anyway, it's getting late. We need to be off. We have no hotels yet I'm afraid, not much call for them, so you'll be staying with me. I do hope that's alright?"
Kai replied that it would be fine, and Callum lead him towards the pick-up truck. It was wonderfully warm inside, and soon they were speeding down the road parallel to the runway. "Well," began Callum, "There is so much to tell you. You're the first press we've had here,"
"Blog," interjected Kai, "Not press. Blog."
"Oh, of course! Sorry! Blog! Anyway, there's so much to tell you. Most of it will have to wait I'm afraid. This is Carver, our main settlement. It is presided over by the Australis mining corporation, and named after Dr. Ellen Carver, the first person to geologically map this terrain. It's split into two main sections either side of the industrial road. The main section, which is where I live and where the company's Southern headquarters are located, is called Embankment. The other section is called New Tarn. We're passing over the industrial road now. It offers access to the mine complex for industrial traffic, bypassing the town."
The pick-up sped over a bridge. Below ran a newly metalled road, still shining black.
The truck continued into Embankment, the houses looking prestigious and anarchic, constructed with their old technology. "I want to save the main tour for another day," said Callum, breaking the silence, "But right now we're passing the Eco3 Memorial Playing Field, and we're about to pass under the CERS and turn left onto Darby Road."
"The Eco3?" said Kai hurriedly, "You know the story of the Eco3?"
"Of course. We all do here. We kept it quiet of course. One of them was my nephew." Callum became silent all of a sudden, his face creasing into sadness. Kai decided not to press the point further. Maybe later.
The silence continued along Darby Road. "Right," said Callum, his voice picking up, the happiness coming back to his round, ruddy face. "This is my house. Number 3 Darby Road. I'll introduce you to the wife. Hopefully she's remembered to put my casserole back on to reheat!"
"The main tour can go on tomorrow, but right now, we eat." And with that the two figures, strangely ambling together down the driveway in the high unsetting Antarctic sun, walked into the front door of Number 3 Darby Road.