Travels of Jack Pynesapp
Book 2: Red and Jimmy
Chapter 6;Okay. Well, that was interesting. But it didn't answer any questions, did it. I like these 'Port' things. It sounds like they will give us (as well as Red and Jimmy) ALL the answers. Dosen't it?
"Jack Pynesapp"; Red said out loud in order to 'call' her Grandpa on her new 'Port' phone thing. She wanted to talk to him some more and find out what the heck is going on here.
"Jack Pynesapp is currently unavailable. Please try again later." came the reply from somewhere in her head.
She gave Jimmy a look of exasperation.
"Busy?" Jimmy asked.
"Unavailable." she said. "So much for advanced technology.
"Who said it was advanced?" Jimmy said. "It's just different."
"Same shit, different dimension." Red laughed dryly.
"Try Grandma." Jimmy said.
"Marge Pynesapp." Red said. Another look of exasperation. "Same thing."
"Probably talking to each other." Jimmy suggested.
"Why would they be talking to each other on the ports when they're together?"
"You're assuming they are still together."
"Grandpa said we could learn how to use these things by asking questions. How do we ask questions?" Red asked.
Jimmy shrugged and then said; "Port, how do we ask you questions?"
He heard a soft voice say; "What would you like to know?"
"Like that." He said to Red. "It said 'What would you like to know?'"
"Okay," Red sighed, "Port, where is Jack Pynesapp?"
"You are not authorized for that information."
"It said I'm not authorized for that information." She echoed to Jimmy.
"Port, how do I get authorized for that information."
"This access is controlled by the administrator of your Node."
"Port, who is that."
"Jack Pynsapp is the administrator of your Node."
Red looked at Jimmy and said, "Grandpa has to give me access."
"It makes sense, I guess, " Jimmy said, "they said they want us on that return train and maybe if we knew where they were we (you) would be tempted to try to find them."
Red thought for a minute. "I guess." She said finally, "Port, is Jack Pynesapp safe."
"His readings are normal."
"Port, what do you mean? What readings?"
" His metabolic readings are within his normal range, although his respiration, pulse, and blood pressure are slightly elevated. It would appear that he is performing some sort of physical exertion."
"Port, can you sense all these things from the earpiece?"
"It said 'Yes.'" She said to James.
"Now that's pretty cool." Jimmy said, "Port, what are Red Vanderbilt's metabolic readings?"
"Pulse: 85, blood pressure: 105 over 73, blood oxygen: 98%."
"Port, is that all you know about Red?"
"I know her physical location, her rate of movement, and the history of all these parameters."
"Port: but you can't tell me what her location is?"
"Yes, I can."
"It said it can tell me where you are. So your grandparents must have specifically blocked us from knowing where they are."
"I guess you were right." Red said.
Red said; "Port: are Jack Pynesapp and Marge Pynesapp close to each other?"
"Please be more specific."
"Port: Are they withing 100 feet of each other."
"You are not authorized for that information."
"You are not authorized for that information. " Red echoed and then sighed. "How could I guess. "
Jimmy smiled. "Port, " He started, "Tell me about Arthur Hale".
"I know of 14 Arthur Hale's. Please be more specific."
Jimmy looked at Red and then said; "Wait, Port. Can you let Red -- I mean Red Vanderbilt -- hear what you're saying?"
"I can put you both in a pod if you want."
"What is that?"
"It is like a private space where the three of us can have a conversation."
"Yes, that's what I'm after."
Red heard; "Red, would you like to enter a Pod with James Vanderbilt?"
Red and Jimmy both heard a short rising tone.
Jimmy continued, "Arthur Hale is middle aged and the head of some consulting company."
"The closest match is an Arthur Hale, age 52, currently of Los Angeles, California; President and CEO of Hale and Sons Consulting Company. "
"That's gotta be him!" Jimmy said. "Now what do you know about him?"
"That's the only information that is published."
Red said; "Port, what can you tell us about Hale and Sons Consulting Company?"
"Hale and Sons provide expert engineering and design services to the transportation industry - both private and public. Specializing in state of the art propulsion, conveyance, guidance, and control systems."
"That sounds pretty darn close." Jimmy laughed.
"Port, can you tell us the names of the other employees of Hale and Sons?" To Jimmy she said: "I've got an idea."
"Arthur Hale; Principle owner and CEO. John Hale; CIO and head of R&D. Arthur Jr.; Chief Engineer and Chairman of the board. William Thompson ; Engineer. Alice Olsen: Senior Account Manager. ... "
"Port, stop there." Red interrupted. "Jimmy, do you suppose?" She asked in wonder.
"If it's not, it's an awful coincidence. What the hell? I'll bet that's Bill and Alice from the train."
"Now I know why Grandpa gave us these things. It wasn't to keep tabs on Him and Grandma. It was to help us figure out this world and stay safe."
"Okay, so? Again I say 'What the hell?' Why are these three people playing games with us? Why us?"
"And what's Billy doing here?" Red added.
"Billy who?" Jimmy asked.
"Billy! You know William Thompson! Could that be Billy Thompson? You know the kid my Dad was talking about from when he was in school. From when he first caught that train?"
One of the problems with working on this story over years is remembering the names of the characters. I had to go back to Chapter XXVI to remember Billy's last name.
"He'd be the right age. We've never seen him. He hasn't been around has he? Why not?"
"That's an awful big coincidence."
"But it might explain how Arthur and Co know about us."
"Why haven't we heard about any of this until now?" Jimmy protested. "Jack must know he's around. Why didn't he tell us."
"Maybe he didn't have a chance."
"How long would it take to say; 'Oh, and Red; you remember we told you about Billy ....... Well he's here. Watch out for him.' How long does that take?"
"I don't know. What ever, okay. Now we know. So what do we do now."
"I say we get on the train and get the hell out of here."
They both stood up and looked around. What if Arthur, or one of his friends was watching them -- had been watching all along? And just because they didn't see Arthur, Bill, or Alice doesn't mean one of the other people in that company wasn't watching. The next train departed in about an hour. They decided to get their tickets and just wait in the station.