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Nereids and Neptune (standard:romance, 1287 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Aug 12 2006Views/Reads: 2011/1151Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
I'm simply showing the draft with changes....this is the last one posted here...but it won't be the final story. Doubtless I will edit and rewrite this story ten times before leaving it alone for six months.

Nereids and Neptune 

Copyright: Kelly Shaw2005 

On December 21, 2004, the ferry Serenity inexplicably blew up and sank
within minutes halfway across the North Sea, en-route to Gothenburg. 
The Serenity officially had 2000 passengers on board. 15 people 
survived. The report concluded that the explosion was of such magnitude 
there was no possible chance to launch lifeboats. The 15 survivors 
somehow managed to swim underwater long enough to escape the flames. 
While there was no intelligence that pointed to a specific threat 
against the ferry, it was subsequently released that medical records 
could not identify 20 of the dead. 1100 bodies remain missing. 

Chapter 1. 

The parallel runways are closer than most and Tom Magnus, arriving from
London on VS 020, watches out the window as another plane, a Boeing 
737, turns from the opposite direction to come alongside, and descend 
in formation. The planes land on their respective runways with perfect 
synchronization. Tom watches as puffs of smoke signal the rubber has 
met the tarmac. A sudden rush of engine noise noticeably decreases the 
speed across the ground. The cabin supervisor announces their arrival. 

“Welcome to San Francisco. Thank you for flying Virgin Atlantic. Please
remain in your seats until the aircraft has come to a complete stop and 
the captain has switched off the seatbelt sign. Let me remind you that 
contents in the overhead compartments may have shifted in flight. The 
temperature outside is a comfortable 74 degrees, and for those wishing 
to reset their watches to local time it is now 1.56 PM” 

At 3.45 PM a round, red-faced man, sporting a dark cookie duster
moustache and wearing a Beefeater costume, opens the door of the 
chauffeur driven limousine. Tom Magnus, casually dressed in denim 
shirt, ‘chino' style khaki slacks, and carrying a brown leather holdall 
enters the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. He is not impressed with the ornate 
surroundings and climbs the red carpeted steps to the cocktail lounge, 
where he places both hands on the bar, rests his right boot clad foot 
on the brass rail and signals the attention of the barman; a bald, 
rotund, heavily bearded man. 

“Your coldest beer.” 

The barman, his ample stomach fronted with gold waistcoat, wearing a
white linen apron and black trousers, slaps a damp towel over his 
shoulder and pours a beer into a tall frozen glass. Tom thirstily chugs 
it down, its coldness hurting his throat, then immediately requests the 
check.  Setting a crisp ten-dollar bill on the bar, he nods an 
acknowledgement, and heads toward the reception lobby. 

“Good afternoon, sir, may I help you?” The honey blond asks. 

“Magnus... Tom Magnus.” 

“One moment, sir.” 

The woman, in her late thirties, has a killer figure. Not unnoticed by
him. Her French manicured nails frolic lightly over the keys. 

“Mr. Magnus we have a King Executive room reserved for you.” 

“Hmmm...I was afraid of that. What else is available?” 

“Er....I'll check for you.” Her stone set smile melts into furrowed

A momentary slight of movement has the receptionist pressing a button on
the edge of the desk. Once again her fingernails click and clack gaily 
over the keys of the board. 

Tom Magnus stands patiently. The receptionist keeps her yes focused on
the screen. 

“Good afternoon, sir.” A cheery voice calls from behind Tom. 

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