The front passenger leaned to the left and peered ahead into the pre-dawn light. “Looks like they’re turning off here.” She switched on a small hand held light and shone it at the road map on her lap, “I don’t know where they could be going though, there doesn’t seem to be anything marked on the map.” She turned off the light, “At least if they’re not in front of us we might be able to pick up a bit of speed.”
The blonde third girl, seated behind the driver in the back asked, “Hang on, is that someone directing traffic? All the way out here, in the middle of nowhere?”
When their headlights hit the figure it was clear that he was wearing the odd greeny-brown the Margasan Federated States’ Army dressed their military police in to distinguish them from other soldiers. Beyond him was a road block with more military police and, off to the right, some sort of office building. He held up his hand, commanding them to stop, and the driver obeyed. The man, a major by his rank tabs, leant over and shone a torch into the car through the driver’s window. After looking at each of their faces, “Ladies,” he acknowledged, “There’s a bit of a problem on the road ahead, nothing for you to worry about, but I think you’ll be more comfortable in the office until it’s cleared.”
“Couldn’t we follow the trucks?” asked the freckled brunette in the front passenger seat, “We’re supposed to be in Pelosa by half eight to open a baby clinic.”
“You are cutting it a bit fine to get to Pelosa by then,” he acknowledged easily, “But that road only leads to the back gate of the airfield, it won’t get you to Pelosa. The office has flush toilets and hot coffee,” he added invitingly, “And if the delay makes you late, I can give you a note for your supervisor. Please park over there.” He pointed at a sign that said “Parking” in Hyperfaellan.
The driver smiled, agreed, “Yes, sir,” and pulled into the parking lot.
“He did say flush toilets, didn’t he?” asked the girl in the backseat, “I’ve been dying to go for about the last half hour.” Behind them the major called one of his men over to the spot he’d been using to flag the traffic down and followed the girls to the office door.
“As you can see, ladies,” the major opened the door and ushered them in, “Lights, heat, coffee, and the toilets are through that door over there,” he pointed at the far rear corner. “I’ll be back when you can continue on your journey.” He closed the door behind him, and only Saira, the driver, was close enough to hear the lock snick as well.
The dark skinned girl grabbed the handle and tried to turn it. “Girls,” the other two, one at the coffee and the other half way to the toilets, turned, “We might have a problem. The door’s locked, and he never did ask us for our id or our permission to be out during curfew.”
“Well, we are Margasan and he probably doesn’t want us wandering around in the middle of whatever that problem is,” said the blonde, “Excuse me, but I’m busting.” She dashed for the far door.
“The other thing,” went on Saira, “Could you pick where in Margasa he was from, Dee?”
“No,” said the brunette prosaically as she poured herself a cup of coffee, “But maybe he moved around a lot growing up. And maybe you watch too many cheap thrillers on the television.”
Saira looked worriedly at the door, “Maybe,” she agreed reluctantly.