This is the second section of the first chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
Since it is the first day, let's give you the next section to get you going:
“Hi Laurence isn’t it?”
“Sorry do I know you?” Laurence looked up at the man who had just introduced himself.
“Call me Tom.”
“Hi Tom; look sorry, but who are you?” He tried to make some judgement of this man with the strangely shrill voice. Apart from his clothes that looked to be too close to the latest fashion for Laurence’s tastes he did at least look harmless enough.
“Ah no-one you’d know, not unless you’re seriously into medi-pro lg acrobatics.”
“No I’m not.” He saw this Tom character look slightly crestfallen by this, Laurence looked quickly around and realised that from his current seat in the train carriage this man had him if not cornered, then at least unable to politely move. “So what interest have you in me?”
Tom helped himself to the seat opposite, and dropped his bags under the seat, “Oh I don’t know I thought a long trip should have someone to go with and since I’m travelling by myself I thought I’d search out an interesting fellow to travel with.” He carried on pulling a small handbook out of his bag “A quick check of the character bios of everyone who was along my route and you came straight to the top.” he pointed to Laurence’s name at the top of the page of his notebook.
“Well look at yourself, a mere twenty five years old and already at your first job. Not only that, but your first job all the way out there. Gosh I wouldn’t have expected to see someone in your career out there for at least a decade or two.”
“Look, Tom was it?” Laurence watched Tom nod a little too eagerly for his comfort, the man even grinned while doing so like some sort of eager puppy. “Tom, I don’t want to be unfriendly but I’ve got to say I find this a bit odd. You coming out of the blue and introducing yourself,” he arched his eyebrow, “it’s a bit creepy.”
“Really, I was always taught it was rude to introduce yourself to someone without doing them the courtesy of looking them up. Speaking of which that was one of the things that interested me, you seem to keep an awfully private public exposure, all I could find were lots of photos of you, a huge character bio and CV, but no videos, no life stories, nothing about your day to day business, just so sparse in some places, but so excessive in others.”
“My parents weren’t really into that, so I guess neither was I.” Laurence paused staring briefly out of the window at the mountains, he sighed slightly before carrying on, “So you know so much about me, what about you then?”
“Me? I’m an lg acrobat, thirty five years old, just been down here training, off back to a competition now" he pushed over his notebook with his own bio on it, but Laurence ignored it.
“Can I assume that an lg acrobat is someone who…”
Tom interrupted, “Good lord”, He noticed Laurence’s expression, “Awfully sorry chap, just saw the ship”
Laurence looked out the window again and sure enough their train had come around to a gap in the mountains and the port was clearly visible. Two craft were sat on the runway dwarfing the nearby forest.
“Hell of a sight eh”, chirped Tom, “I’d heard about their size but bless me that’s got to be a trick of perspective”
Laurence gave them a critical eye, “A little actually yes, the forest and mountains behind are quite a bit further in the background than our low approach angle here does justice to.” Laurence looked around for a sign directing him to the nearest toilet so he would be able to make his excuses and leave this person before he latched onto him for the whole trip. However the seatbelt signs were well and truly illuminated so for now at least, he reasoned he was stuck with this Tom.
“This just your sort of thing eh?” asked Tom “what is it 3 degrees in propulsion physics or something?”
“No, one doctorate in physics, one in maths, and then degrees in propulsion, nucleic algorithmics and of course the supporting particle physics and maths degrees to go with my doctorates”
“Child genius then?”
“No.” he said coldly “I just don’t get distracted easily. Now if you'll excuse me” With this Laurence fished out a book from his bag.
Tom stared for a while at the passing countryside but broke out “Look have I offended you or something?”
“Well I just don’t know you at all.”
“Never mind, no time like the present eh? Unless I’m interrupting you in some work or something?”
“No” said Laurence, reluctantly dropping his book back on the table as the train shuddered. He was, starting to feel a little guilty for being so callus, “I’m trying to take a bit of a break on this journey, so I guess you’re as much a change from routine as it gets.”
“I wouldn’t recommend it we’re almost there, look there’s the blockade.”