The Adventures of Adrian Hon, Rogue Train Traveller :: Tickets at 10,000 feet 1

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After returning home from the wearying journey, I dragged myself through my front door. Automatically, my advanced telecommunications and audiovisual control apparatus activated (I believe some commoners refer to this equipment as a 'computer').

"Record message, computer. Send to guru.d.brin@hiddenmountain.himalayas, subject title: Jelly babies." That was the codename for the elite anti-RTT (Rogue Train Traveller) Corps unit of Her Majesty's Special Train Squadron.

I continued. "Message body: Had a nice day at the beach on Thursday. Ice creams cost two pounds ninety. The weather in Moscow is changeable, but the man in green sings softly."

Enough of this idle chit chat, I thought. I'd better get onto the coded section of the message.

"Encountered an Ernest K. Dudders on the Birmingham/Liverpool train. Managed to use psychic techniques to outwit him. Suspect tip-off, or inside mole. Will be travelling to hidden mountain tomorrow. Contacting Rogue Plane Traveller unit for additional backup. Regards, RTT 007. Send message, computer."

I sat down heavily on a couch, confident that the message would be all but indecipherable to those uninitated to the secret workings of high-level cryptography, and poured myself a generous measure of whisky.

Waking from unconsciousness several hours later, I was confronted with an empty bottle of whisky. I then realised that my computer didn't actually have voice recognition software, and so sat down to type out the message the normal way.

Upon hitting the 'Send' button, I heard a rustle outside the window. My hand shot to the gun that was holstered on the side of the computer monitor. I crept silently along, hugging the length of the wall. Suddenly, I hurled myself through the window, glass shattering in every direction, while simultaneously rolling backwards and flipping to my feet, gun trained upon the intruder.

The black-clad intruder slowly raised his hands in defeat, his face hidden by a balaclava, and said two words.

"Two high."

I squeezed the trigger harder, keeping it pointed at his face. Then I lowered the gun, laughing loudly.

"Good to see you, Tak!" I said, hugging him. "How did you know to come?"

"I didn't, actually, I was just popping along to see if you had anything to drink."

"Hahahahaha! You were always the funny one, Tak. I suspect what you did was to hack into the level two feed from the UltraEchelon Satellite, use the multi-layer adaptive optics equipment to monitor the air vibrations outside my window and feed that data into the semi-sentient AI codenamed 'Fred,' and thus decode what I was saying. Then you took the Mach 40 ultrahypersupersonic spaceplane and conducted a HALO parachute jump directly into my garden," I said, nodding knowingly.

"No, really, I just wanted to see if you have any of that whisky you bought for my birthday present left. You know, the whisky that you kept on forgetting to give to me?" replied Tak.

I laughed inwardly to myself. Ah, yes, Tak always was the funny one. Although he had a rather strange sense of humour regarding alcohol.

I led him inside, and updated him on the situation. He sat there, concentrating hard at the table with the empty whisky bottle on it, shaking his head sorrowfully.

"Yeah, I know it's a bad situation Tak," I said.

He didn't lift his eyes up from the empty whisky bottle. Surely Tak wasn't that hard hit by the seriousness of my situation? I heard him mumble something under his breath, something like 'thieving mastered,' although that couldn't be right, because it didn't make any sense.

"So I'll need your help in getting on the flight to the Himalayas, since I bought the off-season ticket that isn't valid for another month," I repeated.

There was silence.

"Okay, I'll help you. But you'll buy me that whisky this time, right?" said Tak.

I laughed out loud at Tak's joke. He glared at me, whipped out a throwing knife, and said through gritted teeth, "You're. Going. To. Buy. Me. That. Whisky."

I backed off hastily. "Of course, of course," I reassured him.


Takayuki Muto, Agent 003 of the Rogue Plane Traveller Corps (sister service to the Rogue Train Traveller Corps)

Takayuki's top secret codename, 'Tak' has been seen in the media all over the world for his daring exploits in avoiding to pay full fare costs for flights. It's been said that his skill in being upgraded to First Class seats on flights is nothing short of legendary.

Being a lady's man obviously helps. Why, sometimes he even gets some of the girls I get. After I've had them, of course.

Seen here in the field, planning his famed 'Concorde first class seat hijack'.




While Tak was rummaging through my drinks cabinet in search of alcohol, I set about packing for my flight. Only the lightest, most essential items could be taken. After all, you don't want to have to worry about where you're going to put your bag when you're competing with 20 other desperate travellers trying to get the only unreserved seat on the train left. So, that said, this is what I took:


Adrian Hon, Rogue Train Traveller: Luggage

1. Pocket Monocular

The height of cutting-edge technology, this piece of master craftsmenship is unobtrusive, inconspicuous and accessorises perfectly with any fashionable outfit.

2. Pipe

Produces genuine soap bubbles when you blow it. A real lady-killer, this one. I speak from experience.

3. Sig Sauer pistol (may differ from illustration)

4. Handcuffs

I wasn't actually going to take these, but Tak insisted - apparently he wanted to use them to apprehend some young female 'suspects' when we stopped off at Tokyo.




We had a few minutes to kill before we took the train to Manchester Airport, so I challenged Tak to a game of Five-card Draw Poker. If he won, I'd have to buy him two bottles of whisky. If I won, we were even, and I wouldn't have to buy him anything.

He watched me deal the cards carefully, and then grabbed my wrist.

"I think we'll swap the cards, won't we?" while switching the cards around. I acquised.

He took no cards. I changed two. "Showdown?" I asked. "Showdown," he confirmed.

We flipped the cards over. I had a King-high straight. He proclaimed, "Two high."

I sighed exasperatedly. "Tak, you know perfectly well it's not possible to get 'Two high' in a game of Poker. Although with 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, unsuited (that means four of the cards were of different suits), I believe you have, once again, gotten the worst possible cards. The probability of that is..." I paused, cogitating hard, "six hundred and twenty five million, seven hundred and seventy one thousand seven hundred to one against."

He threw his cards down angrily. "You made that up!" he exclaimed. I was rightly outraged, but decided to keep a diplomatic silence. When Tak says 'Two high', you know he means business.


Tak, photographed in a rare high-stakes Poker Game. I was priveleged to hear the dialogue of this game:

Opponent: I'll raise 100 thousand.

Tak: I'll raise 500 thousand.

Opponent: Very well. Show 'em.

Opponent has three Jacks.

Tak proclaims 'Two High'. Due to a strange coincidence, his actual cards are 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, unsuited, the probability of obtaining them being 625,7717,000 to 1 against.

Match result: Tak loses, whips out knife and throws it at opponent, where it pins opponent's suit to wall.

Revised match result: Tak wins




Back to Part One
Part Three will be published shortly