Kamala almost ran them over, her had frantically whipping back and forth as she scanned the street. She turned the corner and stumbled directly into Richard, who caught her before she could fall to the ground. She gaped at him for a moment before brushing off his hand.
“How on earth did you even find me?” She demanded to Leonardo, who shrugged.
“Observation. Also you mentioned that you lived in Cairo, so it seemed natural to assume you would be here.”
She shook her head, apparently stunned. “You are outrageously lucky. Tomorrow I leave for a tour on board the U.F.S. Omega.”
“What is that?” Richard asked, curious despite himself.
The tall woman looked down at him, eyes wide. “A spaceship.”
Richard blinked and decided that now was not the time to demand a reasonable answer to his question. She led them down progressively smaller avenues, until they emerged onto a quiet street, lined on one side with stately sand colored building on one side a massive river on the other. Leonardo stopped and stared.
It amazed Richard how the man could shrug at things like people disintegrating and being kidnapped from his own time but a river stopped him in his steps.
“She’s beautiful,” Leonardo whispered, eyes round.
“The Nile? Yeah, the view is great.” The woman nodded her head to the building on the end of the street. “Come on.”
Past the building seemed to be a more industrialized area and Richard watched as sparks flew out of a refinery.
A smithy of some sort?
As Richard ponder the chances of getting a sword here, he was led a set of exterior stairs until Kam stopped in front of a door. She placed her hand on the screen outside of it and he heard the lock click. She pushed it open and waved them in.
“Um I guess I’ll get you guys water. And have any of you eaten?” She stuttered out as Richard looked around.
The rooms were small, no bigger than a servants quarters in Middleham. There was one small bookshelf, with some small volumes set in it. Robespierre was already edging his way over it. Past that a large east facing window, which was already losing light, and an evil look cat that perched next to a suspended potted plant. Most of the room was taken up by a large lounge, and short long table. One wall held one of the omni present screens and Richard decided that he was simply going to have to get used to seeing those everywhere he went.
Kamala tapped him and handed him a glass of water. There was ice in it. Even as he marveled, Richard wondered what this world had against beer, now.
“Here. I guess you guys have been running around all morning, from what Leonardo was saying.” She passed out another to Leonardo who was staring out the window to the river. He took it absent mindedly.
“Oui. It has been…trying,” Robespierre said quietly.
Kamala cleared her throat and sat down on the lounge. “So why are you here, exactly?”
Richard did not see a reason to dissemble and so asked her bluntly: “Do you have a way to send us back to where we belong?”
She sputtered, coughing on her own drink. “Like time travel?” She finally choked out.
Richard shrugged. “I suppose so.”
Kamala shook her head. “Time travel was disproven hundreds of years ago, at least with the elements that we currently know about. It’s impossible.”
Even Leonardo turned at this proclamation. Richard closed his eyes for a moment, his jaw clenched and a carefully cultivated self-control prevented him from showing how deeply that hurt him.
He really was never going to go home. To see Anne, or Lovell, or Edward. He was never going to ride in the forests near Middleham, hunting game, or go to York for the Christmas Mass.
It was a dream and to have it ripped it away was one of the greatest cruelties he’d felt in a long time.
When he opened his eyes, Robespierre had turned away, a hand over his eyes and Richard felt a flash of empathy for the man. He must have left someone behind as well.
Leonardo however looked uncharacteristically angry, staring at Kamala with a heavy frown.
“Why did you bring us back, if there is no way to return us to where we belong?”
Kamala shifted uneasily in her seat, twisting the cup in her hands.
“It was Rain’s idea,” she muttered resentfully.
Before Leonardo could berate the girl further, footsteps desended from a staircase past their kitchen. Another young woman, her skin the tone of fertile earth stepped onto the landing and did a double take.
“Oh hi, sorry I didn’t know we had people over Ka.” She smiled sheepishly.
Kamala was beginning to look alarmed, her gaze darting nervously from the woman back to them.
“It’s fine Tammy. They were getting ready to leave, anyway.”
Richard jerked. “Excuse me? You still haven’t-”
“And I can’t, so that’s that, right,” Kamala said, chewing her lip. The woman looked from Kamala to Richard them she clicked her fingers.
“Friends of Rain’s I bet?”
Leonardo coughed. “In a manner of speaking.”
“So she’d ready to come crawling back?” Tammy leaned down to grin at Kamala. “See baby, I told you, old woman can’t get along without you.” Then she kissed her on the mouth.
Richard blinked, mouth falling open.
Robespierre seemed to have been equally wrong-footed as he immediately began coughing. Richard glanced at him and found him sputtering into a handkerchief. Kamala broke the kiss glancing over at the Frenchman. Richard opened his mouth to speak and was immediately cut off by Leonardo.
“So you won’t help us? Help Rain?” His voice was oddly pitched, almost too loud and forcibly emotive.
Kamala looked at the three of them and shook her head. “I’m sorry, but no.” Tammy twisted her head to stare at her.
“No. This is Rain’s doing and I’m not interested in any of it anymore. If she’d gotten in over her head, she’ll just have to figure it out on her own this time,” Kamala said firmly, even as her eyes refused to meet any of theirs.
“I understand.” He placed the glass on the low table and smiled sadly. “Thank you for seeing us then, Kamala.” He offered out a hand to her. She stood and Richard noticed that she was nearly eye to eye with the other man.
“I am sorry, for this,” she offered weakly, shaking his hand.
Leonardo tilted his head, but didn’t say anything.
“Um, well it was nice meeting you.” Tammy said, still standing behind the lounge looking bewildered. Leonardo dipped his head to her, then turned to Richard and Robespierre.
“We should go,” he murmured, gesturing for them lead the way out.