This past week I left all of the work there still is to do on this house and kicked back and worked on video games. Sometimes I need a head break to just let stuff go. I had a blast. learned a lot more about the system I use and made progress on a game I have been working on for quite a while.. That gives me spring/summer and fall to catch up on The Nation Chronicles podcasts. and that should be fine.
What went on this week:
Monday night my cat kept me up all night long yowling. There was a female outside and when I let him out Tuesday morning, that was it. He never came back.
Tuesday I spilled a very small amount of coffee onto the keys of my laptop and messed it all up. How, you might ask, could I be so stupid as to spill coffee on my keyboard? I don’t know. Plain old stupidity… Half awake… A cup of coffee in my hands… All of the above. After determining that, yes, it was fried, I bit the bullet and headed to eBay where I found a replacement.
Wednesday I wrote code all day and into the next day (3:00 AM)
Thursday I did the same, and then tried to put together some computer parts I purchased. Failed. Realized I had bought a BTX form factor Motherboard (Advertised as an ATX), and even though it would not have fit the case I bought, I had not purchased the ATX case I thought I had, but a MATX case. Confused? So was I. After a gazillion hours trying to make it all fit I went online and looked for solutions. Ha Ha, I say that with the deepest sarcasm.
To fix the situation I needed to purchase a BTX form factor case, but I quickly found out a BTX case is hard to come by and more expensive than the whole combination I had bought. So, I looked for an MATX board to put the processor I had purchased on. But, a MATX board, at least the ones I found, would not hold as much memory, slots, etc. They were generally more expensive with less to offer.
Which begs the question, why? I have noticed that a lot of the last several years. Want to buy a dog? Well, a German Shepherd or a Malamute, both about the same size, will cost about the same price. But, a small dog, I won’t mention the breed, costs more than either of those dogs. Huh. Along those lines, as a dog, if a cat can kick your butt you’re probably too small.
Anyway, I finally decided to buy an ATX board and case. That worked except I was out more green. BTW, if you followed all of that you are probably as geeky as I am.
Friday I did some editing on Geo’s Smashword interview. Why is it that it is so easy to edit someone’s work, find all the mistakes and correct them, but not your own?
Saturday (So Far) site updates: Writing, and eating Candy Corn. I have to admit it was great to get back to writing, but the Candy Corn was pretty good too. And, listing all of those computer parts I bought that I no longer need. Let’s see. I spent about $250.00 in parts that I didn’t use, and another $200.00 in parts to actually build the thing, plus the cost of another laptop (Used on eBay), a really good deal for $125.00, I would say this week the computers won. And the thing is, in this society, you can not do without them. I guess I’ll be happier on Monday when the laptop shows up, and in a week or so when I put my fast computer together and convince myself that I am not really an idiot at all, technology is just faster than it used to be… Did that make sense? No.
What did I learn this week?
#1. Cats are not very useful when it comes to making you feel good about yourself. I mean they take off chasing the lady cats and don’t even bother to come back. That is a direct hit to the old self esteem. Of course maybe he was kidnapped or eaten by a dog, or a Sasquatch. After all there have been a great many Sasquatch sightings lately on the National Geographic channel of all places. I hope he didn’t suffer. That is of course if he was eaten. If he did run off with a lady cat I hope she takes him for everything he has.
#2. Laptop computers really suck. I have spilled whole sixteen ounce Cokes on my desktop keyboard, no problem except the keys began to stick badly. Also, the laptop keyboard stayed screwed up, I had to plug in a USB keyboard to type with, until I bought the replacement laptop. Second, I looked up form factors with Google. Holy Crap. The odds of me getting the wrong parts are very high, especially since some of the people that sell them don’t have a fricken clue what they are selling. There are dozens of form factors. Let me geek this out for you. Form factor refers to a common build for a particular board, across different manufacturers. Same pin connections, width, length. Etc. The last time I built a machine I only knew of two form factors, ATX and MATX which is a smaller board, and then there were proprietary boards built by some manufacturers. Yeah. No longer. So now I think, spend the extra and have someone else build it to your specs. And, after I get through this fiasco I will do that the next time.
#3. Writing code is easier on the body than building a house is.
#4. I am no longer sure I should drink and keyboard. Coffee, Coke, it always ends up on the board before I am finished.
The new Zombie Plagues Book at Smashwords
The New Earth’s Survivors Book at Amazon
Everything else is in line and going well. Well, except computers, Cats and coffee cups.
I will leave you with a free chapter read..
Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet all rights reserved.
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Star Dancer Bridge
“Full gravity?” Petra asked as she stepped from the El.
He had met her at the elevator door and they were walking the curved and window ported outer hallway that ringed the central area.
“It’s magnetic and yes it’s full-time… Does it feel like Earth?”
“Very much so… I didn’t think an intra…” She colored.
He laughed. “Don’t worry about it; you won’t hurt my feelings. I know, fresh out of service you must have seen technology that makes this old bucket look its age.”
She smiled, but her face was still flushed.
“Really… I do understand and don’t worry… The field is a perk. The feds installed it. They ship some gravity sensitive stuff, there’s a small cargo space directly above us and really sensitive ‘Destroy if captured’ stuff in security safes on the main deck. One deck down is the exercise suite. Two decks down we have Fed living quarters. Federal troops every trip out. So… We get gravity full time.” He smiled at her again and she smiled back.
“It’s not perfect though. The mag field takes a little getting used to. It’s never bothered me though,” he finished abruptly; realizing that he had just run on longer than he needed or had intended to.
“What does it do?” She asked. “Side effects?”
“Space sickness… Upset stomach: Two of my navigators and one of the Fed crew… It lasted a few days and then they got their space legs. “He laughed.
“You said exercise equipment?”
“Another perk: I carry full crews out bound every trip and I almost always come back with a dead-head crew too. They’re supposed to use it, but they rarely do. They tend to socialize together on their own deck. There’s a small inner-deck El that connects us. The exercise deck is state of the art: Weight machines, treadmills, elliptical, stationary bikes… It’s nice.”
“But shouldn’t they check in with you?” She seemed surprised.
Mike shook his head and shrugged. “Technically I am their captain, but in actuality they couldn’t care less. They’re company men and women: Fed military or company security; civilian transfers, in-contract replacement personnel. They take their orders from the company or the on-ship assigned security chief. As long as they don’t interfere with the running of my ship we operate independently. You’re used to chain of command…?”
“Nothing like that here: We’re like neighboring countries, my own crew stays here and the Fed crews stay there. I can’t recall a time when I have met more than two or three of a crew at any given time. The security chief is Robert Baylor. He’s been assigned to me for the last…” He looked thoughtful. “Something like twelve years. I meet with him before we begin each trip, in fact he was just up here a few hours ago. I might see one or less of his crew during a trip and of course my crew consists of me and a navigator that’s it.” He shrugged once again. “That’s the reality of intra cruising.”
“You transport inmates?” Petra asked.
“Sometimes,” Mike agreed. “I have some outbound this trip. I’ll never see them… Would never know they are there except Baylor briefs me on them. When we reach Twenty Seven, which is the Mars max prison colony they’ll be off loaded. When we finish up there might be some parolees to transport back.”
“The parolees are up here with us?” Petra asked.
“No, never. The only ones up here with us are members of my crew. That consists of me and thee if you take the job. They will house with the feds… Same goes for any hitch; just a name for anything Earth bound that has a pulse. That is all Fed responsibility.”
She nodded and followed him onto the bridge.
The bridge on an Intra-Cruiser is a very small area. It is at the front of the pod with a wrap-around viewing port and a large viewing screen between the seats that could be switched to multiple feeds or single feeds anywhere on or off ship. Contrary to popular belief, even Mike’s own until the fourth grade; there wasn’t always anything of great interest to see in space at any given time.
Most of the wall space was taken up with smaller flat panel displays hooked into ship systems. There were three console units with chairs directly facing the continuous port and center screen.
“You would be here with me most of the time.” Mike waved his hand to include the entire room. “Take your pick of seating, any console can be configured the way you want it to be. Sit down give a shot it’s pretty straight forward.”
She sat; pulled the overhead monitor down and had the navigation screens up in just a few moments. She studied them for a few seconds. “Looks easy enough.”
“It is… Believe me; you’ll be bored most of the time. Off duty there’s the gym. You’ll house with me on our own deck. The rooms are small, just a built in rack and lockers, drawers. There are four racks in each room, three rooms, so in theory I have the sleep space for twelve people. You can pick the room you want. I just spread out my vast collection of junk on the other racks in mine. Ship to Earth is always open; just keep in mind we’re on the backbone of the communications structure, so limited priority. It usually hits the stream in an hour or two. We have personal view-screens in the room and personal logs ship wide. Vids, music, eBooks… You automatically have full educational credits and full access to anything Fed. Anything you want to study; download it and you’ll get credits for it, it will cost you nothing… A Fed perk… There are so many ways to fill the time.”
“When would I have to decide?”
Mike looked at one of the wall monitors and the time stamp that ran along the bottom. “You have about four hours from now. That will give me time to re-configure rations, get your licensing in order, passport, extra fuel supplies… Or, you could think it over this trip and I’ll be back in thirteen months, give or take… That’s my average round trip.”
“So… So you’re offering me the job?” she asked. She was a little wide eyed.
“Absolutely… You’re qualified… Listen, let’s face it you’re overqualified. I’d be damn lucky to get you. The only thing I’d ask of you is the standard two year contract.” She started to speak, but he held up his hands.
“You can’t hurt my feelings. Two years as we both know is the maximum benefit time for you and it will give you the time to look around. It is an incredible world out there. You won’t believe all the contacts and people you’ll meet. It will give you some real time to breathe… Think about what you really want to do. I’ve got some good contacts I could point you at.”
“You would do that for me?”
“Absolutely… You do right by me and I’ll be happy to do right by you.”
“Okay.” She looked around the room. “My stuff is in a locker off Lounge 7.”
It took him a second. “Oh, you meant okay as in you’ll take it, the job?”
“She smiled. “Sorry. Guess I forgot to add yes I’ll take the job.”
“No, no I’m a little slow.” He turned back to his monitor and pulled up the re-stocking charts. “Any particular wants or needs? We eat pretty standard stuff, reconstituted ready meals, but the Fed contracts load us up with all kinds of stuff. Perks again, but they are well stocked here at Fourteen… Real coffee… Media… Whatever.” He continued through the screens and began to recalculate the fuel requirements.
Earth Date 2196-08-25 00:03:51
Moon Base fourteen
United Planet Technologies
Intra cruiser: Star Dancer
Mike ran down the lists as Petra pulled them up on her screens and checked them off: Flawless, he thought as he watched her.
“It looks good, Michael.”
“It is good, Petra… Take it out.” He picked up his mug of coffee, the first real coffee he had, had in a while. It sure beat synthetics. He felt the vibration as she threw the dock lock switches and expertly palmed the thrusters. Star Dancer did a slow, nearly perfect half turn and then Petra did a longer burn to put them into the ten mile safety limit before she could engage the hydrogen engines.
Mike watched Moon Base Fourteen fall slowly behind them on the main monitor and then continued watching as Petra went through the pre hydrogen drive check lists. He had done it so long by himself that he almost felt guilty sitting back and letting her take care of it. Nevertheless it felt good and he was looking forward to the company.
“Ten plus zero zero one,” Petra said.
“Kick ’em,” he told her.
She grinned at him and then reached forward and engaged the drives.
Mike sat back and watched the red mileage numerals begin to move faster and then he turned his attention to his own checks: Cargo, decks, company crews. A few minutes later he was done and he sat back and watched as Petra finished her calculations and sent them to his screen to check and approve. She began to program her side navigation console.
Moon Base Fourteen was gone. The moon itself was a distant smear of dull gray next to the big blue ball. Sometimes there were things to look at in space.
He sat back and relaxed into his chair and thumbed his Log-Link.
“Intra-Cruiser Star Dancer forty-five minutes and twenty-eight seconds out of Moon Base Fourteen. Present Michael Watson chief operating officer, Petra Stanovich navigation officer. We have at present twenty-eight Fed crew and transportees under Commander Bob Baylor, see contract FQHPX2879 for an individual manifest. In the advent of boarding protocols, be aware there are Fed inmates included in the manifest and deck sub-zero-two is in a state of lock-down for the voyage per Commander Baylor. See rule 2a, sub section twelve concerning any contact situation that may occur.
“Mars Prison Colony Twenty-Seven will be our first stop, a re-supply, see manifest 97715. Mars One tech drop, see Fed contract 771926f, our second stop. IO six, last drop, pre-fab building shipment under science contract 279916bx… Watson out.”
He picked up his mug and sipped at his coffee while Petra did her own log. He had a navigator for the next two years; after that maybe he would bite the bullet and spring for a Star Cruiser. He thought about it. He just might do it. Maybe it was time for a change. Maybe he could even run it by Petra and see how it sounded to another set of ears. Maybe it would even interest her.
It made him feel good; maybe he had simply fallen into a rut over the past seventeen months. He was surprised how good the bridge felt with someone else on it. He sipped at his coffee and watched the Earth grow smaller as they picked up speed.
Kenneth Rowland had been locked up for the last three years as he had gone through first the indictment process; then trial and the ultimate conviction that had resulted from that process, and now transport to Twenty Seven where he had been sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life.
Twenty Seven was a rough prison; or so he had read. You didn’t just happen to stumble upon someone who had spent a bunch of time there. You couldn’t read a book about it to prepare yourself either. The only route to understanding was reading past news articles about the facility or facilities like it, but even then it was usually watered down. Experience in a place like Twenty Seven was something you didn’t live to tell about.
In some ways that was all that mattered to him; in other ways it didn’t matter at all. He had no intention of ever finding out what time in a super max facility like Twenty Seven was like. He intended to avoid it or die in the process of trying to avoid it.
He paced his cell counting off the steps. The count meant nothing at least the total of steps meant nothing what did matter was the repetition: Keeping his mind occupied with something trivial as he thought over the bigger part of the problem and the bigger part of the problem was how to get from the subsection he was in to the main bubble topside where he could seize control of this tub.
He paused at the bulletproof glass set into the cell door and peered out at the bubble: A smaller octagon of black carbon composite that he knew housed an even smaller control room: Door lock panel, cell monitors and intercom systems. From that small space one C.O. could easily keep track of eight inmates.
He moved back from the door and returned to pacing aware that the C.O. just might be watching him on a monitor as he did. There were three others he had been bought in with; all in this same complex he assumed. Although he was not supposed to know it he knew there were eight cells here in an octagon layout with the one control room in the center to keep track of all the cells with monitors. Central hallways bisected the octagon north to south and west to east. The control bubble sat in the center so that the C.O. had line of sight as well as camera views of the inmates in the cells.
The cells were far from silent. Muted conversations from other places: Maybe other cells; maybe other areas of the ship. The ventilation system connected to all areas of the ship, at least all areas that were lived in: A cheap, fast retrofit compromise on the old intra class cruisers. Something he should have no way of knowing anything about. Something he would have no way of knowing except he had worked for over ten years on Moon Fourteen doing these sorts of retrofits himself.
He had given that no thought as he had begun the process that had bought him to this day. He had been guilty. He had known he would be found guilty. He had simply been hoping for a way out; searching for a loophole that would get him out of it. None had come his way: He thought back on the circumstances that had brought him to this day.
Two years ago he had been drinking at an unauthorized bar on Fourteen one night after a double shift. The Lift was a popular place that featured Robo-Partners and earth brewed beers, usually hard to come by; at rock bottom prices. In court they had made a big deal about both the Robo-Partners and the supposed Earth beer. The Earth beer was relabeled low-grav brew, barely fit to drink and the Robo-Partners were Chinese knock-offs. The jury had cared more about the fact that live men were having sex with robots than they did that they were Chinese knock-offs; and of course the fight that had resulted in one of the other patrons death.
Federal law required vid-links in all public places, there had never been any hope of avoiding that. The thin hope he had, had was that the audio portion would be bad. It hadn’t been. There had been no mistaking his drunken threats during the evening and the resulting fight he had ended with a thrust from a line pick, a tool used to start fish holes for pulling wire through steel wall panels. One thrust with a line pick opened a small pinhole in a steel construction panel. It also implanted a small explosive charge that widened the hole and deposited the debris from that explosion inside the steel panel where it could not cause problems in the ship.
He had been angry when he had lashed out with the line pick, not really thinking about what he was doing. The man had come at him with a broken beer bottle; a weapon was a weapon, wasn’t it?
As it turned out the jury didn’t think so. He had struck out with the line pick, buried it and then he had pulled the trigger. The truth was he had meant to pull the trigger. He had envisioned the small explosion driving the man back and ending the fight. Instead the line pick had malfunctioned because of the soft tissue and had injected multiple explosive pellets. They had all been set off when the first one exploded. The explosion had blown a large hole straight through his chest and exited his shoulder blade spraying the bar with blood and bone as it had. The man had somehow lived for nearly a full minute before his eyes had finally slipped shut.
The prosecutor had asked for the death penalty. Offered a choice of life in or death he would have gone for the death. The jury felt life in was a better punishment and if he had to actually spend life in they would be right.
He had no intention of doing that though. Midway through the trial he had suddenly remembered about the ventilation system. A smuggled in paper book had offered complete schematics on intra cruisers. The rest of his plan had been formed in one sleepless night: Before the jury had finished its deliberations he had been in contact with Randy Best, a friend he had worked the ship yards with.
He had worked with Randy for more than six years, he knew him better than his own wife did; far better. Randy liked money, credits. It was the one thing that spoke directly to his conscious mind. Kenneth had plenty of legal credits, but the transfer of legal credits could be traced, so he had used one of the illegal accounts he had set up years ago for overtime. The unions frowned on overtime, but ironically they worked with the same people that could get you a fake account. A fake account that was so good you couldn’t tell it from the real thing. Spending those credits was a little tougher; you needed the proper ID. Kenneth had three fake accounts: His rainy day fund he had called it and if it wasn’t raining right now he didn’t know what the hell it was doing.
Randy had come for a visit at the Federal Holding Jail. Nothing unusual there; they were co-workers. He had offered the smallest account for Randy’s help; Randy had made a counter offer that had bought all of his illegal credits to the table. No matter. They would be useless to him in prison, he had already written them off before he had realized they might be better than gold. Payment for services that could not be traced: What could be better? Nothing.
Within days he had taken a calculated risk and had Randy pay to transfer to the Star Dancers crew list. A few credits in the right place had put him first on the list in case someone pulled out. He had made sure he placed first on the replacement list for the only other intra cruiser leaving within his estimated time frame, Old Grey.
He had men on either ship ready to sign off the Fed crew they were assigned to at a moment’s notice: More credits, but completely worth it to guarantee an in on either ship. It wasn’t really a guarantee: Something could go wrong, but it was as close as he could get to one. Randy would be on either ship when it sailed.
Two weeks before the verdict had come down. Both ships had come in over a forty-eight hour period and they had paid the bribes and Randy had taken up his position on both lists. There had been things that could have gone wrong, but they had not and there had been backup plans they had not needed. They had been under way a few weeks now. Randy had not made himself known, but Kenneth had no doubt that he would do his job. In order to collect the balance of his credits he would need the one remaining account number Kenneth had memorized. If he didn’t follow through he wouldn’t get the credits.
Kenneth slowed his pacing at the glass port, looked out at the bubble, smiled and then went back to pacing. The rest of the plan was simple. Randy would get him free after releasing gas into the air system that would knock out the entire crew, security and ship crew. He didn’t know when it would come, probably later at night. He would know it was coming because he would receive a set of small nasal filters with his meal. It meant inserting those filters into his nose, keeping his mouth closed as he breathed and waiting out the gas.
The meals had come every day for the last several days with nothing. This morning he had decided this meal too would be empty. Some sort of ready to eat: He had prepared the bowl; torn open the seasoning packet and had just been about to sprinkle it over the bowl when he had caught a glint of light on stainless carbon. He had gone through the motions of sprinkling the package over the bowl and then setting it aside. A few moments later he had turned away from the camera after finishing his meal and inserted the nose filters carefully yet quickly. He had pushed the remains of his dinner into the disposal chute, sat down on the edge of his bunk and waited.
Petra lay back on her rack, drifting in and out of a light doze. Music played through her headphones. The routine onboard Star Dancer was hard to get used to. Hard to get used to because of all the things you had to do to keep yourself busy. After life in the military and then thirteen months out of field working in a dry-dock facility she was not used to downtime.
On a military transport there were crew shifts. You were in rotation from the day you were added to the squad and you did not leave rotation until you were transferred from the ship to some other service quadrant. In the dry-dock facility she had worked 12 hour shifts six days a week banking credits. The one day she had off was every bit as hectic as her weekday workload. Thirteen months had gone by quickly.
Here days went by at the slowest pace she had ever experienced. Mike, who had dealt with the lifestyle for years had found ways to fill that time. She had taken a few tips from him; she would like to take more. She was concerned about seeming as though she were capitalizing all of his time, but the truth was that she actually liked spending time with him and learning from him.
She felt the light air movement from the blowers as it crossed her face, still thinking about Mike, wondering what exactly her true feelings were. Her thoughts seemed to be expanding, flowing around and around as she tried to think through them. Tired, she thought. It was the first shift, so morning and she was already tired from boredom. The thought made her laugh aloud, her own voice seemed strange to her, alien, muffled.
She realized she was drifting toward sleep and tried to rouse herself, pushing up to her elbows. Sleep was not on the horizon; she had a log entry to prepare after a systems check and then a scheduled maintenance thruster maneuver later on. She had half formed the thoughts while pushing up into a sitting position with her hands. Something was wrong. Her equilibrium was way off; her mouth was suddenly too dry. Her head seemed to have a pulse of its own all at once. She made it halfway up to a sitting position before she sagged back down to the bed.
Randy Best raced down the exterior hallway watching for the tee that would split off and take him from the octagon where Kenneth Rowland had been locked down. He had set him free; now they only needed to make it to the el banks without being caught.
The plan, so far, had gone off mostly without a hitch. He had dumped CO2 into the air system; the gas he had promised Ken he would use. After all Carbon Monoxide was a gas; at least in the form he had used it. He had thought of CO2 pellets, but they would be detectable and readily missed from the ships inventory and being detected would end the whole operation before it even began.
He had released Ken and headed directly to the Octagon. Ken had been waiting on the door. He had swung the door wide and began backtracking to the closest exit before the door had bounced off the wall with a loud bang. He had assumed Ken was right behind him. He had made the door; turned to tell Ken to move it and the door had slid shut on its track just that fast. The brief look he got showed an empty corridor; Ken must have gone in the other direction for some reason.
His heart skipped a beat and then settled down once more. His pulse was run away: Pounding in his ears, but the mask was secure; none of the carbon monoxide was leaking in. He turned after a brief pause and sprinted off down the corridor. They would have to meet up in the main corridor on the other side of the bubble.
It amazed him how easy it had been. Not, he told himself, that he had doubted it would go as Ken had said. Ken had researched it; he knew what he was doing. He was placing his entire future on it and that was the only reason that Randy had placed his future on it too.
And it would be his future if he was caught. There was a federal troop presence on this ship, and that meant it was technically an escape within a Federal facility. Life without: No chance of ever seeing the world again if they were caught. He rounded a slight curve and found the tee; a second after finding it he was pounding down the outer corridor, the echoes of his footfalls loud in the absolute quiet.
The hallway curved as did all the hallways on the ship. He sensed something before he saw anything and he had broken his stride immediately, sucking a deep breath and skidding to a stop, the stolen taser pistol coming up. He fired as soon as the two workers came into sight, the one fell, and the other jumped away slipping back around the corner. He never heard the one behind him. One moment he was standing, slightly crouched and the next he was falling; an explosion of confusion suddenly dominating his thoughts. A split second later the pain crashed into him hard driving all other thoughts from his head: A split second after that the lights went out and he crashed to the floor, bouncing on the carbon composite floor panel and sliding slightly forward before the furrows in his brow flattened out and he relaxed completely onto the floor.
“Clear!” The guard that had fired the taser shot called out.
“Who are you?” A voice called back.
“Pratt… Badge T89Y!” The other man stepped around the corner, rifle held high, sweeping from side to side.
“Jesus, what the hell is this?” His eyes fixed on Pratt. He had seen him around the mess a few times. He had something to do with cargo; at least he was sure that was where he had seen him.
“Not a clue… Heard the shots, came running… How is it you managed to escape the gas or whatever it is?”
“Hull breach? Maybe… Alarm went off and I grabbed an emergency mask. There were three of us, two of us made it in time… You think we hit something?”
“Or something hit us, right? Has to be.” Pratt reached down, pulled the body closer, and then pulled the man’s arms back one by one. He used plasticuffs and secured his hands behind him. He keyed the com button on his wrist implant, released it and looked up first. “Did you call it in? Is the Sec. Com. up?”
“Spoke to him, he is.”
Pratt keyed his com button once more. “T89Y…” he listened to the clean, low crash of static. “Base… Base this is T89Y…”
“Baylor,” came the answer. “Operations are thin, repeat thin… What is your situation, T89Y?”
“Got a bad guy; myself and, “he glanced over at the other man, reading the tag on his uniform, “Baker.” The man wore no badge. “We don’t know the circumstances here; we have one down, taser pistol,” he kicked the taser pistol a little further away from the body, gripped the back of the man’s jumpsuit and turned him over. “Best, that’s the name of the bad guy…” He rifled his pockets and found nothing but a set of keys. “Keys in his pocket,” he flipped the small set of keys from side to side. They were shaped funny. Nothing he had seen before.
“Octagon,” Baker said. He keyed his own com link. “Octagon keys, for the bubble and the cells.” He released the com link. “Where the hell did this guy get a set of lockups from? Jesus.”
The other man, Baker’s partner, began moving around on the floor, groaning. A second later he sat up, rubbing at his temples.
The com link squawked static and then Baylor’s voice came through clear. “All stations… All stations. One by one in post order, report in so we know what we are dealing with here.”
Station by station the call-in proceeded until there were none left to call in. Three two man crews had not called in and were presumably out.
“All stations… All stations… The report I have says we had an exhaust dump into our air supply, which means CO2 in heavy concentrations. That has been taken care of, but it will take some time to scrub the air content. There are two bad guys down, one at corridor ten, intersection four, just outside the octagon, the other a prisoner just inside the octagon… We think that is it. Keep your masks on until you hear otherwise… T89Y…? T89Y transport that prisoner directly to the octagon… They’ll be waiting. Stay off the air unless… Baylor out.” …
Rocket: Michael Watson purchased Star Dancer and has spent the last twenty years running people and supplies to outposts within the confines of the Solar System and the established bases on the Moon, Mars and Saturn’s moons. #SciFi #SpaceTravel https://books.apple.com/us/book/rocket/id1245409334
Base One. For the last two days Michael had found himself thinking in a new direction. All the old stuff we depend on is gone and that’s okay. He didn’t care if he never saw space again. In fact he’d rather not go back to it… #SciFi #SpaceTravel https://books.apple.com/us/book/base-one/id1353723177