“We use lids on this ship,” I told the Professor a little too sharply, who apparently had the tea maker figured out. It was unlikely to happen on a space station but if the artificial gravity should die, I didn’t want badly contained tea shorting out my circuits. Client or not, the lid rule was strictly enforced.
I came to lean over Lisa’s shoulder. “How are we looking?” She pointed at the holographic screens.
“We’ve got power. Lots of it, too. This thing uses up more than our boat when she’s idling.”
Nodding, I leafed through the data. “My ship is a ‘he’, thankyou,” I mumbled. Lisa looked unimpressed.
Thomas came to join us, lid and all. He too saw that everything seemed to be in order, except that we couldn’t test the array inside the hangar because of its strongly magnetic effect. Most things here were made from polymers but the area of effect was large enough to potentially disrupt electric currents nearby.
It only occurred to me now that once I had activated the sensor, radio contact would be out of the question. With the interference from both the entity and this new artificial satellite, the only contact we would have was visual.
“Oh,” went the Professor when he saw me write the issue down for next meeting. “Is that going to be a problem?”
“We’ve had worse,” I told him smugly. “Most cargo isn’t made to do the haulers a favor. If it were an easy job, we would quickly be out of work. Speaking of which, we’re ready to test this thing now. That was due tomorrow, right?”
He gave a nod and sipped his tea. “Indeed.”
Taiko 7 was a desert planet. I love desert planets, the hotter and drier, the better. I made a point of exiting Theseus with the morning sun in my face, as the last little critters disappeared with the night’s cold. I spat a mouthful of toothpaste on the landing platform and gazed into the wind, like a blow dryer in my face. Nothing made me feel more like a space trucker like hearing the dust sing on the metal of my ship. And I loved being a space trucker.
I rinsed and went into the service building for a shower, a real shower. My jet lag had woken me up before anyone else so I had all the time and I intended to take it. I had plenty to think about with everything that I knew, about to change.
1. Thou shalt carry thy Leatherman. Without you, your Leatherman is nothing. Without your Leatherman, you are nothing.
This purely fictional story is (often) NSFW and (sometimes) awkward as fuck. It’s meant to be the first of more but ended up much more character-focused than I intended.
There’s enough romance in it to give Walt Disney a tooth ache. (occasionally)
You have been warned.
Constructive criticism is appreciated.
On my back on the floor, I felt the vibrations spring back to life. A few hours after embarking on your first flight, you get so used to the low hum of the engines that your mind filters it out… until it stops. In this cramped maintenance shaft, it seemed louder than ever.
I finished mounting the panel and let my arms fall to the side, relaxing into the mechanical massage. Newer ships don’t have this noise anymore, the dampeners are now tuned well enough to pick up the slightest vibration. But I liked it. It told me that things were going to be okay, even with the systems as badly damaged as they were.
Once in a while, we stagehands get called up for a job that makes us ask again, “I’m sorry- what where?” In that category, was the job for a union conference last week. Apparently, ABVV, the “Common Belgian Union”, has time and money to hold a large conference while strikes are crippling the country, and roads being blocked for workers who don’t have the opinion, time or option not to work.