This is the public log of DeeDee 'dzyjak' Jackson, a fictional character. DeeDee lives and works aboard a space station which orbits Saturn, and sometimes he writes about it.


Tangent Races

It wouldn't be a metro-station without Tangent Races. I guess that means Fort Falling is no longer metro--the Tangent Races went away with most of the station's population.

Eddie and I went up to the track and ran a couple of clunker's around a few times. Even those old, beat-up racers can move once you start racing for the Tangent. It was fun, but it's not the same.

For those of you living on a world with gravity, "Racing for the Tangent" means going as fast as you can against the direction of station-spin. The Tangent is that place and/or speed at which you and your vehicle become weightless.

So if you are on a space-station, and you have become weightless, it means the centrifugal force of station-spin is no longer holding you against the floor. If the station hasn't stopped spinning, you must be moving. Or at the Hub.

It is difficult to remain weightless in a Tangent Race because you don't have much traction. There are variations, but usually the driver who finishes with the most free-fall time wins.

The best way to watch is from a launch platform, which is a sort of Tangent on rails. That's one of the reasons I became a station tech. Once a launch hits freefall, it doesn't take much to monitor--keep an eye on the magnetics and let the station turn underneath you. And don't log too much time in freefall or someone will notice and put you on Heavy duty.



Out with the bad air.

There's nothing like a blast of vacuum to clean out those air cores. Don't forget to switch on the secondary life-support system.

You need to lock down the flow-gates to living area's (which is any place that's not an air core really) and flush the cores with cleanser (a nice toxic and corrosive gas with a short half-life), then shoot all the loose trash into space.

In with the good air.

There'll be more bugs and rats in a bit, and you'll need to feed more cats for a while. Log it and move on to the next core.


Perspective thoughts

It's funny what you think about. When your biggest worry is getting the air cores blasted out before the tangent races begin, you don't stop to wonder if you have time to work on some things you've been putting off.

I've been wondering about things I've already done. Not much--which is why I get depressed.

So I think about kittens. Or that girl in hydroponics, Paula, who recently seems to have reversed her poles. She was one of a reasonably small selection of women who have told me, in one way or another, that I was repulsive. Usually they soften it up with words like, "We are too much alike" or "You know when two magnets are facing each other...?" But it mostly comes down to, "I need to get away from you with mag-lev speed." Anyway, I got a date with Paula, and maybe I'll see if she will let me take pictures.

I can also tell people what I really think. Therefore, fellow Fallers, listen up! I'm sick of you helpless, dirt-assed, wannabe Station Techs (you all know who you are) telling me how to do my job. If you called me to fix something, shut-the-hell-up unless I ask you a question. I'll try to keep it simple.

If we do happen to get away from this station before it comes apart, I still get to have done everything I did when we all thought it didn't matter.



I've succeeded in depressing myself thouroughly. Although, I'm not sure you can call it a success if that isn't what you were trying to do. I mean, you made something happen, so maybe you could call it progress...

I suppose it's possible Doc Hester was politely telling me to go away when she told me I would feel better if I wrote it down. Depressed is not better.

But, if I start in on one of my existential rants again, I suspect she will tell me to keep writing. It's probably easier to stop reading than to stop someone from ranting in your face... I suppose. I'll have to write it down.



Am I being too negative? Some days I feel as if I have a terminal illness, and soon I start remembering everyone is terminal... Eventually. This leads to such questions as, "Why bother?"

The occasional fleeting moment of peace and happiness for maintaining momentum despite the time or the blood and sweat. Is it enough?

So I wonder about time instead.

We use time as a tool of measurement, but that measurement only exists within the artificial constructs of society. There is also the flow of time, which we understand both as the eternal present, and as the device which gives us past and future.

We aren't sure how many more ships are coming, be we know we have about 300 days to get off this station before it drowns in the rings.


Observation Deck

Our Observation Deck offers a wide variety of views. I've seen the icebergs spinning, so they all look like doom to me.


Bonus Oxygen

For you ground huggers, "Bonus Oxygen" refers to that occasional bit of luck which might make up the difference between life and suffocation.

I salvaged three kittens from storage-bay some-stupid-number, and I took them to Doc Hester. She quietly hummed promises of those words to them while she made the initial examination.

Doc Hester is older than most people ever get. She refuses to leave with the other non-essential personnel because she would rather die at home. She knows a lot about physics, biology, psychology and other things-I-can't-spell.

Here at Fort Falling, Doc is our Bonus Oxygen.


Pest Patrol Reminder

I need to stop by and ask Doc Hester if she can take any more cats. I'm not exactly sure what else she does with them, but they seem healthy and happy living in that weird habitat she made for them.

Flushing rodents and bugs into space is something I do with pleasure, but doing the same to kittens ruins my entire week.


Job Security

Chuck, my shift supervisor, started to lecture me about how I should do my job. Like I don't know standard procedure demands all mobile objects be secured before decommissioning an apartment.

I didn't want to listen to his lecture, so I interrupted him.

"If you can prove an imitation-stone beverage container will do more damage than the rain of ice which is going to knock it off the table," I said. "Then I will swear on my life to keep better track of my coffee mugs."

He immediately declared, "I'm not going to put up with that."

"Then don't," I said. "Fire me." Like he's going to let me slack around until the end comes.

Two more years of this, and I'll welcome the rain.


The O. S. A. needs you!

They said, "Become a Station Technician."

While I was in training, they told me, "Station Techs get respect, and money, and power... And girls."

Now I live on the edge of space and spend my time watching massive icicles swim around a giant ball of liquid hydrogen. In a year or two I'll be watching one of those ice-chunks smash into the station, and I'm not expecting it to go well.

The Space Safety Board (SSB) had condemned Saturn's only space station about four years ago, and then advised everyone to return to the relative safety of the Belt Habitats and Mars Metro.

"The station is falling," they said, and painted a giant warning on the hull. When it was discovered repairs were too costly to be possible, someone painted the name Fort Falling over the warning. I'm not going out there to change it back.

The Outer System Alliance has relocated close to a hundred thousand people, but a lack of ships and resources leads me to believe the rest of us will be lucky to get off this heap before it gets scattered among the rings.

[So Doc, how is writing this down suppose to make me feel better?]