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.


Mathematical Shell Game

I've never claimed to be the smartest guy around. Seriously, who wants to be THAT guy? Non claims aside, I'm not stupid, and I have a smart girl-friend. I recognize that I have a smart girl-friend, and I'm not threatened by it, so I guess that makes me smart in at least one way.

So why don't I understand the logic of engineers? I don't mean the logic which makes things work. I am confused by the way engineers think when it comes to solving problems. I seriously believe that if two engineers were trapped in a deadly situation with two different engineering solutions, they would die discussing it if a Station Tech weren't around to make the decision and possibly hand them tools.

Engineers are smart people, but very often I seem unable to lingo the gap, and I find confusion instead of the enlightenment I am seeking.

For example:

  • Tech: I have a two and a one, but the spec says it equals four. Do you know where I can find the other one?
  • Engineer: Where did you get the one?
  • Tech: It came with the spec.
  • Engineer: That's not a one. You need another two.
  • Tech: Ok. Where can I find another two?
  • Engineer: Why do you need a four?
  • Tech: It came with the spec.
  • Engineer: Ok. So you have a two and one. The spec calls for a three on that.

Which explains why Station Techs use One-tape to fix everything.


Symbiotic Doc

Doc Hester is 117 years old, and when she makes a decision, it stays made. She summoned Paula and me to LG Medical, and proceeded to explain that she didn't have much time left in this world, and would have been gone already if she had not injected herself with a sentient virus several years ago. Then she told us she intends to become part of the station, and asked for our help.


Have I ever mentioned we are all crazy?

"You're going to pair with a large symbiote... become a symbiont... almost immobile," Paula said quietly. "I'm not sure..."

"Eventually," Doc Hester said, "But Signe Hester will be long dead by then."

Which is when my ears caught up and I blurted out, "You're going to become part of the enviro systems and that sentient virus-cluster-whatever."

Doc gave me one of those looks which makes me feel like I'm part of an experiment. It went on long enough that I got nervous and asked, "What?"

"You refused to try a symbiont," Doc said. "I expected you to object."

"I never refused... exactly," I said uncomfortably. "Look... I'm still trying to believe Paula moved in with me. I don't need another... whatever, right now."

The Doc laughed. Giggled really. Just like the first time we talked about the Thoughts of the Submind.

So Paula and I have been using our spare time to get Doc started on her quest to become... I'm not going to ask because I probably wouldn't learn anything from the answer. The bonus oxygen is the extra time I have been spending with Paula.


Borrowing Silence

I may have mentioned that I don't much like driving grip-loaders. Back on Ceres Station, the local brain-tech called it 'Optic Vertigo,' pointed at his eyes and said, "It's all in your head." Then he had a big laugh while he wrote up a prescription for desensitization. I hated him for months, but he told me a couple of things which I later decided made him a friend.

  1. "Think about all the things you could be doing which are worse."
  2. and, "Stop looking into deep empty space you stupid monkey."

The first one is easy to do. My favorite thing to think about is the noisy intoxicated meaningless noise from boredom parties... I'd rather die slowly in vacuum than go to those things, and that always makes me feel a bit better about riding an ion stream capable of taking me into complete emptiness.

Not looking into space... Believe it or not, it helps if you close your eyes. At least you don't expect to see anything when you do that. If you have to open your eyes to move or do some work, keep your eyes on the helmet displays and your own hands. Simple to say.

As for noisy parties... One specific get-together provided enough negative shielding to get me through seven days of vac-scout recon work in the Ten-Ten asteroid cluster. There is nothing quieter than a single person ion-drive vac-suit. Even grip-loaders are noisy by comparison. And the silence I found out there almost made up for every bead of sweat I produced during that week.

We space dwellers live inside of machines... big, noisy, non-stop machines... and when the rhythms change, we get a bit cranky. These launch platforms, infinitely better than nothing for providing weight, are very very noisy. People have been complaining (Not to me, because I encourage Curious to laugh at them.)

Me? I have decided that if noisy parties can get me through Optical Vertigo, then the silence of space can get me through a few weeks of variable gravity and whimpering, groaning station noises.


Down Time

When I was about five years old, I experienced my first extended period of weightlessness. The first night, I was too exited to sleep. I slept very well the second night--after my mom forcefully strapped me into the sleep harness. The third night, I started to miss my bed. Some people like sleeping weightless.

Have you ever awakened, happy and warm, and held there peacefully by the weight of blankets--despite the pressure in your bladder? Even if you use a cocoon, waking up weightless is not the same. First of all, you have to use low-gee facilities... No, first of all, you have to FIND the low-gee facilities without 'up' to help you navigate... THEN you have to USE the low-gee facilities.

After almost two weeks of low to zero Gee, I just had my first five hours of down time in my very own bed, in my very own room. The place in question being my new room aboard a converted launch--one of several rooms Paula and I claimed for ourselves, a chaos of cats, and a tribe of chimpanzees. Also included is the resident super-bug which seems intent on infecting all of Fort Falling with cat-trees, bug pods, and endless types of vines. It felt so good to sleep in a bed, and to then let my feet find the floor and the waste facilities without conscious effort, that I didn't even mind stubbing my toe on a tree root.

I guess what I'm trying to say is Fort Falling has survived and appears to be on target. Six weeks to our new orbit and several ships full of OSA representatives. Funny thing is, I'm more worried about stray cats then I am about the end of our journey. I have complete confidence in Counter-Spin Rick's ability to make serious trouble for any number of troopships. Like I've said before, get on with the scary guy, and let the rest take care of itself.