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.


Security System

There are over 3000 people aboard Fort Falling now. You would be surprised at the number of them who want to bring unfriendly things onto the station, intentionally or not. To be honest, I wouldn't have made it past my first week if I had started working Customs at the bottom. I'm afraid to ask Kelly why she put me in charge. Experience suggests I will leave her office with nothing but lip-gloss on my forehead and a suspicion it was for my own good.

I saw Eddie go into her office a couple of weeks ago. Kelly was wearing Blu-Brite that day. Eddie didn't get all of it off his forehead the first time, and I didn't say a word about it. It makes me happy to know Eddie often leaves the Governor's office in much the same condition as I do.

I beat EMF Eddie at spinball. Again. It took some hard work, but I beat him. The game was incredible. No one without a symbiote can do what we were doing in zero-Gee. Doc tells me dozens of people applied for symbiotes right after Eddie and I finished our last play. She's trying to get us to schedule regular games.

I'm not sure Eddie's symbiote works quite the same as mine. He got something else I think, because he appears to have total access to every part of the data core. I use solid encryption and A-level passcodes, but Eddie walked right through them. He stopped commenting on my taste in cartoons when I pointed out how easy it would be to impound all incoming cargo and mail for someone with whom I was unhappy.

Eddie and I also filed plans for the new Tangent Skater track. We decided wheels would be easier than ice. It has to be a small diameter track, where station spin is slow. Slow spin means less weight and people don't die from tiny mistakes.

Did I mention all the people? Callie showed up with 12 live chimpanzees and what she says "are the makings of a couple dozen more." From what I have witnessed, Curious will be spending less time at home than usual. I'm trying to convince myself it's like adding another enviro-tech to the family.


Here and Now

I started this log more than a year ago. I knew the day when a year had passed, but some things had to happen, and some work needed done, and the day was gone before I collapsed into bed. Writing an anniversary post was a passing thought anyway. We haven't had much free time, and I can't think of a real reason why writing about it for a year means anything other than "it's been a year."

It's just more stuff about me anyway. Speaking of me, I have some free time. I don't have anything important to say, or anything I need to vent. I'm just babbling on at random because I don't have anything to do but sit here and input. It's been a while since I had free time, and I may have forgotten what to do with it.

I'm not trying to say all the work is done, but most people I know appear to be in a temporary lull. We're all blinking at the sudden light and wondering if this means we'll have to work harder tomorrow.

So anyway, that's why I posted. I'm going to go see if I can take Eddie at spinball now that he has a symbiote.


Infinite Turtles

Back when the Earth was flat, before gravity, it rested on the backs of four elephants who eternally walked in circles on the back of a giant turtle. The mythology gets a bit uncertain about what the turtle was standing on, but many believe it was another turtle, and that, in fact, the turtles went all the way down. Modern evidence suggests the turtle was swimming through space, so down stopped at the elephants.

"Ma'am," I said. "I'm not sure what your point is, but on this space station, down stops at the tangent, and turtles stop at Customs."

"I want to speak with the governor," she said angrily. Rita Selmon was tiny, less than a meter and half tall, with dark hair and skin, and screaming green eyes. She was young and very attractive. She had four turtles in a cage, and I was here because the first three customs agents wouldn't let her take the turtles through either.

"Not a problem. Leave your box of turtles with Mini Cee," I said, pointing at the chimpanzee. "She'll take good care of them. I promise. I'll have someone escort you to Kelly right after."

"I need my turtles," she shouted. Her foot tapped the deck like she wanted to stomp it.

I had a feeling she hadn't been paying attention.

"You can pick them up in three days, maybe sooner if Submind is interested in turtles and examines them personally. We like animals here." I said, pointing at Mini again. "Even turtles."

"I need them now," she said. "I don't want anyone bothering them." She obviously had the same feeling I did, only about me.

"Ma'am, if you want to enter the space station, you have to let us quarantine the turtles. Submind is working very hard to balance our ecosystem, and I do not want to be the guy answering questions if something goes wrong. Doc is a master of guilt trips--I still feel bad about a light panel incident from several years ago."

"Doc Hester?"

"Yes," I said with a sigh. This is the point where everyone expects me to jump because they are good friends with someone important.

"Can I make an appointment to see her?" Rita asked. "With my turtles."

Or maybe not. "Uh... Yes. Her offices and living quarters are directly under Low Grav Medical. Eddie called it 'Doc Land' in the system grid... Or maybe it was 'Hester Land.' I think he's running of out of name ideas."

Rita was giving me the look which says, 'you are a strange specimen and should be studied,' so I pointed to the box she was still carrying and then to Mini.

She looked at Mini Cee and asked, "Is this chimp trained to handle turtles?"

I shrugged. "She's the head enviro-tech for this section. I'm sure turtles fit in there somewhere."

"Enviro-tech?" Rita asked. "That seems a bit... Is she one of Doc's? Doc wrote a very exciting series on genetics a few years ago. That's why I want to show her my turtles."

I was too tired to explain, so I just nodded. Miss Selmon was smart enough to figure it out for herself. She handed the turtles over to Mini, thumbed the Customs papers, and nodded goodbye on her way to an info-port.


Full Spectrum

One of the light panels in my office started that irritating flicker thing. I called a station tech, and then rounded up a spare light core and changed it myself about an hour later. It's not like the supply people are going to stop Fort Falling's Minister of Customs from appropriating a spare part now and then.

Changing a light core is one of those simple little meditative tasks which I really really miss a lot. Burned-out light cores are a problem which I know I can solve. Except changing that light core reminded me we won't need station techs in just a few years. I like being a station tech. The complications are interesting, and mostly it doesn't involve people.

Customs is all about people. No matter how interesting Paula makes her argument, I have yet to convince myself people are just like cats. When Paula summoned me to her private lab, I willingly fled my new and uncomfortable office at luggage central.

Paula's lab is a small hydroponic garden. She calls it a conservatory. It's often very bright in there, because light is one of the main ingredients in fresh air. It seemed brighter this time, but what I noticed first was Paula not wearing clothing. I stood there looking.

"Good," she said. "Take your cloths off."

"You're not wearing cloths," I said.

"I know that," she said, walking towards me. She was tugging at my shirt when I regained brain function.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Helping you take your cloths off."

"Why," I asked. Paula has nothing against public nudity. Neither do I, but mostly because nudity is just part of station life. You know; space suits, communal showers, and general all around togetherness of living inside a gyroscope. There's no point to modesty.

Paula had my shirt free and was attempting to drag it over my head.

I resisted her efforts and said, "I'm not getting into one of your med-vats unless you tell me what is going on."

"Med-vat?" she asked with a laugh. She stuck her foot into my stomach and pulled the ends of my shirt-sleeves up and over my head. Then she ruthlessly pushed me over backwards and tugged off the shirt.

"Do you see a med-vat in here?" My shoes were gone and my pants were following.


"I'm going to ravage you," she said.

"Oh." Not a bad reason to be summoned, I thought, but this was a bit more than public nudity. "Are you sure this is a good place to..."

"These full spectrum lights are very stimulating," Paula said. "Besides, I locked the door."

"Lights?" I asked, noticing for the first time the thin cables of light stretching across the room. I helped as Paula tugged off my last bit of clothing.

"Submind engineered a bio-luminescent host," Paula said. "That's why it's so bright in here. I'm not sure yet which direction to encourage."

I knew how she felt... about which direction I mean. It took a few more minutes for the light to kick in. We decided to call them glow vines. Paula flatly vetoed my 'glow worms' suggestion. They look like worms to me, but since they are very bright, it's hard to tell. Never mind what else we did.


Dog Kennel

Captain Miller has surprised me once again. The good Captain called me to ask if I could arrange a complete redesign of his apartment, or, failing that, one of the bedrooms, to accommodate Comet's new needs. It is becoming clear to me that Captain Raymond Miller doesn't intend to take his dog and troopship and go back to the OSA or somewhere, anywhere, away from here.

Not only did Miller get his dog a symbiote and vac-suit, but he did so while getting his own set of bio-tech gear. I'm still not sure whether I like the guy. He is such an officious and yet pushy little person that I've been thinking about putting his name on the list for Minister of Immigration.

The dog, Comet, has the largest symbiote I've ever seen. It appears to be attached, in part, to the base of the dog's skull. It protrudes outward behind Comet's ears like a flattened ridge with two horn points. It also covers Comet's spine with a horned ridge going to the base of the his tail. He looks deadly... except his tail is usually wagging.

"Why is Comet's symbiote so large?" I asked, when the Captain paused his explanations to take a breath.

"Oh," the Captain said. "Comet had brain damage when he was a pup. Oxygen starvation. Effected respiratory and circulation, but minimal cognitive damage. We implanted some regulator devices. I forget what the surgeon called them, but I made sure it wouldn't be a problem before Comet and I went ahead with the procedure here. If I had known this sym-bot was going to remove the implants and make such dramatic changes, I would have arranged for proper facilities to be installed while we were in the med-vats."

I was still trying to determine how someone could tell 'minimal cognitive damage' in a stupid dog when Captain Miller took a breath. I either had to say something or let him keep talking about Comet until he ran out of air again.

"Have you met Doc?" I asked sarcastically. Doc is an obvious case of 'dramatic changes.'

Miller either missed or ignored my sarcasm. "I've known her for years. You know that. Her circumstances are different. I suppose Comet's circumstances are a bit unusual also, but I didn't think of it. Not that I would have hesitated once I understood how much it would help. You didn't see much of Comet before this, but I've never seen him so happy. I think before he was uncomfortable all of the time."

"Why did you call me, Captain?"

"I want a room fixed up for Comet. What have I been saying since you got here?"

"I understand what you want, Captain, but I still don't know why you called me."

"Oh, right," the captain said. "Do you think Curious can come over? I'm willing to help him."

I couldn't help it. I laughed. Captain Miller grinned at me crookedly while I got over it.

"The first time I asked Curious to 'remodel' for me, I offered to help because he said it would take three weeks," I said.

"Let me guess," Miller said. "Six weeks with your help?"

I nodded. "Curious is somewhere doing his real job with Paula, but I'm sure if you let Doc know what you need, one of her enviro-techs will be here promptly. I need to get back to Customs... I have about a year's worth of data to process."

"How many of the troops are staying?" Captain Miller asked.

"I have no idea.... 85 percent maybe," I said. "Listen, if you want to help build a good metro and make a real difference here, stop by Customs and Immigration, help out a bit. You could even take an official position."

"You looking for an assistant? I thought you didn't like me."

"No," I said. "I'm thinking maybe Ministry of Immigration, but we might call it Department of New Citizenry. And you're right, I don't like you. That makes you perfect for the job."


Space Kittens

Kittens are always a mixed blessing. They are cute, playful, and willing to be friendly. They can also mean you need to check the feline supplements or the rodent population.

Kittens with pointy little quills, however soft, are something else entirely. Believe it or not, it was Paula who called me.

"What do you want me to do?" I asked her.

She handed me a carrier, pointed at the little family, and said, "You are the cat herd, take them to Doc."

She was angry at me for some reason. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" She asked.

"Not... uhm... knowing what you needed me to do with the kittens," I said, trying not to back away.

"Oh," she said. Then she stepped against me and let me taste her lips.

"I'm busy," she said. "We need to get life support online for a thousand more people, and those kittens are distracting everyone, including me. The same goes for you. Take those kittens and get out."

Paula scooped up the pad holding four kittens and a protesting mother, and shoved them into the carrier which I had just gotten open.

"Yes, Mistress."

"And don't get fresh, Boy," she said, pinching my rear to speed me on my way.

On the way to Doc's place to see if Submind would enlighten me, I studied the little guys. The mother had a row of spines like Miss Hiss, and the kittens all seemed to have something similar--except there was no sign of a symbiote in the kittens.

Instead of trying to repeat everything Submind said, I'll paraphrase. "These things happen. Call it a space feline. It will breed true."