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.


Counter Weight, part 2

The Dizzy Pig Bar and Grill has changed since we cut the station in half and moved into a stable orbit. It was a nice place before that. Now it's alive. There are glow-vines in all the upper corners--Paula has encouraged a growth strain which produces a less stimulating, but still effective, light source--and the walls are covered with high-oxy output vines custom made by Submind.

There are pictures on one wall. Pictures from the old place. The new place is better, but you can't tell that from the pictures. While having a few drinks the other night, it was Counter-Spin Rick who explained it to me.

"The old place stank like a sewer-core compared to the air in here now," he said, waving a drunken half-finished Slush Bomb through the air.

"Can't argue with that," I said.

"Yeah?" Rick asked. "You wanna argue?"

I waved my own Slush Bomb, a Cherry Burst, in his direction and said. "No. Evil Eddie got this mind thing, from the symbiote, you know.... So I've had enough hassle this week."

"Not mind reading," Rick said. "I downloaded the thing, data file--don't think I got much to worry about."

"I started using random generation... generated pass-codes."

"That'd work," Rick said with a nod.

"Had to write it down, but it's locked away from Eddie."

"So what you get?" Rick asked. "From Submind?"

"Hard to explain. Like color. You know. Explaining to someone who can't see."

"Tell me another one, Dee."

"Yeah? Bet you can't explain your thing either," I said.

"I can," Rick stated, throwing his shoulders back and his head up. "When I'm wearing my Submind gear, I can adjust gravity."

I may have said something, but it certainly didn't make any sense.

"Why you think those OSA troops were so impressed? Didn't see any of them strutting around in micro-gee without going into orbit," Rick sounded depressed that I hadn't noticed. "I'm not the only one, either."

I shrugged. "I got this movement thing, like touch, like holding it in my hands," I said. "I figure that's why I used to get space sick... 'cause I knew my own 'universal' momentum or something. Now, with this bug in my head, I can use my inertia--kinda like you using gravity I guess."

"I'm betting on you next time," Rick said, laughing. He was referring to the bi-weekly game of Spinball Eddie and I play to keep Doc Hester from nagging us constantly.

"Eddie probably knows every play I'm about to make," I pointed out.

"Right," Rick said. "Maybe I'll bet on the Tangent Races instead."


Modules and Subroutines

People have been asking me the oddest questions lately. Retired Captain Raymond Miller, Ray, stopped by my office to see if I could 'fix' something for him. I don't know why, but for some reason I expected Ray to stop asking me that question now that I am Minister of Customs. I'm sure he knows there are other people aboard this space station.

"It's Comet," Ray said, patting his dog's head. "I've been so busy I haven't had time to play with him. I feel guilty. I was wondering if Submind would add an Entertainment Module to Comet's symbiote."

I was too stunned to think of an answer, and I was afraid to ask him about Entertainment Modules, so I just looked at him until he said, "I could ask Doc?"

"Yeah," I said. "But I think if Comet wanted an Entertainment Module, he would have one already. Maybe you should just see if one of the hydro-parks has a play service. Or maybe one of Ben's girls..."

Ray nodded, said "Thank you," and left. I don't understand why people own dogs.

Joe, of all people, came by to ask if I could get my hands on some spare quanta-drives for the data core. He has a new symbiote, and he seems to know stuff about math which might as well be magic. If Joe wants to upgrade the data core, it needs an upgrade.

I had to ask though. "Why? And why are you asking me?"

"Eddie told me to ask you. He says you know how to make things happen." It didn't sound like he believed what Eddie says. "Submind has inspired massive data uploads, and the file metadex is weeks behind. Quanta-drives don't really run out of space, but it's getting hard to find non-discrete files. A couple more drives will speed up data absorption."

"I might be able to get a couple from Jupiter System," I said thoughtfully. "They have a surplus on 7X-370s, but those things are huge. We'll have to cut our way into the data core sub-level to make them fit."

Considering the way greed blazed from Joe's eyes, I figured those would do the trick. I was also wondering how Eddie knew I'd been contacted by an old school-mate who is currently working at Data Planets Inc.

Eddie didn't come to me, but when I asked him why he was looking through my personal data, he had the strangest question of the day.

"What would you do if you just knew things about people? Without even trying?" Eddie asked me.

"I.... I'd know stuff I guess." I said lamely. This was not the direction I had intended to go with this conversation.

"Yes," Eddie said. "I don't have to look through your data, Dee. Whatever I got from this symbiote has nothing to do with data cores. It's like, if I know someone well enough, I can think exactly like them. I just know you. I know your security codes. I know when you change them and what you change them to."


"Your mind is a freaking obstacle course," Eddie said with grin.

"Good," I said. "Maybe you'll get lost or something."

"So what should I do?" Eddie asked.

"Don't you already know what I'm going to say?"

"Not if I'm asking the question," Eddie said.

I thought about it for a moment and said, "If you keep this a secret, some day it might get out. Probably will. Then everyone will be concerned, wondering how long you've been reading their minds..."

"It's not mind reading..."

"So don't keep it a secret. Explain it. Dump data into the core. A few people will be upset, but full discloser now will eliminate bad future possibilities." I shrugged.

Eddied nodded, and wrote a pamphlet he can post or print for anyone who wants to know.


Customs 101

I don't remember exactly what Paula and I were discussing (or maybe I don't intend to tell you), but we were in my office. The door was open because Paula doesn't insist as loudly when other people can hear.

"I'm going to close the door," Paula said.

"That's probably not a good idea," I said mildly.

"Why not?" Paula asked.

"A ship just docked," I said. "I need to be available."

"Ships are docking all the time," she said.

"This one has never docked here before."

"You're afraid to shut the door," she said, eyes gleaming.

"Yes," I said.

Paula narrowed her eyes and then changed the subject. "You never thought of Curious as anything other than a person."

"Huh?" I asked, frowning.

"Curious," Paula said. "He has always been a person to you. In Doc's lab, before you knew anything about Submind or symbiotes, you treated him like every other technician working there. You didn't seem to question it."

I considered this for a moment, and didn't see an obvious trap, so I said, "That is how most of the other techs were treating him."

"And you noticed," Paula said. "And you never faltered. And you treat every chimpanzee on the station as a person."

Paula and I don't always share a viewpoint. Even couples who share hobbies have different subsets of interest--unless they are total emo-clones. Paula and I share an attraction for each other, and since that knowledge makes me stupid, I'd rather not comment further.

"Uhm. Paula. The truth is, I am very fond of the confusion that behavior causes in visitors and new additions to the station. It's astonishing how much magic happens."

Paula laughed, sharply and involuntarily.

"We'll continue our discussion when you get home," Paula said, examining my face intently while she rose to her feet.

"If you wish," I said.

"You should plan on a couple of hours at least," she said with a smile. "We'll talk, and then I've installed some glow-vines in our room."

"Yes, ma'am," I said, paying very close attention as she walked away.

As Paula cleared the doorway, I heard an elderly male voice singing out gleefully. "I'm a giant bug. I am a giant bug." It was coming from one of the nearby cargo inspection areas.

"That's got to be good," I muttered. I stood up and followed Paula into the main Customs area. Paula slowed down to look and shake her head. Then she turned away, saw me, waved goodbye, and disappeared spin-wards.

I walked over to see an elderly man laying face up on a large crate. He was waving his arms and legs in the air and singing about bugs and a person named Franz. The woman hovering over him was tiny, dark skinned, and very beautiful. She had to be Rita Selmon's sister, mother, or clone.

Looking at the man pretending to be a bug, I let slip my thoughts. "It must run in the family."

The woman heard me, and turned to look at me with absolutely no humor in her expression.

"I'm sorry," I said. "But you look so much like Rita, and... Well, I was reminded of turtles."

Her expression shattered into giggles, and the elder bug laughed and rolled off the crate onto his feet. He stuck out his hand and said, "I am Vincent K. Selmon, professor of literature, and I am a gigantic insect."

I took his hand and said, "I am DeeDee Jackson. Most call me Dee or Dizzy. I am the Minister of Customs, and I don't allow gigantic insects onto my space station unless they go through proper quarantine procedures. The same goes for turtles."

After another giggle, the woman held out her hand and said, "I'm Rhonda. Rita must be having a lot of fun with you."

I shook her hand. "Yes. She's very good at it."

Vincent started to drift aimlessly away, and Rhonda grabbed his arm to pull him closer. "Nerve scaring," she said softly. "It's getting worse."

"He really thinks he's a giant bug?" I asked, studying Vincent closely to see if he would react to the question.

"Sometimes," Rhonda said. "Rita says Doctor H. has a virus which can do remarkable genetic repairs. We're hoping she can help Dad."

Vincent stuck out his hand and said, "Hi. I'm Gregor, the dung beetle."

I shook his hand. "Rhonda," I said carefully. "If your father wants to be a giant cockroach, Doc's virus is the last thing you need."

"What do you mean?"

"The virus is sentient, as Doc put it, but the idea of self is sort of borrowed from the host. It seems to me the virus will want to be, or think it already is, a giant bug, and your father's symbiote may try to make it happen. I doubt if it will be dangerous, but it could be very interesting."

Rhonda's eyes had widened with every word. "Rita must have discovered this by now. Why hasn't she told me?"

"I've probably given it a lot more thought than most," I said. Then I turned around and pulled down the back of my shirt so she could see my symbiote. "Before I got this, my biggest fear was of being possessed by some crazed space-germ which wants to destroy Earth. I looked into it."

I turned back around and if anything, Rhonda's eyes were even wider. "You had nerve damage? Was it on your spine? Was it severed?"

"No," I said, a bit surprised by the new direction.

"Why then?"

"Atmo and vac-suits, short range grippers...." She still looked puzzled. "I got it so I could wear a bio-tech spacesuit, custom made by Submind."

"Submind?" Rhonda said faintly. I started to explain, and then realized how tired she looked.

"Yeah. You'll catch on. Why don't I call someone? Is Rita expecting you?"

"We're two days early," Rhonda said, tugging her father back in.

I summoned the nearest available customs agent with my magic comm-button. Agent Sandra Quinn, whom I still need to promote, was first on the scene.

"Please take Miss Selmon and her father to one of the secure VIP suites," I said. "And see if we can get a med-tech assigned to assist with Mr. Selmon for the evening."

"Yes, sir." Quinn said.

I noticed two chimpanzees had also answered my summons. I didn't recall their names, if I ever knew them, but I pointed to Rhonda and gestured, "Luggage. Please help." They happily started piling crates and luggage onto carts, even rearranging it when Rhonda objected to something.

"I have an appointment," I said to Rhonda, thinking about Paula. "You folks have a nice day."

"Thankyou thankyou," Rhonda said breathlessly, grabbing me in an unexpected hug. I hugged back, and then went home.


Roll Call

This is my 100th post, and I need to remind myself of who we've met so far.

DeeDee "dzyjak" Jackson: That's me. This is my log. I talk about myself all the time. My system name is not capitalized.

Chuck Vann: He was my immediate supervisor for a while. He made nice with Kelly and is running her Human Resources Department--actually it's the 'Sentient Resources Department' now.

Doctor Signe Hester: Doc introduced us to Submind. We couldn't have saved the station without her.

Paula Mattson: Doc's main assistant, my serious love interest, and the best singer on Fort Falling.

Eddie "EMF" Crump: Eddie is in charge of security. He took over the data core when we split away from the OSA, and he hasn't let anyone else get close to it. Kelly appears to approve most of the time.

Wendy Hardin: She is the ranking OSA official aboard the station. Except for that, she's not so bad.

Joe Friedrich: Joe asked me to stop calling him 'Brain Eater.' 'JoeBe' it is then. I'm sure he hates me, but if he can't take it, he shouldn't dish it.

Rick "Counter-Spin" Young: Rick doesn't care what people call him. Or if he does, it doesn't happen more than twice.

Curious, the chimp: My best chimpanzee friend. He likes his humor straight-forward and aggressive.

Kenneth "Not Ken" Harvey: Kenny is back. I have no problem calling him Kenneth, but I've found that if I make him explain his name every time he has a question, he doesn't ask as many questions.

Theodore "No Relation" Richards: I'm fairly certain Theodore is related to Kenneth. Theo likes to explain how he isn't related to a number of famous men named Theodore Richards every time I never ask about it, so I've never bothered to ask. He is a very good station tech and has decided to train with the chimpanzees and become an enviro-tech.

Sheryl Malice: Sheryl is working in my office. As a lawyer, she's bonus oxygen. I assigned her a team of technicians so she would stop calling me. I guess that means we get along fine.

Kelly Grace Smith: If anyone else decides to run for the office, Governor Kelly Grace Smith will probably be re-elected unanimously. No one still believes she is a vac-head.

Rat Bane, the cat: The first feline with a symbiote, as far as I know. He's become quite a fisher-cat, so maybe I'll just call him Bane from now on. It's not like he cares.

Nana: Nana was my mother's mom, and the reason I became a station tech.

Enviro-tech Misty, the chimp: Misty hangs around with Counter-Spin. She appears to like explosions and micro-grav as much as Rick.

Pipster, the cat: Pipster was the first cat I saw with the long and thin magnetic quills from a Submind symbiote.

Miss Hiss, the cat: Miss Hiss comes around every day or two for some treats.

Submind: Thoughts of the Submind is a sentient virus. I have yet to see evidence of what brain-techs call an 'Ego' in the Submind virus. The concept of self just doesn't seem to apply. Since I like my 'self' just the way it is, I don't see how this can be anything but good.

One Track, the chimp: Kelly's Enviro-tech. He has trouble switching focus unless you hit him with something. Not too hard. He is a chimpanzee after all--even if Submind has added some higher brain functions.

Captain Raymond Miller: An ex-troopship captain we had as a prisoner of war for a couple of minutes. He has a dog. Kelly put him in charge of immigration at my suggestion. I suppose Chuck approved of the choice.

Callie McKiern: A friend of my mom's. She's been training chimps her entire life. Her family makes the hormone supplements and foods which keep chimpanzees sane. At one time, according to Callie, male chimpanzees where too crazy to be among humans on a space station.

Comet, the dog: Captain Miller's dog. I would call him a cyborg, but the implants are biological constructs made by Submind, so I'm not sure they count as machines.

The Povel family--Sarah, Ben and two girls: This is Wendy's family. Sarah is her sister. The family ran away from Titan station back when the OSA was trying to convince us Saturn Station One still belonged to the Alliance.

Sandra Quinn: A customs agent. I need to get her a promotion.

Sam Tellerwell: A merchant in specialized goods--mostly foodstuff from Earth.

Rita Selmon: Rita likes turtles. The last time we spoke she treated me to a lecture on the universe as an inverted turtle, where everything inside was outside, and only the turtle existed. I think she's messing with me, but if so, she's really good at it.

Mini Cee, the chimp: Mini is crew boss of the enviro-techs in Customs. No one gets unauthorized biologicals past her crew.

I think that's everyone.