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.


Dear Dad

Sorry I didn't get in touch sooner. We were riding our vac-suits over to Kelly One--that's the lash-up project I told you about--when Paula told me you and Mom were prepping old Lumpy Nickel for an overdue furlough. How long did she hold your head under before you agreed to leave the head office for a year?

I would have called, but Paula didn't tell me until after you had left Ceres Station. She didn't forget, but we're both busy, at entirely different tasks in entirely different locations. To be honest, I think it's for the best if we leave it that way. I don't think Paula and I will ever be able to work together in peace. Don't get me wrong. I expect Paula to see through whatever delusional filter she put in front of me any day now, and it scares the hell out of me.

Anyway, we are holding a slip for the old ship (I've attached orbital coordinates and comm frequencies) and Paula is running medical profiles on you and Mom for Doc Hester. I know you're coming out here to see me, but you aren't leaving without a symbiont, a Submind vac-suit, and a totally new, living and breathing, Lumpy Nickel. And a spiky kitten or two.


Personal Space, pt 2

"So what do you think of Kelly's First Submind Suburb, complete with chimpanzee families and cats?" I asked Paula.

She drifted beside me, wearing her pink and blue Submind vac-suit bristling with biotech sensors, and gazed across thousands of meters at our destination. "It's not very big."

"That's not exactly what I wanted to hear," I said.

She giggled. "Not what a guy wants to hear on a date?"

"No. But I've heard worse," I said. "The hub is big enough for a spinball field..."

"Of course it is."

"The hub's south airlock is for small personal shuttles. There's room for ten. The north airlock is for vac-suit entrance and emergency pods."

"Standard," Paula said softly. She started clicking her teeth softly and fiddling with one of her sensors. That usually meant she was only half listening.

"Then we have two habitat spokes. You need at least two spokes on a lash-up if you want to keep spin going," I said, starting to warm up. "The chimps worked hard getting some of that growth to go, so I gave one spoke to Curious and his new mate, and let him pick three other families. There's room for six families in those spokes, but we have plenty of room out here."

"Uh huh."

"Doug's going to lease one of the eight slips, and he's already got half the chimps involved in something. You know how he is. He wants to make a big announcement, so he won't tell anyone anything--except the chimps, and they thinks secrets are great fun, so I can't get anything out of them."

"Did you hear about Tera and Rick?" Paula asked.

"Tera?" I asked.

"Doug's sister," Paula said. "The economic wonder."

"Oh, right. Money crazy," I said. "I thought she left when Doug told her to go stuff her lawyers in an airlock."

"Apparently she met and got drunk with Rick at the Dizzy Pig, and then spent three days locked in his ship. It seems to have improved her mood exponentially."

"Counter-Spin?" I asked. "And Tera?"

"Yeah. There's no accounting," Paula said. "I'll race you the rest of the way, but you can't use your ion-thrusters to accelerate. You have to use grav-touch."

"Then you'll owe me another favor."

"Ha," Paula said, and focused her gravity on the spinning lash-up.

I let her pull ahead before I did some focusing of my own. I pulled with almost a full gee, and didn't stop until Paula was behind me.

Paula made fun of me for going too fast. I focused on Fort Falling and pulled myself to a stop a few meters away from the airlock. Paula was less then two minutes behind me.

"You've been practicing," Paula said.

I shrugged. "Ion thrusters are more fun. So what do you think? I didn't do any of the actual work, except a bit of plumbing, but it feels like mine."

"It... looks like an average suburb class docking station grown out of insect parts," Paula said.

"Yeah," I said. "Ain't it great."


Personal Space, pt 1

Doc asked me to take two days, my Submind vac-suit, and find a nice quiet place to hold Relativity One for four hours and 48 minutes. My suit grew a weird sensor array for the purpose, so I didn't bother arguing about it. With the time dilatation, it was only a few hours for me.

"Forty-eight hours exactly," Doc said. "Give or take a fraction, that works out to Relativity One. You've got a good start. Congratulations."

"Thanks," I said. "Are these Submind options, or talents or whatever, are they 'memory sets' like you and Paula go on about?"

"Not exactly," Doc said. "Those are personality memes." Her speech patterns changed a bit, which I figure means Submind (more than Doc) is speaking.

"Oh. I've heard you talking about those too." I was starting to think it might be over my head.

Doc shrugged. "A personality meme is a like a memory fragment, a doorway to a skill, and it must be summoned by a thought or desire. You do this when you call the sky.

"A memory set is a what we give the chimpanzees," Doc said. "It's an entire range of skill sets, built on the host's existing social and cultural structures. It requires physiological and neurological modification, with obvious benefits for those who accept the symbiont."

"Huh? What about the spiky cats?" I asked.

"That is a specialized personality meme," Submind said. "You may call it a morphological meme if you like."

"You're saying they remember having magnetic spiky quills?"

"Something like that," Doc said unhelpfully. "The point is, DeeDee, your force of will is driving your discoveries--your 'Submind options' as you called them. Your natural suspicion of mental influence has put you way ahead of the curve. I would have never predicted this."

"Really?" I asked. "Why not?"

"I used to think you were a bit slow," Doc said. "Not stupid, exactly, and certainly not inclined to take any grief about it, but slow."

"And now you don't think that, and I should be full of joy and sugar?"

"You should be full of joy and sugar when I think of you at all," Doc said. "You seem to have two or three active processes running at all times, as if you think too fast to keep up. Joe says it makes him twitchy. "

"It keeps my mouth from running," I said.

"Ah." Doc said. "You're even smarter then I suspected."


The New Kid

Simon came by my office to ask questions about Eddie.

"What's his thing with spinball? I mean, he bounced that annoying ball off of me for three hours before he got bored."

"Sure," I said. "You told him he didn't have anything to teach you about momentum. It probably took him that long to get momentum from your head to your gut."

He blinked. "Alright. I asked for it. But why does it make everyone so jumpy when he glares at them?"

"He knows things," I said.

"Like what?"

"If I don't use randomly generated passwords, Eddie can access my personal data no matter how often or on what schedule I change the code. Even if I don't think up the password until I change it."

"Sounds like a harmonic effect of some kind," Simon said. "Through the Submind virus."

"Maybe," I said. "But Eddie has always been nosy, and he was always the guy to ask if you wanted to find someone. We call him EMF Eddie for more than his evil spinball tactics."

"Oh. Perhaps amplification then. If his talent is people, why is he in charge of the data core?"

"Eddie is in charge of people who access the data core," I said.

"Ah. Do you know how he discovered my unauthorized access? When I first came aboard?"

"So that's why..." I stopped. "Eddie probably has files on everyone in Saturn system. You told the system someone was here, and Eddie didn't have a file to go with it. He probably has such events hardwired to a loud and annoying alarm somewhere."

Simon laughed.

"Occasionally I'll be stupid enough to make a bet on new arrivals before they get here, and I'll owe Eddie a favor," I said.

He laughed again. "What's your talent?"

"Part of it is a sense of momentum," I said. "But I'm learning how to access other Submind talents. Are you considering a symbiont?"

"I don't know," Simon said. "Those suits are impressive, but I'm not sure I want to trade one for letting a sentient virus in my head."

I shrugged. "I refused one for months, but the cats and chimpanzees didn't seem homicidally alien, and like you said, 'those suits....'"

"And now?"

I smiled ironically. "I'm learning to skip time."

Simon's face went blank. He blinked twice. Then he asked, "With the gravity focus? Is that really possible?"

"I don't get much practice because, well, six minutes of practice and half the day is shot."

"Yeah, but traveling, that could..." Simon stood up and bowed slightly. A Martian thing I guess. "Thank you for answering my questions, Mr. Jackson. I have an appointment to make with Doc Hestor."

"You're welcome," I said, wondering what happens to genius brains when exposed to Submind.