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.


No One Listens

I heard a startled and oddly terrifying scream, so naturally I left the relative safety of my office to investigate.

Rhonda was standing over one of the more offensive ice busters. I don't know his name because I'm a horrible-thoughtless-person. He was lying on the ground and holding his personals.

"I told you, Vac-Head. I said you were standing too close. Now you know. If you are standing close enough for me to knee you in the groin, you are too close." Then she kicked him again.

"Um? Rhonda?" I asked, not standing too close.


"After you kick a guy once, you don't really have to do it again."

"Why not?"

"He probably won't notice," I said diplomatically.

"Yeah," Rhonda said, turning away from him. "I'll kick him harder next time."

"Or call security," I said. "We got a whole department..."

"Up yours, Dee," Rhonda said. "I've been dealing with jerks like that my entire life. The only thing they understand is pain. The kind of pain that bypasses the brain and goes straight for the libido."


"No one listens," Rhonda said. "I tell Rita the material is contaminated, but she ignores the entire report until it's about to go wrong. Then she wants to know why I didn't tell her. This all happened a couple of weeks after Rita's two days of annoying demands for the report she didn't read. Then this guy wants to smell my hair... the freak. Acted like it never even occurred to him I wouldn't approve."



"Maybe you could play spinball with Simon, or talk to Doc about some time off to do some ice hopping, or something," I said.

"Sell it to someone else, Space Monkey. I would have kicked that guy anyway. Weren't you listening?"

"Yes," I said firmly.

"Could have fooled me," Rhonda said. "Has that shipment of hydro-silicates arrived? I've got three experiments holding at critical stages. Much longer and I'm going to lose weeks of work."


"That will make me very cranky," Rhonda said.

I held up my magic summoning wand and spoke softly into it. "Help."

Sandra Quinn must have been really close. "Yes sir?"

"Please assist Rhonda in her search for a late shipment of..." I turned to look at Rhonda.


"Those," I said.

"I was just going over the latest manifests," Sandra said, grinning. "Sam has been nagging me about a shipment of honey from Earth.

"Come on," Sandra said to Rhonda. "Let's go find your rocks."

"Hydro-silicates," Rhonda said mildly, following along.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The Selmon sisters scare me.


Social Warfare

As always, the 'Dizzy Pig Bar and Grill' is the perfect place to get stinking drunk with friends and co-workers and discuss philosophical matters.

"Why we gotta have taxes anyway?" Tera said, slurring slightly and waving a Pineapple Slush Bomb. "I only just got my citizen papers, and Kelly has already asked me to take on the Revenue department. Tricked more like.... Devious old woman."

"She's good," I said in agreement. "Don't ever play cards with her."

"We gotta have a social contract," Doug said. "We pay for air and stuff, part of the social contract. Can't have a healthy society without taxes."

"You hear that everyone?" Tera asked. "My brother the capitalist is defending government and taxes. Let's call dad and give him the good news."

"It makes sense to me," Wendy said. "Nothing political about what I heard."

"That's 'cause you only heard what he said," Tera muttered. "I've known him for 30 years."

"I don't think we have a choice," Sarah said. "Our population has increased by a factor of ten since Ben and I arrived. We need to pay the bills somehow."

"That's a fact," Wendy said. "You can't take parts of society and ignore the rest. It comes as a whole. Fort Falling, Frost River, Titan Station, even Crystal Falls; all of these are outgrowths of society. The vac-suits you wear, the food you eat, the tools..."

"All right! I get it," Tera said. "I just don't know why I always have to be treasurer. It's not fair."

"You're good at it," Rick said, squeezing her hand.

"You wanna hear my version of a fair society?" Doug asked. "Every year I pay more taxes that pays for more education than people who actually spawned the children I'm paying to educate. It really bugs me. I get a headache every year, and every year I take a pill and accept it. I accept it because when I'm old and they won't let me fly any more, I want the guy piloting the bus to have a clear understanding of road signs. That's as fair as it gets."

"Yeah," Kevin said. "That's it. That's why we build things for the ugrun... ungrateful vac-spawn." His mouth closed and opened a couple of times, then he nodded and took a drink.


Frost River Radio

"Diz?" Eddie asked, sticking his head in my office.


"We've got another voice broadcast from those crazy scientists over at Frost River," Eddie said.

"So?" Frost River is a retreat for emotionally challenged and reclusive deep thinkers. There are normal people too, but those are mostly family. Someone has to make sure the normal business of living gets done.

"Come on! My shop." His head disappeared.

"I have work to do," I said, standing up.

"This is good," he said from somewhere towards the tangent lift. "Trust me."

"Trust me," I muttered. "First game of spinball we ever played... Couldn't stand straight for a week after.

"Can you at least give me a hint?" I asked, catching up to him at the lift.

"Trust me!" Eddie said, wearing the EMF Eddie face.

"Why your shop?" Following him into the lift.

"Tesla found a relay beacon. Joe says it's a sophisticated storage device, and it appears to be getting regular updates. We think they are using the broadcasts to supplement their data backups."

"Scientists are like that," I said. "Why are we poking at their stuff?"

"It's shinny," Eddie said, smirking. "And because the beacon contains Submind host materials, probably vat grown."

"Oh," I said. "Just the host?"

Eddie nodded. "That's all I'm saying until you've heard the last message they sent."

It was an inebriated red-neck bubba with a silicon fixation. Bubba has a theory that the tiny Submind pod clusters he's found floating within Saturn's rings are a kind of proto-life which evolved among the ice particles. Not a bad theory I guess, except most people at Frost River have heard of Submind by now.

"Is he serious?"

"He made these beacons," Eddie said. "And he has found the Clee. What's left of them anyway."

"Right. The silicon guys," I said. "Before us."

"The silicon guys," Eddie said, tapping the beacon.

"Oh. I get it. He grew it out of silicon."

"Parts of it," Eddie said. "Kelly wants us to go have a talk with him, maybe offer him a symbiont. Clue him in. He might be useful."

"Can I invite Four Thumbs?" I asked, grinning. Four Thumbs lives to clue in us humans.

"Why not? I'm bringing Simon," Eddie said. "Simon was headed for Frost River when he hit my security wall and decided this wasn't such a bad place. The kid almost made it, and he deserves to meet the space brains, being as he's one of them."


Crystal Falls

Four of us went on Tera's first vac-suit flight; Counter-spin Rick, Tera, Paula and I. I haven't figured Tera yet. She's money crazy, but I'm not sure it's about the money. Rick likes crazy, and he likes adrenaline. They'll probably own half of Saturn system some day.

Back when we were setting fire to our space station for a bit of thrust, we blew half of it off and let it spiral into the rings. Rick staked a salvage claim before our thrusters stopped burning.

The four of us drifted in space and stared at the wreckage.

"I don't see any damage," Tera said, excited.

"No," I said. "I wouldn't call it damage. I'd call it a complete retrofit, except no one has ever made a space station which looks like that."

"What do you mean?" Tera said. "Rick, what does he mean?"

"It looks like Submind has already moved in," Rick said calmly. "I was expecting something, but that..."

"So it grew from a plant or something," Tera said. "So what?"

"A lot more than I expected is all," Rick said. "And we don't own the station dear, we only have salvage rights."

"Oh,"Tera said, looking at the station again. "I don't see any damage at all. How is it holding together with all the tidal stress from these damn snowballs?"

"Submind has the ability to effect changes in micro-gravity," Paula said.

"So there's nothing to salvage?" Tera asked.

"Probably not," Rick said. I think he was trying not to laugh. I know he planted those bug-pod-seeds all over before we blew the flash cut. He's a freaking terrorist with those things.

With a quick burst of her thrusters, Tera drifted toward the station. "It's pretty here. Can we at least give it a name?"

"Right of salvage," Rick said.

"How about 'Crystal Falls'?" Tera asked.

"Not Diamond Falls?" I asked.

"Don't be stupid," Tera said. "Those lighting effects don't look anything like diamonds."

"Of course not," Paula said. "'Crystal Falls' is perfect."

"I've never seen ring particles do that to light before," I said. "I think Submind is using them to focus more light on the station... or whatever it is."

"I'll be spaced," Rick said softly.

"And I think Bane is over there," I said.

"You are not going down there to hunt for a stupid cat," Paula said. "We have to get Tera back for an after flight examination and some alcoholic beverages."

"Yes, ma'am. "

"Yes," Tera said, hitting her thrust. "Can we skip straight to the drinking? And what's this about a cat?"