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.


Crazy Doug's Bargain Retrofits

"Chuck is going to come off of his axis," I said, trying not to enjoy the thought. "You said you already spoke to Kelly?"

Doug nodded. "She asks only that we rename the place not after her."

"Put my parent's ship, the Lumpy Nickel, at the top of your list," I said. "And you only get one spoke. I already gave the other one to Curious."

"One spoke and four berths," Chuck said. "I figure two weeks on the lash-up so Submind can tie into the systems, then a slow tumble for two more weeks to aid rapid maturity. Maybe a two week shake down cruise to keep the columns even."

"I'm not kidding about Chuck," I said. "Ten chimp workers will not be easy to replace."

Doug grinned and said, "Chuck doesn't know how to speak chimp. They call him The Mass."

"Of course, he'll blame me," I said. "So I guess you don't have to worry too much."

"He thinks they are calling him Master."

"That's my joke," I said.

"Chimp is your native language."

"Probably. I'm not kidding about Chuck, Doug. He won't leave this one alone. He's as crazy about labor resources as you are about bargains."

Doug frowned at me for a minute. "I could give him a ship. I have three junkers worth fixing maybe. I'm going to experiment with design changes on existing hulls. He could have first pick."

"Maybe. Probably won't hurt anything. You might think about hiring out your crews. Chuck will have to deal with contractors sooner or later, and your sister almost has the treasury up to spin."

"Do you teach kids how to pick their noses too?" Doug asked.

"Sorry," I said, smiling. "I see a lot of weirdos from incoming ships, not to mention ice-busters and explosive females, and I really don't want Chuck haunting my office until I find him ten more environmental technicians to replace the ones I let get away."

Doug laughed and slapped my shoulder. "Don't you worry about it. By the time I'm done with Chuck, he'll believe it was his idea."

"Yeah?" I asked. "I guess it'll be entertaining either way."

Doug nodded.

"What are you going to call this Submind powered ship repair yard of yours?"

"Crazy Doug's Bargain Retrofits. What else?"


Red Pressure

There's a certain quality of light which comes off of Saturn's atmosphere, and when you ride close to the rings, the light scatters off the dirty crystals in a dark red glow.

"It feels like sullen anger," I said.

"Yeah. That's good," Counter-Spin Rick said. "I'm going to use that. 'Sullen anger' is good."

I drifted, staring stupidly into the shifting red reflections. "I'm not happy with this place."

"So what?" Rick asked. "You weren't happy before we came here. What's the difference?"

"I wasn't pissed off," I said, spinning on my suit jets to face him. "I don't know why I agree to go on your enigmatic quests. At least Eddie keeps his crazy stunts closer to home."

"Because Eddie is busy," Rick said. I could tell he was trying not to laugh at me. "That's your fault... I've heard say."

"Why are we here, Rick?"

"One of those things... existential like."

"All right," I said. "Why are you trying piss me off?"

"It's better than depression," Rick said.

"What do you know? I like being depressed," I said. "No one wants to 'share' it with me. I can keep it all to myself."

"You're right about no one wanting to share your depression," Rick said. "But we don't have a choice."


"If you want to talk social dynamics, Doc's the gal. You want to talk depression, I got years in the darkness. One day I got angry over a lousy protein sandwich, stuff had to be three weeks old, and I yelled at the guy who sold it to me. I instantly felt so good that I told him to keep his money and stomped away."

"Yeah?" I asked. "So you come out here to soak up some anger? Recharge the jets?"

"You catch on fast," Rick said. I could almost hear him laughing. "The part you haven't seen yet, Dizzy, is how much more pleasant you are to have around without the cloud of darkness."


"Who knows? Someone might even say something nice about you for a change. Maybe."

"Suck vacuum," I said. "Can we go back to the ship now? Paula is better at cheering me up. Especially since you will be leaving, and we will be starting our vacation."

"Yeah," Rick said. He was definitely laughing. "That's why Paula asked me to crank you up. Something about the third day and the most incredible..."

"Are you through?" I asked. "Can we go back now?"

"Why?" Rick asked unhelpfully.

"Never mind. It's my ship. I know the beacon code."


Skipping the Rings

I've been to Relativity Three. It was a moment which lasted days for most people. I watched the eye of Saturn pass beneath me, and I felt the universe speeding away in all directions. The feeling fit my mood perfectly, but the thing about time dilation is you don't actually get over it unless you do the time. Paula found me drifting and jolted my suit back to Relativity Zero.

"What?" I asked.

"What?" Paula shouted. "What? I don't know how long you think you've been out here sulking, but it will be three days before we get back. 'What's your problem?' is what. And this is not a solution--it's inconsiderate."

"Um? It was only a few minutes," I said. "I swear. I wasn't paying attention. It just felt good that everything was speeding away. And I wasn't sulking."

"What do you call it?"

"Quiet time," I muttered. "When I can think."

"Oh? You think better when the universe is rushing past? That it?"

I was fairly certain her tone suggested sarcasm. "I'll go back to pacing. Unless Joe is looking for me."

"Good," Paula said. "So you're hiding from Joe?"

"No. I just needed to get away. Every time I do something wrong, it was something I thought was right. I guess it's that way for most people, but it's so frustrating. I came out here to scream, but it was like I fell into this bottomless hole, and I wanted to fall forever."

"That doesn't sound good, Dee. I think we need to skip the rings for awhile. I've got beacon 7A33D. You got that one?"

"Yes," I said, calling up the marker in my suit display.

"Let's make it turn around point, and we skip off as many snowballs as we can getting there and back," Paula said. "Then we'll go home and relieve our frustrations."

"Sure," I said to her back. "Hey!"


Plazma Flush

"I used to like my job," Eddie said. "Now I know how much people suck."

"Me too," I said. "But Nana taught me about people a long time ago."

"That doesn't help," Eddied said. "Aren't you going to ask me how I know people suck?"

"You got that damn mind reading trick from Submind...."

"It's not mind reading."

"And you have files on everyone within a week's distance of Fort Falling. I'm more surprised it took you this long to figure it out," I said. "What do you want? If you're looking for someone to pummel in spinball, forget it. I have work to get done before I close office, and Paula is singing tonight--in three hours."

"I don't know," Eddie said. "I need to flush my cores. How do you stay so damn motivated when you hate people so much?"

"First of all," I said. "I don't hate anyone. I'd just rather they left me alone. Second, I don't judge anyone or their motives, but I see no harm in figuring things out. My main motivation in life has always been space sickness--avoiding it."

"That one doesn't work for me."

I shrugged. "Go on a date or something. Ask Wendy. She's been working out. Or maybe Rhonda, if you like surprises."

"Wendy? Are you crazy? She's still venting plazma from when I changed the station's message headers. That was two years ago."

"She might be mad at you Eddie, but she blames me. The only way that makes sense is if she likes you a whole lot more than she likes me."

"She'll laugh in my face," Eddie said.

"You don't know as much as you think, Eddie. Take her some flowers--talk to Paula about those purple roses. If you need to bring her around, tell her Dee said it would never work out between you two. I'll spot you ten points if I'm wrong."

"All right. But I need to unwind some more before attempting such a mission."

"Go vent into a personal log or something," I said. "Now get lost. If I'm late to her gig, Paula won't give me the special treatment tonight."

"Yeah. Good idea," Eddie said, turning around to leave.

"I'll save a chair for Wendy," I said.