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.


Frost River Harvest

I sat down and watched the vast expanse of ring-scape move past the station, and I wondered if I should try to locate Paula. It had taken me over an hour to locate Frost River's observation deck. Not that it's hard to find, but the Frost River Festival tends to choke the corridors with revelry and noise. It makes it hard to get around, especially if you are trying to go by the navigation markers painted on the walls and floors.

"Hey," little Kammie said cheerfully, bouncing into view from nowhere. "It's Minister Jackson. Are you allowed to be in danger of fun, Minister Jackson?"

"Kammie," I said. "How's it going? Your father around somewhere?"

"Why? Are you afraid of me?"

"Yeah," I said. "That's it. I'm sure it has nothing to do with your lack of puberty, and I certainly wouldn't worry about your safety in a wreck of a space station full of questionably sane geniuses. A station managed by a group of corporate sponsored puppets, no less. Oh, yeah, let's not forget the current state of Festival rebounding down every corridor. Have you heard of Darwin?"

"Ouch," Kammie said. "If my mom heard you call her that, she'd fill forms out at you."

"That's hours of data pushing, KamKam. I think I'll let it slide this time," A woman said--Kammie's mom, and probably the corporate puppet.

"Thank goodness," I said, more or less at a loss for words.

"Rachel," she said, holding out her hand.

"DeeDee," I said, shaking it. "Or Dizzy."

"Cordie mentioned you," she said. "You are mated to Paula? Yes?"

"Um. Yes. Paula told me about it just the other night."

Rachel giggled. "How do you...." Rachel paused, turned to her daughter, and said, "Why don't you go check on your suit, Kammie?"

Kammie disappeared in a tiny shriek of joy.

"You need something?" I asked.

"I met Paula when she came over to explain how the big sign works," Rachel said. "Paula is so smart. I didn't understand everything Paula said, but I'm sure Kammie got all of it. She was so excited about it, and Paula said it was open spec... Well, Cordie and I had to let Kam get one of those sym creatures so she could design her first vac-suit, and now she's even smarter than she was before."

"Can't use the good equipment without one," I said, not sure where, if anywhere, this was going.

"How do you... how do you get on so well with Paula?" Rachel asked. "She's so much smarter than you and me, and... I mean... I'm sorry."

I laughed. "Paula will have to explain for herself, but for my part, she's hot."

"Hot? That's it? You're just going to be a man and say, 'she's hot'? What's that got to do with... with talking to each other?"

"She agreed to go out with me." I said. "She doesn't talk down to me. She's fun to sleep with, and she's still sleeping with me. She grows the best beer trees I've ever tasted. She likes me because I stayed to save the cats. She likes that I ask silly questions. She likes that one of my best friends is a chimpanzee--mostly chimpanzee, anyway. And... she asked me to marry her."

"I want to understand my daughter, DeeDee," Rachel said. "I want to talk to Kammie, but it's not as easy as it was a year ago. She's changing so fast. What do you and Paula talk about?"

"Every day stuff," I said. "Listen, Rachel, you can't let Kammie's intelligence influence how you treat her. Especially if she has a symbiont and knows how smart she is."

Rachel nodded.

"Paula told you to ask me about this," I guessed.

She hesitated, but nodded.

"I still don't understand why Paula moved in with me," I said. "But I know she won't leave without a damn good reason. She explained it once, but I don't really understand. I keep expecting to wake up."

"Yeah," Rachel said. "Me too. My daughter is nine years old, DeeDee, and I only understand half of what she says."

"That's pretty good," I said. "When Paula is in demo mode, I can only pretend to understand that much."

"But Kammie's only nine years old."

"Yeah. You said that. So she's smarter than you are, and soon to be a lot smarter. So what? There are chimps on this station who are smarter than both of us. Why do you care? Really?"

"I want to make the right choices for her. Maybe something like medicine would be a better career path."

"Or maybe," I said. "If she is doing something she likes, like building ships maybe, she'll be the one to crack the speed of light thing."

"I... Yeah. But I don't know how to talk about any of that stuff."

I shrugged. "Ships need interior design work, and I'm sure Kammie will be talking about boys any day now. That's what Paula seems to think, anyway."

"I didn't..." Rachel stopped and gave me a horrified look. "Oh. Oh no. Paula is right. And it's Festival. I will need to warn Cordie about the boys. Soon. Maybe after I tie him up. Now, I should go rescue the suit technicians from my offspring. Thanks, DeeDee. See ya."

"Yeah," I said. "See you later."

Then I sat there and watched the orbiting parade of prototype ships the Three Brains had hatched for the Festival. They might be crazy, but they grow beautiful ships. Paula and two Flaming Slush Bombs found me a few minutes later.


War Dogs

"Rick," I said. "They were bred for war. I read up on it. I don't want them on my ship."

"They're only dogs, Dizzy. Two dogs."

"I have two ship's cats. And you know Pipster is prone to kittens." I said.

"These dogs love cats."

"That's what I'm afraid of," I said. "What's wrong with your ship that you want me to give them a ride?"

"Misty threatened to set them on fire."

"Misty?" I asked. "Why?"

"Bosco ate three of her thruster plants, and Tieshe chewed her favorite loop swing."

"But fire?" I asked, and then added. "What's a thruster plant, and what's a loop swing?"

"Misty's a chimp, Vac-head. She sits in the loop and swings from a rope--when there's weight enough."

"Oh. Right." I said, pausing for a few seconds. "Explain the stupid thruster plant, or I'm calling security."

"That's where the fire comes in. Misty is developing a Submind pod which grows solid fuel thrusters," Rick said. "For Submind slush bombs. Only she's working on a small scale, and she says Bosco ingested enough fuel to burn for several hours."

"Not a chance," I said. "Spend some money and hire care facilities. They can stay on the station."

"I can't," Rick said. "The Brianiacs need to fit them for a pilot harness."

"What language are you speaking?" I asked.

"You know. The three brains."


"We're growing powered flight suits for the dogs," Rick said. "So they can ride herd on the slush bombs."

"Oh," I said, considering. "Like I said, those dogs were bred for war. There must be fifty ships with flight plans to the Frost River Festival--find another ride."