"It's like a blind side," Kevin said.
"Blind side?" I asked.
Kevin gestured at his face. It looks normal, but half was a bit off-color. Most of the time the artificial and yet living replacement half of his face matched the half he was born with, but when he was drinking heavily, he turned a little red, and the Submind half turned a little yellow.
"I thought you could see fine with that eye," I said, thinking he could see a lot more than I could with either one of mine.
Kevin sloshed his drink, something orange with ice, and said, "Now I do, yeah. Watched you do that time thing the other day--playing spinball with Eddie. You color shift you know; when you're dilating time."
"I didn't," I said faintly, wondering if I should order another Lemon-Banana Fallout.
"Joe has two good eyes," Kevin said. "Obviously I'm being metaphorical."
"Best way to be," I said. "Metaphysical."
"Like your space sickness thing then, Momentum Boy," Kevin said, splashing orange in my direction. "And don't play the dumb rock hopper act for me either. No one believes that for long."
"How did this become about me?" I asked.
Kevin blinked at me for a minute, and then said, "You asked why Joe was so annoying. And muttered something about fractal data."
I blinked back. "Right. So he's got a blind spot, or something. And that, plus a Submind symbiont, makes Joe annoying? He was annoying a long time before he got a symbiont."
"No," Kevin said slowly. "Joe hasn't completely worked out his relationship with Submind yet. He's missing something about that stupid quantum drive... Acting a lot like you were with the time obsession."
"Hum?" I asked. "It'll work itself out then."
Kevin squinted at me in frustration. His face might be half Submind, but his expression was pure human.
"Sorry," I said. "But he seems like the same Joe as always."
"If you want to help Joe become less annoying, buy him a mirror."
"Another metaphor. Thank you so much, Kev, but it was a rhetorical question. Besides, I've got tons of old AV files dripping with platitudes and morals if I need advice."
"I don't know why I help you," Kevin said.
"Gov Kelly says I'm a master of manipulation, and don't even know it."
"She would know," Kevin said, narrowing his eyes at me briefly before draining his drink.
"And I bought you a drink."
"You owe me another one," Kevin said.
"The last time I offered old Brain Eater some advice about that quantum drive, he kissed me. On the mouth. It was worse then his stupid 'twist-your-words' game. He doesn't want any more advice from me."
"I guess not," Kevin said. "It doesn't sound like he'll be getting any from me, either."
I nodded and got up to buy another round.
"I'm serious about the mirror, though," Kevin said. "It was metaphorical, but not the way you think."
"Yeah?" I said, considering for a moment before I decided I didn't care what he was talking about. "Tell Simon. Joe can adopt him or something."
Kevin grinned and nodded.
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.
"It's like a blind side," Kevin said.
I stopped by Kelly's office to drop off a high priority package. While I was there I reminded One Track the governor's office needs extra environmental protections. It's a chimpanzee joke--I'm not sure Kelly understood.
"There is something a bit frightening about your ability to manipulate people," Kelly said as she watched One Track prod humorously at the organic venting.
"What?" I asked, startled. "Who's talking? You threaten to put lip stain on foreheads. If that's not manipulation, I don't know what is."
Kelly has a warm laugh. "Needs must, dear boy. This doesn't change my admiration for your unconscious skill."
"Yeah? When did you first notice I was a master manipulator? Maybe I'll figure out how to do it on purpose."
"When Paula started asking questions about you," Kelly said.
"What?" I asked, feeling like I had just missed part of the conversation. "Paula?"
"She often came to me for advice," Kelly said. "Still does on occasion."
"Right," I said. "So I asked her out, and you told her what? That she should stay away, but somehow I tricked her into moving in with me instead?"
"She asked me, and I quote, 'Does the snarky little guy really like animals that much, or is he still trying to get between my legs?'"
"Both," I said.
Kelly smiled. "Exactly right, young man. Exactly right. And I barely knew you at the time."
"With no Paula in hydro--I would have done everything the same," I said, shrugging. "Up until the point Paula turned my private ship into a hydro-lab anyway. It would have been a lot harder to round up all the cats, and of course, without Submind and the chimps..."
"Of course," Kelly said. "There were also the vines. I must admit, I exaggerated my initial reaction to the Submind vines to observe how you would react. Your disgusted cursing and irreverent comments about chimpanzee games was the perfect reaction. If it had been your intention to calm an hysterical elder, you could not have planned it any better.
"Maybe I did."
"You are incapable of telling an emotional lie, Dizzy. Paula couldn't stand against that kind of power."
"Seriously, I didn't know she was moving in until my ship was under siege."
"Love and war," Kelly said. "Love and war. You got what you wanted, didn't you?"
"Well, yeah. But it's not like I... Is there something you want, Governor? Because I'm starting to feel a bit manipulated."
Kelly laughed and gestured at a pile of urban lash-up sketches on her desk. It's a very friendly laugh. "Project Pumpkin Patch. I need 24 urban hubs up and ready for habitation within a year. I need you to oversee the project."
"Project Pumpkin Patch?" I asked, holding back a giggle. "That's a chimp name. I bet they look like pumpkins, except for the spokes."
Kelly nodded, eyes bright with laughter.
I thought about it for a minute, then I said, "My dad doesn't want to leave his political career on Ceres Station, but my mom wants to retire and move here... not that there'll be much retiring. Help my mom. Talk my dad into moving here."
"I'll do my best," Kelly said, cocking her head slightly.
"Me too," I said, turning to leave. "Paula's singing tonight. Stop by if you have time. Bring One Track. Looks like he needs to get away from the enviro-systems for awhile."
Posted by Darryl Branning at 10/21/2007 04:11:00 AM
Recent events in my life have become temporarily classified. Sorry about that. It shouldn't be too much longer before I can release details. For now, I believe I will provide some background details.
My dad is a politician. That's one of the reasons I left Ceres Station. He started as tug-suit pilot; worked the collar as a grip operator. That got him nominated for neighborhood rep. He enjoyed weeks-long scouting flights for high nickel rocks; where the gravity streams through the asteroids. Those flights got him elected to station senate, but I hated them--the grip of the suit and being surrounded by movement.
My mom is a teacher. I didn't leave because of that, but I have no interest in being a teacher either. She started as a zee dancer; a fact which still embarrasses my father every chance I get. She also taught me how to play spinball, or, to not give up, at least. I'm pretty sure, with my feel for momentum and my uncertain temper, that I take after my mom.
I'm glad they are here. I haven't said much about them because, if you haven't figured it out, this is where I talk about stuff I need to get out of my system. Even if I don't get to show it to anyone right away, there's relief to be found in the spewing of data.
My sister Jen died when I was six. I remember she was fun, and liked cats. It's possible the feline residents of this space station owe their lives to her. I think Nana blamed herself for some reason--maybe for not doing enough. Why else would Nana became a station tech after Jen's accident, and teach me to always be nice to cats?
Posted by Darryl Branning at 10/14/2007 01:07:00 PM