My mom grabbed Chuck's wrist, twisted and tugged, and Chuck found himself on tiptoe, face against the bulkhead, with his arm pressed painfully against his back.
"Those chimpanzees wouldn't even be here in your stupid resource pool if it weren't for me, you small minded slob," she hissed. "How long has it been since you tried to breath vacuum?"
Chuck gasped. "I have to make ah... ow ow ow..."
"He's not listening to me, Trenton," my mom complained.
"It can see that, Dear," my dad said.
"Then vacuum probably isn't the answer," I said. "Maybe you should let dad handle this one. After all, he is the labor negotiator in the family."
She snorted in disgust and shoved Chuck hard against the wall before letting him go. It's been a long time since I've seen my mom that pissed off.
"Here's the thing, Charlie," My dad said. "Vicky wants two specific chimpanzees attached to our household as environmental techs and such. You seem to think doing this favor for us would be morally offensive. Why is that?"
"Mo... morally.... No," Chuck said. "That's not... I have them scheduled already. They are due to leave for Pumpkin Village in the morning."
"In which case, they haven't left yet," my dad said.
"But I don't have any replacements," Chuck said. "It will be three days..."
"Are you, or are you not, the Sapient Resources Director for this entire space station?"
"Well, yes, but it's not..."
"Do you like your job, Chuck?" My dad asked. "Maybe you're taking it too seriously? Hum? I could talk to Kelly. Find something less stressful for you maybe."
"Yes. No. I like it just fine. I don't want another job." Chuck said rapidly.
"Weldon and Yana," my dad said. "Is that right, Dear? Weldon and Yana? From Ceres Station. They're such a sweet couple, and they've both taken so well to the Submind symbionts."
"Yes," my mom said. "Yana's a genius with hydro-veggies."
"I can't make them..." Chuck protested weakly.
"I'll talk to them," I said. "I have a way with chimps." Watching my parents play someone was always entertaining, but the show was nearly over.
"I'll have to call Doug again," Chuck said.
"All taken care of," my dad said. "Are we good? No more objections?"
Chuck shook his head and rubbed his arm.
"All settled then," my dad stated, and turned my mother around so he could gently lead her away.
"Don't make me come back here tomorrow," my mom said without turning back.
Chuck turned to glare at me. I shrugged and put on my most annoying smile.
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.
My mom grabbed Chuck's wrist, twisted and tugged, and Chuck found himself on tiptoe, face against the bulkhead, with his arm pressed painfully against his back.
Paula designed a new grav sensor that projects the overlay grid directly into the user's eye. It's amazing. Naturally, when Kim asked me to help search local space for one wayward Simon, I selfishly took the opportunity to play with my new toys.
I scanned the rings for about an hour, drifting on ion-thrusters. The tidal forces made interesting patterns behind my eyes, but the spike I saw fly outwards and towards Sol repeated without pattern. I moved closer to investigate, sliding into the stream of ice and watching for another gravity spike.
Simon was standing on a small ball of gravel and dirty snow. He was throwing rocks with the full force of his Submind vac-suit. It's hard to find rocks in Saturn's rings, but there are dense clusters of gravel where the rocks outnumber the dirty snowballs. Judging from the stream of rocks heading toward the sun, he had been at it for hours.
"What's you doing, Simon?" I asked.
"I'm spitting at Earth."
"Um?" I asked, a bit confused.
"Stupid bastards," Simon said, and threw a rock. He watched it fly for a moment and then reached down to pick up another one. Then he ran a med-scan with his suit glove and muttered something about the Clee.
"Rick is going to drop one of those hyper-bombs on Earth's arctic ship-yards," Simon said, studying the rock.
"Only if they ally with Mars in the upcoming conflict," I said. "And Rick might be a bastard, but he's not stupid."
"Not Rick," Simon said, throwing the rock. "Earth. Stupid, arrogant, soft and fleshy Earth. And the bastards who run the place."
"Oh," I said. "So you are throwing rocks at them?"
Simon snorted and picked up another rock. "Wishing I could go back in time a few hundred years and send these Clee Submind pods into Earth's atmosphere before any of us were born."
"I'd rather you didn't." I said. "I like me just the way I am."
Simon looked at me for a moment and said, "What do you want, Mr. Jackson? I was having a nice cathartic fantasy, and you gotta come around and inject reality. Always with the reality."
"I'm a terrible liar," I said.
"That one sounded convincing."
"See what I mean?" I asked. "Joe was worried about you."
"Joe wouldn't ask you. He'd ask Eddie maybe, probably Wendy, or..."
"Kim." I said. "She said if Joe was worried about you, it was serious."
"It wasn't that serious," Simon said. "Was it? He won't stop trying to convince me those bombs are 'for the greater good.' I got sick of it, is all. Maybe I foamed at the mouth a little."
I nodded. "There's a bunch of people out looking for you. Maybe you should turn on your long-range and tell everyone you're still alive."
When he was done with that, I asked, "Do you really think any of those pods will reach Earth?"
"No," Simon said, throwing another one.
I picked up a rock, skipped the med-scan, and let it fly.
Posted by Darryl Branning at 1/19/2008 05:40:00 AM
This is a list of people I've introduced over the course of this personal log, sorted chronologically. Mostly.
DeeDee "dzyjak" Jackson: That's me. This is my log. I talk about myself all the time. My system name is not capitalized.
Chuck Vann: He was my immediate supervisor for a while. He made nice with Kelly and is running her Human Resources Department--actually it's the 'Sentient Resources Department' now.
Doctor Signe Hester: Doc introduced us to Submind. We couldn't have saved the station without her.
Paula Mattson: Doc's main assistant, my serious love interest, and the best singer on Fort Falling.
Eddie "EMF" Crump: Eddie is in charge of security. He took over the data core when we split away from the OSA, and he hasn't let anyone else get close to it. Kelly appears to approve most of the time.
Wendy Hardin: She is the ranking OSA official aboard the station. Except for that, she's not so bad.
Joe Friedrich: Joe asked me to stop calling him 'Brain Eater.' Whatever. He's a math genius and quanta admin for Fort Falling. We don't get along.
Rick "Counter-Spin" Young: Rick doesn't care what people call him. Or if he does, it doesn't happen more than twice.
Curious, the chimp: My best chimpanzee friend. He likes his humor straight-forward and aggressive.
Kenneth "Not Ken" Harvey: Kenny is back. I have no problem calling him Kenneth, but I've found that if I make him explain his name every time he has a question, he doesn't ask as many questions.
Theodore "No Relation" Richards: I'm fairly certain Theodore is related to Kenneth. Theo likes to explain how he isn't related to a number of famous men named Theodore Richards every time I never ask about it, so I've never bothered to ask. He trained with the chimpanzees and became an excellent enviro-tech.
Sheryl Malice: Sheryl is working in my office. As a lawyer, she's bonus oxygen. I assigned her a team of technicians so she would stop calling me. I guess that means we get along fine.
Kelly Grace Smith: If anyone else decides to run for the office, Governor Kelly Grace Smith will probably be re-elected unanimously. No one still believes she is a vac-head.
Rat Bane, the cat: The first feline with a symbiont, as far as I know. He went meta and ran away to Crystal Falls.
Nana: Nana was my mother's mom, and the reason I became a station tech.
Enviro-tech Misty, the chimp: Misty hangs around with Counter-Spin. She appears to like explosions and micro-grav as much as Rick.
Pipster, the cat: Pipster was the first cat I saw with the long and thin magnetic quills from a Submind symbiote.
Miss Hiss, the cat: Miss Hiss comes around every day or two for some treats.
Submind: Thoughts of the Submind is a sentient virus. I have yet to see evidence of what brain-techs call an 'Ego' in the Submind virus. The concept of self just doesn't seem to apply. Since I like my 'self' just the way it is, I don't see how this can be anything but good.
One Track, the chimp: Kelly's Enviro-tech. He has trouble switching focus unless you hit him with something. Not too hard. He is a chimpanzee after all--even if Submind has added some higher brain functions.
Captain Raymond Miller: An ex-troopship captain we had as a prisoner of war for a couple of minutes. He has a dog. Kelly put him in charge of immigration at my suggestion. I suppose Chuck approved of the choice.
Callie McKiern: A friend of my mom's. She's been training chimps her entire life. Her family makes the hormone supplements and foods which keep chimpanzees sane. At one time, according to Callie, male chimpanzees where too crazy to be among humans on a space station.
Comet, the dog: Captain Miller's dog. I would call him a cyborg, but the implants are biological constructs made by Submind, so I'm not sure they count as machines.
The Povel family--Sarah, Ben and two girls: This is Wendy's family. Sarah is her sister. The family ran away from Titan station back when the OSA was trying to convince us Saturn Station One still belonged to the Alliance.
Sandra Quinn: A customs agent who I promoted to head of Customs. I'm the Minister. Who's going to argue.
Sam Tellerwell: A merchant in specialized goods--mostly foodstuff from Earth. Sandra's new husband.
Rita Selmon: Rita likes turtles. She once treated me to a lecture on the universe as an inverted turtle, where everything inside was outside, and only the turtle existed. I think she was messing with me--she's really good at it.
Mini Cee, the chimp: Mini is crew boss of the enviro-techs in Customs. No one gets unauthorized biologicals past her crew.
Vincent K. Selmon: Rita's father. A professor of English Literature with brain scaring. Before he came here to get Submind injections, he tended to confuse himself with a giant beetle. Now, when he's not teaching or helping Governor Smith firm up our political system, he's joy riding his personal vac-suit around like he's a giant beetle.
Rhona Selmon: Vincent's second and youngest daughter. She took care of their father for several months while Rita was here talking to Doc about a cure for Vincent's nerve scaring. She is the scariest tiny-person I've every met.
Four Thumbs: Chimpanzee's choose their own names, so don't blame me.
Ted Stansen: A litigious tourist who will never grace Fort Falling's atmo ever again.
Tesla Cee: A crazy chimpanzee who is currently riding Saturn's atmosphere so he can watch lighting storms. He reminds me of Counter-Spin Rick, except I don't think he likes me.
Fife Tiberman: A hive-mind A.I. robotics expert. Despite his loud and continuous comments about the unproven reliability of bio-technology, Fife didn't waste any time getting a symbiont and a living vac-suit. One of the Three Brains.
Kevin Jaunha: Kevin was a cyborg for several years. Then he came here and had the hardware replaced by Submind wetwear. If you aren't paying attention, he looks %100 human.
Doug Blatt: One of the Blatt's. He has a small trust fund and claims to be a student of gravity. He' worked for Callie for awhile, and made friends with every enviro-tech chimp on board. He has several repair hubs and official paper-work with Governor Smith's office, calling his project "Crazy Doug's Bargain Retrofits."
Simon Green: Simon is a teenager with too many brains. The Mars Republic claims he belongs to them, and they locked up his father to try and keep him in line. Simon's father told him to run, and the kid landed here almost two years later.
Elder Harpo: Doug's long time chimpanzee companion.
The Clee: A race of carbon and silicon based aliens who would have taken over Sol system millions of years ago, except they all died before reaching Saturn. The Submind virus and it's meta-host went dormant until Doc Hester came along to wake them up.
Tera Blatt: Doug's money crazy older sister. Kelly appointed her Fort Falling's Minister of Finance, and Counter-Spin Rick is her future husband.
Crystal Falls: Not a person, exactly, but alive nonetheless. The junk half of Saturn Station One is still in the process of growing into a colony of meta-meme Submind domestic felines, but I'm told it will be amazing in 20 or 30 years.
Zoo Prime: The chimps grew most of it. It's alive. They named it. Doug has his own shipyards now, but he still subcontracts his most delicate designs to the Zoo.
Genitors: The race which spawned the Submind virus. They been gone for billions of years, but they still manifest as meta-memes in five percent of domestic felines with Submind symbionts.
Ksini: The first alien race to encounter Submind. They didn't survive the encounter.
Luige: The last alien race to encounter the Genitors. Neither race survived the encounter. Submind had migrated to several other aliens species by then, mostly on friendly terms.
The Three Brains: A team of A.I. specialist who design and grow prototype space vehicles in cooperation with Submind and Doug Blatt.
Professor Rudy McClain: One of the Three Brains. He designs the 'low level decision' routines. According to Rudy, it's like morality, except beyond my comprehension. He's also a religious and science fanatic, and doesn't really distinguish between the two. Some people find that annoying.
Trenton Jackson: My dad, the labor party politician. Don't get him started.
Vicky Jackson: My mom, the frontier woman. Dad doesn't stand a chance of returning to Ceres station.
Buddy Jenkins: One of the Three Brains. His specialty is self-programmed silicon growth. Reality is something he hears about from time to time.
Laura Kimberly Paine: A well connected Martian political refuge who happens to be Joe's live-in girlfriend. It took me months to figure out who she was.
KamKam 'Kammie' Levaron: An insatiably curious little girl who will probably grow up to own her ship-yards and racing fleet.
Cordie Levaron: KamKam's supportive and befuddled father.
Rachel Levaron: KamKam's supportive and very interested mother.
Bosco and Tieshe: Counter-Spin Rick's favorite war dogs. They have Submind vac-suits, and play fetch with booster-rockets.
Doctor Reginald Querista: Doc's replacement. He hasn't integrated with Submind as much as Doc had, but his once artificial eyes were replaced with Submind duplicates. If the light hits them just right, you can see the tiny gears and multiple lenses. It's a bit disturbing.
Posted by Darryl Branning at 1/12/2008 08:49:00 AM
I walked into Reggie's lab and poked around until he couldn't ignore me any longer.
"Why are you here? I've got three med-vats to program. I need to concentrate."
"Because Simon is throwing a raging fit about this light-speed thing you've been planning. I would have thought he'd be happy about it" I said, pausing. "Not that anyone thought to tell me anything. You're Submind's representative, or puppet, or something. You didn't think to mention this until you got a new puppet?"
He started giggling. I insult him, and he starts giggling. I'm still trying to decide if his weird eyes are more disturbing then his head full of Doc's memories, and while both seem harmless enough, I'm watching Submind, and everything new the alien virus brings to us, with deep suspicion. Doc thought it was great fun cranking me up about it, but Reggie just tends to start giggling in the middle of our conversations. What's even more annoying is I'm the only person who sets him off like that.
"Should we worry about your sanity?" I asked.
"You are a refreshingly forthright young man," Reggie said, ignoring my last question. "The answer to that is simple. It is possible to travel almost instantaneously from one point to another, but it is limited by distance, and impossible to survive."
"You leave here," Reggie said, marking an imaginary dot in the air. "And you arrive here, a second later. Dead."
"It's been that way for millennia," Reggie said. "I call it the speed of life."
"That would explain Simon's lack of joy, but he was angry. Not happy with you, specifically, in any way."
"There is a small possibility that Mars will drag Earth into this conflict," Reggie said. "We can't allow that to happen."
"Obviously," I said.
"At my suggestion, we are growing a specialized Submind graviton engine into 24 slush bombs. They will be capable of reaching Mars in a matter of minutes, but the engines will die, so they only get one hop. We can use the standard slush bomb thrusters to gain momentum, and then translate into Mars system on the fly."
"I... yeah. I get it now. Simon thinks you actually intend to do this."
"Don't be silly," Reggie said. "If we were to display such advancements at this time, the entire inner system would declare war on us. That would not end well for anyone."
I nodded. "Glad to hear it."
"So, I'll go explain it to Simon--see if I can seal his carbon leak," I said. "Can't have this becoming more than a rumor."
Posted by Darryl Branning at 1/04/2008 01:49:00 PM