Jeremiah Cornelius, sadly, needs training:
Me and Bill hauled ass out of there towards Mars as fast as his crippled boat would take him. I did another inspection because first, I hadn't done a full inspection yet that day, second because I'd pushed her pretty hard, and third because I sure didnâ(TM)t need any new surprises. We were at a third gravity because of Bill, and he was having a hard time keeping up. A third gravity? On batteries? I need to have him teach me some of that nerd shit. I'd given up on docking; if we did run across pirates I'd need to fight, and you can't do much maneuvering when you're docked.
The whores wouldn't like the low gravity a bit, so I tried to stay away from them.
I trudged down all those damned steps to my "dungeon" to inspect the engines and generators. Engine seventeen and the port generator were still not working, of course, but everything else was shipshape. Amazing since I'd been pushing them pretty hard.
On the way back to our quarters there were fifty whores in the commons all arguing. Damn it, Tammy! But we were at Mars gravity, maybe a little less. As I was cursing Tammy in my head she came towards me. "Damn it, Tammy!" I said. "The whores sound like they ain't got no drops. I don't need this, not now. There's pirates."
"They're going to get the minimum. The low gravity is helping, too. You'll thank me."
"I'll thank you? For a boat full of pissed off droppers?"
"Yeah," she said. "For a boatload of pissed off droppers. I've learned an awful lot about them on this trip, much more than we can learn on Earth. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go play dope dealer. Just hope my calculations are accurate." She walked towards the commons.
I didn't get it. What kind of calculations? Well, screw it. I went back to our quarters.
"The movie's still paused," Destiny said. "Took you long enough! Are the pirates gone?"
"Yeah," I said, "I had to inspect the engines. The pirates are gone for now, I killed 'em. Loosed an atomic on 'em. I'm sorry you're on this boat, Destiny, 'cause I'm scared. They surely hate me so much now they'll be willing to give up my ship and cargo to kill me."
"They don't know what your cargo is. John, if they don't blow us up..."
"I don't think they can," I said. "In fact, I'm pretty sure they can't. Not even with an atomic unless it goes off less than two hundred meters away. But with enough vessels they could board us. If they do that we're all dead. I'm more scared for you than I am for me."
"John," she said, "don't worry about them boarding us, if they try we'll be fine. Jesus but you're dense sometimes. Didn't you read Tammy's book?"
"Yeah, but it didn't say anything about pirates."
"Shut up and start the movie, dumbass, you'll see. Jesus, John. These girls are dangerous when they don't have drops!"
"Yeah, and it makes it worse for me."
"God damn it, John..." she said before the alarm rang and interrupted her.
"God damn whores," I said. There was a melee in the commons. Shit, I thought Tammy was going to give them whores drops.
When I got there, Tammy was on a medic with blood trickling from the side of her mouth. Those things are fast! It already had a blood pressure cuff around her arm and something on her head, I'm not sure what, I ain't no doctor. And the whores were fighting over the drops Tammy had brought; I didn't know it then, but it was because she didn't want them horny and sleepy, she wanted them mean. I still couldn't understand why.
I can really be a dumbass sometimes.
The medic took her to the sick bay with Destiny following Tammy and the robot, and I pulled out my fone and locked the door to the commons. Shit. "Computer," I said to the fone, "flood the commons with, uh..." damn, what was the name of that stuff again? "Computer, what gas will, uh, cause the people in the commons to, uh... lose consciousness?"
"An inert gas will..."
"Computer, list inert gasses."
"Flood the commons with nitrogen and open the door when the people are all, uh, unconscious. And have a robot bring plastic handcuffs, about a hundred."
A few minutes later the door opened, and I went in and put plastic handcuffs on them, wrists and ankles. Damn, hundreds of years after they were invented and there's nothing cheaper or works better.
Then I went to talk to Tammy. I hoped she wasn't hurt too bad.
The readout on the medic said she had a slight concussion, but not too serious. She was still unconscious. I said to Destiny "Do me a favor, hon. Please. Go make sure the whores I roped stay alive."
"What? John, what did you do?"
"There were fifty or more of them fighting over not enough drops for everybody. I don't have a clue what Tammy was thinking but they knocked her cold and fought over the drops. I knocked them out and tied them with plastic cuffs."
"How can I keep them alive?"
"Find some drops," I said. And Tammy had woke up, it looked like.
"No!" she exclaimed. "Half a dose each. We need 'em mean!"
"Got it," Destiny said. I still didn't get it. Tammy gave her a dropper from her pocket and said "Here's a weak dose. One drop in one eye only!"
Destiny said "got it" again and hurried off.
"I don't get it," I said. "Can you explain..." and the damned alarm interrupted me again. More fucking pirates. Lots of 'em.
Shit. "Take care of the whores as soon as the medic lets you," I said, and ran to the pilot room.
This was a bitch. The medic would keep Tammy from getting thrown around, but any sudden maneuvering would throw Destiny and the tied up whores all over the place; you need to be strapped in for that kind of shit. So I gave it all my lone generator had, and prayed. And I'm not even religious, I was just scared shitless. I called Destiny. "Hon, you have to strap down. Now. Forget the whores."
"No!" she said. "Only three more!"
"God damn it, Destiny, we have less than five minutes, we're surrounded by them. They're coming from all directions. It's like a swarm of bees."
"That's all I need," she said. "Tell the women to strap down!"
I did. And launched a dozen EMPs and an atomic, all the while spewing deadly radiation from the still-working generator. Then I did a lazy turn and did it again. Must have disabled dozens of ships, maybe hundreds, but these damned things were swarming. Destiny called. "Everyone's secured."
Good. Now I could maneuver, and maneuver I did. I'm sure maids were busy cleaning up puke and piss afterwards because gravity was really weird for quite a while. I made my boat into an outer space roller coaster.
But God damn it, there were too many of them. One ship latched on to the port airlock. Fuck, I was a dead man. I ran to the crippled generator, leaping down the stairs a flight at a time at half a gravity then running down that long hallway as fast as I could run.
I couldn't maneuver with that mass on my side anyway. At least I could slow down a boarding party. But I was going to be dead anyway, and so was everybody else. But I had an idea... I could at least kill these assholes and they wouldn't be able to use this docking ring, at least if I was lucky.
I got to the ruined generator before they could get through the airlock. Thank God for small miracles, I guess. God, get me through this and I'll go to church every damned Sunday for a whole year! I swear! My heart was pounding, from running and from being scared, and sweat was pouring off of me.
I worked on one of the batteries as they tried to get through the airlock. Damn but I was scared, of the pirates and of what I was doing. I was actually more scared of what I was doing than I was of the pirates.
What I was doing was making a really big battery into a really big bomb. Bill showed me how to do that years ago, I told you he was kind of a nerd. It really wasn't all that hard, since training was about how to not turn batteries into explosives. Those things hold a hell of a lot of energy.
I wired it into the light panel. Turn on the light from the next room and BOOM! Dead pirates.
I barely got out and locked the next bulkhead, kind of close to where the motor that hadn't been working was, before they got through the lock, and I flipped the switch after they were all inside.
They all died. Good. It blew their ship away from mine. Bad. That meant the next wave would have an easy entrance, since there wasn't any thing blocking the door and no way to lock it; they had ruined the airlock's security lock. So much for praying. I was hoping their boat docked to mine wouldâ¦ oh, hell. I ran up the five damned flights of stairs as fast as I could run. I had to get to the pilot room and steer this tub.
When I left the stairs and went into the hallway my worst nightmare was waiting for me. Two hundred dropheads, pissed off dropheads without any drops and with those scary bloodshot eyes, although they weren't as red as that one woman's had been, all with big knives.
I was a dead man. I was sure of it.
"You stole our drops!" and similar stuff, they yelled and screamed, coming at me with those damned knives. I stood there like a stone, petrified.
And they all stormed past me, like they didn't even see me! What the hell?
Tammy and Destiny were drinking coffee in the commons, seeming to be completely not worried at all about pirates. Jesus but educated people can be stupid. I went to the pilot room, but it was too late â" another pirate boat had docked. Damn it!
And then... nothing happened. No pirates. What the fuck? It fell off the ship and another one docked... and another, and another. Five hundred times! Holy crap! What the hell, they had to be running out of bad guys by now, five hundred pirate ships all full of pirates. Christ!
This went on for days. I was too damned busy trying to dodge pirates and shoot at them to try and figure it out. But I couldn't dodge them because cargo wasn't strapped in so I couldn't do anything fancy and they didn't take over the boat and I couldn't figure out why not. I didn't get any sleep at all, except two or three times when I passed out in the pilot seat despite all the coffee I was drinking. If I ate I don't remember what. I'm not sure I did eat.
The fleet finally showed up. By then I was exhausted and there were hundreds of abandoned and disabled pirate ships scattered across the solar system, or at least part of the way from Earth to Mars, and the few hundred pirate ships that hadn't tried to board hauled ass out of there, with half of the company's destructor fleet on their asses. How about that, they had one, after all. So why are there still pirates?
I still didn't know why the pirates hadn't overrun the boat. Destiny and Tammy were still drinking coffee in the commons, with two dozen stoned, naked whores laying around the big room. I hadn't slept on purpose for days and was living on coffee, I wondered if they were, too.
I sat down and poured another cup of coffee. I was so full of coffee my hands were shaking so hard it wasn't easy to hold the cup still enough to drink. "I need a bath and a nap," I said. "What the hell just happened?"
"Jesus but you're a dumbass," Tammy said. "You read my book and you still didn't get it. John, get it through your head -- these women are damned dangerous. I told them the pirates stole my drops before they hit me."
I finally got it. "Have to hand it to you," I said. "I guess they were one hell of a weapon!"
"You guess?" Destiny said. "John!"
I blushed. "No, they were one hell of a weapon. And you controlled it well, Tammy."
"Hey, asshole, me too," Destiny said, grinning.
"Yeah, you too. I'm stupid. Why do you like me so much?"
"Because you know what a dumbass you are," she said, grinning even wider. I was crestfallen.
"Oh, come on, you big baby, we're still getting married, aren't we?"
"Well yeah," I said, "If you still want to marry a dumbass."
"Excuse us," Destiny said to Tammy, and took my hand and started to lead me back to our cabin. I almost threw the nearly full coffee cup in the trash. I was really tired and wasn't thinking straight, completely forgetting that I had to inspect downstairs again; it hadn't been inspected in days and I'd really been pushing it.
I also forgot about the monsters.
A hundred years ago, the first group of progressives concluded that this country needed to change in a big way. They argued explicitly for a refounding of the United States on the grounds that the only absolute in political life is that absolutes are material and economic rather than moral in nature.
That's one of those statements that leaves one rubbing the chin. It seems plausible on the face of matters. However, having taken one's eyes off the Almighty, much is possible. As someone wicked once said:
Bill Whittle is excellent, as ever:
When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.
Yeah, the Hindus and Buddhists are all, "Wut?"
"When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas" is a hoot because at least a good chunk of the Enlightenment thinkers considered themselves Christian.
"...feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie." Yeah, there was that extended Bourgeoisgeddon, to roughly the extent the ancient world had "death throes". Charlemagne thought he was just reforming Latin, and would have balked at the idea of these "death throes" that Marx is making up. It sounds as though Marx may have bought off on Edward Gibbon's biases, directly or not.
This is to say nothing of my contempt for Marx's view of private property. What a used car salesman. The Communist vanguard inevitably, invariably, with enough irony to float an Iowa-class battleship, becomes the aristocracy standing in the ashes of the bourgeoisie. The only thing to be done with this foolishness is to reject it, and haul it out with the kids for a cautionary tale about liars.
Took my family to see Guardians of the Galaxy last night. I had only heard good stuff about it and it was a fun movie. What's funny is I thought it was pretty good while my wife and kids thought it was amazing. My son kept going on about it and my wife said she wanted to go watch it again. Usually with a film like this it would be the other way around and I'd be the one who was more enthusiastic. Funny.
Republican Party: Far RIght Fascist
Democratic Party: Center Right Fascist
Conservative Tory: Far Right Fascist
New Labour: Right Fascist
Liberal Democrats: Center Right Twats
I had the computer wake me up at six so I'd be ready for the pirates. Of course, when the alarm went off I thought "damned whores" until I looked and was reminded that I'd set the alarm myself. I started coffee, took my shower, and ate a quick breakfast. Huh? Steak, egg, and cheese wrap. A small one.
Then I went downstairs to do a quick inspection of the engines and generators. Thankfully, nothing was broken or being worked on and everything was all right except number seventeen and the port generator. I only did a cursory check looking for red or yellow lights. I usually spend two or three hours down there, sometimes a lot longer if there's trouble, checking readings, but the most time I had then was forty five minutes or so.
I went back to my quarters and checked the holo map; they'd be here in forty five minutes. That would be about quarter after eight.
Destiny was awake by then, so I had coffee with her while she ate and we watched the news. Nothing new in the news. More people dead in orbit around Venus and everyone on the station was sick. Cops had tried to arrest a nest of Pirates in San Diego, but ten cops and two pirates died and fifteen cops and five pirates were hospitalized. The rest got away, more than fifty of them.
About quarter 'til eight I went to the pilot room with a cup and a full pot of coffee, and at eight I did my normal checkouts. Good, everything was okay.
At five after eight I picked up the fone and addressed the PA system. "Strap down, ladies," I announced. "Gravity changes in two minutes and it's going to be dangerous." I masered Bill to change course and gave him coordinates to change to and had the computers lazily turn the boat around and head towards the pirates.
I lifted us to point eight nine gravity, the best I could do on one generator. Better than pirate boats can do, unless they've captured some of ours, which I didn't think was very damned likely.
They took chase when they saw me, and I turned around and headed to Mars on a different course, one that wouldn't take us anywhere near Bill's boat. The droppers were going to be happy, even though it was an hour later when I changed course again to a more direct route towards Mars and dropped it to half a gravity, a bit more than we'd been going before eight but we needed to go that fast to outrun the pirates.
I unstrapped and went back to my quarters, and alerted passenger and cargo that it was safe to unstrap.
"John, you need to talk to Tammy," Destiny said.
"Huh? Why? Talk to her about what?"
"Pirates and droppers!" she said. I didn't get it. "Look," she said, "Tammy has a last ditch weapon; you read her book and didn't get it but it's clear to me what she can do. Tell her about the pirates, I promised you I wouldn't. I know even telling me about any danger was against the book and I understand, but she might wind up saving our lives. I'd say she has an operational need to know."
Women. "You're right, I don't get it," I admitted, "and it looks like you have an idea. Talk to Tammy for me, would you? No restrictions, I trust her. But I still don't get it."
"Christ, John, you can really be dense sometimes but at least you know you can be. Why can't you understand? These women are incredibly dangerous! I can't believe you read that book and missed that!"
"I know they're dangerous, but they're a danger to you and me and themselves and the boat, not the pirates."
"Tammy's a psychologist and an anthropologist, dumbass. She can handle these women!"
She's right, I'm a dumbass. I don't know why she likes me so much. I still didn't get it, though, how in the hell can anybody handle a redeye monster? Christ, tasers have no effect at all and bullets only work if you hit an artery or a vital organ, and there weren't any guns inside the ship, anyway.
"Okay, okay," I said. "I told you, talk to her. I hope we don't get boarded," although I still didn't see what she had in mind.
"Boarded? You said we were safe! She might be our last chance if they actually manage to board," Destiny said. "That's what I was talking about."
"Yeah, usually we're okay but shit happens, you know? I like to be as prepared as I can. They'd need a hell of a lot more boats than are after us to do it, and they can't catch us, anyway."
She kissed me. "What you lack in education you make up for in wisdom," she said. I have no idea what she meant by it. "Look, I'm going to see Tammy, try not to get into any trouble."
I laughed. "Want to watch something when I get... SHIT!" My phone was alerting me; pirates ahead of me. How the hell did that happen?
"Destiny," I yelled, "Pirates ahead!"
She laughed. "Poor pirates!" she said. I didn't get it.
I went to the pilot room, calling Bill over the maser with my fone. "Bill, we got pirates, see 'em?" I didn't know how far away he was, and hoped he was too far away to hear me or to get picked up on the pirate's radar; our boats are stealthy but can be seen if you're close enough. "Go to zero gravity if you can hear me and they haven't spotted you so you won't leave an ion trail, I'm gonna nuke the sons of bitches."
I switched to the PA system. "Strap down, ladies, weird gravity almost immediately. We don't need nobody getting hurt today."
Rather than changing my heading away from them, I kept on course to intercept. Yeah, I learned that word in boat training. And yeah, this was strictly against company regulations, but fuck regulations. I was in too much danger from my cargo to have to worry about a bunch of God damned pirates.
Ten or fifteen seconds later I got a "roger" from Bill, he must have been pretty damned close. He should have been way away by now, did that damned fool follow me or was it orbital mechanics? Orbital mechanics is way over my head. Ten minutes later the pirates were coming towards me. I grinned. Poor bastards... die, you motherfuckers! I dropped my atomic right when it would be in the middle of them, and made the boat's portholes, which were all in the bow on the ceiling, turn black. Not sure how this shit works but it works. I plan on going to college.
Gravity got a little weird, of course, but not near as much as I thought I'd have to make it.
That bunch was easy, the blast from that one atomic got all of them... but there would be more, I was sure of it. There were half a dozen pirate gangs and they all hated each other, but they hated us so much more that sometimes they would band together. This was probably one of them times.
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
No, it is not. The mental effort of binning individuals into abstract chess pieces, so that he could move them around some imaginary chessboard, happened mostly in the mind of Marx.
It's an appealing fable, and many have swallowed it whole, to their detriment. As Alinsky would later codify the central axis of the Commie Hooeyfesto:
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
There will be no improvement until people recognize tawdry plays and gently rebuff them. I hope God had mercy on Marx. While I reject his ideas, I don't want to play his game.
I woke up a little early, maybe ten or fifteen minutes after seven. I started coffee and did my morning bathroom... oh, shut up, head, bathroom, what difference does it make? "Head" is a dumb name for a room you take a bath in, anyway, almost as stupid as bow, stern, port, and starboard. At least those make sense in an ocean ship even though they don't on a space ship. "Head" don't even make sense in an ocean boat. What? Well, that's a good reason they started calling them that but even ocean boats weren't like that was for over five hundred years back.
Anyway, I was in the dining room drinking coffee and watching a zero gravity baseball game... What? You never watched zero G baseball? It's kind of like zero gravity golf except there's more to baseball; it has teams throwing and catching a ball that's bigger than a golf ball while people "run" (I guess that's what you'd call it, even though they were flying) from one pole to the next and golf is one on one and you just hit the ball into a hole. The sticks are similar, a zero gravity golf club isn't anything like an Earth-side golf club. Baseball bats are really similar to ground-side bats, though.
I can't believe you guys never watched zero G baseball or golf. I like them almost as much as zero G football. Anyway, when I was watching the game Destiny came in the dining room wearing a robe. "What are you watching?" she asked.
"Zero gravity baseball, St. Louis against Chicago. Six to two Chicago's favor, they're in the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded. If McMurtrey doesn't get on base the game's over, and probably will be anyway unless he hits a home run, and home runs are really rare in zero G. If he does hit a homer I'll miss the end of the game because I have to go to work at eight." Of course, if he'd hit a single the game would still be in play unless they threw anybody else out...
She poured a cup of coffee and McMurtrey struck out. I switched it to the news and we had corned beef and cheese omelettes for breakfast. The epidemic on the Venus station was worse and three people had died from it. It was completely quarantined and supply ships couldn't even dock, they had to leave supplies floating in space and somebody from the station or maybe a robot, I don't know, the news didn't say, somehow they had to get them in the space station.
At eight I went to the pilot room to do my eight o'clock chores. It turned out to be a light morning, the computers were all agreeing and we didn't need a course correction. All the droppers were asleep except the German girl, who was in the commons eating. The generators were fine, except that one of the two wouldn't work. all the engines were fine except seventeen, which wasn't going to be lit before the Mars overhaul, since it destroyed two mechs and damned near ruined the last generator. There weren't even any robots working on any of the other ones.
We had an early lunch, ham sandwiches and... yeah, I was just checking to see if you guys were paying attention, we really had Italian roast beef sandwiches and chips, and Destiny put a movie on.
We was watching the movie when I saw a light on the holographic map again. Huh? An old twentieth century western, Rawhide I think. Short movie, maybe forty minutes or so. It was in two dimensions, like I already said there wasn't no hologram movies back then. Hell, they didn't even have lasers and holograms need lasers. Haven't you guys been paying attention? I mentioned that show a bunch of times already. This one didn't even have colors, just shades of gray. Weird. A lot of old movies were like that, I mentioned them before, too. Why? What difference does it make?
The map was a holo of nearby... huh? Maybe five or six light minutes. Come on, guys, it's standard, haven't you ever been on one of these boats? Anyway, it was a holo of any bodies close by and any EMF sources, didn't I say that earlier?
Shit, pirate traffic! More pirates this far out? I sure didn't expect that! We were two weeks from Mars and the company fleet wouldn't be accompanying us for another week, which was twice as far as pirates normally went. I didn't expect anything but false alarms until we were almost to the fleet.
"Sorry, hon, gotta work," I said.
"Is this movie boring you?"
"No, keep it paused until I get back. Look, hon, I have to go, there's pirates. This is serious and I have work to do." I kissed her and went into the pilot room and looked at the holos there.
For once I caught a break, but unfortunately at some other boat captain's expense. It wasn't our company, I don't remember what company, I didn't really care. Anyway, the pirates thought he was me and started chasing him.
I masered Bill, hoping he was close enough that the signal would be strong enough to be understood. "Wild Bill, John here. Pirates ahead, go around if you have enough batteries. They think some other company's ship is me. I'm slowing down until they engage, then I'm hauling ass."
I addressed the women. "Ladies, it would be a really good idea to strap in right now because gravity might get weird." By now they knew what I meant when I said gravity was going to get weird. Unless they were short on drops and they probably wouldn't even feel it then anyway.
I reduced gravity, which probably pissed the whores off. Good, payback is a bitch, bitch. They're monsters, pains in my ass. Glad Destiny and Tammy was there, I'd probably have been dead by then, along with everybody else. They'd have killed me and then each other.
I went back to Rawhide. "That didn't take long," Destiny said, unharnessing. "And is gravity less?"
"The droppers won't like it."
"They wouldn't much care for pirates, either," I said. "Pirates would make them slaves if they could live long enough without drops. There's pirates chasing some other poor son of a bitch who they think is me. He's hauling ass and they're hauling ass and me slowing down helps us. When I see a battle I'll haul ass. I masered Bill, he's behind us, hope he can get around."
And right then Bill answered. "What should we do, old buddy? I'm on batteries! The best I can do is a quarter gravity."
"Arm all your shit and we'll try to sneak past when they're attacking that other company's boat."
Bill had seen me in action and was probably grinning right then; he was too far for video, at least with our equipment. "Poor pirates!" he said.
"Fuck all them God damned pirates," I growled. God damned sons of bitches. I hate pirates.
My holo showed more EMF; a battle. "Hit it, Bill," I said. "I'll follow."
Destiny asked how long it would take.
"I don't know," I said. "You need to strap back down." I kissed her and went back to the pilot room.
I gradually increased power while Bill gave his boat all it had, which wasn't much, being on batteries and all. We were doing maybe point two gravities, if that. I followed. I saw, thankfully, that they were still battling the boat they thought was mine and I almost kind of felt sorry for the poor bastard the pirates were after because they thought he was me.
Lucky pirates. For now. I was pissed and I hate pirates anyway. Yeah, getting pissed is unprofessional but professionals went to college and I ain't, so fuck you, I'm retiring anyway. Now shut the fuck up before I just walk out of here, there ain't nothing you can do to me.
Yeah, asshole? Prove it.
Okay, I accept your fucking apology. Now shut the fuck up and let me finish this God damned thing so I can go buy a ring for Destiny. Where was I?
Oh yeah, me and Bill was trying to sneak past the God damned pirates and get to Mars alive. Anyway, I told everybody it was safe to unstrap. It was all right for quite a few hours, but they must have finally boarded that other company's boat, and no doubt killed its Captain and commandeered his ship for their own use. Poor bastard, I felt sorry for him.
It looked like me and Bill was okay, at least for now. I went back to Destiny and my movie.
Huh? Christ, guys, what does it matter? It was a show about driving cattle across the ancient American west. And God damn it, I'm hungry and I'm getting some God damned lunch. Excuse me.
What? You're all hungry, too? Well, okay, a hamburger and brogs and a glass of Shike will do for me. Yeah, with caffeine. Thanks.
I put a plug in my ear to hear the pirate traffic without bothering Destiny and still be able to hear the show myself. Huh? Really? You never heard of it before? Jees, guys, a lot of the greats that shaped culture for well over half a century had a hand in it. The art form was in its infancy then, barely half a century old. Go watch it, there's a series of 'em, just pull the library up on your tablet, it's there. I guess Destiny's wearing off on me, she's big on movie history. Actually, she likes history, period.
Anyway, when that was over Destiny put a really silly one on, an old two dimensional movie that was hilarious. I don't think I ever laughed at puns before. I don't remember the movie's name, sorry, but there was one place where a woman wearing a dress is on a ladder with a man looking up saying "nice beaver." She says "Thanks, I just had it stuffed!" and then hands the guy a stuffed animal, a beaver a taxidermist had worked on. I laughed my ass off all the way through -- at least, until the pirates realized they'd boarded the wrong boat and knew I was still alive.
Shit. I'd hoped they'd been fooled. They must not have been. I wonder how they figured it out.
They knew I was alive, wanted me dead, and had an extra ship, full of whatever cargo the boat was carrying. I hoped it wasn't weapons. I'm glad it wasn't one of ours, not just because I work for the company but because we have the best boats and especially the best weapons. Guys from the other companies are always bitching about their crappy boats and especially about their crappy weapons, but they get paid better than we do and they say the robots on their boats make okay coffee.
At the rate they were traveling they'd catch up to us in maybe twelve hours. We were in trouble. I was in for some serious trouble, because if I lived through this I was going to be in some deep trouble with the company because of what I had in mind.
I got back on the PA. "I'm sorry, ladies, but everyone is confined to quarters because of an emergency that's come up. You will need to strap down again at seven forty five tomorrow morning, I'll let you know over the PA when we need to strap down. If you get hungry, call the computer and it will send food to you."
The doorbell rang, it was Tammy. "John, I have to be able to treat the droppers," she said.
"You're not confined, that's just to help keep them under control until we can speed back up. Just pretend you sneaked out or something. Have a robot deliver drops if you can."
"What's the emergency?" she asked.
"I can't talk about it right now."
"Okay, I'll adjust the dosage so they'll sleep through most of the low gravity," she said, and left.
We watched the end of the movie but I didn't laugh much after that. It was still early but I was going to need a good night's sleep.
The last several chapters are the latest chapters written, with the exception of the book's final two chapters, so they're pretty short. Most of the rest have been pretty heavily edited already; edits usually add words. I keep track of progress by recording a daily word count, when it gets to single digits or below I'll just count changes.
The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.