I was scared shitless; the CEO had called me into his office. Jesus, the fucking CEO! Why would a CEO want a lowly boat captain to talk to him? Yeah, centuries ago ship captains were really important guys, but that was back when they needed crews. I was a glorified bus driver and babysitter.
I liked hauling passengers because at least I'd have somebody to talk to. It takes a long time to get from planet to planet, and it's usually a boring trip. They pay pretty damned good, too â" cargo boats don't need babysitters.
Jesus! The CEO! I was shaking as I walked into his office. If I was going to get fired for that little incident on Vesta my chief would have sacked me.
"Have a seat, Mister Knolls. Coffee?"
"Uh," I said, "Uh, thank you, sir." I fidgeted in my chair. His assistant gave me a cup.
"Knolls, your supervisor told me all about Vesta."
I almost pissed my pants. Shit, they were going to sue me.
"That was some damned good work, Knolls."
My head kind of exploded. "Sir? Two men died!"
"Yes, Mister Knolls, but you saved ten million dollars in equipment and the wrongful death suits were only a million each. God damned good work!"
"Uh, thank you, sir," I said, wondering how damned evil this man could be.
"I have a new assignment for you," he said. "Your supervisor told me you didn't like cargo runs, but this time you'll have someone to talk to."
My head kind of stopped working right then.
"This assignment is important. You're the man for this job and we're giving you a fifty percent raise."
"Uh, sir, uh, what's my cargo and where am I taking it?"
The CEO smiled. "Women. You're to transport two hundred woman to Mars."
"Women?" I asked, my brain still not working properly.
Taking a couple hundred whores to Mars? Wow.
"So, Knoll, are you taking the assignment?"
What could I say? Of course, not ever having met any whores I had no idea how much of a pain in the ass it would be or that I would regret my decision. "Yes, sir, how could I not? Of course! When do I leave?"
I wish my brain would have been working. God, what a mistake.
Yes, I finished "Nobots". I've registered the copyright but I misunderstood ISBN. I could have sworn I got ISBNs with my software patents but a different body issues those, $125 for one or $250 for ten.
I just put a new phone on my Visa card and they charged me for two (I'll have to return one) and I'm trying to keep my balance low so my number will go up so I'm waiting for the next bill before I get an ISBN for it. It won't be long. The finished product is a hell of a lot better than what's at slashdot, and twice as long.
So I'm working on a new one. I plan on recycling some old journals, even ancient sm62704 journals for it.
Nobots has taken four years, this won't, partly because I'm retiring in six months and will have time to write.