Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pocket full of Posies Chapter 1 page 14



The empty and sterile halls came slowly to life as overhead lights blinked on through ceiling grates; their glow revealing blue paneled walls making a hexagonal through way. As air slowly filled the chambers with a slow, low hiss the whimper of an executive key could be heard in a comm panel on the other side of the wall, along the frame of a shuttered bulkhead door. The clacking noise of large heavy gearing came from within the wall and the door slipped back a few inches. A pair of gloved hands slipped in and took grip on the door.

“If you could just give me a hand,” the older voice asked.

A second set of gloved hands slipped in and pulled the door back nearly the rest of the way to reveal two men in light duty space suits. As they stepped back the second man gripped his shoulder with a very faint grunt.

“You okay there, son?”

“Yeah,” Justin said, massaging his shoulder, “just recovering from a thing. Pay it no never mind.”

“Well, okay then. Like I was saying, you can see that even though some of the systems are tapped from sitting derelict, the main pile is still hot. Need to keep the suits for a while since she’s been down for so long; take some time to get atmo and grav back to full.”

“I’ve had some experience in low-G, Mr. Tannen. Go ahead and lead on.”

“Well, okay then.” And they bounded down the hall like two balloons on their last day of helium. “Been in the yard as long as I can recollect, now”, Tannen continued. “She’s had some wear and tear on her, but the superstructure is still intact and hull integrity still sound; minus that bit at the end of the main hold, of course.”

“You know much on her history, Mr. Tannen?”

The old man turned with a smirky smile, “call me Buford, son. ‘Mr. Tannen’ makes me feel all too respectable. Or Biff; most folks call me Biff.”

Justin smiled back. “Okay Biff. So, the ship; what do you know on her?”

“Not much, I’m afraid. Kind of inherited her when I took over the salvage yard, to be honest on it. Her and a mess other junk orbiting that there rock. Most else you can tell from the view back on the shuttle. She’s been around some, but she’s a tough girl. I don’t think there’s been one of these in, oh…”

“Three generations,” Justin finished for him. There was a gleeful look on his face and Biff could see it plain as day through the helmet visor. Like a kid in a toy store.

“She seems to be a touch older on than that, though,” Justin continued. “Probably part of the 2500 series.”

“Boy knows his ships,” Biff said as he used the executive key to open a service tube hatch. Justin, again, helped him pry open the door, this time favoring his left shoulder some. “You had some sort of spill, or something?”

“Something,” Justin replied hesitantly. “It’s all patched, but the doc and I had a disagreement to how long resting it would take.”

“Well the lift don’t work much either, right now, so if you’re up to a climb…?”

With a motion Justin followed Biff up the service tube ladder. The low gravity made the climb easy, but as they got closer to the top they could both feel their weight starting to return to them. Before too long they were at the flight deck door. Instead of using the key, Biff tried tapping a couple buttons on the console. It flickered to life and the door, with some effort, slowly slid open.

“Ah, seems like the system’s finally booting up.” Biff stepped into the flight deck – which sat four, and immediately stepped to a free standing console and chair station on his right. After initializing the panel, he took a couple readings. “Yep; we’re good,” he said to Justin as he unlatched his helmet. “You can unsuit some, if it’ll make you comfortable.”

Justin unlatched his helmet and set it on the command chair next to him. Biff worked some controls and slowly all the dash panels came to life with a very low hum. Justin looked out over the dash and through the canopy to the view outside; framed by the edges of the ship. Other large derelicts, some in pieces, were in orbit around the moon of a rocky giant. Just beyond there was the faint curtain of stars. With a smile Justin dropped himself into the navi station on the right and began going through pre-flight. Biff watched eagerly.

“Now I’m sure she’ll need a new chart account; you’re on your own for that. But sure’n she’ll get you out of this system, at least, on her own with a few solid days of wrenching.” He watched as Justin punch up more system data with a curiousness. “You, uh, seem to be familiar with her, already.”

“Not this model, no. But they used the same basic layouts and controls through the later half of the model run.” Justin sat back, very satisfied. His eyes followed the dash panel to the ship registry slot and pulled out the packet fold. He flipped through the pages, but couldn’t find what he was looking for.

“Yeah, I know,” Biff answered before Justin could even speak the question, “and I ain’t got no answer why the registry don’t right match up with what’s painted on her hull. There’s a line that refers to conscription, but that’s all that’s noted. She’ll fly legit with it, though.”

“What’s this symbol on the registry,” Justin asked.

“A ‘D’.”

“A… ‘dee’?”

“Yup; ‘D’. I had a friend look it up. Some sort of letter. Probably core world stuff.” A beeping sounded out from a panel next to Biff. “Well, the drive system is online, if you want to have a peek at it. Won’t do too much without some help, but…”

Justin leapt to his feet, and both men grabbed their helmets. “If it’s there,” Justin said through a huge grin, “then it’s just another formality of the tour; just a signature away from a done deal.”




Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pocket Full of Posies Chapter 1 page 13


Fabrication, or rather the rapid deployment of fabricated structures, is a center stone to the establishing of many of the various undocumented and uncharted outposts and colonies that can be found beyond the regions of regulated space. Essentially the ability to stake down structures and be able to, again, strike and move these mobile city encampments off world to the next rock, moon, or planetoid is essential in keeping mobile those communities and their practices that need to remain mobile in order to carry out whatever form of business they’re in the market for.

While hard case structures had been the established norm at the dawn of The Pre Space Age of Man, utilizing inflatable deployable modules to supplement needs aboard stations, and later in ground based compounds became another viable option. They were fast, mostly durable, and relatively inexpensive to operate, but in time presented some practical issues for long term use; which they weren’t originally intended for. Namely, protection form cosmic radiation, for starters. Maintaining habitable conditions also presented itself with some good challenges to those early engineers.

With the introduction of full collapsible tubing, fiber hybrid interweaves, and better portable pump systems inflatable barracks and other deployable stations were first battle tested in the New Socialist Republic Wars that plagued the first off world colonies during the dawning years of The First Space Age of Man. Neo Allied forces utilized these prefabbed, inflatable structures as part of their mobile infantry to set up command posts and maintain supply chains. By keeping light, cheap, and mobile the direction was to be able to fortify main forces and present a strong front on contested off world soil.

Though the ultimate defeat of the Neo Allied forces would be devastating, the success of the what would be called the Inflate Deploy Structure System (IDSS) would show that the technology was ready for its next step; full realization of a collapsible, transportable, colonial outpost. Usually these would be the first preliminary encampments used to establish any new territorial claim, or foundation of a new research laboratory. They were versatile and serviceable in many planetary climates; both hostile and less so.

When the technology became accessible for private use is when the explosion of settlements took hold. Suddenly any company, group, or organization could chart transport to any world and set up a base camp in virtually little time at all for all manners of commerce, research, and colonization. However, enterprising individuals and groups soon realized the potential to be had making profits in trades and activities that benefitted greatly from remaining off grid and mobile across the growing frontier of The First Space Age of Man. This would lead to the strict regulation of IDSS technology to curb growing smuggling and other criminal enterprises, and ultimately to the Settlers’ Rebellion of Terra Pac; where strict control of IDSS lead to many impoverished colonies who suffered the onset of various ailments due to exposure before taking up arms against the Stockburn Holding Company.

With the rise of cheap knock off IDSS technology and a massive decline in colonizing due to stringent control over IDSS structures, Republic control on IDSS relaxed. Before the fall of the Republic to the budding United Corporate Commonwealth, which would usher in The Second Space Age of Man, it would be common to find established colonies and townships building off of IDSS structures, and using them in a much more permanent capacity.

Today IDSS technology is fairly commonplace, and helps to establish colonies and business claims throughout the UCC and its neighboring territories. While there are those outside UCC jurisdiction who would still utilize IDSS technology to harbor ill practices, the majority of IDSS is implemented to help establish more commerce and to add to the growth of the UCC and its citizens.
   

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Stuff: Good night, sweetheart, it's time to go...


For anyone working and living in the bay area...

Wait, let me try that again.

For anyone TRYING to work and live in the bay area, you know the costs you incur just trying to make end's meet. In fact, as many are finding out, unless you're lucky enough to find yourself into the very rare and limited illustrious and coveted high paying positions out here - looking at you, tech people - you really can't; unless you're willing to sacrifice a whole lot to hang onto the notion that, hopefully, someday soon, things will sing the other way around here.

Me? I'm a native born and raised, and I've seen it go from bad to worse in my forty two years here, with no indications it's going to get any better. So, when I finally hit the line where I wasn't willing to go below - you know; self respect, dignity, the idea that maybe - just maybe - one could eek out more than mere existence here...

Well, I gave it a go asking my employer for a cost of living adjustment; because even though my salary was generous... ANYWHERE ELSE IN MY THIS COUNTRY... it was falling way short here. I presented my manager - who sits in Canada, because my company is Canadian - with a break down of the cost of the bay area, including the absolutely ridiculous rent rates out here, and pleaded my case.

What you've read above is literally how that played out over a phone meeting.

So, a month later and I've just about wrapped up every last bit of business in California, and - as of this entry - am just hours from joining a host of friends who have made the great escape north as economic refugees; wrapping my head around my situation, and how kind of defeating it can feel.

I'm sorry, did I say every last bit of business...?     


My on-again-off-again long time lover and I have shared a lot in ten years. We've found it a bit hard to untangle. Of everything I'm leaving behind for a new life north, she's going to be one of the hardest. If, that is, she lets me. Love... it's so stupid, sometimes.

Goodbye, California... I was your native son, but you still treated me like shit, in the end. So fuck you, too. Let me know if and when you finally get your head out of your ass, will you? I might come back down for a visit.

Or not.