The heat index is close to 117. So I decide to take my Clio to the library to work on this story. Yes I do have more important things to do with my time, but none of them are as relaxing or as fun as using my imagination.
Thank you to everyone who answered my questions. There were some very interesting ideas; I combined several of the ideas in my theory of what would happen. Several people will notice that I have stopped calling the green object an egg. I guess this is because I am not sure what it is yet. Dorothy Gilliam (writer of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries) stated that she always wrote her endings first. I have more fun watching the story evolve. I hope that you are enjoying it too. If not just delete the message, that is the nice part about computers. Again I have asked questions at the end of this chapter and would love to hear what you think should happen next in the story. Should I compile a list of answers for every one to read? I hope you enjoy reading Chapter Two: Life on the station
“Charis, how much longer do we have to stay on Lunar Base III?” I asked for the 100th time that day. We had been on moon base for two days. Like most captains, I don't stay in one place very well. The scientists taking over my ship was another irritant. This time Charis's answer surprised me.
“Bill, you have received an invitation to a wedding for today.”
“Charis, I don’t have time to go to a wedding. I need to get back into space. This last collection has not given me enough money to get all of the supplies we need. I will have to live on protein bars again instead of real food.”
“You know that you can’t leave the dock before the team of scientist leaves my deck. You have stated on several occasions that you want to talk to real people. The invitation is from Mike Reed. If my data banks are correct you went to school with Mike. He was also on your sound and lights team. Anyway they serve real food at weddings.” said Charis.
With logic like that how could I not go? That night I found myself in my best jumpsuit, which I had not worn in years, attending a wedding. For a gift I decide to give them a rock that I had found two years back. It had an interesting shape like a sculpture. If they did not like it they could always sell it for the mineral content.
Charis was right it was nice to talk to real people not a flat screen with a computer voice. I did have a lot of fun that night. The bride was as beautiful as legends state all brides should be. She wore an old fashion long white dress with a pleat in the front and a half crown on her head. No one wears dresses any more. She looked like the queens of old. Mike looked happy. He had this silly proud grin on his face that got even sillier every time he looked at his new bride. The reception followed the wedding. Again Charis had been right. The tables had all kinds of food on them, fruit, bread, meats, and vegetables. There was even a bowl of protein bars for those who were not able to eat real food. I enjoyed every bite. Mike had hired a DJ robot for the reception and several of the people started dancing. It had been a long time since I had danced.
As the evening wore on I had plenty of time to talk to several people. One of the people I ran into at the wedding reception was Ted, the owner of Zero Gravity. I told him about the rock I had found and the fact that I was not allowed to leave because the scientist had taken over my lab.
“At least they are not charging me docking fees this time, but I don’t have enough money to go on vacation. I am just not use to not working”, I finished lamely.
Ted got a very thoughtful look in his eyes, “Well that could be very useful to me you see I was about to receive a shipment of supplies for my bar tomorrow. I have not hired a warehouse man yet. While I run the bar could you put the supplies into my warehouse? They would have to neat and easy to find quickly.”
For any captain this was an easy job at the beginning of any trip you had to pack all of your supplies neatly and accessible. “I would love to do it, I answered”
“Good,” answered Ted, "I will see you tomorrow at 8:00.”
I arrived at Ted's place shortly after 7:45. The next two days were a blur. I like to keep busy. It seems Ted was always receiving supplies. He paid me well and went even further then that. He insisted that part of my pay was two real meals a day. Boy was I spoiled. I had learned to eat at least one meal of protein supplements to save money and space on the ship, but I didn't like it. As I worked I soon learned that Ted could accomplish more behind a bar then most people could in hour that they were free. Not only was he able to serve customers but he also volunteered to find information and talk to people.
After three days of being on the station Charis called me. "Bill, could you return to the ship now."
There was urgency in her "voice" that I did not think was possible with a computer. "Why? What is wrong?" I ask as I quickly returned to the ship. I guess I never really thought that I was taking orders from a computer. I just reacted.
"They are removing the rock from my deck."
"This is a good thing right. Once the rock is off the ship we can get back to space where we belong."
"No, Bill, I think they will hurt the rock if it is removed from this room. They talked about breaking it open. They have already tried a chisel and a torch now they want to try the laser in the lab. This time they will succeed. Any ways I don't think it should be removed from this room"
"Charis, do you know what this rock is?" Charis never had a chance to answer that question, because by that time I had arrived on the Skyway. I have always wondered if she would have answered it.
As I entered the room where the rock was kept the scientists were putting the rock on an anti-gravity sled. Without thinking I ordered Charis to lock the doors. "Where are you going with my find?" I thought I asked it in a calm voice but the scientist became scared.
"We thought that you wanted this rock off your ship.” a scientist named Dan stammered.
"You are not the highest bidder. In fact you have never made a bid. What I would like is a clean bill of health for this rock so I can sell it? Last I heard this does not take three weeks." What I really wanted to know was why a team of scientists had tried to sneak the rock off my ship. I walk over to the grave sled and placed the rock back on the table. "Now I want you and your staff off my ship. If you want to purchase this rock you may make a bid like any regular buyer." I must have looked like a mad man because the crew was quick to try to leave. Charis had to unlock and open the doors so they did not run into them.
The next thing I had to do was to call Ted and explain why I had left so quickly. He told me not to worry about it; in fact he had another warehouseman in mind. A man name Steve had just come in and had not found anything to sell and could not afford the fuel to go back out into space. I wondered how many people he had helped by "finding" them jobs. Since I no longer had to work I was able to sleep on the ship it was good to be home or so I thought.
That night as I was dozing off I heard a noise in the control room. I asked Charis what was happening. She did not answer. That was when I started panicking. I have never owned a weapon and have always felt that I didn't need one. I now wished I had one. I entered the cabin under the control room was a figure dressed all in black. The person was of slight build. It could have been a man or woman. The face was covered in a mask with only the eyes visible. They eyes were frantic. They watched me wearily for a minute and then faster then I could follow the person was out of the room. I could have followed; instead I decided to figure out what was wrong with Charis.