Sunday, May 29, 2011

Star Traveler Update - To Meet a God

We have another four days and Daniel will be back home, bodyguard and all - safe and sound.

I’ve already picked up a new gig. The Krackow moved in on Olympus. They did some major damage before the Galactic Officials found out. Personally, I thought they kept better track of Olympus. It was my understanding that it was patrolled regularly. Guess not regularly enough.

Anyway, the Galactic Office has called in anyone who wants to make deliveries of equipment or help repair the damage. I’ve always wanted to see Olympus. There are so many fantastic stories of it. I threw my hat into the ring. I managed to pass their background check. I will be picking up prefabs and supplies for the village they will have to build for the workmen onsite.

I can’t wait to meet a God.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Apologies

“I am really sorry I worried you, but it wasn’t my fault,” Daniel said for the umpteenth time since returning to the ship. He was lucky I let him on board - he and his infamous bodyguard. “We were negotiating. They wouldn’t let me talk to anyone.”

I huffed and kept working on installing the gun turrets I purchased at the GTD weapon’s sale. Tim left yesterday after we found Daniel safe and sound being wined and dined by the Valarian Council. I got the impression he didn’t want to stick around for the fireworks he knew were bound to go off between Daniel and me.

“They disabled my team. I had no way to send you a message. Believe me, I wanted to.”

I continued to give Daniel the cold shoulder. I had already ranted and raved until I was hoarse. I never imagined they would not use force to get what they wanted. I guess that is the human mind for you. I just assumed torture and mayhem. The Valarians never had any intention of hurting him. In their eyes his talents needed to by nurtured, rewarded.

“Believe me, I wanted to contact you. Tell you I was all right.”

First they offered to put him to work with a very generous salary – more than generous, astronomical. He refused. Never liked working for anyone but himself, he told them.

Next, they literally promised him the moon (or planet as the case may be) in order to get him to forget/destroy his Nano Nav Program. They offered him his own planet. They thought that was pretty darn big and tempting. They didn’t want to be refused. However, he did refuse. He liked his current location.

“Did you want to find me bruised and bloody?”

I gave him the evil eye and a disgusted look. I picked up my ratchet and thought about making him bruised and bloody for worrying me half to death.

What he wanted from the Valarians was currency, enough to set him up for life and allow him to buy or invent the gadgets that his imagination could think up. Figures were thrown out and bantered back and forth over glasses of chilled Muldavian wine, savory Kackus cheese and aromatic Homdolt bread. The Valarians wanted assurances that he would not meddle in their navigational programs which were essential to their economic stability. Daniel wanted to be assured of a market for his future programs. The Valarians were more than willing to take first-right-of-refusal for anything he invented.

There were some small things to iron out – unlimited access to equipment for Daniel’s lab and a free-pass for transportation anywhere, anytime. The dude made out like a bandit and left the Valarians thinking they were getting off cheap. I was not going to let him off so easily.

Cassie was so glad to see him alive that she almost blew a circuit. Daniel immediately scrubbed her memory of the Nano program. Turns out he hadn’t even needed to threaten the Valarians with the NET release. They wanted him, his knowledge, his ability to think outside the box, in short - his brain.

Daniel squatted down beside the Maximum Jacket Driver and put his hand on mine as I worked to lever the gun into its mount. “Aren’t you glad I wasn’t hurt?”

I couldn’t pull my hand away I was balancing an 80lb gun. “Of course, I am. But, do you know what you put me through? I have a very vivid imagination and it went wild when you disappeared.” I finished placing the gun and shoved the lock pin in place. I leaned into him and he put his arm around my shoulders. “I was so worried.”

“I know and I’m sorry.” Daniel squeezed my shoulder. “But, I will make it up to you. How about I treat you to dinner at your place of choice and buy you the biggest box of Muldavian chocolates we can find?”

“You’re not getting off that cheap, but it’s a start.” I picked up my power jack to tighten the bolts on the gun. 
“Get out of my way so I can get this done. I’m hungry.” I wonder if I could negotiate a monthly supply of Muldavian chocolates.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Discovery

I angrily stalked past the Valarian and up to Daniel.

“Hey,” Daniel said. “What’s up?”

I smacked him in the shoulder spilling his drink down his front.

He jumped to his feet knocking over the nail polish in the Valarian’s hand. “What was that for?” He shouted as he wiped at the hot liquid with a napkin.

“For scaring the hell out of me. What’s this all about?”  I waved my hands in the general direction of the three Valarians and his nifty little set up. “You taking a vacation you didn’t tell me about?”

“We’re just finishing up our negotiations.” Daniel smiled at the largest Valarian. “This is Warsy. A-Factor to the Valarian Council. We just struck a deal for my Nano Program.”

“Great,” I huffed. “We thought you had been kidnapped. That you were being tortured. We’ve been hunting for you for days.”

“For days,” Tim echoed sarcastically. He did not have the head of steam I had worked up.

“Sorry,” Daniel apologized. “Good to see you Timothy,” he acknowledged Tim’s presence.

Daniel turned to Warsy. “She is such a drama queen,” he apologized.

Warsy pinwheeled over to the prep unit ordered two steaming mugs and brought them back to Tim and me. “We never hurt,” he informed us. “Rare intellect should not be harmed.”

“Rare intellect my ass,” I said. I slammed the mug down and stalked out the door toward home.

I heard Daniel ask as I left, “What did she want to do, find me on death’s door?”

I heard Tim slurp up a swallow of his hot drink. “It might have been better for you if she had.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Surprise

There were three huge Valarians blocking our view of everything but Daniel’s feet. I recognized his boots. When the one closest to us turned we got a clear view of Daniel. I had expected bruising. I had braced myself for torture and blood. I had never expected anything like this.

Daniel was sitting in a emerald green velvet conform chair. His feet were up. I could see the steam rolling off the top of the mug on the table to his right along with a plate of very tasty looking pastries and chocolates. The Valarian to his left had his hand and was carefully applying polish to this nails. The Valarian to his right was topping off the steaming concoction in his mug and the one that had turned motioned us forward in a friendly fashion.

No restraints. No bruises. No blood. Wait till I get my hands on him. The rotten little puke!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Move!

I could feel something crawling up my ankles, encasing my legs, moving up my thigh. I tried to move, but seemed stuck to the floor. “Tim!”

“Move!” he shouted.

“I can’t.”

I felt his hand grip my arm and then both his hands caught my shoulders and yanked me free. “Move!” He shoved me forward into the black.

I stumbled and found myself stuck again. Tim ran into me.

“Shit!” He thumbed on his light.

I don’t know if it was better to see what was happening or not. The programmable matter had turned into a liquid substance and was oozing up our legs trying to restrict our progress toward the door. It was to my waist and still rising. It looked like I was pulling on a jet black wet suit. Tim was being overtaken too. He was struggling to get something out of his pocket before the matter enclosed it.

“Damn, Damn, Damn it!” He cursed as he fumbled in his pocket. He flipped whatever it was out just as the matter reached the top to seal it off. “Yes!!!” It was some sort of device and he flicked a switch on it with his thumb. The light immediately went out again.

I felt the matter fall uselessly at my feet in a pile. I reached down and tentatively felt something that seemed like a loose drape around my feet.

“What just happened?” I asked. My breath was coming in gasps. I had been so frightened. I could just imagine the matter coming up over my mouth and then my nose and suffocating me. I have a great fear of suffocating. A lot of spacers do.

“It was an EMP pulse,” Tim explained. “Got us out of that, but now we’re back in the dark, our blasters won’t work, our Ears are dead and we are locked in a hallway without a way out." He took a deep ragged breath. "But hey, the matter isn’t trying to make us into mummies anymore.” I could just imagine that roguish grin I love so much plastered across his face in the dark. “Let’s see what we can do.”

I heard him step by me and walk toward the door. I followed the best I could navigating by sound. He must have put his hand up to the door, because amazingly it swooshed open effortlessly. It wasn’t locked. We were immediately bathed in light from inside. It took my eyes a moment to adjust from the pitch black of the hall.

Daniel was there. We had found him.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Pitch Black

We crept quickly through the open port. “We’re in,” Tim announced in a whisper to Sam and Ma-rye-a aboard ship.

“Straight ahead until the first junction and then right,” Ma-rye-a guided us back in her own whisper through our Ears.

We made the turn and immediately the whole tunnel went dark. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

“Shit!” Tim exclaimed just as a soft light came on in his hand. “Hadn’t really expected that.”

“You think they know we are here?” I had reached out when the lights failed and caught hold of his suit. I found myself still clinging to it with a tight fist.

“It’s either good news or bad. Good would be that the lights always go out when the doors close to save energy. Bad news would be we tripped something.” Tim moved ahead. “We’ll know soon enough.”

I let go my death grip on his suit. Sam decided earlier we would be less easily detected if we went in the port in suits rather than in a pod. His reasoning was that small objects are often ignored as space debris and later jettisoned with the regular waste disposal cleanup. We made it in fine, but now we were in the dark.

We edged our way down the hall and took another right per Ma-rye-a’s directions. She was leading us to the point the security system went dark. Dark – good point.

I heard Tim hiss another superlative through his teeth. He came to an abrupt halt.

“What?” I asked straining to see around his bulk in the hallway. Once I saw, I wished I hadn’t tried so hard. Standing in our path, in the light of Tim’s flashlight were two programmable matter guards.

“I think we have the right place,” Tim said and flicked off his light pitching us back into total darkness.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Tim to the Rescue

"Ma-rye-a and I have tracked Daniel to the Northern most tier," Tim announced. The mercenary had managed to fit his imposing size into my pilot's chair upon arrival yesterday and immediately starting tracking Daniel's movements by hacking the Valarian surveillance system. He and Ma-rye-a had been inseparable except for his trips to see Moby in the galley for something to eat. All my crew have been spoiling him since he arrived. They don't have contact with other sentient beings often.

Ma-rye-a was extremely frustrated and anxious due to her lack of memory where Daniel's disappearance was concerned. Tim, not to shabby on a computer himself, had assured her she was not to be blamed and even pointed out the reprogramming in her data line to her. He asked her to help him hack into the Valarian system to locate Daniel.

They found a 'lack' of information in the security system. They tracked it to the smallest tier on the northern end of the Valarian home world. Ma-rye-a found a blank area - totally blank on that level. No security signature, no energy output, everything was masked or buried so deep in the system that it literally did not seem to exist. Tim was sure that was where they were keeping Daniel.

"Now all we have to do is find a way into an area that does not exist," Tim said, as he leaned back in my chair. I was not not sure it was going to hold together much longer. He was putting a strain on its fiber reinforced seams. "Anyone have any idea?" He had called the whole crew together for a brainstorming session.

"I could get you onto that tier if Ma-rye-a can guide you to him," Sam offered. "They are a peaceful race and with the programmable matter they have lulled themselves into a false sense of security."

"If you wear an ear I can direct you as far as where their system goes blank," Ma-rye-a offered. "After that you would be on your own. I'm totally blind in that area."

"Okay, then our main problem is how to get me in without being tracked. I need admittance to the planet without on of those eGO bracelets." Tim's brow furrowed in thought. He stretched out with his hands over his head and his legs spread wide. My pilot's seat groaned in rebellion. "We need a distraction so I can get past the guards in the reception lobby on the GTD level."

"Why not go directly to the top tier?" Sam asked. "I can override one of the entry ports and you can scoot in before they send out the maintenance crew."

"You can do that?" I asked. I had no idea my crew was so devious.

"Sure," Same bragged. You could almost see the smile on his face - if he had a face. "Easy. I just interface with their lock out system and we're in. Like I said, they rely too much on that programmable matter. They should have knowledgeable A.I. like us. We wouldn't let them crack 3su's system so quickly."

I'm going with you," I told Tim.

"Wouldn't have it any other way," he replied. "How soon can you arrange an entry, Sam?"

"Give me an hour or so."

"I'm going to pay Moby a visit. A man shouldn't work on an empty stomach." Tim got to his feet and my chair looked as though it had taken a big sigh of relief. The conform material ballooned up again. Perhaps it did survive several hours of heavy use.

"I have your favorite spacer stew simmering and waiting," Moby piped up.

Time gave my shoulder a squeeze as he passed me. "Comin'?"

In a few," I said. I wanted to have a few words with Cassie before we left. I needed to know we had our own insurance policy in place.

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