Saturday, May 23, 2015

Planet Designation 014.666.2460 - Chapter 5

“Calm down,” Daniel soothed. “I can fix this.”
I thumbed tears from my eyes. I know I looked pitiful. I am not one of those pretty criers. My face gets all blotchy and my eyes turn red.
“How?” I asked in disbelief.
Even though I had total confidence in Daniel I thought it was hopeless. I actually called him because I knew I could not function in my profession without an AI to handle the loading and unloading of cargo. I figured I would have Daniel program me another as soon as possible.
“Every time you come in for maintenance checks I do a backup,” Daniel said with a smile. “I checked the crew a little less than a year ago. He’ll be missing any current memories, but other than that, he’ll be fine.”
“You have a SAM!” I almost shouted with relief.

“What kind of a geeky tech guy would I be without the habit of constantly backing up all systems I have my fingers on?” Daniel grinned at me from his gaming chair across the solar system. “Let me remote link into Ma-rye-a and I can have him uploaded in no time.”
I leaned forward and kissed the screen. “Have I told you lately how great you are?”
“Not near often enough,” Daniel said with a smile. “I need a lot more ego stroking from you, Woman.”

“He lawyered up almost immediately,” Marstead said of the perp they picked up who broke into my ship. “He is tight as a spiral twisting cluster vine. We won’t be getting any information out of him.”
Captain Luchin let Marstead sit in the mirrored room off the interrogation cell. He saw everything.
“I want you to drop anchor and stay here for a while until we can get this figured out,” he advised.
No he wasn’t advising… really Marstead sounded like he was giving orders to his troops.  I don’t take orders well.
“I have a business to carry on with,” I told him. “I can’t be lying in port for weeks. The maintenance on the ship is finished. Sam has been reinstalled, brought up-to-date, and beta tested. I have had my annuals with all the plethora of inoculations. And, I have my jaw mike. Tomorrow morning I am out of here.”
“I don’t think it is safe, 3su,” Marstead stated flatly.
“Well, I will wear my blaster at all time, if that will help ease your worries.”
I really loved Marstead and the fact that, other than my parents, he was one of the few people who loved and cared deeply for me. He also knew me well enough to know that if he pushed any harder I would fly out tonight instead of tomorrow. He backed off.
“Well, you’re still joining me for dinner right?”
“Of course,” I said with a smile. “Carrie would be heartbroken if I didn’t wear that exquisite blue concoction she found for me on the NET for our last night in port.” It was a dress, something I hardly ever wear. It was lovely and it needed showing off. “I’ll see you at six with bells on.” The dress really did have tiny bells all around the hem. I could hardly wait to wear it.

“3su may I talk to you for a moment?” Ma-rye-a asked.
I had just finished the lock down check with Sam upon returning from my evening with Marstead. I was headed for my room to get ready for bed, with my heels in hand. I kicked them off the minute I got on board.
“Sure,” I responded. “I’m just going to get comfy. Can we talk while I do that?”
I tossed my shoes toward the closet and started to slip out of my dress.
“Horus and I did some research while you were out,” Ma-rye-a started. “We obtained the booking records from Captain Luchin’s files.”
“Wait!” I held up a hand. “You hacked the Captain’s NET base?”
Not a legal action on any planet. Not something I would have thought my crew would do without me authorization. Maybe I would have to have Daniel throttle back their thought processors a wee bit. A captain of a ship was responsible for the actions of its AI crew.
“We were in and out in milliseconds,” Horus assured me.
“Left no trace signatures behind,” Ma-rye-a chimed in.
“Sam?” I growled. “Were you in on this too?”
“Just enough to make sure it was done correctly,” he answered with what I thought for sure was a smug attitude.
Meaning he had planned it and gotten around their security. I just shook my head. Nothing to be done for it now but wait and see if Luchin showed up at my bay door with a detachment to arrest me.
“Okay, so what were you all up to?”
“Not all,” Carrie squeaked. “I didn’t have anything to do with it.”
“Well, for once you showed the best sense, Carrie,” I complimented her.
If Carrie and Moby were involved we would have really been in trouble. Neither one of them could handle more than a wardrobe or menu selection.
“Naturally, we overheard the communication from Marstead,” Horus said. “I wondered if they were missing something.”
“And Horus was right, we think,” Ma-rye-a added tentatively.
When neither one spoke up I prodded, “Well?”

“The man who broke into the ship is from a planet in the Mangus system. A native of a planet just a matter of days from Planet Designated 014.666.2460. The planet your parents were on before they were killed at the Arcanian dig.”

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