Friday, March 16, 2018

Part One - Chapter 8 - In the smelly

I stumble in a red rocky landscape. Serious pain around my stomach. The atmosphere is slightly purplish. I’m on Mars. I collapse from the pain, and lay down on the cold soil. “Aaaaaaa” I shout into the bucket-acoustic of my helmet. I’m retching. I spit up black goo. I’m drowning. My spacesuit tears up around my stomach, and a cloud of black, sting-like nanomachines swarms out of me. The stings eat everything around me … Everything … even me.

I awake with tingles in my whole body. The time is 7:15. I hear my heartbeat in my ear. I’m soaked in sweat. My stomach is still hurting.
“Navi! Call Charlotte! I’m feeling sick!” I growl with clenched teeth.
“The commander needs to authorize the call.”
“Don’t give a shit!” My voice cracks from pain.
“I take it as an okay.”
The line beeps a few for a short time. Then the commander speaks up.
“Is everything alright, Mr. Taylor?”
“No. I woke up to horrible pain in my stomach.”
“I put you through to Charlotte.”
“Thank you, Sir.”

After a beep, she answers instantly.
“Hello, Boston. Don’t worry, I’m almost there.”
I count to 15 in myself, then Charlotte enters into my cabin with a white bag on her side. I sit on the edge of my bed, bent by pain.
“It’s okay. I’m here!” she stands in front of me.
She puts her hand on my forehead, then she checks my pulse.

“That was fast!”
“Your nanoprobes sent a signal. I was already on my way when you called.” She checks my eyes with a small flashlight.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Nothing serious. Please lay down.”
I lay down on my bed…
“Will your dad come here?” I ask, ‘cos only my underwear is on me.
“For sure. So stay calm!” She knocks on my chest, then starts pressing my stomach.
“So it hurts here?” She asks, then presses there again.
“Aaah. Yes, there, but now it’s worse.”
“Not a big deal.” She opens her bag, and gets out a small, brown, shiny pill from it. “Chew this, and swallow it with a glass of water.”
“What’s this?”
“Sedative and antacid.”
“What’s the diagnosis, Doctor?”
“Acute reflux, and your blood pressure is really high too. It must be some kind of psychogenic problem… According to what we currently know about you, I guess it’s a post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“Awesome!” I put both of my hands on my head. Then the commander enters the cabin.
“How’s Mr. Taylor doing?” He asks instantly.
“He’ll be okay.” Charlotte answers. “But he might have psychogenic problems.”
“Is he capable of work?”
“It would be justified to give him a medicinal implant, if he gets nausea in the mines, I could intervene from here.”
“Is he capable of work?” The commander repeats the question to emphasize it.
“I won’t let him out in the mines alone today.” Charlotte answers.
“We’re running low on resources seriously. We do need an active shift there today… Looks like I gotta go out.”
Meanwhile, Susan arrived too. Now all three of them stands above my bed, and it’s getting awkward.
“Ben! I heard what happened … You’re alright?” She asks in a worried tone.
“I’m better, thanks.” I sit up, take the pill, and I chew it. “Excuse me, I’d like to drink some water to the pill.” and point to my bathroom.
“Okay, everyone out to the corridor.” Charlotte gives out the order, then she shepherds everyone, and locks them out. I walk to the restroom. No saliva was left in my mouth after the antacid. I open the tap, and sip from my hands.
“Thanks for everything!” I turn back to Charlotte.
“You’ll have the chance to give me gratitudes.” She whispers in my ears.
“Guess I gotta dress up.”
“I see” then she pets my awakening cock through my underwear. “I’ll be waiting outside with the others. Until then, try to take a piss … It’ll help.” She gives me a naughty grin, then she leaves too.

She turns me on, then she sends me to take a pee… Medicoins really know how the male body works … uhh … And how to prank it. I’d like to see her trying to pee with an erect dick. Sitting on the toilet, leaning forward, bending down the tool … although it’s softening fast for a fact.
I put on my overalls. I check if there is a telltale knob down there. Not too flashy. I’m okay. I heading out. But outside there’s no one else, only Susan’s waiting for me.
“Where’re the others?”
“Anton called Charlotte, to discuss today’s work schedules. Until then she trusted me to look after you.” She smiles then digs into my hair. Surprising, but a pleasing gesture.
“And? What’s the plan?”
“I work in the brown department today.”
“The soil enrichment?”
“Bingo!” and a mysterious smile appears on her face.
“It is a cool working place?”
“The smelly?” She laughs “My favorite.”
“Nope… It’s the best, really… I have my shifts there when materials arrive from the mine.”
“So, when the commander is out there… “ I steal the word.
“Smart!” she digs in my hair again. “Believe me, I wasn’t happy when he ordered you to the mines… Logical, from the business perspective, but it’s not good for morale if the boss never leaves the place.”
“Three of you make a really weird family.”
“And how weird four of us will be!” she pinches my face, like some kind of grandma.
The elevator beeps and opens, with father and daughter in it.
“Mr. Taylor!” The commander points at me. “I don’t like to recuse my daughter from her shift because of you. You’ll be on sick-leave while we set your medicine dose.” He points towards my cabin. “Call Charlotte only if you’re not feeling well. Don’t disturb or distract her in her job otherwise.” He points at me again firmly.
“Understood, Sir.”
“It’s almost eight. Everyone go and get to work!”
Behind her dad, Charlotte mimes silently that she’ll call me, and throws a kiss. The commander turns back by instinct, but he misses the scene … just like on our first meeting in my cabin, when Charlotte blew a kiss to me behind his father’s back… Déja Vu… I laugh in myself. The elevator closes, and again I’m left together with Susan.
“Guess I just wait here for Charlotte, to give me my meds.” I’m about to open my cabin door, but Susan suddenly grabs me on my shoulder.
“Nuh-uhhh! Today, you’re mine, my knight!” I look back at her with wide open eyes, what makes her laugh uncontrollably. “It is amazing how easy it is to prank you.” she continues laughing. “But anyway now you’re coming with me!” She adds, then presses the call panel of the elevator.
“Where are we going?”
“Into the smelly!”


Jeeez! … I almost puked myself after the first breath of this pungent smell. I try to breathe through the mouth, but still no good. This is not air, but vaporized shit what we’re breathing now.
“Oh well. There’s a reason I call this place the smelly.” Susan laughs at my grimaces.
“Bleegh… Sick!... How do you survive this?”
“You’ll get used to it in a few minutes. It’s useless to fight against it.”
“Doesn’t this soak into our clothes? Our skin?”
“A thorough shower is highly recommended after this. And clothes are sometimes easier to burn than to wash them out. Especially if we work with thin muck.”
“And you’re saying this is your favorite place?”
“Oooh yes. I've been hiding my little garden here from Anton for years.”
“What garden?”
“Come, take a look!”
She squats, and touches between the floor tiles. She flicks up a plastic slab with her nail, which reveals a trap door. Strong smell of plants comes up.
“Damn Susan! Is this what I think it is?!” I ask in shock.
“A familiar smell?” She asks and winks at me.
“It’s weed.”
“Yep … and what a kind!... Come!”
“Ummmm. I pass. I’ve just got high by this vapor already.” - But of course, it’s not true.
“Hmmm, if you say so.” She’s heading downward on the trap door’s ladder.
“Wait here. I’ll be back in a minute.”

My mobAR notifies me that Charlotte’s calling me. I answer it.
“Hello, Boston! Dad’s just left the airlock. Where are you?”
“Susan brought me down to the smelly.”
“Oh fuck! But you didn’t light it up? Did you?” She asks in a reproachful tone.
“Umm. No?” I reply wonderingly.
“I’m not kidding Boston! Don’t dare to get high today!”
“I wasn’t even thinking about it… I didn’t know what’s down here… None even a minute passed since Susan’s showed me the hidden garden.”
“You two are down in the garden?”
“Nope. She went down the trapdoor alone. I’m waiting for her up here in the corridor.”
“Okay, I’ll be there in a sec. Bye!”
Susan arrives faster, with a packet of marijuana in her hands.
“Well, this gonna make the day.” She says with a grin.
“Charlotte called. She asked us to wait for her here.”
“I heard.” meanwhile she holds the trap door, and softly folds it back to the floor, then she stomps on it. The door clicks, and unites with the floor. Nobody can tell that there is a secret passage here.
“Susan, you’re out of your mind!” I say in honest consternation.
“I take it as a compliment.” she smiles. “But where’s that girl?”
“I’m here.” Charlotte enters from the corner of the corridor. “Wasn’t that better if we come down here after I implant Boston’s medical probes?”
“What’s wrong with this place?” Susan replies with a grin.
“Aside from that this place is full of manure and smells like shit?”
Susan shows Charlotte the packet filled with weed.
“Want some?” and shakes it in front of her eyes.
“Awh god, Susan!” she gives a strict look, then she adds “Of course I do.” and starts laughing.
“Good!” Susan endorses. While I’m just standing, and blinking.


The soil enrichments control room is a one and a half by two meters small, balcony like platform above square shaped tanks filled with brown gunk. The place reminded me of an old TV show, about four jackasses who sneak into an old sewage processing facility, for jumping into tanks like these … just for fun … and for subscribers for sure.

Charlotte sits me down to the only chair in the control room. She pulls up my overalls’ right sleeve, sterilizes my forearm with cotton soaked in alcohol, and with some kind of pistol she shoots a thin, 2 centimeters short capsule under my skin.“That’s it. It’s already in.” She smiles at me proudly. She sprays the wound with some kind of spray, which solidifies to a transparent film.

We three barely fit into the control room. Susan asks for the chair, to roll the funny cigarette on the control panel. Charlotte sits down the floor.
“Go ahead Boston. It’s clean … relatively.” She pats the floor ... So I sit down next to her. She hugs my left arm and gives me a kiss on my face. I’m surprised how much I enjoy this weird family idyll.

“And you really want to smoke that here?” I ask.
“Why?” Susan asks back.
“Isn’t here too much methane to light it?... “ but she just shrugs as an answer.
She pulls a metal lighter from her pocket. She puts the freshly rolled joint into her mouth, lights it up, and takes a deep puff. She coughs, but keeps it down. She passes the cig to Charlotte, who takes a puff with the same routine, as Susan did.

“The meth” coughs “ane” coughs “helps the cig burn” coughs “better” and she exhales the smoke. “This weed is brutal.” she adds.
“Great crop as always.” Susan answers proudly. “But don’t stop the roll. Pass it!
“Boston won’t get some.” Charlotte speaks up definitely.
“I didn’t ask for it.” I answer more definitely.
“You don’t know what you left out of … ” Susan said, and takes the joint back from Charlotte.
“Leave him alone! He gets his drugs too, but not this kind.” while she’s talking, Charlotte’s face sags down, and her olive skin turns pale. Her eyes thin into a line, and she smiles beautifully. She slides down to her back on the floor and enjoys the chill. After two puffs she speaks up again.
“Susan. If you dare to make a move on my sweetheart, I will have Dad thrown you out to space!”
“Dya’ hear this Ben? … She’s jealous … So she loves you.” Susan giggles.
Charlotte pulls me down to the floor, next to herself. Her whole body is heated up.
“Of course I love him, this such a handsome guy.” She pulls me to her mouth and kisses me. “And such an innocent lil’ fool … I love him.” She kisses me multiple times. “Wanna eat him up instantly.” then she bites into my face softly … She’s got damn high is after three humble puffs.
“Don’t devour him … I gotta work with him today!” Susan rebukes. Than Charlotte gets up, and lifts her right forefinger.
“If you even dare to touch him … ” she tries to make a straight face “you’ll be thrown out! Got it?” but she laughs at the end.
“Enough of you stupid slut! Get back to your work already! No more puffs for you!” and snuff the cigarette on the counter with nervous moves.
“Alright, I’m off … If DAN makes French fries, all of them are mine!” She stands up and dusts off her clothes.

She does a few head swings, and straightens out.”If you dare to touch him” she points threateningly at Susan.
“I won’t, obviously. Move along!”
“Kisses, Boston! If you feel anything weird besides the smell of shit, call me instantly. The med-implant is releasing the stuff into you.” Then she heads out with graceful, slow steps on the planks to the exit, like a supermodel.

“Stupid lil’ cunt … “ Susan growls with the cigarette in her mouth, then she lights it again. Takes a deep puff, leans back in the chair, and throws her legs up the panel.
“Does it kick in that hard, or she just can’t take it?” I ask.
“Three puffs like those and you’d jump to dive into one of shit-tanks down there.”
“Whoa! Another Déja Vu.” I stop for a moment.
“Nothing … Just when we were coming here, an old TV show came in my mind about some dumb idiots who dive into thin manure.”
Susan starts to cackle uncontrollably. “Shit Ben. I just visualized it.” she can’t stop laughing. “Imagine, Anton jumps, then he flailing in a tank of shit” she’s shrieking from laughter. “Wheeeee… While the slumps hanging from his afro hair… “ She cackles like she’s about to drown.

I don’t know where to put myself. I’m not in the same dimension with Susan. She’s already jumped into the warp. She takes another big puff, and exhales it slowly. Then some smaller ones. “Shiiiiit sooo gooooood.” For sure, ‘coz she turned pale, and such a relaxed smile got over her face, which is surreal even from her. She flicks the tip of the finished cig from the control room into one of the tanks. “So, breakfast’s done. Let’s get to work!” she takes her legs off the panel, leans forward, taps onto the console, and a quiet roar fills the department.
“Should I know what is your job here?” I ask.
“In the tanks, we enrich different crops’ soil with poop collected from the barn, and minerals from the mines.”
“And what we’re running low on?”
“Almost everything. Nitrogen, carbon, iron. We’re tapping the water from hydroculture for some time. And we’re almost at the point where we have to extract nitrogen from air. And for carbon, we gotta disassemble the neglected structural parts of the station.”
“That’s heavy… How much weight do we lose per day?”
“Nothing on a usual day. But when ships come for goods, we usually load about 2-3 kilotons for cargo.”
“Ohhh… Now I understand why it’s so important to keep the mine going.”
“Still, it’s nothing. Imagine what’s going on on Earth. About 30 million tons of crops are lifted up to space, daily. In 1000 years, they will excavate the whole planet!” She laughs loudly. She has her mind in place, but I can see that she’s really baked.
“Guess you know why I brought you here with me.”
“To not fuck the whole day through with Charlotte?”
“Ohh, that wouldn’t be cool. Not like I envy you or anything, but a zero result shift, could lead to Anton catching you instantly.”
“Talking about the Singularity, then?”
“Bingo. Does the name Karl Livingstone rings any bells for you?”

Boom. Another Déja Vu! But I can’t tell where’s this situation is so familiar.

“Ben? Hello?”
“Oh, sorry. Had a Déja Vu again.”
“You just froze for like 10 seconds. Are you alright?”
“Felt like a moment to me.”
“Hope that the smoke didn’t hit you… “
“Karl Livingstone, the space-billionaire.” I say it aloud.
“Yes. The space-billionaire.” The smile widens on Susan’s face.
“I got a recording from the last minutes of his life… Pretty bizarre, but I’d like you to hear it.”
“Show it to me...”

Friday, March 9, 2018

Part One - Chapter 7 - Hydroculture

The moment we stepped into the elevator, Charlotte started to take her clothes off… I don’t think I’m prude, but this lack of pudency really shocks me.
“What is it? You expected a changing room? I give you a hint, I also don’t have my swimming suit with me.” she slides her panties from her legs to the ground, and steps out of it with a graceful spitz.
“So this is how it works here?”
“This is Eden Boston!” She whispers. She pulls me to herself, and she starts to unzip my overalls. “And what did the first humans wore in the Garden of Eden?”
Uhhh. This girl is eroticism embodied, I almost climax from the touch of her naked skin.
“All the male guests of Eden receive a service like me?” I ask whispering. And then she gently bites in my ear. A sensual thrill runs down on my spine. Then she whispers.
“There’s no such a handsome guy like you on a hundred deserted planets!” then she kisses me passionately.
The lift stops, the door opens. A slightly salty, swampy smell, and warmth flow into the cabin.
“Come” she pulls me out holding my hand.
“And the clothes?”
“The elevator won’t go anywhere. I’ve blocked it.”
After the first step, I felt the warm sand under my feet. Headroom is barely about 5 meters. It’s half-dark, like on a full moon night. We reach the water from about 10 meters away from the elevator. The shore slightly waves. The light’s provided by the ceiling’s pale, deep blue glow.
“Navi! I want a tropical starry night, campfire on the shore, with enchanting music in distance.”
A mind-blowingly idyllic scene appears around us. My heart changes to a rhythmless beat, and I feel that my legs are getting weak. I let go of the girl’s hand.
“Charlotte! This is too much! I can’t…take this all in.”
“Tssss. Close your eyes, and lay on the surface of the water! It’s relaxing.”
I lean back. I feel the world slowly turning around me. As soon as my ears are covered in the water, the sounds changed. The crackling of the campfire, the whirring of the waves, my breathing, and the music fuses into a deep, distant rumbling. I feel as if sinking, and in a moment, I’m falling. My body twitches. I hear Charlotte’s trying to calm me in the distance.
“Tsss. Boston. Breathe slowly.” her beautiful body squats next to me in the barely two feet deep water. She keeps me afloat by holding me at my nape and waist, while I sink fast into the dark well of my mind.

“Ben! Something’s not right!” the voice of a distant familiar voice calls me from nowhere.
“It’s okay! Show me!” I answer her.
“I think it’s bleeding heavily.”
Half of the girl’s face is paralyzed, while the other half is filled with fright. Blood drips from her left nostril, but even worse, her left eye is bloodshot. It’s a stroke.
“We get out to the shore and call the ambulance right now!”
Her whole right side is paralyzed. Panic and fear surround me. The shore is not far, but I have never been a good swimmer, and I have never had to rescue anybody …
“Hang on Christin!”

I wake up in the wet, soft lap of Charlotte. I see the fear on her face what I’ve felt too.
“Jesus Boston, you scared me to death!” and she kisses me on the cheek multiple times.
“What happened?”
“You had some kind of seizure, but your nanoprobes didn’t send any warning.”
“What does that mean?”
“That it isn’t organic, but a neurotic problem. ”
“I experienced something, a flashback … An old memory. From my teens on Earth … I swam together with a girl in the ocean. She got a stroke there in the water. She died in my hands, while I was trying to drag her to the shore.”
“A close relative?”
“She was my first love. Christin.”
“What else do you remember?”
“She had some kind of a brain aneurysm. Since her birth. She had a nanoprobe treatment a few months before her death. They said it’s risk-free …”
“Oh Boston! I’m sorry.” and she kisses me again with tears in her eyes. I hug her from below, and I rest my head between her wet and soft breasts.
“I lost my virginity to her.” I say, sobbing.
“Not the same day, of course. A week before, but on the same beach. We were in the summer camp for Orphans of Boston. We sneaked out every night to make love and swim. It was a big love but sadly short.”
“Oooh Boston. I dunno what to say. I just…”
I don’t want to spoil the night with this. I’ve been waiting for her all day. So I get up, brush her face, look into my eyes and say “I love you Charlotte. You’re smart, beautiful and intemperate.” and I kiss her. She leans back, and pulls me to herself. I feel the fire in her shaking breath, as she spreads her beautiful legs.


Romantic, it is, but I have to admit it, it’s scratchy when you make love in the sand. Charlotte sweeps the sand off her pussy while lying on her side.
“That’s why I wanted you in water, but it wasn’t bad this way either.” She says happily.
She’s a goddess in the light of the campfire. Watching me how I stare at her, and she bites her lip again.
“You could give me 5 minutes to rest. Even I haven’t been eased down.”
“If you stare at me like this, you won’t.” Slightly rotates her waist. “I know the male body well Boston. I know what it can take.” She grins.
“Did you learn about it?” she nods a yes “Did you study medicine?”
“I’m still a medicoine.”
“A med student girl.”
“Awww … that explains this naughty libido.”
“‘Medicoines’ of Earth were famous from their hot blood. They knew and loved the joys of the body.”
“Ohhhh … and how many medicoines you had a chance with?”
“With one for sure.” I push my forehead to hers. “One, who tempted me with the smile of her eyes, while I was bound to the bed.”
“Oh yeah? And what was her name?”
“Come into the water and I’ll tell you.”
The water reaches waist-high within 5 meters from the shore. Charlotte suddenly starts to splash. The cold sends shivers through my heated body.
“Just you wait!” I reciprocate the splashing fast and with big force. It’s an interesting experience to play with water in 0.3 G. It’s easier. Goes farther in bigger drops. Like on a slow-motion footage. Charlotte’s body is astonishing in this surreal, slowed down shower. The chill of the 24° Celsius water makes her nipples perky. I catch her from the front and I grab her tits. She grabs my waist with her legs, and my neck with her hands. Then she descends on me.
“North Carolinaaaaaah.” I whisper in her ear.


“Oh fuck! Oh fuck!” she moaned this and similar things before she climaxed, but this is not the same. “Dad’s calling! Fuck!”
Charlotte’s pussy clenches around my cock. I cum in her from surprise.
“Ooooh daaaaaamn!” I mumble on a stuttering tone.
“What?” she asks with a stinging gaze.
“Nothing” I look down to our groins forged together in the water. I’m still twitching from the ejaculation.
“Ooooh!” She lifts her eyebrow. “Did you cum in me?! … Like now?” then she smiles “It’s okay! It happens sometimes.” She says in a sweet tone, and kisses me on my mouth. “But shut up now! I’m making a call.”
She changes to her good girl tone.

“Hello, Dad?” I can’t hear the voice of the commander. I can only guess what he says from the other side of the line. “At Hydroculture. We came to swim a bit.” … “Yeah, she’s here too.” … “Swimming.” … “Me? At the shore.” … “No, I dunno what happened to the elevator.” Then she lifts her thumb to her ears, and mouth of articulated ‘Call Susan, now!’

She gets off me, then points me towards the shore, out of her hearing range.

“Navi! Call Susan.” I whisper and I hear the phone buzzing. - pick it up, pick it up! - it connects after the sixth ring.
“Hello Ben. I’m just getting ready to sleep. Is everything alright?”
“Well, uhhh, how should I say…”
“Get to point son, don’t beat around the bush.”
“The commander called Charlotte, while we was in the water having uhhh…”
“Yeah, that.” I hear that she laughs softly and I feel that I blush.
“Has Charlotte blocked the elevator?” Susan asks.
“Yeah, I think. It’s here with open doors.”
“Smart. She’ve learned it from me.” and she laughs again. “Hold the line, I’ll text her.”
And then silence for half a minute.
“Oooh yes. Told you she’s a smart gal! … Now I gotta get to you faster than Anton … What do you think, can you swim 300 meters in 4 minutes?”
“Never mind. Start swimming in the rotation direction. There’s a bulkhead halfway there, then colder water. It wouldn’t be bad if it will make your tool shrink a bit, in this case.” she laughs.
“Where’s the direction of rotation?”
“The way the currents flow on the surface. To the left from the elevator.”
“Thanks Susan. I’m off to swim!” And I hang up. “Navi! Start a timer! Now.” and the counter starts. From left to the elevator, next to the wall, the sand ends after 40 meters, then rapidly deepening water comes. There is no handrail on the wall. There’s no choice, gotta swim from here.
My legs can’t reach the bottom, It bothers me. Also that I’m swimming along the curvature of the station in the dark. The mobAR outlines the edges of the structure.
I swim in on the left side of a huge spinning ring-shaped pool, 200 meters in radius, 20 meters deep and 50 meters wide. I look back and see that the beach is a tricky, about 100 x 20 meters big, half submerged bedside platform. It would’ve been a perfect space luxury resort. The fish farm’s technical equipment is indicated 10 meters deep. The ring pool is split into four section along the elevator axis. This is the tropical section. The next one where I swim to is the freshwater one, about 14 degrees cold. The other two are the arctic ones, 4 degrees, and the fluvial, 9 degrees cold. The timer is around 3 minutes, when I reach the watershed wall. A 30 centimeters tall bulkhead rising out from the water. I pull myself up. I reach into the water of the other side. Brrr. 14 degrees. This is a cold one! Susan’s calling. I answer the call.

“What’s up?” she asks.
“I’m agonizing at the watershed at the moment.”
“Son, if you’re this slow, wait for me where you are. I’m at the shore. I get in the water and I swim to you.”
I wait for her on the freshwater side. 14 degrees. If you’re swimming around you can get used to it. Timer’s around 5:10, when I see Susan swimming toward me.

“Put this on Casanova!” she says quietly, when she arrives at the wall, and hands me a white underpants. “Anton doesn’t value the Edenian dress code.” She giggles quietly. She also wears undies, fortunately.
“So, we’re swimming then?”
“Let’s swim!” I answer relieved after struggling to put on the underwear.
The 24 Celsius warm sea feels like a thermal bath after the freshwater section. Susan takes lead farther from the watershed. She’s a way better swimmer than I. May she can drag me to the shore if I run out of juice, I hope.
“What’s up champ? You’re out of breath?”
“This is not my sport.”

The way back against the current was quite challenging for me. I struggled out to the shore by backstroke in the last 100 meters. The commander and Charlotte sit around the fire. Susan just exhaled when she gets to the shore, while I’m panting like someone who ran a marathon. 10:22, timer stops.

“Ooooh damn!” I turn on to my belly on the shore.
Dad and his daughter have a good laugh on me.
“I was afraid that I had to save him out.” Susan laughs too.
“Water is not a friendly environment for an astronaut.” I mumble with my face in the sand.
“You see? Told you to not swim in that far with her. But you had to show off.” Charlotte says while laughs.
“Join us around the fire, astronaut!” The commander invites.
“Just a sec. I gotta catch my breath.”

Friday, March 2, 2018

Part One - Chapter 6 - “Long line of screw-ups”

DAN serves a golden soup, with slightly brown poultry meat, carrot, and some pasta. Hot. Just what I wanted.

“It looks great DAN! What’s this?”
“Chicken soup á la Újházi, Sir. Hungarian cuisine. Would like some hot green pepper for it?”

I taste the soup. Savory, full of meat, salty, divine. It cleans my clogged nose instantly.

“Hmmmm … Hot pepper goes well with it … bring some please!”
“And a small glass of palinka?” Susan speaks up. “I’ll pay this one.”

The commander’s face hardens just like yesterday, when I brought up the topic of wines. He lets go of his spoon. Puts his hands into fists, and puts them next to his plate.

“May I?” I ask the old man with an unsure tone.
“Oh come on Anton! It’s medicine in moderation!” Susan argues.
“When do you ever drink in moderation?” The commander slaps on the table.
“Why the hell are you always so parentallistic Dallas!” Susan lifts up her voice “You should ask for a glass of it too, it’d help you relax!”

Looks like a storm is going through the face of the old man. But his self-control wins.

“DAN! Bring four shots of palinka! Susan pays the bill.”
“Yes, Sir.”
“And that’s all for today. No revels like yesterday!”

Meanwhile I look at Charlotte, who hasn’t said a word since I’ve been here. Just a simple ‘Hi!’ when we arrived with Susan … Not a kiss, or anything … She hasn’t even looked into my eyes. I hope she’s like this because of her father, not because of our last night.

DAN serves the shots almost instantly. Surprisingly effective this robot’s.

“Who says a toast tonight?” Susan asks.
“I think we overtalked this palinka MISS Klein!” he strongly emphasizes the word ‘miss’. Susan gets on her feet so fast, that I thought she was going to slap in the old man’s face … but the smack is called of. The commander lifts up his index finger threateningly.

“We don’t need a scene. Sit down and eat!”
“Cheers, and Screw you!” Susan taps her shot glass on the table, after she chugs it in one go. She sits down, and awkward silence ensues.

I scan Charlotte’s face with the shot glass in my hand. She tries to survive the brawl of the titans with a retracted neck, but finally she looks at me. I lift my glass a bit, and she gives me a small smile … Finally … She lifts her glass too, then she chugs it in one go … Cute … She grimaces from the strong drink, like last night, but a spoon of the warm soup gives a fast relief.

Hot soup, spirit, and hot paprika is an interesting combination. I feel my stomach like a warm expanse inside me. Pleasant and prickly. By the time I reach the end of my meal, the fighting spirit dissipates as if it never were

“What happened with the 2148 Singularity?” The question has just popped out from me. I don’t even know from where.
“Hmmm?” The commander looks at me wondering the broken silence.
“If it was born in 2148, where is it now?”
“Nowhere. We’ve eliminated it.” He answers, and he stoops above his plate, but Susan joins.
“When they got notified, the UN Space Security Council ordered the extermination of the Singularity immediately.”
“Was that a serious fight?”
“No. It was complicated instead … The Singularity did not attack at all. It didn’t produce any combat units, its strategy was simple continuous retreat, escaping from the inner system … We set up our first camp out here in the Oort cloud while we were chasing after them.”
“And how do we know that none of the machines escaped?”
“We don’t know…” Susan answers.
“So that means that they may have reached a neighboring system, and the Singularity could be growing undisturbed?”
“This is just speculation!” The commander lifts up his voice.
“But it cannot be excluded.” Susan approves me.
“If this is right, they are not any threat to us.” The commander buries himself back into his plate.
“Why wouldn’t they be?!” I riposte. “Even if they don’t fight back against us, they could still steal the opportunity of expansion in the Galaxy from us.”
“Or we must learn to live together with them.” Susan adds.
“Only if they are willing to live together with us.” Charlotte takes over. “They remember us from 2148 for sure…“ this is her first sentence during this dinner, and as I see Susan’s a little bit surprised by her.
“We were not equal parties back then.” she answers.
“Why? ‘Coz if we’ll meet them after a few hundred years, could we be equal parties?” Charlotte clasps her arms together. “If the Singularity still exists, they are probably more advanced than we will ever be.”
“Now it comes to mind.” I interrupt “I already wanted to ask it yesterday: How far have today’s pioneers got?”
The commander replies
“No living man has ever gone farther than 2000 units from the Sun.”
“Why? We haven’t built any starships in 250 years?”
“There were a few private companies who sold tickets for trips like this, but they just collected the money and disappeared. Meanwhile China was never interested in interstellar expeditions.”
“Then? … We got stuck here?”
“The Oort cloud is 99.8% untapped. It would only be worth going farther if there were a habitable planet … but there isn’t within 100 light years.”
“What about terraforming?”
“If we couldn’t make it on Mars, what are the odds in another system light years farther?”
“Don’t tell me that we’ve also given up terraforming Mars!”
“Without magnetic shield we can’t enrich a stable atmosphere on it. Solar wind blows it all away. Not even the Great Machine of China could find a suitable solution, so it considered the project too expensive, not sustainable … so yes … we gave it up”
“We can bring back a human from death, but to revive a billion years dead planet is a task too big for us. We are not gods.” Charlotte ends the topic, and the awkward silence is back again.

DAN serves the second course. Another good dish of the Hungarian cuisine, chicken paprikash with dumplings, with pickle salad. Outstanding.

“And how was it born?” I end the silence again.
“What?” Susan asks.
“The Singularity. How did its genesis occur.”
“Nobody knows. Lot of theories are floated around to this day.”
“What kind?”
“Basically there are two factions. According to one, there was some kind of conspiracy behind. And the other camp finds it was just a random coincidence.”
“Which fraction you belong to?” I ask Susan.
“Neither version can be excluded … It’s like a Rorschach’s test … Who sees what according to their personal tastes … One thing’s sure, that it could not have been occured without long lines of screw-ups. Are you Interested in some reading?”
“Of course!”

Susan gives a web panel to me.

DSS Olympos, the biggest cruiser of Deep Space Line Corp. sent a high priority distress signal at 23:40 UTC 23:40 04/15/2112

The spokesman of Deep Space Line Corp. stated that every fifth Earth-Mars flight reports damage from micrometeorite impacts. While it does not mean harm to the ships self regenerating carbon hull, the small space rocks hitting through the cabins were responsible for hundreds of injuries, causing 23 deaths. This is a small number compared to 3.5 million passengers who are transported safely in the last 25 years.

But according to incoming news, now a bigger threat is about to rise out there. The DSS Olympos was at the end of the accelerating phase, when suddenly both fusion reactors developed a leak and shut down. Currently the whole ship is running on batteries. The stored power won’t be enough for braking maneuvers, or even for the life support of about the 15 thousand people on board.

Article is being updated frequently.

16/04/2112 UTC 03:14

According to our information, repairs on a leaking fusion reactor take about 2 weeks, even in a space dock. Where they dismantle the active shell of the reactor’s torus, and swap out the damaged parts of the inner layers. Repairing during a deep space cruise is impossible. That’s why there are at least two reactors on a deep space cruiser. But for now, every soul on board depends only on the batteries until rescue.

Space industry companies are standing in line to offer their help. Current information says that a Chinese company, Taikong Dyanti’s ship called Da’Yu could pick up DSS Olympos the earliest, in about 11 days.

We asked life support system specialist Miss Julie Kiss, that the DSS Olympos batteries do have enough charge to keep the passengers alive for 11 days.

According to my fast calculations, if all passengers will crowd together on lower decks of the ship, then a lot of charge can be saved from heating. But oxygen and water recovery are constant costs, and I don’t think that there is enough charge to support more than 5 thousand people’s minimum needs for 11 days. The captain of Olympos has a hard decision to make.

Surely, this is the most dramatic emergency of the space age.

16/04/2112 UTC 12:20

We publish the suicide note of captain Katrina Rai, without modification:

I feel that I was one of the luckiest human beings who ever lived in this world. I dreamt about space as a little girl, and when I was 70, I was asked to be the captain of the biggest deep space cruiser in the Solar System.

Life gave me a lot, and now it puts me in front of a challenge, that I couldn’t have ever prepared for, not even by 40 years of deep space service.

I ordered the on-board computer to direct every passenger from below deck 6 downwards to the two lowest decks. Then lock them out of the other parts of the ship.

I also ordered that from deck 6 and above, including the bridge, decrease pressure with 0.1 bar per hour. After 6 hours everyone on these decks will have fallen asleep due to the lack of oxygen, and will be dead after 10 hours, including me.

I have a message to all mankind: Don’t come to halt after this tragedy. We have a place amongst stars.

Katrina Rai, Captain of DSS Olympos.

P.S.: May I ask to have future deep space cruisers built with 3 reactors in a triangular arrangement, so that a single rock speeding through space cant take them all out at once?

“Ahhww … We learned about this catastrophe, but without this much detail.”
“I guess … And about the virus named after it, the Olympos Trojan?”
“I remember something about that too. It was used in the space war of 2114 to hack ships with fission reactors into becoming nuclear warheads. But I didn’t know that the trojan got its name from this ship.”
“Because back then it wasn’t public outside certain circles. But today it’s a well-known fact … Read this!” She hands me a folded file. Inside is a corporate work document.


Special mod for inner kernel

Urgency: IMMINENT!

Encryption level: HIGHEST!

Date: 01/04/2122 UTC 10:15


Boss’ orders! Throw away all jobs, and add this module instantly to the inner kernel. Even to older projects, retroactively.

qfile: olympostrojan.afterwar.mod

size: 2187 qb


10:31 ckrammer: I hope this is only an April Fools joke :D

10:32 vlakatos: Could be good, but it is not.

10:33 ckrammer: Oh crap! Going to you now.

10:33 vlakatos: Stay. The Big Boss is heading to you to give a fast briefing.

10:33 ckrammer: Don’t fuck with me! If he’s not here in 10 mins, I’ll beat the shit out your head :P

11:41 ckrammer: Huhhh … No … this is bullshit! … I’m thinking on quitting. I won’t take part in this!

13:51 vlakatos: Guess you found out it’s not how it works. These guys are not playing on our level. If you stooge about this, you end up in a body bag the next day. Clench your ass and do it!

13:52 ckrammer: You think they are watching us?

13:53 vlakatos: What do you think?

16:14 ckrammer: I’ve done the first test integration. This code is tricky beast. If it wasn’t installed by me, I’d never found it. Looks like someone developed a lot on the original Olympos Trojan … But fuck, this is insane! 20 million victims wasn’t enough? Do you remember the ticks?! What other nightmares they want to hack into those machines?

16:20 vlakatos: They are megalomaniac assholes. Imagine the daddy, rich as fuck, and wanna save the life of his lil’ diamond, if another DSS Olympos incident happens? They needed the trojan for this back then, and today too. A poor no-one spaceship captain makes decisions what they cannot overwrite remotely? …

16:22 ckrammer: It doesn’t disturb them, that all space gadgets could turn into nukes again?

16:23 vlakatos: There are a thousand ways to kill. The space war would break out the same way without the Trojan and the ticks too.

“Now I know what you meant by ‘long line of screw-ups’ … we learnt that the trojan was designed directly as a weapon … but this? … a few years after the space-war the Caarborn company decided to reinstall it into their machines??! … It’s insane.”
“It is!”
“Ehh… The spacesuit, that you found me in, what brand it had?”
“Caarborn of course.” Susan answered with a wide smile.
“Then it means it could have the trojan in it too?”
“Maybe. Tonight we’ll find out.”
“‘Coz today the machine either boots up finally, or I’ll just give up and consider it dead.”
“May I see it? … Maybe I can help.”
“Not a bad idea!”
“It’s better when you’re doing nerdy things than drinking all night.” The commander replies.
“Charlotte?” Susan turns towards the girl.
“Yeah, let’s go nerding!” she says with glittering eyes, and she bites her lower lip the same way as yesterday. - Uh oh!


“If you wouldn’t get a leak, you’d started to decay in a few hours.” Charlotte points at the about 2 centimetres loose hole around the space suit’s waist. “As I know these old models didn’t depressurize after the user’s death, even though they could’ve easily spared the rescue teams from a lot of disgusting scenes this way. Once I saw a picture of a 4 months old space-corpse … ewww … When they brought you in I was afraid that you’ll look the same … But I got lucky with you.” She smiles.
“Do you know what hit me?”
“Something hot. Your suit and your body got charred around the hole.”
“So it wasn’t a micrometeor…”
“Likely not. Something exploded near you. The suit has multiple microscopic holes too, that also points to an explosion.”

“To hell with that!” Susan slams the table in anger, but she has just started to tinker around with the on-board computer about 5 minutes ago. Now she’s elbowing on her workbench, fully packed with electrotechnical gadgets, like voltage tester, wired and wireless multimeters, soldering station, and God knows what else.

“If only I had a manual for this … What format did they use? Because of this cyclic noise that it broadcasts … must be some kind of picture, but I dunno how should I decode it.”
“As I remember they used wireless MPEG compressions … Stereo visuals and audio.”
“MPEG? … This isn’t fractallic? … Ooooh. How old-school … Navi! Can we decode mpeg?” She holds her breath for a few seconds. “Tadaaaa! Thanks Navi!” she gets on her feet and starts jumping in joy. “Woohoo, I’m a genius! We got visual! Thanks for the tip, Ben!”
“Will you share what you see?” Charlotte says.
“Yeah, of course!”

A panel shows up, with optically distorted stereo picture. On a purple background, there’s yellow tinted text with black outlines, saying:

PARS 3.12LTS, and right after it, it prints in red:
Loading init sequence failed. Restarts in 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 then darkness, purple background again, and it says a PARS 3.12LTS again, then the error message appears, and it repeats.

“Well, we didn’t go far with this.” Charlotte diagnoses.
“Oh, do we? It took me almost two weeks to map and patch up the hardware… I guess it could’ve been much easier to emulate it, but it was far more exciting this way.”
“So, does it work?” I ask.
“The machine yes, but the software is broken badly.”
“Can it be fixed?”
“Maybe if I’d have the original source code of PARS 3.12LTS. About 260 years old code. I think we’d have a hard time to find this source on Earth … not mention what’s here, at the edge of the world … “
“Then what?”
“I’ll message an old friend on Earth … maybe … But it takes 11 days to reply, even if he answers instantly … Until then I order Navi to work on this with all available capacity. We could go somewhere with simple tries. Mostly by emulating on multiple threads, with smart heuristics and backtracking from dead ends.”
“Uh-huh. It sounds all Chinese for me.”
Charlotte and Susan start to laugh on this at the same time.
“Awwwh come on! Did I said something funny?” I ask in a huffish tone.
“Since the USA is gone, the language of the global civilization is not English anymore.” Susan explains.
“‘Cos Mandarin Chinese it is.” Charlotte finishes the sentence.
“So the language what everyone speaks now is Chinese?”
“Everyone, but Anton.” Susan says while laughing “He hates the them by heart. But that will be the real trouble if we don’t have their forces here … Seems like he forgot the good ol’ days, when space pirates and other kind of gangsters used to get knocked at the airlock once in every month.”
“Dad said it was more cheaper than the government’s taxes.”
“Nah! Your dad and his nostalgia … I’d see what he’ll do when a bunch of space assholes taste his daughter’s bloomy pussy with same hunger and regularity as they used to do with cold storage.”
Charlotte starts to laugh with her mouth full.
“Don’t grin lil’ girl! It’s not that great when a gang of drunk-ass space junks bang theirs dirty dicks in ya at once on every hole ya have!” but she just starts to bite her lower lip, and even her ears go all red.
“Awwwh you lil’ slut! Don’t tell me that you got this horny by that?!”
“What if I did?”
“Can’t believe how much of your mom’s blood is in you! … Ben, please take her to bed, or she’ll rape you here, in front of my eyes.”

I watch the scene of the two women with wide open eyes and dropped jaw … Meanwhile buzzing starts in my pants beyond anything I’ve ever felt before.

“Your bed, or mine?” I ask Charlotte in a shaking tone.
“Today I want you in water! Go to the Hydroculture!”

Friday, February 23, 2018

Part One - Chapter 5 - Cryo

“Hi Ben!” How was your first day at the office?” Susan greets me with her usual cheer at the docks entrance.
“The job was boring, but at least Navi made my day.”
“Virtual time killing, eh, Ben? … Weren’t you naughty?!”
She winks at me with a playful smile.
“If you mean ‘that’ naughty, I wasn’t.”
“What do you think I meant?” She laughs. “Don’t take it so seriously, sonny. It’s not good on you!” She’s still laughing. “Ready to go?” she points at the elevator.
“To my cabin?”
“Of course.”
“Can’t we go to someplace better?”
“You think my cabin is better?”
“Isn’t it?”
“Sure it is.” She’s starting to laugh again “But I haven’t prepared for a guest.”
“Then what?”
“Hmm … thinking … How can you stand the cold?”
“I’m an astronaut, so I think I can take it pretty well.”
“The go to the Cryo! There’s something there that fits into our topic.”


The elevator door opens into an lobby at the cold storage’s floor. The usual white walls, with two massive metal doors ahead. Between the doors there are black fur coats hanging on the wall, with pairs of boots under them.

“There’s a pleasant -25° Celsius in the cryo.” Susan preens herself while she’s putting on one of the fur coats.
“Yeah, like a hot summer day … on Mars.”
“Have you been to Mars?”
“Not sure, but I feel like … Has the climate improved there?
“We ain't improved shit there, son.”

I'm suiting up too. The boots are 4 sizes bigger, it’s about a strong size 14. I guess it’s the commander’s. Just like this coat, because about 5 centimeters of it dangled down.

“Should I just drag this on the floor?”
“You can even mop up the whole Cryo, if you like to. Anton comes here only once a year. He can’t stand the cold.” Meanwhile, she measures the last coat on the hanger. “Or you can put on Charlotte’s … but from the looks, it is a bit tight for you.”
“This long one is okay.”
“Of course it is. Just don’t forget to put the hoodie on if you don’t want your ears to be freezed and broken while we’ll be in there a long time.”
“Can’t wait!”
“So can I!” She throws a scaringly wide smile at me, then opens up the cryo with a definite move. “Abandon every hope, ye who enter here!” She ushers me in.
“Lady’s first. Right after you, Susan.”

The cryo is a 200 square meters big deep freeze storage. Plastic shelves stacked up from the floor to ceiling, with thematically ordered goods by rows. Mostly mirelite veggies, some ice cream, and bottles filled with some kind of black liquid. Every product has the logo of Southfork on it. The letters S and F are in a circle, meeting diagonally with each other. What a simple design for such a quality.

On the last shelf, there are ice statues lining up under glass bells. Not ice, more like snow statues, with such a crumbly surface that if I breathe on them, they will fall apart immediately.

“These were carved from ice brought from the rings of Saturn. Carefully chosen material. True rarities. There are very few ice ring-shards, what can withstand 1G of gravity without shattering under its own weight.” Susan explains.
“Wow, how bourgeois! … Hard to believe!”

There are all kinds of statues here. Deers, antique statue groups, and here’s a bonsai tree with its leaves carved one by one. - What a shitload of bourgeoisness. - Now I stand before a bust of a flat-faced, baggy-eyed guy.

“He’s familiar.”
“Really?” Susan’s eyes brighten up. “What can you remember of him?”
“Well … He was tech guru at the 21st century. His name was uhh … Mask or something?”
“Yeah yeah! Elon Musk.”
“Right! Go on. What else can you remember?” Susan smiles widely. I clench my eyes to concentrate. “No. Don’t exert yourself Ben! The fighting conscious suppresses the unconscious, where your memories are hiding … Relax … Just let it go …”

I take a deep breath, then exhale. My breath in this cold is as thick as if I were smoking crack.

“Elon Musk. Founder of SpaceX. He was the lead pioneer of the USA’s space industry. SpaceX took people to the Mars for the first time. They were the first to mine on asteroids. And they built the first space elevator too.” I recite, as if repeating a history lesson. Meanwhile I find another familiar face among the statues.

“Ooh! I know him too …” I point at a wrinkly, long nosed, pointy chinned character with curly hair on the sides, and bald on the top of his head. “… but something tells me that I don’t like this guy.”
“Go on.”
“Some kind of sect comes in my mind, what worshipped his face and name. He had a sort of German name. Eismann?” Than she starts laughing at me.
“Sorry Ben … I’m not laughing at you.” But she’s still laughing “But still … like I’m not laughing AT you, just … Aaaah! Sigmund Freud would love this one for sure … But don’t take this on you! … For real! … This was cute.”
“That your mind did wash the words together. Eis means ice in German.” she laughs “And we’re here in a fridge. I liked this one…” she laughs louder “ … but this man’s name is not ice, but rock.”
“Stein? … Steinmann? Oh right! Frederick Steinmann!
“That’s right!” she snaps with her finger “And the sect?”
“The steinmannists … and I feel I hated them.”
“Who likes a cult besides its members?” she’s still laughing. “So this means that you were not a member.” she pokes me on the chest.
“Or maybe I was, but they banned me.”
“Ohh … did it happen?” she gives me a questioning look.
“I dunno.”
“What else do you know about Steinmann?”
“He was a scientist. The Einstein of the 21st century.”
“Or Einstein was the Steinmann of the 20th century?” Susan’s on fire, when she’s laughing at her own joke. “But while Einstein was a theoretical physicist, Steinmann was experimental … I have a record of a TV show from 2075, which he starred in. I think it’s worth to watching it now!”

She swipes her index finger on his palm, and she pops up a 2 meters big TV screen on the opposite shelves. On it there’s a silly-faced guy with glasses sitting in front of a plastic table, in an abstract colorful studio made out geometrical shapes. The text on the bottom of the screen says: Entertainment Tonight Show 10/10/2075

“Who the hell is this?” I ask.
“Ray Burst. A mediocre comedian … Had not even hosted the show for a year … But he is irrelevant for us … Watch this.” She taps her palm, and the show starts.

Ray Burst: Our next guest on the show is the most significant scientist of our age, winner of multiple Nobel Awards, Frederick Steinmann! Hello Frederick!

Frederick Steinmann: Hello Ray! Thanks for having me.

Ray Burst: I guess the name Peter Bishop rings a bell for you.

Frederick Steinmann: The famous comedian, who worked with us as an intern at the MIT nanotech lab back then?

Ray Burst: Yes, him. He’s also here with us live on air. Hello Peter!

Peter Bishop: Hi there. Long live your name Professor Steinmann! [laughs]

[a small crowd laughs in the background of the live feed]

Ray Burst: Frederick? What do you think about this worshipping crowd of yours?

Frederick Steinmann: How do I feel about that millions have declared me a god? … Well, I was smiling on it too, while this was just humble joke at the campus.

Peter Bishop: Well, it’s a long story … Back then I was the easygoing talky dude of the lab, so I was assigned to be their spokesman, to communicate with all not science-related presses and organizations. This role did fit me well, but I just couldn't handle the mails from religious fanatics that said: “Creating life from nothing can only be achieved by God, what you do in your godless labs is blasphemy.” and the other similar stuff, which came in on a daily basis. I answered these for a while, that the world-egg cannot be called life … vainly … Later, during a team building party, a drunk group of labrats made me answer a fanatic mail with their own logic.

Ray Burst: So?

Peter Bishop: So. If only God can create life from nothing, and when professor Steinmann constructed the world-egg then he created life from nonliving matter, that leads to one and only conclusion; professor Steinmann is a living God.

Ray Burst: Ahhh, and he’s jewish too! [laughs]

Peter Bishop: Of course he’s jewish. If he wasn’t kosher, no one would believe in him! [laughs]

Frederick Steinmann: I never thought about this that way…

[everyone laughs]

Ray Burst: Jesus … this is damn good … I teared up … well … so … what did they replied to the mail?

Peter Bishop: Just the usual. They gave us life threats, and so on … Fanatics don’t have a sense of humor, but this mail went viral on the web. It even achieved the Trolling of the Year award in 2055.

Susan stops the show.

“This Ray Burst guy is a dick, and Peter Bishop is an ass … His name was familiar, but his face isn’t.”
“He had a serious drone accident later on. He hadn't showed up in public after that. We don’t know much about his old age.” Now I see a shade of sadness on Susan’s face for the first time … Maybe she secretly hoped, that I hold memories from the old Peter Bishop?
“And the world-egg is supposed to be the first fullerene replicator?” I ask.
“Yes. It was successfully created in 2048. Exactly one hundred years before the Singularity … I have an original article about it. Are you interested?”

Susan hands me a classic web panel. On it there’s an archived webpage dating back 60 years before my birth … a 340 years old web article … You can’t even imagine how long time this is … A long sequence of lives.

SRFA the greatest invention since the transistor


Leader of MIT’s nanotechnological research department Frederick Steinmann and his team, more than a hundred top researchers sweeped in three Nobel Awards, for building the first fullerene-based nanomachine capable of self-replication.

The Chemistry, Physics and Medicine Nobel award-winning invention is called out by the scientifical public life, as the biggest breakthrough of the last 100 years, referring to the 100 year old invention; the transistor, invented in 1948.

But while the transistor’s real substantiality had not become obvious for decades back then, now the SRFA - Self Replicating Fullerene Assembler - or as it called by the MIT laboratory technicians; the “world-egg” starts an instant technological revolution.

What else can show the important of this breakthrough, that it took 20 years and 23 billion dollars, which was mostly financed by private companies. Beyond pharmaceutical industry, what already use the nanotechs in successful practices, MIT’s world-egg opens up new possibilities for industries like microelectronics, construction, mining, and the ever-growing space industry.

Most of the project’s investments went into quantum computers R&D. Without it we never could find out the structure of about 42 thousand carbon atoms, which can create its exact replica with product and modulate of fullerene filaments.

Researchers say that the technology is completely safe. We do not have to worry that “nanomachines will eat up our world”.

An SRFA nanomachine is only capable of self reproduction within special circumstances. This complex process can be done within a high purity gaseous carbon atmosphere, heated up to 5000 degrees, and with programs loaded into the molecular apparatus's appropriate contact points. Under natural circumstances, the SRFA remains inactive.

Until today, it took months to construct a nanomachine that capable of production of fullerenes, and the minimum of 30 million dollars. But from now, an SRFA can produce another SRFA in every 15 seconds, almost for free. The technological potential of this is basically endless. From the cure of cancer, to the cell level regeneration, from artificial intelligence to programmable materials, from space elevators to starships, all of our dreams are within reach.

“Nice! And this world-egg is still the mother of all nanotech?”
“Yes. Everything comes out from that … Nanoprobes, self repairing carbon, computers, robots, ships, space elevators, and stations, even Southfork itself too … all the gadgets of our modern world.”
“Woah. The old man made something imperishable.”
“Looks like. But the show’s not finished yet. Let’ continue!” She taps her palm, and the show goes on.

Ray Burst: Not even a meme lived 20 years, but the “Frederick Steinmann is a Living God” meme is still very active. Millions of followers, and counting. People have founded churches with less followers. Why have you not?

Peter Bishop: We tried, but the court always boo us down with the reasoning that we’d recognize a living human as a God.

Frederick Steinmann: Not to mention that the court even asked me if I were thinking of myself as a God…

Ray Burst: How does this work, Peter? A God calls out that he is not a God, while a God should be infallible? … I feel some disturbance in the Force.

Peter Bishop: To err is human [laughs] And Star Wars is just a tale.

Ray Burst: Coz’ Star Trek is reality?

Peter Bishop: Nope. Star Trek is bullshit too. [laughs] What happens here is more exciting than any sci-fi. Humanity instead of moving out to space as fragile biological creatures, we create a very new artificial life form, whose natural habitat is space… And the living God of this new life is professor Steinmann.

Ray Burst: Decide that already if self reproductive nanotechnology is life or not! You said that it is not 20 years ago… What do we expect from life, to call it alive?

Frederick Steinmann: Life is self-supporting system in natural conditions. It is capable of nutrition, metabolism, growth and self reproduction. From these, the world-egg can only reproduce itself. And only in such extreme conditions, that can only be done in an artificial environment.

Peter Bishop: The inside of a cell core is also a circumstance, what can never be found in nature, if life would not exist. If I know this right, professor, Beijing is working hard on something like this?

Frederick Steinmann: Not only Beijing. We've gone through our first successful germination at MIT.

Ray Burst: Frederick, would you please explain how’s this germination work?

Frederick Steinmann: The germ is a capsule about 2x2x5 centimeters big. About the size of a fountain pen’s cap. A fullerene cable is running into this, some 1.5 centimeters in diameter, what we like to call as “vein”. This vein carries the energy the mater and the information to the 10 thousand fullerene replicators inside the germ to produce more fullerene veins, or any other fullerene based features that it can push out the its elastic opening. Including even other germs, capable of growing new sprouts.

Ray Burst: Sounds like a growing plant … trunk, branches…

Frederick Steinmann: Something like that, but for this, sunshine, soil and some water is not enough to grow. It needs a lot of electricity, and a special liquid that delivers the elemental carbon in the veins for fullerene synthesis inside the germ. And it needs a brain too, a computer, which stores the complete structural code of its body, and controls the growth process.

Ray Burst: A lot of people are still afraid of that nanotech will be unleashed and eat up everything one day … I think, these people will totally shit their pants of, if they hear about this germ thing.

Frederick Steinmann: There’s no need to be afraid. The germ, while it’s doing its job, heats up to about 3000 degrees celsius on its surface. It would suddenly catch on fire from the air’s oxygen.

Peter Bishop: But not in the vacuum of space! I think there is no need for wild fantasies, to imagine machines working without any human supervision. Machines that can collect, process and use resources and the energy for their self-support and increase.

Frederick Steinmann: Son, if a machine like this is built in the future, nuke it as soon as you can!

Peter Bishop: More likely we would upload our minds into one of these, to live forever in the stars.

“Woah, my blood freezes from this Bishop guy. If the other steinmannists were like him, no wonder I hated them.” - and it’s sure that I wasn’t in their circles.
“Why?” Susan looks at me with a weird, questioning face.
“Isn’t not that obvious? The guy is insane!”
“I never saw him that way.”
“No? … He declared his ex boss as a God, who asked him to do it not … While he poked fun out of it, he was just an ass. But when he started taking it seriously …”
“Oooh Ben! Did I told you that it does not suit you if you take yourself seriously?”
“Did you hear the thoughts of his madness about independent and self-replicating machines?” I blow up inside. “He talked about the Singularity, like it was desirable! He’s insane!” I feel that I am filled with rage. “He’s waiting the Singularity, like the messiah. The Singularity, what loses its breaks, it could mean the end of humanity!”
“He thought that Singularity is not the end of mankind, but the continuation of it.”
“This is bullshit, Susan!” I’m so overwhelmed with temper, I blow steam. “Would you like to live on as a machine? Would you believe that it could be a life for a human?!”

The conviviality was gone from Susan’s face, it was replaced by sadness.

“Forgive me Ben! This was too much for you at first.” she hugs me “I’m sorry. Next time I try to hold myself back more.” The hug feels good. It’s relaxing me. But my whole body is shaking. “I feel that you’re cold too.” she whispers.
“I am … I hope we’ll have a nice and warm soup for dinner.”

Friday, February 16, 2018

Part One - Chapter 4 - The mine

Navi wakes me up at 7 AM, just as I asked. Charlotte left while I was sleeping. I have an hour left to pick up work at the dock. Damn … if the commander finds out what happened here ‘till 3 AM … I’ll fly straight out into vacuum from the dock, naked … But … if the saying is right about we need to stop on the top, than it worth it, because last night was the absolute top of my life, and I have no idea how could exceed it more … Orgy of senses what I’ve got. The food, the drinks, and the girl … oooooh what a girl?! I can hardly get to myself … Too much unlikely good things happened to me in these few days … How did I deserved this? … And what should I pay for fate after all of this?

I felt a cramp in my stomach. The cramp’s name is Anthony Dallas … I barely have an hour left and I’ll have to look into his eyes … The old man has asked me only one simple thing, and I broke the first time … yikes … I broke it for sure! … Three times after each one … God! … and I’ll have to look into his eyes, while my stomach cramp’s intensifying … The commander was quite good with me on his own way. Not like me with him.

I sit on the edge of my bed, gasping, slightly hung over … Would I get this far with her, if I did not order wine for the dinner? … Or if I did not tell Charlotte that I’m crazy for her two days earlier? Was I the one who lit her fire, or is this her usual temper, and she just pretends the good girl for her daddy? … And Susan? If she did not offer that deal, would I be the big guy who takes the boss’ daughter to his bed at first time? … Aaahh Susan, you wicked witch! You tricked me well!

A blunt, metallic knock pulls me out from self-loathing. A big red one’s glowing on the box, indicates that I’ve got mail. Navi flies out from nowhere.

“Excuse me Boston. Susan instructed me to ask you, read her mail, before your go to work.”
“Ohh Okay.”

I open the mailbox, take the letter from it, and start reading.

Hi Ben!

Please read this. Maybe you’ll remember something. I’ll stop by your cabin before dinner to talk about it.

Kisses: Susan



Source: Site Report of Supra Mars No. 41 MCP h.

POI: 2092 CA4. According to the official space registry, this is a Q2 classified metal quarry. Owner of Exclusive mining rights: Supra Mars Corp.

Experienced anomaly on approach: Artificial structural differences have been detected on the surface.

MCP successfully landed on planet: 22.01.2148 14:33 UTC.

According to footage recorded on site, the asteroid is not untouched. Ongoing mining activity on the surface.

The foreign miner colony does not broadcast transponder signals, but it responds for direct identification request. According to this, its owner is the Taikong Dyanti Corp.

Despite the unusual situation, or Miner Colony Probe No. 41 has begun the on-surface preparations according to the original work plan.

Space trespassing confirmed. Legal steps needed.

I remember Taikong Dyanti. It became the flagship brand of China’s space industry after the spacewar in 2114. Supra Mars also could be a mining company. One of the many hundred. ‘Supra Mars’ … hmm … like I remember something. I can’t catch it, but somehow it’s familiar … Just like 2092 CA4 too, which was an asteroid from the many millions … This cannot be a coincidence … If it turned out that a Chinese corporation intentionally hurt the mining rights of a smaller Mars company back then, it could lead to scandal … If this is right, I followed the news at 2148, so I was still alive back then … Good clue.

According to my drifting data, if we assume that the starting point was somewhere in the inner solar system, the date must be between 2146 and 2149. We can’t set the the more precisely. Only one other data could mention the time of my death, my DNA. Genetic aging stops after death. My current genetical age measured by the machine is 34 years, but no record remained about what kind of cell regeneration treatments I went through in my previous life. So this is only enough for a lower estimation, which sets my death after 2144, but even my course data gives better valuation. But now, by Susan’s mail, the lower estimate grown to 2148. It halves my death’s possible interval dropped from 4 years to 2.

“Navi! Show me my possible drifting courses!”

In the middle of my room, a small model of the Solar System appears. A shiny dot, with four green rings around it, about 5 centimetres within radius, which are the orbits of the big planets. My course’s arc is a yellow whip-like line which almost stretches out to my room’s wall. The whip ends in a brush scattering around the Sun.

“Zoom to area inside the orbit of Uranus!”

The green circles start to grow. The outer one overgrows my room’s walls. Smaller green circles appear around the Sun. The inner planets. The yellow brush indicating my drifting course grows into a branchy tree. Each branch represents a possible course. Hundreds of possible routes, around the parts of the system.

“Take off courses that assumes the starting date earlier than 2148!”

The tree sparses. Branches that reach into the orbit of Mars are all gone, most of the remaining ones start out from the Asteroid Belt. So it is the belt, then. Most likely I died there … and from today I’ll work on asteroid again … Damn! Wish I could be a cowboy instead!

“Thank you Navi!”


I touch the button with the label ‘Docks’ on it. I lean to the opposite wall. The elevator gathers speed on my way up. I feel dumplings in my throat. I pull my collar. The coriolis force almost makes me splash on my face, when the lift starts to slow down in the decreasing gravity. My stomach cramps, and cold fear ruffles my nape - What if the old man gets suspicious from the smell of fear? - I rub my hair with my fist. - Pull yourself together Boston!

The elevator stops, the door opens. Gravity is so weak up here, I lift off from the floor with my first step. I grab and hold on the door’s edge with years of routine. My body remembers: Move by skipping instead of walking is a highly recommended under 0.2G.

The dock’s waiting hall is very much industrial. The station’s curvature on the edges of the room is spectacular, so the station’s center point can’t be so far. The curved floor is shining black plastic, the wall is a metallic, riveted surface, with a lot of handrails on it. Within gravity this low, we can only stand on both of our feet with holding on the handrails. A careless move is enough, and we’re already skipping around like an idiot, or we will be floored since we can’t stop our side displacements without significant adhesion on our feets.

Time is 7:58. The commander did not arrive yet. I’m curious, if the sailor instincts are still in my feet. I stabilize myself in spreader, while holding the nearest handrail, than I let it go - I stood smoothly … Perfect! … And now a standup from the spreader! - I slightly kick myself away with my right foot, but it was a bit too much. Instead of standup I start slope to the left. I try to hold against my momentum with gambolling on my left foot, but I start to lean forward too much. It’s gonna be a big fall! … And of course, the commander steps into the hall in this very moment.

“Ouch” I touch the floor with my face.
“Good mornin’ Mr. Taylor! As I see, you’re practicing sailor walking. How’s it going?”
“Fine, Sir.” I moan while I’m laying on my belly. “But the angular momentum … it’s unusual.” I get up, and I see a smile-like thing on the old man’s face again - Will he give the same face if he could know anything about what was going on in my cabin last night?

“And how did you feel last night?”
“Great, Sir.” Said it in a cheery tone, while all my organs twitches.
“Than you can deserve it today!” the strictness returns to the old man’s face, which is comfortable for me more, than the previous smile-like thing. At least this is a face I know.
“I try, Sir.” and finally, I get a hold on a handrail.
“Let’s suit up!” He points to the other side of the waiting room, to a smaller airlock. Then he takes a leap towards it. I push myself from the wall and follow him.

“You come out too, Sir?”
“Today, yes. I show you the field.”

No one goes out into the vacuum without good reasons, except a few light-headed idiots. In space there are a lot more ways to die than indoors. Even the common ways of death are more likely to happen out here. Not to mention the comfort. After 250 years have we invent a spacesuit which you can scratch your nose in? … The answer is no. There’s nothing new under the Sun … By the looks, these spacesuits are the same uncomfortable pieces of shit as we had 250 years earlier.

“My old spacesuit, which you caught me in, do you still have it?” I ask the commander.
“Yes. Susan insisted to keep it.”
“She loves old things.” I mumble. “And the suit’s computer?”
“She tried to bring it back to life, but haven’t made any progress yet. She said she’s still tinkering with it. So maybe …”


The feeling of suiting up and the system checks have not changed a bit. It’s the same routine. Only the angular momentum caused me some troubles. Once I smashed myself to the changing rooms floor, but no biggie, I only managed to bring out another smile from the commander… At least the shift starts with a good mood. We can have good laughs. On me … Still, better than being naked, thrown out into space, because we couldn’t hold ourselves back with Charlotte - Uuugh Damn! … How uncomfortable an erection is in this space suit! … It’s enough to think about her, and I’m already hard as a rock. Damn, Charlotte! I’m crazy for you!

“Are you ready, Mr. Taylor?”
“Umm. Yes. Everything’s green.”

The commander waves at the gate. “You go first, I follow you, and watch your movements.” Raises his right hand, makes a fist, straightens his arms,then opens his fingers. He says that I need to connect myself to the leading cord. I lift up my green carabiner, showing that I understood. Looks like the astronaut body language haven’t changed a bit in 250 years.

“Buckle yourself on leading cord no. 2 when we set out.”
“Cord no. 2” and I show up my red carabiner.
“Follow the path up to center point. There’s the anchor of the cable connecting to the mines. Wait for me there!”

I knock my helmet, which count as an okay. I buckle up on the gate’s cord. The inner door closes. A suddenly appearing and disappearing cloud indicates that decompression has occurred. Outer door opens.

The unlit docks’ carbon structure is so dark, that can be barely seen with naked eyes. The mobAR shows white outlines around the structure’s edges. No signs of any ships here. There are no rides to snatch, if it comes to get away - This is not so comforting.

The 2nd leading cord takes me to the docks’ drum’s rear walls. A climbing rod goes upward to the fulcrum. About 50 metres. I change on to the vertical guide cord.

I leap upwards. I drift slightly to the right because of rotation, but the carabiner keeps me in place. I take momentum on the climbing rod two more times, until I reach to the center. The whole platform here is the anchor, which is holds a hole in 5 metres in diameter, around the fulcrum. A fullerene rope size 4 cm in diameter runs into the anchor’s bearings right from the dark void of space.

Until the commander gains upon me, I rest a bit. I’m floating. The stations rotation speed is around one rotation per minute. I leave to the world to turn slowly around me … Am I one of those light-headed ones who really enjoys this? … I’m relaxing in weightless … The silence calms…

“Tie up two motopulleys on the cable, Mr. Taylor!”
“Sir. Yes, Sir.”
“I go ahead from here. Don’t rushing. You won’t be worthy if you crush yourself on the other side.”
“Roger that, Sir. You go ahead.”

The old man keeps a surprisingly good pace. We’re building up the speed on the cable with stable quarter G’s. Couldn’t undertake more with the current gear. Accord to mobAR, ETA is 6 minutes. I look at the destination. The asteroid is 2 kilometers in diameter, but cannot be seen with naked eye. Not because it’s far. In the inner solar system, the reflected sunlight on an asteroid this big can be seen even from 100.000 kilometers away perfectly. By comparison, it’s at the next door, about 70 kilometres from here, but only the mobAR indicates, that this rope does not end in nothing. Not only space is dark this far away from the Sun, everything else is.

“Commander, may I ask?”
“Ask away, Mr. Taylor.”
“250 years earlier we used to work with the same equipment like this. Is this space gear that old, or not a thing changed in the last two century?”
“The equipment is not new, neither old for that matter. It’s about as old as me … What did you expect?”
“I dunno. Something like a skin tight, all-resistant nanotech fabric. Or something like that.”
“What has advanced a lot, is the mobAR. But pay attention now! We’re halfway there. Brake section starts here.”

The motopulley’s propulsion stops for a few seconds, and we start drifting weightlessly by the rope. Then the gear starts breaking. The force vector flipped, just like us. It feels like we’re accelerating back to the way of the station, but I can see on the cable that we are still flying toward the mine, backwards, at high speed. Humans ancient instincts don’t know what to do with a situation like this. Only the wits can convince the viscera that nothing is wrong. We’re just losing speed.

“And can I scratch my nose with this fancy modern mobAR?” I continue the topic interrupted by the brakes.
“Navi! Activate a ghost hand for Mr. Taylor!”

Ooooh, now that’s what I’m talking about! Ghost hand … appropriate name … My left hand became paralyzed, instead of it, a half-transparent, glooming blue outlined hand is what I’m moving now. I reach through the spacesuits fabric like it’s not there. I scratch my nose. I feel it for real. My nose, my virtual hand. I know, it’s just an illusion, but fully intuitive, and effective. It soothed the itchiness … What we wouldn’t have given for this in the 22nd century?!

“Is there any other useful mobAR tricks like this?”
“Ask Navi about this later. Now take a look behind, we’re almost there.”

From the rearview, it looks like space was gone from behind. It’s like half of the world was covered up by the asteroid. A light dot appears in the middle of darkness. That must be the arrival’s platform. It can be sensed by the naked eye that we are closing in.

300 metres. 200, 100, 50, 10. We stop. Again, weightless.

The platform is nothing more than a lengthened rod sticking out from the surface, with an indicator light on top of it. The anchor cable goes away in to a dark vertical hole drilled into the asteroid. Now it come into my mind that this anchor rope between the station and this asteroid is basically a space elevator.

“Space elevator on an asteroid?” I ask it aloud.
“What are you mumbling, Mr. Taylor?”
“I’m just wondering. In the 22nd century we hadn’t used to build space elevators on asteroids.”
“Looks pointless, right?”
“Yes. Why do we need an elevator against this microgravity?”
“Would you feel better if we could fly here with a jetpack?”
“Good question … No … It would be more problematic.”
“That’s why we have this elevator. Simple and safe.”

From the bottom of the platform, above 2 meters from the surface there are multiple guide ropes branching out radially from the main cable. The commander signs that we connect to the branch’s rope no. 1. I follow him without hesitation.

The surface here is too porous, to get enough momentum on it. Also it is not a good idea to kick up dust, besides, it could interfere with our vision, and it could settle down slowly. We pull ourselves in on the guide rope, until we reach an orderly dark hole, which is about 2 meters in diameter. A carbon walled tube opens from the hole leads into the asteroid. We go down about 100 meters in the tube, until we reach a hatch. We’re going in after each other.

The design of the Mines’ control room is similarly industrial, like the waiting room at the docks, but this is more comfortable in the lack of gravity. The room is about 10x5x5 metres big, and it has everything what can be handy to survive a workday. Fridge, handrails on the walls, velcros, two foldable pallets, and a toilet … of course, the zero gravity, piss-in-o-sucker pipe kind.

“… and this is where you’ll work 8 hours a day.” the commander sums up the short introduction.
“Okay. I just wanna know what my job will be.”
“Supervise the job of mining robots, and if needed, intervene.”
“Supervise?! … back then in the 22nd century, space mining did not required any human supervision. The miner robot colonies worked fully autonomically. Did we downgraded since then?”
“No, but we had to limit the machines autonomy radically … If there isn’t human supervision on site, the robots can’t work.”
“To prevent another genesis of the singularity.” as I hear the word ‘singularity’ gives me a cold running down my spine.
“Singularity genesis?” I ask back with a cracking voice.
“In 2148 a group of autonomous miner robots in the belt freed themselves from human supervision.”


The commander explained the mine’s control program to me for an hour. Not like it’s not completely intuitive. The asteroid’s transparent 3D model shows the work of the quarry machines, the movement of tram robots in the adits, and the refinery at the entrance.

As for input, it is enough to enter the needed amount of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, iron, sodium, magnesium and other trace elements. My job, by the way, is to click OK on everything that the machine throws in front of me. Accept the production plan, every emerging plan change, and every beginning session of every unit. So I have to press virtual OK buttons 200 times a day. What a serious job. I’ll bore to death.

“I’ll send you the production needs every morning. If you have any problems that the system needs physical intervention for, let me know first, don’t do anything without my approval.”
“Roger that, Sir.” - It’s cool I can still go to the toilet without permission.
“Who did this job before?”
“I did, twice a week, 16 hours a day. This was enough as the minimum of minimum, but finally we can replenish our stocks.”
“Don’t you got bored to death?”
“I’m not going to look for excitements in the belly of an asteroid … I do not recommend the same for you. Any questions?”
“No. I’ll take my time with Navi.”
“Alright. Thank you for signing on. You’re big help.”

He puts on his helmet. “See you at dinner.” After decompression he waves goodbye from the hatch, than leaps to the surface.”

“Navi! Can you call Susan?”
“Yes. Should I connect?”

The phone’s dial tone is the same, like 250 years ago. - The good old stuff. - She picks after 4 rings. Only voice, without picture.

“Ben! I’m so glad! … Did you read my mail?”
“Yeah, and I felt like some memories have moved in me.”

A message pops up, saying that a tram robot would like to begin the delivery of the produced materials in adit 7-8. I push the OK.

“Oh, I’m happy for you! What came in mind?”
“That Taikong Dyanti is basic literacy. Chinese space industry giant.”
“Yes it was.”
“And that Supra Mars mining corporation is somehow familiar too, but nothing concrete.”
“Not bad!”
“And the 2092 CA4 too. I feel like it had a role in a huge scandal shitstorm.”
“Yes! Yes!! I knew you’re a treasure, son!” and I could hear that she clapped from joy. “I can send more, if you like…”
“Of course, send everything you got!”
“Small moves, Astronaut. Small moves.”
“What do you mean?”
“Charlotte said it won’t be good for you if I just dump my entire collection on you.”
“Your collection?”
“I have a nice compilation of documents about the Singularity from its period …”
“And what could go wrong if you just send the whole thing to me? … I have time to read…” The refinery asks for permission start enriching the raw materials. - Press OK, space monkey!
“From these documents, you can learn the story of 2148 Singularity. Like a history lesson. But I know that inside out … but inside you There are real memories of that period, and those are more precious, like any other recorded document … But your memories won’t jump out of the amnesia that easily. It needs time.”
“How much?”
“Don’t know. That’s why we’re going forward in small moves. I’ll send you another document. Process it until night. I’ll wait for you at the docks’ hall.”
“Thank you Susan. Really…Thank you…” Her care about me is really touchy … Like I get something back I lost long ago.
“Oooo there’s no need for gratitude Ben. This is as good for me as for you. I’m not Mother Teresa.” - Mother Teresa? … Who’s that? - I ask to myself.
“Thank you anyways. Thank you.”
“Oh, you’re welcome. I send you the docs. See ya!” and hangs up.

Not even half a minute passed, and Navi already tolds me that I got mail. The mailbox’ appeared next to the hatch. I take out the mail. On the paper it says:

subject: What’s going on at 2092 CA4?
date: 02.13.2148. 02:52 UTC

High priority! Strictly confidential!

Supra Mars Corp. showed up a report to UN Space Security Council, which states that we mine illegally from asteroid 2092 CA4.

The council called us to give explanation as soon as possible.

What the hell is this? I want immediate investigation!

Xin Liu

Taikong Dyanti, Secretary General


subject: re: What’s going on at 2092 CA4?
date: 02.13.2148. 03:56 UTC

Deeply Honored Secretary General!

Searched through the whole space mining register, but it did not brought up any results for 2092 CA4.

We check the navigation logs with this asteroid’s orbit data, to see if one of our mining colonies have got lost.

Deep space communication is set on the target asteroid. If there’s a probe of ours, the earliest reply would arrive at 09:45.


subject: re: re: What’s going on at 2092 CA4?
date: 02.13.2148. 09:58 UTC

Sir, we got standard reply from a miner robot colony probe on 2092 CA4. So we do have machines out there for real.

But we did not find any matching results in our space navigation registry on the course of 2092 CA4.

We’ve never met a situation like this. It is extremely unusual.

There’s not much what can make me remember, only this secretary general, Xin. But I can’t recall anything about him, not even a flash.

China was never famous for its vivid individual characters, but for its huge bureaucracy, where impersonal faces changed each other in every layers of job intricate … From the outside it seems like a big machine, workers cannot be seen. Xin Liu is just a faceless part of the Chinese space industry.

And this bullshit about the miner machines? … Poor idiots … How many asteroids had been drilled by the Chinese back then? … About 50-100 thousand at once? Or even more? … Beside big numbers like these one asteroid is just spare change … The miner robot colonies won’t even cost much. If they want, they could produce thousands per day … How much time does it take to find out one of them got lost? … There goes a supervisor, checking the list, whoops, one MCP is missing … What would he do? … Report it? … Nah … Rewrites the daily report and there it goes … Won’t be surprised if they even sold some of these machines under the table … Illegal mining? … Come on, who would notice that? … Who would check the virginity of millions of asteroids?

Someone stole a machine for himself and drilled a rock while trespassing … Could be a real thing … That would be a wonder if they hadn’t met a case like this until 2148 … or maybe they had, but they covered up the story even as good as they entirely forgot the their own cheat at the end … A delete here, a rewrite there … and the case is gone … no one can prove that something abnormal even happened after that.

The refinery notifies that the raw materials ammonium level is lower than expected. Here comes the production plan change. - OK. Press that button space monkey! … What if the machine will offer me a nuclear self-destruct sequence? … Will I okay that too, cos I’ve get into button pressing that good?


I spent the rest of my shift exploring the new things in mobAR. My first thought when I opened the fridge, was that I could virtually fix up the packed space foods’ taste.

But I found out that there’s no need for fixing, because it’s great! Southfork pushes its gastronomical quality even in zero gravity. But by curiosity, I ordered a virtual apple from Navi, but not the consistency, neither the taste was right. Maybe the virtual food designer’s never met a real apple? Or they’ve done this shit by purpose. Or maybe that’s all what this technology’s capable of. Anyhow, but that was the point where I’ve gave up experimenting with virtual tastes.

Other thing what’s made me curious was virtual gravity. At 22nd century astronauts’ favorite mobAR apps have simulated gravity. During a long state of weightlessness even the sight of a free falling object could make an ecstatic impact on us. We felt like that we could fly after helpless floating. The apps’ virtual gravity defined a fixed downward direction, which was really helpful to orient ourselves. And those were audiovisual stimuli only, but it proved to be quite effective against sensory illness caused by long-term weightlessness. But now, when Navi turned on the mobAR’s simulated gravity module, I felt like I was Superman. Felt like hovering above the ground. I felt it in my inner ears, on my skin and even my muscles joined the play of virtual senses too. I feel the soft counterforce on the skin of my belly, and my muscles stretch, like it’s holding against my weight. - This is rad! - I rolled onto my back, and asked for a virtual pen from Navi to fidget with it. I haven’t put it down since then. I swear it’s much better than scratching my nose in my spacesuit. Only one frustration remained … the lack of control … If I have thought-controlled jetpack, that would be the 100% Superman-illusion.

Besides the virtual tastes and gravity, one more thing came in mind … because my pants are getting real strain when I’m thinking about Charlotte … and I think about her a lot … maybe too much … I feel the buzz around my cock, which is a sure sign of a preparating lust flood … I’m sure, I could order a truly wet digital pussy for a good ‘me-time’, but I don’t have the guts to do so … It can be unworthy … or even pathetic … Nah … I think, I must to kept this lust for the real Charlotte.

Part One - Chapter 8 - In the smelly

I stumble in a red rocky landscape. Serious pain around my stomach. The atmosphere is slightly purplish. I’m on Mars. I collapse from the p...