Microsoft word - the outpost.doc

Grant Hickey, calm and lonely. Stoic, eager. Vanessa 98949, sharp and commanding, modern Lassiter, on Janice (another nearby outpost) Nocturne Boulevard? Not far. When you hit Howard, hang a right. Howard meets Phillip at a weird kind of angle, then you cross James and Poe. You can't miss Nocturne - strange, and supernatural. Tonight's story Did you have any trouble finding it? What do you mean, what kind of a place is it? Why, it's an outpost in an asteroid cloud, INSIDE OUTPOST MU LAMBDA EPSILON [Millie] MACHINE AND ELECTRONIC NOISES, SLOSHING OF Don't be stupid. It's Vanessa 98949. How Nonsense. I am ordering you to tell me-- Now there ain't no call to get huffy, miss. [altering slightly] Your Vox? The one who What the hell kind of place is this? [pain] yourself some rest. [fogging out] Waking RADIO UNIT BEING SHAKEN, CRACKLES TO LIFE [hesitant] Frequency 12? Is there anyone Your comm unit isn't set to recognize my All righty. I have to finish up something, SHAKES RADIO UNIT - SOMETHING SHAKES LOOSE DOOR SWOOSHES OPEN, FOOTSTEPS ENTER, DOOR [sigh] All righty. Brought you some chow. [seething] It's been almost an entire hour! Was quicker to finish what I was doing than to come in and get back out again later. There must be someone else here - I will [indignant] What? How can you even look me [beat, then sigh] Call me again when you're [up] The-- [deep breath, forces herself to Hmm. Looks like I'm gonna have to get in But I still don't understand what you're saying about-- [sees her eating, makes an [real relief] Finally - a civilized voice! Final log entry of star cruiser Xanadu. G- vector, Delta quadrant, encountered space debris. Explosion. Unknown cause. Xanadu evac mandated. Pods loosed at ship day 172, Calculating. One thousand, three hundred Cruiser Xanadu, bound for Ganymede 800 in I don't know what all your specs there are, but first, no one much comes this far out, cruiser Xanadu, I command you to take me to [off, leaning in] Wish I could. Left you The room? [working up] You kept me locked up Door don't even lock. I was wondering why Well o'course not. Doors don't have ears. You're an underengineer sub chief thingee Well, I guess we're all a bit old fashioned here. This is how you open the door. Wave You said we're all a bit old fashioned - who [controlling some strong emotion, at being slammed against a wall] Well - um - I was including the doors and all. [deep breath] DOOR SWOOSHES OPEN. A COUPLE OF FOOTSTEPS, [pride] Yup. Millie's brain center. There are 42 more just like her spread throughout [hurt, but covering] Millie has 12 chambers Out! How do you call out! I need to make arrangements to get the hell out of here! Nothing here works! Nothing works at all! Now I'm real sorry about that, but you need to breathe. And let me finish my sentences. Well, not here, you couldn't. [sigh] Now, other outposts, or the quarterly supply ship - if he's in range. Just might be - he come [disgusted noise] Males have been proven inferior and in the civilized galaxy have functional capacity. We keep enough genetic material around to promote healthy offspring and breed a few males each generation for You mean where you come from is all ladies? genetic material, and it's automatically No one "has" children - you make it sound like they're dogs, [snide] or men. Children belong to the community, and are raised in a proper safe environment, under supervision. But - those poor little boys and girls-- [sigh] them poor little kids, never knowing personnel. Much better for their long-term someone like me, with a career on a star immersed in study of childhood ailments and [hurt, slightly annoyed] Look, you can mock me, and turn your nose up at Millie, but [scratchy, on filter] Hey Grant? You there? [scratchy, on filter] That capsule thing you [hurried] Ah, hell. Let me call you back, SLIGHT SCUFFLE, SHE BLOCKS HIM FROM LEAVING [not quite screaming] Was he talking about a You sold a - a - a PERSON to that - that What makes you think the pod weren't empty? Don't matter. Sides, what would I do with The same as you're doing with one - nothing I'm talking to you, I'm doing nothing at Yes! [lower, into the mike] Lassiter? Come [scratchy, on filter] Excellent - it did work! You tell Grant to let me know what he [scratchy, on filter] Yeah. [eager] I can't [warning] Lassiter. You do know it's vastly illegal to rescue someone and then force committing high seas slavery, according to [scratchy, on filter] Is Grant there? Can Lassiter. I will make a bargain with you. I will help you revive the survivor, if you will -- let me talk to her as soon as she And if you understand that I will find a way to come over there and kill you if you hurt Aye-aye, Vox. Data mode for now. I await Remind him I will kill him if he hurts you. He doesn't seem very threatening. I could We were part of the same crew. I have rank, so I told her I would protect her. It's my Protect her? From Lassiter? He ain't some [thinks, then] You hold all the cards. All you have to do is refuse me food, and I'm wanted to actually hurt you, I gotta blaster for that. I just wanted you to think twice Of the deepsub pods. Did you just find the the last to revive, so all of y'all are all You gotta learn to stop giving me orders. She died. Since then. [shrug] I got work [belligerent] What is this work that seems You ask nice, you'll get a lot more answers. [beat, then making an effort] What is it Salvage. Used to be mining, but the cloud here grabs every lump of crap out of the nearest 10-20 sectors, so salvage pays a And maintenance. Millie here's old. I keep her limping along, but it's truly full time. Come on. I'll show you where the food units are. Then you ain't gotta wait on me if you So this switch here changes the band - you gotta jiggle it a bit, sometimes. And this list here shows all the other habitats - the ones up top are closest - most reliable for contact. Next down, these three - well - I ain't heard from them in a while. Not No one vacates. Not unless-- But [trying to convince himself] comm equipment goes down sometimes - a lot - and it's a bitch to All the habitats are as old as .this one? Yeah, they were built for miners - never really meant to be permanent, but you know somewhere. Someone must be buying it. Why You say it's a full time job just keeping this place from falling down around your But this is my home. I was born right here It is falling apart. I hope you don't think [beat, then neutral] Course not. But you do I rescued you. I pulled your damn pod in And I've been feeding you and letting you breathe my air - which ain't cheap, I should [a little winded] I patched your antenna into the router from the pod's emergency signal - some serious interface issues, let Half my damn solar cells were damaged in the SOLDERING IRON SPARKS, STOPS, FACEPLATE UP Yeah, I think I'm getting the hang of it. Well, chicken, but yes - you get the idea. I still have to code the machine's other foodstuff options in for voice. I'll need to get your voice into the system sometime, [mood dropping] Right. O'course. So I can You didn't have any trouble making contact? I appear to be at the very butt end of the cloud, so they're out of my range from here. Helen 74589, and Griselda 80281 . um. do They have become attached to this place. Griselda declined any details, but Helen seems to find some - companionship in the Oh, yeah - many hands make light work, like momma used to say, but there's always more [hurt but covering] Never hurts - could put some more hydroponics in there, maybe put in some greens and generate oxy of my own. Why You'd be better off with algae tanks. They take more processing to make them palatable for eating - much more - but they've been Shouldn't be difficult - most cruisers have algae tanks, and all you need is a dip to start with and some growth media. The tank - well you could pretty much put anything together, if you're not too concerned about production, anything that will contain the growth medium and keep the temp stable will --you could re-make one room for food plant There's even better technology out there, listen and whatever, this algae thing is the only one that seems like it'd fit into my beyond me, I don't see it mattering much. Something to worry about not having? Nah. I figure, easier just to assume you're gonna tell me you can shit blueberry cobbler - it's all well and good, but I don't wanna do it. And goodness knows I don't wanna eat [breath] Nah. It's all outside - I gotta SHE STOPS HIM AND PULLS HIM ROUND TO FACE simulators, plus over 300 hours working on the hull in stagnant space. Shoot - you've [finally snappish] Look! If things didn't have to be done, I'd never get into one of those damn things myself! There's no way You don't - you don't like being out there? You don't want to be here and that's fine. I'd rather see you leave on the cargo ship than [barely controlled] floating off into [on filter] You can talk to him yourself. I just want to know about suit drifts in [overly casual] Just something Grant said. Ah, here he is - You can help Vanessa, can't [on filter] Sure. What you need? [snickers, [tightly controlled] Why do you care? You don't even have a father. [beat] I should No. Unless you actually physically move me, you're not leaving this room. Talk to me. [swallows, then sighs, speaks very quietly] The more I talk to you, the more I'll miss having someone to talk to - later. [sniff] No. I've lost people in space too - I did my time in the corps, shipboard accidents. I was 12 when my father's line got tangled, and he had to cut it - then something in the piece he was salvaging blew, and - it took sight - he kept talking right up to the edge [pause, then sincere, if dry] I feel for That's all right. [deep breath] I've got I want to - offer him sympathy, but he just That's part of it - you have to admit it's But don't you want to go back to your job? Your home? Don't you want your life to have [dry] You would have impressed everyone. I would. The ship would. Everyone on it. And someday someone would reach that rank even younger, and when you retired, someone else who could do the job just as well would take over, and no one would even remember Unless you did something like discover an alien race or die to save a bunch of people - but how often does that really happen? And I'll bet every person you saved came and BOTH - this scene - on filter throughout Do you think the person inside is still all Won't know if she is till we clear some of Help me shift this plate - I think it'll Hold on - No, not that. There's too much leaning on it, and we don't know which way This. I think this is the key piece, and I don't see anything it can bring down with At least we should be able to get it clear, Let's lighten the load - get the corpse out You want to just dump her out, right here? She still deserves some respect. I'll do Let me-- [sigh] You shoulda come back in earlier - your fingers are nearly blue. I told you the heat circulation in that suit BEAT, THEN SKIN ON SKIN, AS HE SLOWLY CHAFES They just come that way. Here, hold your I don't like that nail color there. Can you [long gasp, startled, amazed, and aroused] [talking around her finger] Stop squirming. Need to get the circulation back. Heat and SLIGHT STRUGGLE, SHE PULLS HER HAND FREE don't like about this - is it worth losing a [long beat, erratic breathing] No. [gasp [talking on the radio] Thanks for the heads up Lassiter, but it'll happen or it won't. Glad you're doing well, and. and congrats. I didn't mean to sound. I'm just confused. quarterly cargo ship will be here in the Don't worry - by my calculations - we're pretty much square, in fact you're a bit ahead, hooking up those solar panels and I appreciate your help here, uh, Vanessa. Got me ahead of my schedule. [cracking a little] Um, I should go and get the cargo Would you-- Do you-- [a breath] What will You should have kept Yasmin or Helen - they Yup. I looked at you and knew that if I was ever gonna take a chance, it'd have to be on You go home. Have a good life. I got cargo I'm doing all right. Even ordered an algae Oh, I'm still ahead, even after her ticket-- Course. [breaking down] She - sh-she don't I had to get used to being all alone. How What-- What happened? Did they-? Did you I decided there was a better use for the cost of my passage - negotiated for three more solar panels, and a couple more oxygen You said it every time you couldn't look me We build a tank for the algae. Many hands Not bad. You could use a little practice. [gasping a bit for breath, making a joke] Well - I may have had my 100 - and then some - hours of simulation, but I never actually [laughs] Wait till you see the rest of the Now that you know how to find us, you'll have to come back. Maybe next week? Don't


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