Friday Night Fire Fight

12 09 2014

Well look at that it’s Friday. What say we just make the whole week a fiction week, yeah?

Oh and this one is kind of messy.

trailer

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The whining of strained hydraulics weren’t enough to drown out the screams.

“Someone put her out already!” A man in a white coat stained with blood spatter shouted at a half dozen women around the table. Upon its surface the screeching, bloody highlight of the night’s latest casualties writhed, batting away restraints and making the administration of drugs a near impossible prospect.

“Fuck it.” Came a static encrusted voice as another man pushed his way through the women, his massively armored frame making the nurses seem like children. The man hefted a huge pistol over his head and brought it down hard into the face of the screaming patient. At once she was silenced, not having the opportunity to register her orbit shatter before losing consciousness.

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” a nurse grabbed at the large man’s arm trying to usher him away. He knocked her back without difficulty, aimed the pistol and fired. A thunderous boom and blinding flash filled the room momentarily before the remaining staff was hit by fresh red mist and chunks of meat as the nurse’s head exploded like a hammered grape.

The medical staff recoiled and backed away from the giant. “Today doctor.” The armored suit spoke before returning to his place on the wall. The team resumed applying restraints and running IV’s to administer a massive cocktail of pain killers and antibiotics. No one dared a glance at their number that now lay dead on the floor.

This was best. This woman wouldn’t have lived long enough to get drugs if that monster of a man hadn’t stepped in. She was tiny, even compared to the medical staff, all normal human beings; her frame was particularly petite. Standing she was less than five feet tall, her young face was scarred with more battle field hours than should ever be visited upon a child.

“She’s set doctor.” Said a nurse.

“Okay, start popping the mods, everything below the neck and above the waist needs to come out.”

The girl’s clothing had been cut away to allow the staff unimpeded access to her most serious injuries. There was so little flesh in parts of her torso that a selection of drills, saws, and welders that wouldn’t typically see the inside of the OR had to be brought in. Only the tiny girl’s breasts and part of her midriff was still flesh, the rest having been given over to mechanical replacements; flashy ones.

“Mods are out, everything left is hardwired.”

“Shit.” The doctor started drilling into her abdomen, above the flesh of her belly, deep into the metal cavity that held her heart. He stumbled when it broke through. That was the hardest part. He removed the drill and snatched a long fiber optic cable from one of the nurses and started snaking it in, staring at a monitor suspended from the ceiling that let him see her insides.

The lights flickered. An explosion rocked the doors into the OR. The two armored behemoths standing watch near the operating table nodded to each other, unslung huge rifles from their backs and made for the door.

The doctor wiped sweat from his brow with the back of his sleeve, eyes glued to the monitor as it struggled to maintain functionality. The auxiliary generators were already running, if power was interrupted that would be that.

The bloody vision of the girl’s heart loomed into view.

“Holy shit we were right, it was the heart. Quick, get the cells in there before we don’t have juice to run the little bastards anymore.”

A nurse screwed a thin vial into the end of the cable. A metallic, mercury-like liquid sloshed around inside. “Go.” She said, and the doctor plunged the contents into the cable. A moment later the camera feed registered the liquid dispersing into the cavity, coating the girl’s insides with quicksilver.

The OR shook as another explosion threw pieces of ceiling and floor tiles around the room, knocking the doctor down. Another of the nurses fell dead beside him, a disgusting amount of shrapnel lodged into her face, throat, and chest.

Gunfire pulled his attention to the OR entry doors were one of their monstrous guards was blazing away at an unseen foe beyond. The other of the pair lay motionless on the ground. One of his pauldrons had been blown away, little arcs of energy flicked between the door and his helmet visor where a long metal rod had forced it’s way through.

“Charles what do we do?” Another of the nurses screamed to him from around the other side of the table.

“What?” his attention was pulled back and forth between the door and the nurse. He didn’t know what to do; this wasn’t something he was trained for. He was scared. He was breathing far too quick to think clearly.

There was a loud gritty scream ending in a sharp gargle.

He saw the remaining guard impaled by an impossibly long sword.

The giant’s torso was separated from his legs with a single flick of the man-sized blade.

Another explosion rocked the building, the horrifying sound of twisting metal and collapsing structure screamed from the floors above them. Then there was light, hot, and bright, and a thunderous clap of another detonation.

And sleep came rushing in.





Wednesday Fictioning Day

10 09 2014

Hey there. Its Wednesday. I have decided once again to assault you with another random bit of short fictioning.

I know ‘fictioning’ isn’t a word. I’m a professional though so it’s okay. 

Trust me.

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It was only when he began to slow unintentionally from exhaustion that he realized part of the problem was that he was rushing against a crowd trying very hard to get away from wherever he was headed. Seeing it as the best way to lose the crazed old Prefect he pushed on eventually exiting the rush of bodies into an open hall that ended in two massive iron doors. Across the center of each warnings flashed in a recessed strip that bathed the immediate area in pale orange light. Below the caution symbols were the words ‘pressure doors’.

What the hell?

“Governor!” came a tired scream from behind him. Albert had caught up. “That’s it.” He continued. The old man was in rough shape, the loss of blood finally seeming to have begun to affect him. The lower half of his robes were entirely red now, the tips dripping a red trail behind him.

“You don’t have to, it doesn’t need to be like this.” Said Joss.

“Give me the damn data card!” the Prefect screamed. He was frothing at the mouth, crimson bubbles popping at the corners of his mouth. 

As he continued to stumble his way onward, Joss finally noticed that the doors were not exactly the same. A pin prick of light caught his eye along the exterior of the blast door to his left. A scratching sound followed along with it.

Albert slowed to a stop, eyes fixed on the same door. Apparently he had noticed it too. Without warning another set of thick steel doors slammed shut further down the hall separating the two men from the large open area they had fallen into. An automated voice chimed a warning over a speaker system in the hall.

“Explosive decompression imminent.” It reported.

The two looked at one another, the fight suddenly drained from the old man. He dropped the knife. It clattered beside him on the ground.

The blast door exploded forward, halting as the sudden change of pressure pushed it back the other way. It caught on something and tipped flat against the floor before being sucked out into another large area, littered with broken glass. Joss lost his feet and he and Albert tumbled out together. On the other side , a ship with cargo ramp open hovered, an odd collection of men in respirators and maintenance suits crowding the ramp.

Joss could feel the oxygen rush from around him, his breath threatening to do the same. As he and Albert were blown out of the hall, the crowd gathered at the mouth of the ship jumped and grabbed to catch him.

A heavy gloved hand wrapped around Joss’ arm and he was pulled down onto the ramp which he could feel start to incline beneath him. The sound of rushing air blasted past him and the last thing he could hear before slipping into a black state of forced sleep was a familiar voice screaming over a crackly speaker.

“Hench! Get us the fuck out of here!”





TOTALLY RANDOM FICTION

8 09 2014

Hey it’s Monday!

Have a random story snippet!

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The tune started like so many others. It was drunk and melancholy, drifting through back alleys and dark places, wrong turns, and dead ends. Notes, creeping like a serpent searching for a meal, hung on the coat tails and cloak hoods of any poor soul they could find. It was a heavy and oppressive music, a wonder that it could float at all from the twisted, hateful pipes that hung from the top of the old lighthouse, deep in the bay. Every night it would yawn over the harbor enrapturing sailors and drunkards and anyone else that would listen.

“It calls to me.” The meek would say.

“Rubbish.” The drunk would declare.

Repent, repent!” The pious would scream.

Garabaldi kicked a can off the edge of the pier, a sharp metallic sound echoing a short way out over the water before being drowned out by the dirge from across the harbor. The waves crashed against the old stone dock so high as to breach the top, soaking his black trousers and boots with salty splashes. He ran his hand down his shoulder wiping away an ever-present slick of water from his leather jacket. It was long and embroidered on the back was an iron nail on a field of red, the symbol of justice in what passed for a place like Bergen’s Bay.

Across his back was an old rifle, fitted for an army of an age long gone. At his side was a pistol of an entirely different era and a machete made from salvage metal. A wide brimmed hat, brown and beaten kept the rain off his face. He thumbed the machete handle, watching the light house torch spin about illuminating dark clouds in the sky. It was mesmerizing when paired with the droning of the pipes.

“And what brings the Bay’s youngest law man down to the pier?” the voice was deep and crackly; a smothered tone that hinted at ages of smoke. “I don’t imagine you’re just down for a visit, eh Garabaldi?”

“It’s too early. The house ain’t piped up at this hour in forty years. We got any traffic so far Bob?” the raspy sounding man cracked his knuckles and started to button his jacket. It was long and grey and torn; a family heirloom that once meant a whole hell of a lot more.

Things take on whole new meanings in Bergen’s Bay, usually empty ones.

“Actually no, nothing in the harbor near as I can tell.” He said, pulling a fat moleskin notebook from an inside pocket. He thumbed through the pages and said, “Looks like this may be the first time in a long time. According to the old records, hey look at that – forty years.”

Garabaldi plucked a cigar from a little belt pouch and lit it.

“What’s it mean?”

“Don’t know, Bob.” Garabaldi said. “You better see if you can call over to the light house. See if Bo knows something.”

“Me? Why do I have to call?” Bob choked.

“You’re the only one with a phone that works, now call him you damn fool.”

Before either could move the pipes stopped. Calm settled over the water in the bay. Only the lapping of water against the old pier could be heard. Not even the usual sobbing that accompanied the night was heard, no sign that the usual thugs and no good cancerous people of Bergen’s Bay were out.

But it was not to last and no sooner had Garabaldi resumed prodding the old bay master than the pipes let out another unexpected blast of sound. The noise wasn’t the usual droning, it was deep and angry and violent. The dock shuttered beneath them, the vibrations rumbled deep in their chests, numbing their bodies. The stone began to splinter and crack, the furthest reaches of the pier crumbling to dust, spilling into the water.

Deep in the harbor, beneath the surface, something stirred.





Cooking with Spam VI: A New Tin

19 10 2013

SPAM.

I hear there is something special inside of every can. If you ask my father, he would tell you it’s something akin to lips and sphincters. If you ask my wife, she’ll say that its better than all that and is actually quite good. But only if we are talking about the turkey variety. That other stuff can go to hell.

I for one am firmly in the ‘Not putting that in my mouth unless it’s the apocalypse and have literally nothing else to eat,’ camp. I could very well turn to cannibalizing my fellow-man before cracking open a can of spam. For all you know it could be made of people anyway at which point I become less crazy sounding. I’m like one of those things in math.

Parabola? Yeah, totally. I make more sense the closer we come to complete insanity. I think Einstein came up with that one.

My impressive knowledge of history and math aside, we aren’t here to talk about me. Oh no. We are here to take a gander at that other kind of SPAM. The insidious, mail server clogging sort of digital junk that plagues inboxes all over the web.

And also my WordPress comments.

Stacey writes,

My friend Tom Moyer, a guy who drives a LOT of website traffic to various offers through his large website network, has just released a web traffic service with a free trial so webmasters can “try before they buy”.

Hey, not too often I end up with such a large opener. Let’s see, Tom Moyer…yadda yadda…large website…blarh…traffic…hmm. Okay, I know what’s going on here. See most people don’t refer to their friends using both first and last names. This is one of those bathroom wall sorts of things isn’t it?

Tom is shy, kind of lonely but lacks any appreciable social skills, so he convinces a friend or pays one of the popular kids to spread rumors about his “large website”. Suddenly he’s on the invite list to the best parties and gets to sit and the cool table at lunch. In this case Stacey, I don’t think I’m interested in Tom’s “try before I buy” business.  

If you are interested in driving lots of traffic to your site then don’t miss this offer:

Like I said, no chance.

 

 

Kala writes,

My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.

DO IT! I hear .net is lovely in the fall!

I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s been trying nonetheless.

No! Hey, cost of living might have been high there ten years ago but come on, times have changed Kala. Seize life by the horns, make a change, and better yourself! You’d rather be living in a top 10 town like that wouldn’t you?

I have heard good things about blogengine.net.

Ouch. Thinking about the town’s local rivals blogengine eh? Can’t blame you. Their job market is a touch larger and I hear the university’s football team, the BlogU Pachyderms, is going to be the one to beat this year.

Is there a way I can import all my WordPress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Wait. What?

 

Jennifer writes,

My friend Tom Moyer, a guy who drives a LOT of website traffic to various offers through his large website network, has just released a web traffic service with a free trial so webmasters can “try before they buy”.

Hey, not too often I end up…with such…a…long… Wait a minute.

If you are interested in driving lots of traffic to your site then don’t miss this offer:

Wow. So you’re not going to believe this but there is this other girl who sent me the same message. That guy must have poured a ton into marketing his way up the social ladder. Like I told the last girl though, um…no.

 

アウトレット writes,

アニエスベー 時計 レディース

Dont you start with me.

 

Melinda writes,

My friend Tom Moyer, a guy who drives a LOT of website traffic to various offers through his large website network, has just released a web traffic service with a free trial so webmasters can “try before they buy”.

I DON’T CARE ABOUT TOM’S PENIS!





Scrawling a Bit of Fiction: Chances

1 06 2013

Woefully late in the week, here is another entry into the Ermilia Picture it and Write event held weekly over at Ermiliablog. As always the picture is not mine, they provide it for inspiration and then I write stuff. Sometimes, I like the stuff. Sometimes, the stuff is even kind of good.

Fingers crossed on the last one.

P.S. There might be a spot of profanity. Totter on at your own risk.

            Terrance woke to the cold, salty spray of the North Atlantic. Harsh winds whipped the sea into frothy white foam that obscured the edges of the rocks he had come to rest on. The man-made menhirs rose from the shore around him, jagged and clustered atop one another, built to protect the shore from being pulled into the violent sea. The remnants of a ship cluttered the base of each one like twigs in a giant’s game of jacks.
            He struggled to his feet, the slick stones fighting each attempt to steady himself. Finally finding purchase, he scanned the shoreline. Not far off a lighthouse stood lonely, oddly dark, a large cross crowning the top just above where the light should have shone.

            Too dark to make out any other signs of civilization along the beach, Terrance climbed down onto the sand and made for the silent beacon.

            The closer he came to the lighthouse the fiercer the winds became until the howling of the great hurricane settling over the coast drowned out the roar of the sea. He shielded his eyes from the wind’s terrible assault and climbed the steps to the massive double doors almost cathedral-like in their design. One side hung open.

            Terrance waited for no invitation and closed the door behind him.

            Inside it was quiet. The winds howled on outside and now, from the comfort of his new-found sanctuary, the rhythmic roar of the ocean could be heard once more, lapping greedily at the stones on the shore.

            The interior was a single large room; wide and long. The center was full of chairs and the walls were lined with the trappings of old churches; paintings, shelves of bibles, a basin that once held holy water. A single barrel fire lit the room from the far end near a smashed up podium.

            Perhaps this place served two masters; a coastal church that provided not only a path to its congregation within but to its ocean born brethren as well.

            The floor boards groaned as he walked, ancient shreds of green carpet wrapping themselves around his boots with each step.

            Terrance searched about the chairs. Old bibles, ocean charts, and the transcendental tomes of the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne lay in piles of ash and burnt up bits of wood; testaments to campfires past.

            He inspected the barrel fire. Books as well, it had died down and was nearly out. He noticed a hole cut into the ceiling above it. There was light upstairs, spilling through the hole, faint but welcoming like the glow of a kerosene lamp.

It was now that he saw a passage out of the room just behind the barrel. A set of stairs spiraled upward into immediate darkness.

“Guess that’s all I’ve got.” He whispered to himself.

He took a last look around the room hoping that a familiar face would appear. Satisfied that he was alone, Terrance climbed the stairs.

*   *  *

 

            Terrance leaned over, hands on his knees, sucking in quick gasps of air. The other man had emerged suddenly from the shadows, startling him; he had lost his footing on the slippery steps and tumbled halfway down.

            But it was only a mirror, hanging lopsided in the stairwell for gods know what reason.

            Fortunately, Terrance recognized the sandy-haired, middle-aged sailor before he took off into the turbulent night without giving the light upstairs a second thought. A moment after he was climbing again.

            The second floor was much like the first; dark, wet floors blanketed in the ash of words penned long ago. In one corner a leather pack and a shattered lantern lay beside a dingy sleeping bag. Torn cloth-covered the mess and the sick scent of peppermint hung heavy in the air.

            An open door led into another, better lit room. Terrance approached the door way and leaned up against the wall beside it. Peering around the frame he could identify the trappings of an office or study. Well stocked bookshelves, a desk buried in mountains of loose leaf papers. No fewer than eight oil lanterns were spread evenly across the floor creating overlapping pools of light from one end to another.

            A poorly aging man sat in a chair near the desk. His weathered face was framed with long gray hair and a look of terror. In one shivering hand he clutched a crucifix, in the other a small pistol wobbled in the direction of the door.

            Terrance raised his hands and walked slowly into the light.

“I’m unarmed. I just woke up on the beach. I’m just looking for shelter.”

            The old man gained a temporary command of the shakes and tilted his head as if listening for something said far away. “Who’s there?” he said.

“My name is Terrance. I’m just looking to keep out of the storm and figure out where I ended up. I was on a ship. I think.”

            The old man’s eyes darted back and forth trying to peer out into the dark beyond, near the stairs from where Terrance had come.   

“I don’t know what you are.” The old man shouted. “You get out of here, leave me be, I’ve done nothing to you.” He snarled as he spoke. The shaking had returned.

“Sir?” Terrance took another step closer. The light was becoming hot and uncomfortable. The old man kept his wild stare fixed on the doorway as if Terrance wasn’t in the way at all. “Sir?”

The old man screamed and pulled the trigger. Gunpowder filled the room in thunderous puffs that dimmed the light. A rush of heat and the smell of sulfur and sweat assaulted Terrance’s senses as he tumbled toward the door. Hot led rushed past his head and chest. He fell into the dark and scrambled to make it to the stairs.

Half running and half falling he bolted down and into the dark of the cathedral below. For a long while he peered up the stairwell waiting for a sign that the old man was giving chase. Terrance could hear him coughing, choking on the smoke.

“Still just guessing aren’t you?” A woman’s voice giggled in the dark. Terrance jumped and searched for the seeker, straining to catch a glimpse of a face. Near total darkness had claimed the downstairs, the barrel fire having become little more than a collection of coals and pulsating embers.

Then he spotted the outline. And then a face. He struggled for a moment to identify the shadow before he realized he knew the voice.

“Captain?”

“Yes, Terrance. Don’t be so damn surprised. I hate it when you act surprised, like we haven’t done this a hundred times already.”

His skipper’s face came clearly into view as she lit an oil lamp, banishing the darkness around them. She stood in a puddle, her deep blue uniform dripping with sea water. Despite that her face was speckled with mud, her long, blonde hair had fallen from its bun and was now plastered to the side of her face.

“You don’t remember a thing do you?” she sighed.

“No Ma’am. But listen, there’s some crazy old coot upstairs that’s lost it. I tried talking to him but he ignored me than just started shooting, I thought I was a goner.”

The captain shook her head and chuckled.

“Ma’am? I’m serious, we should probably go, it’s not safe here.”

“Oh Terrance, you just can’t get it right can you?”

“Ma’am?”

“I tried telling you how badly you scared the poor man last time. Now he’s got a gun. The light house was pretty nice when we first wrecked but now you’ve got that poor old light keeper so shook up I think he might be close to turning that gun on himself.”

Terrance took a step back as the captain began to advance toward him.

“Wait, I don’t understand.”

“Don’t worry Terrance; I won’t give up on you. I got the rest of the crew. You’re the only one left. You just need to try again and hopefully you get it right this time before the old man dies.”

Terrance slipped on a partially burnt book and fell backward, his head making a sick smack against the wall. His vision swam, he could just make out the captain kneeling down beside him. She took up his hand and rubbed his head.

“You have to wait, try to remember to wait.”

As he slipped from consciousness he could still hear her whisper.

“I won’t give up on you.”

*  *  *

 

            Terrance woke to the cold, salty spray of the North Atlantic…





Scrawling a Bit of Fiction VVXXO’

21 04 2013

High five if you can tell me what that number would be.

Ermilia! Fiction Prompt! Pictures! Writing! LOUD INCOMPREHENSIBLE NOISES!

Another entry into the Picture it and Write feature over at Ermiliablog. Picture isn’t mine, it’s simply used for inspiration. Let’s do it!

Girl with a Back Tattoo

Lucy had been getting tattooed at least once a year, every year, since her eighteenth birthday, commemorating important events in her life with ink.  At first it was for silly things; birthdays, the purchase of her first car. (A flaming birthday cake eating a smaller birthday cake and Optimus Prime, respectively.)

But as time went on the realizations set in, that these were permanent things, pictures that would inform strangers about her long before she could utter a single word to them. So she became wiser in their content. Or so she thought.

It only made sense that the day she said “I do.”, was cause for a new tattoo. A single word. His name vertically inked down her left cheek. A sign of her love, a statement of undying devotion. For the rest of their lives even strangers would know that Jamse was a part of her life.

Jamse…

Jamse?

Lucy felt her face become flush as she stared at it in the mirror.

The artist spelled her husband’s name wrong.

Wise indeed.





The Big One

6 04 2013

I keep a file on my trusty thinking machine labelled ‘threads’. Right now you might be thinking any number of the following.

  • Wow, I think this dude knits. How cool! A guy that not only holds theoretical conversations with spambots but also enjoys a good homemade scarf!
  • Theoretical physics! A whole new place to plagiarise term papers from, YAY!
  • This guy totally knows how to design a killer t-shirt. That’s got to be it.

If you find yourself thinking any of the above, you’re crazy. I don’t knit out of a long-standing fear of accidental knitting needle seppuku; try as I might there is only so far I can self teach string theory; and I can barely put a t-shirt on let alone make my own. One of my favorite parts of working overnight is that my wife has left pajamas on the bed for me. If she didn’t do that I’d probably wander around the house naked for hours before eventually collapsing of exposure and being eaten by the dog.

Just saying.

The thread file is a folder that holds a cornucopia of ideas. Anything from one liners to a character description or a few paragraphs of a scene. There’s even a few scraps of dialog without a home. Ideas without any context. Word seeds waiting to be sown in my brain, watered, fed a human sacrifice and then burst into stories.

I like to review them every once in a while, especially when my ‘potential sacrifices’ list starts to really pile up. I happened upon almost 800 words of something that might be the introduction to a future short story. Or novel. Or novella. Or Florida time share pamphlet, I’m not sure.

So here I am. Throwing it at you. Oh and  the character that’s speaking is a bit profane. In case that bothers you. Consider yourself warned.

 

O’keefe.

What a fucking joke.

My dad always used to tell me that disasters worried most people. But after O’keefe hit New York City some thirty years ago, it’s all changed. Now everyone is sitting around hoping to God that someday, soon, another fucking rock’s going to swoop in and hit us. How did that turn into a good thing?

See when it was all going down, when it was real fresh, everyone was focused on helping people. Get the survivors out of the rubble. What rubble the damn thing left. Most of the city was vaporized on contact. O’keefe was a big boy.

Then someone huffed something they shouldn’t have. Bruce Eddington. Crazy Eddy. Braincase. The first fucking Creep right out of the ruins of New York. My dad was there. He actually met the poor bastard.

Eddy had been a fireman in Brooklyn. When the rock came down, he and a dozen of the men from his station survived somehow. Never was able to get an answer from him before he changed. They were the first ones to find survivors, started shuttling them out of the dust. Made two trips in then they just disappeared.

No one saw Eddy or the rest of them for another month after that. Until one day in Pittsburgh some kid found him wandering the streets, babbling and drooling on himself. And everyone latched onto it. One thing led to another then Bam! He was officially government property, living in a bunker in what was left above water out in Buffalo.

Didn’t take long for some hack in a lab coat to figure out snuffing the gas from that beast of an asteroid made you some sort of psychic or some such nonsense. I don’t know how it all works exactly.

But I do know this: Creeps will get in your head if you aren’t careful. Hell, they’ll even do it when you are. That’s number one. Number two is that you can’t trust them. They don’t talk hardly after they change and they lose hold on a lot of important concepts. Like personal fucking space. And three is that they are valuable as all hell.

Poor Eddy lit a fire back up under the space race. Got to find more rocks. Make more Creeps. And the shit they need only floats out in deep space.

Lab coats will tell you that a Creep is just like you and me. They’re full of shit. I can talk for starters. I don’t spend my day drooling all over myself and staring off into space thinking about, whatever. But Spence will swear up and down they’re still real fucking people. He’s fooling himself.

Near as I can tell it’s his own little way of justifying the dirty business he conducts on the off hours. I can understand a guy gets lonely after months on a rock with no one to talk to. He’s got it worse than me and Dodge. Least I can tolerate Dodge. We can have a fucking conversation. Spence spends all his time with the creeps. And all his off duty time with one in particular.

Spence puts a lot of effort in trying to cover his tracks. I’m pretty sure he thinks Dodge and I don’t know any better. Not that he has to hide it. There aren’t any rules against putting in a little personal time with a female ‘staff member’.

But then I probably wouldn’t want anyone to know I was knocking boots with a girl who was about as smart as a sweet potato either. The other lab coats would probably frown on that.

Space is a lonely place.

And we’re right in the middle of the most out-of-the-way back yard in the region.

Romeo-Bravo-Delta-One-Niner-Niner-Leo.

 Translation?

The millionth fucking rock we’ve found floating in space that we can’t think of a real name for because we ran out a million names ago. It’s home for us right now. Me, Spencer, Dodge and a half a dozen Creeps.

Three years on Titan, six in the Uppers and this is where me and Dodge end up. Babysitting a lab coat and his side-show on a rock in the middle of nowhere. We call it the Circus. It’s up at dawn to go walk the kiddies and back at dusk to tuck them in and make sure no one dies or gets lost along the way.

It’s total bullshit.

Dodge is about the same way. At least he doesn’t complain when I bitch about it.

What did we expect? It was court-martial or this. Probably jail, maybe worse, or babysit creeps on a rock. So what did we pick? You already know the answer.

It’s all rainbows and unicorns and bourbon up here baby.