Chapter Twenty Two




I felt pretty good the next day when I woke up. Destiny was still asleep, so I started coffee, told the robot to make breakfast and no robot coffee, damn it! And took a shower.
Huh? Bacon, eggs, and hash browns for two. What? Turkey bacon, of course. Christ, do I look like I'm rich? What's wrong with you guys, anyway?
Destiny would be awake by the time I got out of the shower. Huh? Why? Over easy. Come on, guys! What difference does it make how the God damned eggs are cooked or whether it's ham or turkey bacon? I thought you said it didn't matter? You need to know what my turds looked like, too?
She was just waking up as I got dressed. “Hungry?” I asked. “I made coffee and the robots are making breakfast.”
“I'll probably be hungry when my stomach wakes up. What time is it?”
“About seven thirty, we have a half hour before I have to go to work.”
“Is the coffee done?”
“It should be by now, I started it before I got in the shower.”
“Well, I guess I'll get up, then,” she said grinning, and got up.
She put the news on the video... or is that “olds” since it's the same old shit? There was something on it about pirates, though. They had arrested thirty of them after a firefight on Earth, and fifty pirates and twenty policemen died. Hell, I just killed hundreds of the bastards and all I had to do was throw rocks at 'em. And only the bad guys died. Cops? Hah! You're better off fucking with cops than fucking with me. That is, if you're a pirate, anyway.
Stupid news.
Destiny and me wasn't paying much attention to it anyhow.
Five 'til eight I went to the pilot room to make sure we weren't going too fast or too slow or the wrong way and that the computers weren't arguing, and started my inspections.
There hadn't been any arguing coming from the computers but there was arguing coming from the commons, damn it. I stopped and called Destiny. “Hon, could you call Tammy and have her handle these crazy women?”
“Sure, what are they doing?”
“They act like they need drops.”
“Okay, I'll call her.”
I decided to inspect the commons last. A bunch of dangerous dropless dropheads was the last thing I needed. Tammy's damned book scared the hell out of me.
For once the cargo didn't give me any trouble in inspection at all; they were all asleep and the doorbells didn't even wake them up.
Odd, what with the commotion in the commons.
When I went into the passenger section there was a funny smell in number eighteen. Burning insulation and ozone, it smelled like. I got out fast and pulled out my fone; systems should have seen that and fixed it already.
“Computer, fire in number eighteen.”
“There is no fire in cargo eighteen.”
“PASSENGER eighteen you stupid computer!”
There was the muffled “crackle, wump” sound of an electrical explosion in number eighteen. Shit! “Computer,” I said as alarms went off. “Report.”
“Fire in passenger eighteen” it said as the door light started flashing red. “Fire suppression technologies in play.”
Damned stupid computer. “Cause of fire?” It had smelled like an electrical short circuit to me, ozone and burned plastic and it sounded like an electrical explosion. They don't make these boats near as good as they used to. This was the third damned fire on this ship! It wasn't a brand new boat, thank God, or the damned robots would talk. But the boats with three generators, the old ones that were built with one fission generator and got retrofitted with fusion power in addition to the original generator later, almost never had electrical problems. I hear when they used fission the most they could get out of them was a little more than half a gravity. I think we're the only company with fusions so far.
“Unknown at this time,” the idiotic computer said. Stupid damned thing, something shorted out and a circuit breaker should have blown but didn't. Same as the port generator, it should have shut itself down before it caught fire and melted lots of the parts. I think the company needs better engineers.
I decided to investigate later. “Computer, do not repair until I've investigated the fire. Continue fire suppression and keep the door locked.”
“Acknowledged,” it typed on my fone. Why do them damned things talk like that? I'm glad my robots are old, I hate those damned new talking robots.
Well, except that the old ones catch fire sometimes. That's never any fun.
I went down all those damned stairs and inspected the good generator, the ion engines, and the messed up generator. One robot was working on engine one thirty two and I noted it in the log before trudging back up all those damned steps.
Back at Passenger eighteen the light was no longer flashing, so I went in. Yep, a burned up panel. I opened it, and it was fried; something had shorted. I logged it. A repair robot would come by and fix it shortly.
This shit didn't use to happen on old boats. The ones with three generators were built like brick shithouses, they almost never broke.
I went to the commons and finally inspected it. The commotion was over and it was nearly empty.
I went home and had a tuna salad sandwich and chips for lunch with Destiny. I was a little late because I'd been so busy and was starved.
“What was going on in the commons?” I asked.
“Thieves. You read Tammy's book, most of these girls had criminal parents and stealing is normal for them. Well, there were about fifty of them that had all their drops stolen and were in the commons accusing each other of stealing, when the thieves that had stolen them were all asleep. Tammy took care of it.”
“I'm sure glad we have her,” I said.
“Me too,” she agreed. “Do you have to work this afternoon?”
“I hope not. Not unless something breaks or the droppers act up or pirates attack or...”
“Okay,” she said laughing. “I get it. Want to watch something?”
“Sure. Pick something.”
“How about...” she started before an alarm went off.
“You jinxed me,” I said, grinning. “Damned dropheads!”
It was another fire, this time in passenger nineteen, right across the hall from where the earlier fire was. Why in the hell are unoccupied quarters powered? It don't make no sense. It's a fire hazard, especially the shitty way they build boats these days, I'm glad I didn't get a brand new one. I'll bet they're even worse than this one, and it's only ten years old. And the stupid robots would talk, too.
But it wasn't a real fire, just a drill, there only to waste my free time and annoy me. I have so damned many real emergencies that I don't need no stupid drills. The company's programmers are idiots.
I went back to watch videos with Destiny. I think it was called “The Untouchables”; it was about the nineteen twenties when beer was illegal. Boy, people are sure stupid.
We had steak and beans and slaw for dinner, then watched another movie, then we... Huh? I'm not sure what it was called, wild something I think. It was one of the old gray two dimensional movies. There were motorcycles in it, the old noisy kind that ran on some sort of liquid fuel rather than batteries. We didn't pay much attention, we got kind of occupied.
What? None of your God damned business!


Chapter 21
Chapter 23

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