Chapter Twenty Nine




I was almost late for my eight o'clock visit to the pilot room, and only had time to grab a robe. I didn't even have time to grab coffee, let alone a shower and breakfast. We shouldn't have watched that last movie, I guess. Well, inspections would be a little late today. I grimaced, and ordered a cup of coffee from the computer. Those robots must use instant coffee rather than perking it, because it tastes really nasty but they get a cup to you in no time, even though it seems like forever when you really need a cup of it. It takes at least fifteen minutes for my pot to make coffee.
It was nasty, but it was coffee, or an almost not unreasonable substitute for coffee, and I needed coffee. At least it would make me more alert. With all those damned drug addicts on board I needed coffee!
It looked like today wasn't going to be nearly as easy as yesterday. There was a slight course correction and engine sixty three had a minor undervoltage. I shut it down from the pilot room as Destiny came in with a cup of good coffee that the stupid robots can't make; she must have gotten up right after I did.
“Thanks,” I said. “How late were we up last night? I almost didn't make it here on time.”
She laughed. “I don't know, that last movie seemed like it was pretty long, and we cuddled longer than usual after it was over, too. Want some breakfast?”
“Sure,” I said. She ordered the robot to make scrambled eggs and bacon and had a little fun with the computer, asking for pork bacon, and toast, and drank coffee with me as I finished up in the pilot room.
I got dressed and we ate a quick breakfast. My morning shower would have to wait today, engine inspections were more important than a shower so it was first. The robot plugged into sixty four had repaired it, so I unplugged the robot from it and restarted it and plugged the robot into number sixty three.
Robots were still working on engines seventeen and twenty three. Twenty three had two different kinds of robots working on it, so I logged that.
The port generator was still broke, of course, but other than being broke and completely useless it was fine. The starboard generator was in good shape, too.
Despite having a nasty first half cup of coffee and almost being late to work I was in a pretty good mood. I decided to let the girls who were confined out as long as they promised to be good... hah, like that promise meant anything. But like Tammy had said, these girls couldn't help themselves any more than a house cat can help its clawing your furniture or a dog can help itself from chewing up your slippers. They're animals.
I walked up all those damned stairs and headed home. As I was walking down the hall I ran across Lek and Billie.
Billie was actually civil, thanking me for letting her out and apologizing for the mutiny, but what was even more amazing was that Lek was actually clothed! I complimented her on the dress. “Thank you,” she said, “I ashamed. I no want act like animal even though I am one.”
That was a pretty good sign, according to Tammy's book. I was in an even better mood.
There were three girls whose names I could never remember, the fat German blonde and the skinny French redhead and a more normal sized Canadian woman with green hair, in the commons. Why her hair was green I had no idea; weird hair colors were a fad a few hundred years ago but were way out of style these days. Might as well have tattoos, those things were popular a few hundred years ago too but nobody had them these days. Maybe the weird hair color fad was coming back? What's next, nose rings? Those people back in the first part of the twenty first century were crazy.
The redhead and the blonde were eating, and the woman with the green hair was drinking something pink.
I could finally take a shower and eat; I was starved. Destiny had the robots make hoagies and potato splitters for lunch while I took my shower and put on clean clothes. The noisy maid was cleaning as we ate our sandwiches.
We took glasses of shike to the living room and watched an episode of Rawhide. When it was finished Destiny said “I think I'll take a walk, want to come along?”
“Sure,” I replied. “Cabin fever?”
“Yeah, a little,” she said.
Tammy was in the commons by herself with a tablet and stylus as we went past, so we decided to have another shike. “Working?” Destiny asked.
Tammy looked around furtively, making sure there were no droppers, and said “Yes, I'm writing a paper on the effects of low gravity on droppers, I'm really learning a lot on this trip. We only had a very little bit of data on that aspect of their addiction, so this is some important research. What are you guys up to?”
“Just going for a walk,” Destiny said. “I haven't been getting enough exercise lately and I seem to be tired all the time. I might even walk down a few flights of stairs.”
“I'm not,” I said. “I get enough damned stairs every day. Tammy, Lek was actually wearing clothes this morning!”
“Really? Which one?”
“The one that talks English okay, the only Thai on board that does. I think she's the one that knocked me out.”
“That's great!” she exclaimed, beaming. “I'll have a gurney examine her, maybe I can get that kind of progress from all of them, or at least more of them.”
“Well, I don't know,” I said, “she said she's ashamed that she's an animal.”
“Excellent!” she said, and furiously scribbled something in her tablet with its stylus. I pulled out my fone. “Computer,” I said, “send a medic to the commons and give Doctor Winters complete access and command control to it.”
We went back to our walk, passing a few naked droppers as we went. By the time we got to the stairwell Destiny said she changed her mind about climbing stairs, so we went back to my quarters and watched some ancient two dimensional movie called “Dumbo” that had no actors, just colored moving drawings.
Destiny said that a century ago all movies were like that, except the drawings were done inside a computer and looked like they were real people and buildings and stuff... or almost. Now days only low budget B movies are made inside computers, they've gone back to using actors and sets and props again when they make real movies.
We had some kind of Mexican dish for dinner. I don't know what it was called, but I didn't care too much for it, it was way too spicy. It made my eyes water and my mouth felt like it was hot enough to blister.
We watched a really short but funny ancient movie about four college professors and their dumb blonde neighbor who wants to be an actor, then a beautiful old fantasy called “Lord of the Rings,” or at least the first part – it had been taken from an old book that was written in three long parts.
Then we cuddled to some classical music and went to bed. And no, it's still none of your damned business.


Chapter 28
Chapter 30

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