Chapter Thirty Three




Destiny woke me up about seven thirty; I'd been the one up early the day before because of that engine. “Wake up, sleepyhead, or you won't have time for breakfast,” she said. She'd already made coffee and had the robots make chicken cheese omelettes.
God but I love that woman, meeting her was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. Of course, were it not for the monsters I'd probably never have met her. You take the wonderful with the insanely horrible, I guess.
“That stupid computer,” she said. “I wanted a turkey cheese omelette and the dumb thing kept telling me that there were no Turkish cheeses on the menu. I finally gave up, so it's chicken.”
“We'll have them tomorrow,” I said. “You have to tell it cheese and turkey.”
We watched the news while we ate, but like always there was nothing new. A war had broken out in Africa, but there's always a war somewhere, it seems. People are stupid.
Lankham Farms in Mexico closed down, citing Mexico's new environmental laws. The environmental regulations in almost all countries were strict to the point that raising pork just wasn't economical enough to earn any money. Since Lankham closed there were only a few African countries that still produced pork. About the only place you could buy pork was from the fanciest farm restaurants where they grew the food and raised the animals they cooked and served, using human cooks and wait staff, the kind you had to be a Dewey Green to afford eating at. They only raised a few hogs at a time because of the environmental laws.
Like I care about the price of pork. Sheesh.
I finished breakfast, showered and got dressed, kissed Destiny and went to the pilot room for my normal morning routine.
Everything in the pilot room checked out. There were no upstairs inspections today so I trudged down the five damned flights of stairs, which is better than trudging up them, and inspected the generators and engines. Yep, port generator and engine seventeen still broke. A robot was still working on seventeen so I logged it.
I got done quick today! Probably wasn't even noon yet. Destiny was in the commons drinking coffee with Tammy and Lek, who was still wearing clothes, although different ones. I wondered where she got them, probably traded drops to the naked animals for theirs. Or maybe Tammy gave her some, I don't know. I sat down with them and complimented Lek.
“Thank you,” she said.
“You've come a long way, Lek. You should be proud.” She smiled widely. Thailand is known as “the Land of Smiles” and unless they were short of drops the three on board were smiling almost every time I saw them. Lots different than that German woman, who was always frowning and never seemed to smile. It had been quite a while since Lek's pupils were different sizes, although they were usually at least a little bloodshot.
“Doctor Winters help me,” she said. I was startled. “Tammy?” I said, really confused.
“She's smart, John. She figured me out after a couple of weeks and confronted me. She noticed that I was the only one wearing clothes and that I had plenty of drops, and she guessed correctly that I was pretending to be an addicted prostitute and asked me why I was faking it, so I admitted that I was really a scientist studying them and trying to find a cure, and asked her to keep it secret.”
“I no tell anybody,” Lek said. “I only call her doctor when we alone. She say I not animal because I have good manners and respect, and animals no have manners or respect. I would have figured out sooner except her eyes.”
Tammy laughed. “I used phenylephrine. It's a harmless medication that ophthalmologists have used to dilate patients' eyes for examination for centuries. A drop in one eye made me look like I was on angel tears. It fooled everyone but Lek.”
I asked “What was up with that one woman yesterday?”
“She knocked her drops off of the sink and thought they went down the drain. She went through withdrawal for nothing, if she'd been in her right mind she would have realized that there's no way that bottle would fit down that drain.”
“Do they always go through withdrawal that bad, that fast?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “She had to have been out of them for at least a couple of days. Maybe she lost them like she did yesterday, or maybe someone stole them. It's something I worry about constantly.”
Then she started talking Thai with Lek. Lek said “We need speak English, they no understand.” I gathered that Tammy spoke very good Thai and communication was easier between them in that language.
“Uh,” I said, “Are you working right now, Tammy?”
“Well, kind of,” she said.
“I'm sorry, we're in the way” I responded.
Destiny blushed. “Oh, God, Tammy, I'm sorry! You're making great progress, though. Both of you. Come on, John.”
We went home, ate lunch, and Destiny put on a two dimensional science fiction movie from the twentieth century, and it was funny as hell. I think it was called “Star Wars” or something. I'm still chuckling over “these are not the droids you're looking for.” Those old movies were a lot funnier than the ones they make today.
Huh? I don't know, I think it was Italian food, Destiny ordered it. Some kind of cheesy noodles with meat and tomato sauce.
Huh? Oh, there's quite a few of those Star Wars movies. After the first one was so successful they made it into a trilogy. Back then computers were still way too primitive to make movies in so it was all models and puppets and probably drawings by hand. Oddly they shot episodes four through six first, and didn't shoot one through three for another twenty years, probably because the technology to do it wasn't there. It was another fifteen years before another one was made after the first six.
Then we had beef and beans for supper and watched Forever Old, a new holo.
We listened to the Vaughn brothers for a while and went to bed.


Chapter 32
Chapter 34

mcgrew publishing