Chapter Four




The maid woke me up about noon. I hate that God damned maid, always noisy as hell. Why does it have to clean at noon? Those things should wait until people are awake, it ain't every day you can sleep late. I was going to have to be getting up at seven thirty every day in a few days and I wanted to sleep late, damn it! And I had to pay for the damned thing and my other personal robots, bought from the company because it was in my damned purchase contract for the houseboat. And they were damned expensive, I'll tell you. Each of them cost me an arm and a leg.
“Coffee,” I growled. I especially hated paying for that damned robot. A couple of minutes later a table with a cup of coffee on it rolled up to me. Why are those damned things so slow? Anyway, I don't know why I'm putting this in my report except I don't want to get anybody killed just because I left anything out.
I took a shit and drank another cup of coffee. Damn but the robots make shitty coffee, I really hated paying for that robot. It cost me a lot of money and it really sucks at what it does. I should just make the coffee myself, this robot shit sucks.
At least the robots get free repairs and software upgrades and I get to keep it anywhere I want, and take it with me when I retire, I own it. Upgrades are supposed to be for life, which is why my robots cost me so much, I guess. Well, and probably because their employees are a captive audience. The company makes them for really cheap, they don't cost much at all to manufacture. I'll bet they don't sell many coffeebots to people who don't work for the company!
I switched on the video and turned to the news. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, shootings, robberies, political corruption, some bullshit about the Martian terraforming project that's been going on for a hundred years... why do they call it “news”? It's never new, it's the same old shit all the time. Bored, I switched through all of the channels. Shit, all boring.
Later on I figured I'll get a beer somewhere where there's people. If I was lucky they wouldn't be boring people like all the boring people on the video. So I locked up Ol' Miss and hailed a taxi with my fone and went to the nearest bar, which was five miles away. Why ain't there no bars near spaceports, I wondered again. It was like that everywhere. I paid the cab fare and went inside and cussed myself; I forgot how expensive this damned place was and should have gone someplace cheaper. But at least there was a decent crowd here tonight, and some good classical music somebody else played was coming from the jukebox.
Huh? I don't remember, Presley, maybe. Yeah, come to think of it it was Presley but I don't know the name of the song. Something about shoes, I think.
I sat down and ordered a beer. “I'm sorry, sir,” the bartender said, “but this says you're underage.”
“What? Christ, lady, I'm forty five!”
“Well, this says ‘underage, no ID carried'.”
“Shit,” I said, and got out my fone and turned on GPSID. “Try it again.”
“Okay,” she said, “It worked that time.” I checked my balance – wow, beer was even more expensive here than I remembered. Well, I guess I didn't remember at all or I'd have gone to a different bar. I drank a Heineken tonight but was switching to some Australian beer because they were cheaper and damn but beer was expensive in this place. I should have stayed with Newcastle, that's what I had shipped to my boat.
Hi, Captain.”
“Huh?” I blurted out, startled. “Oh,” I said, seeing who it was. “The woman that wanted on my boat. Gonna buy me a drink and try and get on my boat again, lady?”
“The name's Tamatha. You can call me Tammy. If I buy you a drink are you going to let me on?”
“How about a blow job?”
It was so absurd I laughed until my sides ached. There were going to be two hundred whores just like her on my boat. “You have got to be kidding me!” I said, still laughing. I thought, no wonder they have droppers in comedy movies, this was hilarious. Funnier than the movies, even.
“Buy your own booze, loser.”
“Fuck you,” I retorted, still chuckling. “I ain't cheap like you droppers. I can afford my own beer.”
“I told you, I want to get away from that shit. That's why I haven't gone home, even though I really, really want to. Come on, please, I'll fuck you all the way to Mars!”
I laughed even harder. “Yeah, you and two hundred other hookers,” I said, chuckling again.
“You're an asshole,” she said.
“So what, cunt,” I replied. “Get outta my face.”
“What did you call me?” she demanded.
“Are you good for anything but putting a dick in?” I asked.
“OOOOH!!” She shouted, and stomped off. I got another expensive beer. Damn, I should have had the taxi take me to a cheaper part of town, even if the fare would have been more. I guess I could have took the bus, but hell, I got money, I don't need no damned bus.
A really good looking blonde sat down next to me. “Hi,” she said. “I overheard, why did she call you Captain? Are you on the Mars boat?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Why?”
“I'm going to Mars.”
“Yeah? That's what she said. She's not on the manifest.”
“I am.”
“Yeah?” I said, pulling out my fone and checking out the manifest. Of course, as soon as I turned it on her face and information was shown. “Why, pleased to meet you, uh...” I glanced at the manifest, “Destiny? Is that your real name?”
She giggled. “Yeah, it is. My parents wanted me to have an uncommon first name because our last name is so common. Buy you a drink, Captain?”
“Call me John,” I said, shaking her extended hand. “So why do you want to go to Mars?”
“I want to see what it's like to be a hooker.”
I choked on my beer; women kind of fuck my brain up sometimes. “Huh?”
“I want to experience everything!”
She grabbed my crotch. “No charge for you,” she said before locking lips with me.
Wow. I was really looking forward to this trip!
Ol'Miss, my boat, is really a houseboat. I'd kind of lied to that Tammy woman, my houseboat is my boat even though the gantry and the boosters and the harness tube belong to the company, but passengers don't ride in my boat, they ride in the tube. I usually only live in it when I'm on-planet; it won't go farther than the moon in any reasonable amount of time, and I live in the company's captain's quarters when I'm working. Lots nicer and bigger than my houseboat. The company pays me to ferry passengers to the ship, in orbit, then usually take them to wherever they’re going after we dock. A second stage to hold a couple hundred passengers or a load of cargo is pretty cheap, it's just a tube, and if I'm hauling passengers it has gravity harnesses installed. Someone else usually ferries passengers and cargo out of orbit when we get where we're going, and I take Ol' Miss down.
I had a wonderful time! I really liked Destiny. Smart, funny, and damned good looking. I bought her drinks all night.
We shared a taxi to my boat, and she remarked that cabs used to have drivers. She'd been fascinating me all night with tidbits of history and laughed at all my jokes. God but I liked this woman!
“What's a ‘driver’?” I asked. Screwdrivers?
“They had automobiles for over a century and a half before they had computers or robots. They needed a human to steer it and use the throttle and brakes, all that. The person controlling the car was the car's driver. People used to get paid to drive cabs.” Oh, that kind of driver.
The cab pulled up by the gantry and there were twenty women waiting there. I had to check them all in. “Sorry, Destiny,” I said. “You can wait in my quarters until I'm done here.”
“No,” she said, and winked. “You can come to mine when you're done.”
“Uh, your quarters are in orbit,” I said. “This isn't the ship, this is just a rocket underneath a harness tube underneath my houseboat. The ship itself is in orbit waiting for us. Just take the gantry lift to my boat and when we take off you can use a harness there, you don't have to ride in the tube. You can leave your stuff in my boat until we dock, they don't give you much room for belongings in the tube anyway, not near enough for your three suitcases.”
Huh? So what if she was cargo. So was my beer but I carry that, my boat was half full of it. I never said nobody but me ever rides my boat. Fuck you two assholes. You want me to leave right now? Then shut the fuck up.
The fucking women just wouldn't stop coming, and most of them acted horny, a sure sign they were high on drops. Most of them hit on me, none too subtly. And they had weird eyes, with one pupil bigger than the other, just like in those silly comedies.
This was going to be a good trip! At least, if I could get all those whores inside the boat. No sooner than I'd start walking to the gantry lift to go home than the damned bell rang with another one walking up to the gate. It kept up all weekend. Finally, maybe midnight Sunday, I got what I thought was going to be eight hours sleep. I'd had maybe four all weekend.
I fell asleep in the chair after letting the last one in and got two more hours sleep before the bell rang again. It was that damned Tammy woman. “You ain't getting in,” I said. “Now go away before I call the cops.”
“Check your manifest.”
I checked it. “You aren't on it.”
“Look at the passengers list.”
Passengers? Huh? Passenger tickets were expensive. But okay, I checked. Damn, she was there, business class, no less. Where did a whore get the money for a normal trip to Mars, let alone the money for a business class ticket? I unlocked the gantry lift to the tube's airlock. “Harness seventeen,” I said, and went to my cabin. Okay, fuck you, houseboat. You guys trying to piss me off?
I got some sleep, finally... an hour later.
I finally had some time alone with Destiny. I really like Destiny!


Chapter 3
Chapter 5

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