The tube stayed connected to the rocket to get it back to Earth. Well, not all the way, the rocket jettisons the tube and the tube burns up from friction with the atmosphere and then the rocket lands by computer control for refueling and maintenance.
Three days after we had lifted off, gone into orbit and docked with the ship, quarters had been assigned to the women, the rocket went back down on autopilot, the tube was, as the egghead science nerds say, “jettisoned in a trajectory” that would burn it up; they say it's supposed to be cheaper than landing them, and we were on our way to Mars.
There's nothing I could add that ain't in the logs or what I've been rambling on about for the last three hours, nothing happened on the engine or generator inspections, not even robots working on any of them, and of course my eight o'clock course adjustments didn't need any adjusting, I just checked the readouts. They were all normal, expected, of course, at the first of any journey.
I was watching a movie, Destiny cuddled in my arm. God, but I liked this woman. She was like a female me, only refined, she'd went to college. Hell, she had a doctorate in astronomy. My woman was a scientist! Man, life was sure good.
Of course, the tablet had to ruin the mood, damn it. I had to go to the commons area.
Right now the commons area was a bar and the robots summoned me because there was a damned bar fight. Shit.
I like having company but I hate being a babysitter.
Tables were overturned, two women were fist fighting so I tasered and handcuffed both of the dumbasses. “Okay,” I said, “Who are you girls and what's this all about?” I noticed that unlike when we left orbit their eyes looked normal.
“I'm Billie and that bitch called me a cunt so I hit her,” the blonde with the black eye said.
“I'm Sparkle,” the other one said. “And I was just defending myself from that cunt.”
I sighed. “Look, bitches, there ain't gonna be no violence on my boat, get it? Billie, you're confined to quarters, and that means the door's locked, for twenty four hours. It happens again and you're locked up for the rest of the trip. Got it? That shit just don't happen on my boat.
“Sparkle, you get two hours and you better stay out of trouble.” I escorted them to their quarters and removed their handcuffs, locked the doors and told the computer how long to keep them locked up, and returned to Destiny.
If I'd went to college maybe I'd known about drops. You sure don't learn about them from watching comedies, I'd find out later.
As I was going back to my quarters, Tammy walked up. Tammy, my sole passenger. Another dropper. Where in the hell did she get the money for a ticket, I wondered again. Probably stole it, I guessed. “Trouble?” She asked.
“Nope, just a couple of pissed off whores,” I said. Yeah, I held this woman in contempt. A dropper whore was... well, you don't want to know one. Believe me.
“That's what happens when they don't get their drops,” she said.
“Huh?” I hadn't known whores or droppers, but I knew I didn't want to.
“Droppers get violent when they don't get their drops.”
“Best not fuck with me, asshole.”
Shit, no wonder the company gave me a raise. Droppers and no drops.
I was in trouble.
Or maybe not. It was half a week before another such incident occurred, and was quickly quelled; I didn't have to ground the kids this time.
When I say “babysitter” I'm not kidding. These fully grown women acted like spoiled children. It's like they weren't raised right, I don't know.
Hey, can I go to the bathroom? Thanks.
Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah, drops.
I knew those damned things were addictive, but I didn't know that withdrawal from them caused violence. And not just fistfights, but deadly violence. Terrible, horrible, inhuman, unthinkable violence. And, it seemed, every time. I was in deep trouble and didn't know it.