Episode 403: Catalysts and Contraints

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Air Date: 29 Jun 2010

Present: Kim, Maer, Terri, Andy, and Bobby


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Monday, 26 May 2521
Peña Spaceport, Kerry
Georgia (Huang Long) system
1200hrs, local time

Attending to business helps us settle down after the events surrounding Shepherd’s Hope. We scare up parts, passengers and cargo. 

Joshua and Nika discuss some additions to our arms locker as well. 

Joshua: Are we buying mesh here, while we’re on Kerry?  If we can? We’ve got the money.  It runs 46 apiece. Buying three will cost 138.

Nika does the math and realizes Joshua’s left himself out of that equation.

Nika: You still need mesh. Whether you have a weapon or not, you should wear mesh, considering how often we’ve been shot at recently.
Joshua: I’ve been shot at once.  (off her look)  Yes, Captain? Are you blinking your eyes at me, Captain?
Nika: If you insist on not wearing mesh, that’s your problem. Whatever.

Rina catches that last as she’s passing through to engineering and calls over her shoulder.

Rina: If you end up dead, I’ll haunt your corpse.

We don’t linger long in Peña.  We find a job to take us to Newhope, a pick-up of a first class passenger.  It’s only a 40 hour hop and we leave on the evening of the 26th, making it there in good time on the 28th. 


Wednesday, 28 May 2521
Gibraltar spaceport, Newhope
Georgia (Huang Long) system
1030hrs, local time

Newhope is a world caught in the gravitational pull of three astral bodies: its homestar, protostar Murphy and the gas giant Elphame.  As a result, her oceans are gripped by extremely strong tides that have shaped the landmasses terraformed on her.  Not many survived the process and as a result, Newhope is a planet of archipelagoes, all sheer cliffs and shallow terraced land shelves for the shore.  The largest of these is home to Gibraltar Spaceport and serves as the planet capitol.  The natural forces also influence the weather, making it moody and rainy but there are clear days where the sun manages to shine. The last time the crew kissed dirt here, food riots were common, spawned by shortages caused by the political upheaval in the Verse.  Things are considerably calmer now and it isn’t long before Nika patches a call through to Vladimir Byshek, our contact and notorious ‘fixer’. She puts the call through on the bridge and Rina and Joshua stand off to the side to listen in.

Byshek’s Russian accent comes through nice and clear over the speakers.

Byshek: Earheart. Earheart.  Vhat job did you do for me?
Nika: (leans to Rina, whispers) What did we do again?
Rina: (whispers back) Lead pipe. Meridian.
Nika: (smiling now) We took some lead pipe to Meridian … (waggles a so-so gesture) …  took your friend Volker to Blue Sun …
Byshek: Well … I hev job to Blue Sun if you’re looking.
Nika: I’d be interested. Whaddya got?
Byshek: It’s, um, agricultural chemicals.
Rina: (murmuring to self) Nitrate.  You can make explosives with nitrate.

Nika leans away from the camera pick up and silently waves her flattened palm in front of her throat: No, no and hell no!

Byshek: Is for insecticide.  Nitro guanidine.
Rina: (to Nika) Told ya.
Nika: Where’s it goin’?
Byshek: Highgate.
Nika: Well, it’s in the direction we’re goin’ anyway.  What size are we lookin’ at?
Joshua: (softly to self) Guanidine? Highgate?
Byshek:  I can get you as much as you wish. Same people as you worked with before. Song Jian.
Nika: I have room for about 150 tons.
Byshek: Well, here is story. Is bit more complicated. What range you hev on ship?
Nika: What range?
Byshek: Yes. Can you get there without stopping.
Nika: At present, no. But we can potentially modify to make that run if it needs to.
Byshek: Thet might be in your interest. I will be willing to pey … a expedited price … if you can do it without stopping. Problem is, since Alliance pull out, there’ve been … hm, vhat is word you use? … Privateers … working for Alliance, stopping traffic going to Blue Sun.
Nika: Hm. Do tell.
Byshek: And much of the time, yeah, they maybe impose fee, they perheps search ship.  These chemical might be on their list of prohibited item.
Nika: Mm-hm.
Byshek: Is labeled insecticide but still … you know.  Alliance.
Nika: When do you need it off the ground?
Byshek: Well … I can arrange pick up in … four or five days?  If you can buy fuel tank if that’s what you need?
Nika: Yeah, let me see what we can do.  I’ll have my steward get in touch with you about the financials, to arrange for payment, and I will let you know when we’re outfitted.
Rina: (in undertone) Let’s hope he’s not expecting Christian to show up.
Nika: Oh and by the way, Christian Edge is no longer our steward. We have a new steward on board.
Byshek: I don’t know who Christian is.
Johsua: (undertone) Well there you go. Problem solved.
Byshek: You bring crew to restaurant. We talk.
Nika: Okay.

Nika closes the call. At the prospect of going to a restaurant, Rina perks up.

Rina: (sweetly) Please, Captain. May I?  I promise not to bite anyone.
Nika: How much is it going to cost us to outfit with two fuel pods.
Joshua: The last time we did this it was at this weird at-cost thing to swap things out.

Normal cost is 100 credits per tank.  Getting two would cost us 200 credits, empty of fuel.

Rina: One tank gives us 120 hours extra.  Getting two tanks gives us 240.
Nika: So he’s willing to pay the expedited fee.
Joshua: To get us to Blue Sun?  What’s the timeframe?  I need to know.  We have 320 credits.  200 for the fuel pods brings us down to 120
Nika: (doing the math in her head) We need 672 hours.  With pulse.
Joshua: Okay. But we’re going to need 300 and some hours of fuel at .21 times credits, so that brings us down to 60.  but we’re going to have to load up on food. So that brings us down to zero, so… Like… (has to laugh) …
Nika: So we’ll negotiate for half up front or he may pay us up front.
Joshua: I’m not sure if he’s going to pay half-and-half on illegal expedited cargo, but maybe I’m wrong.
Nika: Well then, he can pay up front.

Joshua runs through the numbers again. The trip to Blue Sun will take 24 days. We’ll need 96 canned food hours, not including extras so we’ll probably need another 20 for food.  Part of our expenses depend on whether we’re taking on passengers at first class or not. Nika states our passenger will be paying for that up front, to go to Blue Sun.  Yeah but if we’re taking on second class passengers, they’ll be eating canned like the crew. given what we have on hand now, we’ll still need another 70 days worth.  Bottom line: the fuel tanks and the extra food and the monthly maintenance and drugs for Joshua will cost 609 credits of which we only have 312, putting us in the red for the remaining 297.

We need to find a way to make up the lack.  Is there a way to have Kiera pay us for the cargo space she’s taking up?  That’s another 50 credits gained.  If she downgraded to second class food, that’s credits saved.  Or we could go meet Byshek and see what he’s willing to pay up front first before we start taking privileges and credits away from our passenger.  Adding the cost to fill the fuel pods to our operating expenses gives us a figure of 750 for our basement figure.  We can’t go lower than that and still do the job for Byshek.  We’ll just have to see if he’s willing to pay it.

Arden: I have a distrustful feeling.
Nika: We’ve dealt with this guy before. He dealt square with us.
Rina: He did us well. He didn’t double cross us.
Nika: If you’d like to stay home, you’re more than welcome to, Arden.
Joshua: I’m going to go find our passenger.

Meaning the first class passenger we’v flown to Newhope to pick up.  Joshua finds him easily enough using the spaceport boards and arranges a meet.  When he gets there he finds a old gentleman of indeterminate age, white-haired and erect of bearing, with the cultured speech and accent of the Core.  He’s dressed in fine traveler wear.  It’s not the couture tailoring one would normally find in the Core but rather it’s more like high-end adventure wear. Sort of like a cross between L.L.Bean and Ralph Lauren. And though he isn’t at all crass, the man practically smells of cash. One thing looks out of place, however.  The gentleman is carrying a weathered old canvas rucksack.  It looks like a workman’s rucksack, perhaps to carry tools or materials in.  It’s seen some heavy use and it looks old, probably dating from before the war.  Given the year is 2521, that would date it at least 15 years.

Interesting. Why would a man made of money and dresses like it openly carry around a beat up canvas haversack? 

Joshua duly notes it and files it away and smiles and holds out his hand.

Joshua: Excuse me but aren’t you the person looking for a ship out to Blue Sun? The Summer’s Gift.
Man: Ah!  Summer’s Gift.
Joshua: My name is Joshua Drake.
Man: Pleased to meet you.

They shake hands and the man looks Joshua up and down.

Man: So… I tried to do a little research on the Summer’s Gift. Since that nasty little business in the Core there’s not much on the Cortex anymore.  Tell me about your ship, the Gift.

Joshua has to go through his memory for what he’s been told of the Gift.  As he does, Joshua sizes up the  man and the question: is he looking for a rap sheet on our girl? A carfax report? Or is he looking for a tale of sordid adventure?  Joshua gets no indication and so opts to tell the man the truth.

Joshua: I haven’t been on board the Gift for its entire life span. I’ve only been—
Man: What kind of ship?
Joshua: Kuiper class.
Man: (knows it) Ah, Kuiper class. I guess I won’t expect much in accommodations but it’s suitable for the trip.
Joshua: We maintain a pretty solid first class cabin.
Man: A first class cabin? Kuiper II?
Joshua: Kuiper II.
Man: (contemplating) A Kuiper II.

There is a definite feeling of being felt out, here, even though the man’s demeanor is cheerful and professional.

Man: Well, that’s not bad. They’re pretty flexible ships.
Joshua: Yes, they are.
Man: So you can add fuel tanks to make it all the way out to Blue Sun?
Joshua: Yes. In fact, we are in the process of getting the fuel tanks added on.
Man: I’ve been hearing stories about pirates and such plying the lines between there.
Joshua: As have I. I’ve heard the same stories when we arrived, on the Cortex.
Man: I have nothing to hide so I’m not worried about inspections if we get stopped.  By either force on the border.  But you know, it’ll be dangerous out there. Is it armed?
Joshua: Yes. We have a cannon and a mounted machine gun.
Man: All right. Have you travelled to Blue Sun before?

Oh boy, have we.

Joshua: Yes we have.
Man: I haven’t been out there since before the War. It was a long time ago. I have to say, things have changed much out here.
Joshua: (agreeing) Things have changed in the last six months, much less since the War.
Man: Yes.  My immediate goal is to get out to any of the major planets in Blue Sun. Are you on a fixed schedule?
Joshua: We’re thinking about potentially picking up some cargo which would take us out to Highgate.
Man: Highgate?  Actually, that’s a good place to start.
Joshua: We’ll pick up the cargo in four to five days and once the launch with the cargo we’d like to make as quick a trip as possible to Highgate of course. I believe they’re going to be paying for expedited delivery.
Man: Oh, that’s good. I’d be happy to get there as soon as possible.  But once you get there you don’t have any initial plans?
Joshua: No.
Man: So it might be possible to take a … trips to other planets?
Joshua: Yes. That would certainly be possible if you’re interested.

The man pauses.

Man: Well, I’m not sure I can charter the whole ship for that but—or I’d want to unless I had more information.  But the, um, … But that’s good to know. You’re not on a fixed schedule.
Joshua: We’re not on a fixed schedule. We’d certainly be available depending on what you’re doing.
Man: I see.  And, ah, that’s… (trails off, murmuring to self) … what else do I need to know?… I’m pretty flexible. I don’t need to have fancy quarters but if you say you have first class … ?
Joshua: We do.  We have first class.
Man: Having to pay that would probably make it worth your while to take me there.
Joshua: Oh, certainly.  That would be excellent.

Joshua’s intuition gives him a nudge. Despite the man’s cheerfulness and professional manner, Joshua gets a sense of something serious and sad is driving him in the background.  Joshua notes it and lets it slide. Now is not the time to delve into it.

Man: When I came out to Newhope, I did exchange some of my credits for platinum. would you prefer platinum or …?  Technically we’re not allowed to use credits out here but if you wanted to stop at Boros or one of the other planets so I could give you credits, it’s up to you.

With the dissolution of the Cortex and the Alliance as we know it, credits are good only when used by a credit-recognizing device. They will only work in places that have ties to the Union of the Alliance.  Boros is one such place and Hera in another. We could make credit transactions there but not anywhere else in Georgia system.  Legally.  There may be places and means of doing it illegally using bootleg machines that can recognize the credits but one would have to hunt them down first.

Joshua: It’s obviously more convenient for us to have platinum but we would certainly—.
Man: Oh, I have platinum.
Joshua: Then we’d certainly be glad to take platinum.
Man: I can give you half up front and half on arrival.
Joshua: That seems reasonable. Actually very reasonable. It’s a100 credits a week for first class, so it will be a four week journey.
Man: So 200 up front?
Joshua: 200 up front.
Man: Mind if I take a look at the ship before I, ah …?
Joshua: (agreeing) Absolutely. Actually, you never gave me your name?
Man: Oh, I’m sorry.  The name’s Dyson. Oliver Dyson.
Joshua: Oliver Dyson. Mr. Dyson, it’s a pleasure to meet you.
Dyson: Oliver’s fine. Or Ollie. I’m going to be on a Kuiper class.  Ollie’s more suitable than Mr. Dyson.
Joshua: (chuckling) We’re fine with whatever level of service you’re looking for.
Dyson: We used to have Kuiper I’s come to our worksites years ago. They were perfectly reliable ships. Everybody’s got one, so…they deliver a lot of the raw materials used in my business.
Joshua: And what did you do?
Dyson: I was a terraformer. Back in the early days.
Joshua: Oh. Wow. Fantastic. Where did you terraform?
Dyson: I assume you’ve been around a bit.  I did a bunch of work in Red Sun and Kalidasa mostly, but I have been out here. One of the moons of … ah, Daedalus.

Daedalus is the gas giant one orbit inward from Newhope, in fact.

Dyson: And I did some of the small moons in Blue Sun.
Joshua: Fascinating.
Dyson: A lot of terraforming work is actually ongoing.  People don’t realize this but, you know, there’s continuous work that needs done.  Adjustments being made, making sure methane levels aren’t too high …
Joshua: I imagine if you don’t keep track it eventually all falls off—
Dyson: And eventually it all becomes paperwork and that’s what they had me doing for the last twenty years. Up until I had a–Oh, I did want to ask you one thing ...
Joshua: Of course.
Dyson: Do you have anyone with any … medical certification on your ship?
Joshua:  Yes.  We do, in fact.  Can I inquire as to the reason why, so I have some sort of idea?
Dyson: It’s nothing to be ashamed of or worried about or contagious or anything. but I’ve got a, um, it’s a little-known neurological disorder. Williamson’s Disease. It’s pretty common amongst terraformers.  I’ve got tiny nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream of my brain. Every now and then they interfere.  I don’t become hazardous. I become a little loopy.
Joshua: Our doctor’s fantastic and obviously anything you tell him is kept in confidentiality.
Dyson: I don’t need anything special, other than somebody to make sure whether I’m okay or die, but hopefully that won’t happen.
Joshua: I hope not.  (regroups)  If you like, I can show you the ship.
Dyson:  I’d like to bring my bags along with me.
Joshua: Can I help you carry one of those?

In addition to the rucksack, Dyson has two other bags.  Joshua cannot quite pin Dyson’s age down and so has to walk a fine line between his duties as a ship’s steward and not to insulting the man’s pride with any implications of infirmity.  For himself, Dyson appears to be fairly independent and active.  Joshua takes whatever bag or bags Dyson relinquishes and takes him to our ship. As they approach, Dyson runs an eye over the Gift’s lines and murmurs appreciatively.

Dyson: Well, this is not your standard Kuiper II. You’ve made some modifications.
Joshua: Our engineer’s one of the best.
Dyson: Yeah. The fuel lines exposed like that has got to be dangerous for you. You probably have problems with that.

Oops.  You were saying, Joshua?

Joshua: I’m not the engineer so I suppose you co—
Dyson: Well…if you had a good enough pilot I suppose you could protect them from wind shear and such but I would put some reinforcement on there…
Joshua: You’re going to enjoy talking to our engineer, I think.
Dyson: These Neubring thrusters …. how do they come off, do you know?
Joshua: No, I certainly don’t. Our engineer will talk your ear off if let her.
Dyson: I love talking to engineers.  I’m a bit of an engineer myself.
Joshua: Come aboard, I’ll show you around.

Up the airlock stairs they go. Dyson’s taking everything in with a keen eye.

Dyson: Interesting.
Joshua:  If you want to set your stuff down here while you walk around and decide where you want to stay, you can come back and get it or you could hold  on to it, either way’s fine with us.
Dyson: (pauses) Yes, I’ll just leave them in the airlock.
Joshua: That’s fine.

Joshua leads the way to the first class staterooms, showing him the high points along the way.  The Brigde, to introduce him to the Captain.  Rina’s outside, hanging off the bow and working on the forward sensor array and Kiera’s in the avionics bay below Nika’s feet, handing the engineer tools through the access hatch.  Their informal back-and-forth over tools and repairs makes a counterpoint to the more formal conversation between Captain, Steward and Passenger.

Joshua: Captain? I’d like to introduce you to our potential passenger, Oliver Dyson.
Dyson: Ollie Dyson, Captain.
Nika: Dyson.
Dyson: (nodding) Interesting ship you’ve got here. She ride well? You ever get any maneuvering with those thrusters?
Nika: (easily) Well enough.
Dyson: Yeah?
Nika: Yeah.
Joshua: She’s modest.

Down past the deck plates, Kiera calls out the hatch to Rina.

Kiera: You need help? Can I hold somethin’?
Rina: Sure. You got anything in your container that can fix her?
Kiera: Nope. But I can hold your tools while you work on that.

Back above, Dyson goes on.

Dyson: It’s like having wings on a brick. They don’t help much in the atmosphere. I guess out in space it’s more useful.
Nika: There’s no friction in space so it don’t really matter.
Dyson: That’s what I mean.  More useful in space than in atmosphere. Oh, but don’t let me badmouth your ship. It looks interesting.
Nika: She gets us where we need to go.
Dyson: All right. Okay.

And Joshua gets him out of there for other parts of our girl.  Like the passenger lounge and the galley. Arden’s there and follows them.

Dyson: This is quite nice. Not what I was expecting here. Kuiper classes were like—agh—sweat lodges.  Locker rooms.  They were awful.
Arden: That was what it was like when we first got here.
Joshua: I couldn’t live that way. Dr. Arden, Oliver Dyson.  This is our official ship’s doctor.
Dyson: You’re a doctor.  Not just a medic?
Arden: Yeah, I’m a doctor.
Dyson: (puzzled) I’m trying to place the accent. It’s a … it’s ….
Arden: From all over.  A small planet named Sophie.
Dyson: (going through memories) Sophie … Sophie …. I’m not familiar with it.
Joshua: Let me take you into engineering.

That’s a walk of less than a minute.  Joshua waves Dyson into the engine room ahead of him. Dyson stands and takes it all in: engines, consoles, thruster package.  Joshua lets Rina’s work speak for itself.

Joshua: As you can see …
Dyson: (eyeing the thrusters) So, ah, what sort of transport you folks do here?
Joshua: Ah, well, lately it’s been a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Dyson: It’s an open Verse. I understand that everybody’s got to make a living.
Joshua: For the most part we’ve actually been … (breathes a laugh) … It’s been a long six months.  For the most part, we prefer simple cargo runs, whatever we can get aboveboard.  The turbo array’s been there for as long as I’ve been aboard.  This is the way I was when I got on board close to a year ago. I’ve only actually seen it used once and that was escaping that Sheik back on Angel. (off Dyson’s look)  It turned out our passengers were former slaves looking to get out of the business and the Sheik wasn’t interested in letting them out of the business.
Arden: Slavery isn’t a business.

Arden’s followed them into the engine room and Joshua nods at the doctor.

Joshua: He’s right of course. It’s not a business. But they were looking to get out of being slaves, which is totally understandable.  It came in handy then.
Arden: Mostly we trade in supplies to and from the Rim and the Core.
Dyson: It looks like you’ve seen a lot of use.
Joshua: Yes, and Rina keeps her in good shape.
Arden: And our pilot’s good.
Joshua: She’s damned good. And I don’t know where our engineer is, she’s probably outside doing some work.  We have one other additional passenger who has her own container. You’ll see and interact with her during general mealtimes and such.
Dyson: I’d like to take a look at the quarters and I’ll probably be all done.

Joshua leads Dyson back to the first class staterooms, opens one and lets the man take a turn around in it.

Joshua: We have two cabins, neither of which are in use so it’s up to you which one you actually prefer.
Dyson: They both look good.
Joshua: Since you’re in this one, I could set you up in this one.
Dyson: This is fine.  Got your own bathroom.  Wasn’t expecting that.
Joshua: So, are you on board?  Do you like it?
Dyson: I think so.
Joshua: I’ll get your bags. You can pay half up front and then we’ll get you settled in. Mealtimes are regular.  I’m a pretty good cook.

Dyson stops Joshua’s progress out the door.

Dyson: Drake. Is it Drake?
Joshua: You can call Joshua if you like. Or Drake. Whichever you prefer.  Whatever makes you comfortable.
Dyson: So, what are you called?
Joshua: Joshua, usually.
Dyson: Joshua.  Listen. We’re out here in the Border.  Probably out in the Rim.  However you look at it.
Joshua: Yeah?
Dyson: My interest is getting out to Blue Sun.
Joshua: Okay.
Dyson: Possibly travelling a bit there.
Joshua: Sure.
Dyson:  If your business is … not 100% legal, that’s okay with me.
Joshua: Okay.  So is that it?
Dyson:  If you’re going to put me in danger, I’d just like to know. If there’s more danger than just travelling to Blue Sun on its own.
Joshua: Okay, look. The cargo we’re thinking of taking, we haven’t met with the person yet. If we’re picking up a cargo that would put us in danger of pirates or Alliance or whatever it happens to be, we will let you know. 
Dyson: The other thing would be is, well, I expect it’s your ship but I’m spending 400 platinum here.  I want to feel comfortable walking about below decks, checking out engineering, that sort of stuff.  I don’t want to be crammed in my quarters 24/7 for four weeks.
Joshua: Well, no. We certainly don’t expect you to be crammed into your quarters. For the most part, we don’t have any problem with you pretty much wandering the ship.  The bridge is the Captain’s territory, engineering is the engineer’s territory. You’re welcome to take it up with them to wander in there.  I don’t think any of them will have a problem with it.
Dyson: I’m not saying I’m hanging out there by myself. But if you’re going to be one of those crews where ‘This door’s locked’ and ‘That’s where we keep sections of our…whatever’, I don’t want to be on that ship.
Joshua: The only thing we keep locked on this ship is the weapons locker.

Arden sticks his head in.

Arden: We did have some cats in the air conditioning ducts once, but we’ve no skeletons in our closet.
Joshua: (to Arden, annoyed) Why am I keeping you around? (to Dyson) Upon occasion the engineering and bridge are locked but that is not an all-the-time situation.  In short, you’re welcome to wander around.
Dyson: If I get restless, I don’t want to be nuisance to your crew.  But if that’s going to be an issue, talk to your Captain? Talk to your engineer?
Joshua: It’s not going to be an issue. You’re not going to be a nuisance to them. I can pretty much tell. I know people pretty well. You’re not going to be a nuisance to them.  I’m, actually to be honest, if you’re an engineer I’m more concerned about some of my crew being a nuisance to you.
Dyson: I don’t mind to talk.
Joshua: If you have any problems, that’s my job. So make sure if you have anything that you need, I want you to come to me.
Dyson: Sure.
Arden: What’s your job? To cause problems?
Joshua: (shut up Arden!) It’s to solve problems.

Arden steps inside.

Arden: Anyhow, if you’re going to be a passenger on our ship I’ll want to schedule a med exam for you.
Dyson: Probably a good idea.
Arden: Before we leave, so I can lay in any medical supplies I might need.
Dyson: Of course.
Joshua: I’ll let the two of you get to that then.
Dyson: All right.

Joshua ducks out to get the man’s bags.

Meanwhile back on the bridge, Nika quits her chair and sticks her head below the deck plates into avionics for a word with Rina.

Nika: (jerks thumb aft) Oh, this oughta be entertaining.
Kiera: (well, duh!) Why?
Rina: (agreeing) I heard that, Cap’n.

No joke.

In med bay Arden is surprised to find that the man in front of him is in remarkably good shape for someone his apparent age.  Arden sees the signs of rejuv treatments. Dyson tells him about his Williamson’s Disease and Arden assures him he’s familiar with it.  He ran into it with the terraformers on Perdido Station. They talk as Arden examines Dyson.

Dyson: It doesn’t hit me very often but every now and then those nitrogen bubbles pop into my brain and I get a little loopy.
Arden: I’ve dealt with people before with this syndrome.
Dyson: Well, I’m past obviously the initial stage.  I haven’t been in that situation for a while.  But it’s permanent and it’s potentially life-threatening and the doctors back in Liann Jiun say it’s not operable. Getting the nitrogen out of the brain’s blood vessels is apparently beyond the technology of the Verse right now.  And I’ve seen the best in the Alliance.
Arden: You say you go a little loopy. What do you mean by that? Do you wander around and do things?
Dyson: No. It’s like nitrogen narcosis. I get a little … like drunk.
Arden: You wander around and do things? Like try to take control of the ship?
Dyson: I don ‘t think I’d get to that stage. I’ll probably get dizzy and silly.
Arden: Okay.
Dyson: If it looks like it’s going to pull me under, I don’t want to be resuscitated.
Arden: You want a DNR.

DNR = Do Not Resuscitate order.

Dyson: Yes.
Arden: I’ll draw up the forms so you can sign it.
Dyson: All right.  It’s on my health chip.
Arden: Is it? Okay.

Arden enters a note into his data pad.

Arden: What kind of terraformer were you?  What was your specialty in terraforming?
Dyson:  What is there that I haven’t done? I’ve driven trains, I’ve done shuttle runs. I was mining, I was doing beam control, gravity control.  Gravitics.  Weather operations.  Then the War came and they put me in a combat engineering squad.  I stood my time there. Six years. And then when I got out, they decided younger people were better suited to the work I was doing, pushed me up into management and I’ve been there ever since. It pays good, but I miss getting my hands dirty.
Arden: Where do you call home?
Dyson: I’ve been living in Liann Jiun most recently.

Quite a life story.

Arden: Well if there’s anything you need or have a concern about, consider my door open. If there’s anything I can do?
Dyson: I don’t think I should be a problem.
Arden: And when you leave you can take your medical records with you.
Dyson: Oh, very good.  Ah, I forget that out here on the Rim people are concerned about these sort of things. Live in the Core long enough you just assume everybody’s had everything.
Arden: (grinning) That’s why I did my residency in the Core.
Dyson: Ah, I thought I detected a bit of that accent.

Outside, Rina drops her tool for the second time in the past hour.

Rina: Yebani v’rot!  (asks Kira) Would you go down and –no better yet, I’ll get it.
Kiera: No, that’s all right. I’ll go fetch it.
Rina: Thanks.

When Kiera retrieves it 20 feet below, Rina calls down to her.

Rina: Toss it up to me.
Kiera: Oh yeah and watch me hit somethin’. I don’ think so.
Rina: (grinning) ‘Ow, my eye!’

Laughter all around.  Kiera comes back up and hands it through the hatch. 

Rina: (disappointed) Aw.  It got nicked.  Oh well, I’ll grind it down.

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Part 2
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