Monday, November 12, 2012

Captain Cole to the Rescue...

                I hate cities.
                They’re loud, and entirely too crowded for my taste.  Give me the wide open spaces of the Colonies and Rim Territories.
                I slide into a spot at a local bar between two patrons in garish costumes.  Too many people, wearing to many brilliant colors and the latest in fashion make my head hurt.  I order a shot of the bars finest and slug it down.  It burns pleasantly on its way down.
                “Ten credits and I’ll tell you your fortune.” Her voice is soothing and sweet.  Low and almost unnoticed in humanities roar, I turn towards her as she sidles up beside me.  There’s a twinkle in her eye.
                “Gypsy Queen looks good on you Jax” I say.
                The diminutive brunette shrugs, “They’re not looking for a gypsy” she says tossing a thumb over one shoulder.
                There are two guys in suits, all business and decidedly government, moving systematically through the crowd. 
                “What’d you do this time Jax?”
                She holds her palms up with mock surrender.  “Nothing, I swear.  The information was free, open to the public.  I just shared it with a few of my friends.”
                “Which friends?”
                She shrugs, “Friends that pay better than you Cole.”
                “Can’t help it if you’re a greedy girl.”
                She casts a glance over her shoulder and then looks back at me, “I need help Charlie.”
                There are two of them and they’re only a few bar patrons away.  They haven’t recognized Jax but they will.  They have implants, I can tell from the dark shades that seem to melt into skin.  A computer facial match will beat any disguise Jax comes up with.  I should ignore this but we’ve got a past and she was a good partner once.  Instead I stick my nose in matters it doesn’t belong in and say, “Come on.”
                I push her away from the bar and towards the exit, but my luck, never great to begin with, doesn’t keep us hidden for long as one of the suited goons glances up and tags us with a visual match.  “Halt!” he yells.
                “Go, we’ve been tagged.”
                I can only hope they don’t get a shot of me.  I have a file but not a big enough for them to actively hunt me.  We exit the bar and run smack dab into more pedestrians.
                I hate cities.
                It’s a constant struggle to push through the crowd.  Behind us I know no one is getting in the way of the suits.  It’s just not smart to get in the governments way.
                I grab Jax and we duck down a small alley between two food stands.  It dead ends.
                “Now what genius?”
                I push her towards a waist high pile of trash.  I kick it away revealing a sealed door in the floor.   Port cities are huge and multi-leveled.  If you knew they worked you could get around fairly easily. I reach down and spin the handle.  The hatch pops up revealing a ladder.
                She does.
                I follow her down and seal the hatch behind us.  They’ll know what we’re doing and where we’re going but time’s now on our side.  We bust out of the alley and into pedestrians.  Pushing and shoving we run down the open air corridor, take a left, a right, and then another left.
                “There” I say pointing.
                We swing to our left and keep up a sprint that takes us past several occupied landing pads.
                “Go Jax, she’s unlocked.”
                I skid to a halt, spin with pistol in hand.  I snap off two shots, aimed high because I’m not a fan of innocent bystanders dying.  The twin suits duck behind cover.  I’m up and running again.
                The Domino’s on the last pad on the right.  Jax is already up the ramp and disappearing inside.  As I arrive the ramp is rising and I leap up onto it and sprint through my ship to the cock-pit.  With the main drives on stand-by I crank up the transfer coils and drop into my chair.  I point at the seat next to me and Jax drops into it.
                “Just like old times” she says with a laugh.
                I shake my head.  I bring up the Domino’s thrusters and we lift off the landing struts and into the air.  I end any ground pursuit with a blast from the chin mounted gatling.  Docking control is screaming at me and I know fighters will be scrambled soon.
                “Where are you going?”
                “To hide.”
                We shoot into the city and I swoop us in and around tall buildings that reach for the heavens.  We dive under bridges arcing through the air and joining one building with another.  We tear through traffic lanes designed for small air cars and not my FTL capable freighter.  We probably cause more than one accident but the mayhem we leave behind should keep authorities busy and fighters off our tail until I can find an out of the way place to set down.
               “Why aren’t you getting off the planet?” Jax asks.  Her voice a little shaky
                “There’s an entire fleet up there now on high alert.”
                I shut down all active scanners and drop down into the mists of Lowtown.  I switch off the running lights and we slip into the perpetual fog that the cities  forty-seven percent  live under.  I pull up a map on a side monitor and find what I’m looking for.  An abandoned landing pad looms out of the fog.  I swing the Domino around, kill the main drives and settle onto the ground beneath it with thrusters.
                “Now we sit here?” Jax asked
                 Free and clear the time being.  I know the suits will be hard pressed to find us down in Lowtown and after a day or two we will be able to blast clear of Alpha Prime without half the fleet on red alert and actively scanning for us.
                I turn to Jax, “So, seriously, what did you do this time?”

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A letter to whoever wants to read it...

            It’s amazing to me how things can change with the drop of a hat…or maybe the slow descent of a hat since the Change was a very long drawn out process that nearly had me pulling hair out.  Still, the Change happened and now I’m settling in.  It’s been a good thing, nay, a great thing.  I’m content for the moment.  (probably won’t last long though, my contentment never seems to at least)  I’ve settled in at my new location and I’m falling into my groove.  It’s a nice laid back groove right now, partially because it’s that time of the year and partially because quite simply the area I’m responsible for is quite a bit smaller.  It’s nice to not be running around like a chicken with my head lopped off.  It’s nice to be able to take things at a leisurely pace at work and to shed the stress I was under before. 
            To be fair, the place I worked before wasn’t a bad place, I’d just grown a tad bit tired of it.  It was equal parts burn out from a busy summer and simply being there for to long.  The people were cool and even a majority of the users were ok, but the bad began to rear its ugly head in my conscience a little to often while the good hid behind a large boulder most of the time.  Here it’s different.  Or maybe ‘its’ not and I am.  The users, while still probably off their rockers, aren’t quite as, insert derogatory adverb here, and their questions aren’t quite so…oh I dunno…like pouring acid on an exposed nerve…yep that’s the ticket.

The Office View

            So for now I am content and happy.  My personal time is a little less all in one place now and so things like writing and even riding has sorta been placed on the back burner to be replaced with early morning runs and dates with the weights.  It’s not a bad way to mix things up but I do miss some of that bulky free time.  However, I am at home at night with the family and that’s been a pleasant change.  More time helping out in the house, getting children to do their homework and generally take some of the pressure off of the wife are things that were a large part of why I sought the change out in the first place.  We are not and never will be single-parents but the last 7 months has given us a taste of what it might/sorta/coulda been like to be one and I for one did not like it at all.  (I’m pretty sure the missus didn’t either) Kudos to those who are in that position for sticking it out and surviving though, you have my sympathies. 
In the end though it is still a job and there is still work that is required to do so that always sucks.  Making your hobby/interest your job is never advised in my opinion.  The whole love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life is…well…a crock o’shite.  It’s work and it sucks but the office isn’t bad and the work…if I have to work it’s not bad to do.  We’ll see if I’m still singing praises and doing the skippy-fan-dango in a few months when I’m shin deep in the cold white stuff but for now things are content and I feel like I’m in a pretty good place. Till next time folks keep the fires burning.