It seemed only appropriate that I put Squishy Dave in command of the expedition, so it was with great pleasure and relief that I heard his voice calling out from the speakers. “Red Corporation year one expedition has landed and disembarked. We are proceeding to plant and activate anti-cloaking devices at our present location.”
I looked to the sensor suite in time to see a roughly hexagonal shape of land appear. It was designated as mostly wasteland plains.
“We are proceeding toward the polar ice cap region.” he squawked.
I had time for a coffee before another revealed chunk of Mars appeared on the viewscreen. This was designated with a radiation warning. For years, while ECM bickered with the Corporations of Earth over who would be allowed to manage Mars, it had been used as a radioactive ship drive dump. The mechanics of interplanetary ship drives, while allowing for very timely planetary travel also produced some pretty toxic and radioactive materials. A shielded fuel station had been established on the 23 km diameter wide moon Phobos because it contained some key rare elements in the production of the fuel. It was a very controlled substance and ships came to Phobos on a regular basis for drive replacement. The spent and dirty drives had been unceremoniously dumped to the surface of Mars, disappearing into the swirling camouflage atmosphere.
“Exploration team. Be advised you cannot stay in the Radiation area without suffering casualties. Please proceed further.” I beamed down the order.
Squishy Dave received the order and stood facing the incoming wind. The horizon was obscured with a red dust wall of advancing clouds. There was going to be a storm.
Dave did not like storms. He was not sure why. He had no memory of being in a storm or having any particular opinion about them, but it just ‘felt’ dangerous. He looked at the Squishy and Crunchy units spread out before him and issued an order to dig in for survival. Immediately the Crunchy units started digging, throwing geysers of sand and rock into the air. Small rocks bounced harmlessly from Dave’s armor. When they finished they stood aside of the hole and the Squishy moved methodically into the trench followed by the Crunchy who pulled the surrounding soil in on top of the Squishy and themselves.
Insulated from the storm for the next few hours they barely felt it tear across the plain and over their hiding spot, leaving a smooth grit pounded surface. Dave signaled all clear when the ground shaking howl had finally stopped. The Crunchy units extracted themselves from the soil and pulled the Squishy units free like pulling carrots from garden soil.
With Dave leading, they soon reached the next obscured sector and placed a cloaking disruptor in the soil. A “canyon” sector signal was sent to the Red Corporation satellite. Dave glanced up to where the satellite hung in orbit, a bright spec in the sky reflecting the sun’s dim light and then continued into the undulating ground and debris field that marked the decaying edge of a canyon wall. Like a miniature Grand Canyon it spread left and right for kilometers. It wasn’t very wide, but with their tank treads it would take much longer for the Crunchy to navigate than the Squishy.
“Hey Squishy Dave come in!” his helmet speaker chuckled. It was his Boss.
“Yes sir. I am receiving you clearly.” Dave replied.
“The name of the game is exploration Dave. Why don’t you spread out your men a bit and explore more landscape. You shouldn’t come in contact with any other Company units this early in the exploration process. And be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of Alien tech or habitation down there too. We sure could use a leg up in this competition.”
"Roger. Out." he said. Dave preferred to work together as a more effective combat force but his Boss had a point. And it sounded like a direct order so it was nagging his brain like an itch he couldn’t scratch. He found he couldn’t think about it any longer and had to send his troops on their way. He directed the Crunchy to head out one more sector and divide and continue to the extent of their range. He would then be able to send his Squishy toward any objectives or in other directions to fill the gaps.
Dave watched as the Crunchy made their way painfully through the canyon and out the other side. They split up. Two went west and ran out of fuel in a desert plain. One more also suffered the same fate and after activating the anti-cloak it settled down to wait on resupply. The last Crunchy went right and ventured into what looked like another desert plain. Upon closer inspection the Crunchy blew a few well placed holes in the topsoil and reported that it had found water. Water! Just what we needed.
While Dave and another Squishy established a base in the canyon, he sent one unit farther left than the Crunchy and it discovered another arid plain. The Squishy was the one the Boss had put in the airlock and almost killed her. She was the last to be sent out. Her orders were to investigate the area farther right than any others.
The last of her energy was used to place her solidly in the middle of another Radioactive wasteland. Stuck as she was, she would stand and be slowly cooked in her environment suit. As seemed to be his protocol, Dave considered whether the Squishy could be rescued. It didn't take him long to factor things and he turned his attention to other things.
A Squishy in a Radiation zone without resupply was as good as dead.
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Tarbet of Blue Corporation had finally made up his mind and set the launch date for 4 months. There were some interesting developments that popped up right after. It seems that Ms. Kells had also declared that the start could be delayed by one month for each MNYCard a Corporation wished to sacrifice. One less MNYCard to use this year but it brought areas you might be interested in occupying a bit closer.
The troops were lined up in the hanger. They didn’t look like much. Just four Crunchy and four Squishy, but between the eight of them they held enough firepower to make any 20th Century standing army jealous.
The Crunchy had antena, sensors and larger caliber weapons folded away against their sides, waiting patiently to board. The Squishy were much less fragile looking beside their metal counterparts now that they were decked out in their environment suits. Muzzles of different launchers sticking out here and there, backpacks loaded with automated entrenching machines, food, medical supplies and extra ammunition.
Looking at the Squishy lined up with none of them the same height or bulk, it reminded me of the lie that these were all vat grown clones. Other than Dave Ship, who I knew and recognized, the other Squishy with him were real people and I was sending them down to fight and maybe die for a Corporate cause I was becoming less attached to. But there was my family to worry about. Ferret had made it clear that they were not above being indentured and possibly included in the Squishy program if I didn’t succeed. I couldn’t stand the idea of my wife and child standing in front of me, their memories walled off, eager to comply with any order.
I’d tested the resolve of the conditioning already. One of the Squishy in the group was a female and out of curiosity I asked, “Do you know what would happen if you were to enter space without a hardsuit?”
“Yes,” she said, “I would die.”
“If you step into the airlock I will open the outer door and you will be sucked into space and you will die. Do you believe me?” I asked.
“Yes.” was the simple response.
“Step into the airlock.” I said in the same tone. She immediately moved past me, opened the interior airlock door, stepped in to the lock and, as was protocol, closed and sealed the door again. I walked to the exterior door controls and keyed my passcode. A low alert sounded and the AI voice chimed, “Warning. There is an unprotected lifeform currently in airlock 42.”
I watched the Squishy’s face as I pressed the button to cycle the exterior door. She did not move a muscle, react in any way to the warning sound or make any move toward the Abort button to stop the process. The atmosphere started to be vacuumed out of the space. You don’t blow valuable air into space. The Squishy stood still and the only sign of distress was its throat tightening from not being able to inhale anything. Finally it dropped to one knee on the way to passing out. I pressed the button to stop the cycle and repressurize the lock. Damn. That conditioning was solid and scary. All self-preservation had been tucked away and any ability to disregard orders was gone. Former Earth citizens turned into perfect soldiers.
Squishy Dave and had met repeatedly in the months waiting for the start of the drop and I thought I was starting to see a glimmer of the person he used to be. I had thought long and hard about keeping Dave on the satellite, safe and sound, but in the end decided the best option was to drop him with his unit. Ferret would have noticed me keeping a valuable asset in space instead of sending it planetside. This early in the conflict it was all about exploration. The more boots on the ground the better.
So Dave had to go and I felt bad about that, but I had to keep things in perspective. I had to win this game. It was my only hope of being able to return to Earth and have the power and prestige to change things for the better.
The days had wound down to the start and the launch day finally came. As luck would have it a clear landing zone had rotated below each Company satellite and we would all be able to drop without worrying about landing in a radioactive dump or crashing into a bottomless canyon or mountain top.
The visual overlay on my contact lenses lit up showing that it was our turn in rotation to drop our units. “All right Larry,” I said to the air, “load ‘em up.”
A warning light flashed, low tone sounded and the shuttle door started to slide open. The Squishy turned and marched into the opening followed by the Crunchy rolling in on their small thick tires.
As the loading door slid closed, Larry the AI spoke. “We have just received a transmission from Ms. Kells that we are not allowed to drop at this time. A pod of small rockets has taken position in low orbit between our satellite and the planet.”
“What the… why?” I asked.
“There is a MNYCard filed with her from Mr. Stephenson of Yellow Corporation that provides a legal injunction, allowing Yellow Corporation to block our direct drop to the planet from our satellite. Any launch will result in the legal destruction of our shuttle. We will have to wait until next year.”
“If that hairy chested twit Stephenson thinks he’s stopping me...” I said, grabbing the nearest E-pad and bringing up my collection of MNYCards for this year.
“Hah! Not so fast. One of my contract cards allows for unobstructed deviation to an adjacent area.” I pressed the “Submit File” button and received a confirmation. My units were headed into a camouflaged unknown area which would cost them a bit more fuel to get to, but at least they would be on Mars.
“Launching shuttle now.” the AI said, having received the appropriate legal permissions. With the warning lights flashing and the klaxon sounding the air was evacuated, the outer door slid aside and the launching pad extended into the vacuum of space. Small bits of debris glittered in the harsh sunlight as the jets blasted the shuttle off the pad. It quickly rotated to point down towards Mars and slid out of sight on long blue flames. I turned my attention to the nearest screen to watch the descent.
I looked at the AI mech floating nearby and voiced my only concern. “What if they encounter a mountain under that haze? Will they be able to land?”
“The shuttles are not allowed to land on such steep and unpredictable terrain. They would automatically abort and return to the satellite. We would have to try again next year.” the AI replied.
I turned my attention back to the sensor feed in time to watch my investment for this year disappear into the boiling mist.
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Hurry up and wait. It’s a corporate mantra. Robin Tarbet of Blue Corporation was hosting Kells the CEO and as such the time of exploration launch was under his control for this year. We would have to see about securing Ms. Kells’ attention for next year.
In the interim each Corporation satellite was using their water supply to animate Squishy and Crunchy in preparation for the release to drop our units to the surface of Mars and have a look around.
I found myself staring at the blurry surface of Mars. The Mars surface used to be clear as day with storms, ancient waterways, plains, mountains and canyons, but now it was obscured with a shimmering alien haze. Shimmering because looking at it only left you with the impression of shifting beige and red blurs and alien because it was alien technology that was the root cause. The first surface explorations discovered the presence of a long dead alien world, before the upper atmosphere had been stripped away. Indeed, scientists claimed it was the alien tech that must have caused Mars to lose its all important magnetic field.
Probably the same scientists who decided that upon finding said alien technology they should start fiddling with what they thought were the controls. Inevitably they set off something alien in origin which obscured the surface from space. An ancient machine with a camouflage purpose long forgotten. While we had previously mapped the surface, the planet rotated under a blanket of obscurity further complicating matters. Sensor gear didn’t work in the vicinity of Mars and communications were spotty. Rocket telemetry was annoyingly dangerous. Good old fashioned boots on the ground were your only answer to exploration and conquest.
Earth ingenuity had created technology that interfered with the alien camouflage, but it was too expensive and too local an effect to plant in every sector and clear up the entire Mars surface.
The Corporate satellites were lined up around the equator, equidistant from each other. Each Corporation had already established an expensive but unobscured landing zone on the planet surface under each satellite.
I activated the external cameras and could see the landing sectors clearly from the satellite as a point of unobscured surface with boiling clouds around it, slowly moving away from my satellite. Slowly moving because CEO Ms. Kells had ordered the end of our geostationary orbits. We would be fixed in space along the equator and Mars would be allowed to rotate under us. Every month or so, the next cleared landing zone would slide under my satellite and continue along its path.
It was ingenious and practically cruel. She called it “moving fronts” as in the front line of a war that shifts constantly. Kells had said it would show who could think ahead and react to changing markets. I think it was her dark side showing. Drop your men down to the planet and watch them rotate away from your support all the while your enemy forces rotate under your landing point. Mind you, it meant being able to drop your troops behind enemy “lines” as well. This could actually work out well.
I brought up the conflict map for reference. We were situated in orbit around the equator and our playground was going to be the entire northern hemisphere. Smack in the middle was the northern ice cap, a thousand kilometers of open white water and carbon dioxide ice also cleared of the visual obscurity. A must have sector, chocked full of water resources.
But there were other water sources out there and finding them would be key to success of the conflict. With them a company could afford to send more units planetside without needing to resupply them from space.
Bend over, Grunt, and take a drink. There are more unpleasant ways to resupply your water ration. You’re not called a ‘Squishy’ for nothing.
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It was like watching a desiccated Egyptian from an early mummy movie slowly plump up and reanimate, before it’s eyes would pop open and it would start to seek the life of the defilers of the tomb. Skin loosening and pulling away from the bone, muscles filling and bulking up. Eyes currently like pruney fingers, rounding. An unnerving bubbling sound escaping its mouth.
As fascinating as it was to watch Dave The Squishy on the medical slab slowly rehydrate and bloat from the push of intravenous water, I had to make a call.
My immediate supervisor Mr. Ferret had made it perfectly clear that he was not above threatening my family with financial ruin if I didn’t toe the line up here. I was beginning to see that this was not a hollow threat. I could also see, at least in part, what he wanted hidden. Squishy were supposed to be clones. Vat grown, AI trained and expendable. If the population of Earth realized their consumer debt was tied to the possibility they might end up an expendable Squishy then heads would roll and even governments would fall.
He was obviously protecting a secret that not many held and was deadly to know.
There was a chair at an engineering console in the corner, so I sat and called up the external communications suite. There were several stored messages from my wife already, but I ignored them for now and dialed her cell number. I could afford to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
Stacey answered before the second ring and started to talk before she must have noticed the text overlay on her screen informing her of the time delay. She sighed and continued, “Where the hell have you been? I know you’re on an important assignment on Mars, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore my calls!” She stared into the camera and waited.
“I really am sorry, babe.” I started.”I have been busy. How are you and Greg doing?”
“Our son is just fine. He just got his driver’s license. You said you would be around to teach him how to drive and instead I had to send him to the Corporate Drivers sessions to it. Do you know how much those sessions cost?”
I ignored her question. “Everything else okay?” I asked, hoping for a positive answer.
“Yes everything.” She paused, “Except you didn’t pay the security bill this month, so I got a notice of termination in 30 days if you don’t cover it.”
“Ah.” I said as casually as possible, “that usually comes straight out of my pay as a deduction. Must be a mistake. I’ll check on it right away. I’m sure it’s nothing.” I wasn’t sure it was nothing. I was sure it was Ferret.
“Say, out of curiosity, do you remember Dave Ship?” She looked perplexed and then put a face to the name.
“No I haven’t seen him in years. Wasn’t he the guy in our wedding rehearsal party who wouldn't go to the steak house because he and his girlfriend had gone vegetarian? She was freaking out and yelling. We left them in the parking lot. Why?”
“Oh, no reason,” I said, brushing it off, “I was just thinking of him the other day and wondered where he’d gotten to.”
The rest of our conversation was filled with trivial news and ended with a promise to call every day if I could. She blew me a kiss and hung up.
I sat thinking long and hard about my options. I couldn’t run back to Earth to protect my family. I wasn’t sure I could protect them even if I was there. What I knew now about Squishy could make being on Earth deadlier than a walk on Mars without a helmet.
The AI glided over and interrupted my introspection. “The units ordered have achieved maximum hydration and are ready to be put into service.” Its voice in my ear, “Did you want any more units activated?”
“We are down several units of water and if I’m correct it takes roughly one water unit to activate a Squishy and two units for a Crunchy.” Doing a bit of mental math I said, “We’ve got 4 Crunchy and 4 Squishy units for this year’s drop. That should give us enough ground coverage and still have water left for resupply. I don’t want to see any of them stranded without water down there for this fiscal year before resupply.” The AI chimed a positive note.
I turned in my chair to face the Squishy lying comfortably on the tables. The Crunchy were on the lower deck. I would check on them shortly.
But first, there was the question of how much ‘Dave’ was still in the Squishy Dave. I went and stood beside Dave’s table and raised one of his arms a half meter. Other than it being slightly cooler than you would expect, it felt perfectly normal. There were interface bumps along the back of his arm between elbow and shoulder that actually looked red and inflamed, like they had been installed recently and hadn’t healed yet.
I dropped his arm, expecting it to fall lifeless to the table, but it held where I released it. I glanced over to his face and saw that Dave was staring at me, obviously in control of his own limbs. His grey eyes were piercing and overlaid with the thin blue lines of his interface contact lenses. Or maybe his corneas had been replaced? Either way, the effect was jaring.
“Hey Buddy, how’s it going?” I asked.
Dave seemed to consider this for a moment and turned his head to look straight up again. “I am functioning well, thank you.”
“So Dave,” I started, “what do you remember?” Dave looked confused and his lips parted to answer but no sound came out. The AI answered for him.
“Squishy are not allowed to access their own memories other than specific functional knowledge which may allow them to supplement their installed technical training. Any person-specific memories have been sealed and are inaccessible to their frontal cortex.”
“You seem to know quite a bit about Squishy, Larry.” I replied to the floating AI mech.
“I am the AI for this satellite who’s purpose is to explore, conquer and turn a profit for Red Corporation. This is not my first ‘rodeo’.” it said. It seemed to anticipate my feelings. “Your friend David Ship is no longer your friend David Ship. He is a Squishy. I am sorry.”
I sighed, losing what little hope I had to have an actual friend on board.
“Okay, then. What do we do now?” I asked.
“While the Squishy are fairly self sufficient, they require nutrients and should be fed shortly after reanimation so their bodies do not begin to dissolve their own tissues for sustenance.”
I turned back to Dave and put a smile on my face. “Hear that Buddy? We’re going to get you some protein. Maybe a nice, juicy, thick beef steak.”
Dave slowly lowered his arm to the table and said, “Thank you sir. But I think I’d rather have a garden salad, sir.”
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“Yep. That’s Dave,” I thought.
There was no question in my mind that the Squishy propped up on the inclined slab in front of me, buck naked, was David Ship, high school buddy and long time friend.
Well, not so, “long time”. I’d lost touch with him over ten years ago when I’d gotten my last promotion and had to move 2,000 km away to start the job. In high school we had to pick a career path upon graduation and while I had gone the corporation business stream, Dave had gone for the Arts. We had kept in touch in University and had even worked together on a theatre production job. But while he was running the stage operations in the back of the theatre, I was all about the money in the front of the house. I swallowed hard. It brought back the memory of how I’d let the theatre management convince me to abscond with the receipt money after closing night leaving Dave and his crew with all the bills. I don't think Dave knew about my involvement. That’s show business for you.
But that was Dave for sure, and by all rights he shouldn’t be standing in front of me. Ferret’s threat came back clearly to me now. No truth to the rumour that Credit Indentured Citizens were being used as Squishy in company expansion efforts my arse. Here was mostly living and mostly breathing evidence that it was a lie and my family was in much deeper danger than I had believed possible.
Mostly breathing and mostly living, because Dave was currently a Squishy being revived from transport stasis.
I’d finally received my shipment of water from Red Corporation on Earth, an expensive proposition and one they were not going to repeat for very long. I had left some water in reserve for satellite operations and unit resupply and had ordered the remainder of the water be used to activate units in storage nicknamed “Crunchy” and “Squishy”.
Crunchy and Squishy were the exploration and combat elements of the satellite. Packed on earth, shipped and stored on the satellite and ready to be animated for company purposes, whatever that may entail. Crunchy were just eight foot tall, 150kg pieces of AI-driven mech with a small onboard fusion engine. They were smart, armoured and very deadly. Think sentient Abrams tank. Just add hydrogen derived from our onboard water supply and off they went to commit directed mayhem.
Squishy, however, were supposed to be vat-grown, sentient, and easily directable human engineered clones. They weren’t allowed on Earth because they caused all sorts of ethical debates and frankly scared the customers, so I hadn’t seen one up close. They sure as hell weren’t all the same size or vat-grown to a standard template as shown in the marketing vids. This was not standard. This was Dave Ship. My old friend. Now one of my Squishy.
To prep them for storage, Squishy were 65% dehydrated and pumped with cheap chemicals not unlike the ones in amphibians that allowed them to survive being mostly frozen in a pond in winter. They were practically dead in hibernation until being flushed and refilled with fresh water. Precious water from our satellite. So I could activate and rehydrate only so many Crunchy and Squishy at a time.
Squishy were supposed to be “injury resilient” and able to run their hardened combat spacesuits with built-in firepower equivalent to a squad of men.
But this was Dave. Theatre Arts Dave. Old Friend Dave. Certainly not Combat Captain™ Dave. Or was he?
Well, in an hour of processing time I was going to be able to wake him up and find out.
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As I rode back to Red Corporation satellite in the shuttle my mind turned from the past meeting to my immediate future. If I had any chance of survival, let alone winning this competition, I would have to get my arse in gear. As the shuttle approached the satellite for docking I took stock of the facility looming in the front view screen.
It was divided into three distinct rounded segments not unlike a car tire in the middle with a fat bicycle tire on top and bottom. Various dereks protruded out, here and there, whose purpose was anything from communications, scanning, docking or defence.
The top section was devoted to executive and personnel quarters and comfort, the centre section for operations, life support, heat and power while the bottom section was for crew and unit storage. There was no real “up” in space, so it struck me as funny that satellites would be designed with grunt workers at the “bottom”, mechanical operations in the “middle” and management on “top”. No matter how far from Earth you roamed, you couldn’t escape the hierarchy structure humans placed on themselves and everyone they met.
We slowed on approach as the docking platform swung into view on the middle section. The hanger door was already opening and the landing pad extending to meet our arrival. The shuttle flipped over and braked at the last minute, shedding all its forward velocity and neatly plonking down on the pad.
I was met at the shuttle door by the AI mechanical, painted in its Red Corporation livery. The AIs were everywhere in the system, but they had a penchant for picking one particular mech as their home container. For all intents and purposes, this mechanical was to the AI, like our body was the transport mechanism for our brains. If it was possible for a mechanical to look agitated, this one was.
“What’s up Red?” I asked, stepping into the hold and loosening my tie. “You don’t look happy.”
“My designation is not Red. It is LRRY.” it replied. “And if I were capable of it, I would not, as you say, be ‘happy’”.
“Wait.” I stopped walking. “Your name is Larry? We named you? We don’t usually name you AIs.” It stopped leading and turned to face me.
“It was part of my encoding designation and the last Corporate Head of Satellite picked it out as my identification. I will also answer to ALRRY-V-1099872 or ‘Larry’ if you wish.”
“Ok, Larry. Why are you unhappy?” I assumed that when your station AI was unhappy there was cause for concern.
“We’ve lost more water.”
I looked toward the delivery rocket already docked in the bay, my eyes were drawn to the still gaping hole.
“No.” it said, noticing where my attention had gone, “Not that rocket. The annual scheduled delivery rocket from Earth is coming in with a lighter load than usual.”
“Another kinetic weapon strike? Oh, Ms. Kells is going to hear about this!”
“No.” it said levelly, and then activated its front view screen panel to display an MNYCard. The contract card said: “By order of ECM, the holder of this MNYCard may reduce the incoming annual water to any Corporate satellite by 5 units.” Well crap. The image on the screen then came to life as it became apparent that it was an MNYCard on a tablet being held up to a cam. As it was withdrawn the face of Blue Corp’s Robin Tarbet came into view. He chuckled and placed the tablet on the table in front of him, formally folding his hands and clearing his throat.
“Hey Morton. I hope you don’t mind me taking the first shot across your bow. Good luck with your unit revival.” He reached out to touch the disconnect button but paused, “You know you should be flattered. I wouldn’t bother with anyone I didn’t think was a threat.” He smiled and his face faded to black.
I immediately strode to the hatch leading toward my quarters. I had to move to blow off some of the frustration I felt and I had to get out of this monkey suit. I just bloody got here and I was already down 5 units of water in a competition judged by what you did with your resources and how much water you squeezed out in profit every year! Every drop counts.
“You are not the only one.” the AI followed behind. “Yellow Corporation has served an MNYCard water reduction on Black Corporation as well. Green Corporation satellite AI was hacked and it jettisoned 5 units of water before it could be stopped. They traced it back to Blue Corporation and started to process a complaint with Ms. Kells, but Mr. Tarbet had already logged an MNYCard authorizing the hack.”
Blue Corp was certainly burning through their Contracts, and it had taken me the longest to return to my satellite from the meeting. I was going to have to see about that.
“Where are the Red Corporation MNY Contracts for this fiscal year, Larry?” I asked the AI, not glancing back, as I climbed a ladder to the top floor on my way towards my cabin.
“They have been received and are awaiting your decoding on the terminal in your cabin.”
As I approached my cabin door there was a soft chug sound and it swung open. It was a reminder to me how integral the AI was to the station and I was uncomfortable at the thought that ECM, and specifically Ms. Kells, could pull AI Larry’s strings. Let me just open that porthole for you to get some fresh air.
I threw my jacket on the berth and continued to loosen my tie as I sat at the control console, glancing briefly in the direction of the retinal scanner to gain access and unlock it. The various screens came to life. In the middle of one was a flashing mail icon with the ECM logo on the letter symbol. My finger lightly tapped it and it expanded to fill the screen.
I started to read aloud, “Please find all pertinent legal documentation links listed below pertaining to the issue of Miller, Norton & Yarbury Contracts in this fiscal year, yada, yada, yada.” I skipped down the lengthy legaleze. “See attached.”
I started to read the attached MNYCards out loud, but my voice trailed off as my smile got larger and I read the details of each of the four contracts.
Oh my. This could actually turn out to be a good year indeed.
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