Welcome to Alvarez Station

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Offline Kedamono

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Welcome to Alvarez Station
« on: November 01, 2018, 04:49:16 PM »
The City of Blaufjellby hung from the docking spar of Alvarez Station, in statite orbit about Fomalhaut. The tugs had long since left, and the cargo cranes were busy unloading the ship, quickly, but delicately plucking the containers from the stack surrounding the ship’s spine.

On board the ship, her master, Jill Preisner, was making sure everything was in place and secure before debarking for the station cylinders proper. “Okay, we’ve gone over this twenty times by now,” said Jill, waiting on the stationmaster rep to arrive at their docking port, “but it never hurts to make sure. Toby?”

Toby Dryer, ship’s purser, spoke up, “So far we shouldn’t have a problem replacing consumables. I’m still running searches on the best deals, but I won’t confirm anything till we have a destination and a cargo.”

“Good, Malcom?” Jill directed the request to her cargo master.

Malcom nodded, “We should be unloaded by 1400 today. No routing issues and we’ll still have the cargo for Frenner on the spine. I’ll double check when they get close to make sure some pluck happy cargo bot doesn’t take it off.”

Nodding, Jill then addressed Tim Shaunessy, her Phase Navigator, “Tim, I take it your reports have already been sent to PhaseNav Authority?”

Tim stared at her for a moment, blinked and then nodded deliberately, “Yes ma’am. I’ve filed my reports, and I’m in the process of uploading the latest in navigation charts from PhaseNav.”

She then turned to the orange mop of hair floating in 1/50th of a gee. “Agnes, remember, it’s against station regulations for you to stay on the Blaufjellby. Understand?”

Agnes Ohana frowned, “It takes a fricking hour by tube to get out here. Can’t we bend the rules a bit?”

Sighing, Jill knew that her engineer was more at home in the ship’s guts than on the station, still, “No, I’m not paying the fine this time. And you can’t afford it either.”

Agnes bounced a bit in the microgravity, then said, “You know I don’t like crowds. That station if full of people, shoving, poking, looking at you…”

Jill was going to say something when Tim spoke up, “Go to Beta Cylinder then. It’s mostly farming land, and the places you can stay at are typically independent cabins. The captain and the first mate are staying there. I'm staying there, and you know me, I really don’t like crowds.”

Jill was a bit floored by that and wondered how much of that was Tim and how much was his helper app. Collecting herself, she said, “Tim’s right, Beta has some nice places, and Andy and I will be staying at a fishing Airbnb. It’s a fish farm, and who knows, we might be bringing fresh protein for our first couple of meals on the way out.”

Closing her eyes, Agnes sighed, “Ok, but I have to come back here to work on the systems. The lag from in station makes it impossible, even with Mildred’s help. Right Mildred?”

The ship’s AI augmented reality overlay avatar nodded, “Yes, I’m fairly good at Newtonian physics, but I never really learned much about phase drives and fusion systems. Agnes is a wizard at them.”

“In any case,” continued Agnes, “I do have some last-minute things to take care of, but… I will head on out. Mildred could you make me a reservation?”

Tim spoke up again, “Why not stay at the Atterbury Farm where I’m staying? I do know that they have a couple cabins available, and…”, he looked sheepish, “I do like your company.”

That was Tim, thought Jill. It was no secret that he had a crush on Agnes, but it wasn’t quite clear if Agnes had similar feelings for him.

Agnes looked thoughtful, then said, “I wouldn’t mind your company. But we will check out where the locals let their hair down, right?”

“I don’t drink,” said Tim, “I get… odd, no, odder when I’m drunk. You wouldn’t like me when I’m drunk.”

Agnes put on a big smile, “Oh my poor boy… You haven’t seen me drunk! Yeah, book me a cabin at the Atterbury, wouldja Mildred.”

Sighing, Mildred said, “As if I’m your personal secretary and servant… done. It’s right next to Tim’s.” She gave both of them a motherly smile.

Smiling herself, Jill turned to Mildred, “Thank you Mildred. Is everything ready for our two new crewmembers…?”

With a big smile Mildred said, “Oh yes, we worked something out. Terry! Maxine!”

Through the bulkhead hatch a pair of work balls flew in. In a radio staticky voice, Maxine purred, “Present and accounted for captain.”

“Ready and rar’n to go ma’am!” came Terry’s reply.

“So you two have gotten the hang of the work balls finally?” asked Jill.

“No,” was Maxine’s reply. “Take a close look at the top of the ball.”

The ball maneuvered into place in front of Jill. She looked and gasped in delight at what she saw. On top of the ball was a tiny AR overlay cockpit, and inside was a just as tiny Maxine wearing a leather pilot’s cap and goggles. Looking over at Terry’s ball, she saw the same thing. Everyone crowded around and oohed and aahed at the diminutive pair.

“We couldn’t get the hang of being a ball,” said Terry. “That’s when Maxine had the bright idea of not being the ball but flying the ball. We got a full virtual cockpit and controls. Mildred found a sim game mod for work balls and here we are!”

“Yeah, a work ball doesn’t have hands or feet, or a tail,” said Maxine, “and I couldn’t get my head around being a ball… too different than a normal body.”

Jill smiled, and said “It works, so that’s what’s important. Andy and I will put you on a handheld remote when we go shopping for a body for you. It won’t be tomorrow, I have a busy day tomorrow. But Saturday, we’ll head out and go shopping.”

“And pick up a new social engine for the ship,” Mildred said dryly.

“A newer one, yes,” said Jill.

“A NEW one,” said the entire crew. “We practiced that last night,” said Tim.

Jill pinched the bridge of her nose and said, “You got them all against me didn’t you Mildred?”

“No, she didn’t,” said Maxine, “We did.” She bumped Terry’s ball. “Your crew needs something from this decade, not 2414. You pinch pennies so hard, that they bleed girl!”

Jill looked serious at Maxine’s ball, “I am the captain of this ship.”

Maxine replied flatly, “I changed your diapers, or at least version one of me did. Spend some of those millions you got and get something decent. I looked up the Gor’cha Entertainment system, it’s only 200k yen, and it can handle two hundred people. You do take passengers, don’t you? Think of it as an investment.”

Jill just shook her head, then sighed deeply, “We’ll talk about this Saturday…” and was interrupted by the port hatch request ding. “Ah, the rep is here. Everyone look sharp and not like a bunch of space happy pirates.”

“Yarr!” said Andrew, “Ya heard the cap’n! We nay be scurvy dogs! We be upright citizens!”

The crew replied with a “Yarr” that faded as the hatch opened and in walked a Blox carrying an infopad.

“Captain Preisner?” he asked and without waiting for a reply continued, “I’m Stationmaster Rep Grishank. I’ve gone over your manifest, passports, and…” he brought up the pertinent document, “request for AI recognition. Are the two sophonts present?”

The two work balls sailed out in front, “Yes sir, I’m Maxine Preisner.”

“And I’m Terry Preisner… sir,” said Terry.

He looked at the two balls and noticed the AR cockpits and smiled, “Good, good. I’ll let you know that Alvarez Station handles these requests more as formalities than a rigorous licensing procedure. I see you’re scheduled to appear before the Computational Intelligences Authority hearing on Saturday. And you must be their sponsor, ‘Mildred Winslow’ am I correct?”

“Yes sir, that is correct,” replied Mildred.

“Good, good. Well, you all know the regs, no one is to stay on the ship overnight without special permission. We do enforce getting eight hours of rest on all personnel visiting Alvarez Station. Your cargo is being unloaded as we speak and so far nothing amiss has been found. So, welcome to Alvarez Station and I hope you enjoy your stay.”
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 06:36:05 PM by Kedamono »