Just a Day
The system was gently leveling out the Theta wave emission and turning of the Neuro activity control of the sleep inducer of the SII- Cloudmaster 3000 Low Grav bed’s right side.
“Good Morning Rovin , it is Four Hour of Oneday .”
Rovin swung his legs out of bed, paused for a moment to watch Surri his Togar life partner sleeping, she was curled up just like Jinx their house cat of Terran origin. Normally Jinx would be up already and demanding breakfast, but the feline pet was caught under the same sleep inducer field a s Surri who did not have to get up until Five Hour .
He decided to let them both sleep.
They had been to the Horgors three floors down for a little impromptu party and had stayed till nine hour .
But Rovin felt right as rain, the bed of course noticed his somewhat intoxicated state last night and adjusted melatonin and sleep phases to give him a good nights sleep.
He went to the bathroom of their 250 square feet two level apartment on the 615th floor of the 1,965 meter Bronson Arms residential tower .
Surri and he could have afforded a full hygiene enabled auto dresser , but neither Surri nor he were big fans of auto hygiene . He loved the still very popular old fashioned water showers and indulged himself to a nice hot shower.
He did press his face against his Colgate Oral care box , and waited till the minty refreshing tingling sensation of a few thousand oral care Nanites to subside. The nanites cleaned his teeth, repaired the most minute chips and wear and left him,like every morning with perfect teeth and gums.
He did have a Chanel box for men, but he was not a big fan of man make up, and only opted for it when he had an important meeting or a social affair to attend.
His auto dresser was pre set and dressed him in a black and yellow uniform, that was not unlike the Union Fleet board duty uniform, but had a yellow panel across the chest and yellow lines down the seams of the pants. This was the uniform of the Yellow Banner corporation and almost as famous and well known
No showers or temperature changes were scheduled by weather control so he did not need a jacket.
He was just sitting down to eat his breakfast of buttermilk pancakes with Klack honey syrup and a dollop of Archa vanilla cream as Surri came in still a little sleepy,looking drop dead gorgeous in his eyes with her golden and brown striped fur and the thin silken nightie . He had learned that Togar females could smile a thousand ways just with their eyes and she said with her guttural voice.“You could have woken me, you know.”
“But you don’t have be in court before 30 minutes past nine hour,so I thought you could sleep in.”
“No I have to be in earlier today and besides you know how long it takes me to get ready.”
“Do it like me, make a pre selection for the Auto dresser once a month and you be done in no time.”
“I might be Togar, but I doubt there is a female in the Universe who has her wardrobe pre selected for an entire month.”
“You look gorgeous in everything, you could go just like that if it was up to me.”
She flowed into his arms and kissed him. “Silly human, anyway Jinx is up and we both are in the mood for bacon.”
“At least there is a daily choice of yours I can predict.”
“You keep teasing me like that and I might revive an old Togar tradition and eat some human.”
“I love you, so if you want I let you have an arm or a leg.”
She kissed him and pressed her forehead against his, only to be interrupted by an angry meow of Jinx who could not decide if to join in or demand breakfast.
She untangled from his embrace and ordered fresh bacon and had it delivered fresh via Matter radio . “So what is on your agenda today?”
He sliced a piece of pan cake of the short stack and mopped up some syrup.“The Isah Pods for the stranded Tiny Tim were delivered this morning, we are going to install it today. That should take all day, but I don’t foresee any problems and plan to be home by late five. I was planning to take you to the Starview tonight, they have the Tigershark Virtu Part II premiere tonight.”
“Oh is it out already? I really loved the first part.”
“Only at the Starview. It’s not on Galnet yet. They promise it is even better than the first.”
“That is a steep statement, I doubt there is a better Virtu than the Virtu show based on the Tigershark log book.”
Rovin got up and tossed the rest of his breakfast, plate, coffee mug and all in the recycler and shrugged. “They said, the Eternal Warrior and a few of the original Tigershark crew had an exclusive preview and liked it. Famous Admiral Krabbel said, he liked the portrayal of his character but criticized that the character preferred chocolate over Strawberry ice cream, which is of course wrong as the entire galaxy knows it’s Banana Vanilla.”
She laughed. “Yes that is true. Even I know that. Those Archa seem to take ice cream even more serious than we do bacon and tuna .”
She took the freshly delivered piping hot bacon out of the Matter radio and then a second delivery of bacon flavored cat food materialized and placed it before impatient meowing Jinx and actually made a few meowing sounds herself.
To Rovin she said. “Do you think that part of this Dark One is real or added for entertainment and mystery?”
“Hard to say, they always put lots of extra stuff in those shows, especially since most of that book is still classified, I doubt there is such an entity.”
He kissed her and then left for work.
He was a Service engineer for Yellow Banner, and usually in command of a Yellow Bug . Despite the funny name, a Yellow Bug was a highly specialized long range tug and repair tender ship with a crew of ten. Yellow Banner was one of the most famous companies of the Union.
It was founded by three former Union Fleet Captains in 3433 as a non profit organization to rescue stranded ships. The three Captains purchased a System tug boat and more or less welded it to a larger ship, They started doing business in the Blue Moon System and turned their service in a for profit organization. They still towed and rescued stranded ships for free, but requested that it is repaired in their facilities.
They started to expand to other space ports and begun selling memberships . A Yellow Banner membership would guarantee free tug services anywhere in Union space, repair insurance and other benefits.
The Company had and has a stellar reputation for making things right and being there when needed.
Six weeks ago, he had responded to the biggest tow and rescue job in the companies history, a Tiny Tim freighter was drifting with a complete engine failure 27 light years from here in interstellar space.
The operator and owner of the ship had neglected the vital service on the ships engines and operated it way past their necessary service interval.
Of course there weren’t ISAH pods and spare parts for the titanic engines of a Tiny Tim anywhere in the system or even in the parts warehouses of Yellow Banner. Replacement engines had to be ordered from all the way from Black Star Corp at the Neo-Green Star system .
He took the Verti Shooter to the ground floor, and hopped on the main traffic slide belt to the space port.
Bronson Arms was one of six so called Pokers , or buildings that poked through the protective bubble made of transparent Duranium . The upper floors of provided a spectacular view over the stark and hellish surface of Volcano, planet .
Volcano was a rock core planet in the closest orbit around Alpha Centauri and as the name implied a volcanic active world, very hot world with surface temperatures exceeding 800 degrees during the day. It had a heavy atmosphere of toxic gases and was about as hostile to life as it gets. Yet it was settled early during the Second Exodus as it was a world rich in metals, heavy elements and rare earths. Its relative close proximity to the material hungry Sol system made it a rich world.
To this day Volcano maintains heavy industry and metal smelters.
Close to three billion citizens lived on Volcano..
He had been offered a transfer five years ago and agreed,
It was here in Nimoy City where he met Surri. The Togar had become Union members only six years ago, and Surri had first served as Union court clerk to complete her 22 month citizen service , but had opted for a career in the Justice department and completed law school. This was her first year as an appointed Union District court judge ,right here in Nimoy city.
Two year they had signed a long term domestic partnership contract, and purchased the condo at Bronson Arms.
A massive Nul stepped on the slide belt element next to him, wearing his version of the same Yellow Banner uniform. “Good morning,” the Nul said with his rock breaking sounding voice.”
“Good morning, Yun . Glad to see you. I do hope you are going to help us with the Tiny Tim?”
“Why do you think I am up and going to work, after just coming back six hours ago. You remember that call we got on Nine-Day ?”
“Yes, the DeNoir Ventura . They said they had a slight environmental problem right?”
“Slight problem turned out to be a Boloth sized one. They were transporting hazardous life forms to Venus Zoo , one of the stasis boxes contained a colony of Green Hell Dragon Ants ,in a faulty Stasis box . The ants got loose, interrupted the containment of several other lovely critters. The fire department had send out an Bio Haz Control team . I never seen anything like it, one of those ants sprayed me with acid. The stuff dissolved my outer shell in full armor state.”
“Are you alright?”
“Yes, one of the fire department specialists washed it off right away and the scar will eventually disappear. I never again say that all the stories about Green Hell are exaggerated.”
They had reached the space port and switched to a smaller slide belt that would carry them to the Yellow Banner terminal.
Surri had finally decided on a Saresii style velvet suit , the word cat suit had always amused her and her wearing it, made it quite appropriate named.
She had selected a bronze color that shimmered as precious as her own fur and accented it with Terran style heeled boots , adapted to her clawed feet of course.
She checked herself in the reflection field of the auto dresser and was pleased about the final result, The golden link belt accented her hips in a appealing way.
She was still a teenager when the Togar joined the Union, but she remembered how boring Togar fashion was, not really changing for thousands of years. A fact she found quite strange, since the Togar had been a female dominated society for a very long time.
Union fashion now that was a different story. You could choose from the dress and fashion samples of thousands of societies, and especially the members of Homo Galactus came up with new styles every year and made fashion changes a social and cultural event. The way one dressed was almost like a religion to many females and males, regardless of species.
Because her being Togar, she technically did not need any make up, but this habit of applying colors and highlights to ones face, was very popular by virtually every female across the Universe even if it wasn’t part of their original culture.
She had deepened the black of the fine naturally dark brown stripes of the fine fur in her face and also increased the already black outlines of her big green cat eyes. She had increased the length of her natural almost invisible lashes and glossed her small black nose and black lips with a shimmering luster.
The system gently reminded her that it was time to go and she realized that she once more spend an hour on her morning routine.
She added a soft leather jacket made of real Nilfeheim leather , a gift she received from Rovin for their first domestic partnership anniversary. The jacket was terribly expensive, but nothing artificial or vat grown could match the softness and feel of Nilfeheim leather.
The 6000 credit jacket was her pride and joy and the envy of many at work.
Another Terran born custom was called a purse or handbag . It too was readily adopted by females of many species. It was simply the most practical invention in the history of the Galaxy,in her opinion at least, well right after crisp fried bacon of course.
She too had taken the Verti Shooter, a high speed building transport system, akin to an elevator but with two directions. One up and one down,
After she crossed the gleaming clean lobby of the building; everything Union was always clean, in perfect repair and spotless. Unlike similar places in the pre Union Togar society.
Unlike Rovin she did not take the Slide belt but used her golden and jeweled wrist PDD to call for a Taxi Bubble.
She didn’t mind the Slide Belt , but as usual she was again pressed for time to be at work in time. This was the other side of Union efficiency, everything had to be on time, and tardiness was something the Union society as a whole frowned upon.
Togar were still a very recent addition to that society, being more or less considered a hostile species that ate humans and pretty much everyone else, but the so called Union spirit was already felt and taking hold in their society as well, and to her and to many Togar the real reason why the Union was arguably the most successful multi culture society in the galaxies known history.
It was an almost feelable sensation of pride and accomplishment, and every Union Citizen regardless of species wanted to to his or her part to keep the Union working in that wonderful clean and efficient way that allowed anyone regardless of origin to accomplish and reach whatever goals desired.
The Taxi bubble swept silently down and opened up its passenger compartment right before her.
She got in and said. “District Court please.”
“Thank you, Citizen. Destination recognized. Estimated time of transport is seven minutes. Do you wish entertainment?”
“Yes,tune me into GalNet news, Channel Three .”
Channel Three was, unlike Channel Two , a commercial News station operated by SII-Communications and offered entertainment, sports and fashion news as well as breaking Union news.
The main story was that of the most famous Union Ranger, a genuine mountain sized Bandrupo responding to a pirate raid on a fringe world near the former Freespace region. The entire Union seemed to laugh and grin in glee as the report showed the gigantic ranger toying with a full sized pirate ship, and shaking it like a cocktail mixer .
She cringed as she imagined what the pirate crew inside experienced. She was certain the directional grav of the ship could not possibly neutralize these effects.
She tapped the fashion news icon on the filed screen in front of her, but could not finish her selection as the bubble had reached it’s destination.
A single credit poorer she stepped onto the Durocrete surface before the court house and mounted the eight wide steps leading up to the main entrance.
A massive monument of an upside down sword with two scale bowls suspended from each side of the hilt, represented the insignia of the Union Justice Department was displayed at the center of the entrance.
Rovin and his Nul friend and colleague Yun had reached the Yellow Banner service office and stepped into the Dispatch and Service command center.
A small Holdian in the same uniform hovering thanks to a flight belt at eye level of Rovin, greeted them both, he was Chief engineer Karner ,and the local Yellow Banner branch manager. His biggest claim to fame was of course his kinship to the Union wide known Holdian, Mr. Warner . Who had been a prominent part of the legendary Tigershark crew , personal friend of Sobody the Golden , and Co founder of SOWA Corp , the number two Giga Corp of the Union.
Karner never missed an opportunity to let anyone know of this fact, that he was the seventh cousin of a Holdian who in turn was the son of a brother to Mr. Warner. To everyone else this wasn’t much of a family connection, to Karner however it appeared to be the same thing as being a twin to that famous engineer and business man.
“Thank you for coming in again, Yun . Three-Six and George had to respond to a call. A space bus call, you know they take priority.”
Rovin sighed. “Unfortunately, as we sure could have used the Non Corp . There is no one I know who can calibrate new ISAHs as he can, and I never calibrated full size Titan-9 Pods .”
“Well no one but Specialist Warner of course, who served directly with legendary Admiral Circuit aboard the Tigershark . Did I tell you that I am directly related to this famous Holdian?”
“Only about ten thousand times since last Red Week .” Yun said.
“Well it is a fact worthy of mentioning. But as it may be the Titan-9s are here and you are expected to install them. Yellow Bug 88 is ready for you and I loaded every engineering bot we could spare.”
“Has the space born Octo Bot arrived from Blue Moon HQ as well?”
“Yes just an hour ago.”
Rovin boxed the rock hard shell of the Nul. “Ready for our biggest repair job yet?”
“No not really, but let’s go and get it done. I have a reserved spot at the Starview tonight, and I don’t intend to miss it. As it visualizes the part where Prince Xon became a crew member.”
Surri just made it to her office six minutes before her shift officially started, or in Union terms just in time.
Judge Narth was already waiting for her, he was the first Narth who decided upon a career in the Justice department. Of course being a Narth he probably teleported into the office,and never had to decide what to wear or eat breakfast.”
Unlike regular Narth, he did not wear their usual black robe, but the blue and black robe of a Union Supreme Court Judge . When not acting as a Supreme Court Judge he was the head of all district courts of the Upward Sector .
“One does indeed teleport to work, and the choice of garments is technically no choice as I only wear this one at all times but one does eat breakfast. Not that one requires sustenance in this form, one enjoys soft boiled eggs and toast. Having individual taste is a very recently acquired trait experiment of all Narth.”
“Good morning to you Chief. You read my mind again?”
“No, detecting your open thoughts is not an activity that could be compared to the activity of reading, but one does understand the meaning of your statement and so my answer is yes.”
“Are you here to take the bench?”
“No, this is your case. Besides it could be viewed as conflict of interest. One is here to attend the monthly sector court business meeting. It is scheduled to take place on Volcano this time.”
“Oh yes of course. I almost forgot, this boring affair is today.”
“It is not entirely without noteworthy topics this time. The Assembly voted to restrict the use of Psycho Surgery as a form of sentencing even further and the resulting new implementation must be discussed.”
“I never favored Psycho Surgery and have not offered it as alternative in any case where I was on the bench.”
Surri took her dark yellow and black judges robe out of her closet and slipped it on. “I can’t read minds, as we Togar have no Psionic talents , but if I could I wager you are here this early because of this case. Six individuals pretending to be Narth and selling Psi enhancement treatments conducted by the Narth Supreme is certainly interesting to say the least, and the public isn’t amused at all. You Narth are next to saints in public opinion.”
“One does not understand the concept of saints and from the information one possesses about the Togar society, you don’t have this strange human concept either. It is also not the first incident of this nature. Ones personal opinion in this matter is somewhat tainted as one finds the guilable individuals who actually paid for such a service almost as guilty.”
“There is an old saying, I believe of Terran origin stating, “That there are no pills against stupidity.”
“True intelligence enhancing treatments are genetic bases and legal only in very rare cases.”
“Once concedes to your earlier assessment, one is indeed here to observe this case. But solely as a private observer.”
“Right, that does not put any pressure on the first and still new Togar judge in Union history, having you siting on the proceedings.”
“Would you act different if one was not present?”
“That is why you are a Union Judge and not because you are Togar.”
Rovin and his team had labored very hard and all day, but now the old and damaged ISAH pods were stowed in the cargo bay of a Gulliver freighter , and the new Titan 9 pods were securely fitted in their place.
Yon turned from the engineering console. “All systems show green and the field shows super symmetry. Calibration is at 99,2 and well within the 80 percent power distribution matrix mapping required.”
“I guess it is as good as we can tweak it,without Three-Six or that legendary Warner guy.”
“No one, not even the factory engineers of Black Star ever managed to tweak them past 99,8. Except of course Circuit, but to this day no one can explain or repeat his feat of actually achieving 100 percent.”
“That X101 had the help of a Non Corp and a ship AI that was sentient and could feel its own engines. Besides the Tigershark did not have Titan-9s.”
“No, but from what I heard she has Attikan-Turbos , so sensitive you sneeze and they go ten percent out of matrix mapping.”
“Lets hope I don’t get dust in my nose if we ever come across one of those.”
“No chance, they are still mostly classified and fleet exclusive.”
“Lucky us. Let’s wrap it up so we still make it to the Virtu premier. Surri might decide to sharpen her claws on my back if we don’t.”
Yon disconnected the leads of the master diagnostic module and closed the engineering panel, while Rovin completed the repair and service report.
“She would never do that, even a Nul can see she loves you.”
“She does and I love her, but she’s a Togar cat. You should have seen me after our first night together.”
“I did, You should consider getting a Nul shell instead of that soft pink skin of yours.”
“Good advice, next time I am at Silverhawk’s I pick one up. Silly me for not thinking about that.”
“Don’t mention it, good advice is what I always give to friends. While you at Silverhawk’s pick me up one of those marvelous human hands.”
Rovin punched the last figures into the report. “Well that is the largest service ticket I ever filled out, 4 Million credits and that does not include the new engines.”
“Well getting that space born Octo from Blue Moon was certainly the biggest line item, but I doubt we could have done it without it. Besides this is a Tiny Tim, one or two transports and they recouped the loss.”
“True that. What was the freight anyway?”
“Marine Uniforms, swords, boots and TKUs I think.”
“Wow, they needed a Tiny Tim for that? Did the Corps decide to re issue uniforms for the entire Marine force?”
“No but they said on Channel two that another 2000 Bandrupo joined and wait for their uniforms at Camp Thunderfoot .”
“Holy Shit, 2000 more?. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near if they do an Orbital assault , but it would be a sight to see.”
“A sight that would makes us Nul feel small and feeble and frighten even the guards of Narl Gatu .”
“I doubt there is any species in the Universe who wouldn’t.”
“Channel Two said, that they never seen the Eternal Warrior grin with such glee as he heard the news and he asked the Assembly to green light the acquisition of a Bandrupo Drop ship . I voted for it.”
“Darn I missed it, was it a Union Wide ?”
“No, but I listened in on Channel One while they called for a vote. It was approved. They still have lots of Seeinan parts from that big depot and decided to put a new Lyrec together , modified as a Drop ship.”
“I bet the Eternal Warrior would give his right arm to command that ship.”
“No doubt, but to me its still the Devi that is the most famous and beloved ship.”
“I think the Tigershark is a close second.”
“Then give them your service bill and get home, or we miss to see her tonight.”
Surri hung her robe in the closet. Fyra , one of the Court clerks and a Delicate handed her the final court documents to sign.
Surri pressed her thumb underneath the displayed document and with it made her final verdict official. The jury had found the six offenders guilty and she had sentenced them to a full year of public service, cleaning the environmental tanks of the city. It had taken the jury less than ten minutes (they basically walked out and came right back) to come to a verdict of guilty on all charges. The Narth Judge perhaps failed to see the fact that the Narth were indeed on a pedestal in terms of public op pinon, and frankly in her mind well deserved. The Narth were in so many ways far advanced and superior to everyone else, in terms of powers, technology, civilization and development, but they were always as humble as can be, had no concept of falsehood and always pointed out the positive aspects of another species. A famous society professor once equated the Narth with very smart children observing the world in a matter of fact way completely different from anyone else and the Union as a whole was immeasurable proud of their most advanced and smart children taking the role of collective parents. Of course this was a very flawed analogy as the Narth weren’t a product of the Union and around longer than just about anyone; but this analogy captured and explained better than any other why the Union as a whole loved and adored the Narth.
The meeting in the afternoon resulted in the instructions to allow Psycho Surgery only in the rarest of cases. It was clear that Psycho Surgery had to develop fool proof methods of control before it was to be reconsidered as a standard alternative in felony cases and the Assembly and thus the Union was considering to abolish it as form of correctional punishment altogether.
Fyra took the PDD back and said. “Any plans for tonight, your Honor?”
“Yes we are planning to go to the Starview for the premier of “Tigershark Log Part II ” And I told you you can call me Surri the second I am out of the robe.”
“It’s a force of habit I guess. You are so lucky. I wanted to go too, but the first eight shows are sold out completely, I am going the day after tomorrow.”
“I won’t spoil it for you then and keep my mouth shut, so don’t ask me tomorrow how it was.”
“I will try not to. Can I ask you something personal?”
“You are in a partnership with a human male. I am thinking about going out with Judge Rogers , he is human too, is there anything you could advise how humans are?”
“Not really, as I learned they are all different, but Judge Rogers appears to be a nice guy. I think you should just see what happens. That is what Rovin and I did and it worked out better than we could have hoped. I had to learn that females are not in charge of a family pot, but it is more an equal partnership. I also noticed that human males, at least in Rovin’s case take gender equality serious but has a tiny genetic disposition towards a male dominated society and thus relationship, but it does not have to be the way with Rogers. We love each other and everything sort of fell into place, besides we both think that Jinx our cat is the real dominant individual in our little family.”
“I think that is good advice.”
Rovin and Surri were standing in the foyer of the Starview Virtu theater waiting for the doors to open. Surri enjoyed a glass of milk, while Rovin held a bottle of beer. The place was packed and there was a din of excited voices and everyone discussed scenes from the first part or expressed hopes to see certain parts mentioned in the book visualized in the show.
The crowd fell into a momentary hush as a Narth came in, the robe was not completely black but had blue panels down the side. The Narth approached Surri
“Good evening Judge Narth.”
“Good evening Judge Surri. One suspects you know now the other reason one decided to attend the meeting on Volcano in person.”
“No I did not suspect you here. Would you not have shared the real events of the Tigershark adventures, as a Narth was one of the crews most prominent members?”
“Only the shared emotions and observations the Narth Supreme decided to be shared with all Narth. Many details are classified and Narth Supreme takes these things indeed very serious. So I too look forward to the premier, as the one at Pluribus is sold out for month and I managed to get an admission for this event.”
Surri introduced Rovin and Rovin introduced Yon who was there as well.
Then the doors opened and they went in to see the show.