Ceres, part 8

Yes, I actually did basic research about taking a dump in free fall. We’ve not yet solved that issue so given that the Polar Alliance is only just now returning to space, I’m guessing no further development went on during the Breakup/Change. I’d clench and wait for acceleration, too.

In loo of that (swidt), since I cannot assume everyone reading this serialized short story has read the American Imperium trilogy or “Obligations of Rank” – but you will – we get a little background about Laszlo’s family, mentioned only in bits and pieces up until now.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

He thought he could see her sincerity but as she had done to him before, androids were bigger fakes than demi-humans.  Les unbuckled his harness and drifted up out of his chair.

“Thank you, Min,” he agreed.  “But with the stipulation I am notified if you find anything – anything, leftenant – out of the ordinary.”

“Of course, sir.”

With a push from his chair, he went for the hole in the deck to the next level, neither up nor forward right now.  Into the crew deck, he was mightily pleased he only had to piss; shitting in free fall was still a question with no good answer.  If I have to, I’ll just clench until we’re back under thrust in a day. That complete, Les went “forward” to the observation deck and strapped himself down to a chair in front of a monitor, pressing a button to wake it up.

Emails to my family, huh?  I do not have to type anything, just send my thoughts to the ship’s comm system then maser it back to Earth.  But from this distance, the signal will broaden to the point that everyone, from mother to Reina, will hear, then unencode, a message.

“Perhaps I can set some thoughts out and send them later, on our way back,” he muttered.  “But to who?”

Of the Empress’ children, Elizabeth, a scientist and engineer finishing up the deep space listening radio telescope of the dark side of the moon, was eldest.  She also had zero interest in politics and, while polite to her siblings, oftentimes seemed distracted.  Edward now had all of his attention on setting himself as chief executive of Texas, once he marries cousin-in-law Livia Rigó and the empress trades their incorporation into the imperium for access to reactionless motors.

“By the time they build their own, after what I… I and Minerva have done out here, all the best lots in the neighborhood will be claimed,” Les muttered again.  That’ll piss them off.

Caillie and Robert were both human and both busy with their own lives, and Robert would likely be somewhere north in Old Canada or even into the provinces claimed by the Russians, thus out of signal.  As for the two youngest, from his mother but her second consort, Ildi was playing politics in Japan and Julian only eight.  Maybe I could at least send him some pictures; that might interest him.

Pictures. A thought occurred to him.  He gave a twisted grin.

Minerva? he asked.

Yes, Captain?

Once your survey is complete, we shall briefly touchdown on the surface, he thought to her.

Nothing.

Did you not hear – ?

Shall I come to you and check your vitals, Captain?  Your proposal is not only dangerous but likely to have the Empress punish you on your return.

It’s our return, and no, I don’t think she will.  You see, Minerva, I’ll be there in a hardsuit; you’ll be next to me, dressed as you are now.  And we shall scare up a pole or rod, some wires, and plant Empress Faustina’s standard on this little world, he thought with his smile getting bigger.

I understand the, what is it called?  The PR value.  But the imperium will not own Ceres just because of some cloth, Captain.  Worse, it might panic the Russians and Japanese into swarming out here with their ships.

You don’t think they already know what you and I are doing out here?

Apologies.  I am older now.  It shall be as you say.  What that all? she thought to him.

Yes, thank you.

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