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Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.04.25 19:45:00 - [1]

Edited by: Alexi Borizkova on 04/12/2005 05:26:20
Edited by: Alexi Borizkova on 04/12/2005 05:19:24
Edited by: Alexi Borizkova on 25/04/2005 21:33:31
Part 1
“Honestly, boys, I don’t know why you seem so fascinated with these outdated pieces of junk.”

The delicate female voice trickles into not the ears, but directly into the auditory system of the two men working in the hangar. Both wear identical jumpsuits of dark grey synthetics, both flashing smiles of perfectly white teeth, and both with gray-green eyes. That however is where the similarity ends. The larger of the two dwarfs the smaller, standing a full head taller and well over twice as wide.

“Bah!” Says the larger of the two men, snorting with his displeasure, “This is a work of art, Eloise, much better than any of those things in your museum you seemed so proud to show us last week.”

“That lump of scrap you saved from the smelter? Better than Le Grangier’s ‘Nova of the Heavens’, bite your tongue, Dima, his work is an expression of the undaunted human spirit, his brilliant works show us the lengths man will go to as he aspires to greatness.”

The smaller man points to a two handled tool on a nearby crate, and Dima takes it up, manipulating the handles in a mockery of a yammering mouth, the smaller man smiles a bit as he takes it, speaking as he returns to his work, waist deep in a port on the small fighter.

“El” he says, “You can talk to me all you want about the artistic value of a work, of the spiritual meaning, whatever ship you’re in right now probably had as much attention put towards its looks as it did towards its engineering, but this… this is an engineering marvel, as well as a tool. This was hand assembled over a hundred years ago, and when I first discovered it the engines still fired. That speaks more about craftsmanship and inherent value than any pretty colors or sense of aesthetics.”

Sighing Eloise seems to give in, knowing when she’s outnumbered. “Fair enough, Alexi, fair enough, I suppose there is no accounting for taste. But at least put some real shielding on it if you can, according to these specs I doubt they would hold firm during an active sensor scan, much less any weapons fire.”

After a moment her voice returns, this time sounding distressed. “Oh for the love of… I think one of the cadets managed to lock onto one of my drones instead of the enemy. I hope he knows that Concord will...” she pauses, and Dima and Alexi look at one another questioningly. “He didn’t. Well, guess he gets to go back to station in his capsule. I’m going to be busier than usual it seems, you boys have fun with that fossil, I’ll talk later.”

Both receive the 'Communications Terminated' message in their mind, courtesy of the neural link, and Alexi shakes his head, tapping the tool in his hand against the other palm.

“One wonders how they manage to fly their ships at all over there.” Alexi muses.

Grinning Dima responds. “They have drones for that.”

Smiling Alexi replies. “Aye, and she won’t even need shields when we’re done upgrading these engines, With mass this low and this much thrust, I’d like to see anything hit her, she’ll probably outmaneuver the best Gallente pilots, you know, the kind you build.”

Both men chuckle a bit, and then return to their work. The ship is rather small by modern standards, no more than thirty meters long, with engines taking up half it’s length.

As Dima carries circuit bank towards the open port Alexi is perched over, he suddenly stops, his muscles noticeably shifting under his jumpsuit as he holds the heavy item nearly effortlessly.

“Her engine’s really fired, Alexi? After all this time?”

Laying down the bundle of cables in his hand, Alexi looks towards Dima, the boyish grin again returning to his face.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.04.25 19:46:00 - [2]

Edited by: Alexi Borizkova on 04/12/2005 05:26:39
Edited by: Alexi Borizkova on 04/12/2005 05:22:21
“After I primed the injectors and ran power to it from a fusion micro reactor. To be honest I thought we were going to have to strip the whole thing out. But we are going ot have to replace the whole power relay system, the reactors, and the complications of the engines interacting with the new computer systems will be difficult, probably going to have to reroute all thrust control to a subsidiary coprocessor dedicated to their function, then link that into the main system to avoid a conflict, since the thrusters don’t have onboard programming.”

Nodding sagely as if in pure agreement, and understanding little of the spew of seemingly inane babble coming from his friend, Dima hoists the bulky object up and onto the hull, hopping up after it to help lower it into place in the now open hatch.

“But she’ll go fast, right Alexi? I mean, real fast, and still be maneuverable, not like with a frigate running a micro warp drive.”

“Definitely, definitely. It has no warp drive for one, and nowhere near as large of a reactor, capacitor or even the advanced targeting computers we’re used to. Not even room for a capsule…” Here he trails off a bit. Not having room for a capsule had been an issue between the two.

“If it’s fast and maneuverable enough, I don’t need a capsule.” Dima stubbornly states.

“There’s no such thing, you know this, systems fail, and unforeseen complications arise. Besides, while I know you’re a good pilot, you’ll need the direct neural link to fly it properly; it will just be too fast for you to handle it otherwise.”

Frustrated as he always was when a problem couldn’t be clobbered into submission, Dima paces a bit on the hull of the ship, then he points towards the gleaming cockpit window.

“Make that the capsule.”

“Dima, there just isn’t room for the housing for a capsule, the superstructure…”

Shaking his head, Dima continues. “No, make this the capsule, the whole ship. Not much room in one anyhow, same with the cockpit.”

Seeming lost in thought, Alexi’s eyes begin to shine with anticipation, and he begins to speak. “The capsule is truly a ship in its own right, engines, shields, warp drive, life support, as well as all the inner workings… This might work, we strip all of that away and fit only the neural linkups and last ditch safety systems, for clone activation, and we might have a viable deign. Good idea, Dima, when we’re done with the engines I’ll start working on the designs for it.”

Smiling and seemingly pleased with himself, Dima leaps back to the hangar floor to fetch the bank of circuits for the other side of the ship, whistling a tune.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.04.25 19:46:00 - [3]

Part 2

With a final hiss, the ovoid capsule is levered from within the sleek Minmatar frigate, the robotic crane’s arm lowering it gently into the cradle specifically designed for the process. There is a flushing sound as the amnion encompassing him is removed, briefly replaced with a rush of a slightly saline solution of water and a variety of cleansers. The capsule’s wall seems to spontaneously crack open, the hinges and joints of the opening previously invisible to the naked eye and stumbling forward, pulling the tubes and apparatuses from his face and body, Alexi emerges, snatching up the towel his pre programmed docking protocol ensured the drones had left.

Wiping his face, he looks about. Isanamo Station looked much the same as it always had, stern Caldari architecture leaning towards the utilitarian, with little if any embellishment. A stark difference from the Gallente style of station to which he had grown accustomed in recent months, a half a hundred styles of artistic styles competing equally against one another and the legions of advertisements (some subliminally impressed into the features of the walls, not seen by the conscious eye, even!) to create a riot of colors and images that not even his trained mind could take in and catalogue in a single glance.

However, it was all fake. Synthetic cheerfulness that existed to impress upon the viewer that they were welcomed. Welcomed to spend their hard earned money, to spend their time at a variety of games of chance, or with partners whose bodies could scarce have been expected to appear in their current form without the aid of science.

It was these dark hued featureless (except for the occasional vid screen displaying relevant information, along with a few discreet advertisements for available services) that felt like home, to Alexi. While he had grown up on a small colony, he had left at a relatively early age, and had in a way grown up a child of the stations, their ways, their customs, their appearance becoming a part of him.

The very nature of the stations complimented his orderly and fastidious nature quite well, with a place for everything and everything in its place. On the stations, there was a specific role for everyone therein, and a rigid set of rules to determine appropriate behavior and schedules.

And here he was, back amidst it all. He strode within his residence, a small apartment abutting his hangar, built himself, or more specifically designed by himself and built by automation, moving into the sleeping area, hardly more than a cubicle large enough to hold a collapsible bunk and several storage lockers, selecting from among the few variations of clothing the light grey uniform he preferred, it’s rank insignias clearly present in tasteful silver. He considers for a moment the case of metals on the top of the cabinet as he dresses. Prestigious awards, mostly decorations for excellence in science and math, as well as decorations for valor in defending the State on several occasions, and even his cross of estimable valor, awarded by the Spacelane Patrol, his oft time employer.

Deciding his outfit is quite complete without any of them, just the cufflinks bearing his current corporation’s logo, he runs a comb through his short brown hair, it’s teeth excreting several chemical compounds chosen specifically by him to ensure that nary a strand could come out of place once it dried. He then exits the apartment, picking up the data sheet surreptitiously left on the rack beside the door, and taps in the entry portion to pull up a list of his hangar contents. As he steps out into the hangar, he is surprised by sudden speech.

“Took enough time preening, didn’t you, Alexi?” The man leaning against the hangar wall wears nothing above the waste except an undershirt and a utility harness, and holds in his hand a large combat knife, which he proceeds to sc**** across his head, upon which glistens a half centimeter sheen of pod goo, making neat strokes as he occasionally glances into the reflective black of the dormant vidscreen he leans by.

“I thought you’d take forever. Here it was I detect your signal and come running back to station before my patrol is even over and I’m left here to have to amuse myself.” He flicks the blade against the edge of the waste receptacle the slime on the blade thudding dully into the bottom; he quickly wipes the blade on the leg of his trousers and slips it back into its sheath on his thigh.

“Come on Dima, you know a person can’t just step out of a pod looking this good!” Alexi opens the door and begins to place the datasheet back onto its place on the table, then quickly reconsiders, tossing it haphazardly onto the low table by the couch. Turning back to the exit, he sees Dima staring down the walkway towards the maintenance drones refueling and performing various seemingly incomprehensible tasks about the Minmatar fighter.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.04.25 19:47:00 - [4]

“I know what you’re thinking.” Says Alexi as he walks towards the overlook on whose safety rail Dima leans.

“That a fact? “Replies Dima.

“Indeed. Aside from the vulgarity, some sort of ‘what now, not content to snub your nose at the Caldari Capital ships, you’re dragging home junkyard rejects.’ Am I right?”

Dima nods slowly. “Fairly well.”

“But that’s the thing, Dima, I was as skeptical as you, more so even, I was even more outspoken than yourself condemning them..”

“And what’s changed now?”

“I flew one. It’s fast, and agile, I ran two blockades just getting here. Sure the microwarpdrive was the main factor, but this thing has almost no mass, I can top a kilometer a second in the blink of an eye, and then go triple that in two more.”

Turning his back on the ship in seeming disgust, he leans against the railing. Though resolute, he was not entirely skeptical. His friend was often right, usually far more than he liked to admit. “So, now what? We scrap the Peregrine and go with a Minmatar chassis?

“Not at all, not at all. I’m just saying that we might not need to sacrifice all defenses for speed. Look at her.” He gestures at the Minmatar ship, “She looks ungainly, and crudely assembled and flimsy, right?”

Nodding, Dima eyes the ship in the way only a pilot can, his mind though not thinking in terms of kilograms per square centimeter sees the ship’s design in abstract, the way it would feel to the senses of a capsule pilot.

“The structure couldn’t possibly hold together in a heavy dogfight with engines that size compared to the frame, they’d tear right off. And I shudder to think of what those… what are they, fins? Solar panels? Would do in atmospheric flight.”

“Right. But here’s where you’re mistaken. Look at it closely; do you see any couplings on the superstructure near the engines? Any bolts? Even a seam, perhaps?”

“No.” Dima answers, after examining it a bit closer. “Why would they go to such lengths to hide them?”

“They didn’t.” Alexi smiles exuberantly, “its all one piece, cast wholly, aside from a few additions, most if not all of the entire chassis is one single piece giving it structural integrity that no weld can match. Not to mention the alloys that actually allows the frame to bend slightly to accommodate high speed maneuvering.”

“So, what, we scrap the existing design, and copy Minmatar engineering to rebuild from the ground up?” Dima asks, his arms folding over his chest, looking more than a little displeased at the prospect.

“No, we take our engineering back.” Noting the look of puzzlement in his larger friend’s eyes, he continues, “Early in the days of the forming of the republic when the Pator shipyards were being built, there was a distinct lack of high grade industrial machinery. The Lai-Dai corporation sold a fair amount of their production equipment for the now defunct light fighters like the Peregrine to the Matari, including the machinery for form casting entire frames. During the latter days of the war, manpower was in short demand and we didn’t have robotics as advanced as now, which meant that casting as much of the ship as a single piece, thus not requiring joining, as possible saved on costs, as well as producing more reliable ships.”

A light begins to shine in Dima’s eyes. “So, what you’re saying is…”

“The last design hurdle is crossed. With only minor, relatively speaking, modifications to the ship we can mount the much larger engines that we wanted without fear of the frame shattering, the thing is solid titanium carbide, reinforced at a molecular level with sylarmic fibers woven into the frame. Melt, perhaps, flex, definitely, but break? I think not!”

Clapping his hands together, Dima smiles broadly, “Then it seems we are going to be testing her sooner rather than later, eh?”

“Most definitely, my friend, most definitely”

“Then, how about we celebrate? A comrade of mine was recently carrying a shipment of bovines to some Ag world and had to make an unsuspected detour, by the time his engines weren’t leaking plasma, the timer had expired and he’d bought himself a load of cattle eggs that were now hatching.”

“Ahh, plug in a datachip and let it simmer till the full grown animal emerges, correct? It’s an interesting application of cloning technology, to say the least.”

Shrugging noncommittally, Dima continues, “But now he’s got a crop of very hungry bovines about to turn his hangar into a ranch. Being the helpful type I am, I convinced him to have a little party over there, I’m dragging over a case of that vodka you picked up way back, come on!”

“Of course, how could I miss a celebration of another’s misfortune, especially when I’m supplying the libations? When, exactly?”

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.04.25 19:47:00 - [5]

Dima glances at the readout on his harness, “They hatch in about two hours, add on another to get them plate worthy… we better hurry before we’re late.” He then quickly walks away from the ship maintenance bay, picking up a hover cart on the way.

Alexi lets him take the lead, unsurprised that his chosen custodian knew the way to the alcohol better than its owner. “Why the hurry, just how far away is you’re acquaintances’ hangar?

Grinning ear to ear, Dima stops before the large cargo container marked ‘Fragile’ and begins to haul out several cases of clinking bottles as he replies. “Tell me, Alexi, what would one get were they to open one of those maturation chambers early?

His smile infectious, Alexi begins to chuckle a bit, and points at another container. “Grab a couple bottles of the good red Spiced wine; too, I do believe it goes quite well with veal.”

Laughing, the two men hurry towards the mag lift, cart in tow.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.04.25 19:49:00 - [6]

Cast: Alexi Borizkova, Dima Sobayeski, Eloise Rousseau(Bios available ingame)

Thought I'd share some of the fiction I write during downtime with you all. Enjoy.

Posted - 2005.04.25 21:15:00 - [7]

Hell yeah! Great stuff. Smile

Herko Kerghans
Posted - 2005.04.26 08:29:00 - [8]

Very Happy

Silver Night
Re-Awakened Technologies Inc
Posted - 2005.04.28 04:36:00 - [9]

Pretty Good :)

Nikolai Nuvolari
Gilead's Bullet
Posted - 2005.05.24 06:09:00 - [10]

You're a dwarf?

Haha anyway, I love what's the ship going to be, a racer of some kind? Or just the ultimate blockade runner?

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.12.04 05:30:00 - [11]

Part 3

The glow of the mining lasers gleamed dully on the sleek black hull of the cruiser. If space carried sound, there might have been a dull throbbing, or humming sound. As they slowly did their work, liquefying the asteroid and tractoring the mineral laden slurry to the ship’s cargo hold the cooling ore was transferred via an umbilicus to the secure cargo container floating free in space.

Within simulated environment in his mind Alexi glanced at the chronometer readout, it looked to be about the right time. Touching the glowing comm. Button marked with the symbol of twin suns with orbital lines surrounding, indicating a solar system, he began to transmit on a wide band clearly audible system wide.

“Mining vessel Kirov to base: Ore extraction is complete, requesting pickup immediately, rendezvous at third planet’s asteroid belt. Over.”

A simple, rookie mistake mused Alexi. It was commonly known that this system was preyed upon by Guristas pirates and worse. To show one’s weakness, a simple mining expedition, as well as to leak one’s position was tantamount to a death sentence, or at the very least, asking for trouble.

A moment passes, and the internal communication link fires to life, an interlink secure from the outside prying ears. “A bit over the top, don’t you think?” chimed the delicate voice of Eloise. “What kind of backbirth would really fall for that?”

Sighing inwardly, Alexi responds, “I know, I know, you didn’t like this plan from the beginning… but we need test subjects, and unmanned drones won’t cut it. They’ll bite, I know they will.”

A deeper bass voice rumbles up into the channel, “As long as they hurry up. It seems like I’ve been down here for hours.”

“Warp bubble collapsing in three, two, one…. And here I am.” Crackles the voice Eloise.

Suddenly from seemingly nowhere the immense bulk of an Iteron class cargo ship appears, its blue-green hull catching the sparkle of the mining lasers as well, sparkling gaily in the void.

“Moving into position to pickup now, prepare for linkup.” Her voice broadcast this time on the broad system wide channel. It comes again back on their secure interlink, “There you go, using maneuvering jets to get into position now… drones deployed.

The two tiny manipulation drones fire their engines, moving out of the port located on the aft of the cargo ship. Carrying between them the cargo-lock mechanism and trailing behind the light grey metal of the transferal umbilicus the drones speed towards the cargo container.

The quiet calm of space is suddenly shattered by the blaring alarms in both ships. Simulated tactical readouts display blaring red lights marking incoming hostiles. Simulated sounds catch the pilots’ attention as a flare of intense blue light streaks towards the umbilicus attaching itself to the container, severing it neatly.

The bursts of light repeat themselves as a pair of small craft dart towards the cargo ship, their guns blazing. The feeble plasma shields collapse almost instantaneously under the barrage, as the second volley of shots strike the metal beneath, singing the outer layer black and leaving wisps of liquefied armor plating in space.

“Taking heavy fire here, Alexi, it’s up to you boys now, I’m gone.” As her words are spoken, her ship is already maneuvering into a warp position, aligning itself to the planetary body around which their base of operations in this system resides. It takes a few more shots, and then seems to disappear, blinking away, as it enters FTL.

“You heard her Dima, its go time! Arming anti ship missiles and acquiring target lock.” The calm collected voice of Alexi is tinted with excitement.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.12.04 05:30:00 - [12]

The first missile soars in a gentle arc anticipating the path of the enemy fighter moving into an orbital maneuver. It scores a direct hit, shattering shields, crumbling armor, and piercing into the delicate workings beneath a bit. The second finishes the job, turning it into a blossoming fireball, casting shadows into the lowing asteroids and causing the hull of the cruiser to take on a red sheen, looking like nothing so much as drying blood.

As the three remaining fighters swarm about the ship, their fire hammers into the shields. Far more advanced, and reinforced besides, than the cargo ship of his friend, Alexi’s take blow after blow, degrading but showing no signs of buckling.

“Three left, Dima, you like those odds?” asks Alexi.

“I was hoping for a fair fight… too bad for them.” Responds the gruff voice of Dima, “Ready for launch, engines primed and back plate is deployed.”

Had the pilots circling the cruiser been looking carefully to see the top panel open, they might have seen the glow of running lights and the sudden flare of engines within. Had they continued looking for a few seconds longer they might have been given the impression of a large missile or torpedo being launched, and in a way they might have been correct to assume it was such. However no cruise missile or torpedo could carry the lethality of the screaming object emerging, for no such device carried within it the grim and skilled pilot Dima. Nor could any single torpedo carry such destructive force.

The first enemy fighter never knew his destruction was imminent; the twin cannon on the underside of the sleek black fighter turned the forward portion of his ship to slag almost immediately. Moving in a graceful arc it spiraled upwards, if there can be such a thing as ‘up’ in the void, to come back down on a different vector, falling behind the second fighter.

Again, cannons flare, and again a ship is destroyed, this time far more spectacularly as the engines are hit directly, and for the briefest of moments it is as if there is a third, tiny, sun as the fusion reactor overloads.

Twisting again in a 360 degree side roll to port, the nimble fighter sights in on the last enemy fighter, and speeds towards it.

The first thing to flash through the pilot’s head was not anger, or despair at his own demise. Nor was it prayers to some deity or a scream for a loved one or help. It was simply curiosity. “What is that thing?” The last thing to go through his mind was far more predictable, the blinding light and swiftly following plasma as his ship was destroyed.

Smiling contentedly, Alexi deactivated the 3d holographic cameras recording the encounter; located surreptitiously in a half dozen asteroids surrounding him, relayed their data to his mainframe, and ordered them to self destruct, their purpose served.

“I think we have what we need, Dima, prepare to dock, and we can head home, thanks again for all your help, El.”

“Anything for a friend, ‘Lexi, you know that. I’ll be making repairs and settling some business for a few hours, and then I’m headed back to Duripant.” Eloise’s cheery voice compliments the tone of smug satisfaction in Alexi’s well, as he instructs his automated drones to sift through the wreckage and transfer any easily salvageable parts to his cargo hold.

“Understood,” he replies, “Dima, where are you?”

“Doing a quick patrol of the belt, there might be more hiding.” Dima’s voice is filled pure exultation, obviously not the tone of a practical warrior, but more like the joyful tones of a child taking his first ride in an atmospheric craft.

A quick glance at his scanners show Alexi there is definitely not any further lurking enemies; it also shows the acrobatics of Dima as he maneuvers amongst, around, under, and even through, the asteroids. It also picks up the EM pulses of discharging weapons from time to time, and a smile tugs at the corners of Alexi’s mouth.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.12.04 05:30:00 - [13]

“Enjoy the ride, my friend” he quietly mouths to himself, “This is a day worthy of celebration.”

As an afterthought, he accesses the communications net, and reserves a table for three at the station’s classier section of the recreation hub. He is sure to order a bottle of champagne to be waiting on their arrival.

((Yes, I have returned to Eve after so long away.))

Nikolai Nuvolari
Gilead's Bullet
Posted - 2005.12.04 11:13:00 - [14]

Hooray! I'm so glad to see this story alive again, I'd started to assume you'd forgotten it.

Karl Shade
Entropy associates
Posted - 2005.12.04 21:04:00 - [15]

Excellent work! Especially the way it ties in to the imminent release of fighter craft.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2005.12.05 02:54:00 - [16]

Actually, I always wanted a fighter like this, and gave up on ever seeing one ingame, so I decided to write about them instead. My old post here easily predates first word of the fighters as CCP has them today, I believe.

Originally by: Alexi Borizkova Posted - 2005.04.30 12:07:00
I've always fancied fighters as ships whose capabilities put interceptors to shame, with relatively good defenses, but lack a Pod(you are still cloned, etc, but the ship itself IS the pod) and Warpdrive. Not having a bulky capsule onboard, or the neccesary systems for a warp drive frees up a lot of room design wise for systems but unfortunately requires the use of a carrier to deploy such ships.

*Shrug* Some people wanna be starbuck when they play their sci-fi, some wanna be kirk, it's just the way of things.

Karl Shade
Entropy associates
Posted - 2005.12.05 03:44:00 - [17]

I noticed that the original post was from a while ago. I simply meant that the timing of my reading this story just after the first vids of fighters have appeared made it even more enjoyable. ;)

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2006.08.12 12:15:00 - [18]

Edited by: Alexi Borizkova on 12/08/2006 12:18:27
Interlude 1: The Forgotten

“Stocks of Zydrine are running low, we will need to restock before beginning the production run for sales during the next quarter, make a note of that.”

Leaning back in his chair, Alexi turns an eye to the window overlooking his hangar. Crates and crates of all manner of things lay arrayed before him in perfectly ordered rows. A crane arm was lifting a sealed cargo container into the hold of his ship.

Sighing inwardly, he contemplates skipping today’s freight run, but then pushes aside such thoughts. “What has to be done has to be done.” he muses.

Turning back to the array of data sheets on his desk, he takes the next one from the “In” pile and begins to scan its contents. Several lines in, a chiming sound is heard, and a woman’s voice speaks.

“Mr. Borizkova, a Mr. Nugen wishes to speak with you. I believe you were expecting him.”

The refugees... “Of course, please send him in.”

The doors slide open, and in steps a man of medium build wearing a nondescript gray coverall, simple and utilitarian, as well as cheaply bought and easily manufactured. Alexi keeps several crates of them on hand for a variety of uses, in as many sizes.

The man’s hands are nervous, fidgeting. Coughing once to clear his breath, he speaks.

“I just wanna thank you for not making us all go to that lab. We’ve heard the stories of what happens in places like that.” he says, his even tone and calm demeanor belying obvious relief. Alexi had heard what happened in those labs as well, and the stories were not pretty.

Nodding slowly as he speaks, Alexi replies. “Yes, of course, I am sure you had. But you are aware that your fate is no different on this station, correct?”

Seeing the gray clad man’s face drop sharply, a faint look of fear in his eyes, Alexi continues. “In regards to your employment status, I mean.”

The look of fear remains, but a hopeful look comes into his eyes. “Yes, yes sir I do, we all do.”

For whatever reason, some people just slip through the cracks. Whether a particularly bad set of references deter employers, one is added to a blackball list out of spite by an official (whether the act is official or not) or even in the case of a person being too rebellious to accept a place in the machinations of the corporate state, one can be labeled unemployable. Recovering from such a black mark is virtually impossible, and many sink into the dishonorable position as one of the homeless.

Where an indigent in a planet side community might be able to eke out a living (such as it is) indefinitely, on the ever efficient stations, such “oversights” are not tolerated long. Deportation to any number of facilities can result, and a callous bureaucrat can sometimes make a deal with unscrupulous research officials for a few fast credits, essentially sealing the doom of the unfortunate “homeless”.

“I will admit I was not surprised when so many of you spoke up against debarkation at the Sukuuvestra facilities.” He speaks with cool even tones, remaining seated. The other man shifts his weight uneasily from foot to foot, obviously the one more ill at ease, despite standing while the first sits.

Alexi continues. “What I must ask you is as simple as this: Why did you feel safer coming with me? For what you know I might have far worse plans for you than the Suvee ever could.”

The other man shuffles his feet, the new boots scratching softly against the floor. “I dunno,” he says, haltingly at first, “but you’ve been good to us so far. Food, a place to sleep, shower, clothes, you even had medicine for my wife’s cough.”

Shaking his head, Alexi demures. “It was just pneumonia, not Galeptos Fever. And as for the rest, please don’t make me sound like it’s special to treat human beings like human beings.”

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2006.08.12 12:20:00 - [19]

Edited by: Alexi Borizkova on 12/08/2006 12:20:46
Sighing, he continues. “But you know I can’t just let you live in my hangar free of charge, this is not a charity.”

The shoulders of the standing man slump. “Yes, I understand.”

“So tell me, Mr. Nugen, you speak on behalf of all 37 indigents?”

“Yes, sir.”

“They chose you to come here and speak with me, why?”

“When times got tough, it was me that helped everyone stay together, me and some of the other men made sure there was food for the babies, that we didn’t get killed quiet like by the back tunnel thugs. I guess you could call me their leader.”

“So then, Mr. Nugen, I take it that means you could negotiate labor contracts on their behalf?”

Stunned, the man just nods, mutely.

“Excellent, I can have some papers drawn up by the hour. Cat two pay, standard benefits, plus housing and upkeep, educational facilities are present for children, elders beyond working age will be considered dependants.”
Mute in disbelief, Nugen stands, shocked, perhaps wondering if this could all be some cruel joke.

“Work for all men and women in the field of refurbishing salvaged equipment, we always need more hands with that. I can have you in training by the end of the week. It will of course be paid training, I’m not an unreasonable man. Does that all sound in order, Mr. Nugen?”

The man stands stock still for a moment before responding, hope shining in his eyes for the first time in a long while. “Yes, that’s… that’s all great. I mean, you’re serious, right?”

“As a heart attack, Mr. Nugen, as a heart attack.”

His face cracking in a wide smile the man practically beams as he nods vigorously. “Thank you, sir, I promise we won’t let you down. I can’t wait to tell the others.”

“I certainly hope you don’t, Mr. Nugen. Let me down that is. Please stop by my secretary on your way out, she will have your room assignments. And welcome aboard.”

“Yes, yes, thank you sir, I’ll go and tell the others right now. You won’t regret this, you’ll see!” The man leaves the office, the doors quietly closing behind him.

Alexi tilts his head slightly, “Kim, please prepare the proper paperwork for our newest employees. Wait about fifteen minutes before you assign them residences.”

“Understood. Would you like anything specific for lunch, sir? Some of the people are going to the recreation hub.”

“No, well, wait. Whatever the chef’s choice is today, unless it’s fish.”

“Of course, sir.”

He sighs again as he goes back to the forgotten data sheet.

Alexi Borizkova
New Age Solutions
The Laughing Men
Posted - 2006.08.12 12:23:00 - [20]

Back again, by popular demand, from nobody!

Also because nobody told me not to.


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