Today is an exciting day here at Republibot: The story we're debuting here is kind of a triumph for us, not just for what it is, but for what it represents. It's the first piece of original fiction that has been submitted to us by someone we didn't know when we started the site. Not only that, Richard Anderson informs us that it was partially inspired by some of our own Blog Entries. Above and beyond that, it's a good story, too! One of the major things we're trying to acomplish here is to showcase new writers, and new people who want to be writers, to introduced them to each other, and to try and help them develop their gifts. We take Mr. Anderson's story as a vindication of what we're trying to accomplish here, and of course it's a hoot, too. Honestly, if I were any happier, I'd be twins.
So without further ado, I give you: "Visions of Sound" (Part 1)
Amber Dawn Watez sat in a corner booth of the lounge, her drink forgotten as she read the latest test reports on Project 1701. To an outside observer she was just staring off into space humming to herself, but in reality she was deep into the charts graphs and mathematical modeling of the report that were display on a pair of contact lens she wore. The Lenses made her eye color seem to shift every few seconds as she changed pages, a byproduct of the obsolete technology she was using.
“Hi Oka what you drinking,” said Watez, turning her head as a tall dark haired woman came up on her blind side.
“How do you always do that?” asked Oka Tanaka as she slid into the booth.
“State secret.,” replied Watez as she signaled for a waiter.
The two could not have been more different. Tanaka. in her early twenties, was lanky and like most of her generation born on the habitat, she wore skin tight shorts and a tank top that showed off what she had. Watez was over a decade older, of average height, wearing a standard jump suit that couldn’t quite hide the tight body and large breasts kept firm by hours in the high gravity gym. She had the kind of figure that most men - and some women - would die to get their hands on. Tanaka, fresh from the university, had energy and enthusiasm that seemed to radiate from her; Watez had a cool intensity and always seemed to know what was going on around her. Both woman had short hair, Tanaka's cut in a page boy style; Watez's red hair cut the short style that was the mark of a veteran pilot.
Tanaka tapped her right ear, indicating the ear piece that Watez had, and asked, “ When are you going to stop using that kid stuff and get some decent implants?”
“Can't. Now order a drink and I will have another.” said Watez as she nodded again at the waiter. Tanaka had the latest computer brain implant and did not understand why her boss would not get one.
As the waiter moved off the two women launched into a discussion of the report and project 1701 in general. They were deep into the modeling projections on the new engine when the waiter returned and left again with nether of them taking notice. If anyone overheard them, they would have seemed to be engaged in an argument over quantum physics, probabilities and arcane mathematics. There might be twenty people in the whole solar system that understood half of what they said. For every disappointment that Watez had with the test, Tanaka placed a positive spin on it and the two women had been going back and forth like that for a hour when both seemed to freeze for a few seconds and cock their heads as if listening to a distant voice.
“Crap, the director wants us now!” Watez exclaimed as she exited the booth and headed toward the door across the lounge, leaving Tanaka left to trail behind in her wake. The weekday crowd was light, so reaching the door took only seconds. Both women were out before they noticed that everyone in the lounge was quietly looking at the video screen that filled the spinward wall.
Stepping out the door they found themselves on a path that seemed to be in a pine forest. Watez turned anti-spinward and seemed to glide down it. Her time in the high gravity gym made the habitat's normal half-G seem inconsequential. Tanaka, being younger, was embarrassed that she had to struggle to keep up.
In an effort to get her older companion to slow down she asked, “I wonder what's going on? It's way passed the bosses’ bed time.” Watez stopped and looked at Tanaka.
“Don't know but it must be a crisis for him to call us during the night cycle.” When Tanaka had just managed to catch up with her, Watez shot away down the path again. They where passing trees and single story buildings that blended into the environment. Since the habitat was in its night cycle and they were in a wooded area, they couldn’t see the curvature of the space they were walking through but they could feel they where in a large open area.
After about two hundred meters they came to a three storey building that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a modern college campus. At the door, another person born on the habitat greeted them: Ricky Paulson was even taller than Tanaka and the shorts and tank top made him look like a NBA star from the late twentieth century.
“RP, any answers yet?” asked Watez as she rushed passed him into the buildings lobby.
“Not a clue Skipper, just got here myself,” Watez thought she might need to talk to Paulson about that Skipper crap, as he continued, “Could have something to do with the news from Epsilon.” Watez stopped and looked at Paulson.
“What news?” she asked.
“It been all over the net for the last hour or so, don't you know? Check channel 5730.” answered Paulson. Both Watez and Tanaka ordered their computers to the channel and where presented with images of what looked like the outside view of an orbital habitat. “Don't get it, what’s the big deal?” stated Tanaka.
“The big deal is: the views are from the Argo One,” Paulson received blank stares, so he continued. “The probe sent to Epsilon Eridani seventy years ago.”
Part 2 will run next week.