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 Outside - The Unwanted Bride

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PostSubject: Outside - The Unwanted Bride   December 6th 2009, 8:17 am

I like this first story, but it has never matched the style of the later stories. I have thus worked to attempt to give it more of the feel of the later stories. Feel free to harass me about anything (I would do it to you), but try not to ask about the science unless you really, really want to get into a technical discussion. My degree is Physics, and these are the stories that passed my critical mind. The later stories will present some of the science of my science-fiction, but if you cannot wait – go ahead and ask (you have been warned).

Outside - Story One
The Unwanted Bride

Part 1

[Video feed from my desk inside my room.]

Yes, this is Clover giving this report. While a number of you try to request my presentations, the crew of the Menlo Park normally nix what I consider to be a good record of events. They usually like the mixture of video feed that I put together, but overdub the audio. Well, since this story highly involves me, I am sending it out without having it checked. Hope those that want my perspective enjoy this. Oh, yeah, and I hope the rest of you do as well.

[Stock footage of solar system looking in from somewhere around the orbit of Saturn. Cannot really see anything except for pinpoints of light that only an astronomer might be able to recognize. The sun is the largest bright spot on the image, but it really does not fix the locale either.]

The universe has always been a vast expanse of nothing. Near stars, or any massive gravity well, there was an increase in matter, but the odds that there would be enough around you to fill a container would still be slim. Even as the small spacecraft raced forward with the energy of its movement pushing a wall of matter before it, there was not enough accumulated particles to measurably raise the density of the vacuum.

Space has always been a noisy place. From the low hum of the distant explosion that initiated the expansion of matter to the ever-present cacophony of energy sent into the void by almost every particle, there was also the radiation of information from those who broadcast their presence. As the small spacecraft moved from a reality where it raced at speeds greater than light to a lesser velocity, it added to the noise of space.

[Actual video feed from inside Castle’s boat. The camera looks into the front pilot/copilot compartment from a point above and behind.]

"Inside Station, Inside Station, this is IA984, dash, 5R on route from Chabron to the private exploratory vessel, Menlo Park, in dock around Earth."

For those of you that had never heard this speaker, let me say that it takes some time to get used to him. The voice really had no special characteristics except that it was male. The words were spoken in a soft fashion as the man was one to mumble things to incoherent objects, a habit he hoped others did not notice and if they did he definitely did not want them to understand what was said. The one that replied had a pitch almost that of the first, but it was clearer in speech and female in tone.

"This is Earth Control to Castle. I assume that is you, Castle. That ID is of one of your earlier crafts. Your arrival however is as scheduled. Menlo Park is no longer in dock, but is presently in assigned co-orbital flight with Earth. We can turn you over to Menlo Park for rendezvous."

"Thank you, Earth Control. Yes, this shell fit my new designs better than the one I had been using. Taught my mother how to use the other one. Transfer the ID of my previous boat to that of my parents."

"Glad everything is going well. Switching you over to Menlo Park."
As soon as he no longer noticed the background chatter of those that called themselves Earth Control, the man said, "Menlo Park, this is Castle coming at you."

The voice that now came over the ether was of a high pitch that could only be female. The words were slightly rushed, but spoken crisply.

"Hey, Castle, glad to have you back. Do you have Clover with you?"

The small craft was wide enough to easily seat two men in comfort. There was space behind them, a design feature to prevent a feeling of confinement, but it had been filled with boxes. The one that had been speaking still considered himself young. His black hair had been cut close to the almost-brown skin of his skull, although the hairs of his mustache were almost long enough to enter his mouth. The other occupant of the vessel [which was me] had a very light complexion and was noticeably younger. His dark-brown hair did not show signs of having been recently cut, although he had shaved his face earlier.

The one piloting the vessel continued to speak, "Glad that repairs did not take so long. I hope everyone is ready to head back out."

"I asked you a question, Castle."

The younger man [me again] did not look up from a folder of star charts pertaining to the upcoming voyage, but his voice had the strength and clarity to be heard. "I am here, Harley. I proved to Castle that I could ride a horse, but ready to get back into space."

"My money was on you the whole time, Clover. I received a message for you from Neosalem. It was sent with a privacy code, but I can forward."

His eyes lifted and his body moved to enable him to scan the panel in front of Castle before he said, "Uh, we should be docking within a few minutes. Why bother?"

The one in the driver's seat voiced an agreement, "Yeah, we are already coming close to Mars' orbit."

A new voice broke into the flow of words, "This is Malcolm, Castle. I have you on my board. If you will be kind enough to let our computers talk, I can bring you on in."

"I am still running Ten-Fours, Malcolm. I know Thor upgraded his computer system, so dumb it down."

"Same 45's they were, Castle. Software has improved enough that Thor felt he could save time and money by leaving the computer intact. Clover is the one with the new A5 systems sitting in his room."

The younger man shot a pointer finger towards the ceiling and waved it while saying, "I have the power."

A few comments passed as commands were made and instruments set in order to assure a safe docking. The two then eyed the boxes behind them, and came to an agreement about saving the unpacking for later. They then sat back and enjoyed the view.

[Grabbed this footage from a military surveillance vessel. If you ask the military nicely, specifying what you are asking for properly, they will sometimes give it to you.]

The Menlo Park was set in a stationary position above the northern pole of Earth. . The place was not stable for something seeking permanent orbit, but only for a craft able to control its own destiny through the cosmos. This kept it out of the orbits of ancient and modern satellites, as well as most business traffic with the Moon.

The ship was not overly large. It looked like a huge metal box fitted with lights. While aerodynamic forms were aesthetically pleasing, curved surfaces were prone to disperse overly excited particles. With the ability to move through space dependent upon a plasma field, an energized layer of gas, ships tended to have flat surfaces that induced substances to ride along. The Menlo Park did have a raised section on its top back position, and surfaces flowed into each other without sharp edges, so it was not a completely boring block sculpture, but fancy designs were purely the imagination of media presentations where they continued to preach that without air there were no forces demanding rigid construction.

The small craft was more pleasing in design, but its small size did not allow the eye to perceive the same design specifications that were apparent in the larger vessel. Castle’s boat appeared to be more of the shape of a corn kernel. It moved to fit against the larger vessel so as to provide protection to it, and to be available as an escape craft. While it did add a flowing surface to the plane of the larger ship, those that went into space understood that everything could not be perfect.

[Video feed from the camera inside the Menlo Park. Actual footage of the event.]

Both men easily moved without the force of gravity through a portal from the smaller ship into the larger. The airlock was near the roof of a tall corridor, although without gravity there was no sense of falling. Should gravity be applied, the walls did have netting to provide maneuverability, although normally the cords only acted as a type of padding. A light near one end of the corridor indicated that gravity plates were active at that point, and the two men made certain to have a position near the floor when they floated toward it.

Both men chattered while they moved. The conversation was technical, but it was also friendly in that each enjoyed speaking on the topic. Neither considered the act of moving in a weightless environment toward artificially induced gravity to be a cause to stop talking.

As Clover felt his feet carry his body, he rambled on, "I am told that they did change some internal logic codes, but mostly the new chips should only give me more speed. I need the faster processors for my planetary assessments, but while flying formation my computer has to work with the others, like yours, which causes it to slow down anyway."

"Listen, my Ten-4's are more than sufficient for our tasks."

"Ten-4's driving sensors cannot recognize something non-radiating as small as your ship, and you know it."

"That is why we fly formation. Going from twenty meters at ten megameters to two meters at thirty megameters is relatively little, especially when in tandem we are already detecting things less than a meter at a hundred megameters."

[Video feed from the camera over Harley’s desk. Note that this camera is set up with artificial intelligence to follow people. The view does shift as it tries to keep track of what it determines to be important at each moment. It however is the actual recording of events, so enjoy.]

The last line was said as the portal into the main part of the ship was opened. From the entry corridor a heavy latch mechanism needed to be worked. This was because the corridor was statistically the most vulnerable part of the ship due to the potential of inexperienced, tired, or wounded pilots being forced to perform their own docking maneuver. From the office beyond, the portal was easy to open as long as no breech in hull integrity was detected by the computers, but no one had come to do so.

The office was large due to its tendency to be used as a congregating spot for the pilots. A round table with a number of chairs was in a far corner where a small kitchen has been placed. At present no one was there. Only one person, a lean dark-haired lady that watched a series of terminals in the near corner enabling her to stay in contact with as much as she or others felt was necessary, actually worked in this chamber. Her name was Susan Mae Harley, although she was only called Harley due to everyone, including herself, thinking it the most lovely part of her name.

The lady turned her head to the doorway as she said, "Did you two argue about that the entire time you were together?"

Clover paused in his bee-line to one of the other doors in the room to reply, "I did take time to chat about something else when with members of Lincoln's family."

Castle paused to visually assess the lady as he said, "Yeah, Harley, we had a good time."

She picked up a square piece of plastic and threw it at Clover before he could again get his feet to start moving. "This came for you. It was stored by the computer as instructed by your privacy codes. I might have read it, but I really have not been back on board long enough to get bored."

The young man caught the data card, then shrugged his shoulders as he asked, "Can I use one of your terminals?"

"Sure, go ahead. I want you to hang around and verify what Castle says about your horse riding."

The mustached man went ahead and spoke on the mentioned topic, "Come on, Harley. Clover did spend those years planet-side with the Amish. That guy can ride, plow…"

The voice of Clover clearly was not meant to interrupt as it softly exclaimed, "Damn!"

Castle kept right on speaking, "and even milk a horse. I had not really thought of doing that to a horse…"

Clover's voice did interrupt the flow of words as it again exclaimed, "Damn!" A hand moved to signal the terminal to print a copy of the document, then he turned to the lady to ask, "When are we scheduled to leave?"

She answered, "Thor would like to leave now, but we still have some supplies to wait for."

Clover grabbed the hard copy as he said, "Don't give any indication that there is a rush."

"We aren't making money sitting here, Clover."

"I know, but we need time to stop a wedding. My own."

Castle and Harley looked to the young man in surprise. They were not given time to comment however, as he rushed out the door leading into the ship. The two only looked at each other, then Castle moved to follow Clover while Harley went to her terminals to track developments in her own fashion.

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Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Part 2   December 11th 2009, 8:06 am

Outside - Story One
The Unwanted Bride

Part 2

[These are actual views of me moving through the Menlo Park. The cameras are not for security, but simply one method of the ship’s computer system to keep track of where each of us are located. The feed is stored, so I accessed it. By the way, yes, that is Felix with Sandra. I know neither of them tend to be spotted that often, so look quick. I don’t know how he does it, but Watson does seem to know when to take a prominent position and wave. Anyway, on with the story.]

Those that designed the Menlo Park considered hallways to be a waste of space. They were necessary in sections where private rooms were desired. Corridors were also mandated to allow some flow between active rooms that would keep those just wanting to get somewhere else from disturbing any internal choreography of those working should things get busy. There was however barely enough room for two people to walk beside each other and the passages were not high enough to allow anyone to wear a tall hat.

Clover was not bothered as he rushed through the ship. The vessel did not carry a large crew. While some random movement did occur, the odds of one person suddenly deciding to dart in a manner that would hinder another was low. Some people recognized the young man, and wished they had a chance to welcome him back, but seeing him occupied only made them put off the interchange of greetings for later.

All doorways had doors. Despite the continuing tendency of media presentations to show otherwise, there were no sliding panels that moved into the walls. This was because in case of a breech of the hull the walls had to be sturdy enough to resist the near-perfect vacuum that existed outside the vessel. The doors were also of substantial material. Some were positioned and set to be permanently open, but most were closed to provide some form of privacy to those inside. Clover was however used to the barriers, and dealt with each quickly and efficiently as he rushed though the ship.

He stopped in a hallway that seemed to have wandered away from the rest of the vessel. Only one door was visible in the straight section between two ninety-degree turns. The young man did not press the communication button beside the door, but banged on the simulated wood that produced a deep whump indicating that the material was not really from a tree. He then tried the latch and found that it responded. Surprised, he opened the portal and entered.

[Yes, this is the actual recording of the event. This is a private residence, but Thor and Rachel are meticulous about most things. Considering that most of us will barge in on the couple and discuss important matters, they keep an active feed of their front room. Yes, this camera also has computer control to focus on who is considered important at the moment. As for getting permission to use it, neither considered any reason not to let me have it.]

The room could only be considered large by those who understood the price of extra volume. The bulky padded furniture made the room appear even smaller than it really was. The part that Clover moved into was used as a meeting room, dining room, and entertainment room. To this latter purpose a dark-skinned bald, but bearded, man was doing his best to send signals to a computer as he attempted to maneuver a spacecraft through an asteroid field that was cluttered beyond reality with all sorts of rocks and mechanical debris. A small kitchen was across the room. A door led to a rear office and bedroom. In the kitchen a dark-skinned dark-haired lady was working vegetables in a wok.

She calmly said, "Welcome back, Clover."

The young man did not respond to the lady, but tossed the printed pages on the lap of the man. "We cannot leave right now."

The lady, named Rachel, spoke without any indication that she felt snubbed, "Clover, we have been Inside long enough. If we stay any longer, I will feel like I should have gone ahead and gotten pregnant."

He went ahead and responded to the lady realizing that the man was not going to read the document until he won or lost his game. "Yeah, and have Thor ram the Menlo Park into an asteroid so you can claim having found a second livable planet."

"Your Amish are still living under a dome as well, Clover."

The elder man had glanced at the document during moments in his game, and decided to speak on what he had read – probably to keep his wife from getting into an argument with the young man. "We can leave her."

The lady did not understand the statement, so asked, "Thor, are you talking about me?"

Clover turned his gaze to the man hopefully to let the lady know that she was not the one being referred to, "We cannot leave her. She has nowhere to go."

The man kept to the game as he replied, "Let your sister take care of her."

"She already bothers me enough for money. Anyway, she is living in a school dorm. Come on, Thor, I am only asking for a couple of days."

The man decided that he needed to pause his game, then he spoke crisply to the ceiling, "Harley."

The voice of the lady came over a speaker, "What do you need, Thor?"

"A ship should have left Neosalem slightly over a week ago. Why has it not arrived around Earth yet?"

"Neosalem is not truly considered Outside any longer, Thor. I will need to work with Inside Control. Give me a second."

Thor looked at Clover to say, "You cannot bring her."

The young man was quick to respond, "Hell, yes, I can bring her. I don't want to, but I can do anything I want. I might still owe you time, but you owe me money."

"I don't want to fight you, Clover."

The voice from the speaker interrupted any debate, "It should be arriving at Inside Station. It had detoured to give emergency aid to a mining operation."

"Power up my boat, Harley. Inform Inside Control of my desire to be present when and where that ship arrives. Out." The elder man rose as he said, "We can discuss this over a beer."

Clover did not look pleased with the offer. "She is from Neosalem. She won't drink alcohol."

"If she is going to travel on my vessel, she will."

[Just some quick views from the cameras of the Menlo Park, then those within The Next Experiment. Rachel tried to argue with me about using this footage, as she was stuffing food in her mouth with vegetables sometimes showing between her lips, but I decided to use it anyway. I had to get permission from the couple for the scenes within their boat, so that is why it is a nice – almost posed – image. Oh, as for all of you that enjoy outside shots of flying spacecraft, those take a drone or other craft to get the picture. We did not bother, but I did include a shot of the space station from one of the cameras on the hull of The Next Experiment.]

Rachel had been hoping to eat while playing games with her husband, but settled for munching on the meal as she moved through the ship, into a smaller vessel, and then through space. From a position above the Earth, Thor steered his personal craft to a large man-made satellite of Earth set in a stationary orbit over the Indian Ocean.

The space station referred to as Earth Control was still a point of debate for everyone. The first recognized problem with the structure was that it did not truly house Earth Control, but everyone knew those that spoke over the ether were actually working from a base on the planet. The opposing argument was that Outside Control was also planet-side, being based on Mars, but outsiders did not claim otherwise. The second point of contention was that the space station for Earth Control was a large lavish structure very impractical to maintain. Dignitaries from Earth would however go into extreme details how they wanted to show off the grandness of the home of mankind to any alien race that might one day arrive. Those that truly worked in space would dock at the space station to simply walk around and gawk at the spaciousness of the structure. The dignitaries would cite the figures of the traffic handled by the space station as a justification of it being worth the expense, but most understood that little real business was done in the place.

[The space station is public domain, so I had no problem gaining the footage. You have probably seen this stuff already, as being public domain it was accessed by a number of news organizations. Still, it is the actual event. I did pay Blake Arundson for video from his camera, as it included some rather good close-ups. Enjoy.]

Thor, Rachel, and Clover moved from the portal that connected to their ship. They did not act self-conscious about twisting their necks to look at the architecture. They also did not mind making ugly faces at those who treated the spectacle of the place as normal.

The younger man stopped near a square section of clear flooring. "I have to admit that I like being able to see what is going on above and below me. The only problem is that seeing those goats two levels above make me wonder about the quality of the air purifiers. I think that I smell them."

Thor blandly returned, "I can assure you that whatever they have was bought at great expense. I am told however that those that live here like the smell of animals and such. Makes them feel more planet-side."

Rachel tried to turn the conversation in a more friendly direction, "We could use an animal in our apartment."

"You would cook it."

"Thor, that is gross."

"It would only have to get you mad at it once, and out would come the knives."

Clover interjected, "You did install a new reclamation system?"

"Yep, blood and intestines would be fertilizer in no time, and my wife's pet would be in my taco."

The lady again voiced, "That is gross."

A voice spoke from a speaker over the head of the three, "Clover, what brings you to Earth Control?"

The young man stopped, then turned around. Seeing no one in the corridor, he moved back to one of the clear sections. Looking up, he spotted the waving hand of someone dressed as a local. Clover only said one word in response.

"Business."

The man's words again were heard via a nearby speaker. "What type of business?"

Clover moved back to the couple as he softly said, "They have new A5 processors out, but there still are people who don't use computers."

Thor returned, "Yes, they live amidst all of this technical grandeur, then decide that mankind would be better off without it."

Rachel still considered a certain topic active, "I am not forgiving either one of you."

The elder man was used to his wife. "Why? Clover nor I would harm your pet."

The man Clover had seen earlier now exited a doorway that was clearly marked as giving access to an elevator. He did not introduce himself, but walked boldly up the three. There was a pride in the man's voice as he indicated that he had done some research on the trip down.

"There is a ship coming in from Cosmic Mining Station Four. They recently had a shaft implode. Did you guys have stock?"

Thor turned to Clover to ask, "Did you?" Seeing a shake of the head, he continued, "My wife would cut either Clover or me up for tacos," the glare from Rachel indicated that she did not like the reference, "if she caught us having stock in anyone but Butler or Avondale."

The man was clearly confused by the response, but had enough control to ask, "Do you mind if I join you?"

Thor returned, "Join us? Yes, I mind. This place was built with everyone's tax money however, so you are free to go as you will."

Rachel and Thor spoke to each other in order to drop the subject of the prophesied demise of her desired pet. She had to admit that her temper caused her to make some previously rash decisions, and that she did pride herself on her ability to handle the cutlery. Thor allowed that he was a little crude with his description of how extreme Rachel might go with her anger, and admitted that her use of the knives had never cost him even one finger.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Part 3   December 16th 2009, 8:22 am

Outside - Story One
The Unwanted Bride

Part 3

[Continuing to use the video from the Inside Control space station. Of course, the cameras are simply static security devices, so not the best recordings of the event. The better shots and close-ups are from the independent camera of Blake Arundson.]

Clover moved with the couple without saying anything to interrupt the conversation. Hearing the couple soothe any developing bad feelings had him walk behind with a pleasant smile on his face. The only words that he voiced were simple directions about heading to their destination.

The other man present in the hallway kept a distance, although did nothing to hide the fact that he was following. It was noticed by the threesome that he set a camera to float along. They considered the camera silly in that there were already visual recording devices active in the corridor. Knowing that redundancy had supplied the means to overcome a number of problems, they allowed the man his freedom to capture his own images of them.

Reaching the proper portal, soft sounds of disappointment were made as there was no indication that anything had yet docked. Thor and Rachel moved a short distance, then traded minor signs of affection. Clover went to a terminal and had the unit supply a visual of what was beyond the hull of the space station. With the aid of certain features in the software, the young man was able to recognize the activity of a spaceship preparing to close into docking position.

The man that had been following the three decided that he needed to ask some questions, so moved up besides the one at the terminal. "Clover, everyone knows that the entire crew of the Menlo Park signed up for another tour. There is speculation that something was learned about the location of another intelligent species."

"I resent that. I got my logname because nobody wanted to credit my discoveries to skill, but all to luck. Found life on the last run, and it was put down as luck. What makes you even believe that we can do anything by design?"

Before the man could answer, Clover asked a question that he really wanted an answer to, "By the way, which news agency do you work for?"

"Blake Arundson, officer of the Unified Inhabited Worlds. I am really part of the security detail here, but I freelance out to the news agencies, and get a percentage of the return from my stories added to my paycheck."

"Have to make a living somehow, I guess.” While he mumbled the previous phrase, Clover spoke the next at a normal tone. “To answer your question, there is someone I am supposed to meet on this ship."

"Anyone news worthy?"

"On some days, anything is news worthy. The meeting is social however, and not business. So I would like to claim some privacy."

Blake said before walking away, "Then I will simply be watching for you to get out of line."

The man did not move away far enough to make Clover happy, but he knew not to make a scene. He turned off the monitor as he saw the ship close in on the dock. Thor and Rachel moved to stand beside the young man after they felt a slight bump from the wall. All three seemed to fidget as they waited out the seconds before the panel next to the portal indicated that a secure berth had been gained.

Clover whispered to the couple that the ship was a large transport, but that it had a very small crew. Attempting to calm his body, he mentioned having no knowledge of how much still needed to be done to set the ship up for cargo transfer. The three agreed that they could be waiting for a time before the airlock open, so debated putting in a call to the vessel. The heads of all three jerked toward the portal when it opened.

The man that came out was not tall or skinny. He walked with large steps clearly stating a desire to get where he was going, do what was needed, then move on to the next place. With him was a young lady slightly taller than he. The face was heart shaped, although a simple hair style with long locks helped to make it pretty even without cosmetics. Her brown eyes moved with an eagerness to see everything, although they kept moving back to the young man who only looked at her.

Clover nodded to the man that entered the hallway, and approached to shake his hand. "Captain Nathan, I am glad to see that you are still making money keeping my people supplied."

"I am sorry to see you here, Clover. This was not a regular run for me, but the crewman I got stuck with did a wonderful job of making it worthwhile. You are a lucky man. Well, I will leave you with this lady, as I have a lot of I-and-T's before I can move my stuff."

A look of annoyance crossed Clover's face as the captain moved off. The young man looked to his companions as if expecting them to make a comment. Rachel pointed back to the young lady, and Clover turned to go ahead and speak.

"Captain Nathan did not introduce us. He probably expected that we had already met. Making a regular run between here and Neosalem, Captain Nathan probably lost track of how many years it has been. If I must make a guess however, I would say that you are Naomi."

The knuckles of the young lady were white as the hands grasped each other. Her eyes still moved attempting to see everything even as her face directed itself to the floor in embarrassment. Her voice was soft.

"I was told that you would not remember me."

"I left Neosalem almost five years ago. I also never dated any of you ladies, girls." An uncomfortable smile passed between the two before Clover again spoke. "I believe that you are Joshua William's daughter. I do remember getting a few letters from you."

"The man you mentioned no longer considers me his daughter. My crime was not horrible, but it was against our ways. Neosalem is about to become part of the U.I.W. however, and the elders wanted to make an example of their commitment to their past even as they paved the way to a secure future. They felt that both could be achieved by exiling me and sending me to become your wife."

"I guess thus making me respectable too."

The face lifted and Naomi's voice strengthened as it said, "You are a hero to us, Clover. You discovered our world."

"I was a rebellious kid and lucky. I earned my logname."

Clover moved to Naomi, and seemed uncomfortable as she stepped to stand next to him. He did have something to say, but to direct the words at the young lady he found a need to place one arm around her waist and drop his head to look into her eyes. She smiled at his touch and with the sight of his eyes.

He kept his voice even as he softly said, "Thor and Rachel want to take you out and drink a beer with you."

Naomi giggled before saying, "I was exiled because I was attempting to make a still. I truthfully thought I had a more efficient way to make methane, and I did not believe that anyone would miss some of the cane trailings. I believe it was the smell that gave it away. Those that found my device said that I was making a good rum. Commander Jackson of the Neosalem station bought my equipment by paying for my ticket here."

Rachel moved up and offered her hand, "Come on with us, Naomi. I am Rachel, although you will hear some call me Black Dove. You sound like a nice girl."

The young lady smiled in gratitude at the statement, but her head turned as she looked for something. The couple and Clover noticed that her eyes locked on the view screen of a nearby terminal. They were unsure what Naomi wanted, but felt willing to do their best to help her.

"I was young when I last saw the Earth. Captain Nathan let me sit in the control cabin with him, but he was more interested in arriving. I really did not get a good look at it."

Clover walked over the terminal and gave it some commands as he said, "There is a restaurant here that has a wonderful view of the planet, but I can go ahead and let you see Earth. I would rather have you looking at me while we eat."

She saw the image of the nearby planet, but looked at the young man. "I hope that you are not angry at me for coming to you this way."

"You presented me with a problem, but it will be dealt with before I leave again."

"I want to go with you."

The eyes of the young man glanced at the elder couple before he said, "Give Thor, Rachel, and I a chance to make some decisions. That means that you have to talk to us."

"I wrote to you."

"And with some conversation I will probably remember every line. You should have received replies to your letters, because every message from Neosalem is treasured by me.” Clover’s face showed some embarrassment as he added, “Truthfully, however, there were two Naomi's that wrote to me."

"That would be Naomi Baumgartner. She is a year younger than me."

The young man’s face showed some relief in the reply as he asked, "Well, which one of you has to work with the chickens?"

"I did. I wanted to be a vet. Methane is a natural by-product of organic waste, and we do process it as we attempt to make fertilizer. As stated, I thought that I could improve the process and create a beneficial industry. Feces really stinks however, so I decided to use cane trailings as I developed my process. It was due to my limited medical training that Captain Nathan found me being able to aid him with the miners."

Thor now spoke, "Okay, I heard enough. We can talk while gaining some refreshment. As my wife said, you sound like a nice lady. Come on."

[For such an expensive restaurant in a state-of-the-art space station, its cameras are nothing more than static security devices. I paid them for the distant shots of us around the table, but, as expected, the price was more than what it was really worth. Blake Arundson continued to trail us, so some of his camera images are presented. Watson however came with a camera, and his video feed makes up the bulk of what is presented after his arrival.]

No one would argue that "The Cosmic Shell" was not one of the finest restaurants in the galaxy. The reason that there would be no debate was not because it was true, but because there was no way to win or lose such a contest. While particulars could be challenged, the restaurant went to great lengths in so many areas that it was not worth the time to counter every aspect of the eating experience.

Clover was correct about there being a good view of the Earth from the restaurant. Naomi was awed by the spectacle of the planet of her birth, the exquisite surroundings of a highly rated eating establishment, and the honor of sitting with people she had once worshipped. Her wide eyes did keep looking to the planet, but they easily moved to whichever of her companions were speaking and would pause every time they gazed upon the young man.

[Okay, some background to assure that everyone understands the situation. I, Ronald Stirgam, am heir to the family fortune. My sister, Diane, has a percentage, but not as great as mine as my father considered me to have to support a family while he believed my sister should be supported by her husband.

My father figured out how to achieve the simple production of artificial gravity, and its common use meant that he could not spend money fast enough to become poor. My parents were killed in a spaceship disaster before I became a teenager, but my ability to claim a future wealth made me valuable to certain people. It is on record how I managed to escape the orphanage, gain possession of a small space ship, and disappear to make my own fortune.

In finding a planet that was perfect for terraforming, I had assured my own mark in history. Being young, by that time a teenager who had proven that he knew something, I did not allow others to regain control of my life. I handled the politics of who gained possession of my property. A sect of Amish were tired of the treatment they were forced to endure amidst an ever increasing population using ever advancing technology on an ever aging planet, and convinced me to allow them to take over my planet. It was a risky maneuver, because the Amish were not wealthy enough to finance the transaction. It took some grand-standing, but I managed to invest my own capital to enable the people to make their move. For those that don’t know, my endeavor is now paying off as the Amish have been self-sustaining for over two years and selling produce to surrounding mining platforms. With the planet I founded now becoming a part of the galactic estate and with the Amish working to further their industry, my investment is providing me with even more money.

Now, I did have to make a number of promises as I set upon my future. I was young, and I have come to accept that not all of my commitments had been wise. As I walked into adulthood with all recognizing that the light of fortune did shine upon me, I smartly decided to make all debts good. As certain people looked at their own bank accounts with pleasure, others looked to me hoping that they could convince me to accept their offers. Such resulted in no one speaking poorly of me.

The Amish community that had immigrated to my planet, named Neosalem and rhymes with Jerusalem, were very grateful for what had been done for them. They worked hard to settle upon their new home, and accepted a change in their lifestyle even as they labored to force the world to adapt to them. I had joined them on the planet, as it protected my investment even as it kept me in a protected environment while I waited out my years of being a minor. I have no problem with their religion, but their lifestyle did not win me over. When I finally turned eighteen, I was ready to return to the stars.

Okay, enough background. The scenes provided should tell their own story. I tried to edit them down, but I also wanted to provide some candid images. I hope that you enjoy.]


Neither Clover nor Naomi were certain whether her presence was truly a bonus for his kindness to her people. He did think the young lady pretty, but such truly meant little in a world where people were confined for years at a time. It was personality that counted the most, and the general rule in space was to allow everyone their privacy. Sex was a pleasant way to share time, but breeding was something those condemned to stay in one place did.
Naomi considered the topic of sex to be taboo, but those she was with focused on the topic. The first reason was that if she was to be Clover's wife then it would occur, and certain facts about the act had to be established. The second reason was that Naomi would not be accepted if she could not relate to others on even private topics, so she was pressed to see if she had any rigid morals that would become sharp cutting edges. The young lady felt like an adult as she admitted that she did not shave a certain area and allowed that her nipples pointed out if removed from their bra.

She found that she liked beer. It was not at first a pleasant taste, but Naomi drank the first mug and allowed a refill. She asked Clover if he would buy her another before taking the last large swallow of the second.

Most of the crew of the Menlo Park showed up as Naomi worked on her fourth mug of beer and the waiters brought out large platters of various side orders. She allowed for some scissors to be brought out and her skirt cut to show off her legs after admitting that she had shaved them. In returning to her seat, she spoke of sneaking behind the transport station in order to listen to contemporary music played by the spaceship crews as they waited for certain deliveries, and argued the merits of what she heard over the speakers of the restaurant with others. None of the Menlo Park crew found themselves having any problem with Naomi.
Thor watched as the young lady finished another mug of beer without collapsing. A waiter was present to replace the empty container with a full one, but the captain of the Menlo Park moved to put his mug on top of the fresh draught. Naomi noticed that the table grew quiet as she looked to Thor wondering what he was doing. He however was focusing on another.

"Clover, we are going to be leaving soon."

The young man had been talking with others, so had an answer ready. "Heisenberg's point, Thor. Our route takes us nearby it. You can stop there. If Naomi is still acceptable, she and I can travel to Stanley's Parlor to be married. If not, Stanley can let us know when a ship will be available to take her home."

"You cannot make a decision now?"

"Would you make a decision now?"

"No."

Thor had his eyes travel to look at each member of his crew. They all knew that he was giving them a chance to speak against Naomi. Most however smiled at her thinking of some cute thing she had done in the few minutes they had known her. Thor finally spoke his own decision based upon the majority of the glances he had spotted.

"Okay, but, Clover, I am going to charge you for her stay."

"She has medical skills, Thor. Captain Nathan spoke of his desire to keep her on his crew. We needed those talents on our last voyage, and could use them on this one."

"We will then discuss this topic again at Stanley's Parlor."

[End of episode.]

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PostSubject: Re: Outside - The Unwanted Bride   December 17th 2009, 12:45 am

Quote :
"Would you make a decision now?"

Ooo good counter question!
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PostSubject: Reply   December 17th 2009, 9:52 am

Thank you. I do put a lot of concern into Clover's remarks. While he continues a tradition of young overly-intelligent punks aboard a spacecraft, I wanted him to come across more reasonable and likeable. I thus work at having him not as rebellious, but actually trying to relate to those around him (who are all older). That caused me to not have Clover actually state any words of challenge to Thor, but simply put the decision back upon him (Clover has already served over four years with Thor, so can be considered to know what type of answers he will get). I thank you for the voice of approval. I hope that you like the next story, which has a lot more action.

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