Mart

Morgan Publishing - [fanfiction]

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Tired after a long shift?

Heard all titles from Unity's engine module?

Saving humanity become your daily bread?

 

If you face certain death by boredom, Morgan Publishing can rescue you!

 

Connect to datalinks and check out what the best authors on this side of Galaxy can offer you. We have largest collection of novels available.

 

Promotional prices - 50% off of everything before entering Chiron's orbit.

Do not miss!

 

Prices do not include U.N. taxes

Offer not valid for inactive personel

 

===============================

Special request, could we keep this thread limited to fanfiction stories? It will be easier to read them.

 

We opened Book Club Café to discuss them.

Edited by Mart

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They Also Serve Who Stand to Sweep

 

 

Chapter One: Quiet Time

 

Carl was engaged in nit-picking pixel manipulation on the new wall decorations to go up in corridor 3b, subsection D, deck 27. Most dectecs just unloaded whatever recommended images the psych department passed along to the electrostatic wall displays and had done with it, but he prided himself on his artistry, and liked to use his own work, or at least put a personal touch on it. Keeping the psych atmosphere of the facilities just right was important; in his opinion, by far the most important part of his job as a maintenance engineer. The murals needed individuality to be most effective, and that required the attention of a specialist on the spot.

 

The fact that the ship had been underway with a skeleton crew all these years made meticulous attention to the feng shui of the quiet, mostly-empty ship more important, not less. Every hand awake was essential to the mission, and any measures that might lessen the burden of loneliness for the crew had to be taken, and with care.

 

Carl Buncle didn’t approve of the other janitors who simply went through the motions of doing their jobs well enough to get by. Most of the work was automated, and an occasional sloppily-swept floor was unlikely to imperil the mission, but he was of the school of thought that a job worth doing was worth doing well. It was that work ethic, combined with his exacting nature and a broad set of shoulders that had carried him to an Olympic bronze metal in wrestling, and later, admittance to the Unity expedition.

 

The selection committee had loved his athletic qualifications; they were looking for the best of humanity, and life on a new world was going to require strong backs. Not a few top athletes were among the colonists and crew of the mission- Carl was nothing special for that.

 

What had gotten him his berth on the skeletal voyage-crew, not a terribly sought-after posting, but an essential one, was in the psyche tests. Carl was a highly-self contained individual, possessed of depths no one acquainted with the quietly affable, simple-seeming man suspected. His rich internal life had kept him sane and content while he busily attended to his duties for the nearly 40 years thus far of the journey. Good habits picked up in athletic training and the best longevity treatments mankind had to offer took care of his body.

 

He missed women, though; the handful awake on the trip had been so popular as to not be any prospect. Romance had become such a distant memory that he rarely even dreamed about sex any more - though the occasional exception was a doozy. It wasn’t something he allowed himself to think about much, which had become easier with practice over the years.

 

Buncle was fiddling with the glow around the setting sun when the indicator flashed. Something was amiss in the Rec Commons which required human intervention. He saved his work, rose, and turned to his janitor’s cart. Details were important, and he wasn’t a man to put attending to them off.

Edited by Buster's Uncle

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Space Homies

 

Not everyone on the ship was as self-absorbed as the janitor... This was also an experiment in mixed-race humanity coexisting away from society. This means that people who did not score high on the culturally biased testing had grounds for a lawsuit if enough spaces were not provided.

 

The next section may offend and hurt the continuity of the story

 

 

"That is why I'm here on the ship, dawg." J mastah Funk looked at whitey with the broom. "You honkeys think you rule da old world, well us brothas gon' rule da new world. Dem rich mothafuggas is all over the 5 white chicks, lemme tell you, fo of dem sed they gon' have mah baby." Whitey muttered about a job worth doing, so J and the Space Homies walked down the corridor, seven abreast.

 

They walked with a bouncing gait that threatened to send their already low waistlined pants to the floor. When people were in their vicinity they would walk up to them and say, "'scuse you nigga! Get out da way."

 

Eventually they made their way to the infirmary where Vice-commander Palin and her upset-looking husband were holding their surprisingly dark-skinned newborn.

 

"Her name's Funkeisha, after her grandmama"

 

Mr. Palin got enraged at this, "You stupid ******! You're an adulterer, you made my wife an adultress! Take your bastard and leave so I can beat my wife!"

 

"She likes when you slap her butt. Baby got back!" J did as he was told though, and took the infant from Palin. If he fathered all the children, sooner or later he would rise to the top of Morgan Industries and reclaim the birthright that should be his. "I'ma take care of my baby mommas' babies."

 

The Space homies went back to the purple sector and gave Funkeisha to the lesbian surrogate they smuggled aboard to breastfeed the infant army.

 

 

Meanwhile the supplies officer was finding some significant discrepencies in the nonrenewable foodstuffs...

Edited by Metaliturtle

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The street was crowded. People around were talking, laughing, walking and no one paid attention to her. The walls of houses on her left and right had various colors, they were white, light green, orange and sometimes pink, but buildings were only two-stories high. They were old, window openings had no glass. The street was not a very wide one, and under her feet she saw it was a dust road. She was in the slums, in her home city. Parents! Sudden feeling of uneasiness seized her. Parents did not like her coming here. Why was she here again?

 

"I have to go home" she thought to herself and started walking down the street.

 

It was a good idea, cause her mother was shouting at her each time she found that her child went to the slums after school. Yes, but where is home? The street was not quite the same as she remembered. Something was different. She stopped and looked above the crowd in front of her. There was a hill, or more like a mountain, overgrown with lush jungle. The view was beautiful.

 

"What is your name." - some voice to her right.

 

She looked to the right. There was a small stall with few baskets of merchandise and an old woman.

 

"...?" she was not sure what to say. Did she know that old woman?

 

"What is your name." - the same voice again, but this time it sounded so strange, it did not fit to her face.

 

That was a question, she was asked about her name! Though, what was her name? She looked around searching her memory.

 

"Can you hear me?" - something touched her right arm and she felt sudden pain. It was unpleasant.

 

"Let go!" she shouted and turned her head back right, but the woman was like two meters away behind the stall. Certainly, she did not do anything. What or who was it?

 

Smiling face of a young man came to her mind. Yes, that might be him, her loyal friend from dormitory making pranks so often and sometimes so annoying, that they had several fights behind them. Yet he was not here, only some strangers and that old woman facing her. Was she smiling?

 

"I should go back to the dorms" she thought and realized that dorms were very far away from her hometown slums. How come she was here so far away from the dorms?

 

"Ah...!" - pain in her arm again - "Let go you freak!"

 

* * *

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They Also Serve Who Stand to Sweep

 

 

Chapter Two: La Belle Dame Sans Merci

 

“Carl!” Buncle heard as he pushed his maintenance cart past the entrance to the HR Coordination Nexus. It was Alan, standing in the door with the usual stimjuice cup in his hand and enthusiastic look in his eye. Carl slowed, “Evening, Lieutenant.” Like Buncle, Alan Covell was, though truly by nature a civilian, technically crew and as management personnel, held a commission; Carl habitually went out of his way to show deference to anyone he could. It seemed to disarm people.

 

“Are you coming to the party tomorrow?” Covell asked eagerly.

 

‘This again,’ Buncle thought. Alan was bright and funny off-duty; good company as long as he didn’t talk about his work –in which case he lapsed into incomprehensible bureaucratic gibberish- or drink heavily, in which case he became far, far too friendly to Carl. It was a flattering, but quite uncomfortable thing that always hurt Buncle’s enjoyment of his friend’s company. It was constantly in the back of his mind that Alan might get too forward or say something embarrassing even when he was cold sober.

 

He hated the thought of having to turn anyone down and hurt their feelings. In that, it was a small mercy that Alan seemed to never remember the times he’d drunkenly cornered Carl into doing just that. It was doubly bothersome to be continuously, subliminally, offered something Carl wanted so much by someone from whom he didn’t want it. Still, it was a small community awake on the ship, and diversions were spare; company was company.

 

“Yessir; I’ll be there,” Carl said, “But I have to get to work; there’s trouble in the Commons. See you.” He turned back to his cart and bustled away.

 

 

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In the Rec Commons he found a mop unit bumping endlessly into the wall near the entrance, with Maarifa Angavu sitting at a table nearby looking amused. It was an old story and a simple fix; he picked up the heavy bot and turned it around. Before it could reorient and move away, he hit the hold button and turned to the equipment on his cart to begin a diagnostic.

 

“Comrade, I’ve seen you do that a million times,” he heard Angavu say, “They resume function as soon as you turn them. Why bother with a check?”

 

“Well, Dr. Angavu,” he said, turning, “It wastes a lot of my time, Ma’am. I have to drop what I’m doing to go turn a stuck bot around. There ought to be a better way. I wish I was better with programming; these things seem to have a lot of glitchy floor-plans in their databases and I wish I knew how to head it off.”

 

She smiled and rose, her mismatched blue and green cybernetic eye-filters glittering. “I AM good with programming,” she said, moving to stoop beside the bot. “A simple algorithm to make a 90 degree turn after three bumps against any obstruction ought to do it. I’ll need a cable to jack in.”

 

As Carl watched her plug the cable into a port behind one ear, he considered the woman. Storytelling had become a high art among a voyage crew struggling to stay sane; almost everyone awake knew everyone else’s life story in pretty fine resolution by now, but her’s had its mysterious elements. She’d had a pretty average Tanzanian middle class childhood. Something very bad that she wouldn’t talk about had clearly happened in her adolescence, but she’d gone on to become a physician researching mental prosthetics for the brain damaged. A mysterious smile was all the answer any inquiries about her own cyborgization ever got.

 

Carl thought her endlessly fascinating. Maarifa was unusually sharp-witted even in the company of the cream of humanity. She wasn’t a terribly young woman and not pretty, exactly; but there was intensity to her slender dark face and blue-green gaze that he found compelling. She made him feel like he had her total attention whenever they spoke; he was more used to being ignored or dismissed. Of the women awake, she seemed to be the only one who had had no romantic liaisons in all the lonely years of the trip. The joke around the ship was that she was the only computer aboard with no porn. Buncle thought it less funny than a crying shame.

 

Maarifa rose after a minute. “Fixed. I’ve instructed it to go recharge, and the patch should be uploaded to the supervisor nexus and sent to every floorclean bot on the ship within the day.”

 

“Doctor, I don’t how to thank you,” Carl said, “You’ve added years to my life.”

 

She stood close, a strange expression on her face, “Carl, you can keep your mouth shut. I like that,” she took his hand, turning, “I know exactly how you can thank me. Come on, Comrade.”

 

As she began to pull him towards the storeroom behind the bar, he wondered what job she wanted done and why she always called him comrade; the People’s Republic of Greater Australia had fallen when he was five; it was nothing to do with him.

 

When she closed the door behind them, turned and kissed him deeply, his mind couldn’t process the shock. When she began undressing, it shut down entirely.

 

The timeless animal interval that followed was the most intense experience of his life to date. He felt like an explosion the universe couldn’t possibly contain.

 

After, as she rose and dressed, he remained prone and motionless on the floor, feeling like he’d been rendered permanently hollow. “Comrade?” was all he could croak out.

 

She smiled one of her warm-icy smiles, “Thank you, Carl; I needed that.” She opened the door to leave, “Are you coming to the party tomorrow?”

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* * *

 

"Did you hear that?"

"Yes, I did. You see, face it Rudi, you are a freak. And women even in cryostasis can sense that."

"I'm just doing my job."

"That's interesting."

"What."

"She's an officer."

"An officer in this section?"

"Yes, I wonder, who put her here. Unlikely, it was me."

"Wasn't me. Either."

"Computer systems specialist. I wonder if she plays Civ19."

"I don't think so. Look at her freeze date."

"Ah, yes. Two weeks before the release. Well, she might be playing Civ18."

"Crappy version. But, she might convert."

"They probably have already like Civ29"

"More like Civ32"

"You think..."

"Let's make a bet. We ask them in the next message to Earth."

"Like they allow you to ask that. Besides, I don't trust you. You would tweak the answer."

"Thank you for your vote of confidence."

"I think she can hear us now."

 

* * *

 

It was cold. Here? In her home town in the middle of a day? So many strange things, was she sick?. The old woman was still there, but her face seemed unclear, like she could not focus her sight. And people, there was no one around her anymore. Sounds of a crowded street were fading.

"You are ok. Can you hear me?"

There was some face in front of her. And it was not that old woman. She felt that she was lying and everywhere around her body was something obstructing her movements. There was pain, everywhere, something she never experienced before, strange, not localized, inside, starting from her head down to her feet.

"Can you hear me? What is your name?"

It was not a city street around her. It was dark where she was lying and only a dim light was illuminating her surroundings. It was some kind of a frame. There were two people next to it, one was kneeling on the right and the other was bending over on the left side. They seemed to be busy with something on the frame.

"Where am I?"

"You are onboard Unity. What do you remember last?"

"...?"

"That's normal, your memory will return in a day or two. Ok, we will try to raise you up now."

They slowly helped her to sitting position. She was very weak. Dark, black snow appeared in her eyes, she almost fainted. They put around her a large warm blanket.

"Unity?"

"UNS Unity, a colonization ship. We are approaching Alpha Centauri, over four light years from Earth."

"What island?"

"Not an island, we are in space."

"How... did I get here?"

"Your memory should be back soon. You can stay here till you feel better. Here is commlink, if you need something, but we monitor your vitals, so don't worry. Don't leave untill one of us is back. We need to wake up few more people."

 

* * *

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