I’m going to blog two scenes today. The juxtaposition can be titled “a short treatise on competence”.
== 2064: Open Source Ship “The Houston”, between Earth and the Moon
Sam Barrus unclicked his seat belt, pushed himself out of his chair and drifted around his own personal spaceship. Hah! He loved phrasing it that way.
After drifting two meters Sam bumped into a Matco tool chest that was cinched down with thick web straps. He pushed off it, aiming at the stack of crates holding his three dogs. Cootz and Jeb, the hounds, kept sleeping but Tara’s near supernatural energy must have burned off the allergy meds he’d given her – she was wagging her stump enthusiastically. He reached through the slot to pet her and she licked his had. “Not yet, girl, we’ve got a ways to go.”
Sam turned and looked around the ship. “Packed” didn’t begin to describe it. He’d gone with the double-height choice that the system configurator had presented. The design called for the lower container to be packed full of cargo and the upper one to be full of chairs – an 80 person capacity.
Instead, it was just him and the dogs. He’d filled the lower one with cargo – and then gone ahead and filled the upper one as well. Aside from the few square meters for him and the dogs the upper container was packed tight. His welding rig, an even dozen Craftsman tool chests (plus his one nice Matco), some of his trade goods, even his gun and sword collection – dug up from the PVC-and-silica-gel cache after 15 long years.
Behind him, Tara was still wiggling her stump ferociously and Sam could hear her entire crate rattle.
In a moment – he wasn’t done surveying his domain. Ah, his trade goods. He’d taken all of the obvious stuff that the FAQ suggested, but Uncle Wil hadn’t raised a fool. On the ranch, Unc would check the crop futures daily when deciding when to lock in the harvest – back before the National Agricultural Plan made all that irrelevant. Unc was a smart one, and so was Sam. He’d done some research and found that he could use a proxy and something called “black DNS” to connect to some market websites on the moon. And then, FAQ be damned, after he’d sold off the ranch, he’d invested not in gold and household goods, but in a lot of stuff that the FAQ didn’t mention. A CNC stereolith machine he’d purchased at auction, the complete contents of an optician’s office, an internal imaging machine that Doc Cleary wasn’t allowed to use any more because of regulations…and, weirdest of all, two concert pianos. He scratched his head over that one, but the price was right, and he’d managed to fit them both in.
Tara thumped her head against the door to her crate Sam sighed and gave in. He opened the crate door…and watched Tara explode out, only to flay her legs hilariously as she tried to get some purchase in mid-air.
Sam reached out, reeled her in to a loose embrace and held her against his chest as he floated – and as she licked his face. After a moment she slowed, and then a minute later started delicately snoring. He held onto her with one hand as he pulled himself back to the crates, then eased her in and shut the door behind her.
Sam drifted back to his chair and pulled himself down. All he had to do now was wait until the ship got to the moon. He snapped the buckle shut to hold him in place, adjusted the volume on his ear-buds, and fished out Unc’s copy of “To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth”. It was held together with layer after layer of duct tape, and that was one of the reasons he liked it.
Yep, Sam was pretty pleased with himself. He was going to do all right.