soccer in micro-gravity

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{{{***x 306: MIKE, DARCY – walking through tunnels

== 2064: Conveyor Belt district, Aristillus, 2.4 million km from Earth

A ball went flying past Mike’s face. He looked up with a start and realized that he’d walked into the middle of a wild free-ranging game of street soccer. Mike grumbled at Darcy. “A guy could get hit with a ball -”

Darcy slapped him playfully on the shoulder. “Stop being a bear. This is incredible! No one has ever played soccer in a twentieth g before. We might be watching the creation of a new sport!”

Mike raised one eyebrow. “Soccer is not a sport.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “OK, Tex, whatever you say.” She pointed. “Look at that guy, see the way he’s doing a flip before he kicks. And that guy? He jumped halfway to the ceiling. Of the tunnel! It’s awesome – come on, admit it!”

Mike shrugged. “Maybe it’s a little neat.”

Darcy looked at him seriously as they continued walking down the center of the vehicle-less tunnel road. “Mike, you’ve been in a funk for a week. You perked up for a bit after coffee with Darren, but now you’re back in it. What’s going on?”

“Nothing.” He paused, then raise his head and pointed with his chin “Looks like they’ve set up another music stage at the festival since yesterday.”

“You’re not answering my question.”

Mike said nothing for a long moment, then sighed. “Morlock is gone and the pieces sold off to make good on the revolution’s debts. An in return, I’m left holding a bunch of bonds from the First Bank of Aristillus.”

“So?”

“So Mark keeps pressuring me to back his plan.”

“His tax plan?”

“Yeah. He wants a one percent sales tax on every transaction to pay bank bondholders.”

Darcy laughed. “Mark has been pressing for that since before the invasion. And all the Aristillus media is covering the fact that you’re not backing him. So you’re not just a hero for winning the war, but for fighting Mark. So why are you upset?”

He looked at the ground. “Never mind.”

Darcy nodded and they walked in silence for a long moment, then Mike looked over. “I’m not upset. I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I have to choose between legitimizing Mark’s government, which I won’t do, and being poor.”

Darcy let the silence stretch out. “Mike?”

“Mm?”

“How long ago did we meet?”

“Uhh…twelve – no, thirteen – years ago.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “It was fourteen years ago. You remember how?”

“Of course. I was in DC to testify, and you -”

Darcy laughed. “It wasn’t ‘to testify’. You were under arrest, and you were defending yourself in the CEO Trials. Everything – your warehouses, your machinery, your offices – had already been seized. Your bank accounts were frozen. You were facing life in jail. Do you remember what you told the Secretary of Commerce in open court?”

Mike smiled even now, almost a decade and a half later. “Yeah. I -”

Darcy held up a hand. “No, I don’t need to hear it again. Think of my delicate ears.”

Mike smiled more broadly. “But, yeah, I remember. What’s your point?”

“The point, Mike Martin, is I believed in you when you were a penniless about-to-be-convicted-felon facing a life sentence. The fact that even when you were on that stand, you had that much fight in you – well, anyway. That was fourteen years ago. What have you accomplished since then?”

Mike said “I know what you’re saying, but Morlock is -”

Darcy shook her head then put her hand on his arm. “I’m not talking about Morlock. I never cared about your company or the money that came with it. I cared about the drive of the lunatic BEHIND it all. Here’s what you’ve done in the last fourteen years: you and Javier bribed your way out of jail during the CEO Trials, you hooked up with Ponzie, outfitted the first ship, begged and borrowed your way to owning a TBM-”

“Yeah, but -”

“Let me finish. You established Aristillus. You helped John’s Team rescue the Dogs from genocide. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, you saw the Revolution coming and you laid the groundwork to win it.” She gave him a hard stare. “And because of all that, you’ve rescued nearly a million people from tyranny and are leading them to build a new world. That hokey phrase ‘with freedom for all’? You’ve done it. THAT, Michael Martin, is what you’ve accomplished in the last fourteen years.”

Mike grinned a bit. Raised his eyebrows “You know, when you put it that way, maybe I have done a thing or two.”

Darcy smiled at his understatement, but then grew serious. “You’ve done the impossible. I don’t care if you’re penniless.”

“Well, I wasn’t really worried that YOU were worried -”

“I know. I’m saying that YOU shouldn’t care if you’re penniless.”

“Don’t give me that hippie crap that money doesn’t matter-”

“Money doesn’t matter – accomplishment does. But even if you insist that money does matter, I have no doubt that you’ll be rich and powerful again, if you want to.”

“You’re saying you’d be OK with me playing chess in the park and writing my memoirs for the rest of my life?”

“Absolutely.” Darcy smiled. “But I bet that if you tried it you’d be bored inside of a week.”

Mike shrugged. “Maybe.” The two of them walked down the middle of the street in companionable silence. Suddenly Darcy, with out warning, started skipping – literally skipping – along, bouncing high in the air on each hop.

He shook his head. What a goofball. She saw him looking. “What?”

He smiled. “You.”

“Hey, you won your revolution. Why SHOULDN’T I dance?”. She laughed at her own joke and skipped ahead.

}}}

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3 Responses to soccer in micro-gravity

  1. ScottH says:

    Can’t. Wait.

  2. Max Lybbert says:

    I’m still excited.

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