Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Getting Loaded

“We’d better hurry it up,” Brox said, his voice sounding muffled over his suit’s communications link. He was wearing what looked like a snowsuit, lime-green and bearing a tribal hawk pattern. “We’ve got a low level ion-storm coming through.”

“Won’t take a minute,” Roker assured him, obscured by his own black imitation leather spacesuit.

There was a hiss as the cargo bays of the two ships sealed, and Crimson flashed into existence on a small wall console.

“Pressure is stable,” she announced, and the men took off their helmets.

“Cool,” said Brox, scanning the chaotic stacks of sealed plastic crates—some of them were marked clearly as cabbage, but others were marked ‘Beware of Roker’, and one transparent box clearly housed a colourful array of boxer shorts. “Which are mine?”

“Second down on the third pile,” Roker replied, pointing out a cabbage box that had somehow become mingled with his personal belongings. He swept his arm over to the opposite side where several palettes of cabbage were stacked. “And all those.”

“Right. Hey, lifter!” An object resembling an oversized tuning fork hovered to Brox’s side. “Grab those stacks.”

As the bot set to work, Brox plodded over to the stray crate, preparing to lift the underwear off it.

Something tiny and grey screeched and leapt out from under his feet.

“Cassie!” Crimson called out, shocked. “Come out from there! How did you get in here?”

“Cat flap?” Roker suggested, pointing to the tiny door in the wall.

“I keep it locked.”

“Not when power’s off.”

“Why didn’t you lose pressure, then?” Brox asked, puzzled, but no-one heard him over Crimson’s exasperated groan.

“Mr. Brox?” she asked, turning a sweet smile to the green man. “Why don’t you make the credit transfer now? I’ll get the power bill sorted out, and we can get this little pest out of your way.”

“Yeah sure.” He drew out a small pad and tapped a few virtual buttons. “Eight thousand, on its way.”

Ten thousand!” Roker cried.

Brox roared.

“Just playin’ with ya.”

“Got it,” Crimson said brightly. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

She winked out of sight.

“Right,” Brox said, making another grab for the crates. “Let’s get loaded.”

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Wed Feb 22, 08:36:00 PM MST  

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