Saturday, March 22, 2008

Grade Z

So Planet II became a resource starved Trantorian, a single super megalopolis, right?

A sea of intertwisiting technologies and wiring and plumbing, more like a big greasy machine pumping the occasional glob of organics through its dirty old metal guts and farting out clouds of poisonous gas than a planet.

And after a while it just didn't make sense to keep hauling resources all the way back to Planet II to keep its leaks patched up and its wastes removed and all its life support systems fed with all the things it needed.

And eventually even all the megarich and powerful folks finally broke free of the gravity of using Planet II as a status symbol, y'know, as proof of the kind of inefficiencies their profitability allowed them to afford.

And so they moved their operations closer to one of the Solar Poles, which is the traditonal starting point for the endless migration to the ever-moving Trade Nexus, the imaginary point in space between all our endeavors and enterprises, where everything is cheaper and more efficient the closer and closer you get to it.

Yah, the Black Hole of Profit, which also happens to never stop drifting farther and farther away from us as everything gets used up heh.

Well, I wouldn't expect you Groundhogs to have ever heard about it, seeing the kinda reception you get down there under the surface and the average interest you guys have for Interstellar Events, but the Nexus is a mobile fleet of ships the size of a solar system, actually, and whatever delights and deliciously sick excesses and cutting edge technology there is beating at the heart of that swarm, hillbilly mopes like you and me will never be allowed to see a wink of it, y'know, with all the flight control permissions and mazes of red tape and quarantine systems they keep it wrapped up in.

Anyways nobody comes at a star from the outside edge of a solar plane and wants to wade through all that orbital debris to get to the juicy center of things, instellar jumps are always solar pole to solar pole, y'know.

Yah, well, now you do know.

Heck, you need the star's mass and polarity for the jump anyways.

And even if the planets weren't all whirling around in the godsforsaken backwaters, they're still next to useless when you can get hydrogen and field alignment and everything else you'd ever need from a star anyways.

So nobody bothers with Planet II no more, doubt there's more than a couple pockets left where you wouldn't have to wear a three foot thick spacesuit, and even if you found a good pocket like that, if I was an organic like you I'd keep my helmet on anyways, 'cause who knows when the last of the seals will finally give out, y'know?

Or worse, yah.

Ain't nobody been keeping that ship in good shape for ten thousand years, the place is a necropolis in a poison cloud that's collapsing in on itself in the center and melting from the heat of its own greenhouse gases.

Well, if I was gonna visit, I'd just keep it confined to the Mike 762's place, the PII Relay Station, in orbit, y'know.

Well, its just like my PIII Relay Station here.

Yah but I'm an Orby, I ain't got the programming for all that nasty surface work like you Groundhogs, that shit freaks me out.

Anyways that's why we never see nobody come visit us out here at Planet III, we're even further out in the middle of nowhere and more culturally vestigial than the Planet II is, as far as I understand things.

Yah, even though we used to be the belle of the ball, y'know, flipping our skirts up over our heads in the ancient times, when the Elevators were running non-stop and the Zero G Kirkatanium Works were bustling and the shipyards up here were the candy factories of the original space expansion.

Now its all just a bunch ghosts and rusted-out skeletons like me wandering around the spiderweb of orbital grillwork that's still drifting around up here, and a rat's nest of urban blight in the Hives under the surface, where even the liquor stores and porno shops and salvage yards down there in the tunnel network are more dead than alive, 'cause they can't think of anything worse to evolve into.

But I keep the lights on, not so much to keep my programming happy, but 'cause I ain't got nothing else to do.

Well, its nice to have somebody to talk to, gets awful lonely up here all by myself, and the C-539 unit ain't much for conversation.

Anyways the latest gossip from the PII Relay says somebody is headed out this way.

Yah, Mike says they're some kind of organics prospecting team, talking about renovations and terraforming Planet III.

Yah, guess they're looking for a place to go back to the Old Ways and raise kids or something, I dunno, they're pretty tight-lipped but it sounds like a bunch of religious whackos to me and Mike.

I mean, who the hell wants to live on a planet, unless they ain't got any choice, like you guys, y'know?

So they gotta be some kinda religious whackos, right?

Hey, ya got me, man, but they sure as hell can't terraform anything as exhausted off its ass as Planet II, and Planet IV is even worse than this dump.

Planet IV don't even have a Relay Station, man.

Anyways all you tunnel rats and squatters are gonna have to get to higher ground if they start melting the ice caps and flooding yer tunnels and stuff.

Yah, might look like a dustball now, but the C-539 calculates that the whole planet could be covered in a mile of water or something in no time, if somebody really put their heart into it, yer just one singularity field collapse away from being at the bottom of an ocean, really.

Well, I dunno, but you might wanna get back down the elevator and warn folks or something.

Hey, if they're serious, by the time you guys got your legal case together and got a transmission through to some bored-activist-daughter-of-a-rich-guy at the Nexus who pretends to give a shit about the preservation of some backwards ass shitball in the middle of nowhere like this just to piss off her parents you'd all be dead anyways, I don't think you're even listed on the charts no more, y'know, you guys have been Grade Z ever since the Kirkatanium dried up in this system, technically you ain't even supposed to be here.

Well, I'll try to get the churchies on the horn when they show up, mebbe you guys can work out some kinda deal if they really are a bunch of Brother's Keeper types.

But if they're one of those freaky new fangled Predator Helix Evolution Cults I been hearing about you guys are in some seriously deep shit, and I only got life support for five of you pitiful bastards up here, and that's if I keep yall like freezy pops in the old cryo tubes, which might not even work anymore, if they ever worked.

Never used 'em.

Hey, I'm just a robot, ya big hillbilly idiot, not a magician.

Hey, watch yer mouth, buddy, if it wasn't fer yer great great grampa helpin' Mike out that one time with that one thing I'd have already blown yer boney ass out the goddam airlock, I ain't even s'posed to be having none of you slimy organics up here gumming up the works in my satellite, s'gainst regulations.

I must be gettin' soft in my old age or something, sheeyit.

Yah, well, unless they're interested in liquor and porno, you guys ain't got much to trade, y'know?

Well, maybe I can get 'em interested in Planet IV, I'll see what I can do.

That dump ain't even got any plate tectonics, though, so don't get yer hopes up.

Anyways if I was you I'd start thinking about building a boat or something.

Yah, that's something light that floats in water that you can sit on.

No I don't have a freaking schematic for that old shit, goddam are you guys ever lazy.

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