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  1. #1
    Rich Plowden
    Guest

    The Real Chapter 1

    You asked for it, so here it is: the real Chapter 1, which is very dialog-heavy. Some of the missing punctuation might be from converting it to a digital format. Or maybe not. Feel free to look that up.

    Chapter 1

    “Name?”

    “Robert Travis.”

    “Occupation?”

    “Mining engineers.”

    “Place of residence?”

    “Seventh Base, Jupiterian Development Unit stationed on Ganymede.”

    “Reason for visiting Luna?”

    “I’m checking on performance of the new Dahlmeyer units in the Mare Nubium fields. We’re thinking of adapting them for use in our Trendart field on Ganymede.”

    “I see…” The port inspector fumbled through my papers, “Where’s your cellemental analysis sheet?”

    I shrugged “What would I be doing with a cell-sheet? I’m a mining engineer, not a damn bureaucrat.”

    The way I said it made it good for a laugh, but the inspector just pawed some more at my papers, not even smiling. “New regulation. Everyone’s got to pass a cell-check now.”

    “But I’ve got clearance—”

    “That don’t matter. All routine clearances are cancelled.” The inspector handed back my papers, jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “Go to the last window. They’ll fix you up with a sheet and check it.”

    I went on over to the window and waited while two men in white coasts shoved a Van Cize celloscope up against a sad-faced, middle-aged woman’s spine.

    Then she moved on, and it was my turn.

    The younger of the two white-coats adjusted the filter against the back of my neck. I decided he looked half human. “What the idea?”

    He grinned. “Mek trouble. Some idiot picked up a rumor that the Society’s sending an agent to Luna, so Security orders cell-sheets for everybody. Me, I think it’s a waste of time. If those damned meks are running a man in, he’ll be under his own name. But you can’t tell Security that.” He stripped the sheet out of the celloscope. “Wait here a minute. This won’t take long.”

    He stepped across to the check-frame, and I leaned back against the wall.

    The port looked just about the way that I remembered it. A little older, maybe; a little dirtier. That was all.

    A couple of other Aurora passengers drifted up to the window to get the cell-sheets. They looked nervous. So did the others, the long lines of men and women still waiting for the port inspectors to check their papers.

    I hummed a little tune. Because I didn’t have to feel nervous. No one could identify me as Alan Lord, Mek agent – he lay back at The Center in A nutrition unit. I was Robert Travis, mining engineer, come all the way from Ganymede to Luna on legitimate business that anyone could check.

    At least, for now I was.

    I rubbed my elbow past the neutron taped flat to my ribs; ran my hand over the spare strapped trapped against my belly. A wonderful little invention, the neutron. Given that, and my pulsator and my com-set, I could go anywhere. Anywhere!

    Young white-coat came back. “Travis…?”

    I turned. “That’s me.”

    “You’re clear.” He handed me the cell-sheet. “Go on over through that door to baggage inspection.”

    The sad-faced woman was ahead of me at the counter. A customs man had her stuff spread out all over the counter. An octagonal metal case about eight inches each way stood in the center of it. The inspector was tapping the case and shaking his head.



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    You're welcome.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1,142
    Gripping.

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