Deft Beck: Author
Space -- it's like they want me to never stop leaving.
Being a courier is never easy, especially when you're in space.
I hate riding the shuttle up into orbit; it's always so cramped and people look ridiculous, all strapped into their seats and holding on for dear life as the craft breaks through the planet's atmosphere, the kinetic friction causing the wind to go right in their face. Then, when things calm down, they get up from their seats and try to squeeze through the transfer module all at the same time. First airplanes, now space shuttles: Some things never change.
Once I was up in orbit, I had to confirm my location.
“I'm here, now what?” I messaged to my boss.
“You have to take one of those booster things and ride it over to the compact residences, “she said. “Once you're there, look for Space #01035. It shouldn't be too hard to find it.”
“Easy for you to say,” I replied. “There's at least three of those sardine tins in this sector of the orbital field. Do you have a name I could refer to; the addressee is blank.”
“Oh, right. There were instructions to use the name ‘Waves’ in reference to the client,” she answered. “Sounds like a bit of a kook. Have fun; I'm gonna get lunch. Bye.”
“Wait, what?” I asked, just as the communication line broke short. First, I have to pay my own fare up into orbit, and now I'm stuck up here until I can find some kind of space-case shut-in. Great.
The place wasn't actually that hard to find, but my luck wasn't about to stay so much in my favor as I thought, if the following chain of events were to be believed. it's like the universe was playing some sort of a joke on me.
First off, the rented booster was better off as space junk, not prohibiting my travels and delaying the delivery. Stuff like this just makes my job that much harder and more annoying oh the safety was on-
I knocked my head right into the projector base, and I had this dull pain in my head for a few minutes afterward. Why does a booster need holograms, again? How could anyone look at the path in front of them without getting distracted? I had to drive the thing old-school, looking down at the mechanical monitors for speed and whatnot. I wish that this stuff could just appear on our eyes, or something. Engineers these days had their heads too far up above when they could be looking a little lower, where people actually operate.
Parking the piece of shit right inside the dock, I walk out and breathe in the recycled air from my helmet, which was gradually replaced by carbon dioxide from the suit, which looks really nice, actually. Space seems to be a lot more fashionable overall than anything on Earth. Designers must have had to think “beyond the stars” or something like that to make all of these nifty accentuating curves. That's great and all, but can they make these things any less usable? Function over fashion, that's my philosophy.
The helmet opens up and I get to see the inside of the compact residences minus the glare. it's so sterile up here, I swear. it's a far cry from the tin cans of yesteryear, but it's not going to win any interior design awards. it's just a bunch of grey hallways that lead to apartments. My retinas burn out from the sheer stimulation.
I press the call button outside what was supposedly this guy's place, and I talk out loud; the receiver wasn't in plain sight, so I just spoke into the stale air.
“I have a package for a ‘Waves’? “ I said to no one in particular.
“Are you the one who beckons me?” said a deep voice that was probably the guy, but I had no way of confirming that without actually talking to him so I did, begrudgingly.
“Sure, I just need your-,” I was interrupted by this weird, silver telescoping rod that extended out from a compartment that apparently was right near the call button (granted, I wasn't paying attention; report me) . Five metallic fingers extended from a small, shiny nub, converging and pointing itself right inside where the pin for the crypt-key would go, before retreating and sliding back from whence it came.
The transaction was authenticated, so I had to actually find a way into this guy's space without actually going in there because what the hell just happened.
Before I knew it, another silver object popped out of the wall, without any warning. What is this, the chrome parade? It looked just like a file cabinet, repurposed for the needs of a shut in, I guess? I placed the package inside the drawer and it immediately shut, whirring away as it receded into the wall.
“Thank you, and I hope we will serve you again soon!” I said, trying to hide my uneasiness without really succeeding.
“So it shall be,” answered the cold, unfeeling voice.
As I walked back to the exit, I contacted my boss again.
“Mission accomplished, sir. May I go back to Earth, now?” I said into my communicator, without looking at it.
I waited for a second and finally looked at the thing. Why was I saying this when it says she wasn't there? it's not like she would keep her phone on her, because that would make sense.
The booster continued to be shitty all the way back to the rental place, which was the only thing that didn't cost me for this trip; why exactly my employer works like this, I'll never know. The memo sent last week handwaved it by stating such coverage would be eliminated due to budget cuts; in my opinion, if they can send people into orbit to deliver packages by hand, they can pay for the ride up, never mind the cheapest booster rental place they could find.
Regardless of that, I thought back to my experience with the addressee. Why did it want to be called ‘Waves’? What was with that guy back there? His (?) voice sounded all distorted and covered up with filters. Does he have something to hide?
Despite the mystery, I had a party to get back to back on solid ground, so I ditched the space crusade and zoomed back down Earth.