3.16: Laser Boy: Light Filtered Through Dust

So far Kick’s ID implants had gotten them through all of the secure portals. Beads of sweat kept running from Vince’s forehead down his face,

“But what if they set alarms for you? I do not want to meet your family. They must be angry… Plus, won’t the Papacy or whatever make them alert the PIGS if you show up?”

“I think you’ve drastically misread the power structure on this station. The administrators don’t really serve people like my father, but they are people like my father. Rich people don’t really give each other orders or ultimatums. Mutually assured destruction and all that. They have special ways of resolving disputes.”

They were walking down a wide quiet hallway with golden hued walls, illuminated by a diffused soft orange light. Every few meters, there was a door on both sides of the hall. Each door was decorated differently. One was a pattern of spiraling blue and white.

“Ooooooh,” he whispered, “Kick Herald’s bedroom.” He mimed being overwhelmed by celebrity and ran his hand over the surface. Kay rolled her eyes and laughed softly and sarcastically.

Vince thought there were no black walls, but his gun informed him that the entire surface of the hallway was one huge single disguised access screen. The metallic sheen of the surface had an oily rainbow swirl that moved and flashed through it as Vince moved his head.

“Can’t you just access the files from here?” Vince looked around nervously. Their movement down the long hall had stirred up a cloud of dust. So the nano-cleaners were off, or they didn’t have any. The Science Wheel had not had any dust.

“Admin and monster files are in a secure base. In my father’s study.”

“Manooway…”

The door at the end of the hall was different than the others, plain grey johnium, with visible rivets. Kay hesitated for a second before palming the center. The door slid silently open.

The interior of the room was made up in 23nd century regalia. Mideast religious iconography in painful day-glo colors. The walls were lined with shelves littered with rare antique objects. A large old oaken desk painted bright yellow sat front and center with a large curved screen around the back edge. Kay moved and sat in the chair, which formed around her as she put her weight into it.

The monitor came alive and she started searching for the files she needed. Vince sniffed uncomfortably, and the dust made him sneeze. Kay gave a tiny sparkly laugh.

“Roman lets the dust accumulate so we know we’re not in the weirld. Some people get confused. Can’t remember if they’re in or out.”

“I was gonna say…”

He moved over to a shelf with printed pictures in frames. There was a large picture of a group of twelve people. One of them was Kick. This must be her family. He did a high-res image capture of the entire shelf. His tech told him the group shot was manipulated. Only three of the people were actually together for the cap. The rest were added in with image tools. He found a picture of a much younger Kick Herald, looked furiously up at someone he guessed was Dread Roman Herald. They were in front of one of the expensive weirld rigs. The man was looking down at his daughter with a comically furrowed brow and pouting mouth. Kick had her arms crocked tightly and was a bright scarlet hue. Pretty cute. Must have been mad at having her video games taken away.

“Uuchh. Don’t look at those. Roman’s so old fashioned. Photographs for cancer’s sake! Like I can’t pull up interactive holograms of him anytime I like.”

Vince shrugged and walked over to see what she was doing, but there was really nothing to see. His tech told him he could hack into her activity, see what she was doing, but he let it be. She noticed him standing there.

“You know. You may not want to hear this, but I think I really have feelings for Elvis. I mean… more than just having fun and sex.”

“Great. I… Sure. Great. He’s a cool guy. Ladies seem to like him.”

Her face screwed up the smallest bit.

“Yeah well, he’s good looking, but that’s not all it is. He uses his strengths to help people, and he acts all brash and bold, but those weird rants he goes on show that he’s really afraid of things… Like vacuum. He seems terrified of being vented into space, and he still forces himself to function on this tin can. It’s very brave.”

Vince shook his head.

“He’s not really afraid of explosive decompression or venting you know.   I mean, not any more than anyone else. Everyone’s afraid of those. What Mr. Wonderful is afraid of is people. People that can’t be bothered. People that slept through their training. Selfish, comfort driven people who for some reason have been given a small bit of responsibility for maintaining the integrity of the station. Idiots failing at their duties. He’s afraid that the destruction of the human race is inevitable because it’s in the hands of stupid lazy humans.”

Kick stopped searching the files and looked at him.

“How do you know all this?”

“He’s like my brother. He talks a lot.”

“Mmmmm. You’re a pretty good guy too Laser Boy,” she smiled at him and he instructed his gun to regulate the chemicals in his brain for the first time to tamp down his feelings.

“Yeah well hurry up. My nose won’t stop running.”

“Hey. Since we’re here, you filthy rascal, let that machine there scan you and you can get it to print you up some nice new clothes.”

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