Friday, January 14, 2011

The CARRIS LOG Volume 2: The Ice Races

The CARRIS LOG    Volume 2: The Ice Races                                             
Santa Cruz Mountains, WinterCon,     March 6, 2010

As I See It
   Another job turned up today, as it always does aboard our ship, The Russell Bucket, and just in time I might add, because our crew gets a little stir crazy when they're sitting idle for any length of time. This is especially true of Sally O'Willy, our chief engineer aboard the Bucket. "Have I ever got a great idea?""OK, what is it now?" "I want to improve our ship" (deep inside, I am cringing at this moment). "I will attach a dozen small welding lasers at strategic spots on the outside of the ship, so that I won't have to don a vacuum suit to make repairs when we are in space! And maybe they will come in handy in other situations." "Yeah, that could prove disastrous I mean, it could be useful in some situations," I replied. Sally was then off to sell her idea to the rest of the crew. Our captain, Jan, was less than thrilled with the prospect of letting Sally loose on the skin of the ship, and expressed trepidation about the old bucket's air seals. This thought scuttled the idea for the moment, at least. Sally persevered, and got to do the installation, but the lasers she had to settle for were not, I believe, the exact ones she had in mind. 
Our job would consist of performing duties as a rescue team for the competitors in the race. The race is to take place on Yeti, a frozen rock in space, called a moon. We were told Yeti is a lifeless moon in the Yeti System, one jump away from several star systems. Each crewman will receive 1200CR. (Is that per diem?) More important than our pay, our ship will receive one paid day in dry-dock  for each day we are engaged on this mission. Being engaged means that everyday we are on the Yeti moon is a billable day. That will include pre-race time spent there, as well as days off between races. Racing sleds may need time for repairs, and weather conditions may favor certain teams, so any entrant in the race may call for time off between races.
   We set off with a new crew member, Gregor. He's a soldier, so he should help a lot if we get into some skirmishes. Also, perhaps I can look forward to some tutoring on the use of my new assault rifle.
   Some crew members got the idea to make this job an opportunity to sell goods. Lisa didn't come up with this one, but was all for it, of course. We bought 80K credits worth of fine foods, and liquor to sell at the races. It never hurts to make a little easy money.
 The trip to the Yeti system was rather uneventful. We were soon in communication with the moon's control command. They said, "Dude" to us on the com! We immediately noticed that and figured that things might just be a little lax at the Abominable Snow Control. We didn't rely on their instructions, and we soon found ourselves where we needed to be. Upon arriving we stopped for some fuel at the gas giant. We surveyed the area. We found a good parking spot, not too far from the action. After adjusting for the toxic atmosphere of the moon, we ventured out to find things and talk to folks. Some chose to venture outside in Environmental suits, or Vac suits, but most of us became "dashers", wearing warm clothes and breathers for quick runs between building, vehicles, and tents. Dashing is the coolest way to go!
   At this point, the crew went their separate ways. Felton began the task of finding the buyers for our wares. Some stayed on the ship, but I really didn't keep track of what everyone was up to. I went with Jan and some others, to the Sir Yeti Command HQ. I went to check out the place, looking for ways to have some fun.
Life has been pretty serious lately, and this looked like a good chance to let my hair down a bit. 
 I met a cute guy named Ted. We talked a bit and danced together. He took me out for dinner, and later we made love. We talked afterwards, and decided we weren't right for each other, so that was that. Only that wasn't quite that, because I heard that Ted was telling everyone that he "dumped" me!  If anything, I dumped him, OK? Who has the time for this nonsense? I immediately returned to the scene at the Sir Yeti Command center bar, and met a nice guy named,  Cuiatli (pronounced "Soo-atly". I think). He works on the Xtreme Crew as a video guy. He's a bit geeky, but cute, and nice. We had a great time together, dancing and flirting. We had days before the first race, so we had lots of free time to spend.
   Well, what about the race, you ask? The course is over seven hours long, and there are seven racing sleds. The teams are: Loki, Duke White al Jordan, Severus, Ave', Teo Patli', Vargr, and IO Beck's College of Industrial Design. Our team carefully scouted the course, looking for possible trouble spots before the race. There are huge gas geysers on the moon in this area. Most of them are near the starting line.
   The first race begins with the college team side-swiping Duke White's sled after only eight minutes into the race. The university team stops, while Duke's continues. Next, there's a big crash with Loki. We scramble air raft#2, which is the one I am piloting along with Felton, to the rescue effort. Out of control, Duke's sled then vanishes beneath the surface of the moon. On the main rescue ship, we quickly decide to follow after them. This takes some tricky piloting, but Lisa is up for it. I wasn't there, of course, because I was busy on a rescue run myself. Those aboard the Bucket told me later that they next encountered a giant white worm, and fired at it. Near a methane lake, the crew of al Jordan  is rescued, but Duke's ship is ruined and quite possibly out of the entire race. There are some very serious injuries; two of their crew members have severe head trauma and will need brain surgery. Duke White is absolutely livid about what happened. He rants and raves about amateurs, referring to the members of the university team. The Vargr team ends up winning the first race.
   That night, I wanted to take Lisa with me, and go out for some fun. She was against the idea initially, but I managed to convince her to go with me. "I don't like parties", she said. "That's because you haven't been partying with me! C'mon, lets grab some Vargr Ale (I'll buy), and go to their party. It will be fun." Off we went, along with Lily (a Chargr by any other name...), Sally, and Felton. Wow, those Vargr can really drink! I asked the DJ if he had any 3 Dog Night. We must have heard, "Who Let the Dogs Out", about thirty times.
   The next day (no race today) we went back to where the worm was found to investigate. We found a 5 foot clear worm with many little pink worms inside. May I just say, "Eeouuuuu"?  Skins eventually got a scientific paper published on the worms. The Rusty Bucket will have 13 paid days in dry dock to affect repairs, and make improvements. For our initial investment of 5kCR each, we got back 14kCR. We still have some unsold goods left. We will be snacking on some gourmet treats, and drinking Vargr ale for some time to come. I can't wait to go clubbing again, when I will show off a new dance I invented. It's called, "The Worm".

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