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Space Opera Part 50 – Auto-Protect

Scagsdale's Tales

We were staring at the huge earth mover as the air cleared from the dust storm.

<JJ> Emerald, search for any records of this activity.

<Me> Wait. We don’t want anybody to know we’re here. Searches might tip off the wrong people.

<Emerald> I can search without putting us at risk, Captain Clarke.

<Butch> That’s worth a try, Trey. I’d let her do it, but I’ll supervise.

<Emerald> In your dreams, junior.

I chuckled, sending a glance to JJ, who shook her helmeted head.

<Me> Work that out between you, but err on the side of stealth. What happened here two hundred years ago isn’t the most important issue.

<JJ> Agreed.

Nolan walked over to us. “I’ve been all the way around the vehicle. This is the only spot that was damaged, and note that they didn’t hurt the payload at all. I’m thinking whoever made the attack was planning…

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Space Opera Part 49 – Mine Equipment

Scagsdale's Tales

I walked onto the bridge. Skip and Nolan were working together, ready to come out of the jump and orbit Boroclize.

Sondra glanced over at me. “Good morning, Captain.” The other two looked over, nodding, then re-focusing on their tasks.

“Good morning. Everything good?”

“Only a couple hours to go,” she said. “Don’t worry, we’ve got things well in hand.

“Good, then I’ve got some other things to do. Buzz my PA if anything out-of-the-ordinary comes up.”

“Will do,” she said.

I left, heading back to the mustering room via the transport station.

<Butch> He’s waiting until you get there.

<Me> I figured. I’m running a little late.

I grabbed a tin can, getting off near the mustering room in seconds.

<Me> Wonder if I’m gonna get attacked again?

<Butch> We’ll find out in a second, but I doubt it. I think this will be a talking session.

I opened…

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Space Opera Part 48 – High-Ranking Treachery

Scagsdale's Tales

I was glad when six o’clock rolled around. The events of the day had been downright crazy, and now I just wanted to lose myself with JJ in my stateroom. My PA buzzed. It was her. I nodded to the others on the bridge and went into the corridor.

“Hey, darling,” I said.

“Still on the bridge, I take it?”

“Yep, but I need some us time. You ready to go home?”

“Which home?” she asked.

“One of the staterooms. Don’t care which.”

JJ chuckled. “The New Jersey stateroom is closer. Race you there. And no speed enhancement.”

“You think I’d give myself unfair advantage? I’m shocked, JJ.”

“Get going,” she said. “See you soon.”

I stuck my head back into the bridge. “I’m heading for my stateroom. See you guys in the morning, unless something goes crazy.”

“Enjoy her, Captain,” Sondra said. Skip and Nolan shot each other a…

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Space Opera Part 47 – Imortality

Scagsdale's Tales

I stared at Vermillion, heart pounding in my chest. “Drake is an AI? Who owns him?”

Vermillion sat back in his chair, not saying anything for a moment. “This is complicated.”

“Complicated how?”

“Your face is turning red. Maybe you should have a drink.” Vermillion pulled a decanter of whiskey out of the cabinet behind him, with two crystal glasses, pouring for both of us. He slid mine forward, and I tossed it back. Vermillion smiled, sipping his.

“I know, you can’t tell me anything,” I said, wishing I could take it back. He chuckled.

“The Samson Corporation owns the AI. The person Drake represents no longer exists as a physical human being.”

“Oh, crap, it’s Alexander Carlson,” I said. “You guys kept his consciousness alive somehow, didn’t you?”

“This can’t leave the room,” Vermillion said. He sipped more of his whiskey. “Alexander Carlson kept his consciousness, as you call…

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