My sci fi novella The Throwback Episode 3: The MS Paulides is available as a Pay What You Want PDF file on Drive Thru RPG. To get it, simply create a new account and switch on the Adult material setting. That’s because there is some profanity in the story, and in general the story is not for the kiddies.
About this title: M.E. Nottle, the throwback from an earlier age, is back on another adventure. This time, a mining camp run by an authoritarian regime has gone silent. Problem: this particular regime has not existed in a quarter century. What have they been doing to their prisoners all this time? Rating: HIGH controversy.
The Throwback Episode 3: The MS Paulides
“Space is like a set of jumper cables.” Nottle mused out loud.
He was sitting on the ledge of one of the Sunbird’s large oval windows, looking out at a great, big, murky nothingness. The ship had four viewing areas in total, each with a ledge wide enough to sleep on. In truth, Nottle would have enjoyed taking a nap there, except he usually wasn’t around long enough to partake in such pleasures.
The other members of the Sunbird, such as the mercenaries Brantom and Kold, normally took the sight for granted. Ever since they were adolescents, they’d been trained for space duty on Earth or one of its’ many colonies. They could probably sleep while in a space suit, tied to a tether hanging on the back of the ship, on a good day.
This was not a good day. The big and beefy White guy, Brantom, and the slender and athletic Black guy, Kold, had queasy looks on their faces as they gazed past where Nottle was sitting. Nottle could admit the sight might be overwhelming to some, for out the window they saw many, many asteroids hurtling through space as if a Titan was throwing rocks at them.
“What exactly are jumper cables?” Brantom asked.
“Back in the day, cars used to run on alkaline batteries.” Nottle explained. “Batteries stored electrical energy in them. That’s how the cars started up and got moving. Sometimes, the battery wouldn’t work on one car, and jumper cables were connected to the battery of a second car.”
“Why?” The mercenary wondered.
“Because the second car could be used to start the first one.”
“The point is that space is a conductor.” Nottle answered. “The plasma in space can shoot electrical energy from one point to another in a split second, like a lightning strike between one planetary body and another, and…”
When he noticed how wide the eyes of the mercenaries became, Nottle turned to look out the window. An asteroid bigger than the Sunbird was passing by. It filled up the entire viewing space. They could see its craggy surface nearly close enough to touch it.
“Close the viewing port, Nottle.” Brantom showed a queasy face. “Before I lurch.”
“Relax, bud.” He pointed at a decal on the edge of the triple-thick panels of quasi-glass. “Look what it says here. Objects are farther than they appear.” For emphasis, he rapped on the glass. “This has three or four times magnification so we can appreciate the finer details.”
Most of the asteroids were roughly shaped, in the form of potatoes. The edge of the one tumbling around out there leaned toward the ship. Nottle was confident they were a safe distance away from it, until the ship moved slightly. The grainy edge of the asteroid looked close enough that Nottle could have kissed it.
“Yeah, I think I’ll shut the window now.” He decided.
“Viewing port.” Brantom corrected.
“Window.” Nottle replied.
“How about porthole, or port-holio?”
“Whatever.” Nottle shook his head. Brantom was one of the anal-retentive types who couldn’t help but correct others. “Let me ask you a question, bud.”
“What do you want, Nottle?”
“Did you ever fart and like the smell of it? Did you ever think, man, I wish I had some of that food again, because it tasted great going in, and it smells great coming out?”
Brantom grunted at him. The man reached a muscular arm past Nottle’s shoulder and clicked the button to lower the security shield that usually covered the window. After this, the big man strode away.
Nottle tracked Brantom until he left the social area. To Kold, he said, “Why would that asshole shut my window and leave the room right after? That don’t make sense!”
“Unnecessary profanity, Nottle.” The ship’s A.I. voice scolded him. It sounded tired. “That will be five demerits.”
“What’s my total up to, babe?” Nottle asked.
“Eight hundred… and twenty.”
“Shit, and I just paid off a chunk of that, too.”
“Unnecessary profanity, Nottle. The will be five more demerits.”
He could almost hear the A.I. yawning at him.
“Do you want to fool around?” Kold asked. “Before the mission starts?”
Nottle sighed. A million times, he had told this man that he had no interest in hot, gay love, and a million times plus one, Kold had come back again to stir things up with him. Sooner or later, Nottle was going to cave. He could admit that Kold was a strapping young buck; he’d seen him nude or nearly nude several times already. The problem was that Nottle liked his wah-men, while these modern-types played musical chairs with their many lovers.
“Let me think about that.” Nottle said, finally.
Kold perked up after hearing that. Before matters took a turn for the wild, Nottle left the ledge and went out the same sliding door Brantom had used.