Saturday, 6 July 2019

O Rly?

Last night I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. The Minicruiser was configured for the trip, including a new Quantum Field Disruptor cannon I’d ordered recently from Analemma, just in case; I’d checked all the camouflage devices around my place; the fake composter was still undisturbed, hiding my wormhole power source; and the commsats were all green. I was actually kicking back with a glass or two of a new ‘tipple’, as I believe it’s called: Anarchist Alchemist from Brewdog. It’s a name that resonates with me, for obvious reasons. And just when I was completely at peace, anticipating an easy victory in my mission, an idea exploded in my brain, shattering my mood.

I’d overlooked Mars.

With all my perfect planning and cunning schemes, how could I have missed the most obvious relay station available? Groobashi Pul’xih! I need to up my game. And in case you’re wondering – yes, it turned out that our mutual friend, Professor Thessifus, seemed to have done exactly what I have just implied.

The next hour or so was spent carefully scanning everything I could think of (well, as carefully as I could after those drinks). Not just on Mars but beyond, to the outer gas giants: Uranus is actually in a feasible relay position at the moment. But after all that, it was Mars. It was always Mars. The place is simply too convenient, with its proximity, its thin atmosphere and its weak magnetic field. My deep radar picked up a tiny, partially-underground structure right at the equator, cleverly disguised as part of an escarpment to avoid the gaze of NASA. The reported probability of its being a relay installation was 98%.

So now I’m on my way there. I didn’t really have any choice, and my plans to spend the weekend visiting Iceland have had to be shelved. But my contact there, Alexandra, is happy to wait. It’s all right for her – she has a damned comfy house carved out of solid rock, and plenty not to do. Hot spring jacuzzi, my arse… and I wish I meant that literally. Of course, you’ve probably guessed that she’s not really human. Perhaps I’ll tell you more about her some day.

I’m approaching orbit now so I need to sign off so I can get the ship into stealth mode. I’ll report back when I can.