I was sad, had just broken up with someone, and was trying to come to terms with that.
So, uhh, yah. There is a lot of that in this story (But not as much as in my point of view stories. Shudder)
The great Jumpship Hera prepared for her maiden voyage. 22,000 metres long, 22,000 metres wide, and 11,000 metres tall, she was a beast.
A great ovoid, floating in space.
Final preparations are made, small fuel ships darting about the steel gray shell, gnats about a rhinoceros.
The little fuel ships and repair robots dart around airlocks, extrusions, com towers, and weapons blisters.
Repair bot 22357-Alpha-P darted past an observation balcony on its way to inspect the next airlock along.
Callix Troy watched it pass by.
His nerves were fluttering, a sick pit in his stomach. Butterflies danced, and his hands unconsciously tore a sheet of paper into smaller and smaller pieces.
God, he thought, I feel like I did before my first date. Oh, what a long time ago. She was pretty, and so kind, and smart and funny, but it hadn’t worked out.
He looked out at the stars, trying to remember specifics about that first date. For some reason, it was important that he remember now, after years of trying to forget.
A shuttle floated by, and began docking procedures at the airlock next to his observation balcony. It meant that it was almost time.
With the shuttle, the memories fled. It had been years since he had thought about her. She had broken his heart.
He hadn’t dated anyone after that, not for a long while. And those relationships had never lasted long.
Funny how he thought about this at a time like this.
But, then again, maybe not, he mused as he traced his fingers along the edge of the window.
Not at all odd, here, at this place, at this time. He sighed, and went back to his silent vigil, marshalling his thoughts.
With a pneumatic hiss the door behind him slid open.
He turned, his face carrying a smile as the Director of the project, the Client walked in.
“Mr. Troy? I am Serjin Hammil, the Client. I trust that you know what that means?”
Yes, Callix knew indeed what it meant. It meant that if he was wrong, if he made a mistake, his head would be served to this man on a crystal platter. But thats not what he said.
“It means that it is time to give you a tour of the ship. I hope that it is to your liking”
Callix turned, and waved his hand. In response to his gesture, the lights flickered on along the corridor that led into the belly of the ship.
They walked, side by side, into the belly of the ship.
“Can I offer you any refreshments? Wine, appetizers, peach? All grown aboard the ship, and prepared by our chefs.”
At his words servants leapt from their places by the walls, offering trays with the stated delicacies on them.
“I just ate before I left thank you. I always prefer to Jump on an empty stomach” Hammil’s voice was thick with disdain.
Fine. If he wanted to be that way then Callix could deal with that. He waved the servants away. The Clients were all the same. They believed that they were better than the world, and that the Architects that they hired, along with the work crews, the PR agents, and even the lifers who maintained the Jumpships and brought them their fortunes, were worthless.
Callix hated them everyone, but what was a man to do? He stifled a sigh, and continued his walk down the hallway.
After another minute of silence, Hammil looked over at him.
“So, tell me about my ship. I want to know all about the ship that I have just bought, that I will soon be sending to establish a new Colony”
There was something odd in his tone. Almost something like pride. But no Client showed pride in the Ships.
“Well, Hera is of the new class sir. She is built with the safest JumpDrives, and runs on a cold fusion reactor. The new Hex-Beta model. However, it has a modular core, so when this model becomes outdated at minimal cost with whatever you should choose to replace it with.
“She has 2T-23 AI brain at her heart. This is also modular, and can be removed when outdated. It runs most of the basic systems, and can plot courses as well as do any other number of travel related problems.
“It will also plan out the landing site, and help synthesize…”
The list of qualifications and specializations and wonderful ingenuities continued for some time as they walked through another airlock, and into a glass tunnel.
Hammil looked around with something like awe on his face.
Callix knew what he would see. A city, of sorts. This was one of the open markets, where people could gather and get out from the cramped tunnels and spaces for a time.
Plants grew down below, and people walked through paths in the garden. Storefronts lined the walls, and people wandered about, just enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Overhead TV screens were everywhere, giving information about the ship, the time, the weather, the news, and commercials.
“...lifers can come here to shop, and…” Callix trailed off when he realized that Hammil wasn’t paying attention anymore. He was staring at the surrounding in, yes, it was awe!
“Is everything alright sir?” This could be it. This could be his decapitation right here.
“Hmm?” Hammil swung his attention back to Callix, and seemed surprised to see him there. “Oh, yes. Everything is quite alright. I have just never been aboard a Colonyship before”
Callix was sure that his jaw was hanging. A Client who had never been on a Colonyship? Many had never before bought one, but one who had never even been on one?
That must mean that he was new money. Not something that happened often nowadays.
Callix was still thinking that over when Hammil swung around again.
“Well?” he demanded, his voice full of haughty superiority once again. “There is still the rest of the ship to oversee yes?”
As they continued through the ship Callix was struck again and again by Hammil’s inexperience with Colonyships.
He oohed and ahhed over the wood paneling in the lounges, the marine tanks, and the zoo.
He was amazed by it, consistently. He had never seen a Client before with as much inexperience. And he had been doing the Client tours for a long time.
Although, he admitted, this was the first time that he gave the tour of a ship that he personally had designed.
Callix was proud of the ship. He just hoped that Hammil would be too.
They finally made it to the bridge. They would have been there long since, but Hammil had insisted on touring most of the ship before going there, even the areas that Clients usually avoided. He had been especially impressed by the engine rooms, and the whole Core complex.
The entire bridge crew jumped to attention as they walked in.
The captain walked over to them, and saluted.
“Mr. Hammil, Designer Troy” Hammil looked startled that the scruffy, sloppily dressed man in jeans and a t-shirt was the one who had designed this magnificent ship.
He shot Callix a look. Callix just shrugged, as if to say that he did not understand either.
“The ship is ready for Jump sir” the captain continued, either missing the looks, or ignoring them “Whenever you give the word sir” He saluted Hammil again, then turned to Callix.
“I imagine that you will be wanting to return to your rooms now Designer?”
Callix began to nod, but Hammil cut him off. “Mr. Troy can stay up here. I would like his insights into the workings of the ship during the Jump”
The captain was surprised at this unusual behaviour from a Client, but he was not about to argue with the Client. He simply nodded, and turned back to the bridge.
As the two walked to take their spots at the observation rail, Callix risked a question.
“If I may ask Mr. Hammil, why do you want me to stay here?”
The Client looked over at Callix, and smiled. “You can call me Serjin Mr. Troy. Or may I call you Callix?
“I was impressed that you designed this ship. You do not look like one who would coop himself up in a room with blueprints for months on end”
Callix shrugged “I do what I like, and I have liked Designing since I was a kid”
Serjin nodded, and went back to staring out at space. The glowing disk of the Sun was just starting to come into view as Hera rotated. The viewscreen darkened around it so as not to damage their eyes.
“I also defied many expectations. As you may have guessed, I am a new Client. New money as it were. I made my fortune by stealing half the fortunes of another three Clients effectively. I made their companies obsolete with a few simple programs, and then gave them a deal to put me in charge as CEO of all three, with them serving as my Vice or else be made truly obsolete and fazed out. Then, once I was secure, I no longer had to worry about someone finding out my hoax. It was found out, the three tried to kill me, so I had them arrested, and inherited three companies.
“Now, what else is a newly made multi-trillionaire to do with his money other than buy a Colonyship? So I did. I commissioned this one, and bought the rights to a planet”
Callix looked at him, and shook his head. The man had guts to go up against three Clients like that.
The silence stretched out, and his thoughts drifted back to his first, and if he was honest with himself, only love.
She had looked beautiful on the beach. That was one thing that he remembered best about her.
That, and her laugh.
God, how he missed that laugh. He still woke up at times wishing that he could still hear it.
Calypso had been her name. His beautiful goddess he had called her.
With a start, he realized that the ship was about to Jump.
He looked over to see Serjin smiling at him, his grin almost splitting his face.
“A new world Callix! One never seen by human eyes until today! You and I shall be the first to see it, from this wonderful ship you have designed. From Hera”
Space seemed to blur and bend, and then they were floating above a beautiful little world. Green land masses, and blue oceans. It looked almost like Earth.
Callix was shaking his head though as landers began to launch, and robots deployed to sample atmosphere content and establish a landing site.
“Thats not her name. Thats the name that the Client chooses, but not the name given by the Designer”
Serjin looked at him, curiosity plain on his face.
“Really? Designers give their ships different names? Well, I guess that makes sense. So, what did the mighty Designer Callix Troy name his first great Colonyship? Huh?”
Callix stared out at the green and blue planet below, so very much like Earth, and wondered if it had beaches.
“Calypso. I named her Calypso”