Damn that Shanghai Bob; found him stowed away on the Orion. Don't know how he got off world and onto SELCO but the little shiz is resourceful and has contacts everywhere - his motto is: you want something found, even your fate, Shanghai's the man, don't you be late. Yeah, cheesy, I know, but it works.
How he hid from the Orion's sensor... the boy's like a roach in a kitchen. Anyway, we were an hour in to the flight when he emerged from the utility enclosure - that's halfway to the moon. China is not happy. Lucky we have an extra pod.
Not much we can do now anyway as we're about to slingshot around the moon and on to Mars then the asteroid belt. The manoeuvre will help us gain speed. Ion propulsion is great and travelling at 200,000 klicks an hour is brilliant and all but the trawler is 200 million klicks from Earth and we only have so much resources. Mars in 17 days to get more speed still then the belt in another 21 days later.
At least I won't get any lip from our passengers - they're in stasis. I'll be joining them soon enough. Hell, I don't want to be awake for the 7 weeks it takes to get where we want to go in the belt. Frank is cleared to fly and he'll be my eyes and ears, anything goes wrong.
China's looking more... I don't know - desirable, the farther we are from earth. I don't get this feeling welling in me - it's not like me at all. I think she's picking up on it because she seems to inch closer and closer whenever we check systems and stuff and I'm not objecting. She said once "I'd like to see Paris again with you" or something just as cryptic, which I think is a veiled reference to something that happened on the way to the moon last time we went there. Doesn't worry me, except that a true professional should keep his distance from his staff. Food for thought.
The engine enhancements and structural modifications to the Orion are finished. Recirculation units, oxy tanks and 3D food replicators have been stocked. We're ready to leave. I final meeting with the CEO of TMI, Tritium Mining Industries - the client - for a full briefing. Seems I'll be taking a team of scientists with me. They wouldn't tell me what sort of science team, only that I had to deliver them to the trawler. Also been told to take a bunch of corpses to the asteroid belt and dump them there. Apparently, the UN agreed to allowing the rich and whoozy to float among the stars in their death - a kind of Space Cemetery. In fact, I learned that there are dozens of corpses already out there floating with the asteroids and have been for five years. So now I'm a cabbie, an undertaker and a PI. I ain't happy about having someone change my job description like that without askin' me first, but like China says, a job's a job, right?
Frank, as CEO of CAPMA Industries has installed all cogs - er, um, biooids; still getting used to him insisting on changing my vocabulary to be less inflammatory to his kind - are being fitted with ASPPs. Since Choy has died, the CARE Party have been imploding in factional party disputes. The voting public have had enough and they lost heavily at the last elections. So much so that legally they can't be called a Party any more. No skin off my nose, though I did agree with their politics for a long time. Truth be told, I still do. Cogs - shiz, there I go again - bioloids are a blight on the environment with their messy spare parts that pollute our oceans and land resources.
Anyway, we leave at 0900 on SELCO tomorrow. The Orion's in orbit at the weigh station waiting for us. At the last minute, I changed my mind about not including China in the trip. Initially thought I need her to man the fort with the office and shiz but she reminded me she is a qualified computer engineer, saved my life a couple times and would give me smack in the kisser if I excluded her. Hell, who am I to argue with a dish like her anyway. Besides, that there may be a use for her in the boondocks of space - wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Oh, and note to self: pack some more of those NEDs of Shanghai's.
Okay, need some shut eye.
Frank, that smarmy, no-good, sonuva-- since he's saved me a couple times now he thinks he's so superior. And those smile implants he had put in makes me feel like slapping it off his face. Humility isn't a cog's virtue, that's for certain. It's not enough that cogs like him have all there is to be known downloaded into him and available at a moment's notice; no, they have to keep lauding it in our faces and showing us how inferior we are. Well then come up with a theory of quantum entanglement and multi-dimensional universes and then come back to me with that smarmy smile and tell me how superior you are, then maybe I'll listen to you. Damn cogs. If I didn't need him for this trip to the asteroid belt, I'd have him melted down. I might yet throw him out the airlock, though it would have to be when Xi-Ann's asleep; otherwise I'd be fighting her to chuck him out, and we know who'd win that tussle, don't we?
Anyway, it's late and I'm due to meet with the client tomorrow morning to finalize the trip that leaves at the end of the month. Only leaves a couple hours sleep, but I'm used to that.
Rori made a swift recovery - another one for the quacks to figure out how someone can live after nearly 2 minutes exposure to the coldness of space; hell, it's gotta be a record, ain't it? I think maybe her short term memory's gone, though. She had no memory of me or our time together - if you can call it that. The little time I'd spent with her... well, let's say you could fill a porn book with the salacious stuff but as far as getting to know each other out of the sack, forget about it. You might just have enough intel to fill a postage stamp (when the world had 'em, anyway). To say it was all physical is stating the all to obvious.
To make matters worse, China ain't talkin' to me. Made the mistake of mentioning Rori's recovery - which meant that I went to see her. A day later, China said she wanted to leave me - or my employ. Didn't say why but I knew it was because of Rori. Broads! Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em, bury 'em or put 'em in a barrel of acid. Go figure. Told her I knew she needn't be jealous of Rori and me. We're done like last week's meatloaf. Hell, Rori means as much to me as a bug on a windscreen, and even that is too much consideration. Think she believed me? Not for a nanosecond. Damn broad! All the same, I think I'm gettin' t' like her moods the more I see of 'em. Don't know why. Maybe that's one for the doc to figure out for me.
It's a damnedest thing, the end of a case - full of highs and lows. The Conroy case was full of 'em. Almost died a couple times: if it weren't for the cog - er, I mean Frank - and China, I'd be pushing up daisies right now. But that's what a PI has to do sometimes - put your tag on the line - if you want to solve that nagging case, that is.
Since rescuing Conroy's ASPP and killing Romanov and Choy, things settled down a lot. Frank is CEO of Michael's company, SAPMA, and guardian for Michael's clone, which is maturing quickly - might only be a copuple more years before he reaches adolescence.
China and I found Minerva's body and retrieved her ASPP. It was still intact despite the explosion and able to undergo an upgrade and insertion into a cog's body. One day, she and Conroy will be united once again, which is what the Conroy case was all about. Love! I never thought I'd be a matchmaker.
Speaking of love, China's been makin' goo-goo eyes at me since the meeting with the lawyer. Me, I can't stop thinkin' of that little imp I rescued from Xi Ping all those years ago. I don't know; kind o' seems obscene to love someone I rescued as a 5 year old. And what would Helena think anyway? Nothin's the same since she... Hell, China will always be my girl, I guess; but I just don't want to lead her on.
Shanghai Bob's a real pain in the tag lately. He thinks he has a chance with China but she can't stand the little twerp. Wish he'd stop giving her stolen shiz too. The screws will find out and get 'em both into trouble. May even end up in a labor camp and then I'd have to go in and rescue them, and that's just too much effort now I'm planning the trip to the asteroid belt. Maybe I'd better get a move on with that - I mean, before space pirates discover the consignment.
I've primed up the Orion shuttle Michael gave me. We're only days away but the only thing I'm waiting on is supplies and extra fuel cells and rods. Red tape! Go figure, huh.
Anyway, that's where I'm leavin' it for now. Computer: end PerLog