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A Future We'd Like to See by Twoflower

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file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS0.txt A Future We'd Like to See 1.0 - Introduction By Twoflower (Copyright 1993) Science fiction stories come and go, detailing the exploits of heroic men and women as the forge bold new frontiers in the unknown, pausing only to strike dramatic poses for the camera. This is not a series like that. This is a series of short stories taking place in a future we'd like to see, as the title implies. We'd like to see it, repeat, SEE it, not live in it,
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  file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS0.txt A Future We'd Like to See 1.0 - IntroductionBy Twoflower (Copyright 1993) Science fiction stories come and go, detailing the exploitsof heroic men and women as the forge bold new frontiers in theunknown, pausing only to strike dramatic poses for the camera. This is not a series like that. This is a series of short stories taking place in a futurewe'd like to see, as the title implies. We'd like to see it,repeat, SEE it, not live in it, because it's not a fun place tolive in at all. A brief history lesson shout set the stage... Thanks to some travelling tourists from another planet,Earth got space-faring technology it only dreamed of in cheapsci-fi syndication shows centuries before it really should have. Being the pleasant, cooperative, kindly race we are, we proceededto immediately lay claim to most of the galaxy whether it likedit or not. Of course, the problem was that we weren't the only peopleout there trying to lay claim to the universe. Three other majorraces fought and strived to settle and explore the galaxy. Therewere the green, furry rabbitoid Ytts, who were an easygoingspecies unless you cross them. Cute 'n fuzzy fluffy Murfles,with cute purple fur and glossy black eyes and a serious attitudethat you can only get by being considered 'cute' by onecivilization too many. Purple skinned, green antennaed Sarenshappily dealt in trading to both sides of the unofficial war,profiting from arms sales, and living like kings. Well, not likekings, but definitely like very rich people. Earth made for an unexpected third contender between theYtts and the Murfles. However, this is not a war story, becausePresident Doofman (the only president in Earth history to beelected by mistake) went and got all the species leaders drunk,then had them sign complicated alliance pacts. When thehangovers cleared, the Terran Confederation was born, and unlesssaid political leaders wanted to be kicked out of office for file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS0.txt (1 of 2)8/19/2007 2:27:46 AM  file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS0.txt being gullible fools, they pretended it was their idea all along. So now it is the future, or rather present day to thedenizens of the future, and the Terran Confederation owns apretty hefty slab of the galaxy. (The only neighbors are thetraders, pirates and mercenaries that lurk in the Anarchy Zonesoutside of Terran space, but I'm afraid they don't count in thecensus.) The four species interact, mix, and generally play thepolitical dance with such incredible finesse that nothing evergets done at all at the United Planets building on newly-namedTerra. A sprawl that huge is much like a brontosaurus, in that if you kick one end, it takes a long time for the other end to say'Ow!'. Communication, quite frankly, sucks between colonies,ports, and planets. Police forces are practically nonexistentunless you want to fork over money to hire out a squad from theSpace Patrol, the Heavily Armed Ambassadors of Friendship andFun, or the Not So Secret Agent Corporation. (In order of cheap,ineffective service to expensive, ineffective service.) Sure,there's the TC-managed Starfleet, but you'd need a seriouspolitical favor if you want one of THOSE ships guarding yourrear. Take four alien races, half a million worlds, no phone lines(at least no reliable ones) and not enough law enforcement tocover the area and you've got a universe of chaos beingadvertised as order. This is the story, or rather, stories of the people who strive to survive in this mess. The tales of those who break the law, and those who enforce it (for a price). Or just the tales of those caught up in technology, walking thetraditional tightrope of those who run the nets and systems onthe newly devised VOSnet (Virtual reality Operating System). We'd like to see a future like this, maybe in the movies, orin short stories. You couldn't pay me to live there. file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS0.txt (2 of 2)8/19/2007 2:27:46 AM  file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS1.txt A Future We'd Like to See 1.1 - Live Slow, Die HardBy Twoflower (Copyright 1993) The alarm clock rings around nine in the morning. Not thatmorning means anything on this damn carrier. No matter what timeof day or night, all you'll get is stars. It normally wouldn't ring at nine, but I juryrigged it witha quick screwdriver and toggle switch maneuver one night after Irealized the circles under my eyes didn't want to go away ontheir own accord. Breakfast is at six sharp, proper militaryprocedure. The way I see it, this isn't no proper military, so Idon't follow their procedure. Besides, the slop they serve downin the metal box we call the Cafeteria can give you cancer. So, I spend my Heavily Armed Ambassadors of Friendship andFun recreational morning hours in the usual way, eatingdehydrated Twinkies and wallowing in grumpiness. I've perfectedwallowing to an art form. Sure, that Woody Allen weirdo from theold flicks, before they invented holovision, might have said athing or two about angst, but he's got nothing on me. I am thepessimist supreme, La Grande Pessimiste, I guess, the one whodoesn't complain since there's no actual chance anything can bechanged. The name, for instance. Heavily Armed Ambassadors of Friendship and Fun. Humph. Nobody particularly liked the name,but it was all President Doofman's staff could think of when hethrew up in response to a media question about the new militarybranch's codename. HAAFF! it probably sounded like, judgingfrom the results. It was too late to change it now. Besides,what could they change it to? The only true name for this dumpwould be the Small Underpaid Bunch of Starfleet Rejects Who PullOff Mediocre Missions and Face Eminent Doom In The Process, andnobody'd remember all them letters. We pilots had a motto in this carrier. Live slow, die hard. Lead a boring life in a quasi-military fashion, then zoom outinto the stars and get toasted before you can blink. Most of what we did involved transport, of cargo, documents, ambassadors,or some new miracle cure for sexually transmitted diseases...stuff other people would love to get their hands on. You never file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS1.txt (1 of 6)8/19/2007 2:27:46 AM  file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS1.txt know when what you're carrying is actually important or not,because for 'security reasons' all the pilot sees of it is alittle black box. Take off. Jump-point to here. Drop off box, or pick boxup, or occasionally blow away a stray fighter of some new enemy. Jump-point back to the carrier. Land. The same pattern, missionin, mission out. 'Cept for the unlucky ones, who are whistlingaway while some new Weapon of Destruction(+13) is nestled intheir cargo-drop doors. If they're really unlucky, some freetrader will sneak in from the A-Zones, blast 'em, and take it. If they're lucky it'll just be pirate scum. Not that we're undefended. They finally had the brains toput blasters on our ships a few years back, as well as shields,which are great for blowing away pirates in cheap knockoffs of Terran spacecraft. But for the big ships, the cargo runners, orthe assault cruisers, we're as effective as gnats against a manwith flyswatters for arms, legs, tongue, and genitals. One quick lighting-shock blast of some unknown purple-green ray and you'reoff to sleep with the fishes, or whatever the vacuum equivalentis. So here I am, Pilot Qwetzil Buttafuco, eating Twinkies inhis underwear in some unwashed cabin of a carrier that resemblesa bath toy. There aren't real ranks here... you're either apilot or the captain, nothing else. I had heard some weenie faroff on my family tree made himself famous for fifteen minutesnear Long Island, but since I'm no history buff (and have neverseen Terra) it means crap to me. 'Course, some newbie fighter jock sometimes makes fun of my last name, which is unfortunatefor them, but fun for me since I make it a hobby of wrappingpeople's limbs into bizarre pretzel configurations when they ragon me. Clock's almost hit ten, which means it'll be time to calloff the guys to the Briefing Room and dish out the assignments. Fortunately I'm placed in a bunk not very far away from theship's Briefing Room, because I can't stand walking on ships of this size. You don't need buns of steel to fly planes, althoughit helps sometimes when you have to cover your ass. * file:///D|/eBooks/TXT/FWLS1.txt (2 of 6)8/19/2007 2:27:46 AM
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