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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Follow Cole as he delivers steeel to the Chinese and American run space station on the third unregistered galaxy of Bassompierre as soon as possible.

Submitted: April 29, 2009

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 29, 2009




Fifteen hundred thousand tons of hot steel needed to be delivered to the Chinese and American run space station on the third galaxy of Bassompierre as soon as possible.
Estimated time: My entire life including the life span of about a hundred thousand generations of my own family, using normal speeds anyway. Though that was the past, thanks to our century’s tech, the estimated time becomes 6 months.
Mode of transportation? My big assed truck and customizable trailer capable of holding and maintaining the quality of the boiling steel.
Difficulty: On an unmapped pathway? Four stars, five if a bump into any trouble. Though in space, even the smallest amount of debris flying at the right speed can be worlds of trouble. People start dying at two stars.
I took the assignment.
That was 5 months ago.
I watched, bored, as they filled Betsy up with steel, not the smartest material for space use. It didn’t matter what they used it for though. It wasn’t my problem.
The ‘higher ups’ told me I’d be going further than I’d ever gone before this one, as if I didn’t know that.
They told me my pay would be tripled.
I’d get all this on the condition I took a partner with me this time.
I asked my current boss about it and he said it was a good opportunity to ‘expand’.
As soon as he said that, I told him No.
A slow beep turned on in my dreams and I felt Bear shaking me awake from the bunker behind the driver seat, or control room.  I opened my eyes and found myself looking up at his ugly face.  I realized long ago that there was only so much of the man’s angular and smooth features I could look at so I went back to sleep.
I groaned as he pulled me up.
“Better get on the controls or we might crash.” He said yawning.
“Then I feel sorry for whatever hit Betsy.” I said catching his infectious yawn.
“You never know what you might hit” He answered in a whistle as he lay on the bunk under mine.
“You’ve clearly never seen Betsy in action have you?” I grinned at him as I slipped into the front seat.
The front seat rested on the right side of the tiny box we lived in called Betsy’s control room. It was a overstatement but the dictionary hadn’t come up with a words for shitty over used and overly large driver and passenger seat area.
I stretched and slipped into my chair at the head of the controls. It wasn’t the way I usually liked it. It was too far back. I felt like I was lying down. Grumbling, I adjusted the seat to suit my height again and comfort levels again.
“I wish you wouldn’t sit on my chair” I said over my shoulder.
“What you expect? It’s the big chair. No one like the kids chair.”
“Still my chair” I answered back but I received no reply. Bear was asleep. It took the average human 22 minutes to fall into a deep sleep, it took Bear 30 seconds. If the circus still existed in most colonies I’d have sold him to one or maybe a team of sleep specialists. The dictionary had been kind even you give them a name, it was unfortunate that I really didn’t care what it was.
I shook my head of the grog that filled it and took control of the truck. I always used manual even at these near impossible to comprehend speeds.
Using anything else would be bad practice for when things turned bad as they tended to for many truckers. Funny enough because things turned bad often trucking was now one of the most well paying real labor related jobs to have.
Though this was Betsy and nothing ever turned bad for her. Not with the things I’d added for safety, no survival. The outer shell was twice as thick as any tank that any human would ever see on any planet, thanks to Sol.
Sol was always good for an upgrade when there was a need for one. He even upgraded when there wasn’t a need. Sol, the many brained and many armed mechanic the only true sentient non human ever recorded in humanity’s two thousand year space hunt. No civilian was to ever know of him. Only truckers knew of his existence and even then only the best knew where to find him or were allowed to see him.
Thanks to Sol my truck looked like a normal 20th century earth truck, just without the same wheels. Though the energy cells that made it move looked like tires that sat on their sides only adding to the look.
On earth there were at most ten trucks with the same shape. I’d wanted to stop by Sol’s abandoned station but I couldn’t, he’d never let me near his home with Bear on board. The idea made me feel the twinge of dislike for Bear that I’d felt when they told me that I wasn’t going to be doing this alone...
Sunday June 23rd
“In that case Stan my man. The answer’s no.”
“What? Why?” Stan said shocked. His confused face annoyed me.
“I’ve been doing this for twenty years for Christ’s sake!That’s why I’m not an idiot! ‘Opportunity to expand?’ What the hell does that even mean? Do I look like a newbie? Twenty years Stan. Twenty God damn years and you want to be cryptic with me?” I found myself shouting without realizing it. I hated it when people spoke in codes, this wasn’t war.
The world wasn’t complicated but people insisted in trying to make it as complicated as possible.
I stared him in the face but I couldn’t read his expression. He looked like he was chewing on wax while being told to smile for a photo at the same time. Giving up, I turned to leave. If Stan knew what he was doing or talking about he’d be talking right now.
“Wait Cole I’ve been told to get you specifically by the higher ups.” Curiosity defeated my old and experienced mind. 
“I can’t believe me sometimes.” I muttered to my self as I turned to Stan. “The higher ups? You know that I OWN Betsy right?” I needed to make sure before he tried to talk me into doing anything.
I grinned as he rolled his eyes
“Yes Cole we all know you own Bets- you’re truck.” He sounded like a scolded schoolboy was being forced to apologize.
“Good. Glad we understand that. So Stan the man. What do the higher ups have to say for themselves and what’s it got to do with me?”
“They’re expanding their business routes.”
“By a few planets?” I asked
“Try Galaxies”
“I hate that word it makes me feel idiotic.”
“Not sure either to be honest, must be a hate from my earth trucking days. Never mind, what’s expanding their routes got to do with me?”
“I’m sure you know this but there’s a lot of paper work to do when it come to this. You know, by taking new routes we end up stepping on a few toes. And above the paper work alone there's the issue of buying the roads. Both legally and illegally.”
“Yeah I know, you get some real scum these days which is saying something because there’s always been scum. Bastards who spend months even years sitting on a known route waiting to jump a person and their goods.” I could feel own fist clenching as I pictured each funeral invitation I’d had to leave because I was already on mission. I also imagined the funeral’s I’d gone to where there had been no body to bury.
Stan sighed looking at me
“I know Cole, I know. But that’s not our only problem. Chrysler’s already taken jobs on their finished expanded routes and Mercedes wants to be in on the new money too. So they’re sending you. One of our best.”
“Oh come on Stan kissing up has never worked and it never will. ”
Stan adjusted the paperwork on his desk, which was always a funny thing to me. Stan was a trucker at heart. He’d been a trucker for as long as I had. He’d been promoted and run away from the open skies as soon as things got difficult for truckers all around. A few resented him for it but most understood and everyone enjoyed that a real trucker was handing out mission now and not some snot nosed desk monkey who most likely didn’t have a drivers license let alone ride a truck.
Although he’d left trucking I knew the drive was still in him. If I ever needed proof of that I just had to look at the paperwork he was constantly adjusting. Some of that paperwork work he shuffled around was older than most of the truckers that came in these days and was as yellow as Stan's nicotine stained teeth.
“Their willing to give you up to three times your already absorbent pay but you can’t go alone.”
“Really? Well... Good luck getting another good trucker” I said as I made my way out the door. Stan followed me out.
“Look! Cole for Christ’s sake. They need someone and when they heard about Betsy they went crazy. You and Betsy are the symbols of the Old World. Call it nostalgia whatever, it doesn’t matter, they want you and Betsy and they won’t risk you sleeping and destroying the goods or getting destroyed. Cole, I said nothing when I let Sol upgrade your Betsy with illegal technology.” He was pointing accusingly at me now. “You know how strict they are on the sharing of technology between humans and what ever he is. I’m the one who showed him to you. You owe me a favor.”
I held back from yelling in defense of being yelled at and stared at him instead. I hated favors. I stopped and turned to him. I owed him a lot. Sol’s help had made life on Betsy so easy.
“Damn” I muttered to my self “Do I get to choose my partner?”
The answer was no and that was five months ago. There hadn’t been any trouble. I wasn’t sure if I was disappointed or not. If there was to be any trouble then I’d prefer it happen now while the weight of the cargo added with my speed and momentum.
Waking up from my own thoughts, I turned left as the truck warned of a change of direction due to the gravitational pull of a passing planet. It made a low beeping noise and the room shone green. I stared at the planet as it flew past my ship. The front of the ship lit up in front of me for a minute before sensors switched me from direct view to camera view. The view wasn’t as good as the original and wasn’t worth upgrading since they never would be the same no matter how many times I upgraded them.
With nothing in sight for another seven hours according to sensors I slumped against the steering wheel. Resting my cheek against the soft but strong leather wheel.
Most companies discouraged steering wheels since in space there were more than two directions to go. There was up, down, North, south, east, west. In fact it was illegal to have a steering wheel. Unless it was upgraded to move in all directions without interruption and even then…
Another seven hours passed as I stared at the brilliant stars. What I needed was a beer. Not for the taste of it but for the numbing effect it always guaranteed. Bear awoke and sat next to me on the smaller chair.
“Any interesting happen?” He asked still groggy
“Nope. You should probably sleep. Just cause you woke early doesn’t mean you got to go back to sleep early.”
“Yeah I know. You’ve told me. A dozen times.” He said in the same school boy tone Stan used five months ago.
“Good. By the way today’s the day we cross over to the expanded zone.” I said as Bear poured a hot liquid out of a flask.
“Does that mean things are going to get hard?”
“Shouldn’t” I lied. One could never tell what crossed new routes when they’d just been opened. In older routes at least there were stations that could detect things crossing and destroy them or at least warn of them. Depending on how new the route was it would be a bumpy ride. Fortunately it would only be two days of it.
I extended my hand and took the cup he’d poured. I spat it back into the cup.
“What the hell was that?” I yelled gagging.
“Energy drink for truckers. It’s new”
“Really, well I’ll just stick to caffeine. Do you mind?” I asked extending my right hand again. He handed me a new cup. I drank the coffee quickly feeling a rush as the heat of the scorching hot coffee burnt my cheeks and tongue all the way down my throat where it sat bubbling in my belly. “Well this ride is finally coming to an end and its ending early so I say lets celebrate.”
If there was ever any doubt in my mind as to have green Bear was it was now as he stared at me.
“Celebrating? What on the truck?” he asked.
I couldn’t understand it but I also didn’t really care to. He was new and that was that. However, one wouldn’t have guessed it by looking at him. He looked more of a trucker than I did. With his larger than life arms and the tattoos that blanketed them. The one thing he never mentioned were his tattoos he was the only person who never mentioned his tattoos or how he got them. Though once again this wasn’t something I honestly didn’t care enough to ask about.
“No Bear, just a few more seconds and you’ll see.”
The few seconds later the room turned green and there was the familiar low beeping sound. I didn’t turn the truck this time and the truck turned on its own.
We were both staring at a bright blue planet now. The front of the truck lit up again as we entered into some of the planet's atmosphere. If it was night down there then we’d appear as a shooting star.
“What are we doing?” Bear asked as the truck continued to flash green. I didn’t answer. I was too focused to answer. They angle we came in was too high to enter the planet, we’d bounce out of the atmosphere at any second at a great speed.
I waited. 
I pulled up just as we shot out of the atmosphere in a ball of flame. We were now travelling in the opposite direction or the intended route and we were traveling fast. The green disappeared and I pulled on the steering wheel, it didn’t give any resistance as that truck slowly moved up. I didn’t know why but I felt that it was time for a lesson.
“Remember Bear, never pull too hard on the truck or kiss everything in the back goodbye. Because the momentum of the goods and your own momentum will cause the cables to snap and that’s if you’re lucky. ” 
“If I’m not lucky?” He asked.
“Well then the cable won’t snap and… well you’ve opened a can of soda before haven’t you?”
“Yeah?” He stared at me in confusion. The dark stare I returned made him see light and he gaped at me. It was moments like those that added so sweetly to the trucking experience.
We came in towards the same blue planet again. The Betsy turned green again but this time only for a second as I pulled up the brakes. We started slowing down as flames appeared in front of the truck. There was a dot in the center of the open blue planet. I stepped on the brake hard. The dot grew until it was clear what it was. A flat space station.
“Where are we?” Bear asked
“Hell and heaven rolled in one. Bear. This is the nonexistent space station: The Saint Thomas named after the archbishop 12th century. You should read about him. It’s about the only thing you can do on these trucks sometimes. You read or get read to by the computer on all of these trucks. If you want to know how ask Stan.”
The truck slowed down to a near stop and a red light shone over head like a hundred lasers converged to make one, the light almost solidified and formed a runway in front of them. A truck shot out of the station along the red runway the red light made in the distance. A green light shone over head and a different noise sounded inside the truck, it was slower than the first. I pressed on one of the smaller buttons on the steering wheel and a screen rose out of the gap in between Bear and me.
“Cole? Is that you?” There was the deep and raspy voice of someone who sounded like they were on their last breath.
“How’d you guess you old bastard!” I found myself shouting into the screen at what looked like a monkey covered in black hair that covered his pale white skin. This man also looked more like a trucker than I did as his grizzly face shone on the screen.
“Only you can go driving at a space station at that speed and still stop with enough space to let others though.”
“Yeah, you going to let me in?”
The green runway made of light moved down and covered them.
“Why do they use this old fashioned docking system?” Bear asked.
I raised my eyebrow and I glared at him. 
“Because it’s the technique of pros. All truckers would use this as opposed to using the tractor beam’s pull in the modern docking systems.”
We came to a stop in the center of a giant hole inside the space ship. There were dozens of cargo ships that looked nothing like my truck. Each were smaller than most trucks and their colors suggested they were travelling in-groups and there were about five different groups here today.
It took five minutes for us to get out. We hovered for another five minutes before we entered area with artificial gravity. The air wasn’t as fresh or as clean as the air in the truck and I found myself relaxing already.
There were people walking around and others selling items from shoelaces, to horse shoes, to technology, to other people. I walked past the stands until I found a meat stand. I found myself involuntarily licking my lips. I hadn’t had meat in a long time, three months to be exact and I’d regretted that last day. I thought the meat had a few days left. I was wrong, very wrong.
I approached the stand and spoke to the old dark haired woman who stood behind it. Hundreds of years in the future and there were people still dressed like gypsies.
“This normal meat?” I found myself asking out of habit.
“Normal as it can be” The old woman answered behind the food.
“Is this cows meat?” I tried again slowly. I really hated speaking in codes.
“Where are the cows then?”
“Do you want it or not?” She asked annoyed. I picked it up and sniffed it. If there was one thing you learned in space it was that you always checked the meat before you ate it.
Livestock wasn’t in abundance in space but people were. I checked the meat out. It wasn’t beef but it wasn’t human meat either at least I didn’t think so. I instead I took two big fish wrapping it up and walking on after paying. I turned and realized that Bear was nowhere insight.
‘Oh Stan you’re going to owe me for this.’ I thought out loud as I looked for Bear. I heard a commotion and knew it could only be him. I found him standing next to a group of woman and children in chains. Being sold off. I felt pity for Bear but not for the people in chains. They were unfortunate whereas Bear was just being pitiful.
“You can’t do this, their people too!” Bear shouted. Bringing himself up to his full height, unfortunately his already impressive height and build was matched by the second man who was clearly in charge of sorting out just these disputes.
“You buy or move” The ungentle looking giant said calmly savoring Bears righteousness knowing full well, he was to break a human being’s spirit today. Though judging by condition of the people in their chains it wouldn’t be his first time. All around me the commotion of the busy crowd slowed and I felt like I was inside Betsy watching the world move slowly and safely away from my own life.
Though now thanks to Bear the world had just hitchhiked without permission. This was the moment were another trucker would be born into the world. A trucker of my own blackened heart. All I’d have to do would be to let him go through the beating of his life and help out after, just to make sure he didn’t die. I took and deep breath. It was what he wanted right? To be a trucker. I’ll come in at the right time and make sure he doesn’t die.
“Who are you to lock up and sell you’re fellow man?” Bear yelled.
“Ludwig” He grinned putting his face close to Bear's. I could see Ludwig’s fist clenching behind his back. If Bear was lucky it would be one well placed sucker punch and down he’d go either that or he’d get full beating. The first punch would end Bear’s side of the fight for that I was certain. You never worried about whom threw the first punch in real life especially if you planned on winning. 
“I’m letting these people free. Ludwig either that or I report you to the authorities.” The smaller man got up to Bear now.
“Authorities? On this whole station have you seen even one?” he said to Bear.
“I-” Bear stopped when Ludwig’s fist came out of hiding and presented it’s self to Bear’s shocked face.
A newspaper wrapped fish hit Ludwig in the face blind sighting him to Bear’s uppercut. Like clockwork it took a whole of two seconds for there to be pandemonium as the smaller man took out a gun. It had the overall look of a typical 21st century pistol but I knew it was so much more. Everyone around us ran away at the sight of it. I was lucky since he hadn’t seen the owner of the fish. I managed to get right up to him as he turned his gun to Bear. I had one fish left that wasn’t contaminated by unknown hands and I wasn’t about to waste it. So my foot did the work as I stretched never before used muscles to kick him in the head. I thought of Betsy whenever something got in her way. This time my shoe was Betsy and his head…
The smaller man hit the ground hard and I grabbed Bear’s shoulders
“Get them free. I’ll keep watch. It can’t only be two people watching over this whole lot.” I shouted as I pushed him away. I picked up the gun and pulled out the cartridge out. As I suspected there was a cartridge that held three large bullets I searched the little mans pockets and found a smaller cartridge and loaded it. I did want to kill everyone.
“I can’t get them free.” Bear shouted. I came up and fired at the chain two shots unlocked the set of chains but didn’t unlock the handcuffs. Some people ran towards the wave of people running away. There were no real authorities here and those who were here would be running away with the crowd to group before running back. I was right there were others too.
I fired over their heads and they ducked into the waves of running humans.
“Everyone run!” I shouted as I broke into a run. I couldn’t win a gunfight with gangsters. Trucks and gunmen aren’t thing you here about any more.
I just hoped Bear remembered where the truck was because I wasn’t going to wait. I held up a thin receiver from my pocket.
“Larsa?” I shouted into the receiver. I only got crackling static. “LARSA!”
“What?” The same grizzly voice answered back.
“My newbie caused a pot of trouble for me and I need you need make sure no one’s in Betties way.”
“Sound like trouble for both-” He continued but I wasn’t listening at all. The first of the gunshots came ringing. I carried in sprinting. Ducking would only slow me down and I needed as much momentum as I could get before getting into the gravity free air lock.  
The door opened on its own. I sped up as much as I could and jumped into the gravity free zone. I turned in the air as I lost control of my legs and my weight. I twisted my body and turned far enough to get a shot.
Looking I saw that Bear and his hero cause had followed me out and floating right behind me and were in my way. I wanted to scream and shoot them all.
I’d hoped that they would have spread out dividing the killers chasing me.
“Damn, get out the way!” I shouted as I aimed at the gaps in-between the fugitives. I fired at the first unfriendly face that entered the air lock.
Only to miss.
I’d slowed them down before they got into the air lock leading to Betsy, which was better than nothing.
I got inside and closed my door but just as I did a hand stopped the door. It was Bear. Followed by eight others
“I can’t believe you,” I said shaking my head.
“Sorry I had to do it-”
Gunshots rang and a bullet bounced harmlessly off the door. The tenth person climbed in just as I locked the door.
There was an explosion most likely from a gun but it didn’t do anything to Betsy. Though I knew it would have done a lot to us if we had been any slower. The thought of it pissed me off more than anything else.
It would be a while before I could come back. Unless Larsa made the changes he promised to three years ago when I’d been here last. He said he’d make it a human only joint and try and clean up a little but not too much just enough to keep the rich vibe. Stealing, fighting mugging and the occasional stabbing.
It would be something to see he ever kept his word. I’d owe him when I came back.
Assuming, of course, that this issue was over but it wasn’t, not just yet.
There was one cargo ship that pulled off followed by four smaller ships. Every ship ignoring docking regulations to get at Betsy.
Betsy was hungry for action and I wasn’t about to let her go starving. The first small ship faced us down and began firing energy shells at Betsy.
“Hold on this is going to happen fast and it’s not going to be fun.” I hit full gear and the steering wheel split in half. Now I was controlling two halves of a steering wheel. Each half controlled the 18 movable jets on the side of Betsy. All sides turned in one direction and surged with power as Betsy charged.
The ship couldn’t move in time and was hit by Betsy causing an explosion. The cargo ship and the other two ships moved out the way before following from behind.
“Bear get you’re self here!” I shouted. “You caused this so now you’re going to help me. It’s simple when I tell you to, use this.”
I pressed a button and a steering wheel eased it way out the side seat.
“You want me to drive?” The confused halfwit asked.
“No! Flip the wheel!” I shouted. I was scaring the people in the back but I couldn’t care less. I watched him flip the wheel as I myself turned the truck. The truck became a ball of flame as we shot out of the atmosphere again. The green light stopped but came back on as I turned back.
“Look I could out run them but their not going to let me forget this and I’d rather not get stabbed in the back or in my sleep. So I’ve got to sort this out.” I didn’t look at him. “It’s the truckers way.”
We saw three other flaming balls following us. I continued riding the edge of the planet’s ozone while making sure I could see them at all times.
“Okay Bear use the reversed pad to aim. And fire. Do it while they’re still fighting the atmosphere. ”
He fired back and as I expected they didn’t move away. One of the energy slugs hit the one ship and nothing happened. Another bullet hit us then another as they kept firing back.
“Five four three two one.” I muttered.
“What happening to them?” Bear gasped. He was staring at the lead ship. That area he’d shot earlier was now bursting flames. It exploded and smashed against the other ships. Only the cargo ship survived.
“What happened?” Bear shouted.
“Advanced trucking junior. The thick armor on ships isn’t for gunfights except maybe for Betsy’s. Anyway it’s for a planet like this with a strong atmospheric pressure. One tear in the protection and it breaks up from the outside to the inside. What happened to those other ships was dumb luck.”
“Maybe it was a sign”
“Oh God. Did you hear that?” I muttered to myself staring into the roof of Betsy. It was time to bring this to an end. I’d been hoping to save up my luck for the end of this run. Desperate measures right? 
Slowly I took a u-turn and headed back.
“Wish us luck” I muttered.
“Remember that can comment I made earlier” I said as the cargo ship came into view. The ship must have known what I was thinking as it turned and ran away from the planet and us. That pretty much meant shooting wouldn’t help but I had no intention of shooting. I think it knew that too, the trucker wasn’t a junior that seemed sure.
It was running away from them and fast. Betsy was faster but if we missed we’d over shoot and they’d get away before I could turn her around.
 Betsy charged at the ship regardless. The ship didn’t budge from it’s course until we got close. I commended the driver in my head for keeping his head under the circumstances. Betsy got close and he turned as I suspected. I turned at a much sharper angle jackknifing in space.
If the cable broke it would be a month before I fixed it but IF the cable didn’t break then the pull of the cable would pull of the metal back of Betsy like a can.
I missed the cargo ship.
Much to my relief, the side of Betsy came at a sharp enough angle to catch the ship. It hit the ship causing it to explode from the impact.
 There was a heavy pull on the back of Betsy’s living area. I held my breath and held on tight as the back of Betsy bent. There was another explosion and the Betsy’s side car moved slightly back again.
 I’d done something very stupid and it had paid off to the relief to everyone at the back too. Heroism was frowned upon by most truckers especially, if one trucker dies being ‘heroic’. A dead trucker meant more jobs for everyone else, even if you weren’t in the same company. No one looks forward to extra missions, ever. There were celebrations in the back yelling and such with Bear yelling the loudest. I just sighed and rested my head against Betsy and tried to sleep.
It took a week to patch every thing up. Larsa helped too. It wasn’t much of a fix but it definitely enough to take us to our destination and bring me back to Sol. Larsa had declined the eight hitchhikers but, which consisted of two woman in their twenties and six children. Seven if you counted Bear. Larsa came up on the vid screen to bid me farewell.
“You’re good to go” Larsa said waving.
“You sure you don’t want to take one kid?” I implored, he burst out laughing.
“Sorry but I’ve got too many worries of my own. Try Sol he’s always alone.”
“Who’s Sol?” Bear asked. There was silence as both Larsa and I stared at each other.
“Never mind Bear,” I said before ignoring him. “I’ll try Larsa. See you when I see you”
“Hopefully not too soon” Larsa replied just before I sounded the horn and pulled off in the direction of the space station.
A day passed and the remaining fish I’d bought had gone  missing. They’d eaten it while I’d been fixing Betsy. It took more restraint than I thought I had not to throw them out into space.
Space’s beauty traveled past my eyes in a wondrous blur. Only a few could see it. Out of pure boredom I decide to teach the children Three caught on well. A ten year old girl named Pan, and a six year old boy named Pots(I couldn’t make this up if I tried). I’d named the third one. Karen, after my own mother. She was only six but smarter than the rest.
It was the last day. I was glad of it. I knew that the other kids would go on the station. It was clean and good but their fates were not my concern. Right now I had another concern.
“You I’m not going back with you”
“What? Why?”
“Look You can’t do this. You were an earth trucker weren’t you? You rode actual trucks right?”
“Well it’s not the same, I hope you’ve seen that. Everything you’ve seen now is nothing to what a trucker sees in his life. These are jaded eyes.
I walked straight passed these slave and you couldn’t. If you’d been driving you would have been dead by now. If you want to continue with space trucking I’ll recommend that they take you in military trucking but nothing else.”
Bear didn’t say anything. He was taking it better than I thought. These kids, they must have known that that was the ship they’d traveled on when it exploded and they must have known that there were still a lot of slaves inside but they hadn’t reacted to them. There are certain, ‘humanities’ you had to let go when you lived in space. They could be truckers but not Bear. I could only hope Bear  understood or I’d be invited to his funeral too.
Karen jumped up and down on the seat in-between Bear and I pointing at a tiny white spec in the distance. It was the space station. The child was amazing, she’d caught sight of it before I had. The other two pointed to it too. Bear focused his eyes for a minute before he could see it by then it was ten times the size of the spec we’d all seen.
I was done, it wasn’t disaster for Bear though, I thought to myself. I’d grown fond of Bear and I hoped he took my advice.
There was no way the three kids would want to leave this truck though. I shook my head as Potts and Karen fought over my stuff as if it were theirs, something that would have gotten most thrown out of Betsy. It had happened.
The funny thing was, I couldn't help but smile at the little bastards.
Stan owed me a lot for this.

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