Baby in space part 5

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Follow Preston on his journey aboard the Pardeen.

Submitted: September 26, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 26, 2013



Preston stood on both feet wobbling slightly on the opulent playroom carpet. The one piece ship suit with footies was nor replaced with a two piece outfit with boots . It was the first pair of shoes to be broken in, and he was enjoying giving the souls a good stomping. His black hair had been trimmed for the first time as well, it was short on the sides and longer on top. The fine swirl of silky blackness made his bright hazel eyes just pop out. Most of the children were rather difficult during their first grooming. To set them at ease they had a rocket shaped booster chair that they got to ride during the trim. It was silver with cherry red bomber stripes and a chrome flight stick. Preston got the biggest kick out of it, he screamed the entire time while flailing his arms. 

The Lamexians took great pride in a neat appearance and dress. A huge part of their culture was driven by fashion and a the wide varieties of attire for all the occasions under the sun. The children were done up in style from day one with custom outfits and a luxurious wardrobe. Preston was nestled in an anti grav harness that kept him on his feet. Several large green balls filled with penteran were attached at the front and on both sides. The penteran was an ore found on Lamex that had a reverse polarization of the gravity system within the decks of the ship. Now that he was learning to walk, 

Preston had graduated to the crawlers and toddlers quarters on the next deck up. Klax was free of Preston and eight other children who were now in this phase commensurate to an induction of a space cadet into assignment. And the Pardeen would not be sponsoring any more children in the foreseeable future. Besides worrying about keeping his arms from being involuntarily dislodged by an extinct and vicious ape, the world was great.

Preston was promenading with several of the other kids that were now off all fours. They bunched in herds and moved about in a mini race that paraded the entire length of the walkers area on the top level. Preston and eight of his comrades from the nursery were now in the big time. A clear wall separated the walkers area and the toddlers area. Both rooms were rectangular in shape and about 700 square guants a piece. The rooms were on the top deck and they shared a rectangular skylight that looked out into the night lights of the galaxies. Preston marveled the the raging giants next door every time he rounded the divider side of the room. His hands and face would be smashed against the transparent wall and gawk at the elder youngsters. The toddler kids walked on their own and ran about with amazing 

speed. One of the bigger kids would lob  huge toys across the room and scream at the top of his lungs. The massive antiplasti space ship which had been hurled rebounded off the deck like a spring. It was like watching a barbarian gladiator swag his authority in the ring of a coliseum. This particular barbarians name was Leif and he was fierce little squirt. The halo on Preston's cranium started chiming out all sorts of words. “Woah!, awesome!” it chirped, and Lief could not yet read, but he got the vibe of it. The two boys made eye contact  him for a mere instant and lief reciprocated Preston's simper. The woman  care taker in the other room grabbed the boy and took him to the time out sector for debriefing. One day Preston would be among this group but for now he was happy to be part of the strolling party.

After showing off his stuff and running off some major energy it was one of Preston's favorite times of the day, snack time. There was one other thing he enjoyed more, but it came later on in the afternoon. Mrs. Hatlin Persood got all the children together on the rug next to the kitchen area. All eight children were beginning to wear
down and after a quick burst of carbs, they would be ready to rack out. The children saw the bag of cookies, Preston saw the bag, he knew what it meant. This was the magical bag that brought him cookies for snack time. He popped open his mouth making a smacking ruckus with his tongue, this is something he did quite frequently. The noises waxed something between drums, tooting noises, and a hover cart engaging its thrusters. It almost sounded like bubbles surfacing water in a repetitive rhythm. The children gathered like the cattle around  the farmer, the moos were replaced with giggles guffaws of delight. Calling out sewie might be in order if it were not so taboo to treat the children like animals.

Nap time arrived on the wings of yawns and rubbed eyes, quarter turns of open balms over closed  eye lids signaled immediate departure  into REM. The children layed all over the floor like scattered casualties amidst the war of play and interlude. Mrs. Hatlin pulled up her pad and darkened the transparent wall to pitch black. A playing child on the other side faded out in mid air jump like they had just folded space. The effect was almost Ghostly as the overhead lights dimmed to blackness. A classical piece loaded up on intercom, it was a climactic piece Mrs. Hatlin was especially fond of. Her husband had proposed to her while they were listening to it. He was planet side on Lamex and worked for a relay division of star-trade that handled consumer communication. Preston  lay on his back gazing up at the half dome that looked out into the vast beyond. It seemed as if the entire view magnified and the stars had shifted closer under the easy contrast between blacks, blues, whites, and purples. The light burned an inverted silhouette in the middle of the room as the ship rotated gently towards the starboard . Preston's eyes widened and his pupils constricted as the visual masterpiece unfolded once again. It was so pretty his halo chip simply spit out continuous green periods as if there were no words to describe the beauty. The dome glass trim left a distinct shadow on the floor between the some four square gaunt panes of glassite. Preston was divided between two sections as evident by the shadow across his mid section. He held both hands up to grasp for the burning planets beyond, some gentle gibberish about googioo googio rattled out. The Halo didn’t even try to translate.

The dome of the napping room butted up next to the dorsal fin of the impressive Pardeen. One of the large golden solar sails attached to the aft of the vessel, it was stretched taught and extended beyond view of the playroom. The glimmer of starlight played on the surface like a violin. On this particular day Preston got a bonus for skipping nap time again, Mrs Hatlin gave up on forcing him to sleep as long as he kept quiet. He was on to her game though, as long as his shrieks and giggles did not wake the others he could yodel and square dance if he wanted to. The square dancing would more or less be circular gallivanting in the anti grav walker. 

The special surprise today was splendid, because some thing was out there in space, on the wire rope there was some thing. This thing moved across the one gaunt thick cable that guided the sail. This thing, the white object, it was a “DaDa” chimed the halo, that is to say a man!!! And he was out there, in space, right outside for Preston to look at. The man was holding some equipment, a bag or a case of some kind. It must be cookies for his snack time, and taking a nap out there in the solar wind might get him in trouble with his teacher. Mrs Hartlin was delighted to see him so excited to see the crewman out on the sail.

The maintenance crewman slowly scaled his way up the sail to the anchor post. Sensors were picking up excessive vibration at the dorsal. There was definitely something wrong with the line because it swayed vertically in relation to the roof of the craft. Each wave of the slack in the line took the man for a small rodeo ride, and a white knuckle special was in order. 

“Maintenance to the bridge” clicked the radio as his heavy breathing filled his ears inside the space helmet.

“Go ahead maintenance” The bridge quickly responded to the crackled signal.

“I am getting major slack here, can you confirm the tension at the anchor? 

“Negative Maintenance, we 

have no readings on that end, but the aft section appears stable." The transmission clicked out and the maintenance man continue his climb.

 From Preston's point of view the space man looked like a toy soldier out on a wire. Mrs Hartlin crept over to view the show her student was so avidly enjoying. She pulled her pad up for some snaps of the little one peering out Into space. She kept a journal of all the children's progress along with an extensive media diary. Lamexians were big on establishing the gifts of their children at a young age. Genetic research could only predict so much about a child. It was true that personality traits and mannerisms were passed down from generation to generation. But a child's gifting was a mystery given by the creator, the only way to establish the gift was to watch it unfold. She noted Preston's acute interest in space and his attention to anything technological. It was a constant battle with him to maintain control over her own pad. Preston wanted to see what was going on on that thing. Even in this instance he temporarily gazed up at Mrs Hartlin 

Persood with outstretched hands. The halo blipped "I want, I want, I want" like a flash flood warning.

 "You can't have Mr. cute stuff" she replied coyly with a friendly finger poke in his direction.At times she had given in to his wants because he was just so cute. His charm was being worked overtime to get his way on a daily basis.The moment was halted abruptly as Mrs Hartlins expression went from 

delight to sheer panic. Preston saw the change on her face and his glance tracked over to toy soldier watching again. The little man was still on the wire but the top end of the wire had come loose. Both the wire and man were slingshot ting towards the rear fin of the Pardeen. It looked so peaceful and fun that Preston squealed in delight  and his Halo started broadcasting all sorts of happy things. From their view he moved at a moderate pace and was moving towards the end of the wire quickly. In reality the wire was whipping through his harness at violent speed. The top anchor had given way and the tension on the wire was snaking away from the ship and taking the space walker with it.

"Bridge, I have a serious problem, the aft sail is no longer anchored!!! I am no longer anchored! I'm running out of line!!!" The frantic sound of his voice was haunting over the faint buzz of the air waves.

"Maintenance, we read you, can you lock your safety on the line"!!? The bridge immediately responded.

"Negative Bridge, it's moving way too fast"!!!! His voice was panting in desperation.

The operator on the bridge switched over channels to reach the captain. "Captain we have an emergency on the aft sail with maintenance crew. The main anchor line broke free and he cannot tie down to the cable, we are losing him"!

Captain Tom Viegard was sitting in his cabin when the call came through. He quickly jumped out of his chair knocking his cup off coffee to the deck. He bolted to the console and clicked back to the bridge. His thick German style accent barked over the channel like cold steel. 

"Bridge, tell him to divert power to his mag boots"! He gripped the console waiting for response.

The bridge joined channels between the captain and the maintenance man.

Preston and Mrs Hartlin watched as the man snapped back on the wire like a fishing lure. He slid back to the top of the cable and the entire cable and man began to aggressively swing upward over the fin like a sling and stone. What slack was left in the cable could be seen until the deceleration of the free weight tightened under the strain of the ships cruising speed.

Predation blipped out over his halo "uh oh" Mrs. Hartlin did not even notice the response, her expression  was somewhere between shock and awe at what had just transpired. She had lost a cousin to a space walk at port ramuel several years prior so this experience hit home.

The bridge quickly relayed the message and it took the maintenance man a second to get where this was going. The huge cable rolled past him like a metallic python headed for lunch. He flipped open his control panel on the left arm. 

"Bridge, diverting power now, I hope this works"!! He exclaimed as he clumsily pounded at the arm terminal. The attachment holding him to the cable might as well have been a hoola hoop. There was zero resistance against the constant flow of steel through it. If he were able to get a hold of it, there was the danger that the cable would smash him against the steel skin of the Pardeen. The only safe salvation would be a gradual safety tie after initial inertia of whip lash had de energized from the strand. The power transfer completed in a jot and his feet locked on throwing him a upon the cable. His body was battered and bounced upon the variation of bends and twists. The force of the mag boots connecting forced the maintenance man into a tip toe position with the harness anchor pulled up into his chest. Smoke rolled out from his feet and the temperature amped up inside the suit.

With a final jerk he was now stationary on the dangling line. He deactivated his magboots and wrapped his arms around the gargantuan life line. Shock had settled in and an icy death grip was wielded by the astronaut. The flowing sheets of sail closed in all around like a drifting cocoon.

Preston saw something flash past the dome shortly after the upheaval. There was someone else out there clambering on the back of the ship. It was a droid following after the mess of debris in the wake of the ship. The footsteps of its magnetic feet made a ting sound on the rigid surface. The movement was rhythmic in sequence, perfectly timed between the fast strides. Why wouldn't Klax run in such a way, to do anything else would be unnatural to his program. 

He hacked in to the bridges communication with members of an away team that were planning the rescue already. "Bridge this is Klax, I'm in route to retrieve your member in distress. Please be ready to receive us at the sample port.

The bridge crewman did a double take at the interruption by the Brittish sounding stranger on the com. "I'm sorry, who is this? And did you say the sample port"? 

Klax did not always pick up the subtleties of human interaction. His interpretation was that this person did not understand what was communicated. "I am Klax, the war droid in charge of infant nursery operation. And yes we will be at the sample bay." He said it like the whole statement made sense as a matter of fact. Instead it sounded as if he were as mad as a space miner.

The bridge held the com open with a pregnant pause."Uh......ok." He was totally lost in regards to what he should follow up with. A hand full of people were gathered on the bridge after all the excitement had started. They were mostly scratching heads and giving each other  bewildered looks.

Klax reached the end aft section and stopped shy of the sheer metal cliff that led to a infinity, and beyond. Surveying the cluster in the ship's wake, he saw the swirling orange fabric aglow. The sun glinted off the various creases, and shed shards of light in all directions. The courageous droid ran some final calculations to get his bearings on how to approach his endangered target. There was one shot at this,  and if he missed he might be adrift in space forever, literally. For him it would not be death, but playing chess against himself for the next two months before sputtering out was not on his bucket list. Space walks were notoriously dangerous and there was a probability for failure here. The most famous astronaut of all time went missing on the very first solar voyage a hundred cycles prior. Walkeen Arlington had been on space walk when something went terribly wrong. Neither he, his sterling crew, or the legendary ship were ever seen again. On Lamex he was a hero in history, and many ambitious expeditions went looking for his vessel. Each one was fruitless but the obsessed relentless pursuit was a past time for many well known explorers. A handful of space mummies had been recovered from the pitch, but for everyone found there are a hundred still on their journey in zero G. 

Klax released his maglocks and took the leap of faith. He sped down the road of metal line and slid under the folds of sail swallowing the maintenance man. After making contact he plucked the terrified man from his security. The robot lifted a shiny silver canister in his left hand and popped the seal like a wine bottle releasing a propane gas. He activated the tractor net, and the propane acted as a homing device for the colorful green force field that scooped them from the blackness. On a sea sailing vessel this would be the fishing net. But where space lacked the fish, it had a wide and rare variety of gasses, rocks, and minerals to be collected, studied, and sold. The catch of the day was one grateful crying space man, and a more valuable than yesterday robot.

As the net pulled in the two overboard ship citizens, the bridge went ballistic with cheers. The heroism and salvation had severed the wall of tension and left a warm welcoming party running to the sample cargo bay to congratulate and celebrate. 

Preston and Mrs. Hartlin now looked out at an unhindered view of space from the napping observatory. The view was beautiful and now uneventful.

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