Titan – excerpt

Below is a small snippet of the book I will never finish…. Let me know what you think. Of course its a SciFi book, what else would I write about. I just write for fun so be gentle.

 

Titan – Search

There was a time when days like this were welcome, that time was long past. He could still remember them, sitting by the window, reading a good book. But there was no time for that anymore. His first objective today was to find her. There was no telling how long it would take or what he would do if he did. It wasn’t like he could just walk outside and start yelling out her name. His display showed the rain outside to be forty percent acidic and the rad levels had spiked overnight when the storm moved in. Despite all the efforts in the last twenty years the transformation was still an unsteady process.

After getting his gear on and checking the storm patterns in his display he stepped outside and headed down the street. He could see other people milling about in there homes, some even heading out in the weather as well. Even with a storm this size people still had to get food, head to work. Some things will never change he guessed. While wondering how long people had been chasing this routine he managed to stop and look down each ally way, into the windows of each shop. Would there come a day when mankind could just live, without all the complications. What would a dogs life be like or a birds for that matter.

There were bags of trash lining each separation of homes and the rain was starting to melt through. When this was over he would have to take this up with sanitation. If the rains became anymore acidic it would eat through all the recyclable materials in town. As he made his way into the central market he could hear the transit tubes roaring ahead. There was no stopping the daily ritual, even in this place, in this weather.

What worried him most was the time, there was never enough. She should have arrived on yesterdays first tube. He had waited for the second, then the third, before he knew it the last one of the day had come and gone and there was no sign of her. He would have to take the first one out this morning and head into the city. During the transit he would trace her last few calls, locate each one within the grid and try to pick up any other bread crumbs she may have left. She wasn’t answering her display, that part had not started to worry him until late in the day yesterday. The tubes were about the only place on Titan were connections were spotty for calls. Data never seemed to be  problem which worried him even more. She could have easily sent a text only message, but even his had gone unanswered.

While he had his display tracking the last three calls and building a que of possible routes he glanced out the tube at the ocean. For the last twenty years the ocean had slowly been changing from a sheet of frozen methane with a liquid underneath to a nice green slush of semi-frozen algae. The green stuff was eating away at the methane and slowly building up carbon dioxide and oxygen. There was enough to breathe the air now but there was also a nasty side effect. When the algae died off it combined with the liquid methane and created a toxic gas that collected in the clouds. This in turn gave them the acidic rain. The temperatures were still way to cold for the average human to survive. Only those with specific gene therapies could handle up to negative 300 below. The terrain outside went black as they entered the hillside, it snapped him away from the glass.

The display had been blinking, trying in vane to get his attention. There were three possible places to start his search and the last one sent a chill down his spine, the elevator. There was no reason for her to be anywhere near it. There was only one thing to do, start with the first location and move methodically to the next. In his gut he knew were he would wind up.

Marcus owned the small cafe on the first level of the Mecor building, her last call had come from here. It was a spot they stopped at frequently when in the city, as regulars Marcus had said already confirmed she was there the other day, even remembered that she sat at the counter instead of the usual spot. There had been two other girls with her, much younger, one heavy and one thin. Thats was all the info that Marcus could remember, it was three days ago. As he strolled in and glanced around at each guest he noticed two baristas working the line and Marcus talking to a local fuzz.

No one would ever call them fuzz to there face, even though they liked the term. There face plates were designed to hide there identity and mask there voice, making there features blurred and there speech deep and off in a way that unnerved anyone. He filtered out all the back ground noise and sat down in a booth. They were talking about two missing girls, one was very heavy, that was there only descriptive. It was a hard one to miss, food here was plentiful but the meds everyone had to take to keep the rads at bay meant it was almost impossible to gain weight. If you managed to pay for the genetics needed to make rads a non issue, the side effect was a much higher metabolism. All this meant was that there were no heavy people on Titan, she wasn’t from here and had not been here long, less than year.

He had his display order a tall peppermint mocha, extra shot. Back home he would have made it a skinny, she would have made him anyway. Searching the elevator records his display gave him fourteen possible matches of a heavier set women. The range was from yesterday back one year from today. It was to many to pick through. The fuzz would have already done this and the fact that they were here in person talking to Marcus, not good. They would be recording or streaming his responses, facial ticks, respiratory cues, body temperature and half a dozen other tells. What he couldn’t figure was if there was anything for him to tell, he would have told him already.

Outside the rain had stopped and for a moment he imagined seeing a blue sky when the clouds parted. The clouds were thick here and would keep getting thicker. There was no telling how warm they could actually get Titan, no matter, the warmer it gets the more gas is released from the ground. One possible scenario was that we would get a tan colored sky on the side facing Saturn with an endless deep orange night on the other. The light from the sun would never be enough no matter how much of the haze was removed.

It would be something to see one day, to look up as the sky opened for the first time. The rings would be the first you noticed here, a huge boomerang shape in the sky with Saturn shining and spinning behind. The light from Saturn would seem blinding as first, hard to get used to actually. Then the first real night would come as Titan swung behind its parent for a full fifteen days and twenty two hours. They may be able to breathe the air even now, but they would always need greenhouses for the food.

The fuzz were finishing there interview with Marcus when his attention came back from the window. The coffee was nice and hot on his lips, the sting still on his tongue when he got up and walked over. Marcus gave hime a nod and headed to the back room. He never skipped a beat just followed him right in. He did notice that one of the fuzz stopped at the door and made a scan of him, as if just noticing that there was some one else in the cafe.

“Ray, wondered when you would stop in, good timing by the way.” Marcus said as he pulled out a blue and switched it on.

“Why would they come here?” Ray asked as he took a seat across the small room from Marcus.

Their conversation only lasted about five minutes when his display lit up again. It notified him that the heavier set lady had come down the elevator yesterday but had also taken it up three days ago.

“Did the fuzz have a name on the heavier set woman or her partner?”

“Nope, no name, but hey had a photo. Just sent it.” With a flick of his eye, Marcus’s display sent up the last incoming message, from the fuzz named Ricardo, and forwarded it on to Ray.

It took his display a few seconds but there was a match. How could someone go up the elevator, come back down two days later and the fuzz not have a name?

“Marcus, I know you have a copy, no more stalling me, I watched you lie to the fuzz, they didn’t know it. They will figure that out in few hours after some one looks at there recording.

“Its illegal to tap into surveillance and keep copies, even as shop owners man. Why would I risk my license for…”

He cut him off mid sentence, pulled out his small pistol and used it to scratch his temple. He made a grimace as if he had just heard the most absurd joke. Then starred straight at Marcus, right in the eyes. Marcus had known Ray for about four years now and apparently had never been able to figure him out. He could see in his eyes he did now. No matter what happened now, Marcus would cooperate.

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