Summer Sleeps in Winter Orbit

It had been three weeks and Mars High Orbit still just felt wrong. The sensors all checked out. Gravity was right, air mix was good, temperature was fine. Still something undefinable felt off. Maybe it was the fact that Mars was such an industrial world, not bound by the same rules that made Earth’s various orbital unions so clean and beautiful. Mars orbit was riddled with riffraff trade ships, derelict stations, various debris that formed a sort of muddy ring around the once red planet.

His name was Baker and he had another three weeks to wait until Mars was in the right position for him to start back towards Earth. Orbiting Mars was like being in one of those month long winters in cities near Earth’s poles he read about. He could quite shake the feeling of being cold, no matter how much he fiddled with the environmental controls.

As much as he hated the orbit, he couldn’t go down to Mars to sleep anyhow. Too expensive, too foreign, too crowded, too scary. His little ship was his home, anyway. His womb, his world. 90 meters long by 10 meters wide, split into three even 30 by 10 meter sections. Control and Engineering in the front, Sleep and Entertainment in the middle, and in the back was Food and Medical as well as Waste.

It was in that aft section that “she” waited.

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Science Fiction/Erotica – The Long Run

I was 20 cycles old when I got my first ship. My father did “The Long Run” just before I was born. Ten years from Mars high orbit to various mining colonies and then on to Io and back. He missed my early childhood, but came back with one million credits.

I always wanted to make the long run. There was a certain devotion it took and a certain respect you got if you made it, plus the money of course. As much as I longed for the money and the adventure I was also afraid. There were these nightmares, dreams where I was out there in the inky blackness alone. I’m in a walksuit and I have enough oxygen and water for a few days, but I am out in the big black, the space between the edge of the Asteroid Belt and Jupiter. Hundreds of millions of kilometers from any outpost. Not even a remote chance of being saved.

That’s why I vowed never to go up alone.

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