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   Chapter 12 No.12

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5014

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

About a third of the way through the trip, the motors approached their top speed and the acceleration started to drop, the gravity going along with it. Lex grabbed one of the hand rails scattered liberally along the walls and pivoted himself upside-down with a yawn. Artificial gravity was possible, but it was a much larger and more expensive process, so the elevator and most small ships did without. A warning light began to blink on a panel, and the readout listing motor status switched from "Powered" to "Regenerative Breaking." The gravity came back, though this time on the ceiling, and he took a seat on one of the chairs that seemed so out of place at the beginning of the trip. Barely three minutes after he'd left the surface, the gravity drifted away again and the tram clicked into the docking section of The Upstairs.

"Hey! T-Lex!" said the orbiting counterpart of the squeaky teen.

"Just Lex, thanks. Heading to Blake's. Ignore the tux."

"You said it, T-Man!"

Lex grumbled. There were a lot of people up here that he'd had semi-professional ties with back when he was a C-list celebrity, so it still came as a thrill to them when he showed up. They were having an even harder time adjusting to his fall from grace than he'd had. For the first few dozen visits, it had been like having salt in an open wound to hear them ask what starlets he'd been partying with, but now it was just background noise. If zero-G and working in orbit could become humdrum, what chance did a few

u were) was once the ship of choice for chasing down smugglers, but that had been many years ago. Ironically--or, perhaps, inevitably--they'd become the ships of choice for smuggling just as soon as they'd started to show up on the used market. They weren't well-favored for either, these days. There were faster alternatives.

He'd found this one in a salvage yard and picked it up for next to nothing. Then he'd gone to work on it. A pair of engines from a second scrapped CA2I were grafted onto the rear, along with a pair from something he hadn't been able to identify. Stuck between the two massive banks of engines was the power plant from a full-sized freighter. The result was a ship that was about eighty-five percent propulsion system. It was a stack of engines with a place to sit. Not pretty, not graceful, but fast.

"She might have a little junk in the trunk, " he said, pointing to the preposterous cluster of engines, "but that's the way Daddy likes it."

"It looks like crap."

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