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   Chapter 20 No.20

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5050

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

His line of thought had drifted to the specific tinkering he had in mind when the universe began to assert itself again. When everything dropped down to the sort of speeds physics intended, he was approaching the orbit of a planet he didn't recognize. It hadn't been on the initial flight plan, after all, so suddenly seeing it show up was a little like waking up in a hotel room and forgetting he wasn't home.

"Betsy? Remind me where I am."

"Entering the gravity well of Sigma Six. Colloquially known as Big Sigma. It is a--"

"That'll do, Betsy. The trash heap."

Lex didn't know the history of the planet. It should at this point be clear that he was not a man of penetrating curiosity. "Trash heap, " though, was probably as close a description to the planet's actual role as any. It was visible on the viewer as a grayish blob. There was nothing wrong with the visual. The planet just looked like that. Junk of every size and description cluttered the orbital space in a shroud so thick it was difficult to make out the surface features. If nature had anything to do with it, that trash cloud would settle into a ring, clump together into a few moons, or come crashing down. Instead, something kept it spread in a uniform, jumbled layer of filth.

It wasn't populated, but it did have some sort of salvage facility. That was probably what kept the junk cloud so fresh, a steady stream of haulers dumping wreckage from high orbit in exchange for a few spare credits, or just to avoid the fines assoc

smart thing to do would be to give up and follow orders. True, he was not technically, at the moment, breaking the law. In the few minutes at the beginning of his flight when he was in VC controlled space, he had been, and in the final few minutes when he entered it again, he would be, but right now he was in the clear. They had no proof of the brief moments of criminality. Thus if he did get away, though he would look suspicious as hell, there would be no legal action that could be levied against him.

He considered his next course of action. The consequences of giving in right now would be a fine that would bankrupt him, a permanent suspension of his interstellar flight license and thus livelihood, and a black mark on his record. The consequences of trying to get away and failing were either a bigger fine and jail time--or a fatal crash. Lex popped a fresh stick of gum in his mouth, cranked the engines back up, and dipped down into the cloud of debris.

He didn't really have a choice.

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