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   Chapter 48 No.48

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5168

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

Unlike Tessera, Operlo wasn't exactly filled to the brim with bustling industry and vast urban centers. The planet was practically deserted--and, for that matter, practically a desert. A bit larger than the planet Earth, it had a population in the millions, scattered mostly along two liveable belts near each of the poles. The rest of the planet had surface temperatures that weren't quite high enough to make human life impossible, but they did make it miserable. All of that sun made for cheap, plentiful solar power, though.

The construction company's headquarters and shipping hub was located about three hundred miles north of a cluster of solar collectors, right at the Southern Fringe of the Northern Habitable Zone. As an illustration of the general lack of personality on the part of the city planners during Operlo's development, those weren't geological terms; they were the actual names on the map. The full address of the receiving building was "685 East 45.5554 Longitude Drive, Southern Fringe, NHZ." Not a community of poets.

He brought down the DAR in the shipyard, which, despite the fact there didn't seem to be any workers about, seemed to be a fairly popular destination. Virtually all of the dusty, concrete landing pads were occupied by ships that looked a little too new and a little too expensive to be parked at a sun-bleached construction site. An automated system latched various mooring lines in place, but, for the moment, Lex wasn't interested in going anywhere.

The sun, beating down on a dusty landscape cov

out the whole situation as it was by the heat. Finally, second banana piped up.

"That's one of those big projects. They say he has to talk to that second-tier number cruncher in the west end, " GreenMeat said.

"Heh! Aren't they getting audited? Security or something? Man, do I love when the pencil jockeys screw the pooch!" Hoss said gleefully, "Okay, you see that complex w-a-a-a-a-ay on the other side of the shipyard?"

Lex squinted until he could just make out a dark patch of wavy desert heat between the rows of ships and hovercars.

"Yeah, I think so, " he said, not entirely convinced it wasn't a mirage.

"Go in there, show the hardass at the desk the manifest, and ask for shipping accounts, " Hoss instructed, wedging himself alongside GreenMeat in the glorified golf cart.

"That's like two miles away, and there aren't any closer parking spots. Could you give me a lift?" Lex asked.

"Yep, " replied Hoss.

He then promptly rode the cart away in the wrong direction, laughing a greasy little laugh.

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