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   Chapter 81 No.81

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5717

Updated: 2018-01-19 19:02

Lex looked at the sleek black vessel and thought back to the short, intense flight that seemed like it had happened weeks ago.

"It isn't Betsy, but it's definitely in the same family. Sort of the next generation. How about Son of Betsy?"

"Sounds good to me. By the power vested in me, I hereby christen this ship Son of Betsy, " he said, heaving his empty beer bottle at the ship. As it shattered, he fired off a salute. "The mighty S.O.B."

"Wait, it doesn't sound good when you say it like that, " Lex objected.

"Too late. Already threw the bottle."

"In order to be in position to utilize any identified windows quickly, it is advised that you launch S.O.B. as soon as possible, " Ma stated.

Grumbling, Lex climbed into the ship. What was it with him and nicknames?

"Try very hard not to die!" Karter called after him. "And if you do get killed, make sure to use your dying breath to convince someone to send me the field data from those devices!"

The system start procedure began, Lex ticking a mental checklist for each step. As he did, Ma's voice sounded over the communicator.

"Your ship is fully fueled, optimally cooled, and lubricated. A full system check reads all parameters nominal. A twenty-one day supply of water and MRE rations has been stowed in the cockpit-accessible storage, and your programmable transponder has been repaired and reinstalled, complete with a refreshed complement of ship codes, including numerous up-to-date police and emergency values. Karter was able to determine and replicate your means of activation and deactivation, and your hidden sub-menu has been given an overhaul in order to increase usability, legibility, and responsiveness."

"You did

d keep track of him, he did three more jumps.

The process took about half a day, and thanks to the almost unbelievably powerful engines he was now sporting, it covered an impressive amount of space. With the paranoia gods appeased, he began his mission in earnest.

The first stop was a populated planet--it didn't matter which one--to drop off a message and a bribe to ensure its delivery. Trying to communicate effectively without dragging any new people into this mess was a tricky puzzle to work out, but he and Ma had decided that if he kept the message short, deeply encrypted it, and sent it along with a short, unencrypted message including a hint as to what password could access it, then gave it to a stranger to send, and made sure it wasn't sent while he was on-planet, then, at the very least, it wouldn't get caught by their network sniffers. It also might not get to the intended recipient, depending on how dependable the stranger was, or if the person on the other end couldn't figure out the password, but for this portion of the plan, "making things better" fell well behind "not making things worse" in importance.

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