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    53 KB A Guide to Heinlein: Part 4. Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:17 No.11894464  
    Evening Gentlemen. Continuing from where we last left off with our story from the past several nights.

    Part 1. http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/11829913/
    Part 2. http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/11841933/
    Part 3. http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/11881463/

    Let me preface this chapter of our tale with backtracking to the introduction for Chapter 8. I didn't feel that it worked well with that chapter, as frankly, each chapter introduction has had at least some way of tying in with the tale told in that chapter.

    Since the introduction to chapter 8 talked more about interstellar relations which had nothing really to do with the story in that chapter, I went back and moved that chapter heading up to use for chapter 9 and wrote a new introduction for chapter 8.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:18 No.11894475
    For the sake of continuity, here is the introduction to chapter 8.

    Chapter Eight

    Throughout the diaspora from Earth, societies and cultures once thought domed to absorption or eradication have made a somewhat surprising resurgence. While the vast majority of ancient tribes from Earth were never able to initiate a planetary colonization singly; several cultures were saved from the dust bin of history by those very cultures who had once endangered losing large portions of their population to various colonization efforts.

    Earth, once the cradle of humanity became a cradle for ancient cults, sects, and tribes long thought to have cease existence. Eventually, several of these groups grew tired of arguing and fighting over the same ancient territories that had been fought over for centuries and began to turn their gaze to the stars as well.

    One of the final waves of colonization that left Earth was made up of these smaller groups finally leaving to claim to claim new homes for themselves away from ancient enemies and oppressors. The mere thought of never again having to relive the ancient conflicts between one another pushed those final few hold outs to finally begin taking their place amongst the interstellar branches of humanity.

    Humanity being what it is, those passage of time and distance has done little to assuage the ancient hatreds however.
    *Excerpt from Visiting Humanity in the Stars, Brinkley Publishing, Heinlein, 2620 edition.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:19 No.11894481
    And now, without further ado, I present to you Chapter 9 in it's entirety.

    Chapter Nine

    Chairman of the Terran Conglomerate, the Honorable Xing Chang Yao leveled accusations of piracy and cultural desecration at a number of the highly disorganized stellar explorers recently. Citing recent flooding of the artifact and antiquities market of items of non-human origin, Xaing Chang Yao has ordered increased patrols in newly discovered planetary systems and strict enforcement of the Conglomerate's edict against any exploration of dead civilizations same it's own.

    Two systems, newly discovered by those same stellar explorers who Xiang Chang Yao labeled as criminals have been found to bear ruins with striking similarities to the ruins in both the Castor and Sirius systems. Extensive looting of Conglomerate preservation areas however have tainted several of the ruins in ways that make scientific determination of exact age or indeed why the sites are now uninhabited nearly impossible.

    The unknown discoverers of these sites may have attempted another “Sirius Skull” hoax, as the Conglomerate scientists have stated that inside one largely undisturbed structure a human femur was discovered. While carbon dating of the femur places it's age at somewhere between 17,000 and 15,000 years of age, lettering etched into the bone in modern English leveled insults at several prominent Conglomerate politicians.
    *Excerpt from Visiting Humanity in the Stars, Brinkley Publishing, Heinlein, 2620 edition.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:21 No.11894494
    * * *

    Nate grunted as he slowly pulled Williams overly heavy form out of the poorly lit doorway into which it had fallen and back into the well lit warehouse. After several minutes of struggling to bring the fallen former marine to one of the many cargo crates he gave up and leant William up against the wall instead. His medical knowledge sorely lacking, Nate did a basic check of William; seeing that William still had a heartbeat, albeit a rapid one, and that he still drew breath Nate sat back against the crate he had been pulling William towards and sighed.

    “Now what the hell do I do?” Nate asked rhetorically as he crinkled his nose at the burned pork scent that filled the warehouse.

    Nate nervously lifted the pack that William had collapsed across with a glance at unconscious psychopath that lay nearby; he opened it and began to sort through it's contents.

    Apart from the ammunition blocks for Williams mag rifle, and small tools that Nate took to be designed for fine adjustment of the rifle's inner workings Nate despaired at finding anything which would be of use in reviving the badly hurt marine. Finally, after nearly clearing the pack of it's contents he came upon a small metal container similar to the one that William had given him while they were inside the maintenance tunnel.

    Tearing open the package he found what appeared to be identical contents to the package William had given him to use when they were in the maintenance tunnel.

    Setting the package and tabs down, he broke the top from the glass ampoule and shuffled over to beside William; he gently tilted the unconscious mans head back and poured the contents down his throat before scooting his way back to the cargo container he had left a moment before.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:22 No.11894499
    Nate cringed visibly as William's eyes sprang open wide; his pupils dilated so far that they seemed to swallow the very whites of his eyes. His teeth snapped together audibly as William sprang to his feet and jerked Nate to his feet by a crushing grip on his throat.

    “What did you do?” William barked as bits of saliva flicked across Nate's face. “SPEAK UP!?”

    “Ampoule.” Nate struggled helplessly in the crushing grasp of the madman before finally managing to croak the single word.

    William flung Nate aside as he stepped over to the opened pack on the floor. His eyes flashed across the ripped open packet that previously held the ampoule that now rested empty beside it before rounding back on Nate.

    “You gave that to me?” William said through gritted teeth as he stalked over to where Nate lay. “Is that what you did?”

    “Yes.” Nate said softly as he covered his head as best he could in anticipation of another expertly delivered beating at the hands of his mercurial tormentor. “I just wanted to help you.”

    William paused as he reached down with clawed hands at where Nate huddled on the floor. Nate caught a quick glance up at William's enraged face and noticed, almost in abstract that the veins in Williams neck were pulsing visibly.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:25 No.11894522
    “Nate.” William said as he restrained himself with some difficulty from tearing the smaller man apart. “Something to remember. Stimulant psychosis is not your friend; don't ever give amphetamine to someone with altered genetics.”

    “I'll try to remember that.” Nate said with a quiver in his voice. “Can I get back up now, or are you going to hit me again. Because if you are, it'll be much easier for me to just stay here rather than falling down again.”

    William nudged Nate none-to gently with his boot.

    “Get up. I want to kill something, but it won't be you. We need to leave before the rest of them get back. T'chonga may be dead but that won't stop some enterprising soul from coming here and starting trouble.” William said as he scooped everything that Nate had carefully laid out back into the pack.

    Nate uncovered his head and warily stood back up.

    “You always want to kill someone. Is that all you think about? Does it fill your day calender? Do you wake up and just think to yourself “HMM! I'm awake, time to kill!”?” Nate asked bitterly as he followed William out the door of the warehouse.

    “No.” William said as he stepped down the dimly lit alley that led to the street. “Do you wake up and think to yourself “It's time to start pestering William with useless and inane questions again, Goodie!”?”

    “Don't avoid the question! Why the hell are you like this?” Nate asked with some iron in his tone.

    “Shut up.” William said to a surprised Nate who found himself slammed back first into the exterior wall of the warehouse. “You aren't me, you've not led my life, you haven't earned the right to ask me stupid damned questions.”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:27 No.11894533
    William shook Nate hard, knocking the back of his head into the ferrocrete wall.

    “Think for a minute, do you even begin to comprehend our situation or do you just use your head for a counterweight? We are being pursued by probably every security company on this godforsaken rock you call a planet, we have no friends who can help us, we don't have any money, and of the two people who could have helped us get off this rock one is dead, and the other is in hiding” William snarled into Nate's face; scant inches separated the two of them and Nate could see that William's eyes were still dilated.

    “No. You're wrong.” Nate said as he tried to project a sense of calm self assuredness while he fought the urge to scream down. “You have no friends who can help us. All you have done is kick me, choke me, and drag me around from one crazy bastard to another on a wild goose chase that has done nothing other than gotten me hurt!”

    Nate pushed the hand away from his shoulder and stepped forward into Williams rage.

    “In fact, the only thing you have done is managed to keep killing people and torturing me!” Nate stared William in the eye for perhaps the first time. “You're a psychopath! You said that this was all my fault, that's crap and you know it! I didn't ask for all those people to die, just Resnick! You killed all of them because that is all you know how to do, you aren't any good at anything else other than killing people! Oh sure you are great at that, probably the best killer that mankind has ever seen, but you can't even ask for help without threatening someone or killing people!”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:28 No.11894538
    William stepped back as pace as Nate poked him in the chest with one finger.

    “And now that you managed to drag me along in this because you can't be bothered to NOT kill other people,” Nate raged. “You expect me to just shut up as you try to find some way to save your own ass without even bothering to ask me if there is anything I can do other than be your own personal whipping boy!”

    “Are you done yet?” William asked calmly.

    “I... guess.” Nate shook with unchecked emotion. “Yeah, I'm done.”

    “Good.” William said before punching Nate in the mouth and knocking him to the ground once again.

    William knelt down beside the fallen Nate and extended his hand to him.

    “You're right you know.” William said. “And just this once, I'm going to apologize to you. I haven't asked you anything because I assumed you didn't know anything useful to getting us out of here. I'm sorry for not asking you.”

    “What about for punching me in the face?” Nate mumbled through the hand he held over his mouth.
    “Are you sorry for that too?”

    William shook his head.

    “Of course not, don't be stupid.”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:29 No.11894547
    Nate shook his head ruefully as he took Williams hand and his assistance in standing back up.

    “You have a strange way of apologizing to people.” Nate said as William patted him on the shoulder.

    “I try to avoid it.” William said as the two of them began walking once more.

    “What, punching people in the face?” Nate asked as he rubbed his mouth gingerly.

    “No, not that.” William said as they finally emerged back onto the street. “Apologizing to people.”


    * * *
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:32 No.11894561
    The two of them made their way through the colony without another word said for quite some time. Eventually their silent trek ended as a moderately tall habstack. William keyed the electronic building lock and opened the door so that they could enter.

    The interior of the habstack entrance was unassuming. Two banks of grav lifts filled one side of the entrance, the other side holding a doorway that led to an emergency stairwell and an occupied desk.

    William led the two of them to one of the grav lifts and stepped inside. He made a level selection and the two of them rode in uncomfortable silence to the seventh level.

    “Make a left.” William said as they exited the lift and made their way down the narrow corridor inset with hab doors.

    William stopped at the fourth door, pressed his thumb to the electronic lock and opened the door of the tiny hab.

    As Nate made his way inside William closed the door and dumped his pack and rifle on a small table beside the entrance before crossing the room and opening a lifting open a storage closet door. Nate sat on the single chair in the room as William began lifting several wrapped objects out of the closet.

    “Come here and take these.” William said as he tossed one of the packages to Nate.

    Nate stood back up and with three steps stood beside William as he was handed two more packages before William closed the door.

    “This way.” William said as he led Nate into the small kitchenette of the hab and began putting the packages on the table in the center of the room. “Pull the incinerator over here if you would.”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:33 No.11894565
    “It wouldn't hurt you to say please every once in a while.” Nate muttered under his breath as he pulled the small boxy shaped incinerator to where William indicated before he sat down across in the other chair at the table.

    William began splitting the monoplast wrapping on the first package and tossing pieces of it into the incinerator. As he unwrapped the first package, Nate finally saw the small bundle of chits it held and whistled through his teeth.

    “There's gotta be almost ten thousand marks there!” Nate said as the contents of the package was fully unwrapped. While the amount wasn't one he would have really noticed a week prior, with everything he had lost it seemed huge.

    “It's a lot less than that.” William said as he started unwrapping the second package. “Less than half of them are marks, the rest are Terran Yuan.”

    “Oh.” Nate said in a much more subdued tone. The value of the Terran Yuan was less than a quarter that of the Coalition Mark. With a less productive economy, the Yuan had depreciated in value significantly over the years as several planets and corporations left the Terran Conglomerate. “So, how much is it?”

    William sighed as he glanced at the money sitting on the table while he discarded the second wrapper into the incinerator.

    “About four thousand give or take.” said William as he pushed the box the wrapper had revealed across the table to Nate. “You better take this for now. I'll get the rest of these unwrapped in a moment.”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:37 No.11894588
    And I better make a note here for those following this story. I decided that using the term "cred" or "credit" for one of the two major currencies was both overdone and horrible. So I decided to retroactively change it in the story. Yes I went back and edited the new name in for the money.

    I toyed with creating some new form of currency out of whole cloth but I decided against it however. Using a name that people are more likely to recognize yet have to think about as opposed to something like Solar Dollar or Coalition Credit sounds better.

    Hence the change from the Coalition Credit, or Col Cred, to Coalition Mark, and just Mark or Marks for short.

    >>however changes

    Impressive captcha, you actually knew what I was going to say this time.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:38 No.11894598
    Nate undid the small clasp on the fauxwood box and lifted the lid gently. Inside, nestled carefully in the cloth lining of the box rested a moderately sized pistol. Nate lifted it carefully from the box and stared at the lethally functional weapon.

    “It's a Centurion Predator. They make these on on Mizar Beta II.” William said as he took the pistol from Nate's grasp. “It's got a triple mag rail setup, a small thermal holoimaging sight system, and if you hit them right places it can crack thin layers of ceramite armor.”
    William turned the pistol over in his hand and gestured at the base of the grip.

    “The only drawback to the triple mag rail system is the size it takes up. Also it only works with mag rounds of a specific diameter.” William pressed the small tab inset on the grip and the mag block slid out the bottom. “It only holds about fifteen mag rounds however, so no matter what, it can't fire as many times as some other pistols out there before you have to reload.”

    “A mag pistol?” Nate squeaked as William handed the pistol, without the mag block, back to him. While he wasn't a firearm aficionado he knew enough to understand that the pistol William was handing him was of much higher quality than the GPX-7 that he used to own.

    “Yeah.” William said as he removed an identical box from the third wrapper and set it alongside the first on the table. “There's a spare holster and belt in the closet along with some clothes and a spare body sheath. You can go change if you want to, I'll get the rest of these open while you do. Just leave the body sheath alone.”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:39 No.11894602
    Nate set the pistol back in the box and stood up; walked into the other room of the small hab he thumbed open the closet door and began a few items of clothing from the closet across the single person bed. He looked through the limited selection of pants before deciding to stick with the ones he wore; though they were getting rather dirty they at least fit, which none of the rest looked to do. Of the shirts however he selected a long sleeved faded blue tab sealer to replace the torn and bloody uniform shirt he had been wearing.

    Satisfied he carried the shirt back into the small kitchenette and looked over at where William was still stripping monoplast wrapping from a package.

    “Is there a shower here?” Nate asked. “I'd really like a chance to get clean if I can, I feel like I haven't showered in a week, and there I'm getting very intimate with some of the dust we picked up getting here.”

    William nodded absently as he dropped more monoplast into the incinerator. “Just down the hall, it's not very big, but it does the job in a pinch.”

    “Thanks.” Nate said as he turned and left the room.

    * * *

    When Nate returned to the kitchenette after his shower he felt almost like his old self again. He had taken a moment to put his pants into the small autohamper wile he was showering and felt much better to be both clean and wearing clean clothes. The holster he had found in the closet hadn't fit him without some adjustment, and wearing it on his side felt strange, but he thought it would help his confidence if William insisted on dragging him around and meeting people who wanted to kill them both.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:42 No.11894613
    When he saw the small arsenal that William had laid out on the table he took a step back.

    “Pull up a chair.” William said as he carefully threaded a long rod into the side port of his rifle. “This won't take long, just a few adjustments and I'll be done.”

    “Are we getting ready for a war?” Nate asked as he sat carefully on the only seat available. “I mean, how much of this do you really need?”

    “Not much.” William admitted as the rod finally went into place with a quiet click. “The problem with this place is that it's pretty much a one use stopover. Mr. Vanderkamp has a few of these set up here and in a couple of the other colonies.”

    William closed the port on the rifles barrel and slotted a freshly charged power cell into the capacitor shell in the breech.

    “There we go. Good as new.” Said William as he set the rifle down against the table. “The pistol still in the box is for you, and so is half of the money. I'd recommend taking a few spare mag blocks and an extra power cell with you just to be on the safe side.”

    Nate lifted the pistol from the top of the fauxwood box and slid it carefully into his holster. It sat on his hip and he found the reassuring lethality of it's weight almost comforting considering the day he'd had.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:43 No.11894631
    “There's a replacement pad for you since you left your old one in the sled, and a few more odds and ends that I put in a survival pack for you to carry.” William shrugged. “I know it's not much, but it's the best we can do.”

    “What about the rest of this stuff?” Nate asked as he looked at the small array of lethal hardware before them. “You going to carry all this?”

    “Not hardly, only a piker carries more than he needs.” William snorted. “Most of this is junk, not much better than that GPX-7 you used to have. But some of it, like that pistol you have, and the one I took is high quality hardware. This thing however...”

    William gestured at a black double barreled gun on the table that Nate took to be some type of shotgun.

    “This I'm going to leave up to you. If you are happy with the pistol, we can leave it here. If not, you can figure some way to carry it.” William glanced across the table and moved a small pile of mag round boxes. “I think there may be a strap here somewhere.”

    “No, it's fine.” said Nate as he shook his head. “I'll be fine.”

    “Have it your way.” shrugged William. “I don't know how much good the pistol will do you; I mean it's fairly easy to use, especially with the holoimager, but unless you are willing to use it, it won't do help you any.”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:45 No.11894633
    “I'll be fine.” Nate said. “I don't have to use it, you'll be with me. I'm not sure why but just having it in case I need it makes me feel better.”

    “Good enough.” said William as he stood up. “I'm going to change and then we can figure out how to get the hell out of here.”

    “I've got an idea about that.” said Nate as William left the room. Pitching his voice loud enough to carry into the second room Nate began to push some of the mag round boxes into the carrying pack on the table.

    “I don't know anyone with a ship, or even anyone on a ship. But I do know a guy who works up here. He's one of the contract assignment technicians for Jennings at the port.”

    “The hell does that mean?” Williams voice carried through the wall to Nate. “He some kind of friend of yours?”

    “Well...” said Nate. “Not really, I mean that I know him, and he may help us if we can pay him. Maybe he knows of a ship leaving that we can hitch a ride on?”

    “You don't just hitch a ride kid.” said William a few minutes later as he walked back into the room wearing the new body sheath. “Most ships only carry limited oxygen, additional passengers make it more difficult to make profit for long haulers. We may be able to hitch a ride, but it would probably be as part of the crew.”
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:45 No.11894638
    “And I don't know about you,” William said as he lifted his pack and rifle from where they lay. “But I know exactly nothing about working on any kind of ship.”

    “How did you get to Heinlein then?” asked Nate as he too stood up.

    “Same way I was planning to leave originally, in cryo.” William said as they walked down the hallway to the hab entrance. “Only problem is that cryo takes money, and we don't have enough. Maybe we can appropriate a few cryo containers and get them shipped out with us in them, your friend may be able to help with that.”

    “Maybe.” Nate sounded doubtful as they left the hab and walked back to the grav lifts. “Like I said, he's not a friend, just a guy I used to work with. Does you know anybody else who can help us here?

    William shook his head as the grav lift carried them back to the first floor. “Most of the people I know here are just guys I haven't gotten around to killing yet.”

    “That's your answer to most things isn't it?” Nate said.

    “Trust me on this.” William shrugged as they left the habstack. “Most of the people I know need killing.”

    * * *
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:47 No.11894645
    The trip to the landing port went by quickly for Nate. Most of the pain in his side was finally gone, and nobody gave him much more than a casual glance. He assumed that it wasn't really uncommon for people to walk around armed in the colony where people of different cultures and backgrounds intermingled. The breach in the low slung dome that signified the landing facilities beckoned as they drew close enough to feel the vibration of a landing shuttle.

    “Conley has a workstation in the maintenance facility, which if I remember correctly should be fairly close to the landing zone.” Nate said as they were waved into the port by a lazy gesture of a gate technician.

    “Good. I'll let you do the talking.” said William as Nate pointed a specific building out to him. “Try to keep an eye out for security if you can. We really don't want to be recognized if we can help it.”

    “I'll keep that in mind.” Nate deadpanned while they made their way to the elongated maintenance facility. “You do know that the gate has security vid right? They probably already saw us come in.”

    William shook his head.

    “Not really. This place has a lot of traffic, I doubt that they are checking every face that comes through...” William stopped mid speech as a wailing claxon began to sound. “Shit.”

    They began to run as more alarms started sounding.

    * * *
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)06:54 No.11894684
    There you go /tg/ the entirety of chapter nine. Right around 4100 words and with this section, the entire story, not counting the tech bible, time line, governments, and planets documents pushes the story past the 31000 word point.

    I had hoped to have chapter 10 finished by this time, but I suffered from a nasty dose of writers block today that put a hold on my writing until just a few hours ago sadly. Combine that with being tired and working until midnight as I do means I only got this one chapter written, edited, polished and posted.

    Tomorrow when I get off work I'll be doing the work on chapter 10 editing wise and writing a good deal of it. The small bit of it that I have doesn't flow well and really feels disjointed to me, so I may start over on the chapter utterly, I don't know yet.

    Oh, one interesting tidbit that I feel the need to mention. While most of the people I have shown this to away from /tg/ have really liked it, one of my friends showed it to an acquaintance of his that happens to be a published author.

    Apparently that guy is really digging the story and he sent me an e-mail telling me so. Since his publisher does a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, he told me to polish it more, and once I hit the 50,000 word mark on this he wants me to give him a copy so that he can forward it to his publisher.

    I doubt it will actually go much further than that, but hey, any chance of this thing making me some money and seeing print would be a godsend for me.
    >> Bitter Old Man 08/31/10(Tue)07:06 No.11894759
    And now gentlemen, sleep calls. Oh, and in case anyone is interested...

    circledust (at) that gmail would be a very easy way to contact me if interested or wanting a copies of the files for this story and the various bits of background I have since 1d4chan is still out for the count.

    Good night all!
    >> Anonymous 08/31/10(Tue)07:15 No.11894821
    >I decided that using the term "cred" or "credit" for one of the two major currencies was both overdone and horrible.

    You aren't kidding. It seems like all sci-fi writers that have a story set in the future automatically use "creds" like it's some sci-fi literary law. Like dark ninjas in power armor are going to descend from the roof with grav-boots if you dare use anything else.
    >> Anonymous 08/31/10(Tue)07:33 No.11894945
    Tellurian Trade Area Doubloon is down 6% against the AppleSoft Pfennig.
    >> Anonymous 08/31/10(Tue)07:53 No.11895047

    Or, perhaps, like it's logical to call things by their name.
    >> Anonymous 08/31/10(Tue)08:12 No.11895176
    Why do you assume it's logical to call monetary units "creds"?

    Because it ain't.

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