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11 Thu Feb 12AM


The old teacher spoke while making vigorous gestures, pointing his finger upward and bashing his hand onto the metal table. His words echoed in the empty room while he moved from one side of it to another in fast steps.

"Everything flows. To an untrained eye, the flow can be a simple one-directional movement. There are times where this is really the truth, but... this is the problem with laymen: there are times they are right."

He grabbed the table with his fingers and stopped, steadily staring the wall as if thinking about what he just said. Or maybe just putting together his thoughts before continuing with the same emphasis.

"As I said, everything flows. Being able to apply this simple law is a virtue very few have. Even fewer reach the understanding of how this applies to life itself."

"But again, there is the complication with the laymen. The flow is an infinite-dimensional movement and we are only able to see, even with the sharpest of the eyes and the best technology, three of those dimensions."

At this point he stopped and turned abruptly, noticing someone behind him. But when he looked, there was no one to be seen there. He moved his eyes slowly from one side of the wall to another, while pressing his lips against each other. Seeing nothing, he wet his lips with his tongue and kept going with his speech.

"Therefore... we are all laymen. No matter how hard we try to understand the flow, we will never understand how it really moves in all its beauty. Still, we can use the flow. Slavery always reaches further than knowledge"

Satisfied with the result of his words but tired after having spoken so much, he sat down in the metal chair next to the wall and turned to the table in the center. He closed his eyes and stayed there, not moving and barely breathing.


The Arrival

When one goes up to the top floor of the port for the first time, seeing the ships arriving is always a big deal. Those immense metal structures moving past you through the reinforced transparent polymer, making a low and deep noise and letting gas escape from small holes in the fuselage from time to time. It is truly a unique experience.

And this is what happened to Sandra the fist time she went to the top floor. She just stare at the ship with eyes open widely. Her hands went involuntarily to the polymer and she felt the low vibrations coming from the gas escapes of the ship. That ship in particular was not a very big one. It was an Explorer class ship. Explorer ships were designed to easily enter dense atmospheres and thus had an extremely aerodynamic design and small, retractile wings.

Sandra was a skinny woman, but you couldn't notice it because of the heavy body armor she wore when she was on duty. It was a white amour that looked heavy and not so strong... but in fact it was very light and could stand a close shot from a high-speed electromagnetic gun. Furthermore, the white color made she look like a part of the port interior, all white and very bright, specially designed to make people feel safe and comfortable. At least in the top floor.

The cargo bays of the port where not as bright as the top floor. In fact they were darker than the average bedroom, as the port managers felt "it isn't necessary to have nice illumination where you have no passengers". And this was where Sandra worked most of the time. Her job was to keep clandestine immigrants from arriving in the cargo bays, if necessary by throwing them into outer space, where their body fluids would evaporate due to the lack of positive pressure.

Sandra's day started as all her other days. Wake up, eat canned fish (no one knows how much fish there really is in canned fish), dress up with the help of Beep and get the first morning orbital flight to the port. But when she got at the workers door and her intercom came online she got a message from her boss, Emily, who wanted to talk to her. Sandra thought "Fried Chameleon, Okay" and immediately Emily's face appeared in the inside of her helmet. She said

"Sandra, today you are going to do security on the gate twelve-o-three. I've sent you the security plan for up there."

Sandra wasn't the type of person who talks much, so she just said

"Sure, boss!"

and thought "Fried Chameleon, Close" to end the video call.

Gate numbers in the port were numbered in a floor-gate fashion, so gate twelve-o-three meant first floor, gate two-o-three. Sandra brought up the port map and asked for directions. The computer replied with a soft male voice with an heavy British accent

"Take the first elevator to your right. Go up to the first floor."

She took it and it went up. When the elevator was slowing down, the computer spoke again

"Get out and turn right."

And so she did. She kept walking past the white and high walls of the port, among the passengers until she had walked about six hundred feet, and then the computer said

"Go to the first door to your right. You are here."

She walked past the door and there she was. Gate twelve-o-three.

"Fried Chameleon, bring up the plan."

Her helmet display blinked for a second and suddenly she could see blue spots over the other security personnel. She also saw a flashing yellow spot and went there. That was her spot. She just needed to follow it wherever it went to keep exactly where the plan manager wanted her to be.

At that moment, she saw a small ship approaching through the transparent polymer. It was an Explorer ship. It was the first time she saw a ship that close. It was beautiful. Small holes all over the fuselage made it extremely maneuverable and in the back she could see a deep and a black pit. That was the output of the Flow Reactor used by the ship.



Sandra stood there for a few seconds, contemplating the passing Explorer. She could see its name in the side. It was not a common name. A very unusual name in fact. In the side of the ship she read


and right below she could also read, in shapeless hand painted letters

"Mr. Frog"

Then she heard a beep and saw her spot move away from the window. She followed it, loosing sight of the Mr. Frog. But now she could see a much bigger ship approaching from the other side. It looked like a military ship, because of the black line in the side. That was probably a line of electromagnetic cannons. They shot small iron balls and were not usually used because of the danger of hitting something that wasn't the target, maybe even after several years.

But it wasn't unusual for military ships to orbit around the port. What was unusual was for them to come that close. And it was also unusual to get a READY STATUS massage from the plan manager. Ready status indicated a possible high-profile threat. Sandra thought

"Fried Chameleon, what is the threat for this ready status?"

to what the computer replied

"An unregistered vessel approaches the port, the plan manager has classified it as a possible clandestine vessel. We are trying to make radio contact, but there is no answer so far."

Sandra crouched and moved to her new position, on the side of the air gate. In the other side she could see other three security personnel. She got another message from the plan manager. WEAPONS UNLOCKED this meant that now their electromagnetic handguns were unlocked. She reached hers and pressed the grip, adjusting the gun to single shot mode. Immediately her display showed the predicted impact position, and also some alternate trajectories that could arise from common events, like she being pushed while shooting or shaking her hand. This was a safety measure, designed to make it harder to hit the wrong targets by mistake. She slowly aimed for the center of the gate and thought

"Fried Chameleon, stabilize!"

Two of her colleagues were removing the passengers from the gate. She could hear some of them saying "I paid for my ticked!" or "Anton, I told you this was the worst port of the system. I told you.". People never let them do their job easily.

* *

As usual, Chris was with the most terrible and tedious face one can ever imagine. Maybe she used that face to make people back off, but who knows what is in her mind. What we do know is that at that moment she was typing as slowly as a lizard in the shadow.

Contrary to what most people think, the job I do at the port is not the most interesting one in the world...

and then she posted it into her blog. Very few people still have blogs now days. At least written blogs, people do love vlogs.

She occasionally checked the comms again. Nothing new there.

"This is the most boring job ever.", she thought. While bringing her coffee cup from her lap to her mouth.

Just as she did it, and update was posted to her comms timeline:

ID CHECK: Unidentified Ship #008

she slowly brought up the console and typed

] id 8

after waiting two seconds or so, messages started popping up on the screen

] id 8
Connected. Remote transceiver model: YMMT-0387
Checksum: ok
ID: 0

at this point she started to get upset. An id of zero is not usually good. It probably meant some kind of hardware problem in the ship or in the port, but the checksum was ok, so there was also the possibility the ship did not have an id yet, or it had been deliberately erased.

"Pirates would be fun. At least I could get a bit of action."

But the messages did not stopped there, there was more appearing in the console.

Switching to voice id
Start call? (y/n)

"Dear fucking gosh." she thought. "Why in the bloody hell do I have to get the first damn voice id in the fucking century?".

Presently, she pressed "y" and came closer to the microphone in her desk, saying

"Port One to Unidentified Ship Eight. Identify yourself."

Nothing in response. She waited a few seconds and tried again

"Port One to Unidentified Ship Eight. Identify yourself."

Again, no response at all. She sipped from her coffee and thought

"Well, whoever are these guys they either are having some serious hardware fault or they have no good intentions."

She then marked the id check as fail in her comms timeline and started looking up what kinds of ship used an YMMT-0387. Luckily, just a few. It was a military grade device.

Just as she was in the process of going through it and checking what that ship cold be, a very slow process mind you, Marco popped over her shoulder and said

"Emily wants you there."

"What does she want with me?"

"No idea. And you really shouldn't turn off your comms."

"I turn off whatever I want. And I was just checking something else."

Then she lethargically got up and proceeded to the door.