Vignette #9: Super Glue on a Ball Bearing
The space station had the shape of a vast ring, or perhaps a doughnut, or better yet the wheel of a bicycle. It was a narrow torus, connected by four spokes to a central hub. The station rotated slowly about the hub, like a bicycle wheel being pedaled by an unearthly titan, and the centrifugal force created by this rotation provided simulated gravity to those who dwelt inside the ring.
The security guard was off duty and sat in one of the station’s lounges with his friend, also a security guard. The panoramic windows in the floor showed space spinning by under their feet. At various times in the station’s orbit, they would see the great face of Earth zoom past dizzyingly, completely filling the field of view. Newcomers to the station could be disoriented by how quickly the starscape spun past, but the security guard and his friend were far too used to the sight to even give it a second thought.
The guard was discussing the workshift earlier in the day with his friend. They had processed a shipload of arriving passengers: miners on a layover from the ground, heading out on a month-long asteroid mining mission, and wealthy sightseers, spending a week or more on the station before taking a shuttle back down to the surface. Miners and tourists made up the bulk of the transient population. Scientists, engineers, and various administrative personnel composed the more permanent staff.
The guard was was pouring beer from a pitcher into his and his friend’s glasses, when they felt a deep thud pass through the station. The guard looked at the clock on the wall and scowled, then turned to his friend and asked, “There wasn’t any shuttle arrival scheduled for now, was there?”
His friend finished taking a gulp from his glass and wiped off his mouth with the back of his sleeve. “Not that I knew of,” he responded.
The guard knew about all the arrivals. Or at least, he had known about all of them until now. He wondered if he should ask someone about this. Then he shrugged his shoulders and lifted his glass to his lips.
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Warach welcomes writers’ groups and other artists to finish the stories, or link them together into one piece, if that’s possible.