Smith and Wesson
Chapter Three: The Escape Continues
By Douglas E. Gogerty
Now that 235218 was safely aboard the space elevator's hotel, he needed to work on phase two of his plan. He had arranged a few days off his work in the prison. Thus, they would not miss him for a few days there. While people disappeared from The Rock occasionally, they always checked the hotel as a matter of course. When the authorities checked the hotel, he wanted to be gone. He had just a couple of days.
Generally, the "jumpers" were never found. A few would be found frozen in space, but most were assumed to burn up re-entering the atmosphere. Thus, it would not be unusual for a prisoner to simply vanish for good. In this way, the prison could claim that no one ever escaped from there prison. The fact is that no one knew for certain. However, for 235218 to make it, he needed to get to Earth. This was the next phase of his plan.
He had been in microgravity for years. He would not be able to do anything in the gravity of the Earth. He would be weak and unable to stand if he just snuck aboard the elevator. However, he knew the station had a system. They had to. People came and went all of the time. He just had to con his way into that program. He did not know anything about it, but he would need to be part of it.
Further, he could not go around as 235218. He had read that Earthers used names not numbers. He did not know any named people, but he believed he needed an alias. While still in prison, he did a lot of reading. He read many old books. He had read a name in some ancient book. The book was rarely checked out in the prison. Thus, it was not popular. Further, since the book was so old, he was sure no one would know who had the name in the past. Thus, 235218 became Daniel Wesson.
Daniel had his story figured out if anyone would ask. He would say that his ship came from deep space. His communications were knocked out, and it ran into some space debris as he approached earth. With this difficulty, he managed to eject and make it to the station before his ship burned up in the atmosphere.
He opened his storage case and fondled some water-filled vials. He would tell them that he had to deliver some important vials to Alpha Base as soon as possible. He hoped they would not delve deeper into Alpha Base. He did not want to have to pull the Top Secret card if he did not have to.
Further, any quirks and oddities of his personal actions could be explained by him being out in space. Also, they would likely not check any aspects of his story. It would take weeks to check the details. Not to mention, why would anyone come to the hotel and fabricate such a tale? He hoped the people did not think about the prison floating just a few hundred feet away because then the entire scenario would come crashing down.
Nevertheless, he thought it was a good cover story. He hoped it would not evoke too many questions. He was counting on them just taking his word for it. He had practiced it so many times, it almost felt like the truth. Thus, he felt he could tell it sincerely. He also hoped it would help him expedite a trip to Earth. Then he would be home free.
Daniel had never been to a hotel before then. He realized he should have studied them more closely. He put his helmet back on and pulled himself along the corridors. He needed to speak to someone, but he did not know who that should be. He passed a few people in the halls as he pulled himself along, but they just stared at him. He gave a polite smile to these other patrons, but he did not know if they could see his expression through his helmet.
Eventually, he came to what he believed to be a public space. The railing with which he used to pull himself along, led to a large desk. He pushed a button, and a computer screen flickered. There were some type of sounds, but he could not make them out while wearing his helmet. He removed his helmet and pressed the button again.
"Welcome to the Hotel Habitat. How may I help you," stated the image on the computer.
"I need to speak to someone," replied Daniel.
"With whom would you like to speak?"
"Hell if I know!"
"I am not familiar with the term Hell. Could you rephrase your query?"
"I do not know who to speak to," sighed Daniel.
"You do not know whom to speak to?" inquired the computer.
"Whatever! You see, my ship malfunctioned..."
"Would you like to speak to someone in our repair facility?"
"That won't be necessary."
"I am not familiar with the term won't. Could you rephrase your query?"
"My ship was destroyed. Thus, repair is not an option."
"Very well then with whom would you like to speak?"
After years in service, no one seemed to feel it necessary to improve the user interface of these computers, Daniel muttered to himself.
"I need to get to Earth," Daniel stated deliberately.
"Would you like to speak to our Earth Travel Coordinator?"
"That would be great!"
"Please answer yes or no."
"Are you sure you would like to speak to our Earth Travel Coordinator?"
"Please stand by."
"But..." Daniel attempted to say when the screen went blank.
The computer made some strange buzzing noises. After several buzzes a voice stated, "You have reached the E.T.C. office. Our hours are from 10 to 14 hundred hours. Please call during our normal business hours. Thank you for staying to the Hotel Habitat."
The screen remained blank for several seconds before Daniel realized that his transaction had ended. He did not know whether to press the button again or not. Reluctantly he did.
"Welcome to the Hotel Habitat. How may I help you," stated the image on the computer.
"The Earth Travel Coordinator Office is closed," Daniel said with his contempt for the computer barely suppressed.
"The E.T.C. office hours are from 10 to 14 hundred hours," replied the computer. "Can I be of further service?"
"What time is it now?"
"The current time is 20.24 hundred hours. Can I be of further service?"
"What can I do until 10 hundred hours?"
"Do you have a reservation?" asked the computer.
"No! My ship crashed!" shouted Daniel.
"For 160,000 credits, you can be placed in a very comfortable room."
"I do not have that kind of money!"
"For 16,000 credits, you can be placed in a very comfortable room."
"No thank you," replied Daniel attempting to suppress his anger.
"For 1600 credits, you can be placed in a very comfortable room."
"What can I get for not destroying this computer monitor?"
"For 160 credits, you can be placed in a very comfortable room."
"How low do you go?"
"For 16 credits, you can be placed in a very comfortable room."
"I am sorry, but we are full. Thank you for coming to Hotel Habitat."
Daniel pushed himself to one of the chairs along one wall and strapped himself down. He was tired, so it did not take him long to fall asleep.
About this Entry
This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 18, 2011 7:51 PM.
"Smith and Wesson" - Chapter Two: New Vegas was the previous entry in this blog.
"Smith and Wesson" - Chapter Four: The Life of Zephenia Smith is the next entry in this blog.
This blog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
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