I looked up the math behind how orbits work and then checked their numbers against those equations. It was pretty simple, you can do it in your head.
Maybe you can do it in your head. I would give anything to be as smart as you. But I’m not. That’s okay. I work hard instead, and you’re lazy as hell.
How dare you call me lazy! I’d come up with a scathing retort but, meh, I’m just not motivated.
Hey, I need advice. Edgar and I are going on our fourth date. We’ve been making out a lot (just kissing, nothing else). I want to escalate, but I don’t want to move too fast—I’m not ready to get naked yet. Any recommendations?
Seriously? That simple?
The next morning, I woke up naked in a plush, comfortable bed.
No, there wasn’t anyone with me. Get your mind out of the gutter. I just wanted to get a taste of what life would be like once I got that million slugs.
I stretched out my arms and arched my back. What a fantastic night’s sleep!
Unlike my shitty coffin, this room had excellent noise insulation. No neighbors waking me up with screaming arguments or loud sex. No booming hallway conversations bleeding in. No drunk idiots stumbling into walls.
And the bed! I could lie across it width-wise and still fit! Plus the sheets and blankets were softer than velvet. The bedding felt better against my skin than my own pajamas.
The room cost 2,000? a night. When I got my payday from Trond, I’d get a bed like this in my beautiful noise-proof apartment.
I checked my Gizmo. Eleven in the morning?! Wow, I really slept!
I slid out of the warm sheets and walked over to the bathroom—the private bathroom. No robe, no dudes checking me out in the hall, just me and my bladder headed to take care of business in peace.
I went through my morning ritual, including an extra-long shower. Private shower—another thing for my list of future amenities. Water’s expensive in Artemis, but it’s not like we throw it away. It’s a closed system, so what you really pay for is water purification. The hotel room had a graywater-reuse shower. The first twenty liters were fresh water (that lasted about three minutes). After that, it reheated your used water and gave it back to you. You could be in there as long as you wanted and you’d only use twenty liters. Important note: Do not pee in a graywater-reuse shower.
I threw on an insanely comfortable terrycloth robe and wrapped my hair in a towel-turban.
Time to work on the next step of my evil plan. This time I didn’t need to do any research. I just needed to brainstorm. I lay back on the Bed Jazz Never Wanted to Leave and let my mind wander.
The problem: How would I get out of the city?
Airlocks won’t obey commands from non–EVA Guild members. There’s a good reason for that. The last thing you want is some untrained dipshit playing around with airlock controls. A misused airlock is a fast and efficient way to kill everyone in a bubble.
So, to use an airlock control panel, you have to wave your Gizmo over it. It verifies that you’re part of the guild. It’s a simple idiot-proofing scheme that’s very effective. But no idiot-proofing can overcome a determined idiot. There’s a flaw in the system.
For safety reasons, airlocks don’t have security on their outer doors. If you’re in a leaky EVA suit and scrambling to safety, the last thing you want to see is “VERIFYING AUTHORIZATION….” I just needed someone to operate the controls from the outside. Someone…or something.
I left the hotel room because the front desk called to say I had to check out or they’d charge me for another night. Then I drove Trigger to Armstrong Down 4. Or, as the locals called it, Little Hungary. The Hungarians owned all the metalworking shops. Just like the Vietnamese owned Life Support and Saudis owned welding.
I pulled up next to the workshop of Dad’s colleague Zsóka Stróbl, who was apparently named during a severe vowel famine. She was a pressure-vessel specialist. When Dad got a contract to install an air shelter, he usually bought one from Zsóka. She made high-quality product and Dad’s all about quality.
I parked Trigger and rapped on the door. Zsóka slid it open a crack, peeked out with one eye, and spoke with a thick accent. “You want what?”
I pointed to myself. “It’s me, Mrs. Stróbl. Jazz Bashara.”
“You are daughter of Ammar Bashara,” she said. “He good man. You were nice little girl. Now you are bad.”
“Okay…look, I want to talk to you about something—”
“You are unmarried and have sex with many men.”
“Yes, I’m quite the harlot.”
Her son, Isvan, had banged more dudes than I ever had. I resisted the urge to tell her. “I just need to borrow something for a couple of days. I’m willing to pay you a thousand slugs for it.”
She opened the door a little wider. “Borrow what?”
Zsóka had been around for the construction of both Bean and Shepard Bubbles. Bubble construction is a hell of a job (pays well too).
She and dozens of other metalworkers had made the slightly curved triangles that stacked on a frame to form the hull. The EVA masters assembled the pieces and added enough rivets to make a shitty, leaky pressure seal. Then Life Support kept the bubble fed with enough air to counteract the leaks while welders made the real seals from inside. Dad made good money off those jobs, I remember.