I’ve done it! I reached my goal! I didn’t sell everything, but who cares? Whoever gets the apartment next can have what’s left. I did manage to get some of it pulled out onto the street and retagged as free. A lot of it was too heavy, or I was too tired, to move it on my own, so I just left it there. It was kind of strange, but fun too, have people come to my apartment to look at what I was offering, and haggle over the price. Maybe if NASA doesn’t let me go to space I could make a few extra Arpies buying and selling.
Hopefully it won’t come to that. I plan to be stubborn about this. Persistent. Relentless. I should be able to keep myself busy easily enough with game work repairing stuff, enough to keep my head above water anyway.
I’m writing this in the car. I’ve had to fix old ones sometimes. Licensed collector vehicles s they don’t need to be fitted with modern self-drive systems, but they’re still not allowed on public roads unless they’re being towed. They’re really rare so most people don’t even know that cars that require a driver exist, except for the occasional discon car. Some discons have managed to keep older cars running, though they’re often sad rusted wrecks that would make a serious collector weep. Though more often they’ll acquire modern cars and remove the self-drive system and satellite tracking, and activate the hidden steering wheel and pedals cars still have included in case of emergency. Tanisha told me about it.
Technically it’s illegal to operate a vehicle without self-drive. Vehicles recognise and interact with each other to keep everyone safe. If a car is spotted that isn’t part of the network results in the registered owner receiving an automatic fine. Discons aren’t registered, leaving the task of delivering notice of a fine to those crazy enough to take on the game work. Usually there’s a very nice chunk of Arpies available, but I’m not damaged enough to imagine I’d come out of a confrontation with discons unscathed. Despite everything Tanisha put me through, I rather like being alive, and having all my bones intact.
However, I have put a lot of time into my gaming avatar. I don’t get to PvP with it very often, but it dominates almost any combat game I port it into. I’ve even tried it in the Zombaliens game I like so much, but it almost takes all the fun out of it. The suspense and fear doesn’t have the same impact when you’re nearly indestructible and can kill anything in one shot. Some games are better when you use the standard avatar. Discons don’t use avatars though. They’ll fight for real if they feel threatened.
Talking about games inspired me to kill some time playing a road game. There’s a few different types. Some of them superimpose graphics over the visible terrain, replacing vehicles with a herd of fantastic beasts or futuristic shuttles. The surrounding landscape concealed with the appropriate backdrop. Other games are simpler, like the classic Eye-Spy, in which the car identifies landmarks and gives you a clue, such as the starting letter of the word, and asks you to guess. Games like this leave the view unaltered, since it’s important that you are able to see whatever it is that the car has ‘spied’.
They’re similar to N•Viron games in many respects, but with fewer opportunities to earn Arpies. Some of the landmarks and tourist traps will offer you a few Arpies as an incentive, as will some of the roadside eateries that you can order food from for pickup. All of which usually end up costing more Arpies than you make.
The games don’t grip me like they used to. Plus this is a very long trip. I’m probably going to take a nap soon. The car knows where it’s going, there’s no reason for me to be awake and alert.
I tried to sleep, but I got thinking about the Hermes project and I couldn’t rest until I’d checked for updates. Did you know that the EMv5 engines will still take about 15-20,000 years to even reach Proxima Centauri B? That’s where Hermes925 will be heading. I thought they’d have a better name for it by now. It was discovered that the planet might be habitable nearly half a century ago. Maybe named it after it’s discoverers or something, but the best they come up with is to shorten it to Proxi-B. Maybe if the average N•Viron user was more interested in astronomy, there would be a whole list of suggestions by now, with the most popular selected by popular vote. Maybe there are some, and NASA’s choosing to ignore the consensus. Maybe if I can get a chance to look through a big enough telescope I can see what gooty names it’s been tagged with.
The only way to find out for sure if Proxi-B is inhabitable is to go take a look. Maybe they’ll figure out a way to let the crew live long enough to see it for ourselves. The plan though is for new recruits to take over as older crewmembers quit or retire. They’ll use the quantum entangled doorway they’ve already got connecting earth with the Hermes925 orbiting platform to make sure there’s always someone on board to keep the modified spacecraft and the Hermes AI going, and to make sure that any data Hermes collects is immediately available on earth. If the planet is habitable, the future crew will colonise it. If it’s already got life, they can study it. If it doesn’t have life, maybe we’ll have the technology to terraform it figured out.
Now I’ve got this out I actually feel sleepy. I’m going to catch some sleep. I probably won’t be out for long though. I don’t sleep well in strange places, and since I’ve never slept in the car before, I expect the result will be much the same. Still 3-4 hours is better than nothing. G’night for now.