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Tales of Security Officer 2911

Chapter 1 – The MooT

My name is Zack Perkins. I am Security Officer #2911 of Charlie 5; a space station located not far from Mars. Or at least not far in terms of outer space. Charlie 5 was built as a “truck stop” for freighters on their way in or out from Earth for refueling, resupply, or rest. Jimmy always called us “Space Speedway”, or some other space version of an old gas station. It’s one of the many, many old-timey jokes he never stops making.


It’s pretty slow out here today. As was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. It’s slow all the time here. Charlie 5 was kind of a band-aid solution to a growing problem. Before Charlie 5 was a twinkle in Administrator Barnes synthetic eyes, the old school freighters had pretty terrible fuel tanks. The trip from Earth to Mars and back had very little wiggle room on detours and malfunctions. It only took three twenty-man freighters running out of fuel, dying from oxygen loss, and losing billions in cargo for the SFC to do something about it.


So in the SFC’s infinite wisdom, they decided a small “truck stop” should do the trick until they could get Earth government grants to build a proper station. And to everyone’s shock, they got the grants and actually BUILT a proper refueling station. Bravo 10 is it’s name, and it’s where everyone goes these days to get taken care of.


The SFC was just going to decommission Charlie 10 and bust the whole thing down for scrap. But to Administrator Barnes, Charlie 5 was home. If Charlie 5 got shit-canned, then good people who also called it home would be out of luck and on their own. For some, this was all they knew. So Barnes went to the SFC and gave them an offer to privately buy out Charlie 5. Barnes won’t ever share how much it cost him, but a few of the other guys and me don’t think it cost all that much. At least for a “Space Speedway” that is.


Old Administrator Barnes keeps a tight ship though and makes sure everyone does their job. After all, we’re a private station, and we can’t rely on seemingly-infinite SFC money to keep us from going under. So we’ve expanded our main offerings of fuel and parking to other endeavors. We’ve got a lounge, a hotel, a trading post, an upgrade station, and even things like a fortune teller. I don’t think the fortune teller has ever brought in a profit though.


I’m on security. Since we’re such a small operation and independent, we sometimes get jokers who think they don’t have to pay docking and refueling fees. Or sometimes weirdos drift into the lounge and don’t know the definition of the phrases “Stop grabbing my chest!” or “Put your clothes back on! I don’t care what’s acceptable back on Mars!”


But that’s few and far between these days. We get less and less names on the visitor log every month. Competing with Bravo 10 is a steep uphill battle that gets steeper and steeper all the time. Hell, I think the “hills” Jimmy had to “climb” to get to school were easier to overcome. Though the other guys and me know that’s just complete bullshit. Anything Jimmy tells you has a good chance of being an utter lie. Though it’s not all his fault. Jimmy’s had a pretty rough time of it.


Jimmy is what we call a MooT, or Man out of Time. Jimmy was put in cryo about forty years ago for what was supposed to be a year for a trip out to Phobos. Had some family he was coming out to make a life with. But the jackass flight attendant set his freeze time right so instead of one year, he slept for thirty-two years. Of course, that was back when cryo was based on travel time alone. Cryotech has had some pretty sketchy origins. It amazes me the lack of regulation it had.

Of course, Jimmy arrives and they can’t warm him up. So what do they do? Just throw him in storage until his time comes. Eventually he wakes up and finds that everything has changed. He tried contacting his family, but found out his kin had died about eight years before he woke up. A mining accident or something. Jim never told me and I never pressed the issue.


So Jimmy just kind of floated for a few weeks since nobody knew what to do with him. But lucky for him, Charlie 5 is running on some real old shit; stuff even older than people being on Mars. Administrator Barnes needed a man to maintain our GHVAC and nobody here knew what they were doing. Just so happens Jimmy made a living back home servicing GHVAC systems on now old freighters and civilian ships. Barnes happens upon Jim one day while he was on Phobos sorting out some contracts. One eventful evening in the bar leads to another, and Jim gets a job here as Lead GHVAC Tech.


It’s paradise for him. A day in the life of Jimmy consists of him first waking up and drinking the foulest coffee ever made. He says people raved about it during his time, but I don’t know if I believe that. He heads into his office to waste time for an hour or two, then does his daily maintenance walk around the station looking for anything out of place. Rarely does anything need worked on though. If it does, he just sends one of the low level techs to take care of it. After all, the Lead Tech should only join in for “emergencies” or the like. Jim claimed to be a lazy bastard even back in his day. I believe that one.


After his leisurely stroll, Jimmy swings by the security station and spends the rest of his shift regaling us with stories of “the good days” and how things were better in his time. Some of the stuff he tries to tell us is outright insane. I know even back then you needed ID to get booze. And I don’t think the women of his time were THAT enticed by “The Jimmy Charm”, if you want to call it that.


Not all of it is bull. Actually a lot of what he tells us is facinating. It’s amazing to think you could just freely use the internet back then. Hell, you need your ID and face scanned just to check movie times these days. And the concept of paper cash still boggles my mind. Jimmy’s explained it many times, but I still don’t get it. How did people know what was real and what was just printed in any printer?


McPherson and Bowsaw get fed up with the old guy’s antics sometimes though, and arguments break out. Little things like Jim changing the story on a retell, or Jim outright refusing to learn new things. It gets on all our nerves, but those two don’t give the guy a break. Yeah, it’s annoying to no end. Yeah, I wish Jimmy would just learn CompuTerm. And yeah, I wish he’d try a kind of coffee that didn’t assault your nose. But the guy’s a MooT for Christ's sake! Everything changed overnight to him. One day he knows what’s going on, and the next he’s in a completely different world! God knows I wouldn’t be on top of everything if that happened to me. Hell, I don’t even know if I’d be able to go on like Jimmy does.


Doc Iris explained it to me. She was telling me about this thing some of these MooTs go through. How I understand it is that some of them don’t see the world like everyone else does. Their minds keep them in the time they’re from. Anything that’s not familiar to them doesn’t register as “real” to them. They view anything that would be fantasy in their time as such. Like how I watch a movie and know that you can just shoot fireballs from your eyes as fact. That’s how these MooTs view things like atom tracking, or retina-projected displays. Or even simple things like first-aid cells.


Like this one time, Jimmy’s raving about the drinks they used to have back in Cape Town when he gets up too quick and trips, tearing his achilles. Poor guy cries out in pain starts getting hysterical; shouting about how he’s never walk right again. Richards and I try to restrain and calm him down, but he’s writhing all over the place and keeping Bowsaw from putting on the Cell Band. Jimmy wouldn’t accept that this was an easy fix, no different than the Band-Aids of his time. Took all five of us to keep his leg still enough to put on the Cell Band. And too this day, Jimmy refuses to give it any credit for his ability to still walk and thinks it was an act of God.


The medical community dubbed it “Nottcanon Syndrome”, in reference to something not being fact or true in a story, or not in canon. It also refers to the first MooT, Tim Nottkan. He was the first cryo test subject who was put under for 10 years. It took a lot of psychotherapy work for old Nottkan to believe that the then twenty five year-old woman who called him dad was his daughter all grown up. Holidays must have been shitty.


Luckily though, Jimmy only has a mild case of Notcanon Syndrome. He was known for embracing new ideas and living on the cutting edge, so some of the stuff we have today he can accept. It’s never consistent on what he’ll reject though. He’s all for semi-sentient robots and loves tinkering with the few he owns. But things like laundry machine don’t make sense to him. Can’t get it in his head how clothes can be washed and dried in the same machine. Apparently things had to be sorted by color and type back in his day.


Life on the station is dull to say the least, and it’s people like Jimmy that keep me here. Richards claims every day he’s going to quit and get on at Bravo 10, and Ariel tells me every night how much more she could be making on Mars pouring the same drinks. I’m staying here the rest of my life though. All the money in the world couldn’t match up to people like Jimmy.