2.03 – Daniel in the Dust | Stuck Station

2.03 – Daniel in the Dust

Feb 16 2011 Published by under Chapter Two

The Afterthought’s structural integrity only worsened during the six-week voyage to the Quadra Sector: parts of the ship started falling off.

The pieces—most of them recently attached blenders—remained trapped just outside the ship, smashing back and forth in the weightlessness between the Afterthought's energy shield and its hull.

The damage had become so noticeable that a number of passing ships hailed the Afterthought and asked if the crewmembers were refugees from some distant conflict.

“Let us help. Your ship has obviously been through a terrible war,” they had said.

“Several wars, but none recently,” Daniel had responded.

Then he thanked them for their concern, ignored their continued offers of assistance, and drank two or three shots of booze.

The dismal state of the Afterthought didn’t bother 25-year-old Daniel. He’d spent his whole life around junk.

Daniel had been  trained as a cloud mechanic—more commonly known as a duster —since he was four-years-old.

A popular 28th century profession, a duster used nanobot swarms to repair and rebuild old machinery. That included everything from starships to medical equipment.

While clouds can assemble almost any type of material, they can be temperamental. A duster knows just how to work with them to get the best result.

In Daniel’s time, duster inhabited countless orbital construction platforms, scrap nebulas, and any place with garbage that needed fixing.

Mechanics found out that, during large-scale manufacturing projects, clouds created harmless but highly adhesive nanoparticles called Dust.

Anyone who worked with clouds ended up coated in the stuff, just like ancient mechanics ended up coated in oil. The longer you worked around Dust, the harder it was to remove.

A duster to the core, Daniel's five foot eight inch frame, genial face, fair skin, and black hair was a permanent canvas of grey-colored smudges and streaks, remnants of the last job he'd truly loved.

He hadn't worked with clouds in years.

Daniel should have felt at home in the ship graveyard, but the object in front of his ship removed any sense of familiarity.

Rachel-7 had nicknamed it the Garage.

3 responses so far

  • John says:

    To help you kill time until the post is up, I decided to share some of my twitter fiction.

    I'll be adding more very short stories, or #vss, all the time at http://www.twitter.com/stuckstation.

    All the fiction below is less than 140 characters. The hashtags I use for twitter fiction are #vss and#5secfic.

    I like the idea that these stories take place in the Stuck Station universe, but I haven't decided that for sure yet.

    They're not perfect but I had fun writing them, and I hope you like 'em.

    She held his hand. He held her heart. The organ-transfer surgery had gone horribly wrong.

    He was Frank’s first clone. He's very, very ugly, thought Frank. "Oh," Frank said, with unhappy realization.

    Time Machine
    Journal: Time machine finished. “Don’t turn it on!” said dying future self. I smashed device. Am taking up gardening instead.

    Aliens landed. Ignoring the White House, the Ota met with the dolphins. It wasn't an insult. The Ota were just crazy.

    Thanks for reading.

    I'd love to read your very short fiction if you have some. Drop me your twitter name in the comments, and I'll try to check them out.


    P.S. I'm rereading Dune, and if you haven't read it, you should.

  • John says:

    Phew. Got the post in under the wire.

    My goal is have a post every weekday regardless of how sick, tired, or abducted I am.

    Thanks again for your patience.

  • Rebecca says:

    They still have booze?!? I guess some things never go away, like Pac Man

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