Extra Baggage


Brian W. Antoine

May 27, 1993

"Good Morning, hows the arm this morning?"

I had stepped into my den for a moment while getting ready to take off for the day. "Pretty good, damn I hate shots." I sorted through the stuff on my desk looking for a manual I was going to need today. "Anything I need to take care of before I leave?"

"Nothing critical, I do have one request from Bob though."

Oh no. "What does he want this time?"

"Well, I was talking to him about his astrogation training. I wanted to arrange a time for his lessons."

"I certainly hope so. If he's going to be the pilot, he has to be better at it then I would be or he's history."

"Well he has his first lesson this weekend. Anyway, while we were talking he asked about getting a landing bay of some kind in the Sunbeam so he can bring the 'It' along on any flights we take."

This weekend huh, this could be interesting. Then the rest of what she had said sank in, or tried to anyway. "Bring it along, bring what along?"

"Bring the 'It' along with us."

It? "What the hell is an 'It'?"

"He renamed the D&B after it was rebuilt. It is now the Intrasolar Transport, or 'It' for short."

My mind being as warped as it is, this sounded like something to have fun with. "He renamed it huh. Hum, a two word phrase that fits the name and starts with 'S' and 'H'. Should look great in large letters on the side of the ship. I'm going to have to think about this."

It was early in the morning, I still hadn't registered the entire request yet. Now the rest sank in. "He wants a what? What the hell does he need with a landing bay? Where's the damn phone..." It wasn't quite 9AM yet, but I figured Bob would be up playing on his computer.

A few buttons and I got an obnoxious buzz in the earpiece. "Busy? I'll fix THAT in a hurry." I extended my mind and yelled.

*Hey Bob, get the hell OFF the phone. We need to talk.*

Whether or not he was the person on the phone was not important. His reaction to my 'broadcast' was priceless. I got a faint echo of surprise, and a louder *Jesus Christ* back up the link before I broke it. When I redialed his number a few seconds later, it rang through the first time.

"Hello? Brian?"

"Who the hell else were you expecting to call. Now what's this crap about a landing bay?"

"What in the hell did you do? I jumped clear off the chair when I heard you."

I grumbled to myself. I had expected him to be faster on the uptake then this. "Well, if you didn't believe in telepathy before, you better start. Now answer the question, what do you need a landing bay for?"

Now I had his attention again. "Whats wrong with a landing bay? I want to bring the 'It' along when we take off."

"Why in the world drag that piece of junk around with us?"

"Well you may be able to survive in space or fly under your own power, but I have to get around the hard way. How am I going to do any exploring without a ship to explore in?"

Hum, he had a point, A weak one, but a point never the less. "Ok, I'll grant you that one." I thought about the layout of the ship for a moment. "Here's what I'll do. There are several cargo bays in the lower part of the ship. One of them could be converted to a landing bay by expanding the bay door and reinforcing the access hatch. There is a catch however."

"A catch? I can just imagine."

"You want this thing or not?"


"Then a little more humility might be nice, or all you'll get is a corner of a closet to stow a NASA surplus spacesuit in."

"YES master, anything you SAY master."

Hum. I don't think I'm winning this one. "Ok, here is the deal, You have to design the modifications and handle the construction yourself. I'll loan you the use of a single construction bot and Penny will double check your design before it's integrated into the ship. Still want the bay?"

There was a pause for a few seconds. "You want me to design the thing?"

"Either you or Aron. I hear he's a better design engineer then you anyway."

"Ok, I'll do it."

"Good enough. I'll arrange things with Penny and send you a few things you'll be needing. Expect another UPS drop in a couple of days. Now I have to get going."

"Before you take off, I've got another question."

"Hummm Haven't you had enough yet?"

"You yelled at me telepathicly right?"

"Yeah, I did."

"Does the fact I could hear you mean I've got some magical ability?"

Shit, he had to go and ask. "Nope, I'm afraid not. I checked one time while I was visiting and you haven't got enough magical talent to deflect a feather in a dead calm. I wouldn't get upset though, my check did show that you have at least some potential for telepathy and that Megan has a touch of both empathy and telekinesis. If your interested in training, I can see what can be arranged."

"Christ, am I interested! When do we start?"

"We don't. The best teacher I know for that kind of stuff is Kalindra. I was pretty pathetic until she forced me to use and develop my talents. Of course being the only human on the planet had a way of forcing the issue. For the first few months I knew her, it was our only method of communication that didn't involve translation errors."

"Kalindra? You sure you can't do it?"

"You want training, you get the best teacher you can find and that's Kal. What's wrong, you a closet xenophobe?"

"Let me think on it."

"It's your decision. Let me know and I'll ask her. Now I really have to get moving. You and Aron put your heads together and figure out what you want to do about the landing bay. Contact Penny when your ready."

"Ok. Talk to you later."

I hung up the phone and got ready to head out, but not before I got the last shot in.

*And tell Karen that Penny still wants to talk to her*

*Christ! Don't do that!*

I chuckled to myself as I went back to my search of the desk. The day was looking better and better all the time. <chuckle>