The Waltzing Mathilde Archives
August 7, 2007
Ted: It's Always a Girl
"So you think you get it? Ha."
I turned back. I could tell she was a weirdie only by the way she floated. But hey, I see weird shit in here alla time.
"Yeah, hon, I gets it. Poor you. Drink or leave, but don't bump that force field of yours into my regulars."
"All of us, from Mrs Fantastic all the way to Violet Incredible, all the shield generators...all female. Women protect. Men project. That's why they're after me. They want to clone a new generation!"
"Just who's after ya, dollface?"
"Sir! Step away from the Mutant."
August 8, 2007
Ted: Hiding in Plain Sight
Asteroid 253, "Mathilde" according to Johanna Palisa, is actually blacker than coal, darker than the space it floats through. So when James realized he had to leave Mars, Mathilde was the perfect destination.
James Ralston (only his sister ever got away with calling him Jimmy) had plenty of reasons to stay in-system. But the one reason he had to leave was enough to make him sell his opal mine Earthside, rig out a freighter, and give the finger to society at large.
When Sara caught up to him four months later, she already knew his secret. She wanted to help.
August 15, 2007
Ted: Invitation to the Compound
"Are you sure that she is the one, babe?"
"If you are willing, I'm willing, honey. But do you think she's ready to share that? We have known her for years, but really, we have seen her in person for only a handful of days. What if she turns us down?"
"What if I turn you down for what? I heard you up here, and, um, overheard you two talking through the door."
"Dammit, now I'm gonna blush! I haven't blushed since the Celia incident in ninth grade."
"I'll ask it then. Can you give us your strawberry wine recipe?"
August 29, 2007
Ted: Just Like Opal Mining
It took weeks to pick out Mathilde from the black. The crater on her face, deeper than the oceans of earth, deeper than Mons Olympus was tall, was the perfect place to start. James knew tunneling from the days when he had two good arms, but he needed a place he could pressurize first.The robots he picked up when outfitting his rig could do that part, no problem.
He unshipped them both and went to sleep on board. Ten hours later, James had ten thousand cubic feet of empty and was ready to start the hard part.
"Let's go, cobber."
September 7, 2007
Ted: Minor Glitch
"Sa-ra! What in the blue hell are you doing down there?"
"Quit yelling, Jimmy," said Sara, rubbing sleep from her eyes. "Right here. What's all that pounding?"
Realization hit the two now fully awake inhabitants at the same time. "Run Sara. Get suited." James was surprised he was able to keep his voice steady. He turned down the corridor and started toward Climate Control.
"Sara, I'll get the sprayseal pumping while you get dressed. I can't suit up with only one arm. I'll need you to help. Which you can't if you've argued us both to death. Now go."
September 24, 2007
Ted: Fruit of the Gods
Once the seven mile deep crater was properly mirrored, solar power was possible throughout the interior of the asteroid. The greenhouses were on the surface. The soil was from mining camps and vac sterilized. Almost every camp in the Belt contributed: and paid James to collect.
The potatoes were amazing.
Grown in micro gravity, and all planted via the eyes rather than seeds, all the new potatoes were identical. Same shape, same size, every time. It made harvesting and processing much easier.
For example, it takes exactly fourteen and a half "Tillie Tots" to cook up a liter of vodka.
October 3, 2007
Ted: Ed's Story: or How Sara Got Her Man
I had to steal a crappy buggy and pray to make it to the Coyote District in the Belt, where my brother said to come if I ever got into trouble, because the Russian mob on Mars was pissed I saw their marked cards and won at a crooked card game.
Of course, that buggy didn't last.
I put out a Mayday on the junk radio and hoped.
When she came to my rescue, asking if I was 'Ed', it seemed like a good time to change my name.
Seemed like a small price to pay to be with her.
October 15, 2007
Ted: Hole Card
Ed reached for his tickler.
"Got it Ed," James said softly. The bar went silent. "Sara, ask Tina to join us, please."
Goon One started to speak, but James silenced him with a finger. Sara waved the crowd to the aux rooms behind the bar.
"Tina, darlin'? I need to speak to Grovesner, can you reach him?"
"Sure. Shot?" Ed poured.
"Tina, ask Grovesner how committed he is to his quarterly payment."
"What's this about?' came the voice of the sector chief out of little Tina's mouth.
"Privacy. Or do you want Tina to blast your goons and your brain?"
February 7, 2008
Ted: Spool Up
She awoke in a panic, the stress on her body more than any woman should ever have to endure. She wondered why she felt so heavy. She wondered what alarm was she hearing.
She awoke again to silence, this time weightless. She remembered trying to punch the button, trying to make the noise stop.
She remembered now, she had to get the supplies to Ganymede. Women pilots ... higher G-forces. The plague...
The torch spooled up, and she blacked out.
She awoke in free fall, blind. She and the computer coupled her ship at the ring.
She never woke up again.