The Trial of Adam part 8

Adam came out of the lab building and was heading for the mess hall when he noticed Eve talking to an older man in a military uniform.  Actually, Eve was the only one talking.  The man was yelling his part of the conversation, and Adam could tell Eve was not happy to be on the receiving end.  Adam decided food could wait and headed over to see if he could help bail Eve out.

Eve was definitely at a physical disadvantage.  Not only was the man loud, he was tall, wide, and looked hard.  That impressed Adam.  Too often military lifers let themselves go.  Admittedly not as much as Adam had let himself before coming here, but still for a military man a potbelly would slowly crawl out of its muscular cocoon and those arm muscles would begin to droop a bit to for the wings.  This guy could still military press a platoon or two at once.  As Adam got closer it was easier to make out what the man was yelling.

“You need to just follow orders and not think!  No matter what your designation is, at the end this is a penal colony under my jurisdiction,” the man said trying to beat Eve back with the force of their delivery.

While Eve did cringe a bit, she did not give too much ground.  “Your jurisdiction is on that side of the wall,” she said pointing at the offending wall.  “Over here is FBC territory and I call the shots.”

That sounded like a perfect introduction for Adam.  As he covered the remaining ground quickly and stuck out his hand in the direction of the man and put on his billion credit smile.  “Adam Durst at your service, and you are?” Adam asked.  Eve rolled her eyes so far back Adam was worried she was about to pass out.  Mr. Military though never skipped a beat.  As a matter of fact he even kicked his voice up a notch, which Adam didn’t think was humanly possible.

“Did I talk to you?” Mr. Military asked.

“Well, not exactly, but I thought” Adam began, but the man cut him off.

“Then shut the hell up and let me finish!” the man practically screamed at Adam.  Mr. Military turned back to Eve.  “You may think you have authority over here, but I still call the shots.”

Eve stood up a little straighter.  “You can go visit your space on the other side of the wall, or you can go back through the portal, but I think this meeting is done.”

Mr. Military was obviously not done.  “Did I say this meeting was done?  You will sit your ass right here until I say this meeting is done.  You FBC idiots need to realize this isn’t Federation space.”

Eve was about to speak, when Mr. Military cut her off.  “Complain all you want, but this world is a penal colony in the end.  That makes you being here a favor, and I can work to remove that problem sooner rather than later if you keep pushing me.”

Eve seemed to take this last threat as an almost physical blow.  She started to slouch and divert her eyes.  The man could sense her about to cave in.  A smirk spread on his rugged face, and it was light of a sun coming over the horizon on some hellish asteroid spinning in the cold of space.

Adam didn’t like what he saw.  “Or she can push how much this planet is a resource.  As a matter of fact this place is one in a billion with respect to almost everything, including possible expansion in this galaxy.  You know what that means?  They’ll have to remove this piece of crap penal colony,” Adam said.

The man never too his eyes off of Eve.  “Keep this idiot under control,” he said.  “I won’t ask again.”

Adam shook his head in disbelief.  “Did you just call me an idiot?” he asked.

“Adam,” Eve said with an edge to her tone.

“I most certainly did,” the man said as he turned to Adam.    The sunlight in the man’s expression was gone and the darkest, coldest expression pummeled Adam.  Mr. Military continued.  “I almost had the men scatter your worthless atoms anyhow when you crossed over, but I was told I would pretty much lose the coordinates on the jump gate”.

Adam realized he was in big trouble now, but that never stopped him from going all the way.  “That would have been the stupidest thing you ever had done.  Good thing you have someone with some smarts around you, or else…”

Adam hadn’t even seen the man move, but Adam found himself on his behind in the grass, his jaw felt dislocated.  The man towered over him, blocking out the sun.  He looked like he was about to explode again when Eve placed a hand on the guy’s arm.  That seemed to calm him down some.  “If you ever disrespect me again I will kill you with my bare hands.  You have rights lower than a piece of shit here, do you understand me?” Mr. Military said.  He didn’t wait for an answer that wouldn’t have come anyway due to Adam’s dazed state.  The man just turned and walked back towards the portal.

Eve bent down and gently touched the rising swelling in the shape of the man’s fist.  “You fool!  That’s General Haden Marks.  You are technically his.  He really could kill you, and there isn’t a thing I can do about it.”

Adam mumbled something along the line of thanks, or maybe I couldn’t let him treat you like that, or maybe the rain was purple with puppies last night.  It was hard to tell from the fog of a concussion and the rapidly swelling shut right side of his face.  Still Eve took it as a sign of some sort of encouragement.  At least that’s how Adam took it as he laid back down on the grass.

Eve spoke into her comm link.  “I need a medic in the common square by the gate.  We have an idiot down.”   Adam thought her words had such a nice ring to them.

The Trial of Adam part 4

The feeling walking through a teleportation gate never quite left you, but luckily it was so foreign to the human mind that you quickly forgot most of the particulars.  At least that’s how Adam justified it to himself as he set foot on his new home.  The disorientation of traveling one meter and yet in reality millions of light years with that same step made you appreciate the awesomeness of the technology, but Adam always preferred to be in a spaceship going through a wormhole.  Something about the vessel doing the same thing while you stayed still spoke to Adam’s sensibilities.

Ruckblau’s gravity hit him a bit harder than he had expected.  Weighing one fifth more would take some getting used to.  Adam had lived on some higher gravity planets, but it was always a struggle in that first week.  Adam looked over at Liam just in time to catch Liam tripping over his own feet.  Adam caught Liam and managed to not fall over himself.  “Watch that first step.  It’s always a doozy,” Adam said.

Liam stood on his own and gave Adam a quick nod.  Adam let him go and breathed in deep.  The air smelled of peat and an organic wetness that promised agricultural gold.  Adam loved that new planet smell.  There was so much you could tell just from a quick sniff.  The gravity might suck here, but the air was wonderfully not sterile unlike his cell for the past five months.

The gate was situated in the center of a small compound.  There were a number of small buildings that immediately surrounding the teleportation gate’s landing zone.  They were the type of portable building that was easily disassembled, moved through a gate, and then reassembled.  As a matter of fact Adam would be willing to bet these buildings had been moved to numerous worlds so far in their lifetime.  He wondered if he looked close enough he would find his name on one or more of them.  Adam liked to leave his autograph on each world he worked on.  It was always a thrill for the lesser xenobiologists who followed to find.  At least the ones he had had to interact with while they were doing follow up verification of his work, or so they had told him.  Lucky fools.

Low walls could be seen in distance on three sides.   The fourth wall to their left was much taller.  Adam pointed at it.  “The prison?” he asked.

Liam shrugged his shoulders.  “Probably?  They usually don’t put up big walls on penal worlds,” Liam said.  He pointed his thumb back where they had walked through.  “That gate is the only wall that really matters.  If someone tried to go back without permission they would be shot on sight.  Not many people try to escape.”

A female voice came from one of the small buildings that had an open door.  “Yeah, but that threat of death doesn’t stop those murders marooned here.”  A blond woman dressed in the uniform of the FBC walked out of the building and toward the two of them.

Adam noticed that she walked like she owned the place, so she must be some sort of higher ranking official.  He also noticed her green eyes and how they glittered in the sunlight.  They reminded him of this species of lizard he had found on Maximi-4.  That lizard was a high level predator who used its ability to change color quickly to this emerald green color to mesmerize its prey before quickly making the killing strike.

“That is the wall that keeps the general population out of our hair,” she said.  “Otherwise rape and pillage would be a full time endeavor.  Those idiots haven’t figured out that they need to start working on building something here, since they are not going back there.”  She pointed at the gate.

“How many of them are lifers?” asked Adam.

“All of you,” she said.  Adam flinched at the remark.  The woman smiled at that flinch.  “But you get to live on this side of the wall.  At least until you screw it up.  Then I’ll be there when they throw you over the wall.  For now I’ll let you play in my little garden here.  Now what brings you planetside Liam?  This isn’t your normal operating procedure.”

Liam smiled and held out his hand, which the woman took and shook professionally.  “I needed to get out and stretch my legs.  I’ve been behind a desk too long.  A real xenobiologist gets out in the field,” Liam said.  He looked at Adam.  “Or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  I figured why not.”

“So you’re staying?” asked Adam.

Liam laughed.  “Oh hell no.  I’m just getting a taste of it.  Beside, this far away, the gate can’t be too stable.”

“Thanks for reminding me of that,” Adam said.

“Well you don’t have to worry about that Dr. Durst since you are now a permanent resident,” she said.

Adam held out his hand.  “Please call me Adam.  And your name is?” Adam asked.

The woman ignored his hand and began walking away from the gate.  Liam and Adam had to hurry to catch up.  “I am Dr. Eve Kaztner, the head of the scientific detail and defacto governor of this little pocket of hell,” Eve said.  “I am your boss and your jailer.  As long as you remember your place we will be okay.”

Adam hurried to get in front of her and stopped, forcing Eve to momentarily slow before she ran into him.  “And where exactly is my place?” he asked.

“Currently on my shit list for getting in my way,” Eve said.  She then pointed at the small building they were closest to.  “That is your lab.  Do your job, don’t get in my way, and keep your nose clean and you might get to like this dump.  Cross any line and you will find yourself so quickly on the other side of that wall that you will think walking through the teleport gate took forever.”  She turned to Liam.  “Enjoy your visit, but I will assume you are going back tonight.”

Liam nodded.  “That’s the plan.  I will be visiting every standard week instead of waiting for data transmissions.  This is an awesome opportunity and I plan to learn from the best.”

“Yeah, we’ll see about that.  Enjoy the rest of your day, gentlemen.  I have too much work to do to waste anymore time today,” Eve said as she turned on her heel and walked away without waiting for a response.

“She is a force of nature,” Liam said, “but she has a reputation of being fair.”

“Then why is she out here then?” asked Adam.  “It doesn’t sound like she begged for the assignment.”

“Don’t know.  Maybe you should ask her that,” Liam said.

Adam opened the door to the lab and looked inside.  “Yeah, I’m sure that will be a pleasant conversation.  I’m sure it will end with me on the other side of the wall,” he said.

“If you want I suppose I could ask.  She can’t do that to me,” Liam said.

Adam walked into the lab and shook his head.  “You won’t have time.  You need to go back right now.  There is no time to lose,” he said.

“Why do you say that?” Liam asked.  “Are you worried about the gate collapsing?”

“No, I’m worried about this equipment,” Adam said.  “You promised to try and get me something I can work with.  This,” he said as he gestured around at the packed lab, “is not that.  Go to work young man.  Show me you are an equal partner in this endeavor.”