710202:0800 IST – Independence City
By Ted Baxter, The Independence Independent
Back in the olden days of yore, there used to be these amazing things called Groundhogs back on Earth, right? They were furry little burrowing ruminants about the size of a fat cat, and they had this ability to predict how much longer winter, in the northern hemisphere, was going to be. Evidently, if it saw its shadow, it’d get scared and run back into its underground home, and thus you’d know if you had another six more weeks of shoveling snow.
We don’t have groundhogs out here, and that’s too bad. Seems as though we’re living in perpetual winter. It would be nice to know how much longer this is going to last.
Living out in the territory sure is dull and monotonous. I do this gig part time while breathing my own recycled air digging iron out of asteroids. Yes, I sometimes do it myself. My machines can only work so long before they pop a joint or burn out, and then I try to keep them working a few hours a day just so I can work up enough money to buy more parts, better robots, and keep working like this. Then, I have to pile the rocks in my little ship, and take it to the city, praying all the while I don’t get jumped by raiders.
I was jumped the one time, so far. I’m lucky to be alive. A lot of these bastards don’t leave survivors. And if it hadn’t been for the local Marshals, I’d be dead right now and you wouldn’t be reading this on your spare time. So I’m very lucky.
Then I get to town, and what’s there for me? Breathing more recycled air, only more of it, electronic entertainment, booze, and drones. I don’t know when the last time it was I saw a real live woman. I’d go to the surface, check out the dinosaurs in the wild, but that’s $100 bucks and 12 hours to get there, another $100 and 12 hours to get back, and I’d probably get some strange illness and have a midget imposaur nibble my ass for my trouble.
The food is terrible, the entertainment’s canned, the ol’ governor takes a cut of what I make, and I’m flying back to the same rock that, hopefully, hasn’t been jacked by some claim-jumper, back to clawing out more rocks so I can do the same thing all over again, breathing my own air, eating more paste, getting drunk, and dating my hands again. And it’s been like this for the last two years.
Whoever that Greeley guy was who told us to “Go out there” can come out here and kiss my ass.
A priest came to IC, set up shop on the Market Quarter. I’m not Catholic, and I don’t know the procedures and such, but I sat in anyway and heard his sermon. He said that things were hard, but they were going to get better.
Well, when, Father? When’s the Groundhog coming out of his little hole?