It's Friday again! This week seems to have flown past, and been productive in spite of hours flipping by at what feels like an accelerated rate.
I finished the first draft of my sci-fi side story, picked at a few edits in my big manuscript, and not much else because my left elbow is still whingy and doesn't like too much typing. Thankfully a few of my physio exercises are specifically for releasing the nerves throughout the whole arm and I no longer have the extra stabby-stab of nerve pain now that the elbow is moving properly again.
I've still been able to do my small cardio workouts despite the whingy elbow (with appropriate icing and stretches / physio exercises after). I do a half hour of Just Dance three times a week because, although I'm happy with my body shape and weight, the amount of loose jiggle I experience while doing basic activities is getting out of hand.
For those of you confused that I have good self body image and knowing I have an eating disorder, my E.D. is (luckily) not tied to body image. Mine is tied to anxiety and control, which makes exercising a part of it. This means working out – for me – is pretty dangerous to my mental and physical health if I don't constantly monitor and check my activities (which personal history has proven becomes the mental load of a full time job). Activities I enjoy will auto-trigger an E.D. compulsion which spirals really fast into an unhealthy mental state and self-harm. (I have chronic injuries. Overdoing any activity can hurt me a lot, but controlling pain = control, and my E.D. is a control thing so... I hate my brain sometimes.)
I'm actually working out! The control trigger in my brain to DO MORE hasn't switched on automatically because I don't like the activity I'm doing for workouts. My fight against this part of my E.D. is rigged for me to succeed instead of it having the upper hand. It's a struggle, of course, but one I've set up so I can win in mentally and physically healthy ways. Plus, once I get bored in the game with one version's songs, there are so many more to get for new songs, and oodles of videos free on YouTube. (I do think the game needs to be rebranded as Just Tried to Kill Me through Musical Cardio, but only because I'm kinda old and kinda fat :D...). Working out is fun and I hate it. This is perfect for me!
Speaking of Friday cardio sessions, it's time for me to get to it. Today the kids don't have school so they'll likely sit on the couch and heckle me like the old men in the balcony on The Muppet Show. That's what they've done previously when they didn't have school and I did my Just Dance workouts. It's hilarious! Half my core workout today will come from laughing about their "critiques" while attempting to fling my limbs and groove my torso in a coordinated manner. I hope you're staying safe and well! Have a good weekend :)
Leo smiled at his smart. <I will definitely get back to you when I have a solid answer> he wrote, and then smirked as he deleted the last part to edit the message so it said <I will definitely get back to you when I have a hard answer> before sending it to Trevor.
Her reply was fast and just a sound file: the ding-ding of a bicycle bell. Leo laughed and decided to have a shower. By the time he dried off, finished his usual nightly routine and climbed into bed, he already knew he wanted to take up Trevor on her offer. First, though, he needed to talk to her about how serious she was for this relationship to get to a point of being established. With her qualifications and status, losing her contract on Dockland only meant she’d likely get another, similar contract or hourly job within a week. For Leo, losing this position meant being sent home and likely never working for Coalition again, so his only option would be the same unreliable jobs his parents had and a lowest caste, landside life weighted by poverty-enforced debts.
A bad sleep and another of Hodahvay and Mollin’s pranks made the start of the next shift miserable. Getting a chance to talk to Trevor seriously, despite that she was tossing around bicycle puns like free candy at a Central World parade, improved the cycle considerably. She agreed it was a good idea to wait a bit longer for sex as they adjusted to their new situation of being together in a budding relationship. Then, a couple of weeks later when they decided to become established, Leo didn’t have any hesitations.
The cycles and weeks passed easily into months. The only irritant being Hodahvay and Mollin’s pranks becoming progressively more complex, and thankfully less frequent, as Captain changed their security access permissions for the systems they targeted. Once Leo and Trevor weren’t being forced to fix systems before Captain’s shift multiple times a week, they started to use solving the pranks as games to break up the tedium of planetary scans and over distance travel.
When the audit arrived, Captain had more than enough evidence to support Dockland getting upgraded, and to get the new systems and equipment on an expedited schedule. It put the exploration on hold for two standard months, but as much of Dockland as possible was upgraded to current interfaces and system sets.
Trevor’s contract was extended for the additional months, and her experience as an installer meant she was working the entire time in Dock. Using her connections, she even got Leo a temporary apprentice position so he could learn the fine arts of stripping cables and carrying equipment and tools to the right locations for the people actually doing the work. The hours were long and the pay was identical to his Analyst position, but he saw Trevor more often than just after her shifts, and he didn’t have the reduced wage from being on standby that most of the crew received.
Dockland’s new systems had the same generation holoscreen console interfaces Leo had learned with at Academy, and the console supports were the same smoothly transparent pillars as had become standard in the past thirty years. The console interfaces displayed between supports came with the optional vertical holoscreens projected above when needed.
Surprising to Leo, the upgrades were unfamiliar technology to Trevor, and he found himself in the strange situation of training her. It only took one shift for her to get comfortable with the interfaces and she learned the systems way faster than he ever had. He proclaimed it was because she’d grown up shipside and knew every previous generation of the systems back-to-front and front-to-back, even if she teasingly argued her ability to learn so fast was because her intelligence was a great deal higher than his.
Six months into Dockland’s exploration, and eight months working together, her question about how exclusive they were made him laugh. Not because of any secret doubts he was harboring, but because the cycle before he’d filled in his information for the Exclusive Relationship Registration submission and had been mentally stumbling over the timing of when to ask her to add her details.
She’d laughed about the form and said “not yet”… which wasn’t a ‘no’. Especially when she threatened to gut him and anyone he might look at as relationship material going forward because she hadn’t signed. He was pretty sure she was kidding, because her next question had been if he’d put any thought into stopping repression, but she’d been holding a knife while cutting some snacks so joking about gutting him at that moment was the right level of mean added to dark humor he loved about her.
The one standard year completion for the exploration loomed a little closer every cycle, the half-filled registration waiting patiently for Trevor’s info, and their exploration routing taking them further from recognized Coalition sectors where every planet was already scanned. They came to a world that had been home to an ancient colony, long disappeared, and completed their scans to include the useless technology that was found. Trevor was quieter than usual during those ten cycles in orbit.
Dockland travelled to the next planet, uninhabited and without any historical signs of life, and took up scanning. Leo couldn’t help but notice that Trevor continued getting more distant and professional whenever they were working. He tried to talk to her about it, first jokingly and then seriously, and she brushed off and avoided every attempt.
They came to another planet with evidence of more recent but still abandoned habitation. As the required orbits were finishing up, Captain received Dockland’s list of possible next planets to scan and – as she usually did – saved it to Dockland’s announcement file so every member of the crew could read it.
Leo tried using the list of potential planets they could be going to as a way to start a conversation, but Trevor stopped reading at planet seventy-four (or ‘LXXIV’ in the numbering Trevor had introduced him to and Leo pronounced phonetically as ‘Lexxive’ to try and make her laugh). She didn’t speak to him for the rest of the shift except for one or two words relating completely to work. After a full eight hours of silence, with only two months left in this exploration, she went back to her cabin alone and locked the door.
Walking to the galley by himself, Leo’s brain recycled over the past month for what he’d said and done with a fine filter, looking at everything for anything which would make Trevor shut him out. Mollin and Hodahvay passed him in the hallway, too embroiled in their own conversation to notice anyone was around them, and Leo mumbled his usual apology when Mollin accidentally bumped his shoulder. They were talking about planet seventy-four, wondering excitedly if Dockland would finish ReadScans here on sixty-eight in time to get assigned to seventy-four because three other ships were also near completions.
Mollin and Hodahvay were way too excited. Their conversation broke through the Trevor-shaped fog clouding Leo’s thoughts. He decided while he was in line at the galley he should look into planet seventy-four a little closer because, now that he was listening to things outside of his head, almost everyone in the galley was buzzing about the possibility of going there.
It wouldn’t be hard to look up the information. After all, everyone had access to the existing research about the planets all the exploration ships were scanning. Not much use to Coalition for someone on the crews to not notice something important or to ignore regulation protocols regarding first contacts.
This was a weekly blog updating on Fridays, but life got busy so now I pop in now and then to let you know I'm still chipping away at my stories. If you look back through the archive you'll find weekly quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free! Check out my Short Stories section for free downloads of most of my writing, too!