The Great Symmetry
any type of journey. Unfortunately, it would be necessary this time.
    A dismaying thought occurred to Sanzite. “One more thing. The temperature. Get it right ! To the tenth of the degree, and uniform throughout, or we will have words about this.”
    “Yes, sir.”
    On his last trip, the transfer had been horrendous. The travel tank had been a mess, with variations of several degrees from top to bottom, and uneven viscosity. He had felt the imbalances viscerally, reaching to his core. It had taken almost an hour to get to equilibrium. More reason to hate the travel tank. The morons could never prepare it correctly.
    The therapist arrived. Sanzite tried to remember her name. It didn’t matter. He still had functioning eyes, and he liked how she looked in her uniform.
    “Leave us,” he told the men. “I will notify you when you can resume preparations.”
    As the men left, he turned to his therapist. “I am going to be taking you on a little trip,” he told her. “I need to travel, and I will need your help maintaining my health for as long as I am away.”
    He thought he saw her startle for a moment. Just a moment. Then she looked away. “Of course,” she said. “I’ll take care of you, Mr. President. Now, let’s get started.”
    Full Charter
    “Hey, Stranger!”
    Mira looked up to see Rod Denison sitting at the edge of the pool, feet dangling into the water.
    “You must be doing well, affording pool time up here in the station,” he observed.
    “Just a splurge,” she told him. “Got delayed and was tired of sitting around.”
    “Yeah, I saw. Looks like you’re scheduled to go down to Abilene as soon as you get cleared. And you’ve got space, which is what I like to see.” Denison smiled broadly.
    Rod Denison always looked happy and engaged in his surroundings. Mira imagined that to him, the whole world was a wonderful mystery being revealed a day at a time. He was one of the tallest people Mira had ever met, and that was still evident as he sat above her.
    And then there was the hair. Easy, light curls of blonde that always looked casually out of place. Just right. If her hair could look like that, she might even grow some.
    “Okay, I’ll bite,” Mira said. “How is that good news?”
    “Because I’m going with you!”
    “Um, Rod, I’m not so sure−”
    “Of course you are. I just got in from Caledonia, and I have a high-level government courier trip, paying good money for transit. The Descartes is for deep space only, so I need a shuttle. I can pay full charter, and I know you like the sound of that. We can catch up, too. If you want, you can bring me back up to Top Station. Full charter. What could be better than that?”
    “Really, Rod, it’s not such a good time.”
    “Who are you, and what have you done with Mira Adastra? Full charter! Do you understand a word I’m saying to you?”
    Mira scanned around the pool. Just swimmers, swimming and playing.
    What would a reasonable pilot do, if everything was just hunky dory? How could she fly casual through this one?
    “You know, Port Security seemed pretty interested in my pile of scrap,” she tried. “When I left them at the gate, they were pawing through anything and everything. You know me, they’ll find something, even if it’s old. You know them, they’ll find something even if it doesn’t exist. What I’m saying is, it might not be the smartest idea for you to be around me right now.”
    “If I was smart, I’d work in an office . I’ve logged the charter request, all you need to do is approve and we’re good to go. And you’ll owe me a drink on the surface for bringing you such a sweet deal instead of going home empty.”
    What would a reasonable pilot do?
    Mira improvised. “So I might have another passenger.”
    “Not on your manifest yet. Who is it?” Denison was being oddly persistent, trying to get this ride. Surely he had other choices.
    She wanted nothing more than to just let go of the edge of the pool and slip

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