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Satellite System   By: (1918-1997)

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction October 1960. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

SATELLITE

SYSTEM

By H. B. FYFE

Fyfe's quite right ... there's nothing like a satellite system for a cold storage arrangement. Keeps things handy, but out of the way....

Illustrated by Summers

Having released the netting of his bunk, George Tremont floated himself out. He ran his tongue around his mouth and grimaced.

"Wonder how long I slept ... feels like too long," he muttered. "Well, they would have called me."

The "cabin" was a ninety degree wedge of a cylinder hardly eight feet high. From one end of its outer arc across to the other was just over ten feet, so that it had been necessary to bevel two corners of the hinged, three by seven bunk to clear the sides of the wedge. Lockers flattened the arc behind the bunk.

Tremont maneuvered himself into a vertical position in the eighteen inches between the bunk and a flat surface that cut off the point of the wedge. He stretched out an arm to remove towel and razor from one of the lockers, then carefully folded the bunk upward and hooked it securely in place.

With room to turn now, he swung around and slid open a double door in the flat surface, revealing a shaft three feet square whose center was also the theoretical intersection of his cabin walls. Tremont pulled himself into the shaft. From "up" forward, light leaked through a partly open hatch, and he could hear a murmur of voices as he jackknifed in the opposite direction.

"At least two of them are up there," he grunted.

He wondered which of the other three cabins was occupied, meanwhile pulling himself along by the ladder rungs welded to one corner of the shaft. He reached a slightly wider section aft, which boasted entrances to two air locks, a spacesuit locker, a galley, and a head. He entered the last, noting the murmur of air conditioning machinery on the other side of the bulkhead.

Tremont hooked a foot under a toehold to maintain his position facing a mirror. He plugged in his razor, turned on the exhauster in the slot below the mirror to keep the clippings out of his eyes, and began to shave. As the beard disappeared, he considered the deals he had come to Centauri to put through.

"A funny business!" he told his image. "Dealing in ideas! Can you really sell a man's thoughts?"

Beginning to work around his chin, he decided that it actually was practical. Ideas, in fact, were almost the only kind of import worth bringing from Sol to Alpha Centauri. Large scale shipments of necessities were handled by the Federated Governments. To carry even precious or power metals to Earth or to return with any type of manufactured luxury was simply too expensive in money, fuel, effort, and time.

On the other hand, traveling back every five years to buy up plans and licenses for the latest inventions or processes that was profitable enough to provide a good living for many a man in Tremont's business. All he needed were a number of reliable contacts and a good knowledge of the needs of the three planets and four satellites colonized in the Centaurian system.

Only three days earlier, Tremont had returned from his most recent trip to the old star, landing from the great interstellar ship on the outer moon of Centauri VII. There he leased this small rocket the Annabel , registered more officially as the AC7 4 525 for his local traveling. It would be another five days before he reached the inhabited moons of Centauri VI.

He stopped next in the galley for a quick breakfast out of tubes, regretting the greater convenience of the starship, then returned the towel and razor to his cabin... Continue reading book >>




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