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Doing Freedom masthead


Carl Bussjaeger

The shaggy-haired disk jockey floated in mid air, grinning as an anarchist's delight blared from his speakers. As the music faded he cut in his microphone. "Yeeoowza! That was No High Ground. Leslie obviously never worked in orbit, eh?" He laughed. "Bureaucrats beware!" Then a little more seriously, "That's gonna wrap it up for me tonight, seeing as how I have an early shift coming up. I've loaded up the M-pegs, and you're on your own. If you have any requests for tomorrow's show, mail 'em to my my station box, fravel at O-M-G dash one dot co dot txfp. This is WQRM, FM 107.9, the voice of the high frontier, going on autopilot." With that last, the disc jockey killed his mike, flipped a switch on an obviously improvised mixer board, and stretched his arms. His shoulder let loose with an audible pop. "So much for my ideas that free fall would be good for my joints. Too much fightin' too young, I suppose."

He pulled a plastic cover down over the control panel, then unstrapped from his stool and reached over to his bunk, little more than a large zippered cloth bag snapped to the wall. As he started to climb in, the intercom chirped. "Aw, heck. Enough already," he muttered tiredly; but he stretched his arm to the opposing wall and punched the speaker button. "WQRM. Billy Fravel here. Sorry, I'm not taking any more requests tonight."

"The devil you aren't!" shouted a tinny voice from the phone. Shit, the boss again. "Get your butt in my office at 0700 tomorrow morning." The line went dead.

"Oh, boy. Another satisfied listener." Billy killed the phone, and then the lights. "Oh-seven hundred; jeez, the guy thinks he's still in the Air Force." He pulled the zipper up to his chin, and began snoring almost immediately.

Punctual despite himself, Billy arrived at the project administrator's office at 6:59 the next morning. It was an easy office to locate; it had the only wooden door on the entire station, complete with a brass plaque- J. Edward Evans. They charged me five hundred bucks to lift my baby transmitter, and this guy is paid to fly up a damned door, Billy thought bitterly.

Using the mirror the Evans had mounted next to the door for just that purpose - anal is as anal does - Billy nervously checked himself out once more. He smoothed out his longish brown hair, and pushed his metal-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of his nose. Now what's eating Evans? I don't think I played anything on the banned list. He peered at his rather plain face in the mirror, and tried a determined look. He added a hint of an evil grin. Satisfied, Billy rapped on the administrator's door.

Evans' voice came from within, "Enter."

Ha, even Evans couldn't swing a private secretary up here. Billy swung the door open and pushed into the office it revealed. "Good morning, Mr. Evans," he chirped, "what can I do for you today?"

J. Edward Evans was seated at a real chair, behind an earth-style desk, complete with intercom, file folders, framed photographs, and a computer. An astounding display, considering the free fall environment. There was a rumor floating around the station that all the objects were superglued to the desk top. For long seconds, Evans simply stared, grim faced. Billy willed his grin larger. The supervisor finally gave in and spoke, "Fravel, have you forgotten the company policy letter that so-generously allows you to continue operating that disgraceful excuse for a radio station?"

"Why, no sir. Is there some problem?" Billy replied with assumed puzzlement.

Evans glowered. "Fravel, with your so-called station there's always some problem. If that human resources twit hadn't decided that your little operation was good for workers' morale and productivity, I never would have let you get away with your scam." He lifted a folder off the desk. It came up with a ripping sound. Ah, not superglue; velcro. "As it is, I am forced to tolerate your amateurish efforts, so long as you follow these mutually agreed upon guidelines. Last night you failed to do so." He smiled; not a pretty sight.

Billy frowned. "How so? I shut down the live show by midnight, and I'm not doing the commentary anymore."

"The music, Mr. Fravel. You are not to play revolutionary tunes inducive of violent acts!"

"Revolutionary music? Did I play Yankee Doodle Dandy again?" the DJ asked with feigned innocence. His grin spoiled the effect.

"Damn it all, you encourage people to take up arms against proper authority!" Evans near-shouted.

Almost despite himself, Billy felt his grin turn into a full-blown smile. "Ah, No High Ground. Lovely tune, isn't it?"

"It promotes violence!" This time Evans did shout.

"Mr. Evans, you're just sensitive about shootings since that welder tagged you with the paintball gun. That song wasn't directed at you." The smile suddenly left Billy's face. "And you aren't going to shut me down for it. Policy letter, section six, paragraph five - unless a specific song has previously been found by the courts of the United States or Republic of Texas to be unacceptable for broadcast, you cannot ban it. Exceptions to that, which may be banned, are found in appendix B." Billy smiled again. "No High Ground ain't on the list. If you want it added to the banned list, call Human Resources. He crossed his arms and stared down at the bureaucrat. "Is there anything else? If not, I need to get to work. Those transmitters aren't going to install themselves."

"Fravel, you're an insubordinate punk!" Evans sputtered angrily. "Why the company chose to allow you to operate that station is beyond me. Your taste in music is execrable, and your inane on-the-air chatter is maddening. You are an amateur. This is only place you could ever succeed as a radio personality: Earth orbit, with a captive audience."

"Yes, I am an amateur," Billy agreed. "Doing it well, because I'm doing what I enjoy. If you don't have anything else for me, I need to go suit up for my shift. I'm already late." He paused, challenging the exec with his silence. Then, "Well?"

"Get out. Get to work. And remember, I'll be watching you." Evans slammed his file down on the desk. The folder stuck to the velcro, but the contents flew out. Papers drifted loosely in the air.

Fravel found his grin again. "Do have a nice day, Mr. Evans." Billy turned and left the room, floating papers fluttering in his wake like deranged birds.

Later, suited up and drifting along the tensioned plastic of an enormous grid, Billy clipped a safety line to a structural member. He slid a transmit module from the carrier he was pulling along and settled it into place in a prepared rack in the grid. He reached to his waist, and grasped a tape dispenser.

No tiny, difficult to work with, easily lost nuts and bolts for this space construction project. Instead, components and struts were taped in place. Cheap, lightweight, and easy to use, the tape Billy was wrapping around the unit was a high-tech descendant of duct tape. It was a glass fiber matrix bonded to a vacuum and heatproof adhesive. It did require a certain amount of care when applying, though. More than one technician had needed rescue by other jeering technicians after inadvertently taping themselves in place. As he worked, Billy's thoughts drifted. As a space enthusiast, he considered the object of his work.

After more than thirty years worth of delays, the solar power satellites proposed in the the 1970s were finally begun. In truth, the system benefited from the delays. Three decades is quite enough time in which to iron out the last bugs in a design prior to construction. And new technologies made the concept more workable than had originally been thought - improved solid state microwave transmitters, the Launcher Company's cheap orbital access, even Billy's tape. Politically, the satellites became more attractive when the anti-nuclear movement drove up energy prices by shutting down fission-based plants in the U.S. Orbital Microwave Generation Facility One was a working prototype, which would test those new technologies.

The power station was an interlocking gridwork of conductive plastic, tensioned and shaped with a relatively few rigid beams, and some innovative applications of memory alloy members, variations of nitinol wire. The concept of a rigid collection of strong aluminum beams was abandoned. Though flimsy by earthly standards, such a traditional construct required far too much mass in orbit to be economically viable, even with low twenty-first century launch costs. Instead, the Web was a self-tensioning 'suspension bridge' in three dimensions. With the memory alloy members and creative use of solar light pressure, it was capable of orienting itself with little need of reaction jets. Viewed from a distance, the array resembled a gigantic spider web.

The active energy collection and transmission portion of the Web was both simple and complex. Simple, in that photovoltaic cells collected light, converted it to electricity which was then fed to microwave generators for transmission. The simplicity of the system was enhanced by the use of amorphous silicon cells extruded as ultrathin ribbons hundreds of feet long. With a conversion efficiency of thirty-five percent, they shamed the solar cells of the '70s.

Simplicity was also reflected in the microwave generators. Forget kludgy microwave klystron tubes, wasting far too much energy as heat - certainly the Web's engineers had. The units were solid state, and completely modular cans roughly the size of a house brick. Thousands of them eventually. Run a DC voltage in one end, and get microwaves out the other. Even the electronically configured antenna was integral to the unit.

Electricity was generated by the solar cells,and routed over the electrically conductive plastic of the lattice to DC-DC converters scattered across the Web's expanse. From there, the appropriate voltages were conducted to the generators by other conductive strands. Simple.

The complexity of the system was largely in the scale. The completed array would encompass a full square mile. The photovoltaic cells would account for nearly half of that area. Allowing for improved efficiency in airless space, they would be capable of generating over 240 megawatts. Half of that power would be available for station requirements. The remainder would power fifty thousand individual microwave generators. With a microwave conversion efficiency of nearly ninety percent, each unit would finally transmit better than 2 kilowatts watts of power earthwards.

Each of the thousands of transmitters was under computer control. The end result would be a phased array antenna of monstrous proportions. The power beam could be carefully tailored in shape and intensity, yielding usable power density at ground level without compromising safety. Environmentalists still screamed, but the beam harmed nothing.

With the frequency of the beam under careful control, more tricks became possible. As a cloud drifted across part of the earthside receiving rectenna field, the frequency of the portion of the beam passing through the cloud could be shifted; tuned for minimal attenuation by the cloud. In fact, though efficiency dropped off below seven hundred fifty megahertz, the frequency could, in fact, be varied all the way down to 10 MHz.

Billy Fravel's role in this grand scheme was that of a microwave technician. He and other techs were responsible for installing the transmitters on the Web. In addition, the senior technicians took turns manning the Beam Control room.

Installing the transmitters would take over a year to complete. But already, eighteen thousand units were in place. Billy found the repetitive nature of the work boring in the extreme, but comforted himself with his company-approved DJ hobby, and the fact that they were paying him serious bucks to play space cadet. Just thinking about it brought a smile to Billy's face.

"Come on Fravel, have some pity on us," came a voice through his headset. "Isn't it enough that we listen to your radio station?"

Oops, humming again. "Er, sorry about that, guys," he replied sheepishly. "Just got carried away."

"As usual. I suppose we shouldn't expect any better from a guy who'd play Napoleon the Fourteenth on his radio station."

"Oh, and you don't like my playlist?" Billy responded defensively. "I could always play that crap Evans wants, you know." Idle threat; I'd sooner smash my soundboard.

"Idle threat," a third tech echoed Billy's thought. "Elevator music. You couldn't stomach it either. Even your damned filk beats that. Sorta."

"Yeah, Billy; isn't it great having a captive audience?" chipped in another voice.

"Hey; you don't like it, I'll stop. Run your own damned station. I'm doing this for fun. The company isn't exactly paying me to do it," Billy retorted.

"Calm down, Fravel," soothed the first voice, "you know we're kidding. I kinda like it. Never gets boring."

"Yeah," said the controller in Beam Operations, "and I love the fact that it drives Evans nuts. But when are you gonna start playing some rap music? You've already got country, rock, jazz, and pop covered."

Billy made a raspberry into his microphone. "Never. It ain't music. Music is comprised of three basic elements: melody, harmony, and rhythm. I'll allow that rap has rhythm; but the rest? Nope."

"But I like rap," the Beam operator responded.

"Your privilege. It may be art, but it isn't music. And I won't play it." He grinned to himself. "Unless Evans tries to forbid it, of course."

Speak of the devil. The voice of Evans himself broke in. "Gentlemen, this unauthorized conversation is monopolizing the net," he informed them. "You will discontinue these non-essential communications. And get back to work; you have a quota to fulfill."

An anonymous voice replied, "A quota we met half an hour ago, moron."

"Who said that?" the administrator demanded angrily. "I'll dock your pay! Who was that?" The only response was the sound of several people laughing.

Offshift that evening, Billy relaxed in the station's bar. It was another facility despised by Evans, but condoned by the company. In a lull during third meal shift, the bar was nearly empty save Billy and the bartender. WQRM could be heard playing softly in the background; running on pre-programmed music. Billy sat in the dim room contemplating his empty baggie. I miss mugs.

The bartender's voice broke into his reverie. "Hey, Billy; you want another drink?"

Billy looked across the improvised counter-top at the bartender. "Nah, my ration's used up."

The bartender shook her head, blonde curls tumbling inside a hair net. "On the house, and off the record," she offered. "I heard you had another go-around with Evans this morning. And won; sort of." She tossed a baggie over the bar.

Billy caught it, and said, "Thanks." He grinned. "It beats me how you keep up with everything. And that was in the Man's office. You got his place wired?"

The bartender spread her arms and assumed an innocent expression. "What, who me? Not that I'll ever admit." She winked. "So he still blames you for that paintball shot, huh?"

"Uh huh. Heck, I'm not the one who shot him."

"Yeah, but you did get the pistol and paintballs for McKeever," the bartender pointed out.

"Sure, but Evans doesn't know that." Then he corrected himself, "'Least ways, he couldn't prove it." They both chuckled.

"He still trying to shut down your station?" asked the bartender.

"Basically. Right now he's trying to revise the banned list." Billy frowned and sucked on his baggie. He made a face and said, "Whew, this batch needs to run through the filter again." He looked at the fluid dubiously and said, "You know; I've been up here for months, and still haven't figured it out. What do you make this stuff from?"

The bartender smiled and laughed. "You'll enjoy it more if you don't ask." She winked. "Let it be enough that it works, and it's nontoxic. Mostly."

Billy grimaced and took another sip. "I guess." He shuddered, then returned to the original topic. "Anyway, he says I'm a lousy DJ. Says I can only make it with a captive audience. Asshole." He bravely took another sip from his baggie.

The bartender pulled up closer to the counter and spoke, "Well, Billy, you have to admit, you're a radio technician, not a broadcaster. Sure you beat the heck out of Evans' elevator music. But if you're such a hot shot DJ, why aren't you doing it for money?" She shook her head. "You're good, but it's a really competitive field."

"Aw, not you, too," Billy complained. "I could make it in any radio market groundside, if I wanted to."

The bartender snorted in doubt. "Wake up, man. You're not a DJ, and you're not groundside; you're a radio tech on the Web." She shook her head again. "That's an easy claim to make up here. No one can call you on it."

"Oh, bull!" Billy retorted. "I could..." His words cut off suddenly. His face went blank, and he stared out into space.

Puzzled, the bartender asked, "Hey, what's got into you?" She waved her hand in Billy's face. "Yoohoo, Billy!"

Billy jerked, and stuttered, "H-huh...?"

"Station to Billy. Come in, please."

Distracted, Billy grabbed his baggie and pushed off from the counter. Headed for the doorway, he mumbled, "Uhmm, I've got something to do. See ya later."

The puzzled bartender called after him, "Billy, what...?" But Billy was already gone. "Geez, Louise. Now what's he up to?" She wiped off the bar and waited for another customer.

A couple of weeks after the encounter in Evans' office, Billy was scheduled for a shift in Beam Control; taking his turn at directing the efforts of the technicians installing equipment on the Web, and remotely testing the completed work. As Billy entered the control room, the technician at the control console looked up in surprise.

"Yo, Fravel. This may be a first. Showing up on time for Ops duty. What's up?"

Billy smiled and answered, "Just another step in my efforts to appear inconsistent. Gotta keep you folks guessing." He moved over to the console and strapped down the knapsack he had brought with him. "Even control room duty isn't bad, if you know how to use the time, Jimbo."

Jim snorted, and replied, "Well, us normal mortals find it incredibly boring." He held up a well-worn magazine. "And these damn old rags don't help much. Neither does missing out on vacuum pay."

Billy nodded his agreement with the latter, and asked, "What's on the agenda for today?"

"All the usual exciting stuff. Unit testing on yesterday's installs, followed by a five percent test on the complete array for starters." Jim pointed at a status display on one of several monitors in the console. "Unit testing started at six AM, and should be done by nine."

"That's it?" Billy inquired.

Jim shrugged. "Busy day... Not." He pointed to Billy's bag. "What you got there? Workin' on your next show?"

Billy grinned. "Yeah; something like that. Got a great one coming up."

Jim's face took on a dubious expression as he replied, "Billy, if you keep screwin' with Evans, you're gonna get your butt tossed off the station."

"So?" Billy countered. "Launcher is always looking for more orbital workers." He shrugged and grinned. "Anyway, it's a matter of pride now. He's challenged me."

Jim turned uncharacteristically serious. "Man, you're one of the few folk who actually like it up here. You're gonna throw that away. Why not chill for awhile?" he asked.

"I'll be okay." Billy shrugged, and gave a tiny smile. "Tell you what; after today, I'll leave him alone."

"You have chosen wisely," Jim intoned.

"Yeah, right."

Jim rolled up his magazine and pushed off the console. "Well, I'm outa here. Have fun."

"Oh, I will." Billy chuckled lightly.

"Later." Jim headed out the door.

Finally alone, Billy opened his knapsack and began removing items. First came his broadcast mixer board, which he propped up on the operations console. Reaching into the bag again, Billy came up with his portable portable music deck and a tangle of cables. He connected the player to the mixer board, and plugged both into power jacks. Next, he pulled a memstick carrier from the bag. "Thing's as good as a gamer's Bag of Holding." He checked titles on the music chips and loaded them into the player. "And the magic box," he said quietly, removing the last item from the knapsack.

Said box wasn't particularly miraculous to look at. A grey enclosure the size of an old pack of cigarettes, it had a tangle of cables extending from one both ends. Billy had spent several hours constructing his 'magic box.' Essentially, it was just an analog to digital converter. It accepted audio input from Billy's radio station mixer board, and translated it into digital pulses. The pulses, in turn, were fed to the data bus for the power beam transmitters' reference signal oscillator. The box was Billy's new modulator.

Billy connected the modulator between his mixing board and the primary beam control computer. It was now a part of the oscillator's digital phase-locked loop circuit, adding its own controlling pulses. "Smoke test time," he announced to the room. He plugged in the modulator's power cord. "Excellent. No smoke this time."

Billy keyed the CD player. Then he pulled over a keyboard and called up a status display for the reference oscillator. Looking at the screen, he said, "Ta Da! Modulation." He frowned and added, "Barely." He adjusted a level control on the mixer, and considered the status screen. He tweaked the adjustment a bit. Looking at the display again, he smiled. "Bingo."

Billy settled the beam operator's headset into place, and jacked it into the mixer, as well. Then he reset the CD player. "Which leaves configuring the antenna," he muttered to himself. "Last chance to back out, Billy-Boy." Screw 'em. It's only a job. He tapped at the keyboard. A screen displayed:

Load new antenna configuration file?

He clicked OK, and a sidebar popped up.

Configuration files available
1) 5% test
2) Single unit test
3) Freq drift
4) Maximum stress
5) New Mexico alignment

Billy slipped a RAM card into a slot on the console and played with the mouse again. The list changed.

Configuration files available

Billy selected the new file.

Antenna configuration file WQRM loaded.
WARNING: Implementing this file will alter the current
array configuration.

Billy responded affirmatively.



appeared on the screen. A red square began flashing in the lower left corner of the display, accompanied by an insistent beep. Billy pressed 'F10.'

Status Update:
NM Receiving Station telemetry indicates Beam LOS
Ground Station RSL: -127.07 dBm average
Press 'F10' to acknowledge.

Billy grinned as he acknowledged the message. "And that's thirty-eight megawatts for me." He tapped at the keyboard some more. A few quick commands caused the computer to use the altered reference oscillator to control the redirected transmitter elements. Those elements shifted their transmit frequency down to 107.9 MHz. Even allowing for the loss of efficiency caused by operating off frequency, Billy still had several million watts at his disposal. Lessee, Billy thought, a three dB drop. I can live with nineteen million watts. 'Course, peak power's gonna drop when I apply modulation. His smile grew larger. Then continuing out loud once more, "Well, congratulations, Fravel. You're now unemployed." Billy adjusted his headset once more, and double-checked the CD's in the player. Come on, quit stalling. He flipped a switch on his mixer board, and saw the red On The Air light illuminate. Show time.

"Good morning, America! You're listening to WQRM FM One Oh Seven Point Nine. The Voice of the high frontier here on OMG-1! We're coming at you from the highest antenna in the world, at a big...umm." He called up a running status display from the computer. "...A whopping seventeen million watts. If you can't hear us, your radio isn't on!

"I'm gonna start this off with a pretty little tune called The Light Ship. This one's dedicated to all the folks up here busting ass to build this station. Good job, people!" As he spoke, he keyed the M-peg deck. He faded the music in as he finished talking. Billy unkeyed his microphone and grinned. It's always all right once the show starts. He looked to reassure himself that the next disc was ready, and turned to his playlist.

Six songs later, they still hadn't shut him down. Unbelievable, Billy thought. Then he keyed his mike again. "I've got one more special dedication here. This is for J. Edward Evans, the head mofo what be in charge up here. Just remember, boss; even in orbit there's No High Ground." The music started.

As did the pounding on the operations room door. "Fravel, open this door now!" roared the voice of an enraged Evans.

Billy felt his heart skip a beat. Moment of truth time, Billy. Remember, the company can only fire me. What's left of the FCC can't even fine me. And even Evans wouldn't space me. I think. He pulled his shoulders back, and tried to assume a confident expression. He turned up the audio monitor volume , and opened the door. "Why, good morning, Mr. Evans," Billy said, smiling. "Did you want to make a request?"

Evans came flying through the door, smashed into Billy's midsection, and knocked him back against one wall. "Shut it off! Turn it off, now! You're finished, Fravel! Do you understand? Done!" Evans screamed, spittle flying. A considerable amount of white showed around his eyes.

Two more people followed Evans through the door, albeit more sedately. One was another radio tech, Jablonski; the other was one of Evans' clerks. Both seemed to be managing the trick of looking worried and amused simultaneously.

Evans turned to Jablonski and ordered, "Shut it down. Kill it!"

Jablonski pushed over to Billy's console and looked it over. The redhead announced, "Gee, sir. I don't know. No telling how Billy has this interfaced. Could take awhile." With her back to the administrator, she grinned at the musical miscreant.

"I don't care how you do it. Turn it off!" Evans eyes were bulging distinctly now.

"We'll see, sir." As the technician hovered over the mixer, music still filling the room, Billy thought he saw Jablonski's shoulders shaking slightly. Laughter?

Finally, the song ended; the room grew quiet. Jablonski reached down to the mixer board and pushed the power button. "Ah, that should do it. It's off the air, now, Mr. Evans." Still facing away from the administrator, she gave Billy a quick conspiratorial wink, which Billy returned.

"Bloody well about time!" Evans exclaimed. Then he launched himself at Billy once more. On impact, he grabbed at Billy's shirt and pulled himself into Billy's face. "You're fired, Fravel! No bonuses. No severance pay. You're out of here! And I'll see to it that you never work in space again!" He released Billy's shirt and pushed him back. As Billy was already against the wall, this had little effect, save that Evans launched himself into the air again. He bumped his head on the ceiling. He roared again. "And since you haven't completed your contract, you'll by god reimburse the company for your transportation costs, you sonuvabitch!"

Still grinning, Billy shook his head. "Hey, man; I'm crazy, not stupid. I know I'm gone. Think of the past half hour as my farewell address." He watched Evans recover, and push back to the floor. "Hell, I'm already packed, even," he added.

Evans' face went from red to purple. "Out!" he screamed. He turned to the clerk. "Get him out of here! Put him on the shuttle! Don't let him go anywhere, do anything! Get it off my station!"

"Yes, sir, Mr. Evans," the clerk replied carefully. He faced Billy, shrugged, and gestured towards the door. He added a pleading look.

Nodding acquiescence, Billy pushed over to the exit. He paused in the doorway, grasped the frame, and turned back to the control room. Looking right into Evans' eyes, he said. "I'd like you to think about something after I'm gone. Despite all your denigrating comments about me, my music, and my station, for a while there, who do you suppose was the most listened-to DJ in the country?" Billy turned and left. Behind him, he heard the distinct sound of Evans choking and trying futilely to speak, accompanied by Jablonski's laughter. As he headed for the shuttle dock, escorted by the grinning clerk, Billy smiled to himself. It was worth it. I'm out of a job, and I'm gonna be broke again. But it was worth it.

Two months later, Evans sat at his desk reviewing progress reports. Production was slipping, and he had yet to isolate the cause. He sighed, and cleared the screen. Enough for now. Later. He called up his mailbox display - two missives from the main office back on Earth, a letter from an unfamiliar domain, and assorted spam in the filter file. He deleted the undesired junk, and began reading the official correspondence. The first was a routine verification of requisitions. Evans copied the letter to a file cabinet, and reposted it to his department heads. The second post caused him to sit up and exclaim, "Good Lord, are they mad?"

But it was true. In an effort to realize some immediate economic benefit from the power satellite, and generate some favorable publicity, the company had entered into an agreement with Tempo-Warren. TWC had contracted to lease 5 percent of the power beam; to be operated in what they referred to as 'Fravel Mode.' Another radio station. Evans grimaced, and read on.

Worse, the programming was not simply to be relayed from Earthside studios for rebroadcast. To gain full public relations advantage of the novelty, programming was to be led by a live operator in orbit, on the station. Madness. Another useless body to get in the way. But Tempo-Warren is a well-established, respectable organization. At least we will have quality, professional programming this time. Not like that damned... anarchist. "Hmph. 'Fravel Mode,' indeed," Evans muttered. Frowning and shaking his head, he filed and forwarded the post appropriately. He opened the remaining file.

Hi Evans,
Just wanted to be the first to tell you. I just accepted a
wonderful job with Tempo-Warren Communications as a
DJ. A two year contract; can you imagine?
See you in a few weeks.

"No, no, no..." Evans began sobbing quietly, leaving a trail of salty globules drifting in the air as he settled his forehead onto the velcro-upholstered desk top.

(c) 2001


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