An early log from the new iteration of OtherSpace MUSH finds Griffin Bright, son of tech mogul Arjun Bright, settling in aboard Meriwether Station:
It’s going to take a while to get Griffin Bright’s room ready. So he finds his way to the operations deck, steps into the conference room, and breathes a sigh of relief when he looks around at the bulkheads and sees nary a porthole. He sags into a chair along the length of the table and says: “I hate space.”
Tilsworth makes his way to another chair, slowly sitting down using his cane for support. The chance to sit and and rest is obviously welcome from the sudden relief on his face. “I would suppose it is not for everyone.” he says. “For me, I enjoy it. Space sciences has been the focus of my life, mainly to follow in my father’s footsteps. Indeed, the Otherspace drive made the Tilsworth-Cooke drive obsolete, but there is always opportunity for discovery among the stars.”
“I don’t have a lot of use for other people’s footsteps,” Griffin replies, kicking his feet onto the conference table. He crosses his arms and says, “Must suck, though. Your pops did all that work on amazing technology, just to have it shoved aside for some whiz-bang alien gizmo.”
“The perils of progress.” Tilsworth says. “Though it does bother me now and then that we don’t actually ‘own’ the tech… the Hivers do. But that’s an argument that as they say is way above my paygrade.” the old scientist says with a chuckle. “Still, it was a good drive for its time. We wouldn’t be sitting here, lightyears from Earth, on this station without the advances it allowed.”
Bright smirks. “Yeah, something you probably don’t want to gripe about too much in front of a Hiver, either. Ever been in front of one? Can you be in front of one? I mean, I guess if they’re wearing that special gimp suit…”
“It’s like they are there… but yet not there.” Tilsworth says. “I’m not one to believe in spooks but they are as close as you can get to one.”
“Dad used to say if ghosts existed they couldn’t travel through vacuum,” Griffin says, letting his arms spread so they can settle on the cushioned rests of his swivel chair. “I figure whatever ghosts exist, we bring with us wherever we go.”
Tilsworth smirks a bit. “Perhaps I should devise a detector, so we can charge them passage.”
Griffin chuckles. “Well, I call that therapy.”
“So tell me. What do you think has happened to your father?” Tilsworth asks. “My understanding is he visited the planet below and has yet to return.”
The young man furrows his brow, then shrugs. “No clue. He wasn’t alone, right? Disappeared with a team of people, including a Nall, which, y’know, I’m pretty sure that’s about to make things pretty goddamned interesting around here in the next few days. Team went down to investigate some site for exploitable resources…and then just never showed up at the extraction point.”
Tilsworth raises an eyebrow at the mention of a Nall. “Nalls? Here? Considering present relations with them that is… rather interesting.” he says, adjusting his specs.
Griffin nods. “Dad took a rather liberal view to his business partners. Of course, I’m led to understand he didn’t have a choice in the matter, this close to the Line of Pain. After he established Meriwether, the Clawed Fist Fleet came knocking and made it pretty clear he couldn’t make any moves on New Amundsen without Nall observers on hand.”
“That sounds more like what we know of them.” Tilsworth says. “Though the Nalls typically have cared little for what’s beyond their borders. Such an interest in what happens to this world is intriguing at the very least.” he says, putting a hand to his chin.
The younger man shrugs. “Their borders tend to change, depending on what they find on the other side. Just ask Ungstir.” A small smile, then: “Not really my concern, though. Dad’s always had a knack for landing himself in one calamity or another. Never gives much thought to how it affects the rest of us. So…we’ll find him. We’ll get him back here. And then I’m talking to my lawyer about getting him declared incompetent.”
“That would be rather drastic, wouldn’t you say?” Tilsworth says. “Being adventurous doesn’t necessarily make a person incompetent.”
Griffin shakes his head. “One misadventure that only affects him? Sure. But other people got mixed up in this. Maybe got hurt. Killed. The company board wants to protect against litigation. Easiest way is…well…”
Tilsworth puts a hand to his face, shaking his head slightly. “I see.” he says, looking up at Griffin. “So it is about money, and reputation, not human lives.”
“It’s definitely not about one man’s life,” Griffin replies. He swings his feet down from the conference table to the floor, then shifts forward in the chair and rests his hands on the table. “Brightstar Industries employs hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Orion Arm. If Dad’s foolishness gets us crippled by a class action suit, that affects the lives of a lot of people.” He shrugs. “I mean, I won’t lie, yes – superficially, it’s about reputation and legacy. But if that gets poisoned, the follow-on effects would be disastrous.”
Tilsworth nods. “Very well.” he says, leaning back in his seat. “I presume the first course of action is finding them.”
“Yeah,” Griffin says. He eases back in the chair. “I need good people for that job.”
“You have one right here so far.” Tilsworth says.
Griffin blinks as he considers the older man. A smile creeps over his face and then he releases a chuckle before tilting his head and asking, “Wait. Are you serious?”
Tilsworth’s face shows no hint of amusement. “Of course I am serious, young man.”
“Are you capable of surviving in an alien wilderness?” Griffin asks. “I thought that shuttle ramp might be the death of you.”
“I’m more spritely than you realize. That was just after a very long shuttle trip.” Tilsworth says. “I’m not intending to move to the rest home any time soon, I feel I have quite a few more useful years ahead.”
Griffin rubs his eyes. “Well. What’s one more victim left in the wake of Dad’s reckless boondoggles?” He sighs. “Fine. Your life, Doc.”
A station worker arrives and says, “Your rooms are ready.”
The younger man nods, then looks at Tilsworth. “Arjun Bright is lucky to have a friend like you. Let’s hope you’re lucky too.”
Tilsworth stands up, grabbing his cane. Just as he does, he begins some rather precise and dextrous staff-like moves, ending with the foot of it less than an inch from Griffin’s nose. “There are times luck has nothing to do with it.” the old man says. “Skill plays a large part as well.” Lowing the cane. “There’s more about me than you realize. Your father and I go back quite a ways, and I do intend to find him.”
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