We walk east of the tether access area for a solid 30 minutes toward the primary living quarters. Leena gets to talking about station operations. I learn more about the station as a whole and how it works, thinking this will be nice background information for a number of future articles. Basically, solar is only one piece of the puzzle. While solar collectors, that are a mixture of nano-level structured light accumulators and small highly efficient solar cells, generate a massive amount of power, they need to be supplemented. There are times, in what they call cycles, that solar generation has lower than normal output.
Part of the power taken from solar energy is used to feed one or more fusion reactors, and a mixture of the two is achieved to provide an efficient and continuous level of power to the station and Earth. The fusion part of the equation is much more difficult to manage, being almost like a delicate brain operation, but does produce a higher efficiency from any power used to start and feed the reaction. Storage for raw materials is onboard and is replenished with the occasional tether transport or ship from asteroid mining operations.
Leena is really fascinating. I’ve yet to learn that much about her, but just based on mannerisms and that easily excitable yet seemingly naive nature just ooze out in such a fun way. In a professional situation like this where a citizen would expect a level of stodginess from a ranked Government worker, I’m getting the exact opposite. It’s just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat as I desire to see how she responds to the tiniest of body language or well placed words. I think I’ll try to steer the small talk in a different direction. This could be good for the more enthusiastic of my audience base, but they might not like how it ends up. Some consumers are a little too… protective… of their daily producer journal subscriptions. I might get some backlash from that.
Leena is talking with extreme enthusiasm about how some of the items in the cafeteria are made from reprocessed human waste, I cut her short in a slight pause between words: “That’s fascinating, could you please forward me a list to my terminal so I know what to avoid?” I make a soft chuckle like cough that I don’t think she picked up on: “Leena, tell me a little about yourself. How did you end up here?”
“I’ll let you sample everything before giving you the list. It will be more fun that way. We can have a talk after sampling the food to see if you can tell. It might be more difficult than you think, or easier depending on how attuned your sense of taste is!”
“Only if you join me in tasting everything at the same time as well.”
“I’m not the squeamish one here, you’re the one Sky… Now that we have our food challenge settled, I came here by a spot of luck and hard work. Almost everyone on Earth is born as a citizen, but the Government data systems weed out candidates that it believes would fit well in Government operations. From an early age, I was chosen and immediately had my studies augmented with Government themed topics.”
Leena continues on, “They try their best to breed natural loyalty and traits of service into us from an early age. I went through that, but basically what I experienced up to the end of our schooling period was the same as any citizen. A producer’s workload is probably a lot different from a normal citizen than mine was. I imagine the powers that be try to develop your social skills, so that you can handle the type of situations producers are put in every day.”
“You could say that. I was pushed constantly to develop my creative skills and to desire the attention and affirmation of consumers. I guess in a way we are all a product of this rigid system. Some of what they forced me to learn wasn’t what would be considered the best traits of humanity.”
“Sky, you don’t strike me as a normal citizen producer. You seem much too polite and honorable compared to them. Some producers I’ve come across can be downright rude, manipulating, and utterly demanding. They take what they need for their works to materialize and throw away the rest. Their social attitudes in person are cold and uncaring. It’s kind of disgusting, but as a liaison, I’ve gotten use to it.”
I start to have some internal conviction. It isn’t often that I let someone peek past any of the mental barriers I put up. They exist so that I can do things I’d normally feel bad about such as manipulation to extract important information, or create situations that result in good content. My earlier idea to… well, I think that’s all of me wanting such things from her. In that case, I feel a little better about it, and there can’t be much harm in writing about it after the fact. My audience has given me feedback in the past about wanting that type of content.