The Orbiter. Part 9

Sleep didn’t come to him however, and within a few moments he was back with his eyes open looking at the musky confines of his house. Letting out yet another heavy breath he leaned back on his chair and flicked a switch on the wall behind him, turning on the filtration system.

Most houses on Nimura lacked any kind of filtration, but Lady Mitch had insisted that he have one to make use of, even if only for a short time. Radim had initially resisted the idea of being one of the only people on Nimura to have one, but quickly admitted that it did make it easier to breathe, though he only used it for the brief times he was actually in the house.

With the filtration now gently humming in the background, Radim pulled his miniature computer out from under his chair and started it up, it only took a few moments for it to be ready, at which point he started up the video conference system and requested a call to Stana.

After a few moments of ringing, the face he recognised answered.

“How are you darling?” Stana smiled at him.

“Is this a good time?” Radim quickly replied.

Stana rolled her eyes at him. “Really? Straight to the formalities? That Lady has you wrapped around her finger doesn’t she? When you can’t even talk to me like a I’m the normal person I am.”

Raadim felt himself raising an eyebrow at her in response. “I only asked the question to make sure I wasn’t disturbing anything, and if so I could call back later.”

“Oh.” Stana paused. “Sorry.”

Radim watched her silence for a few moments, waiting for an answer, before trying again. “So? Is this a good time?”

Stana looked up from her screen briefly before responding. “Honestly, not really, I have a meeting in a few minutes.”

“That’s okay, I really just wanted to say that Lady Mitch has let me have the next few days off, so I was thinking of taking the shuttle over to Geraldine to see you?”

Radim could honestly say he had never seen Stana light up quite so quickly before, and took it as a sure sign she was happy with that arrangement. “Really?”

Radim nodded. “Absolutely.”

“Great. I have a meeting tomorrow but after that I can spare time for a couple of days, are you getting the next shuttle over?”

“Yes I will, I’ll leave shortly.” Radim Smiled.

“I’m surprised Mitch even let you have the time off. The way she orders you around, it just isn’t right.”  Stana shook her head slightly with a faint huff of annoyance.

Radim shrugged. “She’s not all bad, there are worse people to work for, besides she’s done this before so it’s not unusual as you are fully aware.” The last part he put so much emphasis on he almost startled himself.

Luckily for him, Stana either didn’t notice the emphasis or chose to ignore it. “I have to go, the second half of my meeting starts soon. You still have the spare key so you can let yourself in?”

Radim nodded. “Keep it with me at all times. I’ll let myself in when I arrive.”

Stana smiled faintly. “Good.” She looked up briefly again. “I have to go. Love you.”

“L…” Radim was only able to form the single letter before she had shut down the call from her end. “That ended abruptly.” He said to the blank screen. He sat for a moment in silence, before composing himself. Standing, patting his pocket just to double check the key was still there, he shut down the computer and switched off the filter.

The shuttle station wasn’t far from where he lived, which was part of the reason he choose the house he had, and as such it only took a few minutes for him to walk there. Due to the time of day the shuttle stop wasn’t too busy, though the amount of time it would take to get to station Geraldine meant by the time it reached there it would be the early hours of the morning, as the public shuttles ran a complete circle around all nine stations.

The ticket guard nodded as Radim showed him his identification. One of the perks of being a pilot, Radim thought to himself, free journeys.

He settled down on the cramped seating, and found himself surrounded by passengers who clearly were disgusted by the stop off on Nimura, but based on their attire Radim placed them as coming from Saunders, as they were dressed slightly worse than those who typically hailed from Andrews.

Radim settled back in the seat and tried to get himself comfortable, it would take many hours to get to Geraldine, with there being three stops between there and Nimura. Strapping himself in, he was asleep before the shuttle even lifted off.


Radim felt himself being gently rocked awake, and slowly and grouchily opened his eyes, slightly, the room was bright with the morning sunrise, and it took him a few seconds to properly focus on Stana’s face leaning over him.

She was smiling at him, but this wasn’t so much a happy smile as it was an amused one, the sun glistening off her golden hair as he moved it out her face and stood up taller. “You slept on my sofa?”

Radim rubbed his eyes as he sat up. “I didn’t want to wake you. The shuttle didn’t arrive here until late and by the time I had walked to your house it was early hours of the morning, I thought it best not to wake you when you have that big meeting you were telling me about.”

Stana shook her head slightly. “Well I appreciate the sentiment but you know I wouldn’t have minded.” She winked before turning in the direction of the kitchen. “I have to leave soon, but do you want me to make you something in particular?”

“Umm, I’m not…”Radim twisted to place his feet on the floor, but it was only as he moved the blanket he had been under that he realised his clothes were missing, stopping his train of thought. “Stana…” he called out.

“I put them in to be washed.” Her voice carried out from the kitchen area. “Goodness knows when you washed them last. There are a few spare bits in my room, after the last time you came I thought best to pick up a few things for you.”

Radim nodded as he stood and wrapped the blanket around himself. “I am capable of undressing myself, or was I getting your furniture too dirty?”

“Piss off.” She chuckled. “I’m not that uptight.”

Radim poked his head into the kitchen area. “You’d be pretty uptight if I dropped this blanket right now.”

Stana looked up from where she was preparing the food. “You bring that thing anywhere near my breakfast and I’ll personally kick you out the window. Go get a shower, it’ll be a good few minutes before this is ready.”

Radim winked at her and backed out the door again.

Stana shook her head as she continued to prepare the breakfast, a small smile of bemusement on her face.


It was only around ten minutes later that Radim stepped back into the kitchen, this time fully dressed, but with his hair still dripping water all down his shirt. Stana had finished with the preparations and was setting the plates on the counter.

“Good to see you dressed now.” She said with a half smile.

Radim raised an eyebrow. “You were the one who undressed me, so you haven’t a leg to stand on.”

“It was different in the sitting room.” She stuck her tongue at him. “My kitchen will remain a clean area however.” She pulled a seat out from under the counter and quickly sat down. “Come on, eat, I haven’t got long before I need to leave.”

Radim smiled and sat down opposite her, and quickly began eating. “So what is today’s big meeting about?”

Stana sighed a little. “Due to the growing population of the stations, there is a project to build additional housing, Sir Arjes has already given the green light, we just need to work out the specifics.”

“I can’t say Geraldine ever struck me as being overpopulated.”

Stana rolled her eyes slightly. “You’re a Nimura kid, no other station has those population problems, but we are running out of ways of keeping everyone employed.” She sighed gently. “If you lived on this station you might understand a little better, I know Nimura is the most populated of all, but Geraldine and her brother stations are not in a great position currently either.”

Radim tilted his head in understanding. “I know nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and it probably doesn’t help that the committee haven’t come to a decision that benefits anybody in a long time, including these housing stations.” He paused briefly, before quickly adding, “Or so Lady Mitch tells me, what do I know?”

Stana raised an eyebrow at him. “You do seem to talk to Lady Mitch a lot.”

Radim smiled and waved it off. “I’m her pilot, she complains to me when things don’t happen.”

Stana responded with a faint smile. “I suppose so, and I suppose you’ve known her since you were both young.”

Radim stopped smiling for a moment, trying to examine the look on Stana’s face. “Does it bother you?”

Stana gazed out the window. “Probably not as much as I expected it would.” She then turned to look at Radim again. “You sill come to visit when you can, and while I haven’t visited Nimura in a while, because, well your house there is a dump, and I think that’s enough for now.” Her eyes then widened as she glanced over at the clock. “Shoot, I gotta go.” She stood quickly and made her way around the counter. “I’ll be back later this evening, but I’m sure you can find some way to entertain yourself for the day.” She planted a quick kiss on his forehead and rushed over to the door. “Love you.” and shut the door behind herself. leaving Radim sitting in the kitchen, her having, again, gone before he could respond.