Write the first draft.

Chapter 4

Sam's last dream involved a limping rodent with a squeaky wheel supporting one foot. What had so rudely interrupted dream time was a syncopated rattle that sounded like a faulty exhaust fan. Eyes closed, she reached up and put her fist through the offending appliance. It was quiet--now that she was awake. Her neck felt like Gordion's knot. Too many hours in the harness. A hot shower would help that.

Chapter 3

Down time amounted to the time it took to take the chute from the station lounge to the cafeteria. No one looked comfortable. Not even the half dozen goons sucking blue goo like it was some kind of narcotic. Sam grabbed a plate of red cubes floating in an orange slurry and a straw. The label identified it as ?¢‚Ǩ?ì55-10-10?¢‚Ǩ¬ù, which was Solocor?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s terminology for 55% protein, 10% carbohydrate, 10% fat, and the rest a proprietary secret. If there was natural food, it was reserved for the system managers?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùnot the mooks in Solocor?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Venture Program.

Chapter 2

Marq was laying on the floor reaching up underneath the console. The panel flashed through a rainbow-like diagnostic. It settled into its normal status settings.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìIt?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s fixed!?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

?¢‚Ǩ?ìI haven?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t done anything yet,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Marq said.

The panel was working, but the event must have triggered a major alarm dockside. Giant orange letters pulsed, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìlockdown.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

?¢‚Ǩ?ìIt?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s not my fault. I didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t do anything,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Marq said. He pocketed pieces of the disassembled lights and ground the rest into dust with his foot.

Chapter 1

"Docks engaged. Welcome to SD773-c, Br-yn-theed."

"Call me Sam," Brynhilde corrected. If the company wasn't going to supply a pronunciation guide, they could at least list her with the name everyone used. "Switching ship's systems to dock control in five, four, three, two, switched. SF14983-33a docked at oh-eight-forty three and thirty seven seconds."