Burning in the Void – Chapter 7

monitoring station _Dominic

“Anything new?”

Dominic refocused his vision on the screen in front of him and gave it a quick scan. He had been on duty at the monitoring station for the last eight hours and, as usual, nothing especially interesting had occurred. He had spent the first couple hours of his shift watching people go through their daily routines in the forward section of the city common and logged the few system and behavioral anomalies that had occurred. Then  boredom had overwhelmed him, as it always did. No matter how much the sociology nerds back in shaft four clamored over the slightest change in behavior, he simply couldn’t convince himself that this duty was any more interesting or important than serving as ambassador to the Sybarites. And at least the ambassador got to attend parties. So Dominic had spent the last three hours playing chess against himself on a visual overlay, only glancing at the monitors every few minutes.

He spun his chair and saw Lane standing in the door, an almost eager look on her face. She was one of the sociology nerds, and it showed. Her body was minimally augmented with, as far as his scans could reveal, only a standard neural enhancement package. She was dressed in a comfortable, loose-fitting white shirt and exercise shorts.

Dominic shook his head and said, “Nothing special. We lost a couple more cameras and one of the environment sensors. I logged it. Can’t tell if the Captain is screwing with us again or the hardware went bad.”

And I hope you heard that, he added, quietly. The Captain hadn’t spoken to him in a long while, but Dominic still had a habit of assuming that the old bastard could hear everything he said.

“That all?” Lane settled into the chair beside Dominic and propped her bare feet up on the console. He thought about reminding her of regulations that required all monitoring station personnel  to be prepared for a radiation emergency at all times, but decided against it.

“There was a bit of a disturbance in the commons a few hours back. An old man barged into a market stall and pulled a woman out. Nobody tried to stop them and the woman looked more surprised than afraid, so I figured it was just some sort of family emergency. Then the security forces showed up and started asking questions, so maybe he was a fugitive or something.”

“Did you tag it?”

“Of course, Lane. I know the job,” Dominic said, intentionally leaving his social filters disabled so the words came out with a sarcastic tone.

Lane shot him a look, then leaned forward to pull up the event log with a few taps on her monitor. “You’ve neglected to tag events before, Dominic.”

“Only when I was so bored that I didn’t notice them.” Dominic pushed up from his chair with exaggerated effort and issued a mental command for the monitoring system to log him off duty. Lane rolled her eyes at his mock effort and continued swiping through the logs from his shift until she found the event he had mentioned.