The Black Sheep

December 27th, 2183
1.3.6 SW (1st day, 3rd month, 6th year of Sutter's World)
Sutter's World > Cradle Bay > Comms Outpost 1

There was a quiet area near Comms Outpost 1 that Irving had grown accustomed to, he'd never been spotted there before. It was comfortable for him sitting between the disused relay antennas, like he was lost in some sort of electronic forest. He sat down resting his back on a large metal cylinder - some kind of casing. He pulled the radio from his pocket, connected the external adapter to his prismatic plastic card and began to tune it to the correct frequency, the chorus of white noise rang through Shusett's ears.

Suddenly one final fizzle of noise and tuned. "This is an automated frequency: please state your business and we'll try and get to you as soon as we can." The voice was synthetic but not like those modern synthetics, more like something a late 20th century micro computer would produce. "Ladon calling," Irving spoke into the radio, his accent was strange sounding almost half Scottish and half Eastern European. Influenced by his parents of course.

Communications, electronic or radio, had the habit of taking several weeks to travel the void across the sparse Frontier Network grid. To bypass this, Irving, being the colony's premier technician, had access to comtech that made certain transmissions faster. He had managed to patch into a powerful antenna and comms buffer using an intersystem calling card that automatically connected to his contact's receiver. It was a good thing Cowboy was actually in the same star system for a while surveying one of the other life viable planets, or Irving would never get a timely response.

"Receiving..." Another voice, a thick American accent. "...Ladon here, is this Cowboy."

"This is Cowboy. Do you have any updates?"

"No sorry, no updates," Irving said nervously.

"Then why are you calling Ladon? You know this call is expensive." Cowboy asked, Irving could hear the frustration in his contact's voice. "Cowboy may I ask you a question."

"You've already wasted enough time so sure, shoot!" It was obvious from Cowboy's tone that he didn't want to bother with this conversation.

Irving began slowly: "You ever feel like an odd one out, like the black sheep?" Irving's voice trembled. There was radio silence for a few seconds. "Not really, I've always felt particularly comfortable whatever social situation I'm in, partner. Why?"

"I'm a black sheep." Irving turned his eyes down to the ground. "Listen here I'm not some sort of therapist. If you have problems you damn sort them out. May I remind you why you are there Ladon?"

"No... It's okay I know why. Ladon out." Irving quickly switched off the radio communicator, it produced a loud whine as it switched off. He lifted himself up causing the casing to wobble slightly and looked over the colony, this wasn't going to be easy.

To Be Continued...

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