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Schuyler slowly opened his eyes.  His head pounded worse than usual from a night out at the bar.  Still very incoherent, a stomach turning stench rose from the cot he was laying on and he realized that his surroundings were unfamiliar.

“Oh God…” he muttered as he tried to sit up, finding the task to be entirely too difficult.   Now on his side, he had a perfect view of his tiny room.  Four metal walls with no pictures, no windows and a single door.  The pieces began to fit together as he had found himself in this situation before, though this time he couldn’t remember how he got here.  Trying to relive the last of his memories, the big metal door swung open and a uniformed figured stood in the doorway.

“Ankele, get up.”  The stern voice said.

“I tried, but it’s just not going to happen…”  Schuyler whispered.

“Now,” the man said as he walked toward him, reaching for what appeared to be a stun stick attached to his belt.

“Is that you, Franklin?”  Schuyler said as he tried to make out the shadowy figure.

“Up, Schuyler.  Don’t do this the hard way.”

“It is!  Hey buddy…” Schuyler said, ignoring his orders.

“I’m not your buddy, asshole.  You’ve really done it this time.  Command wants you.”

“Command wants me?  Over a bar fight?”  Schuyler seemed shocked that his actions had gained the attention of Astro Base Command.  It was a new personal record and he was oddly proud of himself.

“A memo from the Commodore’s office went out late last night to bring you, Blair, and Johannsen in.  I don’t know what you fuckups did this time, but I’d wipe that smug smile from your face,” Franklin replied.

After hearing the news, Schuyler’s head didn’t seem to bump as hard.  He pulled himself to his feet and tried to maintain his balance.

“Let’s go,” Franklin said as he began to restrain Schuyler’s hands behind his back with handcuffs.

“You know, Franky… you’re getting pretty good at this.  Practice with the Misses or maybe your boyfriend?”  Schuyler smirked as Franklin made the cuffs extra tight.

Meanwhile, in the back alleys by the docks, Jimmy was all curled up and fast asleep in his bed.  His soft sheets and thick comforters acted like a nest as low music helped block the nighttime noises of the outside world.  Jimmy smiled as he dreamed, occasionally letting out a stretch and rolling to a different side.

Jimmy was “off the map” while at home.  No one really knew where Jimmy lived, as Astro Base Command was just finding out.  Either out of paranoia or laziness, Jimmy had never officially registered a residency with Command.  He had somehow slipped through the cracks.  Oddly, Jimmy also never invited anyone over to his home and likewise no one ever came to visit.  All of his socializing happened away from his house.  When Brian and Schuyler were confronted by Command of Jimmy’s residence, they couldn’t really answer and just said “somewhere by the zero gravity docks, in the back alleys…”

No one ever really questioned Jimmy about his home because truthfully no one ever really wanted to know the answer.  While Jimmy is a fantastic guy and a great friend, he is a Weapons Specialist and by trade those guys are just “off.”  Weapons Specialist are notorious for being a bit crazy, they deal with highly lethal equipment and substances all day and if they don’t kill themselves, their work is designed to kill someone else.  Jimmy’s friends just assumed he lived in a hideout filled with all kinds of illegal weapons, homemade bombs, odd smells, and a few empty food containers.

Jimmy’s apartment was actually quite the opposite.  While his place was small and in the middle of one of the most neglected areas of Astro Base, Jimmy loved his home.  Warm and comfortable furniture were carefully positioned, treasures and keepsakes lined on shelves, and tasteful artwork blended with framed pictures of the band filled the walls.  While Jimmy did have his fair share of explosives and hard to find weapons, he kept them in a closet away from his daily living.  Jimmy’s home was extremely normal and many would have found it to be a disappointment compared to the great Brock Richardson, which may have been the reason he kept it a secret in the first place.

The song on Jimmy’s stereo changed to the triumphant Galaxy War 7 victory song, “Finale Fighters’ Finale” written by classical lunar composer Eon P. S.  This was Jimmy’s wake up song and the stereo was programmed to get louder as the song progressed, working as an alarm clock.  The intro began to bump and Jimmy rolled over and yawned with his eyes still closed.  He allowed the song to continue playing and tapped his fingers on his chest to the beat.  The song became louder and louder and by the second chorus the song was blaring.  Jimmy sprung to his feet and danced on his bed.  He waved his hands as if he was conducting the song at a sold out performance, spinning and twirling as the song climaxed.  Jumping from the bed, he raced around his tiny apartment pounding on cushions and backrests as the song hit the finale.  Both the stereo and Jimmy wailed away until the song came to a close and Jimmy collapsed into the chair.  He laughed to himself as he couldn’t think of a better way to start the day.

After his usual morning routine of breakfast and cleaning himself up, Jimmy gathered his things and headed out the door.  The only man in his early 30s still riding a hover bucket, Jimmy fired it up and zipped through the back alleys to work.  As he pulled up, he noticed that Command vehicles surrounded the entrance and uniformed men stood around talking to one another.

Jimmy’s curiosity lead him front and center into the middle of the Command Officers.  “Woah, what the hell is going on here?  Lenny get busted for playing Bongwee?” Jimmy said to the closest officer.

“You Jimmy Blair?” The man replied.

“You know it!”  Jimmy said as he turned off his bucket and took off his helmet.

“Where the fuck you been?”

“What?”  Jimmy said very confused.  He looked down at his watch, “I’ve still got 6 minutes before work starts, I’m early.”

“Shut the fuck up, man.  I have half the nerve to…  You know, I lost a whole damn night of sleep lookin’ for your ass…”  The other officers noticed that their man had finally arrived and began to surround him.

“You’re lookin’ for the wrong man, man…” Jimmy said as he started to get nervous.  He clutched a lever on the center cross bar of the bucket, and a red light began to blink.

“Now just calm down and step away from the bucket- who knows what your crazy Weapons ass is up to… What the hell you doin’ cruisin’ around on a bucket anyway?”

“I like my bucket…”  Jimmy’s eyes flashed from officer to officer quickly gauging the situation.  “Tell your men to stand down or things will get messy, quick.”

“Messy, shit… The only thing that’s going to be messy is the backside of your ass when the Commodore gets through kickin’ it.”

“I mean it…”  Jimmy threatened.

“Jimmy Blair, don’t do this the hard way.  We got Schuyler and Brian back at Command.  The Commodore just wants to have a little conversation with you.  Now step away from the bucket and try not to blow the shit out of us in the process!”

 

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