I walked around the building. It seemed like I trekked for miles until I found a service door that let me into a utility closet. My ankle hurt, my ribs ached and I had broken a bunch of fingernails. My uniform was filthy, my hair a mess and besides all that, I really needed a shower. I hoped to find an Insta-cube where I could be quickly cleaned if I had time still remaining before my flight. It would cost twenty-five dollars but if wanted to stay in the Force, I would need to look presentable before I arrived.
“Hey,” a guy said as I limped up beside him at the desk where he sat watching the station’s electrical connections. “You’re not authorized to be in here.”
“You’re telling me,” I sighed. “Just show me the way out preferably in the direction of the United SpaceLines terminal.” He pointed at a door that led up to a stair that I climbed with my last bit of energy. I emerged in a foyer that opened to a gate that led to the security screening area. “I’m here at last,” I breathed getting into the queue though a woman glared down her nose at me. She turned to her companion and whispered so I could hear, “It’s a shame what Spaceforce is coming to.”
I thought about telling her off, describing everything I’d been through from getting stuck in the lift with that strange dude Derrick. I could even show her pictures I had taken on my iPhone 8 of Fogwat and his brood of new Fogweets. I could describe in great detail my hike across the Martian plain and pounding on every door beneath the airdome but my flight was due to depart in twenty-minutes and if I didn’t hurry, I’d miss my next connection on Altaris III.
I was almost through the screening, standing patiently through my pat-down as there was no way I’d walk through that radioactive scanner.
“I’m just going to touch you right here,” the screener said. “Nothing personal, it’s just my job. Do you have anything in your pants besides your…uhem?”
“I hope not,” I replied. “Last I checked, it was just me.” Come to think of it, something in there was feeling quite strange.
“We’ll have to go in back,” the screener said. “You’ve definitely got something moving that shouldn’t be. You need to remove your pants and let me see.” If this day could get any worse, I surely didn’t believe and now I was down to fifteen minutes before my flight. I went in the private back room and removed my shirt and pants to discover I had indeed picked up a stow-away. It was one of the Fogweets who popped out of my boxer short.
“Hi Uncle Jerry,” he called. “I’m living with you!”