Excerpt for Rules of Conduct in the Void, chapter VI by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Rules of Conduct in the Void

Chapter VI

It's a good night's thinking. Nobody interferes. Stars are hanging in the raceme from the sky like grapes. Singing cicadas. Their repertoire seems inexhaustible. Only an insect with legs, mustache, abdomen, membranes and eardrums. They sing like clockwork, day and night, all their energy is spent on attracting females. Just some sexual maniacs. On South American - those are louder than the sound of a steam engine. Can you imagine what it's like to live next door to them? Ours, on Ceres, are more ordinary. Under their singing, sitting by the window, you can think about living and being. It is worth it. And the central question: what was in that damn package, which I delivered to the station on arrival and about the recipient of which I did not know anything. I was not told to. Everyone should know their maneuver. If the package were empty, as I had initially guessed, it would appear that it was a distraction to clear the way for me get to Ceres. This is one option. And if it was a message for a "mole" in the highest echelons of power? Or - God forbid, of course - spy report: the mobilization plans of the earthlings, the coordinates of the launchers of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the location of the mobile special forces, the reserve command post of the troops, finally, the holy of holies: where will the Earth's government hide in the event of hostilities? Then what? One can't do without guesswork here. You need to know for sure not to get into trouble. Do you want to get in touch with the gangster in the bar, or do you want to lurk for a while? One way or another, they won't let you live in peace. Seventy thousand credits for beautiful eyes? - I beg you... By the way, I just got an advance.

Another question that I can't get away from: what should I do? Well, I can't run around town all day long. It's nice to sit in a bar in the evening, of course. What about during the day? Play cards with Pee Pee unto undressing or in a lotto. Drumsticks... Again twenty-five... A damn dozen... Grandfather... Back and forth? Play Dolls with Lucinda? No... to urgently find a job worthy of a man. The noblest thing I know is war. But the war requires troops, cannon fodder, weapons, aircraft and a lot of money. Motive can always be found, no problem, if there would be a desire. Business, he is also a kind of war, only a battle with competitors. Strangle in your embrace, to block his oxygen, to enjoy the sight of his convulsions - and that, it is quite a worthy occupation for gentlemen. Like a golf game. Drive the ball into the hole and get a prize of audience sympathies and personal check from the organizers of the tournament. Two in one. And a minimum of victims. The loser does not count. Let the loser cry. You can use your artistic abilities, go outside to the crowd to pair with Lucinda, - but a street clown or a musician will not earn even a beer. Although I knew one cat, he got a job sitting near the indoor entertainment center, wherein the evening’s hockey was played. The poor girl sat there, asking for nothing - people threw two-dollar coins in his hat and throwing him tasty food. To him lucky, but you have to be able to settle down. This - the talent of beggars, a unique mindset is needed. But I am an honest and decent cat.

As they say, I would be glad drop anchor with somewhere in Uruguay, and I dreamed about it a long time ago. For example, the province of Rocha, what is wrong with it? Punta del Diablo Town. Don't be afraid, the name is like that. The people are less than a thousand, along with women. A resort town, a warm ocean at the side. No one will find you there in life, and will not look for you. Buy a house and live peacefully. Eat coconuts, chew bananas. My dream.

Perhaps worth becoming to a private detective. It's a bit of a slam dunk, but you don't have to catch criminals at all. I will just be listed. And I will buy a license. The same Captain Molina will be glad to receive the money, as the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission on Ceres and the surrounding area. A man of principle serves the state. And if the state is him? A thousand credits? - These are trifles. You have to pay for a carefree life. Everything is sold, and everything is bought, isn't it? Two hands, one washes the other, and both are clean.

Well, there won't be a problem with a corrupt police captain, I'm sure. There are other significant problems. No, this is not what the ancients were thinking: why wake up in the morning if there is no benefit in it? I have other concerns. And the first of them I would formulate in this way. Yor rush by car along the highway at a speed of 120 km per hour with an open hood. Do you feel the speed? - Surely. You bet! It's so cool! And now imagine that your home planet moves in an airless space with a rate of 30 km per second. Imagined? On a speedometer approximately 108000 km/hour if, indeed yes, there would be such speedometer that it is possible to look and be convinced that astronomers do not lie. But so far, they haven't invented it because of uselessness, because the traffic police will be a fine for such speed. Do you feel where are you flying to - or are you as calm as a brontosaurus, which died out in prehistoric times 150 million years ago? Most likely not. And why is that? Ask yourself: why don't I care that my planet flies like a demented, I'm a passenger on board, and I don't have insurance? And nobody will stop it!

Or water. Ordinary water. Water as the same air, without it neither there nor here. The formula is simple: H2O, two hydrogen atoms per oxygen atom. Everyone knows from chemistry lessons. But how did it happen that they together? For what reason, why? Where did they come from, these atoms, at all?

Okay, good. We will deal with this later. But here is another riddle. What do we have over our heads? Like what? - The air isn't it clear... Let's be precise: the air layer, the atmospheric column, the gas shell height up to 480 km. And here it is, this very gas shell, according to rumours, presses on our heads with the force of 2 tons! By the way, rumours in intelligence are called false information. Of course, rumours it double-checks, processes it, adds other rumours to it in the form of seasoning - and serve it on the table of chiefs with conclusions and recommendations. You have never been under a forge hydraulic press, have you? Of course not. And we do not feel it. Two tons? - Nonsense... And it is possible to jump in height, and to land, and to get on with it, and to climb down without any particular consequences. Some, however, have a headache from the increase or decrease in atmospheric pressure. But not everyone - someone feels good and even jumps 2 meters and 50 centimeters high.

I'm ready for the role of a detective, with emphasis on the second syllable, in principle. In troubled times, even a Kalashnikov assault rifle does not give confidence in the future, and if you postpone the solution of problems "tomorrow," they will not disappear, but become more serious, will grow in consequences. The fate of man depends on the goodwill of the stars and heavenly lights. These are still ancient people who knew. Therefore, we should appreciate every moment given to us, be surprised at the beauty of nature, treat women as a work of art, breathe full-blooded and... not to be afraid of anything. Our life is like dew on the grass, sooner or later it will disappear, evaporate under the hot and loving look of the sun. Therefore, it is recommended to stay in the shade and in vain do not stick out.

I'll make a deal with Captain Molina. They have an order to register a foreigner on the Ceres, to legalize, that is, within three days after arrival. Otherwise, you can go to the prison, to the local "Alcatraz" for the criminals. You also have to buy a "foreign agent" bracelet from the shop. Somewhat like a yellow star for Jews in Nazi Germany. It should be worn around the neck how the natives on the islands in the Pacific Ocean wear the beads, and everywhere, even in the toilet, without taking off the beads at night - in case the local Cerberus show up to check. No, it is better a badge "guest of honour" Ceres on a lapel jacket, it will cost me, though, one hundred or two hundreds more credits, but what to do. It's like the status of a permanent resident, but without the right to vote - but I need to vote?

Sitting at home was frankly boring. During the day, the mistress disappears, and I don't ask where is she: in a hatha yoga club or a bookstore's. Maybe she joined the volunteers, sipping beer with her friends in a strip bar... Who knows, but comes back late, cheerful and happy. Mommy, it's called.

On TV, mainly news and local TV series with shooting and scuffle. The story is about how all badly in a foreign country, on Earth. One of the presenters, like his... Pigeon. By the surname of the Russian-speaking, probably. Every day he threatened to throw an atomic bomb. This program for family viewing and leisure was called: "Pigeon Flight." Or litter? Oh, that it was me... "Flight," of course, "Pigeon Flight." Although, frankly speaking, what kind of pigeon peacekeeper is it? The dirty, aggressive and extremely sexually concerned creature, not a peace envoy with an olive branch in his teeth, as it is depicted in the pictures. The mayor, however, respected him, awarded the Iron Cross of the 3rd degree and also issued a decree to sit at the TV and leave enthusiastic comments on the phone and social networks. Comments in social networks had to be re-shipped as much as possible, and those who succeeded in praise were enrolled in the "patriot regiment," and they were honoured to follow the mayor in his travels around the city and meetings with voters. Control over the execution of the decree by Benito Escobar, "El Chapo," what was the name of the mayor of the people, entrusted the Chamber of Accounts: to count the traffic on the television channel and make sure that the evaders do not evade. They didn't want to serve in the army, they wandered through the streets with homemade cardboard posters with protests so that the police would take them to the local prison. "The "credit history" of protests was needed the opposition earned to sell her to a news agency from Earth or Mars, and get paid for it.

Terrible, I report to you, the life here was like earthly life, left by me by order of the Department of Anomalies to carry out an act of particular importance. The local parliament last spring approved the defence target program, which was valid for the whole period of confrontation with the external enemy, it had to remain in force because of the problematic upcoming trials for as long as necessary. And no one knew how long it took. By that who demand, were merely shut their mouths, their tongue, that is, cut off. Mayor's spies were sniffing around. The security bodies were given the right to confiscate the property of traitors, collaborators, cowards, spy and other under the sign of measures to improve their defence capabilities, after which they could have been quietly shot on the spot without trial or investigation. Official propaganda pointed to the culprit of all misfortunes on Ceres, - the oligarchic regime on Earth, - and called on the community to give everything for the front, to give everything to defeat the enemy. And the population gave. All, even the last one what was in the house. And how not to help compatriots - even the former ones - in the historical homeland? Distress, hunger and oppression - everything could be tolerated for the sake of stability in the state and the correct rule of law in the world. And there was no need to transfer the country to any barracks, for the people understood everything: a government does everything For the People.

It was a pleasure to read the local newspapers. For example, one advisor invented the elixir of youth or perhaps even immortality, said that now you can die quietly - but after 200 years. But why should I live to 200 years? Without a penny in my pocket, if my pension is postponed, respectively, up to 160 years? The elixir, probably, costs, but my life is free. Or... Newspapers say this summer was the last summer the government appointed. Not in the sense that the latter, but in the sense of free mushroom and berry picking. People's property, says government, should be protected and preserved in the future when there will be nothing to eat. Now, they say, the new rule of wildlife protection will work in Ceres: "Pay and take."

You never know: is life a reward or a punishment? No, really. Don't you think that the calmer it is, the more "stable" it is, the more reason to worry about the future, because life is movement, and stagnation is death? Faith and obedience, obedience and faith were the cornerstones of social life and order on the Ceres, was inscribed in its Basic Law, and became as natural for residents as water and air.

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