Interplanetary Internship

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Clark Thompson
- 11/28/2019 4:33pm

Psyhigh has this ridiculous Winter break that lasts from the end of November all the way past New Year’s.

I’ve got no home to go home to and I don’t want to just hang around campus, so I signed up for one of those interplanetary internships.

I leave for Ganymede tonight!





Clark Thompson
- 11/29/2019 3:59pm

Teleportation to Ganymede is as quick as teleporting to the library. Of course you need your passport, and there's extensive security that they put you under for. Rumor is that it includes some pre-cog modeling to assess your "future threat." That's still illegal on earth. Supposedly.

Anyway, got my cabin. It's tiny, but has porthole to Ganymede's interior ocean (which they call "The Ocean.") The water's super clear, and the bio luminescence lights stuff up for as far as you can see.

There's a couple of days before the internship starts, but I have to go to orientation.





Clark Thompson
- 11/30/2019 9:36pm

Too sick to go to orientation, but thank god I wasn’t the only one. I heard that the students from Mad Scientist High and Radical Leftist High couldn’t make it either. We’ve all got the space queazies. So what if it’s my first time in space?! It happens to 84% of everybody, they say, even with artificial gravity. 

I spent the day in my cabin, curled up on my bed with my eyes closed, riding out the spins.





Clark Thompson
- 12/1/2019 7:04pm

Make-up day for orientation on my Ganymedian Internship. I didn't know that along with students from other paranormal high schools there's at least one other Psyhigh student in the program — Buffy Chan, who you may know from Spirit Team.

So for you it's Sunday, but there’s a whole other calendar they use most places in space. It's meant to provide a “level playing field” for all the different types of sentient life and potential environments they come from, but I still don't understand when the “weekends” are. I mean, they can’t just make us work everyday, amirite?

Aside from that it was mostly about interspecies protocol and colony safety stuff. I got a handout.





Clark Thompson
- 12/5/2019 8:03pm

Ganymede is a typical interplanetary way station, neutral ground for various space-faring species. It's a stopover for creatures traveling through the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy, far enough from Earth that you can park and not raise suspicions.

There are consulates and supply shops, but what really draws the crowds is the water. While it's WAY too cold for a human to swim around naked in, there are plenty of life forms who find it very comfortable. And they feel the salts and other minerals in the water have special healing qualities.

So there are pool rooms where the various interstellar visitors strip down and let their tentacles loose and soak in the icy, salty water.

And can you guess what my internship is? That's right--interplanetary pool boy.






Clark Thompson
- 12/10/2019 7:25pm

What does an interplanetary pool boy do? I’ve got a skimmer and a net and a puffy body suit that’s supposed to keep me warm, but my fingers still get achey from the cold.

“Aren’t internships supposed to teach you something? I mean, like, legally? They’re not supposed to just use me for slave labor, right?”

I hang out on the observation deck with Buffy Chan when we’re off shift.

“Well,” Buffy Says, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I heard that if you get a high F.T. score then it kind of affects the jobs they can give you.”

“Eff-tee?”

“Future Threat.”

“Oh.”

“....”

“So what did you do today?”

“It was totally awesome,” Buffy says. “It was about applying multi-species profiles to disembarkation scheduling. Making sure you’ve got compatible entities moving through the gates at the same time. Part of it’s atmospheric chemistry, but also predator/prey relationship stuff. And interplanetary history and politics. You?”

“I fished a weird hairy thing out of G-47. Maybe it was a poop. I put it in a bio-bag."

"Yeah.... Hey I should really be going. Big day tomorrow."

"Yeah me too. See ya."

"Bye!"





Clark Thompson
- 12/19/2019 8:32pm

“Hey! Pool boy!”

The giant purple and green blob in the pool waves a pseudopod. Or something. 

“Hey, I got kinda a problem.”

The universal translator is amazingly good. 

“I got one of my arms stuck down one of these tubes here. Sometimes they start sniffin’ around on their own like that. It’s got ahold of somethin’ real good and won’t let go. Would you mind gettin’ in there and talkin’ some sense to it? There’s a 50 spot in it for ya.”

A ripple passes all up and down the blob. I think it’s some kind of wink. 

I've got a puffy body suit that's supposed to keep me warm. But I don’t have diving suit. For going underwater. 

“I don’t have a diving suit,” I say. “For going underwater.”

“Aw, that’s rough,” says the blob. “Do you think you could at least just come and take a looksee?”

I squeeze on to the narrow deck above the intake tube and look down. I can’t really see anything.

“I can’t really see anything,” I say. 

“Just lean over a little farther. Don’t worry. I gotcha.”

A pseudopod slithers up my back and around my neck....

KERSPLASH!!





Clark Thompson
- 12/22/2019 10:39pm

"You're sure it's ok?"

"Yeah, I squeezed all the water out of its blowhole. It's respirating."

"How can you tell?"

"There are slight movements you can detect. I watched an informational holovid about them."

I had drifted awake in the back of some kind of submersible minivan, and was listening with one eye open. I could make out purple and green blobs in the front seats.

"What if it wakes up? Starts thrashing around and hurts itself?"

I started to thrash around, but my arms and legs were bound.

"Its arms and legs are bound. I guess it could bang its head if tried real hard."

Ow.

"Hey there little fella. You take it easy. We'll be there real soon. Tek'a'kake, would you mind?"

"Not at all, Rumama'ke'ke'ke."

A purple and green pseudopod slithered back and covered my face. It smelled like ammonia, and cookies, and things went dark again...





Clark Thompson
- 12/31/2019 8:52pm

“KEY! KEY! KEY! KEY!”

It’s hot, and purple and green blobs are carrying me above their blobs with their snakey pseudopods. 

”KEY! KEY! KEY! KEY!”

It’s a giant, stalactite filled cavern, interspersed by diamonds and luminous fungi. The cave is full of purple and green blobs, as well as yellow and brown blobs, pink and blue blobs, black and white blobs. So many blobs. And they’re all chanting--

“KEY! KEY! KEY! KEY!”

--as they lead me to an especially wrinkly old blob, holding a giant key, standing next to a giant keyhole carved into the rock.

The blobs that abducted me got chatty on our long trip down. Down to the bottom of the interior ocean, down though tunnels bored through the tetragonal ice, and down into the caverns of the rocky mantel. They told me they had a job that "only I could perform" because of my "special qualifications." 

What? Did they have a pool that needed cleaning?

They plop me in front of the wrinkly old blob. The crowd hushes.

"UNLOCK THE DOOR!" the old one bellows.

"Everybody freeze!" cries a familiar voice above me.

I look up and see some kind of SWAT team gliding down ropes from the ceiling. Black technical gear, nasty looking blaster rifles, kevlar boots, landing all around me. 

"Not today, Glb'rb'rbmo. Guess you'll need to wait another thousand years."

The leader takes off her hood and turns to me.

"Hi Clark!"

It's Buffy Chan. 

"... Hi Buffy."





Clark Thompson
- 1/12/2020 8:49pm

"Actually... I lied," Buffy says.

"About your job?"

Buffy and I are shooting up through the Interior Ocean in a rocket-powered submarine. PSY CORPS is stenciled on stuff all over the place.

"Well, no, I was really doing the kind of disembarkation analysis I was describing," she continues. "What I meant was about your F.T. score."

"My F.T."

"Yes. I know what your Future Threat is. I've known for awhile. It's why I was assigned to your school."

"Assigned?"

"Your F.T. score is off the charts. And there was a situation shaping up here on Ganymede that really called for it. So we set up the whole 'internship program' and made sure you saw the ad."

"Off the charts?"

"Oh, yeah. There's only been one bigger than yours. When the Corps found out about you they gave Jr. Psy Corps the case, and I was made your handler."

"Handler?"

"Somebody to make sure you don't get hurt!"

"Ow."

"Ha! No, seriously, you have a very useful and important power. You're like a potential luck bomb, ready to tip the cosmic scales at specific moments. Bad guys from all over the place are suckers for a guy like you. With the right direction -- from Psy Corps -- you could do a lot of good."

Through the window of our observation bubble, we watch the fractal tetragonal ice forests recede below us, gently lit by the massive bioluminescent megaplankton.

"Wow," I say. "Me. A Junior Psy Corps Agent. Who would have guessed?"

"Oh, no," says Buffy. "Sorry. Not an agent."

"Not an agent?"

"No. An intern."

"..."



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