Jovian Water

An Olympus Union science fiction story by Gary Bloom

Vika Behari paced the bridge of her ship as it hurtled away from Jupiter. She was ready to be on Mars already; they hadn't even made it to the Asteroid Belt yet.

"Hey Cap, you're makin me nervous."

Vika looked over at the BF-1's lead navigator. The woman was smirking.

"Right, sorry Nuwa. You know how it is."

"Redro," Nuwa Wicker called, "take care of the Captain for me, would ya?"

"We know, Captain," Xas Redro chuckled. "You don't mind Jovian space, you just hate how long it takes to get back and forth."

"And Vika Behari hates wasting time," Nuwa grated. "Which is why I'm killing myself to find the fastest way to Mars."

"Want a hand?"

"Yeah, Xas, you shadowed me for one day last week," Wicker scoffed. "Now you're the expert? You think you can just take my place after one lesson?"

"Good point," Xas smiled. "I'll probably need a second one."
Captain Behari laughed. She encouraged her crew to shadow on the bridge, to learn other roles. It had come in handy on more than one occasion. As critical as the Water Corps were, they still ran a little thin on bridge crew. Where the academy lacked, she'd make good.

Xas Redro had become a fixture on the bridge. Training across every role, he learned fast. She also knew he enjoyed his role on the front lines, ensuring water deliveries and retractions ran smoothly. It was pride in his work and loyalty to his comrades, despite his ambition and ability, that would lead him to greater things.

"The Jovians get more efficient every time we come out," she mused, "but I can't wait for the Ganymede reservoirs to come online. It'd be so much more efficient to service locally."

"Eventually, they'll need ships stationed here, permanently," Xas said.

Vika nodded. She' recently promoted the Kraken veteran. He was a good man. The Captain hoped to see him as First Officer on his own ship one day.

"Are you asking for a transfer?" she asked, only half joking.

"Of course not," Xas chuckled. "Why would I ever leave the BF-1?"

"Actually," she dropped her voice, "I may have a reason."

"Wait, what are you talking about?"

"It's a small solar system," the Captain said, moving to stand closer. She lowered her voice as they looked out the front viewport. "Open ears are everywhere. Secrets don't keep as well as some people think."

"Are you talking about Nuwa?" Xas' eyebrows knitted in confusion. "She's not-"

"No, not Nuwa, but keep your voice low all the same. Now listen." Vika clasped her hands behind her back. "There's been some talk about a Captain taking liberties with his position. Dirty dealing, using his knowledge, influence and Kraken crew to pad his own pockets."

"Wait, what?" Xas was skeptical. "Not sure how something like that is possible."

"There aren't specifics. Supposedly he changes out certain elements of his crew rather often, to help keep his activities a secret. A handful of us have wound up with his people passing through, and there's an overlap in stories. It's still mostly a rumor, but enough that I'm convinced something is afoot."

"So, who do we tell?"
"No one, for the moment," Behari cautioned, "we need to keep quiet because there isn't hard evidence. A couple of the Captains were more intrigued than outraged. No one seemed upset enough to dig any further."

"So, you've got a plan, huh?" Nuwa called from her station. When the other two spun quickly, she added, "hey, I got good ears. Do your thing, I'll pretend I'm not listening. Mums the word, Cap."

"Of course," Captain Behari shook her head, smirking despite herself. "My plan is to rotate you off the BF-1 and onto the TB-7, Xas. He's looking for some new people, and I've volunteered you as someone who's taken a few too many trips to Jupiter, and deserves some extended inner-world work. The TB-7 sticks mainly to the Clutches and Venus Space Stations. The cover story is completely logical."

"And what am I supposed to do while I'm there?" Xas was still feeling off balance.

"You do the things that you do, Xas. You'll be coming aboard as a veteran, so Captain Kryz will expect you to get your job done without speaking to you. He'll expect that you'll organize people and keep them efficient without having to check on you. So you do that, and you keep your eyes open. If the opportunity comes up to stop something wrong, take the opportunity. If you can collect information that implicates, then do so."

"Just like that?"

"Yeah, that sounds a little over his head," Nuwa interrupted. "Ah, right, sorry, not listening."

"If nothing else, you get a shift without as much long travel time. Then you rotate back out to us. I've already said that I need you back, so this isn't a permanent post. If nothing comes of it, then so be it." Vika clenched her first. "I can't not try, though. You're my best bet."

"So, you're serious about this," Redro said soberly, nodding to himself. "Interesting timing."

"I had planned to bring this up when we'd reached Mars, but the opportunity seemed right to discuss it now. Big ears aside." Vika heard Nuwa try to stifle a laugh. "This is serious. There is a Water Captain who is lining his pockets by possibly endangering the most precious element in the solar system. We're responsible for water, and water is life. I'm going to get you on that ship, and at the very least, we're going to put a wrench in his works. Xas, I'm asking you to help me take a Water Captain down."

Characters

Who populates the Olympus Union science fiction universe? The Olympians, the Jovians, and the folks in between. Farmers and soliders, pilots and politicans, a great many individuals spread across the solar system. Many take up sides and fight for ideals, while others are just hoping to get through each day.

Worlds & Stations

What are the worlds of the Olympus Union science fiction universe? What is the dominian of the Olympus Union, and who exactly are the Jovians? Where has humanity expanded to, where do we walk in the open air, and how do we survive in deep space?

Free Olympus Union Short Stories

Explore the Olympus Union science fiction universe with free short stories. Flash fiction and slightly longer tales, featuring known and new characters, to help illustrate the further reaches of Olympus Union.

Olympus Union: Jovian Wars

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Humanity's battle over water, key to expanding beyond Earth, causes war to rage across the Olympus Union. Who will control Jupiter and its water rich moons? Dominant personalities foster tensions, which reverberate across the solar system.

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