bzzt bzzt bzzt bzzt
Lena groggily reached out and slapped her hand down on the alarm clock. Lifting up a head of tousled hair from her bed, she checked her communicator. Crap. It wasn’t her day off. She did have to get up. With a groan and a sigh, Lena began the process of dragging herself out of bed.
Thirty minutes later, Lena was sipping a 20 oz cup of coffee as the crowded maglev sped through the city from her apartment towards her work.
“Morning Frank” she muttered to the security guard
“Morning Lena” he muttered back, barely looking up.
And at exactly 0700 hours, Unified Earth Time, Lena put on her headset and signed into her job, as civilian space traffic control specialist for the Terran Accord.
With a crackle of static, her work began.
Republican Spacelines, passenger vessel on route from Terra to a station orbiting Europa: Terra Central, this is Brickyard 752, requesting permission to leave orbit for outbound spacelane Hydra.Lena: Brickyard 752, Terra Central, climb to Orbit Level 10, cleared to spacelane Hydra, keep speed sub relativistic until outside Upper Geosynchronous OrbitBrickyard 752: Climb to Orbit level 10, cleared to Hydra, sub relativistic until UGO, roger.A civilian cargo ship owned by Astra Logistics, coming in from some mining system: Terra Central, Hauler 290 inbound to Spaceport Elon Musk.Terra Central: Hauler 290, descend to Orbit Level 5 and hold for military traffic.Hauler 290: Descent Orbit Level 5 and hold.
Several hours later, Lena took the elevator down to the buildings cafeteria and got her meal. Biggest perk of this job in her opinion. Free meals, provided courtesy of the Terran Accord. Not the biggest meals, or the best tasting, but hey, it was free.
She sat down next to Sam and Bill, who were part of the Terran Navy Space Traffic Control Corps. It had been really lonely for her when she first started working here, but Sam and Bill had been friendly and welcoming, even if she was "a good for nothing civvie who wouldn't know military discipline if it hit her in the face."
"Hey y'all, how's it going? Keeping us lowly civvies safe from the commies and unions and xenos?" She teased.
Bill frowned as he chewed a tough piece of Meat Stew™. "Don't tell anyone I said so, but these new xenos are tough. There's been more and more troops and ships getting diverted over that way. Looks like it might be a proper fight."
Sam, ever the optimist, gave a gallic shrug. "Eh, we'll get them. Our Navy is pretty damn formidable after all. Can't be tougher than that uprising four years back. I hear it's some sort of living plant thing, so probably pretty slow and weak."
Lena gave them both a cocky grin. "Just so long as you military types wrap it up fast so that you stop messing with my damn airspace. These delays are killer!" She laughed along with the rest of them, safe and secure, three small pieces of the vast empire that was the Terran Accord, doing their small part to keep the vast machine of capitalism oiled and greased.
After more hours of calmly guiding ships into and out of Terra space, Lena clocked out at exactly 1900 hours, and headed back to her small tiny apartment, grabbing her usual takeout container of food, spicy noodles with Real Meat™!.
Looking out her window at the skyscrapers sprouting above the slums stretching to the horizon, now lit only by lights shining out of windows and the faint neon glow of the undercity, her thoughts drifted for a moment. Was she happy with her life? Shouldn't she strive to do more? To be more? She had a job that she didn't mind and was good at. Her bosses were quite happy that she didn't seem to want to climb the company ladder and try and take their jobs, although everyone did seem a bit puzzled by it. But she liked it! A nice good routine, where she didn't have to think, didn't have to realize how lonely she was...
Lena cut out the maudlin line of thought with a shake of her head. This was getting her nowhere. This was Terra, the heart of the Terran Accord. She was far from the chaos and outlawness of the frontier, where the brave and noble Terran Navy kept humanity safe. Nothing would change. Nothing could change.
With a sigh she tossed the takeout container, half eaten, down the garbage chute and went to bed.