The Diving Maneuver

in StemSociallast year


Penetrating Europa's surface like a giant pen, the Bolt communication probe carried five passengers. Two of the probe's workers were sleeping in their beds under the influence of the Cosmoline they had received before the journey.

Captain Maria, who had a manic personality, did not like to sleep. With the peace of mind that they had completed the landing maneuver, she was examining the latest breakthroughs in the body-shaping industry in Venus. The skin of the model in the advertisement was glowing as if she were covered with glitter. Maybe I'm not as young as she is, but it would look good on me, she thought. However, she had to pay a small fortune to that clinic on Venus to make her skin silvery. The captain rose from her seat, left her room, and leaned against the railing to watch what was going on.

Below, the probe's chief operator, Pierre, was reviewing the procedures for the diving maneuver, which will begin shortly. Like a hardworking student, he carefully examined each step on the control panel and placed a check sign on the virtual board. After he was done, he turned to the man behind the control panel and asked, "Have you ever been to Europa, Turko?" He understood that the man was Turkish, from the curses he had made while he was sleeping at night. When Turko was awake, he was speaking in the standard Earth language.

“I don't even know my name, how should I know what you're asking,” Turko said.

“No problem. I am bold and have tics. Still, women like me,” said Pierre.

“I've never seen a bald person before,” Turko said. With his slender neck, bulging eyes, and large nose, he resembled a tropical bird.

“I didn't want hair therapy because I don't like people messing with my hormones,” said Pierre, then got up and walked over to the peephole as if he had suspected something. The probes used on Europa had no windows due to the intense radiation emitted by Jupiter.

“I wonder how many women I've had sex with. That's what's worth remembering,” Turko said.

Leaning his head against the peephole, Pierre looked at Europa's brown-lined glaciers and said, "You must have been with a few SX42." After a short pause, he added, "Some of the curses you've made have no equivalent in standard Earth language."

“So I have to sleep alone all my life,” Turko said.

As Pierre was leaving the surveillance device, he said, “This way, you'll stay away from women too. I can't be with or without them. I wish I liked pets." The ground started to shake slightly as the probe's nuclear engine kicked in.

“Is this vibration normal?” asked Turko.

“The nose of the probe is melting the glaciers below us,” Pierre said. He turned to the coffee vending machine with the ease of having finished the checks.

"We don't know what I'm here for, do we?" asked Turko.

“I thought the phrase 'Special Status' in the list was referring to your first and last name. Then Maria said that was not true. I wouldn't want to have sex with Maria? What about you?"

Turko wrapped his long arms around his legs that he pulled towards his stomach and said, “I am not in a position to think about such things right now. As I understand it, I have a lot of money. But what good is money if one can't remember the past?"

Pierre handed Turko one of the coffees he bought from the vending machine and said, "If you're rich, you'd better send me some money. Do you know why? Because I tried to help you even though I didn't know you were rich. So I didn't really expect anything in return," he said.

When Turko said that he was rich, he guessed that Pierre would ask him for money. The more people involved in a crime, the less likely they were to be punished. He opened his pocket computer and sent 1000 Unos to Pierre via the digital wallet application. “The money will be in your account in a few seconds,” he said.

“You may be a vain man,” Pierre said and looked at Turko to gauge the effect his words had had on him. “They erase the memories of some notorious criminals and neutralize their personalities.”

“I don't think I'm a notorious criminal, but I feel like giving your bald head a big slap,” Turko said.

“I'll double you up like a suitcase if you try anything like that,” said Pierre.

“I regret sending you money,” Turko said.

While Turko and Pierre were chatting, Maria came down the elevator and came to them. "Really interesting," she said, looking Turko from head to toe.

Pierre turned his head towards Maria and asked, "Is there anything unusual?"

"He's not castrated," said Maria, pointing to the place Turko's legs meet.

“Maria can see under our clothes, she once offered me treatment for my hemorrhoids,” Pierre said.

“I don't like brutal-looking women. Especially if they're talking about castrating me,” Turko said. Despite her negative attitude, he enjoyed the dialogue between them.

“Like you, I had my memory erased. Twice," said Maria. The hum of the nuclear power engine was less audible now, the communication probe must have finally reached the loose layers of ice.

“I don't want to go to bed with her anymore because she scares me,” said Pierre.

“You'd be surprised to hear how much he begged to have sex with me. People shouldn't insult themselves like that,” said Maria.

Pierre turned to the probe's main computer and said, "What Maria said is not true. Let's erase this slander from the record."

“Turko has volunteered to come here. Turns out he is unqualified. He may have wanted to start all over again,” said Maria.

“I wouldn't want to sleep in the same bed with you. Because you can snap my neck in an instant,” Turko said.

“Before I had my memory wiped, I was a shy person. I am not anymore. Judging by the curses you uttered at night, neither are you. We are trying to help you here. So stop being arrogant and listen to me carefully. You may be going to the Under-Ice City to be used as a pet. Although, people with good appearance are generally preferred for this. What else could it be, I can't really think of it," said Maria. The probe got faster as it went deeper and the control cabin started to shake more and more. Maria sat in the captain's seat and fastened her seat belts.

“I think Turko is a spy, but he doesn't know that yet. He will regain his true identity when the blockage in his mind is cleared,” said Pierre.

“I'm sure I'm important, maybe I'm a rich merchant since I have a lot of money. So I can take Maria in my arms if I want to. But I haven't decided yet whether I want it or not,” Turko said.

“I think you're a loser. Besides, you're ugly. Even gynoids would not want to have sex with you,” Maria said.

When the probe's main computer reported that they were about to land in Europa's subterranean ocean, Pierre's facial tics increased and he began to watch the dashboard intently.

The communication probe wobbled as it broke free of the ice and plunged into the water, then straightened out, thanks to its side wings that opened. Turko, meanwhile, recalled his first trip through space as a child. He was on his way to IO with his father, exiled from Mars. IO was not an ideal place to raise a child. Turko sniffed a faint whiff of sulfur and emptied whatever was in his stomach onto the floor of the control cabin.

Turning to Maria with a sneering expression on his face, Pierre said, "It seems that our Turko is seasick."

“This wouldn't have happened if you had just driven the probe properly,” Turko said. He unbuckled his seat belts, stood up, and stepped back to make room for the cleaning droid.

"I think you should pay Maria too, she's the boss here," said Pierre.

“Maria just called me a loser, but I know she had no bad intentions. I'll give you the money, but that's between us,” Turko said. His heart was filled with warm feelings when he remembered how much profit he had when he sold the seaweed collection he bought from the sub-ice city of Dwarka the previous time. Having the right connections was important. He had met EIG Telecom executive Sanders while he attended an orgy in one of Mars' famous gynoid brothels. Sanders was responsible for maintenance at EIG Telecom, which owns the probe they were traveling with. He was traveling to Europa for free with EIG Telekom's probe, trying to please the crew, who were unaware of his deal with Sanders.

“I no longer have a memory problem, my employers in the sub-ice city of Dwarka must have unblocked my brain,” Turko said. Sanders had instructed him to act like a spy. Anyone living in the solar system knew not to mess with the United Intelligence Agency. Turko had gladly accepted Sanders' proposal because he liked to pretend to be someone else.

“Maybe your memory's back, but your brainwaves still indicate you're stupid,” Maria said.

“I just decided to send you money,” Turko said.

“I didn't know you could measure brain waves,” Pierre said.

“You need a prostate exam,” Maria said. “You better get it checked out on the way back.”

As the probe entered the surface vehicles terminal of the sub-ice city of Dwarka, Turko moved to collect his belongings.

“The way he plays fools so well shows he's a smart guy,” Maria said.

“Maybe I would travel with a passenger probe, it would cost the same amount. And it will definitely be more comfortable,” Turko said.

"You can only clean the passenger probe toilet with the money you gave us," said Pierre.

“We will be unloading soon, and our hangars will be empty on our return. What a waste, can you imagine?” said Maria.

"Can we load three tons?" Turko asked.

“We can carry up to half a ton in robotic suitcases. Of course, if we agree on the terms,” said Maria.

“This woman is awesome,” Pierre said.

Maria took a few steps towards Turko. Leaning over him, lowering her voice, "Sanders shouldn't know about it. Despicable, racist, scumbag. We are the ones risking our lives inside the glaciers, but he gets the lion's share,” she said.

“My job requires respect for authority,” Turko said.

“I am going to have a body restructuring surgery at one of the clinics on Venus. I'll send you the bill,” said Maria.

“I too have to go through a medical checkup, the prostate must be taken seriously,” Pierre said in an enthusiastic tone.

“The curses he uttered while he was sleeping were also bogus. He's a total psychopath,” said Maria, looking at Pierre.

“I have to leave immediately. Otherwise, I will have to cancel the deal because of your insults,” Turko said.

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