Thursday, 24 January 2013

Day Twenty-Four: Travel Habits

I think that it’s fair to say we all have unusual travel habits: Strange things that we always pack because they make us feel comfortable. The way that we rummage through a hotel room and arrange our things. Even the way that we feel out our new surroundings. It’s just the way we are as human beings.

So, Dow. Both he and Marisol have jobs that require a certain amount of preparedness. They need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, though for very different reasons, and keep bags more or less ready to go all of the time. Dow’s work bag (and he is just paranoid enough to keep a work bag and a separate, emergency bag) is a waterproof, canvas single-strap backpack, packed down tight with the following (and these things are kind of important for the sake of consistency and having some standing rules for what is or isn’t accessible to the protagonist at a moment’s notice):

  • Two changes of clothes (two tee-shirts [one with a regimental logo, the other from a touring holographic recreation of The Clash in 2037], a pair of cargo pants, two pairs of socks, two pairs of shorts).
  • An insulated rip-cloth jacket (hooded).
  • A recoilless gas-fed handgun with two, thirty-round clips of 2mm. caseless ammunition.
  • A four inch, all-purpose folding knife.
  • Phone cables.
  • Roll-up keyboard.
  • 5,000 Euro.
  • Spare passport and UN identification card.
  • International phrasebook.
  • Pocket first-aid kit.
  • Multi-tool.
  • Lock pick set.
  • A sleeve of latex gloves.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Toiletries.
  • A burner phone.
  • A handful of powerbars and a bottle of water.
  • An old paperback copy of Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.

Some of this is going to be confiscated by Kinneman on the UN VTOL, of course. The gun and the knife specifically, as McMurdo enjoys a pretty complete weapons ban (UN security forces have a couple of guns for the direst of emergencies but officers are routinely outfitted with shrills; hand-held, unidirectional sonic incapacitators).

*  *  *

And the room…As I mentioned the other day, Dow gets assigned to a VIP suite that’s usually reserved for visiting dignitaries. It’s not overly large, but it is well outfitted (a proper bed, a full electric kitchenette, dining and seating areas, something like a standard terrestrial bathroom, a desk and workspace, motion-activated lights and temperature controls, and a full video communications suite).

Dow’s not likely to make use of most of those amenities, though. He’s a simpler guy than that, but what he will do is take steps to prepare himself once the scope of his situation becomes clear. Motion sensors will be covered over with tape. Furniture will be moved into confusing positions designed to trip up intruders in the dark. All but one of the wall panels that control lights and climate will be disabled. The camera in the comms unit will be pulled loose. The position of everything will be obsessively noted and checked every time he comes or goes from the apartment. And just because Kinneman took his knife, doesn’t mean Dow can’t buy a pack of cheap paring knives colony-side and hide them in various locations.

All of this paranoid spook-show behavior is part of what drove Dow to put himself in that PTSD study in the first place. He thinks he’s going to be able to handle it for a while, telling himself that it’s just going to be for a few days. We can expect for him to have some larger problems, though, especially with being away from Marisol and unable to reliably contact her.



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