Sunday January 6, 2002
Book 2: The Teraport Wars — Quest for Second Sight
Note: The 21st century jury-rigger will no doubt be familiar with baling wire, bondo, and duct tape. By the 31st century, these materials have evolved significantly, but are still recognizeable.

Baling wire, for instance, has largely been overshadowed by malleable carbonan/polymer superfilaments, which are at least ten times stronger, and something like 100 times more expensive. For this reason, many 31st-century jury-riggers will choose the economical route, and just use five times as much baling wire. The trick is finding it (there's a spool of it in the garage, underneath the hedge laser).

Bondo has seen many evolutionary iterations, the most popular being a nanomotile goop (brand name, 'NuBondo') that sets when you send the appropriate command to the nanobots. The 'bots are re-useable as long as you can keep them fed with the right nutrient solution. Unfortunately, by the time you realize you need the stuff you'll find that the kids have dumped all the 'bots in the aquarium for a 1/100,000,000th scale recreation of the Europan Rebellion, much to the dismay of the fish. You'll end up resorting to regular old Bondo, provided you've remembered to put the lid on it.

Duct Tape has actually seen the most change during the intervening centuries. For instance, it can now safely be used to fasten and seal duct-work. Just be sure to lose the handy-dandy spool with the built-in tape cutter before it trims the tape just above your first knuckle.


Narrator: There are a few odd corners of the galaxy where a combination of factors will conspire to create a space-based facility as decidedly unattractive as the one in Lagrange orbit above Ghanj-Rho.
Narrator: One might take aesthetic pleasure at a functional orbital construct whose materials-by-mass graph would show nigh-obscene quantities of baling wire, Bondo, and duct tape. Then again, one might also find culinary thrill in a plate of underdone squirrel.
Jun-Gamm: That Tausennigan ship is rarer than you thought, sir.
Jun-Gamm: Sure, there are only eight other ships like it outside of the psycho-bear military. But if the registry match I've got is accurate, this one has also been retrofitted with those new teraport drives, and probably has a few weapons and defenses based on the same technology.
Jun-Gamm: And it looks like they've sent a landing team down to Jun-Cho's.
Gamm: Pick 'em up. If we want that ship, we can start by taking a few hostages.
Narrator: And so the local enforcers are dispatched, flying their skymounts with air-tearing haste. After all, its best that the welcoming committee not be late to greet guests.
Unioc Enforcer 1: We're in luck. Dispatch says that Jun-Cho has them corralled in his bar.
Unioc Enforcer 2: Maybe not. . . isn't that Jun-Cho's bouncer?
Narrator: It is, and it's unfortunate for him that he does not bounce better.