Chapter 03: Nightfall

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Six hours.

Six, goddamned, solid hours.

Nate sat back in his chair, leaning it back as far as it would go, closing his eyes and massaging his temples. He'd gone as far as he possibly could with the interior systems. There was nothing wrong with the programming within his workstation. Everything was in peachy-keen working order. On top of that, he'd run exhaustive diagnostics on every piece of equipment within the scope of his little communications empire.

According to them, everything was in perfect working order.

Which meant that his job was about to get a lot more complicated. It meant that he was going to have to physically inspect all the parts and pieces and components of the communications array and equipment. Most of it was interior, but the antenna array was actually atop the base, which meant he'd have to get up and out.

Not something he was looking forward to.

Nate checked the time and saw that it was creeping up past ten at night. He'd been up since before 'dawn', as much meaning as that had. He was definitely sleeping in tomorrow. Let the people get their own damn breakfast. He keyed up the intercom and connected to Marshall's room. There was an intercom system hardwired into the base, into every single room, (except the bathrooms, obviously), which made contact a hell of a lot easier.

After a few seconds, Marshall hit the callback. "Yeah?"

"Nate here, boss. I simply cannot find anything wrong with the comms equipment. I've run the most powerful diagnostic program we have and it didn't turn up jack squat. Tomorrow I'm going to have to start checking out everything physically, but I think we might need to consider the possibility that it's not on our end."

A long pause. "Hmm. Well, set another diagnostic to run overnight, just in case. Have you contacted anyone? Are our actual communications down, too?"

"It's on the fritz, but honestly I think that's the weather. You know we've never had a very reliable comm link. I almost managed to get through to someone today. I'll try again tomorrow and see what the situation is."

"All right...anything else?"

"Nope. Just that I'm heading for bed."

"Okay. Later."


Nate killed the intercom and sat back in his chair. He had a tension headache and he was absolutely exhausted. He was probably the hardest working man at Frost Station. Which was fine by him, he loved a good day's hard work, (though only if it meant working with technology). And today had been a good, long, hard day.

He leaned forward and prompted the diagnostics program to run one more time. Maybe Marshall was right. Maybe it'd turn up something this time around. He stood up, suddenly resolute in how he would spend the next hour. After downing some extra-strength painkillers to stave off his headache, he was going to soak in a hot bath and then read in bed until he was too tired to keep his eyes open. It sounded like a solid plan to him.

Nate left his communications shack.

* * *

End of the day.

There was really no better time as far as Paul was concerned. Especially when he was in good company. He'd spent some extra credits before coming up here and had them ship up and install a big screen holovision in his quarters. That, with a combination of the weed he'd talked Andrea into growing, meant that people usually came to hang out in his quarters. Okay, well, usually one person: Viktor was the only one social enough to put up with him.

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