The Catcher on the Space Road
By Hiroshi Ichikura
OK, bring it to a stop. Right here’s fine.
The speed limit in this area—you know what it is, don’t you?
Right, 200 space knots. You’re 50 knots over.
No, I’m positive it’s not a mistake. All the data’s right here.
I don’t know why you’re in such a hurry, but as an Interstellar Police officer, I can’t let you off.
Headquarters gets a transmission of the data in real time, you see.
I’ll need to see your interstellar license. Touch here.
Let me confirm this. You’re registered on Earth, in Japan, Sector Three.
Is this your current address? Mars Colony, M24.
Excuse me, but I’ll need to check with a retina scan.
Turn your eyes this way for me. Your eyes. Turn this way. A little more….
Ah—nevermind, it’s nothing.
Done. …Confirmation complete.
Ehh, the infraction points come out to 3000 credits.
Right, because you were 50 knots over. It’s the law.
Even after we went to the galactic calendar, traffic at the end of the year is jammed. Just like it’s always been.
Especially today. It’s the last day, after all.
The Interstellar Police and Traffic Bureau is a third-level private branch, but it’s the same for us.
We have to move around too. It’s the day everyone works—today, that is.
It’s like the whole place is buzzing. The entire solar system.
On a business trip?
Although, that’s a personal question, so you don’t have to answer.
Budō Hall? That legendary place?
It’s in the North Circle of Palace City, right?
Now that brings back memories! I’ve been there. Sure was—15 years ago.
So that’s why you’re in a hurry.
I bet it’ll be packed today.
You know, it might be faster to take a detour on Route 288.
Except Interstellar Police officers aren’t allowed to give directions.
This is just my personal advice.
Or more like me talking to myself….
In Palace City, today, I heard through the comm there’s some kind of VIP arriving….
No, I’m just talking to myself again. It’s nothing important.
If you’re going to 288, you can slide in from the NNW.
Hang a V-turn from Taurus, if you’re heading from the NNW.
Come to think of it, right about there, I bet the moon would look rather nice from that spot.
Given the time of month, and that angle.
If I were you, that’s the way I’d go.
Right, that’s all. You’re free to go.
Fly safe out there.
Keep it under control.
If you take 288, head in that direction.
Aim for Aldebaran in Taurus.
Take it straight to Area A9.
Don’t get pulled over again.
There are a lot of us out here today, you know.
If you leave now, you’ll make it with plenty of time to spare.
Have a great trip.
And one more thing.
My daughter on Jupiter Colony shares a birthday with you.