Oh man. I am not editing this one. I fucking hate this website for processing words. This blurb is stuck on bold. It is like it wants me to type obnoxiously. You know what, fuck you Weebly, I will write in capitals later so that I am not typing at your enforced intensity. I'll go one better, you son of a bitch.
This is a segment from a new story about consent. It is actually one of the characters from The Space Jerk. Though her name is now Lize not Liz. I hit it with The Device and as far as I can tell from the readings, it is way more futuristic.
And before you ask Consentualisation is a fake word. Go on, add it to your personal dictionary, s'not like it is an easy one to accidentally spell. I mean, really, I didn't expect anyone to ask. I would probably pronounce it in a way that sounds like some other reasonable word anyway. Man, I put the word IRL in this story. Twice, once in the later second half, if you ever read it all. Become a premium Choke and Stroke subscriber. Twice the choking, regular amount of stroking.
This will be read out in my Writing Class. I really do not feel comfortable reading it out loud. Hoooo, boy. Anyway. Onward. Oh man, props to David Cronenburg and the team for the image from Naked Lunch. I can't stop looking at it. Man, that guys stares. My eyes go all unfocused and I think about what I've done.
WARNING: TOPICS OF CONSENT, OF A SEXUAL NATURE. I DON'T THINK IT WILL GO IN THE WAY YOU EXPECT BUT STILL, WARNING ANYWAY. BECAUSE, SHIT, I'VE NEVER REALLY PUT ONE IN A STORY BEFORE. MAYBE IT WILL BE A THING. MORE CAVEATS.
Caveat: This is the longest description I have had on a piece. And not just because of this added addition. They are increasing in size. Is it because I want to distract you from reading? Is it shame? Is it because my mind is slowly slipping away like a wet cake? Is it because the prophecy is true? Is it because it's 3 am and I need to sleep for work? Is it because my tummy is full of cat food and warm beer and the can of spray paint is on the floor and I lack the manual detexterity to pick it up and watch more of Charlie? Is it because I wrote the word detexterity just before I was to finish and now am enamored by it? Is detexterity a combination of writing and dexterity?
Find out next time on Choke and Stoke, if Mr. Party manages to be suitably detexterious. The quote for today, which I will use in response to me writing for next time, comes today from Erik of Internet Comment Etiquitte:
"I’d rather be an invisible man with his dick nailed to a busy doorknob."
The second quote of the day, which I will use in response to my response, which was a response from someone else, is from David Wong, responding:
"If you are looking for sympathy you can find it in the dictionary between syphilis and shit."
- The Egg Party
By The Egg Party
Lize was round the corner of her house, at a bar called Weltraum. She liked the place for the comfort and privacy, it had a certain stillness. It was one of the few spots that she left the house for; every trip outside remained a challenge. Lize was determined, insisting to herself that she was going to take her physical recovery slowly, enjoyably, one gin at a time.
She knew the barkeep slash owner, Joe. He was an old friend of her Dad’s, a family friend really, and she spent a fair amount of time with him shootin’ the breeze. A long-time crusted punk, Joe was always kit in the same clothes, like a cartoon character. Well-worn leather vest, an uncomfortable amount of noisy jewellery, trousers older than the floor carpet. The back of his vest had four words stitched parallel banners, ‘Shame Comma’ on top and ‘Space Shame’ below. The slogan was related to Joe’s time working with the ground crew at Cape Canaveral, years before Lize worked there herself. He bought a bar after deciding that he preferred the company of honest drunks.
Joe had a touch of French in him, which turned into a joke between the two. Lize had arrived that day, all excited, knocking on the bar for a drink as she told Barkeep Joe that she’d worked out his doppelganger.
“Did ya now? Out with it then.”
“The French version of Mister Monopoly. That extra twirl in that grey facial hair is what makes it,” she said while holding her palms up in a Parisian shrug.
“Gee thanks,’ said Joe, taking a swill of beer, “I’ll take that right to the bank. How’re ya anyway?”
“Pretty good Joe. Sort of... excited?” said Lize as she was hit with a thought, “I’m being courted would you believe? Might drop by here with the guy later this week. We’re initiating the consent process tomorrow.”
“Well, congrats. Shit… I haven’t rolled around with someone in an long while. That whole thing, sometimes it’s a bit too complicated for me. Makes the whole event strange, sterile, no matter how many times I do it.”
She nodded. “It certainly is an adjustment.”
“Now, why wouldn’t you just stay single? Let me tell you something. I was lying in bed the other day and I felt this massive ingrown hair on the left cheek of my ass.”
“Anyway, I decided I would just pop it right there, in bed. The lesson being,” he said, holding up his beer, “what a glorious thing, to be beholden to no one.”
“Well, Joe,” said Lize between laughter, “I think that is a prime example of life being better when shared.”
As Lize walked home her pain returned, shooting up her arms and legs. Time off planet had caused her internal fluids to move differently, altered her muscles, changed the machinations of her body. Space had invaded her spaces.
Restarting terrestrial life was difficult. It presented an endless series of unexpected complications, leaving her exhausted. Dr Ramirez told her she needed six to eight months for the major physiological effects to disappear. Dr. Murphy told her that the long-term considerations, such as radiation damage and bone density loss, might last the rest of her life. Dr. Svenson told her that she was psychologically stable but should take the time and rest often, slowly integrating herself back into society. Dr. Dre told her to barbeque every day.
When she arrived home she fell asleep almost immediately, collapsing face down on her bed, clothes on, passing out from exhaustion more than alcohol.
She woke early the next afternoon. It felt good following medical advice, sleeping as much as she felt appropriate. She sat in bed for a moment, taking her socks off and feeling that powerful sensation of sheets on newly bared feet. Her bed was true joy, a luxury lacking on the ISS. Lying down was the only time in which her body was at ease, where her muscles sighed.
She briefly played on her phone before standing from the bed. Hands held high, she pulled her spine straight before she walked to sit at the kitchen table. She proclaimed to the world that today was a day of action. She’d been talking out loud more than usual and decided to take that as an additional sign, to get out and meet somebody new. She had the strong intention to be be proactive.
Three months had passed since coming home. She had started with small tasks of reintegration, of slowly building tolerance: going to the bar, walking through the nearby woods, eating a messy burger, reading and drinking a coffee in the sparse courtyard of the KafeKup. It was about time.
Lize unfurled the days’ copy of the New York Times beside her breakfast. She glanced through the pages, stopping at the crossword for a brief moment, before deciding against it and closing the paper. A recent fixation was the purchase of a daily newspaper, an expensive hobby due it’s antiquated nature. She had the hush money from her ex-colleague, Eric, and it allowed her live with a few additional comforts. The texture of the paper, that thin butchery feel, was a subtle reminder of the spartan space life. All the objects of the station were imbued with such utility. An object with a single use was rare, an object to quickly consume and throw away was an impossibility.
A scandal was splashed over the front page: ABOVE AND BEYOND THE LINE OF BOOTY: VP Kelly’s affair with the First Lady.
Besides the salacious details, what was damaging to Kelly’s case was that the relationship with the President’s wife was a secret. A dark secret to be specific, a term used for relationships which existed outside of the new consent laws.
These laws of consent were a collection of bills passed through the US senate while Lize was aboard the ISS, legislation prompted by the massive increase in sexual abuse accusations and revelations, throughout all professional spheres; of politicians, doctors, celebrities and priests. The administration acted with the aim of curtailing the sexual misconduct and the government, as with most societal problems, created a bureaucratic solution.
Her eyes went to the screen in front of her, selecting a video stream of a public service announcement dating from the time of the change. A sharply dressed newscaster sat at a desk, speaking clearly, eyes unwavering from the camera,
“The consent portal is the future, the next step for safer communities. It addresses all of your relationship needs. Named, the Min portal, the program walks you through the minimum requirements for Base Consent for any sexual encounter. The four consent moments are included in this one convenient place, and can be used to cover all sexual acts. The concept of what is considered a sexual act has extensive definition but it is ruled by the three core guidelines:
“1: Intercourse involving penetration of the vagina by the penis.
“2: Intercourse (such as anal or oral intercourse) that does not involve penetration of the vagina by the penis.
“3: Intercourse of another nature involving, or not involving, sexual organs, or organs. Can be subject to case by case review through the Base Consent Tribunals.
“Base Consent Procedures must be followed by any two or more adults, eighteen plus, engaging in a sexual act. It is therefore recommended that you begin the consent process before your first meeting in reality, IRL. Acting early will prevent risking impulsive behaviour before proper authorisation is granted.
“Verbal and emotional actions are not completely free from the Base Consent Procedures. If a party takes affront to an interaction comprised of only words, those instances are also subject to appropriate Base Consent Tribunals.”
Lize stopped the video. She had extensively researched the subject, as far back as when she was aboard the ISS, and was gaining nothing new from the video.
There were many people who were caught refusing the new way, with varying reasons for abstention. Extremists groups called for a sexual devolution. Lize wanted to know if Vice President Kelly was one of those sexual purists, where the completion of paperwork prior to the act was an impossibility. Responsibility kills desire, Lize muttered, isn’t that what the author Esther Perel said?
She flicked through the internet for a while. Her phone projected the browser screen from the table, to hang in the air. The screen followed her, tilting in relation to the position of her head. It hovered slowly as she moved her eyes from food to newspaper to screen. The desktop was taken up by her internet browser, an endless mess of tabs containing a vast mix of websites. Connecting all the disparate pages into a core theme would be a challenge.
As she surfed, she ate yogurt. Every so often she absently tried to velcro her spoon to the surface next to her, still expecting it to float away.
An alert sounded from her phone which caused the messenger program at the bottom of her screen to flash.
Sigurd-34: Thursday at the Weltraum? I’m down with that plan. I’ve sent you a link to the Min
portal. Won’t take long:)
She wrote quickly, absently,
Lize-35: On it. And yes, I’ll see you there:)
She clicked on her mail and found an unread email link, leading directly to the Min consent portal. She liked the word and said aloud, consent portal, a portal of consent.
The portal presented four separate tests to the user.
The matching participants were initially prompted with the 1st Consent Basis test separately. The 2nd Consent Basis occured at their IRL scheduled meeting. If couples met in public, at a disco or in court or wherever, the two steps could be combined at the time of meeting. Sometimes you could spot a pair sitting in public separately, shooting suggestive glances, as they frantically went through the steps. After those two initial moments, the final consent bases were:
3rd Consent Basis Test - before the initiation of the sexual act.
4th Consent Basis Test - post completion of said sexual act.
The four steps turned in her mind as she re-familiarised the rules, counting four on her left hand as she thought.
She found her match, Sigurd-34, after being attracted to his name, the dragon slayer. Plus, all her other conversations had shifted repetitive or dark. Many suitors quickly asked what she did for work and the reactions to being an astronaut were painful and, in some cases, uncomfortably reverent.
Many astronauts married within the space community and she quickly grasped why — it was not necessary to answer stupid space questions. The most common: How do you go to the toilet in space?
It made sense, in the same way celebrities pair off, of having someone with a deep understanding for an all-consuming characteristic. This was not a possibility for Lize. In the end, her attraction to astronauts withered during her time on the ISS. She knew Eric and so that option was dead.
Sigurd-34 seemed polite and interesting. Funny too, but it was a humour that need a leech. Once encouraged, he was sharp and witty. Or so it seemed through his online persona. They met on Tuppermatch, a dating app which matched singles who had the corresponding parts of one whole container. She had the container and he had the lid of a sandwich box. A classic union.
His face appeared on her Min page with a few buttons underneath, the largest, red one reading - ACCEPT BASE CONSENT INVITATION.
From there she was taken into the portal. First step was to do a genetic comparison. Most serious daters had hard lineage, which they used to prove suitability. They had to be from two family trees of which the branches did not intersect, to test the Prohibitive Degree of Kinship. Her friend Allison told Lize she was once chatting online to this interesting gal, getting to know her over a few weeks before the Min portal informed her that she’d spent quality time chatting to a first cousin. Lize’s combination appeared on her Min screen:
Genetic tracing: Sigurd-34 and Lize-35, 2.42% genetic match. (Acceptable parameters < 10%)
The second step was a professional, power-structure analysis. Their professional careers were combined, in a completely anonymous algorithm, testing overlap. If there was a strong differential, where a participant could be influenced by the standing of another, the cases were reviewed by the Base Consent Tribunals.
Power Differential: 3.62%, acceptable professional crossover between Sigurd-34 and Lize-35.
Next was the criminal record scan, where she digitally signed an open disclosure form. Smaller misdemeanours were automatically analysed and usually looked past. The step existed as another sweep for sexual crimes.
The long-winded consent form was the last step. After coming to the conclusion that she should enter the dating scene, she became fixated on re-learning everything about the process. As uncomfortable as it was, she thought it was a sensible approach to safe sexual interaction. Lize could count on her hands how many people she knew who went through all the terms and conditions. Of those, none did it more than once. She knew the fine print was regularly fine-tuned. To fully understand them one would need to be checking often. She read an editorial piece which outlined the major important parts, satisfied with a summation.
She scrolled down and imprinted her digital passport along with her password, security questions and robotic capture. The capture asked her to point out which segments of an image contained paper with writing. The follow-up question asking her to the selected paper squares which contained good poetry. In her opinion, of course.
After completing the form Lize received a pop-up message stating that:
Basis Consent Level: Congradulations Sigurd-34 and Lize-35 accepted as Consensually Based,
Based was a shorthand many people used for this particular moment. Some people said Based. Other people, thought Lize.
Thursday morning, she woke with anticipation. Awake, she stayed prone in bed, thinking and struggling to categorise the anticipatory feeling as either good or bad.
Eventually she rose to eat a sloppy breakfast before she showered and dressed. She spent her free hours either in the garden or on her porch, reading lazily in a bright sunbeam.
The sound of her own voice was another current fixation of hers and in the afternoon she spent time sitting on the floor of her house, holding record sleeves to her ears and blocking the sounds coming from her face. She talked out loud. The soundtrack to My Fair Lady spun on the player as she sung along with Eliza. She altered the words to suit her, making a new mantra,
“The rain in Space stays mainly in the plane...
The rain in Space stays mainly in the plane...
The rain in Space stays mainly in the plane.”
Lize believed her voice had adapted to the tinny nature of the ISS. She was convinced that she sounded alien. After practicing for a while, she sounded in satisfaction,
“By George she’s got it!
In Himalia, Hermippe and Hyperion.
Hurricanes hardly happen.
How kind of you to let me come.”
She stood to begin organising herself. She was still used to the microgravity hairdo—such volume and structure!—that was all the rage on the ISS. Now her hair was flat, grey-brown and dead, indignantly waiting for her instruction. She wrangled it into reasonable state before walking the few blocks to the bar.
She arrived excessively early for the date. She had always been overly punctual and considered it a talent. Lize listened to many complain about waiting for a late friend. Of all those instances, they never realised the boon of being early: reading time.
Pushing open the door, she saw Joe at his command station, staring into the screen of the bar. It was good to see him using a two dimensional computer. Joe was like Lize, in that he never wanted to be plugged in when he was using. Neither wanted virtual immersion or VR for surfing. He would say regularly that the reality in the bar was questionable enough.
Taking a stool, she sat her phone on the bar.
“Joe, how’s it?”
He gestured at the screen a few more times before walking over.
“Fine and dandy, life is good. It is a beautifully sunny day and none of that shit is getting in here.”
She twisted to look at the shop front.
“I see you have layered another coat of black on the windows. Very nice.”
He held up two hands patched in paint. “Guilty. I like it, reminds me of space.”
That was the trade, she had France and he had Space.
Those same hands grabbed a hand towel, wiping down a glass for her. As he placed her gin mix on the bar, she told him, “Keep these guys coming, I lost blood volume in space and I need that fluid replaced.”
“Right you are, Lize. Meetin that fella' tonight, am I right?” he asked, not waiting for a response. “Mind you, this same blood replacement technique is the cause of many dates going sour. Not scoldin’, just sayin’.” He told her this while giving a few nods.
Joe headed back to the console at the end of the bar. As he walked he called over his shoulder, “who knows, maybe I’ll tee up something for myself, use you for a bit of the inspirational.”
She raised her glass before heading to the booth furthest away from the sharp smell of paint. There were a few other patrons scattered around enjoying the company of self. She turned to a bookmark nestled in a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, and dug in. She read for a while before coming to a line and getting stuck in a loop of comprehension,
The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
Her trance was broken by a hand knocking on the table in front of her, rapping in measured way. The action was done with a distinct awareness for how loud a knock should be to not get overheard by anyone else in the bar. She liked it. Sigurd was there, looking content.
They exchanged hellos, before he sat down. They both took out their phones for the next Base procedure. Each opened the Min portal and set the devices recording. They independently spoke out loud their verbal consent to the date. One, then the other, repeated the line,
“My name is Sigurd34/Lize35, of legal age, of sound mind and body , and I consent to this interaction. I confirm that all hitherto information submitted to the Min portal is clear and accurate to the best of my knowledge.”
Afterwards they traded hard copies of their identification cards, taking photos. It was the first time she heard Sigurd’s voice, in that abridged verbal consent. A clear voice that was a little shakier than expected.
Again the phones spoke in automated voices, addressing the two participants in unison.
“Please place the devices upside down on one hand for scanning.”
She picked it her phone, palming it, feeling a slight heat from the screen. Again the synchronised phones spoke,
“Base accepted - with caveat from consent subset 47b.”
This caveat related to her drug and alcohol status. Lize’s device projected a blue lines of text into the air between them.
Blood Alcohol Level: 0.0317g/dL Lize-35, 0.00g/dL Sigurd-35. Levels need synchronising.
Illicit Substances: Minimal blood stream traces, 0.01ppm(Acceptable parameters >0.1ppm)
Tiredness/Metabolic Rate: 95% Sigurd-35. Acceptable parameters. 66% Lize-35. Low end energy
levels. Food, caffeine supplements suggested. (Acceptable parameters 50-100%).
These certain elements needed to be equalized if the further Bases were to be authorised. Lize lifted her drink to her lips and realised it was empty.
Sigurd talked first, “You’re a bit early, Lize 35?””
“Yeah, reading,” she said, holding up the book cover, “Sigurd 34, good to meet you.” She smiled and shook his hand. His palm was soft and dry.
He pulled a small satchel off, placing it next to him. Small but full.
“That’s a good trick, arriving early and reading. I should do that myself.”
“Hmmm, no, I’m afraid not. For this to work as a partnership, we cannot both be early. Them’s the rules. We cannot sit in separate sections until the allotted time, reading and ignoring one another. Unless we can do that... what do you think? Can we do that? I can do that.”
“So long as we have no direct eye contact.”
“Oh, obviously. I’m reading and early for the date? I don’t want anyone looking at me. Consider me Medusa.”
“That works great,” he said before sticking his pointer finger skyward, as if indicating the source of an idea. “I have been practicing this new system that might help with this scheme. I have brought in No-Eye-Contact-Wednesdays. Sunglasses all day, take a break from the eyes of others. Nowadays the sun is so intense, I’m never asked why I’m continually in sunglasses. I tell you, I find a lot of dropped change Wednesdays,” he said.
“I like it, National Holiday material that. ”
“I think so. Anyway,” he said. He gave a half wave towards Joe before changing his mind to rise from his chair. “I think you are roughly a drink and a half in front. I can catch up quick. For now, what would you like?”
“Joe knows, thanks Sigurd. And he appreciates you ordering at the bar.”
Lize watched as he shuffled to the bar. As soon as Sigurd reached the stools, Joe sprung into action, mixing a perfected combination of gin and tonic. More than remembering a drink, Joe had an eerily accurate eye for levels. Joe walked to Lize with the drink and a napkin and he leant saying quickly, “Seems to be going well there, space-cowgirl. Here,’ he served the drink. “Nearly there lady, remember the Bases.”
He walked back to serve Sigurd. In her periphery, Lize watched as Sigurd idled. He had a habit of tapping a foot or hand on the floor or the bar whenever his excess nervous energy overflowed and needed release. Returning with a beer, he a sat across from her again. The cushions relaxed in such a way that it was obvious how much he was previously perching on his seat.
“It’s a pretty strange, circuitous system of drink ordering here.”
“Yeah, Joe’s been on the circuit for a while.”
Sigurd smiled before putting his hands on the table, one fist kneading the other.
“Oh, by the way, here it is,” he said as he placed a plastic lid on the table.
She took out her plastic container and put the two together. “Perfect Fit.”
“Perfect. Look, sorry, Lize. Before we start talking about how undoubtedly interesting you are, can I tell you something important about myself?”
Lize hesitated for a moment. “Sure. Mind you, it better not be too fucking weird. I shaved my balls for this, to use the expression.”
He laughed and blushed. “It is nothing offensive if that is what you are worried about. Just strange. But it is a big part of who I am and definitely something you need to know straight away.
“I’m a Proxy.”
He stopped, waiting for her reply.
After a moment Lize finally spoke. “Don’t wait for me, Sigurd. That needs a fair bit of explanation. I mean, I have heard of Proxies, humans running around in robot bodies. But please, go on, tell it all.”
“Well.. yeah. Fair enough. It makes it easier if you have a general idea anyway,” he cleared his voice before continuing. “This isn’t my body. I operate this robotic proxy far from here, using a complete immersion software rig. My mind is embodying this form,” he said as he patted his chest. “I cannot leave my hospital ward. So I live vicariously, in two places.”
He looked at her, waiting, tensing the muscles of his cheek and brow, partially obscuring his right eye. After a moment he followed the silent prompt.
“I am a product of genetic failure. My folks rushed into the whole CRISPR fad. They agreed to some pretty reckless genetic experiments in the name of the science. They were paid to mix an embryo with a few slivers of genetic material from a pressure-resistant deep-sea creature. I don’t really like to tell which creature until I get to know someone better, I’m a bit shy about it,” he looked down. “Having people who were more accustomed to variable pressure situations was considered extremely useful by the US government. To create humans capable of travelling great distances in space.
“I was born breathing normally. Then a cluster of uncontrollable mutations began expressing and I deteriorated quickly. Now I need certain pressures and gas levels in my surrounding to survive, an environment that is usually not found above sea-level. They learnt from the mistake, in that the mistake was me. I like to think of it as a good thing, an inbuilt purpose for my life, contributing to the slow march of science. I say this with pun intended, the next generation are being built from the genes up. They are stacking neo-humans with all the can salvage from the natural world, animals, plants, everything. I am a part of that process, more of a stumbling block than a step.
“Growing full replacement human bodies has still not been perfected. But this robotic one does the trick… what I am saying is that I am a robot-ish. Scientists have partially mastered the form of the android, all that is missing is the brain. Functional artificial intelligence. For now, I guess, myself and others function as this missing brain. That is the book-jacket version of events. If, after learning all this, you are interested in getting to know me then great. That is certainly what I want.”
Lize stared blankly for a moment, before she wiped her head. Her whole head. Her left hand started at the corresponding cheek, going across her eye and through her hair, to end on her mouth before she rested on an elbow, chin in palm. After a time she spoke,
“That’s a big thing to wait and tell me about. After we have gone through the consent process and all. But I think I understand your hesitation and for the record, I would not have cared.”
“Thanks Lize. I have a lot of difficult being honest about it before I meet someone in IRL. To give me a chance to prove myself and avoid preconceptions. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah, that’s okay. Like I said, I’m not saying it is a bad thing. To… to be perfectly honest it is pretty cool. I have quite a few moments where I feel like I need to get out of my body. I might take a moment to adjust. And a few more questions,” she said, scratching her head. “Tell me, do you see yourself as more robot or human?”
Sigurd laughed again, a deep pleasant laugh. She wondered if he chose that laugh, if he spent a long time listening to tracks before deciding on the one. She mentally noted that she should ask next time. It was a good choice.
“No, I see it more as a handicap than an identity. But sometimes I think of myself as full robot, you know, try and have fun with my situation.”
“Cool. I’ve always wanted a robot friend, ever since I was six.”
“Cool. And I’ve always wanted to date someone who quotes Futurama.”
“Cool.” Lize smiled. “So you’ve lived in a hospital your whole life. That’s tough.”
“Yeah, there have been some low moments. But this body gives me the chance to have autonomy and I have never felt better, frankly. Though, it has taken a long time to adjust to societal norms. I am still working on it. A while back I decided to try one of those norms, to date. See what all the fuss is about. I don’t really know how it all works, only that it’s something I want.”
“Well… Sigurd, we have a few things in common. Except my isolation is of a personal design. Let me ask, this,” she pointed to his beer, “can you drink normally?”
“I certainly can. I am taking alcohol via a pump at the hospital as my proxy drinks. It is difficult but we manage to sync. I had to getting approval from the Base Consent Tribunals so that I can coordinate my intoxication levels from two data sites.”
Sigurd broke into a wide grin, the grin of a punchline. “I like to say that I drink like a fish.”
They laughed as Lize raised her glass. Sigurd mimicked her action. “Well damn, let’s have a old fashion cheers. To new friends. You best drink up Sigurd 34, we’ve two more Bases to go.”