Reparation Audio

AU$8.12

Audiobook

Description

Reparation Audio version is book 6 in the Space Agent Jonathan Bartell series by Patty Jansen

About Reparation

After many years in space, Jonathan receives the message he’s been dreading: his father has taken a fall. He can no longer live by himself and Jonathan’s cousin has managed to get him into a care home.

Jonathan is an only child, he is no longer in contact with his mother, and a deep sense of guilt forces him to return to Earth to look after his father’s wellbeing.

Except his father has a secret. He’s in poor health and rather confused, so Jonathan finds it hard to get to the bottom of it.

It’s not like he has a lot of time, since he has to look for a job, a task which is proving surprisingly hard.

No one wants scientists, especially not if they’ve worked in space. But his father’s secret shows how important it is to keep the work going. Not that governments will listen.

Here is a sample:

It was the letter that had started it all. An electronic letter of course, because people had done away with paper in space a long time ago, but it looked very official all the same, written on a letterhead template and with a signature as if it had been printed on paper, but Jonathan was not aware that anyone still did that, even on Earth.

Because that was the location of the sender.

It came from some sort of medical facility—a “care home”—whatever that entailed.

The news it shared was not good.

After a life as a nuclear scientist, much of it lived in space, and the second half lived on Earth, alone and in great bitterness, Jonathan’s father Paul Bartell was going backwards quickly.

The enclosed reports detailed that his father had fallen down a set of steps at the front of the house Jonathan remembered telling his dad to fix—repeatedly—because the wood had seen better days, sections were split and rotten even back when Jonathan had lived there, and the steps got slippery after rain.

So the inevitable had happened, and he had fallen. He had lain there overnight on the concrete, unable to get up, until the neighbour noticed him when leaving home for work.

He’d spent a few days in hospital, but couldn’t stay there because he’d not broken anything. But he was confused and obviously unwell and could not return home to live by himself. Or so the medical profession decreed.

So after some negotiation, his father had “entered the facility”, its director said. And he assured this was a privileged position to be in because the wait lists were long, but they made a special consideration for his father because he had no close relatives nearby.

The language was all so dry.

Jonathan could only imagine how much effort it would have taken to make his father agree. He pitied his poor cousin Craig, who would have had to deal with it. And, of course, his father had a decent amount of money, which would have made all of this easier.

That brought home to Jonathan in a devastating and unavoidable way the fact that he was an only child, and that he was reading this dry, unemotional-sounding report in a poky and faceless office on ParvaZ, a privately owned space station in Saturn’s orbit, months and months away from Earth, and that his father was his closest relative he cared about, even if their relationship was also fraught with long periods of non-communication.

His father might be the quintessential grumpy old man, but he didn’t deserve to be taken care of by an institution that worried foremost about the payment of fees—a statement of expenses was attached—or by a cousin who had his own family to worry about.

There had to be a place for love lingering in that dark and bitter old mind of his. Jonathan should attempt to, for once, be there for the only close family member he was still in contact with.

From ParvaZ, return to Earth involved securing a place on the expensive and over-subscribed shuttles to the interplanetary launch station, hitching a ride on even more expensive and oversubscribed long distance shuttles—usually an intensely crowded ex-military ship with tiny cabins—two weeks quarantine at the Orbital Launch Station and then the final trip to Earth.

If something went wrong, his father would be back in hospital, out of hospital in a box and buried months before Jonathan could collect his father’s belongings in some sad storage unit with looming threats it would be auctioned off for charity if no one came to collect the contents.

He didn’t want that. Not if he could avoid it.

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