Vin grinned as he looked at the shiny new Sidewinder docked peacefully in the station’s bay. It had been far too long since he’d seen anything other than the cockpit of the beaten old Cobra and it was nice to have had a real shower and dress in something other than patched pilot’s overalls.
30 years in space. An ancient wire frame computer screen instead of a cockpit. A hold full of gemstones from the outer reaches. Nice to be home.
He’d taken the prototype ship out to fly around a nearby asteroid field and revelled in seeing his surroundings with his own, unaugmented eyes.
All of these politics with the federation and that other lot were just plain confusing. Back when he started out it was him, a few pilots and a glorious free for all in space, punctuated with the odd octagonal creepie to get all gun happy about.
He still hadn’t found those blue slimy frogs – they’d been absent from the universe now for decades and he was convinced they were hiding from him somewhere.
The new flight interface wasn’t without its problems – he had accepted a request to go and join in a sortie or two with a few other of the prototype ships and encountered nothing but starfields and jumpy blips on the radar. The one time the Impeccable had appeared, he nearly soiled the new flight suit. Huge wasn’t the word for it. It was a sight that had him mashing the new controls on the ship with panic as he realised that he was approaching at speeds that would turn him into a frozen jamsicle out in the void. Why had no one seen fit to equip these new ships with escape pods???
The choice of equipment that he had been loaned to test was mind boggling. Back in the day, all he needed was a set of beam lasers and an energy unit – now he could choose everything from a space cheese slicer to a giant spud gun, even something colloquially called a “sneeze cannon” that left funny blue and yellow lines in his vision for about 5 minutes after every shot. He had re-discovered the joy of flying whilst emptying a barrel of moonshine one glass at a time, spiralling through space with not a care in the world and issuing laser tinged death without having to target a darned thing… Gimbals. Genius.
Some guy called “Snuffler” (that couldn’t be his real name, right?) had picked a fight in the station bar and somehow vanished before someone separated him from his alien items. The conversation had turned to an argument about whether Sidewinders should beep when reversing or not…
Anyway – Vin looked across at the ship, pulled out a mostly clean rag, spat on it and wiped the cockpit screen.
“I wonder when they’ll fix that radar bug?”