As usual, the Thargoid was brimming with eager pilots. A few of them had saved enough for Frontier’s simulator runs and testing on the new ships and at each table there was a group chattering about the latest tweaks and changes.
A couple of screens in the corner were streaming live from the cockpits of the more dedicated testers. Kerrash and Vigor had headed out again with Psy and somehow all ended up in different regions of space. Kerrash was doing his daily flyby of the Impeccable hulk that had been bought by Frontier for flight training and spending his time bouncing off the top hull with his landing gear down like some strange metallic bullfrog.
Vigor had detached his flight stick from the console and was proudly holding it up to the camera to demonstrate the waggly throttle.
Whoever was in charge of the subtitles really couldn’t spell and Vin’s ocd kicked in, causing him to clip an earpiece in to hear what was going on.
Some joker had scrawled a new drink on the menu behind the bar. It never ceased to amaze Vin how humanity was able to manufacture intoxicants from anything that could be fermented, distilled or synthesised throughout the known universe. If it turned you into a mildly antisocial bore, humanity drank it and Vin was a dedicated follower of the cult of inebriation.
The drink in question was blue. It had something grey and congealed in the bottom of it and from the smell, it was probably flammable.
“Not trying the Blue Slimy Frog tonight?”
The bartender had one of the new faction shirts on, emblazoned with neon lettering proudly claiming “Commanders Mainly Do it in Reverse“.
The last time Vin had done it in reverse, he’d herniated a disc and had to spend the rest of the evening flat on his back. Not entirely a bad evening, but probably less fun for the lady involved…
He dropped the notes on trading on the table, having been careful to to wipe the dregs from the last occupant away with the sleeve of Garth’s jacket.
It had graphs. Vin liked graphs. The kind that made him money were even better. As the man said – “space is big” and graphs meant you could see whether someone else had exploited the market. Most of the sheets had headings with small computer type below them “this space left intentionally blank”. Rumour had it that Frontier were testing out the new trading systems and the AC’s were to be given an early view some time in the next few months.
He glanced across at the screens just as Kerrash became an inferno of metal and explosive gases. Thank whichever deity was this month’s flavour that the remlock had been extensively tested before we were let loose.