Stretching (and roaring), Vin woke up in his cabin after a restless night. His dreams had been punctuated by images of ships spinning in the void. The rum had not sat well with his dreams and all he could remember was blurred images of sidewinders and cobras gently rotating whilst a disembodied voice kept telling him that loitering was an offence.
Over at the mess hall, he could see other captains with bags under their eyes grabbing the nearest pile of toast and bacon. At least Frontier provided proper man sized breakfasts to their pilots. Wouldn’t do to blast out into space hungry….
He’d jumped into his flight suit for an early start, forgoing the usual luxurious shower and necking the kind of coffee that gave you a buzz for the next hour and made your hair feel like it was vibrating.
Jumping out from the test station waypoint, he arrived in deep space – 3 other test commanders had beaten him to the jump and were pirouetting around each other, waggling their cargo scoops and flashing exterior lights on and off in greeting.
He keyed in the co-ordinates for the Impeccable hulk test area and sat back in the cushioned pilot’s chair as the drive thumped him through the void. He had images of a giant space trebuchet catapulting him screaming through the space between worlds.
Arriving at his destination, ship systems dropped out. The orange console had gone dark, the flight stick wasn’t responding and worst of all, the light shielding had come down over the cockpit, leaving him blind.
“Not quite sensory deprivation, but close….”
A virtual screen popped into existence.
“OK, now I KNOW that the maintenance robots are having a laugh.”
There was the external view of his ship, highlighted in orange, spinning aimlessly. He swore he could hear a tinny synth-chuckle from under his seat somewhere as something pinged the bottle cap out from under his chair.
“Send me back now, or I’m getting the soldering iron out again….” he growled. Pushing the classic three fingered salute on the ancient keyboard to his left (a hangover from days of old), the emergency beacon lit up and the ship ejected him into frozen space.
the Remlock kicked in, giving him heat and air for the long starry wait for a pickup. Tabbing through the controls on his sleeve panel, he brought up the book he was reading.
‘I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.’ said the screen.