That was it. He knew now why AI was banned throughout the known universe. Even little maintenance robots had a chip on their shoulder.
As he floated in space facing the sidewinder, he could see one of the little creeps sitting on the console.
One of the arms was extended, a breaker in its claw. The little blue led was blinking slowly.
“You little *******….” he groaned as he heard the whump of the rescue tug exiting jump space somewhere near him.
With the number of test pilots now recruited by Frontier, the tugs were being operated by novices and this one clipped his sidewinder as he angled into position, setting it off into a slow spin. In the glow of the lights from the tug, it made an all too familiar sight.
+ + + + + + + + +
Climbing out of the cramped interior of the tug back at Zelada station, he glanced up – the docking area was disorientating…. His sidewinder had been recovered to the docking bay and he rode the lift down with it into the hangar.
The light levels below deck were something out of the middle ages. Dim portholes were replaced by flickering LED screens. The odd drip from the myriad of pipes overhead pinged off the steel gratings underfoot and the battered looking sidewinder looked decidedly sorry for itself.
Swinging out the console for the bay, he lit up the outfitting screen.
“Well, they wanted me to test it….”
Swiping his finger down the screen, he selected the gimballed beam laser and clicked “SELL”.
“0 credits? Don’t believe you”.
He took a gamble and prodded the transparent screen, jumping as the bay hatch on the sidewinder clumped closed and machinery whirred. Glancing down at the test account, he saw a good few credits appear.
Emptying the sidewinder of equipment, the test balance was just enough for a shiny new Cobra.
A nostalgic smile spread across his face.
“Just the ticket…”