At last….. The big wide galaxy.

Vin woke up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. His terminal had been bleeping at him for a few minutes and for the first few seconds of waking up, he hadn’t a clue where he was.

Same anonymous bunk, identical station interior.

Poking the screen, the words “welcome to Laval” appeared.

Where the heck was Laval? Looking around, the room wasn’t any different from any of the previous he had occupied all through his testing of the new systems from Frontier.

Welcome, Commander, please confirm your choice of ship.

There she was – the shady lady. He remembered at some point, with too many ales in him telling the Frontier representative that the ONLY choice was to be put back in the Shady Lady when testing was done. There she was. Not a test mule, but the actual ship. Shiny and new. A few tonnes of cargo, a couple of pulse lasers and a disco scanner.

The poked the “confirmed” button.

Now. Where the blue blazes was he? No portholes in this cabin, so he called up the galaxy map.

Not a single recognisable system.

Moving to the navigation tab, he typed “Sol” into the search and bashed the arrow. It took many many seconds before the screen centred around the birthplace of humanity. 127 LY away.

OK – where was Eranin?

Similarly far.

A big grin spread across his face. Finally. No more test environments. The galaxy was his oyster. All the work had paid off and he’d fulfilled his obligations and had been let loose out there.

Jumping out of his bunk, he shouldered on the flight suit and headed out to say hi to the ship.

The first thing he noticed was that it wasn’t a station, it was an outpost. He almost tripped over the step as he realised quite how tiny it was.

Glancing across at the data terminal, he could see the icon for a stored ship at a station nearby. Hubba hubba. An Eagle to sell. Would fund the first few trading runs.

Swiping his finger across the terminal, he glanced at his status. Harmless, Penniless and Aimless. Not for long…..

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