As Vultchy touched down lightly on pad 19 of Alvares station Dace felt a strange sense of familiarity, what was this emotion creeping through his body, could it fondness for this pile of metal floating in the void.
He dismissed the feeling as tiredness, it had been a long trip from Caerus.
Emotions were for those that could afford them & Dace certainly could not.

It had been 15 years since he’d escaped captivity, 15 years since he’d been forced to become the cold, calculating killer. A single night in his life that had changed him forever, they’d seen to that, and he’d shown them exactly what he was capable of.
It was the last thing they’d seen.
The training they’d subjected him to had made sure of it.

He buried the memories deep within his psyche, along with the emotions, another skill he’d been taught.

Besides, he had something to do, he had people counting on ...

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Victory in Alignak

Vondell stepped out of the Red Orca and started descending the Steps as the crowd in Piserchia hangar cheered. It had been a reserved flight from Eta Draconis as Cmdr Furieux and the president still weren’t seeing issues eye to eye but Vondell had to admit, this was travelling in style. Not all of the crowd were cheering. A group around the orcas bow, pilots by the look of their jump suits, looked sombre as they waited by the forward ladder. He recognized several pilots as Tigers who had worked hard in recent months , expanding into a fourth system, then backed by the returning 8th Dragons had swung the election so far away from Jet Legal that the outcome was never in any doubt. Still every confrontation resulted in casualties which probably explained the long faces...

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 Void fever, you say? Let me tell you about void fever. Everybody thinks it’s just commanders getting a little jumpy from being too long out in the black on their own with no-one to talk to. Yeah, right. I’ve been there, pal. If that’s all it was I wouldn’t be so desperate to get back into inhabited space and get the hell out of this cocoon of a ship, to walk on a station, drink in the Star & Garter, see other human beings again. There’s got to be something else going on here.

At first it was the noises at night when the ship was cooling and I was trying to sleep – little taps, squeaks, pings, scratches, other weird sounds. The demons in the darkness, I call them. Sometimes I would hear fragments of their voices that sounded like they might be parts of words, other times just monosyllables, clicks and insect-like sounds, like cicadas at sunrise...

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It’s been just two weeks since I felt the need to make myself scarce for a while and head out into the Big Black. I needed time to think about things, time to find some greater meaning, justify my existence, who knows what? Maybe I just needed to find myself.

It was a real wrench having to leave Sammy though. She’d been a real bright light in my life since we’d hooked up. She kept me civilised, stopped me getting blind drunk in the Star & Garter every night, gave me a reason to get up and carry on each morning. Plus she was a damned good Chief Engineer. She could take your ship apart and put her back together for you without having to look at the manual. A real old-school, hands-on kind of girl. I’d found her when I was looking for somewhere out of the way to stash the Cobra on Cook Ring...

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