At his sensor array terminal in the flight operations centre, operator Maxx Cantrell picked up the heat signature of a Saud Kruger Beluga Liner on an approach vector towards the station. As duty and protocol required, he opened up a comms channel and hailed the fast moving vessel.
“Saud Kruger Foxtrot Uniform Romeo, this is Coney Gateway Flight Control. Please abide by station law and submit a docking request before landing.”
Within seconds, the Beluga pilot keyed an auto-request to the station’s internal computer which would assign the first free landing pad capable of accommodating the huge ship, subject to clearance from its human controller. Cantrell’s fingers flashed across the terminal in an almost automatic manner.
“Docking request approved,” he responded, green-lighting one of the largest landing pads. “You may alight on pad four-two.”
Why is Starcrosser suddenly flying a Python? And hell why is Li Yong-Rui showing up under his name?
It was one of those shitty days. Mohizz was sitting alone at the Star and Garter at Coney Gateway, Patocuda. He’d just heard the news: war was over in Kolabinates and the KGUI had somehow managed to win and stop the 8th Dragon Squadron expansion.
How this could have happened? Dragons had fought an invisible enemy for days, trying everything they could to undermine the system authorities and marketplace. Mohizz had work his ass off but it seemed that petty politics had again struck the Dragon resolution in making a system theirs. This reminded him the Gliese 900.1 campaign where a similar situation had occurred.
How long has it been? Mohizz had work alongside the 8th Dragon for 10 months now but it felt like an eternity. Mohizz had grew fond of this trigger happy bunch and even made what he could call “friend” over the last few months...
In which the ladies have a private chat and we learn more about the mysterious object in the Cobra.
“Hey Sammy, you down there?” The voice came echoing down the maintenance conduit in the Eagle.
Startled, Samantha Mcleod cursed as she bumped her head on some ducting.
“Is that you, Paulssen? What the hell are you doing down here?”
“Looking for you, dumbass. Got something for you.”
Sammy backed slowly out of the tight conduit, making sure that her tools were secure in her overall pockets. “What, you couldn’t message me?”
“Uh-uh. Didn’t want to trust this one to GalNet,” said Paulsen as she extended a hand and helped Sammy out of the access hatch. “You got somewhere we can talk?”
“Sure. My office?”
Rosie Paulssen walked with the lithe bouncing stride of one used to low Coriolis gravity...
It is dark here. I feel alone, most of the time. Lost. The sounds of my brothers so far removed that I cannot be sure that they are real or just my imagination. The smell of the cloud sea is gone; these smells are unfamiliar to me. I do not know where I am, or how I came to be here. I was swimming with my brothers, I saw a strange light above me, and then nothing until I woke up here.
I stretch out, feeling the confines of the space where I am. It is small and angular, confined and hard. I drift, expanding my awareness. I can feel unfamiliar pathways connected with strange beings, some close, others far distant. I try to talk to the closest ones but they are mute and unresponsive. Reaching out, I explore the distant pathways...