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Friday, November 21, 2014

F3 The Pilot

            Flynn eased Calypso into the asteroid mining facility feeling more than a little uneasy. Small mining vessels flitted about cutting into the rock with lasers. They would slice off a section, grapple it, then haul it to a collection ship, which used a gravnet siphon to put the pieces in a holding area. While the flight path Flynn was on was supposed to be reserved for traffic into and out of the mine, miners zipped around Flynn’s ship from all sides. They had to in order to make their quotas.
            One particular mining vessel didn’t just dart in front of the cockpit, it sideslipped using its RCS thrusters to face Flynn instead of where it headed. The pilot inside was well lit, and he gave Flynn a two-fingered salute as he went past, perhaps a dozen meters in front of Calypso.
            That man will get someone killed, but he does have skill. The mining vessel only served to remind Flynn he needed to hire a better pilot. He did okay, especially in system, but he was still trying to re-learn how to sail, which meant they couldn’t take some of the more lucrative trade runs. Flynn couldn’t get there fast enough, or the winds were charted as being more than he could handle safely.
            So far his ad in the local news feeds and system nets hadn’t yielded anyone Flynn felt was qualified, but that was expected in some of the systems he had been flying to.
            Another mining vessel . . . no, it was the same one, flitted back in front of him, this time along his vertical axis, passing from dorsal to ventral in front of the cockpit, only the ship was also in a port spin. He got the same two-finger salute from the man . . . no, it’s a woman. What’s whe playing at?
            She disappeared, and Flynn didn’t see her anymore as they docked, for which he was relieved with all of the other traffic in the area.
            As Flynn waited for the mine to finish loading a cargo pod, he sat at the station’s pitiful café drinking some tea. Station doesn’t have any coffee, or any kind of sweetener. This is not a good life. He knew a lot of the miners out there were actually convicts given the choice of serving out their time in prison or at least working for a living, albeit in a remote star system with few amenities. Mine duty often was faster than prison because of the service to the Alliance. Other people simply had no choice but to come out to the mines to make a decent wage. Mining did pay fairly well because of the hazards.
            Flynn was just finishing his cup when a woman walked up to him. In her thirties, she stood a little shy of two meters, and was coated in sweat and dirt. Her ponytail was equally soaked, making it hang with real weight instead of bounce like normal hair.
            “I’m your gal,” she pronounced.
            Flynn shook his head slightly, “Not interested, thank you.”
            “I’m not a doxy, you space brain.” She read from a data slate “ ‘Pilot wanted aboard nereid class ship Calypso. Private bunk, good wages and accommodations. Inquire with Calypso Captain.’ ” She lowered the slate. “Ann Tierno, pilot extraordinaire.”
            “You’re the one that buzzed my ship.”
            “Twice.” She held up her fingers.
            “Have a seat,” he gestured. “Let’s talk.”

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