I woke after a fitful sleep. My Anvil ship was decimated by a head-on collision after my quantum drive stopped. A nasty accident, but it seemed just that, accidental. Didn’t matter, the damn thing was insured anyhow. I made my way down out of the sleeping quarters, past full vending machines and through empty hallways. It was late, everyone on the channels was out flying from array to array or testing the newest multi-manned ship.
Entering the well-lit terminal room where we could request our ships, I checked on my Anvil and saw the four-minute countdown taunting me. I could pay the insurance fees to get my ship down now or wait the now three minutes to save my credits. Over the chatter of how to turn this turret that way or which array to hit next, I noticed a plea for pick up at Array 653. Sponge he called himself.
“My ship is in a death spiral. It spun up after my EVA to fix the link. Can I get a pickup?” Sponge typed over the written interface through all the other chatter. No one responded to him, myself included. Nonetheless, I summoned up my MISC Freelancer, official issue name, haven’t had the time to get to naming the beauty, yet. She is a five-man hauler with minimal protection. I could take a pirate or two, but hopefully, I wouldn’t get into any more resistance than that.
Stuffing myself into my low-level EVA suit, I jogged out of the airlock into the vacuum towards my Freelancer. I had company; a single person was inspecting my ship. Must have been delivered where he was standing. Didn’t matter, he seemed just to be checking out the exterior. I quickly opened the back hatch made my way into the pilot’s seat. My audience of one was still checking out my wares as I took off and lined up my quantum drive towards Array 653.
“Taxi anyone, the ship is still spun up?” Sponge APB’d again.
“You can just take the bullet path and backspace yourself, bud.” A stranger by the name of Proxima replied nonchalantly.
“Yeah, I don’t like doing that if I don’t have to.” Sponge responded.
“Well, you have a Freelancer that just entered space around your array.” Proxima informed Sponge.
My ship’s quantum drive had just spun down in fact. I made tabs on the torpedoing ship spinning like a top in dead space a kilometer or so from the array. Sponge was clinging on the array where the uplink tunnel funneled into the interior of the massive communications structure. I made the distance without interruption; it seemed that from the debris Sponge was able to dispatch of the pirate before restoring the uplink. Parking the rear hatch towards Sponge’s location, I got as close as I dared before coming to a steady lock spin with the array.
Leaving the pilot’s seat I went to open the cargo hatch and wave Sponge into the ship. As the cargo bay door hissed open, that is when the targeting alarms began to tear loudly through the ship. “Aw, shit.”