Best Pilot (Chapter 15)
The First Ride to Sagir
The Invictus finally ported and we logged aboard. For about an hour we dazzled,
then nerve up, I snuggled into the pilot seat.
With a sense of awe I took the Conn, moved her out nice and slow, for the feel.
The A.I.'s voice annoyed, I changed it and threw in a few remarks, inflections, to
get it sounding like someone I wanted to hear.
Ian wanted to make an avatar but Donnie was not into it. "It's a ship, not a pal,"
The Twin Cities, the newest MileLong, chugged beneath us and I wasn't making much distance.
A pirate who takes one Milelong never has to commit another act of Piracy, for the
get in that ship is in the trillions.
I was glad the ride was Smudge, cause I could fly it asleep.
I loved piloting the Invictus; although it didn't ask anything of me. It could move from A to B on auto, but I liked the way it felt, just loved being in that seat, doing the tests, making sure I knew what every thing did and how.
The crew was enjoying the ship. The galley, the amusements, the rooms, even the way the air recycled with hint of mint, so clean and fresh.
As we got a lune from Smudge we made contact, and up comes a yacht. Shelly and the others make the meet and greet with the Dips.
Every time I wonder what Shelly is doing on this boat, something like a yacht of
diplomats arrives and my question is solved. While she gets them settled I'm
moving into palm sweat time.
I'm about to move in a direction I've never been, going to where I don't know.
No one travelled Sagir space but Sagirs. The journey had to be extra careful. Rhyse should of given us a Gennie navigator, even pilot for this ride.
Why was she sending me out to Columbus without a scout?
There wasn't a time frame, I'd take forever if necessary to get this boat safely through.
Shelly, probably thinking I needed the gossip came to blather about all the 'diplomats' and 'entrepreneurs' and whomever had tumbled out of the yacht.
I had to chase her because piloting the Invictus through unknown regions, took
all my brain.
I sent out a ten hour tachy revision to get a map, slowed the ship, created a cautious course, then took a lie down.
I'd been back in the seat for about an hour when popping up were five Sag ships,
Donnie got on the horn, told them who he was, more importantly, whom he worked for.
The name Hawking was magic. The Sag ships became our escort and led us to their planet.
Our Navigator, a newbie called Max, was making the maps, I was afraid to sleep and miss something.
Finally I got the 'Vic berthed at their rickety looking Space Ports. It was worst I'd ever seen. I'd guess it had been built a hundred years ago and patched only after a disaster.
The Sags who met us ranged in colour from chocolate to caramel, all tall, built, typical Gennies.
Donnie introduced us, they stared, gave their names, the usual unpronounceable four or five or six syllables.
Donnie and the Dips went with the Sags to wherever, and me and the others went right back into the 'Vic.
Lap of Luxury
Considering I was going from spa to pool to other sensuous pleasures free on board, I don't know if my Captain was gone a day, week, month.
We all had swoon beds; not the dope ones, the real Swooners. Lie down, head on pillow, and you are out for nine perfect hours to wake fresh and alert and ready and energised.
The food was great and there were endless selections. There was real liquor in the hold, and lots of sex.
Then Donnie and the Dips reboarded, and like ants, thousands of Sags were unloading the Mile long and loading it with what I'd call worthless junk.
On a real planet it takes six months to properly load a Milelong, but on Sag, it didn't seem it would match a month cause I think everyone on the planet was carrying some piece of crap and parking it somewhere inside.
When I looked at the manifest, what had come off were ten year old weapons, every kind of manufactured good that had no doubt been taking space in warehouses all over the galaxy.
I didn't need Ian to printout that Hawking had been buying unsold obsolete or that stuff we were taking was just as worthless. I suppose it was fair trade.