“A bit uncomfortable being alone with handsome men, are we?”
He coughed and stuttered:
“No, no, boss, I am just surprised to hear your plans for this vessel. We are just more used to work with less ... ehm—”
“—uh, well, thats your words, captain."
“Dont worry, ... Sins, was it?”
“Yes, captain. Cins with a C for short. Blique Cins is full name, sir.”
“Bleak Sins, well, we will have to work on that, I guess.”
I paused. I had fired the rest of the crew when I bought this Astero. They were all highly skilled scientists specialized in hacking and archaeology. But I just needed a guy to make sure my mods did not burn out, and to help with refitting and loot scooping. My exploration goals were not cracking up old containers—I wanted to crack open some fresh hulls!
“Well, Sins, we are gonna continue to use this vessel for exploration. Just be ready to explore her capabilities under fire as well. That is why we will bring more than just hacking modules. In those containers over there we have extra drones, excellent Minmatar and Gallente quality light drones. We have tracking disruptors and extra scramblers and drone interfacing modules and a variety of armor hardeners and resist boosters. And that thing over there, that is our Beauty Parlor!
The mechanic blushed. He was not the metrosexual type.
“You know, when our lady in white needs to brush up a bit!”
Of course he knew what the packaged installation was. It was a mobile depot for refitting and short term storage. He tried to get the conversation back to technicalities.
“Have you remembered to order scripts for the disruptor? And sufficient probes?”
“Everything should be there, but it is your job to do the check lists. And do not forget those crates over there, there is some quality non-augmented old fashioned dry Prosecco from Luminaire in there."
I was already looking forward to the out of pod moments in deep space when I could take a shower, and sink into the white leather couch and red velvet pillows with a glass of bubbly white. The gravity system on the Astero really gave you that sink-into-the-couch-feeling. Sins snapped me out of my daydreaming.
“Excellent, I'll get right to it, boss!”
He ran away. Relieved to get started on his work. I turned around and looked at the newly acquired Astero exploration vessel. Anastasia. That was her name. She was a beauty in white. She looked so innocent.
A few days later. In Amoen. Anastasia is cloaked in an asteroid belt:
“Look at that, Sins! Time to explore the hull strength of Anastasia!”
“But... it is a Vexor class cruiser, sir! Do you know how many drones can be stuck inside that drone bay?”
His voice was cracking.
“Oh yes, Sins, but look at the drones he is using. A mixed bag of crap. And look at this report from BattleClinic: This capsuleer has a history of bad choices. That is what matters, Sins, that is what matters! Let's warp to a safe and whip out that Beauty Parlor!”
The time to anchor the damn thing took forever.
“Get the tracking disruptor ready for installation. Remove one of the webs. I want to avoid damage from the blasters so we can fully concentrate on the drones.
“Eh.. Sir, we don't have a disruptor... only the scripts—”
“What! I told you to pack—”
“But it was not on the list—”
“Well, you should have put it on the list, then! Oh, whatever, dump all our cargo in the depot and let's do this the dual web style.
“But can we do that? Will we sur—”
“Shut up and do your job!”
“We are already loosing a lot of armor, captain!”
I was laughing. Almost crying. My hands were shaking. The blood boiling.
“I told you we were going to explore the hull, didn't i? Just make sure everything is working and i'll make sure it is we that warp out and not that fucking Vexor!”
I know I sounded less than sane.
“Easy for you to say, you have a hydrostatic capsule wrapped around you.”
Armor warnings were screaming and I was concentrating hard on targeting the drones.
“What was that, Sins?”
“Nothing, sir. Nothing.”
It was quiet. And beautiful. Just the distant sound of drones hitting the mobile tractor unit. The sunlight gleaming around the silhouettes of the asteroids. Anastasia in her coat of white nano membrane.
“I thought… I was sure we—uh, I—was gonna die.”
Cins was sitting on a crate in the cargo hold. He was sweaty. Still shaking.
“That is a great feeling, isn’t it!”
He threw up on the container wall next to him.
“I love exploration! Now, clean up that mess and get ready to organize the loot from the Vexor. That damned tractor unit scooped it all. And, yeah, leave the corpse in space, I am not collecting anymore.”
He threw up again.
Anastasia's innocence was lost.
|Hey, look, she even matches my jacket!|