I’m Flyin’ My Life Away…
Vaguely, through the tough hullmetal and viscous fluid surrounding his frail human body, Erbo felt the vibrations and bumps as his pod was inserted into his primary hauler, the Iteron V-class Gold Brick. His “vision,” communicated to his brain by means of the pod’s cranial jacks, lit up with the powerful industrial’s status displays. He felt a further series of gentle vibrations as the automated loaders transferred minerals into the cargo bay, the product of several recent Ralpha Dogs mining operations. A small amount of tritanium remained in the corporate hangars after his hold was filled to capacity. Have to get that later.
For the moment, he directed his attention to the communications suite, establishing a channel to the Republic Justice Department Accounting station, Ogoten system. “Docking control, this is Gold Brick, requesting permission to undock.”
“Gold Brick, this is docking control,” came the quick, professional response from the young Minmatar controller. “You are cleared to undock. Thirty seconds for launch gates.”
The systems of Gold Brick, controlled by Erbo’s thought impulses, began to come to life. Clear all moorings…Power systems engaged…Engines to standby, came the status messages. As the ship began to move, being towed by the station’s tractor beams towards the exit doors, Erbo waited, in the warm happiness that alwasy filled him when about to boost.
The door edges slid past him like a fleeting memory, and the bright skies of Ogoten system beckoned. Erbo quickly set up a course, for the jumpgate to Tollus system, en route to Ralpha Dogs Galactic HQ at Vilur. He didn’t bother programming the navigation system; he’d flown this route so many times before, he could practically do it in his sleep. Not that he ever would, of course; a number of horror stories and close calls in his past had taught him the need for caution, and he kept one eye on the tac display, looking for the telltale yellow marker of a low-security pilot that might spell trouble.
The corporate comm channel was buzzing with activity. Lexx was involved in a shopping trip, and Selenalore was preparing to launch her own new hauler, the Iteron III ship Mystic Ore, to carry the remaining tritanium to Vilur herself. Erbo wasn’t planning on staying too long at HQ; there was also an order to pick up from the major trade hub at Hek, one that might require two trips…and Hek system was often an “interesting” place to fly through. Plus, Selena had passed him a tip about cargohold expanders available for a good price in Polstodur…and, with all the shipfitting she was doing, the corporation would need plenty of those on hand.
The ship’s computer announced, “Warp drive active.” The long, narrow vessel began to turn, lining up on the Tollus gate. For the nth time, Erbo wondered why the Gallente used such phallic designs for their industrial ships; he’d often described the Iteron V as a “penis pencil fish” over corporate comm in the past, and Lexx had done nothing but agree with him. As the ship stopped swinging, the velocity dial surged, and the Gold Brick began her short hop in warp to the jumpgate…the first road marker on the evening’s journey.
A featherlight thought at another system of his pod, and the interior was suddenly filled with music, in a very ancient melody: “Roll on, eighteen-wheeler, roll on…”