Though they stumbled down the corridor leading to the hangar observation gallery, it wasn’t due to injury or intoxication. Erbo just had a tough time keeping his hand over Selena’s eyes and guiding her as they walked, and Selena, of course, was trying to walk without seeing.
“This better be good,” she said, “or I’m gonna smack you one!”
“Relax,” responded Erbo. “We’re here.” He gently guided her to the window-wall of the observation gallery, and then removed his hand from her eyes.
Below them, in the hangar, lay a large, bluish metallic vessel, rectangular in dimensions and massive in size. Antenna masts protruded from one end; on the other, a large, winged tower structure rose up, and a double row of massive engines could be seen aimed along the vessel’s centerline. Selena, of course, recognized it immediately as an Orca-class industrial command ship, the latest commercial design from Outer Ring Excavations Corporation, combining various racial technologies into a vessel fit to oversee any mining operation. That sight led her to make an assumption.
“What are you showing me the Janne Wirman for?” she asked. “I know what it looks like.”
“Um, sweetie,” said Erbo, “better look again. That’s not the Wirman.”
Selena squinted…and made out the letters painted on the bow of the massive ship, which must have been five meters in height but were dwarfed by the ship’s sheer dimensions:
“You didn’t!” she said.
“Check your NeoCom,” said Erbo. “You’ll be able to verify it.”
She brought up the NeoCom, keying in an inquiry on the ship.
CONCORD REGISTRY CXRS-225890128832
VESSEL NAME: SELENA’S GIFT
VESSEL TYPE: ORCA (INDUSTRIAL COMMAND SHIP)
REGISTERED TO: SELENALORE EVANS, RALPHA DOGS INC
“Oh, honey…” she said, turning away from the window-wall to face Erbo. “You didn’t have to!”
“I know how much you’ve wanted one,” said Erbo. “And we’ve been doing so well on wormhole salvage recently, we’ve more than paid for this ship. Besides, I picked up a good deal at Amarr.” He smiled, recalling how he’d carefully slipped away in a Minmatar shuttlecraft, traveling several jumps to pick up the vessel and its fittings from the brokers at the Emperor Family Academy station.
As Selena turned to look down at the ship again, he brought up his own NeoCom, displaying a block diagram of the ship fitting. “The fit is based on the Wirman, but I modified the shield modules so you’d have the skill to fly her. The important parts, like the mining links and the survey scanner, are all the same. I loaded up the drone bay with Hammerhead II’s, ‘cos I know those are your favorite.” He grinned. “She’s fully insured and ready to fly. Of course, you don’t have to keep the name, you can change it if you want…”
He was interrupted by Selena launching herself at him, her momentum propelling him against the back wall of the observation gallery as her lips met his in a long kiss.
From the side of the gallery, a passing Gallente hangar technician paused just long enough to get a good view of the liplocked pair. He chuckled to himself as he strolled on. “Crazy capsuleers…”