"Seismic Charge" Pub
Hind Mine Station
T Tauri, Independent System
"Oh, come on, Rutger, who do you want to kid? This ain't never gonna work, not in a thousand light years" - a fat, bearded man in grey service overalls thumped his beer glass hard on the surface of a dusty table. Two of his companions nodded their heads in unison. The third one, skinny bald man wearing thin glasses, shrugged.
"It will, I'm telling ya. The guys up there have their plan. Otherwise why would they be buying all the exploration data they could get? And stockpile resources and money? We will leave this shit hole and settle ourselves on some nice world with real atmosphere..."
"To do what, Rutger? Go fishin'? Nah, ain't gonna happen. We'll be stuck here for good and for worse, mark my words".
James downed his drink, sitting by to the wall at the next table. That conversation went on and on. Local pilots, miners, service providers - they all lived with hope that their corporation will succeed in their plan to expand to a nearby system. The problem was that as far as James knew, there were no suitable planets in a reasonable distance. Whatever plans Taurus Mining Ventures might have had for the future, they didn't look too bright. At least not for rank and file workers of the company.
He spent last two days between med bay and long sessions with Siobhan and flying to systems around T Tauri and gathering exploration data. The former clearly helped Sib ease her suffering, though her physical condition didn't improve. The latter brought some credits, earned him influence with corporation bosses and also allowed him to find some nice spots to test his new Krait Mk2 that was supposed to arrive any moment now...
Docking Bay 11
Hind Mine Station
T Tauri, Independent System
Huge ship graciously approached the bay. Vertical thrusters fired up, bathing the metal landing pad in flames. Krait Mk2 sat heavily on the platform, with landing struts shortening considerably after touch down to compensate for the weight. It was painted in dark grey tactical colour, and white letters on the sides announced to anyone who would get close enough to read them that the vessel's proud name was "LEPRICON III". James stood with his arms crossed and waited for the shutdown sequence to finish before getting onboard.
Once there he passed the agreed sum - quite a hefty one at that - to the shipyard pilot that brought his new vessel to T Tauri. Then he walked around the decks, checking each module and station, inspecting the FSD, running BIT tests at the power plant and at the bridge. The cockpit was big, designed for three crew members. He went to the hangar bay and verified that fighter and replacement parts were in place. On the way back he stopped at the Mk4 refinery and brand new cargo bays. Everything was new and shiny, just as he wanted.
Not wanting to waste any time, he quickly refuelled, bought 80 limpets and took off, setting course for Hind Sector EB-W B2-0.
Icy Asteroid Ring
Planet C5 A
Hind Sector EB-W B2-0, Uninhabited System
"What?! Don't do this to me now, you son of a bitch!" - Barrett shouted, pushing the throttle to maximum and boosting away from the asteroid. Few seconds later his ship shook and all the holographic displays got completely distorted. When they came back, big red announcement shown in the top - right one said" "Explosion failed".
"What do you mean failed?!" - he shouted at the screen - "It almost tore Lepricon apart!"
He turned the vessel around. The asteroid was still there. Deposits of low temperature diamonds hidden in its core remained intact. Luckily, there were some more fissures to target...
It was James' first serious attempt at mining. He went there without proper training or knowledge, just reading general description of each weapon. Took him some time to get a hang of how they worked. And now he was just learning how to tear asteroids to pieces using seismic charges. At least there was nobody around to witness his initial failures...
He gritted his teeth and aimed the warhead.
"Alright... we're going to have craic time together, you and I" - he said to nobody in particular and pressed the trigger.
This time it went much better. To his great delight his scanners picked up new mineral among the debris... Low temperature diamonds. A wide grin slowly crawled on Barrett's face and as he released collector limpets with one hand, he fished out a bag of whiskey with the other.
"You see that, Betty? Ya know what lass... I have a good feeling about this. Guess that Sib chose a perfect spot. With the money we'll be making here we will get her the best treatment available in the whole galaxy. What'd ya say?"
His ship didn't answer. James sipped his drink watching the limpets at work. A few hours and several asteroids later he was on his way back to T Tauri...