Jameson Memorial, 13. January 3305, 64.43 ly from Sol.
Last night in the Pilot's Pit at Jameson Memorial.
Fellow pilots are perhaps a bit louder and rowdier than normally, in a nervous, anticipatory way. Only direct credit transfers are good, hookahs are constantly refilled and beer is brought to tables in a steady stream of pitchers. Some are furiously debating last moment tune-ups and modifications, loadouts and how much spare equipment to bring. A few stationlubbers are circling among the crowd in cheap suits, selling insurances that cash out your remaining ships to your family with lousy rates, should you be lost to the Dark between here and Beagle Point. In some secluded tables you can see pairs negotiating terms for the last night fling.
As 24/7 bars don't really entertain last calls, I down the dregs of my Indi Bourbon and walk out. It's quiet and hallways are dimly lit, the station time mimicking artificial night. Shuttle pods buzz by and screens faking windows are displaying the night side of Founders World, tiny spatters of light marking various retiree resorts on the surface. I marvel the earth-like planet for a moment, slightly dazzled from the silence and bourbon, and then start walking towards the hangar bays.
Last dock in the Bubble I guess
After some ID checks and casual security inspections, I enter my ship bay, one of many sitting on the numerous landing pad carousels of Jameson's. There, under the sharp fluorescent light squats exploration rigged Anaconda "Breakfast at Tiffany's
", my home for the next six months or so. A whopping 830 tons of strictly functional metal, high tech equipment, elements vital to human life and general provisions stacked to the roof in storage rooms. I slowly climb up the landing stairs, criss-cross through the now familiar labyrinth of narrow passages inside and reach the crew quarters, right under the command deck. Light panels flicker and I make a mental note to double check the lighting elements, it won't do flying six months with a kitchen lit only by emergency lights. A few taps to the galley console and tea starts to brew, newsfeed algorithm cheerfully popping up to spew the latest headlines, right after the commercials.
Fast-forward some 15 minutes and I'm crashing a dingy couch carefully deposited to the Crew Lounge, latter being one of the benefits of flying a clunky bathtub like Anaconda with plenty of extra space for unnecessary comfort. Not to mention flying it alone if you disregard ship ranking officer, Feline Admiral Ser Pounce-a-lot & a few rats and cockroaches reigning the almost empty cargo bays, scuttling under limpet and material containers. The low murmur of the newsfeed anchor and the gentle hum of the air recycling system (another note, triple-check best before date of the spare filter boxes) sure is sleepy.
I almost doze off, trying to forget the presence of somewhat disturbing gadget I only acquired today. A deck or two below, nested in the dormant innards of ship's frame shift drive, a recently assembled Guardian FSD booster bathes in the cobalt Cherenkov radiation, humming an eerie melody from alien dimension.
I'm so looking forward to this, I think, and fall asleep.