It was difficult to hide my excitement as the tech broker escorted me into the large hangar bay. She had called me that morning to let me know that outfitting, testing, and certification has been completed on my latest purchase. The Guardian weaponry had hit a couple of snags in the certification phase and it ended up costing a little more than I had expected but, I wanted to minimize my risk by having something on board I knew could make big holes in ships quickly, and those plasma chargers fit the bill.
"Have you had any experience fighting with those GPC's?" the tech broker asked.
My smile was a purposeful mix of acknowledgment and mystery, "Yea, I've burn a few ships down with those." Her face paled slightly and I made reassuring eye contact with her, "They all had it coming..."
The truth was, the Skunkworks Vulture I had been flying for my "off-books" friends had two of them. They did take a little getting used to. After all, fixed weapons required the most skill, but reaped the most rewards. My new Anaconda, on the other hand, would need a couple more to help me even out the fact that it was a lot bigger, and slower.
"Are you ready for your check-ride commander," she said with a smile. She was obviously proud of her work and was almost giddy at the thought of seeing her latest build in action.
"Of course!" I replied, "Let's get to it!"
I spent the rest of the afternoon with the broker, starting with an exterior walk-around. At 155 meters in length, and over 30 meters tall, it took a good hour just to complete the inspection of the exterior. It was hard to stop smiling at the galvanized copper coating on the hull. Not so boring to look at but not so gaudy as to attract unwanted attention.
The ship had been transferred by the shipyard directly to the technology broker's dry dock to undergo the outfitting I had requested. During that time I studied all of the systems that would be added to the already standardized flight control system. The Pilot's Federation had made a good call with the FCS design, so it only took a minimum of study to familiarize myself with the flight characteristics. She was a lot bigger, and a lot heavier than anything I had ever flown before.
We finally made our way to the bridge and began our pre-launch checklist. The broker sat at the engineering console while I took the command chair and strapped in.
"Okay," she breathed into her headset, the perky voice was now all business as we prepared to lift off. "Docking Release protocols are pretty standard, as is negotiating traffic control. For now though, let's take a minute to talk about getting this thing through the mail slot."
The station had cleared us for departure and we were number 1 for the slot. Maneuvering a 500 ton ship with just your thumb looks easy, but compensation for the delay between command and action is annoying when you're use to rolls quick enough to snap your neck if the inertial dampener in your suit fails. We lined up on the slot and nudged the throttle forward...
Roober the Stroober | Commanding Officer | 2TK-DW "Pilgrim's Progress"