I didn’t think that silence would be the first thing that got to me, but it’s becoming oppressive. I find myself playing FSS recordings just for something to listen to. The crackle and wail of distant gas giants sound like strange deep sea leviathans, swimming in an ocean of stars.
I wonder how uncle Hendry coped. I had thought that I’d enjoy it. No more disappointed lectures from my father and no more emotionless appeals to tradition from my mother. But I guess I miss more people than I expected.
I wish Jessica was here. She had the same love of flying that I do, she rode in our uncles Anaconda right beside me and learned to fly sat on the same knee using the same controls. Mindy, our nanny, always suffered for letting us hang around with Uncle Hendry. Our parents thought of us as a brand rather than family, a continuation of the Von Dirgo lineage, to be upstanding citizens of the Empire and ruthless businessmen and politicians. Hendry on the other hand thought adventure was the reason for living and was happy to spend time with his niece and nephew. To him family was the ties you forged out of love, not obligation. The time he spent with us and his quest for the secrets of the galaxy sparked the same ideals in us. He used to tell us ‘Knowledge is the source of all power, and only the weak are opposed to it.’
He was going to cede control of the dynasty to my father anyway before he went missing. If my father had known anything about his older brother at all he’d have known that was his plan rather than trying to ensure his succession through his usual clandestine methods.
I couldn’t prove it of course. When Uncle Hendy’s ship went missing in the Temple Sector mechanical failure was touted at the cause. Jessica and I knew this was a lie, he spent more time maintaining his ship than he did flying it. ‘You have to maintain to attain.’ He’d say.
Our father didn’t even seem surprised at his disappearance and I don’t remember him staying long at the funeral. Much of Hendy’s possessions were left to us in his will, including this ship. Rather than sell it as our father wanted we set about raising funds to outfit it, taking any job we could get, but eventually joining a squadron that hunted bounties out of Couper Hub. I think this was the final straw for my parents. Our failure to follow in their footsteps and the perceived damage we were doing to the family name obviously insulted their sensibilities.
When Jessica’s Eagle suddenly lost power in the middle of a dogfight I knew. I finally knew how far they’d go for the dynasty. I tried to use my ship to shield her from the incoming missiles but it wasn’t enough, and the last family member I truly loved died in front of me.
They didn’t even come to the funeral, all I got was a message asking me to finally step up to my responsibilities for the family, that the life I’d chosen was dangerous and not in keeping with the family name. I’d rather die that cling to that social ladder, licking the dirt off the boots of the man above for a chance to climb up his legs.
I took Jessica’s credits, added it to my own and did up the ship. I plotted a course, said goodbye to Mindy and I left to find my uncle.
I named this ship Jessica to carry on her spirit. This is what we always talked about doing, Uncle Hendy, Jessica and I. I suppose I’ve got to carry that torch on my own now.