I've messed up.
Everything I've worked towards is gone and I'm back to where I started all those years ago.
Okay, so I had just pulled ain a good haul, a few million credits worth of diamonds. Sent some home like I always do, then sat in the bar at McArthur City pondering about what I should do with my ill-gotten gains.
When in walks this gobby, rat-faced pilot bragging very loudly to his wing-mates about something.
I don't remember really, it was something stupid and childish I'm sure, none of my business anyway...
Until I hear him talking about miners.
Well, that got my attention for sure. Apparently, according to this guy, miners are a waste of space, nothing that simple machines couldn't do. In his opinion, they should just either "get a real job" or become explorers.
The reason for this thinking?
They're not "his type of people" and "they're all lazy".
My parents are miners.
I've known people who have died in planetary rings.
I've lost friends to wannabe pirates who didn't know when to call it quits and murdered them.
Maybe it was the alcohol, but I couldn't sit idly by and let this guy insult and degrade the way my family earn a living, the way millions of people earn a living.
I'll skip the details about the bar-brawl that followed, it was mostly a blur of fists, bottles and flying liquid anyway. After the fight had been broken up by station security and I'm sitting in my cell pondering the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Who should walk in but the rat-faced, gobshite who thought he was above everyone else.
He may not be superior to everyone, but he definitely had more authority than me.
Turns out he's some sort of official in the Pilot's Federation, with enough power to strip me of my ranks and credits.
And my ships.
I watched over video as they took Ellie, my feisty, reliable, tanky girl and impounded her for good. I watched them do the same to the Arronax and the Arkadia as well, but they didn't hit me as hard as watching Ellie fly out of my life.
She was the first ship I bought, we'd been through so much together.
I broke down in tears as that little ship, full of memories, tore it's way into witchspace.
While I got carted off to that new training area that newly qualified pilots start out in, jumping around those systems completing training missions while earning pennies.
Needless to say, as soon as I'd earnt enough to afford a better jumpdrive I legged it and made the 30 jumps home, but not before ripping out the stupid new auto launch and supercruise assist.
You're meant to fly with your hands, to feel the ship, learn how she handles, to take her to her limits.
It's a personal experience, one that cannot be replaced by a bloody computer.
Anyway, rant over, I'm back at Thome Gateway with my folks, I've managed to do enough jobs for Red Dice Systems to afford a ship.
I'm not replacing Ellie, it wouldn't sit right with me, getting another MkIV. Besides they've stopped selling them here.
A MkIII however...
So time to go back to my roots, back to when I was full of hope and willing to help people. Not because it paid well but because it was the right thing to do.
And I've got the perfect name for my new Viper.