Logbook entry

Panda_Citadel / 12 Aug 3305
Why Panda?

It's about her. It's always been about her.
and it always will be

Woke up in the cockpit...again.
Where was I, yes, out in the deep, alone, the synthesized voice of my ship is the only words I hear every day? Probably.
How long I'm out this time? Whatever.

Panda looked around to find his custom-built coffee thingie. Brushed his now-full-grown beard and adjusted his eyes to the rising sun above the high cliffs of the canyon he landed some time ago. In the distance, he could see the string of stars. He was calling them the pearl necklace, just like she did.

On his left, like a kilometer away or so he could see the active geysers. They were pouring with such haste as if they can't hold their contents in them anymore. As if, it was too much for this piece of long lost rock floating in the darkness. He liked such spots, these "worthless" stellar bodies. They were out there and no one was paying attention to them. Everyone was after beauty, riches, fame, and prestige. This rock had none of those.

After a while, he decided to take a closer look at the geysers. He took the old rover for a spin and felt bad about its shape. The turret was not working anymore, two wheels needed calibration and hull was damaged substantially. A careless moment could mean a breach and end him right there. He didn't care for himself, he worried that this old "friend" could be repaired and would be a shame to leave it motionless on this rock.

Geysers were a beauty to look at, filtering the rays of the sun, spraying minerals, heat, and steam. They were very much alive.
He wanted to feel that again, alive.

For two years he was living on instinct. He was waking up after every sleep just to see the end of the day. Waiting, searching. He looked up to the stars, scratched the long scar on his eye. are you out there?

Memories rushed back in.
He was piloting a much larger craft back then. Part of a Science and Research wing, proud and fearless. Randt and Bella were piloting the fighters on board. They were lousy at drinking, but a great company both. Bella knew the names of every extinct animal from the cradle of humanity. Randt was a natural born killer, and that's why he was a bit bored onboard the Anaconda. Not much action.
Randt loved the long hauls or private tours for the elite. He was betting on getting interdicted. Not just betting, hoping and probably even praying for it. Bella was a silent pilot. Didn't speak much but getting the job done, even more efficiently than Randt. So their friendly competition was always on. Out in the dark, and back in their bunk. Word was that Bella was ahead of Randt out there.

During a long and very boring flight, Panda entered the small room onboard to prepare some food for all. He noticed Bella and Randy sitting there, enjoying a cold blue drink while watching him silently. Bella broke her silence
"Hey man, tell me again why they call you Panda?" with a smirk on her face. Randt raised his hands and said "Boss, it's not me, I didn't say a shit" and pointed his finger to Bella "it's all on you, lady!"
Bella continued "They are all extinct you know, fat, black and white bears"
Panda held up a finger to tell them, wait. And left the room, went to his bunk, found a small leather pouch and came back.

He opened the pouch and took out a small figure. It was made from some kind of wood. Bamboo. It was shaped perfectly into a panda. Colored with hand and root paint. Heavy to hold, pleasant to look at.

Panda said "It was Amy who found it." and gave it to Bella.
"They were gentle beasts, eating a lot and walking long distances in the forests. This helped to carry pollens and seeds of the wilderness around, aiding the nature to replenish itself" without having a break and not allowing Bella to speak he continued "but they were not so nice and forgiving to strangers. they looked cute and cuddly but in reality, they were big bears with black sunglasses." Pointing his jacket pocket where his sunglasses were tucked in.
"Amy found them cute and thought that I am similar to those beasts"
Randt asked a question to change the topic a bit. He never liked the idea of calling his boss Panda. "When did you two see each other, boss. It's been a long time we visited Bava, no?"

Oh Amy!

Amy was a shadow client. She was part of Bava Blue Travel Systems and her job was to travel under different aliases to evaluate the services of main contractors. Basically, she was paid to travel. He met her when she was traveling with one of his tourism runs, to look at geysers just like the ones in front of him now. Her first words to him were "did you know that some particles are actually escaping the low gravity, and traveling forever in the space." And he told her "better than falling to dust become dust, to spend the eternity among stars"

Back then he smiled to Randt and Bella and told them after this run they were going to visit Bava and drinks are on Bella for bringing the Panda question up. Randt gave a joyous groan while Bella crossed her arms and shook her head.

My Amy!

But now, on this lonely rock, alone with geysers in the old broken rover, he was wiping the tears from his undamaged eye.
He looked at the stars once again and said what he always says when he starts traveling. "Better than becoming dust, spending eternity among stars"

It's about her. It's always been about her.
and it always will be
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