The party had gotten to the more drink, less dance, portion of the evening. Mike was ‘holding court’ near the food and not too far from one of the bars. “What is GH about? Why, I am trying ta make some soup stones.”
A pilot had wandered into the party and was bemused by the reply to his question. “Soup stones?”
“Oui, it all comes from an old story . . . . ”
Once upon a time there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering soldier came into a village and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night.
“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “Better keep moving on.”
“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.
By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows. As the soldier sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their skepticism.
“Ahh,” the soldier said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage — that’s hard to beat.”
Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. “Capital!” cried the soldier. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”
The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the soldier a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and traveled on the next day. The moral is that by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.
“And dat be what I am tryin ta do. Gather enough folks to be the soup stones so that when the Sansha come there will the start of something bigger than I can make by myself.” Mike sat back and grinned. “After all, I be juss a po’ lil carebear.”
“I heard you were taking donations for the GH?” The pilot asked nonchalantly.
“Oh ya, there always be room for more in the prize fund. Some o tha things I may use to help people with their losses, but other times I juss be surprising folks with a bit o this and that. I also am contacting the systems that we be defending and seeing if they will kick in a lil something as well. Pilots gonna be giving up their own time and I cannot promise that they will make isk doing this but a little thank you goes a long way, my Tanta always says.” He pointed over to the elderly woman who was holding an impromptu dance class for some of the younger women. This, in turn, was being watched intently by a lot of the younger (and not so younger) men.
“Well then, I’ll have a little something in contracts for you tomorrow . . . not much but”
“Every little bit helps” the whole crowd chorused.
(The next day Mike was amazed to find a contract for four Hurricanes signed off by Redlack.)
Another pilot spoke up . . . “Poor little carebear eh? You set a good bar though, maybe you’d like to come on a bit of a drinking trip with us?”
“Always up for explorin an drinkin. Along with women, food, and music they round out the top five. Whatcha got in mind?”
“Couple of days from now, we’ll contact you. We Bastards could use someone with a slightly higher sec standing.”
“You call and we see what happens, eh?” Mike waved and grinned.
The pilot wandered off and Victoria whispered in his ear. “You do know who that was, don’t you?”
“Only that he likes drinking and flying, I don’t think we was introduced . . . ” Mike leaned back against her for a moment.
“Ever heard of Flashfresh?”
“He be one o the more famous pirates . . . not likely to run into him waaaay up here in hisec. I never understand how you make it here.”
“If a ship is fast enough then the locals cannot catch you. You just were talking to Flashfresh . . . I hope you aren’t planning on doing something stupid . . . ”
“Cher, when have I ever given you reason to believe that I would do something stupid?”
She started counting off on her fingers “Deathrace, attacking a carrier in a rifter, calling targets by orbiting them in a fleet fight . . . me”
Mike roared with laughter and the party continued.
That is the best explanation I have for GH.
Thank you Redlack for the donation.
And yes, the next post will be my flight with the Bastards