The book came by special express delivery. It took some time to get to her, just the same as it had to wait until the ship docked again. It was a replica of the original and the work of a craftsman. Each smudge and texture was dutifully reproduced. The cover was blank and the frontispiece had a simple note.
Sorry it took a bit of time to get you a copy. Enjoy it, I did.
She leafed through the pages and then gasped and returned to the first page, reading each word carefully. She took time to eat and to contact the Captain asking for a weeks leave of absence.
Mike opened comm channels as he looked down into the hanger where the Orcas were kept. He tried to see where his pod fit into the great lumbering beasts but could not, though he knew he could find it on a schematic, if he bothered to try.
The channels were alive with conversations and he kept tabs on more than a few of them. Every week another invite or another distraction would appear and he would join some new conversation or mailing list. Incursions were especially known for recruiting channels that were ‘by invite only’. He sighed and then laughed as a graphic depicting one channels opinion of one of the other shiny fleets. The incursion fleets were always competitive and some were exclusive as to either the pilots they flew with or the fits they were willing to consider.
Shiny. That was the word they liked to bandy about. For DPS it meant Machariel, Bhaalgorn, Vindicator. T3 ships like a webbing Loki. The more common channels were almost sad with normal battleships plaintively asking to be allowed to join a fleet. Now fleets were being even more specific and recruiting for exact ship types and compositions custom designed to take on certain types od vanguards. A Loki/Sleipnir fleet for on type of Sansha invasion, shiny battleships for another.
“As the enviromental issues push the species it will devlop, each generation more specialized, more compartmentalized for its niche. Nature dislikes generalists.”
Mike shrugged and collected a few more fits from friends to look at and considered making a conversion or shopping again but his account was too low to even admire the faction battleships. “Looks like Loki’s, Legions, and Logis, for me.”
A warning had gone out about new hazards in the incursions. New fleets were coming onto the scene and trying to rush the incursions to the end, forcing the fleets to shift more often. “At least this is better than the Blackbird sympathisers.”
Blackbird fleets had come in waves, jamming the Logis and then cycling another set in as Concord removed the first. A fleet without Logis would have to be very good and very fast to survive. Mike had seen some of the cockier FC’s ask the Logis to hold reps and see if they could ‘gun tank’ vanguards but it was something you had to be prepared for.
“Sometimes, it be dangerous just getting up in the morning.” Mike shrugged and tossed out an x for his Loki. He had to wait all of two minutes before getting into a fleet.
“I don’t know why I got dragged along to this.” Her tech grumbled.
“Maybe it is because you were the one waving the rum bottle?” Free asked innocently.
“Last time I do field work . . . but it was fun, wasn’t it.”
“I have your next assignment files for you two.” A blase tech pointed to the bioscan.
“Two? Usually she gets the . . . aw never mind.” Her tech stepped up to the plate, laid a hand on it and declared “Cory, 4-8-15-16-23,” he paused and took a breath “and 42” He stepped back.
She stepped onto the same plate and said. “Freedom, 9-22-1862” She also paused and blew gently at the scanner before finishing with “and 9001”
The two key codes were spit out and taken. She took them and passed one to the tech while she inserted the other into her own comm. There was a pause.
“This has got to be a mistake.” The tech was begging. “Please tell me it is some joke.”
Soundproofing kept the laughter in the other room from reaching this far.
Yes, I do know where this is going.
There is always someone who wants to gather tears and disrupting fleets in incursions. They have had . . .shall we say, mixed success.
Now when incursion people go after their own kind, well we know better how to hurt each other. The drama of late on the channels has been increasing.
Fly it like you won it