Casual Play Astrogation

Sigma Eisen Boron 45j (Lycaeus)

When you come out of between-space, your ship's integrated intelligence reaches into your thought processes, gently guides the controls you hold to put you on course for an AI-assigned flightpath. Gathering available data, you quickly realize that you've jumped into a place where a number of major shipping lanes cross paths. The amount of traffic coming, going and cruising through this particular area of space is incredible. Thousands of ships, all bound for other stars, other worlds, all loaded with cargo, with goods, with ore, fuel– anything and everything that's worth hauling from star system to star system.

And in the middle of it all, a station sits jutting out of the guts of a small rogue world like an elegant parasite feasting on a rocky corpse. Every inch of the station is delicate, silver, filament-thin or diaphanous– a perfect contrast to the dead chunk of planetary mass it rides through the void. Smaller ships run quick, on-the-fly trades between larger, interstellar barges, and before you even start to cruise, a host of the local merchants contacts you, bombards you with offers for cheap fuel, cheap food, cheap thrills– cheap everything. One by one, you peruse the offers, close them. Your ship provides pretty much everything you could ever desire, and nothing available in-system really piques your interest.

When word gets around among the little ships that you're just visiting, aren't buying, the offers stop coming. Endlessly, new barges flash into the system, enter the flight pattern just long enough to pick up whatever they need, then jump back to between-space, bound for farther stars.

It's beautiful. Some of the ships are centuries old, black with carbon buildup. Others are shiny, new, huge and minimally staffed. Curious, you skim the chatter between them. Most of the ships are following the regular trade routes through Sigma Eisen Boron 45j that will take them out toward Beta Morgan, but you catch a whole host of other vessels bound for closer destinations as well. Amidst the chatter, a hail from a rusty scrapbucket pings through the network, the pilot asking for information on a ship called the IKV Lucentio. Someone mentions Lambda Tulloch Calav in response, but the scrapbucket pilot keeps asking, so you figure it must not be the answer he's looking for.

Eventually, skimming the chatter gets boring, so you let the channel go, sit in silence watching the ships come and go. An hour passes, maybe more. Hard to tell. You sleep, drift in the pattern, and when you wake, you skim the chatter again, just for a moment, listen to a couple of freighter captains talking about a party out in Omega Velm.

Stimulants soak through your mind like the wet caress gentle ocean waves, wash away the fatigue, the remnants of sleep. When you're awake, aware again, you reach out with your mind, spin up the ship's phasedrive and jump back to between-space, bound for your next point of interest.


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