Written by Fyren
Colonia. The name of this system keeps coming up. I see it everywhere. I’ve never been myself, but I hear other commanders talk about making the trip like some sort of rite of passage. The navigation computer can’t even chart a course that far. It’s a system over twenty thousand light years away. As I sit, searching for my next fare, I decide I need to move. I need better opportunities. Fueled up, I plot out the first fraction of the journey to Colonia. Maybe there I will find more or just better work.
Many hundreds of light years pass me by with no event. The radio cranks out my favorite tunes. It eventually comes time to plot the third part of my journey, but I also get a strong desire to stop somewhere. I want to find a fare out here, maybe someone headed in the same direction so that I can make a little money while I’m on my way. I open up my star charts to see where I am, and if anything is close by. My heart drops as I pore over the charts. I am nowhere. I am in the middle of empty space, with nothing and no one nearby. After several exasperated moments, of which I lost count, I find the nearest station. Only a hop, skip, and a hundred more lightspeed jumps to go. It was at this moment I realized, that I may have very well made a big mistake.
The radio is starting to aggravate me. This journey is taking far longer than I anticipated. Jump after jump after jump until eventually, I’m on approach to the target system. There is supposed to be a station here, but I don’t see it. My scanners are only picking up asteroids. As I get closer, I realize that the station I’m looking for IS an asteroid. Built right into the rock. Not just any asteroid either. This is part of a planet encircling and incredibly dense asteroid belt. So dense in fact, that as I’m making my approach, dozens of sensors light up and start beeping their warnings at me. Before I know it, I’m pulled out of supercruise and mass locked to the belt.
“Perfect…” I mutter. Now, I just need to navigate this ever-shifting asteroid belt at high speeds. As soon as I am able, I decide to let my docking computer take care of it. The classical music that signals my impending landing usually comforts me. Not this time. The computer takes control of the thrusters and sends me careening into the belt of rocks at the strangest of angles. I look up, through the cockpit window to see an asteroid just inches away. If there were a wind in space, it would have spelled my end right then and there. I watch as it passes in front of me. So close that, had I wanted to, I could have counted the holes in the rock face. Just as I was about to switch off the computer and take back manual control before the damn computer killed me, the station comes into view.
What a dump this place is. The inside of the station is mostly bare rock. There are only a handful of landing pads, and no services to speak of. I swear I can see the dust being buffeted off the landing pad as the engines to my ship shut down, as if I was the first person to use it in years. This is obviously not a hot tourist destination. I look around for a fare. There are plenty of people wanting to book one way trips off this random rock, but none of them want to fly with me. Something about being an outsider and a lack of trust. These backwater types, in the middle of nowhere, are actually judging me. I’m probably the first person to land here in years, and I’m the one that’s untrustworthy? “Fine, you can all rot here in your stupid little rock” I yell at them as I take off. I can’t wait to leave this place behind. I retract my landing gear the second I lift off, and dust these people with a turbo boost of my engines as I take off back into the belt at reckless speeds.
Once I clear the belt, it’s time to figure out where my next stop is. This is when I realize that in front of me lies nothing but more and more empty space. In such a vast quantity as to dwarf the distance I had already come. The nearest station, not counting the useless rock I just left, is hundreds of lightyears away, back the way I had come from. A difficult choice. Should I forge onward to see what may be seen? Or should I turn back towards civilization and a certain paycheck? The prospect of traversing the seemingly endless space is daunting. A bit too daunting for me. I’m just a humble driver. I turn around and head back towards the part of space that I know to be full of easy fares. Maybe one day I will become the next great explorer and make it all the way to Colonia. Not today though. Today, I’ll grab a few tourists with more money than sense and show them the sights of not too distant systems. Just another day in the life of a galactic Uber driver.
Continued in The Beginning of Greatness