Rated 13 and up
By Scott W. Baker
Sebastian’s organs squeezed into his pelvis as he accelerated past point-one. He had a good feeling this time. This catch was going to be his.
He could see his objective ahead of him, the enormous Drifter-class colony ship Calypso barreling through space on her inertial journey from Earth to Terra III. Since she carried no fuel for deceleration, Calypso would travel through space forever without Chasers like Sebastian. It was the job of a Chaser to run down Drifters and fill their tanks. The job had sounded easy when he signed with Mulligan Mining eight months ago. But despite nine arrivals since then, Sebastian has not made one catch.
Calypso was a slow Drifter at a mere point-13 c. Surely he could catch that. His Skeeter was designed to reach point-2, faster and more maneuverable than any other company’s ships. Yet what advantages Skeeters held in speed and agility they sacrificed in capacity. Even if he caught the Drifter, it took a total of three Skeeters to fill her.
Sebastian ran a scan of Calypso. Leonard was already docked. That was too fast for him to have waited for the Drifter’s beacon; he must have taken his Skeeter out without confirmation a Drifter was coming in. Lucky. Blind patrols were expensive gambles, especially on a Chaser’s budget. The exorbitant price of fuel on Earth was the primary reason Drifter-class colonizers dominated the colonization market, and a booming fuel industry made Terra III the most popular destination. Like most things, it boiled down to money. (Continue Reading…)