Reil felt a sense of calmness come over him as he settled behind the controls of his new ship. He sat still for a minute, just letting the serenity of it all wash over him. It had been this way the entire week he’d owned the ship. With everything that happened on Taanab and after, Reil hadn’t really had the time to notice how much he’d missed flying, but now that he was behind the controls, it all came rushing back to him. He grinned as began going through the pre-flight checklist. It wasn’t his X-Wing, in fact in maneuvered like a sleepy hut, but it was space-worthy and it was his. His grin faltered as the console went dead for a second, then powered on again. It was mostly space-worthy. The engine was beginning to power up, when a message came over the com.
“This is Mei-ji Colony Traffic Control to Barloz freighter Whydah. I repeat this is Traffic Control to Whydah. Do you copy?”
Reil sighed as he took the call.
“This is Whydah to Mei-ji Control, we logged our flight plan over an hour ago, what seems to be the trouble?”
“Recieved your flight plan Whydah, no problems there. Your docking fees are another matter. Records show that there were insufficient funds to pay the fees, and your clearance for takeoff is denied until they’re paid.”
Reil frowned. Well that’s not good. He began skipping non-critical systems as he went through the checklist.
“Mei-ji Control, I think there’s been some kinda mistake; I’m looking at my bank statements now, there’s definitely enough money there. Check with your billing department, make sure they weren’t overcharging the account.”
The station’s traffic control responded promptly.
“Your complaint is acknowledged Whydah, we are checking with our billing now. Clearance to leave is still denied until this is sorted however. Cease power-up procedures, and await further instructions."
Reil’s frown worsened. That didn’t buy me any time at all. He began diverting power away from charging the shields to speed the power-up. The ship lifted off on its repulsors, and Reil began edging it toward the hangar exit. The voice of the traffic controller crackled over the com again, noticeably angrier than he had been before.
“Whydah, we detect that you are still powering up! You are not cleared to leave the station. Cease flight, and return to your landing spot at once or we will-”
The traffic controller was cut off mid-threat as Reil closed the com channel, and pushed the throttle to full, blasting out of the hangar bay.
“Boring conversation anyway.”
As he cleared the hangar exit, his sensors picked up two Starchasers launching from the station as well. He switched on the inter-com system. “Cali, I’m gonna need you to get to the turret.”
“Already on my way!”
Reil pitched the Whydah into a steep dive, and ran the freighter parallel to the stalk that extended out the bottom of space station, hoping that the fighter’s wouldn’t risk hitting the station. It turned out the fighters weren’t terribly concerned about hitting the station, as the freighter rocked from blasts to its aft shields. Reil began to punch in co-ordinates into the navi-computer, as Cali unleashed a barrage of fire, forcing one of the fighters to break off its attack. Reil hit the inter-com again after a particularly long burst from Cali in turret.
“Ease up Cali, I’m not charging the guns, so you’d better not drain them!”
“Well then hurry the frell up and get us out of here!”
Just then the navi-computer came up with the hyperspace solution. Reil pulled the Whydaw out of its dive, and made a straight run to jumpoint. The ship rocked as it took another blast from the remaining Starchaser, and Reil had to shunt energy to the shields to keep them from collapsing. All of a sudden the turret stop firing and Reil could hear Cali swearing without the intercom.
“The frakking gun’s outta juice!! Hurry up and make the jump!”
The freighters shields were about to give way, when Reil pulled the lever that sent the Whydah hurtling into hyperspace. Reil exhaled slowly and he let go of the controls, and reclined in the pilot’s chair. Cali grinned as she entered the cockpit through the door behind him, and she hopped into the co-pilots chair.
“That was bracing. You know I really appreciate the extra steps you’re taking to keep things interesting around here.”
Reil rolled his eyes.
“Well I was just worried you didn’t feel like you had enough to do.”
Cali twisted the chair to face Reil, and propped her legs up on the console in front of him.
“So why were they mad this time, forget to file the flight plan again?”
Reil frowned and swatted her legs, so she put them back down on the ground.
“No, I didn’t forget to file the flight plan. We ran out of money, and couldn’t pay our docking fee.”
Cali was less impressed with that news.
“Well that’s not good.”
Reil rolled his eyes.
“And here I thought you were having such a good time.”
Cali arched an eyebrow at Reil.
“It’s not my fault the last two deliveries you lined up for us were weak-tea. We need credits, fast. You should reconsider my idea.”
“I am done thinkin’ about that, and you are to stop bringing it up.”
“But if we just scouted some locations. . .”
“It takes at least three people to rob a bank Cali”, Reil held up the correct number of fingers for emphasis, “One to crack the safe, one to watch the crowd, and one to drive the getaway car. We are just two, and I am not going back to jail after all the trouble we went through to get this ship!”
Cali threw her hands up in defeat.
“All right fine, we’ll just stick to your super legal smuggling, and running out of spaceports without paying so people try to shoot us down. This is a great plan.”
“This next job will be different. We got a client who wants us to ship a whole bunch of cooling agent for carbonite freezing to him on Bespin, and while we’re there, we can pick up a boat load of cheap tibanna. We’ll be arriving there around mid-day tomorrow.”
“All right, that does sound like a good plan.” Cali conceded. Cali was pensive for a moment, and then looked at Reil suggestively. “So, we’ve got almost two days; what d’you wanna do until then?”
Reil considered this.
“Well the shields need charging, so do the guns, and I’ll need to run a full diagnostic on the power supply because it’s taking too long to power up and I’m still getting those flutters in the cockpit. In the mean time, you should check the cargo, and make sure none of the crates bounced loose with all the excitement, and it might be a good idea for us to go over the ship controls again, because you’re still a little shaky on those.”
“That’s gonna take forever!”
Reil stood up and mused her hair.
“Joys of being a ship owner. C’mon, you know the drill, we work before we play.”
Zealos Reil thought he was hot
so he left the sim-pod cold
on his eighth mission he got shot
and that's all there is to be told.
Draw your own conclusions rookies.