SpaceHighway: The Awakened: A04 ~ Space Cowboy Jim v 2
Chapter 4 of 10 from the series SpaceHighway: The Awakened

A04 ~ Space Cowboy Jim
SpaceHighway: The Awakened: A04 ~ Space Cowboy Jim

Kira finally hits the space-highways! Happily, Jim, the Space Cowboy, takes him on one of his trips.
Being an awakened, Kira has a lot to learn about space-cargo, time to get a space-update.

2nd version @ October 8, 2017:
  • Edited: dialogues received a major formatting makeover.
  • Fixed: minor grammar and typo fixes.

Thanks to all patrons of SpaceHighway and several anonymous readers.

Note: This chapter is published as a manuscript and might contain some grammatical and syntactical errors. If some are found, please comment or send a message. I am thankful for any hints as English is not my native language.

Enjoy the reading,
Siggy Simon Jr.

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SpaceHighway: The Awakened

A04 ~ Space Cowboy Jim

 

Fuwaa~! My head hurts, I slept terribly. Yesterday’s memories kept floating around in my mind, Aia, her tits, the retro-condoms, the SM attires…

I sit up, yawn again and stretch my arms till my shoulders creak.

The moment I open my eyes, I find Aia’s beautiful smile.

“Good morning, Kira.”

“Good morning Aia…”

Today at least she wears a bra and low panties… Thank goodness…

I hold back a sigh of relief while she hands me a mug of coffee.

“Thanks, Aia.”

“You’re welcome,” she smiles as she sits down at my side on the couch.

While she drinks her coffee, she looks at me, “I was thinking… we should go to the Alpha to get your business contact and see if someone has a job and could take you with ’em…”

“Oh!” I nod, “Great idea. So I can observe them piloting and learn from them.” And I can relax a bit away from her and occupy my mind with something else…

She sighs, “Yeah. I still have no job scheduled. Meaning, I can’t take you with me even if I’d love to.”

This smile… so tempting…

I focus my attention on the coffee and swallow the images of Aia’s tits flashing through my mind.

“I want to see you as soon as possible at the controls of your Falcon. So study hard, okay?”

I swallow empty, that smile…

“Yeah, thanks, Aia. Ugh~”

Hm~? Why do look at me this way?”

It seems that her panty just covers her pubic hair, if she doesn’t shave… My blood begins to gather in my nether parts…

“Oh~ Nothing… nothing…” I shake my head, “Well… It’s just I don’t know how to repay you for all you did for me…”

She giggles, “Fufu~ Don’t worry. As long as you keep your promise.”

“Ah~”

“And thanks, again, for yesternight. You’re truly a gentleman,” she giggles and blushes lightly in her violetish hues.

“Ah~ Ugh~ Yeah. Don’t worry…” I force a smile.

She doesn’t know how I was before, during the twentieth and twenty-first century… If she’d know, she surely wouldn’t let me stay here… Even though I made the decision to change it… I’m not sure to be able to change at her side…

“C’mon, let’s have breakfast in the MaryQueens…”

“Great.”

While I stand up, Aia gazes at me intently.

“Ugh~ What’s the matter, Aia?”

Uh~un~” she gently shakes her head with a smile, “Nothing… Fufu~ I was just thinking that I’m fortunate to have you as my flatmate,” she giggles.

“…”

Such a beautiful smile… I’m lost for words…

·

“Welcome! Good morning, Queen, Phoenix!” Buz greets us ecstatic and with a broad smile.

“Hehehe~ Good mornin’ double Aces…”

Fufu~ Good morning, Buz, Jim.”

“Good morning…”

“What would you like?”

“Two of Sue’s special breakfasts.”

“On the way Aia! Good morning!”

“Hi, Sue.”

I almost got lost in all the good-mornings and greetings… I blink overwhelmed. Oh! Aia already ordered us some breakfast…

Aia sits at Jim’s side, “Jimmy, do you have something scheduled for today?”

“Heh… Sure. Why? Wanna swap with me? Heheh~” he grins.

Aia giggles, “No, no, Jim… But Kira wants to go with someone on a delivery…”

“Ooh~” Jim’s face brightens, “Wanna come with me, Phoenix? Would be an ’onor. Heheh~”

I nod, “Yeah. Of course. I hope I’m able to learn a lot from you, Jim.”

He begins to laugh happily, “Heheheh~ Da Phoenix, learnin’ from me… Such an ’onor!”

I have to laugh at the way he puts me on a pedestal.

“Yeah… ah, by the way, Jim, call me Kira, I prefer it.”

“Heh! ’course, Kira. We leave in an hour an’ a half.”

Aia nods happily at our conversation and adds, “Perfect, then we have time to go by the office to get Kira’s ISTM business contact.”

Buz laughs, “Oh? Already got a terminal?”

I nod, “Yeah. We bought it yesterday…”

I take it out and show it to him.

“Cool! Wanna swap contacts?”

“Sure Buz. Oh~ And the business contact?”

Aia explains, “You can update your shared contact with your business ID, just select the contact you want to share it with.”

“Oh, yeah? And he gets it?”

“Yeah. Your contact data will also be updated…”

“Quite convenient…”

Buz brings his terminal out and we carry out the ritual of swapping our contacts.

I begin to laugh…

“Why are you laughing, Kira?” asks Aia blinking.

“Ah~ I just thought it’s similar to the game of rock-scissors-paper.”

“True…” giggles Aia, “never thought of it…”

“Heh! Can I have yers too, Kira?” Jim asks.

“Sure Jim.”

“Heh! Rock-scissors-paper! Take ma contact! Heheheh~”

We all explode in laughter at Jim’s gestures.

Laughing, Aia says, “That’s a good one, Jim.”

Our laughter dies down as Sue brings us our breakfasts.

·

Eating breakfast, I flip through the contacts in my new smartph—err… terminal.

Aia smiles, “Now you’ve got already three contacts, Kira.”

“Yeah,” I laugh, “Two guys and a beautiful girl…”

She blushes at my comment.

Jim slaps my back, “Heheheh~ Ya’ll get used to dat… We normally have way more guys in our contacts than girls…”

I smirk, “Jimmie… Don’t chicks dig you?”

“Heh! I’d wish! Heheheh~ An’ ya Kira? Ya got only one.”

I laugh, “Yeah, man… But what a beauty. Anyway, I’ve got this terminal yesterday…”

Aia blushes and smiles sheepishly, while Jim laughs.

He grins, “Heh… Don’ say ya had more girls in yer terminal?”

I smirk mischievously, “On my cell from the twenty-first century, I’ve had the double of girls than guys in my contacts…”

Aia and Jim’s faces show surprise and disbelief…

“Are ya fuckin’ serious?” shouts Jim jumping up.

I grin, “Jimmie… an Ace needs to have many contacts.”

“Kira…”

“Yes, Aia?”

“Did you really had that many girls in your contacts?”

Ups…

“Ah, yeah… My past…”

She blushes and looks hesitantly around, “Oh~ Ah~ Tell me another time, okay? Let’s hurry. You still need the ISTM business contact.”

“Yeah, you’re right…”

Lucky me, she saved me from explaining my womanizer past…

·

After the breakfast, we three go to the offices. In a short time, I receive my business contact and Aia shows me how to configure my cell—I mean my terminal, to work with both contacts.

Jim informs the dispatcher that I will come with him so that it figures in the register and the manifest.

Once done, we go towards the cargo-bay area.

“Kira, I present ya ma Stampede… One of da most powerful trucks in this galaxy. Heheheh~”

Jim points at one of the space-trucks through the huge windows. It’s completely red, except for the cabin area, which is dark yellow…

“Oh~ Impressive. It really fits you, The Stampede…” I laugh.

Aia giggles, “Yeah… I’ve told you, Jim is specialized in dangerous cargo. You can learn a lot from him. Ah~ Learn only from his piloting skills…”

Jim laughs, “Heh! Whadda mean, Aia beauty Queen?”

Fufu~ Precisely that. That he doesn’t copy your personality,” she giggles.

“Heh! Whadda wrong with it?”

Fufu~ Nothing. But I prefer him being the Phoenix, not a Space Cowboy Two.”

We three laugh…

“Don’t worry Aia,” I laugh, “I’ll try and not learn such things from him.”

She giggles, “Yeah. I believe you. I really prefer you the way you are now…”

Jim smirks mischievously at Aia’s blushing cheeks.

“C’mon Kira!”

Splat! He smacks my back strongly.

“Heh! Time to go. We wanna be back for dinner.”

Recovered my breath, I elbow him into his side…

“Ugh!”

“Perfect, partner, let’s go.”

“Heheheh~ We’ll get along fuckin’ well, partner. Hehehe~”

We laugh…

Aia giggles, “Good luck guys. Ah~ Kira, call me when you’re back. I’ll pick you up.”

“Yeah, thanks, Aia.”

“Have a safe journey,” she smiles.

“Heh. This canna be better… Accompanied by a legend an’ a beautiful girl seein’ us off… Heheheh.”

I laugh, then look at the bluish alien, “Matane, Aia.”

“Huh? What?”

“Ah, sorry, it’s Japanese, meaning see you later.”

“Oh~ Yeah… see you later…” she giggles.

Jim guides me through the airlocks, “Heh. From now on there’s no gravity. Hold on to da rails…”

“Oh! Fuck!” I begin to laugh…

Jim smirks, “Heh… it seems weightlessness donna affect ya…”

I giggle like a child, “I love it!”

I push myself from one of the rails towards another one at the ceiling, “Banzai!”

“Heheheh! Look at ya havin’ fun with this… Heh! Is it really yer first time in zero gravity?”

I do a backflip, hook my foot on the ceiling rail and look down, “Yeah…” I laugh. “Okay! Playtime over… back to work…”

I push myself towards the truck’s doors. Shit… this made my head spin…

“Heheh~ No doubt yer da Phoenix… Work first… Heheh. By da way…” Jim points to his left…

I see Aia and some others roaring in laughter… The airlock is see-through… They’ve seen it all…

“Heheheh~ Now dey have somethin’ to tell.”

“Fuck… C’mon, let’s go…”

“Heheh~ ’kay…”

We float through the airlocks and reach Jim’s truck.

Well, if we omit the chaotic inside looks of his ride, it’s quite similar to Aia’s Thunderbird and my future Falcon.

“Da copilot seat’s all yers… Heheh~ There’s a compartment for yer backpack…”

“Thanks.”

I hold on the rails and handles spread out throughout the truck, follow Jim and stow my backpack.

With some fuss, I fasten the seatbelts.

“Heheheh~ Not as easy as with gravity, eh?”

“Hell yeah… But a good training,” I grin.

“Heheh~ ’course. Let’s go through our route. First, we’ll go to Ganymede, da largest moon of Jupiter, there we’ll load a good cargo of Radio-Act IV, a highly volatile fuel. Heh! We hafta transport it to da planet Wintermute in Alpha Centauri. Heheh~” Jim laughs.

“Alpha Centauri? The nearest star after the Sun?” I ask flabbergasted.

“Heh! Dat’s right… Da nearest star system with planets…” he grins as I blink.

“Won’t it take a lot of time?”

“Heheheh~ Not much, ya’ll see…”

Uh… If I remember well the science classes from high school… that would be about four lightyears… if we travel at the speed of light… that would be four years… no… eight… there and back… Didn’t he say we’ll be back for dinner?

“Let’s rock!” Jim shouts euphorically and takes a gadget which looks like a radio-mic from my times, “Charlie. Space Cowboy speaking, Stampede ready to blast off…”

«Roger, Jim. You have vector five at your disposal. Break a leg…»

Jim laughs, “Thanks mate. Heheh~”

Jim moves his rig carefully forward between several trucks until reaching the open space. There, he projects a map of the solar system on the windshield.

“We’re here. Heh! First we hafta get there…” he points at Jupiter, “Now we take da Gaia-Jupiter jump, an’ later on, da brand-new Jupiter-Centauri jump…”

“Jump?” I ask intrigued.

He grins, “Heh… yeah… Jumps are a kind o’ interspace highways. Officially they’re called Space Gates, but we call ’em Star Jumps, Star Gates or simply Jumps…”

“Wow! Really? Like those in the sci-fi flicks and stories of my times?”

He grins at my exaltation, “Heheh~ Yeah, da like… They’re tollways. I don’ know how dey really work, heh… But dey speed ya up extremely… Ya’ll see… Heheheh~”

“Wow… intriguing…”

·

While Jim explains in more details the cargo settings and procedures, we reach a complex of huge structures. They look like humongous rings floating in space. Each of the rings emits a strange silvery light. A huge amount of space vehicles enters and exits those rings…

“This’ da GGC, da Gaia Gate Complex. Heh. Now da system detects our intentions…”

Truly, a loudspeaker comes alive and a metallic sounding voice greets, »Welcome to the Space Gates Cooperative. Please input your destination.«

Jim takes the mic, “Destination, Jupiter.”

»Destination, Jupiter. Vehicle type, truck. Designation, Stampede. License plate, GS0-STA-SC. Cargo, none. Company, ISTM. Correct?«

“Correct.”

»Fee charged. Proceed to gate A5, alpha-five.«

Astonished, I follow the interaction between Jim and the synthetic voice.

He looks at me, “Heheh~ Da system charges directly da ISTM. Now we can close in to da gate…”

Just before entering the gate A5, the system calls in again, »Permission to enter granted. You may proceed. Have a safe journey.«

“Heheh~ Thanks,” Jim laughs.

We enter the gate, I am blinded for a moment… I blink, to my amazement, we are on a kind of lane… It looks just like a huge tunnel with eight wide lanes, the width of a space-truck…

Jim laughs heartily, “Welcome to da space-highways!”

“Wow! Oh~ We’re able to overtake others?” I’m baffled.

Jim grins, “Heh. Dat’s right. If ya got a rig fast enough, ya can overtake anyone.”

“Oh~ We keep the relative speeds?”

“Exactly. Heheh~ Just as we’re in open space. It will take us two hours…”

“Only?”

“Heheh~ Yup. An’ about da speed… Heh! Ma Stampede is designed an’ tuned for dangerous cargo an’ routes.”

“In what way?”

“Heh, greater armor an’ shielding. Dat’s why it’s quite slower than da Queen’s Thunderbird and SpeedKitty’s Cheetah…”

“SpeedKitty?”

“Heh, Enya…”

“Ah~ The feline girl?”

“Heheh~ Isn’t she a cutie?”

I laugh, “Oh, yeah…”

“Heh! I’d love to do her… Heheheh~”

I laugh again, “Oh!” and smirk.

Jim looks at me a bit annoyed, “What? Is it strange for me to have interests in Enya?”

“Oh, no, no… Absolutely not, she is a beauty… I just remembered a trucker called Kitty from my times…”

“Oooh~ c’mon man, tell more… heheh~”

“Yeah. She was a beautiful girl, a bit chubby and quite curvy, her name was Kathy, well, her real name was Catarina… But as she was a bit feline, we called her Kitty.”

“Heheh~ Was she a feline in da bed too?”

“Oh, yeah, of course… the best…”

“Phew~ Kira… did ya fuck her?”

I grin, “Many times…”

“Heh! Ya bastar’… Fuck me… I hope I can do Enya sometime…”

I laugh, “Try it.”

“Heh! Easier said as done! She don’ wanna have one-nighters nor casual screws… Heh~ What I’m babbling? She’s not interested, so she says…” he sighs.

“You have my sympathies, pal,” I exhale.

“Heheh~ Yeah… Seems I’m not her type…”

Jim changes lane to pass another slower truck with four containers. His happy face seems changed… I don’t think he means it. He isn’t interested in just a fuck, but is in love, unrequited love… He shakes his head and begins to laugh. Yup, I’m right. I’ve seen many like him…

He smirks, “Heh. By da way, how are things with da Queen? Ya share an apartment with her, doncha?”

I sigh deeply, “Don’t remind me… I don’t understand her…”

“Heh… In what way?”

“That remains under us…”

“’course, yer secrets are safe with me, pal…”

“Yeah… She doesn’t want to have anything with me and says that she completely trusts me, that I won’t do anything to her…”

“Wow, such trust…”

“Yeah. But then the chick goes and wanders with her bare tits around the house…”

“Really?” Jim shouts, “How are dey? Ah, sorry…”

I laugh, “They’re perfect, pal… Just impressive… They seem defy gravity…”

“Damn, pal… Lucky dog…”

“Lucky? She doesn’t want a thing with me…”

“Fuck… that’s hell… Now I feel pity for ya…”

“Yeah… Not only that, she insists in living there, with her…”

“Damn shit… I donna know what to say… on one hand, it seems like yer in a paradise, on da other, in da very same fuckin’ hell…”

“Hell yeah… Ah~” I stretch my arms, “Sharing this with you feels great, pal!”

“Heheh~ Always here when ya need me.”

“Thanks, friend.”

“Heh! Friend…”

“Sure, pal.”

“Heheh~ Such an ’onor,” he laughs happily.

I sigh, “By the way… What legends had been made up about me?”

“Heh… couldn’t tell all of ’em… too many…”

“No fuck? Damn…”

“Heh, don’ believe ’em… each more unreal than another… In one ya breach through a forest on fire with yer Falcon, in another ya cross a lava-river, in yet another ya dodge a fuckin’ asteroid deluge, or ya come walkin’ coolly out o’ a huge explosion, others say dat ya fought against a hundred men armed to da teeth an’ knocked ’em down jus’ by fists…”

I sigh, “Fuck me…”

“Dey call ya da Phoenix, da immortal. Heh! Ya canna die ’cause ya’ll be reborn from yer ashes like a real phoenix…”

I burst into laughter, “Unbelievable…”

Jim laughs, “Heh… But da latter became true…”

“Yeah…” I laugh again, “But I wasn’t reborn from the ashes… I was frozen like a cod…”

“Heheheh~ But yer reborn…” he laughs.

“True, that doesn’t change…” I have to laugh too…

“Then, whadda real legend?”

“Oh, yeah… It’s true that I did cross a forest fire with a load of nitroglycerin…”

“No fuck…”

“Yeah. It’s not as melodramatic as told… I was called the Phoenix when I was seen coming out of the flames driving my Falcon…”

“Heheheh~ No wonder! Whadda nitro for?”

“To blast an experimental oil well or the like…”

“Fuck me… Now I understan’ da legends… Ya saved some truckers an’ firemen, dontcha?”

“Yeah.”

“Heh! Great, that’s it… Sparks for legends… Heh…”

“Yeah…”

“Heheh~ ya really did somethin’ impressive. How old were ya then?”

“Yeah… I’ve just turned eighteen…”

“No fuck?”

“No fuck.”

“Yer amazing… truly…”

I laugh, “Don’t get overboard…”

“Heheheh~” Jim again passes another truck.

“Ah, Kira…”

“Yeah?”

“Can ya bring me a pouch of coke? Heh. There’ some in da fridge.”

“Sure… Uh~ Pouch?”

“Heh! Yeah, sorry. Dey look like small bags. Take one if ya like.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I free myself from the seat-belts and push me through the cabin into the kitchen-area. This living area would surely be a greater disaster if stuff hadn’t to be tied and fixed down for the sake of weightlessness…

I find the fridge. It’s filled with beer cans and small bags. I take a closer look at the bags, more beer and some cokes. I take two pouches of coke. They look similar to those drinking-pouches for astronauts I’ve seen at the Science Center I visited once during a school trip…

Back in the cab, I throw Jim one of the pouches, “Catch!”

He catches it on the fly, “Thanks.”

I observe him turning the cap and pulling out a short drinking straw, and, finally, popping the cap off.

I imitate him while he exhales, “Ahh~ Dat hits da spot… Shame’s not a draught…”

I laugh, “Yeah… But I doubt they would let you drive…”

“Heh! An’ less with hazardous cargo… if dey catch ya… bye-bye license…”

I grin, “I believe you. And smoking?”

“Heh… If ya don’ wanna spend a fortune, don’ even think ’bout it…”

“Because of the air and the ventilation?”

“Yeah… Da air filters… If ya smoke, ya hafta change ’em each week or two instead o’ once each six months… Heheheh~”

Still laughing he takes a pack out of his vest and makes a gesture to take a cigarette…

“C’mon… Heheh~ ya don’ smoke?”

“Well, yeah…”

“Heh! Hesitatin’ after I said that? Ya’ll see after receivin’ yer first salary. Heheheh~ Bein’ one of da Aces ya’ll get a generous bonus, heh! Ya can afford it,” he smiles broadly.

I laugh, “Thanks, Jim.”

I lit the fag with the lighter Jim handed me after hitting his own.

“Aaah~” I exhale the first draw with satisfaction.

Jim laughs, “Heheh~ Jus’ be careful with da ashes… at yer right, ya have a zero-gravity ashtray. Heh. Hold da fag always over it when not puffing. It sucks most of da smoke an’ the ashes down into a residual container.”

“Convenient.”

“Heheh, ask Kim’n’Kite to install some…”

“Yeah, I will…”

We both inhale deeply…

·

Time flies while Jim explains stuff about the ventilation system, the oxygen generator, and the air purifier and filtering system, until, »Ding! Please be sure to take control.«

“Heh… We’re reachin’ da exit gate.”

“Already? Are we in Jupiter already?”

“Heh! Sure pal,” he grins.

“Fuck me… that’s fast!”

“Heh. This job’s quite simple, heheh~ We only have a short part o’ direct nav,” Jim laughs.

“Direct nav?”

“Heh… Direct navigation, in open space… Da only place we really hafta be on our toes, heheh~”

We exit the gate. There’s not much traffic according to the AR, mostly space-trucks.

“Heh… Jupiter an’ its moons are mostly gas an’ chemical compound mines. Heheh~ Ganymede’s a refinery moon, where most o’ da mined gasses an’ compounds are refined an’ processed. Hehe~”

I look at the scenery astonished, “Wow… The cargo is an already processed compound?”

“Heh, yeah…”

“Didn’t you mention something about fuel?”

“Heh,” he nods, “Radio-Act IV. More explosive than nitroglycerine. Heheheh~”

“No shit, and what’s for? Something so unstable…”

“Heh… To feed terraformers.”

“Terraformers?”

“Yeah, heh! A humongous complex o’ machines an’ ships which transform da atmosphere o’ an inert planet to make it habitable.”

“Oh? Like Mars? Aia mentioned it is inhabitable.”

“True, heh… Donna ask me how this stuff works, no idea. I only know dat da Radio-Act IV’s used to bombard da planet with complex chemical compounds.”

“Huh?”

He laughs, “Better ask when we arrive there, heheh~”

“Yeah, I will…”

·

Jim points at one of the moons, “Heh… that’s Ganymedes.”

Just behind the moon, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot can be seen… Overwhelmed by the view, I remember my smar—terminal, take it out and search for the camera app. There it is… I focus on Jupiter… click. The terminal shows the picture I took, impressive… Jupiter…

“Hehehe~ Doin’ sightseein’?” Jim laughs heartily.

“Of course, man! It’s the first time I’m outside the inner border. I’ve never seen Jupiter that near, and less live.”

“Hehehe~ True. Then…” he laughs and turns off half of the AR system displayed on the windshield.

I look at him, he grins, “In fifteen minutes we arrive in Ganymedes, heh.”

“Thanks, pal…”

I keep on taking pictures of Jupiter and the moons without the intrusive AR as we close in towards the moon.

“Kira, shut yer cam off…”

“Huh?”

“We’re enterin’ a restricted area.”

“Oh~ Okay.”

I close the cam app, Jim’s always joyful face has turned completely serious.

Sternly looking forwards he says, “They’re able to detect any activated cam. Da only allowed ones are da truck’s system cams.”

“Really?”

“This area’s a Confidentiality-C zone. There are only two higher ones… A’s purely military, B’s majority military, an’ C’s half military, half civil…”

“Wow…”

“The ISTM’s da only certified transporter in da Sol System for such transports. Ya hafta be one of da Aces to do da higher two categories…”

“Meaning, we can do transports for the army?”

“Yeah, pal. Heh! But ya won’t like it… they’re fuckin’ assholes with ya… Dey search yer stuff an’ frisk ya from tip to toe… SpeedKitty an’ da Queen absolutely refuse those shipments.”

“Fuck me… I completely understand them.”

“Heh! Me too. I only did one job for ’em… I donna recommend ya accept any, heh…”

“Are they voluntary?”

“Yeah… Luckily, heh!”

“And what happens with the cargo?”

“Dey themselves hafta do da job. But it’s more expensive than hiring us…”

“I get it… Doesn’t it get the ISTM into problems?”

Jim grins, “Nope… Heh! Da old man covers his back well. He’d announced officially, dat no jobs are accepted where any o’ da truckers have deir physical integrity violated by da contracting party, heh! Hehe~”

“He’s got balls…”

“Hehehe~ Truly… In essence, he threatened da army without namin’ ’em…”

“Fuck me…”

“Heh… We’re arriving…”

«Cargo port Gamï to Stampede, do you read?»

“Loud and clear, SpaceCowboy speaking.”

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«Perfect. Name passengers.»

“I’m accompanied by da Phoenix, an ISTM colleague.”

«Roger. Proceed to sector five. Disembark through the airlock two.»

“Roger an’ out…”

“Are they cold…”

“Heh… yeah… Oh, yeah, an advice, don’ let ’em provoke ya… Da lower ranked army guys love to fuck around with us truckers.”

“Really?”

“Heh! Dey canna swallow dat truckers like us get more credit than ’em in da exploration o’ da universe…”

“Assholes…”

“Heh! Yeah… but if ya canna keep cool, dey can arrest you…”

“Such cocksuckers…”

“Heh! That’s why I’m saying donna let ’em trigger ya… Calm yer fists…”

“Understood.”

·

I observe Jim’s inputs as he docks at the airlock.

“Heh. Now I tell da system to get into hitchin’ mode. Now da cargo guys can attach da container holds to da truck.”

“Okay, I got it.”

“Perfect, hehehe~” he frees himself from the belts and stands up, “Right, let’s meet da one in charge. Ah, yeah, heh! We’re at ’bout half Gaia’s gravity, careful with jumps, don’ hit yer head, hehe~”

I have to laugh at his gestures, “Would be a first.”

“Hehehe~”

We exit the Stampede through the airlock and wait at another closed door.

“Heh… there dey come… da grunts…”

Truly, two human soldiers arrive and manipulate a control panel, the door opens.

“C’mon! Space-scum! To da cargo office.”

“Hehehe~ Okay, da scum follows da trash~”

“What?”

“Oh~ Hehe~ nothin’, nothin’ pal…”

Didn’t he just say we shouldn’t get worked up by them?

“More respect! It’s thanks to us you’ve got a job! Asshole!”

“Hehe~ Thanks, Sarlacc…”

“What? How’d ya call me?”

I begin to laugh.

“And what do you laugh for?”

I grin, “Nothing… I just thought it should be an honor to be called like a creature from Star Wars.”

“What the fuck’s that?”

“You know, those movies from the twentieth century…”

“What the fuck yer babbling about?”

“Oh?” I smirk, “I thought that soldiers are more learned nowadays…”

“What?!”

“Hehehe~ Yer mistaken, Phoenix, this creature exists.”

“For real?”

“Heh! Not sure if it’s da same…”

“Stop fucking around now! Let’s go!”

“Okay, okay…”

Jim blinks an eye. Huh? Did I react as he wanted to?

·

We arrive at an office.

An elder Human wearing an army uniform looks up, “Oh! Jimmie!”

“Heh! Nik! Ya here?”

This Nik stands up and hugs Jim heartily and slaps his back, “Hahaha~ Ya see,” he steps back, “jus’ before retirement dey dropped me in dis fuckin’ shit-hole.”

“Heh, seems quiet…”

“I’d wish, lad… da grunts here’ all complete assholes… dey only send da losers an’ babblers here…”

The two soldiers who brought us here hold back their visible anger.

Nik goes on, “Dey’ve neva seen a battle in life an’ believe dey’re some fuckin’ savior-heroes of humanity…”

Jim laughs, “Hehehe~ It seems yer pissed off…”

“Bet I am!”

“Oh… Got another star?”

“Hah! Dose motherfuckers promoted me to commander an’ sent ma ass into dis shit-hole. Not only dat, to take charge of da cargo port… Fuckin’ assholes!”

“Hehehe~ Yer too good for ’em…”

“Dream fuckin’ on… By da way, who’s dis swarthy Asian?” Nik looks at me.

“Heh! Sorry… I’ll introduce ya…” Jim steps back and places his hand on my shoulder, “Nik, this’ da recently awakened Phoenix, from da twenty-first century. Phoenix, this’ Commander Nik, ma uncle…”

Wow! Now I understand their similarities in speech and gestures…

“Nice to meet you, Nik,” I offer my hand to the flabbergasted commander.

He looks at Jim, then at me, and back at Jim, “Really? Jim? Da Phoenix?”

“Heh, I’d never lie to ya, uncle Nik, hehehe~”

Nik blinks several times…

Suddenly, he takes my hand with both his hands, “Such an ’onor! Da legendary Phoenix! Oh~ I thought yer mo’ brawny…”

I laugh, “Not many hit the mark on my looks.”

“Really nice to meetcha. Yesternight I heard rumors ’bout yer ’wakening… I dinna believe it, I thought dey’re cadets’ yackety-yak…”

“Hehehe~ He’s da real one, an’ drew with da Queen in da sim…”

“No fuck… With dat beauty?”

“Heh! What’s more, she brought him…”

“Fuck me…”

“Da old Mitsubishi hired him without blinkin’… Hehehe~”

“No fuck, anyone would… Ah~ C’mon, take a seat…” the commander shows us two chairs and we sit down.

“Here, take some, boys…”

“Heh, uncle… Canna drink, hafta haul a cargo of Radio…”

“Oh~ Yeah, bummer… Well, I hit one. Here, Phoenix, take, ya donna pilot, right? Hahaha~”

I take the shot of whiskey, “Of course,” I laugh, “By the way, call me Kira. Cheers.”

“Haha~ Cheers, Kira…”

I gulp it down. Wow! That’s some strong whiskey!

Jim grins at my side as I exclaim, “Tastes great! Which brand is it?”

“Hehehe~ Ya won’t get it elsewhere, Kira,” Jim laughs.

“Huh?”

I look at Nik, he laughs too, “Hahaha~ I make it maself!”

“Fuck me… it’s fucking great…”

“Thanks, lad,” he laughs again.

“Hehehe~ Sorry, uncle… But we should do da fuckin’ paperwork… Heh! Dey await us in Wintermute…”

“Oh fuck… True…”

I laugh, “We’ll come someday on visit and to have some drinks.”

“Hahaha~ I’ll ’wait it eagerly.”

“Hehe~ Sure uncle. An’ if ya come by Gaia, as well….”

“Hahaha~ Sure. But I wonna stay in yer sty…”

“Heh… what’s so bad about it?”

“It lacks a female touch, Jimmie. Hahaha~”

“Don’ remind me o’ dat, uncle…” Jim grimaces.

“Hahaha~”

I take mental notes while Nik and Jim go through the digital paperwork with yet another tablet, a DigiWaybill, also called DW. It details the cargo, origin, destination, and the data of the truck and the trucker, the whole manifest. The DW from the truck connects with the one of the dispatcher or recipient wirelessly. Both confirm the data with their fingerprints.

“Heh, perfect. Now let’s check it visually. Ma Stampede’s system already confirmed six hazardous tank holds.”

“Haha~ Yer a professional, Jimmie.”

“Heh! Da Phoenix is with me to learn da differences from his times an’ get a good update, hehehe~”

“Hahaha~ Kira, don’ take him too seriously. But I can guarantee, he’s da best in hazardous cargo.”

I laugh, “Thanks, Nik. I’ll make sure to learn the most possible.”

“Hahaha~”

Jim is satisfied with the cargo. Both sign again their DWs.

“Heh, thanks, uncle… But we hafta leave…”

“Hahaha~ Don’ worry, lad. Ya already brightened up ma week,” Nik laughs, then looks at the two soldiers, “Ah, privates…”

“Sir!”

“Don’ eva pester dese two again… Dis goes for all of ya… If I get wind of it…” Nik holds his finger to his neck and draws it slowly from one side to the other. Both soldiers visibly swallow empty. It seems they fear him as much they hate him…

Nik slaps our backs, “Save travels, lads, hahaha~ Have fun!”

“Heh! Thanks, uncle Nik. See ya…”

“Thanks, Nik. I hope we’ll get a better time to talk.”

“Hahaha, sure lad…”

·

Half an hour later, we enter the Jupiter-Alpha Centauri jump. Jim did the same procedure as at the GGC.

Once inside the jump I ask, “By the way, what happens if you try to enter a jump ignoring the procedure and don’t pay?”

“Heh… won’t recommend it… Da gate closes an’ ya would end in da same space, hehehe~ with a nice welcomin’ committee… hehe~”

“Wow! The gates can be closed that fast?”

“Heh! But afterwards it takes several hours to open ’em again, it only affects da entry gate. Those inside can still exit it.”

I blink, is this even possible?

I sigh, “Fuck me… Meaning, that if you got an asshole just in front of you, you have to wait?”

“Heh, yeah… but he, he’ll be in for it… He hasta pay for da restart o’ da gate an’ da compensation for da affected. Hehehe~”

“I doubt you’ll get the money, surely a fortune.”

“Hehehe~ Yup… It has been more than five years since da last incident, at least in da Sol System.”

“I bet no-one has the guts to do it.”

“Heh~ Da last one still pays… an’ will pay till his last days… hehehe~”

“Fuck… taking note… Does the same happen if you get the wrong gate?”

“Heh, yeah. If ya ignore da warnings an’ go on anyways. If ya don’ change yer vector or stop in less than three minutes, da system activates.”

“Damn… and if it is because of a breakdown?”

“Good question… Heh! It happened to a buddy of mine ’bout half a year ago… He sent an SOS in time an’ contacted da SGC. Dey kept da gates open an’ sent an emergency craft. Dey took him out at da next gate an’ could patch his rig together. Heh, obviously, he hadn’t had to pay a nickel. Hehehe~”

“Thank goodness… it happened to me once… My Falcon was at a workshop for servicing and I had a rush job, I was lent another truck… a pile of shit… I lost the brakes just in front of a fucking cop roadblock for another stupid dude… I couldn’t break and those assholes weren’t tuned into the truckers’ frequency. I wrecked two cop cars. When I was able to stop the truck, they fell on me and arrested me like a criminal…”

“No fuck… dumbasses…”

“I was in the slammer for some days until they got it sorted out…”

“For real? Fuck me… did dey repay ya in any way?”

“Yeah… they paid me a taxi…”

“No fuck… Heh! Nothing else?”

“Nothing else…”

·

We keep chatting about safety at the controls until, “Oh, shit… I should be studying the piloting theory…”

I take my DigiBook out of my jacket’s pocket and unfold it.

“Heh, ya’ve got da DigiBook Micro… Hehe~ Ya should buy da Encyclopedia Galactica, hehe~ It should help ya out with yer doubts ’bout nowadays…”

I begin to laugh, “Encyclopedia Galactica?”

“Heh… Whatcha funny ’bout it?”

“Ah… It just reminded me of the stories of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

“Heh… a book?”

“Yeah. Five books… I recommend it, it’s worth the read. It’s from Douglas Adams, a twentieth-century author. An Encyclopedia Galactica appears there too, but is not as renown as the Guide…”

“Hehehe~ If ya say so, I’ll hafta read it.”

“Yeah, the Guide is something like a collaborative and interactive encyclopedia with tips on how to survive in the universe. Its best advice is Don’t Panic,” I laugh.

“Hehehe~ Really da best advice.”

“Yeah, I stick with it to the letter.”

“Hehehe~”

“By the way, are there still hitchhikers nowadays?”

“Hehe~ Da like… Dey pester ya at some stations, mainly truck stops an’ in highway diners.”

“Oh~ Of course… they can’t hitch a ride in space.”

“Hehe~ They’d love to… Why?”

“Oh~ It’s just because I gave many a lift in my times.”

“Heh~ Surely some cute chicks too… Hehehe~”

I have to laugh at his smirk, “Yeah, there were some…”

“Hehe… Including some o’ those who offer themselves for a ride?”

“Yeah,” I smirk at Jim’s grin.

He laughs, “Heh! I only gave a ride to one o’ those… She was a fuckin’ horrible stone in bed… I didn’t take any more o’ them…”

“Bad luck, pal…”

“Heh, you had better luck? Tell, pal, tell… Hehehe~”

I laugh at his comical face, “Yeah… the Linda Lisa… we called her so because she was from a latino background… she traveled around the country by hitchhiking, she always carried an F4R-sign around.”

“Don’ fuck! Fuck for Ride?”

I laugh, “Yeah. She became quite famous under us truckers. I gave her more than one rides…”

“Heh! In both meanings!”

“Yeah…”

We both laugh.

He asks, “Fuck me… was she hot?”

“Yeah, quite… She was quite wild… a nympho…”

“Fuck me… why do those things don’ happen to me? Heh!”

“You stopped giving rides after the first disappointment… Of course there were some not so good as her, but nevertheless I gave them a ride…”

“Heh… true…”

“Besides, I gave most hitchhikers a lift just to have some company, as most hauls were quite boring…”

“Heh, true… Well, I take some too, at least if they’re not F4R…”

I laugh, “Open more your door, perhaps you get lucky.”

“Hehehe~ Yer right…”

“Ah~ Back to the encyclopedia, do we have connection in here? To buy and download it…”

“Heh. Sure, da SGC offers free connection to Unet in its Jumps, hehehe~”

“Unet?”

“Heh, da Universal Network, I know, sounds strange, issa calque from its original name in ïihah… It’s jus’ like GlobalNet on Gaia…”

“Wow! An interplanetary internet?”

“Heh… Internet?”

“Oh, it isn’t called that way anymore… Uh~ what’s ïihah?”

“Heh… right… Ïihah is da native language o’ da Ïiha people.”

“Ïiha?”

“Heh… yeah… Seems ya haven’t met any yet…” I negate, he seems to ponder a minute, “Hmm… let’s see… Remember those classic images o’ da small, gray, big-headed aliens from da movies?”

“Yeah… don’t say…”

He laughs, “Not exactly, heh! They’re about da same height as us, even da head has a similar proportion like ours, but is more oval. Their skin’s silvery, not really gray. Heh… I’m bad at describing people… hehehe~ you’d better look it up in da encyclopedia…”

“Right…” I launch the bookstore app, “Let’s see… Reference… Oh~ It’s on the top… And quite cheap…”

“Heh. Being da best-sold reference book, it hasn’t to be expensive. But ya hafta buy it anew each year, or it won’t be updated anymore. Hehe~”

“Oh, then I’m buying a subscription?”

“Yup, da like, hehe~”

“Okay, nice. Buy… Language… Fuck me…”

“Heh, if ya wanna Universal Standard English, select universal languages first.”

“Oh! Right, found it. I’m able to change the language?”

“Yup. If ya wanna all of them, dey won’t fit on yer DigiBook, heh! Ya hafta download ’em first… hehe~”

“I believe you… Only in English for now…” The download begins, it’s huge! “By the way, what language do we use outside the Ear—Gaia?”

“Hehehe~ Easy… English…”

“No fuck?”

“Heh~ in most places we frequent, the Cargo Stations, English is one o’ da official languages. An’ in many other places dey speak English too…”

“Really? No fuck?”

“No fuck, hehehe~ Heh, best ya check it in da EG. Anyways, nowadays there’ only six major languages on Gaia.”

“Fuck me…”

“Heh, Universal English on da whole planet. In South America, Modern Spanish. In Europe, for exception of Britain, it’s Modern German. In Africa an’ da Orient, dey speak Arabere. An’ in Asia, dey speak Chinese an’ Japanese… hehehe~”

“Fuck me… things got easier in the past millennium.”

“Heh! At this rate, Gaia could be adopting Universal English as its sole official language…”

“Fuck me…”

“Heh, I don’ know da details… but most o’ those languages are not the same as in yer times. It seems that Modern German isn’t really German anymore, nor is Chinese… Arabere is, as far as I know, heh, a fusion o’ many languages with Arabic. It’s said that only English an’ Japanese hasn’t changed much. Heh! Proof is that ya understand me… hehehe~”

I have to laugh, “That’s true, lucky me… But, honestly, it took me quite a time to get your accent… The way you pronounce is quite… strange for me…”

“Heh, really?”

I nod, “Yeah, not only you, all of them… it took me more than an hour to get somewhat used to Aia’s accent…”

“Heh… yeah… yers’ also quite strange, hehehe~” Jim laughs, “Don’t worry, it’s easy to get, ya speak like in da old movies… hehehe~”

“Fuck, now it looks like I’m an old fuck…”

“Heh, ye are… over a millennium old…”

I burst into laughter, “Yeah… right…”

“Fuck!”

Jim hits the breaks, or whatever you call it now… A kind of sportster, similar to Aia’s Ferrari, changed lane at a lower speed… The AR splashes red caution warnings all over the windscreen… Granted, it was over a mile—er… kilometer ahead… but at these unbelievable speeds, it’s as if it were some feet—fuck! Some scores of centimeters? Huh?

Jim takes the mic completely pissed off, “Asshole! Don’ eva pull in front o’ a truck, are ya trying to kill all o’ us?”

«Oh~ So scary…»

“Heh… ya haven’t seen da signs o’ ma cargo… I’ve got more than a hundred-seventy kilotons of Radio-act IV in ma back, hehehe~”

«And what the fuck?»

“Hehehe~ one scratch an’ this Jump is a livin’ hell in seconds, hehehe~ C’mon… move!”

«Fuck you! Don’t come near!»

The sportster accelerates but Jim is still on his tails, well… a kilometer or so… finally he desists and changes lanes. Jim overtakes him in seconds…

“Hehehe~ Asshole…”

I laugh, “I’d loved to see his face.”

“Hehe~ yeah… But’s true, if this blows up… this would be da very same hell…”

“Fuh~ Would it affect the gates?”

“Heh! Sure. An’ a wide range… this is jus’ like a tunnel… da Stampede might survive… But da Jump would collapse without any possibility to reopen it…”

“Fuck me… this means, even if we’d survive…”

“Heh, we’d float in da limbo for eternity… hehehe~”

“Not really encouraging…”

“Heh, ya say it, pal.”

·

After I floated back for more Cokes, I sit down and go on with my theory book. I’d loved to read some of the new EG, but knowing myself, I would lose track of time and never pick up this book… I pick up from the part where I left it with Aia.

Oh… “By the way, Jim… Are there speed limits?”

“Heh. As in max speed allowed by law or vehicle?”

“Oh~ By law…”

“Hehehe~ In space, none. In a Jump, heh, dey can put some limits, but mostly in special circumstances. Heh, like a special transport occupyin’ more than one lane, or an accident happened… Normally, there’ no limits, hehe~”

“Oh~ Neat… it’s just because it isn’t mentioned in here… just the speed limits on planets. Specifying ground and air speeds…”

“Heh, really? Well, there’s no reason to limit speed in open space… hehehe~”

“Yeah, true,” I laugh.

“By the way, hehe~ What’s yer new Falcon’s top speed?”

“Uh~ Kim and Kite said something about five-hundred Ps…”

“No fuck! A true falcon! Heh!”

“Uh, what’s that P?”

“Heh, Paulet. It’s da speed measurement in space.”

“Wow… Let’s see… Paulet… The EG says that the speed’s name was put in honor for Pedro Paulet. A Peruvian scientist and engineer, he’s considered the father of the liquid-fuel rocket engine…”

“Heh! I didn’t know that… hehe~”

“Yeah… it says that even Wernher von Braun considered him as one of the fathers of aeronautics…”

“Fuck me, heh! Always learning somethin’ new. Da powa o’ a good encyclopedia, hehe~”

I laugh, “Yeah. There is a table with comparisons to other speeds… but I can’t make any sense of it…”

“Heh… I believe ya… Let’s see… Ma Stampede has a top speed o’ three-hundred eighty paulets. Da fastest sportster on sale reaches ’bout four-hundred paulets… hehe~”

“No fuck! My truck will be faster than a sportster?”

“Hehehe~ don’ be surprised… A truck’s way bigger an’ can thus carry bigger an’ more powerful powerplants, an’ way more fuel… hehe~”

“Oh~ yeah… now I get it… of course… in space, there is no friction…”

“Hehe~ seems yer gettin’ it…”

“Is there a difference in fuel too?”

“Heh, ’course… Trucks use da same fuel as da big crafts, da Tsien.”

“Wow! Then we have miniature spacecrafts?”

“Hehehe~ Technically, yeah. Smaller vehicles, like sportsters or vans an’ MUVs, use another fuel, da Korolev or simply Koro… heh…”

“Oh~ That explains the fuel pumps at the CreativeTruck… I only saw T, K and M on them…”

“Hehehe~ that’s right… da M is for Microplas. It’s used for non-space vehicles, heh, like bikes an’ other near-ground vehicles, hehe~ It’s really cheap, quite powerful an’ biodegradable, it doesn’ fuck up da environment.”

“Interesting…”

“Heh, oh, yeah… Right now, da fastest private vehicle in da Sol system’s Enya’s Cheetah, hehehe~”

“No fuck?”

“Heh, yeah… Only experimental an’ governmental vehicles are faster, like special security vehicles, da latter jus’ barely, hehehe~ She holds da record o’ five-hundred twenty-three paulets. Aia’s Thunderbird reaches five-hundred nineteen… hehe~ Da second fastest…”

“Fuck me… how much will mine reach?”

“Hehehe~ I’d love to see a race between da Queen, SpeedKitty an’ da Phoenix… that’d be da bomb, hehehe~”

“Yeah,” I laugh, “truly…”

I sigh, Jim looks at me, “What?”

I shake my head, “Naw… I’m just overwhelmed with all this new stuff… We’re technically traveling at speeds faster than light…”

“Yup,” he laughs, “several times.”

“Even outside of these Jumps?”

“Yup. Our power plants are special FTL-plants. Don’ ask…” he grimaces, “no idea how dey work. An’ da Jumps… no idea either. I jus’ use them. If it helps me to get ma work done in time, I’m happy, heheh~”

I laugh at his gestures.

·

I go back to the theory… So many changes…

·

“By the way, Jim…”

“Yeah?”

The old Mitsubishi-san said something about the Aces of Aces… What did he mean by that?”

He laughs heartily, “That’s an invention o’ him. Da ISTM had da term Ace for their four best truckers forever. But each branch o’ da ISTM has a set of Aces.”

“Branch?”

“Yeah, each sector has a branch or subsidiary o’ the ISTM.”

“Sector?”

“Heh!” he grins at my one-word questions, “Yeah, depending on da size o’ da solar system, it’s per system, if not, a greater sector is established. For example, Central ISTM’s sector is da Gaian Sector, meaning, da Sol System and almos’ da whole Orion-Cygnus arm.”

“Central ISTM?”

“Heh, yeah. Da Alpha station is da HQ o’ da Central ISTM, da core o’ da whole ISTM. Each branch is mostly independent but hasta follow da Central’s rules.”

“And Mitsubishi-san?”

“Heh! He’s da boss o’ all. But manages mostly da Central.”

“Then, the Aces?”

“Yeah, heh, each branch has its Aces, even da Central.”

“Oh, then we are the Aces of Central?”

“Nope!” he laughs heartily.

“Huh? Then?” I ask blinking.

He grins, “According to da old Mitsubishi we’re better than Aces.”

“Better?”

“Yeah,” he smirks, “Aces of Aces…” he says proudly as he takes his pack of fags out of his vest pocket and offers me one.

After taking a deep puff, he smirks again, “Da old Mitsubishi felt that da use of Ace had become too mainstream, heh, as most branches designate da Aces jus’ ’cause of simple performance statistics. Too mechanized, heheh~ He coined da Aces of Aces to go back to its roots.”

I blink, “He assigns Aces by hand?”

“Yeah, heh! We’re his personal Aces.”

“No fuck…”

“Heheh~ But he neva misses. If ya get his blessing, yer sure he considers ya the best of da best.”

“I don’t think I’m—”

He interrupts me, “Yer da best. No doubt. Heh!”

“But—”

“Jus’ yer name, Phoenix. That’s all he needed, heheh~”

“I’m hired just for my name? Am I a publishing stunt?”

“No, no!” he almost jumps up, “Da old Mitsubishi don’ eva do such stuff. Heh~ He’s sure dat ya will outperform most truckers.”

“How? I just awoke… and—”

He interrupts me yet again, “He’s got dat gut feelin’… Happened with Aia, with Enya, an’ maself, heh. Once he met each o’ us, he simply looked at us, nodded an’ jus’ said, ‘Yer my Ace now, da best of da best, an Ace o’ Aces…’ an’ turned ’round.”

“No fuck…”

He nods, “Yeah, dat’s da way I became an Ace o’ Aces, don’ know how Aia an’ Enya got it exactly, but said somethin’ similar… I was still a rookie…”

I sigh deeply, “Then he expects that I outperform my old self?”

“Yeah, heh… Being an Ace of Aces has a lot o’ pressure… But also a lot o’ privileges.”

I just hope I can live up to his expectations. I already feel the pressure…

·

After a good while reading on the piloting theory, Jim offers me another fag, “We’re ’bout to reach da exit gate… hehe~”

“No fuck… at Alpha Centauri?”

“Heh, jus’ for lunch. Hehe~ We’ll take a rest an’ eat somethin’ at da Base Station.”

“Wait… Isn’t Alpha Centauri a star? How near is the gate of it?”

“Heh, Alpha Centauri’s a binary system, heh, it has two stars. Da Centauri Gate Complex’s quite far from da stars, at da best location… Don’ worry ’bout it…” I sigh and he goes on, “By da way, do ya’ve got a weapon?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Then take it with ya, heh. This place isn’t always friendly, hehe~”

“Oh~ Okay…”

I leave my fag on the space-ashtray, float back and look for my backpack.

“Fuck! That’s an M29? Genuine?”

“Uh, yeah… an S&W M29…”

“Badass… Heh! But don’ dare to fire it inside a craft or a station, da bullets may damage da fuselage or worse…”

“Hmmm~ Right… I haven’t thought of that… I should buy something more civilized…” I laugh.

“Hehehe~ Later on, we get ya one. For now use yers, at least it scares da shit out o’ anyone…”

I laugh, “Yeah, true…”

“Heh… Can I see it close up later on?” he asks intrigued.

“Sure…” I nod as I load the revolver…

·

“Fuck me…” I’m flabbergasted as we exit the gate…

The AR is littered with IDs, thousands of space vehicles cross a huge sector. Over twenty of those huge gates are bustling in activity.

Jim laughs, “Welcome to da Alpha Centauri Gate Hub.”

“Gate Hub?”

“Heh, it’s an important hub, ya can connect to almost any other hub or nearby system through here.”

“So a kind of crossroad?”

“Yup! Heh~ Let’s get out o’ here… Da gate system indicates an exit vector, we’ve got to follow it.”

“Understood, like those of flight control.”

“Yup, heh! Da truck’s system told it dat we won’t take another gate, thus shows us da way out o’ da complex.”

“Wow! Cool.”

Overwhelmed by the view, I look around…

SH

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To be continued in:
A05 ~ BaseStation and Terraformers

SpaceHighway: The Awakened: A04 ~ Space Cowboy Jim

Series<< A03 ~ FlatmatesA05 ~ Base Station and Terraformers >>

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Intertextual references found on this page:

A04 ~ Space Cowboy Jim Read chapter

  •   Yasuhiro Nightow - Trigun (トライガン) Manga

    Perhaps obvious ^_^

  •   Satoshi Nishimura - Trigun (トライガン) Anime

    Same as the manga ^_^

  •   William Gibson - Neuromancer

    They go somewhere, don't they?

  •  George Lucas - Star Wars

    Mentioned by Kira

  •  Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    Mentioned by Kira

  •   Many authors - many books

    Star Gate Cooperative

    x

Copyright notice

TL;DR:
The author does not identify himself with any character.
Any resemblance with reality is purely coincidence.

 

SpaceHighway: The Awakened
© 2004-2017 by Siggy Simon Jr. / Martin S. Siegrist
All rights reserved

Full:

This literary series is protected under the copyright laws of the Sol System and other galaxies throughout the universe. Planet of first publication: Gaia, Sol System. Any unauthorized exhibition, distribution, or copying of this literary series or any part thereof (including imaginary soundtrack) may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution. The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living, deceased or future), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
No person or entity associated with this literary series received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and any other health related products.
No aliens were harmed in the making of this literary series.
Copyright © 2017 SpaceHighway & Siggy Simon Jr. / Martin S. Siegrist. All rights reserved.

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