Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Flash Fiction 6: Nebulae

My contribution towards Ecliptic Rift's latest installment of the Friday Flash Fiction series.


Ben Yelsni hunched his shoulders and gritted his teeth as he tried to ignore the fingernails on a chalkboard sound he was making with his nano-chisel against the sides of 'The Anti-Nebula', a Cyclone class Battlecruiser pressed into service as a mobile gas-harvesting plant for use in Wormhole space.

"I don't know 'bout you, Rajek, but I didn't sign up on Min's crew to kill nebulae, and I certainly didn't sign up to clean the bloody left-behind vapors off the sides of her Battlecruiser just because the harvester is smart enough not to take the unnecessary compounds, but ain't smart enough to blow them other compounds away from the darned shielding." He complained to his companion, who was far more sanguinely directing the cleaning-drone that was polishing in the wake of Ben's chisel.

The two were conversing inside the largely deserted ship maintenance array of the P2AS tower. Segregated from the rest of the crews by their loyalty to the Imperium Technologies pilot they signed on with, Ben and Rajek were often paired together aboard the myriad of ships in the Minmatar capsuleer's arsenal. They had served as the primary engineering crew on several iterations of the Rifter, Bam A Lam I through VI, aboard the slow and steady Black Betty, hauling goods throughout New-Eden, and even once upon the Hurricane Class Battlecruiser Rock You Like A... but for some unknown reason, word had recently filtered down that Ben and Rajek were to be removed from the regular crew rotation and placed on 'special assignment'.

Since that time, they'd served primarily upon The Anti-Nebula, but had also been sent to work as part of the P2AS crew in charge of ship-salvage, upon the Labrador Retriever mining common minerals, and even station duty in the hybrid polymer reactor array.

"I tell ya, we've had some hard times with the boss, but I don't know why she's singled us out for the crappiest and most boring jobs available out here in W-Space." Ben complained.

Speaking slow, as was his want, Rajek replied in his obscure drawl, "Ain't nothin' ter worry 'bout, Ben. Ah'm hearin' rumors, an they might be what's true, ye ken? Them rumors sayin' tha boss be figurin' who she'll be hirin' on fer tha first Loki to churn out o' production out here. Says she's got some folk in mind an' want's ter make sure tha crew know what went into buildin' tha beasty, tha hours an' tha 'boring' crap, so they're of a mind ter keep 'er runnin' smooth an' sure. Ye ken?"

"So, if ye wanna get yer hands on some o' that fine high-tech sleeper shizz, ye best be shuttin' yer mouth, lowerin' yer head, and diggin' that chisel a bit faster boyo. Ah'm catchin' up with this 'ere fancy polishin' rag, and ah'd hate ter 'ave ter ask tha boss ter get ye some 'elp." The Minmatar crewman smirked at his shell-shocked companion.

Ben blinked, slowly translated the drawl into more intelligible language, grinned, and turned back to his task. "Well heck yeah then, let's kill us some bloody nebulae!"

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