daydreamerexpress: Nursery... (eagle nebula)
[personal profile] daydreamerexpress
Dian glanced at the remaining reports, but the reflection of the AI was too prominent in the glass. Instead, she shifted to a different set of controls and adjusted her earpiece to check on the chatter station-side, just in case something had happened that she would be best informed of before it exploded in her face. Something like her chief engineer starting a fight and winding up in the brig. Last time that had occurred, a bribe had been necessary. Brillage was upset when he discovered his stash of Raging Roger Robot action figures had been traded for his freedom, but it had been his own damn fault for causing the situation in the first place.

Nothing of note seemed to be happening. Oh, the place was as busy as the gates to Paradise, as at least a dozen vessels were docked or in a directed orbit around the station. Lots of transmissions were being sent in private packets to and from the comm centre. No one seemed to be in trouble, though. No one from the Pericles, anyway, and Dian didn't pay much attention to anything else. It was background noise and she let her eyes close as she listened. Not soothing, exactly, but it kept other thoughts from banging around her head like so much scrap.

She knew the AI was finished with his current tasks when a voice to her immediate right said, "Have you decided on a destination, captain?" The design of the ship made it possible for the hologram to direct its 'voice' and make it realistically sound like it was coming from the image of his moving mouth. He didn't always bother. It was a little disturbing and Dian could easily do without that feature, as it made him seem even more alive, if that was possible. She opened her eyes and turned her head, looking up to regard him.

He was casually 'sitting' on the console beside her, which was quite a feat given he was, essentially, a fancy trick of the light. Smoke and mirrors, she thought. If someone were to study him long enough, they'd realize that his shadow wasn't being cast by the interior illumination, though it should be. Pericles only added those details for ship-to-ship transmissions and with any luck, they'd never be put in the position for Pericles to perform a face-to-face encounter with anyone, especially those in authority. It was unknown how well his impersonation of a 'real person' would fool someone perceptive enough to notice that something was off. So far, they'd managed to avoid that scenario and if they were lucky, such a ploy wouldn't be necessary.

It was all about the illusion.

"No," Dian replied, deciding to deal with the reports that had accummulated on the screen since she'd last checked, their little icons pulsing like heartbeats as they waited to be opened. They were shaped like toy animals, which meant that Gnat had been the last one to use this console. Gnat was station-side, staying out of trouble - or so Dian hoped. She opened a file at random. "We're using the last of our repair fund this time. Income would be a good idea."

Three minutes, twelve seconds...

Pericles shrugged. "There's always someone looking for help out here," he said. "Depends on whether or not they can afford us and how much they care if its done legally."

"Legal is something we can skim," she replied. "As long as we won't do any hard time for it if we're caught, any job is possible." She liked to believe she was tough enough to follow through on that thought, but she knew herself better.

"If we're captured, any illegal activity won't compare with our current, permanent record," the AI said gently, as if he was part of the crew and would suffer punishment with them. Dian figured if they were ever caught and tried, Pericles would be erased from existence. Was that a worse fate than what the others would endure? She wasn't sure.

Traitor.

Dian didn't like the word, but essentially, that was her official status, and it was the same for the rest of the crew. They were traitors and thieves, armed with a military vessel and weapons to match. AWOL and worse: disobedience of a direct order. They had made a choice, knowing there would be no going back until something, somehow, was settled in their favour. Wanted criminals with a price on each of their heads. Rebels.

A choice.

That didn't mean it was easy.

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Daydreamer Express

February 2016

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