From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod
I was only three days out of Delta Epsiloni Four aboard the freighter Cleric’s Hope as her replacement First Mate when I got into a religious argument with the Engineer. I knew when I signed on that the ship was crewed by devotees of the Chosen Ones of Illumination, but I thought if I could just do my job and keep my nose out of their religious practices, I’d be okay. But I had no idea they prayed three times a day, and that doesn’t count praying right before they go to bed, that they almost always pray together as a group, and that all ship activity has to stop when they pray unless it’s a dire emergency.
How the hell can you operate a working freighter in space or dockside when you stop work every four hours to pray for forty-five minutes? Who bloody well flies the ship, navigates to the next port, loads and unloads cargo, maintains the engines? Who bloody well has to actually do work except for the token unbeliever on board…me?
I suppose I’d better back up a bit. My name is Camdon Rod and like I said, a week ago, I signed on as the new First Mate of the Cleric’s Hope, a class B interplanetary freighter that did regular runs between the planets and outposts littering the Gamma and Delta Epsiloni systems.
Unlike my former freighter, the late Cynnabar Breen, may she rest in peace, she was not hyperjump capable, but she was five times larger, so she required a Captain, a Pilot/Navigator, a First Mate (that’s me), an Engineer, and four cargo specialists who doubled as security (sometimes thieves want to steal what freighter’s haul if it’s valuable enough).
I suppose I should have waited for a better opportunity, but I was desperate. They should have known better than to hire a First Mate, even a temporary one, who didn’t follow their religion, but they were desperate, too. The guy I replaced came down with a sudden case of Carmine’s Skoots, so he’d be out of action for a week at least (although rumor on the docks was that he had temporarily lapsed in his faith and had really contracted a case of Salizine overdose, a popular hallucinogenic drink that’s all the rage of the low life bars just a stone’s throw from the freighter bays).
That’s why Targo Ree, Captain of the Cleric’s Hope was desperate for someone to replace his First Mate on this run, but what about me? That requires a bit more explaining.