We’re Either Stopping Genocide Or Starting It

space

Image: JPL NASA

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

Not only am I a moron, I think I’m going out of my mind.

For the record, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner/operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. Ginger, the woman the freighter is named for, is here too. Well, sort of. Over fifty years ago, a hyperjump accident destroyed her flesh and blood body, but the rest of her stayed here. She’s the ship’s personality. Sometimes, she can become a woman for a while. Convenient since we’re in love with each other.

Sometime ago, I accepted a deal to work for a group of hyperspace beings, illegally hauling cargo for them. I had no choice. They could kill Ginger if I didn’t.

After that, I had to agree to work for the terrorist organization Spire for the same reasons.

I can’t believe I was stupid enough not to see the connection right away. Either Spire is run by these beings, or behind the scenes, they’re manipulating the people who do run Spire.

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Spire

satellites

Image: BusinessNews.com.au

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

“Spire destroys four small satellites from Cygnus.”

Normally, I wouldn’t care about headlines like this at all. Spire is a small band (probably) of rebels and revolutionaries who not only dislike the Consortium, but actively fight against them, usually by sabotaging their holdings in the Outer Regions. Cygnus is a subsidiary of the Consortium that produces and distributes automated spacecraft for colony worlds or planets newly joining the Outer Region.

Thanks for joining me. I’m Camdon Rod, the owner and operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. My co-pilot and engineer is the original Ginger, who just also happens to be the ship. No, she’s not AI. About fifty years ago or so, she was caught EVA outside the Regret when it spontaneously jumped through hyperspace.

Ginger’s flesh and blood body didn’t survive, but everything else important about her fused with the freighter. Although she can manifest as a warm-blooded woman for certain periods of time, she is the heart, soul, and personality of the ship.

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Payback

gunpoint

Image: International Business Times UK

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

Oh crap! I just remembered that the Bio Research Center for Evolutionary Design located on Delta Epsiloni Four put out a hit on me over two years ago. Really, it wasn’t my fault that I lost their shipment of hundreds of thousands of biosamples developed on over a dozen worlds in the Consortium. It’s not my fault that a jump drive accident sent my former ship, the Cynnabar Breen, on a one-way trip out of known-space and into the ocean of a young alien world. It’s not my fault that all of their samples, mutated by radiation from the Breen’s ruined space norm drive, began to breed at a geometric rate, contaminating the planet’s biosphere and resulting in the Consortium quarantining said-planet for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.

It’s not my fault, but those crazy geneticists don’t see it that way.

Oh, by the way, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner and operator of the hyperspace freighter Ginger’s Regret. Ginger, the ship’s named after her, is the co-pilot, engineer, and literal personality of the ship (long story, but if you’ve been reading these long entries for a while, you’ll know).

We took a job ferrying some DNA analysis equipment from our main port of Marconii to the Bio Research Center for Evolutionary Design on Epsiloni and now we’re approaching Marconii’s jump point about to deliver the goods. I remembered too late about how the scientists at that place hate my guts (I assume they still do) and hired an assassin to off me.

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What We Do For Love

galaxy

Image: Gizmodo.com

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

There are monsters living in hyperspace and they’ve sent spies into the Consortium. Okay, maybe they’re not monsters, but they definitely aren’t like any sentient life form known in our little corner of the galaxy.

Oh, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner/operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. Ginger is the other half of the partnership and in fact, she is the ship, well sort of.

Due to a bizarre accident she had over fifty years ago, her corporeal body was vaporized as the Regret entered hyperspace but everything else she is, personality, spirit, force of will, became somehow fused with the freighter. I used to think she was a ghost, but speaking of monsters, that thing that had been posing as Calderon Zg convinced me otherwise.

You remember Zg. In my previous log entry, I mentioned how he held Ginger hostage and forced me to perform a hyperspace jump while he was outside the ship. I’d like to think he was just vaporized and that’s all there is to it, but at the moment of the jump, Ginger was able to sense what he was thinking.

They’re watching us, those things from hyperspace. Zg or whatever it was, went back home if you can call hyperspace home, but Ging said there are more of them here in our universe. We’re safe as long as we don’t discover their realm and how to enter it. If anyone does, the very least they’ll do is change hyperspace somehow so that jumping will become impossible. No more interstellar travel…ever.

And if that’s the least they can do, I hate to think of what the worst might be.

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No One’s Luck Could Be This Bad

space

Image: JPL NASA

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

I used to think I was the luckiest freighter pilot this side of hyperspace, but obviously my luck’s running out.

Oh, I’m Camdon Rod, owner and operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. My partner in this operation is the real Ginger, the woman the ship is named after. There’s just one catch: Ginger’s a ghost.

I didn’t used to think she was, not really. I always figured she was some sort of one-in-a-million aberration of hyperspace physics and the quantum wonkiness of how jump drives work. After all, Ginger was “killed” over fifty years ago when she was EVA while the Regret’s jump drive activated due to an accidental power surge.

But we found out recently that hyperspace is where souls go when sentient beings die, at least I think that’s what we found out.

Ginger and I don’t talk about it. What’s there to say? She’s a soul or spirit or something that can’t get into hyperspace with the rest of them. So I guess that makes her a ghost.

That’s not what I’ve been complaining about though. You know, about my luck running out?

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Tuning In

flash of lightFrom the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

Just completed the jump into the Brinelli system and my head’s ringing like the Cathedral bells at the Lovibian convent on New Mederine. This is the fifth jump where I’ve heard ringing and come away with a splitting headache, and it gets worse with each jump.

Yeah, you know me. My name’s Camdon Rod and I’m the owner/operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. Right now, I’m regretting taking the job to haul replacement Calidantian micro-spanners to Brinelli for their underwater mining operations. Sure, the price is right since they can’t run the hydro-drills without these parts, but what the heck is happening to my head after each hyperjump?

This has never happened to me before. As you know, any ship equipped with a jump drive plots a virtual point-to-point connection between origin and destination points through hyperspace. The trip is instantaneous from a lifeform’s point of view and it’s impossible to perceive anything about the jump whatsoever, or at least it’s supposed to be.

No time to get careless. A distracted pilot is a dead pilot.

“Brinelli central control to Ginger’s Regret. Acknowledge completed jump.”

There’s Brinelli’s standard acknowledge call. “This is Ginger’s Regret acknowledging jump. Cutting in space norm engines. Estimate landing Ispanzu Port 1450 hours local time.”

“Confirming Regret’s estimated arrival at Ispanzu at 1450 hours local. Welcome to Brinelli. Enjoy your stay.”

“Acknowledge and thanks. Regret out.”

I’m just about gritting my teeth against the pain in my skull but I think it’s starting to ease off some. And so it goes.

“Need some pain killers, lover?”

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Hijacked!

Ginger

Image: Christina Hendricks, Flare Magazine

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

They say it’s impossible to hijack a jump freighter, but there’s always an exception to a rule. I mean, jump ships are monitored by ground control when they lift off, then satellite monitoring until the ship reaches the jump point and enters hyperspace.

Forget about intercepting a ship in hyperspace. That’s really impossible.

Same on the other side of the jump. The ship exits hyperspace at the system’s jump point and is monitored all the way to the ground or orbital rendezvous or whatever. Any vessel attempting to intercept a jump ship in normal space would be spotted thousands of kilometers away.

Normally, I’m a pretty lucky guy, but this time my luck was going to run out.

By the way, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner and pilot of the most unusual jump freighter in known-space, the Ginger’s Regret. What makes the Regret so unusual? She’s alive.

Well, not exactly. It’s more like she’s haunted…kind of.

Let me explain.

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The Haunting of the Ginger’s Regret

Ginger

Actress Christina Hendricks

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

For a single op jump freighter from that era, she was in fantastic shape, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling I was missing something.

Oh, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m shopping for a replacement for my dearly departed freighter the Cynnabar Breen. The Breen went down in the seas of an alien planet well outside of known-space due to a jump drive accident (and I’m using the term “accident” mildly).

One trial, one assassination attempt against your’s truly, and one momentary destruction of the universe later (see my previous log entries for details) and here I am on Gamma Outpost Cecil, a mining outfit and trading post on a large asteroid in the Gamma Epsiloni system, looking over an immaculately maintained Teralyn class jump freighter called Ginger’s Regret.

Oberlin Phie, the ship’s current owner, is pushing 150 years old which even by Consortium standards is getting up there. More like one foot in the grave and the other in a puddle of engine lube. I’d guess he was a strong, handsome bastard once upon a time, but it’s time that has a habit of catching up with us when we’re not looking.

Doubt he’d been taking any of the expensive life-extender pharmas produced by the Consortium. Maybe he could have afforded them, but he seems the type to tell those main sequence jackals to take their heavily inflated medical fees and to shove them up their exhaust ports (I know I would).

He didn’t miss a step in showing off his pride and joy. I got the complete tour of the Regret from control room, to both engine rooms (one for space norm drive and the other for jump), expansive cargo holds, galley, med bay, Captain’s cabin, the works. We crawled around access tubes, examined power conduits, tested data relays, and all but performed a proctology exam on the freighter.

Oh speaking of which, there’s a real Ginger. She’s painted on the left side of the hull just under the control cabin. It’s life-size and let me tell you, a very fine piece of work indeed, particularly if you’re into beautiful buxom redheads and mild erotica.

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The Day I Destroyed the Universe

explosion

Image: giantbomb.com

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.

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The Last Flight of the Cynnabar Breen

planet

Image: hongkiat.com

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

I’d just finished the hyperjump and arrived in the Delta Epsiloni star system when the meteor struck my craft’s main drive section. Fortunately, it was a small meteor, otherwise the ship might have been destroyed and me along with it. Unfortunately, it was large enough and going fast enough to pierce the re-enforced outer hull, punch a three centimeter hole through the jump drive’s control systems, ripping them to shreds, and exit out the other side of the hull, making a hole much, much larger than the first.

Also unfortunately, it hit at just the right angle and velocity that instead of rendering the drive inoperable, it triggered another jump through hyperspace. With the control systems gone, the ship jumped blind giving me an over 99% chance of emerging somewhere outside of known-space. Now I have no idea where I am.

Oh, for the record, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the pilot and owner of the freighter Cynnabar Breen. Hey. I didn’t name her. The pilot I bought her from did. But that’s her official designation in the Consortium’s ship registry and I’m stuck with it.

On this run, I was assigned to take a large number of diverse microscopic biosamples, all suspended in stasis, to the fourth planet orbiting Delta Epsiloni, specifically the Bio Research Center for Evolutionary Design. The docs and lab geeks like to take what we’ve got and see if they can make it better.

They won’t be getting their shipment on time. In fact, they won’t get it ever, at least from my ship.

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