A transfer flight of my Prospectors almost ended in a catastrophe.
After the bunker mission Brubacker and his crew dropped me off on Microtech. My Prospector was still stored in New Babbage. I was going to take it to Grim Hex. As soon as some grass had grown over the TV broadcast thing, I could go back into the mining business and sell ores for the free peoples on Port Olisar. I thought.
After all the formalities were done, I left the ice planet Microtech. The Quantum flight to the planetary system Crusader was long with my Prospector. Plenty of time to think. The recordings with my face were erased, Brubacker said that people quickly forget what they have seen on TV. However, someone had copied data before it was deleted. I did not know what data and who it was. Was anyone in possession of the recordings of me?
I decided to stay on Grim Hex for the time being and avoid the major landing zones. I had good contacts there. There were plenty of opportunities to do business. While I thought about my future, I arrived at the Crusader moon Yela. Time flew by.
I went into the cockpit to fly the last bit to Grim Hex. I was surprised how close I had come to the asteroid belt from the Quantum Flight. There was an asteroid directly in front of the ship. And there was something else hovering in front of the ship. I could not believe my eyes. This thing looked very familiar. Shit, that was my Helix Mining laser head. It was moving away slowly.
There went 100,000 UEC into the darkness of space. You gotta be kidding me. I was angry and cursing. How the hell did it come loose? There was nothing I could do. I gritted my teeth, set a course for Grim Hex and flew off. I had just calmed down a bit when I heard a loud bang. The ship was vibrating, the status display was glowing red.
I had not touched an asteroid. So it couldn’t have been a collision. I didn’t know what it was. But the damage report showed that the left ore pockets were gone. Gone, just gone. Ripped out of their mounts and gone. The ship was breaking apart. Hell, I had to get to Grim Hex before the hull breached.
I was carefully navigating the asteroids. The hull creaked and squeaked. The whole ship was vibrating. The sounds were menacing. I slid deeper and deeper into the pilot’s seat. I checked that my helmet was properly closed and that I was firmly strapped in. At any time the shell could break and the cold hand of the vacuum could reach for me.
A short time later I landed safely at the old mining station. My old Prospector looked bad. Several plates of the hull had come loose and were wobbling. The laser head was gone, the ore pockets on the left side were missing and who knows what else was just before decay. I could forget mining for the time being. This ship needed a complete overhaul. That could take a while.