Supplies for the IAE led me across the Stanton system and almost to ruin.
After investigating the crashed satellite on the planet Hurston I was back on Microtech. The IAE 2950 had opened its doors in New Babbage. It was a hustle and bustle. People came and went, spaceships landed and took off. In the first few hours the crowd was so big that many visitors had problems getting into the exhibition hall. There was stress and hectic. Constantly one was bumped into by somebody.
The mass of visitors drove the sales of Distilled Spirits up. Not only in Wally’s Bar. There were first delivery bottlenecks. Brubacker was probably not the only one who liked to drink the bar empty. A good opportunity to earn some money and get some distance from the hustle and bustle in this anthill.
With my Cutlass I flew to the planet ArcCorp. It was a long flight across the Stanton system, but it should be worth it. I had recently heard of an unregistered outpost on the moon Wala. Shady Glen Farms was not listed on the Starmap. There you unofficially got Distilled Spirits at a great price, tax and duty free. The profit margin was promising.
I was on my final approach to the outpost. It was located on the night side of the moon. All I saw was a blue-black nothing. It was pitch dark, not even the contours of the moon’s surface could be seen. The altitude display dropped rapidly, there were only 2000 meters left. Before me was still the undefined black-blue nothing. Then suddenly, lights, right in front of me. With much too high speed I raced towards the ground. The brake engines roared, the ground took shape, came closer quickly. Images and memories shot through my head. It was as if my life passed me by in rapid succession.
The rock in front of me was as big as the cockpit of the Cutlass and filled my entire field of vision. I could see the pores in the rock. The speed indicator showed 0 m/s. With shaky hands I backed up, extended the landing gear and set down in a rough way. That was close, not much would have been missing and I would have become part of the dust of Wala. My heart was still racing when I opened the rear ramp. A beautiful sight opened up to me. The crystals on the moons surface sparkled in competition with the stars.
A short time later the cargo hold of the Cutlass was full of distilled spirits and I was on my way into orbit. Tax-free, I was happy like a little child. It was a satisfaction to do business without giving anything to the UEE. I set course for Microtech and was about to start the Quantum engine when I looked at the fuel gauge. The Crossfield Quantum Drive was fast, but consumed a lot of fuel. It was not enough for the return flight.
I had no choice. I had to fly to Bajin Point in the orbit of the planet ArcCorp to refuel. A queasy feeling came over me. There were many patrols at the space station. A load of untaxed distilled spirits was difficult to explain during a check. I had to come up with something. After changing course I started the Quantum Drive.
The station came closer, several contacts were displayed on the radar. With the systems switched off I let myself drift towards the station. The cold flight in stealth mode should increase my chances to slip through unnoticed. My tension was so high, that it could be measured as EM signature. One of the large defense turrets slid past my cockpit on the right. I looked after it. The guns looked threatening. I was almost there when the radio crackled. The radio message hit me like lightning. I was told to contact ATC if I wanted to land. Relieved, I collapsed in the pilot’s seat.
Without further problems I refuelled the Cutlass and flew back to Microtech. In New Babbage no one asked about the origin of the distilled spirits. The main thing was that the guests were satisfied and the party could go on. In Wally’s Bar I had a drink in the evening to relax. I met a representative of MISC. I told her how long I had been waiting for my Prospector to be repaired. She promised me to take care of it. As compensation for the long wait I would get an update of my Mining UI in the Prospector for free. Satisfied I ordered another whiskey.