Pilot Tales

“Change of Fortune” — Episode 01

WYRMBYTE PRESENTS STORIES FROM THE WARP NEXUS:

NEW EPISODES OF “PILOT TALES” RELEASED THURSDAYS!

The creative minds behind Warp Nexus are excited to give the STARL community early access to the amazing universe of Warp Nexus in the form of weekly series of episodic fiction entitled “Pilot Tales”. In our debut story, we meet a pilot trying to put bad luck in the rear-view screen and finally get a step or two toward prosperity. In the coming months, this series will feature immersive stories set in the Warp Nexus game universe, providing early insight into the exciting world that is being imagined and designed exclusively for this community.

We hope you enjoy the first installment of the series:

“Change of Fortune”

by Michael Azzolino

Episode 01

The console vibrated with a slow and steady thrumming under his fingertips, he was once again struggling to complete the manifest request process. Glancing at all the boxes on the screen, trying to make sure he doesn’t make the same error as last time. The shapes on the screen are oddly reminiscent of the colorful images of his favorite puzzle game, where the goal is to stack falling blocks in organized rows. His mind begins to stray.

“Captain’s Name?”, asked a synthesized voice emitting from the tiny speaker. It repeated the question a second or perhaps a third time, before pulling him from the depths of his thoughts. More likely, it was the pilot waiting in line behind him, who gave his shoulder a less than gentle shove.

“Tuttle, um Arven Tuttle and…and I, uh hold no ranks or titles — that I’m aware of.”

The machine stopped humming for just a moment or two, followed by a thud and then another, louder thud. A wide door at the base of the machine opened with a whine, revealing an interior compartment. A document tube drops into view and comes to rest in the slot. Arven blinked hard a few times. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“It’s never worked in the past”, he thought, or maybe he said it out loud? He wasn’t sure. He looked back smiling giving the pilot behind him the thumbs up. The man did not share his amusement!

“Pack your Hold! We don’t have all cycle!”, his volume and anger rising with each passing second. Arven snatched the Doc-Tube and double-timed away from the line without looking back. He needed to head in the direction of the shipyards to deliver the Tube, but the pains in his empty stomach insisted on immediate attention. Calculating a slight detour in his route, to take him past a pantry-kitchen close by where his friend works as a cook. Arven found himself between pay cycles and running leaner than he ever had in the past. He recently gambled and lost what little savings he had accumulated on a risky investment, hauling commodities through a huge asteroid field. That didn’t turn out so well and now Arven was forced to make hard choices. He hated having to ask a friend for favors. He ran through the scenario in his head a few times. He felt himself frown and could almost hear his friend’s cybernetically enhanced voice in his head saying, “A loan is a loan. Whether you spend it, eat it, or fly away in it.”

The pantry-kitchen occupies a narrow gap, barely 2 meters across between the corner edge of a huge vertical deck plate and a structural support beam. The smaller and fewer common structures are constructed from wood instead of synthetics. With no signage on the building required, the delicious scent of food coming from within is all anyone needs to know. An inadequate number of small tables and chairs are positioned just beyond the counter, where patrons received their meals. The stove beyond was shrouded in constant steam with the occasional plume of flame erupting into the hood above and outlining the cook’s profile. A tall figure with two mechanical arms and other various implants glowing in the mist. Zebb-X was without a doubt, Arven’s best friend.

Zebb-X lost both of his arms in an industrial accident and had cybernetic limbs installed as part of his settlement with his former employer. He spent all his credits on additional implants, became addicted to body modification, and aggressively seeks to achieve the ‘Purity of Form’. Believing that it was fortunate that his friend expended all of his wealth, Arven was relieved for the moment that he could not pursue additional surgeries.

Arven found the broken and usually unoccupied chair, leaning against the wall. Snatching it up and unfolding it in a single motion of flair. He produced his lucky chunk of titanium from his pocket and wedged it into the gap under the leg and gave it temporary strength to support him. He smiled satisfied. Whistled a few notes, while plopping down into the seat, leaning back as if to tempt fate and locking his fingers together cradling the back of his head. He notices several people waiting for seats scowling at him. That happens to me with some frequency, Arven thought.

Zebb filled a bowl of steaming porridge for Arven before emerging from the kitchen. He knew that Arven didn’t have two Credits to rub together. Zebb offered the bowl to him. Before he could reach out and accept the gift of nourishment, Zebb began to mutter under his breath, “A loan is a loan…”

“I know! I know! If I eat it or fly away in it…” Arven’s hunger made his reply sound impatient and a little exasperated. Zebb moved the bowl quickly away from Arven’s outstretched hand, some of the liquid spilling over the rim onto the floor. He gave the hungry pilot a stern look, laughed loudly with a bark, and gave him his meal.

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