A Space for Revenge (Peregrine & Diana)

Diana

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Making potentially illegal deals in seedy bars on backwater space stations was not where Ceres saw her life ending up. Sure, she never believed she'd anything more than another generation in a long legacy of ore minors, but she thought that she'd at least have a stable home with a little garden. A quiet, humble life was something to be appreciated.

But here she sat, across from someone she could only describe as a frog-faced scumbag, sliding several unmarked bars of rare ore across the table in an exchange that was about to change the entire course of her life for a second time.

The first time had been when her family was decimated. But then, that is what led her here in the first place.

The slimy jerk passed her tech-tab with everything she needed. New identification, the deed and controls to a space ship, and some very useful information about where to find quality weapons at (what she hoped) was a fair discount. She'd used the majority of her savings just on the ship alone. Getting everything else she needed for her mission was now going to take some effort and ingenuity.

When Ceres left the bar, no one jumped out to arrest her, so the deal must've been sound.

She made her way quickly to the docks, where most of the smaller and medium classed ships were parked in different holding bays. It took her a little searching to find the correct ship - a beautiful Rose class ship perfect for a single person to travel through the stars, with a little extra room to spare to run some cargo or passengers when she needed to make extra money to fund her mission.

Ceres opened up the cargo doors with her tech-tab and boarded the ship, immediately taking the opportunity to see what was left over in the cargo hold. The previous owners said the ship was sold "as is", which clearly meant they hadn't bothered to clean the thing out. Chances were, she might even need to hire a mechanic to take a look over everything to make sure it could fly.
 
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Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Somewhere out there, in the wide history of humankind, someone had once said that debt is the way to turn a free man into a slave.

Callum had never felt more truth in those words than the day two men in neat-pressed suits had informed him that he was about to be sold alongside his ship.

Worse yet, Callum had no choice but to let it happen.

Oftentimes, the only thing an unsuccessful merchant had to their name was the ship they flew. It was all but standard practice for a ship to become the collateral on an untrustworthy debtor.

Yet his Rose class explorer, his beautiful Song of the Starfield, was special. Generations ago, the ship had been genetically bound to his family's genetic code. And now, after the many twists and turns of fate, there were none left in this universe who could fly her, save him.

Perhaps Callum had thought he'd get lucky. That these men known for sucking the very marrow out of the bones of those who did not pay their dues, would simply let him go when they realized that the ship was nothing but a useless lump of metal without him. Hope, naivete, whatever it was that carried him on had all come crashing down around his ears the moment they said they'd take the ship anyways.

Even if it was only to scrap her.

If he fled his debts, like so many before, Starfield would be torn apart for parts, any non-functional part melted down and used for some other project. And he couldn't bear it.

Couldn't bear it to the point that he now sat in the cargo hold, face shaven clean to display the slave crest that had been emblazoned onto his cheek. Even when his beard grew out again in the months to come, it still wouldn't completely cover up the circle that would dominate his left cheek for the rest of his life.

Listening to the sound of the door opening, Callum couldn't help but idly muse that it seemed those bastards had gotten everything they needed out of this deal. They'd earned back whatever they'd lost on him now.

He couldn't help but survey the woman who walked in with slightly dead eyes. She was young, probably half a decade younger than Callum himself. But at least she seemed innocent. Would have to be, to purchase this kind of con.

But, what happened to her didn't matter to him. Whether she succeeded or failed in whatever endeavor led to her purchasing her own ship, it wouldn't change his fate. If the ship was sold because she lost everything, he went along with it. He and the ship were now one.

Perhaps this was the way things were always meant to be.
 
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Diana

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At first Ceres didn't notice the man. He sat so stock still that he might as well have been part of the cargo. Silent as a mouse too, for when she was practically next to him by the time she noticed she wasn't alone in the cargo bay. Ceres jumped and shrieked - and cut off herself off just as quick, hiding the soft whispered curse she gave by holding her tech-tab in front of her mouth.

"Why are you just-- sitting in here!" she exclaimed, without thinking. There were far more intelligent questions to ask, but with her heart still beating a thousand light years per minute, she was a bit lost for words. Once her brain caught up with her mouth, she gestured towards the open cargo doors.

"Out. This ship has new ownership, and I have no need for a crew. And before you try to weasel your way into a job - I don't have the money to pay you, so don't waste your time."
 
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Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
For a moment, Callum felt a trace of apology towards this young woman. He genuinely hadn't figured that she would be so occupied looking around the ship that she wouldn't think to look for the person she had just purchased. However, her next set of words caused a frown to fold across his face twice over.

The first, an instinctive aversion to hearing that his beloved ship belonged to someone else.

The second... She didn't need a crew? How exactly did she think she was going to fly this ship?

"Did you not read the sales contract?" Callum asked, voice dripping with a mixture of bewilderment and schadenfreude. Now that he said it, there was good probability that those assholes had indeed buried information on the fact that the ship had a genetic lock somewhere deep inside of a contract no one could even understand. But it would be legally binding, and there was no way out.

Callum snorted slightly, before pointing to the symbol on his cheek.

"Congratulations. You got a free pilot for the price of the ship. I'm sold along with Starfield, and she won't fly without me."
 
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Diana

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"That's- That's ridiculous!"

What? He'd pointed at his cheek as if she were supposed to know what it meant. Ceres stared at him for a moment, not entirely sure if she should even believe him. She expected that buying a ship from a bunch of low life criminals would come with a catch or two, but she was certain it'd be in the form of a busted console or burned out engine. Ships didn't come with people attached.

"Well then, it is your lucky day. I don't need a pilot so you're free to go off and do whatever it is you want to do. I'm sure I can learn whatever fancy trick it is that flies this ship. Jiggling the clutch or firing off the coils just so-" she mimed with her hands. Ceres had heard plenty of pilots talk about how finicky and special their ships were, as if they were living things that only answered to their special hands. This wasn't going to be any different.

"So away you go," she stated, matter-of-factly, stooping to snatch him by the sleeve and pull him up to shoo him on his way.
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Callum chuckled dryly. He remembered those bastards making a very similar face the moment he'd defaulted on his loan and they'd come to try and take the ship. He'd told them it was nothing but scrap metal without him, and they thought he was simply trying to wiggle out of his debt. They thought they'd put him in his place in an instant, and the whole situation would resolve itself.

They'd been wrong.

Of course, Callum had indeed been trying to escape his debt. But he hadn't been lying. They'd paraded countless experts, mechanical and technological, through the Starfield's every system, but every single one of those experts had reached the same result. Her engine would only turn on if he was the one starting them. Her controls would only respond if he was the one guiding them.

As long as the Starfield existed, she belonged to him.

And even though it wasn't her fault the ship had been sold, even though he'd still be a slave even if someone else had purchased the ship, the thought of her frustration gave him a momentary burst of satisfaction.

That's what she got for dealing with criminals.

A slightly mocking smile spread across his face, and he lifted one eyebrow in her direction, blatantly ignoring her attempt to tug at his shirt. Instead, he stretched out his legs slightly, casually leaning back against the bulkhead as though he didn't have a care in the world. "Fine. The cockpit is on the third floor. I'll take you there. If you can figure out how to even turn her engines on without me, I'll leave immediately."

Callum couldn't help but giggle slightly, before forcibly schooling his expression into something more restrained. "Deal?"
 
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Diana

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"Deal," she agreed, though not without some distrust. The man seemed awfully sure of himself and Ceres didn't want to get caught up in some scam when she was so close to finally making it out of here with a ship.

Not waiting for him to lead her there, Ceres lead the way herself out of the cargo bay. The first room she entertain appeared to be a central lobby, leading into two engineering stations on either side and a narrow hallway straight ahead. There was also a set of stairs, to which Ceres climbed upwards.

She paused on the second level, peering into a space that lead into two workrooms and what seemed like the common areas for crew. But as he had said third floor, Ceres continued up to the top of the stairs until she found the cockpit itself.

Feeling perfectly confident in her skills (even as mediocre as they were), Ceres plopped into the pilot's seat and got herself familiar with the controls. She flipped switches and pressed buttons... all of which clearly did SOME thing, but no engines roared to life. She was able to view diagnostics, and logs, and even flip on and off the lights. Yet, with an annoyed huff, she was having on hell of a time trying to get the engines.
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Callum barely managed to keep his face straight when she agreed. However, he couldn't help but let out a faint huff of amusement and satisfaction as she turned her back on him, marching her way towards the stairs leading up. He slowly stood his way to his feet, stretched, before lazily moving to follow after her. It wasn't as though he had to worry about her running away.

Callum's fingers traced lightly over the railing as he began to steadily climb his way up the floors. He was unquestionably biased, but if anyone had asked him, he wouldn't hesitate to say that the Rose class was the most beautiful line of ships in the universe. Sleek and practical, they were a line of deep-space explorers, designed to offer everything a crew of ten people would need to stay out in deep space for months at a time. Yet, so long as you were patient and knew what you were doing, even a solo explorer could pilot her.

Callum familiarly traced his fingers along the lines of the wall. He'd walked this path so many times. Now, he paused at the edge of the third floor, eyes involuntarily dropping closed.

A few mistakes. That was all it took to change his life forever. Now he'd always be flying this ship for someone else's sake.

At the very least, he got the satisfaction of seeing his new boss with steam positively pouring out of her ears. As Callum lingered lazily around the entrance to the cockpit, she seemed more like she was ready to start hitting things than fly a ship.

"Let me show you how," he offered casually. Knowing the proper order of things wouldn't do her any good.
 
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Diana

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Ceres tilted in her seat to look up at him, not failing to miss that slight look of antagonistic pleasure on his face. He thought this was entertaining! He had absolutely no idea how opposite from the truth that was. Nothing about this was fun or funny to Ceres. There were things she needed to do, and places she needed to be. She had no time for a pilot to toy or play games with her.

"Yes, show me." she insisted with frustration. "If I have to pay you to leave, I can do that too. Mind you I have very little left after purchasing this ship! You can at least be proud that it cost me everything I owned!"
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"Pay me?" Callum repeated, laughter bubbling up through his words. Was she a bit dim, or simply ignorant? Neither seemed to bode particularly well for whatever business she ran that needed this ship. "You seem to be forgetting the point of this, but that's fine. Move."

Callum waved her out of the cockpit seat, before taking the position himself. His hands brushed lightly and familiarly along the edge of the console before he focused back on the task at hand.

In truth, the Rose class ships were not difficult crafts to handle. They were designed for practicality in almost every measure, and that included start up and pilot procedures. Moving very carefully, so that this silly woman wouldn't be able to accuse him of hiding a step in the middle, Callum connected the fuel cells to the ship's engines, before placing his fingers on two side-by-side sliders. He moved them up gradually but steadily, and it was possible to hear an almost audible thrum as the engines began to rotate faster and faster. Finally, when the sliders reached their peak, he triggered the engines.

With only the faintest hitch, the engine's sparked to life, a faint whine quickly settling into the strange but familiar keen of spaceship engines that were disturbed by the presence of atmosphere. Callum sighed slightly, before lowering the sliders, disengaging the engine once more, and separating the fuel cells so that they wouldn't bleed power while the engines were off.

With a sigh and a casual dust of his pants, Callum stood back up, stepping away from the seat and gesturing towards the console. "Your turn," he said shortly, a trace of something both amused and vaguely unfriendly lurking in the depths of his eyes.
 
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Diana

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Ceres gave him a pointed scowl, but once he was up, she plopped herself back in the seat again. She was a quick study; Without hesitation, though quite carefully, she mimicked everything he did. First connecting the fuel cells to the engines. Then gradually moving up the two sliders. Finally, triggering the engines.

She went through the process three times.

"...balderdash! Spit-whistlers and balderdash!" she shouted.

Those sneaky bastards sold her a ship attached to a pilot. What did that mean for her now? Ceres gave him a startled second look over. That mark on his cheek was something nasty indeed. So now she not only owned a ship, she owned a man too? That was awful!

"...I can barely avoid to feed myself, how am I supposed to feed you!" she exclaimed with frustration, leaping out of the seat and marching her way back through the ship.

Now Ceres was giving it a different sort of examination. Were there things left behind she could salvage? Perhaps she would have to do twice as many cargo runs or passenger ferries to afford feeding someone extra. And honestly, she couldn't just not pay him. He'd have to be paid, that was only fair!
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Her outburst, unexpectedly cute considering the frustration it was supposed to represent, caused a laugh to raise up Callum's throat. However, the weight of her eyes as she looked at him, the panic and confusion and frustration and regret, caused the trace of humor to die just as quickly as it had risen.

Right. He'd forgotten for a moment.

She was a victim, just like he was. A victim of a group of people who were only ever looking out for their own self-interest, regardless of how much it might hurt other people. They'd taken advantage of whatever desperation had driven her to them, just like they'd done him.

"Hey, it's not as bad as you think," he said softly, trying to sound comforting. However, the words hitched in his throat somewhat, instead just coming out a bit gruff. "I'm a good pilot; I know my way around the stars."

His words didn't seem to do much to comfort her. As she stood up and stormed off, Callum didn't try and follow after her. Instead, he folded his arms leaning back against the wall. "There's a greenhouse in the forward hold!" he shouted after her instead. "You can get there from the lower and middle deck. It'll help!"

He'd give her a bit of time to herself. It wasn't as though he was in any hurry to leave.
 
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He shouted something about a greenhouse, and without actually hearing him or registering what he said, Ceres followed the directions. Her brain was far too preoccupied with trying to figure out how she was going to enact her plans now. What she wanted to accomplished wasn't only illegal, there was a high chance she'd die trying... or worse! Spend a thousand years in a prison camp! Another person was never supposed to be involved.

Maybe she shouldn't care. If she did die or go to prison, he'd gain his freedom after all. That is, if he didn't also end up in prison.

Ceres huffed and stomped her foot.

At that point she'd realized she'd walked into the front cargo hold, and as promised was greeted with rows and shelves covered in plants. Solar lights were positioned in strategic places here and there. The room smelled of dirt and greenery, fresh and mildly comforting when in a big bucket of flying metal.

Alright, perhaps this wouldn't be so bad after all, she thought. A little extra help in funding her scheme of vengeance couldn't hurt. As long as he understood she was the one in charge now, then it would all still go according to her plans!
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Several long moments after Callum was left alone in the cockpit, he finally moved. The back of the third deck was taken up by two state rooms. Normally reserved for transporting distinguished guests, these large, comfortable rooms hadn't been used for such a purpose for years. Instead, the two rooms belonged to his parents, and Callum himself.

Now, one of the rooms was filled with a jumble of various, familiar belongings, and the other was near spotlessly clean. Callum hadn't deluded himself into pretending whoever owned this ship next would be willing to leave one of the two rooms untouched, just because it contained a few dusty memories. At least this way, he could pretend that things would all go as normal. That the person who also now owned him wouldn't force him down into the bunks, and throw away the 'trash' that filled one of the nicest rooms on the ship.

At the very least... this woman didn't seem to hold much interest in hiring more crew members. Not with the way the very first thing she'd done was try and drive him away as well.

Frankly, she didn't seem to hold much interest in him, either. Callum didn't try and seek out his new owner, and the only time she tracked him down was a few hours after she'd left to explore the ship, ordering him to take them up into atmosphere and chart course for a nearby moon station. Nearby, but out of reach of the hands of the organization they'd both suffered at the hands of.

Other than that, Callum only caught glimpses of her when they occasionally ran across each other in the kitchen, when she found him carefully tending to the plants in the greenhouse, when they crossed paths while heading to their respective rooms. They hardly shared a word.

Two days after their departure, the greeting broadcast from the Cortinas Station reached the Starfield. Callum moved to the console, taking the ship off autopilot controls, before answering the broadcast with his own return signal.

"This is Rose Class, Song of the Starfield. Requesting docking at station A57."

[Copy that, Rose Class. Path A-57-2-18 is clear for docking.]
 
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Over the past few days, Ceres had interacted with her new pilot as little as possible. In normal circumstances, before her entire world had fell apart, she was a sociable person. Getting to travel space, see new places, and meet new people would've been a dream she never even dared to have. Now though, it felt as if getting to know the man was somehow... wrong. Ceres didn't want to learn more personal details or risk creating a friendship. It was already awkward enough that she owned him. How was he going to react to her plans of espionage and murder?

No longer lurking around in a sketchy cloak now that there were in slightly (very slightly) less dangerous of a port, Ceres was dressed in a pretty boring nondescript pair of brown pants, and a deep blue jacket. She buckled on a utility belt, silently debating if now was a good time to finally purchase a weapon. After all, her plan was to commit murder, she should probably have a whole arsenal to choose from for any sort of contingency, shouldn't she? Though her intent at this port was to get some cargo to haul, there were several markets for supplies she needed to visit.

Ceres made her way into the cockpit, not bothering to announce herself, even when she leaned over the back of Callum's chair and peered curiously as he worked the manual controls.

"I've made contact with a trader about some cargo," she finally said. "I'm also going to need to run through the markets for supplies. I'll need a shopping list of what you need."
 
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Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
It was impossible for Callum to miss the sound of someone approaching. He'd been alone in this ship with nothing but the memories of ghosts to keep him company for long enough that it was impossible for him to mistake the sound of footsteps approaching. Still, he didn't acknowledge his lady-owner as she approached, instead focusing on piloting the ship to follow along the 2-18 route.

Cortinas was a busy moon, a central hub for the entire solar system because of it's position on the very outskirts of the solar system. Despite being so far from the system's star that it was little more than a speck in the sky, its slow, predictable rotation around the sun meant it was always easy access for cross-system merchants. Reflective shields created an artificial atmosphere, and the frequent arrival and departure of ships ensured the dark moon stayed warm regardless of its distance from the sun or orbit around the gas giant it followed.

Indeed, countless ships were flying to and from the moon, and as the ship approached they grew close enough that it seemed only a tiny deviation would be enough to send them into head-on collision. Yet Callum threaded this interplanetary needle with ease and comfort. He'd been on busier stations than this one.

"There's a list in the galley that contains all the ship's supply needs," Callum answered, most of his attention focused on the controls. "And the last time they were restocked. Unfortunately, Starfield doesn't have automated sensors, so you'll need to check the fuel cells, water condensation tanks, and the supply for the spaceshield and gravitational conductor manually. The antimatter cubes were full when the Starfield docked on the last planet, but there's a decent chance those bastards swapped them out for near-empty ones."

Making sure a ship had the proper supply was never an easy task, and acted as a continual drain on any merchant's budget. The Starfield had been in neglect long enough that many of those were surely due for refuel and repair. Fortunately, part of the docking fee handled matters like waste disposal and landing on any place with an atmosphere would allow the atmospheric regulator to exchange gasses and refill.

Of course, it was only after he finished with the list that Callum began to find it unexpected that she hadn't just ordered him to handle these kind of things.

Staring studiously forward, the man decided not to mention it.
 
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The corner of her mouth twisted to the side in a soft thoughtful frown. With that many things to check up on, and the potential that the former owners had left the ship devoid of anything they could leech, this endeavor of hers was growing increasingly expensive. The very last of her reserves would end up putting invested into the ship itself.

And she didn't even understand half the things he listed off! They could be twice as expensive than her guessing!

All the more reason her first cargo run was important.

"...you'll have to come with me." she stated reluctantly, crossing her arms as her frown grew ever deeper. "You know the ship better and will know what it needs. I'll take care of the rest."
 
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Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
And there it was.

Of course it was impossible he'd be left behind when there was work to be done.

Frankly, if he had to help, Callum didn't know whether he would have preferred being told he had to come along or just being told to do it all on his own. On the one hand, just being an assistant was far more fair considering the fact that she was the owner of the ship and should be the one responsible for taking care of it. On the other hand, he truthfully wanted as little to do as possible with his new owner. Spending an afternoon shopping with her, however practically focused the shopping might be, sounded like emotional torture waiting to happen.

Biting his lip slightly, Callum clenched his hand a little bit tighter around the Starfield's controls. The steady thrumming of her engines, able to be felt through almost any surface while the ship was running, provided him some measure of familiar comfort and steadiness.

If he was being honest, he probably wouldn't let her do a resupply by herself. As the kind of person who could get scammed into buying a genetically-locked ship, he didn't want her putting corrupted antimatter into the warp drive because it looked like a good deal on a tight budget.

A faint rumble from the wing reminded him he was currently on a narrow flight path. Correcting his path, Callum focused all his attention on landing the ship safely. "As you wish."

It only took a few minutes more for the silver blob in the distance to resolve into a bustling spaceport, and then for Starfield to approach the pale blue haze of the artificial atmosphere, peeking out from behind the slowly rotating shields. "You might want to buckle up," Callum said, somewhat dryly. They'd be touching down in only a couple minutes more.
 
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Diana

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Ceres did as she was told and buckled herself in - she might've been frustrated with this entire situation, but she wasn't a fool. If your pilot warned you to sit down and buckle up, you better do it! The ride in was as smooth as could be, but she couldn't help but have a few jitters about it. Ceres had spent her life planet-side, on the ground or in the mines. As exciting as space travel was, she was still getting used to how it felt in her bones. Everyone always claimed the gravity on ships was just the same as a planet, but Ceres strongly disagreed!

Once they were safely docked, Ceres waited for Callum to do a quick sweep of the ship and double check what supplies or repairs they'd need. As she did, she'd claimed her tech-tab to make her own list of notes, along with confirming her meeting with the trader later in the cycle.

That'd give her enough time to browse the markets with her new pilot. She intended to make sure she purchased a decent weapon on the off chance this shipping deal went sideways.

Pausing at a mirror in the galley, she squinted at her own blue eyes and fussed her fingers through coal-colored hair. At least she looked the part of grizzled, experienced nobody. There were the dark circles under her eyes and she was a bit paler than even would be normal for someone that'd spend hours in caves. Hopefully she'd blend in with the crowd enough to remain forgettable, and not seem so much like some backwater dingdong that could be easily swindled.
 

Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
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  2. Multiple posts per week
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  2. No Preferences
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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
The moment the Starfield passed through the ring of reflective shields, the entire ship began to shake with a faint vibration as it broke through the atmosphere at high speed. Callum's deft hands continued to move in controlled gestures, minimizing the jolts and bounces that tried to shake the ship's interior as Cedric transitioned them from a forwards approach to a downwards descent. The monitor in front of them flickered, blocking the current view with footage from the landing cameras.

Cortinas' surface began to come in to focus before them, a meshwork of industrialized silver, brown, and black. A-57-2-18 was all but indistinguishable from the surrounding docking stations, as it ballooned in their view from a faint black circle into something that filled the entire screen.

Then, with a faint cry from the shock absorbers, the Starfield settled into place. A hiss filled the chamber as the ship automatically began a gas exchange, and the ground crew began to move, securing the Starfield and towing her out of the landing zone. Callum promptly unbuckled himself after turning off the engines and disconnecting the fuel cells. With a faint glance at Ceres but no exchange of words, he began to survey the ship's status.

He didn't even bother with the list in the galley, instead descending down to the engines and beginning a rapid inspection. True to his fears, the bastards had all but gutted everything from the ship that wasn't bolted in. The fuel cells were less than half full, the antimatter cubes all but drained after their warp to Cortinas. The spaceshield module had been replaced for a version from 5 generations ago, and the harvesters had been completely stripped away. Even the emergency fire suppressant had been emptied.

Taking a slow breath, Callum began to write down a list of their needs, and the few things they still had in their possession. Considering how desperate Ceres had seemed about paying him to leave, he knew there was no chance that they'd be able to get the Starfield back to peak condition. Even if this cargo mission was successful, the chances there'd be enough profit to update everything was doubtful.

At the very least, they had to get a new antimatter cube. The Starfield was a deep-space research craft, not a merchant vessel, but even she couldn't get across galaxies without antimatter. If they didn't refill her cubes, they'd be stuck running local errands until they could pay for more. With expert piloting he could make do with the current amount of fuel, minimizing consumption by reducing changes in direction, but they'd also have to resupply the spaceshield, or risk being exposed not only to impact and attacks, but also radiation, friction heat, and more.

Finishing his list and estimations, Callum began to search for Ceres again, brow slightly wrinkled. When he finally found her in the galley, staring at her own reflection, he couldn't help but sigh. "It's not looking good," he began. "What... exactly is our budget for the essential fixes?"
 
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