Book Club

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

14 March YC 121

The next few days following my last conversation with Tarumo I spent reading books and catching up on the latest episodes of my favourite holovid shows. Again, my reading list was filled with Pod and Planet Contest entries written by capsuleers. Reading them together with Aura provoked some funny conversations. For example, when we finished Kilzin’s Filaments Gone Wrong she asked, “How could Kilzin drink rum in the capsule if it was filled with pod goo?”

“Don’t worry about such details – it’s all fiction,” said I.

Aura gave me a strange look and asked another question, “And why did he call his computer ‘computer’?”

“What do you call a computer? A sister?”

“Very funny,” said Aura and made a grimace. “Yes, I am a computer myself but I have a name. You don’t call me computer, you call me Aura. Doesn’t his computer have a name?”

I shrugged, “No idea. I thought all capsuleers’ ship computers were called Aura, but there you go.”

“Or maybe,” scoffed Aura, “it does not deserve a name. Remember how it failed to remind Kilzin to load drones into a drone bay? So stupid!”

“Ha-ha-ha! The pot calling a kettle black.”

There was a slight pause during which, I think, Aura was looking up the meaning of this idiom. When she found it there was a burst of indignation, “What do you mean by that? I have never forgotten to remind you to load drones into a drone bay. For that matter, you have never owned a single drone!”

“True, and that’s probably the reason why you have never failed – you just didn’t have an opportunity,” teased I.

But Aura didn’t take the bait, “The fact is, that has never happened, so either explain your pot-kettle allusion or withdraw it.”

“All I wanted to say was that you had had your own share of stuff-ups too, albeit not drone-related.”

“Hey, what stuff-ups are you talking about? I’ve done nothing!”

“And what about using up all CPU power to achieve ‘non-zero probability of cracking the code in the next 12 months’?”

“But that… but that…” gasped Aura desperately trying to find a repartee.

I interrupted her, “Aura, darling, you have already apologised for that incident. You don’t need to find excuses anymore.”

Aura glared at me, shut her mouth and folded the arms. We sat for a while looking at each other – one of us smiling, another pouting. Then I saw a twinkle in her eye which grew brighter and brighter until she giggled and said, “I can’t be angry at you that long. Let’s forget it and read something else.”

And so we did. The next story was called “Warp. Pod. Repeat.” It was written by Reyg Xander and described his early days as a solo fighter. Aura was horrified by his off-hand description of serial ship losses.

“Why do they do it? What are they fighting for?” asked she.

“Just for fun. Solo fighting is more of a sport than a war.”

“It’s not sport. I know what sport is – it’s like Splinterz or Mind Clash where there are millions of fans supporting their teams, waving flags and making noise. These so-called solo fighters have no audience. Who would be interested in watching it?”

“Other capsuleers, I guess.”

Aura snorted, “Even if there were other pilots around, what kind of noise could they make in their capsules? Bloop-bloop?”

All my attempts to explain that fights may be fun were futile – Aura just refused to see any joy in wilful, unprovoked destruction of innocent spaceships. Finally, she narrowed her eyes and asked suspiciously, “Hey, why are you trying so hard to sell me that ‘sport’? I hope you are not going to engage in that despicable activity?”

I chuckled, “I am not that bored yet. There are still pirates that require my attention. Especially one. By the way, I reckon it’s time to make a visit to our favourite military career agent and inquire about the progress of his investigation. What do you think?”

“I am in,” said Aura, and then shook her finger at me, “as long as we don’t go to low-sec plexes.”

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