Morning(s) After

Genesis Region – Mih Constellation
Zoohen System – Planet III
Theology Council Tribunal

11 June YC 122

The last three days were a bit of a blur. It all started with corporate drinks; I had a few to celebrate my award. Then there was an after-party where everyone felt obliged to shout a drink for me. Then I didn’t remember much. The next morning I went to a cafe for breakfast. It turned out that my circadian cycle was not in sync with the local rhythm, and what I thought to be morning was actually late afternoon by the local wall-clock. So instead of muesli and yogurt buffet I was greeted by a dinner menu and a new group of Signaleers who were unable to attend the previous day’s meeting in person. They dragged me to a bar where I received my breakfast, lunch and dinner, all together in a liquid form. Then I didn’t remember much.

When I came to again, I was glad to see that I was in my own room. I was much less happy about the sensations in my head and my stomach. That clone had its limits and I reached them; it was time to leave. On unsteady legs I made my way to the ship hangar, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Luckily, no Signaleers noticed or, at least, recognised me.

Having dropped my exhausted body into the capsule, I took a deep breath of fresh pod goo and activated Aura.

“Hey, where have you been for the last three days?” chirped she. Then she took a closer look and exclaimed, “Oh, boy, don’t tell me! You look worse than after your last ‘meeting’ with Yakub. I don’t really want to know the details of your carouse.”

“I am with you on this, girl, I am with you,” I agreed wholeheartedly, “I don’t want to know them either. So let’s get out of this station before someone tells us.” Then the meaning of her very first phrase finally registered in my alcohol-addled brain. “Wait a moment! What do you mean by ‘the last three days’? We docked here two days ago.”

Aura raised her brow “Mmm… Really? There must be some problem with my oscillator then. It must have been generating a 50% higher frequency for the last two days.”

I stared at her, “Are you pulling my leg?”

Aura maintained a dignified silence. It took a bit of time but eventually the message hit home.

“You aren’t kidding. It is eleventh of June, isn’t it?”

Aura made an apologetic grimace, which had ju-ust a hint of smugness in it. I had to admit it was justified – if I had to choose whether to trust Aura’s oscillator or my brain… there wasn’t really a competition. Don’t know why AIs serve humans and not the other way round.

“Right,” I rubbed my face with a hand. “So where did the whole day go? What did I do?”

“I don’t want to know,” said Aura hastily.

“Yeah, we’ve discussed that already. Okay, just undock us, will you darling?”

Region B-R00005 – Constellation B-C00034
System J120619

Of course we went to Anoikis, the most private space available to a capsuleer. The first wormhole I scanned down brought us to a C2 system. I almost automatically tended the cache which reminded me of the award… and its aftermath. I shuddered but, having checked the corp forums, I found out that I had to tend 199 more caches before my clone had to undergo another trial. With that soothing thought I started scanning cosmic signatures and the first one I nailed down was a relic site!

“Mmm… Shall we?” I asked Aura.

“Ooh, so you’ve got over that incident with Heretic?” she replied, surprised.

I frowned, “What incident with Heretic?”

Aura stared at me in disbelief, “The one where we got bubbled at a relic site. Twice. You do remember it, don’t you?”

After an indecently protracted pause I finally recalled that in some hole there was some trouble with some dictor, “Yeah. Yeah, of course I remember. But that was ages ago,” shrugged I.

“It was just five days ago!”

“Oh, come on! There can’t be a dictor in every system!”

Aura gave me a cold look,”Vlad, I really think that you should just stick to cache tending until the effects of your, erm, inebriation stop influencing your reasoning.”

I smirked, “It’s called Dutch courage, dear. Whoever that Dutch was.”

Aura pursed her lips, “I always thought it should have been called Dutch stupidity. No wonder that Dutch is not around anymore.”

“Oh, for Bob’s sake! You only live once,” i started saying, then froze and sighed. “I need to come up with a new excuse for unreasonable things because this one is totally inappropriate for a capsuleer. In fact, the very negation of this fact is what drives and enables us to do things which would be unthinkable for a baseliner. Maybe I should say ‘You don’t live once’… No, this sounds clunky. What about ‘You live as long as you want’? Nah, this lacks the punch; sounds more like an advertisement of a dodgy medicine. Anyway, I am not in a good shape to invent punchlines. Suffice it to say that recloning is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. Just get us to that site and watch out for dictors while I am hacking the can. We got away once, we can do it again.”

Aura, who listened to my tirade with a deadpan expression, nervously jerked her shoulder indicating that she washed her hands of this silly escapade and said in a formal tone, “Warp drive active.”

In hindsight, I must admit it was not the brightest idea to go hacking in a system with a hi-sec connection while the intoxicated mind controlled the frigate with such a delay that it moved like a mining barge. That expedition, however, showed that Lady Luck really had a soft spot for drunks. I hacked one relic and two data sites and they yielded a whopping 77 million ISK. That’s more than I got from all 16 systems I had visited since I started keeping track of Cowardly Buzzard doctrine. And there were no dictors!

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