Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship by Steve Miller, Sharon Lee Read Free Book Online

Book: Ghost Ship by Steve Miller, Sharon Lee Read Free Book Online
Authors: Steve Miller, Sharon Lee
Tags: Fiction, General, Science-Fiction, adventure, Space Opera
she bothered to change the view, would be black with ships. She left the visualizer up while she did her research, finding to her chagrin that Val Con’s suggestion of an orbit beyond Outyard Eight was her best option for a quick departure. That wasn’t surprising—Val Con was a pilot, after all, and this was his home port—but she would have rather found another easily acquired, acceptable orbit to wait for Uncle’s next instructions. It probably wasn’t, she thought, a good idea for Val Con to catch the notion that he was boss of her.
    General band was on full audio, for company—and to fill the chinks in her backbrain not occupied by caring for her ship. She would think about what Father had told her; she would think about it objectively, and advertently. She would. But not now. Now, her ship was ready to lift, as soon as Tower got back to her with a heading.
    Visible in her top right screen was the Clutch asteroid, Clan Korval’s transport, moving deliberately down the sky. It was, predictably, the number one topic of conversation across the band.
    “Two holes in the planet, as the Dragon’s parting gift,” someone near at hand commented.
    “Lose a house, gain a lake,” someone else answered.
    “What of Trealla Fantrol?” asked a third. “The vector’s wrong for a pickup there.”
    “Haven’t you seen the news feeds? The dramliz unmade Trealla Fantrol; there’s nothing but a stretch of meadowland on the satellite images, surrounded by the formal gardens.”
    Trealla Fantrol? Theo frowned. The name was familiar, but she—right. Jeeves had been built as the butler for Trealla Fantrol, then reassigned to Jelaza Kazone—
    Because Trealla Fantrol wasn’t going to make the journey to Surebleak.
    She glanced at the top right screen. The asteroid was perceptibly closer to the horizon. Her fingers tapped on the pad imbedded into the board, making a note to research dramliz and unmade .
    “ Arin’s Toss !” Tower was sounding rushed and bad-tempered.
    Theo flicked the toggle.
    “ Arin’s Toss here,” she said, keeping her voice cool and businesslike. “Theo Waitley, pilot.”
    “You are in-queue for lift to orbit beyond Stationary Repair Yard Number Eight. Acknowledge.”
    Theo threw a glance at the board countdown, and felt a thrill of adrenaline. Going in less than five minutes. She touched a button, pulling up the lift queue, lips pursed in a silent whistle. Tower was tossing ships into the air like handfuls of pebbles. Every pilot had better be sharp; the tolerance for error was slightly less than whisker-thick.
    “Acknowledge receipt of departure time and route,” Theo said, her fingers feeding in the coords.
    “Wait for my mark, Arin’s Toss ,” Tower snapped.
    “ Ride the Luck acknowledges,” a deep, achingly familiar voice came across the ship band. “Daav yos’Phelium sitting second.”
    Theo swallowed in a suddenly tight throat, opened a local insert in the bottom left screen and tapped a query. The image zoomed, showing a Class A Jump with high, showy lines, and—Theo zoomed the image again—Yes! Whatever yard had added her guns was good; the work was subtle, not arrogant. Ride the Luck didn’t invite a fight, but she would finish anything that was forced on her.
    She tapped the ship’s name for more info, found the confirm for Daav yos’Phelium sitting second, pilot-owner . . .
    Aelliana Caylon. Theo stared at the name, feeling kind of gone in the stomach. Aelliana Caylon—the genius who had revised the ven’Tura Piloting Tables and made space safe again for pilotkind.
    Val Con’s mother had been one of the foremost mathematicians of—of the last Standard Century.
    “ Arin’s Toss , on my mark!” Tower snarled.
    “Ready!” Theo put her attention on the board.
    “Mark!”
    She gave the Toss her office, hurtling upward like there was no such thing as gravity, keeping tight to the course.
    In the insert at the bottom of the left-hand screen, she saw Ride the Luck leap

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