Monday 27 July 2020


Nova adjusted herself in her seat, sinking deeper into it. 

   “You’re so sweet, Bernard.”

A brief pause filled the humming cabin. 

   “Hmm, a complex response, hard to interpret. Typically human and far from ideal. You sound not unlike the miners we’ve just left. Not the words mind you. I’m referring to the utter lack of sense behind them. Did you know that this was their second delivery of drill bits in as many weeks? What are they doing? What’s that meteorite made of? A mineral composition of exceptional strength and density? By the gravities! I never expected the matter to fascinate me so!”

   “How long?”

   “Estimated time of arrival to our home quadrant Zeta is one hundred and nineteen and a half minutes at current rate of speed. Shall we accelerate?”

Nova shook her head and held up a small paper bag. “One of the mine chief’s secretaries had a birthday. She gave me some leftover pastries. I fancy them now. See if you can locate a café or something nearby.”

   “I’ve identified a small establishment that matches the desired profile. It does not however match any known listings and the mere thought of paying it a visit fills me with dread. I recommend we forget it.”

Nova unholstered the laser gun from her thigh and checked the charge level. Looked good. It switched on with a clean hiss. She slipped it back. 

   “Go there.”

   “Request denied. Experience teaches us- correction, guarantees that visits of this nature are associated with extreme danger and high levels of unpleasantness. These are dubious quadrants around here! Not to be confused with quaint country villages!”

From her other thigh Nova pulled out a second gun and did the same thing with that. 

   “Well Bernard, it so happens I’m in the mood to sit in a café and enjoy my pastries, and I’m quite happy to switch over to manual if that’s what it takes.”

   “Blast! And I use that term rhetorically!" Bernard sighed. "Fine. You win! But I’m making a note of this incident! Along with a footnote!”

Nova leaned back again as the yellow space cab revved up and banked into a turn.

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