The bulk of “Corona” rolled under me. My sweet little rustbucket drifted away from the denser part of the junkyard.

Nothing had “easy money” stencilled on the side, like old-timey electronics that belonged to nobody. All the gold and tantalum just sat there, so lonely. “Keeps me searching for a heart of gold, and I’m getting old,” I sang under my breath. Oldies were the best.

I had Angel on my back and heard her positioning engines hissing. She projected my optimal route towards the next broken satellite, inside my visor. My efficacy skyrocketed since we had the new semiautonomous, semi-sentient and overprotective jetpack-waldo. But hey, when the government gives you harvesting high-tech, you never look that gift horse in the mouth.

I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold,” I hummed. Shit, I crossed way more than an ocean for tantalum. That earworm stuck. I tried to blink my tears away, but the blurred vision stayed. Zero-G was a bitch. I squeezed my eyes shut and yawned. “Angel, check my air,” I said. The readout scrolled on my visor. Nothing out of the ordinary, just being tired. After all, gutting and recycling old units was hard work. And it had not much of a reputation, but it kept Corona going and the crew warm, fed and breathing. It was the little things that made it worth our while. That and the black market value of old long lost codes, any codes actually.

“Sam? Any problems?” Luke monitored me from the ship, heard and saw everything.

“No no,” I waved. “Just tired. Green lights.”

“What the- You hear that?” I shook my head and noticed the flash of the engines firing. Corona pointed her nose towards me. “Scanning now. Stay put.” Lukes’ voice had that nervous tremble that made me shut my mouth.

“Sam? Come back in. I don’t like this.” I knew Luke got spooked easily, but this was overreacting. The proximity alert pinged from the back of the head, Angel moved me autonomously.

“What? I haven’t even claimed a sat yet,” I sighed. This was an expensive walk. “What is it?”

“It’s a distress call.”

“Fuck.”


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