What We Become

Karl1A tapped his ear lobe,”Okay crew, we are up!” His communicator picked up on targets for his message and opened their channels. “Sound off!”
“Okay chief,” chirped Jim1A,”When do we start?”
“Great, where are you?” hummed Hugh1A.
“Let us know when and where,” chirped Gaston1A,”Jim1A and I are up with the pilot checking on our schedule.”
Franka1A could barely be heard as she chimed in,”Oh good, I was wondering if or when Desxaco would hear.”
“Thanks, team leaders, your schedules will be updated shortly so that we can get started. This thing snuck up on us all. Jim1A, let the pilot know we will be dropping fleetward for this project. I will let our neighbours know they will have to cover for us. Your thanks will be passed along as well. This was a tough one to take the spin off. We have a lot of mass to control. We needed all of them to make it work.”
Hugh1A cut in with a chuckle,”their invoices will be here as soon as they know we won the salvage rights.”
Karl1A barked,”Let the captains worry about the invoicing. We needed their help on this one and we still do. Once we see the details, Hugh1A, you will coordinate with your buddies to place the wreck.”
Hugh1A was gliding up the central corridor towards Karl1A and nodded to show he heard the instruction. He knew it was too early to do anything more than they were doing until they had the details of the salvage work.
Karl1A continued,”The captain just got word that our salvage application has been accepted by the fleet. We will be working on the derelict full time. The fleet will send the details in an hour or so. Check it out and we will start on it next onshift. If you want some day on the transfers, make your calls.”
The shipborn spent decades, sometimes generations moving from system to system. Systems have them anchors for the neverending migration of the shipborn but they were constantly responding to the fields that surrounded them. Systems were defined by the region of increased matter they could detect. Between systems, there was less matter but all the fields existed there.
In these travel phases, most shipborn crewed the lattice of scavenger ships that served as the forward shield of the Piok fleet. They detected matter as soon as possible and salvaged it as raw material for other processes in the fleet Piokjytres. They also detected the changing fields and shaped those fields for use by the rest of the fleet. Larger ships operated safely and efficiently when the salvagers provided a steady, known fieldset to travel through.
The captain Desxaco had several teams to lead but the largest at the moment was the team Karl1A led. He was a good superintendent with an excellent record. Karl1A had moved around the leading wave of salvage ships his whole life and he loved the work they did. His long career was only half done and he never expected to reach the next system. Karl1A expected to improve and protect the fleet all day, every day for his whole life. He was dedicated to the four hours onshift, four hours offshift, four hours restshift for the cycle that allowed him to build his reputation. Perhaps he was not as popular as some others but no one doubted that his presence had improved the Desxaco application.

Serial story by Sylva Richmond
Copyright © 2016 by PICogeneration
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Please enjoy this story of the fleet Piokjytres and a brief part of the unfolding shipborn and planetbound universe.
Articles, short stories, novellas, and novels based in the universe are in various stages of publication.

Support for this project. Please feel free to contribute and comment about this writing project. It is important to indicate the story name in the message block included in the order form. The minimal cost is meant to reduce trolling that is so common with female artists. In addition, as more and more projects are added to the site, contributions will be used to prioritise which projects will be updated regularly. Thank you for all your support, past and present. Sylva.