The Spahn by Jeshields, see more at http://www.jeshields.com/
Episode 04: In which we learn about The Spahn
I routed the ship through the busiest sector of the Asteroid Belt as we approached the Nhalik Cluster. The space fields were thick with tumbling stones that would mask our signature as we approached the station. I activated the comm. “Jonsey, you come up with anything?”
The comm squawked to life. “I accessed the central mainframe back at HQ and managed to dig up a code clearance. The code is for a parts and technical transport, likely a pirating shuttle.”
“And you think it will pass muster and get us in there?”
The channel was silent for a few moment before Jonsey replied. “It’s an older code but it checks out.”
“Excellent, I suspect they will clear us. I do not figure the folks ‘Landro hires to man his docking tower are going to dig deeper than you. Great job.”
“Uploading the code now, should be smooth sailing from here out.”
Without warning an alarm sounded from the console. Warning lights flash across the cockpit.
“Looks like I spoke too soon, boss.” Through the comm I detected nervousness in his voice. “Running systems routines.”
The Spahn shuddered. My coffee cup fell off the console and bounced across the floor. Luckily, coffee has a short lifespan around me and I had already emptied the cup.
“Got it. It appears the Limbux Altitudinator has failed,” Jonsey is an expert with the systems interface. When it came to the software side of our ship he is a wiz. He helps when he is able, but hardware is where I shine. “We are going to need to land to repair this.”
“Drat!” I scanned for landing spots near ‘Landro’s station. Luck was on our side, I changed course. “Not a problem at all. I found a flat and clear area on the far side of ‘Landro’s asteroid. We can put her down there.”
“Boss, one of these days,” he paused mid-sentence, I knew where he was going.
“Not now Jonsey.” I swung the Spahn around a large asteroid. I maneuvered the ship to mask our presence from the station, keeping the field of floating rocks in the space between us and them.
“She is getting on in the years, heck, she cannot even pass Space Patrol! regulations these days,” I let him ramble and stayed focused on swinging my beloved ship left, right, under and around the massive clumps of rock and ice that floated around us. My mind drifted.
I never knew my father. Commander Richard “Daring” Derringer passed away at the height of the Colonial Wars. Dad's daring and intrepid leadership led the 1/9 Cavalry, known as the “Headhunters” in the Charge of Quintarian Space. He stood on the walls, laser blasts all around him, never flinching, and waving his men forward to victory.
At his side was his childhood friend, Wilbanks 'Whiskers' Spahn. He was famous in his day for his unmatched prowess in battle. He was even more well known for his garish and fuzzy mustache. The impressive set of whiskers ran from under his nose and became large sideburns. After the war, Wilbanks became a father figure to me. He taught me all I know, and instilled in me the tools I needed to excel when I joined Space Patrol! With the guidance he provided, my quick rise through the ranks was a surprise to no one.
Following my promotion to the rank of commander, Willbanks handed me the the deed to a ship. My father's ship. It had been my father's pride and joy, the first ship he had commanded. He had named the ship Willimena after his mother, a woman I only knew from stories told to me as a child.
Wilbanks died shortly after my promotion and without hesitation I renamed the ship in his honor -The Spahn. Headquarters had The Spahn scheduled for demolition due to age. I fought this and used my own wages to update her systems. Within a year of his passing I took the ship through the Athey Gascloud, a dangerous run that most said she could not handle. She not only carried me through but broke records that remain today.
She may not be pretty. She may not be the apple of anyone’s eye. She is my connection to my past. My foundation to who I am. She is mine.
“Here we go,” I edged The Spahn into a soft glide path towards the land site. “Prepare for landing Jonsey, this could get choppy.”
“Boss, the old girl is going to fall apart on one of your landings someday,” he plopped into the co-pilot seat next to me and buckled in. “You know that right?”
“That day, Jonsey,” I gave him a smile and a wink, “Is not today.”