A New Deck Of Cards

A New Deck Of Cards
Moments of Life From Wormhole Space

  • Arkk sat at the table in the small cafeteria of his Raitaru Engineering Complex holding a hand of cards. The cards were sturdy plastic with electronics within and on the displays were old earth style playing card faces. The cards themselves were of modern make, able to be programmed via a docking port that would program the cards to show any style of card deck that the player wished to use. This allowed the same deck of cards to be used to play any number of games that had been developed over the centuries. You merely made a deck of the appropriate number of cards, placing them in the dock and selected the game. The dock would then program the card to each display a corresponding card face found in the deck of the card game selected. They deck could even be shuffled by placing the cards in the dock and hitting a control that shuffled the cards by changing the displays per card around in a randomized pattern.

  • As far as Arkk was concerned the cards were one of the more useful things mankind had invented for they didn’t take up a lot of room in his ships and provided him with endless hours of entertainment no matter where in the galaxy he happened to find himself.
    Today he found himself in his class one wormhole drinking a cup of coffee and holding a sorry hand of cards. On the other side of the small cafeteria table sat a holographic woman looking at the seven cards that Arkk had placed in holders to prop them up so that he could not see the displays. She waited with the patience of the inhuman while Arkk pondered his next move in the card game. Arkk didn’t really like playing with human players if he was honest with himself, they always wanted to rush him or carry on endless chatter that interfered with his thinking. It wasn’t that he always preferred silence, it was that he could actually think without being interrupted in the silence. He found that before he had enough caffeine and nicotine flowing through his bloodstream he had little patience for the antics of other people. Even with the additional chemical help he didn’t like people all that much, he was just more polite about it.
    After a moment more of pondering he finally grumbled through the rest of his turn asking Ahra in a brusk voice, “Do you have a 7?”

  • “Go Fish” Ahra replied primly with an enigmatic smile upon her lips…

  • Taking another sip of coffee, waiting for the caffeine to fully engage his brain, Arkk grumbled under his breath about smirking holographic women and drew another card from the deck, another card that did not match any of the cards in his hand. “It is going to be one of those days…” He thought.

  • A few hours later Arkk sat at the controls of his Imicus, a frigate class exploration ship. It was not a fancy ship with lots of advanced equipment on board, in fact it was rather spartan and simple but it did the job that Arkk needed it to do. He had used the ship’s low tech scanning probes, launched from the ship, to look for exploration sites in his wormhole home today. After pinpointing each site and making bookmarks in his navigation computer he warped the Imicus to a Data Site that had been abandon by pirates long ago and now just had some decaying structures in it that could be looted if he could crack through the electronical locks.
    He approached the nearest structure and started his second tier technical Data Analyzer, one of the few pieces of advanced equipment on the ship, cracking open the structures lock. It used an advanced computer virus to bypass the firewalls until the system core was reached. When the virus found the system core or the heart of the lock, it disabled it allowing access into the structure. The capsuleer could direct the virus’ path to try to find the easiest route around firewalls and directly to the system core.

  • However at this precise moment Arkk stared at the display screen of the progress the virus had made. All he saw on the display was a spiderweb of lines that ended in spikey balls of electronic malice or bricks that would squash a man’s soul. Those spikey balls and bricks were advanced features of the defenses of the locking firewalls and they could disable his virus as it tried to bypass them. No matter how long Arkk looked at the display he could not see a way for his hacking program to bypass the defenses of the system core. If he couldn’t crack the defenses then the structure would activate a self destruct sequence in retribution against Arkk for tampering with the locks. He had seen structures blow up after an explorer attempted to bypass the electronic locks and failed. The potentially valuable loot to be gained within the structure would be destroyed also.

  • Arkk directed his virus against one defense after another until it finally failed and the concussion of the self destructing structure caused his ship to careen into empty space. After a few moments of dizzying erratic flight patterns Arkk managed to gain control of his ship again. With solemn determination Arkk set course for the next structure that he would try to hack his way into…

  • Some hours later…

  • Arkk sat in the command seat of his O.R.E. made Venture mining frigate. His overalls and boots may have been a bit grimy from the process of prepping the ship to harvest wormhole space gas today but he propped his boots on the console anyways, the console itself was a bit grimy these days too. It was not a new ship but it was sturdy and well built. A rugged little vessel that could take a lot of punishment from the environment and keep on functioning. He idly monitored the flow rates of his dual mounted gas scoops as they sucked the valuable gas from a cloud that had appeared in the wormhole overnight.
    Nobody knew why the clouds appeared and disappeared randomly in the different systems of wormhole space but when they did appear in your system it was as good as money in the bank if you took the time required to harvest the gas, storing it in the ships specialized cargo hold and then transferring the gas from the ship to the structure where it could be stored in quantity over time. After a large enough store of the gas had been harvested Arkk would haul it all to the market where he could sell it and cash in on his hard work.

  • Suddenly an alarm blared out from the console causing Arkk to drop his boots from the console to the floor and in the process to spill his coffee out of the holder where it made a mess all over the legs of his already stained overalls. Cursing Arkk looked at the sensor display which showed him that the sleeper drones, evil alien drone ships, had arrived. Quickly shutting down his gas scoops, Arkk rapidly got his ship into warp headed back to the Raitaru were he could switch to a combat ship and destroy the combative sleeper drones. Of course before he switched ships he could use some damn dry overalls…

  • After a few days have passed…

  • Arkk docked his Impel at the trade hub in Amarr. He had decided that since he was low on necessities such as coffee and tobacco that it was time to gather up the spoils of his solitary war against the environment of wormhole space and take it to market for a sell run. He had more than enough to fill the deep space transport so it wasn’t like he didn’t need to make the trip anyway. He just hated to leave the wormhole. Wormhole space was quiet, except when people were shooting at you of course, but otherwise there was peace and time to think. There wasn’t a hundred other ships buzzing around you everywhere you went like in known space, most especially high security space. It seemed like every time he went on a sell run there were 10 more ships everywhere he looked. He missed the solitude of wormhole space. Being around this many people made him grumpy.

  • Space traffic was as usual when approaching the large regional trade hub, absolutely horrid. Arkk had waited for over an hour to get docking access to the extremely busy station. Upon arriving at the dock he found that the rental for an unloader bot had increased yet again from his last visit. “That figures…” Thought Arkk moodily. He walked over to the data access terminal in his docking bay to look at the current market prices for his goods that he had transported a long way today. To Arkk’s dismay the prices being paid for said goods had dropped a good 10% across the board since the last time he had bothered to leave his wormhole home.

  • Grumbling about life in general Arkk stepped out into the throng of people in the corridor to do some shopping, he needed a new deck of cards, he was sure that Ahra had reprogrammed his last set, damn holographic woman…

  • The End

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