Being good trader, I often search for profitable deals inside space worms. It is hard honest work. You have to find a suitable hole into the inners of a worm. Once you find such a hole (these holes into worms are sometimes called wormholes, I don’t know where that name comes from), you have to lubricate your spaceship with sweet words, and convince her into entering into. The worm.
We were in and out of a few worms, not always through the same hole. They were all deserted, no trades to be had, dry and harsh. So I kept drinking, until we penetrated this particular worm, and my sonar started pinging like crazy.
“Look, a gang of planetarial interactioneers,” I shouted.
“A shame,” Marla said promptly.
“It’s a shame, not a gang. A group of lions is called a pride, a group of PI ships is called a shame,” Marla said. She knows these stuff, so I didn’t argue.
I quickly put away the rum (ok maybe I dropped it), and located the shame. Cloaky warp my dear Marla, and we land amidst the industricans. I point the nearest one which is Nereus, and start sending torpedoes that a way.
“Are you drunk?” Marla asks. She has this habit of asking questions which she already knows the answers to. It’s usually a trap.
“So,” Marla says with her silent grin, “if not drunk, why are you warp scramming empty ships?”
I already pointed and torped a Venture by the time I make sense of what she says.
“You mean a shame,” I sigh.
“Yup, that’s what they’re called.”
There’s a bunch of shuttles, an Epithal, and an Imicus remaining to exist now.
“That Imicus looks fancy,” I say, “I guess I can commandeer it.”
“Really?” says Marla, in the coldest voice possible. “You want to captain that slanted beach?”
When you’re in a ship for a good many years, you learn to read her signs, even when you’re dead drunk, and avoid the landmines she merrily lays about you.
“Shame gone?” I ask.
Marla don’t answer. But she sends another bottle of rum, so I think we’re ok.