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Chapter 398

  • John reclined in the comfortable embrace of the Pilot's chair in the cockpit to the Fool's Gold. He had purchased this chair specifically for its well designed ergonomics. Knowing how many hours he spent here in the cockpit, he figured that paying top dollar for this marvel of form fitting handiwork was worth every penny. Considering the fortune in doctor's bills some of his freighter pilot friends had to shell out in fixing bad backs, it was a wise investment!
  • He glanced occasionally at the oval display for the long range scanners, but there was nothing unusual showing. This far out in deep space it was rare to encounter other ships, but in John's experience, those encounters could turn nasty very quickly. Deep space was a lawless and dangerous place, light years away from the commonly travelled space lanes and the accompanying Federation patrols.
  • John was reading the Holonet to keep up to date with Galactic events. Tensions were high between the Terran Federation and the neighbouring Kintark Empire, with reports of numerous border incursions from both sides. The Terran media all favoured the Federation line; that they were responding to unwarranted aggression from the Kintark, but John had enough independent contacts with neutral alien trading partners to know that there were two sides to this story. Besides, he had traded with the Kintark about 5 years earlier and he found them to be reliable trading partners. The reptilian race could be unsettling with their emotionless, sibilant speech, but if you could overcome humanities instinctive fear of the unknown, they were a straightforward species to deal with.
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