Call Me Moss – 12 – The Meat Grind

The problem with the Keelback is that she’s a diamond in the rough. Even with the best equipment credits could buy, it’s only an okay ship.

I suppose I could save up for something better, or bigger, or fancier. The Krait MKII has a nice coffee maker in the cockpit, as I recall. But it’s honestly not my style. Sometimes a ship is just too damn big, as demonstrated by the Cosmic Cow.

During our paper route run in her we had a lot of downtime, since she didn’t have one of those new SCO frameshift drives, so I went walking through her decks… and got lost.

A ship meant for a crew of one or two should not be so big that you have to lay down a breadcrumb trail to find your way back… or big enough to house rats that will eat said trail before you do. Yeah, the Cow somehow had a rat infestation. Don’t ask me how.

Anyway, the Back Bacon Express is just the right size for someone like me. But, like I said, a diamond in the rough.

And the only way to actually polish it is by knowing the right people. If you know the right people and make the right connections, you’ll hear about them, maybe get invited over for drinks. They’ll size you up, see if you got what it takes, maybe ask you for a favour in return for their services.

You still gotta bring them the parts or data they need, of course, and then, sometimes, there’s the question of the “favour” you need to do…

“He wants what?” said Reese. We were discussing the rather unusual request being made by one Etienne Dorn. Word was this guy was good, able to modify a ton of the tech on board the Back Bacon Express, help with that polish it so badly needed.

“Escape pods,” I said, then mumbled something incoherent.

“Sorry, what was that?”

“I said occupied escape pods.”



“As in with a person inside.”


“And he wants twenty-five of them.”


“Okay, let me ask the obvious question. Why?”

“I… thought it prudent not to ask questions I wouldn’t like the answer to.”

Reese rolled her eyes, a common occurrence when I took us on a new tangent like this.

“Look,” I said, “some of these engineers are eccentric, okay? Remember the woman who told me about him? Liz Ryder? She wanted two hundred landmines for her base. I figure, okay, fine, she’s not a people person. Wants to keep the kids off her lawn full of moon dust. I can respect that.”

“I don’t think we can respect anyone who wants to fiddle with occupied escape pods,” said Reese. “I have a sneaking feeling it won’t end up well for the people inside.”

“I mean… maybe. He said he was fascinated by the symbiosis of man and machine in them and needed to study them in action for his research.”

“I’m sure nothing horribly nightmarish will come from that.”

“Well, it’s not like we’re giving him puppies or children. I just intend to use the worst of the worst that we come across. Pirates, slave traders, that sort of thing. If their rap sheets show cold-blooded murder rather than self-defence, we add them to the collection.”

Reese shuddered. “You even called it a collection.”

“Very bad people, Reese, remember that! The kind who wouldn’t think twice about killing you or selling you into slavery. We’ve both “accidentally” dropped those pods into the recycler in the past, when we thought the cops were going to let them off with a slap on the wrist at a rehabilitation centre.”

Reese sighed, accepting the inevitable. “Very bad people,” she repeated. “Does my contract with you cover medical? I might want some mental therapy when we’re done.”

“Call Me Moss” is not set in the Get Lost universe, per se, but the game that inspired my love of the genre: Elite Dangerous (which is where the screenshots come from). Writing little bits like this is just one way I get in the right mindset for the next big adventure in my world. Consider this Moss as being from an alternate universe 😉

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