Stellar Upgrade


7/7/20233 min read

The constellation-dotted Mars took form before us, the sight of it evoking an awe that pulled at my soul. Mars - a gem of mystery and legend, now our beacon of hope. It was here we hoped to find the jump drive that could take us to the far reaches of the cosmos, where Chef's family awaited.

As we docked into the humming spaceport, the Martian landscape was a sight to behold. An industrial marvel, bustling with towering cranes and intricate drilling structures that plunged deep into the Martian surface. The logo of Constellation was omnipresent, a testament to the grand scale of this corporate endeavor.

"They've really made a mark," Fitt observed, his eyes trained on the logo of the corporation that once claimed his loyalty.

Navigating through the red dust, our destination was the marketplace, a hotbed of interstellar trade. Amidst the hustle, our focus was on one entity - 'Old Grit', a mechanic with a flair for murky deals.

His workshop was in stark contrast to the grandeur of the Mars operations we'd seen, an unpretentious little spot hidden amidst the clamor. Inside, Grit was all we'd expected - a hulk of a man with an aura that commanded respect. His eyes sized us up as Fitt detailed our situation.

There was a silence that stretched a few tense moments, Grit's gaze fixed on the Constellation emblem on Fitt's jacket, and then, with a curt nod, he agreed to help us. But, he warned, it wouldn't come cheap.

While Grit got to work on our ship, I decided to explore the Mars operations. The scale was staggering. I've mined a fair share in my life, but this was something else entirely - a titan of machinery and manpower that dwarfed everything I'd experienced.

Walking amongst the Mars operation, my mind wandered back to times spent mining with Gramps Wrexler and Ravager, the pirate turned brother. It was here among the machines and miners that I felt a familiar pang of longing. The sound of machines gnawing at the ground, the sense of purpose, the camaraderie. I missed it more than I realized.

The upgrade process wasn't without its challenges. We needed to finance the operation, and the cost was significant. We pulled together, tapping into reserves, calling in old debts, even trading a few prized possessions. There was no room for sentimentality, not when we were chasing a beacon of hope.

With every passing day, as Grit toiled away on our ship, we managed to inch closer to our financial target. We sold what we could, negotiated deals, and even took on short-term mining contracts to rake in some quick credits.

As we worked, each strike of the pickaxe echoed with memories of Gramps Wrexler and Ravager. The ghostly laughter of the past filled my ears, mingling with the very real sounds of Martian mining.

It finally came to a point where the ship was done and we needed to continue our journey, but we were substantially low on the agreed payment. Without Fitt or Chefs knowledge, I went and talked to Old Grit and struck a deal. He'd release the ship to Fitt and Chef, so they could continue their journey towards his family and I would stay here, working for the mines, and repaying our debt one paycheck at a time. I knew the news would come as a shock, but I had the absolute calmness that this was the right choice. I wasn't sure if it was my need to have a drill in my hand or someone speaking directly to my subconscious, but without a doubt I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

The journey ahead for Fitt and Chef shouldn't be to hard, I thought. They'd be able to travel all over the cosmos and just looking for his family shouldn't bring the excitement that we had recently experienced. And when Fitt was done, he could come back and get me after I finished paying off Old Grit.

I signed my name on the dotted line and the plan was set. Now I just had to tell the group.