From that day on the Void Dancer had been my ship. Through the centuries it had become my home my own museum and my main memento. I could tie pretty much every important part of my life in some way to her. I remember Kira coming to visit me there after her shift. I lived in the Void Dancer when I was working for that hell hole of an analytical company. My ship was filled with enough positive memories to keep me going, to give me hope that being utterly humiliated by a bunch of overpaid morons every day would come to an end. That one day I would blast off into space.
Back in those days I had a string of bad runs combined with a serious attack of pride. Real, true prospecting was going to unknown systems or at the very least to systems of unknown status. You went there and made a thorough examination of the star, the planets, flora and fauna if applicable the works. Proper, scientific ground works which opened up the universe a little bit further for the sentient species inhabiting it.
But all to often 'prospecting' was being sent to an established system to some high tech planet or agricultural world and check it out for the client. There is a certain point in the expansion of a civilisation where it simply gets to big and there is no way to keep things together any more. The civilisation either splinters or stops expanding or loses as many worlds as it gains. Which leads to millions of worlds having not the slightest clue what is happening on other worlds that they are supposed to know about. So they send out prospectors to check those worlds out and gather intel for them.
These days I like to do those jobs. They are usually very well paid milk runs where you get paid including expenses for what basically is updating a travel guide. Back then I could not bring myself to do that kind of job. It was just not right. I'd rather starve to death than compromise my ideals. These days I called that a paid vacation. Well in the end there I was with the Void Dancer grounded. By then I had already installed the pulsar reactor that fed the driver but the reactor was all out of juice and reloading it was expensive. Very, very expensive. The tank of the ship was so thoroughly empty that I could not even fly over to Saint Saviour's sun and go sun-jumping for a while.
So I had to do the fucking job in a slow race to see what would happen first, would I get enough money to at least refuel the energy tanks of the Void Dancer or would my soul die first. To this day I do wonder what I would have done. Jump from the orbital spoke or join the idle poor?
Probably the spoke. Sooner or later the port authority would have impounded my ship had I not paid for the hangar space. And that would have been spoke time.
But not all was bad. Obviously I met Kira. I got intoxicated by the way she saw the world. We could talk from sundown till dawn along a broad range covering pretty much every subject, or just watch the sky over Dead End slowly shifting from day to night, or listen to music in mutual silence simply sharing moments in life adding depth to them just by being there.
I would rather expose my self to the vacuum of space and the hard radiation of a blue super giant star than ever go back to the fucking shit hole of a 'job' but if I went back in time and had my emotional scars removed, I'd go back there just as to get to know Kira again. The job may have almost cost me my soul. But she added so much to everything else in my life and once the job was finally done she remained that I would do it all over again every time.
Now that she had vanished I was prepared to fly into the depths of hell just to bring her back into this reality.
The Void Dancer was in peak condition, the pulsar reactor was still going strong and my heart was burning with resolve.
"Where the dissipation have you been?" Pentyl said, her voice coming from everywhere at once.
"Talking to Portos to get the ship ready to fly?" I said.
"And that took you an hour?" Pentyl asked. I looked around but she was nowhere to be seen. I could smell her signature scent wild-berry scent though. It was almost overwhelming.
"I wasn't away one hour." I protested. Still trying to find out where she had condensated.
"Either you lost track of time or you need a new clock." Pentyl said. "You were probably reminiscing again."
"I wasn't. Well I might have been remembering a few things. But I was certainly not reminiscing." I protested.
"Were too." the still invisible Pentyl said.
"I'm to young for that kind of shit!" I protested. Only really, really old people spaced out like that. I wasn't that old.
"Well you are reaching the age where you organoids increasingly get lost in those repugnant brain things of yours and ever since Kira dissipated you have been drifting off into your happy space with increasing regularity. If I did not know you better I'd be starting to worry about you." Pentyl said.
"There's no need to worry yet." I said closing the airlock behind me moving into the main port side corridor. Still no trace of Pentyl apart from the smell. "Where the fuck are you hiding?"
"I'm not hiding."
"Oh really? And where are you then?"
There was a short pause. "Here."
"Care to elaborate?"
"Did you fall over while reminiscing and hit your head? I am here. With you. Aboard your ship." Pentyl said with as much exasperation in her voice as I was feeling.
"I know that you are aboard the ship. But where exactly are you? It's far more comfortable to talk to you when you are actually mostly in the same room as I am."
"We never travelled together before." said Pentyl stating a fact.
"Nope." I said.
"Probably a misunderstanding then. Remember how you told me to go into the ship and make myself at home?" she asked.
"Yes." I said wondering where this might lead.
"This is me being comfortable. I am actually here in your ship. All of it. When I relax I let go of the containment field and just expand. This is more or less my natural form."
"Yes. Oh. If you prefer I can take a more organoid form." Pentyl said.
"No. Sorry. It's OK. A bit strange, but OK." no that I knew that she was, well everywhere I could see that everything was tinged very slightly red. "Is there anything I have to do so that you are safe?" I asked.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Well seeing that you are now pretty much a gas cloud dispersed all over my ship, do I need to seal of the air-vents leading to the oxygen recycler something like that? I think the reactor is hermetically sealed but I am not sure about its cooling system."
Pentyl laughed. A strange sensation as I heard her laugh and saw it in form of a subtle heat flicker in the air. "Don't worry." she said. "I can take care of my self and hold myself together well enough to not rush into any machine parts that might damage me." she giggled again. "But I appreciate the thought. It's sweet."