FLASHBACK: GAVYN FREE’WAY
With one last stubborn groan, the metal shielding plate popped off the casing of the ion fission thrust engine, exposing its complex inner workings to Gavyn. Taking off one thick industrial glove to swat at the accumulated sweat on his forehead with a greasy hand, he looked over the components of the engine.
Gotta hand it to Incom, he thought to himself. Keeping the old Z-95s simple pushed a lot of sales, and it keeps them flying long after their due date. There’s got to be a half-dozen rewiring and retrofit jobs in this old fossil all ready.
Realising that the job was going to be more complex and lengthy than he’d initially quoted, Gavyn stared down at the thruster engine, thoughtfully taping a finger on his faded-blue lips. He drowned out all of the noise and activity of the starship workshop around him, filled with mechanics of various species all working on vehicles of various makes and models. After a moment Gavyn reached into the engine cowling and disconnected the fission regulator with a hydrospanner, retrieved the regulator and took it to a nearby stool and benchtop. He propped himself on the stool and got to work replacing and soldering new circuits onto the regulator’s circuit board, using the bench light and the orange sun-lit glow from the window to illuminate his work.
That was how long it had been since he’d flown a ship. Since he’d been caught high on booster blue. Since he’d been publically reprimanded, fired and disavowed from the HNG. Since he’d lost his piloting license and been blacklisted by the Board of Ships and Services, courtesy of the HNG.
Nine months that he’d been trying to get clean.
It had taken him six months of hunting, begging and grovelling for work as a mechanic—the only skill and talent that he had outside of piloting and astrogation. He’d had to use all of his savings to charter flights across the Expansion Region looking for a workshop that wouldn’t slam the door in his face— and when the funds ran dry he’d found himself on Urce of all places.
Fortunately, despite him being high on a solvent kaliediscope, he’d gotten work in Kylesh’s workshop, a gruff old xexto in Spaceport 3 who liked to gamble and desperately needed an extra hire. That chance had turned Gavyn’s life around. He still partook of the solvent; but he relied on it a little less every week. It was getting easier.
Gavyn paused in his soldering and looked out the window, watching the way the chocked orange sunlight feebly struggled through the skeletal remains of the nearby skyscrapers. Of all the places, he thought bitterly. I just gotta hold in here a little longer. Get some money, get some bigger contacts and get the kriff off this husk of a world.
In the distance, approaching from beyond the skyscraper, the glint of sunlight on metal caught his eye. Gavyn kept his eye on the growing form, which resolved itself into a small light courier transport. He recognised the make immediately.
HWK-290, he mused, picking up the catalyser off the bench. A good little bird, that Captain’s lucky… Wait.
He took another look at the transport, noting the larger overall proportions and cargo hold on the ship. Gavyn whistled once he had reassessed the ship’s obscure and barely-known profile. Well well, a HWK-1000. Someone’s a lucky fella.
Finishing his work with the catalyser, Gavyn spun off the seat and returned to the thruster cowling and brought life back to the old ship again.