Sideways, down and back up again.

The docking bay was massive, the camera drone Zoo saw through hovered nearly 200m above the platform and still could not take in the whole vista beneath it. Four huge spot lights shone through the slight haze of the bay casting multiple, moving shadows and bright reflections off the various metal bulkheads and docking apparatus that formed this large metal cavern. Loud speakers carried station announcements to every corner of the docking area, echoes and reverberations distorting the words into an unintelligible stream of Caldari syllables, possible meaning something or nothing at all. Large docking machines sat brooding in the shadowy recesses of the bay. Waiting for the command to action, each capable of handling 1000 ton modules at speeds the un-augmented eyes would not be able to keep up with. At the centre of one of the docking rings below, slowly floating in a suspensor field on idle the small frigate class Ibis hull bobbed as if on the ocean. Totally overwhelmed by the dock its blinking navigation lights the only way to locate it in the vastness.

“Mr Zoo, you are currently patched in the ships system via a station link. I have now finished my checks and have sealed the pod. I will now get the station transport system to move the pod to your ship. As agreed your clone has been arranged at this station.”

Should I feel nervous? I am excited! This is a new start. I have….

Reading in a rushed monotone the technician cut through his thoughts “From all the staff at Podmasters we would like to thank you for the purchase of this Class x17 pod. We do hope you enjoy your time with the pod and wish you safe flying. Please remember to purchase a clone. If you would like to give us feedback on this experience please mail us or speak to your local Podmasters office.”

Outside the technician turned off his handheld and punched in a security code on the console. The remaining pipes hissed as they dropped from the pod, falling limply to the floor. The ceiling hatch above the pod slowly open, small orange lights at each corner blinking rapidly. Lowering from the dark recesses of the hatch a grab with three long splayed fingers slowly moved towards the pod. Where the fingers met at the junction of the column ofrm the ceiling hatch a small spike extended. As the grab approached the pod the spike slide into the small hole in the top.

Inside the pod Zoo’s view of the docking bay suddenly disappeared replaced with the face of a Caldari station officer. Not once looking at himshe  punched buttons on her console and muttered codes to those each side of her, both buttons and colleagues beyond the view of the camera. Zoo noticed her eyes glance sideways and the hints of a smile forming on her face as large Brutor male strode confidently past her workstation. Finally looking into the camera and she let all trace of the smile drop.

“Sorry for the delay. You now have a rapid-trans route cleared.”

Her image disappeared replaced by a glowing image of the station. Slowly revolving the 3D image showed the warren of docks, offices, processing centres and open areas within the station. As he focused on each area translucent screens appeared providing information about the passage way, dock or living area, quickly fading and to replaced by another as his focused moved. In the fine lines of the station construct a shimmering line of silver ran along some the stations major passageways. Tracing it from it source Zoo picked out the first part of the path.

Medical Sector 3 – Level 1 > Podmasters Unit > Pod Preparation Bay (PPB-12)

Each word he read exploded into a flower of linked information, a complete list of levels, occupants and rents were available for the medical sector. Level 1 detail showed everything from the individual offices on the level to the cleaning schedules. As he read “Podmasters” the links included real time stock data, products, adverts and even a message from the CEO.

Zoo was amazed how quickly he could read this information. It almost felt that as he started to read the information it was there already, and he was merely remembering something forgotten. He traced the route through the rest of the station.

  • Station Lateral Spine Transduct (FEEDER – Medical 3[iii])>CORE
  • Station Lateral Spine Transduct >CORE
  • Core Vertical Spine Transduct >BASE
  • Base Transduct Logistics Centre
  • Perimeter Cargoduct 3[iii]
  • Dock cargoduct 46[iv-vi]
  • Dock 3[iii]

The fingers moved down finding small divots under the central rim of the pod. Secured, the pod and grab lifted smothly into the hatch.

“Goodbye Mr Zoo” the technician muttered darkly, safely disconnected from the pod’s communications net, “another fucking capsuleer, just what the world needs!”

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