Orion's Blet

Author : David Stevenson

The ship got her name one time when she had to leave planet in a hurry.

Usually “in a hurry” is a euphemism for “got into trouble”, but this was long before any of the shenanigans and high jinks which she became famous for. This time she really was in a hurry; her navigator, not long after filing a flight plan, noted a rare conjunction between the planet’s moons and the wormhole inlet. If they lifted within the hour then they could shave several days from their journey time and take advantage of a business opportunity at their destination.

Yes, “business opportunity” is usually shorthand for “downright thievery”, but that hadn’t started yet either.

So, having decided to change his new ship’s name, and realising that the signwriter had spelled it wrong, but having to leave in a hurry before it could be fixed meant her captain was in a foul mood as he lifted off in the newly named “Orion’s Blet”.

The ship was a decommissioned Pounder Class left over from the recent war. It was the most common type of ship in the navy, and tens of thousands of them were sold off for civilian use, all virtually identical, and all trying to eke out a living from the same well-worn trade routes.

During that maiden voyage the captain’s mood lifted substantially. To make use of the conjunction required some quite impressive navigating from the frankly not very impressive navigator. He hit the sweet spot exactly when and exactly where he should have. On the other side of the wormhole they found themselves in an asteroid cluster which wouldn’t have been there 3 days later if they had stuck to their original flight plan. Astoundingly, they not only made it safely through, but located two valuable naval wrecks which could now be marked and claimed for salvage. Making it to their destination in time to seal the business deal was a further bonus.

At this, the captain decided that the ship should never be renamed. Whilst stating that he was a man of fact and logic and didn’t believe in superstition, he started muttering about “quantum pre-destiny”. There were so many virtually identical ships, many of them doubtless with similar names, but this one was obviously unique. We live in a multiverse where every decision budded off a new universe with one little change. His ship’s name, and therefore the whole universe he found himself in resulted from a tiny misfiring of a neuron somewhere in a signwriter’s brain. Here, painted right on the side of the ship where it could be seen, was incontrovertible proof that he wasn’t in any of the “also-ran” universes, but already in one where he was proven to be special.

Thus began a glittering career as a smuggler and a pirate. The captain became more convinced with time, as the ship engaged its erstwhile sister ships in battles and won on every occasion. Whether this was due to luck, whether it was due to the gradual de-decommissioning that took place as weapons were acquired and added on, or whether it could be attributed to the confidence which gradually crept through the crew as they all came to believe they were invincible, no one will ever know.

After 5 years of increasing success the captain’s theory was proven right when they engaged in battle with and were blown out of the skies by the “Onion’s Bell”

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