Billy Get Your Guns (The Ballad of Drake Valari Day 2 - Afternoon pt 2)

“Yes. I mean … emphatically yes. At least it’ll be with someone from them yesteryear school days and a ship with a bit of personality. Had some girl sniffing around looking to hire some for Sapien class ship. Talk about a flying box. No … thanks ...” Drake was forever a fighter pilot but if he was going to be relegated to flying freight for the rest of his life he would rather with someone familiar. Twist his arm. There was nothing sadder though. Once you fly a AFAS … you were ruined forever. Still, a Firefly was better than a Sapien and flying was better than being chained to a planet.

“Are you clean?” She asked, raising an eyebrow. “No judge, but that shit’s hard to come by on the rim, and I don’t need anyone DT’ing because my solution is to knock your ass out in a closet til it passes. If you ain’t, I know someone who can make it happen. If you lie to me, my crew chief’s been dying to space someone.”

“Naw I kicked that awhile ago like you said it’s hard to get past most border worlds and really didn’t have a call for it no more plus that shit ain’t cheap!” Honestly nearly all the pilots had been hooked on something during the war. Some kicked it other didn’t it was just how it was. “Are you saying you cleaned up?”

“100%, like I said, I know a guy.” she said. “As for the specifics - We don’t pay a flat rate, you’ll get a cut of whatever jobs we pull, finders fee if you bring any work to the ship. Just to warn you, we don’t ask a lot of questions about what we’re carting. Got a brownie or two on the ship, we tend to leave the war talk outside the LV.”

“Running with a few Brownies and you invite a Shinigami to co-pilot? You looking to get me ventilated?” He asked with an arched eyebrow. He wasn’t wary for no reason. Brownies had a bit of a reputation. The further out you go the longer they held on to the resentment. Sure they all happily took Alliance hand outs while cursing them all in the same breath.

“Curses, you foiled my evil plan. Since when is Lt. Colonel Drake Valari afraid of a Brownie? He swims around in a bottle the most of the time anyway. I told him I was hiring a war buddy. But--” She took a sip of her drink. “I’m sure I can find me a co-pilot on the next Skyplex if you’re scared.”

“Har har … you clearly live a charmed life and haven’t been jumped before. So who’s the other Brownie?” He asked. She did say a couple.

“The El-Vee’s Captain. Was his ship ‘til he signed it over to me. He’s got his charms. I don’t know what they are, but he’s got them. He used to be a decent pilot himself, but it ain’t in him any more. The rest -- we don’t much talk about our political affiliation. I still wear the Alliance wings, I still have my cert, and no one on the ship’s had an issue with it. So for the most part, leave the politics outside the ship, don mah?”

“Fair ‘nuff, I ain’t got no bones to pick with no one. You know me. I only care about one thing.” Drake said with a knowing smile.

“If you say sex, I swear I’ll kick your teeth in.” She warned.

“Who have you been flying with roughnecks. No! I mean sex is nice and all … Flying. Dear Buddha FLYING is what I was going to say. What did they do to you to kick your habit lock you in a closet?! You need another drink? Shoulder to cry on? Dare I say you developed a sense of humor ...” Drake said well prepared to duck if needed.

“Developed? Please. I’m a regular comedian. So we have a deal? Billy the Kidd going to come work for the nine-nine’s finest Lieutenant?”

“How can I say no. It’ll be like the old days Dizzy … just we’ll be in the same cockpit … and no guns. I’ll also be in a Firefly. This strikes me as horribly ironic …”

“I figure I owe you more than one for all them escorts, making sure our ships could get through. Just like the old days -- Be nice to fly one ‘stead of trying to keep it from shooting us down, eh?”

Drake laughed. “Yea well … ain’t much left for dinosaurs like us. I figure she can’t be that bad with you flying … what’s her name?”

“Lunar Veil. Shut up, I didn’t name ‘er. Call her the El-Vee for short. Decent crew, young, hungry, I’d like to say hungry for work, but so far it’s oddly condiments. Can’t keep ketchup aboard the ship for shit.”

“You worry me. Sound like you need me to watch your ketchup. I charge extra for that.” He joked. “El-Vee aye. Well Lt. Colonel Drake Valari reporting for duty.” He said holding up his drink.”

Riley clinked his glass. “Docking bay 11, you’ll know her. Only Flirefly docked. If I’m not there, you’re gonna look for Vas Jat, my crew chief. You’ll know him by the Mohawk. He’ll get you squared. Leave in 48, if you can have your affairs in order by then. Glad to have you, Drake. Welcome aboard the Lunar Veil.”

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