Hot off the pan:

Bessy to the Edge [part 1]

I stare outside the window. The cold exterior is a vast, deep, dark void, but for a few still pinpricks of light, stars suspended in motion. The eerie glow of the UV light only visible by travelling near light speed circles the stars. The universe fades to a singe point.

The warp hole is in 30 krocks. Finally, I'll be out of this god-forsaken place. Fuck Neptune-371. Fuck mommy dearest, and disappearing dad. Fuck every single dipshit in school. I check the sorometer. This section is filled with debris and other rundown ships. Other losers, done with Neptune. I stop to calibrate my autonav. The sun looms in the back, far away. The autonav pings. The general path has been calibrated. I start up Bessy again.

That's what I call her, by the way. My ship. I found Bessy on back on Larissa. I had 22 spare panakis. She was being sold by some old dude, done with life. I was somehow able to get her for all my remaining panakis, and when I took her to the docks, I saw why. Her engine, her navs, they were all corroded and riddled with bugs. I got to work. I practically lived in the Ratana docks, fixing her up. All the money I had went into her. I barely went to school. Back then, I never really used her for anything but quick runs. Fuel is expensive. But hey, a kid obsessed with mechanics can dream.

One day, I was tinkering with the autonav when I met the old guy again. He said, "Live life. Get out of this place. And, it sounds stupid, but remember this old geezer." He chit-chatted, gave me some tea, then left. I found a few pictures of him underneath the seat. Actual printed photos on freaking snazzy Earth paper. So I stuck it on the window sill. Turns out his name was Robert Yang. On my last day in the docks, a lawyer came to the freebie place I was bumming out at, decorating my ship, and transferred 1300 panakis to my account. Being 17 and under a guardian account, I immediately took it out in cash. "Mr Robert Yang requests in his will that you recieve this letter and all of his money." I sat there for a moment.

That night, I was lying on the ship floor, staring at the stars through the glass ceiling. Suddenly, something came over me at that moment. "Live life. Get out of this place. And, it sounds stupid, but remember this old geezer." Why not? Why the fuck not? I stared at my phone. 56 missed calls from my mom. Probably wanting to leech off my job money. I heard her yelling at me. Hitting me with her purse. The fridge always empty, but her closet stuffed. Forget it, lady. I wasn't going back to Neptune-371.

So I called her. She picked up and started guilt tripping me for my panakis.

"Hey, Max. I got a letter saying you got 1300 panakis. We need to pay rent. Those should be mine. Give me them back."

I yelled back, "FUCK YOU, AND YOUR NASTY ASS FACE! Those panakis are from Rob to ME. I hope you rot in hell, you snivelling coward. You abusive jerk. You shit."

She screeched, "Come home, young man! I am your mother, and I provided for you. You need to RESPECT me. I'm going to call the police and get you back this instant!"

The clock chimed 12. "I'm 18 now. Anyways, I called you to tell you this: Fuck you. I'm out of here."

At that moment, I revved up Bessy and got started. I've been travelling for a day now. And I'm finally at the warp hole. Gonna open up a ship shop at Alpha Centauri. Travel around. Meet aliens, not just the Narfuli guys stuck stopping for gas in 371. Freelance a bit. I wire the operator 300 and sent the coordinates. Goodbye, Neptune. Goodbye, Sun.

I brace myself. I'm just a few metres away. From Alpha Centauri. From the escape. I pierce through the warp hole. The universe shakes and shakes like there's a giant man holding me and Bessy and fidgeting around. Slowly, the shaking dies down. I burst out, far from Earth. It's gonna take me another day to get to Alpha. Me and Bessy drive off into the distance, ready for our next adventure.

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