Loki was the god of discord, back in the days when gods walked the ancient Earth. He was often referred to as a trickster god, sometimes assisting the other gods, while on other occasions he was behaving in the malicious manner towards them. He even threatened Thor, one of the most powerful gods, but was ultimately bonded and punished for it causing him to writhe with such violence that the earth shook from the force, resulting in what are now known as earthquakes.
The interior of the ship was cold and just a bit too gloomy at first for my personal taste. It occurred to me at that very point that I wasn’t even aware I had one. I found that funny and I shortly smiled to myself unintentionally. I figured Loki was sitting there for a long time ‘all alone’, bonded just as his ancient predecessor was, so the gloomy atmosphere was only appropriate. The image of that stasis pod room instantly popped into my mind. It’s just something that you don’t forget. That smile sneaked off my face all of the sudden.
The small ‘hallway’ leading from the bay door to the cockpit was extremely narrow, something that I wasn’t expecting in the ship of it’s size observed from the outside. Both sides were pretty symmetrical in a sense of what was there. Each had a single glossy screen displaying usual systems status, a small control pad and an engineering hatch which allowed direct physical access to the internal compartments and ship’s modules. As I approached the other end of the inside corridor, there was a short blipping sound and the jigsaw shaped metal door automatically opened revealing the inside of the cockpit.
The ‘bridge’ was quite spacious considering the minimalistic design of the corridor I just came through. One thing that I was taken by immediately was the huge size of the canopy. I was really impressed as the Vulture is after all categorized as a small size fighter vessel and I was definitely not expecting it. Two level, ‘duplex like’ floor only added to the overwhelming feeling I was experiencing. Loki just continued to surprise me with every single step I took.
I passed by the co-pilot’s seat and walked down the short metal stairway leading to the section where the Commander’s chair was located. Made of metal, and some kind of hard aluminum alloy, it appeared very solid. The front of it was covered in black/gray thick layer of leather that was designed to look like a contour of the human skeleton. Once I’ve taken my seat, I realized how comfortable it was. Had a feeling like every single little cushion worked autonomously to adjust to my body. Those guys at Core Dynamics are not joking around with their toys, I remember thinking to myself.
The control table was wide with two big screens, one on each side of the commander’s chair. Managing the controls felt almost natural to me. It was a weird feeling in a way. Just as if someone would drop you on an alien planet and you suddenly discovered that you speak their language even though you have no recollection of learning it whatsoever.
I figured I already lost a lot of time admiring Loki inside and out, and even though this ‘ride’ was smooth so far, I knew I shouldn’t feel too comfortable staying locked down in that docking bay. I did want to find out more about myself and what the hell happened, but not before I made sure I’m perfectly safe. Well, as safe as one can be in an open space at least. However, it was still better than being pinned to the station. It was time to leave and see what this ancient god of a ship could do.
Astra: Yes, Commander Balcanis?
Me: Let’s get this trickster out of here
Astra: ‘Trickster’ Commander? I’m afraid I do not understand
Well, we definitely need to work on the slang vocabulary, and quite possibly some humor. Didn’t say it out loud of course, I didn’t have time to engage further in small talk with a virtual assistant at that point and get myself into the state of agony.
Astra: If I may Sir?
Me: Yes, go ahead Astra
Astra: I have taken the liberty of readying the ship for departure. Check the manifest for both cargo and mission briefings before we launch.
I didn’t want to risk attracting any attention to myself at that point. Not until I knew more. I just needed us out of there as soon as possible.
Me: Astra, that is fine, thank you. Please, go ahead with the pre-launch diagnostics.
Astra: Pre launch diagnostics checks…complete. Final checks to ascent thruster vector controls…complete…standing by for launch.
Me: Launch please
As I’ve given the command for launch, I was able to hear a short small energy burst in the back and then the deep humming of the engines prevailed over the silence. I remember thinking that the sound was very powerful and beautiful at the same time. Astra continued…
Astra: Initiating launch protocols. Request to leave the dock sent. Station control, ship designation: LOKI-OUUTE-2C ready for departure from dock #33. Please acknowledge.
Station control: LOKI-OUUTE-2C… please, hold on…
The voice of the station operator sounded a bit surprised. I didn’t know if it that was a good thing or not, but I definitely didn’t like the long silence after that. Was it normal for the control to take that much time to ackowledge the undocking clearance? Seconds turned into minutes, and I started feeling a bit restless. I turned on the external ship’s cameras, watching, expecting the unexpected. The only thing I could hear except for the engines was the beating sound of my own heart.
Station control: LOKI-OOUTE-2C, clearance for departure acknowledged. You may proceed.
There was a loud noise coming from the docking bay as the clamps came out from both underneath and above the Loki, taking it into their grips and rotating it’s position. I could see from where I was sitting the huge thick metal door of the docking bay splitting in half. The ground shook as the big crane legs pushed the entire pad upwards. Few seconds pause, then the liberating sound of Loki’s on-board computer ‘Ship released, engines engaged‘. I instantly felt relieved, but I didn’t have the time to contemplate my feelings or emotions.
Me: Astra, Handover for departure please
Astra: Acknowledged Commander. Ascending to 30 meters. Retracting modules. Handing you the conn
I took over the controls, instinctively knowing exactly how to handle them. As soon as we ascended to thirty meters, a station operator voice came through the comms. ‘Commander, you have 5 minutes to leave the station area. Please observe the appropriate procedures while doing so.‘ I didn’t want any surprises, not at that point, so I wanted to make sure I followed everything by the book.
Me: Astra, twenty percent thrusters please.
Astra: Acknowledged. 20% forward thrusters on.
As we cleared the station’s mass lock and ‘no fire zone’, I immediately boosted away going full speed into direction where Loki’s sensors weren’t picking up any signal whatsoever, so I could figure out my next move. I did everything I could to make sure we were not followed either. Looked like I was clear, at least for the time being.