Phaedra smiled as she heard the low staccato of jet sounds coming through her headset as she tweaked the manouvering thrusters. Logically she knew that the thrusters made no sound – they were firing in the vacuum – there was no medium to carry the sound. She smiled because she loved the fact that the engineers behind her scout vessel and countless other ships had decided to add aural feedback to the manouvering system anyway. She could imagine the scene in which a bunch of geeks would argue back and forth and eventually a marketing guy or gal would pipe up ‘but people like to hear the thrusters’.

The clang of hull on docking collar was real enough. That sound was transported to her ears through the recycled, precisely controlled atmosphere of Elixir, her home for the last six weeks and during that time her little island in the void. They had seen great sights together, and the contents of the cargo hold was going to raise an eyebrow or two. Still, homecoming was no fun if there were no surprises to hand out.

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