There was a strange, almost ethereal beauty about space.
No sound echoed through its vast depths, no songs or laughs of cries of anguish to ripple through the empty vacuum. Only light, slashing through eternity like some silent specter, bound for an unknown port. Life was unwelcome in it, bound to the earth-and-sea planets, or huddled behind think bulwarks of steel and iron when forced to pass through it. Nothing dwelt in the shadows between suns and stars, no organic creatures to wander through the empty spaces. There was planets and stars, asteroids and comets, and the great ever-present vastness of undiscovered territory. It was enough to boggle the senses.
Unless something else did that first. And for Ryan Garthos, captain of the 'Skylore', it wasn't a difficult task.
Said captain was, in fact, stretched full out under the instrument display, cursing quietly at the bundles of wires resting there. His broad shoulders were a bit of a fit in the tight space, and khaki canvas' legs rested on the steel floor outside it as he worked. At 6'2 he had the traditional 'V' shaped muscular frame, narrow hips leading up to a strong chest. His sandy blonde hair-hidden with the rest of his blue eyed, narrow face under the panel- was cut short, and normally standing at odd angles from nervous fingers. He'd discarded his normal blue-grey jacket for the work, and the greased splattered sleeves of his brown shirt made the odd appearance as he hunted blindly for tools.
Ryan was by no means a...talented engineer. A dozen years among space transports had rendered him knowledgeable in the basics, and he was clever enough to solve basic problems, but anything beyond that was almost gibberish to him. He was instead a pilot of sorts, learning to fly more on instinct then instruction, and well versed in the farther flung territories of the universe. He knew the outlying planets, had contacts among the less savory sorts that far out, and had made it his business to be at least friendly with some of the colony leaders on the 'newer' territories.
Which helped, especially in the smuggling business. It was a lucrative-not to mention dangerous- business, and people had to be careful about how they went about it. Too much activity got you a one way trip to the prison terras or a sentence of hard labor terra forming. Too much caution left you broke. The Skylore fell somewhere in between, taking on cargo both legal and otherwise, and passangers when the need for easy money arose. With a two man crew, though, profits were higher, and the business was worth the risk.
And having been both poor, and a post-war forced laborer, Ryan was determined to pursue the risk.
"Ha!" The triumphant whoop was somewhat muffled by the instrument bay, but that cut out none of the almost boyish enthusiasm. "Found you, hidin' bastard."
There was a loud snip of shears, and the 29 year old pushed out from his cluttered work area to look down proudly at.....a dark panel.
"Ma-da!" The curse was shouted, more annoyance then true anger, and Ryan slapped at the intercom button. It wasn't a large ship and a good bellow could have gotten her attention, but he would be in enough trouble after this little stunt-- better try to do things right until later.
"Jasmine to the bridge!"