1.60 - A Notch Above

1.60 - A Notch Above


 

The couch isn’t bad for a ship, I’ve had worse. I stand and stretch, trying to wake up fully, “You’re a rough sleeper,” Edan doesn’t give me a chance to forget we’ve been sharing a room for three days.

“Morning.”

“Brush your teeth, your breath stinks in the morning,” Edan jokes.

“You know, I really hate that you’re a morning person.”

“Nah, you love everything about me. After that first day, you stopped complaining. You’re enjoying this. I can see it in your eyes. You look grumpy, but the eyes tell it all,” Edan smiles.

After more brotherly banter and a quick breakfast Edan leads me to their small armory closet. He made it sound like a large section of the ship but it’s just a corner of the shipping bay. I understand, I’m used to military ships, large armories and small amounts of cargo. I guess it would be the opposite when you’re smuggling goods between systems all across the galaxy. It’s not a lot, a few different models of gun that I don’t recognize. No explosives, at least none that I can recognize. Guns are easy to spot no matter what species they come from. Barrell at the end, bullet, laser, shrapnel or whatever comes out, trigger on the other end. Explosives, not always as easy to spot. Could be solid, liquid, a foam or even a gas.

“Lot of guns, no explosives,” I start to poke around the corner.

“Well, we can’t get everything and I prefer to keep it nonlethal. You can shoot someone and make sure they don’t die. It’s a little harder to do that with explosives.”

“Good point. I see you and your friends do wear armor.”

“We’re not soldiers,” Edan sighs. “Doesn’t make sense to wear full armor to trade talks. A chest piece under a shirt is usually enough. No need to wear full military gear.”

“Well, that’s not going to work for me.”

“We’ve got a full kit if that’s more your speed. But, don’t blame me if you’re out there struggling to keep up. We’re not hunkered down and shooting. Most of the time, we’re not even shooting or fighting. Things tend to go smoothly. But, we’re meeting with someone new. They’ve got a bad reputation, so having a little extra security doesn’t hurt.”

“Well, I’m going to be, hunkered down and shooting,” I imitate Edan, “So, I’d like that full set. Don’t worry, I won’t get trigger happy and if I have to run, it won’t be my first time running in armor.”

Our different takes on what weapons should be used and what kind of armor, if any, should be worn to operations shows that we really don’t know what the other does. He seems to think I’m digging trenches and having full blown gun battles. I can admit I thought he was doing the same kind of thing I was. I’ve made trades before. Hostages for guns, gun for bombs, bombs for money and so on. I wore armor to all of them; but I guess I was dealing with government and military entities even if they weren’t always my own. I suppose you don’t want to look like you’re prepared for a fight if you’re dealing with other smugglers, gangs, or whoever buys smuggled goods. There’re situations either approach could work but for the most part, if I’m prepared for a fight, nobody is going to try me. If he’s prepared for a fight, people are thinking it’s a setup.

“Here we go,” Edan brings me to a set of black armor.

“What’s is this,” I ask, confused by some of the design choices.

“Well, it’s a Revrell set of armor we got,” he stalls, “as a bonus. Don’t worry, it’ll fit a human as well. There’s some kind of airbag system or something that helps it fit around whoever wears it. Good for cooling as well. It’s actually a really good piece of tech, but we never had use for it.”

I take the helmet in my hand and feel around it. The exterior is a cold and hard plastic like material, but it’s sturdy. Inside a very comfortable suede type material covering padded sides. I can tell there is some kind of electronic heads up display without powering it on.

“It has a light weight, but the material it’s made from is strong. We took some shots at it, didn’t leave a scratch. If you do get hurt, it’ll provide first aid through nanobots or something,” Edan laughs. “The Revrell are terrible fighters, so they make great armor. It’s easy to modify for humans as well. They were calling this one chameleon armor.”

“Why is that?”

Edan takes the helmet from me and presses a hidden switch on the side I hadn’t been aware of. The helmet and suit both lose their color in an instant becoming a cloudy translucent color. “When a person is wearing it, and the suit is powered on, it’s almost perfectly invisible.”

“That’s incredible,” I walk around the armor waving my hand on one side to view a blurry version on the other.

“Humanity could really learn a lot by embracing other species,” Edan just nods.

“You know, I’m always jealous when you randomly break out profound quotes like that. It’s as if you meditate on the meaning of life,” I laugh.

“I do. I’ve been enjoying your company but usually I wake up, exercise, meditate, journal then read. It’s important to keep my mind and body straight.”

“Wow, and I thought you were just a born philosopher.”

“Nope, just a regular guy. You should write in a journal too. It’ll help you understand thoughts that you can’t reckon with.”

“I’ll keep that in mind Mr. Sensitivity,” I shove his shoulder.

“You need to be more sensitive, figure out that wild mess going on in your head. Military won’t take you back like this.”

“I’m not going back.”

“Probably scared you don’t have it anymore,” Edan jokes.

“I still go it, that doesn’t mean I’m going back.”

“I never saw you with it Mr. Black Ops. I’ve just got your drunken stories. You need to get in shape before shipping out.”

“I’m not going back,” I say more forcefully this time.

“We’ll see. Once I show you some new moves, you’ll be dying to get back.”

Nastas coughs to make himself known, “you two bicker like children.”

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