Chapter 2

                  Claire felt almost hung over the next morning. The floor in her apartment felt especially cold too, like the winter wind had decided to come a month early. Sometimes the rotation would alter just a little, depending on the storms off the coast of Landish on Holfax’s mother world. Claire never left Holfax to go to places like Paradise Landing. She had grown up on Holfax even though she was born on Earth.

                  She remembered plenty of Earth even though she had lived off it since she was twelve.  It wasn’t until war broke out on it that she was drawn into its plight. Technically she was a citizen of Earth but she vowed never to return back there after the mental scars that the two governments placed on all their people. War is never profitable to the people who get sucked in by their governments. It would be better if politicians would just get in one big room and fight it out with fists and leave the common man alone but that never happened in history of man and never would.

                  Claire needed to think about how to handle the situation. She had four months to salvage all three ships and if she didn’t under the common laws she would have to forfeit the property back to the government. Those ships were a year worth of salary for all her crew, she didn’t have enough in the bank to cover that even if she wanted to.

                  The odd satellite salvage only covered repairs on the ship and new equipment when it came their way. There was medical coverage for two wives who were nearly ready to pop too.  Not to mention now there was no way she would send those husbands on the next salvages either which meant she’d have to pay additional vacation for them plus hire two more men.  That was only considering if she actually did attempt the salvage.

                  As she walked into the kitchen she saw there had already been two messages on her phone from her crew leader and Doc. One asking if he should bring the crew together and the other from Doc giving confirmation that it was definitely the Dubin that had been the latest attack. She quickly deleted the last message as if deleting it would make things better. The next few days were not going to be pleasant. Hopefully now the government would do something, pull strings to figure out who was doing this.

                  She texted her crew leader back, “Everyone at the hanger at noon including spouses.” This was going to be a decision everyone would be involved with. No member would be fired if they chose not to take the next salvage, she would promise that to them.  He confirmed the time and that was set. No captain wanted to make decisions to put their crew in harm’s way but at the same time they needed jobs and she needed to make money.


                  Claire Long was the youngest captain out of Holfax. At 35 she had been salvaging since she was 25 right after the war ended. She had grown up on Holfax and new the trade business before salvaging had even started. Holfax was a shipping port from the beginning, servicing several worm holes. When she ran away from Earth at age 12 she had figured at first of running to some far distant colony but by chance she found a home the first place she stopped. It wasn’t her choice at first but in the end it was the best one.

                  Life had never treated Claire well. The things that happened to her had left a bad taste in her mouth when it came to politics and politicians and that would follow her throughout her entire life. On Earth she had it all. She remembered all of it as if she had just woken from a dream and it felt so close but not quite right. On Earth as a child she had frilly dresses and pretty parties. Her father served under the UN president as communication for many years and he had grown very popular among many of the political elite.

                  Claire remembered big glitzy parties at her house where old men spoke big secrets in the library while their wives got drunk on champagne. Back then no one really like the president or his policies and politics could turn ugly on even someone as powerful has himself. Some time aong the way the president got it into his head that Claire’s father wanted to push him out of power, and with a political favor run for president, which Claire believed was all the ideas of the same party that elected him two years before. Long story short, the president had Claire’s mother and father killed and she ran as fast she could with the help of her father’s friends. Her real name wasn’t Claire Long even though in present day she had seemed to forgotten that. It was a good thing she believed, she had shed the past in some manner.

                  It was a man name Cole Berns that changed Claire’s life forever on Holfax. She had landed on the tiny moon, never had left Earth before with stars in her eyes. Never in her wildest dreams would she had believed that she would have gone from privilege to sleeping in the woods outside the port city. She lived for a while on the money she grabbed before leaving, just enough to buy food and take it back to her secured spot. But when the money ran low and the winter season arrived she had feared death would catch up with her.

                  Claire had taken to stealing when she needed food and squatting in vacant buildings to keep warm at night. There was always the chance she’d steal from the wrong person so there was always danger. She had never been a brave child or at least she never needed to be.