My First Writing Assignment in Fifty Years!

 The Skipper of the aging Skyfish Space Wagon “Crow”, was a veteran of one of the last attempts at quelling the attacks on commercial star haulers, like Crow. Amply tattooed, but sporting only one ring in each of his three ears; he had been dubbed “Uncle Filthy” by space pirates, a long time ago. Only a few at corporate; and even less in the Bureau of Non-Indigenous Space Freight Forwarders; actually understood that he had been the “go to guy” for pirates who wanted repairs, and more speed, maneuverability, stealth and weaponry; in his end of this arm of the galaxy.
  As the star freighters go, Crow was bigger than most, with the capacity of about seven average Hyper Haulers; which their Skippers complained were more like a space bound appliance than a starship! Built to an older standard, these Titanic Class ships had deplorable handling characteristics; but were not as quick as her newer counterparts; especially the new Hyundai Zong class! In part, due to her mass, it took three months to slow her down in deep space. Maneuvering Crow into planetary orbit was a real trick! It took patience, skill and experience from crew and computer; which is probably why she was the last one still in existence! (Oh, the humanity!) Crow also sported the last known operational Myriad compounded telemetric computer. Myriad was becoming senile and not a little sarcastic in her old age, too. But her worst habit, of course; was her tendency to explode. Literally. And usually in the most difficult and inaccessible parts of the ship; and at the worst times in the crew’s work schedule, if any orders made her uncomfortable. Myriad had her advantages, though. Uncle Filthy would always pretend to not notice when the Quartermaster reported a missing podule, usually returned in the morning!
 So this was Crow; more like a small planet than a cage! She was so big, that a few lonely, lost asteroids thinking this, became little moons orbiting around her!
 One of the best features of an old confounded computer, like Myriad, was their inherent ability to detect even the tiniest of transmissions,  and the rules were very clear! They were to aid any distress call no matter how weak! It was so weak because it was coming from a toy doll’s cellphone; sent by a little Walfon girl; on a nearby planet. Walfon kids were reputed to be the most adorable little cons in the Arm; so no one was surprised when Myriad put Crow into the slickest orbit in memory ever achieved by a Titanic  class; nor when Skipper Filthy arranged a landing party so Myriad would not explode again. It seems as though the little girl had run out of carrots for her tiger striped moon rabbit. They had plenty of carrots aboard to share, and all aboard knew better than letting Myriad hear the little girl cry!

 
Apologies to Carl Barks, Ed Murrow, Douglas Adams, Gordon Lightfoot, Uncle filthy  and any others that I have so shamelessly stolen material or ideas from!

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