I was sitting at the counter, drinking espresso and smoking Gauloises at the Hellas Basin Cafe on Rozhdestvenka Street in Moscow.
The day before, we’d been riding the veer, ferrying supplies to an ASEAN research facility deep in the Oort Cloud. It was pleasant to be back on Earth. During each veer run, when time-space turned psychotic and the heavy rad poured in, we would go null and let our guests do the driving. These petit morts moments were necessary for deep space travel. Dying wasn’t such a bad thing if you knew that cigarettes and strong coffee would be waiting for you when it was over.
A woman walked up behind me and said, “Those black lines across your knuckles and the backs of your hands. I know what those tattoos mean.”
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