the smuggler’s bible

Principium Hiemis

Principium Hiemis lights a cigarette as the engines spool up. The stars coalesce into a single bright, fist-sized smear at the front of the ship’s bridge, then streak outward along the walls in long ropy strands as miles and miles of reactors start to burn for the first time in centuries and begin sizing up relativity for a scrap. It’s a tough fight, and they aren’t expected to play it clean.

An orange light blinks on the display. Principium Hiemis blows a lungful of smoke toward it.

“Localized air quality,” he says, “is a matter left to the captain’s discretion.”