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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 102 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

The Snow Raven Clan...

...'bought' four of them, and a four-collar commercial-grade Jumpship as 'tender' for the operation, and now their warriors and Techs were getting a good look at the Trial area.

Jabberwock could pass for a smaller Neptune, right down to the Bluish-green light refraction spectrum from its borderline-gas-giant structure, the massive planet had a small handful of moons, and a faded, narrow, almost invisible ring system.

Bryn Cooper noted it took a little getting used to, flying a jump-capable ship where the core's safety interlocks weren't merely sabotaged. They had been outright deleted by the manufacturer, right down to the computer's program having no warning alarms beyond core temperature and conduction. This was nearly as unusual as the Jump Sail assembly using absorptive, instead of reflection-and-concentration materials. There would be no painting of logos or images, because those would interfere in the spectral absorption, but the tech manuals supplied noted that the materials absorb more than mere light.

ANY electromagnetic energy within the normal EM spectrum was picked up by some layer of the sail. It could charge off of X-rays or infrared as easily as visible spectrum light, and the Techs were even familiar with the ideas-"The only reason nobody built these back in the Age of War, was because they are expensive." was the answer.

Expensive sails. Cheap electronics. The Telescopes used components suitable for Naval Lasers, there were redundancies on every internal system, of course...but it was still a little bit interesting to see younger warriors reacting to pressure doors that had large, mechanical locks instead of the weight-efficient and advanced magnetics used on Star League Era vessels.

What was more amusing, was the reaction of his AsTechs to examining the thrust pods. "They pulled these right off the production line for a Mammoth class DropShip, then stripped off everything you do not need for space operations." the power-plants were much the same-mounted in quad and parallel so that the sum total was the same output as a single, larger, unit, but with the result that a lot more would have to be shot off, before the ship could not power itself in a fight.

And that was what Bryn Cooper realized when he looked at a Sampan III for the first time. This was not a ship meant to impress, it was a ship meant to fight. Everything built into it was laid out or designed to absorb and mitigate damage instead of avoiding it-the armor wasn't impressive. Not even for the relatively low mass, but how to use the ship was evident, and to a warrior's eye, intentional-for example; the jump sails 'scavenging' effect on EM shadowed the ship's movement on sensors granting a modicum of stealth while drifting, the redundancies and low-cost components meant it could sustain damage in a fight that would pop a heavier, more traditional ship like a zit. The weapons fit was light, but achingly reliable, the fighter and small craft bays were set up efficiently, the complement reasonable, the weapons stores and cargo fraction were sized and organized to make them easy to load, easy to access from within, and efficient-with the right crew.

"Let us go hunting." Somewhere in this ring system-avoiding the 2nd moon, anyway, was the local OpFor, running the same models he was, but with slightly more of them. "Prepare all hands for depressurization, helmets on! Fighter star at the ready. All non-essential personnel to reserve positions and damage control teams stand by."

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