The Penguin came out of jump right on target, at the edge of Mora's jump shadow.
Dave was tired. He'd been dealing with insomnia, which often plagued him in jump space, and now that he had a real star-field in front of him, he felt himself crashing hard; age and lack of sleep: not a great combo. He stumbled from the pilot's chair.
"I am going straight to bed," he said, and shambled to his stateroom.
"I'll take over". Hiram was a merchant and broker by trade, but could handle himself adequately at the yoke when the need arose.
At best speed, it would take the Penguin four hours to reach Highport. Hiram didn't have much to do at the controls, so he took a last inventory of the cargo. Pretty good haul, all told. The biochemicals in particular would turn a nice profit. He'd been lucky; the guy he'd dealt with at their last stop-over had a surplus from a deal gone sour, and had been happy to get rid of them. Mora had a lot of heavy industry, and there was always a need for raw materials of all kinds. They should do well.
Charlie was busy with her equipment, as always; none of it had been needed in a while, but 20 years in the Marine Corps bred lots of old habits, and none of them had died, hard or otherwise. Her pistols, knives, and armor were all laid out on the weapons table in the equipment locker. All of it in was in excellent order.
Juda and Max were on the bridge with Hiram, to make sure sensors and comms had a body, although when it came down to it it was usually Hiram that actually manned the comms. They talked about nothing.
Behind them, pacing, standing, pacing, was Admiral Sir Henry Wilhelm Roosevelt
Bloodworth. No one called him that. Among the crew he was Captain Hank at best, but usually just Hank. He preferred it that way at this stage; he'd spent enough of his life being important, and where had that gotten him? Pretty far, it must be admitted. But to what end? He thought about his sister.
"Approaching vessel, this is Mora Highport traffic control. Please identify and prepare to transmit registry."
Hank broke from his reverie; they had finally arrived.