The trip to Megaplex would take three days. And then two days over to the Sultanate, and four back home. A lot of alone time, which was just how Reagan liked it. Occasionally Toolbox would accompany Reagan, but the monkey spent most of his time in the engineering sections of the ship adjusting and tweaking the performance so much that it made Reagan nervous. On straight runs with a hold full of cargo Reagan would invite his girlfriend, Becca, along. She was good company. But on this trip he wanted the decorum of a clean ship, no unnecessary clutter or awkward conversations that might come up between the captain’s girlfriend and a Sultan’s soon to be bride.
Once clear of the Ring and far enough out into space, Reagan could power up the Zero Drive and then relax. Time passed smoothly until the marker for the outer boundaries of Megaplex chimed. Reagan cut the Zero Drive and fell back into standard space/time.
Reagan was seated in the captain’s chair on the bridge. He watched the scopes closely. This was not his first trip to Megaplex, but it was always an odd experience. Soon, two blips appeared on his scope at maximum range. He was still two or three hours flight time from Megaplex. An escort was not unusual. The blips closed quickly with his ship.
Two Dolphins slipped quietly into formation beside the Twist of Fate. Their ships were long and sleek with a big bubble dead center. They were not equipped with Zero Drive engines but what they did have were far more powerful then the Twist of Fate’s near planet engines. Reagan assumed that the hull of the escort ships also contained many lethal weapons hidden from view. He hoped he never had to encounter the escorts in their armed configuration.