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CURRENT ISSUE


I/O

By Rhiannon Rasmussen in Issue Seven, November 2022

outside
The asteroid belts were never as dense as they looked on the projection charts once the Round barge hit rendezvous. Lin Mugen matched velocities with the M-class target, marked the checklist go without double-checking the numbers—that's what the Fleetmind was for—and let the EMVI mech unlatch from the Round.

She could have called up the log to tell her the exact number of changes, but obsessive log-checking was more her partner Kim Sang-ki's thing. Round pilots like Mugen were a redundancy system on top of a glorified ore barge, not a critical component of the mining process; the important one was the EMVI and its nanowire saws that slowly cut the asteroid into pieces with as little mass shift as possible. Always go in pairs—that was the rule. It got lonely on the half-formed edges of stellar systems, scooping up the detritus of planet formation to be processed into the Fleet.