The place... echoed.
I passed through empty warehouses and hangars doing one last check for anything that might have been forgotten. For once, the job had been done thoroughly. Rather than being shipped -- and causing the contracted haulers to be lazy about things -- it was all being sold, with the exception of a few of the more expensive pieces and hulls. Those were in capable hands and on their way to a staging area on the other side of the cluster.
My fingers, trailing idly across a wall, tripped over the spot where we'd accidentally splashed paint one night when we'd got the idea that putting corp logo on our ships would be an awesome idea. We kind of forgot that hull paint is specially designed to withstand combat conditions, and had uttery ruined the coveralls we'd borrowed. The lumpy splatter on the wall would never come off.
'You're sure we can't have your stuff?'
I laughed and turned. Mynxee, Venom, Lakasha... all the Hellcats, and several members from the rest of the alliance, stood in the entrance. Heading over, I made certain I gave everyone a hug. 'I'm gonna fucking miss you guys.'
Eviwyn pouted. 'We'll miss you, too. I never even had the chance to fly with you.'
Fort ruffled my dreadlocks playfully. 'I'll keep your seat in the hot tub warm for you.' His craggy Amarrian features creased in a devious grin, and I giggled and kissed his cheek.
The gathering turned into a small party as we headed for one of the station's bars for drinks. Memories were shared of the last year and a half, three-fifths of my piloting career since I left the academy, summarised over beer and whisky and several hilarious games of pool. Towards the end of the night, Mynx wrapped her arm around my shoulders and took me aside.
'Look, I want you to know that you've got our support in this, and you'll be welcome back anytime.' She grinned. 'I've sometimes considered going on to other things, myself, but I kinda made my bed here, ya know?'
I smiled and hugged her. 'That means a lot, you know. And yeah... I kind of feel bad for leaving you guys like this... timing and everything.'
She shook her head. 'You've been such a big part of Hellcats for so long, and corp chat won't be the same without you, but I think this will be good for you. You've been down, lately.'
'Yeah. I have a good feeling abut this. And I will be back, eventually.'
'Ha! You can't leave this behind forever.'
Mynx laughed, her braids flying as she tossed her head back. I laughed with her, happy that this period of my life was closing on a good note. The last seventeen months had brought me some of the closest friends I'd ever had, and some of the best memories.
It had also given me the best relationship I'd had yet. Determined not to let it slide, I was leaving a jump-clone behind in order to visit Caellach whenever I had the chance. We'd managed a visit to his parents a couple weekends earlier, and it had been a surprisingly pleasant introduction to the Marellus clan. His mother had insisted on making up for the shortcomings of my own, despite my insisting that she didn't have to.
Someone smacked me on the arse and I looked over my shoulder to see Fort holding out a cue stick. 'Your turn, short-stuff.'
Chuckling, I took the stick and went back over to the table, determined to beat Val this time.
I'd be leaving for Ushra'Khan in the morning.