Sit down, kid, and let Red explain. Time’s a funny thing when you’re in the bucket. Sometimes it’s like you’re just floating in the void. You feel like it’s been ages and when you look at the chron, it’s been maybe a handful of minutes at best. It’s even worse when you’re doing recon. Then all your equipment is live and you really are just kinda floating around.
I been running escort for merch for the last decade, kid. I’ve done the drift and watch thing, and I’ve been in shit so thick your feathers’ll turn white. There’s a reason they pay me as good as they do.
Nah, I’m good. Thanks, though. I’ve got coffee. I’ll take one of those smokes, though, if you feel like sharing.
Anyway, like I was saying, time ain’t what you think of it. I talked to the nav a while back. Spent a couple lunches and dinners discussing it, right? Ever see how much that guy can put down, by the way? Those tentacle things get to whipping around like a mixer. Food just cramming into that beak of his –
Yeah, yeah. Off track, I know. Look, kid, I just got back from… Never mind. That ain’t important. Just listen to that little voice in your head when it tells you that time seems to be dragging. Watch your chron a bit. Get it back in a rhythm, ‘cause if you let it get away from you, it’s a stone bitch to get it back.
Oh, yeah. That’s mine. No, ma’am, I had the pancakes. He had the salad. Yep. Boring as cheese, huh? I guess somebody’s gotta be, right? Hey, I tell you what: when you finish your shift, you and me should go grab a drink.
Yeah, I saw the ring. And?
Ha! He ain’t my husband, honey, and I ain’t planning on telling him if you don’t.
Wow. Guess she’s really set on that whole marriage thing. What? Hey, kid, if you don’t take a chance now and then, you ain’t going anywhere.
My ass. What’s he gonna do to me? Shoot me? Toothies been trying that for years. I’m still sitting here, with near a hundred fighters painted on my hull. Her old man? Probably some dumbass wage slave somewhere.
Yeah. Back to it, right? Here’s the deal: You and all your friends see time as some kind of straight line thing, and it ain’t. You’ve seen a river, yeah? Well that’s how most Folk think of time. Like it’s a river. Seconds flow by and they’re just lost. Hey, pass the salt.
Spend enough time in the void, though, looking into nothing and begging the gods for the hint of starlight on metal so you can do something, anything, to remind yourself that you’re really alive, and you’ll understand.
Time ain’t a river, kid. It’s a fucking ocean. Those seconds you’re thinking are passing you by? They’re all still there. If you know what you’re doing, you can reach out and touch ‘em, put the damn things in the order you want, and use the hell out of them.
Me? Not yet. Not consciously, at least. I’m working on it, though. Me and the nav been talking on it. When time seems to be slowing down, you pay attention to it and it seems like it’s normal again, right? So what if you could pay attention and have it work for you? The whole thing is experiential, you dig? It’s different based on who is experiencing it.
Think about this one: You’re in the bucket, right? Just cruising along like a drop of black against a black background, surrounded by blackness. You’ve been out there for a while and everything seems to be just creeping along even slower. Block out the chron. Don’t think of anything except how slow everything is. Reality itself is slowing down. It’s just you and the darkness. Soon there will be nothing at all. Just darkness once you’ve passed it, so the time it takes to do so is inconsequential.
See what I mean? You do that when you’re on stick and you’re gonna get a handle on what’s going on. Out there it ain’t nothing but you.
So you get in a fight. What then? Your craft ain’t no faster than a toothie one. You’re a better pilot, right? Moving inside their guard, getting the drop on them no matter what. What if that ‘better pilot’ thing is because you’re got a feel for how time actually works and subconsciously you’re finding the best way to move. You’ve got time working for you now instead of against you. You’re one of the ripples in that ocean, kid, and you can change it. You can make time stretch and flex.
It ain’t that far-fetched. Probably been going on forever, it’s just that Folk don’t see it for what it is. They call it luck or fate or some such shit. The nav calls it temporal manipulation.
Look at me, kid. I look like some kind of kook coming in here and spewing lies over my breakfast? I got better shit to do than that. I ain’t here to convert you or tell you that you gotta see shit my way, but you asked about why it felt so long and lonely out there.
Maybe next time it happens, you’ll think about what I said. Maybe you’ll understand why one old eagle’s got the rep he has. Maybe you’ll be the one to make it work.