I woke up in my brand new body. Sat up. Looked around.
But if you've taken the trip to the Moon once, you've seen all there is to see. The transmat equipment, the matter assemblers, the rows of people waking up, the people who've become other people and not-people and just plain whatevers for the holidays.
I accessed my onboards, did a quick self-diagnostic. Body built exactly to order, tall and lean, dark and powerful. Neurons and synapses firing and connecting as they should. Fractional but functionally insignificant memory loss.
I dug a little deeper. Looks like I'd lost my fifth birthday party, something to do with a petting zoo, and the smell of my father's cologne.
That, in exchange for everything the Moon had to offer? No contest.
Hell, losing a memory of Dad? I should be thanking them. Take it all, with my blessing.
I stood. My garb was there, at the foot of the bed. I picked it up.
Black shirt. Black pants. Black boots. Black hat. Black mask. Black belt. But the sword, it was all of silver, elegant and deadly. Just what I'd wanted.
The thing standing next to me glanced at my blade. He, maybe she - well it obviously had quite an imagination. It looked at bit like a freshly-flayed and very oversized bat. It smiled after a fashion.
"Going my way, Sailor?" it hissed.
"I'm afraid not. I've got a solo charter."
Even a flayed bat can look surprised, as well it should. It looked at me again, knowing that I was either independently wealthy or had just gone into several centuries of debt for the sake of one vacation.
I smiled, then pulled on the mask.
"I believe," I added, "That my guide is here."
He could only have been my guide. He stomped up the the aisle towards me, on one leg and one peg, a hook raised in greeting. His coat and hat were weather-beaten crimson, and a cutlass, curved and heavier than my rapier, hung at his side. His old-ivory grin was a little too wide for comfort.
Good. I hadn't ordered comfort.
He stopped. Glanced at the bat-creature without interest, then turned back to me. "Be you Captain Black, him that men call the Dragon?" he asked.
I nodded. "And you, sir?"
"Why, I be exactly what ye asked for. As requested. The fiercest and the fieryest. The best and the baddest. Deep as the briny, deadly as a shark, wise as a whale and wilder than a hurricane."
He paused. Drew himself up. Doffed his hat.
"I be the Madmiral of the Luna Sea, at your service."