Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Oh no, not again

So its a box.

"Isn't she a beaut? Nearly new with one previous and careful owner. Just look at those lines."

The lines are all square and angular and join very neatly to make sharp pointed corners.

The very definition of a box.

The salesman seems not to notice the laser scars and welded repair plates scattered across the hull, his eyes just a little too wide to convincingly match the smile stretched across his face. I resisted the temptation to point to details, after all he's still going through his sales pitch and we're not yet negotiating.

As we wander into the cargo hold I pass a guilty glance over to my Asp parked a few bays down. I'm still wondering if this is the right thing to do.

"Plenty of space. You can haul just about anything you want!"

The other end of the cargo hold is barely visible, though that could be only the small number of internal lights that still seem to be working. I let out a loud whistle and wait for the echo. 

"Excellent sound proofing! You won't hear any complaints from the cargo!"

So that's why the ship is now up for sale at what is already a good price. It has a history, and probably with one of those clans that like to sit on the periphery of a system accidentally making an occasional honest credit.

Back outside I point to the stubby and awkward wings that protrude from the side. The ship obviously needs additional cooling and radiative surface area.

"Oh ... they're for aerodynamic stability and have been known to land on planets. Notice the styling on the front for atmospheric flow and scooping through the corona of a star."

I nod as if imagining and appreciating the possibilities behind his words. I've convinced myself... but not for his reasons. It is time to change career again.

We soon get down to the detail of haggling price and terms. Nothing new here, money speaks and my Asp is in better condition for trading on and he knows it.

At one point I compared the box to an old and extinct Sol creature called a whale. He looked at me blankly. I could see him consider the negotiating benefit of asking the question, but the moment passed and it would have felt awkward.

"Er...what's a whale?"

I had my back to him and so cocked my head, pretending to wait for the echo.

We eventually settled on price and traded contracts. He left me with the access codes and wandering the ship as the new owner, his mind having already forgotten me and on to a list of buyers for the Asp. Conceding that it might just make it through an atmosphere, I still didn't quite fancy playing with the ground yet though.

The salesman had failed to mention how many had successfully taken off.