EXT – night – dimly lit space-station, black of space in background
Several ships are attached to a large transfer-point space station in orbit 4 or 5 AUs from the star, well out to the edge of its gravity well. One liner is approaching, a freighter is leaving. Serene and quite looking, as everything goes according to computer-regulated plan. On one of the docked liners, there is a small (compared to the liner) flash of an explosion, and debris sprays away from it into space. Cut to interior of spaceport docking ring. A couple of Liner crew in uniform say the routine “good-bye and thanks for flying with us” to the departing passengers headed down the gangway, Lag included among them. The crew voices are flat, and they are somewhat grim looking. In the background, the one-armed Plataean is standing at stiff attention in a brand-new ship uniform, a barely contained smile on his face as he salutes Lag as he walks by. Lag nods in reply with a grin.
Lag: Look’n sharp, young man! Do your family proud! Now, get out of here – you’ve got work to do!
One Arm turns and heads away. Lag turns to leave, and the CEO passes by.
Penger Trask: Good luck on your trip, and I hope your path takes you near Trowdart in the next month so we can connect on the ground. (he sticks out his hand to shake)
Lag: (taking the hand) I will, I will. And if you ever find out where that missing two and a quarter percent went, let me know – it sounds interesting.
Lag heads down the gangway. With him go the doc & his wife, and the Senator, and others, while Trask goes back for his wife. Helton (carrying his duffel) and Bipasha (carrying nothing) walk side by side, then look up and around at the lights as they fluctuate in brightness.
Bipasha: Another problem with the power system? Good thing we made it to the station.
Helton: Yeah. And some other ships with room to hop on, if only barely.
Suddenly the lighting fluctuates a bit more, and a distant, barely audible thump is heard amid the hubbub.
They walk down the gangway together. The waiting room beyond has a couple of exits with reader boards above each list different ships and parts of the station.
Helton: Well here is where we part, I guess. Good luck with the job. Maybe you can get out to-
Bipasha: Yes, maybe so. We’ll see.
It sounds like he is more interested in getting together than she is. They shake hands a little bit awkwardly, then she goes one way and he goes another.
Fade to black.