Helton walks to the side of the big aft cargo doors, looks at them, and pushes a button on the wall.
Helton: (pushing button again) Open Sesame.
Helton: Open the cargo bay doors, please, Tajemnica.
Ship: (softly) I am afraid I can’t do that.
Ship: I can’t open the cargo bay doors, Sir…
Helton: Why not?
Ship: They are manually locked, sir.
Helton looks over at where the doors come together, and there is a very solid looking manual latching bolt shut fast. He gets a “well, DUH, but why didn’t you TELL me that to start with!” look. He walks over, and with great effort loosens it, and unlatches it. Then nothing happens.
Helton: Open the door.
Off to his side, an air-lock-type hatch door to the stairway opens with a creaking sound, like a crypt that hasn’t been opened for centuries. Helton looks at, quizzical expression on his face.
Helton: Open the main aft cargo doors that I just unlatched.
With a rending, screeching sound like the crypt occupant is annoyed at being disturbed, they grind sideways, revealing the closed loading ramp sloping up.
Helton: Drop the ramp.
Ship: I would not advise that at the current time.
Helton: (sounding annoyed) Who’s in charge here?! I said drop the ramp.
Ship: (softly skeptical) Are you positive, sir?
Helton: Yes, I’m positive!
Ship: Right now, sir?
Helton: YES! Drop the ramp RIGHT NOW!
There is a slight pause, and the sound of metal-sliding-on-metal, then with a tremendous crashing, WHUMPing CLANG!, the massive ramp drops in free-fall, hitting the ground hard, as if it’s not under control at all, sounding like an iron mountain falling to earth. Sunlight blasts in. Standing right next to now-nearly-horizontal ramp in a cloud of dust is a very surprised Floyd, eyes huge and startled. He turns slightly to look at them, and the ramp laying across his very recently made foot prints. He was missed by inches.
Floyd: Um, uh, yuuu…
Helton: Oh, God, was there someone behind you?
Floyd: N-n-n-no, bu-buuut… some-
Floyd points to the side of the ship, trembling a bit, still in shock at his close call.
On the road, near the side entry of the ship is a utility truck with several workers in the back, and a lot of equipment. On the ground nearer them and walking briskly toward them is a sharply-dressed pair of men, one mid-30s and very slick looking (SEYMORE), one 50s and weasely (SEELESS).
Seymore: (sounding like a used car salesman with a quart of high-octane coffee in him) Jed Seymore, of Seymore’s Custom Aerospace Maintenance. Biggest and best ship-shop in Adelaide. I heard that you were planning on refitting this fine old ship, and I am at your service. We can start with a full survey of her to find out what she needs, then then work through a bill of particulars. Survey’s free if you contract the work out to us, and we are the ONLY ones that could possibly put this grand old classic back in service. When would you like to start?
Helton:(eyeing him suspiciously)… How much for just the survey, no promises?
Seymore: Ah, a man that like to keep his options open! Good idea. For a ship of this type and age, it would need a VERY thorough going over, and just the preliminary might take five or six-
Helton: Quote, or walk.
Seymore: Ah, well, it’s not like I can-
Helton: Five… Four…
Seymore: One fifty.
Helton: … A hundred and fifty what?
Seymore: Well, we’d have to-
Helton: (firmly) NO.
Seymore: (indignant) What do you mean, NO?
Helton: If you can’t give a specific price for a specific service, then “NO.”
Seymore: You can’t just turn me down like that, there’s no-one else that CAN do this sort of work.
Helton: I’ll find someone.
Helton turns and walks back up the ramp. Seymore starts to follow.
Helton: (flatly) Off my ship.
Seymore: (getting angry) Now, look here-
Helton glances over – the bunch of workers have jumped out of the truck, and are walking over to their boss, carrying tools, of course. Not just workers. Enforcers.
Helton:… Let me think about it, and make some calls to see how things work around here, OK?
Seymore: (all smarmy smiles again) Fine, fine. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Helton walks back up the ramp, Seymore joins his men and walks back toward their truck.
Allonia: Well, the good news is that you just told Scam’n Symore to take a hike, and saved yourself a pile of money.
Allonia: He’s connected to the local mob AND the city council, and is a big player in the Port Authority, so it will cost you an even bigger pile. He likely heard you paid the power bill, and figured you were rich enough to want to bleed you personally.
Helton gets that ‘ah, shhiiitttt’ look that means “I’m just liking this ship more and more…”
Series of scenes
INT – Captain’s office – day
Helton sits at his desk in his cramped and sparse cabin, interviewing potential ship repair contractors that sit across from him.
Skinny Guy in greasy overalls: Not gunna be cheap. Engines shot, grav shot, life support’s on life support-
Well-dressed, plain-looking older woman: Initial survey would cost at least a quarter mil to get a solid audit on what needs to be done-
Fat guy: Not even worth using as a parts ship. Nothing on board is used any more-
Young guy: Looks worse that it is, nothing here you can’t patch or buy replacement parts for-
Nervous-looking guy: Has Seymore turned it down yet? I don’t want to move in on him or anything-
Allonia: -that’s everyone I could find who would even talk to you.
Helton looks back, slumping into his seat, depressed-looking and grim-faced.
Fade to black
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Not knowing what format you’d like to see nits in ;^)
Young guy: “Looks worse [that/]than it is…
Very much enjoying the story, so far.
Appreciated the initial explanation of FTL being like sailing.
Let’s hear it for AIs with personality!