EXT – Day – Ground near the stern of the ship.
The ramp is down, but the thick main cargo-bay doors are closed. Allonia and Helton are out for a walk around the ship together, to get some fresh air and stretch their legs. It’s sunny and bright, with the sun at a fairly low angle. Helton is wearing a pistol on a belt, and his cloths are somewhat simple steam-punkish in style. Allonia wears a conservative calf-length skirt and blouse, her hair is in a thick braid. They look like friends out for a stroll. The camera follows them from a distance as they head for the ramp, zooming in slowly. We can’t hear what they say, but it seem to be funny by the smiles and apparent laughter. They get to the foot of the ramp, and start walking up it.
Much closer view of them from the top of the ramp as they walk up it. Allonia is kind of looking around, just a normal curiosity about the things around her. She happens to looks up into the area above the ramp, in the corner near where the inner door meets the side-wall. She squints a little and looks a bit closer.
Allonia: What’s that?
Helton: What’s what?
He looks at her to see where she’s looking, and follows her gaze up to the area above.
Cut to a view of the corner. In it there is what looks like a brassy patch of metal, that looks like it has a lot of rows and columns of small marks on it.
Helton: Huh. Looks like writing.
Closeup of a tarnished brass panel with rows and columns of names etched in it. Most are in English, but there is also Cyrillic, Japanese, Hindi, Korean, Hebrew, and a scattering of other alphabets. It is a LOT of names. Hundreds and hundreds of them. A few have ranks next to them, such as “Capt” or “1SG.”
Allonia: Who are all those people? Or, were they?
Helton: Hmmm… I’d guess former crew and compliment. Some ships have a placard to commemorate people who have served on it. Have too look some of them up.
Allonia: That’s a lot of people. This ship must have been around a LONG time to have THAT many serve on her.
Helton: Indeed. I’m sure she has some history to her. I’ll see if Lag can find out anything about it, and maybe those names, too.
EXT – day – Cargo bay ramp
Sgt Kaushik stands in light body armor, with his rifle, and three recruits also in armor with carbines. They are standing casually, on guard duty. A small vehicle comes down the road from the direction of the spaceport, kicking up dust.
SGT Kaushik: Port arms, gents, and look sharp. McKibben, wipe your chin! Disguising habit, that. Better. Mag and chamber check. All good? Safeties? OK. Not so close, spread out! Better. Horkle, aren’t you supposed to be by the side door?! MOVE IT! Shish…
The vehicle pulls up. It is a spaceport security vehicle. In it is Seeless and a uniformed officer. Kaushik steps up to side with Seeless, holds up his hand to tell him to stay in the vehicle. Seeless hands him an e-reader.
Seeless: You have 24 hours to pay the bill, or we shut the power off again.
Kaushaik: I’ll make sure Helton gets it. Now get lost.
Seeless smiles evilly, and nods to the officer to drive away. They roar off.
Kaushik: One thing you’ll learn, guys, is there are shit-heads like that everywhere. Usually, you can’t just shoot ‘em. The next best thing is to launch about five megatons of lawyering or a platoon of accountants at them. Here, Sanchez, double-time this up to Helton, and inform Lt Kat… Different port, same dipsticks.
INT -Day – Helton’s cabin
Helton and Kat sit, discussing the information on the e-reader Seeless gave them.
Helton: 117 thousand?!
Kat: And change. That’s what it says.
Helton: That’s ridiculous!
Kat: According to this, the previous bill you paid was just to get the power re-connected, not to pay off the full balance.
Helton:… No wonder it keeps changing hands in card games. I don’t have that much.
Kat: It’s a hunk, alright. And if I’m reading this right, that’s just the first installment.
Kat: I think… I think that this will take some digging in to. By a specialist. I know just the guy.
Helton: But this says power gets cut tomorrow if we don’t pay up.
Kat: Yes, I see that. I’ll see what I can do at the legal side.
Helton: I guess it’s time to see how Stenson is coming along on getting primary power up and on-line.
Kat: PRIMARY? I didn’t that would be possible with stuff this old?
Helton: When it comes to machines, Stenson is THE MAN. It might be possible without having to cut them out and replace them. Now’s as good a time as any to find out what’s where.
INT – Day – Engineering
Stenson is leaning half-way into a tube near the back of engineering. Helton stands nearby trying to see what he’s doing. Stenson’s voice echos hollowly out.
Stenson: Pretty good, actually. A couple of days, if all goes well. ‘Course, I’m still trying to figure out where half the power we are drawing IS going, which should have been done a couple of days ago, but…
Helton: You can’t account for HALF of the power we are sucking in through the shore wire?
Stenson: Nope. At first, I thought it was the bogus port meter trying to screw us, but that’s wasn’t it. Yet another mystery to solve. Doesn’t seem to be causing any problems that I can detect… But, as I keep telling the new guys, “fix one problem at a time that you CAN fix, THEN worry about the ones you can’t.” At least we’re not having to wear helmets any more. Ah, THERE. That’s got it.
He pops back out of the tube, sweaty and dirty.
Stenson: I’ll move power to the top of the heap.
Helton: Sounds good. Keep me posted.
Fade to black