Episode 301: Hard Places, Part 2
Joshua: You’re boned.
Rina: (still smarting) You wish.
Joshua: Not you.
Rick: Not yet, at least. (laughs) It’s still 24 hours before you get 3D imaged.
Nika: (to Rina) Arden will probably want to go. Cuz he’s got zero modesty.
Rina: Yeah, he’s got no modesty issues.
Nika: But just in case—no sex in front of the cameras. You can go do that with anybody else if they ask, but it’s not gonna be with me in front of a camera.
Rick: What’s going on?
Rina: (to Nika) I’ll be willing to go with you as a chaperone. It’s the least I can do.
Nika: Oh, yes, you will.
Rick and Joshua leave the Gift to look into the man looking to hire first class passage. The accommodations at Rockhaven have two distinctive grades: economy and not-economy. The economy grade accommodations are of the coffin-hotel style. Self-contained sleeping tubes tall enough to sit upright in, wide enough to hold an adult male, and outfitted with the amenities that keep the occupant from going crazy, they have privacy curtains, miniature Cortex screens, and built-in appliances like clocks and radios in the dashboard. Luckily for us, Faria is staying in the not-economy end of things, cushy suites more suitable for high-powered business executives and high-rollers. We find his door and press the page button and are buzzed in.
We walk into the sitting room and see a man garbed in the robes of a Shepherd, putting something on. His back is to us but as we file in, we notice that he’s a multiple amputee, missing his right arm and his left leg. He turns around and dons his hat.
Joshua: (respectfully) Shepherd.
The Shepherd turns around and dons his hat and we see that his left prosthetic leg is a ‘peg leg’. His face is scarred. Rick takes a closer look—the man seems familiar.
Joshua: Father? What is the correct--?
Faria: Or you could just call me ‘Faria’.
He pronounces it ‘Far-ree-ah’.
Joshua: Faria. My name is Joshua Drake, steward to Summer’s Gift. We saw your board notice. You said you wanted to talk to potential crew on the ship you might be—
Faria: I’m familiar with College, here.
Faria takes off his hat and Rick sees that underneath the thinning hair, wrinkles and scars, the man is indeed who he thinks it is. Shepherd Faria is none other than his old Captain from the War. Captain Baylon. “College” is the nickname the Captain bestowed on him. Without further ado, Faria hobbles on his peg leg and opens a case on the table and reveals two New Tech prosthetics, a foot and a hand to replace the ones he’d lost. He puts on the hand and speaks to Rick.
Faria: It’s been a while.
Rick: Yeah, it has.
Faria: (to Joshua) I knew the boy back in the War, if I seem to have met him before.
Joshua: (to Faria) Not being a vet, I know nothing. Not that this is anything new. I assume this is a…since you haven’t tried to kill him yet, I assume this is a pleasant friendship.
Faria: Usually it’s the men who try to kill the Captain.
Joshua: You’d be surprised.
Faria: (to Rick) So. Workin’ on a ship, now.
Rick: Yeah. Right now just doing passage work.
Faria: You didn’t seem to care much for the Black, back in the olden days.
Rick: Things change. It’s an interesting set of stories as to how I got on’ta this ship.
The fact that Faria’s now a Shepherd is quite a change, too.
Faria: That’s true.
Rick: Your story, it seems like it could be equally interesting, if not more so.
Faria: Perhaps it is. So, ah….all right. I might interested. I’d like to take a look at your ship and interview your crew.
Joshua: That could be arranged.
Faria: Are you the Captain?
Joshua: No, sir. The Captain’s currently involved with other business right now. I’m the steward, checking out to see what was going on before we accepted the job. But we can have you come by the ship, meet the Captain.
Faria: What ship is it?
Joshua: Summer’s Gift.
Faria goes over to a personal Cortex box, types something and reads.
Faria: (to himself) Kuiper class…(louder) Well, she’s spaceworthy. I guess she can get me to Blue Sun. I don’t need to travel in luxury.
Rick: We have relatively good first class facilities, I would say.
Joshua: How fast are you looking to get there?
Faria: Well, fairly quickly. I really don’t want to spend a whole lot of time travelling to other star systems, if that’s your planning.
Joshua: That’s part of it, yeah. We’re going to need a few days to finish up some repairs. Is that acceptable?
Faria: As opposed to travelling with unfinished repairs? Because right now there’s no other ship heading out there. So, yeah. Unless something better comes along while you’re repairing your ship.
Joshua: Fair enough.
Faria: Or unless something better comes along for you, too.
Faria: I have some….requirements.
Joshua: And what would those be?
Faria: I need to talk to your crew to find out if they meet my standards.
Joshua: Okay. (points to Rick) You know him already. Do you need to ask me any questions while you’ve got me?
Faria looks Joshua up and down.
Faria: Well, I’d say….what are you? What’s your job on the ship?
Joshua: I’m the steward. My job is to take care of the passengers, so I’ll be cooking and generally taking—
Faria: I don’t need anyone taking care of me. I like to take care of myself.
Joshua: That’s fine.
Faria: I mean, you can cook my meals, but I’m not much interested in people caring—just because I’m missing an arm and a leg doesn’t mean I can’t keep track of myself.
Joshua: It wasn’t even in my thought process, sir.
Joshua notices that one of Faria’s eyes appears cloudy and he’s favoring his other eye. Joshua assures the man that he’s only worried about someone who’s served not being able to take themselves. Faria seems fine with that.
Faria: Well….. I need to interview you all separately.
Rick: Would you like to do that later or do you want me to leave right now and you can talk to him?
Faria: I don’t care.
Joshua: All right. We’ve got our contact. We’ll go back to the ship, make sure all is ready.
Faria: If College here can stick around, we got some catching up to do.
Joshua: I don’t see why not. Rick?
Rick: Yeah, sure.
Joshua: All right, then. We’ll be in contact once we know the crew’s all there and available for you to come by and take a look at the ship and talk to the crew members. If that’s okay?
Faria: Say again?
Joshua: We’ll let you know when you can come by and interview the crew.
Joshua: (to Rick) You got the comm.
And Joshua returns to the ship. Faria waits until the door is closed and he’s alone with Rick before settling down to business.
Faria: So, what can you tell me about this crew?
Rick: They’re good crew. I’ve been with them for over a year. Well, Joshua’s a new addition to the crew but I mean, so far he’s been great.
Faria: There’s something queer about him. I’m not sure what it is.
Rick: He has a pretty good ability to read people. It seems like he’s really good at that.
Faria: How are they when it comes to intimidation?
Rick: Ah, they’re pretty hard to intimidate, I’d say.
Faria retrieves a worn-looking Bible.
Faria: You know, being intimidated is one thing. But being pulled into the dark is another. Are they…. I don’t know how to say it….are they strong? Are they…upright? It’s hard to find a crew that’s all them.
Rick: I think that they’re a strong group. I mean, I can’t say that we follow maybe the moral standards that a Shepherd would want people to adhere to but I have to say if you wanted to say are they easily corrupted or…?
Faria: Well, when I took on the robes I did make some promises. Some vows. And I know the kind of evil that can be in people’s hearts. And how easy it is to….take the easy way. It might seem weird coming from me, but I can’t hark on that anymore. If they’re too quick with their guns, if they’re people that would leave stragglers out in the Black, that’s not something I want to be a part of.
'Rick: There’s no one on the crew that would leave a straggler out in the Black. Actually, we’ve gotten into a couple of troubles just because we’ve been fairly charitable with that. There’s only one member of the crew that is occasionally quick with a gun. Mainly, that’s quick with fists. At first glance she may not seem like a person you have to worry about for that but she’s actually a good fighter. But for the most part, she doesn’t act out. I mean, I would say I trust every member of the crew.
Faria limps over to the room’s mini-bar and pours a couple of glasses of brown liquid.
Faria: I don’t think it to be just luck that you would be the one to respond to this call. You were someone whose judgment I should have paid more attention to in the War. I apologize for that. I thought my duty was to obey, not to think about things. I don’t think that anymore.
Rick: Well, I feel there’s been quite a few changes since the war.
Faria: Well, with this latest business… (sighs) It’s somewhat both fortuitous and ironic that I should come across you, for I was actually looking for some of the old team.
Rick: Why are you searching for them? I’ve not heard from anyone. Not looked for anyone.
Faria: I doubt you’d be able to find them even if you were looking for them. Most of them have …. They’ve gone wild, in a sense. They’ve accepted the …dark parts of them. Lots of service for them are either bandit groups or…worse. And that’s why I’m heading out. Before I can live a more peaceful existence, I’ve been told that I need to exorcise some demons. And the responsibility I have for those men and what they’re doing now is something I need to take care of. I wouldn’t ask you to do that, but if you could get me closer to them...
Rick: What do you plan on doing with them? Reasoning to them? Or maybe being a little bit more—
Faria: I hope to show them the light, that they may be redeemed. To let them know that there is forgiveness.
Rick: Do you have reasonable leads to most all of them?
Faria: I have some. And others are working.
Rick: Okay. Have you spoken to any of the members that have not…gone rogue?
Faria: I don’t know if you remember Lewis. He’s got—well he was, I don’t know if he is now—he was in the Navy right before this whole business went off. He was the Security Chief on one of the ships out there. I don’t know which one, the Polaris, I think. He seems to be okay. But I think that….yeah. You know some of what we did. I think that has to get to people.
Faria goes quiet.
Faria: Some people think that….David could not build the Temple in Jerusalem because of what he did to Uriah. But I believe because it was the blood that was on his hands of the thousands that he had killed, not just this one man. Sometimes soldiers shouldn’t be expected to go back to society and be civilized men. Maybe I’d protected you from a little bit of that. I don’t know if you realized.
Rick: Well, I know that I wasn’t a part of a lot of the things that went on. And in the end, when I was out on advance scout. But I feel like it was probably for the best. I can’t say for anyone else in the group, but after I got out, I didn’t do anything military related and I hadn’t done anything since.
Faria: Oh, I wouldn’t say you’ve done nothing.
Rick: Well. (coughs) Not military related.
Faria: I saw your broadcasts from Miranda.
Rick: Well that was a public service.
Faria: I agree. It ain’t right what happened out here. So, I’m not saying what you did was wrong. In fact, I got to tell you, that’s….given me reason to believe that you’re trustworthy. Was it this crew that brought you there?
Rick: Yeah. Everyone except for Joshua. Everyone except for Joshua was present.
Faria: You might want to keep an eye on him. Because people have…The Alliance, such as it was, had a pretty good memory. We’ll see if it still does. And they may yet want to know or want words with you about all that.
A beat. Then:
Faria: But if the crew’s as you say, trustworthy, then I might feel okay. I would like to talk to them, though.
Rick: Yeah. We will arrange something so you can come in and meet everyone independently and ask them whatever questions you need.
Faria: Very good. All right…. (sighs) I’m glad to see you’re alive.
Rick: It’s good to see you. It’s been a long time.
Faria: I’ll pretend you’re telling me the truth about that. (chuckles) I’ll let you get back to your crew.
Rick: We’ll send you a message when everything’s prepared.
Meanwhile, Joshua’s returned to the ship about a half hour ahead of Rick. He tells the crew what he’s seen so far.
Joshua: We may have a job.
Nika: It could be worse.
Because, really, if Joshua knew of her conversation with the Borderland Express…
When everyone’s back at our gathering place at the bar, Nika discusses getting the power back on our ship so we can actually live aboard our home. Rina’s response was ‘talk to the steward’, since it’s going to involve money. And that’s if the station has the part to buy. Which they don’t. She’s already looked into it.
Rick: I think I know where we can go to get one. Hold on. How specific is this part?
Rina: Pretty damn.
Rick: So it would only exist on Kuiper class vessels?
Rina: (lightbulb!) You’re not thinking of going to the Borderland Express and ripping theirs off.
It’s not really a question, the way she says it.
Rick: No. But we could ask.
Nika: If they have a spare.
Rick: (Chuckling) That or if we could borrow theirs.
There’s merit in Rick’s suggestion: another Kuiper class would almost certainly be compatible.
Rina: That would be something I could talk about while I’m there.
Rick: So why do you guys need to go there? Anyways? To begin with? What’s going on with that?
Arden: Didn’t you hear? Everybody’s getting body scanned.
Nika: I knew it. I knew it as soon as he asked Arden was going to open his mouth and—
Rick: Body scans?
Arden: Yeah! For fifty credits.
Rick: Holy shit!
Joshua: Fifty credits? Damn.
Rick: That sounds pretty good. And you weren’t going to tell me about this?
Nika’s just twisting in her embarrassment now.
Nika: I was going to tell you … (mortified)...oh, my god….
Rina: She’s embarrassed. And I’m in Dutch because I talked her into it. But I’m going too.
Rick: We should all try and go.
Nika: (brightly) Yes. Yes, the man would like all of my friends to come.
Rick: I’m on it. Sweet.
Joshua: Okay. Well, that seems reasonable. (a beat) We need the money.
Rina: It’s not like our faces aren’t out there already anyway.
Nika: (heavily) Darlin’, my Daddy’s rollin’ over in his grave.
Rina: Send him to me and I’ll talk to him.
Joshua: Why is that? It’s just body shots…all over.
Nika straightens in her chair and her drawl gets even thicker.
Nika: My Daddy had some very strong opinions.
Rina: Uh-oh. She’s drawling. We’re dead.
Joshua: I’m sorry.
Rina: But could you hold off killing us til after we get paid?
Nika: You do realize that as far as my Daddy was concerned, Christian was a whore. There was absolutely no nicety to it.
Joshua: So when is this….thing….tomorrow?
Joshua: Do we have time before then to..to..
Nika: (pouncing on it) Yes. Go make yourself pretty.
Joshua: No, no…
Nika: Oh, I’m sorry. That’s what Christian would have done.
She starts to laugh, she’s that embarrassed.
Rina: Oh, you know it. He’d primped himself for days.
Joshua: I am not Christian.
Nika: (agreeing) He’d’a primped.
Rina: For days.
Nika: He’d’a primped my hair before we went. Christian would have appreciated this far, far too much.
Rina: Christian would probably be able to buy us that part ten times over. (sighs)
Nika: Well, yeah. Because he’d go in there and do sex in front of the scanner.
Rick: I don’t think he could do that. I don’t know how Companion rules work but I don’t know if he could manage to get away with those sorts of things.
Nika: Oh, yeah, I don’t know if he’d actually be allowed.
Rina: That would be giving the product away for free.
Nika: In any case, it’s a non-issue at this juncture. My apologies, Joshua.
Her drawl is really in full force now, as is her contrition. Rick pipes up brightly.
Rick: Fifty credits is fifty credits. I would’a done it for five.
Arden: I heard that.
Nika: (to Arden) And my Daddy’d call you a stripper.
Arden: Nothing wrong with that.
Joshua: We’ve settled what you are. Now we’re just arguing what to call it.
Nika: All right. I’m not goin’. That’s it. You guys are going. I’m not goin’.
Rina: Well, that’s a hundred credits, right there. (sighs) I can’t believe I just said that. Well. I’m going. Might as well.
Nika: (to Rina) I’m going to get you a ball gag.
It’s a good thing that this little conversation is just between crew, if only for Nika’s sake. Annie and Marie are not present to hear it, having taken off on their own to find work for money toward repairs. Rick mentions that since Joshua’s already told us about the coming job with the Shepherd, we need to introduce Annie and Marie to the Shepherd so he can interview them.
Nika: Yes, yes. We’re gonna get Annie and Marie when they get back. It’s not til eleven o’clock tomorrow mornin’.
Rina: We better not tell Faria what we’re going to be doing.
Joshua: Well, we can’t bring the Shepherd aboard until we have heat. That would be the first step before we introduce him to anybody.
Rick sums it up on his fingers.
Rick: Okay. Tomorrow we go strip, we attempt to get the part, we attempt to repair the ship and then we tell him.
Joshua: It’s like a checklist. ‘Go Strip.’ (laughs) Oh, yeah, I’m on board with that, I think.
Arden: Go strip. See priest.
Nika: Get absolution…
Arden: Fix the ship up.
We laugh and then sober. Nika is absolutely mortified.
Joshua: (to Rick) Actually, I’d like to talk to your Shepherd friend. It would be nice. Is he a Shepherd? I mean, like is he a Shepherd type? Really?
Rick: Things changed since the war.
Nika: So. Who was he?
Rick: He’s a Shepherd.
Nika: No. Who was he?
Rick: He was the Captain of my unit when I was in the war. The Captain of the Special Forces Unit.
Joshua: Once again, I’d like to meet him.
Nika: You never talked much about what you did back then.
Rick: (wryly) Not many people do.
Arden: That’s true.
Joshua: That’s okay. I was blindsided.
Arden: Hell, we can’t even tell which side Rina was on. (to Rina) I’m just kidding.
Joshua: I get blindsided all the time around here. You get used to it.
Nika turns serious.
Nika: (to Rick) Are you okay with him coming aboard?
Nika: For all that most people don’t necessarily talk about exactly what they did in the war, some of us are not so happy with the people we left back there.
Rick: Ah…I mean, I did not agree with everybody in my unit all the time, but I never tried to kill anyone and they never tried to kill me. So….
Nika: Fair enough. It’s not like we all sit around here an agree, so that’s not tellin’ me much.
Joshua: As a plus, he’s well off. Or it seems like he’s well off, because he’s got New Tech. He’s got New Tech and he’s staying in the nice place. He’s not in a coffin hotel. He’s got cash of some sort, I’m guessing.
Arden: Plus the fact that he’s here, rather than…
Nika: What’s a guy with New Tech doing here?
Joshua: I don’t know.
Nika: Why is he headed for Blue Sun?
Joshua: I don’t know. (to Rick) I assumed he told you why he was going. He didn’t say much. He just said he wanted to go and was willing to wait a few days to get our things in order so long as a better offer came along.
Rick: I didn’t ask him too many specifics about this.
Nika: And ultimately it’s not our business, the specifics.
Rick: But I assume that if he decides that after he—Probably what he’ll do is once he talks to us and interviews us separately he’ll decide if he’s going to divulge anything else. Joshua: Okay. That’s fine.
Rick: He just wants to go to Blue Sun, is what.
Joshua: Okay. That’s fine.
Rick: As to why he’s here, I don’t know. It could be he wants to stay under the radar from something. Or maybe this is the closest layover spot once the Cortex went down.
Nika: Yeah. I just….you know. A guy with New Tech, doesn’t seem like Blue Sun is a place for him to be goin’.
Rick: There are plenty of advanced things out in Blue Sun.
Rick: He is familiar with the Miranda Wave Christmas Wave.
Nika: Oh, boy….Okay.
Rick: That’s not a negative.
Nika: Not overtly, no.
In point of fact, Joshua has yet to see that one and he remarks on it. Rick smirks and says it’s not as good as the Miranda Shower Wave.
Nika: Okay, now I hate you. (switching gears) All right. I guess we’ll make arrangements to meet him.
Rick: Yeah, once we fix the ship up. That’s the biggest thing. I don’t think that he cares so much about the ship, he wants to see the kind of people that you guys are.
Arden: If you want to do that before we go strip, we can do that.
Nika: Play nice, Rina.
Rina: All right. He’s a man of the cloth, I can respect that.
Joshua: We can. We’ll have to do it somewhere else. We can’t do it without the heat. No matter what the condition the ship is, we can’t have that meeting without heat.
Rick: What time are we strippin’ tomorrow?
Rick: Eleven? Let’s strip and see about the part and then maybe if we get the part, two weeks later I can tell him.
And Nika flushes at the word ‘strip’.
Joshua: Oh, I like that. ‘Let’s strip and see about the part’.
Rick: What’s the stipulation for this. How long do we have to do this for?
Nika: Two hours.
Rick: Two hours?! That doesn’t….Is that how long it normally takes to be scanned?
Nika: (embarrassed) Do I know?!
Arden: It depends on what you’re being scanned for.
Rick actually has done this before as a performer. The time-consuming part is mapping for articulation: stand up, sit down, turn left, turn right, bend over—all the important maneuvers that make you fully operational. Multiple scans insure there’s enough correctly aligned data to work with. And that’s under professional studio conditions. Lord knows what the Borderland Express has to work with. After a moment’s reflection, Rick announces that he’s fine with it.
Rick: That sounds reasonable. Fifty credits is fifty credits. That’s pretty good.
Joshua: I’m worried it might take my soul.
Arden: It might.
Joshua: (chuckling) I’m joking. I’m not even thinking about it. It just seemed the thing to say.
Nika: I keep seeing this mental image of what my Daddy would do.
Rina: You don’t have to do it. I’ll go in your place.
Arden: And now your Daddy doesn’t need a mental image.
Nika: No, my Daddy’s dead. Thank God.
And the banter starts about all her past boyfriends and lovers not needing a mental image either.
Arden: Well, they knew about that.
Rick: They lived it.
Nika: You know, making out with a guy in the bleachers at fifteen is not big a deal, you know. That’s all it was.
Arden: Yeah, sure. That’s not what I heard.
Joshua: You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. Seriously. It’s not like—
Nika: Whatever. We need the fifty credits.
Joshua: Well, yeah. There’s a lot of things we need, but you know…
Nika: It’s just naked. It’s okay. I will survive.
Joshua: You’re an adult human being.
Nika: This does not mean I will not be mortified.
Arden: Do you want to negotiate? See if we can get parts beforehand?
Nika: Yeah, actually. We should, probably.
Rick: Maybe we can trade one of us getting naked for the part.
Joshua: (very very quietly) Well, that’s a possibility. Maybe.
Rina: (to Rick) You’re our man.
Joshua: Go for the gold.
Nika: Go to it, man.
Rick: I don’t think they’ll want to see me naked for the part.
Rina: Are you kidding? You’re just awesome.
Nika: I wanna see Arden. I mean, we’re all gonna be naked for this, you know.
Joshua: (to Rina) Call in the order?
Rina: (Huh?) I beg your pardon?
Joshua: Are you going to call it in?
Nika: No! She’s not.
Because Rina’s no diplomat, nope. Even if all she’s doing is talking ship parts, chances are she’ll piss the other guy off with some offhand remark about something or other. We need the good graces of the Express too much to risk it.
Joshua: What do we need?
Rina: (sighing) Okay….
Arden: It’s pretty technical.
Rick: Does Annie know what kind of part we need?
Nika: Let’s get Annie to do it. She’s a little more personable than Rina can be.
Joshua: I’ll do it. As long as you feed me the information off camera. I’ll make the call.
Rina: Okay. We need an EM inverse power converter.
Nika: Coach him.
Joshua: You’re going to have to coach me about it. So that I can speak clearly on it when I call.
Nika: We need to know what they want for it. If they have one, what would they want for it.
Especially since the EM power converter would normally run for four or five hundred credits. We’re not offering four or five hundred credits of skin so we will have to bargain. Trading parts between similarly classed ships is not that unusual, but it requires the engineers talking about it.
Rick: So why can’t Rina talk to…?
Nika: Because her reputation precedes her and they won’t….Like we had two star bases that wouldn’t even deal with her.
Joshua: I have no problem with not letting her talk. I can cover that.
Nika: If they have one, then let her talk to them.
Rina: Then again, if they don’t have a machine shop, we do. I might be able to machine something up for them.
Joshua: Let’s call. We can put Rina on the line when it’s time.
Nika: Whenever it’s appropriate. (to Rina) I just don’t want offend whoever answers the phone, okay?
Joshua puts the call through. The Borderland Express answers.
Riveera: This is Riviera, the manager.
Joshua: Hi, Riviera, this is Summer’s Gift. We’re the other Kuiper class ship docked here.
Riviera: Oh. There’s another Kuiper class?
Joshua: Yes. There is. We’re actually in need of a part and we were wondering if you might have a spare one you can—
Riviera: Hold on. Let me transfer you to the Captain.
A moment later a gruff male voice grinds out of the comm.
Collington: Yeah. This is Collington here. What’s up?
Joshua: What’s that?
Collington: Collington. Captain.
Joshua: Captain. I’m with the Summer’s Gift.
Collington: Summer’s Gift? Oh. Ah.
Joshua: We’re a Kuiper class—.
Joshua: We’re in need of a part and we were wondering if you might have one—.
Collington: Kuiper II, it looks like.
Joshua: Sure. But we’re missing a… (leans to Rina, whispers) Feed me the part, Rina.
Rina: Inverse EM power converter.
Joshua: (louder) An inverse Em power converter and—.
Collington: Inverse EM power converter. Ahhh….you lookin’ for some kinda swap or somethin’?
Joshua: That’s the general gist of—
Collington: Lemme get you my wife. Hold on a second.
Joshua claps the comm to his chest and waits. A gruff woman’s voice comes on: Collington’s wife.
Collington’s Wife: Yeah, what is it?
Joshua: Ah, we’re…. (hands it over) Here, Rina. This is our engineer, Rina.
Collington’s Wife: All right, Rina, what’s up? What do you need?
Rina: I need an inverse EM power converter. Whatcha got to trade?
Collington’s Wife: You askin’ me if I have any inverse power converters?
Rina: Yeah. We got a full machine shop over here. You need somethin’ done I might be able to do it.
Collington’s Wife: Hnnnn…..we only got the one spare. If that one goes out we’re all just frozen fish filets.
Rina: I know. We spent a week comin’ in with no…no. Let’s not go there.
Collington’s Wife: A week? What, you got a hole in your….?
Joshua: Not a week. A few hours.
Rina: Well it felt like a week, but truly even two hours is not….anyway.
Collington’s Wife: (speculative) Huh. Looks like you’re in a bit of a pickle there.
And this illustrates why Rina’s not allowed to talk to people.
Rina: So. Do you know anyone who might have one?
Collington’s Wife: Yeah. I mean, I got a spare, but I would really hate to lose that in the Black.
Rina: So what would it convince you to give her up?
Collington’s Wife: Well, you got one’a those….let’s see…
She rattles off several parts, none of which we have spares for. Rina thinks to herself she might be able to fabricate one or two.
Collington’s Wife: How old is your fluid exchange regulator in your reprocessing system?
And the negotiations are on. Rina thinks that a trade is possible.
Collington’s Wife: When do you want to come by and do these trades? I don’t wanna have the sewage system offline for too long if we do the swapping.
Joshua: (whispering) We’re going to be over there at eleven o’clock anyway. Except for you, anyway.
Rina: We’re gonna be over there eleven tomorrow morning anyway.
Collington’s Wife: You’re coming over at eleven o’clock? Why are you comin’ over at eleven o’clock?
Rina: That holo project thing.
Collington’s Wife: Ohh. Yeah. That’s the kind of people you are.
Oops. Behind Rina and Joshua, Nika facepalms and groans.
Nika: That. See?
Joshua: Tell her we’re the broke kind of people. (wait!) No, don’t. I’m just kidding.
Collington’s Wife: Listen, Missy. When I was a young lass, I could make a few creds showing off my things too, but it’s been a cruel few years, decades.
Rina: I don’t think they’ll take me anyway. Too many battle scars.
Collington’s Wife: Yeah, I gotta few scars of my own, but given more than what I got, that’s what I’ll say. Well, you and your little…band of whatever you wanna call yourselves come on over and if you don’t get your tassels tangled up in the gears, I figure we can make an exchange. Yeah. I’ll see you at eleven-hundred.
The channel goes dead. Yup. We’re skunked. That power converter might as well be shot into the sun for all we’ll ever get it.