jetamors: Yoruichi is really hot (Default)
Jetamors ([personal profile] jetamors) wrote2010-11-14 09:53 pm
Entry tags:

Nanowrimo Day 14

Nothing much to say today. I made my word count, which is good.

"Um, okay," Kid said. "Qaf, or Chay, can one of you retract the roof?"

There were a few uncomfortable jerks and starts, but Kid and Qaf managed to lift out of the room without bumping into anything. From their orientation, they were sitting along the bottom of a long, ribbed tube.

"Which way is Deck 21?" Kid asked.

"It's down this way," Qaf replied, lurching toward one end of the tube.

"Okay, let's go down that way, then. You'll tell me when we get there, right?"

"Mom, he can't even tell which deck we're over," Qaf complained. "Does he really have to pilot me? Can't I do it myself?"

"It won't be for long, just a few months," Chay replied. "And he does have things to teach you, if you'd just listen."

They went down the tube at a fairly sedate pace. The station's arbitrary time meant that it was very early in the morning, so there weren't many other cabs around. They only had to dodge once, Kid taking them over in a long, leisurely loop that was nothing like Chay's quick-turns.

"We'll never get anywhere if you fly like that," Qaf said.

"This is how you have to start out," Kid replied. "Both of us are still learning your controls. In the end, you'll probably know yourself better than I do, but right now we're on the same level."

Slow though it might have been, they came to Deck 21 in half an hour, much more quickly than it would've taken if they had to rely on elevators. Kid and Qaf landed at the Deck's cab stand; it was something of a hard landing, but again they were able to avoid bumping into anything.

"Okay, you can pick us up tomorrow morning, just like your Mom said," Kid said. "Before we take any fares, though, I want to take us up to Deck 114, so Tatiana can talk to the Consortium about work."

"You can tell the zip tube the name of your ship, and it should send you right to your dock," Chay said. "I won't be here tomorrow, but Qaf will, if she knows what's good for her. Oh yes, and hand me your pad, Kid." When he did, she tapped on it for a few minutes and then handed it back. "You're registered as a cabbie now, so you can get into the cab stand yourself. The light next to the door is green when it's pressurized and red when there's vacuum, don't forget that!"

"Thank you so much for all of your help," Tatiana said. "You won't regret it, I promise!"

Chay smiled, before climbing back into her daughter. "I certainly hope not," she called after them.

"Hi, Hold Steady," Tatiana said, as they walked into their ship.

"Hello, Tatiana, Kid."

"We're going to bed, so you can go back to standby status. Oh yeah, wake us up in about ten hours, would you?"

"Understood." The lights, which had been gradually brightening, dimmed again. Tatiana and Kid staggered into their respective beds, and went to sleep almost immediately.

Tatiana felt a little better by the time Hold Steady woke her up, but she was still in a very bad mood over their debts. "I tell you what, I'm going to make sure we never get taken like this again," she said to Kid over breakfast. "No way, no how."

Kid shrugged philosophically. "Lotta scams in the universe," he said around a mouthful of food. "Can't catch them all."

"Oh, and one more thing, thanks to going up and down those stupid elevators, our sleep cycles are all messed up! What is it now, afternoon? As soon as we start to get sleepy, it'll be time to go to work!"

"We can take naps," Kid said.

"Yeah, I guess so. But it's the principle of the thing, y'know? And what about this food? I mean, no offense to you, Hold Steady, your hydroponics are great and we'll definitely have enough food to sustain ourselves."

"None taken," Hold Steady said.

"But a little variety would be nice now and again! We've been eating the same stuff for a week, which would be fine if we were in the middle of space, but we're on a station with all kinds of food! Food that we can never eat, because it's all completely out of our price range!"

"There's probably cheaper food around, the people who live here have to eat too," Kid observed. "Maybe Chay would know about it."

"She's an android, why would she care about human food?"

"Never hurts to ask," Kid said, still chewing.

"Oh. Oh! And what about Hold Steady's memory problems? What are we going to do about those?"

"Fix them on the next planet?" Kid asked.

"Maybe... oh, but if I get a job with the Consortium, after I've been there a little while I can ask about it. If anyone on this station has the resources, it'd be them. Okay, that's the plan for that."

Kid finally finished his meal, and set down his fork. "So, what are we going to do today?"

"We're going to walk around and see what's on this deck," Tatiana said. "So far we've just been back and forth to the cab stand, we really don't know what else is on here. If we have time, we might try Decks 20 and 22 too, though we probably won't have time if we're taking a nap."

The map in their pads showed that while Deck 21 was mostly full of ship docks and related infrastructure, there were a few restaurants and shops around. The tandoori place two levels in was fairly inexpensive, and the ramen cart on the innermost level was actually within their price range.

"Okay!" Tatiana said around a mouthful of noodles. She was much more cheerful at the prospect of a varied diet. "As long as we avoid the tourist areas, we should be okay!"

"They catch you too?" the cart owner asked. They were his only customers at the moment, so the three had naturally started chatting. "That's how a lot of us ended up here, actually. If you don't plan to leave, they actually don't care too much if you pay them back on time. I think it might just be a way to keep people here, to be honest," he said.

"That's horrible!" Tatiana exclaimed. "Why would they do that?"

"Well, y'have to think, there's plenty of reasons to come through here, but not too many to stay. Most stations, either they've got some reason for people to stick around, or they're run with a skeleton crew, almost nobody actually living there. Here, the reason is debt."

Tatiana snorted. "What a racket."

"Yeah, I guess so. I like the cart, though, so it's not too bad. So where're you two from?"

"We're from Garvey--oh, I'm Tatiana, and this is Kid. This is the first time we've been off-planet, so we really weren't expecting it to be like this."

"If it helps, most places aren't like this. I'd been to three worlds before this, and I never ran into anything this bad. And I'm Shuji, by the way, originally from Earth." He stuck out a hand, and Tatiana shook it.

"Well, we're living in our ship down in the dock right now, Hold Steady," Tatiana said. "You should come visit some time!"

"Maybe I will," Shuji said, smiling. "I'm down on Deck 20, you can probably look it up on your pads."

"Thanks!" Tatiana said. "We might want to visit or call you to ask about little things about living on the station, is that okay?"

"Sure, long as it's a time when I'm free," Shuji said. "I spend a lot of time with the cart, of course."

Kid had been checking his own pad. "I think it's time for us to go," he said. "Thanks for the ramen and the advice."

"Bye," Tatiana said, waving.

"Y'know, aside from Fatima and her boss, everyone we've met here has been really nice," Tatiana said as they walked back. "I hope he's right about other places not being like this."

"I wonder if they do it to everybody," Kid mused. "I mean, they can't put everyone who comes here into debt, right? Then people would stop coming here at all."

"Most ships are associated with a company," Tatiana said. "Maybe they just do it to the independents like us. Or maybe the companies warn their ship crews about it. That's something I didn't think about before: as an independent ship, we have to be careful. We don't have an organization backing us up."

They had reached Hold Steady. "So, time for a nap?"

"I'm not sleepy, but yeah," she said. They separated in the ship's corridor and went to their separate rooms.

Tatiana had been privately dubious that Qaf would be at the cab stand that morning, but she was there, and apparently in a good mood.

"Why hello there!" she trilled as they went into her passenger area. "Isn't it a wonderful day?"

"Pretty good, I guess," Tatiana said. Despite her nap, she was still rather drowsy.

"Okay, so it's up to Deck 114 next, right? And then we can start taking fares, right?"

"That's right," Kid said. As Qaf's control panel came up, he sat down in front of it and prepared to start piloting.

"Okay, roof's almost completely retracted. Okay, let's go!"

The ride was smoother than it had been before; Kid had picked up the finer points of cab flying quickly. They went more quickly, too, and before long they were reaching the edge of the station. Halted right at the midpoint of the last ring, it was as if the entire universe was contained in the circle above them.

"Wow, what a sight," Tatiana said, looking up. "If you get tourist fares again, you should take them up here to see this. Probably make you some extra money."

Qaf giggled. "You can get views like this anywhere. Maybe I'll take the yokel tourists up here, though. Anyway, here we are!" she said. The roof below them had retracted, and now Kid and Qaf guided themselves down, to a much softer landing than the one they'd done before.