Another first-draft teaser from Elbert, posted because it was fun to write.
Shallow Harbor, Jivada
If Slim’s grandparents were wealthy, one wouldn’t know it from their house — a modest bungalow three blocks off the bay. Their space yacht hovered in the front yard, larger than anything in the neighborhood, patio deck extended below the main entry, awning deployed, aft ramp down and a sub-compact aircar parked halfway out of the garage bay — the latter a feature Charlotte hadn’t expected to see in a boat under 30 meters.
But the 23 Mirage had a wider beam than a 19 Townhouse, yielding enough interior volume to offset the garage bay, and then some. The top deck floor plan was familiar — command compartment in the bow, then airlock, master suite, master bath, triage locker, slow-time cabinet, spacesuit locker, airlock, and storage compartment.
The forward section was a break-away lifeboat, spanning command compartment up and guest quarters down. The aft section was another double-deck lifeboat; storage compartment up, garage bay down. The aircar in the garage, a four-seat PMI Bug, was included.
Interior appointments were upscale in comparison to Ranger, itself a luxurious vessel — which surprised everyone except Charlotte. “What’d this cost new; nine million?”
The owner grinned. “Seven hundred years ago. They’re more now.”
She queried a bank portal, opening a token in AR for everyone to see. “I can’t do it; I’d have to put down a hundred thousand and carry insurance.”
Elbert spoke in her ear. “I’ll throw in fifty.”
“Pop; I can’t afford it.”
The seller skimmed through the bank’s pro forma financing agreement. “All right; I’ll lower the price to three hundred thousand.”
Francine pinched her. “Don’t be stubborn; let me get the rest.”
Charlotte made a circuit through the salon. I could fit a spinet piano in here. “I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”
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