[03] Elite: Docking is Difficult

[03] Elite: Docking is Difficult by Gideon Defoe

Book: [03] Elite: Docking is Difficult by Gideon Defoe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gideon Defoe
Phoebe, scanning through the events page. She looked at her watch. ‘He’s on tonight. Can we get there in time? Does this thing have hyperspace?’
    ‘It’s an
RX1
. It has hyperspace coming out the wazoo,’ said Glen, typing in the coordinates, and flipping a switch to power up the drive plant.
    ‘I can’t believe we’re going to GanyCon!’ said Misha, perking up a bit. ‘I’ve always wanted to see it. I heard they had a life-size statue of Cliff built out of rare collectible soaps.’
    Glen arched an eyebrow. ‘Are you a
fan
, Misha?’
    Misha realised Phoebe was staring at him, and tried to look a bit less excited. ‘Well, I mean, I’ve read the books. I watch the show. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was a
fan
. I’ve got two, maybe three resin dioramas.’
    ‘Of course, it’s a non-docking independent ship, so I have no jurisdiction there,’ said Phoebe, reading through some more of the brochure. ‘We’ll just have to hope they’re nice people.’
    ‘They’ve been on a
fan cruise
for sixty
years
,’ said Misha, ‘They’ll be the nicest people in the galaxy!’
    The hyperspace jump was worst for Misha, because he was new to it and so hadn’t known what to expect.
    ‘Oh god,’ he said, holding his head in his hands as the universe folded and unfolded itself like a really big, boring piece of origami, almost instantaneously popping them out at their destination.
    ‘Don’t worry,’ said Phoebe, giving him a consoling pat on the shoulder. ‘That sensation of total self-awareness and of seeing your entire life in the third person goes away after a few seconds.’
    ‘You know, I never get that,’ said Glen. ‘Maybe I’m already
too
self-aware.’
    ‘I don’t think it’s that,’ said Phoebe.
    ‘HEN IS HORRIFIC,’ said the hen, a single avian tear dropping from its beady eye.
    The
President Lindsay Lohan
, in lazy orbit around the boiling magenta surface of Jodrell Three, filled up most of the observation window now. She was large enough to take up an entire double-page spread in the
Gollancz Bumper Book of Space Going Vessels
. According to the blurb, she had six spas, a steam room, five restaurants – including one run by a celebrity chef – and a contemporary décor that demonstrated ‘a love for elegance and a passion for today’s modern lifestyle’. She could even boast onboard gravity, thanks to the spinning circular deck set into the middle of the giant trapezoid hull. As they coasted towards her, Misha was irritated to see that, even though the
Lili Damita
had a perfectly good docking computer, Glen insisted on flicking the settings over to manual, and proceeded to slide into a parking spot with textbook ease. ‘Smooth like substitute nutrient paste,’ said Glen, winking at Phoebe, who just stared at her nails and turned a bit red.
    ‘I hope they validate.’ Glen examined his ticket stub as they rode the lift from the parking terminal up to the ships’ arrivals lounge. ‘Ten credits for a half-hour stay? And they call
me
a pirate.’
    ‘Nobody calls you a pirate, Glen,’ said Phoebe, with a sigh.
    ‘Clean clothes are fun clothes, Phoebe Clag,’ chirped the lift’s automatic advertising system. ‘Laundry facilities available on level two.’
    ‘One weird trick to increase girth, Misha Bulgakov,’ it added, after another quick body-scan.
    ‘We should start taking the stairs,’ said Misha, glowering at the holo-fac display.
    A stately rotating hologram of Cliff Ganymede’s head stared down at them from the middle of the chintzy lounge, messages of condolence scrolling through the air beneath it. A couple of bored bellhops loitered by the ticket desk. Various props and pieces of
Galloping Ganymede!
memorabilia were dotted about the place.
    ‘Oh, wow, look at this,’ said Misha, pointing to a big fibreglass egg looming by some baggage trolleys. ‘It’s the Roc egg from season three, episode six, “You Can’t Fry A Hyper-Omelette Without Breaking Free From

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