Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Draft Prologue: Vacation Year

This was a prologue I wrote as an idea for an adventurous trip through several system for a "normal" family. Where they might get chased by pirates, arrested as criminals, get in the middle of a war, meets a lot of aliens... It might never actually get finished but this was the first part.

Title: Vacation Year


San Clemente Junk Yard

“It's a bit of a clunker, I will definitely admit to that” the old salesman said “But if you are missing any vital parts, feel free to find them on my lot.”

He pointed at the large compound strewn with wrecks of all shapes and sizes and colors. “If you buy this beast, then you get free scrounging on my yard for three months!” the man said, throwing this in to sweeten the pot.

The man and the younger boy looked at each other, they were still not sold. The salesman opened the hatch and they all went inside, through the airlock and he led them to the rear compartment. When he opened this up, the father and son both whistled.

They entered the room fully and were quite impressed by the engine. It was in pristine shape.

“Wow” the boy said “A 2121 Rolls-Chrysler HH Magnetic Feed Ion Pulse Engine!”

The father nodded “That was unexpected”

The salesman agreed “This engine is a sweetie too. Best thing about the whole ship. This is why I said it would always get you home”

“Please dad, please buy it” the boy said

“We should look around the ship a bit more before we buy it” the father said, but the salesman can tell he had hooked them. It was a pretty engine and it was definitely half the value of the whole wreck, maybe more.

“Sure” the salesman said “The life support might need a new pump and filter assemblies, might need to have that looked at by a professional. Life support is very important out in space”

“Come on dad” the boy said pulling him into one of the crew quarters where a bed and a small desk and tiny bathroom were the only visible amenities. The bathroom stank a bit of mildew and the drain looked positively nasty but these were minor fixes, really.

“It's old and used but a little TLC will get it back to work” the salesman said “It's got six cabins for crew, a small mess hall and then the cockpit up front of course. Down below are the air and water tanks and the cargo compartments, including a place for a vehicle with loading ramp”

“Any leaks?” the father asked

“I pressurized this ship a week ago, left it that way for three days. There was no leakage at all” the salesman said “I have had mechanics replace the air and water tanks, the coolant is new, we rebuilt the landing gear and serviced the communications system too”

“I want it Dad! I want it” the boy said

“Is this investment for your son here? It's a nice project I guess” the salesman ventured.

“I suppose it is for him, in a way” the father said looking up and around at the cockpit they just entered “We've always wanted to go see the colonies but never had the chance. I'm planning on taking the whole family, when this thing is ready”

The salesman nodded. “Well, I told you the price when you called, what do you think?”

The boy was jumping up and down excitedly “Say yes, say yes, say yes”

“All right then” the father said putting his hand out “14.5 million credits it is”

They shook on the deal. Then they took out their tabs and exchanged the ownership registration and the money by tapping them against each other one time.

“It's yours” the salesman said, the boy yelled “Yippee!” and jumped on one of the leather pilot chairs and spun around.

The father activated one of the control panels and looked at some of the status readouts, everything was in the green, some of them barely. It was definitely a bit of a clunker but it was serviceable. It would still need a few things before his wife and daughter would step foot on board.

“We are definitely going to have to upgrade this operating system, for one” the father said “It is very out of date”

The boy looked back from his pilots seat “Aye, aye Captain”

The father is William McDaniels and his son is Billy McDaniels, it was the boys birthday and shopping for a starship was his idea. It was his idea for the last three years, actually, but only this year did they have the finances to make it happen. In fact it had been William McDaniels life-long dream to see the colonies as well and now, at 48, he was going to make it happen.

“Talia isn't coming unless you install a new VR terminal in her quarters” Billy told his dad “It's going to be a long trip and we don't need her to whine us all to death”

As far as William McDaniel had plotted it out, visiting at least 12 colony worlds before coming back to Earth would take at least a year. Travel between the worlds would take weeks through hyper and they would be out of contact during that. Better upgrade the entertainment library too, they would all be going stir crazy on this trip.

It was a 78-foot Make-Way, it was rated as a Class-B Recreational Spacecraft. It had all of the standard systems for connecting to space stations and being serviced automatically at ground ports. This particular model was 22-years old, and some of it smelled like it. The ship was nothing special, except it was now theirs. That made it special.

William McDaniel wanted to replace the carpeting for one thing it was threadbare and torn in some places. There were a lot of little things, like painting the walls so it wasn't all mis-matched and splotchy. The salesman was right about having a professional inspect the life support systems, but also the exterior hull shielding, he had seen some cracks out there and they needed checked.

“Dad, this navigational computer is way behind” his son told him “It doesn't even know about some of the new colonies. It also hasn't been upgraded since Roosevelt Station broke up and burned in the atmosphere.”

“Yeah, that's funny” William said “Well, we could download a free version off the net or pay for a professional one, what do you think?”

“Some things are better not left to amateurs” his son said

“Okay, let's shut it down for now. I'll lock up. When we come back, we'll roll up our sleeves and start working” the man told his son “Burger on the way home?”

“Yes!” Billy said “If you throw in a chocolate shake I won't tell mom how much you spent”


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