Will is looking remarkably chipper at breakfast that morning:
“Ahhhh. What a night!, er, night’s sleep!” he says with a broad smile.
No one can remember Will looking this happy since his presentation at the GLIPS conference.
“How are you this morning, Mr Grimstead? he asks. “Everything right with the engines? Oh, look at that lovely nebula!”
“You’re a dog, Grim” Jie states flatly in between laser carbine training sessions during the morning. Even with her low social status, she notice the grimy, grease-stained engineer’s intentions towards Max’s….er…girlfriend?
It is 14.00 when the klaxons sound to alert the bridge crew to the fact that Unguin’s Princess has emerged from jump. Will, Jie and Arvor all head to the bridge where Jie begins to plot a course to Heaven’s Gate starport which orbits above the noxious clouds of Dallia.
Dallia is a large world and so it’s a long haul to get from jump diameter to the highport and so those not needed on the bridge or in the engine room can continue with their usual routine.
Jie’s route shows an ETA of around 21.30 which means that there is no time for another of Miranda’s full banquets, but she is still keen that the crew and passengers should assemble for one last meal together before they go their separate ways and so the group has an early dinner together starting at 18.00.
As the ship gets closer to the highport though with the increasing amount of traffic in the area, the bridge crew need to get back to work and so excuse themselves. Autumn clears the table and brings up the holodisplay showing the Princess’s approach to the large, uninviting looking planet which the passengers watch with interest.
Jie’s calculation were correct and, just after 21.30, the Princess docks at the highport. Max is waiting at the airlock and, as soon as the green light comes on, he is off and out of the door leaving Autumn to deal with the customs paperwork (which is fortunately minimal on this fairly laidback world) alone.
Will resuscitates all of the passengers in the low berths without a problem and they head off out into the highport. The crew then says their farewells to the high passengers, which proves to be a rather sad occasion for both Will and Autumn.
Miranda and Raylene stay onboard.
Although not for too long in Raylene’s case.
The reason for Max’s rapid departure soon becomes apparent when he comes back holding a voucher for a Middle Passage back to Mertactor which he wordlessly thrusts into Raylene’s hand, before grabbing Raylene’s baggage in one hand and her wrist in the other and taking both off the ship.
He deposits Raylene and her luggage just outside the airlock and then slams the door behind her, locking it closed securely. He then storms into one of the now vacant staterooms and locks that behind him too.
It’s nearly 23.00 by the time that all of the passengers are gone and all of the paperwork completed – too late to do much for the day. Will and Autumn, however, not normally party animals, both say that they fancy getting away from the stuffy atmosphere of the ship for a while and so head out of the ship for the rest of the night.
“Toodles, crew!” Will shouts as he rushes out of the door with Autumn at his side.