A New Arrival pt 3, Younger Brother Pear

Doc pulls one end of the towel into his jacket pocket and keeps his hand there, surreptitiously changing his grip to the switchblade. Again, he brings the martini to his lips and gives it a sip. Delicious.

"Please, sir, through the door and down the gangplank, and mind your head," instructs the Host. Doc obeys.

On the other side of the bulkhead is a strange room. It is split into two levels, the top level being just above his head and the floor he's standing on sloping downwards. There are two ladders inset into the walls on either side of him, allowing access to the upper deck. The top-side's ceiling is a large, gold-tinted, round pane of glass, beyond which is some kind of hanger with catwalks suspended overhead. There are eight chairs on the top deck, each with five-point harnesses, arranged in three rows: two rows of three in back and two chairs in front facing an intimidating array of controls, buttons, lights, and monitors. The lower floor ramps down, leading past airline-style closets, cabinets, and bunks. At the far end the ramp leads through an opening in the fuselage of whatever vehicle this is, and into the hanger beyond. There's not much space on the lower floor, however the arrangement of the cabinets and such suggest they're designed for use in zero-gravity.

Doc walks briskly down the ramp and out into the hanger. The hanger is large and rounded, suggesting it is part of a spherical ship, with a large cylindrical pillar in the middle. On the pillar directly in front of him is the name of the ship in Chinese letters, big and red:
The area he stands in is two stories tall with the catwalks above him networking around the ship he just stepped out of. The walls and floor of the hanger are a strange, ceramic like material stained with smeared rubber and spots of oil. The vessel he was in is not entirely parked in the hanger; instead only the front end is within the bulkhead walls. It looks like a strange cycloptic bird peering in on him, jaw agape. There are more cargo containers and palettes scattered around near the ramp. To the left is a smaller repairs garage littered with tools both foreign and familiar and chunks of mechanical apparatus in various states of assembly. To the right is another one-story garage with a vehicle about the size of a Cessna parked in front of a large, sealed airlock door.

The smaller vehicle is shaped like a flattened egg with wings. It's gold-tinted cockpit is lifted up and wires are hanging out. The engine, which takes up most of the volume of the thing, appears to be mostly disassembled. Access panels lie on the floor precariously cradling the bolts that presumably hold them to the fuselage. Tangles of wires and hoses hang out of every hole. There is evidence of fire damage.

Doc turns around to see the host follow him down the ramp. The Host explains. "We are now in the main hanger of the 'Dee-lee,' the Younger Brother Pear. The vehicle you arrived in is the 'Pu,' which means 'popular, everywhere, or universal.' It is a Subluminal Hypersonic Interorbital Transatmospheric Shuttle, Whiskey class. To your right is a Personal Interstation Short-range Shuttle which Dr. Ritenrong has recently purchased. Unfortunately he did not have it inspected before buying it, and it suffered a rather significant plasma conduit failure just before docking."

The Host leads Doc past the busted shuttle through an automatic sliding door just to the right of the central column. They enter into a florescent-lit hallway with ugly, mottled-teal carpeting and cream colored walls. It's the kind of color scheme designed to induce a business-like sense of relaxation that tends to have the opposite effect.

As the Host leads on, he continues to explain. "The Younger Brother Pear, including myself and the rest of the android staff, were purchased by Dr. Ritenrong from The University of Berkley - Shanghai Campus's College of Astrophilosophy. Their department's budget was canceled when it was learned that instead of working on their graduate theses, the students were using the ship to illegally transport, sell, and ingest illicit substances without giving the dean a cut. Thus the ship was auctioned off to recoup some of the legal fees and money lost to blackmail."

The comfortably wide hallway is also semicircular, carving a path through the spherical ship around the central column. They pass a door on the left on which someone has hastily written "Conference Room" in permanent marker beneath the Chinese lettering. At the apex of the half-circular hallway, across from a similarly marked door naming the Bridge, is a rounded protrusion from the central column. It has been labeled "Elvator," (sic). The elevator door rotates open as the two approach. The Host leads Doc inside.

"Deck Two," the Host tells the elevator. The door rotates shut. The sound of rushing air can be heard, but no mechanical noise or sense of motion. "Deck one is the observation deck, deck two is living quarters, deck three is labs and offices, deck four is the bridge and main hanger, deck five is central engineering, and deck six is the main cargo bay. Dr. Ritenrong has asked that you remain on decks three and above for the time being."

The elevator door rotates open again after a brief moment. Outside the elevator is another ugly hallway, this time squared on the elevator side. Across the hall, on the outer, rounded edge, is a room marked Commons in a manner similar to the previous doors. The hallway continues to the left and right.

"This is the recreation room. It has some basic exercise equipment, holobooths, and a theater screen with an extensive library of classic films." He continues to escort Doc down the hallway to the left. They pass another door on the right. "These are Dr. Ritenrong's quarters. Your's are the next on the right."

The inner wall of the hallway becomes circular again, and a large opening in the wall reveals a large dining hall in the center of the ship. They stop at the next door, which automatically slides open. "These are your quarters," says the Host. "Across from you, as you can see, is the galley. The Chef has been programmed to prepare some of the popular dishes of your era. We are well stocked with a variety of foods from many different times and cultures. The Chef can prepare most anything you desire."

They step into the small apartment. The room's lighting is florescent, but soft and comfortable instead of bright and jarring as in the rest of the ship. It is a one room studio, slightly rounded following the curvature of the ship. It has eggshell walls and beige carpet with the familiar dark splotches of irreparable bong stains. The ceiling is rounded and becomes the far wall before meeting the floor. There are two airline-style portal windows on that wall, both with shutters closed. A simple bed, essentially a mattress on a wooden platform and covered in blue linens, is nestled beneath the curvature of the ceiling-wall, the head against the wall to the left and a nightstand next to it. To the right is a closet and a rounded door, opened, revealing a bathroom within. Between the bathroom door and the foot of the bed is a burgundy pleather reading chair and a small, round, stainless steel coffee table. Across from that, on the inner wall next to the door, is a flat viewing screen currently displaying a bamboo forest being gently rustled by a breeze.

There is an olive-drab duffle bag on the bed with a note resting on it.

The Host continues. "Lights and temperature are all voice activated, as are the all the ship's computer systems. The door is bio-sensor locked and will only respond to your presence unless you specify otherwise. I recommend you acquaint yourself with the ship's computer. If you need anything, you may contact me or the housekeeping staff through the intercom. You are free to roam the ship, although as I said I must ask you to remain on decks three and above.

"Dr. Ritenrong also asked me to inform you that our other guest, a Germanic gentleman by the name of Thunderhorse, is having some difficulty adapting to his new surroundings. He asks that if you are feeling up to it, you may want to introduce yourself and help him to relax. He is from a technologically backwards sector. I have found him to be quite a challenging guest to accommodate. He believes me to be some kind of theological abhoration. Please be wary, though, his temperament can be somewhat violent." The Host pauses as if listening to something far off and inaudible. He continues. "I believe you will find him in the galley, sedating himself. Now if you will please excuse me, I must attend to other parts of the ship. Dr. Ritenrong is expected to arrive later this evening, and he will be able to explain more than I. Again, welcome aboard," he says, bowing. He turns promptly and exits the room, the door sliding shut behind him.

Doc sets his drink down and relaxes his hand from the switchblade in his pocket. He examines the parcel on the bed. The note on the duffel bag reads:

"Dr. Shaw: A few things from your era to make you more at home -Steven."

The duffel bag contains 100' of nylon rope, a folded canvas, some retractable aluminum poles, a small bag of tent-stakes, a canteen, a cheap looking multi-tool with pliers and a collapsible fishing rod, an Urkel coffee cup, a fifth of Johnny Walker Red from 2016, a box of Twinkies (expired in 1957), a bag of Mail Pouch tobacco, a copy of Mad magazine (featuring a spoof of Raiders of the Lost Ark), and the Colt .44 from his office desk, still in its holster (aged somewhat, but otherwise undamaged and recognizable as his own) with a box of 50 rounds.


ERR said...

Doc can review his holomail under the Messages from Dr. Ritenrong category, and for the sake of the game you can use the internet for any reference as long as Doc has his I-Browse and can connect to Q-Net. You can also request a Q-Net download for lookups on information Ill have to invent Plus I'll just throw things in when I get bored.

Doc said...

Strap on Colt and load it. pocket multitool, tobacco, and twinkies. Look out the window. What can I see? Are there any constellations I would recognize? (+1) Call up computer and ask about present postion and time.

Proceed to galley to meet Thunderhorse and offer him a twinkie.