Kit shook his head. It was imperceptible, a small tick as if his nose had caught the scent of something downwind. The salesman surely didn’t notice it. The small mutt was invisible.
“And really, if it’s haulage you’re looking for, there’s no better model. She’ll pull against a triple mass and still give you the manoeuvrability to dock with any standard Circo-tether.”
The salesman had been going on for over five minutes now and Laryx could feel his resolve waining, which was of course exactly what the owner wanted. The ship was clean, all smooth curves that made it look more like a water birth than any mechanical design. But he had a farm to think about first.
“Oh definitely,” he agreed, playing along. “But it’s definitely out of my price range. And I’m not looking to go extra-solar, I’m probably never even going to hop continents. I just need to move the Skipcorn to the silos.”
If the salesman was crestfallen or defeated, he didn’t show it. Without missing a beat he started walking behind the main hangar, to a patch of dirt nailed down with scrubby brush that had sprung up between the struts of what could only be described as rust built over layers of yet more rust.
Laryx could see Kit’s face drop as he followed along behind them silently. Laryx frowned. He could see a small trickle of blood from the collar around Kit’s neck. He knew the kid hated wearing it. Around the farm, on his own land, the horrid thing was tucked away on the top shelf of a cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind.
But out here? In the real world. Kit knew the collar was the only thing keeping him safe.
“This might be more what you’re looking for Sir.”
Laryx tried to smile. He honestly tried. It was an Acorn, not even a Gen III, the pearly-blue hull had long ago faded to a sickly green-palor and it looked like the only reason it wasn’t resting in bits were the stacks of lumber keeping it upright.
“Hmm. Maybe something in the middle?”
It was a typical gambit. Show the customer the gold standard. Dazzle them with features. Then show them the shitty end of the stick. Sales psychology one-oh-one. Kit coughed quietly and the salesman frowned, irritation flashing across his face. Kit coughed again and Laryx looked over at him. Kit was tilting his head towards another vessel, hidden between old coolant tanks.
“Your slave’s got good taste,” the salesman said, quickly pushing the boy aside to lead Laryx around the tanks. “Six-tensor engines. No solar positioning system, but if you stay in-atmo you can use the local constellation no problem. Yours for five.”
Kit wrapped his arms around his chest, three fingers peeking out from his right hand.
“I don’t know. Something like this. My neighbour picked one up for less than a grand just last month.”
“Well, I’m sure it wasn’t in quite as good a condition. Tell you what, I’ll knock a thousand off, twist my arm.”
“And no SPS you say? It would be good to have the option, if I ever needed to cut out the tether and take my haul into orbit myself. That’d run me at least a good eight hundred for a decent system.”
The salesman was getting antsy. Commission was vying for margins in his head and Kit smirked as he saw the man finally relent and give in to his own desires.
“Three two fifty and she’s yours. Lowest I can go.”
Laryx shook hands and the man left to get his tablet and chip. He all but knocked Kit over, barrelling past.
“Stop tugging at it,” Laryx said, placing a hand on the young boys shoulder. “It’ll be off soon. And anway, what do you think?”
“She’s gonna do you well Sir,” the boy said.
“She’s your ship Kit. All yours. I just pay the bills.”
The small boy smiled and continued to tug at his collar.
Prompt originally posted by Mr_Industrial on reddit and received 7 upvotes.