Privateer Tales 3: Parley

Privateer Tales 3: Parley by Jamie McFarlane Read Free Book Online

Book: Privateer Tales 3: Parley by Jamie McFarlane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jamie McFarlane
to bring your mom home with us,” Nick said.
    “Where is she?”
    “She’s in the cargo hold next to the lifepod. Do you want to see her?” Nick asked.
    “No. Not like that.”
    “We’ll be getting underway in the next hour or so,” I said.
    “Let me help,” she said again.
    “Ada, I don’t think …”
    “What do you know about sailing a tug?”
    “We’ll get along.”
    “I’m sure you think that. You might even be right, but each of those barges are two-point-five-kilo tonnes. The tug merely makes suggestions - you can’t make quick adjustments. You won’t be allowed to dock anywhere on Mars and you’ll have to hire an operator once you’re within a thousand kilometers of any port unless you have your Class-A license.”
    “Ada, it’s just so soon.”
    “Mom wouldn’t have gone with that. Besides, what difference does it make which ship I’m on?”
    “Any word from the Navy on the tug?” I asked.
    “They’re clearing out now,” Nick said.
    “I’d like to get rolling with the tug, you come along with Sterra's Gift once Qiu shows up?”
    “Yup. Take some bars with you. Who knows what kind of food they’ve stocked.”
    “Ada, if you’re riding with me, grab your gear and meet me in the airlock in five.”
    Coming from Sterra's Gift , the Adela Chen was like stepping into a closet. Surprisingly, the ship was in immaculate condition. It was obviously a new ship and every surface was spotless, not the smallest bit of grime or trash to be found.
    The layout of the ship was straightforward. The airlock was at the back of the living space and right next to the galley. The galley was a meter and a half wide by three meters long. Built into the long wall of the galley was a suit freshener, large refrigeration unit, meal preparer (called a galley-pro), coffee machine and water supply. There was a half meter wide countertop that folded down at a standing height as there was no room for chairs. It was extraordinarily efficient, if not particularly comfortable.
    The bunk room had a wide two-person mattress on one side, with a fold-down single mattress above that was currently in the up position. A small nook held a permanently attached overstuffed chair. Opposite the beds was a bank of built-in drawers and shelves hidden behind latched doors. The large bed was neatly made and a couple suit-liners were folded on the shelves.
    A narrow ladder connected the living space to the cockpit. The cockpit was nothing more than two well-padded chairs with a small console between them and a bank of vid screens in front.
    “Where’s the flight stick?” I couldn’t imagine a ship without some sort of flight yoke.
    “What would you use that for?” Ada asked. The smile on her face made me almost forget how horrible her day had been.
    “How do you steer?”
    “I’m just messin’ with you. We had a stick, but you really don’t use ‘em that often. These babies are a one-trick pony. They push. Sometimes we push a little more on top, on bottom or one side or the other, but mostly we just push.”
    “How do you fly around?”
    “Yah, you’re not really getting the concept.”
    “Right, we just push.”
    “Now you’re getting it.”
    “Teach me?”
    “Told you, you’d need me.”
    “Which side you want?”
    “Always sat on the starboard. Mom liked to sit on the port side.”
    I watched as Ada grabbed a bar above the starboard side chair and nimbly swung her body over the back and settled in. I imagined that she had executed this maneuver a million times. At .6 gravity I was in my element and mirrored her move. I wasn’t as graceful, but made it into the seat just fine. Surprisingly, it was considerably more comfortable than my chair on Sterra's Gift .
    Hail Sterra's Gift .
    “Heya Liam, you all loaded up?”
    “Roger that. We’re going to get underway shortly.”
    “Sounds good. We still haven’t heard from Qiu. I wonder if she ran into problems with Veras. He didn’t sound too happy with the

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