Writing Prompt

Writing prompt #6 – What requires your patience today?

A Brave New World

“Of course I will prepare for boarding, officer.” Captain Morgan waved the communications channel closed as she lowered the intensity of the ship’s repulsion field and prepped the primary airlock for cycling. “I have nothing better to do than be boarded at five checkpoints along Sol’s busiest trade route, three of which didn’t exist last month. I AM MORE THAN HAPPY TO COMPLY!” She forced herself to breathe. Shouting used excess oxygen, and oxygen wasn’t cheap. Yet. She waved on the internal ship-wide communications. “Gloria, greet our trade inspector at the primary airlock, please.”

Her voice came back distorted. “Another one? Guns or no guns?”

The captain allowed herself a chuckle. The Trade Commission must be scanning them with something heavy duty to be messing with the internals. “No guns. Especially not where they could be found.”

“Yes, Captain.” Another wave, and the speakers in the cockpit silenced. She breathed deeply again, and counted to ten. They must know she was smuggling something, and that it was wanted by very bad, very powerful people. If they knew what it was, they’d never bother boarding.

She climbed out of her seat and walked under the sun-like lights, trailing her hand along the floor-to-ceiling leaves. She intended to be in the cargo bay, checking their decoy cargo – real cargo worked well and brought in more profit besides – when the Inspector was introduced to her. If she didn’t care about the cargo, red flags would wave. After all, getting this stuff to its destination was her livelihood.

She cranked open the doors to the hold, entered, and quickly cranked them shut behind her. She grinned, and felt real pride. Nearly half of the hold had been converted to a greenhouse, and the growing things were thriving. The ship’s need for oxygen refills was halved, they had a smattering of fruits and vegetables to liven up the meal packs, and the improvement in morale for both herself and for Gloria had been immeasurable. They’d installed the wall-climbers after that, which had again improved their independence.

The crank popped on the outside of the hold’s door, so the Captain grabbed the manifest and began scanning and comparing ID codes. Textiles, rare “earth” metals, ore, more textiles, more textiles, three canisters of pure liquid methane…


The clipped and demeaning tone of the Inspector raised her eyebrow. She turned and approached him, all business. “Inspector.” Jackass. “What brings you aboard the Steady Matron?”

He glared at her. “Contraband. Your ship will be searched through for it. I assume your documents are in order?”

She handed him a transparent plastic card and let irritation sneak into her voice. “They were at the last four checkpoints, I imagine that they still are. You are, of course, welcome to search the ship. I’m just thankful that none of my cargo is perishable.”

“I’m sure.” He dropped the card into a reader, and looked puzzled. “Captain Morgan? Like the rum?”

She rubbed her temples. A world of their own was worth whatever patience these morons required.