Tenisha has to admit she has never had a transport ship, of any size, to herself before now. Sure she’s had a transport ship for her, Wendy and Nick, but that had been different. Though, the number of people on this transport is the same. The two UnSA agents are aboard, which is why Tenisha spent much of the first eleven hours either trying, or actually managing, to sleep.
The seats are comfortable enough, less so than those in the Blink-001, she notes. But at least they allowed her to catch up on sleep after the whirlwind of the last few days. The problem is now she will have to spend the remaining nearly twenty five hours with no one but the agents to talk to, and so far any conversations have ended rather quickly and could only be described as dry. Neither of the suited men have any capabilities for small talk. That’s why Tenisha has instead elected to meet the crew of the transport, as she heads toward the cockpit.
But she finds the door is sealed and the only response to her knocking on the metal door comes by way of the comms system and the captain telling her that his orders are to not release the locks, under any circumstances. The news doesn’t surprise Tenisha, but it does deflate her as she can feel boredom setting in.
It’s the first time she can ever recall being bored while onboard a transport ship. But as she is the only actual passenger it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise to her, but it does.
She misses Nick and Wendy and wonders where they are, or if they’ll be wherever it is she’s heading. She can’t be sure, but her guess, seeing as the journey is about thirty six hours long in all, through Sling Gates, puts her destination at Pluto. That would explain the woman with the grubby face that was muted on the video that Doctor Wells showed her mere seconds of. What it didn’t explain is why a sentient alien race would set down there. Pluto is a dwarf planet, and the only people on it are those involved in the extraction of materials from its silicate core.
Tenisha has always wondered what will happen to Pluto when humanity is done with it. Will it simply be a husk hollowed out and left? Will it collapse under the weight of its own nitrogen ice crust? Or will the mining stop leaving enough of the planet intact? She doesn’t know, but she doubts the mining corporations that are present have planned that far ahead either. After all, it would take centuries before Pluto would have no core left, so that made it a problem for the future, not the present.
Still none of this helps her pass much of her time as she paces around the interior of the transport finding the silence and lack of passengers eerie. She wishes she had some of her data pads. The ones that detailed interesting biological research that she is still yet to review, but as such hasn’t had the chance with all that has been going on. But the UnSA agents had been strict in their insistence that she brings nothing along. She knows that they fear some form of security breach caused by some unvetted and possibly hacked technology.
Though, Tenisha wonders how likely that is and who, save for tech corporations, would even be hacking and spying on her. She’s a member of the UnSA, not some corporation who has rivals and equals all vying to gather what they can and one up their competitors. Then again she realises that such things have never stopped hacking groups or radicals from stealing information, which they can in turn leak to the public just because they believe it is their right to. In because they believe that governments shouldn’t keep secrets from the very people that voted them into power. They’re all just throwbacks from the dawn of the conspiracy theorists of the mid twentieth century. That’s why it’s such a surprise that humanity, with all its paranoia, has even managed to get this far, Tenisha thinks as she completes a lap of the ship.
She decides that she doesn’t feel like doing another lap, for no other reason than she has now seen the ship, almost identical to all the others like it she has been on. Without passengers being onboard it offers little of interest to her, she thinks as she slinks back to the main deck. The twin agents still sat vigilantly as she takes a seat at the far end of the deck, having passed them on her way. They make no attempt to converse with her, which doesn’t surprise her, but they did watch as she passed by them.
She knows it’s what men like them do, but if she didn’t know better she’d have thought they were checking her out. She is glad she knows better as she settles in for more empty hours of pondering. At this rate she is sure she will run out of things to ponder though and that fills her with disappointment.
Suddenly Tenisha wakes with a start, her head whipping round to find the twin agents are nowhere in sight. That surprises her, but she simply shrugs her shoulders, stands, so that she can stretch, while will in turn help her to ease the knots in her back. The knots aren’t caused by just the seats, which she reconsiders her previous verdict on and labels them uncomfortable now, but also because of the near festal position she had been curled up in.
With the stiffness eased though she heads for the cockpit door, which still, unsurprisingly, s locked. She knocks on the door only for the pilot to again reply, this time sounding annoyed, that the door, as per his orders, will remain locked. But Tenisha has already begun to walk away from the cockpit door even as the pilot adds that they are just ten minutes out from their destination.
Tenisha’s ears manage to catch the helpful addition to his monologue as she remembers that she was awoken by a jolt. Entering Pluto’s limited atmosphere, she thinks would line up perfectly with the jolts as she decides to complete one final lap of the transport ship. She hopes she is never the sole actual passenger on any ship ever again, she says to herself as she passes a series of empty rooms before turning a corner to meet one of the agents.
“You may wish to buckle in ma’am.” The agent, Tenisha thinks he is the shorter of the pair but can’t be sure now they are separated, says formally and without a hint of emotion.
“Thanks.” Tenisha replies with a curt nod as she passes him and carries on her meandering journey through the empty space before meeting the second agent, who says nothing as she approaches.
Tenisha simply smiles at the agent who in response simply nods. She wonders why ex-military types in the UnSA security branch are always so formal and stiff. It’s like they’re robots, she thinks as she passes him. He watches her walk away until she disappears out of sight round a corner, at which point he returns to surveying the security systems of the transport as his in-ear radio crackles to life.
“Did the cargo pass you?” The voice asks clearly.
“She did.” He responds.
“Camera’s clear?” The voice then asks.
“Know what this is about?”
“You think we should?”
“Need to know basis, you know that. How long we been doing this?” The agent responds to his partner.
“But this feels different. A whole transport for just her.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Yeah, but usually its high ranking UnSA brass or politicians, hell even celebrities, but no one like her.”
“She’s UnSA and a biologist. You saw her file. Plus she is a celebrity, remember? One of the only three people ever to travel as speeds faster than light. The dawn of the new age, they’re calling it.”
“I know…just feels…different.” The voice says.
“Well get used to different. It’s the future.” The agent says ending the chat as the captain of the transport announces touchdown in three.