Here’s a random story that started out as part of a Star Trek series I was working on that ran out of steam before I managed to get any headway with it. Anyway, here’s The Pilot and the Stranger, about somebody hiring a pilot on the quiet. Possibly The Samaritan?
THE STRANGER AND THE PILOT
A freighter touched down in the enclosed docking bay, metal doors cycling closed above it, throwing the stone structure into near-darkness; the only thing lighting the bay was the glow from the ship’s warp nacelles. The ship itself was silver all over, the shape of a bulb of garlic, with two curving nacelles either side of the body that tapered into trailing points at the rear, and a blacked out cockpit at the front tip of the hull. Where once the dark hull had been unblemished, it was now riddled with re-entry scorch marks, carbon scoring from weapons fire, and even gouges that looked like claw marks.
The ship’s engines cycled down to standby mode, and the wind kicked up by the ship died down, the docking bay settled without noise.
An exit ramp folded out from the underside of the ship, and thumped against the rock floor. A figure descended the ramp dressed in nondescript khaki flight overalls, hands in his pockets, casually strolling down the ramp without a care in the world; not this world anyway –he wasn’t a wanted man here.
There were no technicians waiting to refuel his ship, or make repairs. He hadn’t requested them during the ship’s descent to the surface.
He stepped off the ramp, leaving it to automatically close behind him. He strode toward the exit, and then stopped under the nose of the ship. Someone was watching him from the shadows.
He slipped his hands out of his pockets, and placed one on the disruptor he habitually wore on his hip, his finger hovering over the trigger. He whipped the disruptor from its holster, and pointed it at the shadow that suddenly moved.
“Come out where I can see you,” he ordered.
The shadows moved again, and a humanoid stepped out into the light of the ship’s landing lights. It was a male, though the ship’s pilot didn’t recognise the species it belonged to. He was tall, taller than the pilot, with a wiry frame, and a deep emerald skin colour with a forehead that jutted out abnormally, with blank, white eyes. He wore ragged traveller’s robes, with a large, heavy satchel over one shoulder. He seemed unsure of himself, though the pilot didn’t think it was because of the disruptor pointed at him.
“I mean you no harm,” the stranger said to the pilot, putting his long hands up in surrender. “I wish to procure travel on board your ship.”
“Oh,” the pilot said, hoping his reddening cheeks weren’t noticeable. “You’re a little early; I have to head into the city to gather some supplies. I’m low on food and perishables.”
The stranger nodded. “Perhaps I could accompany you?”
The pilot, holstering the disruptor pistol, shrugged.
“I don’t see why not.” He eyed the bag, surmising that it was probably going to be a hindrance in the cramped marketplaces and stores of the streets surrounding the docking bays. “If you like, you can store that bag in the cargo bay whilst we’re away from the ship.”
The alien seemed reluctant to let the bag out of his sight, but common sense seemed to prevail behind those pure white eyes. He nodded, and the two strolled round to the rear of the ship. The pilot waved his hand in front of a small panel. It opened, and he tapped in a command on the blue glowing controls.
A large door swung down, whining as it did so. The pilot cursed –it was supposed to be silent. When the door touched the floor, he took the stranger’s bag, and placed it on the door, before closing the cargo bay again. He hadn’t wanted either himself or the stranger to physically take the bag into the ship –it was policy in case of trust issues: he didn’t so that the client would not feel like he was being led into a trap and sealed into the cargo bay, and the pilot couldn’t get shafted if the client decided to steal the ship and lock the pilot out.
The ramp closed again, and the pilot gestured to the stranger to follow him out. They did so, simultaneously giving each other wary glances as they walked out of the docking bay area and mingled with the limited crowds outside.