A New Way to Travel

The vessel’s body was made of a glossy glass hybrid material that reflected the surrounding bay like a dark mirror. It’s distortions around the windows and doors reminded me of jet-black syrup, frozen in the middle of a slow drip. Strips of aluminium were embed into the creases between the large panels, framing each moving part separately. It looked unfamiliar, almost alien, and yet it fit well within the white-walled, sterile docking bay. A dim ring on the belly of the ship breathed on and off as the vessel waited in standby mode. At a single touch, a panel of colorful, crisp icons appeared around where I had touched it, and I opened the vessel using the menu. The door smoothly slid away, revealing the clean white interior, contrasting with the black shell. The plush leather seats provided room for four passengers, and enough head space to climb in gracefully. With another selection, the engine burst to life, and the ring on the belly snapped to full brightness. The engine sounded like a string quartet, humming along in a beautiful tone, all the various parts harmonizing with themselves. This was the most beautiful spaceship I had ever seen.

The mechanic, David, was dressed in a black suit and tie. He ran a suede cloth over the surface of the ship, admiring the immaculate polished glass. He also touched a panel and produced a menu. The glass resisted fingerprints and smudges perfectly with its new set of coatings. David began to use the flexible interface and design a course projection for me. A soft, angelic voice informed him the ship was not fully charged, and would be ready to make the journey within ten minutes.

At my command, a drawer under the seats slid out, and I placed my suitcase inside. A soft thump told me it had been magnetically shut to avoid popping open during the flight. The voice informed me that Katie had encountered traffic, and was running late. The vessel was connected to my Cloud, and had automatically synced my data after receiving my fingerprint. I sat down, and the seats across from me shifted into a desk-shape, offering another glossy touch-interface. I browsed my calendar for a moment, realizing how pressed for time I was. But Katie had waited an awfully long time for this.

I reached out to shake hands with David, thanking him for handling the upgrades. As it continued to charge, the vessel displayed a battery symbol. I watched as it grew from 90% to 100% in less than seven minutes, allowing the seat to rub into my shoulders and dispense a bottle of water. Before the upgrades, I had to ask for these things, but the new version allowed my Cloud to track my activity and requests, and anticipate my next need. I watched a map of the surrounding area, following the small green dot of Katie’s ship along its route as it grew closer to my own blue dot. Finally, the vessel was fully charged and I could hear the soft rumble of Katie’s outdated ship docking in the bay nearby. Her engine didn’t sing like mine did, and the seats wore worn stretched. She had no voice-control, although she did have a touch-panel installed several months ago. I felt a small pull of resentment that she hadn’t allowed me to buy her a new ship, but I pushed the feeling aside as her broad smile approached me. The desk-interface moved away, returning to a seat, and allowing Katie to join me inside. With one word, the ship engaged the route. With a low, powerful rumble, gravity shifted and we were in the air. From the inside, the dark glass was perfectly transparent, allowing use to see everything past our own seats. Looking down, we could soon see the city between our feet.

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