I’d been in small ships before, hell, a Rifter was my favourite to fly. But damned if this shuttle wasn’t the smallest ship I’d ever been in. I’m broad shouldered but not particularly tall; even still I couldn’t stand up straight on board the shuttle. It was very claustrophobic. I was accustomed to being attached to the ship, being a part of the ship, feeling every nuance the ship felt. Being so disconnected left me feeling nauseous and disoriented. I was a horrible passenger.
Seriously? I thought to myself as the pilot announced yet again that we would remain docked as the first stop in our journey, Amamake, was experiencing unusual levels of hostilities and was not deemed currently safe for civilians to fly into. Amamake was such a shit hole.
I took a small pill to ease my stomach; I’m sure the publicity of a capsuleer puking aboard a civilian shuttle due to motion sickness wasn’t something my career needed.
Two and a half hours later we were cleared to undock. I was worried I would miss my connecting flight. I had said before, and I was thinking it again, I should just fly myself there next time. It wasn’t often that so many capsuleers gathered in one place, and Concord was always leery of potential hostilities, hence why we all arrived on commercial flights. It was humbling, embarassing, and as I reached my hand to my mouth, unsettling.
I had at least hoped for an in flight movie to distract myself. No such luck. I moved around uncomfortably, my ass completely numb from the seat; I was really yearning for the warm embrace of my pod. Ah well.
I waved my arms above my head as we rocketed out of the station, screaming at the top of my lungs like on a roller coaster at a theme park. The other passengers didn’t appreciate that at all, but I thought it was funny as hell.
My ears popped as the cabin adjusted pressure. I had to ask for gum from the woman beside me. I really didn’t know how regular people endured this. It was so barbaic.
Paid 4 ISK for a small bag of dried fruit I thought was complimentary. The contents looked to be worth signficantly less, but I didn’t want to be embarassed in front of complete strangers. That’s how they got you methinks.
Met a pretty lady to travel with. Got annoyed once we had arrived at the 20 minute bathroom break she took. She was quick to explain it to me:
“We don’t get to just walk in, whip it out, do our business, and walk out you know!” she began with passionate irritation. I quickly realized my tactical error and tuned her out, all the while nodding and smiling.
“We have to go in, find the appropriate stall, you know, if there’s someone in one, you have to leave a gap of one stall if possible, depending on cleanliness; then you need to clean the seat, put down a seat liner, squat over it, do your business. From there we actually wash our hands, or change our panty liner if needed. It’s not easy being a woman!”
It’s not easy being a man listening to a woman. I smiled.
“I’m sorry it took me twenty minutes. I hurried so that I wouldn’t upset you, but you’re upset anyway, and somehow that’s my fault because it takes me longer to pee. Well, forgive me for being a woman!” she spewed sarcastically.
“You’re forgiven.” I said dryly, not playing into the self-pity. “Let’s go.”
As we stood at the customs security line, I had to laugh. The aging security personnel that gathered the containers for belongings was in full on rant mode: “3 – 4 at a time please. No need for one at a time or we’ll be here all day. C’mon folks, hurry it up!” I watched the woman I was with quickly succumb to the pressure, taking off her belt, shoes, jewellery, backpack, etc, and put them on the conveyor for security examination. I casually removed my belt and boots, leaving my ring, glasses and dogtags on. The metal detector didn’t make a sound. I sometimes wondered if the equipment actually worked or if it was all just to instill a sense of safety and process for the herd.
After I had made it through, the alarm on the system went off, not once, but twice. I guess it worked after all. I turned around to see what had triggered the alarm, and shook my head to myself upon realizing it was travelling companion.
She explained later that by feeling so hurried she had forgetten to remove her NeoCom and her water bottle, both prohibited items on flights, which she knew, and that if they were simply more efficient at their jobs instead of bullying innocent people, then things wouldn’t end up taking so long in the first place.
I nodded and smiled, though I did have words with one of the security personnel during the incident. They were all the same. “She’s with me.” I said, assuming that my rank would be evident to anyone with authority. He cast me a sharp glance and spoke, “I’m talking with her. When I’m done addressing her, I’ll address you. Understood?”
“Jack ass.” I replied, not quite under my breath, but not quite at normal volume.
“What did you say?” he replied. A part of me wanted to retort with sarcasm, to repeat my initial statement mour clearly, simply for the lesson in principle that would be taught. Unfortunately, I knew it would come at my own expense, and I was already delayed for my connecting flight.
“Just checking.” I replied sheepishly, much to the delight of the security officer.
Once things were sorted we quickly hurried to our connecting flight.
Just as passengers began boarding, my name was called on the loud speaker, so I went to the service desk to see what the trouble was. “We accidentally booked you into another passenger’s seat. Would you be ok with us switching your seat sir?”
“Yeah, whatever. So long as I get there, right?”
“Very good, sir. Thank you.”
Let me give you a life lesson on commercial flying, boys and girls. When an attendant asks you if you’d like to change your seat, and your seat is moderately decent to begin with, just say no. Seriously, it’s their problem, not yours; don’t worry about being the nice person in the situation.
I slowly made my way to the very last row of seats at the back of the plane, you know, the row directly in front of the shitter. From there, I squeezed my way to the window seat, trapped beside a fatter, taller man, who for some reason thought his elbows owned both arm rests and about six inches passed each.
I spent the next 5 hours hunched over, trying to fit in the seat, my shoulder too wide to comply, my rib cage protesting being constantly elbowed by the sleeping blob, all the while trying not to vomit every time a passenger needed to use the lavatory.
In short … worst flight ever.
I had no trouble checking into my accommodations and welcomed a quick nap.
OOC: Iceland, I am in you.