“And this,” Jack said, pushing the forward bulkhead door open, “is the bridge. Pilot and co-pilot stations.” He gestured to the seats in front of a complex array of control panels at the front of the ship. “Astrogation.” That set of controls was off to one side of the bridge. “And communications.” He pointed towards the control panel on the opposite side of the surprisingly spacious room.
“Two quick questions,” Ianto said, studying the layout of the spaceship Jack was proposing they buy.
“Ask away; after all, this is going to be ours, not just mine.”
“Well, first off…” Ianto waved one hand at the blank wall in front of the pilot’s station. “There are no windows. How are we supposed to see where we’re going?”
Jack laughed. “When we’re travelling through the vortex we’ll be on autopilot. A lot of people find the view… disorienting, and anyway, windows make for weak points in a ship’s structure so most don’t have them. Instead, all this…” He ran his hand lightly along the bare wall, “is a built-in viewscreen. It wraps around three sides of the bridge and it’s better than windows because you can increase magnification, to focus on one particular area of space, a planet, a star, or another ship, or decrease it to get a wider panoramic view.”
“Ah, makes sense.”
“What’s your other question?”
“There are four stations but only two of us; does that mean we’ll have to employ more crewmembers?”
“Not at all. Astrogation and communication can be handled on both the pilot’s and co-pilot’s panels. In fact, one person can fly a ship like this solo; I’ve done it before, but many companies prefer to have their ships run by a small crew rather than one individual, sharing the workload and the responsibility. So what d’you think? Of the ship, I mean.”
“It’s surprisingly roomy, not to mention comfortable. To be honest I’d expected something more Spartan and less… homey.”
“We’ll be living aboard a lot of the time as we travel around, brokering trade deals with other planets,” Jack reminded him. “We don’t want to be cramped or uncomfortable, and in time we might find it more convenient to have a crew do the flying for us so we can concentrate on being ambassadors for earth.”
“I suppose that’s true.” Ianto was a little nervous at the thought of what lay ahead of them. They were leaving Torchwood in good hands to take on the task of being earth’s first official emissaries, travelling throughout the galaxy. It was a big responsibility, and they’d be doing it with very little help.
Something warm and furry nudged against him and Ianto looked down at the third member of their party. Nosy gave a reassuring hum.
Ianto smiled. “You like this ship?”
“Well, you’ve always wanted to be an interplanetary explorer; looks like you’re finally getting your chance.”
Nosy squiggled happily and slithered over to the pilot’s seat; at last its dreams were coming true.