The Merchant

The Merchant


Nathan took a long cool drink from his water bottle and sighed. Next to him, Marti was munching the last biscuit in the lunchbox.

Thirst satisfied, Nathan settled back down on his belly and peered through a pair of giant binoculars at the starport field across the river. They were a present from Grandpa, a piece of old Marine memorabilia to congratulate Nathan on finishing junior school. Big, heavy, tripod mounted, and with much of the paint flaked off, they could see for miles. The batteries had long given up holding charge, but the daylight vision was perfect.

'I spy a VX-4 cargo barge with Atchison thruster plates,' said Nathan triumphantly. Marti snatched up a toy telescope and screwed up his eyes. 'I read PLU 480,' said Marti happily, 'that's gotta be a new one.'

Nathan held his breath and looked through the binoculars again. 'Dummy, that's FLV 430, and we got that one last week. Captain Merriwether, class B commercial.'

Marti let the exercise book fall on to the dry grass. 'One lousy ship today, and the Princess didn't come in either.'

The day dragged on, a hot day with little wind. Nathan pitched his mother's umbrella against the bright blue sun and dozed for a while, relying on the noise of the ships to warn him of the next arrival. When it did appear, it was Marti's frantic shout that woke him instead.

The new ship was like nothing they'd see before. Marti thumbed through their spotter's guide, as Nathan watched the blunt shaped craft settle slowly to the ground. Instead of the usual burned and scored drab hulls that filled the starport, the newcomer was a pearlescent blue, with finely traced silver filigree and fluted channels along its entire length. When the craft finally touched the ground, instead of stopping, it sank very slightly into the concrete of the pad. Not even Navy ships did that.

Nathan looked up to see Marti's excited face. 'It isn't in the book, Nat. It's a special!'

When Nathan got home, he ran straight to his Dad's workshop. The strange ship had left the starport later, heading into the mountains and landing again beside an abandoned hydrostation. All the kids in the block were talking about it, and he had been the first to see it.

'It's not in the book Dad, you said it had every ship in it!'

Nathan described the ship as best he could, but Dad shook his head and went back to his work. 'Some other kids saw them Dad. They crept up to the plant and watched them come out. They were angels, Dad; they looked like angels.'

Dad blinked and looked up again, shaking Nathan's shoulder hard. 'They're just trouble, son; you should stay away. They were great once, but now they're just scavengers.'


V4 figure with Mihrelle Faryn character pack, Nabia Hair and Space Dweller outfit. Original spacecraft model created in Cinema 4D.

Scene assembly and final rendering in Cinema 4D R15 Visualise.

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Updated: 21 September 2013

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