A bit more exposition than I like but at least was able to do in a conversation. Authors who just write walls of text are generally awful at their jobs.
It’s a shame Aurie’s friend has to die now. Wonder if they’ll do a “Pinochet” and just toss her out?
Now about two yards up, Hartmann just jumped into the round opening on the underside of the craft and pulled herself up. She looked back.
“I’m twice your age and not remotely as spry,” Colour said with a nonplussed look.
“Here, old woman!” Aurelia leaned down with her hand out. That accomplished, the hatch dilated closed. The younger took the older’s hand.
“This is an S-3,” she began, playing tour guide. “A modification of an original Japanese design. Theirs are a little smaller, but so are they. They use them for scouting, expedited couriering, and SAR missions. With ours a little larger, we can accommodate groups like the six-man diplomatic team who met with your Governing Council.”
“Where are they now?” Colour asked, looking about at the corridor which seemed to lead in a circle about the central part of the ship.
“On the ground. More room for us. Look!” Aurelia pressed a button and a panel opened from the floor to halfway up a ceiling. “Real toilets! Two of ‘em! Real paper, too. You are traveling imperial first class, friend.”
“Given how your legionary TP has things a little sore back there, I wholeheartedly thank you,” she replied. They laughed. The general pressed another button and a door slid open. A room no bigger than a closet.
“The seats fold down, see?” Aurelia demonstrated. “And this narrow table, too. This is the ship’s mess. And, it’s where my hospitality breaks down. There’s water but the only food is what we brought.”
Hartmann paused and spun around.
“You did bring food?”
“General, I have learned a few things in my time in the legions.” Door closed, they resumed the small tour. “Where is the crew? Or do you fly this with your mind?”
“I can,” the demi replied, neatly killing Jansen’s attempt at a joke. “It takes concentration. My cousin, Crown Prince Laszlo, is really good at it. He’s been to Mars, the Belt, and beyond. When he’s not sticking things in his toaster. Look up.”
Above hand- and foot-holes in the wall was another circular hatch. It opened. A man no older than Aurelia crouched there and Colour just saw the shoulder of another behind him.
“This is ship’s captain Abel, assisted by midshipman Walker. Men? This is Special Representative Jansen of the Northern Federation, acting as my local guide for our jaunt,” Aurelia introduced.
“A pleasure, Ma’am,” Abel nodded. “We got your flight plan. West, then north, then east. Surveying the land, General?”
“Always a smart thing to do, Captain. Once we’re over the Atlantic I’ll tell you where we’ll be setting down,” she replied. In the cramped space of the cockpit, he could only wave a salute. The hatch closed.
“And that’s pretty much it, ship-wise,” Hartmann concluded.
“Really?” Jansen took a couple of steps and thumped her palm onto the curve of the interior bulkhead. “You just skipped about, what, fifty percent of this thing’s volume.”
“I’m caught!” Aurelia cried. “If you know our secrets, you must die!”