“I never expected her to buy a new machine,” Born said. He said it in a perfectly normal controlled voice, but his eyes were as big as saucers. Musical had to admit he was pretty impressed too. Neither did Lee hide the cost, the machine having a manifest pocket glued to the crate, and another sticker declaring it was priority freight, not subject to bumping and bonded out by the carrier with triple indemnities due for damage, lose, or delay in transit. On opposite ends of the crate they had bump tattlers mounted to document any rough handling. The bright orange instrument packages were prominent to act as a deterrent more than simply reporting.
“I bet the Fargoers are much less likely to let the sales of specialized equipment leak out to the Earthies,” Musical said, “besides being closer. I just didn’t know if they made this sort of thing or if they bought it from Earth.”
“Twenty seven million a hundred eleven thousand dollars Ceres to haul this from Fargone!” Born read aloud. “That’s actually about ten times what I would have guessed. But I have never had anything delivered interstellar freight over five hundred grams.”
The driver, who seemed to be the boss of the two delivery workers, looked at him funny. “You’d be about right, for this case.”
“What do you mean?” Born asked.
“That’s the price for the whole shipment,” the fellow explained. “You have six other big containers and ten smaller boxes. Everything in the truck is yours. It’s all the mixing mills, vacuum and power support equipment. A control console and all the cables and pipes and crap to make this work,” he said, patting the first crate safely on the cart.
“Where the heck am I going to put this?” Born asked.
“I don’t know, but you already signed for it,” The driver said. “My responsibility for it ends when it is safely on your dock, or in this case, on the pavement outside your door since you guys have no real loading dock. I’m being a nice guy and helping you wheel it in, because this is a special handling order, and the only delivery I have to make today.”