“Hey, what’s the hold up?” Ron opened the wing-door of his one-seater and stood, raising his voice to get through to the portal technician. He was first in line to pass through to Mars City, and had been for almost an hour.
An ancient technician, lines and goggles on her face, slowly unfolded from the base of the portal frame, large enough to pass a semi. “It’s the main portal coil. Burned through. Gotta get a new one from storage.”
Ron made a face. “How long’s that gonna be? I’m gonna miss my grandson’s bar mitzvah.”
“Well, there’re a lot of moving parts in a portal, and I gotta get most’ve ’em outta the way to pull the main coil.” She climbed out of the machine and moved zombie-like to her toolbox a few feet away.
On her way back, Ron shouted, “Could you move any faster? With you shuffling about like that, my grandson will graduate before I get there.”
“Sure, sonny.” The technician accelerated by exactly zero.
Ron moaned. “At least give me a time estimate ’til I can get through to Mars?”
“Soon as I shuffle off this portal coil,” said the technician. And that was that.