There was a clattering sound, metal on metal, grapples striking the outer hull. After that a loud, resonant thud sounded: the shuttle’s docking ring being pulled flush, locking into place.
The Captain whispered, nervously: “How’s my tie?”
Bhotal observed, “I doubt they care about your tie…”
“This is an important meeting, I have to represent—”
“You look fine.”
Readouts began to change on the airlock’s environment panel. Pressure rose, stabilized: not quite Earth normal, but breathable. “This is not going to smell good,” Bhotal said.
“Why should they smell any better than they look?”
“Cycling inner door; here we go…”